Toys, Birthdays, and Experiences

birthday experiences toysIt is my eldest’s birthday today (happy 4th, Jack!), so I thought it might be a great time to have a discussion about birthdays, toys, and experiences.  More and more of my friends are telling me that they are purposely not buying presents for their kids, and instead planning experiences like trips, concerts, etc.  At 4, he’s been a bit young for all of that in the past — and honestly, every day is like his birthday around here.  Besides, all of the grandparents love to buy presents for the boys (sometimes it feels like they are single-handedly keeping Fisher Price, Bruder, Tonka, Thomas, and so forth in business!).  So: this “plan a nice experience” sounds like a great idea.  I think up first, we’ll plan a day with him at an amusement park near my parents — they can watch the baby so Jack can get Mommy and Daddy all to himself for a day the next time we visit.  It’s still going to involve a fair amount of planning and research, not to mention day-of logistics, but I think he’ll have a blast.

(When asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said, “Ummmm… a cupcake.” Yes! We can do that!)

Ladies, how do you celebrate your kids’ birthdays?  If with experiences rather than toys, what other kind of experience-focused presents have you given to kids?  

Pictured: Jack, sizing up his huuuuuge Costco cake last year — pantsless, of course, because that’s how we roll.  Also pictured: our fugly but functional oilcloth table cover and our Oxo Tot High Chair.  All rights reserved. 

“The Best 15 Minutes of My Day”: How Do You Find Time to Spend With Your Kids?

spending-time-with-kidsHow do you find time to spend with your kids? How long each day do you have with them?  I can’t find the original article, but there was a story a while ago where a female CEO was quoted as saying that the 15 minutes she spent with her children were the best 15 minutes of her day. At the time, the reaction to this quote on Corporette (I think the quote predated CorporetteMoms) was immense — why even HAVE kids, a number of people argued, if that’s all the time you’re going to spend with them? But I know soooooo many working fathers who get home well after the kids are in bed, and leave pretty early in the morning — one mom I know actually asked her husband to stay away until their child was in bed, because she didn’t want the child to get all excited right before bedtime.  So: 15 minutes on a daily basis might be a generous statistic for some people! Let’s discuss: how long on workdays do you get to spend with your kids? Do you think daily time is less important than quality time on the weekends? Is the daily number different for your husband — and do you think fathers have a different bar? If someone magically created a 25th hour in each day, would you spend it with your kids — or would you find other things (work, working out, sleep) to spend it on? Do you think there are times in a child’s life that it doesn’t really matter how long you spend with them?

For my own $.02, I try to remember that sometimes just physically being with them is important — if I’m in a busy period for work and need to be in front of a computer when I should be on mom time, I try to work on a laptop with Jack snuggled next to me on the couch watching cartoons.  Harry is getting old enough now (and we finally finished weaning) that I’d like to set up “parent dates” on the weekend where we each have dedicated one-on-one time with each boy.

Ladies, what are your thoughts — how do you find time to spend with your kids? How long do you get to spend with them on a daily basis?  What habits and hacks have helped? 

Pictured: Kikkerland Owlet Kitchen Timer, $7.75 at Amazon.

—————

N.B. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course we highly value all comments by our readers, we’re going to ask you to please keep your comments on topic; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. Thank you for your understanding!

Your Laziest Mom Hacks

lazy-mom-hacksWhat are your laziest/smartest mom hacks?  What are your best tips for getting stuff done around the house in “unperfect” ways? 

Some readers seemed miffed by my posts on photo organization and organizing kids’ clothes — but I am faaaar from perfect, and hate to give that impression.  (Sorry, ladies!)  Of course I’m going to write a post about the things that I feel like I’ve figured out, while skipping posts about the piles of laundry around my house (and lo, there are many).  So I thought we’d do a post about some of our laziest mom hacks — what are your imperfect systems for Getting Stuff Done?  Of course, some of these “lazy” things below are also some of the smartest things I’ve done. It’s like folding underwear (which I haven’t done in a LOOONG time, well before kids). Once you stop, you’re never going back.

For my $.02:
[Read more…]

Registry: Baby Clothes

registry-for-working-moms

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on what should moms register for baby clothes— links have also been updated below.

Welcome to installment three of our registry for working moms: general baby clothes. What should new moms register for clothes for their baby? Which are your favorite brands and types of baby clothing — and have they changed through the months and years with kids? We’ve already talked about carseats and strollers, cribs and sleeping gear, and now: baby clothes for the registry. As I mentioned last time, I envision the entire series going through these categories (stay tuned!):

  1. Carseat — necessary from coming home from the hospital!
  2. Stroller — how many have you tried? How many do you keep? (e.g., big stroller, umbrella stroller, jogging stroller)
  3. Cribs and sleeping gear — crib and bassinet rocker, if necessary
  4. Clothes — daytime clothes, baby socks
  5. Babywearing carrier — infant and 15-lb.+
  6. Baby toys — swings, seats, and other Big Things to register for (Exersaucers, etc)
  7. Essential books
  8. Diaper bag
  9. Nursing clothes
  10. Breastfeeding pillow
  11. And one final category: The Biggest Flops (stuff you hated).

 

First, some general tips on baby clothes:

[Read more…]

Pumping When You’re Traveling for Work

pumping traveling for workI am far from an expert on traveling for work — particularly while pumping. In fact, I’ve done it exactly twice: once with Jack (for a whirlwind trip to Seattle for a speaking engagement) and once with Harry (for a whirlwind trip to Chicago for an alumni conference). And: what a PITA. Both times, the pump took up almost my entire carry-on bag, and both times I was absolutely wracked with fear, as I boarded the plane, that I had forgotten some essential pump part at home. The first time I flew I was determined to save the breast milk I pumped — liquid gold! — and I traveled with a freezer bag, ice packs, and had all of the relevant TSA and airline printouts with me in my carry-ons. The second time I decided to dump it because, eh, the kid is fine with formula. (Both times I had started the weaning process, so we had already replaced a nursing session with a bottle of formula. I’ll admit that for the second time, I dropped from three feeds a day down to two in anticipation of the travel.)

[Read more…]

Hiding a Baby Bump — The Second Time Around

hiding-baby-bump

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to hide a baby bump the second time round— links have also been updated below.

What clothes best hide a baby bump — particularly if it’s your second child and you feel like you’re showing earlier?  We’ve talked here about how to work through your first trimester — and over at Corporette we’ve talked about ways to hide a baby bump — but it’s been far too long in either place since we’ve talked about work outfits for the first trimester. Kat’s picked a few pieces particularly for the early days of pregnancy (for example here, here, here, here) — but what are YOUR favorite pieces?  We’ve rounded up a few tips that readers have shared in the past — what are your best tips for how to hide a baby bump?

(Pictured: Tahari A-Line seamed dress — non-binding at the waist, with pockets to boot! It’s available for $128 from Nordstrom.)

 

 

 

[Read more…]