Finding Balance in Life: Coffee Meetings With My Kiddo

I’ve always been a working mom, and at times it has been incredibly trying to juggle all of the demands of my life. When my daughter was a toddler, she’d often ask me why I couldn’t stay at home with her. “I don’t want to go to school. I want to be with you!”

Her protests would break my heart, but I was confident that going to work was the right decision for me, and for our family. I just hoped I’d find strategies to make it easier.

In those early years I had a really stressful job and on most mornings I’d be racing around our house getting dressed, rushing through breakfast, and trying to get out the door to make it to my first meeting on time. My little one would look up at me with her big brown eyes and ask why I had to leave so soon.

“Mommy has another coffee meeting,” I’d respond, kissing her rosy cheek and giving her a reassuring smile.

One morning my daughter gave me a very stern look and in a loud voice shouted, “I want a coffee meeting with you!

That demand made me stop in my tracks. My two-year old had no idea what a coffee meeting was, but she knew that it must be important – and she was missing out.

So from that moment on, we began scheduling regular “coffee meetings”. They are on my calendar, highlighted in my daughter’s favorite color. They are never cancelled or rescheduled. Hand in hand we head to a neighborhood cafe before school, on a vacation day, or after a ballet lesson. I usually order an almond milk latte while my daughter gets a flavored steamer. We sit for an hour or so, talking about our favorite things and making plans for the future. Sometimes we color or read together, play My Little Pony, or explore a book store. Our meetings focus on the important work of childhood.

Having these special moments with my daughter is something that I cherish. It has definitely helped me find more balance in my life. Now my daughter is fine when I say Mommy has another coffee meeting, because she gets coffee meetings, too.

Ready to order

The perfect steamer

Enjoying my life

Mom drink & kid drink

 

 

 

 

My Morning Routine

I believe that the way I start my day has a lasting impact on my mood and energy level. Having a positive, predictable, joyous routine in the morning is something that is very important to me.

In our home, my husband is the early riser. He wakes up with the sun and is showered and dressed before I lift my head from the pillow. His cajoling is my favorite alarm clock.

After I set my feet on the floor, I am off to wake our little one. Her sweet smile sets the tone for my entire day. For many years, I would pick her up from the bed and carry her around in my arms, but now she’s getting too big. Instead, we race each other down our creaky old staircase and into the kitchen where we gather around the island for breakfast.

My husband always hands me a mug of strong, dark coffee. The smell, taste, and warmth bring me to a deeper level of consciousness. One inhalation of the steam rising from my cup and I’m prepared to face the day.

Breakfast is relaxed and casual. As we eat, we recap our dreams and talk about the day ahead. My daughter will usually try to convince us to let her stay home from school. We will usually say no.

There is time for one PBS show, and then we finish getting ready for our days and begin heading out the door. My daughter with her backpack, my husband with his messenger bag, and me with my bright red tote.

We all pack into my station wagon and then head to school. After walking our daughter to her classroom and giving her a big hug and kiss, we journey back home. I drop my husband off at his car. We kiss and wish each other a good day. He drives to his office, and I drive to mine.

And that’s it. Everyday of the work week.

I’m calm. Relaxed. Ready.

Bring on the challenges of the day….

Family “Field Trips”

I’ve noticed that sometimes busy families get stuck in ruts….parents working all hours, kids plopped in front of screens, fast food served on dinner plates…everyone is together but not really together at all.

To keep our family playing, talking, and bonding, each weekend we take family “field trips.” Just like the exciting, fun-filled trips we took in grade school, these outings are designed to get us exploring and playing together…really together. They get us out of our daily routines, help us facilitate rich interactions, and allow us to build lasting memories.

We usually head outdoors and visit our community’s natural resources, living museums, and free play areas. During these “field trips” there are only five rules: 1.) no electronic devices, 2.) have fun, 3.) get messy, 4.) try to learn something new, and 5.) run wild! And yes, princess dresses are perfectly acceptable attire.

Our daughter loves the uninterrupted time with mom and dad…and we love sharing our passion for nature with our little one. We’re creating healthy traditions that, we hope, our daughter will continue when she has her own family.

Here are some photos from a trip we took this past weekend…a forest hike followed by playtime along the shores of Lake Michigan. Free, fun, and fabulous.

Entertaining Family wants to know, what does your family do to stay connected?

Waves along the shore

Chair in the woods

Butterfly

Father daughter bonding

Paths in the sand

Rocks on the shore

Standing on the tip of the world