With Mother’s Day a couple of weeks away, Funsherpa is continuing its countdown through featuring local mothers in Chicago. Aside from being the family champions and all around multi-taskers, these mothers are building the next generation of the city’s inhabitants and caretakers. Today, we talk to Shari Schmidt, a mom raising twins who writes a blog called Two Times the Fun, and celebrates life in the city by taking her kids to the Green City Market and Notebaert Nature Museum.
F: What do you enjoy the most about Mommy blogging? What do your daughters think about your blog?
S: I blog to create a record of our girls’ adventures. I like being able to record what is happening on a moment’s notice. It allows for very real time observations and emotions. Some day I will take the blog and turn it into a book for the girls.
The girls don’t really understand blogging for the most part. Although, the other day one of them said, “Please don’t tell your computer friends.”
F: Can you describe your typical audience? What do they enjoy the most about your blog?
S: My typical audience member has children. They either understand what we are going through at a certain stage, or have already been there and offer great advice. We’re all just trying to do the best we can for our children, and it is great to be able to share ideas. They are not shy. If they think I’ve screwed up something, they let me know. Sometimes it’s just helpful to be able to let everyone know we’re all in this together.
F: I understand you have twin daughters. What is the coolest thing about having twins? How easy/challenging is it to raise twins?
S: The best thing about having twins is watching the twin bond in action. Many people doubt it exists, but having twins makes you a believer. The girls are so similar in many ways, yet really different. They find great strength being part of a pair. The most challenging thing about raising twins is dealing with everyone’s comments. So many people tell us what to do with the girls. “If I had twins, I’d…,” is a phrase I hear often. Some days I just think, “Call me when you have twins and we’ll talk.”
F: Do you find yourself raising your kids in a similar way to the way your parents raised you or are you doing things the polar opposite way?
S: I think parents always raise their children based upon the prevailing wisdom of the time. When we were children, parenting beliefs were very different from what they are now. Each generation goes with their own beliefs. For example, my grandmother was horrified that my parents allowed us to eat cold cereal. She was certain that we’d suffer if we didn’t eat bacon, eggs and toast every morning. If I fed our girls bacon, eggs and toast every morning, it would be considered very bad parenting by today’s standards. We mix the way our parents raised us with our beliefs about parenting. It’s quite a comfortable mix.
F: What do Mom bloggers talk about when they get together?
S: Our children and motherhood, of course. I spent an afternoon with some of the Chicago Moms Blog writers recently. It was so fun to be able to brainstorm with everyone. I found a couple of other twins moms that I’ll keep in touch with as our girls get older. Another mom blogger gave me a good resource to help me turn the blog into a book for the girls. It’s such a great, supportive network.
F: Any advice to new parents in Chicago to ensure their kids get to appreciate the city they live in?
S: I always tell people to start small. A big problem I see is that new parents expect too much from their children. Little ones have short attention spans. When we are in Chicago , we like to walk around and talk about what we see. Our girls like to see the different buildings, public artwork and different people. We spend time walking different neighborhoods, going to parks and visiting destinations like the Chicago Green City Market near the Notebaert Museum . It’s a big city, but it’s easy to break it down into manageable pieces.
F: Is there anything in Chicago that makes it particularly a kid/mommy friendly city? Is there anything you’d like to change about Chicago?
S: This city is very handicap accessible, which is important when you travel with a double-stroller. I never thought about this until we spent time walking with the double-stroller in front of us. Also, there are lots of bathrooms in buildings and stores. I think our girls have visited all of them.
There are so many free activities that you can stay really busy without spending a lot of money. We try to do as many as possible each year, especially the children-friendly activities. Anything at Millennium Park is great because it is a good central location for all our friends to get together. Everyone brings a picnic basket and some treats to share. We can spend a day there playing in the Crown Fountain, walking over to the lakefront to see the boats and listening to music.
I don’t know what I’d change to be honest. I tend to take advantage of what is available, rather than stress about what could be different. There is so much to enjoy, and we try to do just that.
F: What have some of your best experiences on Mother’s Day been? What would make your perfect Mother’s Day holiday?
S: Mother’s Day in our house is very low-key. I like to clear the calendar and see what the day brings. Sometimes we just go bike riding or roller skating and then grill out. If the weather is bad we might see a movie or visit a museum. We spend our days rushing to catch the school bus or trying to make it to dance lessons on time. The rule on Mother’s Day is we cannot do anything productive like running errands or doing laundry. It’s nice to have a day when we just wake up and see what happens.