How to Travel With A Toddler

Laugh at the things that don’t go quite right and think about the big picture – you are fortunate to have health, happiness and family and are going on a trip!!

Holiday Travel Time: This Flight Attendant Knows

It’s that time of year; time to travel with your young children. Whether it is travel by car or by air, or any type of transport for that matter, travelling with a toddler can be really tough, really exhausting and demands that you be prepared every step of the way. Really!

Travelling family

Think You Are Prepared?

Great to double check! May I suggest being “over-prepared”! You never know what will be ahead of you and all comforts of home, routine and resources are no longer options.

Travel Tips For Parents With Toddlers

There are many challenges when it comes to travelling with a two year old. Preparation for travel helps make your life easier, and frankly, is a MUST! Forward thinking and having many options on hand is the key to a successful transport with children of all ages, My family trip remains a fond memory instead of a disaster to try and forget.

Halfway Around the World

We returned from a very long trip, halfway around the world, boarded and disembarked three airplanes in 24 hours –  my husband and a two year old toddler. I returned sane, but I will admit, it was NOT easy. I am a seasoned traveller as it is literally, my profession, however, nothing can fully prepare you for hours and hours of confinement and the sheer exhaustion that is inevitable when it comes to travel and little ones. But you can make it easier. Be prepared when travelling with a toddler!

Ok, I’ve stated, and restated my main premise here. Here’s what to do!

aeroplane-1144274

Before The Big Day

Even before you board that flight, for example, or before you leave the house and attempt to attain on-time departure or stay within determined scheduled deadlines so as to keep to your plans, stress begins to loom. The pressure to remember everything so as to not go without any comforts or needs is important to you and will assist to make this vacation a wonderful experience. It is a tall order!

Make Lists Well Ahead of Time

Create concise, simple, but comprehensive and complete lists utilizing any of our fabulous means of list assistance; mobile phone apps, or pen and paper if this works for you. Categorise in four simple lists; Toddler, Dad, Mom, Family Stuff. Think about basics and then add details. For example – Sleep, Eat, Wear, Change, Entertain, Importants (documents, passports, wallet, keys, phone).

Break down your trip and write it down…. If you are visiting someone for an event, focus on that. What will you wear? Have you packed the gift? Do you have directions and phone numbers. Do you have all camera cables and electronics’ parts and bits?

Again, check you have your pertinent documents and passports for everyone. (I will repeat this again just for emphasis ūüėČ

It’s Not The Destination, It’s The Journey?

I am sure you are aware of the challenges as you are a seasoned mother and it is generally challenging travelling to the supermarket, for instance!  I am not going to sugar-coat it; not after what I recently went through and after all I witness onboard my international flights.

We can, however make the journey go as smooth as possible by arming ourselves with tools to combat all obstacles that may come our way.

First

Arm yourself with patience. Get sleep, pack ahead of time and try to eliminate stressors. Yes, I said eliminate. If you are prone to run a little late, start getting ready earlier. Your little one doesn’t understand all the fuss and he or she is not the reason for being late, or for us forgetting their few simple needs. Don’t forget that comfort toy or blanket. Children don’t understand hurry up!

Eat good food before you get going or pack healthy snacks.

Go to the bathroom.

You get it; take care of all basic needs and get ready to go – help make it a good trip! Sometimes we are so busy being in a bad mood we forget the positives and forget to have fun! Laugh at the things that don’t go quite right and think about the big picture – you are fortunate to have health, happiness and family and are going on a trip!!

Essential Packing

Ok – so what to pack? Attempt with all your might, to pack light. How? Pack smart.

Keep clothing to a minimum. Think ” All-purpose”! Pinterest, for example, offers ideas to mix and match pieces of your outfit in order to create many different outfits. If you have access to a washer and dryer, pack only two pairs of pyjamas, for instance. Or one – perhaps your T-shirt can double as a nightie one night. Whatever you can leave at home, just leave it. I found I overpacked clothing and it was valuable space as I had gifts to transport back home, not to mention, things seem to pack nicely once, but why is it so difficult to repack the same way?

I consulted several Pinterest blogs and various websites regarding packing essentials etc. That was the easy part. What takes a little more time and creativity is sifting through the many ideas and preparing for your unique family.

The best ideas are simple and don’t require store bought toys. Do-it-yourself activity kits are a great idea and mine was a big hit, and an absolute saviour when it came to confinement on an aircraft for a full day.

Visit your local craft or dollar store and purchase inexpensive stickers, paper, coloured pencils, felt shapes and pipe cleaners, pom poms, puzzles, on and on… put them in various pencil-type cases and easily pack them away; ready to entertain and occupy.

My son loved popping colourful pom poms into an empty water bottle I was given onboard. This is just an example of what simple things can entertain for some time. When my son tired of watching his favourite animation, and when music  and playing got old, he enjoyed playing with Mom and Dad. It may have only entertained him for awhile, but the variety helped distract and then he would go back to his iPad games and animated movies, until he fell asleep periodically.

Note: Although electronics have quite a negative placement in our lives, I feel that there are appropriate times and there are many devices that are damn near essential – even though our parents or parents – parents did not have the same.

Lastly

Have you got the basics covered? Remember a change of clothes for everyone.   The first time I travelled with my son, he was one and a half and he threw up all over me at the airport, prior to embarkment. He had a change of clothes, however, I was an unfortunate, smelly mess!

  • Change of comfy clothes
  • Nappies, changing pad, creams, etc
  • Handy wipes and disinfectant wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Snacks of all kinds – fresh fruits and vegetables and biscuit types
  • Hydrate – Bottles of milk are allowed for infants. Small juice boxes.
  • Sippy cups or bottles
  • Activity packs
  • Electronics
  • Passports and documents

Enjoy your travels!!

Reserve Crew – Planning Nightmare

Reserve month has arrived, as always, by surprise. Planning becomes something of a challenge. Being as organized as possible and exuding flexibility will go hand-in-hand; ready for play by play changes.

My flight attendant roster offers a “reserve” month, every 7 months or so. I am on call on a daily basis and my trips dictate my time randomly. There is no opportunity for rigid planning and I must be ready for upcoming school events, school lunches, sports drop off, meal options and anything else that may arise.

Ah, but I DO see opportunity! It is a chance to get way ahead of the game. I can prepare the entire month and get my calendar working for me. I can embrace this force of having to be proactively and completely organized. For once, I can sit back and enjoy the “I have it together,” feeling! My support team; Husband and Nanny, won’t know what hit them.

Sunny days, afterall.

Firstly, I must comb my emails and schedule all school events onto my iPhone; complete with reminders and pop -ups. My device is my personal secretary and if used properly, never fails me. I can then communicate to my supporting family members and helping caregiver, clearly, on a whiteboard, so everyone knows my expectations. Our little one doesn’t have to miss out on a single obligation and responsibilities are adhered to.

Check out my TOP FIVE FREE Apps that I am currently using. You can download and give them a try.

1. Evernote

2. Family Organizer by Piniic

3. Organize Budget Planner

4. Spending Tracker

5. 8fit Workout & Meal Planner

Secondly, I must shop and stock up on groceries and meal plan. It is best to have a plan, and if time permits, it is great to prepare what you can for lunches and dinner ahead of time, as this will save money and avoid waste.

I like to have weekly meal ideas posted to the refrigerator, as inspiration and a guide to help keep our five year old eating a rounded and somewhat healthy diet – as much as possible. It isn’t easy and help here is always welcome. I consult Pinterest and other blog sites for ideas and alternative options when I need to mix things up.

Next, I make sure clothing, sports equipment, school bag and uniforms are complete and ready and this makes mornings and evenings a breeze.

All that is left is getting my son to and from his many events, so he can exert all that energy to good activities that he enjoys and his healthy routine is complete. A network of good neighbors and an active support “team” has to be reliable and willing, as best as possible. A mutual give- and offer works well in a tight knit neighborhood, if you are lucky enough to be a part of one!

This entry was posted in Blogs.

Channeling China : Beijing’s Bricks

After a day and a half off, and surviving Bangkok, Thailand, my stewardess roster brought me to Beijing, China.

Beijing, or Peking, the capital city of The Peoples Republic of China, is incredibly populated and is the second largest metropolis in all of China according to its density, and is three times the size of Hong Kong.  Beijing is home to 19.6 million people!

Wanting to get out of this density with its smog and thick pollution, car horns blaring and chaotic traffic, I decided to venture to the Great Wall. With a thirty three hour layover, time was on my side to see some sights, get some exercise and gain some culture. I booked an early shuttle from my hotel to first, the Ming Tombs and then the Great Wall; or a section of it at least. 53533040-the-great-wall-in-the-mist-china

Built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusion by various nomadic groups, it wasn’t formally stated, but this refers to the Mongolian people, the Great Wall was expanded and reconstructed time and time again with each new Emperor that came into power. In its entirety, it has been concluded that the structure with all its branches delineating  Inner Mongolia, stretches 5,500 miles.

Built at a great cost to human life, The Great Wall consumed hundreds of thousands of workers, perhaps even up to one million. As my new friends and I were passing through a tunnel, I could swear to you that one of these workers- past,  gave me a ghostly tap on the shoulder. It could have been the breeze, or perhaps it was the very putrid fragrance from the stink weeds nearby that were getting to my head.

The Chinese Emperors kept concubines with them in the Forbidden City. By the Qing dynasty there were around 20,000. They served a dual purpose ‚Äď to ensure the Emperor a very good chance of producing an heir and, of course, limitless opportunities to indulge his more licentious instincts. There was also a very convenient Daoist theory that helped the Emperor justify requiring the favour of 20,000 different women. According to the theory, the Emperor represented the extreme of Yang, and so therefore it was essential for the harmony of the cosmos that he have sex with as many women (women are yin) as possible.

Sacrifices: Men and Women Alike

It was not just men who were dying in masses. Women sacrificed themselves by the thousands in honor of their Emperor. Ancient Emperors would take thousands of mistresses; some as young as twelve years old. These young concubines would participate ‚Äúwillingly‚ÄĚ in a suicide offering themselves to their Emperor. They would ceremoniously tie a noose around their neck and take their own life. I¬†am confused as¬†they were ordered to do this, but it was themselves who took their own life; it would be a sin otherwise. Murder disguised. Religion and its cultures can be quite manipulative and continues to be.

I traversed a large section of this beholding and immensely breathtaking fortification, called, Juyongguan Pass.  Also known as Badaling. Most of what we see today was reconstructed, extended and repaired during the Ming Era forward. Interestingly, as recent as 2009, 180 miles of undetected portions of the wall were discovered. The sections had been submerged, over time, by sandstorms.

The terrain was treacherous and not what I expected as there were parts where you had to pull yourself up using the side of the wall; it was incredibly steep.  I looked around  in awe of how well the elderly Chinese people near me were faring so well in the heat.  I sat down to catch my breath. An elderly woman sat down beside me.

Wine and Women

In an attempt to be friendly and inviting, since she practically sat right on top of me, forgetting not everyone in the world speaks English, I said to her something referencing my knowledge on the Ming Dynasty and that the stones and brick we were currently sitting on was built in the Ming Era ‚Äď Seven centuries ago! Regardless whether she understood me or not, I felt the need to express my appreciation out loud. She caught me off guard by stating there were many Emperors who had their ‚Äúdays with the wall‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†She told me some were bad Emperors and they just wanted wine and women. They did nothing for China, she said, Ming was good. She smiled, exposing blackened teeth, and then she waddled away.

I was swarmed a few times. Tourists; Chinese¬†men and women¬†stopping me to have their picture taken with myself. Sometimes not asking, just snapping away.¬†¬†The Chinese call my hair ‚Äúpale hair‚ÄĚ and as it was charming , I complied, holding up the peace sign and grinning with random, shy and pleasant fellow- wall walkers. I really should have touched up my darkening roots ūüėČ

Finding My Way Back

After only a few miles on foot, it was time to meet up with my hired shuttle back to my hotel and catch three hours sleep before the long flight home to Dubai, and dammit, we were running very late. Rush ‚Äďhour traffic. The shuttle had three more stops before my hotel and I asked to be let off, right there on the chaotic street. I had to find a taxi very fast as the three hours rest I had planned¬†¬†was now ‚Äúout the window‚ÄĚ;¬†¬†wake up call for my flight was in less than an hour. I had no idea where I was and thank the heavens or perhaps just sheer luck, my room key had the hotel address, in full, inscribed on it. It was a mistake to leave my hotel without having business cards, address and phone numbers in case of an emergency.

After trying desperately to flag down a cab for half an hour, I began to worry. Out into traffic I went, tapping on occupied cabs, asking if I could please jump in. It was a difficult task without an ounce of the native language. Beautifully, moments later, a man came running towards me, through a sea of people in the crowd, from up the block! In very broken English he spoke something and motioned me to come join his commute. Down the block was his waiting taxi. I thanked him non-stop for his rescue! My new young friend, Lewis (English name, of course!) was very chatty en route to my lodgings and although I was stressed and exhausted, I was entertained and felt at ease now that I was certain I wouldn’t be fired. I learned that Lewis is a DJ and seemed very excited we are now friends as he would like me to teach him English. He said I would make a very beautiful teacher. Slightly blushing and amused, I am laughing right now as he was very sweet. I am not sure what I just entered, here, but I did give him my email address as I was so thankful for his rescue. He has emailed me seven times. Oh boy…

Motherhood, Plus Benefits

Home now, I must book my flight to Munich, Germany. If I can find accommodation I will spending three wonderful days off experiencing Oktoberfest. Cheers!

 

Positive Discipline for Toddlers

Unfortunately, young toddlers do not have much of a conscience. It hasn’t begun to develop quite yet. So what do you do when your toddler bites or hits you? Or throws your iPhone in the toilet, or throws a clay potted plant down the marble staircase?

Positive Reinforcement

Before I share some thoughts on discipline for young toddlers or infants, let’s first consider deterring naughty behaviour in the first place. Positive reinforcement of good behaviour goes a long way to assist in encouraging our young ones to feel a healthy pull to look for guidance from caregivers and eventually learn to make decisions on their own on how to behave well. Young children require parents to teach them what good behaviour is. Children love to accept praise for behaviour displayed and therefore repeat acts based on the feedback parents and caregivers provide.

Ok, this is a good premise for an older toddler who has the capacity to wonder about consequences or rewards in advance. Positive reinforcement warrants a whole separate post. For now, I will focus on practicing positive reinforcement and insisting on consistency.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tips: How to Discipline One and Two Year Olds

As our babies turn into toddlers we begin to think about discipline. No wonder; they start to get into everything at an alarming rate! We want to keep them from harm and also begin to teach our little ones what is right and what is wrong.

Unfortunately, young toddlers do not have much of a conscience. Conscience hasn’t begun to develop quite yet. So what do you do when your toddler bites or hits you? Or throws your iPhone in the toilet, or throws a clay potted plant down the marble staircase?

From the time around your baby’s first birthday, he is capable of understanding what the word “no” means. Your command of “no” may only be accepted at that very moment and may be forgotten later on. With repetition, your wishes will be absorbed, slowly, and your little one will understand in days, or weeks, or maybe even months. Consistent repetition is key. Say, “mommy doesn’t like that,” or “not allowed, dangerous,” or “that is not allowed, but you may have this, what does this do?”

Babies are mostly in favour of cooperating on a level they may not even know yet, but he is not ready for hard consequences and doesn’t understand your anger. Your child is not quite able to learn anything useful from your punishment so even if you are infuriated with your little one’s behaviour, if you are running late and he has decided to run and play chase, or even if your smart little person has figured out how to take his seatbelt off and you are on the freeway, yelling, harsh scolding, any loss of temper or even hitting of any kind will have no bearing on him. He does not understand any of your eruptions or relate the outbursts from you to any bad behaviour that you deem happening.

At this young age it is better to be clever and have a win-win scenario with your toddler. You can create the scenario. Tantrums are better to be avoided, if you can, until wee ones can get a better handle on understanding their emotions. At this stage, life can be very frustrating and everything is so very new to your infant. I recommend that you DO NOT try for absolute control and pick your battles. Perhaps life issues can be organised so that it seems like your little one makes a choice you can accept.

Foreseeing possible obstacles and areas that may bring you to the “red zone” with your toddler and instead leading him or her to the result you want and guiding him into behaving as you want him to behave can be achieved. See the rocks and steer around them. How do I do this? Distraction. Healthy distraction. I do not promise treats, nor do I give in to things I do not want to offer. No sweets, no extra time on electronics, and no, he cannot have everything he wants. I am armed and ready with alternatives.

For example, I know that getting my little one to leave the park is sometimes difficult, so I am prepared with his favourite blanket and a bottle of milk. I go to the park almost daily a couple hours before his nap. He is ready to leave the park and volunteers to sit in his stroller to enjoy his refreshment. It has worked so far and is a routine that is comfortable. He is tuckered out and welcomes the wind down.

Another example; after playing with numerous toys from my son’s toy boxes there is a massive mess to contend with. I want to teach my son to help me and pick up his things when finished playing. If I insist that he pick up his blocks, he will not. If I make a game of it and be creative, I can start to instill the habit of what comes after play and what behaviour is to be expected.

There is going to be trial and error, there are going to be lapses, moodiness and defiance. With calm, yet stern guidance and clever “manipulation” on a very consistent basis, you will find battles lessening and your child will grow up learning lessons quickly. Be prepared to repeat the same instructions in very few words as possible and let the little things go at this point.

Remember

  • If we are late for work, late for the cinema, or late for ANYTHING, it is not our child’s fault and our toddlers don’t understand that they need to provide extra cooperation and quit taking the shoe off you just put on.
  • If we throw all sorts of toys around and muck around dumping out crayon boxes or blocks on the floor, it might be that our little one may throw spaghetti on the floor, as curiosity does get the best of toddlers as part of their discovery and learning.
  • Monkey see, monkey do. If you yell obscenities at the driver in front of you for having absolutely no skill behind the wheel, whisper under your breath or try and just think what you’d like to say as your little one will be quite proud to learn a new word.
  • Keep at it – you will start to see results and the payoff is priceless! You are doing amazing!
  • If you get very frustrated and are overwhelmed – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It is ok. It will pass. Walk away. Take a breath and tell someone how you are feeling, when you can. Let your toddler get upset and cry. Just keep them safe and take a minute if you need. Do your best and learn from each situation.
  • You and your son or daughter will have a lifetime getting to know one another through the changes that are life.

Growth is Important

Let your child have this time, and times to come after, to learn and develop. We can provide a healthy, nurturing environment. I wish to teach my child to ultimately think for himself and learn what is right and what is wrong. When it comes time for your child to decide when to be good and when to be naughty on purpose, which one he decides will depend largely on how he feels about the adults who are special to him and have power over him. If at the next stage of growing up he or she feels that you as their caregiver and parent are loving and approving and on his side, he will want (for the most part) to please you and he will behave as you wish (with lapses). Of course, do not mistake unhealthy giving – in and lack of discipline a way to show love or approval. It is in the best interest of the child. Be gentle, and compromise where it makes sense, however, never feel badly about a decision to say “no” where you need! You are the boss and as a leader you can listen and be attentive, AND make a final decision for the good of the toddler.

 

Tour De France, Of Sorts

A brilliant layover trip to Paris, France!

It was a “PG” sort of trip; I travelled with my new friend Jale (Juh- lay), and her beautiful mother, Helene. Jale and Helene are of Turkish descent and Jale was born in Australia. Helene was wrapping up a summer trip to Turkey and joined her daughter in Dubai. Jale and I operated the flight from Dubai to Paris¬†where the lovely ladies would continue¬†their mother- daughter visit. I love them both and thank them tremendously for sharing my day – or I should say, for allowing me to share their day! They got along so lovely and I miss my Mom so terribly, so it was sincerely quite¬†beautiful to be in their presence.

We arrived to a beautiful day of 29 degrees celsius, in mid-afternoon. Nine of us crew piled into a cab to set out for the city. What to do, and where to start Рand who to do what with who?! We talked of champagne below the Tour Eiffel (named after Gustave Eiffel) in the Champs de Mars, leaving the Trocadero district we would join a bus tour followed by a Siene River boat cruise to save our feet after working a long flight, and finally, a formidable dinner!

Jale, Helene and I set off on our own. Our afternoon began at Pont Neuf, which means “new bridge,” however, it is the oldest standing bridge in Paris. For the first time, I saw the River Siene and it was amazing to see the history built all along its banks! This grand canal, with its mouth being the English Channel, its¬†basin countries Belgium and France, is arched with over 120 bridges, linking districts to one another and giving Paris a mosaic of flavours and CULTURE! Take away a few hundred thousand tourists and I would think even Parisians would love their city – more than they already do, of course!

I dutifully listened to the guides, as much as humanly possible after working a long and full flight.¬†I mentally took notes of what to research a little more in-depth at a later time… and then I just quit. Be there and take it in, I told myself. It was a beautiful day, the breeze atop the double decker was¬†very much welcomed and the sights breathtaking. There was so much to absorb! (By the way I am usually¬†“near- against” double decker bus tours in any city and this is the first one I utilized. No, you don’t have to be in your fifties! Besides, bring along some Chablis and you’ve got a booze cruise.)

Paris is Huge, Busy and Exciting:

And always beautiful, no matter what time of year and the tranvestites are something to behold, even in their pink glory at four o’clock in the afternoon.

Which takes me to the Quatier Latin. The Latin Quarter of Paris is in the 5th and parts of the 6th arrondissement (district), situated on the left bank of the River Siene. It is known for its lively atmosphere, bistros, higher education establishments¬†and therefore, the best public houses. They are not called Pubs – this is not England or Ireland and don’t EVER confuse the two or compare. Big snobby riots will break out ūüėČ There is nothing “Latino” about the district and the area was named for its international language of learning during the middle ages.

The Theatres and Opera houses are¬†structures I now remember to be something of a stage. But not literally, here, I just mean that they seemed “staged” or a facade. I am meaning that I cannot comprehend what I was seeing. I discussed this once, recently,¬†with a dear male friend¬†I travelled with to Spain and Italy. We agreed that there was so much beauty and we were filled with amazement with every new architecture we witnessed that we took the “little guys” (smaller structures) for granted. The sights became overwhelmingly too much, quite simply.

Opera de Paris Bastille, Madeleine (Magnificent theatre), Comedie Francais, Palais Royal…¬† All beautiful with their gardens and more than grand entrances! I vow to see a production, show, ballet, or concert of any kind in ANY of these facilities at some point in my young or old life!

Of course, the museums!

The stunning Pantheon (means ‘Every God’), which is actually a secular mausoleum and up until 1922 housed¬†‘The Thinker’, ¬†Rodin Musee (‘The Thinker’, and my favourite, ‘The Kiss’), Musee du Louvre.

Let me pause at its greatness; Musee du Louvre. Built in the 12th century, like¬†much of the trandescent landscapes of Paris, 35,000 objects reside, from prehistory to the 19th century. None of that surprises or impresses¬†a layman like me. What does impress is the history; the controversy, the seizures, court cases and war. There it stands today with works that have endured all of that! Imagine!¬†And the bloodshed! I could write an entire essay here, but my brightside won’t allow for that at this moment.

Interestingly, I just read that the Musee Louvre announced opening a Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. Construction will be completed next year. This is a 30 year agreement, signed by the French Culture Minister, Renaud Donnediue de Vabres and Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan – costing 1.3 billion…. etc, blah blah…. It was designed by a french architect and the roof will resemble a flying saucer. Like the French, I have opinions about that. If you have money, they will build it? The UAE is younger than me! Only 33 years old. Perhaps “The Great Louvre” could find a more nostalgic home? Forgive me and my ignorant view, but… Anyway, 200 – 300 works will be rotated over a period of 15 years. Shukran – (Arabic for thanks) – I can see some works in my own “backyard sandpit”.

Tour Eiffel, etc.

tidbits: During the German Occupation, Adolf Hitler was embarrassed when the swastika flag blew off into the city and when he attempted to erect a new one he found the cables to the lifts cut. He immediately ordered the tower be destroyed and General Dietricht Von Choltitz disobeyed. I like ole cold titz ūüôā

Also, it takes 70 tonnes of paint every 7 years to coat the “Iron Lady” to prevent the old lady from rusting. What a job! In my funny – to –¬†me- mind, I picture hundreds of beret’d men in striped shirts painting away with little brushes. Artistes. . Kim, stop…..

Oh, and ‘The Thinker’ – it is Rodin’s sculpture depicting Dante pondering poetry over the Gates of Hell and represents intellect – duh! ‘The Kiss’ is a sculpture capturing an Italian woman kissing her husband’s brother and committing adultery! Very sinful. I love Rodin’s story. He married his life-long partner, Rose Beuret, in the LAST year of both of their lives. If you don’t get married for ever and ever – but you do right before you die – wow – Finally gave in – but the point is he gave in to his beloved companion and it was meant to be. If I wasn’t romantic – I am now!

Face the Guilt of Parenting

Plans Ahead, Our Son Turns Two

My son turns two years old in the near future and as a flight attendant, I am not sure if I will be there for this very important day! This is one negative truth when it comes to being a working mother who travels for work. I have a roster reported to me monthly and this is one basis that I regret to have as a planning, organised mother.

If indeed I am sent to a destination and am operating a flight during my son’s birthday, I do have options to weigh. Prior to the time of the event I will bid for days off. Secondly, once I view my roster and if there is conflict, I could send out swap requests and make arrangements that suit me. As a last resort, I could call in sick and spend the day with my beautiful family and make my son’s day very special.

Face The Guilt

At times, in life, we all know that timing doesn’t always work out in our favour and responsibilities get in the way! I have to face the guilty part of me and ask, should I really call in sick if all else fails? I think I can find other options and not let my guilty feelings lead to snap decisions that may not be a great option in the long run and really doesn’t benefit anyone anyway.

Realistic Solutions

This being just an example of many juggling skills we must have, time is a tricky one. We just have to do our best. Remember, there are options and you can make your son or daughter’s birthday or special event a great experience. It is the effort that counts. Maybe there are circumstances where we really cannot make the arrangements we want to, but this is life and disappointments are a very important part of life.

I may have to utilise some of the options I have come up with regarding my son’s upcoming second birthday. This is a milestone birthday, and I have decided to celebrate his “big day” on the closest day to his actual date as possible. I will also have to coordinate with my husband’s schedule. He is also a travelling, working Father!¬†My goodness, our son will not know the difference and at this point, we are exposing him to a celebration he does not yet understand. It’s a day where he will feel very loved and fussed over and he will most likely love it – a fun day with Dad and me!

Okay, this was a more easy issue to solve, but the same rules can apply for various situations. Try not to let guilt cloud your decisions and make the best of every situation. If honest attempts are made and we do all we can to make things happen for our family, rest easier; or as easy as you can when it comes to family matters! Oof, it’s not easy!

Road to Guilt Free Working Parents


Family Matters

The number one priority in your life is your family. Isn’t this one of the main reasons why we work so hard at our careers? You, like me at times, may feel a strong sense of guilt being a working mom (or Dad). Family matters! I want to share some facts and help you become a guilt free working parent.

Hopefully we are in a position to be following our passion when it comes to our careers, that is ideal, but we do what we have to contribute and feel some self worth and reward. Having passions and goals or purpose coincide is of great pursuit throughout life and is entirely a different topic!

So here we are, spending time away from our little ones, and the minute we even start preparing to walk out the door, the stress levels begin to soar and I, personally, worry if I can make the escape each and every time.

Tips For Guilty Feeling Parents

  • Try not to be too hard on yourself. Give yourself a break and remind yourself that you are contributing to the nest so that your little one(s) can have opportunities available to them, whether it be better childcare or extra activities that will help them grow and learn.
  • Surround your child with your support network and have comfort knowing your child is in good hands. It’s great for children to be exposed to a network of familiar family and friends so that their social skills develop and they are exposed to more variety, thus helping with adapting and coping skills.
  • Have comfort in knowing that you among millions of people like yourself. It is the way of today’s society and therefore there are many support communities out there and resources are easy to find.
  • Lastly, know that your child is OK! He or she is sad to see you go as you are their world and they show you this by crying and clinging. This is all right, let them express their emotions. The child will be just fine after some time. Trust they are in the good hands of the caregiver you so carefully chose. (Or get cameras installed to ease your mind)

When I return from my trips, I spend time with my family of course, but it is more than just time – it is quality, uninterrupted, doing things together, no electronics – time. We are not perfect and we try our best as every moment is very precious.

One thing I would like to work on is adding more quality time with just my husband. I shall tackle this next and perhaps share any tidbits I learn with you as I think this is a very common challenge.

Any tips, please feel free to share!

 

Flight Attendant Mom

Travel Stories : Bouncing East to West

Flight Attendant Layovers: Days go by and by and by. Since Seoul I have travelled to Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. I have also just returned from New York City. The six day Auzzie trip, including three energy – testing layovers, is long and always fueled with excitement; plans are made and us flight attendants are off experiencing all we can in the limited hours we have. Endurance is stretched and I¬†am quite in awe, at times, as to how we perform so professionally, elegantly¬†and with such patience on the flights.¬†Like speed – dating, we are speed travelling, and then we put on our uniforms and act the part with sincerity and care for complete strangers. Once I return to my apartment in Dubai, I used to be torn between catching up with my friends, should they be in the city, and retreating to my pajamas or to the beach. One involves eventful escapades and the other a blissful near- coma experience. One entails make-up and fuss and the other, acceptable neglect!¬†My friends usually win the “fight” and I thank them for their always exuberant energy and impossible- to- decline¬†invitations! Have I mentioned how these friends are my family?

Picture Dubai the Palm

Tonight, however,¬†I decline. I am a Mom! Exhausted from a Saudi Arabia, five hour “turn- around” that turned into a¬†fourteen hour day¬†as we experienced delays on ground, and in the air, the latter due to trials and practices in Dubai airspace by aviators around the world preparing for “The Most Expensive Show in the World”: The Dubai Airshow. Today’s operational flight drafted me to find¬†allowances in myself¬†that I did not know existed. The Islamic peoples are currently conducting their pilgrimage to the Mecca, and full, demanding flights kept crew on their toes. Adhering to their culture and protecting their zam zam water onboard that they collected from the fountain located in the Mecca, careful not to touch men in passing after they have vowed to Miqat and are in their Ihram dressing after a long procedure of washing in the lavatories¬†– picture men of all ages and shapes in nearly nothing, draped in white cloth and as one looks down the aircraft cabins there is a sea of white clothed passengers. I have spoken Arabic I didn’t even know I knew! Dutifully, I informed passengers of the direction of the Qibla and gave space for prayer on the aircraft.

Home Sweet Home! I miss my husband and son!
Presently,¬†I am¬†at a restless –¬†rest now, rewarded with work well done, but beaten. Fatigued, but¬†gladly in a comfortable and familiar room. My bedroom. Not another hotel room with strange sounds and smells, where I worry to wake up in alarming wonder, initially, as to where I am. My family is near me sleeping and I cannot wait to wake to them!

 

Read to Your Children

Read to your children. Bond and Explore!

As you are about to see, I am quite passionate about reading and I want to encourage my child to read and explore and learn along the way. I read to my son every night I am with him and my husband does the same! From the time our son was a brand new baby we have been reading books before bed. It is a great routine that your infant craves to feel secure and it is a great time to settle down after a busy day and bond, and share a moment.

After my son has been fed and bathed, he knows it’s story time! He leads me to our reading area, with a book of his choice in hand and we sit down and read the bedtime story. He usually picks the same three books each time! I introduce new ones from time to time, but honour his favourites.

Reading Joy

I’ve been reading diligently; finding a certain console. I finished 6 books recently, ranging from authors such as the Dhali Lama to Ernest Hemingway. I have picked up books here and there with subjects baring titles such as, “Yoga Bitch,” to “Beruit to Jerusalem”. Books and this blog seem to be¬†somewhat like¬†my boyfriend, as I have been known to say before. I escape and consult, learn, and I find companionship. I visit, come home to, travel with, and bring to my bedroom these books. I am faithful to the writings, even if I find it not to my perfect liking and I finish it to the end, if it must end, taking from it what may intrigue, enlighten, entertain,¬†evoke anger¬†or teach. Always loyal and appreciative.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Where do you want to go today?

The writings, at times, have included real time and place; the literature explores history and landmarks, and at other times fictional stories elate, or both! Recognizable when one is actually standing on the very soil and experiencing the structure, the art, or grounds. For example, enjoying a latte below the Eiffel Tower, or sitting and feeling the sun in the square at The Louvre in Paris. Traversing the Great Wall in China with ones own feet! (Not sure if there is any other way). Listening to a symphony at the Opera House in Sydney with near tears promising to be worthy. Smelling the raw meats on the streets of Bangkok on a hot, humid day when not feeling well to begin with, or watching horrible, inconceivable events transpire in many parts of the world;  not all is beautiful and pleasing.

Who has time – Mom’s are on the fly!

Ok, Mom on the go, you think reading is too much of a luxury and there isn’t time? Read while you are on that business trip. Take some time for you instead of business proposals or attending to laundry when at home. I like to stay organised and not let things pile up so I strive to be organised and have things running like clockwork so I have time for me, time for husband, time for baby AND time for my career. I fit family and friends in when I can too! Total balancing act that you get better with in time!

Hopefully you can make some time. Can you use that bedtime story slot to read to your little one? If they are young enough they are only listening to the sound of your voice which is a great time to read the newspaper aloud or a book you fancy. Even a romance novel as newborns don’t understand quite yet! When it comes to older infants and toddlers, as young ones get older they will venture into their own independent times of play. You can stay nearby, reading, while still being present and keeping them out of danger.

thebookofeveryone

Returning to Work After Baby

Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise

New focus and challenge with a brand new existence; a baby boy entered¬†my¬†husband’s and my life! Here I must fast forward, as this is my introduction to my family matters blog and our boy is approaching two years old soon. I am arming myself with all I can to share and explore – so much to learn. I am feeling like a new person who is so blessed and happily fumbling along. “Life is hard, you have to change.” A quote from one of my favourite bands, Blind Melon. All has been beautiful; the stress, the heartache, the joy of every moment and all of the challenges as well.

My dreams, my heart, my everything is so very complete as I married the most amazing person on Earth and we miraculously brought to be our perfect little angel into the World. I love them both so much.

We love and care for this boy and still manage to travel with our careers. I am content, somewhat, since we have incredible support and our boy is loved and cared for by family, while we work ever so hard to get on our feet whilst continuing our journey in our current career.

Whose head isn’t full of doubt? But I assure you, the road is full of promises ahead! I am experiencing this first hand!

Travel: after baby – bitter-sweet.

Bitter because I cry leaving my boy – the vision of him, his scent, the sound and feel of him. I hold him close and rock him as our heart beats coincide. I have sung to him every time I lay him down to sleep since the day he was born. I sing, “Leaving on a jet plane…” and I cry, because it is true…¬† I never let him know my fears and sadness. I will shelter him and protect and let him know only innocent joy, as he is so young and perfect. I am happy because he is happy with our Whanau: our family, who love him very much.

I feel driven to work as hard as I can for this family. Living on one income brought realities. I am now able to contribute towards our future. The best part: I can be there more than I thought – more than a “Monday to Friday” career would able!

Currently, I am in Dallas, Texas. I have been wide awake for weeks it seems. Bounced around the world quite literally. I am so sleepless that I am driven to write tonight. I am seeking some sort of grounding and refuge from the absolute chaos that is life sometimes.

My skin is getting older, it seems. Still traveling and watching many suns come up and down until the moon shows itself. Hours into day and night.

I have struggled to keep up with sharing this journey and have just been moving along; with friends, with a new love, who feels so comfortably old and experienced as if he’s been with me all along, and with travel;¬† essentially with life. I have to admit that this “one new experience a week” is a journey that I am failing at “documenting.” I am certainly enthralled in every moment, and I am trying, trying, trying to absorb and experience all each day presents.

Some days I live twice and some, not at all. Altitude is a master thief of time and space. (Prelude to my next blog).