Mother Daughter Group Revisited

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Last fall I wrote these two posts about our Mother Daughter group (here and here).  After some honest discussion with the other moms, I decided to stop writing about our specific group. As wonderful as it is, we wanted to keep it private and safe for the girls to grow and share openly.  The thought was that if they  knew I was blogging about it, even though I keep it strictly anonymous, there may be some hesitation about sharing.  I wholeheartedly agreed, so have stopped writing about the particulars of our monthly group meetings.

Throughout the year,  we have evolved into a cohesive and connected group. We met monthly, rotating between peoples’ homes although a few times we met in other venues such as Rebounders, a restaurant or a sports pavilion.  The host mom and daughter would plan a craft or a game as well as a potluck meal and lead discussion topics that the group had suggested the previous month.  Discussions have included gossip, bullying, boy-girl relationships and appropriate clothing choices.  The girls were initially very shy, but have become so comfortable that they are leading discussions and opening up with much ease.

We met again last week culminating our first year together.  The weather was beautiful, we met at a neighborhood pool and the day was just perfect.  The girls initially went in the pool while the moms chatted around a table.  When they got hungry, the girls gravitated towards the snacks at the table adjacent to the moms.  Before we realized it, the girls had pulled up chairs and we were all gathered around the table sharing stories of  summer trips and camp.

Later that evening one of the moms sent a group email reflecting on how nice the day had been and how she noticed that the girls had pulled their chairs up to our table, something that would not have happened even a few months ago.  We were operating as a unified group; moms and daughters as a unit.  One mom was helping my  daughter with make-up advice, something that is fairly foreign to me while another girl shared how she allocated her allowance for her back-to-school purchases.  It was so special to witness how close the girls and moms have become  over the last twelve months.

I have been thinking about offering a group of this nature for moms and daughters through my practice.  Many moms in my community have commented on  how wonderful our group is and how helpful it would be for them and their daughters.  This group would be structured a bit differently as I would be the facilitator and not a mom.  It would be in my office and have some differences to the one that I have been writing about;  I see a great deal of potential having it in such a setting with the ability to grow very strong bonds and do meaningful work as has been done in our group in a less formal setting.

I am asking  you readers for your thoughts.  Would this be something that you and your daughter might be interested in? Would you be willing to commit to a monthly and/or twice a  month meeting which would include some, yet to be decided, fee? Would you be open to this fabulous experience for not only your daughters, but for you as well (the relationships that we have formed as moms have become as important to me as  have the relationships between the girls)?

Please do chime in as it will help me to decide if the interest is out there for this type of group.  I have invested time and energy into other groups that have not taken flight, so trust that your feedback is very important.  Thanks for your thoughts.

Laurie

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The Sitter Search

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I am at IT again.  I have been doing this for eighteen years and IT is never easy. What is IT you ask? IT is the eternal search for a responsible adult that can care for your children while you are at work.

Early on it was the MOST stressful part of my parenting experience other than my kids getting sick, which, you can ask my friends,  we had plenty of (how many nebulizers can one family own?)   I agonized each time over leaving my infants with anyone other than me.  The first baby, particularly, was difficult. We were new parents, learning how to do this thing called ‘parenting’; three short months later, maternity leave was over and someone had to watch this baby.

In the midst of the exhaustion and shock of having this newborn, new daddy and I got to seek daycare.  There were fancy agencies to find you the best nanny (for hundreds of dollars to register), you could risk taking out an ad in the newspaper and pray for Mary Poppins, or you could get on a waiting list at a day care center.  The internet was not yet at our fingertips, thus no Craig’s List, Sitter City or any other form of www.

For some reason, once we finally hired someone they were short-termers.  I want to believe that it was because I was part-time and that was a harder niche to fill (rather than my kids were bratty). Remember the  show Murphy Brown with Candice Bergen where  each episode she had a new secretary?  That was the story of our day care – we went through about twelve babysitters in half as many years.  I wish I could tell you how many times I called my husband after walking in the house on a Thursday evening to say “she quit again”.

Then we found M.  M saved us; not only did she love my kids, but she added stability to our somewhat chaotic home, the best being  when she got fed up with my linen closet she would re-fold all the towels.  M worked for us for six years and raised my youngest (we often wonder who my youngest is really asking for when she calls “mommy”).  M is part of our family, so much so that when she announced her pregnancy, my husband said “we are going to be grandparents”, and her three year old now proudly calls me “Gramma Yorie”.

I wish I could say that after M left us for a full-time job that our headaches were gone. Sure,  as my kids got older, the fear of leaving them became less.  They could speak and keep me abreast of what was going on at home while I was busily seeing clients.  But, I still had to find someone that was responsible, kind and was a careful driver (I long since gave up on laundry or linen closet maintenance).

I found myself today paying, again, for Sitter City. Luckily, I have already had a phone interview with a college student looking for some after-school work.  Can I trust her, will the kids like her, will she be able to find the dance studio where kid #3 spends most of her time?

I think of all the new  moms  embarking on this journey that I have travelled so many times.  I can feel their anxiety and fears in my stomach as my own; for I have been there and know their struggle.  I have had many clients in this spot and have been grateful that I could fully empathize with them.

For anyone that is on the quest for the right day care, particularly as the school year starts, please know that I GET IT.  Your fears, your tears and your worries are valid and normal;  I would be happy to share them with you if you need, feel free to contact me.


The Calm Before the Storm

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I was able to leisurely take a  wog  (walk/jog) this morning before work since offspring are enjoying their favorite time of the year at sleep-away camp.  As I huffed and puffed along the quiet streets of Fairfax County in early August, I realized that this stillness is short lived.   The vacationers are gone, the office is quiet and I haven’t cooked a meal in weeks!

There are hints that IT is coming; the weather had a moment of coolness, soccer and dance registration are here and we just had no-tax weekend (I always feel that it is TOO early to hit up the school supplies aisle in early August, but clearly, I am in the minority here).

As I revel in this peace, I am aware that it will end with a bang (literally when the kids land in the garage with pounds of dirty laundry) and do wish the transition was more gradual.   I go from moments of boredom when my house is too quiet and actually clean to practice/orthodontists/carpools etc.

So, my dear readers, enjoy the tranquility, the long days with sunlit evenings and LACK OF HOMEWORK.  Good things are upon us although they involve alarm clocks and packing lunches; sometimes it is nice to take a moment and enjoy what is right here in front of us.