Make My Life Easier Thursday: Premier Protein

This may be an odd little tip, but it’s a new hack that I’m so happy to have discovered that I thought I’d share — among folks on Weight Watchers’ people love this high protein drink and add it to everything. I’ve seen people make waffles with it, put in smoothies, and make their own Frappuccino-like drink by getting a shot or two of espresso in a big cup at Starbucks and then adding a full container of Premier Protein. I’m fine with black coffee and don’t make a lot for myself where I add milk (oatmeal, maybe), but I did think to try adding just a splash or two to tea — and it’s my new favorite pick-me-up in the afternoon. Combos I’m a particular fan of: mint chocolate tea or peppermint tea with about 2 Tbsp of chocolate premier protein (low calorie, small protein hit, and it’s like drinking a hot cocoa — go herbal if you don’t want caffeine, black tea if you do) — chai tea with a splash of vanilla — or even a fancier caramel tea with a splash of caramel or vanilla. It’s made my life better and easier in some ways (my 3:00 snack is taken care of!) so I thought I’d share. Readers, do you have any similar hacks to share? You can pick up Premier Protein (or Muscle Milk, which I’ve also heard great things about) at just about any drugstore or grocery store; you can also buy a wider variety of flavors at Amazon.

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  1. I’m currently two months pregnant with our first child, and we live overseas in a location where maternity and baby things are either difficult to find or horrifically expensive (3-6x). I will, however, be stateside for work later this month and in my fourth month.
    Based on your experiences, are there any items I will definitely need and can predict the appropriate type/size/whatever so that I could just pick them on one of my US trips, where pricing and availability is much better? I don’t want to over-purchase or be wasteful; at the same time, I don’t want to needlessly over-pay for everything or not be able to find something I truly need.
    Also, customs/duties are unlikely to be a concern so long as I can bring the items in/as luggage.

    • POSITA says:

      My favorite baby item in the whole world was our Rock-n-Play. It can fit in a very large suitcase when disassembled. It is magical for baby sleep from months 0-4.

      • Just warning – my baby hated swings so ymmv

        • POSITA says:

          It’s not a swing.

          • I found this pretty invaluable for the first few months too. It’s basically a little rocking crib and great for naps or going on an overnight trip (much less bulky than a pack and play).

      • +1 to the RNP. My kid exclusively slept in it for the first 4 months of his life. We also used it as a baby container. We had one on every floor of our house.

        • So funny how different kids are – mine never took to the RnP, and instead loved the swing!

          • Seriously. We had a super fancy swing (that was thankfully a hand-me-down) that my kid wanted nothing to do with.

    • nursing cover if you plan on breastfeeding and baby monitor with video if you don’t plan on having you baby sleep in the same room as you?

    • -Video baby monitor
      -Car seat and stroller
      -Breast pump (unless you plan to exclusively nurse or formula feed)
      -Bottles (unless you plan to exclusively breastfeed)
      -A variety of pacifiers
      -Swaddles (I am partial to Aden and Anais and the Halo velcro ones)
      -High chair
      -Boppy (we loved both the traditional Boppy for feeding, and the Boppy newborn lounger)
      -Baby carrier (we loved the solly baby for a soft wrap and the Ergo baby 360 with the infant insert for a structured wrap, but there are lots of others)
      -Nail scissors (we love the Piyo Piyo nail scissors)
      -White noise machine

      We also loved our Beaba Babycook and Fisher Price swing.

    • How is the climate where you are? If you’re somewhere with cold winters, I found the stroller/car seat muff pretty indispensable. Makes bundling baby up for winter easier and virtually unnecessary. Also stroller mittens. Best baby gift I received.

      Other things: a couple of swaddle blankets, some simple onesies with mitten cuffs b/c babies scratch themselves if their hands are exposed for the first few months, you should also get a couple of cotton mittens separately (gerber sells both and they’re very inexpensive on amazon), some nursing pads if you’re going to nurse (you can buy reusable ones), also if nursing, Earth Angel Mama N*pple Balm (it’s amazing and one tiny jar will last forever). At around 4 months, babies start to drool an insane amount – I found little fabric baby bibs really helpful, but they usually get soaked quickly. The one exception was the Neckerchew, which is a bit pricey but 1 of those was way more useful that 5 regular ones. Also, I really liked mustela baby foaming shampoo for cradle cap. Again, one bottle was basically plenty. And if it’s logistically possible, get an infant tub.

      • POSITA says:

        Zutano booties are also fabulous for cold weather. They stay on really well, unlike baby socks.

    • EB0220 says:

      My sister lives overseas. She get small things in the states: Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, Soothies pacifiers, water wipes! You may also want to think about getting a carseat in the states because not all countries require the chest clip like the US does. (Not sure where you live.)

      • Anonymous says:

        Be careful with this though. The local laws may prohibit the ones with chest clips. The seats without chest clips are designed differently so that they are not necessary. Check what certification is required in the country where it will be used.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you post where you are? Video monitors and breast pumps are great but may be useless if there are voltage or compatibility issues. Cold weather gear and wooden toys are generally cheaper in Europe than US. Baby carriers and strollers are cheaper in US even if you end up checking one as a piece of luggage. You should be able to bring back a certain amount duty free. Car seats will likely have to be bought locally to be compliant with local laws. If purchasing anything with electronics – consider whether it’s really worth it. A plug in swing will likely require a voltage adapter and a battery powered one may eat a lot of batteries.

      If you are somewhere with an IKEA – they are pretty much generally a great value for baby toys, linens and furniture.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      How about things for you? Nursing tanks/bras, maternity clothes, soft cardigans, would all be helpful. Also baby clothes in bigger sizes; just pick up packs of onesies or sleepers in size 6M, 9M, 12M and whatever comes after 12M….

      And the recommendation for swaddles is a good one. Pick up some different sizes and styles. I liked Halo with the wings, but I know some people loved the Merlin Magic Sleepsuit and the Zipadeezip. And if diapers are expensive, can you bring a huge suitcase and buy several big boxes to spread out amongst your luggage?

  2. Is anyone on here a special needs mom or mom to a kid with complex medical issues? I would be interested in hearing what works for you in your career and making time for your kid’s appointments and needs.

    My daughter is young but has a rare genetic condition. Her medical needs aren’t that difficult now but they will increase as she grows. Now she averages about 2-3 appointments per week which my husband and I trade off. I’m a lawyer in private practice, which seems like the best fit. My office isn’t big on facetime, just cares about hours and receipts, etc except I feel because I’m dealing with so much for her that I’m always catching up. I don’t really want to go part time but I don’t know what to do. I think I’d like to go somewhere less demanding but then wouldn’t I sacrifice flexibility? Just looking for any wisdom from the hive!

    • POSITA says:

      Are any of those appointments routine therapy appointments? Perhaps a very good nanny could help by taking your dd to the routine appointments. Then you could catch up with the therapist on a periodic basis.

      • Yes! My caregiver takes my son to all the therapy visits as well as some other routine check-ups (checking that his medical device is calibrated correctly, etc)
        It’s still hard because I feel like I’m not fully in the loop of it all, but it’s working. I’m also full time but have some control over my schedule which is useful.
        But yeah, it’s hard.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I work in government and, in my experience, it is not something I would recommend for your situation. Yes there’s always FMLA, but once you used up your leave and FMLA you’d be SOL. Much less flexibility than your current situation, a lot more focused on arriving and leaving at set times and putting face-time in the office with less flexibility to focus just on output/work product. So yes, less demanding in a lot of senses, but definitely sacrifices flexibility as well. It’s a trade off.

    • BigLaw says:

      It’s good that you have help. I agree that private practice is very flexible, but you might just open yourself to going PT b/c of the perpetually being behind.

      We had a year of chronic medical things for one of my children where it was a relief that I could work remotely 24/7 and catch up. I didn’t have help (and having to physically carry a 40-pound child everywhere meant that we couldn’t easily get help).

      I have had friends with kids who developed T1 diabetes when their kids were not old enough to self-manage (and their schools really weren’t able to help with the management) and basically had to stop working, so hang on any way you can. Having to quit is the worst.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      I had a longer reply but it got eaten.

      Not to be a downer, but most of the people I know that have children with a lot of medical needs ended up with one parent (let’s face it, it was universally the Mom) drop out of the workforce. Some have gone back part time once the kiddo hits school age. And in that situation there was normally a retired grandparent helping out quite a bit.

      Are you eligible for government funded personal care givers? Could this person take the kid to PT, OT etc. appointments? In my observations, once the kiddo hits full-time school ate this can get easier as a lot of the needed care comes through the schools, although I’m assuming this is for therapies and not MD visits.

      Lastly, hugs. This is tough. I grew up with two siblings that are low functioning and non-verbal on the autism spectrum (so physically healthy, but lots of doctors and therapists) and it is just hard. From the outside looking in, no one really knows how hard it truly can be. As a parent myself, I realize I didn’t truly understand what it was like for my parents, and I know I can’t even fathom what some of my friends are going through who have kids with delicate medical needs.

      • Edna Mazur says:

        Also, is there a family support group either online or in person you can join? I have a family member that has gotten great support and information from their local group (for Down’s syndrome if it matters). They’ve been able to get recommendation for babysitters, navigating social workers and IEPs, recommendations for attorneys, etc.

  3. Thanks for the advice on sleep training earlier in the week. Looks like it makes sense to focus on cleaning up our bedtime routine (drowsy awake and stop nursing to sleep) and sleep train once baby is in his own room in late February. My dad is looking after baby for the next 4 months when I’m back at work next week so hoping he will help with a nap routine.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had trouble avoiding nursing to sleep at bedtime (my son was just sooo tired since he wasn’t getting a third nap at daycare) so used naps more for helping my son learn to fall asleep on his own. In our case this was fine, but every kid is different. Good luck!

  4. avocado says:

    From the department of This is Why Today’s Kids Don’t Know How to Do Anything for Themselves:

    The other day we were at the store and my daughter realized she’d left something in the car. I handed her the car keys so she could go get it while I waited just inside the front door. She is about to turn 11 and in the sixth grade, and we have been practicing parking lot safety for years and years. I purposely sent her out by herself as a graduated step towards self-sufficiency, knowing that this parking lot is not a busy one and that our car was parked near the door. As she left the store, a couple and another person walking in gave her alarmed looks and then started exclaiming to each other “She looks awfully young to be out there on her own! Should we tell someone?” I immediately stepped up and informed them that I was her mother, she was ELEVEN YEARS OLD, and I had sent her out there on purpose so she could practice doing things for herself. The people all stammered something about how they had thought she was about eight years old (she is petite, but not that little!) and then quickly walked away. I was totally embarrassed by their judgment, humiliated that I’d had to confront them, and terrified about what could have happened if I hadn’t stopped them from reporting it to the store management, who probably would have called the police. Now I know why her 12-year-old friend still gets walked to school by the nanny. Seriously, people, mind your own business!

  5. Edna Mazur says:

    I know a few people that have kids with significant medical needs and in pretty much every case one parent, and lets be honest, its the mom, has dropped out of the workforce. The people that I know that swing part time work have a retired and very helpful parent close by.

    Are you eligible for a Personal Care Assistant funded or partially funded by your state? If this can be someone that picks her up from daycare to bring her to PT, OT, etc. it could help a ton.

    Hugs though. I grew up with two siblings with complex medical issues and as I said have friends with kids in the same boat. It is hard, and until you live it, outsiders really don’t understand. I have one aunt that really judged my mom, until she happened to have a grandson that she cared for frequently with the same condition.

    Are there parental support groups in your area or online? I have a relative that has gotten a lot of relevant support and advice in her local Down’s syndrome group (best therapists, navigating schools and IEPs etc.).

  6. stupid question… what do you do if you’re pumping and you fill up a whole bottle? Do you pause, remove the bottle and stick a new one on?

    It’s never happened before, I’ve gotten close and wondered what I should do.

    • This only happened to me a couple times, and only one side was full, so I paused, dumped a little milk into the other less full bottle and then continued.

      • POSITA says:

        +1. I often had this problem. If I wanted to avoid pouring milk, I could also proactively swap the bottles about halfway through pumping to even them out.

        • Same. I considered getting the larger bottles, but it was usually just barely full and switching the bottles fixed it.

          • I can’t believe I never thought about switching them. I would have the same issue sometimes and would dirty a new bottle for one ounce when I definitely wasn’t pumping as much from the other side.

        • This makes the most sense – its only my higher producing side that does it. Brilliant!

      • Anonymous says:

        This started happening to me about six months in– first I bought some bigger bottles, then I started switching out mid-pump. If you aren’t just gushing at that point, you don’t have to turn off the machine. You can just quickly unscrew, screw on the new one, then cap the old one.

    • I just stopped pumping.

    • Anon. says:

      Literally happened to me this morning. One side was still going strong, filled up the bottle and actually started squirting out the top because I wasn’t paying attention (lovely mess in my office / all over my pants). I stopped, screwed on the bottle from the other side and just finished out with the gusher because the other side seemed done.

      • Katala says:

        Was just going to say- be sure you notice! Overflowing the bottle is very messy. I would either stop pumping or turn off the machine and switch bottles. Warning, though, that I often got nothing more after turning the pump off and back on, so maybe try without turning off th epump.

  7. STD Insurance says:

    Any experience with Short-Term Disability Insurance? I’m planning on TTC in a few months and don’t have any maternity leave through work (I’m a partner at a medium-size firm). I do have some sick time. Would STD insurance fill that gap? Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      it should to some degree, with a lot of caveats. First, you might not be able to use both your sick time and the insurance, depending on your company’s policy, since both run during the time when you are recovering, i.e. the first 6-8 weeks. Second, if you are a partner, the policy might not even work for you because it might only work for actual employees. Ask these first questions to the insurance provider. Third, the amount paid is likely to be far less than your compensation – for me, it was less than a thousand a week. You also will need to have all the papers signed before you TTC.

  8. Pumping question says:

    First time mom to be with a one way walking commute and hoping to breastfeed. What exactly will I need to carry back and forth with me every day for pumping and what is the best type of bag to use to do this as I’d prefer not to break my back in the process. On occasion, I will also need to carry home my work lap top, but not most days.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Can you leave your pump at work!? If you do, you’ll be fine, because you’ll just carry the pumped milk and bottles/parts to wash, none of which weigh very much. You might want an ice pack, depending on a bunch of stuff. I think you’d be fine with an insulated lunch box (that zips closed) thrown into a backpack (where you’ll put pump parts in a plastic bag and any other work stuff).

    • I left my pump at work. I had a manual at home for the rare times I wanted/needed to use it. I used an insulated lunch bag and two little, hard ice packs. I used wet/dry bags (like the ones sold for diapers) to store my pump parts in the fridge between uses and to carry home. It was really easy and light!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Second the rec to leave as much as possible at work so you only have to carry parts/bottles and pumped milk. I used a semi-obscure pump (that I loved!) so can’t speak to the size of Medela or other pump parts; I had a regular size lunch bag, not the Medela bottle bag, and it took up space, so I would have needed a regular-sized backpack or mid-size tote. I bought a large bag at Target – not quite an overnight bag size, but close. It fit my pump, parts, and lunch bag. I think I could’ve fit all of it into my current backpack.

      Another tip – if you leave your pump at work, either buy a second pump to leave at home or get a hand pump to leave at home. There might be days you have to report to a different location, or nights baby doesn’t wake up and you are incredibly uncomfortable, or weekends when you’ll be away from baby, so you’ll want something at home.

      • +1

        I found it really easy to get hand-me-down pumps from friends. Everyone gets one free from insurance and then eventually doesn’t need it and maybe only used it for a few months. You’re not supposed to share them and it voids the warranty I’m sure, but since at least with the PISA there’s zero milk coming into contact with the actual pump I didn’t worry about it. So, I have my brand new one at work and leave it there full time and one that’s about a year old (and was only used for 3 months by a friend) that’s my home/travel pump.

        I use a PackIt to transport the milk and pump parts (stored in a wet bag in the fridge between sessions) as recommended on here. I drive so I don’t care that I have 3 bags (pump, lunch, and laptop) but if I walked I would either get a giant tote that accommodates everything or go with a backpack. The milk/pump parts add a negligible amount of weight.

    • Knope says:

      Definitely leave the pump at work. Use a sturdy nylon bag to carry parts, milk, laptop, etc. – I have this one and love it: I have a small Jujube cooler that I use to transport milk (I put an ice pack in it on hot days). If I need to travel and pump milk and transport it on a plane or train, I use a PackIt 12-can cooler.

    • I left everything at work except the milk, which I transported in an ordinary Nalgene bottle. I washed my pump parts in the communal kitchen at the end of the day and then left them in my office to dry overnight. No reason to shlep them back and forth every day.

  9. Rainbow Hair says:

    I could use some reassurance. There is a two-part Thing I really ought to attend for career reasons. Like, pretty non-negotiable. And I can’t do the first part of the Thing because it conflicts with a must-attend thing for work. So that leaves the second part. Which conflicts with… my kid’s third birthday. It’s actually the day before her birthday, but it’s on the opposite side of the country so best case scenario is a redeye arriving the morning of her birthday.

    Please tell me she’ll still love me? Please tell me I’m not the monster I feel like?

    I AM planning her a party in a local park the weekend after her birthday, and that should be a blast. But missing the morning of her birthday (and probably any school celebration) feels terrible.

    • She’ll only know her birthday if you tell her. Tell her it’s the day after you get back and she’ll be just as happy. Just give daycare a heads up that they wish her happy birthday on Friday, not Thursday (or whatever).

    • POSITA says:

      Pick up a couple of helium balloons on your way home from the airport on her birthday and all will be forgotten. She’ll be thrilled to see you. :)

    • avocado says:

      She will still love you, and you are not a monster, just a mom doing the best you can. The two best things you can do are 1) avoid telegraphing your own distress (this includes not making preemptive apologies) and 2) don’t promise her you’ll be there at any specific time because you will break that promise if your flight is delayed. I would also avoid setting up the expectation that you will be there for school birthday celebrations in general. I went to one of my daughter’s birthday celebrations in preschool and am glad I didn’t go to all of them; it was super stressful to arrange the time off, and it was so crazy and loud I wasn’t sure she even knew I was there.

      Hugs–it’s so difficult to balance work and motherhood. I am guilty of doing all sorts of dumb things to accommodate important kid events, from taking a redeye out to an important meeting the night after my daughter’s sleepover party to driving 500 miles in one day to get home from a meeting in another state and then take my daughter back to that same state for a sports competition. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, like the time my daughter once cried because I wasn’t home the morning of my *own* birthday or the time I had to send her to a competition with another family because I couldn’t get a flight home in time. Sure, there was disappointment on both ends, but it never ended up being as terrible as I or my kid feared it would be.

      In the end, it’s not worth making yourself and possibly the rest of the family nuts. Get home when you reasonably can and enjoy the time when you are there. Maybe your husband can plan a special daddy-daughter breakfast outing the morning of her birthday. Your daughter will appreciate having a well-rested, happy mom home for dinner as much as or even more than a frazzled, exhausted mom who runs in the door just as she’s leaving for school.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I definitely think that, for a third birthday, she might not even notice if you don’t tell her/apologize to her for it. Like someone else suggested, ask daycare if they can do it the next day instead maybe? As long as you’re there for her party, that’s what she’ll care most about. My son was always confused at that age about the fact his party wasn’t on his actual birthday, and definitely viewed the party day as his birthday

    • CPA Lady says:

      If it makes you feel better, I have never been to any of my child’s daytime school events, including holiday parties or her birthday. I go to the after hours events (trunk or treat in the parking lot, the holiday song thing they do, etc), but that’s it.

      Also, kids that age don’t have memories. Do you remember what happened on your third birthday? Do you remember if it was celebrated on the correct day? Probably not. My husband travels for work and he wasn’t even in the state on our daughter’s birthday, so we celebrated it on another day. Didn’t bother her at all.

    • anne-on says:

      If it makes you feel better I think I’ve missed probably 2 out of 5 of my kiddos actual birthdays so far. What I’ve done in those cases – prep the school birthday treats/favors in advance (so I know kiddo has a special treat/favors to hand out at school), bring back a ‘special surprise’ after my treat, and make sure that you’re there for the actual party (which is what they tend to focus on anyway).
      You are not a horrible mom – think of how many kid events dads have missed over the years and never given a second thought to. You are being an awesome role model for your kid by finding a way to balance work and home.

    • NOVA Anon says:

      I hope you’re not a monster b/c if you are, I am too :-) In all seriousness – I missed my son’s third birthday this year for a work event. We had his party the Saturday before (his birthday was on a Thursday this year) and told him that was his birthday. Luckily, he does not go to school on Thursdays, so I just told his nanny not to tell him it was his birthday, and told school to celebrate it on the Friday after (when his grandparents were in town), and they all understood and played along. (Hopefully your school would too – I worried mine wouldn’t.) We had another party with his grandparents the day of his school party – so he essentially got two weeks of birthday. We even kept the decorations up in our living room from his birthday party until after the party with his grandparents. He loved it and didn’t know the difference. (And probably now thinks that birthdays last for two weeks…) And he still tells me all the time how much he loves me.

      Did I break down crying after I FaceTimed him that night (and didn’t say anything to him about it being his birthday)? Yup, sure did. I also felt horrible about it for months leading up to it. And next year, when the same work event happens and again falls on his birthday, I’m very likely skipping the work event – though that has more to do with another out-of-town family event we have the following day that will make it very logistically challenging for me to be at both. I’m going to take it on a year-by-year basis. But for age 3, it will probably be a lot harder on you than on him, and there’s ways to manage it so that he’ll never know. Lots of hugs, because I know it’s hard – my family has never made a big deal about birthdays, and I still felt terrible.

    • I arrived home from a work trip on my son’s 4th birthday. We had his party the week before. Since my husband does daycare dropoff in the AM, I didn’t feel like I missed much of his special day. I came back on the early afternoon flight and was able to pick him up from daycare and bring him a special treat from the airport, which he thought was so cool.

      It might be a bit harder if she’s older, but I think bringing something special, or planning something special for the evening will totally make up for this!

      So please do not feel bad, she will still love you, and you are doing great!

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Thank you all so much!

      I forgot the added twist that my Mother in Law will be staying with us — and of course I’m imagining her judgmental thoughts. Sigh.

      I can’t fib to her because she’s really on top of what days things are, and she very much knows which day her birthday is.

      BUT we’ve been planning her party together so hopefully she will focus on that. I know I’m going to guilt-spend money on like, too many rainbow streamers, but whatever, she’ll like it.

      And we told her we’d take her out to dinner for her birthday, and asked if she wanted something special. She said, “Yes! I do!” “What do you want?” “Something… something that is very special for mommy, and for daddy, and for me… it’s … oatmeal!” Ahahahaha. I hope she changes her mind to burgers or something between now and then.

    • Eileen says:

      I was away at a conference on my son’s 3rd birthday. He had a party at school and Dad took him out to dinner. He definitely didn’t care that I was gone and he still had a special day. He had a great time at his party a few days later. It wasn’t ideal, but I think I was the only person who was disappointed, and it gave my husband a great chance to step up.

  10. Yes, I love the Premier Protein! I’m on Weight Watchers (just hit lifetime at the end of last year) and first heard about it there. I buy mine at Costco, and the store near me is finally selling the caramel flavor. I have one for breakfast every day, mixed into my cold brew coffee. That’s all I have because I’m a light eater in the morning. I will also do the vanilla flavor. IMO, chocolate is less tasty in coffee, and I wasn’t a fan of the banana or strawberry flavors.

    • What are they near at Costco? Like, in the drinks section? (I assume these are not refrigerated)

    • octagon says:

      In my Costco they are near the pharmacy, close to vitamins/nutritional supplements. I started drinking one of these on my drive home every day. The protein helps me combat the hangries the minute I walk in the door.

  11. Anonanonanon says:

    Schools are closed due to snow today, but most people still have work. My son’s teacher sent out homework assignments for the snow day- they’ve been assigned tasks to complete in an online system. He’s in second grade. I could tell from the email that the assumption was that all the kids were home with their parents.
    I replied and said that my husband and I are both emergency workers and that our son was in childcare today without access to the online platform, and that we would do our best to have him complete the assignments provided we’re home at a normal time this evening, but wanted the teacher to be aware in case he was unable to complete the assignments.
    Should I have just sucked it up and come home from a long day and had him do them? It just feels unfair to give extra evening work to kids whose parents had to work today. (for the record, in our area it’s not just emergency workers working, I’m not aware of any businesses or local governments that closed)

    • BigLaw says:

      I hear you!

      I feel like if, say a widower dad, were to say this, they’d get a pat on the kid and a pass 100% of the time. The time crunch for working moms is really no different. [Not to mention, we go to urban public schools and I can’t believe that schools expect people to have computers and internet at home.]

      I say: just fail my kid. Unless it’s going on their high school transcript, I know that my kid reading a book is probably just as good for actual learning. [Usually I note that “I have to work today and if you would like for Suzy to make up the work over the weekend when my computer and I are home, I can have her work on it then.”] I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I already have a job and somedays struggle mightily to get them picked up on time and fed dinner while not losing my mind.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        yes the assignment was to go online and read a book on a website where they can track their reading progress. He took an actual book to daycare today (captain underpants, but still) and will probably read the whole thing there. I feel like he’s still completing the spirit of the assignment even if it’s not online.

        and YES almost all of our assignments in elementary school so far have been in online platforms, it makes it difficult to complete any work “on the go”, not to mention I hate that it puts my child in front of a screen when I otherwise wouldn’t be dragging the computer out. What happened to good old-fashioned worksheets he could do in the car on the way to baseball?! Sigh. good old days.

        • avocado says:

          Just wait until he gets to middle school. Two of my daughter’s sixth-grade teachers require students to work on apps on their cell phones during class time. She does not have a cell phone yet, so she has to take her iPad to school to do the assignments over WiFi.

          • Anonanonanon says:

            Oh jeez! I can’t believe they’d assume that all sixth-graders would have smart phones, especially with all of the “wait ’till eighth” campaigns etc. going on!

        • Also, remember the good old days when your school couldn’t contact you to assign work on a snow day and so instead you played outside with your friends? My mom would drop me off at a friends’ house who had a SAHM and we would build snow forts all morning and then come in and drink cocoa and watch Disney movies.

          • YES and it was extra-special when we could get together at the friend’s house who was closest to the good sledding hill.

    • avocado says:

      I probably would just have taken the path of least resistance and had him do the assignments in the evening, but I think it’s better that you registered your objection with the teacher. They need to be reminded that not all kids have SAHMs, especially if you live in an area like ours where there is no such thing as a working mom who is not a teacher (unless her husband is a SAHD or a teacher).

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I normally would have just done it, but I think my pregnancy hormones made me all grumpy about it. Plus it’s the teacher’s first year teaching, so I think they genuinely hadn’t considered that the world keeps turning when schools are closed, and maybe it’s a good friendly reminder for the future?

        I’m already feeling mom guilt that he’s in childcare instead of out playing in the snow today, I didn’t want to add “and guess what you have homework this evening!” to it. Sigh.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t feel guilty. Teachers assigning homework on a snow day at all is ridiculous.

      • Anonymous says:

        This. Teacher is crazy. Don’t feel like you should have left work or made him do a bunch of work before bed. It’s 2nd grade.

      • Anonymous says:

        As a counterpoint, my husband is a teacher, and they are also under tremendous pressure to deliver learning regardless of how much time they actually have to teach. I agree raising awareness of working parents doesn’t hurt if that is a rarity in your area, but try to cut the teacher some slack. This a job in which you are never treated like a professional by anyone, and are expected to cheerfully compensate for massive social problems over which you have no control, all for very little money.

      • biglawanon says:

        This. I am sorry your school/teacher does this.

      • Momanon says:

        Also agree that this is absurd, I probably would have ignored it. I realize I may be an outlier but homework in elementary school grinds my gears. We will read books together or she will read on her own.

    • Ugh, is this what I have to look forward to with school? I’m so not excited about this…

      • avocado says:

        You will not necessarily get homework on snow days (my kid never has), but you will have to deal with hassles of some sort or another whether you put the kid in public school or private school. Compared with actual school, day care is paradise.

      • In House Lobbyist says:

        Just another reason why we decided to homeschool!

  12. Anonanonanon says:

    Oooo interesting idea! I love the idea of mixing the caramel (which isn’t something I’d normally drink by itself) with coffee.

    I’m a fan of good old-fashioned chocolate Slim Fast as a breakfast replacement.

  13. Follow-up question as I thought about the sibling room sharing thread from yesterday:
    Can you sleep train when your kids share a room?

    Our 1 year old is in a makeshift nursery (in our walk-in closet, which I never thought to be afraid of until yesterday, yeeps) but when we move into a bigger space soon, I would love for the kids to share a room. But, the 1 year old still wakes up at night once or twice and wakes up pretty early in the morning. I would imagine Ferbering or CIO is not an option when kids share a room. Or is it? Do I wait to join rooms until he is a more reliable sleeper (which for my older kid wasn’t until she was 2)?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I think the blog Mommy Shorts addressed this several years ago – maybe dig into her archives? She had a baby and a 4 year old who shared a room.

    • I think it depends. My BIL and SIL have a 2 yo and a 9 mo who share a room. The baby goes to bed first, so they could use a Ferber or CIO method when they’re first putting her down. The baby also had some middle-of-the-night sleep issues around 6 months, and apparently the toddler slept through it. I haven’t talked to them about sleep training, but the logistics would work.

      On the other hand, I remember when a former co-worker of mine had her baby and toddler share a room. The baby had several ear infections (and eventually got tubes). During that time, though, the baby would wake up the toddler in the middle of the night, and the parents let the toddler go sleep in their bed while one parent comforted/took care of the baby, and the toddler just stayed there until morning. Nobody slept well for a few months.

    • Kids are 3 and almost 1 and share a room. We put the baby down about a half-hour before big brother, and that 30 minute window was sufficient to do CIO/Ferber training with her, since she would still fall asleep before it was big brothers bedtime. On the few nights where she was still awake at big brothers bedtime, we’d isually just read an extra book with BB to give baby an extra 10 minutes. If baby has a really tough time going to sleep, we pull baby out, put BB to bed, and then put baby down in the mini crib in the master bed, but that has only happened a few times.

      We haven’t done CIO for middle of the night wakings, but when baby wakes I go in and feed her and it usually doesn’t wake up BB.

  14. Relapse - what next? says:

    Trying here b/c you guys are nicer than the main board.

    DH relapsed last night after about a year of sobriety (alcohol). I’m very angry, and a little unsure about next steps.

    We were together for 10 years before he got sober. Back then, I got through by thinking that one day he’d get the help he needed, and then he did, and I thought we were making good progress towards defining a new normal.

    But now I feel like an idiot for being so optimistic. Intellectually, I know that relapses are super common and it can take a few attempts to get sober and stick with it, but emotionally I feel like I Just Can’t Wait Around through 2 – 5 – 10 more bouts of this kind of thing, and the kind of havoc it causes in our family when I’m to manage two jobs, our 3 year old, and his illness.

    Do I remain hopeful that because he got sober once he can do it again? Or do I throw in the towel now, earlier rather than 10-years from now, knowing that things might never get better (or that it might be years away?)

    So far I’ve only gotten as far as making him an appointment to talk to a rehab program and signing us up for marriage counseling – but at the moment I’m feeling pretty hopeless and lost.

    • I am really sorry. Hugs. Are you going to individual therapy? I’m sure with work and a kid that seems totally impossible, but is there a way you can squeeze it in? I go every other week during lunch. Is there an online or phone resource if that’s not possible? If I were in your shoes, I’d need a sounding board to sort out my feelings and talk about options.

      It sounds like the rehab program and marriage counseling are two really big steps, actually, and kudos to you for making that happen.

      I hope there are options for you to take a break, even for a massage or a swim or whatever clears your head. Take care of yourself, too.

      I assume you feel safe and your kid is safe, otherwise that definitely pushes the “waiting around” thing to “not possible” territory.

      I wish I could help more.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Given how long you’ve been in this, you probably already know this, but I highly HIGHLY recommend Al-anon for you. It’s like AA but it’s the group for family members/loved ones of alcoholics. I found it incredibly helpful to just hear that other people were having the same feelings/occasional dark thoughts I was while struggling with a family member with a drinking problem. For me, just hearing that my thoughts/feelings were normal was the biggest help.

      I know that, with a 3-year-old and a not-sober husband, finding time to attend a meeting like this is no small feat. But I would highly recommend it giving it a go and maybe tying in some self-care with it (stop at a coffee shop before or after for 15-20 minutes of decompression/alone time, etc.) They have a website where you can find meetings close to you.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Also, this may be an unpopular opinion, but don’t forget the whole “put your own oxygen mask on first” concept. There’s nothing wrong with looking at him and saying “I can’t go on this journey with you again”. Especially when it sounds like you’re already handling most of the load by yourself anyway, there’s nothing wrong with cutting off some of the dead weight. I know this sounds cold, and it may not be the path for you, but I want you to know that it is OK you are thinking about it and that you have every right to ponder that path.

        • CPA Lady says:

          ^ totally agree. And if he tries to suggest that you leaving him is going to make his addiction worse, and you believe him, that is a massive giant red codependency flag (which I’m sure you’re well aware of). The only person responsible for his behavior is him.

          I think I would take a good hard look at his year of sobriety. Was he pulling his weight? Was he doing a good job being an adult and being a parent? Was he remorseful? Did he genuinely try to make amends for his past behavior? If no, then I would have a very hard time forcing myself to work on the marriage. You also don’t have to decide what to do right away, even though it probably feels like it at the moment.

          What is your support network like? The only way I got through the latest fun and exciting addiction themed family crisis was with a small group of close friends, all of whom have family members with this problem. There was lots of dark humor, but it helped immeasurably.

    • Anonymous says:

      What was his reaction to breaking his sobriety? Was it a one time thing that he immediately recognized as problematic and committed to fixing? If so, this may be a blip. If he isn’t bothered by it, or doesn’t seem to appreciate the impact on you.

      Rehab + marriage counselling are the right steps here but don’t feel like entering into marriage counselling means you have committed to staying. Definitely worth trying but if you need to leave that’s okay.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Hugs. I don’t know the answer to this, but I can say – don’t let fear drive your decision. If you and child are safe, there is no reason to make a permanent decision *right now.* Focus on putting one foot in front of the other for now and letting yourself dig deep into therapy (personal and couples).

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve gotten some good advice. The only thing I would add is you don’t have to know what you are going to do long-term right away. You are in a crisis situation. Just try as best to do the next right thing, 1 right thing at a time. Get through the day, and repeat again tomorrow. Give yourself some time before you make big decisions.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      No advice but hugs.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Oh my gosh, this sounds so hard. No advice, but lots of hugs from this internet stranger. <3

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