Childcare Arrangements: Pros + Cons

childcare arrangementsWhat are the pros and cons of different types of childcare arrangements? How do you decide on whether to hire a nanny, choose daycare, ask for help from family members, etc.? We’ve talked about taking business trips as a mom, but we haven’t had a conversation about this yet. How did you decide what was best for your family? Or, if you’re pregnant, how are you evaluating the options for how your child will be cared for when you’re working? Let me start by saying: Whatever you end up doing is the right choice. Truly, there are pros and cons to everything, so try not to listen to people (online or otherwise) who feel super strongly about the issue. Here are some key differences among childcare options that I’ve noticed:

Nanny

The Pros: Your child gets individualized attention, in your home; you can be very specific about what you want re diet, activities, feeding, and more. You can negotiate for housekeeping and cooking as well.

The Cons: Hiring a nanny is expensive. Interviewing and payment can be a headache (especially if you are trying to figure out the “nanny tax”). If the nanny gets sick or is unreliable, you’re SOL. Even if you are specific with your guidelines, there’s no guarantee the nanny is doing what you ask (e.g., serving carrots instead of cookies, limiting TV time, etc.). By the time your kid is 3 or 4 you’ll probably want to pay for preschool on top of nanny services for socialization/school readiness.

Nanny share: This setup has many of the same pros and cons as above, but with added pro of socialization and added con of finding a suitable family and dealing with tricky conversations such as the extent to which they’ve baby proofed their home.

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Business Travel – As a Mom

mom business travelHow do you handle business trips as a mom? Is there anything you can do to prepare your kids for your business travel? How do you balance everything? Reader A wonders:

I am a working, single mom and happen to be taking my first of quite a few “extended” business trips next week. My sister and parents are helping out with my lovely 4-y/o for the 4 days/3 nights I’ll be gone, but I want some tips on how to make the whole thing easier. I’ve read the pieces on business trips on Corporette, but haven’t been able to find one on the Moms side of things. Can you help?

Interesting! Whenever I have to travel away from my family there is a mix of dread (I have to leave them for X days!) as well as eagerness (I get to leave them for X days!). I’m curious to hear what the readers have to say, but here are a few tips:

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Pregnancy Books: Some of My Favorites

best pregnancy booksThis post is from the early days of CorporetteMoms, when most of the content was in the form of email newsletters. We’re sharing this one again so that more moms and moms-to-be can weigh in and share tips!

I read a ton of books during my first pregnancy, and thought I’d shout out a few of my favorites here…

What To Expect When You’re Expecting: For some reason, I considered this book the “duh, everyone gets that book for pregnancy,” and so it took me by surprise when I realized how hated this book is by many in the pregnancy industry. As near as I can understand it, the first edition of the book may have had harsh advice, and I’ve often heard people describe the book as “fear-mongering.” That said, I loved the fourth edition. Far from fear mongering, I thought it was a gentle warning of what I might expect each month, or a reassuring explanation of what I was already experiencing. I only read one month at a time up until about 32 weeks, when a little scare made me think I should at least skim the final chapters to see what to expect of the labor/postpartum experience.

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Happy Labor Day! 30 Sales for the Pregnant, Nursing Mama and Family

Which sales will you be hitting for your family this weekend?  I’ve already bought a ton of stuff for my toddler from the Old Navy and Nordstrom sales, and I plan to go through the Amazon sale more in depth later… Don’t forget to check out the longer Labor Day sales list at Corporette for general workwear — this list is focused on maternity, nursing, kids’ gear (like shoes), etc.  Updates are in red!

  • 6pm.com: Big Brand Sale on brands like Ugg, North Face, Asics, and more.
  • A Pea in the Pod: Buy one get one free on redlines.
  • Amazon: 50-70% off labor day savings for clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and more. Also, take 20% off early fall shoes for kids with code ERLYFALL.
  • ASOS: Final Clearance, up to 75% off sale, PLUS an extra 10% with promo code HAVE10, including maternity and nursing.
  • Bare Necessities: Labor Day sale, bras $17.99 and up, including nursing bras.
  • Bloomingdale’s Kids & Baby: Buy more, save more. For example: Take 20% off 1 pair of shoes, 25% off 2 pairs, and 30% off 3 pairs or more.
  • Boden: Clearance, up to 70% off, including maternity and kids stuff.
  • Carter’s: Fall star sale, 50% off everything.
  • The Children’s Place: Labor Day Savings 25% off online only with code LABORSALE3.  All basic denim $7, graphic tees $3.75 and up.
  • Diapers.com: $10 off SkipHop Diaper bags, $50 gift credit with a $250 Orbit Baby purchase.
  • Dorothy Perkins: Final clearance now on, including maternity.
  • Eddie Bauer: Everything on sale up to 50% off, including kids’ stuff.
  • Figure 8 Maternity: World Breastfeeding Month Sale: 20% off all nursing tops, dresses, and accessories with code NURSING0814 (through 8/31).
  • Gap: 20% off your purchase with code HAPPY (through 8/30). Everything up to 40% off (through 9/1).
  • Gilt: The Labor Day Event, up to 80% off top maternity brands, cute baby clothes, Halo sleepsacks, and more.
  • Giggle: Looks We Love: Buy 2, save 15%; buy 3, save 20%; buy 4+, save 25%, all with code FALLFRESH.
  • Gymboree: 40% off everything
  • Isabella Oliver: Buy two maternity tops and save 20% off both.
  • Japanese Weekend: Labor Day Weekend Special, Sale on Sale: Extra 50% off all sale items with code 50SALE; extra 30% off regular items with code 30REG.
  • JCPenney: Extra 15% off with any method of payment (extra 20% off with your JCP credit card).
  • J.Crew: Monday only: 30% off your purchase of $125+ with code 24HOURS. Free shipping on all orders, today only.
  • Kohl’s: Clearance: 60-80% off. 40-50% off kids’ jeans. $10 off $25 or more with code AUGUST10.
  • Lands’ End: 30% off your order with code PUMPKIN and PIN 1606.
  • Macy’s: Free shipping at $75 and free returns. Super Saturday sale with an extra 20% off (and extra 15% off home and select departments).
  • Nordstrom: Clearance Sale: save up to 40% (through 9/7) — lots of kids’ shoes 40% off.
  • Old Navy: 40% off entire store, no coupon needed.
  • OshKosh: Everything 50% off, plus take an extra 25% off your $50+ purchase with code LABORDAY.
  • Petit Bateau: End of season sale, up to 60% off.
  • Pottery Barn Kids: Up to 60% on favorites for kids and babies.
  • Saks Off Fifth: Clearance! Up to 75% off, and take an extra 40% off your entire order with code LABORDAY, including kids’ stuff.
  • Shoes.com: Labor Day Sale: take an extra 25% off sale shoes with code SALE25! Also, Secret sale! 20% off + free shipping with code SECRET20.
  • Steals.com: Labor Day Sale, take an extra 20-30% off steal prices up to 80% off.
  • Target.com: 10-20% off select car seats; B1G1 free for a lot of kids/women’s clothing.
  • Zulily: Labor Day Blowout sale (through 9/4).

Have You Sought Out New Mom Friends?

Working Mothers and Mom FriendsHow are you doing on your mom friendships? One of my best friends, who was now a SAHM, asked me that question when both of our kids were about 6 months old. She had actively been trying to make friends with neighborhood moms at the playgrounds and local gym classes, both to schedule playdates and build a support system. Some of the friendships, she found, were kind of forced; others were going well.

My response: huh? I had friends. Some of them were moms. Why did I need local mom friends — new friends where the only thing we had in common was locality and the fact that we got pregnant around the same time? If a friendship happened naturally, great, but I wasn’t going to seek it out (and I certainly wasn’t going to try to force it). In addition to being a lifelong introvert, my reasoning at the time was that she was a SAHM and needed a support system and a schedule — as a WAHM mom I already had a schedule, and I preferred to spend my limited kid-time either focused on the kid or as a family. Besides, I figured, mom friends would come about naturally once my child started making friends.

I’ve thought a lot about that conversation, though, and am curious what other working moms have done. Did you prioritize finding new “mom friends,” even if just for maternity leave? (Have you kept in touch after you went back to work?) Have you naturally made new mom friends? For those readers with older kids, have your mom friendships changed through the years?

Pictured: Onehundred and fiftythree, originally uploaded to Flickr by Roxanne Milward.

Talking About Your Kids at Work

talking about kids at workMoms: do you ever feel judged — or at least subject to coworker eye-rolling — for talking about your kids at work? Do you avoid talking about being a mom for that reason, or maybe because your definition of “professionalism” includes limiting discussion of your family life at the office? I’ve been thinking about this lately because, since launching the CorporetteMoms site, whenever someone on Corporette brings up a parenting-related topic (which you are still welcome to do on either site), it leads to at least one comment along these lines:

“I HAVE AN IDEA: WHY DON’T YOU USE THE ‘MOM’ BLOG SO THE REST OF US DON’T HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS CRAP?”

This particularly harsh comment has been made not just once, but twice (someone knows how to use Ctrl-C!). The first time was in response to a question about pursuing a new job while visibly pregnant, and the second to a request for resources for working moms with a new baby. While I don’t make a habit of deleting comments, that one is now in the trash.

Now, as things go, Internet commenters can be, er, opinionated  and the person (or, at least, the IP address) that posted this “crap” question appears to have anger issues, based on other comments she’s made… but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s this: if one person has the balls to say it (or write it in an Internet forum), many more are thinking it. So this hostility to mom-ness, to two totally legitimate questions for a career advice blog, struck me as something worth discussing.

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