Written by Erica Scott.
It was always important for me to integrate my daughter into my life because…
- I’ve always been social and I don’t always want to send her away.
- I’m only at peace when she is in the care of a select few.
- I enjoy her company.
- I want her to know what my interests are.
My Unexpected “Plus One”
There was a fashion show I was to attend with my sister and mother. My sitter cancelled last minute. What’s a mom to do? I could have cancelled or… I had a genius idea “Just take my 3-year-old with me! You see A-list celebs front row with their kiddos all the time at fashion shows, so why not”.
So, I made a big deal of it last minute and prepped her for what to expect. I even let her pick out her outfit to wear on the red carpet. And what do you know! I was interviewed during the fashion show, we were mentioned in our local newspaper, and my 3-year-old talks about it months later. Subsequently, I took her to another fashion show and now it’s become “our” thing.
I must admit I feel kind of “A-Lister” when my daughter Amor is in tow, because we are often the only mommy/kid duo (at least in our demographic) attending museum openings, fashion shows, movie premiers etc.
Some things are NOT kid appropriate events or venues. But family is important to me, so I seek out things that will interest both of us and still prioritize separate outings for just my Girls Nights Out, usually planned around when she will already be away.
You’re More Than Just a Parent
I know many moms that isolate rather than integrate their children and themselves after becoming moms. I think it’s important that we be creative in involving our children in our lives so they see us as well-rounded people. Not only as “Parents”. They should know our hobbies, things that make us laugh, and things that spark our interest (outside of them).
It’s not our children’s responsibilities to fulfill us. But we can include them in our fulfillment.
So, my tip for you, integrate don’t isolate.
It’s such a blessing to see something again through your child’s eyes. It’s like seeing it for the first time. Like when Amor walked the red carpet, or when she watched models rip the runway for the first time. Even her learning to appreciate art in galleries or how to use chopsticks.
Growing up, I don’t recall hanging out with my mom. I was the second, then middle child by age 11. I remember her role inside the home, but nothing sticks out about going places with her to do things SHE or we both enjoyed. I know she took me to places I liked to go. Chuck E Cheese, Skating, birthday parties etc. but what did she enjoy? I didn’t know her hobbies or interests. As I reflect now I wonder if she had any? I’d have liked to know more about my mother as a person and not only as a parent during my childhood.
I make it a priority to show my daughter even at 3 years old that not only does Momma have a life, but I value her company.
Next time you think about cancelling a commitment due to sitter constraints, take a second to ask yourself, “Can I bring my kid(s) with me”? From there you may just find yourself including them more than excluding them.
The Benefits of Integration
I’ve also found that the more I involve my daughter in family friendly activities the better behaved she is, as she is now accustomed on how to “act” in public and social settings. There are times to be and run free and then there are times to be still and appreciate art.
I think this makes for a very well-rounded individual. As much as we want to hold tight to our littles, we know that as they matriculate through school and life they may become more independent. Exposing them to activities, culture, and interests is a way to give them something to talk about and with more people to talk about them to.
6 Easy Tips for Integrating Your Kids Into Your Lifestyle
A few tips for taking your Tot out on the town
- Ask your child if they are interested in attending – I know my kid well and we have some similar interests (fashion, art, culture, food).
- Review event details/ask coordinators to make sure its “family friendly” – Be courteous, you know your child’s temperament.
- Prep your kid with expectations of the event – Behavior expected, type of event, etc
- Pack tons o’ snacks! – Trust me on this one
- Wear/pack comfy shoes for yourself – You may end up carrying the kid at the end of the night
- Relax! People must sit with screaming babies on a plane all the time. They will get over it if your kid is a bit rowdy.
Has your kid been a plus-one to an unexpected event? How did they do? How did you do?