Posts Tagged: working mothers

When One Parent Travels … a lot.

For the last 2.5 years, Daddy-o has been a FIFO (Fly In, Fly Out) Father. His current client requires that he be onsite during the week so as such, he arrives home on Friday nights, then leaves again on Sunday evenings. I have not written about it because I was advised not to go public that I was ‘alone’ during the week. But since I don’t feel “vulnerable”, if someone wants to break into my house based on the fact that there is no man around, they will have to get through Mama Bear first. Yeah, good luck with that.

Most of the time, I have these beauties all to myself!

So there is no ‘man of the house’ around during the week. Although an initial adjustment, we have worked with our situation quite well. Since my youngest is now five-years-old, ‘flying solo’ in the parenting department is much easier than it would have been a few years ago.

Making this arrangement work can be a bit of a trick. These are the lessons I have learned:

The FIFO parent:

  • Daddy-o was very excited to tell me about all the new and exciting things he could do now that he didn’t have the usual parent responsibilities. He got to exercise and get fit. He would tell me about his morning 1 km swims and how his post-work training sessions were going. Although happy for him, I would find myself feeling a little glum. All I could think was “and here I am, happy to get 30-seconds a day to move my bowels without interruption”.
  • Daddy-o was also excited to tell me about all the cool things he was watching on Netflix. He’s all caught up on “Lost” and watches all the amazing shows I only know about because of Twitter. The last TV show I watched was the season finale of “Seinfeld” in the mid-90s.
  • Occasionally on a Saturday, Daddy-o would turn to me and say “Wow – is the house always this noisy?” Yes. Yes, it is.

Lesson for the FIFO:

Keep on doing what you’re doing. Enjoy this time while you have it. Perhaps keeping a little bit of it to yourself is not a bad idea. It’s OK to share – but not too much or too often. Don’t go overboard relaying how much “me time” is happening.

Stay at Home Parents:

  • I know too well the temptation of handing off the kids when Daddy-o walks through the door on a Friday. He walks in and you kind of want to say, “Here you go! They’re all yours and I’m OUTTA here”. But here’s the thing – FIFOs don’t actually WANT to be away from their families. They are doing this for work. It is a sacrifice for them too and they don’t need to feel punished for it. Inevitably, the kids will feel like they are a burden on you during the week and that you only want your spouse home so that he can relieve you of that burden. That’s no fun for anyone.

It’s a tricky situation for everyone, but manageable if you have the right attitude and remember that everyone is doing the best they can for the family.

Do you have a FIFO parent in your family? Are you a FIFO? How has your family managed the transition?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

School’s Out For The Summer!

A big bag of lost and found items!


I know it’s officially summer when my son arrives home from school with a huge garbage bag filled to the top with his locker contents and all of his items that were fished out of the Lost and Found.

This year the haul included 3 thermoses, 3 winter hats, 2 baseball hats, 2 hoodies, a winter coat and a baseball glove (along with lots of crumpled up paper, old tests and some school supplies).  Yikes!  I long for the day that my son is more organized, but until then I’m glad we’ve got Mabel’s Labels on everything so that his stuff makes it back home…eventually!

Along with the warm weather, family vacations, and more relaxed schedules, I’m practically giddy about not making lunches every day. The fact that everyone’s wearing sandals and flip flops is a bonus too, because it means I won’t need to keep the sock basket filled.  Our family sock strategy consists of a basket near the front door filled with single socks. There’s no point in pairing them up because my kids just un-match them anyway. Rebels!

We’re looking forward to some fun outdoor activities and games, including afternoons by Grandma’s pool, backyard BBQ’s and evenings at our local Drive-In Theatre. Watching a drive in movie under the stars is so much fun and is a favourite summer tradition for us. There’s nothing cuter than seeing lots of little ones in their pajamas, swinging on the swing set and playing Frisbee while waiting for the first feature to start. Later they’ll be sleepy and cozy as their parents carry them straight from the car to their beds. Somewhere along the line I stopped wearing my PJ’s to the drive-in, but I think this may be the summer to revive that tradition. I’m not sure I’ll get carried in from the car, but it’s worth a try.

In addition to all the family fun times that summer brings, I love the quiet early mornings all to myself in the garden. It’s full of promise at this time of year, with lots of different vegetables and greens. This year we’ve got tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, bok choy, kale, collard greens, romaine and red lettuce. I’m hoping that when our kids are hungry, they’ll grab some cherry tomatoes off the vine instead of reaching for cookies (a mom can always dream!).

Garden Veggies!

What do YOU love most about summertime?  Any fun ideas to share? What are some of your favourite family vacations and summer activities for kids?

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

Sticks and Stones -The Power of Words

Words are powerful. My dad was an English teacher and word junkie so we were always taught to use our words carefully. The lesson has stuck with me and I have found that in raising my kids, I’m careful about not using vocabulary words that I don’t like. There are certain words not in my personal dictionary, that I’m pretty sure they’ve never heard me use. The short list includes:

“Best friend”

I just don’t like this term and never have. It feels exclusive and it inevitably leads to annoying sentences like “I’m not your BEST FRIEND anymore” and “Sorry, but Jenny is already my BEST FRIEND”. I find the newer terms like “BFF” and “Bestie” far less annoying because they seem to be used more generally and don’t seem so serious. The term “best friend” feels like it should have a ring and commitment ceremony attached to it.

“Tomboy”

Just because a girl is sporty and adventurous does not make her like a boy. It makes her sporty and adventurous. These kinds of gender stereotypes have no place in my home (or society).

My girls are not “tomboys” because they like power tools

“Fat” and “skinny”

As a general rule, I don’t speak about appearances in front of my kids. I specifically try to stay away from comments regarding body shape when describing how someone looks, and particularly these two very loaded words.

“Diet”

My kids have never heard me say this word and certainly not in the context of me going on one. My hope is that my daughters will never feel like they need to diet. I like to think that I will face most parental challenges with a certain level of comfort and confidence. I know the exception is eating disorders. I have three girls and if any of them were sticking their fingers down their throat, you would find me in a corner rocking in the fetal position. The thought of facing eating disorders horrifies me and my heart goes out to families raising girls and dealing with it.

“Waitress” and “Mailman”

My kids never hear me use gender when describing a job or career. Yep, this PC mama says, “Server” and “Mail Carrier”, to name just two.

“I hate you”

My kids have never heard me use this term nor has anyone else. I don’t think I’ve ever used this phrase. Words cannot be taken back, even when you are sorry you said them.

Do you have parenting tips on any words that you keep out of your personal dictionary? What words are on the “no say” list in your house? Do you hear any words that make you cringe or that you try not to use in front of your children?

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

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