Family Staycation Tips: How to Make the Most of Lazy Long Weekends

family staycation tipsWith Labor Day almost here (I swear I just turned my wall calendar page to August … and now it’s already time to buy a PTSA calendar), we thought it would be good to share some family staycation tips. For those of you ran out of time to plan a Labor Day trip or just decided to relax at home, we talked to some other working moms about their best family staycation tips.

Psst: On the “real” vacation side of things, we’ve talked about the easiest vacation resorts for working moms, three companies that rent baby gear for travel, vacation planning, flying with kids, and tips for using Airbnb with kids. We’ve talked about staycations before over on Corporette, as well. 

1. Make sure you’re on the same page about what the weekend will look like. That advice comes from J. Whitley, whose kids are 4, 6, and 11. “For us, the most important thing is making sure we’re all on the same page before we begin,” she says. “I’m DOWN for getting out of the house at 7 a.m. and driving two hours to an awesome hike/tour/festival/getaway/amusement park, etc. My partner and kids? Not so much. They’d all prefer to sleep late or watch TV for the morning, have brunch, and then go somewhere around 3:30–4:30 in the afternoon and stay late. More than one weekend has been spoiled because of miscommunicated expectations/wishes.”

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Self-Care Ideas for Working Moms

self-care ideas for working momsSelf-care has become a big buzzword in the last couple of years, but since we haven’t devoted a post to it, today we thought we’d talk about self-care ideas for working moms. The internet often defines self-care for moms as a giant glass of wine — but let’s go beyond that.self care ideas for working mothers You’ve probably heard the advice “put on your own oxygen mask first” many times, but it’s a good reminder (figuratively and literally!). It doesn’t matter what self-care looks like to you, just that you recognize that you deserve it — and that it’s essential to your well-being as a working mom. When you compare yourself to other moms you know, how does your self-care seem different? (Does it feel non-existent?) What does self-care mean to you?

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The Best Maternity Suits for Professional Women

maternity suits for professional womenHave you found maternity suits to be essential at your office, conservative or otherwise? Not really necessary, no matter what your company’s dress code? Hard to find, either way — and when you do, not exactly … stylish? Did you wear maternity suits, or did you avoid them entirely by layering a blazer over a maternity dress (or otherwise wearing separates), or getting a regular-sized suit that was too large and then having it tailored? Unfortunately, when we’ve previously talked about maternity suits, both here and at Corporette, there just hasn’t been much to recommend (especially regarding plus-size maternity suits, not surprisingly). Still, it’s time for an update to share what’s out there if you’re hunting for maternity suits for professional women!

For some reason, this time around, the maternity-suits situation seems worse than usual. Sadly, the British brand Eva Alexander is no more (Nordstrom does have one jacket, but without coordinating pants); brand Maternal America seems to have zero suiting options at the moment, and its site says, “We are Under Construction,” which doesn’t bode well; all of A Pea in the Pod’s options currently only have very limited sizes in stock (both at their own site and at Macy’s), and so on. It doesn’t help that some brands that offer maternity workwear in addition to their regular offerings — like Loft and ASOS — just don’t make maternity suits. (If this is your second or third pregnancy and you’re yet again searching for maternity suits, have you found it tougher to find a good one this time around?) By the way, if you’re looking for something from a brand that’s gone out of business or is just hard to find (for example, Theory maternity suits, which we and readers have mentioned in the past), try sites like Poshmark, ThredUp, and eBay.

Readers, do tell: Where have you found maternity suits you’ve liked? What do you think are the best maternity suits for professional women? Have you decided to buy a few relatively inexpensive maternity suits or buy a single higher-end maternity suit? At what point in your pregnancy did you have to stop wearing your regular suits to the office? Or, if you’re not on Team Maternity Suit, what are your favorite alternatives? 

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Were You Prepared for the Changes a New Mom’s Brain Undergoes?

mom brainWe recently came across the story, “Motherhood brings the most dramatic brain changes of a woman’s life — So why does prenatal care ignore the topic altogether?” in The Boston Globe Magazine. We made a note to link to it in this week’s News Roundup but we also thought it was worth its own post. The writer, Chelsea Conaboy, shares her own experience with around-the-clock anxiety as a new mom and asks, “Shouldn’t we be better preparing mothers about well-documented brain changes they could expect, before baby is born?” The brain changes that moms undergo have surprised researchers with their magnitude, and studies haven’t found comparable developments in fathers’ brains. (Here’s another little-known occurrence: Did you know that DNA from your baby’s cells can transfer to your own body? The fetal material can get into your bloodstream and enter your organs, bringing both positive and negative effects. That sounds a bit creepy, doesn’t it?)

Several experts Conaboy interviewed don’t think it’s wise to make pregnant women aware of the significant ways their brains will change as they become mothers, surprisingly — or perhaps not so surprisingly, considering that the health of mothers isn’t always prioritized when compared to their babies’ well-being and that moms-to-be aren’t always educated about the changes their bodies can go through, from childbirth injuries to diastasis recti. (In fact, infant mortality in the U.S. is at its lowest ever, while maternal mortality is “by many measures, the worst in the developed world” [source].)

So let’s have a discussion today: Were you prepared for the emotional and cognitive changes you underwent during pregnancy and the postpartum period? Did you experience anxiety and/or depression after having a baby and find yourself, say, compelled to keep checking at night that your baby was breathing? Did you encounter “pregnancy brain” or “mom brain”? (Eight years after having my son, I feel like “mom brain” is here to stay. Sigh.) Did you feel like your brain quickly adapted to the challenges of bonding with and taking care of a baby? What did you wish you had known about these things before becoming a mom? Do you wish these huge neurological changes were more commonly known and accepted as fact — or do you think that would make things harder for working mothers and working women who want to get pregnant?

Note: The Boston Globe appears to only let non-subscribers access an article more than once without blocking access (and using Incognito Mode doesn’t work).  

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Easy Dishes to Bring to Summer Parties

easy dishes to bring to summer partiesLast time we talked about summer recipes for working moms, we highlighted simple things like quinoa salads, pizza w/store-bought crusts, egg salad sandwiches, hummus pita sandwiches, and more (like Kat’s suggestion of tequila lime chicken). Today we thought we’d shift the focus a bit and discuss the best dishes for working moms to bring to summer parties. Fortunately, if your kids refuse to eat what you make for the party (we’ve all been there … some of us more often than others), then other people there surely will! And if your kids end up only eating tortilla chips and brownies at the party (OK, now I’m hungry), then so be it.

In the past, we’ve also discussed fall recipes for working moms, and if you don’t like to use your oven much in the summer, check out our Corporette posts about how you use your Instant Pot as well as all-day crockpot recipes.

We’re eager to hear about what you’ve found to be the best dishes for working moms to bring to summer parties — and in the meantime, here are just a few of mine:

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The Mommy Effect Study: Did You Underestimate Working Motherhood?

mommy effect studyHave you seen the recent Wall Street Journal article called “Working Women Often Underestimate Motherhood Costs”? It reports on a recent study, “The Mommy Effect,” which found that many women have unrealistic views of what it’s like to be a working mom. The researchers say that women underestimate the time, money, and effort it will require — from childcare costs to the pressure to breastfeed — and are too optimistic about how their careers will fare. (Not surprisingly, this often leads to them leaving the workforce.) Let’s discuss it today: Did The Mommy Effect study resonate with you? Do you think you had unrealistic views of what it would be like to be a working mother? On the flip side, do you feel like you were too pessimistic about being a working mom before you became one? 

Psst: you may want to check out some of our previous discussions on career changes after baby and work-life balance advice to your pre-mom self.

Here are a couple of key passages from the article so that we can discuss (note that the WSJ is subscription-only), or you can take a look at the full study:

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