How to Level Up Your Childcare/Personal Help (When Money is No Object)

how to level up your childcare | extended options for very busy momsIf you’re a busy working mom, good childcare is a must — but what happens when a nanny doesn’t even begin to cut it? How can you level up your childcare and household management? (Warning: this post is not terribly budget-friendly.)

I’ve wanted to talk about this ever since I read this post from Penelope Trunk (written in 2008 but I first read it more recently than that) about hiring a house manager — an entire position I never knew existed but would love to have if money and time allowed. So if you need more than a nanny, let’s review the “additional childcare options for very busy moms” that I know of (beyond, obviously, getting your husband to be an equal partner and sharing parenting duties)…

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How to Share Emotional Labor as Parents (AKA, How to Get Your Partner To Care About the Little Stuff That Keeps You Up At Night)

Are you always the parent who makes sure the kids’ homework is done every night? Schedules/attends/follows up on all the kids’ doctor’s appointments? Referees the sibling rivalries? Buys holiday gifts for teachers? We’ve talked before about being the default parent, sharing parenting duties with your husband, as well as mommying your husband, but we thought we’d have a discussion focused on ways to share emotional labor as parents — AKA, how to get your partner to care about all the little stuff that keeps you up at night (and take on some of it). Do you find yourself performing a lot of emotional labor and noticing that your partner doesn’t do their share? What are you doing about it, if anything? Has anyone set up a family kanban board or some other method?

If you need a good definition of emotional labor, try this one from Everyday Feminism:

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Seasonal Decor — and Working Moms

Seasonal Decor and Working Moms | CorporetteMomsLadies, how much do you get into seasonal decor around the house? Do you feel like seasonal decor is harder in some ways for working moms? I’m starting to get into it — when we visited relatives in Texas, my husband’s cousin had the entire house decorated for Halloween, and my older son really liked it. I’m just starting to collect stuff, and it feels like this IS the season — you’ve got Halloween decor, followed by fall harvest/Thanksgiving decor — and, if you celebrate, Christmas decor. (Pictured.)

I like the idea of making our home look nice for the various holidays, and I like the tradition aspect of things, but I will admit, it does seem kind of onerous from a few different angles:

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Getting Your Accounts in Order… Before You Go Into Labor

accounts-in-order-for-laborDid you feel the need to get your accounts in order before you gave birth? For example, if you’re the primary money manager in your relationship, did you do anything special before labor to prepare your partner should he or she need to take over the money management? (Sorry for your dark thought for the day! Of course death or incapacitation related to pregnancy is still really rare, but pregnancy is certainly a big deal, healthwise. Although Scientific American did just look into why U.S. maternal mortality rates have doubled, and quoted a CDC official who classified it as “almost certainly not a real increase,” just a result of better data.) I pondered this a lot while I was pregnant, and didn’t see too much else on this topic, so I thought it might be interesting to discuss.

(Pictured: Kate Spade New York ‘Cedar Street – Floral Lacey’ Zip Around Wallet, was $178, now $120 as part of the big Nordstrom Clearance sale.)

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Your Laziest Mom Hacks

lazy-mom-hacksWhat are your laziest/smartest mom hacks?  What are your best tips for getting stuff done around the house in “unperfect” ways? 

Some readers seemed miffed by my posts on photo organization and organizing kids’ clothes — but I am faaaar from perfect, and hate to give that impression.  (Sorry, ladies!)  Of course I’m going to write a post about the things that I feel like I’ve figured out, while skipping posts about the piles of laundry around my house (and lo, there are many).  So I thought we’d do a post about some of our laziest mom hacks — what are your imperfect systems for Getting Stuff Done?  Of course, some of these “lazy” things below are also some of the smartest things I’ve done. It’s like folding underwear (which I haven’t done in a LOOONG time, well before kids). Once you stop, you’re never going back.

For my $.02:
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How Do You Share Parenting Duties with Your Spouse?

maternal gatekeeping

2017 update: We still stand by the advice below on how to share parenting duties with your spouse; you may also want to check out our more recent post on how to get your husband to care about the little things.

Are you an “equal parent” with your partner? What steps did you take to make that happen — and what happened organically? Do you foresee times when your partnership won’t be equal — and how do you feel about that? If your roles are not equal, how much of that is due to maternal gatekeeping — as in, you take on a certain task because you’re the only one who does it “right”? (Sandberg defined maternal gatekeeping in Lean In as women discouraging their husbands from doing their share at home by being too controlling or too critical.)

There was an interesting article in Daily Worth a while ago with suggestions for how to equalize your parenting, so I thought we’d discuss here as well. I always get frustrated when I read articles like this that exclusively focus on housekeeping (the easiest thing to outsource!) and dismiss what I like to call the “cruise director duties” (meaning the mom’s role is cruise director for the family, explained in this HuffPo piece as the “default parent”), so let’s try to discuss the following topics:

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