Tag Archives: parents

Top 10 Things to Worry About When Travelling Without Your Children

I love to travel. I beg for work trips. I love meeting new people and seeing new things. Life is all about the experience! I love to see all my remote coworkers in person, engage with customers, and learn how create more success through work. This type of learning experience is often the best motivation.

Since becoming a single parent (50/50), I get a little anxious about traveling without my children and it’s not just about the kids.

Here are my Top 10 Things that parents worry about when they travel.

  1. Childcare: If your ex has a career that limits the days they can have the kids, you need to arrange additional backup for those times. Or maybe your ex just needs a night or two off if you are gone for any length of time. If you are completely single parenting, you need to find someone to act as a parent while you are away.
  2. Animal care: Can someone watch the pets? Is there a way to trade pet sitting? Money seems more important than ever. If you have someone being the parent for you while you are away, perhaps they’ll stay at your house and watch the pets too. You’ll owe them big time!
  3. Facetime

    Cell plan: If you are travelling out of the country, call your cellular company to discuss travel plans. It’s worth it. There is also wifi everywhere. Take advantage of Skype, Facetime, and FB Messenger.

  4. Drugs: Bring medication for the ailments you might encounter: allergy; headache and fever; sinus; anti nausea; immodium; and any prescription medications.
  5. Last minute chores: Usually before a trip, you will be inundated with dozens of mini-emergencies from family, friends, and work. You may want to shout obscenities, “Why didn’t you tell me about this last week!” Instead, if finances allow, drop off your laundry at an inexpensive laundry service or splurge on a cleaner the week before your trip.
  6. Pack Light: Most of the things you wear can be worn twice. Leave room in your luggage for gifts! You should bring trinkets from your hometown for people you meet or want to meet.
  7. Carry-on vs. checked: Checking your luggage usually adds about $70 to the cost of your trip. So, as long as you aren’t bringing liquids, you may want to cram everything into a carry-on bag. I typically travel this way. It’s exhausting if you have a bunch of connections, but worth it. The best part is there will be no lost luggage.
  8. Ride to the airport: As a single parent, there is often nobody to drive you to and from the airport. In order to save money, you may want to line up a drive ahead.
  9. Hotel arrival: Make sure you have wi-fi! Some hotels charge in your room, but have free areas. See if there are services that the hotel offers or are nearby that you can enjoy. Find a grocery store to save money and eat healthy. When you check into a hotel, be sure to use the corporate card or your money will be tied up the entire week!
  10.  Have fun: Travel is often filled with meetings and dinners. Take a few hours to have fun and enjoy the location!

These are the big things I worry about as a single mom who occasionally travels for business. I’m sure there will be more after my next business trip.

Are there any tips you can offer before I travel again?

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Grandma Rossie’s Christmas Dinners

My mother, who is affectionately known as Grandma Rossie, did everything for us growing up: cooking, cleaning, driving, teaching, and anything else she felt needed to be done. She was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mother, which was much more common in the 1970s through 1990s.

I, on the other hand, have my girls working as hard as I do at home. I couldn’t function if I had to do all the work at home on top of working full time! Honestly, sometimes I don’t know how we all make it through the day. But we do make it through and at night we all sleep well knowing we have to start again the next morning.

This year I’m heading to a potluck for Christmas dinner. I am in charge of only a small portion of the dinner, but for more people. I’m looking forward to a lot of laughs with friends and family. It should be much easier on me than my childhood dinners were on my mom.

Christmas Dinner

The most exhaustive work that she did had to be our Christmas dinners. Grandma Rossie invited our entire family. It didn’t stop there! She also invited anyone else who might not have family nearby at Christmas time. It was wonderful! Well, it was wonderful for all of us. Maybe not so much for her.

She was in the kitchen for days, when she wasn’t cleaning the entire house, often on her hands and knees scrubbing our floors. She served the Christmas dinner to everyone and even did all of the clean-up. I barely remember her sitting down even for a moment, although I do remember she was always at the table for Grace. Did she even eat?

In her words…

Grandma Rossie talks about our Christmas dinners and the unsolicited feedback from her father-in-law at his final Christmas dinner. Sometimes you have to hear it from somebody else.

What girls want for Christmas

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Maybe your kids don’t show you their Christmas List for Santa.  Maybe your kids are too overwhelmed to tell Santa what they’d like. If your kids are like mine, you might have to hit half a dozen Santas. Well, I’ve done that for you! (The real one is at Market Square.)

Girls really want Shopkins, Dragons, Kendamas, and Bunchems. So what are all these fad toys? And what are this mom’s picks?

Christmas picks

Watch my children’s wish list video and then read more below.

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What are Shopkins? Shopkins are tiny bits of plastic about the size of the top joint
of your middle finger. They look like grocery store items with a happy face painted on them. Kids collect and trade these plastic pieces of garbage (some are actually little garbage cans, so that comment isn’t just a comparison). The sparkly ones are worth more, so if you happen across a package of sparkly ones, your kids will love you that much more. Elementary school-aged kids love them. Parents hate them. At least I hate them. If you don’t hate them, wait until you step on a few.

Cost: Buy more for a lower price and you’ll pay about a $1 per Shopkin.

dragonFurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon

I panicked a little but when my daughter asked Santa for a fire breathing dragon that cooks marshmallows. Another mother let me know that it was “just a toy that costs over one hundred dollars.”

I chuckled at the kids’ lists, until Santa looked at me and said, “Santa delivers!” Maybe Santa should deliver, because over a hundred bucks is insanity! That was on a Friday night. The next morning, the toy dropped to less than half price at all the local stores, so I guess Santa did deliver.

What is this fire-breathing dragon? The FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon is a cute toy that you fill with water and he sprays an orangey mist to look like flames. He also burps, which kids adore. Kids can also pet his nose for a cute response. He comes with a marshmallow on a stick that changes color from the dragon’s “flames” to look like it is torched. It’s definitely a gimmick, but FurReal Friends are still better than Hatchimals. I certainly wouldn’t pay full price for one.

Cost: These are up to $120. Look for the half price sales, which likely will remain until the current batch is sold.

Kendama

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Kendama < $20

Kendamas are the toys every schoolboy and girl wants this year. They are built to last, require no batteries, and provide long-term appeal, so both you and your kids will be happy.

What is a Kendama? A Kendama is a Japanese wooden cup-and-ball toy. The ball is attached by a cord to the handle, which has three cups (sides and bottom) to catch the ball and a spike on top to store the ball. Kendama is a well-constructed toy and actually holds kids’ attention long term, unlike most of the battery driven toys. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination.

Cost: This classic costs less than $20.

bunchemsBunchems

These are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs that stick together to make whatever you can imagine.

What are burdock burrs? If you ever had a round spikey thing from a small bush stuck to your clothing, in your hair, or on your pet, you know what they are. The are so sticky and annoying that they inspired the invention of velcro.   Read more on wikipedia. So they serve their purpose, but can you imagine intentionally bringing these into your home?

Cost: Who cares what they cost. They are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs.

Mom’s picks

My standard Christmas shopping list is: Dress, PJs, Doll, Book, and Art supplies. The dresses arrive before the Christmas concerts. The PJs before all the Christmas parties. So that just leaves the Doll, Book, and Art supplies for Christmas morning.

I always start my shopping at L’il Shop of Science in Brunswick Square. Read more…

Gifts for Parents

And what about a gifts for parents? Everyone I talk to would love:

  • Furniture, especially shelves—Getting rid of furniture? Single, divorced, or new parents really need it! Offer it to them first, even if you are selling it. It’s hard to find affordable quality furniture. We’ll pay!
  • Free babysitting—This costs you nothing, but a few hours of your time.
  • Hats and mittens—This is actually for the kids, but really helps parents. Decent hats and mittens are pricey and kids always lose the last set long after they are out of stock in stores.
  • Anything else—Ask. It’s okay for Christmas gifts to not be a surprise.