Maternity Monday: ‘Lucinda’ Diaper Bag Leather Tote

This tote looks cute enough for a regular bag whether you need a diaper bag or not, and it’s part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and still in stock. It’s got integrated stroller clips, an interior zip wall and cell phone pockets, a detachable key ring, removable changing pad, and other really nice options. It’s on a pretty great sale, too — it’s marked down to $206 and will go up to $310 after the sale. (Don’t forget to see all of our workwear roundups from the NAS over at Corporette!) ‘Lucinda’ Diaper Bag Leather Tote

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  1. Cornellian says:

    Talk to me about mastitis. Has anyone had it? how did it end?

    I’ve had lots of issues with blocked ducts, but they’ve always resolved themselves with zealous nursing, pumping, application of heat, massage, removal of restrictive clothing, etc. Last week I ended up feel like I had a flu with a high fever, and getting on antibiotics.

    It has only gotten marginally better, and there seem to be some indications it’s an abscess that needs to be drained. Anyone have experience? I’m not even sure who to go to for this. A special b—-st surgeon?

    • Blueberry says:

      Oof. I had mastitis once, and it was horrible, but I felt 100% better within 24 hours of being on antibiotics, so I’d suggest getting yourself to your OB asap so they can evaluate you.

      • Cornellian says:

        That seems to be the consensus. My fever has dropped and I don’t feel as flu-y, but my b—-t is not improving, still bright red with pronounced lumps. I do not want to have surgery. ugh.

        I’ve read a lot of LLL pro-breastfeeding stuff saying you can still nurse after surgery, but it seems sort of crazy to consider nursing when you have an open wound.

        • DC anon says:

          I had a 7cm (half my b–b) mastitis 3 weeks after delivering. It was the worst pain I have ever had. Definitely see your OB or midwife, from there they can recommend who to see next. Because of the size on mine, I was on antibiotics for a month and had to eat a special diet. There was also indication that it might be abscessed and would require draining. My midwives coordinated an appointment with the br—t health department in my hospital asap and sent me for a scan to a) make sure it wasn’t cancer and b) see if it was an abscess. Turned out – no cancer and no abscess, just a ton of inflammation that eventually went down over a few months.
          Take care and good luck!!

    • Oh I am sorry you are dealing with this. I had mastitis when my son was less than a week old, but diagnosed more from fever/lack of other obvious problems than a really obvious clogged duct. Antibiotics worked right away for me so no advice. I do remember feeling HORRIBLE though, so I send you my deepest sympathies.

      • Cornellian says:

        Thanks. That’s sort of the weird thing. My son is 6 months old. It’s weird to get mastitis at this age, apparently 2-3 weeks is standard.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I had a really bad clogged duct at about the 6 month mark. Fortunately it resolved itself with a lot of massage and pumping, but I remember being surprised that it happened at all!

        • LizzyB says:

          My daughter is 7 months and I just recovered from the worst bout of mastitis that I’ve ever had. No clogged duct – just a super swollen and painful breast that would. not. get. better. I ended up going back to the doctor after 5 or 6 days on the antibiotic when things weren’t getting better and they upped the dose, which eventually kicked the infection. TBH, my supply still hasn’t recovered but the swelling in my [email protected] did eventually subside after a couple of weeks. All this to say – it’s entirely possible that there’s no abscess and it may just need more time. And you’re not alone in suffering from this well past the early weeks of nursing.

          • Cornellian says:

            Thanks Anon in NYC and LizzyB. Supply is definitely down on that side when I pump, but maybe by 20%, so I’m not super worried yet, especially since baby will be eating more real food soon.

            If I just need a higher antibiotic dose, I can handle that. I need to stop googling b—-t abscess until I meet with a doctor.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Sorry to hear that. I kept getting clogged ducts (tended to be on one side, which was annoying because I had to keep nursing on mostly one side and then that side kept getting more engorged, ugh.) I had mastitis once – had night sweats, fever and felt so tired that day. Antibiotics and nursing helped right away. I could never figure out how to prevent clogged ducts though, just had to be vigilant about pumping/nursing enough on that side. I hope the antibiotics work for you.

    • I am so sorry, that is super rough. I had a similar situation to yours — I started getting plugged ducts when my babe was older, like yours. Have your talked to your OB about getting a scan to see if you’re dealing with an abscess? I would think the OB would be in the best place to determine whether you need to get something drained, or if antibiotics will do the trick. I wouldn’t mess around; an abscess can become a serious infection rather quickly.

      The only advice I can offer is making extra sure that your breasts are getting fully emptied during each feeding, which is harder to do when your baby is getting solids.

      • Cornellian says:

        Trying to get my OB to return my calls.

        in the meantime I am trying to fully empty them (without also creating more demand for more milk, somehow…)

    • Anonymous says:

      I had it twice with my first (and then a round of thrush as well from all the antibiotics). It was the worst. Especially the first time when I didn’t know what it was. I never had to have any draining or surgery though. One thing I’ve done this time around that I think has helped is to take a lecithin supplement. It helps to break up fat (allegedly) and thus make it harder to coagulate and clog. At least it felt like something proactive I could do.

      • I took sunflower lecithin which helped a lot. Also pumping on all fours when I was clogged or engorged–the gravity assist helped empty everything better and prevented it from turning into mastitis

    • ElisaR says:

      Sorry to hear about the mastitis Cornellian. I had it 3 times and the antibiotics nipped it all in the bud for me twice (the 3rd time I waited it out and it went away relatively quickly – my doctor wasn’t happy about me making that decision though). It really stinks and I hate taking antibiotics to begin with but that’s what needed to be done. Just make sure you avoid thrush by thoroughly washing pump parts or any shields you may be using. That was wayyyyyyyy worse than mastitis. It forced me to rethink bf’ing altogether and took 2 weeks to go away. Hang in there!

  2. Still pregnant! 41 weeks today. My neighbours are now taking wagers on how late I’ll go. My husband is chomping at the bit to start his paternity leave and I cruelly packed him off to work this am as I didn’t want him staring at me and asking “do you feel anything?”

    • Cornellian says:

      I know this is super weird, but a couple of months ago I was saying to my husband that I knew this woman on the internet who is convinced she’s going to be early, just like I was, and I bet she’ll go to 41 and 3 like I did. So if you want my wager, that’s it :)

      • That’s amazing! I was really convinced I’d go early, they kept telling me how I was classed as high risk and I think I interpreted it as a likelihood of premature labour. I am supposed to ask myself every morning if I’m having a baby today (and if so, phone triage and skip my medicine) and today was the first day that I had a question mark around it. I was hoping they’d bring me in just to give me something to do…

        • Cornellian says:

          If you want to drive yourself completely batty with statistics about when you’ll give birth, search online for spacefem due date statistics and knock yourself out.

          Although, on a serious note, I’m not sure it made my last couple weeks any more enjoyable, so I guess peruse at your own risk.

    • In my very limited experience (sample size = 1, induced at 42 weeks), late babies are better at nursing and sleeping. Good luck!

      • PS – you may find this website useful for your friends and family:

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        Yes on the sleeping! The babies tend to be bigger the later they’re born and I think being big helps a lot with sleeping through the night much quicker than the tiny ones. I was induced at 41 wks 5 days and had a 9+ pounder (who was and still is a good sleeper, hopefully stays that way). You’re almost there!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry! If it helps at all, almost 100% of women have their babies by 42 weeks (because OBs don’t let them go longer). So you KNOW you won’t be pregnant anymore in 7 days. There’s no question mark around it. I hope that helps!

  3. Dropped Early - 2nd Baby says:

    More fun pregnancy talk – I’m almost 33 weeks pregnant with my second baby. Baby dropped over the weekend and my OB confirmed as much at my appointment this morning. I don’t remember feeling the drop so obviously with my first. This time, I feel very different. From some internet searching, it also seems really early for a 2nd baby to have dropped. Any experience with an early drop for a 2nd baby? Does this make it more likely I’ll go into labor early?

    • Anonymous says:

      From what I hear the baby dropping isn’t any true sign of labor/not labor. And if it is, nothing you can do! I know it’s hard but the baby comes when the baby comes so trying to predict that just stresses people out. My baby dropped 3 weeks before I had her.

    • Katarina says:

      My first baby did not drop before labor, and my second dropped around 33 weeks. I ended up being induced at 39 weeks. It did make labor a little easier, because I did not have to labor down like I did the first time.

    • October says:

      I’m also just about 33 weeks with #2. He has been low all pregnancy but the last couple days has felt reallllly low. I’m still short-of-breath a lot, though, so maybe it’s not really the “drop”? I don’t even know what I feel anymore :) FWIW, #1 came at 37 weeks.

    • Dropped Early says:

      Thanks, All. I think the pregnancy crazies are just kicking in. FWIW, even the person that takes my order at the lunch spot down the street, where I swear I don’t eat that frequently, commented that I’d dropped. How do people notice these things in others? I would never in a million years notice that someone I was close with dropped, let alone a relative stranger.

  4. I need a talking to says:

    This is long, I’m sorry.

    A casual acquaintance and I had babies around the same time. We’ve been friends on Facebook for a while; mainly we are friends of the same friends, that sort of thing. Anyway, at first it was nice to know someone who had a babe at the same time, and she did me a REAL solid by watching my son when we had a childcare issue. However, I find it EXTREMELY stressful to see her Facebook posts. It is really hard not to compare our children, who are both turning one around the same time, and it’s _definitely_ hard not to compare myself to things like fancy photos of food art that she feeds her daughter where she turns raw vegetables and fruit into gorgeous images, then photographs with Instagram filters. Meanwhile, I’m feeding my son an applesauce pouch and some cereal this morning because we’re running late and need to get out the door. I get that she is a SAHM, and I get that she is one of those people who really posts the bright side of life on social media (is there a word for that?).

    I unfollowed her feed during pregnancy because I had a horrible one and I could not look at pictures of people’s wonderful pregnancies. But I feel bad that I don’t “like” her posts of her daughter – it makes me feel like a bad person, especially since she did watch my son that time, and she will occasionally post on mine, so I know she follows me. But I actually find it bad for my mental health to go over there and see how her daughter’s first word was “pasta” at like 2 months old. She doesn’t notice if I post on her stuff, right? I should just totally not look at her pictures, etc, right? And that’s fine, and I’m not a terrible person?

    I don’t know why this is so upsetting to me. I think I’m of the “I’m doing everything wrong” parenting school, and I get really worried about milestones when in reality my son is FINE. He is 100% fine. I need to remove this stress from my life, but also not feel like a bad person.

    Those hormones when your baby starts nursing less are no joke…

    • Lurker says:

      It’s called the highlight reel. Even if you unfollow you can go to her page at times and strategically like a few things. Then it’s not in your face all the time and you can mentally prepare for it before you do it. Also, it sounds like she’s an overachiever and that means she might not be loving the SAHM life. Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t. If she is going through the trouble of making art with pureed baby food she is likely either (1) bored out of her mind or (2) trying to start a side hustle from instagram followers.

    • Triangle Pose says:

      Unfollow her, it’s okay! She’s not doing those things for her kid _at_ you. She’s just parenting her kid. Some people use social media that way and it’s totally okay. What you’re doing is also okay! Unfollow and don’t look back or feel bad. You are NOT a terrible person!

    • 1) totally fine. Her watching your kid once doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to follow her and comment forever. I have unfollowed a few mom friends that make me feel like sh** because their baby is hitting milestones before mine, they’ve lost all the baby weight, their baby sleeps better, etc. Protect yourself. Esp from an acquaintance.

      2) OMG those hormones. One weekend I was SOBBING and felt like I was going nuts until I realized it was the weaning.

    • I also unfollowed a couple acquaintances who had kids around the same time as both of my kids. It turns out I don’t actually care to see other babies covered in their breakfast (though obviously, my babies covered in their breakfast is adorable) My unofficial rule is, if I see pictures of kids and think positive thoughts, they stay. Once I start with the snarky mental comments, I have to unfollow for my own sake.

      I doubt she notices that you don’t interact with her social media posts. And while it’s awesome that she was able to help you out in a bind, you don’t have to repay that with likes. If you want to interact with her, schedule a playdate or something.

      • Lurker says:

        “Snarky mental comments” – oh man — one of my friends has the most annoying nickname for her baby. You would think her and her DH would just use it between themselves but nope. They call her that to everyone. My husband and I roll our eyes so much every time they say it. It isn’t even a derivative of the baby’s name. We have another friend with one of those nicknames. Nope, this one is just a different object they decided to nickname their kid. They will say something like “taking the banana to the doctor tomorrow.” Banana is not the nickname. In fact, Banana would be less annoying. I feel so guilty for feeling so snarky about it but I just can even anymore LOL.

      • October says:

        Oh gosh can I just say how much I hate the covered-in-food photos? It’s gross! (I hate smash cake photos for the same reason, but that is controversial around these parts!) Surprisingly, I *do* find my own food-covered baby to be adorable, but I never post those pics. There are certain things that other people just don’t need to see…

    • CPA Lady says:

      Unfollow her again. If that really bothers you, set a reminder on your phone to go off every two weeks, go to her page and like something. Boom, done! I have no clue who likes any of the stuff I put on my fb. Nor do I care. I unfollowed one of my best friends though because I couldn’t deal with some of the things she posted. I still message her or tag her in stuff if it’s relevant to one of our inside jokes.

      FWIW, my sister is a SAHM, and we’ve had lots of frank talks about the differences in our lives. Her kids are the only thing she has to focus on. So while you and I have careers and professional achievements and satisfaction, the only thing they are “working on” are their kids and their homes. My sister doesn’t make cut up cutesy food for her kids, but it might explain what your acquaintance is doing and why.

    • Hugs! It’s ok to unfollow her. Who can say for sure why she posts that stuff? Maybe that’s just how she does social media, maybe it’s a cry for validation and attention. I guarantee she won’t notice, and you can always beg off with the excuse that those darn Facebook algorithms don’t show you anything any more. :) But also, schedule an actual playdate to have some real interaction with her, and perhaps you’ll find you have more in common than you thought.

    • I need a talking to says:

      Yes! Yes. You are all right. I really try to be “no judgment” because each parent to his/her own, but I think I get resentful when I feel jealous/insecure/worried I’m not doing enough things or making things look nice enough or whatever. And it’s me, not anyone else.

      Thank you for all the concrete suggestions.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I can empathize. A good friend had a baby 2 months before me and had a much longer maternity leave (by choice) and used to post all of these photos of her kid on social media and then my friend’s husband would comment on all of them with those smiley faces with hearts for eyes….. and one day I turned to my husband and was like, “are we doing it wrong? I feel like we’re not publicly declaring our love for our kid enough.” So, I feel you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate social media because I feel like it’s sole purpose in life is to make people have these feelings. I’ve gotten rid of all my accounts except LinkedIn (which I don’t really check), and it’s freed up so much mental space and time in my life. Highly recommend.

    • If seeing her posts is detrimental to your mental health, absolutely unfollow her.

      I apologize if I am reading something into your comment that isn’t there, but how are you feeling otherwise? You sound like you might be experiencing some postpartum anxiety, which is a thing separate and apart from postpartum depression.

      • I need a talking to says:

        Ahhh thanks. I do recognize that my anxiety levels are particularly high right now – we are selling our current house, renovating our new house, changing our childcare situation in a month (from in-home to daycare), my son is teething, and we just traveled over the weekend to visit with my extended family (fun, but stressful). I think it’s a time where I feel particularly sensitive about every life decision ever. Ugh.

    • Comparison is the thief of joy. Unfollow her and maybe make a commitment to do something with your kid that makes you feel good. I find that I am much more prone to jealousy if I am feeling that I am falling behind in something that I should be doing. I don’t know if that is the case for you, but maybe you’ve been intending to do X, Y or Z for your kid and you haven’t, so then you feel down when you see her “perfect” stuff. If that is the case, you might be able to use your feelings as a motivation to do cool X, Y or Z thing for or with your kid. Aside from that, still unfollow her if it is bringing these negative feelings constantly into your life. Not worth it.

    • bluefield says:

      Unfollow her. If she’s posting pictures of her food art on social media, she has the problem, not you (seriously, who thinks, “I am going to make art out of vegetables and then take a picture of it and then put that picture on Facebook”). There is no way her kid said pasta at 2 months old. I used to cycle through a lot of emotion when I saw posts like that from my mom friends, and I’ve settled the correct emotion being pity. And if she’s a) noticing and b) offended by who is and isn’t liking her posts, she has much bigger issues.

      • bluefield says:

        Also: I’m not sure if there’s a word for it, but I call this kind of behavior “This is my perfect life on social media”

        • I have an acquaintance who posts like this (although she doesn’t have children). In the 6 years I’ve known her, she’s been married 3 times. I’m not close enough with her to know the details, but her life cannot be as perfect as the highlight reel makes it appear.

          • bluefield says:

            One of my best friends is like this. I love her and she’s amazing in every other way except this. I also know that her life is not perfect and she has family drama, work drama, friend drama, etc., just like the rest of us.

  5. Vanity request – I’m 39 weeks with #2 and just started noticing red stretch marks. Is there anything I can do to reverse or slow this down? I know this is a ridiculous request, but you all are magical with tips and tricks, so I thought I’d take a chance. I also know that I was very lucky to have my belly go back to my version of normal after the first one, so I figured that would also happen this time around, so I am just a bit surprised I guess.

    • As someone with a belly that looks like an angry watermelon at 37 weeks and has since about 20 weeks, all the doctors have told me it’s genetics and all the creams in the world won’t make a difference. Nevertheless, I am going to try the Mederma stretch marks cream on them post-delivery, since I have had a good experience with that brand on other scars, and likely the scar cream too since it is increasingly likely I will be getting a c-section next week (but I think you have to wait something like 6 weeks for the incision to fully heal first).

    • Anonymous says:

      Cocoa Butter? It can’t hurt? But honestly I started using cocoa butter and shea butter on my belly of my pregnancy at like 10 weeks, and I still got stretch marks. And like you (and most people) I didn’t get them low down on my belly until the last 2-3 weeks. Like if I had given birth at 37 weeks I would’ve been stretch mark free. I just think it happens when the baby gets big at the end and drops, thus putting weight on the low part of your belly.

      • JayJay says:

        This is exactly what happened to me. If I had my baby at 38 weeks, I would have zero stretch marks.

        And if it makes you feel better, I was really depressed about getting those stretch marks. But, they faded. I honestly don’t even notice them anymore. I still wear a bikini at the pool every week during the summer and I’ve never felt self-conscious about them. I have *so many* things that I have to think about on any given day, that I’ve decided stretch marks that I can do nothing about aren’t worth the mental real estate.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          FWIW, I have a giant incision scar down my stomach and I wear a two-piece whenever I swim because I haven’t found a well-fitting one-piece. A few people have asked about the scar (mostly women) and we tend to have the best mom-to-mom conversations. I don’t know if stretch marks would spur that kind of conversation, but it was a totally unexpected side effect of something that I expected to make me really self-conscious.

    • So I got one stretch mark late in my pregnancy and then a solid week after my baby was born, my lower stomach was suddenly COVERED with angry red stretch marks. I was enraged. BUT they’re also all completely gone now, and were gone just a few months postpartum. So maybe the later they show up, the less chance they stick around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Buy the $30 tube of the Mederma stretch mark stuff. Spend more time in a pool.

      I have stretch marks from a growth spurt in third grade (hips, knees, back), so I was pretty serious about trying to minimize pregnancy ones. Though my skin is prone to them I got through with basically none on my stomach (added a few to my hips/thighs, but I did not treat those areas daily.)

  6. Anonymous says:

    My period is late. Only 5ish days and still within what I would consider reasonable variability after starting again post-baby a few months ago but I might stop at the drug store and buy a test to make myself feel better when I have a few spare minutes, and I will be really worried by this weekend. I emphatically do not want to be pregnant right now. DH emphatically does not want any more kids because of time and financial constraints. I know we imperfectly used BC at a dangerous time in my cycle. I’m so distracted and I just needed to fret about that for a minute.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Oh no! Sending you internet hugs and good thoughts. Fingers crossed….

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Fret away. Fingers crossed you get the outcome you want! From personal experience, buying tests = getting your period.

      • Love this. Especially if the CVS near your office only carries the kind that costs $20 for a single test.

        • Pigpen's Mama says:

          And if you’re wearing new underwear and/or white pants.

          Sending good thoughts your way.

    • If you get the result you don’t want, you also have options too. There is the obvious one that is always the subject of much political debate. I’m not using the word because I swear internet folk just search for it to join new places to debate it further. If that’s not your thing, you can tell people you were my surrogate and I’ll adopt since I’m starting to look down that road any way. I say that light hearted because I know it’s not that easy for most people but if you were sitting there thinking, if only there was someone interested, someone is and I’m probably not the only one. I hope it all works out though and you have no decisions to make!

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you all! Test was negative, I’ll wear white pants tomorrow, too, for extra luck.

  7. Does anyone have a small to medium sized nylon tote bag that they like? I’m looking for a weekend bag that is smaller than a diaper bag, but bigger than most of my purses (I am usually a small-purse person). I want it to hold the toddler’s water bottle, snacks, extra change of clothes, and also my kindle, phone, wallet, and small beauty pouch (which contains a few tampons, lip gloss, comb, and hand sanitizer). I’m pretty certain that I want a nylon fabric for durability and the tote style is just my style. Thanks!

    • I know people love or hate them, but I love the Longchamp ‘Le Pliage’ Expandable Tote (note this is not the expandable travel duffel sold elsewhere which looks HUGE). The expandable tote might be a Nordstrom exclusive. I have a few – work bags, travel bags, etc., and the ability to size it up or down is huge. They have held up extremely well to very heavy use. And if the fabric starts to fray a bit on the bottom corners you can take it back to Nordstrom and they fix it (I haven’t done this but my mom and sisters have).

      • Sabba says:

        I know lots of Longchamp fans and love them, but I’ve never got on board. It just doesn’t speak to me. I have another expandable travel bag and can see why this one would be loved for trips!

    • CPA Lady says:

      I have two nylon totes– one is the small pliage (#hatersgonhate) and the other is from LL Bean. The Bean one (everyday lightweight tote) might be too big, but it’s extremely lightweight. The pliage is basically the same size as a purse. I love them both.

      • Sabba says:

        The Bean one isn’t quite what I’m looking for (I want more of a purse look), but now I’m looking at it because I might need that in my life too. It looks like a really convenient bag to take to the pool/beach/gym.

    • I’m not a tote person, but check out Baggalini. I have a crossbody that I use as my “mom purse” on the weekends to hold all the stuff you mentioned, and I’m thinking about getting a bigger one for a work travel bag.

      • EP-er says:

        +1 to Baggalini Cross body. Super lightweight, lots of intelligent pockets. My TJ Maxx & Marshall’s had a ton of them this spring, when I bought mine.

    • Skip Hop Versa

      • Sabba says:

        I can’t bring myself to buy another diaper bag, although this is cute. My search of this one also led me to the “day to night” Skip Hop diaper bag, and I’m scratching my head as to who needs a “day to night” diaper bag.

    • Sabba says:

      Thanks all! Baggalini might do the trick. I want something that almost looks like a purse instead a diaper bag (so happy to not be doing diapers anymore), and I think that will work.

    • Stephanie says:

      I know you said tote and not backpack, but… after looking for a tote for a long time, I finally relented and I have a Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack that I use for what you are describing. Even though all of those things sound relatively small, it really took a toll on my shoulder when it was all in a tote. It’s something to consider, especially if you won’t have a stroller to throw the tote onto.

  8. NewMomAnon says:

    Kiddo and I have been doing some light hiking, and it turns out that sneakers are not optimal hiking shoes for either of us. What kind of shoes should I be looking for? It feels like true hiking boots are overkill, but we need something sturdier than regular Stride Rites/running shoes. AND does anyone know of a brand that makes said shoes in a kids size 9-ish? I’ve found kids hiking boots in bigger sizes, but none in the preschool/toddler size range.

    • avocado says:

      My kid used to wear hiking shoes by Merrell and Keen in toddler sizes for hiking and to day care. REI is a good place to start.

      • I second the recommendation for Keens. The soles are super durable, especially compared to running shoes. My kid can destroy a pair of Stride Rites in no time, but Keens go the distance.

    • Not sure about for children, but for you I’d recommend getting a trail running specific shoe. There’s more stability built into the sole than with regular running shoes. But you can still use them on pavement.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Thank you! Ordered Keens for kiddo and a pair of trail running shoes for myself. Zappos for the win!

  9. I feel so dumb talking about this, but can someone please talk me down and remind me that it’s FINE that we’re not doing kid activities in a super intense way? My son is in early elementary school, and I feel like I’m surrounded by parents who are trying to get their kids into the Olympics. One of my college friends, who I’ve always considered like-minded, is super into her kid’s soccer “career.” Like she and her husband deliberately picked a league that they think will best prepare Junior for college ball. She reallly looks down on rec sports because they’re not competitive enough. He’s 8 years old and has four soccer games a week, not including tournaments.

    Another friend’s kids are in the area’s top swim teams. All of these kids are ages 7, 8 and 9. Meanwhile, we’re still farting around in the Y leagues. We have NO INTEREST in becoming sports parents and our kid doesn’t have a burning passion for any one sport. Also, there is a logistics issue. Because we physically can’t be 9 places at once, we bounce around a lot. He’s happy doing soccer one semester, swimming the next, and maybe something else in between. He does Cub Scouts year-round. We dropped out of t-ball after two summers because all of us hated it, and let me tell you, that was a great decision. We’re having fun swimming and biking together on the weekends instead. During the school year, he’s the type of kid that benefits from the downtime at home in the evenings. He already goes to before/aftercare, which makes the school day so long for him.

    I hate that I even worry about this. But part of me wonders that I’m doing my kid a disservice by holding him back and taking a moderate approach to activities. Will he get to play high school sports? Probably not, but most kids won’t. We’ve chosen to focus on putting our family time first, but that’s a really hard thing to work into a conversation. And oh my goodness, kids’ activities enter every dang conversation with other parents, it seems. When I’ve said things like, “Oh, we’re taking a break from baseball this summer,” I get weird, surprised looks. Or, the response is, “Oh, Junior would never go for that.” To which I have to bite my tongue from saying, YOU ARE THE PARENT. Why does Junior get to dictate the entire family’s schedule?

    • Marilla says:

      I’m not there yet with my daughter, but in my inexperienced, subjective opinion, you’re actually doing the best thing for your kid by not overscheduling him and pressuring him into super intense activities. You know your kid best and you know what your family needs to be happy. My judgy opinion is that a lot of those parents are signing their kids up for all kinds of stuff based on what the parent wants, not based on what’s really best for their kid. Kids need unscheduled, relaxed downtime to play, do nothing, be creative, be silly, be bored, etc etc etc.

      • +1 . Those other parents are probably miserable because their lives have been taken over by these activities. From your second paragraph, I gather your son doesn’t feel like he’s missing out and that he’s happy, which is all that matters. I think you’re fine! And there are so many other benefits to sports besides the possibility of a college scholarship. Rec leagues are great.

        • Cornellian says:

          I wonder the average ROI is for people who spend hundreds a week ferrying their kid to travel games, buying equipment, training, etc. Even if every one of those kids ended up with a full ride to college, I doubt it would have been a good investment, ha. Keep going to the Y and open a 529.

          • This is my thought! I mean it’s really nerdy of me…but I think a lot of parents are hoping on a “sports will pay for college” bet, and they would be better off investing all the money they spend on travel leagues, sport-specific summer camps, and gear into a 529!

          • avocado says:

            The ROI for us has been a lot of free t-shirts. Mostly ugly ones.

    • Cornellian says:

      My kid is six months old, but in my judgy unqualified opinion, you’re right.

    • DD is only 4 months old…but in my opinion you’re doing a great job. It sounds like your kid is happy and as parents this schedule works for you. He’s getting physical exercise, learning teamwork through these different sports, and learning the rules of different sports! And you and your kid aren’t stressed out by intense pressure and schedules. So this sounds all in all good to me.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I recently read an article, which of course I can’t find to link, about children getting horrible lifelong injuries because they are playing sports at such an intense level before their bodies are developmentally ready. Surgeries that only used to be done on middle aged people are now being done on teenagers because their joints and tendons are so destroyed from playing intensive sports for 10 straight years. It’s not just a mental health thing, it’s a physical health thing.

      • This is true. My husband wrecked his shoulder with super competitive international swimming in high school. His truly hardcore practices didn’t start until 9th grade. If he had started in elementary or middle he wouldn’t have even made it to high school level competition. He didn’t even continue in college because he recognized it was ridiculous to have permanent damage. He pursued a career that required some physical agility and if he had kept swimming, he wouldn’t have been able to. He turned down the scholarship.

        • avocado says:

          +1. Overuse injury is a huge risk and a frequent career-ender in my kid’s sport. We have had to push back against the coaches on this front a few times.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve read articles along the lines that being a “sports omnivore” is physically a lot better for kids. Both because if you do a lot of sports it’s hard to train in one of them to the point of an overuse injury, and because switching likely naturally corrects muscle imbalances that could result from focusing and contribute to serious injuries. Also, it’s beneficial for developing overall athleticism, too. Improving your hand-eye coordination in a variety of settings helps with just about every sport except swimming and running. Football players cross-train in ballet all the time to help with agility. etc etc

    • Does your child WANT to do more? If not, I think what you are doing is perfect. So much of what is valuable about athletics – instilling a love of physical activity, practicing team work, learning to do things that don’t come easily, persistence – will be perfectly instilled by what you are doing. It is possible some of your peers have kids who are sports obsessed and are just following their child’s lead.

      I swam competitively as a teen by my choice. Partly because we lived in Florida and partly due to my age, super competitive, time-intensive teams were my only option. And it was exhausting (my doctor tested me for mono at some point because I was so tired, but I was just worn out)! I had no natural talent and was the worst swimmer on the team, but I stuck with it because my relationship with my coach was important to me. But I think I would have really LOVED swimming if it could have been done more halfway. I walked away from it when I went to college and have never looked back.

      • bluefield says:

        I agree with the first paragraph. It is possible that other kids are just more athletic or athletic-minded and WANT to do sports. I took my daughter to a soccer class when she was two and there was another kid there that was GOOD. His mom told me that he watched soccer videos on YouTube and told her he wanted to be like the guys on the videos. Some kids are just more interested in sports.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is my son. He will watch any sport on TV, and then he’ll go practice and try to mimic whatever he saw the pros do for an hour+ (which is an incredible attention span for a 4 year old). He is really, really good at sports, and I’m dreading the day he wants to seriously compete. It’s definitely coming, I just have no idea which sport because he likes and is good at them all.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have friends whose 4 year old does “swim meets” so he can be prepared for Olympic level swimming in his teen years and I’m like….what? We do one activity a week, two if I get to hang out with a friend’s mom during one of them. Our activities rotate based on what’s convenient that session; swimming, “soccer,” gymnastics, dance, martial arts, etc.

      I disagree that your kid may not get to play high school sports if you don’t specialize at age 8. He or she might not get to play on the varsity team freshman year, but most schools have a JV or even a C squad for popular sports. If a kid learns at an early age to move his or her body, to enjoy physical exertion, and to think strategically about competitive activities, they’ll be able to pop in and out of different sports by just learning the special techniques specific to each sport. And being able to drop into a pickup game whether it’s soccer, tennis, basketball, volleyball, or kickball, seems more beneficial from a social perspective than being “the star high school gymnast.”

    • Blueberry says:

      What’s the end game for all of this prep? That they play college ball? Then… they make a living playing professional sports? Really?? I loved high school sports and would have been bummed if I was too unprepared to play those, but I’m glad I wasn’t good enough to play at the college level, because again, what’s the end game for which you are sacrificing all of your time in college and probably not preparing yourself well for a career outside of professional sports? And if the end game is professional sports, well, it is pretty silly to bank on that, no matter how hard you prepare starting from the age of 4.

      So I guess if I were you, I’d encourage him to play sports because sports are good for you and because he might regret not being good enough to play on a school team one day, and try to ignore the crazies who treat kids’ sports like a job.

      • I guess what surprises me most is who in the world can predict which 8-year-old is going to have a future in sports? The kid’s talent may tap out at some point, he could get injured, he could get burned out, he could get overshadowed by a superstar teammate … I mean, really, what is the point of shooting for that? And possibly burning up every weekend (and free dollar) to make it happen? Most kids are just not that exceptional as athletes, and those who are will likely be noticed no matter what their parents do.

        • avocado says:

          You don’t spend all your money and weekend time on sports because you think your 8-year-old is going to go pro, you do it because it makes your 8-yuear-old deliriously happy in the moment.

          • anon for this says:

            Maybe this is what you do, but there are many other reasons parents do this.

    • anon for this says:

      I agree with you. And this is coming from a two-sport D1 athlete and my husband is a former Olympian/former professional athlete!

      I have a tween and a teenager, and they dabbled in sports when they were younger until they figured out what they wanted to do. We encouraged them to play sports for fitness and team building, not to reach any particular goal. Now they are taking them more seriously and are playing competitively in school, but we never put them in these “elite” sports leagues for little kids and we don’t make demands about achievements they need to make. It seems a little insane to me for a 7 year old to have track or swim practice 6 days a week for multiple hours each day. It also seems crazy to ask a teenager to make a goal of winning states.

      As an aside, it also seems a little cruel to push a non-athletic or moderately athletic child so hard and except so much. No matter how much training and practice some people have, they just won’t be top competitors.

      • avocado says:

        Winning is not the only goal. A kid doesn’t have to be a top competitor to benefit from playing.

        • I think you’re saying the same thing? Her kids have done sports, but she’s pushing back against the idea that every kid should be ultra-competitive. If it works for your family, awesome, but some of us hate that this has become the expectation for all kids. Even those who are only moderately interested, which does not describe your daughter.

          • avocado says:

            I read it as, why bother giving a kid super intense training if the kid isn’t going to win. I would say, let the kid have as much training as she wants and you can reasonably manage, whether or not she’s going to win.

          • avocado says:

            I do agree with you that it is silly to make this the expectation for all kids.

          • anon for this says:

            Yeah, this. If a kid is super into something and wants to go at it full throttle, that can make sense to do so. That being said, I still can’t see a 5 year old being super interested in being a ultra-competitive swimmer and training 10+ hours a week. Now a 14 year old, different story.

        • anon for this says:

          Um, yeah? That’s exactly what I was saying.

    • Walnut says:

      My deepest fear is my child getting super into a sport (I mean, not really, but sorta, maybe, a little bit…)

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I fear having to sit through the Super Soccer Saturdays I remember from my elementary school years, much less super competitive sporting events….

        • Walnut says:

          My siblings and I were not particularly athletically inclined growing up. My worst summer memories are sitting through endless softball/baseball games. My favorite memories started the year we were bribed with a pool pass and ice cream in exchange for all of us quitting softball/baseball.

      • +1! Not sports, but one of my uncles was a professional ballet dancer, and he told my mom when I started taking ballet lessons, “Don’t let her get too serious!” And then when I was in middle school we moved house, and my parents conveniently ‘forgot’ to look for a new ballet school for me in the new neighbourhood…

    • EP-er says:

      You are doing what is best for your family. Keep it up! Travel sports are okay for some families, but not for us. We specifically looked for a non-competitve dance school for my daughter — we didn’t want to get into the hair & make-up and expensive costumes and pressure when what we want for her is to learn a little grace! We do swim lessons for the life skill but not swim team at this age. And we limit the number of activities so that they aren’t dictating our family schedule.

      Now, lots of parents like the structure and really think they have a future Olympian on their hands — but we just want to have fun & still have family time. Good for them, not us. Burn out is a real thing — for sports and academics. We’re trying to be moderate with both of those.

    • avocado says:

      It sounds like you are doing exactly what’s best for your child and your family, and your friends are what are called Crazy Sports Parents. The only thing that doesn’t sound nuts is the parents’ statements that their kids would never consent to take a summer off–my kid refuses to take even one day off. I say this as the parent of a child who has been on a pretty intense track in her sport since age 5. Pretty intense as in she is not going to the Olympics or the NCAA, but her club doesn’t allow kids on her track participate in high school sports. We would never have agreed to let her take this path if it hadn’t been obvious from day 1 that this sport is her grand passion in life. I was also influenced by the resentment I still harbor towards my parents for denying me a similar opportunity because they didn’t want to be bothered. She lives and breathes the sport, writes all her school essays about it, and consistently prioritizes it above other opportunities. The journey is hers and we as parents are mostly just along for the ride. She is not naturally athletic and detests most other sports, and if she weren’t in this sport she’d want to spend most of her time sitting on the couch. We do not think we’re investing in an NCAA scholarship, but in physical fitness and character development and an experience she will cherish for a lifetime. Sure, we have gone to some pretty insane lengths to get her to practices and competitions, but it’s mostly been worth it, like the time we decided to drive through a snowstorm to get her to a competition for which she had been preparing harder than ever before, and she had a breakthrough performance that permanently improved her overall self-confidence.

      The parents you describe are sadly present in every kids’ sport and activity. We have known a few–the ones who have changed clubs every season because the coaches didn’t do things the way they wanted, the ones who loudly complain from the sidelines about their kids’ performance when they are obviously the best, the ones who limit their other children’s activities so they can drag the whole family to the chosen one’s baseball tournaments every weekend. Not all sports parents are like that.

      If your kid doesn’t have that intense passion for any particular sport, you are absolutely right to let him try all sorts of organized and informal activities. He might not make the varsity baseball or soccer team as a freshman, but there are plenty of high school sports he can do with no prior experience if that’s what he wants.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I think this is the way to go. If your kid lives and breathes a sport, sure, put in the effort to make that happen for him or her. But if your kid doesn’t have that passion, you/he/your family will not benefit by pushing him into something simply because he may be talented at it.

    • Spirograph says:

      I haven’t read all the responses, and my kids aren’t old enough for major structured activities and sports teams, but I think you sound sane! I refuse to do more than one activity per kid at a time (unless it’s still only one trip. Like if both can do swimming and t-ball at the same time, they can have 2). And unless my kid is super amazing awesome at some sport AND really wants to play it at a high level, I will not enroll them in logistics-intensive, competitive teams.

      I think it’s good for kids to dabble in lots of things and have fun with them, and I think it’s good for parents to not let their kids’ activities take over their (parents’) lives.

  10. (Replying to Cornelius)

    Ugh – that sounds awful. I’ve also heard lecithin can help since it’s an emulsifier and is supposed to make milk less “sticky”. You can find it in a pharmacy with the supplements or order online. I have been taking it and it helped with a lingering clogged duct, but IANAD so you might want to ask your OB.

    • Cornellian says:

      Thanks! I am actually taking soy lecithin. Maybe I should up my dose/be more religious about it…

      • Anonymous says:

        I found that sunflower lecithin actually worked better for me. Soy didn’t seem to do anything at all. Something else to try if you keep having the issues.

  11. Looking for some advice or maybe just reassurance… I received a call from my 6 month old’s lead daycare teacher today. She told me that he is consistently fussy to the point of being inconsolable 1.5 hours after his bottles. The teacher suggested that I eliminate dairy to help the situation.

    I went down this path with my first and I don’t think it made much of an impact. I am willing to try again but do you have suggestions for other things to try in the interim? Different bottle maybe? We currently use Dr. Brown’s with size one.

    There is no doubt that he is a challenging baby but I hate the idea that he is miserable so much of the day. He is evidently happiest in a bouncy seat and spends most of the day there including for some naps.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Have you talked to the pediatrician? Because if he is happiest semi-upright in a bouncy seat and miserable after eating, it could be reflux or insufficient burping… or diary intolerance or not enough sleep or not enough interaction or too much stimulus or a number of other things. I’d call the ped, leave a message, and just talk it through when they have a chance.

    • Walnut says:

      Have you experienced this same reaction at home? If not, I’d be surprised if the “dairy intolerance” only occurs at daycare. I would ask if they’re using similar techniques as you are at home (burping, etc.)

      • I really don’t think I have noticed it. I exclusively BF at home which is why I was wondering if the bottle could be the culprit. Also, he goes down fine after nursing for the night and sleeps decently well lately (knock on wood).

        • Just rereading your original post and wondering if I misunderstood. Is she saying the baby is happy initially and then starts fussing 1.5 hours later, or is unhappy for a 1.5 hour period following a bottle? If the former, maybe baby is hungry again and daycare worker thinks it is too soon?

          Are you sending breast milk or formula or a mix?

          • She says he is consistently fussy 1.5 hours after eating. He is enormous – almost 20 lbs.- but can easily go 3-4 hours between meals. Just sending breast milk. Two 5-oz bottles and a 4 oz bottle for 8 hours apart.

    • Anonymous says:

      Having cut out dairy completely with my first, I feel you on how horrible/difficult it is. But I also highly doubt that it’s the issue with your 6.5 month old unless this has been a long running issue. Usually the biggest indicator of a dairy issue is green foamy p**ps. I would think perhaps it could be an ear infection…

      • I have wondered about dairy at various points but I just don’t think it is the culprit. I can eat a giant ice cream cone in the afternoon and he will sleep fine that night. I really think I just make large, angry babies that turn into fabulous toddlers. Daycare teachers, however, don’t like that answer.

  12. I’m just in the beginning of my second trimester and still feel tired and sort of off; mild headaches or back aches, sleepy, heavy, just meh. I remember feeling this way in my first trimester with baby no. 1 – esp. just being tired and sort of fuzzy headed – but I don’t remember the vague headaches and back problems, and I always assumed that once people get past 12 weeks, they feel pretty good until close to the end.

    The last time, I generally felt great the entire time and I didn’t really have any issues this time around either except what I mention now – part of me thinks that I just don’t remember the vague symptoms because 1) they aren’t the typical things you expect from pregnancy and 2) I was way more excited to just be pregnant, and I didn’t have to deal with a toddler the entire time I wasn’t at work. I guess my question is one of “is this normal”? I’m going to ask my doctor when I see her later this week but trying to avoid a freak out down the google rabbit hole so posting here instead.

    • Every pregnancy is different and every woman is different. FWIW, I felt a bit better around 13-14 weeks (aka not puking every day like I was), but I didn’t feel great until 20 weeks. I also had backaches at the beginning of my second trimester and things expanded (more like sciatica), and that went away around 19-20 weeks as well. The prenatal massage with a really experienced therapist helped a lot. Are you taking prenatals with iron? The headaches and fatigue could be anemia, or it could just be pregnancy.

      • That’s something to check. My iron levels were a little low last time around so maybe I just need to up my iron intake. Thanks!

    • October says:

      Yes, normal. Every pregnancy is so different, and I bet that the toddler is contributing to those aches and pains ;) With my first I had back pain in just the first trimester; with my second, it came on much later. With my first, I was mildly nauseous until 18 weeks; with my second I was VERY NAUSEOUS but only until about 13/14 weeks (which is when first trimester really officially ends). The line between the first trimester doldrums and the second trimester sweet spot is very blurred; you may feel better in a couple more weeks.

    • I actually really liked googling while pregnant because it’s the only time in the world where everything you search for is normal during pregnancy. I don’t think there is a normal during pregnancy.

      • Ha, thank you both! I di google “headaches and pregnancy” and it said normal during the first semester but then should stop, which is what made me nervous (14 weeks). I also have a very low tolerance for the “baby” s*tes and their collective wisdom/hysteria. I think October is probably right – not sleeping well because my daughter still tosses thru the night and then insists on coming to our bed at least 1/3 of the time and having to carry her little 27 lb. self around is probably contributing to all this.

        On an aside, I have a friend who is a serious hypochondriac and she loves being pregnant b/c of all the doctor visits. She describes it as the only time her mind was truly at ease. Me, I prefer when I can just not think about my health for months, if not years, at a time.

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s funny about your friend. I’m a slight hypochondriac but have been a little miffed that the doctor visits are zero percent focused on my health and 100% on the baby. They weigh me (which I think really has more to do with baby because if I gain too much or too little it’s bad for baby) but otherwise it’s all about the baby’s health. I’ve been having some heart palpitations, which the Internet says is normal during pregnancy, and when I asked the doctor she just said “Yep, normal, not going to hurt the baby” and didn’t do any exam or even listen to my heart, which I found kind of off-putting. I dunno… the maternal mortality stats have me all freaked out and it just scares me that nobody seems to care at all about my health except to the extent in which I’m a vessel for the baby.

      • I agree with HSAL – seems like everything and nothing is normal during pregnancy. My first and second trimesters were some of the worst times of my life. Third trimester was amazing – and everyone told me I should be hating pregnancy by now. So who knows! Hang in there like a kitten on a branch.

  13. Seeking internet Go-Ahead!

    MIL watches both of my girls (ages 11, 7) for before/after school care, and anytime the kids aren’t in school. She’s been the daycare provider for almost 10 years now.

    My oldest (11) is SO. SICK. OF. GRANDMA. Grandma is very religious, very conservative, 78 years old. She was great when the girls were very little, with her house set up like Playland and unlimited patience and attention. My youngest loves Grandma, but my oldest wants out. Now that she’s a preteen, Grandma is riding her about watching Teen Disney shows (that’s inappropriate!!!), heaving and sighing over her outfit choices, fighting with her about the immodesty of a bikini (note: 11 year old isn’t wearing one, just saying she’d LIKE to), and really coming down hard on her.

    My oldest is a good kid. She isn’t doing (or wearing) anything her Dad and I are uncomfortable with. MIL is being way too heavy handed, and I’m noticing my daughter is snapping at her out of frustration. The relationship is crumbling, and if it continues I think the relationship will be ruined. I’m also afraid of my daughter developing a, “If I’m always in trouble, I might as well have the fun of being bad!” attitude.

    I’d like to let my daughter ride the bus home after school, instead of going to grandma’s house. The bus stops at our house, she’d have to remember to carry her key, and she’d be there alone from 4:30 – 5:45 when I get home. My work is 15 minutes across town, Dad works from home 2 days per week and will be there with her on those days. She’d still take the AM bus to school from Grandma’s house, so this would just be an after school thing. Youngest would continue before/after school care with Grandma, and probably be thrilled that her older sister ISN’T there.

    TL;DR: Should I let my 6th grade daughter ride the bus home instead of spending another year at Grandma’s house?

    • Also, 6th grader is begging, “PLEASE, PLEASE MOM! Let me take the bus home after school! I don’t want to spend another year with Grandma!”

    • I vote yes. I was allowed to walk home from school at that age (in NYC!) and be home until my mom got home around 5/6. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

    • October says:

      Yes (though may be worth checking out the laws in your state, just in case?). I was babysitting infants at 11 years old (I can’t believe it in retrospect). As long as you trust her to be responsible, I don’t think there’s any reason when she couldn’t be home alone for an hour.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Yes this – I didn’t realize there were actual laws about how old your kid had to be before you left them alone (I always figured that it was common sense and you wouldn’t leave an 8 year old alone but a 12 year old was fine if they were responsible).

      • I’m in Pennsylvania, and there is no legal minimum age for leaving a kid at home. It’s up to the parents. General recommendations seem to be between the ages of 10-12.

        She’ll be 12 in November and is a responsible kid. She’s a good student and even has her own dog walking “business” with a steady customer for over a year. :)

    • I also vote yes. This was my arrangement starting in 6th grade, and I loved it. I had the whole house to myself and I would make myself a snack, turn on whatever music I liked, and do my homework while watching Square One (the ’90s math show on PBS – anyone else a fan?). If she’s responsible and you trust her, I think that could be a great solution for everyone.

      • YES! I loved that show! With Mathnet, the Dragnet parody! So good.

      • Oh my gosh, memories! I loved that show!

        I actually started taking public transit home solo at age 9 (4th grade, city kid), though one or both of my grandparents would be there to fix lunch, supervise homework, and look after my baby sister. At that age I was mostly self-sufficient and capable of remembering my key, transit pass, etc. Sometimes after doing homework would go out and hop on the public bus to go to the library, etc. That said, it was a very safe neighbourhood (not in the US) and a very safe route.

      • ElisaR says:

        i am now singing “Square One!” song in my head…. loved it. Mathnet. The names are made up but the problems are real.

    • Can you compromise? She can do it on days that Dad is WFH at first, and in a month you’ll all reassess to see if it’s going well. If it is, then you can add one day alone. Reassess, etc. That’s if you’re not comfortable going right into it.

      Second of all, WHY aren’t you talking to MIL about this?? If you and Partner are fine with things, why aren’t you shutting down MIL’s comments? You are teaching your daughter that faaaaaaamily is more important than standing up for someone. Rethink why you’re letting this continue, and why you think you would let it continue, even to the point of ruining the entire relationship.

      Third of all, then talk to your daughter about how to stand up for herself. People seem to feel it’s okay to criticize a woman’s body and choices, which your MIL is clearly demonstrating, so help her model the right attitude and behavior and she’ll benefit the rest of her life. Use this as an opportunity to help her grow into the person you hope she’ll be, and maybe you’ll even grow closer out of that.

      • 1. In our district, kids can’t switch buses and go different places during the week. Pick up at A, drop off at B, period. Not good enough? Then drive your kid yourself.

        2. Husband has talked to MIL and even stressed that he disliked his pastor grandpa for similar behavior towards him as a boy, and she’s ruining her relationship with Oldest. He’s also stressed that we want her to be Grandma, not Disciplinarian, and to let us worry about these issues. I’m certain MIL is going to continue to speak out and try to correct my daughter, and insert her own (very) conservative Christian views no matter the fallout. She’s old and digging in deeper and deeper, and when you’re using your family for cheap childcare, this is the price you pay. You can’t walk in all sassy and demand changes. You quietly work with it, or you end the arrangement. I can see there is no working with it, so I’m ready to end it.

        3. We are.

        • shortperson says:

          for days when she is w grandma, in addition to teaching her to stand up for herself, probably would be good to talk with her about learning about knowing your audience.another important skill that she is old enough to learn. i.e. prob shouldnt bring up your bikini wishes w grandma. and no need to talk disney junior either. as far as i know my parents didnt know i read teen magazines, i certainly did not bring it up or keep them lying around as they would not have approved. she’s old enough to understand that there’s a difference between burying your true self and selecting the appropriate audience for different types of conversations.

          but yes please let her go home by herself. she’ll be fine.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      OMG, yes, I would let her take the bus and be home for an hour and a half. Also, my parents used a situation like this as leverage – in exchange for the “privilege” of staying home alone, I had some “responsibilities” to the family. Like…laundry or vacuuming or preheating the oven and getting dinner started.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate says:

      Another yes vote.

    • I’d say yes, let your daughter take the bus home on a trial basis and see how it goes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently things have changed a lot since the 1980s because someone the other day said you would have CPS called on you for doing this, but I started riding the bus home when I was 10 or so (beginning of fifth grade) and I was home alone for about an hour and a half until my parents got home (3:30-5ish).

      Also, I lived with my grandmother for a summer as a teenager (15 yo) and it irreparably damaged our relationship. Growing up we had that stereotypical super loving grandparent-grandchild relationship where the child can do no wrong and the grandparent is completely adored by the child. When I lived with her, she acted like my substitute parent (with much stricter rules) and we fought all the time. We still loved each other, but our relationship was never the same after that and we were no longer really close. Something to consider.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Seconding the ‘yes’ votes, seconding the ‘this can be a learning opportunity for daughter.’

      Good luck!

    • I’ll add my “yes” vote to the consensus.

    • Yes. Our preteen has really enjoyed the freedom and responsibility.

    • Lurker says:

      This sounds like an odd question but does she act her age or her grade? I was 12-13 in 8th grade (late birthday, started school a year early) and would have been fine home alone. I’m not sure I would have been fine in 6th grade. 7th grade I was an emotional wreck so I probably would have accidentally burned the house down playing with matches.

    • Wehaf says:

      Yes, let her! One thing to note is that her grandmother’s judgement is not just bad for their relationship, but it is bad for your daughter to be subjected to on a constant basis. Grandma is giving off lots of toxic messages and even if your daughter consciously disagrees with them I guarantee she is subconsciously absorbing some of them – they’re like second hand smoke. So this is not just a question of preserving a relationship but of keeping your daughter safe from toxic attitudes.

  14. avocado says:

    Absolutely yes, as long as you are not going to run into CPS issues. I’d prohibit her from having friends over without an adult in the house. I’d also have her practice staying home alone on a weekend first, which would be much less intimidating than arriving home to an empty house.

  15. This was easy but now DH WFH says:

    I am exhausted and need some help out of my mental fog. We have two young kids and the youngest is 2.5, so enough said there :-). Work is mentally exhausting and we’ve had some really tough family stuff and I am just DONE. Previously, I would have taken a couple days off work, napped, gotten a pedi, watched some SVU or Teen Mom. But all of a sudden Dh works from home full time. He plays music all day long and if I’m home he wants to interact, wants a kiss, wants to know what I am doing or when I’m eating lunch or what I’m planning for dinner or OMG LEAVE ME ALONE.
    I loathe shopping and spending money in general. What can I do, where could I go, for a workday, to recharge my batteries? Not looking for an overnight, or a $$ spa day. No museums, no lunch dates, basically no talking or thinking or being sociable required.

    • Blueberry says:

      Can DH WFCoffeeShop one day so that you can be alone and relax? and/or you can go to the movies by yourself.

    • How about a hotel (local) for the day? On credit card points? My idea of a perfect mental health/recharging day would be being alone in my own house right after the cleaning lady left with husband and kids returning 10 hours later happier than when they left. And no emails/calls from clients. (I can ignore most of the rest.) Second-best is same thing in a nice hotel room in town…bonus if it’s free.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read magazines at Barnes and Noble, eat lunch out, go to mindless movie, go to beach/park/pool and read

  16. This was easy but now DH WFH says:

    Gosh, thank you all! My brain just is not functioning. The pool sounds lovely… oh to go the pool without worry for the kids…😄 Actually, the B&N comment reminded me of the local B&N, with walking trails and restaurants and even a chocolate shop and hotel if needed!

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