Mamas, Holidays, and Stress

crazy christmas2017 Update: We still think this is an interesting discussion about mamas, holidays, and stress. Since it’s that time of year, you may also want to check out our posts on holiday business etiquette.

So: anyone else feel like your head is about to explode? Between buying gifts for everyone, including in-laws, cleaning Casa Griffin for company (ok, cleaning Casa Griffin so our cleaning professional can actually clean it), making sure I have all supplies needed for holiday recipes before the stores close — and getting what work I need to get done before everything is making me totally crazy. How is it December 23? What’s my plan of attack, particularly with no school for the next two weeks? Happy holidays, indeed.

I guess this is my fifth Christmas as a mom, but the first time really feeling the stress. Moms who’ve been in my shoes much longer: does it get better? Ladies, do you feel the stress? What do you do to alleviate it during this time of year (other than, you know, not leaving everything until the last minute)? In the great juggle of work and life, which stressor is more significant this year?

[Read more…]

Plus-Size Maternity Clothes for Work

plus size maternity clothes for work2017 Update: We’ve updated links below to reflect some new options for plus-size maternity clothes for work. You may also want to sign up for CorporettePlus, our newsletter featuring plus size work fashion

It can be tough to find professional and stylish plus-size maternity clothes for work , so we’ve rounded up a bunch of tips that CorporetteMoms readers shared about plus-size maternity workwear.  Ladies who are (or have been) plus size during a pregnancy, where did you shop for work-appropriate maternity plus sizes?  Which were your favorite work outfits?

Brand Recommendations / Stores That Carry Plus-Size Maternity Clothes for Work

  • Old Navy/GapReader quote: “Old Navy maternity is BIG. I did just fine in Old Navy XXL Maternity sizes for almost everything — especially yoga pants, tops, etc.” (Pictured above: reddish sweater knit maternity dress, available up to size XXL.)
  • Motherhood Maternity/Destination MaternityReader quote: “I had a few pairs of pants from Motherhood Maternity. They were not fabric I enjoyed, but they looked OK.” (Update: Destination Maternity now has an entire plus-size line!)
  • JCPenneyReader quote: “JCPenney carries good work clothes for plus size maternity. I was really happy with their stuff. (God bless JCPenney!) Their pants are way better than Destination Maternity pants.” (Pictured above: black maternity dress in sizes 1X-3X.)
  • Target: Reader quote: “I’m surprised by how generous a lot of the XL and XXL maternity clothes are from Target & Old Navy/Gap.”
  • PinkBlush Maternity: Many of the plus-size offerings from PinkBlush are too casual for work, but there are some styles that are office-friendly — and budget-friendly, too — like a $67 wrap dress. Sizes go up to 3X, and shipping within the U.S. is free.
  • Nordstrom: It doesn’t carry a lot, but it does carry a few plus-size jeans.
  • Mommylicious Maternity: It looks like this little shop also carries a lot of plus-size maternity clothes for work.

[Read more…]

3 Tips for Using Airbnb — with Kids

Tips for Using AirBnB With Kids | CorporetteMomsWhat are your best tips for renting a vacation house or Airbnb with kids, ladies?  Whether you’re doing Airbnb, VRBO, or another sort of rental, planning and executing the trip can feel like a full-time job in and of itself.

I shared a vacation horror story a week or so ago on Corporette — we rented a small house near a beach in Florida with my inlaws for a week. It turned into a horror story when I injured my knee on day 3 and was stuck on crutches for the remainder of the vacation; in separate incidents my FIL also wound up going to the emergency room, my husband walked into the ocean with his iPhone, and then lost his driver’s license a day before we flew back.*) It got me thinking, though — what are your best tips for renting a house when you have kids? What do you need to think about, above and beyond, if you’re not staying at a hotel or a friend’s house?

1) Babyproofing. My MIL chose our Florida house because it looked really safe online — no stairs, an alarm system on the pool, and more — but we still made sure to pack corner bumpers, outlet plugs, a few cabinet ties, as well as some night lights so we could all avoid bumping anything in the middle of the night. (We didn’t use the adhesive on the corner bumpers — better than nothing, I figured.) I was lucky to find this article before I went about Airbnb and the liability issues that arise because the “hotels” aren’t regulated. It’s a pretty graphic article, but it was good to reset my thinking from “city inspectors have checked this place out!” to “this is someone’s home.”

2) Food.  If you think you’re saving money, don’t forget that you’re going to have to make a massive, massive run to the grocery store your first day there.  My bill came to $420, and that barely took us through 3 meals.  Your house may or may not be stocked with basic things like ketchup, mustard, butter, olive oil, spices, and more (and even if they are there, you may not want to use them!).  We brought two Thermos bottles (one for each kiddo), two Zolis for H, and two Take n Toss cups for J; that was probably the bare minimum if we hadn’t wanted to be washing dishes every two seconds. The next time we do a trip like this, I’m going to do a bit of research ahead of time to see where the closest Costco or the like is, or maybe even travel with some frozen, high-cost food in my packed luggage (depending on trip duration, of course) –maybe I’m crazy but 3 frozen pounds of chicken or ground beef, packed in an insulated bag with ice packs wouldn’t be a bad way to save money, assuming I can get them for a good price ahead of time.

[Read more…]

Teacher Gifts, Floater Gifts, and More

Teacher Gifts at the Holidays | CorporetteMoms

Holidays bring a special stress for parents: teacher gifts.  So let’s discuss, ladies — what gifts are you getting for your child’s teachers, floaters, and other folks? If there is one “group gift” to which you’ve contributed money/energy, are you done with it? Do you feel stress to “keep up with the Joneses” in terms of end-of-year gifting?

For my $.02: In Brooklyn it seems like every time one of Jack’s little classes end (karate! science class! Paint and Glue Crew!), mothers have an envelope with money for the teacher. At first I had no idea (the classes are mindbogglingly expensive anyway!), and then I would dutifully send him with an envelope for the last day.

It gets even more complicated for school teachers because there is the holiday gift and the year-end gift.  For Jack’s preschool last year — where we loved the teachers — it almost seemed as if any gift was never going to be enough because they really did mean so much to us. So we contributed to a group gift for both December and May, and I didn’t want to go above and beyond because, well, if that’s the group’s gift, that’s the group’s gift. And yet, sure enough, lots of people were giving the teachers personal envelopes and more on the last day of school.

I don’t know — it’s a tough thing to wrap my head around. How do you ladies think about it — and what do you get them? Do you dislike the idea of “tipping” being customary for salaried professionals, or do you think a bonus or other material form of thanks is necessary?



5 Tips for Eating Out with Kids

how-to-eat-out-with-kidsBefore Jack was walking a ton, we went out to dinner… a LOT. Not only was this expensive, but we both wound up gaining about 10 pounds. Still, it was great to have what we realize now was our last hurrah for at least a few years. So I thought I’d round up my five top tips for eating out with kids. It’s worth noting at the outset that a lot of this comes down to frequency and training — the more often you go out, the easier it will be to have a well-behaved child. My top tips:


[Read more…]

Body Image As a Mom

Mom Body Image | CorporetteMomsKate and I were discussing the troubling issue of body image as a mom — even if you get back to your old “size,” what do you do when you just feel different in your skin, or when you feel like your shape has fundamentally changed? Kate generously offered to share her thoughts in more detail… —Kat

New mothers are given two choices for looking at and thinking about their post-baby bodies. These general messages are:

Message #1: “If Kate Middleton can do it, so can you!”
Come on, it’s time to lose that baby weight! Look, these skinny celebrities did it — you can too! Don’t worry, breastfeeding will make the weight just FALL OFF. This mom isn’t even a celebrity and it wasn’t a problem for HER. In her words, “What’s your excuse?”

Message #2: “Hey, you went through pregnancy and childbirth! Be proud of your body — it’s amazing!” 
Sure, it looks a bit different now, but it created a new life! Maybe you even breastfeed your baby — you produced milk that kept a little human being ALIVE! Celebrate and love your body, stretchmarks tiger stripes and all!

[Read more…]