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

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

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

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

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Evernote Tips for Moms

evernote tips for momsKate and I were talking recently about how we keep track of kid-related paperwork and information, and I mentioned I was using Evernote for a lot of stuff. I really love it for my mom-related research, so I thought I’d write something up. A couple of years ago over at Corporette, we shared the busy woman’s guide to using Evernote and other note-keeping apps, but we haven’t specifically offered suggestions for how working moms can use Evernote for all sorts of family-related things. On this site, we’ve discussed a lot of tech for working moms, including meal-planning apps for working moms, the best smartwatch apps for parents, and apps that help working moms connect to school or daycare.

Here are a few quick Evernote tips for moms:

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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 office etiquette and family vacations — what are the best tips on 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. (We got into this a bit with our discussion of holidays, vacations, and office etiquette over at Corporette.)

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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, such as toys with string or wires. One of our cats likes to drink my son’s milk and steal his toast, pizza, etc., so we 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 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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