Do You Change Your Work Schedule for Summer?

Now that the school year is almost over (um, how?), it’s a good time to ask the readers this question: Do you typically change your work schedule for summer — or your childcare schedule for summer? If your kid goes to a typical childcare center, you may not have to deal with any summer schedule changes, but for moms with school-aged kids (or, for example, if you have a college-age nanny who goes home for summer), it’s a different story. For many working moms, unless you have a kid who’s willing to do the same thing every week, you usually end up cobbling together various day camps to cover July and August (if you’re the default parent, that is … which, as a mom, you probably are).

Summer camp registration is so stressful: It often feels like putting together a puzzle with a bunch of missing pieces — and for the most popular programs, you have to make sure you sign up your kid early enough before they fill up (which means March in many cases, or even earlier — and that’s assuming you KNOW which are the popular ones). If you’re lucky, you’ll manage to find a camp for the week(s) in June after school ends and the final week or two of August when many camps have closed up shop. (Good times for a family vacation, perhaps?) To complicate things further, day camp schedules aren’t always working-mom friendly, especially for younger kids. Here are a few schedules from camps in my area:

  • Zoo camp: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with before care and after care, $50/week extra)
  • Science camp: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with before care and after care, $45/week extra)
  • Music camp: 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (8:00 to 5:30 with before care and after care, $75/week extra)

Fortunately, about 18% of employers offer some kind of summer hours (half-day Fridays, etc.). Does yours? If you change your work schedule for summer, do you use any of the following options?

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4 Apps That Help Working Moms Stay Connected to School or Daycare

Apps That Help Working Moms Stay Connected to SchoolDoes your child’s daycare or school use any apps that help working moms stay connected to school (and dads, of course, and parents in general)? It’s helpful and reassuring to get regular updates when your kid is too young to tell you about his/her day, and when yothe best apps to help working mothers stay connected to daycare or schoolur kid is older, you can get around the “What did you do at school today?” non-answers. (My son’s favorite is “I forgot!” when I ask him about certain things that happened during his first-grade school day.) It’s especially nice if you don’t have time to volunteer at school and don’t ever get to see what goes on during a typical day. Today we’ve rounded up some parent communication apps that you can consider recommending to your child’s school if they don’t currently use one (before the year is out).

With various features and options (and prices), here are four apps that help working moms stay connected to school:

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Make Bathtime Easier with These 10 Tips

make bathtime easierBathtime with babies and little kids can be many things: fun, relaxing, hectic, boring, etc., depending on your kid’s age, current mood, and general attitude toward baths. Have you developed any tips and tricks to make bathtime easier?

First, I’ll share a few things we’ve done at our house to make our son’s bathtime easier:

1. Cushion your knees with one of those squishy kneeling pads that some people use for gardening or other home chores, like these. (I may have even picked up ours in the dollar section of CVS.) They make kneeling on the floor in front of the tub much more comfortable! This product is even fancier and more functional.

2. For a kid old enough to stand when you get her out of the tub, buy a hooded bathrobe like this one. It’ll keep her warm without any effort on her (or your part) — when you’re getting out the hair dryer or whatever — and it’ll start the drying-off process before you turn to a towel.

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The Mom Voice: On the Playground — and at the Office?

Today’s topic: the mom voice. Do you think you have a “mom voice”? Have you heard your friends’ mom voices — and did it bring you comfort or freak you out? Have you ever noticed your mom voice encroaching at the office — and was it welcome or unwelcome? 

A few weeks ago, an old friend who lives in a different city posted a video on Facebook of her three-year-old son. She was off-camera, with her little boy front and center, and my friend K was at first encouraging him, then scolding him when he started making a mess.

It was a cute video, but what I loved most surprised me: It was her MOM voice. It’s that distinct voice that we all found once we became parents to an unruly toddler — equal parts educator, disciplinarian, cheerleader, and perhaps world-weary battle warrior. It’s something I’ve often recognized in my own home videos (“GAH, is that what I really sound like? What a nag…”), but it was kind of AWESOME to hear my friend’s mom voice. I’m not sure if it was because I was so happy to hear it in someone else — a kind of validation, like, “Look, another previously cool chick has turned into a MOM!” — or if it was because we haven’t kept in touch and her voice tells me a lot about where she is in life, which I suspect is the same place I am. Like if we were to meet up on a playground or coffee shop we’d instantly fall back into that happy old rhythm of friends.

What was really interesting was how, after she posted the video, a LOT of people commented on how nice it was to hear her mom voice. So I’m not just a weirdo! (Nah, I totally am.)

So here are the questions, ladies: Do YOU have a mom voice that you recognize? (Did it start after you grew out of the POOPCUP stage of parenting?) Have you heard your friends’ mom voices — and did it bring you comfort, solidarity, or something else? (Have you found your mom voice encroaching at the office? I’ve definitely noticed that I’m less willing to take any BS these days in any circumstance, but I’d attribute that more to being a grownup and less to a mom — but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.)

Pictured: Pixabay.

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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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