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 about being the default parent and about mommying your husband before, 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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How to Save Money on Baby Gear

Save Money on Baby GearWhen you’re pregnant, it can be overwhelming just thinking about all the stuff you’ll have to buy and get ready — but thankfully, parents can find plenty of ways to save money on baby gear. Before you run out to start your registry at a baby gear superstore like Babies “R” Us or Buy Buy Baby — or before you click over to Amazon — do your research and think about what you’ll really need. If there’s something that you won’t use right away (i.e., something for an older baby, not a newborn), consider putting off the purchase until you know whether it’s really necessary.

To complement our baby registry series, we thought we’d gather some money-saving tips for new parents and parents-to-be. Please add your own in the comments! What are your favorite ways to save money on baby gear? Did you (or will you) set a budget for pre-baby purchases or just play it by ear?  

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The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

Does it feel like your kids have too many toys? What have you done about it, if anything? Do you rotate toys so that everything’s not out at once? Yes, it’s a First World Problem, to be sure (too many toys! oh, the humanity!), but if you’ve got kids with too many toys, you know the drill: Stuff often ends up all over the house, many toys sit unused in storage bins for months (or years), and, maddeningly, new toys that are begged for are often played with for a couple weeks and then abandoned.

Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less wrote an essay in 2012 called “Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away (& Why They Won’t Get Them Back)” that went viral, and it’s worth a read. She explains why she took away her kids’ toys after getting tired of them not cleaning up their room and noticing that they kept wanting more and more “stuff” without being satisfied with what they had. She donated more than half, kept some, and put a few toys on high shelves in her daughters’ bedroom — and she started taking out one at the time for her girls to play with. A year later, Soukup wrote an update and answered some common questions from readers, like “What are your guidelines for the toys that you keep?” and “What do you do about birthdays & holidays?”

This season is a great time to talk about this issue! Here are some ideas of gifts to give kids who have too many toys, focusing on experiences rather than physical things:

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How I Royally Screwed Up Potty Training (And What to Do Instead)

How I Royally Screwed Up Potty Training (And What to Do Instead) | CorporetteMomsLadies, let’s talk potty training! What’s your best potty training advice — particularly if you’ve already been through it with a child?

For my own $.02, I will admit it: I royally screwed up potty training with my eldest son, J. Things we did wrong, in no particular order:

  • We “waited until he was ready.” But we kept checking. So we put the little potty out. We sat him on the big potty (with the little seat.)
  • We didn’t give it enough time. One morning when he was around 3, we put him in undies instead of diapers and said “LET’S DO THIS!” He peed through a pair of undies; we gave him second. Then a third. Then a fourth. By 11 AM the entire 6-pack of undies we’d bought was soiled, so we put him back in diapers and decided to try again some other weekend. Then we went out to brunch.
  • We put him in undies right away. He never really had a naked weekend — and we put him in undies and pants immediately once he started getting it right. He treated his undies like diapers far, far, far too often (yuck).
  • We tried pull-ups when undies didn’t work. We even got some that turned cold when he peed in them, which bothered him exactly one time and after that he was cool with it.
  • We said it was OK when he peed his pants or pooped in his undies. “Oh, that’s OK!” we’d say, ruffling his hair affectionately. “It happens sometimes!” Even now that he is 5.5 and in kindergarten, if he doesn’t make it to the bathroom in time he’ll tell me, “It’s ok! It happens sometimes!”

SO: With my second son, H., we decided we were going to have a PLAN OF ATTACK. With a book. And everything. And it’s early days still (we’re coming up on one week as I write this), but it’s going muuuuuuuuch better than it did with J. I got the book Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right, by Jamie Glowacki and, as recommended by Lucie’s List, read through the first five chapters before starting anything. Some major steps that we took this time based on the thus-far excellent advice:

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Postpartum Tuesday: Oogiebear Ear and Nose Cleaner

oogiebearWOW: there are a TON of new products to help when your baby has a cold.  I remember being amazed at how TINY my boys’ little noses were, and how bad I felt if they got so stuffy they couldn’t sleep. At the same time, MAN did they hate the sprays, the Snotsucker, the Boogie wipes — and half the time whichever instrument of torture I selected wouldn’t even get the job done if I got my squirmy baby to sit still long enough.  SO: To add to your arsenal, there are new things the kiddo will inevitably hate, but hopefully will get the job done for you — including the pictured Ear & Nose Cleaner from Oogiebear, which is kind of a teeny plastic spoon that you use to clean their nose and ears, apparently. (There are also a number of nose cleaning tweezers!) The Oogiebear ear and nose cleaner is $9.95-12.95 at BuyBuyBaby and Amazonoogiebear Ear & Nose Cleaner

(L-all)

Open Thread: When Your Kid Is Having Trouble in School

When Your Child Is Having Trouble in SchoolNow that fall has begun, it’s not just Halloween and Thanksgiving that are quickly approaching: Parent/teacher conferences are also on the horizon. Are you looking forward to your parent/teacher conference — or are you feeling a bit trepidatious about it? If you know or suspect that you child is having trouble in school, are you doing anything special to prepare for the conference? 

When you go into school for conferences, you’ll typically hear from your kids’ teachers about their progress and achievements and how well they’re adjusting to the new school year. Sometimes, though, you’ll find out something unexpected: that your child is having trouble in school. Perhaps, for example, your son or daughter is dealing with anxiety, exhibiting inappropriate behavior, struggling with reading, or demonstrating poor focus and attention.

The teacher may suggest an educational evaluation or recommend a pediatrician visit, depending on the circumstances. Perhaps you’ll find out that your child has a learning disorder, developmental disability, behavioral problem, or mental health issue, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), dyslexia, or dyspraxia. Combined with the stress this news can cause, you may find yourself feeling all sorts of emotions, from relief to anger to guilt to disbelief — or a complicated combination.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources for you and your child if he or she is having trouble in school (although these vary by state), from school staff to doctors and therapists to local agencies — plus a wealth of information online. (See below.)

Have you gotten the news at a parent/teacher conference (or in another context) that your child was having trouble in school? How did you handle it, and what was the outcome? What sorts of resources did you find most helpful? Have you felt supported by teachers and staff at your child’s school? If not, have you had to take any drastic measures such as hiring a lawyer to help you deal with the school, or homeschooling?  

Resources/Further Reading:

  • Understood: “to help the millions of parents whose children, ages 3–20, are struggling with learning and attention issues”
  • Wrightslaw: “accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.”
  • ADDitude: “strategies and support for ADHD & LD.”
  • Child Mind Institute: “an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.”
  • Friends of Quinn: “an online community that offers resources and support for young adults with learning differences, as well as for the people who love them.”

P.S. October 2–8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and you can take the the Stigmafree Pledge at nami.org/stigmafree. October is also Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Pictured: Pixabay