This week, funsherpa discovers the family and kid friendly side of Chicago with Caitlin Giles, former lawyer turned professional mother of three and freelance writer. She shares with us tips on how to take advantage of all the city has to offer for kids and the family. We also learn a little bit about the mother blogger community. Caitlin blogs at A Hen and Two Three Chicks and Chicago Now’s Wee Windy City.
F: What motivated you to start blogging and writing the hen and three chicks blog?
C: I wanted to find a way to capture the time with my little ones. As any parent can tell you, kids change so fast and the days can get so hectic. My hope was to create a place where at least some small part of our days together would be recorded.
I was also looking for a creative outlet for myself while my kids were napping. Kids are just naturally creative and watching my own little ones really awakened in me the desire to be more creative in my own life.
F: Can you give us some parallels between your former career as a lawyer and being a mom?
Hmmm . . . that is a tough one. Before I had kids, I worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney in cases involving child abuse and neglect. As you can imagine, this was really emotional and difficult work. After my daughter was born, I couldn’t imagine spending my days in a courtroom dealing with such desperate situations and then still having enough positive energy to bring home to her. I knew that I needed a different career path that allowed for better integration of my home and work life. My work as a freelance writer has allowed for just that.
F: Blogger-moms seem to be overtaking the growth of soccer moms and yoga moms – do you agree? Can you share with us some of the interesting things you’ve learned from other blogger mommies?
C: Women are the biggest social media users out there –they are visiting everything from blogs to Twitter to the popular parenting websites. I think that women are always looking to connect and these new mediums are facilitating those relationships – especially for new moms who are really looking for a sense of community as they face the challenges of parenting for the first time. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my parenting approach from reading what other moms around the world have to say about their own experiences.
F: What do kids watch on TV these days? Any kids shows you think adults would enjoy as well?
C: Truthfully, I can not think of one kid’s show that I really love. But there are a lot of great internet resources out there that are taking the place of TV time for kids. My favorite site is called Curious Corner on the Art Institute of Chicago website.
F: Kids seem to enjoy winter a lot more than grown ups do – what are your kids’ favorite winter activities?
C: I just wrote a post about this very topic! For adults, winter means traffic delays, shoveling, etc. For kids, winter means SNOWMEN! SLEDDING! ICE SKATING! I think that adults should all take a cue from our kids’ enthusiasm and get out there to enjoy the positive aspects of winter.
F: What was your childhood like in Chicago and how different is that from your kids’? Is there anything you wish Chicago still had or didn’t have?
C: I grew up in Oak Park. I was lucky because my parents regularly put my siblings and I on the Green Line to come to the city to take advantage of all of the cultural and recreational resources available here. I think that the family-friendly offerings in Chicago just keep getting better and better.
F: What’s a good resource for parents to find fun family friendly activities in Chicago?
C: I’ve been writing a blog called Wee Windy City on the ChicagoNow site for about six months now. The blog is basically about why it is great to be a kid in Chicago. I post about family-friendly events and activities going on around town. I also feature guest posts from other Chicago parents to offer a range of perspectives and information.
F: Any advice to new parents in Chicago to ensure their kids get to appreciate the city they live in?
C: Be a positive model – if you get out there and enjoy your life and take advantage of what the city has to offer, your kids will follow your lead.