Family Vacations and Coworker Jealousy

family vacations and coworker jealousy

Here’s what is perhaps an odd question: Do you ever feel like there is coworker jealousy surrounding your family vacations? What are your best tips for how to take family vacations without instilling coworker jealousy? (AND: How many “buffer” days to you take off to prepare/recover from your family vacation?)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a vacation with kids is a trip — not a vacation! Still, as we’ve talked about before, many parents schedule regular family vacations, which means it may “feel” to coworkers like you’re going on lots of “fun trips.” (I vaguely remember feeling like this when I was a single girl working in BigLaw — and I think there’s definitely a difference to be made in “messaging” around the vacation.) Furthermore, because you may already know the upcoming dates and schedules for school and so forth, you may book the vacation and have it calendared FAR in advance — and that may make coworkers feel like you’re “taking” the best vacation dates.

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How to Decide If You’re Ready for a Pet

It can be easy to add a dog, cat, or other animal to the family without truly knowing how to decide if you’re ready for a pet — or thoroughly considering the typical pros and cons. For example, living with cats has helped my son learn about pet care and has led him to love cats like we do, but it brings frustrations, too — for one, I can’t think how many times I’ve reminded him not to leave anything lying around that could be dangerous if the cats eat it (including toys with string or wires, craft supplies, and so on). My son wears velcro shoes, but I’m not looking forward to the switch to shoelaces — one of our cats, Diego, loves to eat them (which is why we can never leave sneakers out). He also likes to drink my son’s milk and steal his toast, pizza, etc., so I can’t leave those things on the table unsupervised. I also don’t like to think about how much we spend on their premium food and cat litter.

Pets can add almost as much frustration to the household as the love they bring, so here are some tips on how to decide if you’re ready for a pet:  [Read more…]

Kid Birthday Parties: Guest Etiquette, Gifts, & Parent Socializing

kid birthday party guest etiquetteOnce your kid reaches a certain age — and especially if you’ve got more than one — you’ll find yourself taking him or her to a lot of children’s birthday parties… and as you’ll also find, that comes with a lot of funny kid birthday party guest etiquette questions and purchasing tasks. First, it means someone in your house has to remember to buy a birthday card in time for your kid to sign it (or get your kid to make one), then decide how much money to spend on a gift, and what to get (and in my case, making a last-minute trip to Target to buy it). Kids’ birthday parties also give you a chance to socialize with fellow parents, which may or may not be your idea of fun, depending on whether you get to hang out with mom friends (or other parents you like), or you don’t know anyone there (even less appealing when you’re an introverted mom) … or you just don’t like the parents.kids birthday party guest etiquette

Psst: We’ve also talked about celebrating our own kids’ birthdays as well as the best default birthday presents for kids.

The main questions that come up when your kid attends friends’ birthday parties are these three:

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How to Find Time for Hobbies as a Working Mom

how to find time for hobbies as a working momWhen you become a mother, your sense of self goes through a major transformation (which we’ve discussed — from body image to overall identity), and one part of that is figuring out how to find time for hobbies as a working mom. Have you found ways to continue some (or all) of the activities that you enjoyed in your pre-parent days, and if so, how do you do it? For those of you who have gone through the “small kid” years, did you eventually find time for your hobbies? 

We’ve rounded up five tips on how to find time for hobbies as a working mom, below. Note that for all of these, if you’re struggling with mommy guilt, focus on what you get out of the hobby and how that end result helps your family. For example, if taking photographs helps you de-stress, your family gets a less stressed mom — win-win!

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The Easiest Family Vacation Resorts for Working Moms

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

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

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Sun Protection Strategies for Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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