I’m talking to all parents here, but moms specifically. We are always too busy (a word I use way too often to describe how I’m doing), taking care of everyone – our kids, our home, even our spouse…that we often neglect a very important person – YOURSELF. Easier said than done, I am guilty as charged. I sometimes wait 6 months to get a haircut. I rarely get much needed “girl time” with my friends. I can’t remember the last time I was able to pick up a book and get lost in it. I feel good thinking about all of the things I get done every day – taking care of two children, working PT, paying bills, food shopping, taking care of the house and somehow mustering up the energy after both kids are asleep to make my husband and I dinner when he gets home from work. After all, look at what we accomplish every single day. We should feel proud!!! BUT…do you ever feel like you’re losing yourself in the day to day grind, not having a moment to think about you?
Here are a few ideas for ways we can take care of ourselves without breaking the bank and taking too much time away from those snuggles and laughs with our babies.
Try setting your alarm clock 20-30 min early if you can’t find time in the day to do these things. Start the day with YOU-time. And watch the beautiful sun rise while you do it.
Listen, there is never enough time in the day or the funds to do what we really want to do for ourselves. Sure I’d love a day at the spa once a month and a yearly trip with close girlfriends somewhere on a secluded beach in the Caribbean. I’d love to go into Manhattan, all alone and just wander around for an entire day. Meet up with friends for lunch, go shop. Just a me-day. One day we’ll all get there (here’s to hoping), but these things can feel a little out of reach with the little people in our lives. Maybe we can take some of these small steps towards that much needed “me time”.
Remember, if you feel like you’re taking care of “everything”, that includes you. If you truly take care of yourself, you are happier…you are a better parent, a more patient parent. You’re also letting your children know that YOU matter, and that you truly value yourself.
Posted by Jen Valu
It’s that wonderful time of year where many of us are so lucky to be able to spend more time with our families. With school closed, we have to keep both us and our children busy with fun and engaging activities. This gives us a chance to do things we otherwise might not have time to do – like baking, doing charity work and fun craft projects. If we’re lucky enough, perhaps we’ll see a little powder and be able to enjoy sledding on the 9th Street hill in Prospect Park!
Here are a few ideas to keep you all busy during this time of year.
1) Cooking & Baking:
* We recently updated our Pinterest Page with several festive meals, snacks and sweets that are kid-friendly (some are even healthy)!!! Who knows…maybe if you dress up your veggies to look like a Christmas tree, your child will want to eat them?! It’s worth a shot! https://www.pinterest.com/drcaoparkslope/fun-holiday-recipes/
* Here is a link to fruit-filled holiday dessert recipes that your child can help you with, and doesn’t require the use of an oven: http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Fruit-Filled-Holiday-Desserts-42609490#photo-42609527
* For non-holiday themed recipes that are great year-round, I love the recipes in Pretend Soup and Salad People, both which are for preschoolers and up. The popovers are a huge hit in this house!
2) Charity Work: We recently shared a blog about the different charities we can get involved with in the NYC area (http://www.southslopepediatrics.com/blog/giving/). Now we’d like to share the charities that South Slope Pediatrics is working with, in hopes that we can get our SSP families involved in as well. This is a great way to teach our children about how this season is about giving and helping others!
* Jonah’s Just Begun: Dr. Cao’s best little friend Jonah is suffering from a very rare disease, San Filippo Syndrome, and needs our help to fund research to save his life. Let’s help raise money to find a cure!!! Donate here: https://app.mobilecause.com/form/vCJQEw
* Toys for Tots: We have a box out in our lobby and are collecting all new toys and books, which will be given to children in need. This cause is very special to Dr. Cao as they helped his own family when he was a child. Please come by and make a donation if you can!
* Little Essentials: We will also have a box in our lobby for Little Essentials, a Brooklyn based charity who helps children living in poverty by providing urgently needed resources and parenting education to families in crisis. Please stop by with any new book or toy and help this local cause!
* Love in a Safety Pin: Dr. Cao and your SSP Team has recently embarked in a courageous journey to ensure that our values of inclusion, tolerance, kindness and LOVE stay strong. We have declared South Slope Pediatrics a safe haven for those who might find themselves harassed or bullied on the streets of Park Slope. Please, join us by claiming your Love in a Safety Pin free sticker and by donating what you can to our campaign so we can produce and mail the stickers to the rest of the country. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/love-in-a-safety-pin
3) Crafts: Looking for fun indoor activities during this cold weather that spark a bit of creativity? Here are links to easier crafts that the smaller ones can get into:
http://www.parenting.com/gallery/christmas-crafts-kids From felt snowmen to deer made of cardboard to traditional cut-out snowflakes, there are plenty of crafts on this list (26 in total)!
25 holiday crafts including fingerprint christmas lights, santa beards, santa slime and shredded paper snowmen!
Footprint Reindeer Cards…genius.
Icy Cold Snow Paint – this looks like a lot of (messy) fun!
Handprint penguins, puffy paint polar bear faces and snowy owl pine cones are a few of the 28 winter crafts you can try.
And…let’s just say you’re exhausted from all of these activities and you need a little down time. Maybe a holiday show is a way to relax and cuddle with our little ones! Here are a few favorites for kids 3 and up:
* A Charlie Brown Christmas
* Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
* Frosty the Snowman
* Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah
* Merry Christmas, Olivia
* Curious George, a Very Monkey Christmas
* Mickey’s Christmas Carol
* Shalom, Sesame: Chanukah Special
* Dora’s Christmas Carol
* Elmo’s Christmas Countdown
Activities, at home, Holidays
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Posted on December 16th, 2016
Posted by Jen Valu
By Jen #supermom
The hunt for a babysitter can sometimes feel so much more challenging than it should be. After all, this person is responsible for making sure your child is SAFE and taken care of while you are away. Trust is a huge issue, especially when it involves our most important and cherished little ones. When we do get out on that (very rare) occasion we are faced with this somewhat daunting task.
I think we can all agree that the best way to find a sitter is through another friend’s suggestion and recommendation. By hiring someone a friend trusts and allows to watch their own children helps keep anxiety at bay. Often when a friend recommends someone, I ask about that person – is he/she reliable/timely (aka no last minute cancellations or tardiness)? How old is he/she (not everyone is crazy about a teenager watching their children)… How long have you known her/him? If it is a teenager: do they have an adult they can reach out to if there is an emergency situation? Do they have CPR training? How many kids are they comfortable sitting for (if it’s more than one)? And of course, what is the hourly rate and where do they live (the latter part can come into play if you arrive home late and pay for their car service). It’s always best when they have their own mode of transportation!
We got super lucky this past year and met a friend of a friend who happened to be a pediatric nurse and babysat on the side. Sort of a dream come true – god forbid if something happened, we know she is in the absolute best of hands. And, the fact that she works and loves being with children surely helps! But due to her constantly fluctuating schedule and odd hours, it’s not always easy to pencil her in. So unfortunately we are put to the task of finding another babysitter more often than not.
If the option of finding a sitter through a trusted friend/neighbor/family member has dried up, there are sites that can offer assistance. These are some of the more popular ones:
https://www.urbansitter.com/ – You can find someone here with certified background checks and are able to see which babysitters are requested repeatedly by families (surely a good sign)! You can filter by age, experience and rate to find the sitter who is right for you. What is helpful and interesting about this site is that you can see if your friends or parents in neighborhood/school have used that particular sitter.
http://www.care.com/ – This site helps you find child care amongst other things like senior care, pet care and housekeeping. You create a free profile and create a “job” online and it’s guaranteed that caregivers will contact you within 3 days of submitting. Then you review profiles and request background checks before making your decision. Subscription based.
https://www.sittercity.com/ – This company runs several background checks and if the sitter you are interested in does not have a background check, you have the option for paying for that check. Great feature is that it offers details on the sitter (so if you have a specific request – child with special needs or fluent in certain language, etc. you are able to search for those things). Subscription based.
http://www.care4hire.com/ – Here you would create a profile with your specific needs for child care. Caregivers are not required to provide background checks but you are able to investigate online through a service on the site. Subscription based.
http://sensiblesitters.com/ – Based in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Hamptons, this sitting and nanny placement agency matches families with reliable caregivers. Parents have the option of working with a “Sensible Specialist” to discuss their specific needs before performing the search. A bit more expensive with a membership of $150 and hourly rates between $20-$25, this service promises a higher quality experience.
http://smartsitting.com/ – This service has a bit of an angle as it provides nannys that are both nurturing AND educational (note: only 7% of those that apply to become part of the roster are accepted). These nannies can provide tutoring or even lessons in art and other fields. Hourly rate is between $15-$25 on average.
http://barnardbabysitting.com/ – For a more affordable option, Barnard Babysitting is a student-run service that matches families with students for sitting jobs. Only $30 registration fee and average of $15 per hour. Families have to plan ahead and apply before the coming semester.
http://www.nypinchsitters.com/ – For that last minute needed care, Pinch Sitters finds experienced college grad babysitters with as little as 2 hours notice. 4 hour minimum rate of $22 plus a $15 surcharge after 10pm.
No matter how many times we hire a babysitter, there is a good 30 minutes before I can actually relax. I often text the sitter after a half hour to check if all is OK. Guess that makes me sound a bit crazy but it’s what I need to do to chill out and actually enjoy my time away from home. Thankfully we’ve been blessed to have wonderful sitters thus far, who often send me a photo of our daughter happy and playing (and PS – I see nothing wrong with requesting that they send a photo). Nothing puts your mind at ease more than seeing a big smile on your child’s face, helping erase the last memory of them screaming “MOMMY”!!!! while crying hysterically as you walk out the door!
Posted on June 3rd, 2015
Posted by Matteo