Why Working Parents Need a Family Email Address

Family email addresses: The idea conjures up memories of AOL and the year 1998. But, inspired by a conversation I had with a friend, I recently set up a shared family email address, and it’s been AMAZING — I think every working mom needs one. So let’s talk about WHY every working parent needs a family email address — and in general, how to signify to teachers and institutions which parent or caregiver is the point person for communications, tasks and more. (This is partly inspired by a zillion reader complaints along the lines of, “No matter how many times we tell the school that my husband is a SAHD, they keep calling me at the law firm when they need something!”)

First, some backstory: We’ve talked before about the concept of the default parent — the parent whom everyone presumes is the one in charge, the parent who cares about the little stuff. In other words, it’s the parent the school calls to say that you need to file a different form, or that your child needs to wear a blue shirt on Tuesday. But the problem that many readers have noted is that no matter HOW often you suggest that your husband or partner is the one who’ll be responsible for anything regarding daycare or school — by telling them verbally, making it clear on all the paperwork, etc. — people STILL assume that Mom is the one in charge, and if they see her listed on paperwork, they call her even if she’s the second contact.

So how do you correct this assumption among teachers and caregivers that the mom will do everything?(Yes, it’s ridiculous that we have to have this conversation in 2017.) Here are some tips:

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The Best Default Birthday Presents for Kids You Don’t Know Well

For the first time ever, my eldest son J is having a birthday party for just his friends. (Summer birthdays are always awkward, but as he turns 6 he’s old enough now that he knows who his friends are, even if they’re not necessarily in the same class or exact same time slot for Activity Y.) One of the things that’s been surprising to me is how many moms are actually asking what he wants — in part because my previous strategy as a gift-giver has just been to spend $25-$50 on toys or books, purchased at a store that isn’t too difficult for returns, with a gift receipt. (To me that usually means Target, Toys R Us, or Barnes & Noble!) The theory behind it is that if the kiddo liked it and/or didn’t have it already, great; if not the parent could return it for another toy or book the kiddo liked more.  (Or, hey, for a gift card that could then be used for a larger gift.) I think I’ve also written about how the grandparents do SUCH a great job of getting presents that I tend to favor experiences over toys — so I don’t even really know what he wants and have just been responding “Oh, you know, Legos or Star Wars stuff!” (Honestly, what he would LOVE are Nerf guns, iTunes gift cards, and candy, but I would probably be annoyed at anyone who got us those!!)

In any event — let’s discuss! What’s your strategy for getting birthday presents for kids you don’t know well? Do you have some default birthday presents that you tend to just grab and go, similar to my theory on “eh, they’ll return it if they don’t like it”? What are the default presents that you get again and again for kiddos — and for what age ranges? Do you ask moms of birthday boys and girls what they want for their birthday?

These are some of my default birthday gifts for kids I don’t know well — but ladies, I’d love to hear yours…

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A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Communications Exec in D.C.

For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Emily, who lives in Washington, D.C., and is a communications executive with a one-year-old daughter. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, coldhearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics about this Working Mom…

Name: Emily
Lives: In Capitol Hill, works in downtown D.C.
Job: Communications executive at a global corporation
Age: 35
Home Situation: I live in a 2,000-square-foot, 3-bedroom rowhouse with my husband (41-year-old public affairs professional) and our one-year-old daughter.  
Childcare Situation: Nanny share, 45 hours per week. Our nanny makes $23 an hour for 40 hours per week, and $34.50 per hour for anything over 40 hours. Her guaranteed weekly gross is $1,092.50. We split this with the other family in our share evenly, so we pay a little more than $500 a week.

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The Easiest Family Vacation Resorts for Working Moms

The Easiest Family Vacation Resorts for Working MomsWhich family vacation resorts have you tried and enjoyed? Are there any you’ve tried that you wouldn’t? Which is your kids’ favorite? When you want to have a fun family vacation but don’t want to do a lot of planning, where do you go? Which do you think are the easiest family vacation resorts for working moms?

Before my husband and I became parents, I wouldn’t have considered an all-inclusive and/or resort-type of vacation. We valued flexibility and spontaneity: the opportunity to have our full pick of hotels and B&Bs, the ability to choose any restaurants we wanted and also to discover some by wandering around a new city, etc. Why would we want to limit ourselves by taking a cruise or staying in a resort, and why would we want to stay in one place?

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Sun Protection Strategies for Kids

Ladies, let’s talk about sun protection strategies for kids — do you sunscreen them up before daycare or school? Only if told to, either by policy or special direction?

I was just thinking about this a week or so ago: does anyone else feel guilty if your kid gets a farmer’s tan, i.e. bronzed forearms and lily white upper arms? I have my own anti-sun agenda, but I feel particularly, perhaps excessively, protective of my fair-haired, pale-skinned boys. We all wear rash guards and sun hats whenever we’re outside, and no one’s gotten burned yet (which is good because multiple childhood sunburns greatly increase your risk for melanoma). Still, their forearms are all deeply tan right now, and I feel guilty, like I’m not doing enough to protect them. So let’s hear it, ladies: Do you slather your kids with sunscreen every day? Do you get their ears and neck and forearms, or just, say, their nose and cheeks? What do you use yourself, and what do you use on your kids?

For my $.02, I’m kind of odd for myself: I just bought some tank tops so that if I go out on a 20-minute walk I can get some vitamin D and avoid a farmer’s tan, but I’m also that weirdo on the beach with the long-sleeved rash guard, huge hat, and probably a too-white face because I haven’t blended my serious mineral sunscreen. With my kids, if I know they’ll be out in the sun for 30 minutes or more, I sunscreen the heck out of them — but on the flip side, if I’m not expecting a lot of sun exposure, I just send them out with hats.

How about you guys? Are you serious about sunscreen for your kids and/or yourself? Which products are your favorites? Are you a fan of any particular brand of rash guards or hats?

Image source: Stencilsun protection strategies for kids - image of sun and blue skies

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A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Part-Time, Work-at-Home Attorney

work-at-home attorney momFor this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Mindy B., who lives in a suburb of Detroit and is a work-at-home attorney mom with a teenage daughter. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics about this Working Mom…

Name: Mindy B.
Lives: A Detroit suburb
Job: Work at home (part time) for a boutique law firm
Age: 49
Home Situation: I live in a Tudor home in a community-oriented small town with my husband who travels frequently for work, our 14-year-old daughter who’s in all honors classes (plus band) in 8th grade and swims competitively 20+ hours per week, and two 2-year-old CRAZY pups.
Childcare Situation: Because I work from home, I only need babysitters when we will be out past the time our daughter goes to sleep (i.e., theater, etc.) but I do need “chauffeurs” to drive our daughter to/from activities when I have afternoon or evening commitments and my husband is traveling/working late.

Mindy pointed out how her schedule may be different from other Week in the Life moms we feature:  

(1) we only have one child (I have NO idea how parents juggle more than one child!), (2) she’s more responsible than most adults I know, and (3) my husband’s office is an hour away from home and he also travels out of town 1–2 nights a week, 2–3 weeks per month.

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