Diaper Bags: What’s In Yours?

What's In Your Diaper Bag | CorporetteMomsWhat’s in your diaper bag? Who stocks it, and who usually carries it? I know a lot of people keep their cars and/or big strollers well-stocked — and some have the nanny in charge of the diaper bag — but I’ve always kept the bag stocked and ready for us to go out to eat, to a museum, or to the airport. (While our big City Select Baby Jogger has a nice big basket, we find it way too large for the subway, so that nice big basket is never of help to us while we’re on the road!)

I actually planned to write this post a while ago, which is when these pictures were taken (last fall maybe?!). Because we had two kiddos in diapers at the time (thank GOD that isn’t the case anymore), I thought I’d use these pictures to show you what I’ve always carried. (Our bag is much more pared down with just one in diapers now — although we still try to have a spare set of undies and pants in case of an accident or tempting mud puddle.) So let’s hear it, ladies: what’s in your diaper bag? Perhaps more importantly: who uses your diaper bag (you, your partner, your nanny, grandparents-as-nannies)? Who restocks it when supplies run out? (Oh — and which diaper bag is your favorite?)

For my $.02: I’m a big fan of the “giant ziploc” system of organization, so at any given time we had one big ziploc filled with diapering stuff, one filled with snack stuff, and then some loose items like clothes and toys. All of this fit in our trusty Georgi diaper bag from Baby Cargo, which sadly looks like it’s been discontinued; Amazon has a few left for $60ish.

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Grandma the Babysitter: Grandparents as Caregivers

grandparents-as-caregivers2017 Update: We still stand by this thread on grandparents as caregivers, but you may also want to check out our newer discussion (a guest post by a manager mom in Houston!) who has a “granny as nanny” situation.

We’ve talked about childcare pros and cons, but we’ve never directly talked about childcare with family as caregivers — and I keep seeing stories about how grandparents move to New York to help raise their grandkids — so I thought we’d discuss. There are obvious pros — love! money! — but the logistics strike me as something that may need a bit of finessing, particularly if we’re talking about in-laws.

For example: childcare is inherently a “shift” type of job (you’re on, I’m off), but when people aren’t being paid it can be difficult to have that initial discussion to create the routine. Another con:  if you’re working with a third party like a nanny, there is no dispute that Stuff Happens Your Way — there should be none with family, and yet (especially with in-laws), it can feel a little like biting the hand that feeds you to make too much of a fuss if small rules aren’t followed. Third, the place of care can become an issue too — one girlfriend I knew had a mother who wanted her to travel, with her baby, for about 60 minutes each way (think Brooklyn to the UWS) so her mother could watch the baby in her own apartment three days a week. A super generous, amazing offer — but a PITA no matter whose place of care was chosen.

So ladies, let’s hear it — do you rely on grandparents or other family members for some or all of your childcare? How formal is your arrangement — and how did you go about discussing some of the touchier subjects? Did you (or family members) move to make such an arrangement possible? 

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Five Family Dinner Strategies Better than Delivery

working-moms-dinnersFamily dinners can be a constant headache for busy parents. Before we had kids, my husband and I either ate out, ordered, or made fairly intricate recipes that were fun for both of us to make together — lots of chopping and prepwork. After we had Jack (our firstborn), a lot of things changed. While it’s always easy to just order dinner from Seamless, we’ve tried a number of different ways to actually cook food for the family — so I thought I’d round up five strategies for family dinners that are better than ordering food for delivery…

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Mom Guilt — as a Working Mother

Mom Guilt as a Working Mother | CorporetteMomsHere’s a topic we haven’t discussed directly: mom guilt. What is your biggest source of guilt (if you can put your finger on one thing); and for those of you who’ve gotten past it, what was your best trick?

For my $.02, I’m actually not that guilty about working — I like what I do (which makes me happy, which is good for everyone!), and it’s helped our family tremendously both in terms of income and flexibility. Mixed with the fact that I’m not the most patient, energetic, or creative caregiver, I often have a feeling of “they’re better off” with someone else.

But: I do feel guilty for not being 100% laser focused on them when I am not working. The problem is that between working and momming, there are a lot of other things that fall into “being a person.” Showers. Working out. Making healthy meals the kids may or may not eat. Researching non-work, non-kid things (like a new mattress, let’s say.) Buying new boots. Getting my eyebrows threaded. Unfortunately, for me, a lot of that “personal care” stuff gets shuffled to the side. I’ve tried a few things to adjust my thinking on it, with varying degrees of success: [Read more…]

Daycare Tips for Working Moms

Daycare tips for working momsHere’s a fun topic: what are your best daycare tips for working moms? What are the things that only friends will tell you about daycare (such as dress your child as cute as possible); what have you learned the hard way by the way of daycare tips?

When readers were discussing baby clothing and daycare a while ago (I think in the post where I noted that one of my mom efficiency tricks is to dress my babies in footed sleepers for the first year), a trend emerged. Among working moms who send their kiddos to daycare, a lot of people noted that they purposely dressed their child cutely (headbands! overalls! tiny outfits!) for daycare, in part because they hoped the clothes would help give the child a personality for daycare workers to relate to. A lot of commenters reacted against this idea that you have to spend MORE money, time, and effort at a time in your life when none of those things is really in ready supply — but it makes sense to me.

This is also the kind of thing that isn’t going to be in a welcome packet from your daycare — only passed down among friends and other women. So I thought we’d discuss today — what are your best tips for daycare (other than regarding daycare waiting lists)?

Readers, Share YOUR Daycare Tips for Working Moms!

Some specific questions for readers:

  • What’s the #1 thing you appreciated about your daycare after you were in it — but didn’t know to look for during the interview process?
  • What’s the best tip you’ve gotten from another mom about daycare?
  • What are your specific tips for: the infant room, the toddler room, the preschool room?

All right ladies, over to you — what are your best daycare tips for working moms? (that no one else will tell parents)?

Psst: here are our general thoughts on pros and cons for different kinds of childcare.

Pictured: Family Portrait, originally uploaded to Flickr by Arturo Sotillo.daycare tips for working parents

 

Your Kids’ Activities, Overscheduling, and Working Parents

overscheduling-kids-activitiesA while back, some readers were discussing the difficulty of scheduling your kids’ extracurricular activities — and homework, and family time — without overscheduling your kids, all while navigating hours/timeslots that may or may not be favorable to working moms. As one woman noted:

Kat, could we do a discussion on overparenting/overscheduling when a working mom? My kids are getting to the age where I want them to experience soccer and piano and whatnot. But they’re in school all day, so my only hope is scheduling their weeknights and weekends. Then we’re running from activity to activity with no downtime for just play or boredom. I feel like I’m trapped as a working mom. If my spouse or I stayed at home, or if I could afford private nannies, I could maybe schedule this better. Or I could schedule some of those summer camps that run only from 9-2 on alternating Tuesdays and Fridays. Or heck I could let them run the neighborhood with the rest of the kids that are home all summer. But as it is, our limited time as a family is dominated by homework and/or extracurriculars. Is this only me? Is it this bad for SAH parents too? What is the solution? No extracurriculars, and telling teachers too bad but we’ll only spend an hour a night on homework until they’re in high school?

This is such an amazing question — and I’m only starting to feel the pain, so I’m curious what other people have to say. First, as some other readers noted:

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