This week I am featuring a fellow Bay Area mom. Alyson Gembala moved to San Francisco to start her family with her husband after years of experience in the Early Education field. Since the birth of her second son, she has started a new venture, her blog Childhood Explored. This blog focuses on fun activities to do with your little ones while highlighting the importance of play and experiential learning in early education. Make sure to check it out!
Two boys: Theodore (3.5 years) and Stefan (6 months)
I love reading, writing, children, education, art, family, and exploring. I started writing Childhood Explored because I can combine the passions and share prospectives on topics parents and educators want to read while also advocating for play-based education in the early years.
I love getting to know my children! Even when I was pregnant with my second son I could tell he and my older son are so different. They are both really interesting people. Their reactions to things fascinate me, and now that Theodore is old enough to explain his thinking, I feel like I am getting to relearn everything about the world through his perspective.
Unsolicited advice and judgment! Every parent already overthinks every choice from how to feed their children to which preschool to attend. I hate when people— even well-meaning family members or friends— comment or complain about how long I breastfeed, my child’s pacifier, when to potty-train, our decision to hire a nanny and for me to return to the classroom when my first was a baby, my decision to stay home now that we have another baby. It’s exhausting, and something I think most mothers have to, unfortunately, deal with.
Motherhood floods the limbic system of your brain and makes it difficult to maintain any kind of objectivity! I did not see that coming. Theodore started preschool this year at the school where I used to teach. His teachers are friends and colleagues of mine. I’ve been shocked by how things that didn’t even register with me as a teacher send me into a frenzy as a parent. I never care when a preschooler in my class forgets to pack up his snack or throws a toy. It’s so developmentally appropriate, and I know exactly how to help that student. But when I or see my own child having those same healthy challenges, I freeze and seem to forget that these challenges are important for kids to experience. I get nervous and antsy and want reassurance from his teachers. They are so understanding and a bit amused too I think. When it’s your child, all of your emotions seem to supersede your logic. That really surprised (and continues to surprise) me!
Lately, I’ve been trying to consolidate and carry either a diaper bag or a purse. Results are mixed. I always have my phone and keys, my license, a credit card, few diapers, a baby toy or two, lipstick, lipgloss, and usually some “treasure” rocks and pieces of art from my preschooler. Sometimes I am extra responsible and also have a phone charger, an extra onesie, and wipes.
I’m still working on this. We just moved, and I’m writing this surrounded by unpacked boxes. I haven’t posted on Childhood Explored since right before the move because we ran into some wifi hiccups. For me finding time to write is all about self-forgiveness and prioritizing my dreams. Trying to schedule Writing Time made me feel like I’d failed every time my children’s naps didn’t line up or when grocery shopping took too long. Now I think of weekly goals so that I can be more flexible on timing. I also have started going to bed early and waking up at 4:30 when everyone is still asleep. It’s a calm time for uninterrupted work.
A glass of wine in a bubble-bath after my children’s bedtime! (It happens sometimes.)
Starting is the hardest part. Once you get started, just keep going even through the inevitable tough parts. I believe that the challenges pop up for the sake of making you work for your dreams. Problems are solvable; dragons are conquerable. Just start.
Keep it up Alyson, you are doing a great job with your writing and giving some valuable information. I like how you are encouraging other mothers as well, to follow their dreams and not get discouraged. This is from a great granms perspective and I recall having some of the same feelings you are having on unsolicited advice.
Love Great Gram