Known for riding her son’s scooter and winning water gun fights, Meredith is the parent’s pick for play reviews, finding products that parent’s love and kids don’t put down. Answering the prayers of parent’s everywhere, Meredith’s must-read blogs from “Toys That Travel Well” to “Playtime For Moms” are reviews that provide parents with the real rundown.
I'm a business travelin' Mama. I travel for work about six times a year. Most often to New York City, and generally it's a four-day trip, though sometimes longer. And while my Sky Miles account rejoices, my three children are usually less pleased when Mama's suitcase surfaces – along with her Mama Guilt.
Here's how it goes down.
Mom: “Hey guys, I need to go to New York for work next week.”
Kids: “Aaahhh, agaaaain? You just went there for Toy Fair.”
Mom: “Yeah. But Daddy will be here and he's the fun parent.”
Kids: “Are you doing The Cards again?”
Mom: “Well, would you like me to do The Cards again?”
Mom: “OK, I'll do The Cards for you!”
The kids run off and play.
I started doing “The Cards” for my kids many years ago. Here's how it works.
- I leave cards, one for each day that I'm away, tucked inside a numbered envelope.
- The cards include a sweet love note on one side.
- And a treasure hunt clue on the other side. Sometimes the clue even rhymes, but only if I'm feeling really creative at 2am the night before my flight departs.
- The treasure hunt leads them to a fun surprise hidden around our house - like a pack of gum, new markers, or a small toy.
- They must do The Cards together. Reading together, then holding hands to find the treasure together.They love it! Of course, what kid doesn't love a treasure hunt?
It's a fun tradition that gives my kids something to look forward to each day I'm away. The numbered cards help them count down the days until my return. They take turns reading the clues and they work together to figure out the hiding places.
We Skype at night and I ask them what they found on their treasure hunt that day. As my kids get older, the hiding places and clues are getting more difficult. Sometimes they even call me for help with the more challenging clues.
It's something that was born out of my "Mama Guilt", but has grown into a special family tradition.
In fact, recently my kids have started reciprocating the gesture. I often find kid-made cards with precious love notes and clever treasure hunt clues waiting for me when I walk in the door.
I scoop up my darling kids, smother them with hugs and kisses and hold their hands as we hunt for treasures in sock drawers. Keenly aware that the most valuable treasure is in the palm of my hand - not the sock drawer.