Lisa B: Elementary Mama
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Lisa and her son Alex (aged 7) for about…oooh 5 or so years now. Lisa and I met through a common interest, she’s a 30-something mama who resides in Wisconsin.
Favorite activity to do with your child?
Taking him to different places around our city – like the museum, zoo, etc. and experiencing different things with him.
One thing your child taught you?
How does religion play a part in your parenting?
Religion is very important to us. We go to Mass every Sunday, and also partake in other religious services that are our obligation to attend. We also read from his children’s Bible and talk about religious things at home.
Favorite cultural/family tradition to share w/ your child?
I don’t think we have any particular cultural/family traditions that we share with our son. We do try to have “family night” where we play games or go out to eat or something similar, but nothing I’d define a tradition.
Best motherhood advice you’ve gotten?
Don’t take things for granted, because they grow up much too quickly. Embrace and enjoy the moments you have.
Worst motherhood advice you’ve gotten?
Nothing in particular comes to mind, but people sometimes think they know what’s best in dealing with his food allergies, or mistake them for intolerances and suggest “just give him a pill (like lactaid).” Um no. He does not get just a tummy ache. He gets hives and itchy and it’s way more serious.
Things you said you’d never do as a mama and now do?
Bribery. LOL! Sometimes that’s the only thing that works! “If you behave, you can have XYZ.” What about JUST behaving ‘cause you’re supposed to?! HAH! Also, along those same lines – backing down from a punishment or reducing it because I feel bad.
Things you said you’d do as a mama, but never got around to?
Homemade baby food. No junk food. Limited TV/screen time. Yeah. Kind of unrealistic.
Fears for raising a child(ren) in this current society?
The amount of bullying that goes on in schools scares me. I don’t want my son to be on either side of that spectrum.
What’s the one thing no one ever told you that you wish you’d known prior to becoming a mama?
I honestly can’t think of anything.
Are you the disciplinarian or good cop when trouble arises?
I’m a bit of both, but I probably lean toward good cop, because I hate seeing my son upset, sad or mad. But I am beginning to realize that sometimes you have to be a happy medium between the two to get the job done. Firm with the rules, but not so dictator-ish that you scare the pants off your kid!
Does your child(ren) have any allergies or food restrictions? How do you deal with that?
Our son has multiple food allergies. He’s allergic to dairy, egg, peanut and shellfish. All are on the “low end” so he is not contact-reactive. He will, however, develop hives if he ingests an offending food. We deal with it by carrying Benadryl and an Epi-Pen wherever we go. We are constantly reading and re-reading food labels. We look up restaurant foods before we go out. We always talk to the cook at sit down restaurants. (Ed.Note: Lisa also has a blog where she discusses navigating through life dealing with her son’s many allergies that can be found here. LB, consider this a gentle nudge to update ;-p )
Santa Claus: Does he exist for your child or not?
Yep. He still exists for our son.
If they are of age, does your child have chores? Why or why not?
Yes, our son has daily morning chores – feeding his fish, making his bed and opening his curtains/blinds. We expect these of him because he is a member of the household and needs to help out around the house. It gives him a sense of responsibility and shows him that he needs to contribute to helping out because he lives here too. He also likes to help out in other areas, like taking out the garbage, dishes, etc.
Do you give your child allowance? How much?
He does not receive an allowance yet. However, if he does something extra for us (like help shovel, rake leaves, etc) we will give him 50 cents or so for helping out.
How much time do you spend with your child doing homework? Our son spends about a half hour each night doing homework, which usually includes a worksheet and then reading time. The worksheet he completes alone (we do look over it) and then reading time we do together.
Have you talked with your child about bullying? Yes, we have. We explained to our son that bullying is never okay, and that it is important to treat each other with respect. His school has an anti-bullying statement that the kids and parents are required to read, talk about and sign as well, so they take this issue very seriously as well.
Do you monitor how much and what your child watches on television? Our son doesn’t watch a whole lot of TV. He’d rather watch a movie if he’s going to turn on the television. We do limit “screen time” (which includes TV, computer and Wii) to an hour a day.
What are his/her favorite books? How often do you read together?
Our son loves chapter books – the Geronimo Stilton series is his favorite right now. We do read together every night before bed – and that’s usually whatever library books he’s brought home from school. We read together anywhere from 10-20 minutes a night, and he’ll read alone for up to a half hour per day.
What are their routes to school? If walking – have you talked about Stranger Danger?
Our son takes the bus to school (it picks him up on the corner by our house) and then either I or Dad pick him up. Even though he doesn’t walk to school, we have talked about Stranger Danger and how it’s never okay to talk to a stranger, and to run in the other direction if they ever try to talk to him or offer him anything.
Favorite mama moment at this stage?
The conversations with a 7 year old boy are quite entertaining! This is my favorite because he is so creative and intuitive and just comes up with the greatest stories and questions to ask. He’s very curious about everything and it’s just fun to be able to talk to him about whatever’s on his mind.
Pick one from each and explain your views:
Bottle v. Breastfeeding
I breastfed until our son was 13 months old. I felt by doing so, I was giving him the best nutrition possible. There were times in the beginning where I felt I wanted to give up and bottle-feed though! It was tough at first, but then we got the hang of it. I don’t think one is a better option over the other; I think it all depends on the child and the mother and what they decide works best for them.
Spankings v. Timeouts
We don’t like to spank, although our son has gotten a tap on the butt a couple times when we was younger. We mostly did timeouts (and still do sometimes) as a way for him to go and calm down and start fresh with a better attitude. It also gave us time to calm down as well!
Private v. Public Schooling
If you’d have asked me this a year ago, I’d have chosen private schools, no question. We consider ourselves pretty religious, and felt that private schools was the best education for our son. Now, however, I wouldn’t trade our son being in a public school for anything. He was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and the public school system in our community is by far the best option for him with the resources that they have – including psychologists on staff, social workers and special ed teachers that the private schools just don’t have funding for. After going to private schools for 3 years and not getting the help he needed, we switched to public this year and couldn’t be happier.
Stay-at-home mamas v. Working mamas
I was a stay-at-home mom for the first two years of our son’s life. I felt it was important for us to be at home together for that bonding experience, and also for me to witness all the important milestones that he achieved, like walking, talking, crawling, etc. I definitely understand that some families need the dual-income to make ends meet, or that there are single moms that need to work to support their family, and I completely support and commend these parents that make sacrifices to ensure a great home life for their kids. Again, whatever works best for the individual family.