Washable Wednesday: Botanical Blooms Collared Top

Hopefully by making this pick for Washable Wednesday, I am willing springtime into existence. I like how this top has the blue and white stripes to keep the floral print plus Peter Pan collar from looking too froufrou, and the horizontal stripes plus middle pleat draws the eye up and down. Since my baby will pull on any necklace I wear, I am getting into interesting collars and necklines. I picture this top as one to throw on with a navy blue suit or blazer. I also enjoy a cap sleeve; it prevents me from having to wear a tank top around the office if I want to remove my blazer, and it cuts down on the shoulder bulk when the blazer is on. I like the way it’s styled in the photo with jeans, but maybe not the floral on floral as they have shown. Toughen it up with some boyfriend jeans for the weekend. The top is $69 at Nordstrom. CeCe Botanical Blooms Collared Top

Psst: Stock is running low, but the top is also available at Zappos if it sells out at Nordstrom. There’s a button-front, long-sleeved version at Nordstrom as well.

Here’s a plus-size option.

This post contains affiliate links and CorporetteMoms may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. My 14-month-old has suddenly and unexpectedly weaned. He hasn’t nursed since Saturday. I have been pumping and offering but I think this is the end. I feel sad (last baby, I’m not ready, etc.). I am coming around to the fact, however. Just need some support.

    Remind me why this is a good thing. What was the best part of weaning for you?

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      For me, the best part of weaning was that I could get all kinds of snuggles while keeping my shirt on! And I could wear things to work without working about how to access my b00bs!

      <3 all of these baby changes can be hard, end of an era, etc. And don't forget you've got some hormones going on here too. It's OK to be sad.

      • I definitely had a serious hormone crash after my first stopped nursing at 16 months. I think I am partly nervous about that happening again. I was so ready the first time around. This time, not so much. And I am essentially weaning from the pump now.

        Thank you for the validation! I think I just needed some reassurance today.

        I have a great spring dress in my closet that isn’t pumping/nursing friendly. Hope it still fits…

    • Drinking a glass of wine without having to do mental math as to when it would be safe to nurse.
      New bras.
      Having that area back in play for gardening purposes.

    • AwayEmily says:

      Wearing non-nursing-friendly “nice” clothes was good, but non-nursing-friendly lounge clothes was even better. Pullover hoodies are so comfy but not really practical for nursing.

      • Yes! Workwear is less of a concern honestly because the pump waits patiently and does spit up on me. I long for the days of wearing t-shirts and jeans at home.

    • avocado says:

      Even if it’s the end of one phase in your life, it’s the beginning of an amazing new one. Being a mom of big kids is the best thing ever. Your body is your own again. They walk, talk, and have their own adorable opinions. You get to watch them learn to navigate the world on their own. They love you and need you just as much as an infant does, just in different ways.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      My daughter abruptly self-weaned at 15 months, and I was a little sad that it didn’t have a more gradual ending. BUT, weaning was GREAT for all of these reasons: Feeling like my body was completely my own again. Exercising without having to give any thought to timing it super precisely so that I was not uncomfortable during my workout or having to rush back to nurse. Feeling like I could actually leave my daughter for an overnight without also having to pump (which I felt kind of defeated the point of getting away and feeling responsibility-free!). Not having to pump at work. Feeling like I could actually work on losing extra baby weight without affecting my nursing supply (and as a bonus, start fitting into my old non-pumping friendly work clothes, because I’d been wearing makeshift work clothes for a year). Having my chest return to a normal-for-me size.

    • I bought myself a new work dress! One with a high neck! One whose tricky zipper was NOOOO PROBLEM!

      The relief from mental math as AIMS said was so freeing. No more multiples of 3 hours, 3 ounces, etc. Freed up so much brain space!

      Gardening without a bra (i was a leaker)!

      Not being “on” every evening and letting DH take the bedtime routine while I went out with a girlfriend!

      New bras! New clothes generally, as I felt my size was finally normalizing.

      • Oh– going out to lunch in the middle of my work day instead of hoarding my free minutes to pump!

    • oil in houston says:

      wine!! and being able to fit in my old clothes again :) (weaning is when I lost the weight)

    • This is why I love this space. Thank you for all these reminders.

      I am thinking of buying myself a piece of jewelry to mark the occasion. Ideas?

      And I am traveling for the first time without the baby next week. I was planning on pumping, but no more! True freedom.

      • Anonymous says:

        I waited about a month, and then bought all new bras as a gift to myself. Not as fun as jewelry, but very nice all the same.

    • My son self-weaned at about 13 months and I had a similar reaction. BUT! Reading together before bed has improved immensely, and has become an even better bonding experience in a lot of ways. And I bought a ton of new bras! (Though I waited six months to stabilize.) And not pumping is the greatest thing ever, ever.

    • I am looking forward to eating pizza and salads again (my LO reacts when I eat yeast and anything in the lettuce family). And not being the only one who can do bedtime. And not having to do mental math about when and where to pump if I am going to be out and about without my baby – work functions! bachelorette parties! girls’ weekends! Being able to wear sheath dresses! Being back in real bras! Currently at 8 months and planning to wean at 12 given we will want to start trying again at 15 months and I want a few months off!

      • +1 to mental math about being out and about. I hate having to schedule my weekends around feeding times.

    • New Mom says:

      I’m 4 months into breastfeeding and reading these comments makes weaning sound really appealing (just kidding, I think). :)

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Going out for a night or several nights in a row! All the drinks! All without having to worry about pumping. Exercising whenever you want, again without worrying about pumping. Feeling like my husband and I can each do all the parenting tasks, without this one task assigned exclusively to me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kind of just need to vent but also interested in any advice about how to keep my head down and just get through this period.

    DH and I are selling our townhouse and buying another house. We’re living in a third place currently as we wait for these to go through. Also we live with my father and our 11 mo daughter. The stress from the buying and selling is really getting to DH and it’s affecting me too. He’s a worrier and every time a new problem arises with either of the houses, he starts imagining the worst-case scenario and planning contingencies for the new house falling through. Plus he worries that our daughter loves my dad more than him and says there’s nothing he can do about it. I try to tell my DH how clearly she loves him and talk through the house stuff, but it seems like he doesn’t believe me because I love him and of course I want to make him feel better.

    It’s clear there’s nothing I can say, but when I opt for silence, it is so uncomfortable too. He’ll end up talking the housing stuff over with coworkers and later feel better and resolve to change but then something new will happen and it starts all over again.

    We have a good marriage and I know this is situational to the house situation, but we’ve got at least two more weeks of this to go and I’m at my wits end.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I’m sorry. We bought a house six months ago and lived with my mother during the transition, and things were similarly tough for us. Definitely time is the biggest thing — this will be over soon. Also, listening to his emotions rather than trying to solve them (basically taking the Janet Lansbury approach for dealing with toddlers). And could you try to schedule some fun/distracting things? A weekend trip, an early dinner out somewhere fun, etc.

    • mascot says:

      My husband tends towards catastrophizing as well- I call it his chicken little approach. It’s super frustrating to deal with sometimes. A few things that help us- I don’t make him my sounding board for all fears and concerns. I’ve got some good friends who can hear me out and sometimes it’s helpful to dump those feelings somewhere else instead of with someone who is directly impacted. I also try to limit the time that we talk about it to keep him from going too far along that path. As an example, when I had a pending job loss, I couldn’t fall apart in front of him about omg, what if I never am employed again because it would send him into a spiral of freaking out about house payments and tuition. It all worked out fine and after it was over, I could then talk to him about moderating his approach. Each time we go through one of these seasons, he gets a little bit better. But when he’s in that panic state, no amount of logic is going to bring him out. It’s like trying to reason with a kid in a tantrum. My sense is that this is some sort of anxiety that bubbles up and maybe therapy would be helpful if it’s happening all the time. But, I also think that this is somewhat of a personality trait to get all hyped up about things and you learn how to deal with it. Ironically, I tend towards the opposite when things go bad (my husband calls me an ice princess) and can stay so calm and rational as to appear emotionless and uncaring. We balance each other out in some ways. So my advice is to realize that this is a temporary situation and that you will make it to the other side.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Yes. My husband tends towards this as well, and sometimes it’s sooo frustrating. He will sometimes literally imagine the worst case scenario and begin planning our reaction to it. On the one hand, it’s not a bad thing to be prepared, but also on the other hand, the odds of that happening are so slim that you’re just working yourself up for nothing!

        OP, I feel you. In those scenarios, I will do one of the following: ride it out and nod along/engage, tell him that the odds of worst scenario happening are ridiculously low, or ask him why he is doing this to himself (i.e., making himself panic). What I choose to do in any scenario depends on how worked up he actually is at the moment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you ask him to work with his counselor to develop a script or mantra that you can repeat back to him when he is having these moments? My psychiatrist did this for me once and I found it helpful. I think mine was something like, I’m feeling really bad right now because I’m depressed, but these thoughts are not reality, they won’t last, and I’ll feel better soon. I would try something like that, try to get him to stop planning – don’t play into it, and just completely distract him – do something different, watch TV, etc. His anxious brain is telling him he needs to prepare by developing all these contingency plans but all they really do is get him caught in negative rumination. He can problem solve just as well if/when catastrophe strikes; he doesn’t have to do it in advance (or at least not more than he already has). His house-related mantra might be something like, “I’m an intelligent, resourceful, competent person who has handled adversity before. If something goes wrong, I’ll deal with it when it happens. I can have faith in my own competency.” For his daughter, it might be something like, “xxx loves me and she loves her grandfather. My anxiety is making me question her bond with me, but that is not reality, and I’m not going to entertain it right now.”

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry just realized I invented your husband’s therapist – I think I read coworker as therapist. (HA!) Either way, I think trying to help him just ignore the intrusive problem solving thoughts rather than engage them may be helpful. But also validating the feelings as suggested below is a great idea – it will help him see that this thoughts are really triggered by an emotion rather than logic.

      • Katala says:

        I like this. On a podcast recently, I heard a framing of anxiety that helped me understand it differently. The reframing was in reference to dealing with anxiety in kids, but it struck home for me. Basically, anxiety wants attention. It makes the person feel like the only cure is to worry/make plans/imagine scenarios. But that just feeds the cycle. Telling the person it’s all going to be ok, or that what they fear isn’t true, is similarly feeding into it. Acknowledging the feeling, without trying to assure the person that the bad thing won’t happen, is better. This was a bad explanation, but the segment on the Mom and Dad Are Fighting podcast a few weeks ago was good. Hugs – this sounds really hard on you too.

    • I’m going to suggest a change in approach. It sounds like you’re trying to bring your husband around with logic (would be my approach too). I suggest trying to acknowledge his feelings instead. So, when he worries that your daughter prefers her grandfather to himself don’t point to the evidence that it’s not so. Instead, say something like “I don’t think that’s true, but it must be awful to feel like that. Do you think it’s the stress of our current situation that’s making you feel that way?”

    • Anonymous says:

      Solidarity. I am currently on month 6 of living with my in laws, while pregnant with a 2.5 year old. Our new house is currently under construction. Things that have helped: a) if grandpa can provide childcare, taking advantage of the fact that you have a built-in babysitter (when will date night ever be easier?); b) getting away for a weekend kid-free; c) thinking/talking about how great the new house will be and that this is all worth it. Like others have said (and like I keep telling myself), this is only for a short period of time. As I have told friends of mine when they ask how it’s going: this certainly won’t be remembered as the fondest period of time in our marriage, but it is only temporary!

    • I haven’t lived this particular hell, but buying and selling is so awful. I remember how bad it was when we bought our place and were half living in our old apartment and new house, and we had my husband’s cousin living with us as well. +1 to having grandpa chip in – I had cousin take over caring for the cat and fetching anything that got delivered to our old place.

  3. Rainbow Hair says:

    A Certain Kind of Mammal — did y’all read this article? It really felt honest and validating to me.


    • Artemis says:

      OMG. This is EXACTLY how I felt about breastfeeding. I BF’d all my kids for a year, because it was the “right” thing to do, and actually, I had no physical problems with BF’ing, so since it was physically easy for me as compared to others, I figured I had no excuse. I don’t regret doing it, per se, but I did not particularly enjoy it the majority of the time. For all my kids, I nursed them for the last time on their first birthdays, and then walked away cold-turkey, which fortunately worked out fine for all of us. I was SO DONE by that point.

      Wow, I need to save this article for friends. She perfectly articulates the complex emotions around BF’ing. Thank you.

    • avocado says:

      This is amazing. I felt the same way. I had a ton of issues in the beginning, and never enjoyed anything about it even when things finally got established. I continued half out of guilt and half because of pressure from my husband. I profoundly regret not switching to formula. I would have been much less exhausted, happier, more confident, and more present with my child, which has to be worth something. When she decided to self-wean it was such a relief.

    • Oh man, this is brutal and so right on. Thanks for sharing here, I’ve already passed it on to a friend who is BFing!

    • Thank you for sharing this article. I felt very similarly, with less focus on doing it because the professionals told me to do it and more focus on just feeling like it truly was the right thing to do. I hated it. I felt like I was in a sad, desperate fog. I stopped at four months and that is largely to the credit of a caring and supportive practitioner at the pediatrician’s office who was very supportive when I said I was done. I did not nurse my second baby and the different in the postpartum period has been significant. As the author described, I wish I was a natural, but I wasn’t. You don’t know how it will be for you until you’re there. I would never discourage a woman from nursing but we have to be honest that it’s not for everyone, and that is OK too.

  4. grey falcon says:

    Where are people buying reasonably priced suits/suit separates these day? I’m just postpartum so don’t want to invest a ton of money in things that may have a shortish shelf life. But I need to refresh my wardrobe to cope with a new role and have to be at least on the formal end of business casual.

    • Banana Republic. If you watch for a 40% off with no exclusions sale, they’re a pretty good deal. I get their emails, so always know when there is a sale. But the “no exclusions” is the key for suiting. Don’t count out Banana Factory and JCrew Factory, too. The nice thing with Banana Republic is that the suiting material for basics stays the same for a while. I got a new jacket and some larger pants at your stage and then when I felt confident I was at my long term size got a pair of smaller pants and a skirt. The jacket was tight around my boobs at first, but I never close them and knew it would fit just right with time.

    • I’m in the same boat and having a hard time with this! I used to get my suits at BR but haven’t been impressed with their offerings. Thought I could find a generic suit at Lord & Taylor but suit sets never work for me size wise and I didn’t really find many, or any really, decent separates options. I feel like this is something to solve by going to a store in person and trying a bunch of stuff but I don’t have time for that. Right now, I’m just hoping that I can refresh two old suits that work with new tops and then get a new blazer or two to wear with black pants.

      FWIW, on the main s&te, Calvin Klein is often recommended as a good option but I find that I need to see/try those suits in person because it’s too hard to tell how the fabric/detailing looks online.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Macys with coupons/Macys card.

      • Yup, I buy Calvin Klein from Macy’s. Super reasonable. They also seem to sell the same cut/color for years so I can add to my rotation rather easily.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I really like Loft’s suit separates — they have a bit of stretch to them so are very comfortable.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had good luck with Swap.com. The clothing is used and not everything works, but prices are low enough that I didn’t mind having to send back things that didn’t fit right. They have a pretty deep inventory of basic pieces.

    • Legally Brunette says:

      I’ve had great luck with J Crew, but wait for 40% off. Wool suits. I’m an hourglass and I find their cuts flattering.

    • CPA Lady says:

      Thredup. I get most of my work clothes there. I filter by brand, size, and condition. Don’t get anything gently used. Only get like new or new with tags. I got a bunch of BR pants for like $10 bucks a pop. I pay for return shipping because I don’t like having a credit. Order as much as possible in one order so you only have to pay return shipping once. I consider the $7 or whatever a payment to them for not having to go to the mall.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is going to be a long one but I really need some advice and I really respect the women here.
    I’m scheduled to return to work on April 23 and my mother, who was supposed to be providing childcare, let me know yesterday that she won’t be able to do it. It came as a shock because she’s been coming over nearly every day while I’ve been on leave, but the stress of commuting is taking a toll on her health.
    My mother is the only person I would have trusted with my child because I was abused by the person who took care of me. A nanny or daycare are not options for us (I wish they were).
    Now I need to figure out two things: how to resign, and how to have a bit of income. I’m scheduled to meet with my boss next Monday, but I’m wondering if I should call her today, even though she’s on a business trip. She’s been really good to me and I don’t want to leave her in the lurch or burn any bridges. I’m contemplating telling her why I’m not willing to hire a nanny or use daycare so that she’ll understand but I don’t know if sharing that would be unprofessional/inappropriate. I think I can work for a couple of weeks if she needs me to.
    I was researching work from home jobs but I don’t think it’s realistic to work and care for a baby simultaneously. I’m considering becoming a nanny of sorts – finding someone who’ll drop their child off in my home. Is that a thing? (If not please forgive my ignorance; I’m the first of my friends/family to have a baby) Should I list myself on care or sittercity? Maybe talk to my doorman to help put the word out there?
    We don’t really need my income but it’s been nice to have, and now we’ll have to cut back a bit, and not save quite as much. I don’t want to have to justify every purchase to my husband. So I guess that’s another question: how do I navigate this new financial situation with my husband?
    Sorry for rambling I’ve just been thrown for a loop. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    • I am so sorry that you find yourself in this situation. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this must be for you. It sounds like all of this is happening very quickly. Are there alternative scenarios you can consider? Taking a few more weeks or months of leave to become comfortable with another caregiver situation? Maybe an arrangement where your mom covers part of the week to lessen the impact of the commute? Could you arrange working from home with a caregiver in your home with you?

      I would caution making any decisions so quickly, especially regarding how you share information with your boss or taking children into your home (unless you have experience, references, etc.)

      Sending hugs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t tell her why. She won’t understand. I don’t understand, frankly, and many people won’t. Don’t jump into any other decisions right away. Talk to your husband. Think about your finances. You don’t have to justify every purchase to your husband just because you aren’t working.

      • I would ask for more leave now. You can say that your childcare arrangement fell through and you need more time. Then breathe deep and figure this out without the constraint of this happening so unexpectedly. If your boss says no, ‘come back now or you’re fired,’ you’re basically no worse off than if you would be if you just did this.

        I say this with compassion and kindness but I don’t think you can just expect to never leave your child with anyone. Are you homeschooling? Is your kid never having a slumber party? Play date? I get wanting to leave teeny babies home, or with family, or wanting to wait till they can talk before you let them do certain things but you can never assure 100 percent safety so I think this is just something to deal with. I don’t normally think therapy is the answer to every question but I’d seriously consider it here.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes. Absolutely.

        • This is a really good point. We’ve definitely skewed toward not leaving our child very often (only grandparents and daycare so far and she is 2.5). But we aren’t near the grandparents, and it is really wearing on our marriage. We’re looking for a date night babysitter now. I do think you can make arrangements to help your mom take care of your child that will alleviate her commute. But I also don’t think it is realistic to expect your mom to be your child’s sole babysitter forever. She will need breaks, get sick, etc. And honestly if commuting is wearing on her health, taking care of a toddler in a few years probably isn’t going to be great for it. It seems possible that with more time you can find a daycare center as the other posters have mentioned that you’re comfortable with.

        • Mrs. Jones says:

          +1. Good luck!

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound overwhelmed and upset, which is understandable. It’s not a good idea to make major life decisions when you are in that space. You need a few days or weeks to think it through, weigh alternatives, plan, discuss with your husband. Do not call your boss today. When you meet with her on Monday, can you just tell her that your child care situation fell through and you will need to take another couple of weeks’ maternity leave, unpaid if necessary? That will give you some time and breathing room. You don’t have to have everything decided and settled today, or even next week.

      For what it’s worth, licensed and regulated day care centers are extremely safe. There is never one adult alone in a room with children.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Echoing this about daycare centers — it’s one of the biggest reasons we went with daycare instead of with a nanny. I always wanted at least two adults present with my at any time (not necessarily out of worries about abuse, but also because I think people behave better in general when others are watching them).

      • Sabba says:

        OP, look at daycare centers in your area. Just tour them, you don’t have to commit to anything. You might find one that has cameras and other options that would make you feel safe. And if not, at least you will be able to tell yourself that you explored this option and it wouldn’t work for you. I am so sorry about what happened when you were young, and also about this situation right now. It sounds very stressful. PPA is a thing and your scenario sound like just the right circumstances to bring it out. I would suggest talking with your doctor or possibly finding a therapist. Even if you don’t have PPA, just having some therapy while you go through the next few months could be helpful, with all that is going on.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I think the right approach might be to tell your boss that your childcare fell through at absolutely the last minute, and that you’re scrambling to figure out if and how you can return. I agree with the advice not to make a final decision right now.

      I wonder if you could work half time and your mom could cover childcare half time? Something like that?

      Could your mom stay over two nights a week to lessen the commute? Hell, can she move closer? (I realize that sounds like a BIG reaction, but she might be thrilled to live closer to you?)

      Can you freelance in your field? Again, maybe with your mom watching kid for a more limited time? Or your husband?

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        I also echo the therapy recommendations — NOT because I think your fears are invalid, or you should just “get over” it or *anything* like that. But the beautiful thing about therapy is that it helps me pull back when a decision seems catastrophic, it helps me consider more calmly, see other options, etc.


        • Thanks. I’m in therapy (not because of the abuse but we’ve discussed it) but I go on Thursdays – probably another good reason not to call my boss today!

    • Anonymous says:

      At this point I would just advise her that you just found out your planned childcare situation is not available. You are trying to make alternate arrangements but you need an additional month or two of unpaid leave. That buys you some time to figure out your next move.

      Sit down and work through the options:
      – would you be comfortable with a WFH arrangement if you had an au-pair? You would be able to make unplanned checks on the aupair which might increase your comfort level.
      – do you have a friend who is a SAHM or part-time employed who might be interested in caring for your child on a part-time basis and you could ask to switch your current role to part-time?
      – would your mom be open to carrying for baby on a part-time basis? I had a friend whose mom cared for their kid T/W/Th. She drove in on Tuesday morning, stayed overnight Tuesday and Wednesday evening and drove home Thursday evening. They had a guest bedroom set up for her. This would allow you to work part-time or possibly fulltime if combined with other care arrangements for M/F.
      – is an extended leave of absence from your position an option? Would you be comfortable returning full time or part time when child is older (like age 3-4) and verbal and attending preschool?

    • You need more time to think about this and not make a quick decision you will regret. There are options besides quitting your job. Since money isn’t tight, can you hire a driver for your mom? Can you move closer to your mom so you are commuting and not her? Can you go part time so your mom would only be commuting a few days per week? Can you move your mom closer to you? I would not worry your boss on a trip with a phone call. Meet on Monday, explain that your childcare fell through and that you need more time to figure out what to do. This is a parent issue and not just a mom issue. Your husband should pitch in at home too if you can’t extend your leave. Whether to tell your boss your history is a very “know your boss” issue. If I had pushback, I might, but I’ve worked for my boss for 6.5 years, will work for him for the foreseeable future, and we have a great relationship. That won’t happen everywhere. I agree that it would be very difficult to work full time while watching a baby, but you can probably offer to put in some part time hours while you get this figured out.

    • If your mom’s commute is the issue, is there a reason you can’t take the baby to her home in the morning? Even if the commute is terrible, maybe do that as a short-term measure while you figure out a long-term plan.

    • I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. Are there any other alternatives? I wouldn’t jump into anything at this point without first talking to your boss – could you negotiate a few more weeks off, unpaid if necessary, while you figure out an arrangement? If the commuting is the main problem for your mother, could she live with you during the week and go home on weekends, or could kid live with her during the week?

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree that you need some time to think. I don’t think suggesting your child not live with you during the week makes any sense at all.

        • I will add – I’m from a culture and country where this isn’t rare at all. It’s a radical step for the US, but it’s not completely unheard of elsewhere, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Just thinking outside the box.

          • Nothing wrong with making this suggestion at all, and no one should make you feel bad for offering advice that’s sincere and coming from a good place. And for what it’s worth, this is somewhat common in the country from where my parents emigrated too.

          • I knew someone (who lives in the US) who flew to India and dropped her young son with her mom for 9 months!! I know it must have been so hard for her.

          • avocado says:

            Several working moms of our acquaintance have left their infants with parents in India for around 9 months. It seems pretty common.

          • anon for this says:

            Yup, I have a friend who lived in India for the first two years of her life while her mom worked.

    • Thank you so much everyone; you’ve given me a lot to think about. FWIW I don’t doubt that day cares are very safe; there are other reasons why it doesn’t work for us but my post was long enough already. I’m definitely going to take a bit more time and think this through before making any permanent decisions.

      • Anonymous says:

        There has to be a childcare solution that isn’t Your Mom or you providing full time care.

      • Anonymous says:

        Be cautious about how you express your reluctance to use day care in real life. I have a relative who strongly believes that day care is not good enough for her kid (and is also a POOPCUP) and her attitude is very off-putting–she comes across like she is judging anyone who chooses to use day care.

      • Meg Murry says:

        If you do decide that quitting is the right option for you (and don’t decide that today), could you ask your mom if she would be willing to watch the baby for just 2-4 weeks so that you could give 2 weeks notice (or a little longer at a part time schedule) so that you could go back to work and help with wrapping up your position? At a past job I had at least 2 co-workers decide they weren’t coming back after leave, but they both came back to work 2 weeks notice after the leave in order to not have to pay back their insurance, STD, etc they had collected during leave. That way you can hand over any projects and files that were waiting on your return, etc, and hopefully leave with minimal bridges burned.

        Or, if that doesn’t work, could your husband take 2 weeks FMLA to watch the baby while you go back for that notice period? Or even have him plan to take 4 weeks – 2 weeks for you go back and see how you feel about returning to your job, and then the 2 weeks notice if you decide that yes, quitting really is the right option for all involved?

      • The best advice I received from a friend was not to make any major life decisions a year after having a kid. So don’t quit your job, don’t take on a new job…..just keep the status quo.

        Lots of helpful comments here. Does your mom understand that the consequence of her not doing childcare is that you will quit? If my mom knew that she would move heaven and earth to help me, even if it’s just short-term until I found a permanent solution. Why is daycare not an option? I agree with others that the advantage of daycare is that you have multiple care providers and more accountability than with a nanny at home, where you have no idea what she is doing with your child during the day. I’m very sorry that you’re in this situation, but I urge you to strongly consider alternatives before leaving your job altogether.

    • Mama Drama says:

      I think others have said this, but I’d definately talk to your boss about last minute childcare issues and needing to take additional time. In the time you take, you can explore all options, including those you’ve mentioned (fully stepping out, looking for a nanny role, etc). But don’t do that now. Ask for more time first.

      I’d also encourage you to think longer term about childcare. You have a history with non-family caregivers, but at what point will you be comfortable with someone other than your mother watching your kid(s)? Even if you leave work and are fully SAH, what about date nights, medical appointments, etc that require a babysitter? What about playdates or the childcare at the gym? When your kid is >15 months, you’ll start to want to look at socialization–mine goes to daycare part time for this reason and there are options (toddler preschool, for example)—but at least in my area preschools and daycares are the same level of oversight (if not more so for daycares–though home daycares are their own beast). Watching your baby yourself is an option in the very short term, but taking work out of the equation I think you need to be thinking much longer term about childcare and how/if you can be comfortable with a caregiver other than your mom.

      • Anonymous says:

        What if you hire someone to help your mom? I understand you are uncomfortable leaving the child alone with a nanny/au pair, but what if you got a nanny who drove the baby to your mom’s house each day and helped her there, then drove back to you?

        • This is a great idea. Even if you had to drive the baby to and from your mom’s house and the nanny came directly to grandma’s house, this is at least an option to seriously consider.

    • I’ll trust when you say that daycare or nanny are not options for you. If you want to continue to earn an income, your options are limited but not non-existent.

      Can you be a “nanny” for another kid? Sure – I know some SAHMs who have done this. It gets complicated when you are sick or one of the kids are sick, but that complication exists in every childcare arrangement.

      Have you considered a job in the evenings, when Dad is home with the baby? I know families that avoided daycare by having the parents work during different times of the day. It was tough on the marriage and they didn’t see each other much, but it was important to them not to utilize daycare.

      And I’ll echo what others have said – don’t make any decisions today.

      • It’s also a very temporary solution. It has to be the “right” match, and then it’s only a matter of time before you or the other family has more kids and the situation doesn’t work. If you plan to have >1 kid, this will be a perpetual issue for you. Depending on where you live, I’d say expect $15-$25/hr (assuming you aren’t someone coming in with professional childcare experience).

      • +1 to having options to earn some income. You could be a nanny for another child, but it’ll be a lot more work, it will pay less than if you were a nanny to one child, and you would have to deal with the complications above.

        You’re right that WFH is not feasible while also caring full-time for an infant (or toddler or preschooler). But there may be options like having a nanny or au pair at your house while you WFH. Or even setting up a WFH at your mom’s house so she can watch the baby while you work without her having to commute–if she’s healthy enough of course. A good friend of mine became a real estate agent, and she works from home part-time, and her mom watches the baby when my friend shows houses.

        If you think there will be a point where you’d put your child in daycare or school, rather than home school, this could be a good time to go back to school and earn credits toward a new profession. I have another friend who’s a SAHM and taking pre-reqs for nursing school (although her long-term goal is to earn enough money to leave her boyfriend who won’t grow up and act like a 40-year-old man with a family).

        FWIW, if your husband is on the same page, and you both decide it’s the right decision for your family for you to stay home and not work, that’s OK. I was unemployed for 6 months, and I learned that it’s a TON of work, with a lot of value, to provide child care and manage a house and a family. There’s less income, but you may have more time to do things you’d normally outsource yourself. I treated being home as a job, and worked from 7 am to 10 pm everyday, including weekends, for 6 months–it was exhausting and harder in some ways (but way less stressful) than my actual job. It took some work to get my husband to appreciate what I was doing all day, but he eventually got it. Trust me, you do not have to justify every purchase to anyone.

    • anon for this says:

      I just wanted to say hugs. I was also abused as a child and I think if you haven’t lived through it you can’t properly appreciate the trauma. I do think working through it in therapy is helpful and looking at ways you can be better to your kid than adults were to you. For me, I am comfortable sending my child to daycare but I plan to be very open and understanding if he ever expresses the tiniest hint of fear or confusion about something that happened to him while out of my care.

      I echo all the others who have said you need to take extra time now. Since you are in therapy, I would also ask your therapist about the possibility of extending your STD if you can. If that is not an option, unpaid leave would be the next best thing. Once you have some time, you can properly figure this out. Quitting right now is a short term solution, as others have said.

  6. AwayEmily says:

    I’m taking a cross-country flight next week and will be pumping (baby is 2.5 months old). Any tips for plane/airport pumping? Unfortunately I have a layover both ways (Detroit one way, O’Hare the other). It looks like O’Hare has “mother’s rooms” but Detroit does not.

    I have a Medela hand pump but it’s not really any more effective than hand-expression for me so probably not worth the extra suitcase space. Any other hand pumps I should be considering?

    I’m not too concerned about transporting the milk; I have a cooler and all that. It’s more the actual logistics of pumping that I’m worried about. I flew while BFing my first but never such a long flight.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn’t count on the mother’s room being available, FWIW. I have tried to find them several times and been unsuccessful, or they’ve been in use, or you need to get a key from security… etc.
      I ended up just doing it in an airport bathroom. I found one that was pretty out of the way.

    • There was a post on this a while back, I think.
      No personal experience but maybe look into paying for access to a lounge? I’d think you would have better options this way, even if it’s just a fancy-ish bathroom? I would pump right before flying and after.

    • I’ve pumped through 3 babies and probably 500k miles of air travel. My standards are low for airports. Use the family bathroom- it’s got power and a sink. Or, if you’re skeeved (again, I have low standards), go to a quiet corner of the airport and plug in. That was more hassle for me, so I just went for the bathrooms. There are also often “kid spaces” (jetblue has these) which have little areas for kids to play in. You can definitely nurse or pump there and they are typically pretty empty. they have family bathrooms nearby too.

      You can also pump in the plane. Just give the flight attendant a heads up and bring batteries. I’d dump that milk because airplane bathrooms are the most disgusting things in the world.

      I’ve seen nursing/pumping “pods” in several airports now, which did not exist in 2012 when I first started traveling and pumping. Delta terminals seem particularly good about them. Denver has nursing rooms now, which is nice, but again, I’m usually too busy hurrying from A to B to go to a new terminal to get to a dedicated nursing room.

      • Mamava pods! I have used them in a few airports. But agree unless it’s right by your gate, I would just go with the nearest family bathroom.

        I have also pumped at my seat. I wore a blousy shirt and put everything on underneath. Dude next to me barely noticed.

        I used to pump in the bathroom of the plane but beware that the outlet in there is NOT full power! Use a battery pack instead if you go that route, or just say f*ck it and pump at your seat.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to family bathrooms. In big airports (of which O’Hare and Detroit both are – though I’ve not pumped in them), look for the family bathrooms specifically in the walkways that are between terminals. Those are much quieter and almost always empty – and a little cleaner.

    • O’Hare has several mother’s rooms and they are very accessible. They are scattered throughout the airport. I’ve also pumped in bathrooms in airports-not ideal but it works. Another option is to pump in your seat on the plane. It’s so loud on planes already that no one can hear the pump. If you put your tray table down and put your pump on there, plus wear a cover or large button down that will blouse open, no one will even have a clue. Bonus if your seatmate is sleeping anyway!

    • Anonymous says:

      I found it more comfortable to pump in the airport than on the plane. Since you have a layover both ways, I’d plan to do that if you have time. I found it easiest to just pump at the gate. I used a big poncho-type cover over the whole setup, and no one seemed to notice. If you need to pump on the plane, I’d just do it in your seat, again under a cover. Pack hand sanitizer and do your thing!

    • AwayEmily says:

      Thanks all. this is helpful. I like the idea of finding an out of the way corner with a plug. I care very little about privacy but am kind of grossed out by bathrooms (not in a “they will contaminate my milk” way, but in a “I personally dislike spending much time in bathrooms” way). Unfortunately my pump doesn’t have a battery, so plane pumping isn’t an option.

      • You should spend $20 on a manual pump if your only pump doesn’t have batteries. I’ve been in airports which for whatever reason have no outlet. or the power goes out in the hotel room. You want SOME kind of back-up. I suppose if manual isn’t any better than hand expression then you can always hand express but there have been times I’ve put my manual in my purse and just zipped into the bathroom to get rid of a couple ounces until I could do a full session

      • +1, you NEED a backup. You never know when you’ll get stuck away from your hotel or office too long and need to pump somewhere random. I am a huge fan of the battery pack – I have a PISA, and the battery pack was not expensive at all via Amaz0n. I take the batteries out when I’m not travelling so they don’t drain and keep them in a ziplock with my travel pump. I think they say one set of batteries can do like 9 hours of pumping or something, so I’ve never had to buy new batteries!

        • Anon. says:

          +1 I’d look on Amazon for a battery pack. And I’m with you on not wanting to pump in bathrooms because I’d just rather not spend extra time there. I’ve pumped in quiet corners of multiple airports (including Detroit) and on several flights. My experience in Detroit was that the power outlets in the terminal were too loose and the heavy power cord plug for my pump wouldn’t stay plugged in to the wall so I ended up using my battery pack. Wear a big cardigan/blousy shirt/nursing cover and you’re good to go.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m a couple months postpartum and down to my pre-pregnancy weight but none of my pants fit. Is this something that just takes time? Do I need to get serious about diet or a gym routine? I’m one of those lucky people who has always been able to maintain a weight and shape I’m happy with without a formal exercise routine or counting calories but maybe that’s no longer true post-baby. (I’m nursing so I can’t dramatically cut down on calories but I could definitely be eating less junk.)

    • I’m in the same boat, and it is 2.5 years later. The weight has just redistributed, and I have permanently widened a bit. I think it just is what it is. I’m guessing you could get down to where they fit with a good gym routine, but I’m not that hardcore.

    • Anonymous says:

      Buy new pants. Pregnancy changes your body.

      • Meg Murry says:

        +1. Plus it’s been at least a year since most of them fit – even if you were able to lose a few inches to get them to fit, once you do get them on you may find that styles have changed just enough that you don’t even like them anymore. I know more than one person that insisted they would be able to get back into their old wardrobe, and then found that even though they technically fit, a lot were bordering on “trend from 3-5 years ago that looks dated” or “fit that is no longer comfortable for me” (like a lower rise that now creates a muffin top, etc).

        I don’t suggest throwing them all out yet, but it’s healthier to acknowledge that this is your new size, at least for now, and get a few pairs of pants that you feel comfortable in today.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        My feet changed size/shape during pregnancy. It’s so weird.

      • +1 I had to do this.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Things change with pregnancy/baby, so you probably need new clothes.

    • People say buy new pants, but if you are not happy with the look or fit, it’s okay to work toward the body you want (not everyone here is okay with lack of self care when a toddler mom). You will get more bang for your buck exercise wise by lifting weights and strength training, especially if you are ok with your weight and just want some shaping up.

      Eat healthier for your own health.

      • NYCer says:


        I found barre classes to be most helpful in returning to my “usual” size. Physique57 specifically.

    • Anonymama says:

      Your pelvis/hips actually expand during pregnancy (that’s why your joints all loosen up), and your organs and muscles move around and change shape. My MIL always says, it takes 9 months to get through pregnancy, and 9 months to get back, and I think it’s pretty accurate that it takes 9 months for things to move back to wherever they’re going to be, which may or may not be where they were before. So it’s not all just diet and exercise, though I’m sure that helps. But get a pair of new pants in the meantime, but give it a few more months before you commit to anything extreme.

  8. Daycare gifting Q says:

    DD is 14 months, and is finally moving up at daycare from the infant room to the young toddler room. Do people generally give a “farewell” gift to the infant room teachers? We’ve had a fair amount of teacher turnover since she started there at 6 months, if that matters – one teacher has been here about a month, the other since November. I can’t tell at all if there’s a gifting culture at this center, but we didn’t notice cards or other gifts at the holidays (we did $25 Visa gift cards and cookies). What would be appropriate here, if anything?

    • Treats?

    • AwayEmily says:

      I always stress about this too, but ultimately I think you should do whatever feels right to you and not worry too much about the “culture.” If it were me (and it was, six months ago when my daughter moved up!), I’d give a heartfelt card, cash in whatever denomination you feel appropriate, and something edible (chocolates or some such).

    • Anonymous says:

      We did Starbucks cards for the actual teachers, but nothing for the floaters (who presumably we’d still see in the next room since they floated). Alternatively, in other situations, I’ve brought donuts and put them in the teacher break area.

    • Anonymous says:

      I usually do a framed picture of my kid (I figure they can use the frame for a picture of their own friends or family, I write a note and kid’s name and year on the back of the photo), a card and cash/check. Edible gift to the teaching team including floaters, usually cookies or cupcakes my kid “helped” make. I tended to give more $$ to the infant teachers because there were only 2 main teachers/class, less to the preschool teachers where there are lots of teachers and lots of kids. I do give more to my kids’ favorites, but that’s not as clear for an infant as a toddler+

  9. Anonymommy says:

    How do you deal with kid phobias? My 2 y.o. has developed a fear of vacuum cleaners. We can’t vacuum around her, she demands to see vacuums every single time we facetime with grandparents, and she totally freaks out when the housekeeper comes and uses one. Like she’s okay if you warn her but if she just sees it unexpectedly it’s a total freak out, screaming, demanding to be held, tears. If I tell her I need to vacuum, she will go into her room until I put it away.

    She also gets scared of other loud noises lately. I don’t think it’s anything abnormal, just wondering what the best way to help her is. We try to explain that it’s nothing to be afraid of, but it seems to be of limited help when she’s startled by it like in a Sears when she saw a whole bunch of them displayed. Is it better to treat this as N.B.D. or to address it early and often?

    • AwayEmily says:

      I think if she gets better when you warn her, that is a super good sign. I’d keep doing that. Also acknowledge her fears (“these really scare you!”) without trying to reason her out of them. Can you find any books that feature (even if peripherally) vacuum cleaners to desensitize her a little? In general I’d err on the side of treating it as an NBD.

    • My now 4 yo had a really hard time with loud noises starting around 2. The vacuum was a no go, fireworks were terrible, parades were a bust, she freaked out if anyone was using lawn equipment or a power tool within earshot. We bought a pair of kid sized noise protection muffs, and let her use them when ever anything got too loud for her. She uses them rarely now, but knowing she had a solution to loud sounds and had the power to help herself was a huge help. We also warned her if we thought something would be loud, and followed up with a reminder to use the “headphones”.
      Giving her tools to work through the fear was much better for us than trying to white knuckle it and hope she’d grow out of it, even though that might have been the eventual outcome, as she’s much less sensitive to sound now.

      • This is what we do, too. My kiddo would lose her ish when we turned on the coffee grinder. Now we make sure to warn her by singing out, “Cover your ears!” which she sometimes does and sometimes doesnt, but the point is we acknowledge that she needs a warning, and we give it to her, without all the rationalization.

      • I have no idea if this would help but we incidentally recently watched the Daniel Tiger episode where he and Margaret are both afraid of the loud fireworks. Maybe that would be a way to talk about loud sounds?

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Kiddo has a pair of noise protection ear muffs and calls them “ear muffins.” Agreed that it helped tremendously to give her the power to protect herself from loud noises. One suggestion on the ear muffins though – I went with a foldable version that could be tucked into a little bag, and they are complicated enough that she can’t put them on by herself. If you can find a pair that holds its shape, it might be more reassuring. Amazon has a ton of options.

  10. +1. Relying only on yourself, or even you + DH + mom, for childcare is a recipe for burnout. Not to mention that it’s not realistic in the long run.

  11. I’ve used both. There’s no right answer and so much varies center-to-center and nanny-to-nanny. I’ve seen some BAD daycare centers across the country. I’ve also seen amazing ones. I’ve seen some BAD nannies and some fabulous ones. FWIW, in Massachusetts at least, daycare centers CAN leave kids alone with one caregiver, as along as they are under the ratio (3:1 or 7:2 for infants).

    I’ve got 3 kids and have been through all kinds of childcare arrangements, including being home myself. I’ve found that nannies are best for the <1 set. Once you get into 12-18 months, kids *need* socialization. That can be a nanny that is super great at setting up playdates and getting out in the world, or it can be daycare, or it can be a hybrid. But I've met some 2.5 year olds that have been with a nanny only and they have a HARD time adjusting to preschool. Babies–especially those with super finicky schedules– do best with a nanny. BUT, having put 2/3 of my babies in daycare at 4 months, I can tell you that they adapt and survive (though they do have lots of fun germs that come home…) and all 3 of my kids are perfectly healthy, high functioning kids regardless of BF/FF, SAH vs working mom, daycare vs nanny. We've done it all and I bet you can't guess from meeting my kids which ones had which childcare set up! My most outgoing kid was the one nannied for the longest; my wallflower that doesn't like to share was in daycare until kindergarten. My least flexible kid was in 4 different arrangements in his 4 years.

  12. Young Children - Divorce says:

    Cross posting from the main site…

    I think my marriage is over – I’m not sure what I’m looking for – sympathy, advice – mainly advice.

    I am 6 months pregnant – my husband and I have one daughter, who is about to turn 3. There’s nothing that wrong – we’ve just grown apart, we fight constantly. Lately, he’s been staying out later and later with his single friends, drinking more, and generally being irresponsible. He’s still a good father, but I’m just out of excuses for him. Last night he came home at 6 AM, and I think he’s having an affair, but I realized that I don’t really care at this point.

    So my question is – how do you go through a divorce with two young children? I don’t even know where to start – I’m just done.

    • Hugs. This is scary, but it sounds like you’re making the right choice for you – and your kids. You can do this!

      My best advice is to rely on that village, and allow yourself to ask for help when you normally wouldn’t. People will be willing to help, they really will. You won’t have to do this alone.

      It might feel overwhelming to think too far in the future, but would it relieve some anxiety right now to update your birth plan? Maybe a doula, a friend, or a family member will be with you instead of your husband. You can do it.

      You are setting a great example for your daughter and you will for your new baby, too.

      If by any chance you live in SWPA, I would be very glad to help in any way I can.

    • I’m really sorry. Hugs. There is a woman who used to blog who often comes here as well, I believe that she divorced her husband while either pregnant or with a small child. I think she’s in DC? Hopefully she can chime in. My parents divorced when I was 9 and my only regret is that they didn’t do it earlier — I grew up with way too much yelling at home and it has impacted me long-term (I am in turn a yeller, and try really really hard to curb it).

      If you’re in DC I’m happy to help you.

      • Young Children - Divorce says:

        I needed to hear this. For a long time I thought waiting until they were older was better – but I realized that I would rather them grow up in a happy home (and I think their father & I will be far better co-parents than spouses) than in a home with two parents who are pushing through.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I’ll just echo Wow’s comments. I wish my parents had divorced when me and my siblings were kids. It seemed obvious to us that they didn’t really like each other. Instead, they divorced much later, after years of hurting each other, petty grievances, and adultery. I feel sad and worried for my parents, going through their 60’s+ on their own with less stable financial situations. And I also feel sad for us kids, because we don’t really have family traditions anymore because my parents can just barely tolerate being in the same room with each other. I feel like if my parents had divorced prior to accumulating all of the additional hurts, it would have been easier for everyone.

      • AwayEmily says:

        I feel the same way. My parents divorced when I was in college and I think if they had divorced earlier I would have a lot fewer issues (my mom is lovely, my dad is…not the greatest person to grow up around). You are definitely doing the right thing for your kids.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      First call a divorce lawyer. Then confide in family and friends if possible. Good luck!

    • PinkKeyboard says:

      I would set up several free consultations with divorce lawyers WITHOUT telling your husband. Get an idea of how things will work, are you at at-fault state (then the affair may matter), all that fun stuff. Then draw up a plan of what you want to happen. Also, I’d do what LW says above and update your birth plan and consider who you want there during labor, if you want your husband present at the birth, not present, etc.

    • Hugs. I’m so sorry and have been at that point. If you’re in Chicago I’d be happy to help in any way I can– I have a 3 year old as well, and a 1 year old.

    • Wow, everyone here is being so kind but I want to say – go ahead and be angry! Nothing “that wrong?” He’s out drinking until 6 in the morning leaving his pregnant wife home with the toddler? Dude. That’s being a jerk, not a good father. You deserve a better partner.

      Talk to a lawyer, decide what *you* want from a divorce, and start building your village now. I’m in the twin cities on the unlikely chance that you’re form here I’m happy to help too – referrals, childcare, what have you.

      Good luck, and better things are ahead –

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Oh, hugs.

      Kiddo’s dad left when kiddo was about 8 months old, but he emotionally left about a year earlier. I hired a doula to be in the labor room with me; I wish I had kicked him out. Make sure you surround yourself with people who can focus on supporting you. A therapist, a doula, let your OB know the situation, build your village.

      My first advice – talk to a divorce lawyer. Find one who will tell you to step down when you’re making decisions out of anger. There were several instances when my lawyer walked me back from instigating mutually assured destruction. It saved me probably tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees that would have come from a contested divorce, and preserved my friendly co-parenting relationship with kiddo’s dad.

      My next advice – make husband leave the house for a while so you can both see what it would feel like to live apart. This will be hard. Protect yourself first – have money in a separate bank account in your name, no weapons in the house, maybe don’t be present when he’s packing up his stuff. Right now he’s getting all the benefits of a spouse without any of the responsibilities of parenting and husbanding. Strip that away and see if he makes better choices, and how you relate on a more limited basis when you aren’t trying to be roommates.

      And hugs. I know it’s scary. But you know what? It gets a lot easier. I’m forever grateful that I was able to spend my kiddo’s early years tending to her, rather than dancing around an unstable husband. And he’s an awesome dad when he doesn’t have to be a husband at the same time! I’ve got a book recommendation – I’ll leave it in a reply.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Here is the book recommendation:

        And when you’re thinking about custody, google family court recommendations for parenting time with small children; I was the “primary parent” and it entailed some career sacrifice to make that work. Better to walk in with eyes open, and alimony negotiated.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m also divorced, my ex also moved out when our daughter was 8 months old, and I am forever grateful that I stood my ground and did not agree to joint physical custody. It would have been so horrible. Kids are smart and resilient – they will always know who their parents are. They will feel so unsettled if they don’t have a “home base” and are instead flipped back and forth between two parents, every other day. (No judgment if that’s the arrangement any reader has for their children — divorce is a tough road — but since you’re just starting the process, that’s my two cents.)

          • NewMomAnon says:

            Your state must have different rules than mine – the only way to get out of joint physical custody here is to have a parent who is abusive or otherwise incapable of safely watching a kid. Which is one of the fights my lawyer stopped me from instigating, for which I am grateful.

            FWIW, my state has parents set a parenting time schedule and percentage. For kiddos under 5, one house is typically the “primary” home while the other parent has short, frequent visits, slowly working up to 50-50 overnights when (if) a kid is developmentally ready for that. We escalated kiddo’s overnights with her dad too quickly at one point, and had to scale it back; it disrupted her sleep, her bathroom schedule, her moods, her sense of security. Now kiddo does two nights at his house, and the rest at my house each week, with some interim “dad feeds dinner or breakfast” short visits. Kiddo sees her dad at least 5 days a week and we both maintain an “open Facetime” policy that kiddo can talk to the other parent whenever she asks, other than after lights out at bedtime.

          • How did you “not agree to joint physical custody”? If he wanted it and there wasn’t a documented history of him being an abusive parent, wouldn’t it be forced upon you?

          • Another Anon says:

            Not sure what happened in her situation but joint legal custody and joint physical custody are too different things.

            Absent abuse, in my jurisdiction, there is almost always joint legal custody but many times the child will have a ‘primary residence’ with one parent during baby/preschool years with a daytime visits or a weekly overnight visit with other parent. Only do a week on/week off schedule in older elementary school/teenage years. And sometimes it depends on what judge you get. One is notorious for approving plans that have a child ‘wake up in their primary residence on Christmas morning’ whereas another insists on alternating Christmas mornings if the non-primary physical custody parent has regular access.

  13. Anon in NYC says:

    Apologies for the poop question. My daughter is almost 3 and has just started to dive into the world of withholding. She’s potty trained, but we’ve always struggled with poop (and while we encourage pooping on the toilet, we’re also happy to just let her go in her diaper at night, which she often does). Now she’s not even happy to go in her diaper. It’s affecting her sleep because she’ll wake up when she starts to poop and scream / hold it in. She tells us that she’s uncomfortable and scared. I believe her, but I’m not sure how to address it.

    I’m like 85% sure that she’s not constipated and this is psychological. She eats a varied diet, with a lot of fruit and some veggies, we give her benefiber, 2 weeks ago we introduced a probiotic, we cut down her intake of milk and carbs like bread/pasta, we encourage water. I spoke with the pediatrician last week who said that the answer is basically time, which, sure, I get, but just wondering if anyone here had any suggestions. Thanks!

    • Aw, I don’t have suggestions, but poor munchkin!

    • CPA Lady says:

      I tried all the things you’ve tried. The only thing that worked for us was to give my daughter a high enough dose of miralax that she was going every day and it was easy and painless. For like 8 months straight. Plus a bribe of candy for pooping in the toilet.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Miralax. Talk with your ped about dosage and duration, of course. Miralax makes it almost impossible to hold it, but also really easy to go so it becomes less scary.

    • D. Meagle says:

      Going through this right now. In addition to the Miralax, we are also giving my little guy fiber gummy bears. He finally went today – has been holding in since Saturday.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Thanks, all. It seems like Miralax is the next step. And D Meagle – glad your son finally went! Kiddo has been holding it in (semi-unsuccessfully) since Sunday! Fingers crossed she goes today.

    • Sabba says:

      Will she eat prunes or prune juice? My daughter actually loves them. Warm prune juice worked better than anything else we tried, even better than the Miralax. Also make sure she has enough fat in her diet–kids need more than adults.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        We’ve started giving her prunes. She is a bit iffy with them. Basically she’ll only eat them if we’re not pushing them on her. Good idea about the prune juice though – we never give her juice, so she would probably love that! I can certainly also add more fat to her diet.

  14. ShouldIQuit? says:

    I remember someone recently posted here that they left the workforce to be a SAHM. If anyone else has seriously considered being a SAHM, if you could walk me through your reasoning and how it’s working out, think it would be really helpful.

    I know the community here is full of amazing moms that also have great careers. I don’t want to imply my thoughts as the “right” way at all, just want to help explain how I feel.

    My first baby just turned a year old. I have a great job with a kind boss and smart team, with what I think are great hours, generally just 8;30-4:30 with some occasional evenings or weekends for an hour or two, and I think i get paid really well (biglaw type money).

    However, I just feel tired and burnt out from what I think is as good as it gets for a full time job and the 2-3 hours at the end of the day doesn’t feel like enough with the baby, because she’s tired and winding down. I also miss the baby all day long. I took some time off when she was ~9 months and our lives felt so much easier because I wasn’t trying to cram life errands, baby time, spend time with husband and/or work between 5:00-9:30. We definitely had long, physically exhausting days, but it’s not the mentally and physically exhausted that I feel now.

    I thought a new job was the answer and I did switch jobs and while my new job is much better, I don’t feel 100% about staying in long term. I keep staying because it makes a ton of sense to put away some money now when she’s young and maybe i’ll quit if we have another, but it’s just so hard to know.

    I guess I just want to know if other women feel like I do, where quitting seems illogical, but staying in the work force is also not bringing much joy.

    • avocado says:

      So here are the reasons why I am NOT a SAHM. I am in a similar place as you are, except that I have a horrendous commute, quite a bit of travel, and a lousy nonprofit salary. I used to love my job but have burned out. I never missed my kid when she was in day care because the program was so wonderful, but ever since she started school I’ve had a lot of stress and guilt about sending her to subpar after-school programs and not spending time on at-home academic enrichment the way the SAHMs and the nannies do. What keeps me going is that I am pretty sure I am not cut out to be a SAHM (I can’t even work from home for one day without going completely bonkers), I need to remain in the work force for economic risk avoidance, my husband thinks SAHMs are useless parasites (I did not know this until we had a child), and the second income is what makes things like vacations, the kid’s expensive sport, theatre tickets, and hopefully my kid’s dream college possible. So yes, I feel exactly like you do: quitting seems illogical, but working gives me no joy. It’s just what I do to make the rest of life possible.

      • +1 I tried to type a response but this is very well put.

      • yes, but YUCK on your DH’s opinion of SAHMs. woof.

        • avocado says:

          Agree 100%. It has to do with issues with his own SAHM.

        • My husband feels pretty much the same way. When we dated he made it very clear that he wanted to marry someone ambitious and driven, not someone who wanted to stay at home. This is 100% because he grew up with a SAHM who was unhappy and unfulfilled and now years later solely depends on us for financial support. She spends money like water because she never had to earn it herself. She has a very fraught relationship with both DH and her other child as well. It’s very sad.

        • stigma says:

          I find there to be a big stigma against SAHMs in our high achieving, professional HCOL city. Especially those whose kids are in school most of the day day (as opposed to infants/toddlers), the notion being — what are you doing all day if your kids are in school?

      • Meg Murry says:

        +1 – I had a similiar situation in that I didn’t mind working so much when my kids were in daycare (and I would have been a terrible SAHM for an infant or toddler, little kids are just not my thing), but once they got to school age I was just too burnt out with the extra burden of homework and extracurricular activities, plus I felt guilty because my oldest hated every after school program we tried. After a lot of jumping around, I took a big step off the career path and now work as an assistant at an 8-4:30 low stress job where I can 100% leave work at work. The pay is extremely low, but now that my kids are school age and we don’t have daycare costs we can swing it.

        Just wanted to let you know that you aren’t the only one. And I’ve always wondered how many men out there hate their jobs but just keep sucking it up and doing it because “its what men do” – especially back in the day when men were expected to be the breadwinner and women were expected to stay at home.

        Is there anything else in your life that could help give you more time and therefore more joy? Could you work from home 1-2 days per week to get rid of the commute? Outsource more? Any chance your job would be willing to consider letting you go to a true part time schedule?

        • ShouldIQuit? says:

          This is so helpful, thank you. I tell myself a lot that she is so happy right now that If i really wanted to quit, it might make more sense for our family in a few years, because it seems like a lot of people say that it gets harder once they start school to keep working.

          SOmeone else said that their husband bears the brunt of it, I really identify with that too. I feel guilty doing date nights or weekends away, because it feels like we alreadyd have such little time with her. My husband is a great dad, but just doesn’t have that guilt like I do. I know it’s self-imposed or cultural or something, but I just can’t turn it off. I know it’s quality, not quantity, but I do wonder how quality it is when I’m trying ot make every minute of the 2 hours quality rather than little bits and pieces throughout a day.

          Becoming a SAHM’s post below is great, because it seems so clear for their family that her SAHM is the best decision. In our case, with excellent family support, a high income, and a “flexible” job, I feel guilty that I feel this way, because I know I’m so blessed. I wish the answer was just clear either way, maybe it will be if I just keep working and with time, I’ll know.

        • Everlong says:

          I agree, this is really helpful. Can I ask more about your transition from Something Else to 8-4:30 Assistant? That sounds like my dream to give up the stress. My hours are great, the pay is great, yadda yadda yadda but I find myself jealous of people like the receptionist at the pediatrician’s office, although I imagine what I have going for me might look pretty awesome to her. Assuming there was a pay cut, how did you handle it? Are you working less hours now?

          • Meg Murry says:

            There was a huge pay cut from where I was before when I was on the “big career” path (and even then, I was probably one of the lowest earners on this s!te) and honestly, I’m not 100% sure how well we’re going to make it work in the long run, but we’re getting by for now.

            I have to leave soon – almost 4:30, yay! – but I’ll write more tomorrow. However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses and no stress – I left behind the stress of my career and replaced it with having to go back to the “if I spend this amount of money [that I used to drop without a second thought] are we still going to be able to pay the mortgage and utilities this month?” stress.

          • anon for this says:

            +1 “jealous of the receptionist” I have so been there. I would love a job where no one calls my cell phone to yell at me and I can’t accidentally cause millions of dollars to disappear with one mistake.

          • Anonymous says:

            This is exactly how I feel. I have a great and reasonably flexible job, but a pretty demanding boss and role, and I’ve been dreaming of quitting and being a receptionist or something part time. Specifically, I keep telling my husband I want to be the scheduler at the local ice rink complex.

            I cannot justify it while I have high quality daycare for my kids, and I do love a lot of the things I do because I make a lot of money (hobbies! Vacations! Sporadic indugences and impulse purchases! Outsourcing housecleaning and lawn mowing!) But I often find myself wondering whether it’s worth the mental exhaustion and stress. I truly think this is a case of the grass is always greener.

    • Yes. I feel this way too. There are lots of us out there but I think people shy away from talking about it.

    • “I guess I just want to know if other women feel like I do, where quitting seems illogical, but staying in the work force is also not bringing much joy.”

      This is like 90% or more of the working moms I know.

      My only advice is to think about how long it will be before your current (and future kids) are in school. I couldn’t handle being home with nothing other than housework to do once my child was in school. It just doesn’t make sense for me to take 4ish years off and then try to get back in the game. Especially now that my daughter is 2.5, so we’d be looking at preschool soon. I have a similar approach to avocado. I figure if I am going to work and have my child in daycare instead of at home (which I hate), I’m going to live the lifestyle of having two good incomes. Probably not the right values, but it helps knowing that we’re saving ample amounts for kiddo’s education, take nice family vacations, will have a nice home (are in the building process), etc. Also, all the stuff I’d want to do with her if I was home cost money and we probably wouldn’t have room for it in the budget. Same for the stuff I’d want to do for myself once school started.

    • JuniorMinion says:

      I’m not who you asked for, but I had an unhappy childhood with a SAHM, so I have some idea of what not to do….

      I’d urge you to think through reentry and what you want your life to look like longer term and plan for that. By age 12-13 or so your kids will basically be gone for the majority of an adult workday between school, activities and homework (depending on where they end up in school and how intense it is). Think about how you might handle this / handle the gradual changes in how much your children need you / the amount of time they have to spend with you.

      Really think through your finances and the impact longer term on things like retirement savings / college savings etc. Financially struggling as a kid / having college debt was ok, what was harder for me mentally as an adult was that my mother chose for me to struggle by leaving the full time work force for basically ~25 years.

      Finally, your children are their own people with their own lives and achievements. Be careful that removing paid work doesn’t make you feel like they are your “work project” and as such they are your achievements.

      I’ve seen friends be SAHMs. The most successful / happy of them had clear and achievable plans around reentry to the workforce and were doing it because they wanted to without any energy around winning a mom competition.

      • Ick, oh, me too. I had a SAHM and it was the worst. She was bored, so she got ultra involved in stuff–but ended up completely being UN involved in the important things. My brother went off the deep end as a drug dealer in high school, my sister was an absolutely out of control alcoholic starting at 15. Why didn’t my mom, who was home AND WHOSE JOB IT WAS TO BE PRESENT know? Because she was being PTA president, volunteering to chair 900 events with the church, running bake sales, and helping basically everyone but her kids.

        I was the oldest and I think benefited most from the SAH-ness, because she didn’t get “bored” until my siblings were older.

        Ultimately, my mom left the workforce (she was a paralegal) when she was 4 months pregnant with me, and didn’t ever re-join. She’s 60 now, divorced (large part of this had to do with the Working Crazy Hours Dad, Not Working Mom, and different values: mom always complaining about spending money/budgeting, dad never getting to see family and wanting to spend free time having fun with family, which sometimes cost $), and has been trying to work for about 20 years unsuccessfully (part time jobs here and there). Mom has a huge chip on her shoulder to this day. When I was a FT working mom with my first, she “couldn’t imagine how I could do this to my baby” and “how awful it must be.” We didn’t need the money. I needed the purpose/goals/ego boost that came from kicking butt in my job. Now, 6 years later, we have the flexibility to let me work part time and still have a luxury car and live in a nice town, because we worked our tails off early on, saved, and planned.

        So, I’m not pro- or anti- SAH, but I definitely will never personally be 100% SAH because it is not a lifestyle I enjoy. I don’t like the gym or volunteering for the school or heck, even hosting playdates. But I do like my own kids, seeing them, and influencing them.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      I agree with that 90% estimate that J has – I don’t know that many people who love their jobs and are overjoyed to go there every day, both men and women. Perhaps it’s just the legal profession or the company I’m currently at. I generally think that’s too high of a standard that we’ve set for ourselves, especially as working moms. As if the only reason I can work and not stay home with my kid is because I LOVE what I do.

      I’m ok with my job most days, some days are great and some are awful and I want to quit. But, and the big but, is that I know I would not enjoy staying home all day and doing that tedious childcare/housecare work either. And I’m really afraid of what would happen to my marriage if we divided up our roles so dramatically. I would be exposing myself to so much economic vulnerability, and also personal vulnerability in the event of cheating, boredom, etc. I truly value equality in my marriage and I like that both of us working allows the other person to not “need” to work that much, if that makes sense. My husband doesn’t have to take just whatever assignment comes in or work long hours for fear of losing his job and our only income, and he’s able to be way more present as a dad than a sole breadwinner would be.

      It’s suggested here a lot but is part time an option for you right now? That might give you the best of both of what you want. Part time comes with its own set of issues, I know, but that might be a start.

      • FWIW, I am a BigLaw lawyer and I actually do LOVE what I do, which is why my husband stays home with our kid (although I was all for tossing her in daycare).

    • I feel like you do, but I don’t see myself quitting. We could live on DH’s salary, but our savings and retirement would take a significant hit. I also feel good about making a major financial contribution to our household, and I believe the dynamics of our marriage would change for the worse if I stayed home. (Terribly unfair, but it’s true.) I have one kid in elementary school and a 3-year-old, and I feel a lot worse about sending my second-grader to before/after care than I do about daycare, where my preschooler is having a blast with her friends and learning more than I could teach her at home.

      Mostly I get discouraged by the daily grind of it all and wonder how much less stressed I’d be if I weren’t juggling so many balls. I wonder if my kids would be better off if I worked fewer hours. (Although, I realize I have it pretty good. I have a regular schedule and get home by 5:15-5:30 every day.) I try my hardest to be present with my kids and not let my stress affect them; unfortunately, it’s probably my husband who bears the brunt of it.

      So, yeah. I’m definitely in a stage of life where I’m working to live, rather than living to work.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I seriously considered being a SAHM, and dipped my toe in the water by staying home with kiddo one day a week when she was a baby. Turns out I hated it.

      I found that it was worse than working, because the expectation was that I would be “on” with kiddo all day with no me time, and then still the default parent when her dad came home at night so he could “relax” after a stressful day at the office (because being a SAHM is stress-free and requires no down time, obviously). So some of it might have to do with your relationship with your spouse; if they understand that being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job, and that both of you need to be partners at night and on weekends, it might work.

      And it might depend on your tolerance to constantly be surrounded by noisy, unpredictable humans. I like working because I can close my door and do quiet work alone sometimes, or go interact with another human if I want/need to do so. I can think big thoughts without someone needing their bottom wiped or being hungry. I largely control my own calendar. I like that, and it’s helpful for maintaining my mental health.

    • I left a Big Career to be a part-time SAHM-ish mom. Meaning, I am home and fully present for my kids, but my kids are also in part time childcare (crazy combo of preschool for older one 15 hours/week, daycare 15-20 hours/week for my toddler, gym with childcare on occasion for both, sitters as needed). I have many friends that are 100% SAHM, and their kids are in preschooler 15-20 hours/week, they send their 2 year olds to toddler programs, etc. So I don’t really see myself as having more childcare than the average SAHM in my area, but I do billable work in that 15-20 hour timeframe vs other moms that do more in terms of playdates, school volunteering, keeping house, socializing, etc.

      It worked out well because DH is getting crushed by work. If I were at my previous job, our kids would be in a 2-nanny or daycare/preschool/nanny hybrid situation. And we can afford for one of us to work more casually. For now, that’s me. Previously, it was DH. It might again be DH in a few years.

  15. Becoming a SAHM says:

    So that was me and I probably didn’t get into all of my reasons in my original post. But I’m like you – DD is a year old. There are a lot of reasons it will make sense for our family.

    -DH works 1.5 jobs (without getting into details) and I solo parent at least one weekend a month, and a few weeks straight every year. No local family. So even with outsourcing grocery delivery, I have to work FT, do childcare, and manage our household. It’s stressful on me to manage it all and him to work so much and still be an involved father/husband/etc…we’re both struggling with work-life balance.

    – I’ve been back at work 8-9 months and still miss my daughter terribly every day. Other working moms I know in person describe work as a “break” from the craziness of childcare, I have never felt this way. I will never get this time back and I want to soak up every second with my child.

    -The cost of 2 daycares is more than my salary as were in a HCOL city/suburb. And we want another kid sooner rather than later. If I was breaking even we could justify it, but I’m not going to lose money and spend less time with my kid. Money/career just aren’t that important to me.

    -Lastly, and it may sound silly, but I’m really good at being a mom and taking care of a home. Whether is social conditioning or it just comes naturally, I feel more talented at it than my job.

    • ShouldIQuit? says:

      I identify with a lot of this – DH is in biglaw, but we have both sets of parents nearby, who are extremely involved and make our lives so much easier on a day to day basis (meals, shopping for baby things etc.) . Also, our moms watch her while I’m at work, so she is in such great hands.

      I think it’s just that I miss her so much and really feel like the time is going by so fast and the 2 hours each working day isn’t enough time. I also feel like life would feel less insane, but maybe it would just be insane in a different way. I also really identify with your last statement.

      To everyone’s point, I do think how much time they want to and can spend with you is different as they get older and it’s something that it’s hard for me to really understand at this stage of our lives.

    • I think this is SUCH an important point, and possibly the most. That you’re really good at being a mom and taking care of the home is not at all a silly thing to note , because that’s really not the case with everyone, and as such should be considered as a big factor. I actually feel the opposite – I love my children, obviously, but I just don’t think being a great mom comes naturally to me, nor does taking care of the home, and I think that may be a big distinguishing factor between me and say someone who feels more conflicted about working outside of the house. I think I’m a better mom once I come home from work, and can be totally present and happy. When I’m home with them all day I feel frazzled and I don’t think I’m doing right by them. If you feel like you’re a better “you” and a better mom by being at home – that’s really significant.

    • I don’t think your last point is silly at all. As I mentioned above, I was unemployed for 6 months, while DS was in full-time daycare, and I kept myself really busy with housework, cooking, errands, yard work, home projects, etc. Then Kiddo was home with me for 2 weeks during winter break. It was mind-numbing and frustrating and completely not for me. I knew that we couldn’t make it work financially with me staying home and Kiddo in full-time daycare long-term, so I started taking my job search much more seriously. Fortunately, I found a job that’s a great fit, and unlike my previous job, I get to actually see Kiddo in the evenings and on weekends, which is the perfect amount of time for us to be together.

  16. ShouldIQuit? says:

    This is so helpful, thank you so much. I love how thoughtful the community is here.

    It’s really helpful to me that so many women feel this way where it doesn’t make sense to quit but it’s not like working brings a lot of joy like it used to pre kids. I don’t know why that’s surprising to me, but it is.

    I honestly don’t know how to structure part-time in my job. I don’t work in law, but I feel like law lends itself well because you track your hours, but I work in finance and part-time just doesn’t seem to be a thing in my world (or I have no idea how to structure it or what to even ask for). I’m also worried (as people say) that I’ll be working more than I signed up for and just cut my pay… it probably would be ideal if I could find the right structure though.

    • mascot says:

      I think as you get older that are a lot of things that don’t bring you the same enjoyment that they once did and you find a sense of purpose/accomplishment in different places than you once did. Becoming a parent has a way of bringing that into sudden focus, but chances are, you would have discovered it slowly in other areas even without a kid. Those early years with a kid are so hard- physically, mentally, emotionally, but with time, it gets easier to find your groove. If you don’t feel like going part-time is an option, then look at how you can buy more time to do what you want. Can you outsource anything house related, can you simplify your expectations on what has to be accomplished each day/week? Another mantra that I adopted was quality over quantity. I don’t have unlimited time with my kid, but I do try to focus on making the best of the time we do have together. Example- we have someone who cleans our house so that we aren’t doing it over the weekend during family time. If I was at home, I’d being juggling kid and dusting which is quantity but not quality.
      I also agree with what boston legal eagle said about how dual incomes mean both parties have a little bit of breathing room. The pressure of being the sole income is no joke.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Can you start tracking your time now, or come up with some kind of stats, and then you could proposed how to cut your workload down to 20-30 hours? For instance, if you currently have 100 accounts and work about 50 hours a week, could you propose that you keep 50 accounts and work 25 hours a week and then hire another person for 25 hours a week (or another full timer if your number of accounts are growing)? Or an assistant for/to you that could work under you with your direction?

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      I will just note that being a SAHM is the right answer for some women, and that’s something to be proud of, too. My mother quit the work force when I was 2. (I am the youngest.) She loved being a stay at home mom. She was incredibly support of my education and career and now that I am a partner at a law firm, she’s my nanny. I have so much respect for the choices my mother made and for her reasons for them, and she is so happy she made them, but she is also SO supportive of my decisions and is so proud of me for choosing to keep working. It’s pretty awesome.

      Also, my college best friend quit work when her youngest of three was 13 months. She was a bank VP and very successful, but her heart wasn’t in it once she had kids. she loves staying home. Her youngest is now 6 and she volunteers at her church three mornings a week, but i wouldn’t call that a reentry plan. it’s just what she does. Now, she is in a city that is more accepting of women who want to stay home (not where i live) and that may have affected her happiness, too.

      I’m just saying that while there are “horror” stories, there are also good stories. If you want to stay home, embrace it! I think your life plays out differently if you WANT to be a SAHM than if you feel “forced” to do it for time or finance reasons.

    • I don’t know what you do “in finance” but there are always options! The answer is networking. For example, I do consulting and I *often* need people to build out financial models for me (or, at least, it would save me $$$ in terms of my own billable hours to get a pro to do it vs me cobbling it together). I do ad-hoc due diligence work for investors all the time, and there are tons of ways to support that process in a part-time capacity.

      We have clients that need help doing financial forecasting as it relates to business cases for new products. We ourselves are hiring a “finance guy” aka an old colleague that retired but is kinda bored to build us out a way to track our own internal sales and revenue pipeline for our firm.

      I have lots of people that do work for us on a 1099 basis: graphic designers/editors, marketing content generators, data entry type stuff, and more.

      • Everlong says:

        Where do you look for people to do things like build financial models for you? Doing something like that on a part time basis sounds like my dream job.

        • Truthfully, my network. Some of the people i’ve used in the past have been an analyst that used to work for my old company and then went to business school. She kept in touch and I fed her some work while she was in school. Another was a guy that had been working in-house as a VP of finance type and took a buy out/early retirement. We stayed in touch and I send him stuff once in a while. he doesn’t *need* the work, but he’s just golfing around and enjoys it every so often.

          That’s why I think networking is so critical. Step out, but before doing so, let it be known that you’re up for contract/project work. Tell clients, vendors, internal people, etc. Keep in touch with people via linkedin–“left BigBank to spend more time with my family; if you have any contract type work, please keep me in mind!”

          • Oh, and if you do step out, post here! I’ll get your contact info :) I’d love to outsource market sizing models, financial projections, that sort of thing. Not steady work to replace a FT income, but it’s something!

  17. ShouldIQuit? says:

    That’s a great idea to track my time like that, thanks Meg Murray.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone here been on a cruise with toddlers (ages 1 and 4)? Any suggestions of what to pack or hacks to make it easier?


    • NewMomAnon says:

      There was a discussion of this a while ago, and I think the verdict was “just don’t.” Sorry…those ages are likely too young for the on board child care, and a mobile 1 year old is a hazard on deck. They can’t do most of the on-shore stuff, they likely still take naps (in teeny tiny cabins where you might have to sit in the dark with them), and the food on board is not optimized for teeny kiddos.

      If I was going to do it, my biggest hack would be “bring a nanny.”

      • Anonymous says:

        I disagree. DH and I did a cruise when our daughter was 18 months old and it was great. Yes, your little one is too young for kids programs but we didn’t want to take advantage of them anyway (we both work full time and a major benefit of travel is lots of uninterrupted family time).

        A few tips:
        -Look for a destination (like Alaska or Norway) where scenery from the boat is a big draw and get a balcony cabin. That way, you can still see stuff while the kiddos nap.
        -Do your research and if you want to see stuff in ports, look for ports where you dock early. That way you can get some sightseeing in before the little one needs a morning nap. Likewise look for ports that don’t require tendering. If you have two hours between naps, you won’t be able to do any meaningful sightseeing if you have to tender. But if you can just walk on and off the ship, you can do a lot in two hours.
        -I do think you have to accept that you won’t see a ton on shore and for that reason I’d be hesitant to do something like a European capitals cruise. 10-12 hours is already such a short time to see Barcelona or Venice or whatever and you will be very frustrated trying to do it on an even more compressed scheduled with tiny kids. However, something like Alaska where the draw is scenery that can largely be seen from the boat, or the Caribbean, where you’d be happy spending 3-5 hours per day in port and the rest of the time enjoying the ship’s amenities, would be great. We did Norwegian fjords and it was awesome.
        -I think the food situation is actually great for kids. Mine was mostly ok in the formal dining room, but most cruises have decent buffets so you will be able to eat well even if the kids start crying and you have to leave the dining room. Every cruise line, even ones like Celebrity that don’t necessarily cater to kids, will offer plenty of food that’s bland enough for most kids (this probably sounds a little stuck up, but the vast majority of people that cruise tend to have very…basic…tastes in food).
        -Ignore what people online say are “kid friendly” cruise lines. Unless children are expressly not allowed, it’s fine. Everyone will tell you Holland America is not kid-friendly, but we went on it and it was completely fine. The staff was super welcoming. We got a few nasty looks from some of the elderly passengers when we walked into dinner with our toddler, but I won’t apologize for taking a well-behaved child on a cruise line that allows them. There are adults-only cruise lines and someone who really wants to avoid children should choose one of those lines. Of course you have to be respectful and remove your kid from public areas if they have a meltdown. And if you want to go on Disney or NCL, you will undoubtedly see more families and have more kid-centric activities that your 4 yo could probably take advantage of.

        It will probably be more “trip” than “vacation” but that is true of pretty much any trip with kids that age. Travel with kids can be exhausting but IMO is so, so worth it.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      One thing I remember from cruises is that the cruise manages your luggage when you get on, unless it’s a very short cruise – a crew member takes your luggage and deposits it in your room, often several hours later (I think our luggage took nearly 5 hours to arrive). They let you keep your carry on stuff, so make sure you pack whatever you want to wear for the first hours on the boat (including swim suits and sandals), whatever kiddos might need for a nap, snacks (if your kids are picky, food abounds on cruises), sufficient diaper stuff, etc. We didn’t know any of that our first time, and arrived on a cruise taking off from Florida in jeans and sneakers and sweatshirts…only to be stuck roasting in those clothes for several hours, not able to even hang out by the pool.

      And while I agree that cruise food is bland, my 4 year old would turn up her nose at all of it because it’s the wrong kind of bland; it’s the wrong brand of hot dogs, the pizza is the wrong kind of cheap, the cheese on the hamburgers is too melty or not melty enough, etc. And meanwhile I would be cringing because my usual sneaky methods of getting vegetables and whole grains into her are impossible on a cruise. I fear she would subsist on softserve and fruit for the duration of the trip…

  19. How to go Part-Time? says:

    Piggy-backing off of ShouldIQuit’s question… Have any of you negotiated a part-time schedule for a limited period of time? I was in biglaw when my first was born, and the firm had a gradual reentry where I worked 80% with one of those days for home for a period of time and then 80% with no work from home for a period and then back to 100%.

    I do not want to quit (although I am also in the 90% estimate from J), and my kids are a bit older (4 and 7), but our lives are crazy and verging on out-of-control right now. My husband works in an intense job with very little flexibility at this time of year. Both of my kids have ramped up needs physically and emotionally right now (speech, potential autism diagnosis looming and beginning therapy for that child). I work from home two days per week, and I work more than 40 hours. I feel burnt out, exhausted and ready to cry at the drop of a hat with all of the demands on me and my time. I outsource as much as I can, but with the speed of life, I forgot to actually hit submit on the grocery order last week. I don’t want to burn through all of my paid leave in April, but I just need a little breathing room to get a handle on things. I’m thinking of asking to go part-time (4 days per week) for 3 or 6 months. Has anyone negotiated this type of flexibility?

  20. Stay at Home Musings says:

    All of the talk recently of deciding whether to become a stay at home parent has made me think more about something I have really wondered about since having a child.

    As it relates to two reasonably motivated professionals, I sometimes wonder whether two working parents is more successful in the long run. I live in the Midwest where nannies and au pairs are essentially nonexistent. In my area, people who really excel in an above average way (CEOs, big rainmaker partners, etc.) have a stay at home spouse/parent. I believe that to some extent these folks have excelled much more than average because of their ability to go all in. I’m sure in the beginning it is certainly rough as these folks work their way up. There is definitely sacrifice. But the end result seems to make up for it. Financially speaking in the long run, is it better to have two working parents who can only half a$$ it/can’t go all in, versus one parent who can.

    Maybe it is also a consequence of many people in those positions (in my area at least) being a generation older than me when stay at home spouses were so much more common, and people were less understanding of dual working parent families.

    FWIW, I’m in a dual working family, and it will be that way for a long time. Just something I’ve found interesting. I don’t know that I have an opinion, and certainly I’m not trying to offend. I’d just love to hear what the smart ladies on this site have to say.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Here’s my opinion on the matter: I think it depends on your definition of success. If we’re talking purely money, then yes, I truly believe that in our current society (maybe globally too?), being completely devoted to outside-the-home work, particularly in certain industries, will be rewarded more financially. I think you can make this work with a two income household, but it’s infinitely easier if one spouse gets tasked with devoting all of their time and energy into paid work and the other into everything else to make a house run.

      I don’t know about you but the above is not the life I want, whether it is me being the sole breadwinner/hustler or whether it means my husband takes on that role, while the other stays home. I would much much rather both of us “half a$$” paid work (based on society’s definition) and have time for balanced lives and both be there for our kids, and also have time for our marriage, hobbies, etc.

      As a Type A overachiever, it is very hard for me to admit that I’m probably not going to succeed in the way I’ve been trained to believe is the best and only way, but I’ve had to really question what it is that I want from life. It’s not easy in the U.S., which still promotes the above definition of success. I feel like I go against the cultural grain, A LOT. Still a work in progress!

      • +1 to this! Perhaps financially having one spouse take on a Big Job and the other run the home may work out well, but 1) it’s not a life or relationship my husband or I want to have, and 2) it’s also not necessarily a given that the person aspiring to the Big Job will a) get it (consider the thousands of MBA graduates each year, and the small handful who make it to the C-suite), b) have it for the long term, or c) even enjoy it/ find it sufficiently rewarding for the money.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have had this same thought before – I think two working parents is a less-risky way accumulate wealth, but in order to really hit it out of the park professionally, it’s possible that one parent needs to step way back. I can say that as a single parent, I’ve found myself turning down opportunities because I don’t have the house/parenting help or the second income to help me ride out a failed gamble.

    • Mama Llama says:

      Maybe, but what do you lose by doing it like that? In my family, my husband could make $$$$$ by going to work at a law firm, but we both make $$ by working in government. The things that we gain from that are:
      (a) That my husband has a great relationship with our daughter and does the real hands-on childcare stuff every day. He’s not just showing up at a soccer game on the weekends, he’s doing bath time, reading stories, packing lunches, going to doctor appointments, etc. I think this sets them up for a closer relationship throughout their lives.
      (b) That we model non-traditional gender roles, which is very important to me.
      (c) That I have a career that could support our family if my husband died or became disabled, or we got divorced. My own mom stayed home until my parents split up when I was a teenager, and it was very tough times for us as she tried to establish a career for the first time in her 40s.

      • You took the words out of my mouth! From a purely financial perspective it might be more lucrative for one spouse to go all in while the other is a SAH parent, but there are huge huge costs as outlined above. I love my kids, but I get so much validation from my work. And I love that my two boys think that “only girls are lawyers.” (I had to correct that, reluctantly). :)

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to all of this, especially that it is so important for kids to see dad doing cooking and laundry and mom wearing a suit and going on business trips. And I mean that globally, not just on an individual kid basis. Of course a daughter of a SAHM can turn out to be a kick-a$$ business woman or the son of a woman who works can turn out to be a misogynistic jerk. But I am cautiously optimistic that the generation that is currently children will be much more progressive and supportive of gender equality than my generation, because so many more women are working now than in the 1980s.

    • Meg Murry says:

      I have lots of thoughts on this, and I also agree that there is a good chance that having one person go 100% all-in would be more likely to pay off more in the long run. That said, it’s also the bigger gamble, because it’s putting all the eggs in one basket, so to speak. If something goes wrong with the breadwinners life or career, the whole family will suffer a lot more. I’ve often thought about what it must have been like back in the times where (at least in middle class households and up) men were the default breadwinner and women were the default homemaker – were there a bunch of men that hated having all the pressure on them and hated their jobs but just sucked it up because that’s what you did?

      FWIW, my husband and I always thought I was going to be the one with the big career, and he was going to be the primary parent/household manager. And that’s the path we were on for 10 years, including after my first son was born. But at some point I realized that I didn’t WANT to leave it 100% up to him if I could – I wanted to be able to go to parent teacher conferences and doctors appointments and help with homework too, plus my attitude turned from “my job is so exciting and fufilling!” to “ugh, I have no desire to have the job the people at the levels above me have, I don’t even like this level anymore, I’m so tired of this rat race”.

      I have to say, I was one of those people that used to read my alumni magazine and think “holy crap, why are so many of the women 5-10 years senior to me with amazing credentials dropping out of the work force to be SAHMs? That’s never going to be me.” And then POOF, there I was saying “let me off this treadmill, I’m DONE”. Luckily I never had let my smug thoughts out of my head or I would have felt like a real jerk if I’d been saying it out loud.

      One factor that has contributed to this is that my husband doesn’t have just 1 regular job – he has the equivalent of 3 different part time gigs (2 of which are self employed). And those gigs come with lots of evening and occasional weekend work. So his “career” as it is actually has taken him beyond mine – but unfortunately his paycheck has never caught up to that, and he’s never had any benefits like health insurance or PTO available to him.

  21. Anonymous says:

    My sister takes cruises with her kids (3 under 5!), but she’s a superhero. They do Disney cruises since they’re set up for littles. There’s a bathtub in every cabin I think. I’d also try to do a cruise line with flexible meal times (Norwegian). Maybe get a cabin with a balcony so you and your spouse can sit outside while the 1 year old is napping? Are you going with grandparents? Adjoining rooms would also be helpful for the napping issue. In general my advice for vacation with little people is to bring All The Snacks!

  22. Josie says:

    Just wanted to thank ya’ll for the comments yesterday about my possibly language-delayed 15-month-old. The gentle reminders to try to keep my competitiveness in check where my kid is concerned were especially on point, as this is something I know I need to do better on.

    As a follow up, our ped seemed unconcerned given how interactive my daughter is and said to just keep reading and talking to her.

    • Mama Llama says:

      Hey, that’s great! I hope the doctor was able to alleviate your worry. And the competition stuff is a life-long project for some of us.

      Signed, someone who has definitely high-fived her spouse about how big their daughter is, especially in comparison with her same age cousin

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