Tue | Mar 28, 2017

Balancing act: Making the Mommy-&-Me time?

Published:Monday | September 15, 2014 | 9:00 AM
Shanoy Coombs and her daughter, Kailee.-Contributed

Unlike buying a new car or an appliance, motherhood does not come with a manual. It is a journey travelled by trial and error and words from the wise - those who have been there before. So let's take the journey together in the 'Flair Magazine's' new feature - Mommy Corner. Each week, mothers share the 'tricks' of the trade - what works for them and what doesn't.

This week's corporate mom, Shanoy Coombs, shares with us how she carves quality time out of her busy day to spend with her daughter. What works for you? Let us know at lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.

Admittedly for me, finding the right balance as a mother on the move continues to be a work in progress.

There is always the need to ensure that mommy-and-me time ranks high on the list of everything else that I do. As a United Nations communication consultant spanning Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, co-chairperson for the UN Communicators Group (Jamaica), director for start-up communications agency, the Write House, and operating a website, I often have several competing priorities, all packed into the good old 24 hours.

I quickly learnt that parenting and motherhood can be secondary to nothing, so making the time for my toddler's many interests goes a long way in letting her know how loved and appreciated she is. Making this time has also rewarded me with a self-assured and confident five-year-old.

With projects that go well beyond 'normal hours', our mommy-and-me time, while largely spontaneous, also has to be scheduled. I am grateful too that she has a dad who holds the fort when I would have otherwise been overextended.

From early in, I learnt how to bond over the 'little things' such as sharing chores - washing dishes, hanging clothes; bath time (that's an interesting story), combing Mommy's hair, bedtime reading and snuggle time. I have also learnt to schedule lots of out-of-office work for when she has settled in for the night.

Bedtime, too, is a special time as there is this song that my mother sang when I was younger and is now a very important part of our bedtime routine. It's amazing how the familiarity gets her settled in every time, so I should probably keep a voice recording handy as she has told me, "Daddy doesn't sing it like you."

Having made real time for her has had me making her interests mine. These include:

1. DIY projects: We are always trying out new projects, with the reward being her delightful squeal when we review the finished product.

2. Shared hair washday: A good deep condition does wonders for both our natural hair, so we have home spa dates and she loves the idea that she is being just like Mommy.

3. Snack time: She gets a thrill from showing off her perfect triangular sandwiches (identifying the safe knife, too) and I get a lot of help when we are making her snacks.

4. Deliberate fun time: I am superpsyched to find out that she has inherited my love for all bodies of water, so the beach/pool is our special place.

5. Child's play: I enjoy this as much as she does. Our silly games, songs and even 'dress up' is therapeutic, and when she says "Mommy you're so silly", that is my real reward.

In the end, it is all about making a conscious decision to make the time. I genuinely love her company and want to ensure that she knows that. After all, they grow up way too fast and with the realisation that time not spent with them can never be regained, the extra effort just has to be made.