Washable Workwear Wednesday: Ruffle Trim Sweater Jacket

I always like sweater jackets because they’re comfortable and let you move, bend, etc. — they feel freer than blazers but still look professional. They’re also good for fall as a lightweight jacket for the office and for something to keep at work. This would be nice over a gray dress, maybe for a work party or something like that. I like the faux waistband in the back, and I like the little ruffle details. (My only issue is the gold buttons, but if they’re not your style they can easily be switched out.) The jacket is machine wash cold and lay flat to dry. It’s only available in red in most sizes, but it’s still in black in “woman petites.” The blazer is $149 at Talbots (in four size ranges), but they have frequent sales, of course, so keep an eye out. Ruffle Trim Sweater Jacket

Looking for other washable workwear? See all of our recent recommendations for washable clothes for work, or check out our roundup of the best brands for washable workwear.

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Comments

  1. avocado says:

    Happy Halloween hangover day, moms! My kid got home from trick-or-treating with friends an hour after her bedtime with several pounds of candy, wet socks, and silly string in her hair. Good luck to her teachers and coaches today.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      lol. My 2.5 year old had a BALL. She refused to wear her costume, and maybe only said “trick or treat” once, but learned to hold her bag open, said “thank you,” and was so so thrilled about the candy. She would periodically announce to us “I eat it [the candy] at home.” It really was the cutest.

      • avocado says:

        That is adorable. I love the itty bitty trick-or-treaters. Last night one of them tried to take one of our pumpkins instead of a piece of candy.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        My 2.5 year old was a champ. I told her to say “trick or treat” in her ~big voice~ so she’d be heard, which led to truly booming “TRICK OR TREAT”s from my little Batman. And sometimes she mixed it up and said “thank you” when she was supposed to say “trick or treat” or vice versa. All in all, truly adorable.

        (And then at 11 pm she threw up in her crib. Though I hadn’t let her eat a single piece of candy so maybe it’s just a coincidence? Poor kiddo.)

      • Awww. My 2.5-year-old received his first piece of candy and promptly sat down on the stairs of that house to eat it. So cute! (We explained that first we gather the candy, then we eat it). It took a few houses for him to get the hang of putting the candy in the bag, but he had a great time! He also had fun helping a neighbor (a stranger until last night) turn the battery lights in his pumpkins on.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Aww, I love these stories!

    • EB0220 says:

      Yes! As I expected, my 3 year old wore her candy corn dress rather than her costume, but she was a champ – walking and making it to many houses before plopping down on the sidewalk and announcing that she was DONE. We went home and cuddled on the porch while passing out candy. My 5 year old SPRINTED around the entire neighborhood as far as I can tell. How she could be that fast in a slightly restrictive mermaid outfit I’m not sure, but she covered our half of the neighborhood for the first year.

    • Carine says:

      Happy Halloween hangover indeed!! Last night was a blast, but we’re paying for it today. Both kids slept like crap – toddler was awake and calling out, “all done? all done?” from about 12:30 until 3, 5yo crawled into our bed during the night and slept fitfully, everyone was upset about breakfast and late to school and work. Whee! Tomorrow is book character costume day at school and I feel a little guilty but I think this family is DONE with special events for the week.

    • Two Cents says:

      I genuinely feel terrible today. I guess I’m not used to eating all that crappy candy (we are totally those parents that buy dark chocolate from WF for treats for the kids). high fructose corn syrup is no joke!

  2. Maternity wear as a gift? says:

    My sister is pregnant with her first and I’d like to buy her some kind of splurge-y (under $100) maternity wear as a present. Is this a good or bad idea? Any recs?

    • Great idea, as long as it’s returnable. Hatch clothes are a bit over that budget but are so nice. Seraphine dresses could fit that budget well.

      • Seraphine is having a sale right now.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Seraphine wrap dress. Easier to guess on size than a shift or something and there’s the added “hey Kate Middleton and some princesses wear this brand so it’s a special treat” factor

      • Anonymous says:

        Seraphine dresses are the only maternity clothes I like. I think they’d make a great gift.

    • Really nice maternity leggings, and a tunic type sweater or one of those Nordstrom open cardigans w the button at the top plus a maternity t-shirt? I am not a leggings person, but I got a bunch as hand-me-downs and ended up living in them when I was pregnant. I wished I’d had nicer (thicker, less baggy in the knees) ones.

    • Anonymous says:

      I love my Isabella Oliver stuff for work. I wish I had splurged on it for my first pregnancy, since it wears really well. You may be able to find dresses in the $100 range on sale.

    • anne-on says:

      Great idea! Serphine, Isabella Oliver if she needs nice work things, or heck, even a gift card to a local lingerie store that carries nursing bras would have been awesome.

  3. Is there a lifehack I’m missing here? I am six weeks pregnant and am newly dealing with crushing exhaustion and low-grade nausea, so…pretty standard. We have a three-year-old and have been through this before, but it’s so easy to forget! My husband and I both work full-time and are basically perpetually tired anyway, but I am usually about done by the time we get dinner cleaned up and the kid to bed. Last night he expressed irritation because I “always go to bed so early” and we hardly get a chance to talk. That went over well. ;)

    Any suggestions to make this easier? I know it will get better in a few months, and then harder again, of course. I’m struggling to figure out how to not to be terrible at my job and also be a good wife and parent, while basically feeling crummy most of the time.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Honestly, in your shoes, I would focus on my job and my kid and let my husband fend for himself. He’s a grown man. You’re working, parenting, and also growing a human. I’d be disinclined to accommodate him.

      But, in an effort to not be so petty, maybe you can get a babysitter for a Saturday or Sunday and go out for a lunch date.

      • Or he comes and gets you from work for a lunch date during the week because older kiddo is (presumably) already in childcare and it’s one less thing to arrange

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell your DH to get over himself. I went to bed as soon as kid was in bed for most of my pregnancy. I was growing a person. DH handled supper clean up/packing daycare bag (I cooked). At the end of my pregnancy, he also did bed/bath routine with toddler every night. DH and I have a standing weekly phone call in our calendars – it helps up catch up with each other. You could book something more often and catch up then or he will have to wait for the weekend.

      • Carine says:

        Agreed to all this, especially giving up the bed/bath routine and any couple time in the evenings. I would often go in and lie down to talk with our daughter for a few minutes after lights out so she and I still had some one-on-one time (and it was something I could continue once the baby arrived), but I’d basically haul myself from bed to do it and right back to bed afterward. I also had to do fewer daycare drop-offs and pick-ups because it was just too physically taxing. Husband took on a lot and I had very little energy left over for quality time with him! That’s just the season we’re in right now and it will get better – thankfully we are on the same page. It doesn’t exactly get easier once the baby is here, either, as you acknowledged. While I think he definitely needs to adjust his expectations, it’s probably worth finding some ways to connect that work for both of you. Like others are suggesting, trying for breakfast or lunch together on a weekday is a good idea that we sometimes manage to make happen.

        Also, it sucks, but you are probably going to feel a little crummy about at least one of those roles intermittently, forever (ha). So try to be easy on yourself. Some of the best advice I received about being a working mother was from a law professor before I even had kids – she said, just accept that you’re going to feel like you’re not doing a very good job at everything. It’s hard, but you’ll manage. Keep going.

        • Carine says:

          Edited to say that I know you’ve been doing the working mom deal for a while and I hope my last paragraph doesn’t come off as patronizing. I personally had a really hard time going from one to two kids – it was much harder for me than zero to one. I needed a lot of reminders that sometimes it was just going to be hard and I would be OK.

          • Not at all–thank you for this! It is helpful to be reminded that feeling completely inadequate is reality for the majority of us. We are really thrilled about the addition, but, of course, I already feel a little like I’m drowning and think we are maybe insane for doing this again.

    • avocado says:

      Life hack = husband cooks and cleans up dinner while you are busy “cooking” the baby.

      • EB0220 says:

        +1 This seems like a great opportunity to tell him that you might have more energy if he handles the evening duties while you rest up. Then if he doesn’t, well, he’s made his own decision. And, bonus, doing all that evening stuff might make him more tired so he wants to go to bed earlier himself. Hah.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Husband needs to step up and take over most if not all of the food and child responsibilities. You cannot possibly handle all that esp when you’re so tired from making another person. Man, I remember the first trimester so well. I could barely sit up straight at my desk.

    • POSITA says:

      Sometimes it might be worth parking the 3 yo in front of Daniel Tiger (or other favorite show) so that you can hubby can sit quietly and talk for a bit. Lunch dates, even with a babysitter on weekends, are also great. Good luck! It’s a tough time.

    • I agree that your husband probably just needs to deal. But I also understand why just telling him that isn’t going to be the answer you’re looking for, necessarily. So I think lunch together can be a great idea, and also maybe you can do something on Saturday nights at home that’s still fun (or do you have grandparents nearby who’d want to take your kid for sleepover?). We’ve been ordering take out Friday nights because we’re both just too tired and that way we can have dinner without anyone having to cook and the clean up is minimal. On Saturdays, Mr. AIMS will usually cook something while I hang out and either talk to him or relax and then we talk through dinner and I go pass out. The first trimester is hard! I had no morning sickness or nausea to deal with and I still wanted to go to bed halfway through dinner. Some nights he’d pour himself another glass of wine and start on some new topic, and I honestly thought I will fall asleep at the table.

    • Anonymous says:

      +1 that your only job here is to rest and do your best to not completely fall apart at work or with your kid. Everything else can wait or get done by your husband. First trimester is a lot of work for your body. It’s only a few more weeks.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      (1) shut uuuup husband. I’ve only been pregnant once, but here’s what i did: wake up, train to work (some dozing on train, only occasional almost-barfs), work, train home (same), to bed. A lot of why we have only one is that I don’t want to deal with the exhaustion again.

      (2) what if you invite him to come watch a movie with you in bed immediately after dinner? You can kind of fall asleep but at least you’re spending time together?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Do you have a gym membership? I have friends who drop the kids off at the gym daycare, do a half hour work out, and then get coffee in the gym coffee shop together for half an hour every week. Since you’re cooking a tiny human, you get a pass on the workout…although floating in a pool felt amazing by late in my second tri.

      Otherwise, agree with all the folks on here – hubby needs to understand that this is a phase of life in which he should find support from sources other than you. Just like you probably find support from sources other than him when he has a big deadline at work or travels or whatever.

    • anne-on says:

      I’d be inclined to tell your husband to suck it up and deal, but I can see why that would perhaps not be productive ;)
      Can you do what we call ‘porch dates’? After dinner my kiddo watches an educational show before bed, and some nights we grab a drink (or seltzers) and just sit together on the porch and talk. Its rarely more than 20-ish minutes, but its a nice way for us to catch up regularly without having to get a sitter, and more involved than just zoning out to Netflix.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Life hack is your husband needs to deal. It is completely standard in first trimester to survive the day until you get home from work and basically collapse around 6pm. My nurse made sure my husband heard/knew that.
      Presumably, work is not optional, so you can’t compromise there. Husband has 50% responsibility for kiddo, which can be bumped up in situations like this, so there’s some wiggle room there. Husband is also a grown man who can binge stranger things and just enjoy some peace and quiet if you go to bed early like a grownup instead of whining at you for getting much needed rest (sorry, I’m angry on your behalf).

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Some more practical advice (I’m in second trimester with my second right now):
        -Most nights, just focus on getting dinner done for the kiddo. You and your husband can piece something together once kiddo is in the bed. The man can make himself a sandwich if he needs to. It’s easier to cook food for/clean up after one toddler than the whole family. You can still both sit down with toddler while they eat and have that together time, it’s just less work.
        -Just hang in there with work. All you can do is your best. Stay on top of the visible things (things that need to be signed/turned in, emails from your boss, etc.) and plan to play catch up on the rest in second trimester
        -Can you guys do a date in bed? Not joking. Can you agree on a new show you both want to try, order food in, and sit in bed and eat it and watch Netflix and if you pass out after eating oh well? I know the idea of eating in bed grosses most people out (my husband included) but it’s kind of a luxurious treat in first trimester to feel like you can spend time with your husband AND be in bed AND eat all at the same time
        -Just be clear with him “Hey honey, I really miss spending time with you. It’s been hard lately, I feel like I’m treading water to just make it through the work day and by the time we get kiddo to bed I’m DONE. I’m glad second trimester will be here in a few weeks so we can spend time together again”

    • Thanks for both the support/commiseration and creative ideas, all. I was ready to throttle him, and, to be fair, he did apologize profusely this morning. He’s a great guy and very devoted to our family, so while I do need him to suck it up, I also want to try to keep our marriage happy. So we will work on it. We have been crashing in front of the TV most nights, and I appreciate the suggestions to maybe not do that and have a conversation instead. We will also try to snag a sitter one of these weekends.

      I mostly appreciate the permission to not feel bad about this one thing during a life stage in which I feel like I am never, ever doing enough for anyone.

    • i’m pregnant with my first and SO nauseous i cannot imagine how i will ever do this with a toddler around. i guess i would survive, but it seems so hard. Hang in there!

    • Spiprograph says:

      I haven’t read all the responses, but thoughts:

      1. You haven’t done this before — being pregnant while having a toddler is TOTALLY DIFFERENT than being pregnant with your first child, because you have so much less discretionary time.

      2. You only have so much energy. Dial everything back. My priorities were work (in the sense that I needed to make it through the day without falling asleep or crying, not like it was time to be a rock star), some kind of QT with the kid, and then sleep so I could do at least that much again the next day. “I love you, I’m sleepy, it’s not personal” was the best I could do for my husband sometimes. It’s frustrating for both of you, but he definitely needs realistic expectations.

  4. Legally Brunette says:

    I know that the prevailing theory is that you need to introduce a food several times (7 times?) before the kid may be open to eating it. Do you follow that approach when you are packing lunches for daycare/school?

    2 year old is very picky and refuses to eat most fruit (but will have fruit smoothies and various veggies) and an assortment of other things (e.g. the only sandwich he likes is pb&j). Do I just keep introducing various types of fruit and other things he doesn’t like, and suck up the fact that he might not touch it? Husband grew up in a culture where food.was.not.wasted. and it almost physically pains him to see the amount of food wasted in the lunch box. On the other hand, not introducing a wider array of foods is not a great solution either.

    Thoughts?

    • Our son (a few months over a year) seems to go in phases about what he will and won’t eat. I try to send a real variety to daycare, and whatever he doesn’t eat that they send home, I’ll try to resend for another day or two. Does your daycare just toss what your kid doesn’t eat? I too hate to see food wasted, so I get it.

    • My daughter’s lunch is pretty much the same every weekday. That’s mostly because we cook ahead of time and it’s easier to make one or two big things that she can eat during the week. We manage to introduce new food at other meals and on weekends and I don’t think it’s a big deal. FWIW, she’s not a very picky eater so I don’t think it’s affected her.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d keep up trying with new foods. Funny story, last night my 5-year-old was practically retching at the table while eating the soup I had made (that he normally has no problem with). When I started going through all the reasons he needed to eat, including that we needed to get ready for trick-or-treating, he told me, “I just need to try it a few more times, then I will start to like it!”, and kept going. Hah – I guess he’s overheard that from me a few times :)

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I generally don’t send untried or disliked foods to school with kiddo. She won’t nap if she doesn’t get enough lunch, and lunchbox real estate is limited. But she eats a wide variety of fruits and proteins, so I can pack a pretty nutritious lunch from tried-and-true items.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Yeah – for us, lunch is a rotating cast of familiar foods and new foods are for other meals.

        OP – I have friends with kids who simply don’t like fruit or only like 1-2 fruits. If you can send smoothies, I think that would be great! I wouldn’t push fruit in other forms at school lunch.

        • +1 to the 2nd paragraph. My Kiddo eats a pretty wide variety of foods and is adventurous about trying new foods. But he just doesn’t seem to like most fruits. So far, he likes most melons, plums, some apples, and bananas (sortof). He doesn’t like anything sour or tart (“too spicy”), and I think he doesn’t like some of the different textures. We keep letting him try things, but usually on weekends or before dinner when it’s snack time for the whole family. Basically, OP, it’s OK if you want to stop sending fruit you know your Kiddo isn’t going to eat in her lunchbox. Or do it once a week so not as much goes to waste?

          Also, we’ve had some debates around here about this, but I count unsweetened applesauce and smoothies as fruit.

      • Momata says:

        funny – I do the opposite. I think the peer pressure and lack of other fallback options makes my kids eat foreign foods better at lunch than they do at home.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          Kiddo apparently prefers to be hungry and angry than give in to peer pressure…I keep telling myself resistance to peer pressure will be a blessing when she’s older.

        • Legally Brunette says:

          Exactly! This is what I was thinking. Trying foreign foods at home hasn’t worked well for us.

    • I mostly introduce new foods at home before I send them for lunch. I really dislike food being wasted so if I am giving my son something new or something I know he doesn’t usually like I make sure to give him a very small portion, like two leaves of kale or two tiny pieces of meat, so he still has the opportunity to try the food, but the amount that is getting thrown out if he won’t eat it is minimal. If he eats something I can always give him more of it. I also give him larger portions of foods I know he will eat so he is still getting plenty to eat.

      • AwayEmily says:

        This is what I do, too — but hearing all these other strategies is so interesting!

    • Carine says:

      I generally introduce new foods only at home and keep lunches to mostly sure things I know my daughter will eat. For borderline items I will send just a little like Em, include a dip, or if I feel like it, cut into fun shapes.

    • Due in December says:

      Another thought. I’m definitely in the less-conservative camp when it comes to eating food that is a little older or has been sitting out, but perhaps you could just take the fruit that the kid doesn’t eat and pop it into a bag in the freezer, thus alleviating some of your husband’s anxiety about food waste? Things like grapes can be introduced frozen, things like berries or stone fruit can be used for smoothies, and things like apples can be cut up for making applesauce or apple pancakes or whatever.

    • Legally Brunette says:

      Thank you everyone! I think I’m going to stick with always including a few items I know kid will eat but also mixing it up with one new food every once in a while. Today I tried the very exotic — raspberry. :) Kid is not good about trying new foods at home so I was thinking that peer pressure at school might entice him to be more adventurous.

      As an aside, I would love it if Kat would include one recipe a week that is healthy and kid approved, and have that be a recurring feature here. Always looking for good food ideas. Pinterest is overwhelming and it’s nice to have a recipe that is tried and true.

    • avocado says:

      I have found that the peer pressure to try new things at school only works when all the kids are being served the exact same thing. I avoid putting new foods or foods I know my kid isn’t crazy about in the lunch box and save those for home. My husband solves the problem of wasted food by finishing whatever is left in the lunch box as he is loading the containers in the dishwasher.

  5. Nursing and reading aloud to my three month old is the easiest way to deal with the witching hour.
    He falls asleep and can be swaddled and put into bed. It also seems to help me calm down (I find the crying and comfort nursing a bit overwhelming). However, we are almost done with the Winnie the Pooh books. Any fun children’s books that lend themselves to being read aloud? I’d prefer short stories versus a novel.

    Full disclosure – this sounds quite wholesome and virtuous but I’m crap with tummy time, he only naps in the sling, and refuses to take a bottle. I feel like I’m accidentally attachment parenting.

    • How long do you want the books to be? If on the shorter side, the Sandra Boynton books were a big hit and I didn’t mind reading them over and over again. My favorites, in no particular order: The Going to Bed Book; But Not the Hippopotamus; Happy Hippo, Angry Duck; and Hippos Go Berserk.

      On the slightly longer side, I really like Nancy Tillman. The famous one is On the Night You Were Born, but the less well known ones are pretty great too. I especially like Tumford the Terrible.

      I Love You Stinky Face is another good one for reading out loud, lots of theatrics. So is Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown (along with Goodnight, Moon, of course). Lots of animal noises there.

      A somewhat different suggestion – poems! Not necessarily children’s. I think kids like the rhythm. My mom read a lot of sonnets to me and novels in verse; my daughter really enjoyed Edgar Allen Poe. Pick what you like. I don’t think it matters.

      • Ah, poetry sounds perfect. I used to read loads but it has fallen by the wayside.

        • Momata says:

          Garrison Keillor put together an anthology of poetry that I read to both my kids. I also read Wind in the Willows (which is much longer than you remember).

        • +1 on the poetry. I loved reading poetry to my baby. (Now at 12 months, she wants the picture books). I read everything to her — she preferred some sort of rhyme scheme, so lots of T.S Eliot, Yeats, Frost. My husband wasn’t thrilled when I read her Sylvia Plath or This Be the Verse, but she loved it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I love Curious George and Robert Munsch books. They are actually fun to read, even for grown ups. You can get them hardcover bound with like 5-6 stories in each book.

    • Delta Dawn says:

      My little boy is super into Guess How Much I Love You right now. It’s great for reading out loud, and he likes to stretch out his arms and whisper “Thissssss muchhhhh” when the rabbit does so in the book. It’s so sweet it makes me cry. Granted, your three month old won’t do that yet. I would put it in the slightly longer category with Nancy Tillman books.

      We also like Goodnight Train, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and the Fire Engine Book (these are comparable to the Sandra Boynton ones, and they are really picture books for babies who can follow along, not so much short stories).

    • Maddie Ross says:

      You do you and all, but at 3 months old, my understanding was that reading them anything works. So if you want to read an Atlantic article aloud to them, it’s the same as Winnie the Pooh. Once I went back to work, I may have proofread work aloud to my child.

      • My mom basically read the stuff she was reading anyway to me. Cue to my favorite book at 2 being a 19th century novella that I insisted on taking everywhere with me.

        • I’m hoping my child is bookish rather than athletic (going to sports practices in rainy Scotland seems miserable) so this is basically my dream! I do like doing the voices, although my English husband can’t understand why eeyore sounds like he’s from the American South.

          • Well, I have zero athletic inclinations and my parents had to force me to “stop reading and go outside” so I think this approach works.

      • True! I could probably read my dissertation – it would count as reading time and prep for my viva. Poor kid was subjected to politics lectures in the womb.

      • Yeah, I would read whatever YOU want to read!

        • AwayEmily says:

          Agreed! And maybe something that is fun to read out loud. What about the Robert Fagles translation of the Odyssey?

      • Anonymous says:

        May or may not have read briefs in a capital murder appeal case I was working on to my son when he was 3-months old. Doesn’t seem to have scarred him, and he now enjoys reading real books as a 5-year-old.

      • +1. At 3 months, I read whatever I was reading to Kiddo. I can’t remember what exactly that was…Americanah maybe? That whole year is a blur.

        • I read Americanah about a year later than everyone else because I was too sleep-deprived to concentrate on a good book. Should’ve just read it to the baby.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Looking for some perspective here. My husband and I come from very different families. His parents are old school Southern. Although his mom worked, his dad was always (as far as I can tell) the head of the household and was certainly always the breadwinner. They had very traditional responsibilities within the family. My husband had a terrific relationship with his dad, and it seems that especially when he was a teenager, his dad was very present and was a safe and grounded place for my husband to air out his teen angst and get wisdom and guidance in return. I grew up as an only child with a single mom. My parents divorced when I was just 4 and the whole time I was growing up, my dad lived on the other side of the country from me. I saw him for one week once a year, and as I got older, there were a few years I didn’t see him at all. We talked on the phone maybe quarterly for about five or ten minutes. My mom and I had a very intense relationship. She never thought she’d have to fend for herself in the world and I took over a lot of responsibility early on (e.g., balancing the family checkbook and paying the bills when I was 14). It was my mom and me against the world. While I had a lot of early responsibility, the up side was that I had all of my mom’s attention. She didn’t date much and pretty much decided she wasn’t going to bring anyone else into our family. She did remarry after I’d graduated from college, but her focus while I was young was entirely on me. Since I had no siblings, I didn’t even have to compete with them for anything.

    My husband says he feels like he doesn’t get enough alone time with me. I’ve felt torn because I feel like I don’t spend enough time with our kids (age 2 and 4). I work full time and see them for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, plus weekends. The kids are in bed by 8:00 and my husband has my full attention between then and when we go to bed, around 11:00. Plus the kids still nap and so we have alone time midday on the weekends, too. He expects a promotion shortly and said he’d like to spend some of the extra money on more childcare. We already get at least one date night per week and often a half or full day on the weekend together since we have an au pair and my in-laws live nearby and will often take the kids for the day. My heart dropped when he said that because I feel like after a whole week at work, being away from my kids for a whole Saturday often seems cruel to them. But when I wonder whether we spend enough time with the kids or whether they spend too much time being cared for by other people, he says yes there’s a point where you’re handing off your kids too much, but we’re waaaaay short of that point.

    This is rambly and I’m sorry. I’ve just been heartsick over this all morning. I worry that my husband doesn’t spend enough time with the kids. He says he just does not enjoy doing anything as a family right now because they’re so young. He thinks he’ll enjoy it more when they’re older. I feel like you don’t just get to parachute into your kid’s life when you deem them interesting enough to be worthy of your time. But I can’t tell if I’m just projecting my own feelings about my dad onto him. Obviously he’s in their lives far more than my father was in mine. I also worry that my experience of being so closely bonded to my mom growing up, and not having a married couple role model, has made me have unrealistic expectations about how close I should be with my own kids. I get the impression if you have married parents and siblings (as my husband had) it’s kind of the parents in one camp and the kids in another, and while it can be the whole family against the world, there’s also a particular bond between the parents that the kids aren’t part of. On the one hand I know the kids will grow up and have their own lives and so what’s healthy is for my husband and me to keep our relationship strong since we’ll be together the rest of our lives (or that’s the plan at least). On the other, I can feel already how soon it will be that the kids will be out of the house and gone. My husband thinks it’s strange because it’s going to be 14 and 16 years before each of our kids goes to college, but my older one is already getting big to be carried around and I am trying to hold onto every second of having them here with us.

    I guess I’m asking, especially for those of you who grew up with two parents, did you feel like your parents weren’t paying enough attention to you? I remember missing my mother so much even when I just spent a week at my grandparents’, or being so sad when I had a babysitter putting me to bed instead of her. My four year old keeps careful track of who’s putting him to bed each night and I feel guilty if it’s not me more than once or twice a week. But I wonder whether I missed my mom more than most kids because she was in many ways all I had in the world (I had grandparents and aunts and uncles, but in terms of our household, it was just us). Such a rambling post, I’m sorry. WOuld love to hear any thoughts.

    • This sounds really tough, I’m sorry. I will tell you that a date night once a week and a half or full day (??) on the weekend is way, way, WAY more than most married couples spend together, sans kids. We don’t have an au pair or family nearby so a weekend without kids is not in the cards for us right now, but even if we DID have family nearby, I would be reluctant to have them away for an entire day. Like you, I feel that we don’t see them enough. My husband is sort of the opposite of yours — he never wants to have date nights because he wants to see the kids as much as possible and doesn’t want to miss out. That’s not a healthy solution either, though.

      I was raised by a single mom, like you. I saw my dad maybe once every few months. I was and remain extremely close to my mom but I also don’t remember my mom spending a ton of time with me, if that makes sense. She worked full time and I grew up going to after school babysitters, neighbors’ houses, etc. But I very much felt she was involved and didn’t miss her.

      I think if you sucuumb to your husband’s wishes and spend more time together your kids will be absolutely fine and won’t miss you and won’t feel neglected. But the bigger question is — do YOU want to spend more alone time with hubby? You shouldn’t feel forced into doing that.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I have a few random thoughts in reply :)
      1. I admire your husband’s honesty in admitting that he just doesn’t enjoy doing things as a family right now while they’re so young. You know what? I was kind of the same way. I just don’t enjoy having a baby/young toddler. My kid is 7.5 now and he ROCKS and I LOVE doing stuff with him/am excited to think of things to do, because he can actually enjoy it! When he was younger, it felt like I was just dragging him to do things to say that we “did” something, when really either he was miserable or I was miserable and we both would have been happier at home. It didn’t mean I didn’t love him, I just didn’t always see the point of forcing a family “activity” into every weekend. But you’re right, you don’t get to just drop in when you deem it’s fun. Maybe you can find out what specifically he doesn’t like about activities. Are you doing them too “big”? Maybe dragging everyone to the children’s museum in the nearest big city that’s an hour away just doesn’t feel worth it to him, but he’d enjoy something smaller, like the Christmas light show at the local botanical gardens 15 minutes away. For me, my dislike of that time period was that the cost/benefit didn’t seem to add up for the very big outings with such young kids, but once I learned to keep them (and my expectations) smaller they were much more enjoyable.

      2. One date night and one weekend day together is A LOT for a married couple with children. I’m not saying you should or should not increase that, I have no judgement either way, but I’d bet that’s significantly higher than average in terms of “alone time” for spouses with two small children. That’s definitely NOT an unreasonable amount to see each other. Frankly, married couples WITHOUT kids often don’t spend that much time with just each other.

      3. In terms of advice/compromise, keep the early bedtime (my son is 71/2 and still goes to bed by 7:30). If you’re going to do more “dates”, do them after the kids are in bed. You said you’re up until 11:00 anyway. When I was a single mom for a couple of years, I did go out and occasionally date (obviously, since I’ve remarried), but I kept most outings to the post-bedtime hours, so I was always the one to put my son to bed. That could be a good compromise, since being the one there for bedtime seems important to you AND your son, but then you can still give your husband one-on-one time he seems to value.

      I grew up with two parents, but I will say they didn’t seem very affectionate and I think my mother made us TOO much the priority sometimes (I’m not saying my dad should have been the priority, but she could have made HERSELF more of a priority). I honestly wish I had seen them go on more “dates” or be more open about wanting to spend time together and valuing each others’ company. I think that would have been healthy for me to see, and enabled me to make sure I sought partners that truly enjoyed my company etc.

      • I agree with all of this, especially #1! I didn’t enjoy the under 4 stage. Life with a kid that young feels either like babysitting (stuck at home trying to do things around the kiddo’s schedule) or dragging along a time bomb (when and where will the next tantrum hit?) to Kid-Friendly Spots the adults didn’t *really* want to go to.

        I would ask your husband, “Why do the kids have to be away for us to spend time together?” and see what his answer is. I can’t tell if he’s tired of kid activities and wants you free to go out for more adult fun (dinner, drinks, hanging with friends) or if he thinks he can’t be himself around the kids and wants them out of the house more? (I’m thinking like, “I can’t have a beer and watch sports with the kids around because it’s Kid Land in here 24/7 and I have to be like Calliou’s Dad.”) If the first, you can address more ways to go out together. If it’s the latter, that should be an easy fix by changing the focus from KIDS!!! to Okay, enough cartoons and pumpkin patches–we all live here, and you kids are going to play in your rooms for a bit while the adults talk!!!

    • I’m an only child of two working parents. I had a local Grandma who had me after school until I was 14 and during the day during school breaks. I always knew my parents loved me but definitely felt there were points in my life when I didn’t have enough time with them. They used to have football season tickets and those long Saturdays were the worst.

      I can see both sides though – my parents were intensely invested in me and we are super close ; (despite 7,000 miles between us) but I think they were a bit disconnected from each other and they’ve struggled a bit once I left home and later left the country. I think this was tougher for my mom than my dad, she’s always worked more and her life has been work, me, and my grandmother. When I left and my Grandma passed, she was pretty lost.

      I wonder if there are practical ways to make family time more fun? Use the money you would spend on additional childcare to outsource household work? Explore a hobby for all four of you?

    • You already have 1 date night per week + a 1/2 or full weekend day? To me that is a lot. I grew up with two working parents. I’m currently pregnant (no kids of my own yet), so you can take what I say with a grain of salt, but I anticipate I will feel more like you do. Growing up my parents always went out on Saturday nights, often with another couple. I cried every saturday night, sometimes threw up, but my parents still went out (after consulting the pediatrician). I had no issues going to school or being with a babysitter during the week, but apparently didn’t want them to go out on saturday nights? I have very limited memories of this, because I grew out of it by age 5-6. Obviously I don’t remember that much from when I was ages 2 or 4, but I am pretty sure that other than that weekends were family time.

      I agree with the other poster that if your kids seem fine with the current arrangements, then they won’t necessarily miss you more, (I have a colleague whose daughter is so adaptable, she truly does not seem to care how much/little she sees her parents), but the issue is whether you are ok with spending less time with your kids. Do you think you and your husband can try to brainstorm some activities you could do as a family? Does he want to spend more time alone with just you, or also with other adults? Does he like when you do activities with other families as well or just your family? I think that different people have different ideas about the role that kids play in a family. There is not necessarily a right vs. wrong – just different.

    • I’m having a slow morning so I’ll bite.

      Random thoughts: my parents separated when I was 10 and, even before that, I was always much closer to my mom; my dad was great but didn’t have too much interest in spending time with me when I was little because “we had nothing to talk about.” I’m with someone whose parents were the opposite: they loved and still love spending all their time together. They have a good relationship with their kids, but they definitely have a better relationship with each other. Whereas I often went on vacations alone with my mom, they sent their kids off to be with grandparents and would be completely child free for at least a month every summer. My parents eventually divorced, they’re still happily married. I don’t think it’s an either/or proposition but I do think that putting kids first at all times takes a toll on your relationship. I’m seeing it happen with friends already.

      That said, it sounds like you are doing better than most couples with young kids. Seriously better! I can probably count all the times we actually had a legitimate date night since my daughter was born almost two years ago. In an ideal world, your husband would be on the same page. But you have to deal with the situation as it is. Are there other ways you can make him feel like he’s getting more you time here that don’t require sacrificing time with your kids? Maybe you can have lunch together during the week? Or send the kids for a sleepover with grandparents one weekend night a month? I feel like there’s a difference between getting more child care and having a slumber party with grandparents, esp. if you’ve spend most of the day before and after with them. And there is something different about having a house with no kids in it vs. having the kids be asleep.

      Also, just a random thought. I think that my mom erred by just accepting the fact that my dad wasn’t that into me when I was little. She accepted it as a given and shouldered all the responsibility and as a result I just wanted to spend more time with her, my dad didn’t know what to do with me when he was there, and the whole thing was sort of self-fulfilling. Whenever she just left me with my dad out of necessity and he had to deal, we had a great time. So just something else to consider.

    • avocado says:

      Being together without kids every evening, for date night every week, and a half-day to full day plus naptimes on the weekend sounds not just sufficient but excessive to me.

      • Anonymous says:

        will chime in too that it actually sounds terrible to me! date night once a week might be nice, but the half-day Sat./Sun. as well…no thanks.

      • Two Cents says:

        + 1 . After you put the kids to bed, does your husband expect the two of you to be engaged with one another until bedtime? That would drive me batty. Most evenings after dinner husband is watching TV and I’m reading in the other room, working out, etc. Some separation is healthy. Sorry that you’re dealing with this, I would personally be very annoyed at my husband in your shoes. I would venture to guess you spend more time together without kids than the VAST majority of families.

        Some concrete suggestions:

        – More dates at home where it feels more like a date — order takeout, drink wine, sit on your patio and talk, play board games, etc.

        – More lunches together, if that’s feasible. We like doing this when we can.

        I also think you should show husband this thread to get a better sense of how most families operate. I have never heard of couples with kids spending this much time together!

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      I grew up as an only child with two working parents. We were thousands of miles away from any other family as well. My parents didn’t spend weekends or nights away from me, but I definitely felt it was them as a couple and then me as the kid in that dynamic. I think that it has been easier for my parents to see me move away and have my own life because they did their own thing. I can see that playing out with me and my husband as well – we are a unit against the world and we try to tackle our challenges together, including child rearing. We try to go on a date at least once every two weeks and we went on a one-week solo trip when our son was 11 months old – it helps to have my parents nearby to babysit.

      I sense a few dynamics at play for you – you feel guilty for not being around your kids more, likely in part because of societal pressures saying moms should be around their kids at all times and should LOVE every moment, when the reality is that small kids are difficult to deal with and are often not very fun. That’s not to say that you should just completely abandon your responsibilities toward them and it definitely does not mean that you don’t love them just because taking care of them is difficult. Your husband likely doesn’t have the same societal pressures so he can more readily admit that they’re just not that fun at this age. He’s still taking care of them by suggesting other caregivers. I don’t think there is necessarily a “wrong” or “right” amount of time you need to spend with kids – lots of parents work a lot and have many nannies/caregivers and love it, while others stay at home full time with their kids and love that. Some kids need more than others, so, again there is no right or wrong way, but it’s really really hard.

      I think it would be helpful to explore your feelings about your dad missing from your childhood in therapy, and use these sessions to get some suggestions about how to discuss your feelings with your husband. Early childhood dynamics definitely shape us. Hugs to you. You sound like you love your kids so much, which is the most important thing for them to feel.

      • Anonymous says:

        This post contains a strong presumption that smaller kids ‘just aren’t fun’ and that anyone who claims they enjoy the preschool age is faking it because of societal pressure.

        My kids are 3 and 6 but ages 18 months-4 were definitely by far my favorite ages. With toddlers there is so fun enthusiasm for the smallest things like jumping in a puddle or watching ants crawl around and so much excitement at getting to help in the smallest ways like putting leaves in a yardbag. I found that the joy of childhood is so pure at that age and I loved soaking it up.

        Lots of people prefer different ages for different reasons. OP’s husband may not prefer the preschool age but that doesn’t mean she needs to cave to his pressure to spend less time with the kids. One date night and one 1/2 day on the weekend is a TON of couple time for a family with young kids. Suggest adding a mid-week lunch date so you don’t have to cut into kid time on the weekends. Encourage DH to find something he enjoys doing as a family activity or one on one with a kid at this age.

        • Anonanonanon says:

          In the interest of always assuming the best intentions of the posters on this board, I didn’t take it that way at all. I think it’s important to remember to evaluate if we TRULY feel a certain way, or if we feel like we SHOULD feel a certain way based on society/what our mother did etc. I personally appreciated boston’s reminder :)

          Anonymous articulated something that I tried (and probably failed) to express really well: at that age, they’re interested in the small things. Examine the family activities you’re doing. If you’re overshooting/overplanning, it may be very stressful for your husband, and even disappointing if he hasn’t learned to calibrate his expectations of behaviour at this age. I found I enjoyed that time period and outings more if I didn’t try to shove my kid into somethign I could have enjoyed without them (a museum, a festival, etc.) and just did things I enjoyed because THEY enjoyed (jumping in puddles, a very close-by park with animals, whatever)

          • anne-on says:

            +1 – this is a good point. Kids museums at that age were sooo overwhelming for both of us. Morning trips to run errands and grab a chocolate chip bagel though? Magic! Bagels are yummy! Pushing the little grocery store cart is so fun! Putting things on a conveyor belt is awesome! etc. etc.

        • Boston Legal Eagle says:

          Thanks Anonanonanon – yes, didn’t mean to imply that small kids are just miserable all the time. Of course they have their fun moments! Maybe I’m wrong but I got the impression from OP’s post that she feels guilty for not spending enough time with them because she thinks it’s harmful for the kids (i.e. seems cruel to them), and I think societal pressures play a part in that.

          I also agree that family time at this age is probably best with very simple, short activities, ideally close to home. My favorite weekend activity now is to walk to the pond across from us and watch my son explore the world around him.

          • Two Cents says:

            I also agree that family time at this age is probably best with very simple, short activities, ideally close to home. My favorite weekend activity now is to walk to the pond across from us and watch my son explore the world around him.

            + 1,0000

            Our best outings are when we take a walk in the park across the street and go to the playground a block away. Pumpkin patch outings an hour away are fun in theory but require too much prep and time and we end up feeling a bit stressed. Keep it simple.

          • I appreciated your post! We are absolutely bombarded with messages telling us to cherish every second with our kids, and buying XYZ product or attending ABC event/festival/vacation spot will help to make that magic happen.

            I think many parents end up living in Kid World, feeling resentful and burned out, but pressing on anyway because they think that’s what they *should* be doing with their free time. It’s good to step back and ask ourselves why we’re feeling pushed!

    • Sorry, to clarify we don’t get time away every weekend. More like once a month. But yeah I guess part of it is that I feel like we get A LOT of alone time now. The part of me that feels slightly resentful also feels like I already devote 100% of my non-work/non-kid time to alone time with him. We rarely do separate things in the evening, even though I would enjoy some time to just watch some TV he doesn’t like, or pick up a hobby. But that’s okay. It’s important to him and I’m okay doing it. But when we already get so much time, and so much more time than most people, I just kind of feel like his expectations are unrealistic when he feels like we’re not getting enough time. It’s fine to want more, but he’s actively unhappy about how “little” time we get.

      I think what he’d want is a 1/2 day or full day away every weekend. And that much time away from the kids every single weekend just seems like a lot. Also, he seems to feel that as long as they’re being well cared for, caregivers are interchangeable. That to them a day with me vs a day with the au pair vs a day with grandma are all the same. My recollection of being a little kid is that no one is Mama but Mama.

      I don’t think there are any family activities he’d enjoy more. He doesn’t like any family activities of any kind. I do think when the kids are school-aged it will be better. They’ll have genuine interests that are mature enough for a grown-up to share. Right now, they both love dinosaurs and construction vehicles, for example, but their interests are pretty much limited to calling out “crane!” when we pass a construction site, or saying “my favorite is stegosaurus!” Not really in-depth discussions. (The 4 yo is getting there, though. He likes to talk about what each dinosaur eats and where they sleep and whether they have mamas and daddies. Not university-level stuff, but more than just naming them, which is where his brother is at.)

  7. NewMomAnon says:

    Probably I’m the last to figure this out, but I wanted to share in case others can enjoy it – kiddo has started sending emoji texts to grandparents and her dad on a regular basis. She can’t read yet but she can “read the pictures.” It’s a cool way to keep in touch and my family is always tickled when they get a text message from kiddo. Unicorns, rainbows, hearts and the poop emoji make frequent appearances.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      awwww that’s cute. My son did that a couple of times when he was younger, but I wish we had done it as more of a regular thing. Loved ones always got a kick out of the emojis he chose.

    • avocado says:

      Ha ha, my 10-year-old and her friends still text primarily in meaningless strings of emojii, random letters, and animated gifs.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Ha I love this idea!

  8. Turtle - Christening Gift Idea? says:

    I was just asked to be the godmother of my niece (first grandchild, so it’s a reasonably big to-do). I’m SUPER excited, mostly because I’m obsessed with her and this makes us even closer!

    Her parents aren’t devoutly Catholic (nor am I, but raised in the church) and are doing this more out of family tradition. We’re in the northeast. I would like to get her something non-religious (no crosses, bibles) but also something special she’ll always have. I was hoping Tiffanys did a nice bracelet for little girls, but I came up empty. Any other ideas? I would like it to be reasonably nice and not something from Things Remembered or that I can get at any old mall kiosk, if that makes sense. Ideal budget is sub $200, but could be swayed a bit if it’s otherwise perfect. Thanks!

    • I actually think a tiffany’s necklace is a nice gift. easier to wear a necklace when it is still big on her, and i think it is nice for her to have something to grow into/she can always wear. My grandparents got me a bunch of nice expensive kid jewelry when I was little ( i think directly from a jeweler) and it is all engraved, but none of it fits me now, so isn’t particularly useful. You could always do one of the many heart necklaces, or if you want something different, the teardrop, knot or eternal circle are also very pretty. Or the Elsa Paretti letter necklace (i think it might be more like $225).

    • avocado says:

      Sarah Chloe has some nice children’s jewelry that can be monagrammed.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My grandparents gave me an add-a-pearl necklace for my christening, and then gave me an additional pearl every Christmas until I turned 16…or something like that. And when I got older, they had it re-strung onto a longer chain.

    • What about a charm bracelet? Do people still do those? You could add a new charm each year. I still have mine and love it, even if I don’t wear it.

    • Frozen Peach says:

      James Avery is gonna have exactly what you’re looking for.

  9. NewMomAnon says:

    I’m embarrassed to suddenly realize that I may have made a big tax oversight….my therapist is an individual, sole practitioner with no entity. Should I have been withholding taxes the way you do with household help? It seems different, since I’m going to the therapist’s office rather than having the help come to my house. If I didn’t need to withhold taxes, should I have been giving a 1099 each year?

    • ElisaR says:

      i’m sooooooo not a tax adviser…. but if i most certainly did not do anything tax-wise with my therapist(s)…. it never even occurred to me. i mean, by that reasoning it could extend to lots of people…. acupuncturist, tree cutter…. these people are paid for a service, not employed by you, right?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Ok, I answered my own question – household help is considered an “employee” because they work in your home with materials you provide. A medical practitioner, in their own office, is not your employee. And 1099s need to be filed for amounts paid in the pursuit of a trade or business, not personal expenses.

      Phew.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also not a tax person but this seems squarely in the contractor not employee territory. You’re not supervising her work. I’d also be kind of surprised if you’d racked up enough hours even if she was an employee. 50ish hours per year is waaaaay under the cap. You’re her patient/client, not her boss.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        The threshold for withholding for household help is $2,000. If that was the threshold for medical care, I would’ve hit it in April. The insurance company is now asking for the therapist’s SSN, which is why I suddenly got concerned. But I think I’m fine!

  10. Holiday planning with kds says:

    Cross posting from main site…

    Ladies, need some vacation help! We have a 9 month old boy and 5.5 year old daughter, and would like to plan a short holiday around Thanksgiving.

    Context:
    – We live in PNW and don’t have family in the area, so want to do something fun and outside the PNW that week.
    – We have about 4-5 days for the holiday and can stretch to 6-7 if necessary.
    – CA is out as we’re planning extended trips there over Christmas and Spring Break to visit family.
    – DC, NYC, Boston (too cold), Philly, Chicago, Orlando, Vegas are all out as DH and I have spent extensive time there.
    – Would prefer to travel domestically with the kiddos.

    Ideally, we’re looking for places that are kid-friendly and have good food and sights for the adults to not get completely bored either. We’d like to do one big “thing” a day (e.g., museum or zoo) and then lounge the rest of the day, eat out, etc. We haven’t taken a proper holiday in over 18 months so no real budget we’re working against.

    We’re thinking of going to New Orleans, Nashville, or Phoenix as DH and I haven’t been to any of those places.

    So wise hive, what would you recommend:
    1) Between New Orleans, Nashville, or Phoenix – which is better with kids? What should we do there?
    2) Are there other options we should consider? (DH suggested Salt Lake City and nearby dino sights – my daughter is a BIG fan – as an example)

    TIA!

    • Anonymous says:

      San Diego? I’ve heard they have a great Zoo and Aquarium

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I know they aren’t domestic, but I loved Vancouver and Montreal, and I think either would be great with kiddos. Also, how far is the flight to Hawaii? Because that would be on my list if the flight wasn’t too long.

      Between the three you mentioned – I’ve been to Phoenix and New Orleans, and neither would be high on my list of a kid-friendly vacation. But I saw only the heavy drinking, party side of New Orleans (stayed in the heart of tourist areas, went to a business conference); there may be other areas that are better with kids. I object to Phoenix only because it seemed spread out and inaccessible without a car, which isn’t how I like to do vacation. I haven’t been to Nasville so no thoughts there, but it’s next on my list for a grown-up vacation in the near future.

    • EB0220 says:

      We’ve really enjoyed the Phoenix area with our kids. Husband and I lived there before kids. We usually stay with friends who live right next to South Mountain, so I’m sure that improves our experience somewhat. Last time we went with a 3 month old and 3 year old, we did Phoenix, Sedona and Flagstaff. Phoenix actually has a really nice zoo, and Papago park (right next to zoo) is also neat. There’s a short walk to a cool rock formation that your older kid will like. Our kids liked to run around the flatter trails at South Mountain as well. Sedona is really awesome and not too long of a drive from PHX, so we usually go there and rent a jeep one day. There are lots of easy trails you can drive on to see the awesome rocks and it’s possible to bring kids in the carseat (unlike Pink Jeep). We also did the Verde Canyon railroad, which was really really neat. Highly recommend. We usually drive from Sedona to Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon, which is BEAUTIFUL. A short hike + beer is our typical outing in Flagstaff. It’s a neat college town. We did San Diego with the kids at a similar age and it was OK. They liked the beach but it’s not really a lounging kind of beach, the zoo was fine and they liked Sea World. Maybe we just didn’t know it as well as PHX so didn’t know all of the cool spots.

      • EB0220 says:

        Also – I grew up in NO and it’s pretty awesome. The children’s museum was the BEST (in the 80’s anyway). Audubon Park is huge and your kids will LOVE the Spanish Moss if they haven’t seen it before. The zoo (located in Audubon Park) is nice – has a large reptile area from what I recall – and there is also an aquarium in the park I think. My kids would LOVE riding the streetcars and who doesn’t love beignets? (Answer: no one doesn’t love beignets.) Now I want to take my kids there!

    • of the three you’ve mentioned I’ve only been to New Orleans, but another place we visited and loved was Charleston. We went without kids, but it is super walkable, has an aquarium, children’s museum, horse & carriage tours, etc. We did rent a car one day to drive to a plantation and depending on weather you could also visit a beach (not necessarily to lay out, but to explore, have your daughter run around, etc.). I don’t know that much about it, but you might also look into Denver or Boulder, which are located a bit closer to you.

      For NOLA- i think it depends where you stay. there is a HUGE park in NOLA outside of the french quarter that has everything from a botanical gardens, to mini golf to storyland. You can also do a gator tour if your 5.5 year old is into that kind of thing.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Depending on how you like to vacation, a ski area might be an easy adventure. It’s a more self-contained, less urban trip though. I’ve been to Big Sky, Deer Valley, Steamboat, and the Tahoe area. That time of year is likely just before the winter prices kick in, too. They often have really awesome heated swimming pools, family movie nights/s’more nights/concerts, a variety of restaurants (I remember Deer Valley having really good food), and even child care for the older one. Depending on whether there is snow, there could be skiing (cross country and downhill), sledding, snowmobiling and ice skating, or good hiking, gondola rides to beautiful vistas, horseback riding, and other adventure stuff that may or may not work with young children. Also, they usually have spas.

    • Maybe it’s just me, but New Orleans doesn’t seem that kid friendly to me…Aside from skiing, I’m not sure Salt Lake City would have much to offer that time of year…

      I’ve seen people rave about San Antonio as being a great destination for kiddos. There are a couple of nice family friendly resorts, and tons of kid things like a zoo, sea world, huge park, children’s museum to name a few. The weather shouldn’t be bad, but you never know that time of year. There’s also really good texmex food.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I visited San Antonio in the spring, and I can second the recommendation – I would love to bring kiddo there. There is a riverwalk that has shopping and restaurants, boat tours, and it’s close to the Alamo and a museum (maybe with dinosaurs?), and some other cool, kid-friendly attractions. Also, Fredericksburg, Texas is not far, and that would be fun day or two with a kid – a walkable downtown area with some cool museums, lots of restaurants, and parks. Also art galleries and vineyards, which could go either way with kids.

        • My husband and I went to San Antonio last year and not to be mean, but we thought it was a dump compared to other places we’ve been in the U.S We were there for 2 nights and thought that was more than enough time. Personally don’t think it’s worth flying to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Salt Lake is a really nice city. Gorgeous nearby natural beauty. Really nice, clean, safe city. And, uh, they super love kids there.

      • avocado says:

        Salt Lake City is very easy to navigate without a car or even car seats. Public transit is family-friendly, and the airport is close to the city and accessible by transit. Last time I was there it was January, there was no snow, and I walked all around the city and and hiked City Creek Canyon without getting cold, but the weather might have been a fluke. I think you would need a car to get outside the city, though.

    • I live in New Orleans, and I love it and highly recommend it for families. The weather is typically beautiful in late November–chilly but not cold. I like our aquarium and zoo, we have beautiful parks and an amazing sculpture garden, the food is awesome and extremely kid-friendly, and 5.5 is old enough to do a few activities outside the city like a swamp tour (my 2.5-year-old would want to swim with the alligators). If you decide on New Orleans, I’m happy to help with more details.

      We went to Nashville recently for the eclipse. We had a great time in Centennial Park, but I had the sense that many of the activities, like the science museum, were for older children. Also, it will likely be significantly colder than New Orleans in November.

    • Jeffiner says:

      Dallas/Fort Worth is great for a weekend getaway. Fort Worth’s zoo is award winning. There are multiple art museums and a children’s science museum. The historic stockyards has a longhorn cattle drive every day, and there is a cowgirl museum. Dallas has a really great aquarium, lots of dinosaurs at the Perot Museum, and the Sixth-Floor Book Depository museum about JFK’s assassination. Weather in DFW is typically cool in November, but not too cold. There are lots of parks and trails, food trucks are really popular, and there are tons of foodie options. You’d need to rent a car, though. DFW is not known for its public transportation.

    • I’m biased because I live here, but may I suggest St. Louis? We have an amazing park (forest park) that I see larger than Central Park with free!! World class zoo, art museum, science center. A great children’s museum called the magic house and one of the most insane places ever in the city museum (look it up, not what you are thinking), that may be a little big for your kids but there is a good area for smaller kids too. Weather is typically moderate that time of year, definitely warmer than Salt Lake City. I’d suggest staying in the central west end or Clayton area if you come.

      • Jeffiner says:

        We took our 2.5 year old to St. Louis for a weekend this summer, and loved it. We even took her to the city museum. The food was great, too – I think we had Bogart’s BBQ and Hodak’s fried chicken.

  11. Sleeping Arrangements says:

    We’re expecting our second in a few months and trying to figure out what would work best in the following situation. We live in a two bedroom apartment and have one little one already. Plan is to have new baby sleep in our room initially and then for both kids will to share a room. Oldest is 2 and currently sleeps in a crib.

    Option 1 would be to transition oldest to a regular bed and put crib in our room and then eventually move crib to kids’ room.

    Option 2 would be to leave oldest in the crib for now and have new baby sleep in a pack and play or to get a mini-crib, either option being for about 6 months and then transition both kids to new beds in one room.

    One major complicating factor is we must have some invasive work done in our apartment when baby will be about 2-4 months old – not optional – which will make our bedroom uninhabitable for about 2 months. During that time we will be sleeping in the living room and new baby will need to either move into the kids’ room earlier than we’d like or will need to sleep in the living room too. We have a rock-n-play already but I don’t think that’s a good full-time sleep option. We also have a pack-n-play but I sort of hate the way it looks. It currently lives at the grandparents’ house and I’d prefer to leave it there, but I know it’s silly to spend a lot of money on a temporary sleep arrangement. I am okay with spending a little money though to have something that I won’t hate for 6 months. Currently leaning towards finding a used mini crib with wheels on CL. Am I missing a better solution? What would you do in this situation?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Can you move the invasive housework up to, say, now? Because that sounds like No Fun with a small child and newborn.

      FWIW, I would move older kid to a big kid bed now, so that isn’t linked to the disruption of the new sibling. For the baby; I don’t know? Maybe a sidecar sleeper or bassinet until baby outgrows that, and then figure out the next thing based on what’s going on in your life then?

      • Sleeping Arrangements says:

        Would that I could. It’s part of a massive building project and we are at their mercy.

    • ElisaR says:

      if its an apartment i assume you are renting? i don’t know if this is an option – but i would not deal with that if i was a renter….. i’d move since that’s probably in the cards anyway. but having to move out of my bedroom when i have a newborn would not happen.

      that said, i bought a co-sleeper that attaches to the side of our bed for our 2nd baby – it was about $50 on the local facebook page. i wasn’t wild about a pack-n-play as a long term sleep option either.

      • Sleeping Arrangements says:

        We own, so moving isn’t really doable.
        My concern with a co-sleeper is the baby would outgrow it before we were ready to have the two kids share a room. We basically need something that would work in the bedroom and the living room, and the living room option would be movable so that it could go into kids’ room during the day and only be in the living room at night.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I think your best bet, if you don’t want to use the pack and play and also want to move this thing around your apartment, is to get a mini crib on wheels. I’m not sure that there is any other sleeping arrangement that is as easily portable.

    • If you transition the oldest to a bed and put the crib on your room, can you move the crib to the living room while that work is being done?

      • Sleeping Arrangements says:

        Yes, but the downside is that the crib is a standard size crib so it would take up quite a bit of room and wouldn’t be movable during the day. I feel like naps would be easier during the day if we could have them in the oldest child’s room and if we move oldest to a bed, we wouldn’t be comfortable having baby sleep in bed alone.

    • rakma says:

      My sister had a mini-crib that would move from the living room of their 1-br to the bedroom depending on nap schedules and what else was going on at the time. I’d keep that option in consideration.

      I don’t know if this is an option for you, but DD1 decided to move to a big girl bed on her own. We had a guest room, and I ended up sleeping in there while I was pregnant some nights, sometimes with her. She then claimed it as her own, and we moved it into her room.

    • We had our second in our room until 6 months in the arm’s reach co-sleeper that is larger (think more like a pack ‘n play) so high weighted. My eldest was 2years 2months when he was born and I had no interest in moving him out of the crib unless he showed interest in climbing out (he was such a good sleeper and I wanted this to keep happening when I had a newborn). We ended up buying a second crib with my youngest was getting too big for the co-sleeper. They started sharing a room when the baby was around 6 months and it worked out well. My eldest stayed in his crib until we forced him out at 3.5, ha. It worked out well for us to not mess with the eldest’s sleep situation, and I am glad we did it this way.

      If I were you, I would do Option 2. They make some really nice mini-cribs that are a lot more pleasing to look at!

    • Anonymous says:

      Your kids’ sleeping habits will probably dictate this for you, despite your best laid plans. We wanted the kids to share the room, or, barring that, figured we would have the baby sleep in our room. As it turned out, baby slept too restlessly for anyone to sleep well next to him, and the toddler ended up sleeping in our room on his toddler mattress for maybe 3 months. A toddler mattress is pretty easy to move around.

      • Anonymous says:

        Replying to myself to note that this was actually a crib-sized mattress from a convertible crib.

  12. Another question on sleeping arrangements says:

    Didn’t want to TJ the question above, but I have a question as to the optimal time to move kids in to the same bedroom.

    DD#1 will be almost 4 when the DD#2 arrives. We actually have three bedrooms, but the ultimate goal is to have the two share a room so that the third bedroom can remain a home office/playroom. We plan to have the new baby sleep in our room (mini crib) for the first 6 months, give or take a couple months.

    Option 1 would be to move DD#2 into DD#1’s bedroom ASAP after that, so they can both get used to sleeping together.

    Option 2 would be to move DD#2 into the home office and keep her in the home office/nursery for an undetermined amount of time.

    Either option is doable. What would you all recommend, based on what would be best for the kids? If Option 2, when would be the best time to move DD#2 in with DD#1? Around 1 year old? As soon as she sleeps through the night regularly? As soon as she is ready to move into a toddler bed? Another milestone?

    Note that it would be only a minor inconvenience to have DD#2 in the home office for a couple years. My main concern is to have the sharing a room thing be as smooth a transition as possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you already answered your question: either option is doable. They will adjust whenever you put them together. I’d go with Option 1 and fall back to 2 only if it’s not working out after a month or so if one of them is having a tough time sleeping and keeping the other awake.

      FWIW, my kids have “always” shared a room. It was never an issue until recently with the older two (almost 3 and 4) resisting bedtime and playing together when they’re supposed to be going to sleep. We go through stretches where one of them gets moved into the baby’s room just to split them up. That doesn’t bother either of them or the baby. Kids are very adaptable, so do what’s easiest for you as parents.

    • I think this depends on how DD1 is as a sleeper. We transitioned at 6 months because DS1 sleeps really hard once he is asleep, so night time wake-ups were not a big deal. Once DS2 woke up, we would move him to our room for nursing/sleeping. Once he slept through the night, they were just used to sleeping in the same room. It’s really great to have them sharing now (they are 4 and 22months).

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