This week funsherpa ventures out into suburbia to discover Mom’s who’ve traded in lake shore jogs for lawns and garage space. Melissa, our featured mom of the day, talks to us about her transition out of the metropolis and ability to enjoy Lake County’s unique forest preserves. When not parenting and enjoying the great outdoors, Melissa writes Peanut Butter in My Hair, a blog that highlights her family, struggles with parenthood, and tips for the everyday parent.
F: Your blog has a very cool title – ‘Peanut Butter in my Hair’. Can you tell us how you came up with the title and what does it mean?
M: Well kids ARE really sticky. My daughter was born with lots of hair and when we feed her everything, I mean everything ended up in her hair! Peanut Butter was the hardest to get out, and one day it was in my hair too. My husband joked that Peanut Butter in my Hair sounded like a name of a blog. I was currently writing at a different title and wasn’t feeling it and I liked the name, it stuck.
F: You’ve left the city for suburbia. What keeps you busy out in the suburbs aside from raising your kids?
M: Driving everywhere! Only sort of kidding. We are very involved in our local MOMs club and the school. So we have a weekly playdate and there are classes and school of course. I actually try to be not so busy. We truly enjoy the local forest preserves and playgrounds but I am busiest just going about the day to day. Volunteering for my sons school (I chaired their fun day silent auction) and I organize the playgroups for our MOMS club. For myself? Well I try to avoid housework so I sew and craft and blog (of course). I enjoy running and would love to one day run the Chicago Marathon. I also make sure to get at least one, night out a month with other moms. Usually I drive back to the city to see the moms that I don’t get to see everyday anymore.
F: When you first moved out to suburbia, what shocked you most about the move? Have you gotten used to it?
M: Driving! I knew I would be driving more, I was really not prepared for how much time we spend in the car. We could go a week in the city never getting in our car. For me to go a week without a car i would have to never leave my house. I have gotten used to it most days. I have learned the area a little better, though not having a grid system still really throws me off. There are still days though, especially in the winter when everyone is all bundled up where I think, hmmm, maybe we’ll stay home today just so I don’t have to drive.
F: Are you still able to enjoy the great outdoors with your kids around? Do they share your interest in the outdoors?
M: YES! My kids LOVE being outside. Especially my son. We are so lucky to have a fenced in backyard where they can play and most days they spend a lot of time out there. We live in Lake County and they have some of the best forest preserves in the state. I have visited a lot of parks and forests, my husband and I traveled all over the state before kids camping and hiking and so I feel like I know a good park when I see it, and they have the best. We frequently take the kids on hikes or my husband takes them fishing.
F: If you could take your kids anywhere, where would you take them? Why?
M: Probably to the Shedd Aquarium or one of the Zoos. My kids love animals and the Shedd is one of my son’s favorite places in the world. I love that no matter when we go we never do or see the same things and every trip is a different experience.
F: What are some of the cool toys kids play around with these days? Do you find the technology/social media bug creeping down to their lives?
M: My children are only 2 and 5 so I don’t really see the social media bug creeping into their lives yet. My son does love the computer and playing games on it but we really limit how much he uses it and what sites he can go to. They have a whole lifetime to play video games and surf the web but he will only be 5 once we don’t want him to grow up so fast! My kids are really into old school toys the love blocks and Legos and anything messy (playdoh, paint, markers). I think some of the coolest new toys are the educational ones, although I am completely overwhelmed by them! We have two learning lap tops (one Thomas and one Pink) that they can learn and practice numbers, spelling, math…there are 30 different games on it and it’s been a toy that has grown with my son. He has had it since he turned 2 and still plays with it.
F: We understand that you don’t enjoy doing house work. What short cuts or tips can you share with other Moms to get the house work done?
M: Divide and conquer! I refuse to do it all myself. For one I don’t enjoy it and for 2 why should I? I am not the only one making the mess so I make everyone pitch in. My kids help in age appropriate ways, cleaning up their toys, picking up their clothes, clearing the table. I also try to make things into a game for me and the kids. I will set a timer for 15 minutes and I will clean what I can in these 15minutes and tomorrow I will tackle another room for 15minutes.
F: What have some of your best experiences on Mother’s Day been? What would make your perfect Mother’s Day holiday?
M: My best experience would be having my son! He was due on Mother’s day I ended up having him two days before, but it’s still a very special memory to me. A perfect holiday for me would be one where I got to sleep in and do nothing all day! I would like a nice brunch where my kids don’t make a mess and use their forks. I’m pretty low key, so as long as everyone is taking care of me that day, even if it’s just a construction paper card and little toddler hugs I’m good!