Finally Friday: ‘Margot’ Bootie

Beige Rounded Toe Bootie: Rag & Bone 'Margot' Bootie  The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale continues, ladies — have you gotten anything good? I’ll be honest: I very rarely splurge on shoes for myself, but these Margot booties are calling my name — I think they’d be great for weekends, date nights, and even casual days at work. Yes, they’re high, but they’re famously comfortable despite the height — and with the dip in the heel they’ll make your legs look like they go forever. Sandy beige is even the new must-have color for boots. They’re currently $329 at Nordstrom, but after the sale ends August 8 they’ll go back to $495. Rag & Bone ‘Margot’ Bootie

Lucky Brand has a good selection of booties at Nordstrom, including this similar style.

(L-4)

Comments

  1. Inspired by last night, though it’s been on my mind for a while …

    For those of you that choose to work (and yes, I’m fully aware that for many / most women this isn’t a true “choice”), how much if at all did or does your identity as a working mom ‘Role Model’ impact your decision?

    During the past month, two tremendously bright and talented women I know resigned their jobs to ‘spend more time with their young children.’ While I applaud them individually for doing what I assume was the right thing for their family and circumstances, those announcements did make me sad in a broader sense, because it plays into the narrative that even though women *can* do everything that men can, what most women actually *want* is to stay home.

    Every time I’m promoted, I have fewer and fewer same-level female colleagues, and even fewer same-level female colleagues who are parents. I feel an increasing burden to normalize the idea that women with children can – and dare I say, should – be at the table with the decision makers as something more than a token or anomaly. Do other people feel that way? How do you, explicitly or otherwise, shut down conversations about guilt, or shame, or how HARD it is – and just demonstrate by your actions that yes, women with kids work and get promoted and it isn’t weird?

    • MomAnon4This says:

      Oh. Interesting. I don’t nec. see myself as a role model at work – I’m not high enough up the totem pole, my career has been in fits and starts, lots of reasons.
      But I do see myself as a role model to my kids (boys) and also to others — that I value working, I value women and parents and yes, moms, who work, and that we want to and we can be good at it and it can be done, if not balanced and perfectly but done well. So yes. Does that help?

    • EB0220 says:

      The fact that I’m a role model/am normalizing working moms, etc. is kind of like icing for me. I work because I enjoy it and I think it makes me a better mom. I just don’t think I’m cut out for the lack of structure of being a SAHM. I like my job. It pays well, has good hours, fantastic benefits and great people. It also will enable my husband to transition to a more flexible situation over the next few years so we can have more options when kiddos are in school in a few years. So I’m pretty pleased that my life structure is working for me, and it’s great that I can be an example for other moms. I do try to support women in my organization to help them see that it is possible to thrive as a working mom. I had a lot of doubt and tough feelings coming back after my first was born, but 4+ years in, I’m thrilled that I stuck it out (and have learned a lot along the way).

    • Maddie Ross says:

      No part of me “wants” to be a SAHM, or in actuality the primary parent. All things being equal, I’d prefer to assume the traditional role of the dad. I think there are really three types of professional women that are moms: (1) those that want to stay home and do so as soon as they can, (2) those that are ambivalent about staying home versus working and often will choose the former if there is enough money otherwise coming in to support the family, or when things get tough on the homefront, and (3) those that want to work no matter what and will do what it takes to balance that, be it having a SAHD, hiring help, relying on family, going insane, etc. I’m firmly #3 and to the extent I can be a role model for younger woman or men in the office, that’s great. But that’s not why I do it.

      • Samantha says:

        I like your categories. I think I’m in a fourth category though (different from your #2). My category is “bored doing too much of the same thing – need variety”. So, I’d go crazy being a SAHM with a young child 24/7 (i.e. the child doesn’t go to school). I’d also go crazy working 24/7 like many people I know do (I enjoy my work, but not so much that I want to spend my weekends doing it). I like my hobbies – a Lot. I need to carve out time for them and I miss them when I’m not doing them. If I had to pick just one thing of all these 3, I think I’d pick my (fairly serious) hobby, but I can’t make it my career because there’s no money in it. And maybe I’d get sick of doing that 24/7 too. If I won the lottery I’d probably spend my time equally on my hobby, with my kids and continuing to work part-time as well.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think I’m in this category too. And don’t forget those who enjoy making money and having the added flexibility that provides! I’m excited about the future vacations we can take/earlier retirement possibilities, etc. that my husband will have with me. That and being able to provide some monetary stability when he starts his own business in the near future – which will eventually improve everyone’s outlook – keep me in the workforce even though I could take it or leave it in a lot of other ways. It’s not so much “golden handcuffs” but more future budgeting that’s driving me.

    • Closet Redux says:

      This is such an important topic and I would love to see a full post on it.

      I definitely feel a burden to normalize being a high-performing working mom. I recently announced a second pregnancy and a lot of my hesitation to announce was working out how to respond to comments (or even looks) that expressed some sort of regret. I’m new in my position and have been discussing taking on more responsibilities (leading to a promotion) and I was absolutely dreading that look from my boss or colleagues that says, “oh too bad.” I hate that people ask if I’m planning to come back. I bristle at comments about how hard it must be or questions about how I’ll handle daycare, etc. I worry that my colleagues will knowingly or unknowingly color their future hiring decisions based on their experience with me, and I hate to think that they would avoid hiring or promoting women in the future because they see women as potential moms, and thereby riskier or less reliable.

      As far as shutting down comments about how hard it is, I sometimes say “people do more with less,” and move on, but I would love ideas that are more affirming.

    • Ditto – I don’t see myself as a role model for others at work, but I do for my young son. I want him someday to understand that I do something important (not Hillary Clinton important, but smaller scale) and that I’m good at it. When I was young, my mom was home most of the time and I felt badly for kids whose moms worked full time, since their moms weren’t around as much because they “needed” to work. As a kid, it never occurred to me that moms might want to work or should be working (because of the contribution they can make). I don’t want my son to think that, although I don’t know how to address it either.

      But I also struggle with the temptation to sit it out for a few years while the kids are young. And I think leaning out or taking a break is (or should be) totally compatible with a long, productive career.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I don’t feel the need to prove anything to society or my colleagues about the contributions of working mothers. However, I also switched from a big law firm to a government job, where there are a lot more working moms so it’s acceptable that I sometimes have to drop everything and pick up my sick kid in the middle of the day. I don’t think that I could ever again work in a place that didn’t understand that, whether it be public service or the private sector.

      I do feel a responsibility to my daughter (and future kiddos) to provide an example of a working mother. And not just a working mom, but a mom who enjoys her work and finds it meaningful. Which is a lot of pressure to self-impose.

    • Interesting question. For me, I’d have to say, basically none. I’m very independent (some – on occasion, my parents! – would say to a fault), and I’ve really never seen much use for role models, so it’s not something that’s really on my radar.

      For my kids, I would hope that I’m teaching them that they can and should do what they think is best, regardless of whether it’s been done before or not (I’ll admit that I take some pleasure in the idea that they’re getting the exposure to a stay at home dad, though). For others in the workplace, I’ve only worked in pretty small offices since having kids, so there’s just not a lot of room for that, I guess. Perhaps when I work up a little further, there will be, but there’s not really anyone that I would see looking up to me any time soon.

      • Frozen Peach says:

        Agreed re stay at home dads! Curious if yours has any resources that are go-tos for him. My newly minted SAHD is trying to figure out how to get less isolated.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I know what you mean. I always pictured myself as “ambitious”, and felt like a huge failure and betrayer of the working mom sisterhood when I left my ladder climbing job for one with sane hours but no possible upward mobility. In my old job, I had a couple of women I really looked up to who were several rungs above me who had kids. Then one got burned out and quit. And the other one has both her parents and her in laws in town and they can always help her and I realized that I would never be able to achieve what she has achieved because I don’t have the same support network and because she was so much farther along in her career that she had enough money to pay for literally anything she needed to outsource. I’m disappointed that didn’t work out how I wanted it to, but I’m happy with how my life is at the moment. If I ever feel the urge to get ambitious again, I can always go back to a similar job.

      On the other hand, there has never been a question in my mind about whether or not I would return to work. I think even if I won the lottery I’d probably still work 15-20 hours a week or something. I work because I never want to be in a position like my SAHM mother was, where she was so dependent on my dad that she couldn’t leave a bad situation. And I work because I like it. I like that it is part of my identity. I like going to my office in my pencil skirt and doing something that uses my brain. And I plan on having that conversation with my daughter once she’s old enough to understand. I also do not understand the desire to spend time with young children. I could see myself wanting to take a step down when my kid is in elementary school, but the thought of spending all day every day with a toddler (even my delightful sweet little nugget) does not sound remotely appealing.

      And FWIW, I don’t actually get in many conversations that make me feel guilty because the vast majority of my friends work and enjoy it. I am not sure I’ve ever gotten in a conversation that made me feel defensive, other than with my 70 year old aunt who told me she pities me for having to work… but hey, she’s old, so I get it, kinda.

      • MomAnon4This says:

        What you said about realizing your mentor had a huge support network and $ to outsource a lot of domestic things…. that has gotten me thinking recently. I feel like I don’t make enough to make it worth totally “leaning in” but I need/want to work so don’t want to lean out, either. I think the “leaning in” thing is on a different level and I’m just not there, and may not ever be, not sure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Big law partner here. I struggle internally with working v staying home all the time. We are one and done, and I do feel a lot of sadness about how much I miss, guilt when I get calls with my kid having a meltdown because I am not home to put him to bed yet again, and, honestly, regret that the career path I chose (coupled with the very HCOL area I live in and my spouse’s career) mean that a second kid isn’t an option and this is it and I am missing a lot of it for work.

      I do shut discussions about guilt, etc. down with some people. But when I am talking to junior people, I am very candid about it because I think it helps to normalize the idea that to be a successful woman in my field it isn’t necessary to be a frigid robot who hates one’s family, and to show that one can be successful while also feeling torn. I also actively encourage junior men to take full advantage of the firm’s generous paternity leave policy because I think it is important to making family leave a gender neutral issue. And I am not shy about discussing firm policies that adversely impact parents with people who can change them, such as our back-up care policy, which is now much more flexible.

      That said, I fully recognize that there are people who would think less of me for that sort of candor. I don’t talk about my personal life with them. If they make comments that imply that I would be happier at home or am a bad parent/spouse because I work hard, I usually make a joke to deflect. It’s effective, but it works with my personality.

      • POSITA says:

        I was recently at a conference for my BigLaw firm and it was depressing how many women were struggling. There was no good answer. Women talked about gritting their teeth to come as their kids screamed as they pulled out of grandma’s driveway. Those who were on reduced hours talked about a dead end career track and being unable to keep a reasonable work schedule. Everyone was exhausted and burnt out–full time or reduced hours. The only women who seemed at all happy didn’t have kids. I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but nothing about the conversations gave me any hope.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, I am definitely at the burnt out end of the spectrum. This isn’t a particularly profound realization, but as I’ve watched a number of close male friends at work get divorced and be part time single parents, I’ve realized how incompatible the job is with being in a caregiver role. I think it’s because I have so few female peers that it has helped to watch men face some of the same issues as I do.

    • It’s unfortunate that the typical workplace is all-or-nothing. Perhaps those bright and talented employees would not have left the workforce if their employers (or society) allowed for more flexibility…

      • layered bob says:

        agreed. I love working and don’t think I’d ever like to completely stay home, but I would really, really like to work considerably less during these years when my children are young and I am constantly exhausted and about to get pregnant, exhausted and pregnant, or exhausted and breastfeeding. I wish I could work 20 hours a week for the next ten years, and be able to come back to my “big” job when I’m forty. But there’s no way to do that.

    • I love working and have never considered not doing so. I do think about how my decisions regarding work and home influence people’s attitudes about working moms and I feel a responsibility to those who will come after me, in the same way I feel gratitude for those who came before. It impacts my decisions, but doesn’t drive them. I often think of the Anne Lamott quote: ‘Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”–I guess that’s the demonstrating by actions kind of thing.

      As for shutting down the comments—UGH. I have my collection of comebacks—but I don’t know if that is effective. “I was/am so lucky to be able to stay home with my kids”: “I am so lucky to have both a career that I love and wonderful children who are surrounded by loving caregivers and have access to high quality early education” “I cant imagine leaving my kids with strangers” :”I can’t either! I adore our caregivers and they are an integral part of our village–the more people who love my kids the better!” I really hate when people say they are a “full-time” mom. Ummmm—so I am I. I am an all the time mom and a full time lawyer.

      But at the same time, when people say “oh, it must be so hard,” I want to say, yes it is hard. I love it, but it is hard and complicated and challenging.

    • ChiLaw says:

      I am not in a position to really be much of a role model as a working mom (I am the most junior attorney here, and I don’t really supervise anyone), except to my own kid. But sometimes I get a little burst of pride when she says, “mama work. bye mama! dada play?” like it’s the most natural thing in the world that mama goes off to work while dada stays home to play with her.

    • This is an amazing discussion.

      Yes, I feel like working mothers should be at the table. At my company, there are a huge amount of working mothers, but none at my level (one layer under the execs). All of the others at my level are either: fathers with a stay-at-home spouse, women with no kids or parents with kids much older than mine (3 and 5.5). I don’t know if I am a role model to my kids or to others at the company, but I work as hard as I do because it is part of who I am. And that did not change with my children. I believe that I need to be able to stand on my own two feet, and I take pride in my career.

      My mom was a career driven, working mom. I remember once as a kid lamenting her not being at home like the rest of all of my friends’ moms, but that paled in comparison to the pride I had in her. (As a military brat, one of the first questions was ALWAYS: “What rank is your dad?” I think my feminism was born in sniping back that, “My MOM is a COLONEL.”) I never felt neglected or that she didn’t care for us.

      I wish I had more snarky comebacks for the multitude of comments I have received. Most of the time I fumble and mumble and then come up with the best response ever… five minutes after the conversation is over.

      • JayJay says:

        I’ll just agree with everything in your comment. I look around at my company and I think I’m the only (MAYBE one of the few) women directly below the execs that have young kids (3 and 4 years old). The vast majority of women either don’t have kids or are older and the kids are in high school/college/off the payroll. I would never consider not working because I truly enjoy being a lawyer…I’m one of the weird ones.

        I don’t feel like I set an example for anyone, but I do like that my boys are growing up thinking that it’s normal to have a smart, successful, accomplished woman as a mother. My husband’s mother was a doctor and my husband is pretty much the best guy in the world when it comes to supporting my career, so I can only hope my boys turn out like their dad.

    • Onlyworkingmomintulsa says:

      Not a role model per se, but more an anomaly/freak in my area of the country…jk…kind of! Both my husband’s and my mother were working moms, neither of us know any different. I worked really hard in college and grad school to prepare for my career and then in each job after that, I feel zero guilt for being a working mom. Working makes me a better parent and I like sharing that whenever a discussion comes up, along with the zero guilt, we need to hear that sentiment more.

    • Anon MN says:

      I love this discussion. I struggle internally a lot because I do truly choose to work (we could live on husband’s income) both because I like what I do, and because I hate being the “primary/default” parent that comes along with being a SAHM (not saying this is a bad thing, just that I am not cut out for it). I also don’t think my husband would be great at being a primary breadwinner, so I think we fit well together. Upon return from my second maternity leave a few months ago I felt so much internal guilt because I was choosing to go back. I eventually stopped reading SAHM blogs/articles and hanging out with my SAHM friends as much and switched to working mom blogs (hello corporette moms :)) so that I can constantly get points of views that don’t make me feel guilty. But I hate that it had to come to that in order for me to own my decisions and not feel guilty.

      As for the role model piece, I agree with a lot of the above, that it is really important for me that my kids see me work and know that both mom and dad work, and both mom and dad clean, and both mom and dad parent. But I also do hope to be a role model in my workplace to other working moms. I think the fact that I like work and think that it makes me a better parent is the biggest driver though.

    • What a great discussion. I have a very young son (14 months) and am not high-level enough to be managing/ setting example/ being role model for others at my very small firm, but I would work at least part-time even if I won the lottery. I enjoy my work; I find it meaningful; I enjoy being a role model for my son and have very little guilt about being a working mom. My mother, who is semi-retired now, also worked full-time at a job she loved, and I was and am so very proud of her for killing it, even if I did once ask her why she was never at my parent-teacher conferences…

      What do the working dads do? Those who haven’t got SAH spouses? What kind of guilt do they have, what kind of burnout, and how do they handle it?

    • Momata says:

      I changed jobs within the last year and realized at that time that I did not have very many working mom role models or peers in my industry. And this made me sad, and made me resolve to try to be more of a conscious lighthouse (I guess an unconscious lighthouse is just, like, a glare on a shiny rock? I know the metaphor is weak) and maybe even seek out a few ships to try to save (assuming they want saving).

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have the opposite guilt – I leaned way, way out at my law firm job to deal with a difficult pregnancy, mental health issues, divorce, etc. When I was ready to lean in more, it was clear that I couldn’t/didn’t want to put up with the chaos of the type of work I used to handle. I pivoted my career path and floundered for a while with low hours. Now I’m aggressively (and successfully) marketing a niche area that I love, but that wouldn’t be profitable until mid 2017 at the earliest. Which means that by the time I meet firm profit expectations, I’ll have spent 3 years missing those expectations (and I’m trying to give myself credit for the fact I spent 3 years wildly exceeding profit expectations before everything went sideways).

      So I sometimes feel like I’m doing a poor job of proving that working moms can be as productive as men or women without children. But I am coming to the realization that my job isn’t to “have it all” – my job is to point out the obstacles to “having it all” and then pass the baton to someone with more capacity to change things. When the firm didn’t include any working moms on a panel about how to be an effective marketer, I said something (we have 2 mothers in the top 10 firm rainmakers; neither were approached to be on the panel). Every time I see a firm-sponsored speaker panel without women or people of color on it, I say something. I advocate for junior working moms, and I try to give them billable hours whenever I can, even if it means being a bit more flexible in my timing expectations. And I try to be gentle with myself.

    • I’ll also just say, reading this thread, that there seems to be a lot of variation between government and private sector, and especially some very competitive private sector fields (big law etc). I’m government, and it’s totally normal to be a working mom here. There aren’t quite as many moms in higher positions, but the number of women has increased significantly just since I’ve been here (9 yrs) and there are plenty of moms at my level and a couple above. As someone else noted, it’s totally ok and understood for me to leave early or come late due to a sick kid. So maybe it’s not just working / non-working, but a lot depends on the type of career and industry.

      • NavyAttorney says:

        Funny, I have no guilt being a working mom but think I would if I had the pressure to work 80 hours a week. I’m in government and mothers are absolutely everywhere, even in the Department of Defense. As far as leadership, I too prefer the just doing. I surprised myself the other day objecting to a meeting with opposing counsel on the first day of school (I usually just suck up the timing), and you know who pushed back? NO ONE. I need to do that more often.

      • EB0220 says:

        I agree with this totally. I was just chatting with friends of mine (both in biglaw) expecting their first child soon, and it is a completely different world from my usually 35 hrs a week, little travel, family-friendly company job.

    • JB, JD says:

      Love this topic and all the responses so far! I think I read this here a while back but I try to be careful to say to my daughters that I “get” to go to work, rather than I “have” to go to work. I’ve realized that I really do believe that as well – I love my job and I’m excited to do it (and then there’s the whole I need to do it for house, food, etc.). I hope that I can instill that in them – to find something that you really enjoy doing so that it’s not “work” to you. Beyond that, I do feel a duty to normalize it. I work in a practice area that is predominately male and I’m the only female attorney in my office. I feel a big responsibility to show that it’s completely normal and, dare I say, an advantage to have a female involved.

    • MDMom says:

      Such an interesting discussion. I have a collection of somewhat random thoughts on the topic:

      I posted a few days ago about my conflicted feelings about unexpectedly landing a part time law gig (20 hr/week)and I think this was part of it…I wanted to go part time in the future, but it was always “in the future” so when it landed in my lap and became more imminent, I was freaking out a little. I do feel this mostly self-imposed pressure to “do it all” and I hate this assumption that women will cut back when they become mothers, when there is no such assumption for men who become fathers. So falling into that stereotype bugs me. But, the reality is, my husband has a career path (medicine) that right now means long, inflexible hours. Something has to give. It can’t be him– he’s still in training so part time/reduced hours is not even an option.

      I don’t want to be a stay at home mom and I don’t think it would be good for my mental health or my marriage. But I also don’t want to work 60 hours/week. For what it’s worth, my husband has said repeatedly that he’d like to work part time/reduced hours if we can afford it once he’s established in his career. We both take pride in what we do but we aren’t workaholics and really value “down time.”

      My mom worked when I was a kid, initially out of necessity and then later out of desire. I think part time when we (three of us) were real little and then full time when we were in school. My dad is retired and she still works part time, not out of necessity but because she can’t stand being financially dependent. And mind you, my mom doesn’t have a college degree and has always had more of a “job” than a “career.” I remember when I was a kid we saw a bumper sticker once that said “a man is not a financial plan,” and my mom loved that and would repeat it often.

      So I think I feel feminist pressure from my mom and myself and I want my kids to grow up in a household where mom works. My husband is south asian and in his family almost all of the moms stayed at home. There are a few exceptions and they all work/worked due to financial necessity. I’ve been to two bridal showers this past year in his family where the brides to be (a doctor and a pharmacist) said their dream job was stay at home mom. This really annoyed me. Then I felt bad for being annoyed because doesn’t feminism mean they have the right to want to be whatever they want? So I also see myself as a role model in that family, for the fact that women can want/need work to feel fulfilled just like men, and that’s ok. This difference in gender role norms does create a lot of the conflicts my husband and I have. My husband wants to be and is progressive in his thinking, but his subconscious assumptions all come from having a stay at home mom. So default is woman cooks, cleans, etc. I am constantly challenging him on this and pushing back with some success, but the limit is that his job is legitimately more demanding than mine right now, so some gender norms persist.

      Final thought– I got this part time position largely because my boss pushed for it. She’s a mother of three adult children and worked part time herself when her kids were young. She pushed the head of our office (a man) to keep this position part time because of the value of having “family friendly” options. I think this really illustrates the value of mothers having a seat at the table. I work in a government office where working mothers are common. It pays off and makes the whole environment much more family friendly. A lot of the men in this office are also here instead of a large firm because they value work-life balance. I summered in a BigLaw firm back in law school and this office is clearly a more egalitarian environment. I don’t know what’s the chicken and whats the egg though– women are here because its egalitarian, or its more egalitarian because more women are here? Probably both, I think. That said, the only man I know who had a part time position in our office was of the “semi-retired” variety.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      This is a very interesting discussion and I enjoyed all of the comments above. I don’t want to be a SAHM nor do I want to work all the time. I also don’t want to be the only one to work part-time as I do not want to be thought of as the default parent. In an ideal world, both my husband and I would work part-time, but those positions are very hard to come by and unfortunately are not as respected. There is still a cultural norm in this country of one working parent (usually dad) and one stay at home parent (usually mom) and any push toward more work-life balance seems to be rejected when success is defined by how many hours you put in.

      When it comes down to it, I think that dads will need to start “leaning out” for any real societal change to happen. While it’s nice that places are giving out longer maternity leaves (this should be standardized and not company-dependent but that’s a whole separate issue) and allowing new moms come back at reduced schedules, this just reinforces the idea that moms are the primary parents and will need to make all of the work sacrifices. Dads need to get more and actually take parental leave and come back at reduced schedules as well. New dads should also be asked how they are balancing being new parents and working, and should be asked whether they feel guilty about not being with their kids full time. For those of you who grew up with SAHM moms and working dads – did you feel as though your dads didn’t raise you or somehow feel less loved by your dads? I’m not sure why people only assume that when moms work.

      Personally, I don’t know if I’m any sort of role model for other women but my small steps for equalizing the working parent role are having both me and my husband take leave and do solo kid-duty in these first few months, expecting him to do day care drop-off and pick-up and generally be available for sick days and other kid issues that come up as he has been at his job longer and has more flexibility.

    • Anonymous says:

      I missed this convo yesterday, but I really enjoyed catching up on it last night. I even read bits out to my husband with the sidebar, “My people!”

      I mostly choose to work. We’re more comfortable with two incomes, but we could easily live on either my salary or my husband’s if we didn’t have daycare costs. We have extremely comparable titles, hours (40-50/week), levels of responsibility, and salaries, and divvy up the housework pretty well, and I do like the example all of that sets for our kids, and think it’s important. When I was younger and childless I always imagined myself being a SAHM. My mom has multiple graduate degrees and stayed home until my siblings and I were all in school, so the idea of being a smart, educated SAHM was normal to me. But it turns out I really prefer to work. I wouldn’t say I feel any obligation to be a lighthouse, but it’s a fringe benefit. I am proud of being a working mother in STEM, because rawr! Normalize all of that, please. My team includes a few younger women and I hope I’m a positive example of work-life balance + career success for them if they choose to have kids someday.

      I have the good fortune of working for a family-friendly company, and my boss is a mom of grown children. In contrast to what a couple others have said, I feel like there are a lot of women, and a lot of mothers with younger children at my level (one or two steps below execs) and above. Two of my direct peers are men with younger kids and wives who work full time, so they “get it,” too. It’s incredible. In a previous job, my “great grand-boss” was a mother of grown children who had worked straight through their early and school years, but she couldn’t single-handedly balance the solid management layers of men who were either single or had grown kids/stay-at-home wives between herself and the other parents of young kids. No one argued when I finally spoke up about needing reduced hours after my second maternity leave, but it was definitely counterculture. As I move up in my career, and especially if I end up in a new company where work-life balance policies and culture aren’t in place, I do feel an obligation to advocate to support parents, because I’ve seen first-hand that it can work from a business/management perspective, and that it has such a big impact on individual employees.

    • I disagree with the premise – theoretically women *can* do everything that men can, but in reality they can’t because of how society is set up. Some people want to be SAHM’s but so many quit to stay home because it’s just too hard. I wish we were all more honest about that.

  2. Closet Redux says:

    Wardrobe PSA: I am 4 mo pregnant and just bought this non-maternity dress from LOFT and have worn it 2 times in one week because it is awesome! High-neck, sleeves, soft material, and, because I have a visceral reaction to things that have side-ruching when I am not yet in my third tri, a normal person silhouette. I only with they had it in other colors!

    http://www.loft.com/striped-short-sleeve-swing-dress/411196?skuId=21347740&defaultColor=6600&colorExplode=false&catid=catl000013

    BTW, this says online exclusive, but I found it in store.

    • Good to know. My recent order of dresses from Loft maternity was super disappointing. No shape, sack-like, frumptastic, beyond unflattering for my 20 week bump. It seems like their regular clothes this season are more tenty overall, so maybe that’s a better bet for second tri maternity clothes…the lack of maternity petites elsewhere has made shopping hard.

    • POSITA says:

      I had really good luck with a couple of non-maternity loft dresses last season when I was expecting. They looked like tents on their own, but worked really well under a slightly fitted blazer (non-maternity, unbuttoned). One of those dresses was literally the only thing that fit in my last week of work. It was like the unicorn of maternity dresses–fit from day one through delivery and fits now, post-partum.

  3. Shayla says:

    My mom watches my son full time while my daughter is in day care. We’ve had my mom watching a kid for almost 3 years now and I really think it works well. We pay her about $10/hr–lower than nanny rate in our area, but I think pretty good considering there’s a lot of intangible benefits (correct me if I’m wrong here), especially flexibility with time. For example, we don’t mind her taking care of personal errands with our son. Or, when my MIL watches the kids instead, it’s a day off but there’s no accounting for it (so, PTO). Also, she sees her grand kids every day, she has told me this is a huge thing for her. Though, there have been issues creeping up that if this were a traditionally hired nanny, I feel like I would have no issues (or at least not over think) being clear with my expectations. The issues are: we’d like to consider a different schedule and her personal errands are getting out of hand (the last three weeks have had more personal errand days than days with activities for my son).

    So, my question for all of you with hired nannies, how and when do you handle a discussion about resetting expectations? Do I make an appointment to handle it? Do I just mention it off hand (this morning when she told me she was skipping the weekly library trip for a personal errand, I think my response was “Really? What activity are you doing for Son?” but I went no further)? She’s staying late tonight so that we can have dinner together–I don’t want to turn that into this discussion, but is it disingenuous to pretend that everything is okay tonight and handle the problems later? I know I’m over thinking this because she’s my mom. But still, any input would be much appreciated.

    FWIW, we generally get a long better than most mother/daughter relationships, for example, having her in my home, every single working day, for about three years has not been a problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Okay to handle problems later but I think you need to moderate your expectations. It sounds like a pretty great arrangement. I’d pick 2-3 activities a week that are really important to you and ask her to stick to them unless there’s a specific reason it’s just not possible. Don’t really think you can ask more than that in this arrangement.I would feel differently if she was parking him in front of the tv all day. I actually think kids learn a lot just from being out and about in the community. They don’t need a whole day centered around them everyday.

      • Shayla says:

        I agree, in this situation it’s going to be a balance. The balance is gone though. This week my son has not gone to the indoor play park, an outside park, the pool, or the zoo. Instead he’s gone to the grocery store, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target, and Sam’s Club. And, true, if she were doing these errands and then stopping by the park, that would be different. But it’s just the errand, then home for lunch, then nap, and then playing at home. He’s 2, so I think that’s insufficient every single day and has not been the schedule in the past.

        • POSITA says:

          My 2 yo gets a lot out of going to the grocery store with me. We talk about all of the different types of foods, play games spotting letters, count the items as we put them in the cart, etc. It really is a good activity for us. We do similar things at other stores.

          If you’re worried about physical activity, perhaps mention that your son is feeling especially wiggly and suggest a trip to the playground or pool? This really sounds like a good arrangement. I wouldn’t worry too much.

          • Edna Mazur says:

            Agree. With the exception of the zoo where we point out the animals the grocery store is WAY more intellectually stimulating for my two year old than the pool/playground (red or orange peppers, how many bananas do we have, etc.)

            If she is missing stuff you paid for, I get being irked. Could you bring it up as getting your money’s worth? Hey mom, we are really hoping to get our money’s worth of the zoo and pool pass, could you try to get there once a week?

            Also, exercise aspect -Kiddo isn’t sleeping as well at night when he doesn’t get morning exercise. If he is riding in a stroller or shopping cart for a good portion of the morning, could you try stopping by the playground to get some wiggles out for awhile? I’d like to see if that helps.

        • I see myself as a pretty relaxed parent, but I don’t think I would have a problem with my kid going to the grocery store, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target, and Sam’s Club instead of the park, pool, zoo, etc. Kids learn so much running errands and being out in the community. Also, honestly, if I were staying at home with Kid, I’d be running errands a lot. And with both of us working, DH and I spend a lot of time running errands (grocery store, etc) on the weekends, with Kiddo in tow. In fact, last weekend, we gardened outside Saturday morning, and Sunday morning we went to Lowe’s and the grocery store, but we didn’t make it to the park or the pool at all.

          If your mom is running these errands, would it be possible for her to pick up (at least some) groceries for you too, so you could spend more time on the weekend doing kid-centric family activities?

          Otherwise, I agree with the advice to frame it as asking to make sure the Kid makes it to X number of activities, or certain paid activities, or gets X amount of time of exercise each day (or most days).

      • EB0220 says:

        One of the few working mom guilt points I have is that my kids don’t get enough of this exposure! Between Amazon Prime, online banking, grocery orders, etc. they don’t really go into stores all that often. Both of my kids (2 & 4) BEG me to go inside the grocery store.

    • How old is your son? And what types of personal errands are they? I think these two answers will help you get some better advice.

      (FYI — my mom & MIL watched my kids full time part time over the years. The things that were important to me were: car seat safety & sleep safety. If my mom wanted to push the 18 month old around the mall all day, I didn’t worry…although I made sure she knew my feeling on the germ pit (play area) at the mall.)

      • Shayla says:

        2 years old. Shopping cart errands, this week was grocery store, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target, and Sam’s Club.

      • I think that it is okay to restate your expectations, especially since you are paying her, but in a sensitive way. Think about your expectations & reasons before the conversation. Is is a kid-oriented outing every day? Three times a week? Do you want him to play with other kids or just be exposed to different environments? I like the idea of signing up for story time at the library or some other committed activity for her to take him to.

        But you should also be sensitive to her needs, since she is spending so much of her time with your family. I know my mom has really slowed down since she started watching my kids 8 years ago. She is much less likely to get on the floor and have a tickle fight. Has the heat lately been affecting her choices?

    • To add, you mom needs to get her own things done as well.

      Agreed- stick to a few classes per week, if they are paid things like music or gymnastics I think your mom would be less willing to skip them as they aren’t free things.

    • I think you couch it in terms of needs as Son gets older. “Mom, now that Son is 2, it seems like he behaves better and is a happier kid when he gets at least one hour of physical activity a day. The daycare has 3 hours of playtime for Daughter each day, and I want him to be ready when he starts. Can you start building that into his daily routine? If you need me to help you brainstorm ideas, great.”

      I’m probably a little harsher, but family-as-caregiver only works so long as it stays in the child’s best interests. If grandma is consistently skipping book-exposure for a trip to buy socks, then she really isn’t thinking about the child’s needs. Flexibility and cost are great, but not at the expense of the kid.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Honestly, I think it’s a pretty high expectation that your mom (as opposed to an official nanny) wouldn’t just take your child on her errands and go about her daily business while watching him. Assuming she stayed home with you, it’s probably exactly what she did with you. I agree with the others that plan a few non-negotiables a week – a music or gym class, attendance at the weekly puppet show at the library, etc. That makes it harder to skip and easier for her to plan. Also, consider that the things you mention you want her to do – the zoo, the splash pad, etc. – are all very hot this time of year and might be hard for people in our parents age range while watching a 2 y.o. They are hard for me in this heat!

    • Closet Redux says:

      Maybe this is a symptom of your mom not having enough time for her own life/errands given the schedule she’s on for you. Would it be possible to give her some respite during the week? Maybe you could have someone else (daycare, other nanny) watch your littlest one day or one morning a week so that your mom has time to run her personal errands. I know I would much rather go shopping alone that with my kiddo in tow. She may feel the same, but also like she can’t tell you that!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      It sounds like you have a good arrangement with your mom, so I think you need to accept that your son will have to tag along for more errands than you’d probably like. Also, your mom is getting older and maybe doesn’t have the energy that she did with your first kid to take your son all over the place. That said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with gently saying, “I’ve noticed that for the past few weeks that you’ve been taking kiddo on a lot of errands. We’re fine with that, but I’d really like it if you could also make it a point to take him to the library or the playground more frequently during the week.” I don’t think you need to make this A Thing yet.

      • Samantha says:

        +1 Not a Thing yet.
        I’d also frame it as “can you take him on x outing every week” versus “can you NOT take him along on so many errands”.

      • Shayla says:

        I think this is exactly how I’ll frame it, thank you Anon in NYC and Samantha.

    • NavyAttorney says:

      This sounds like a fairly good arrangement to me if afternoon playtime includes some backyard playing. At the age of two, he’d just be playing at daycare, though someone would read the kids a story or two. If you were a SAHM you probably would be running errands, too, though probably with some more outdoor time. Maybe she’s too tired to do playgrounds in the afternoons; maybe outdoor things where he can occupy himself could help, like a sandbox.

      She’s also older so probably does not see the need to do as much child-focused activity; supposedly current working mothers spend the same amount of time with their children as SAHMs of the 1950s. Though, I always wonder about the age investigated – if we’re talking about school aged children, well then this correlation makes sense and is just a sensationalized headline. Anyone know?!?!

    • Shayla says:

      I’m surprised that so many of you would be okay with your kid only running errands with your hired child care. We’ll have to all agree to disagree. :-) thanks though!

      • Katala says:

        I’m a bit surprised too. You’re getting a discount vs. a nanny so I agree that some personal errands could be ok in exchange for that, but my nanny doesn’t do personal stuff on the clock. It’s work. Working moms do our errands on our own time (or pay someone to do them for us) so I don’t see why she shouldn’t be doing that to some extent too. She’s not a SAHP, she’s paid childcare, so it’s not really relevant what she did staying home with you or what you’d do if you stayed home.

        OTOH, I can see that getting to “employer-y” with your mom might make things awkward so I kind of get the advice to let it go, since I do agree that going to the store is an activity of sorts and can be stimulating, etc. and is not likely damaging in any way.

        I do 100% think you should set boundaries of what you’re comfortable with though, whether that’s no more than X errands per week or minimum of Y child-centered activities per week. You are paying her, so she should be meeting your expectations, even if it’s a bit murky since she’s your mom.

      • I think the key is that it’s a family member, and you say that you’re paying her less than you’d pay a nanny. I pay my nanny $17/hour in a LCOL city. If my child accompanies her on an errand, it’s because she’s running an errand for our family. (She’ll pick up dry cleaning and stuff at the drug store on their way home from the playground, for example.) But if it were my mom or MIL taking care of my child, and I was paying $10/hour, my expectations would be different. Similarly, if I were staying home with my child, we’d be running errands together to maximize family time on the weekends.

        • Shayla says:

          I’m not sure this solves all the disagreement here, but my mom isn’t running errands for me–it’s for her. And, as I said above, I’m totally okay with her running some errands as long as there is balance. There isn’t balance right now.

          Anon in NYC and Samantha’s advice above are on point with my question of how to address this: this isn’t A thing yet and I just refocus my discussions about what I do want her to be accomplishing with him and any errands or whatever that get squeezed in otherwise are fine. Just because I’m paying her less (for many agreed upon reasons) doesn’t mean there are no expectations and she’s a glorified stay-at-home-granny.

          And, I don’t want it to seem like I’m ignoring the other concerns above. But, health, age, climate, temperature, ability to do things in doors, actual expectations, knowing that running errands isn’t a complete loss…already had been factored in. I really do appreciate the feedback and don’t want it to sound like I’m summarily dismissing some very good points (I was running around here but wanted to keep the conversations going).

          So this is my solution: I need to get more precise about expectations. So far it hasn’t been a problem, so they’d never been delineated. I don’t expect 5 kid-centric days. Just not 5 Granny-centric days. I’ll enroll him a 2 activities a week and let her know that I’d like to hear about a few visits to the park or whatever too and that will solve the problem.

          • I think it’s fine to ask for balance, and in my first comment I agreed with the advice to frame it as asking for certain activities for Kid. It sounds like you have a good way to ask for what you want, and it’s a reasonable request. I think many people responded the way they did because it sounds like the arrangement is somewhere between traditional nanny and glorified granny. Since it doesn’t fall precisely into either category, it’s understandably more difficult to navigate conversations about expectations, etc.

            But yeah, I guess there is some disagreement. I would be OK with it if a family member (or I), whether paid or unpaid, took DS out mostly for errands (although, again, I’d ask them to pick a few things up for me too). On weekends, when we go out, it’s usually for errands–we stop by the park on the way home if we have time, and the museum, zoo, and pool are special treats that we make happen by grocery shopping after work on Friday or Monday. I care much more that DS has his meals and naps on time, that he’s not out all day so he doesn’t get overstimulated and exhausted. The only caveat is that DS needs a certain amount of running-around time, but he lets you know when he hasn’t had enough, and running around the backyard is just fine.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it depends on how you view raising children. For me, learning to help and contribute in the family is a big part of that. So my 3 year old helps by putting items in the cart at the grocery store. My 6 year old who is learning to read gets to read out the items on the list to the best of her ability.

        For me, it’s really important that everything not circle around the kids. My parents definitely didn’t spend enough time teaching me that in life you have to do many tasks you don’t ‘want’ to do but they are necessary to a functional life. Laundry, grocery shopping etc.

        Being out in the community lots also exposes kids to differ kinds of people. My WASPy neighborhood kids gymnastics class just doesn’t have the same cross section of society that we see out running errands. Conversations with my kids that get started because they want to know why that lady has pink hair or why that man is walking with sticks are conversations that help them understand society as a whole.

        • Lurker says:

          +1. It’s a parenting style thing. I wish I had been raised more focusing on doing things I don’t want to do. I’m a bit of a brat about that as an adult and dread the grocery store while other friends of mine just see it as a normal part of life. In my opinion, kids shouldn’t be raised to think that the world revolves around them. Going to the zoo, the park, the playground is a treat and an extra special day. Not the norm.

    • MDMom says:

      I think enrolling him in some sort of paid activity (dance class, swim class, karate) something might help– it’d be at least one thing per week that is purely for his enjoyment and she would probably be more likely to make it a priority if it’s a paid class (and one where she doesn’t have to do much but watch).

  4. Meg Murry says:

    I just wrote a really long rant that no one wants to read. The TL;DR version: Dependent Care FSAs are stupid, take way too much effort to manage, and I just my reimbursement without it getting f-ed up every month.

    I’m just ready for this week to be over, except it can’t be over until I manage to check some things off my mile long to-do list.

    Ugh. Anyone seen Shots, Shots, Shots?

    • MDMom says:

      A lot of people in my office submit yearly instead of monthly for the FSA to minimize the hassle. Maybe that would help?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, I do mine once a year, during the first week of January, and just request a bill for one month from preschool and submit it (our FSA cap is only $2k).

      • Shayla says:

        It probably depends on what the company rules are for whoever is managing the account, but decreasing the number of times you request is helpful. I also do it once a year.

      • Meg Murry says:

        The problem is that I max out the benefit, so that’s $5,000 a year, or more that $400 a month. In my low cost of living area (and therefore lower salaries), that a big chunk of my budget to leave sitting in an account that collects $0 in interest, etc. And after a few years and hiccups, I’ve got the submission process down to a minimal level of annoyance (I basically submit 2-3 times over the first 6-9 months of the year, and that covers the full $5000 pretty quickly).

        The annoyance right now is that I work at a tiny company where I am the only one currently using the dependent FSA, and our servicer is also a small company with a really mediocre website/account management system, and I was only given the option to receive reimbursements by paper check as the money came in – which meant after the first big check, they’ve been mailing me checks 2 times a month. And, no surprise to me, one of the checks got mailed to the wrong address (our company’s address from a few years ago, no one is quite sure why) another one got lost in the mail, etc. So that is why I was so very annoyed and rant-y this morning.

        But the good news is that I talked to a competent employee this afternoon who told me that the last person I talked to at their company was wrong, and I actually *can* have my reimbursement direct deposited instead a snail mail paper check, so yay, that will be so much less of a hassle. I haven’t gotten the forms yet, so I’m not holding my breath, and I still have to wait to make sure the checks they are re-mailing actually make it to me, and that direct deposit is set up correctly – but once that is set up and it’s just a matter of checking 1-2 times a month to make sure the money is actually there, I’ll be a much happier camper than playing the “did I get that check? Did I deposit that check? Is this check for the right amount?” game constantly.

    • NavyAttorney says:

      I don’t do the health care FSA for this reason – too much effort; the rules got so strict that outside of OTC prescriptions it’s too annoying to find what IS acceptable! I should start again for dependent care FSA (yearly really is better), but I got tired of tracking it; the internet tells me the FSA is supposed to have a better tax effect than taking it on the tax form (only $200 in my tax bracket), but I don’t want to deal.

    • Momata says:

      To me, the health care FSA is like couponing; too much time spent for too little savings. (I realize we are fortunate to have low out of pocket health care expenditures.) We do the dependent care FSA annually. Which is basically monthly because between the “reduced” rate we get because my husband works at the institution hosting the daycare, and the fact that that rate (doubled) is still exorbitant, we blow through the limit in a month.

    • Like others said, I only request reimbursement 2-3 times/yr and just consider it forced savings. When I finally get reimbursed it goes into kiddos college fund.

  5. AltaLitGirl says:

    Hi all,

    17 weeks pregnant today and I’m seriously struggling with DH over a budget for our baby’s room and how to handle finances with a new baby generally. We make a good income combined, but we have decided that I am going to take a few months leave of absence from work in the fall before the baby is due in January due to some serious antenatal depression issues I’ve been having. My work is totally fine with me going on leave before the baby is born and has been super accommodating up to this point (a super small litigation boutique), but me going away early will leave me without income for 1 month before I can start collecting Employment Insurance Maternity/Parental Leave benefits (yay, Canada!), and the benefits I get will be a fraction of the salary I usually bring home. All this info is to set the stage for the conundrum I’m currently in.

    Last night after dinner I told DH that I wanted to set aside $1,000.00 as a budget for our baby’s room. In my mind, $1,000.00 is extremely frugal and it means that we will be getting a lot of things second-hand(thankfully my parents are delighted about the pregnancy and have already committed to splurging on a nice stroller for us). I did let DH know that I hoped we could purchase pretty much all used stuff with the exception of the car seat and crib mattress. He agreed that the car seat could be purchased new, but flipped out over buying a new mattress for the baby. He tends to be a bit of a Negative Nancy generally, and started rambling on and on about how the baby will only use the mattress for a little while and we shouldn’t spend as much on it as we would for comfortable furniture for ourselves which we will be using for years and years (he used his $250.00 home office chair as an example). I tried to explain why a new mattress was better based on the research that I have done (e.g. potential bacteria in old mattresses, risk of SIDS if mattress is not firm and saggy, etc.), and he basically went off on how I must have been brainwashed by the Baby Industrial Complex to want a new mattress and that it isn’t necessary. I told him to feel free to do the research himself if he didn’t think that purchasing a new mattress was reasonable (as he is a thorough researcher for pretty much every personal purchase he makes), and he balked saying that he didn’t care enough about any of the baby’s stuff to do any research, but nevertheless he felt like spending $250.00 (or anything close to that) for a new mattress was insane. I finally had to show him online that new mattresses for cribs can cost anywhere from $80-$300 for decent quality, and then he seemed to settle down because the price range wasn’t as bad as he had imagined.

    In the end he apologized for not trusting my judgment and said that he trusts me to make reasonable purchases for the baby, but I am still steamed about the whole exchange today and I only foresee more of these exchanges as we have to start purchasing items for the nursery. This was the same approach he took to wedding planning. We settled on a budget and he said he didn’t care how I spent the money and didn’t want to help me look for deals, but then he flipped out (and later blamed me for wanting a “fancy” wedding) over how much things cost. I know that money can be a sensitive subject for most couples, but has anyone successfully dealt with a spouse who claims to be disinterested in how the finances are spent, gives you the green light to move forward, and then later blows up over how you managed the finances (after parameters for spending were agreed to)?? I’m not sure how to handle this behaviour (which actually strikes me as being pretty passive-aggressive). I am generally a very direct person so I have no issues with initiating a frank conversation, but I don’t want to just be beating my head against a wall and not getting any results.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I mean, that strikes me as manipulative behavior…but (a) I’ve had antenatal depression and it totally warped my descriptions and perceptions of other people’s behavior and (b) I don’t know anything else about your relationship. If it’s just behavior related to finances, I would do one of two things: either require him to participate through a joint tracking system and weekly or monthly check-ins, or completely cut him off from all itemized information once he consents to a total budget (with his consent, of course – you shouldn’t need to hide financial data from your spouse).

      For perspective, I get pretty intense sticker shock that is only alleviated by doing lots of research to make sure I’m really getting a “good” price. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about doing all that research for a multi-purchase project like furnishing a nursery. Is it possible he cares deeply about the prices, but can’t handle the thought of researching them himself? If so, you could create a “research trail” when you present a high price item; show him print outs of the four mattresses you looked at, a print out of the Amazon search you did showing a whole bunch of prices, and an article from some doctor group about SIDS (and also, Goodwill here won’t take donations of used baby mattresses because GROSS GROSS GROSS). You’ll alleviate his concerns about the price and about having to do a ton of work.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      And I also wanted to say – good for you for identifying the depression and taking care of yourself. Hugs. It will get better. Hang in there.

      • AltaLitGirl says:

        Thanks for your comments, NewMomAnon! I really like your idea of creating a research trail so that DH can feel comfortable that I have covered my bases in scoping out the best deals and that I haven’t just bought something because it was “cute” or I was brainwashed into thinking it was a necessity. I’m not sure what the underlying root of this behaviour is at this point, but I do think you have a point re: antenatal depression throwing my perspective for a loop. This week has been a particularly good week for me, but last week I had a massive breakdown where I felt like DH was going to be disappointed in me for having mental health struggles, just like he was disappointed in our dog for not being a good dog (it was full of wracking sobs and ugly crying…ugh). DH was stunned that I would think that as he was clearly concerned for my well-being. Hmm…maybe it’s a little of column A and column B…in any event, I’ll follow your suggestion and hopefully stave off any future disputes about baby stuff that way.

        • Cdn Anon says:

          Give yourself the space to buy something just because it’s “cute” as well. Maybe not a great determining factor for a crib purchase but don’t tell yourself you have to research everything to the nth degree either. Buy a few things just because you love them – treat yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed it’s passive aggressive. Also agree that the Baby Industrial Complex does a stellar j0b of brainwashing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m anti-used mattress, anti used car seat. But I’m also anti perfect nursery.

      Kid #1 got a Nook Sleep System (which is as expensive as it sounds)… and didn’t sleep on it for months and months (didn’t realize babies didn’t go into the nursery from day one). Kid #2 got a crib mattress from IKEA where the most expensive crib mattress is $79.99. Live and learn.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        My kid’s entire nursery was from Ikea, except for the glider which was the same price as the Ikea gliders. In retrospect, a used glider would have been fine.

        I insisted on an expensive organic crib mattress, in part because I believed that my kiddo would spend so much time sleeping on it. I don’t think she regularly slept in her crib until she was a year old and she will probably outgrow her crib by 3. Oh well.

    • octagon says:

      $1000 sounds fairly reasonable, no big splurges. To help set his expectations, check out the book Baby Bargains (your library may have a copy). It should help him get some objective third-party information about which things are important to spend money on and what an overall frugal budget looks like.

    • CPA Lady says:

      So if you’re set on a budget, don’t have any more conversations about it. My husband and I got into some of the most infuriating arguments when I was pregnant, and I think it’s because we were both really stressed about the big change that was about to happen in our lives. I tend to ruminate out loud and it tends to really irritate my husband. So I switched to ruminating to my sister, who is much more tolerant of that. If he says he trusts your judgment, then don’t ask his opinion on specifics and don’t talk about it just to “make conversation” going forward. Just do whatever you want within the parameters of the budget. Apparently discussing the specifics stress him out. If he gets mad, calmly remind him that you agreed on the budget and he told you he trusted your judgment.

      Also, I’m guessing that your husband doesn’t know much about babies. Maybe once he learns more he’ll be less resistant. For instance, if you get a crib that converts into a toddler bed, you don’t just use a crib mattress for a little while. My kid’s crib converts into a toddler bed, and I’m assuming she’ll stay in that til she’s 3 or 4. So that’s several years. Your husband may not realize how long you can use a crib mattress.

      Also, I know you didn’t ask for specific furniture cost savings, but you can get a good (based on amazon reviews, anyway) mattress for way less than $250. My crib mattress is the safety 1st Heavenly Dreams and it’s $53 on amazon. The crib is the davinci Kalani, which is $225. So for a little more than your mattress budget, you can get a mattress and a brand new crib! I’m really happy with both of them, and they’ve been used daily for two years at this point. The bed eventually can be converted into a full sized bed if you buy the bed rails for like $70. Haven’t decided if we’re going to go that route or not.

      • AltaLitGirl says:

        Thanks, CPA Lady! To be honest neither of us really knows anything about babies. I’m more invested in getting us organized and doing the digging to get deals and know what is reasonable to purchase and what is a complete waste of money on our budget (for obvious reasons). I’m not going to raise the issue with DH again, but I will certainly have my research trail ready if he has any questions about how the money has been spent (which he is certainly free to ask about). He is definitely not able to handle my
        “thinking out loud” through things, but my mom/sister are both super excited for the baby and I’m sure would be more than happy to listen to me debate the various pros/cons of purchases over FaceTime.

        Thanks for the tips re: Amazon. Some of the prices on there do end up being a bit more expensive for us since we are all the way up in Canada (that dang exchange rate, eh?), but hearing about your purchases and specific brands you have used was really helpful. I am thinking of going the convertible crib route so that we can get upwards of 4 years use from that piece of furniture, and depending on if/when we have a second kid we can perhaps reuse it when the first kiddo grows out of it.

    • Cdn Anon says:

      Hugs – I have a similar DH and unfortunately not a lot of advice on how to deal with it. I try to keep coming back to “this is what I’ve found/decided – if you want to do something different then you need to research the alternatives and bring forward alternate suggestions” Repeat Ad Naseum.

      On EI — I would actually look into how much of a salary gap you may have. You’re eligible for maternity benefits which can start before the baby is born but you may also be eligible for 15 weeks in sickness benefits first. So your leave could look like 15 weeks sickness benefits + 16(15?) weeks maternity benefits + 35 weeks parental leave benefits. There is a two week waiting period before collecting EI but that should only apply once at the beginning.

      I know this because with a twin pregnancy I ended up taking some time prior to the birth. I ended up using vacation days because I don’t have FI top up at my work but the benefit does exist.

      If you’re looking to keep the budget for the baby’s room tight – IKEA has some really cute things at great prices.

      • AltaLitGirl says:

        Thanks Cdn Anon :) It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there with the type of DH I have. I have been meaning to check out IKEA, so thanks for confirming there are some cute things to be found at low prices.

        I had a chat with Service Canada last week and they advised that I could qualify for EI sickness benefits if I get a note from my doctor before I go on leave (my psychologist unfortunately doesn’t provide notes). The only rub is that apparently even though my claim converts to maternity/parental EI benefits later on (as early as 10 weeks before the baby is born), my benefits will expire 1 year from the date I first started receiving any EI benefits. So if I get sickness benefits beginning in October, my entitlement to collect parental leave benefits will stop in October when the baby is around 10 months old. DH could use the remaining portion of the parental leave to get us to the end of baby’s first year, but I would be unable to do so. He has expressed some interest in doing that, but I don’t really want to back us into a corner and be stuck paying through the nose to get our 10 month old baby into daycare if he later decides he doesn’t want to stay home, or his job situation changes in the interim and leave isn’t a feasible option for him. That said, I will probably apply for benefits as soon as I’m able to so that we can have more money to deal with expenses upfront.

        • Cdn Anon says:

          I would double check with Service Canada. The information isn’t super consistent. I do know that all the maternity + parental benefits have to be used within a year of the baby’s birth. I thought sickness benefits were in addition to that.

          I’d highly recommend having DH stay home with the baby for at least a couple weeks when you go back to work, it really helped the balance in our marriage for my DH to see what it was like to care for the baby all day for multiple days in a row. It likely won’t be any cheaper to find care for a 10 month old vs a 12 month old – the age when ratios decrease and childcare gets a tiny bit cheaper is usually around age 2 or 3.

          This is from 2013 so not sure if it has changed: http://www.osstfd20.ca/PDFs/Health%20&%20Safety/Parenting%20Leaves/Q%20and%20A%20mat%20parenting%20leaves.pdf

          “If you have received sickness benefits before or after your maternity benefits you could receive up to a maximum of 65 weeks of combined sickness, maternity and parental benefits. However, certain
          conditions must be met during your benefit period.”

          “If you stop working because of illness and you are entitled to paid sick leave from your employer your must exhaust all your sick leave credits before being eligible for EI sickness benefits. As well, if you are entitled to a wage loss insurance (WLI) group plan you must first receive the WLI provided by that plan before being eligible for EI benefits.”

    • Maybe instead of framing it as “we need $1000 to set aside for a baby budget”, it would be better to make a list together of absolute essentials, then do research (either together or divvy up items) on pricing for big-ticket items so that he can see what $1000 (or whatever the final estimate comes out to) looks like. I think a lot of the time people have NO idea how much baby items cost, and either greatly under- or overestimate the costs.

      I know that my husband hugely underestimates the costs for many things and thinks I’m being overly spendy, but when he does the research, he generally readjusts his thinking. He once thought it was “crazy” how much I paid for store brand toilet paper (of all things!), and then went online to try to find something cheaper. He backed down when he realized the only cheaper option were the giant commercial rolls :-)

      • NewMomAnon says:

        OMG, I’m dying laughing. Your husband and I would get along well over-analyzing costs of dumb things. I seriously priced out toothbrushes on Amazon a few weeks ago. My daughter didn’t have any socks that fit for a while because I was so intent on not overpaying for socks that I just didn’t buy her any….

    • I think $1000 sounds very reasonable and even frugal, so kudos to you for not spending a ton of money. We used a ton of old furniture in our son’s nursery, including a dresser my parents received as a gift when I was born and that I grew up having in my room, and I love how cozy and sentimental the items are. But, you mention antenatal depression, so please take care of yourself and don’t put too much pressure or extra work on yourself to buy things used. If the nursery “project” gets to be too much, either spend a bit more or put the money aside and go slowly. Most babies stay in their parents’ room for a few months anyways, so you have more time than you might think to “finish” a nursery.

      I think you should tell your husband as little as possible and just do what you want within the set parameters. Also, although I am generally against used mattresses or used car seats, I would accept donated items from trusted sources–I just picked up a pristine convertible carseat from my MIL’s cousin whose grandchildren have outgrown it. So if you have friends or cousins or whoever who have children or grandchildren, you might luck out there.

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