Daycares — and Waiting Lists

daycare-waiting-listHow insane are the waitlists for daycares in your area — and how many layers of backup plans did you have in case you didn’t get in on time? What was your best resource for finding a good daycare worth waiting for — friends, parents’ listserv, neighbors, mommy friends, etc? When did you really start to get anxious about it, and how did you manage the anxiety? We’ve talked broadly about other childcare arrangements, but not specifically about daycares yet.

I’ll admit that I did little to no research on daycares in our area, relying almost entirely on the recommendation of one of my brother’s friends. Anyway, they recommended one specific daycare, which I toured when I was five months pregnant (around April 2011), and we were added to the waiting list for part time attendance.

After Jack was born and I figured out that I couldn’t do this “SAHM while blogging” thing, we notified the school that we’d accept a full-time position as well.

We got the call that there was finally a part-time spot for us in March 2013. TWO YEARS LATER — and bam, we were finally in daycare. Yeouch. (We found childcare in the interim through sitters and amazing family, and when we finally got into daycare we added it to the mix instead of substituting it for something else.)

How about you ladies — did you have to wait a really long time to get into your preferred daycare? When did you first sign up for daycare or start thinking about it generally? (If you’d include your general location and/or city, that would probably greatly help the discussion!)

(Pictured: WAIT, originally uploaded to Flickr by JBrazito.)

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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!

Breastfeeding… and Type A Women

type a moms and breastfeedingHere’s what may be a weird question: as a Type A, goal-oriented, overachieving chick, what was your thought process regarding the decision to breastfeed or formula feed? What was your emotional and intellectual response to the idea of it, and how did you reason through whichever decision you made?

Among friends I’ve seen a wide variety of responses to it, all of which may have been made… stronger, shall we say, based on the Type A-ness of the mom. But I think it’s an interesting question. (I really hope we can talk about this without judgment — for my $.02, there is no “right” answer for whether/how long to breastfeed or formula feed your child.) I’ve seen some moms grit their teeth and approach it with a grim determination. I’ve seen some who really loved the closeness with the baby — and some who were turned off by the feeling of being the Milk Lady. I’ve seen some high-achieving women say, “I’ll give it a go during maternity leave, but my career is too busy to be bothered with pumping and timing all of that.” I saw one interesting Facebook post from a very high achieving mom who noted that she felt she had to stop nursing each of her kids at 15 weeks in order to reclaim some ownership of herself and her body. I noticed commenters were talking about “nursing goals” last Tuesday, which is new to me but makes sense to me as a goal-oriented woman.

So: how did YOU approach breastfeeding or formula-feeding? Why did you make the decision you made? Especially for those among you who have pumped for an extended period — how do you think about it?

[Read more…]

The Best Carseats and Strollers

strollers-for-registry 2OK, guys, let’s do this: the registry seriesWhat should new moms register for baby gear and more?  Which are your favorite pieces of baby gear — and have they changed through the months and years with kids?  We’re going to start with just two categories: the carseat and the stroller.  (I was going to do a big post on all of these categories, but after an hour of writing just about strollers and carseats, I thought I’d break it into smaller posts!)  I envision the entire series going through these categories:

  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. Sleeping gear — crib and bassinet rocker, if necessary
  4. Clothes — swaddles, sleeping 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).

My own $.02 on the first two categories (stroller and carseats) are below. What other categories are you interested in talking about?

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Finding Quality Time With Your Kids as a Working Mom

quality time with kidsHow do you deal when your work AND your child both need more attention than usual, at the same time? I saw commenters talking about this problem yesterday, and it’s been on my mind lately too, so let’s discuss the challenge of finding quality time with your kids when you’re a working mom.

My older son is only three, but we’ve already had a few times in his short life where it’s clear he needed more quality time with us — particularly me, it seemed — in a big way. I’m at the point now where it seems like if he’s continuously acting out, and if I can’t blame the three S’s (sugar, sleep, and screen time), then odds are good that it’s time to try more quality time. Sometimes this isn’t a problem — but now it’s the holidays, and there are a million things going on both professionally and personally, so spending the entire weekend building with Legos isn’t exactly what I want to (or can) do.

I often find myself thinking of Anne Marie Slaughter’s 2012 piece in The Atlantic about Why Women Still Can’t Have it All. My own life is nowhere near as crazy as Slaughter’s, of course, but she quit her “dream job” at the State Department when her 14-year-old son, who was acting out, needed more of her attention. (She also has another son, who was 12 at the time.) So I think it speaks to a bigger problem that all working moms suffer from — across all stages of childrearing. (Slaughter speaks about her decision in this short video.)

So how do you do it? How do you manage to give both your kid — and your work — the attention they each need? I’m no expert, but I have a few working theories:

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A Quiet and Well-Lit Space for Pumping (Or: Where to Pump When You’re Away From Work)

pumping away from work and home

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on where to pump when you’re away from work— links have also been updated below.

Where can you pump if you’re away from work and home (and not just in a different office)? I’ve heard more than enough “fun” stories about pumping in public restrooms (at the sinks, where the outlets are — AWESOME), so when I saw this question posed recently on my local parents’ listserv, I thought it would be a great topic for us. So: What are your strategies for finding acceptable spots to pump in public places?

Note that if you’re in a pinch you can always use an app like Charmin’s Sit or Squat (which tells you which bathrooms are diaper-changing friendly, with filters for cleanliness, free, and more) or visit Moms Pump Here, which looks promising… but here’s the list that the folks on the listserv came up with:

  • Baby stores, which often have dedicated feeding rooms, such as Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us, and Giggle
  • Hotel lobby bathrooms
  • Dressing rooms in both department stores (or other large retailers) and maternity stores
  • Nursing specialty stores like Upper Breast Side
  • Hospital or ob/gyn waiting rooms

(Pictured: Day 5: You’re a hard habit to break, originally uploaded to Flickr by jamie h.)

Ladies, have you pumped anywhere creative? If you’ve had to, do you like to find a regular spot, or do you prefer to take a “scorched earth” policy?

where to pump in public

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N.B. PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS ON TOPIC; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. 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 I highly value all comments by my readers, I’m going ask you to please respect some boundaries on substantive posts like this one. Thank you for your understanding!

Picture below via Flickr.

Don't be that working mom who gets stuck pumping breastmilk by the sinks in the ladies room at the fast-food restaurant because that's the only "private" place with a wall outlet -- if you HAVE to pump when you're away from your home or your office, we rounded up the best places to pump breastmilk when you're out and about. Great for consultants or other traveling working mothers!

Open Thread: Keeping a Clean House

cleaning serviceWhat changes did you make to your cleaning routines after you had kids? Is a cleaning service essential to you as a working mother? The last time we talked about hiring a cleaning service on Corporette, I was struck by how many readers agreed that a cleaning service became a necessity after having kids, and the same was true for me, so I thought we’d discuss. I was particularly intrigued to hear moms of older kids (I think among comments here) talk about how having a daily housekeeper in the post-school hours really helped them bridge the “too old for a nanny, too young to be home alone” time period. (Pictured: Clean kitchen, originally uploaded to Flickr by Ben Sutherland.)

For my $.02.: Today is the most wonderful day of the fortnight: our beloved cleaning professional, Olga, is here at Casa Griffin. I was always highly (highly!) resistant to getting a professional to do our cleaning before we had kids, but it started to make more sense when Jack started crawling (and, um, throwing things like applesauce everywhere). It’s now become a non-negotiable for us, in that we will find room for it in our budget somewhere — I love the clean house, the sense of peace and calm that Olga leaves behind, and the fact that I can devote most of my time to either working or mom-ing.

We still do a lot of organizing before she comes to make sure that she can focus on cleaning, and she generally does the floors (mopping, vacuuming), the surfaces (dusting, washing), the mirrors, the bathrooms, as well as changing our sheets, washing our towels, and working on specific tasks like cleaning the walls or windows. We got her number after a friend of mine was waxing poetic about Olga and how wonderful she was. She had such a busy schedule that we had to wait a while to get on her roster, but we’ve never looked back.

How did you find your cleaning service (or person)? What do you ask him/her/them to do? How often do they come? What do you and your partner (and kids) do in the interim? Did you have a cleaning service before you had kids, and did you make any changes after becoming a mom?