Childcare Arrangements: Pros + Cons

childcare arrangementsWhat are the pros and cons of different types of childcare arrangements? How do you decide on whether to hire a nanny, choose daycare, ask for help from family members, etc.? We’ve talked about taking business trips as a mom, but we haven’t had a conversation about this yet. How did you decide what was best for your family? Or, if you’re pregnant, how are you evaluating the options for how your child will be cared for when you’re working? Let me start by saying: Whatever you end up doing is the right choice. Truly, there are pros and cons to everything, so try not to listen to people (online or otherwise) who feel super strongly about the issue. Here are some key differences among childcare options that I’ve noticed:

Nanny

The Pros: Your child gets individualized attention, in your home; you can be very specific about what you want re diet, activities, feeding, and more. You can negotiate for housekeeping and cooking as well.

The Cons: Hiring a nanny is expensive. Interviewing and payment can be a headache (especially if you are trying to figure out the “nanny tax”). If the nanny gets sick or is unreliable, you’re SOL. Even if you are specific with your guidelines, there’s no guarantee the nanny is doing what you ask (e.g., serving carrots instead of cookies, limiting TV time, etc.). By the time your kid is 3 or 4 you’ll probably want to pay for preschool on top of nanny services for socialization/school readiness.

Nanny share: This setup has many of the same pros and cons as above, but with added pro of socialization and added con of finding a suitable family and dealing with tricky conversations such as the extent to which they’ve baby proofed their home.

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9 Ways to Look Professional With Postpartum Hair

postpartum hair solutionsAs someone who just had baby #2, I’ve been reminded of a problem that I never saw coming the first time: postpartum hair changes, including postpartum wispies and postpartum hair loss. I’ve since seen a lot of stories on postpartum hair, but I’ve never seen one on how to look professional with all of these hair changes. So I figured we’d start a dialog. So, ladies: did you notice major changes to your hair after your babies were born? Was it was more difficult to make your regular styles look nice, neat, and professional? How did you cope?

For me, I didn’t suffer from loss so much as I did breakage/wispies in the crown — I could barely pull my hair back from weeks 8-20 without immediately having super-fine, short hairs falling into my face. This, I worried, contributed to the frazzled-sloppy-new-mom look. The go-to styles that I used when I needed/wanted to look put together included: [Read more…]

Guest Post: Pumping at Work 101

Pumping at Work 101 | CorporettePumping at work: it’s one of the toughest parts of going back to work after maternity leave. In past posts we’ve covered what to wear to pump at work, how to manage pumping in different offices, pumping during work travel, and how to dress professionally when you go back to work (when your pre-pregnancy clothes still don’t fit). Today Reader K gives you some basic tips for pumping at work and recommends a few helpful products. Thank you, K!

My best friend gave me great advice before I went back to work: The dread is worse than the reality. I was nervous about leaving my little guy with someone I barely knew; I was nervous I would not be as good at my job as I had been before I left for leave; I was nervous that I would sit at my desk missing him all day. Basically, I was nervous about everything.

But now, seven months in, it hasn’t been that bad. For the most part, I have managed to focus completely on whatever I’m doing, whether work or home life. That means I am really efficient at work and then don’t really check my email once I get home until after my son goes to bed. (Fortunately, we hit the baby jackpot and got a great sleeper.) The hardest part, though, was pumping at work. After reading comments here and talking to my sister and some friends, I got into my routine. (Pictured: breast pump overload, originally uploaded to Flickr by madichan.)

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Maternity Leave Projects (or, Productivity While Nursing)

Productive Things to Do While Breastfeeding | CorporetteI’m curious — did anyone use maternity leave to learn stuff, or otherwise better yourself? A lot of readers noted that new mom friends were critical for their maternity leave, but I’m sure there are just as many people who, like me, just watched way too much television or played on social media in those moments when I wasn’t connecting with my baby. With my first maternity leave, it was Property Brothers on HGTV. Ah, Jonathan and Drew, I’ll always have a soft spot for you. But after a while, my brain sort of felt like it was rotting. This maternity leave I’ve been a bit better about it (although Shark Tank and Ladies of London have made their way into my rotation), but I thought it might be fun to compile a list of brainy but enjoyable things to do with short pockets of time at all hours of the day (where you may or may not have the use of both of your hands, and you may or may not be able to be much more than a passive listener).

  • TEDFast Company has called it the “new Harvard,” and it’s free. World-renowned speakers — professors, authors, leaders, etc. — give 18-minute talks on subjects of interest to them. Watch Sheryl Sandberg talk about how we have too few women leaders, watch numerous talks on the power of body language, or delve into something fun like the secret to desire in a long-term relationship or the concept of happiness and parenting. (I’d suggest starting with TED, rather than TEDx videos — there are some great ones in the TEDx ones but they’re a bit less tightly curated than the talks presented at the official TED events.)

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Fun with Postpartum Girdles (and: My Bellefit Corset Review)

postpartum girdles -- my Bellefit corset reviewDid you use special postpartum girdles, binder, or other postpartum corsets in an effort to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape such as the Belly Bandit or Bellefit? Would you consider one? This is my story (and a Bellefit corset review, pictured). (Affiliate link)

In an open thread a few weeks ago, people were talking about weight loss after baby, and many women noted that their bodies never quite returned to their old shape, even if they got back to their pre-baby weight. Some women guessed it had to do with the way your ligaments stretch during pregnancy and then resettle. During the discussion, I mentioned my dirty little secret after pregnancy number 2: I’ve been wearing a postpartum corset 24-7 since H (my newborn) was about a week or two old. I’m a bit embarrassed about this — this sounds pretty desperate/extreme even to me, along with a bit of “if only it were that simple….” wishful thinking.  I should note up front that I obviously don’t know one way or another if the corset worked to whittle my waistline because a) every pregnancy is different, b) I gained less weight with H than I did with my firstborn (J), c) I was more active during the pregnancy, d) I’m at a lower weight postpartum than I was at any time after J, and e), I’d never before been as heavy as I was after J, so any lack of a waistline back then could just have been, well, the way my body is at that weight.  Still, I like my corsets and am happy I’ve purchased them and made the effort, so I thought I’d share my story.

Part I: Considering (and Dismissing) Belly Binding After Baby #1

When I was pregnant with my first son J (now 3), a lot of my fashionista friends told me that they wore postpartum girdles following the pregnancy to try to get their shapes back. I knew that postpartum belly-wrapping was an old tradition around the world, and obviously there’s been a lot in the news about Jessica Alba wearing double corsets post-pregnancy and Kourtney Kardashian using the Belly Bandit. Still, after having J, I took one look at the bands and the girdles and said, What am I, crazy? I just had a baby! I should be gentle with myself. The weight will come off when it comes off. Slow and steady wins the game! [Read more…]

Do You Have a New “Beauty Minimum”?

postpartum beautyHere’s another fun question for the mamas out there — do you have a new “beauty minimum”?  Most women I know have different levels of beauty maintenance — there’s the “big interview” look, the “going out to a nice restaurant” look, the “regular workday” look, the “lying around the house” look, etc. For most women I know, several, if not all of those levels, changed a bit after their children were born.  Maybe you only wear eyeliner if it’s a big day (and not a regular day) now; maybe you only get a bikini wax before vacation instead of once every few months. (Or, maybe you haven’t changed a thing!)

For me, I suspect it’s partly a matter of priorities (if I have an extra 20 minutes to myself in the morning, I’m sleeping instead of doing my makeup), partly a matter of practicality (why spend a long time on my hair if I’m going to put it into a bun immediately so my toddler doesn’t grab it with sticky hands), and partly a matter of… this may sound odd, but feeling uncomfortable with vanity after having kids. [Read more…]