By Ali Madison, Marketing Communications Manager at Trios Health
Mother of two
B.P. (Before Parenthood) I could foresee being a bit of a mess
when it came to talking to my child about hygiene, and I used to
think about it only in terms of stinky feet and body odor. An
awkward conversation with an awkward pre-teen. Say the right words
so as not to hurt their self-esteem. Reiterate that it's something
"very normal" that "everyone faces," and yada yada. Isn't it
amazing what becoming a parent does to change your preconceived
notions about things? This doesn't have to be hard…at least, not as
hard as we might think.
It turns out that they start out small, and it's very easy to
have conversations like "make sure to wash under your arms and your
bum" as a starting point. It's not a big deal, it's just what we
have to do. Making something part of everyday life when they're
little helps pave the way for when they're a little older and
there's more to discuss.
Relax. Be honest and compassionate. And model the behavior you
want from your children. Mix that with a little mother's intuition
about what's right for your child, and you'll be on the road to
success no matter what the topic of conversation.
This installment marks the last in the year-long TherMOMeter
series. It's been a pleasure and an educational experience hearing
a variety of perspectives on many different subjects we'll all face
as moms, if we haven't already. And while that long-sought-after
parenting manual remains elusive, we'll have to rely on nurture,
nature, and each other to help us know what to do. And even then we
might not get it right the first time. Or the fifth. But one
thing's for sure, there are a lot of wonderful moms out there
trying their best and coming up with brilliant approaches to
everyday issues along the way.
We can all learn from each other, and I appreciate our team of
moms so much for stepping forward to share and help. Best wishes to
you all, and to the precious and lucky people who call you MOM.
Check out these great tips for safe driving on winter roads from
the experts at Toyota of Tri Cities.
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Click on the cover image above or here to view the current issue.
Click on the stories below to read more:
Cover MOM: Jody Gabrenas
Because I said so! A holiday message from MOM
TherMOMeter: Taking the temp on hot issues
moms face with Trios Health
A journey through cancer from the Tri Cities
HO HO HO'stess Gift Guide: Inspired hostess
Hop on the virtual school bus: What you need
to know about going back to school online
Play it safe of winter roads: Winter driving
tips from Toyota of Tri Cities
Rising to the occasion: A bread recipe for
A Cover MOM's dream comes true, from Charter
Bad Santa Photos: The best of the worst
Nash Lamberson is SuperDad sponsored by Tri-Cities Americans
Our TherMOMeter moms are pretty much on the same page on this
issue's topic-how to decide what kind of medical care to get for
our sick or injured kids. We put a lot of stock in our
pediatricians, typically calling them first when something goes
wrong. We're programmed to do that after they help us navigate the
uncertain waters of first-time parenthood. You know, the period in
your life when you picked up the phone in a panic for every runny
nose or random cough just to hear those magic words from an expert:
"He's going to be fine; it sounds like nothing to worry about."
Beyond that, your regular doctor is a great stop for contextual
and financial reasons too. They know your child's medical history
so they can more readily understand whether there's more to
consider in any instance. And a physician office visit will
typically cost much less than a trip to urgent care, depending on
your insurance coverage, and drastically less than emergency
care-up to ten times less, according to my inside sources.
Urgent care is a great option when your doctor isn't available
and you know your child needs to be seen within several hours-and I
agree with our moms who advise relying on instinct about this
because we do know our children best. If you feel your child needs
to be seen, get them seen, within reason of course. I think most of
us learn in those first several months of parenthood how to
distinguish between reasonable concern and overprotectiveness, and
once we get a feel for it, we start becoming excellent
The emergency room is our collective last resort, but it's
comforting to have the option if or when it becomes needed. If
you're ever unsure, pick up the phone and ask for help. I found
myself a little uncertain one day when my two-year-old tripped and
badly cut his lip on a coffee table. He was bleeding and it was
extremely upsetting to see, but I knew he would be okay with proper
I knew he didn't need an ambulance, but he did need stitches,
and that we could skip the pediatrician on this one. So I started
by calling urgent care. They directed me to the emergency room
because his young age would require special sedation for stitches.
So off we went, and though the bill was no fun, he got the care he
needed in the most appropriate place for the situation. And
that's really what it's all about in the end-getting the right
medical care for our most precious people.
Trust your instincts, moms. And don't be afraid to ask for help
deciding when you're not sure. Call your doctor or other medical
facility, and use nursing help lines if you have access to one.
It's a beautiful thing to have so many options when it matters
Click on the image above to view the current issue
Click on the stories below to read more.
Cover MOM: Cindy Broughton
Because I said so! What does cancer feel
Financial Foundations: Expert advice from
Talking Health with Tri Cities Cancer
Makeover your home: simple ideas with big
A friend in need: Supporting a friend with
Turkey care: Baby your bird
Spook-tacular Halloween Costumes: Get inspired
to make your own
Chad Domas is SuperDad sponsored by Tri Cities Americans
Kathy Carden is a seven-generation animal trainer who
balances life as a mother with being a performer with Ringling
Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. As a mother of two boys,
Cash, 5, and George, 7, she makes sure her boys are well mannered
and well educated while traveling with the Circus.
What is your biggest challenge as a mom on the road with
We recently made the decision to have my seven year old
temporarily live with Grandma and start first grade in a
traditional elementary school. I wrestle with it. It's tough. He
recently asked when he was coming home. That was difficult. Do I
keep him here or send him to Grandma's house? I don't want to be
separated from my child but you want to do what's best for him at
the same time. I felt like he needed some extra attention and
traditional school would be the best. I will be with him by
Christmas, but it's still hard.
Do you ever have guilt like a traditional working mom
That's what's nice. There is no guilt because you get to bring
your children to work with you. The boys have been on the road
since they were very small. No matter what's going on they are
right there with you. There is also a nursery that travels with the
show, so the boys were able to play and socialize with other
How does school work for the boys when you're on the
The boys go to school 4 hours a day, Wednesday through Sunday.
Ringling Bros. provides a teacher who travels with the Circus and
provides schooling for the kids of performers. The school-aged
kids' days off are Monday and Tuesday because that's when
performers have their days off. My boys learned a lot from the
teachers on the road. My five year old is in Kindergarten and loves
school. He's really bright and so learning comes easy for him.
How do you handle the other normal mom duties while on
the road, taking kids to the doctor for check-ups and
We have cities where we perform yearly and those cities have
become home base for doctor and dentist appointments. Like when we
are in the Seattle area, we have doctors and dentists we regularly
You were also on the road as a child, traveling with
your parents and the Circus. What are your memories like as a
I loved my childhood. My mom stayed home with my brother and I
and my dad traveled but we would travel too when we were not in
school. I grew up like this and have the best childhood memories of
being on the road with my dad, learning how to train dogs and
horses with him. I learned how to love and take care of animals
from my mom who would care for any animal that crossed her path.
Stray cats, ducks, turtles - you name it, my mom cared for it.
As your boys grow up, do you plan to change your current
End - After my current contract is up I will be going home to
Missouri and both boys will start classes at a traditional
elementary school. They are excited to ride the school bus! It's a
wonderful job but family comes first.
See Kathy and the Ringling Bros Super Circus Heros from October
3 - 5 at the Toyota Center! Click
HERE for ticket information!
My kids aren't in school yet, but education is something I think
about a lot and value above most other things when it comes to
setting them on a path to success. Is it the key to all
forms of success and happiness in this life? Certainly not. But I
think we moms can wholeheartedly agree that it's critical to their
development. After all, they won't always be our babies (okay,
secretly they will be). Someday they'll need to be thriving,
responsible adults, and a good education is an excellent start.
Success in school can help lay the foundation for
self-confidence and lead to more choices as adults. It can provide
a broadened perspective about what's going on around them, an
understanding of how more things work, and the mental resources to
navigate a variety of situations. But how do you properly get
involved in the process of their education, and how much pushing is
Just as in many things in life, the answer is very different for
each person, as our TherMOMeter moms can attest. I was an
overachieving "A" student who truly liked doing homework and rarely
needed help or pushing. Give me speed-spelling, story problems, and
writing assignments any day of the week, and I was a happy girl.
Honors math? Sign me up!
But even though I made it pretty easy on my mom, I can't take
all of the credit. She read to me from the time I was born, asked
me about my homework every day, talked to me about college like it
was a foregone conclusion rather than an option, and celebrated
every one of my academic achievements with equal enthusiasm. Even
though I didn't happen to need a lot of her time or help with my
daily work, she was constantly in touch with me about it and making
sure I was enjoying it and making it a priority.
I think that daily conversation, emphasis, and positive
reinforcement is necessary for all children--the tricky part is
finding the right balance for each unique child, observing early on
what motivates and demotivates them most, and pushing within those
bounds. If something doesn't work, try something else. One of the
beautiful things about being a mom is that you get to keep learning
too--about your children--and letting those lessons continually
make you even better at loving and guiding them.
Click on the image above to view the current issue.
Cover MOM: Jill James of Charter College
Because I said so!: Lessons from a lemonade
Back to school gear guide: Must have school
Beat the heat: Fun activities to keep kids
We all scream for ice cream: The scoop on
homemade ice cream
SuperDad: Aaron Ardal
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