Carpool Lane

Carpool Lane - Meet Joline for a "CuppaJo" as she juggles two kids in school, homework, extracurricular activities and trying to find some "me" time.

 

 

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When our kids ask questions

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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My son is extremely inquisitive. 

"Mommy, can I ask a question?"

He began asking this question when very young, and continues to do so even now, at 10 years old.

Several times a day.

While his question has been upgraded to the statement, "Mommy, I have a question", the intention is still the same. This kid has an insatiable thirst for information.

Early on, my standard response to this question became, "Always." I answer the same every time, regardless of question or statement.

However, there are times when I can not answer him immediately, either because I am in the middle of something, I simply do not know the answer, or the answer is going to require a longer conversation than the time we have.

For example, questions such as, "What is truth?" and "Was Thomas from Downton Abbey taking drugs to help him stop being so mean?" were definitely tabled for a later discussion when we could devote more time in solid conversation.

See, we're not talking questions like, "Can I have another bowl of ice cream?"

I love that my son asks questions. Lately, though, his questions reveal that his little brain is catching up with me. For often I can't seem to answer his philosophical questions when they arise. While my response remains, "Always," I usually have to add, "Hmm, I don't know. I'll need to look that up."

I want my kids to be life-long learners, so asking questions is a must. But I'm torn.

I remember a time when my kids would ask me questions to which I knew every answer. As they grow, simple answers no longer do the trick. Depth is desired. Although sometimes, depth is not warranted or appropriate - not just yet. And for those questions, I answer, "I'd be glad to discuss this when you are a tad bit older."

During our brief home-school stint, I had my son keep a question notebook. This allowed us to stay on track with schoolwork and gave me a head's up as to what I'd need to google in order to provide a correct answer.

Maybe I need to implement that system once again!

Do you find yourself getting stumped by the questions your children ask they get older?





Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and Beaver County Times online as the Health and Wellness blogger. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 14 and 10, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, will never get enough of the Gilmore Girls, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family. Follow Joline on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest!

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When Mom is sick

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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I didn't get sick all winter.

All. Stinkin'. Cold. Winter.

I even dodged a stomach virus that attacked the rest of my family.

So, leave it to me to get some nasty sinus thingamabob this week, which kept me from enjoying the tiny glimmers of sunlight and warmth we had between the wind and rain.

As is the case with most people, I am not a pillar of patience when under the weather. I work from home, so I still managed to clock into the office, but while my job usually leaves me so energized that I can also attend to the family at night, the past few days have seen me crawling in bed by 8:00 - wiped out.

In between blowing my nose, intermittent hacking, neti pots, and steaming my sinuses, I have noted the interesting statements my children have directed at their sick mother. I keep track. It's entertaining.

On what mom does for a living:

"Mom, go to bed. You don't need to write that article. If they aren't paying you, don't do it."

"Kid, it IS part of my job. I AM paid as a writer."

"Oh! You are? I thought you just talk to people on line all day long."

Then there was my daughter, who while hanging with a friend shared, "Mom, you should go lay down. 'Cause whenever you are sick, you usually just yell at us to shut-up."

(There may be some truth to that.)

How shocked was I to wander downstairs to find the surprise a dog had left me on one of our living room chairs. No one seemed to noticed the puke. Or the SECOND PILE ON ANOTHER CHAIR! Two dogs. Two chairs. Two pukes. No one noticed. Apparently, the only one with two eyes is Mom.

Thanks, and good night!

Frankly, they want me to quarantine myself in the bedroom because they know that with Mom out of the way there will be more trips to the froyo shop (they best get some for me), a latte or two, the possibility of Dad picking up food that has been banned from this house for years, and no kidding, I think all three of them have fallen asleep on the couch every night since Tuesday. I've not been there to march them all, husband included, upstairs.

As annoyed as I could get, I just don't have it in me. Times like these call for Mama's iron grip to be loosened.

They are clothed. (I mean, I don't think they wore those outfits yesterday).

They are fed. (Nothing like a nice hoagie roll with a slice of American cheese to satisfy one's hunger for dinner.)

And, all kidding aside, they are being kind to me. My son brings me tea. My daughter gets this nurturing voice and holds my hand. My husband does a ton around here.

And today was the day our cleaning lady came.

She wins the grand prize.

So, I guess all is well in our house.

Although I'm not going downstairs to check.

What happens in your house when Mom gets sick and is down for the count?





Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and Beaver County Times online as the Health and Wellness blogger. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 14 and 10, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, will never get enough of the Gilmore Girls, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family. Follow Joline on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest!

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm talking about guns today

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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I support the 2nd amendment.

I have no issues with the use of guns for hunting or sport.

My husband owns a hunting rifle, which is properly secured.

My father owned a hunting rifle, but I have no recollection of it. He assures me that it was hidden and properly secured with the shells being stored in a separate location.

I only know guns from an urban crime perspective, having grown up outside Washington D.C. and then living in Chicago for 20 years.

So, admittedly, guns make me nervous.

Even so, I'm OK with responsible personal gun ownership. Emphasis on the word responsible.

And yet.

I am concerned, no, disgusted, by the growing epidemic of children being injured, killed, and emotionally scarred from getting their hands on guns which adults have left loaded and unsecured in the home. The numbers on this are dreadful. A 2014 study showed that 7000 kids are injured every year due to guns and an additional 3000 are killed. 

We, as parents, and those who support responsible gun ownership, should be concerned.

In 7 days alone, there were 10 unintential incidents of injuries or deaths involving guns in the hands of minors ages 5-17. All "accidental". All due to guns that were improperly stored, (which means not at all) in a home. In one incident, a child of 14 took a gun from his family's home after allegedly being upset over a minor incident at school and committed suicide. Children who can not possibly comprehend the danger of a firearm and teens who are not emotionally mature enough to handle molehills which seem like mountains at the time, should not have such easy access to deadly weapons. And research shows, that even households that teach responsible gun ownership are still at greater risk for unfortunate situations such as these. Unsupervised children and guns do not mix.

Today I learned that Texas may be allowing concealed carry in college classrooms. And while I'm not so naive as to believe that this doesn't already occur, I have spoken to friends who are college professors (not in Texas) and they find this frightening. After all, do college students always make the best choices? I think incidents (non-related to firearms) on the campuses of Penn State and University of Oklahoma this week show us that not even 18-21 year olds act with great judgement at all times. There is an impulsiveness and emotional immaturity that is still present during the college years. Adding guns to the classroom, according to the University of Texas Chancellor William McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who organized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, will make campuses "less safe". 

I'm going with that guy's opinion.

Current escalation of these stories reminds me that I need to ask, "Is there an unsecured gun in the house" when having my kids hang out at homes of new friends. And while I feel so odd asking this, afraid of coming across as judgmental, statistics reveal that I must ask.

Have you asked this question of other parents?
If you own a firearm, how would you suggest we handle these delicate conversations?

I pray that we begin to see a decline in these incidents involving our children.

But truly, it is up to us.

The adults. 

The one's with the power to lock them up.

(The guns . . . not the children.)





Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and Beaver County Times online as the Health and Wellness blogger. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 14 and 10, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, will never get enough of the Gilmore Girls, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family. Follow Joline on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Let's lend each other a hand

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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It's been a long time since I've had a toddler in my house.

I remember those years with both fondness and exhaustion.

If memory serves me correct, I was always moving. Whether it be playing on the floor or following closely behind a mini whirling dervish who could make a mess of any organized area of my home, my body and senses were always on high alert.

Now, with a 14 and 10 year old, other than watching them get their energy out at basketball and karate, I find myself constantly encouraging them to get off the couch and move. It doesn't help that our winter weather zaps us of the desire to do anything. We just want to binge-watch Netflix until spring arrives. While having older kids comes with its own type of exhaustion (clean your room, finish your homework, empty the dishwasher, put your iPod down already!), it's not the same of having a little one weaving in and out under-foot.

Because I have just enough recall to be able to tap into those memories, I find it important to support parents of younger children. One way I do this is by volunteering to teach music at a weekly community Bible study in the area. As a former pre-school music teacher, this was a natural way for me to fill a need by volunteering my time and energy while area mothers enjoy a morning of community with adults.

I totally love it.

I wake on Thursday mornings, ready to tackle the boundless energy that 3-year-olds can bring. 

And since I'm not worn out from have little ones running around my house any longer, I find that I can totally match their pint-sized enthusiasm.

For 20 minutes we march, jump, spin around, wiggle, clap, and get down with shaker instruments. For 20 minutes I am hugged, asked about the "stick in my nose" (my nose is pierced), have a child in my lap, redirect attention, perform improv, and smile. 

A lot.

There is a lot of smiling.

As mothers, we all come from different perspectives. As we learned a few weeks ago, I'd rather my kids have cash then gift cards (and the grandparents who actually GIVE the gift cards are in agreement and on board here). As was recently in the news, there are mothers who have absolute confidence in their kid's ability to walk home alone from a park a mile away. Breast-feed. Bottle-feed. Work. Stay home. So many issues we could hammer away at, right?

Truth is, we all do the parenting thing differently. Different doesn't mean one is wrong and one is right. It's just different.

But we have one thing in common: Parenting is both fulfilling and tiring. We are in the same boat. We are mothers.

And in that, we need to respect one another. We need to support one another.

I do so by singing and dancing around with three-year-olds.

Do you have opportunities to volunteer your time and talents for other moms? Have you been the recipient of such service?




Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and Beaver County Times online as the Health and Wellness blogger. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 14 and 10, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, will never get enough of the Gilmore Girls, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family. Follow Joline on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Why I prefer cash over gift cards for my children

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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Image result for child with empty piggy bankI've been very open about not paying my children for chores, although we do use a "job board" for projects that are above and beyond the daily tasks of "clean your room" and "unload the dishwasher". When my kids need cAreash, they bid, apply, and if chosen, complete the job for a modest income.

It's working. Most recently, my son organized my entire spice rack alphabetically. He took time to remove all the contents, wipe down the area, and return the jars in a user-friendly order. Frankly, I didn't want to do it. So I pawned it out.

 I've learned, however, that my children really don't understand money due to the fact that they don't have enough with which to practice responsible use:

 They are not adept at handling/carrying money.
They do not know how to budget money.
They are not used to saving money.
They don’t experience the importance of tithing money.

 They really don’t know how money works.

 And while I realize they are not reconciling checking accounts, paying bills,  or managing investments, they do need to learn that $10.00 is not something I can just give them at random because they are jonesin’ for a visit to Grandpa Joe’s.

 At ages 14 and 10, my children are old enough to learn that money doesn’t (say it with me) grow on trees. I can’t stand cliches. But, it’s true, cash doesn’t just (snap) appear. They truly don’t understand this. Sounds crazy, I know. To them, cash flow is unlimited.

 Gift cards don't help to teach the valuable skills of giving, saving, and spending.

They need to learn how to actually assess whether they have enough money for what they want, pay for it, get the change, and discern whether they can still purchase that latte they may want later.

 This important process is not visible or tactile with merely handing over a plastic gift card. 

 For a child, a gift card mimics the action of paying via a credit or debit card.

And we all know what happens with those. American households hold an average of $15,000 in debt on their credit cards. Credit is so easy to use because we aren’t staring at an empty wallet telling us we can NOT purchase what we want. Nothing is stopping us from spending freely.  Trust me, I know. I used to be the one with $15,000 in credit card debt. Gift cards teaching spending. I need to be teaching them how to save and give as well. (They need cash for that.)

 When my kids receive cash, they have to plan how to use it.

They tithe, save, and allot money for spending. They give thought to how that money will be used best. When using their own funds, they put that second package of candy back on the shelf. They decide not to add so many gummy worms to the froyo. They give at church. They cover dinner for a basketball teammate who forgot cash on the night of an away game. When the money runs out, they see it run out. The bank is dry.

Gift cards have the potential to teach mindless spending – thus mimicking or training credit card use. Why can't we just gift them cash, so they can actually see the process of it being spent and decrease as they make purchases? If they only have gift cards, they can never learn overall money management.


What are your thoughts? Aside from whether or not one thinks gift cards make a good gift, what are the teaching implications for our children. In this electronic age, are our children properly earning how handle actual cash?




Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and Beaver County Times online as the Health and Wellness blogger. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 14 and 10, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, will never get enough of the Gilmore Girls, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family. Follow Joline on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.