Today, I'm interviewing Helene at I'm Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor. She went through the wringer trying to get pregnant, with fertility treatments finally resulting in not one, but two beautiful babies. Helene found herself pregnant again by totally natural measures with a second set of twins. Helene possesses a wonderful way of writing about the joys and challenges of raising four toddlers, never sugarcoating yet always maintaining a healthy sense of perspective.
1. What are your children's ages and what are their favorite toys at the moment?
Cole (4): Anything to do with Thomas the Train.
Bella (4): Her doll stroller (it's a McClaren double stroller and she loves to take her babies, who are twins of course, on walks when I take Garrett and Landon for walks).
Garrett (22 months): This kid is in love with Elmo, so anything with Elmo on it works for him.
Landon (22 months): Like Cole, he loves anything to do with Thomas the Train.
2. Describe one thing that you currently are most concerned about teaching your children.
The one main thing is safety. I feel it's important for them to know how to keep themselves safe, whether it be safe from people who want to harm them or knowing how to get out of the house in the event of a fire. I'm constantly talking to them about not talking to strangers, not to run off when we're in public places where I cannot see them, and things of that nature.
When we do go out to crowded public places, like an amusement park, I tell them if they do become separated from us to not go anywhere, but to stay in that one place. I point out how to recognize the amusement park workers and that those are the ONLY people they should talk to if they get lost. I explain to them that even though the park workers are strangers, they are in a position to help if needed. And we all dress in the same colors and I take a picture of all the kids with my cell phone so if they do happen to get lost, I can show the security people exactly what the kids look like and what they were wearing. I also write our name and phone number on the kids' arms so the amusement park workers know how to find us. Thank goodness, they have never become lost but I always felt it was important for them to know what to do in a situation like that.
I remember getting lost in a toy store once when I was younger and panicking. I left the store and went into the parking lot trying to find my mother until a total stranger came up to me and helped me find the service desk back in the store. I never want my children to feel that helpless. I want them to always be prepared in any kind of situation. Some may say I go overboard but I just feel in today's world, we have to start talking to our children at an early age about safety and leave them feeling empowered that they will know what to do if they're ever in a sticky situation.
3. Everyone has an opinion about staying at home versus returning to work. What have you decided for your own life and why?
I've been a SAHM since Cole and Bella were born. It was a tough choice initially because I worked hard on my education, put myself through grad school to earn a MA in Psychology, and was very happy in my career. I worried about falling behind in my career, which requires ongoing education in order to continue being valuable in the field. But before we had kids, Tim and I agreed that I would stay home with our kids. And I was happy with that decision because I wanted to be with my kids every minute of the day. But no one ever tells you how difficult the transition is from working full-time outside the home to staying home full-time. It can be very isolating at times. I guess I thought it would be much easier than it is. I had fantasies about sitting on the floor every minute of the day playing with my kids and teaching them things, taking them to the park every day, and all that other fun stuff we fantasize about, but it didn't quite happen like that.
Since then, I've adjusted my attitude and my expectations of what being a SAHM is like. I've become more realistic, obviously. Even though being a SAHM is the most difficult, most challenging "job" I've ever had, I still think it's a privilege that I have the opportunity to be home with my kids. And even though I initially had concerns about being home full-time with my kids, it has been very rewarding. I don't regret the decision to stay home in the least. I hope when my children are older, they'll look back at their childhood with happy memories of being home with me.
4. Tell us one thing you wish you had known when you first started blogging.
Probably how to design my blog to have a better look. At first, it was very plain and basic. But after becoming more adventurous with it (I don't like change!!), I've been playing around with it a little more and coming up with fun things.
5. What did you have for dinner last night?
Crockpot chicken (got the recipe from a fellow blogger and my kids love it), orzo with parmesan cheese and basil, and green beans.
Thanks, Helene! You made some interesting points about safety, and I'm going to remember your great tip about taking pictures of the kids on my cell phone before we enter a crowded place where we could get separated.
This was really fun for me, and I look forward to next Friday's interrogation 5-question Q and A session with another victim fabulous blogger!