On participant ribbons and letting kids always win

kids and competition
I just went to a fair with my kids, where all four of them participated in a hula-hoop contest. My children are not world-class hula-hoopers. They are mediocre at best and didn’t outlast the winner. It was just something fun for them to do.
But guess what? They all won participant ribbons! So forever we can celebrate and remember their mediocrity at rotating a plastic hoop around their hips.
Sigh. They loved the ribbons. They smiled and proudly showed them to Dad, who secretly rolled his eyes at me afterward. There’s something really annoying about the fact that we’ve created a culture where we can’t allow kids NOT to win. We don’t want our kids to think they are less than the best.

I’m talking about this today over at my column at CafeMom. You are read the rest here.

How to survive the summer as a work-at-home mom

kristin howerton kids Kahil Gibran once suggested that joy and sorrow are inseparable. They arrive together, he wrote. “When one sits alone with you … remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.” I get it, man. You’re describing what summertime is to me. Growing up, summer was the best thing in the world, and I love revisiting that freedom and happiness when my kids are on their break. I get to spend more time with them. I get to see them play. I watch them grow and change before my eyes because they’re not at school all day. And then all that joy ends up sprawled out “asleep upon my bed.” And in my kitchen. And around my desk, where I have to Do Work. I work from home and can’t really take a three-month vacation from deadlines and writing and miscellaneous work responsibilities. Work-at-home moms (and dads) always have to balance the professional side of things with family responsibilities like playtime, snacks, argument-refereeing, and boredom-solving. Summer is our nemesis. What is a WAHM supposed to do? How do you get your work done and still make time to enjoy your kids and make the most of their summer vacation? Here are some options I’ve tried and/or am about to try … before I tear my hair out. Over at my new column on CafeMom, I’ve shared some of my strategies for staying sane this summer as a working mom. You can check them out here.