There’s nothing like homemade cookies straight from the oven. While I don’t love single-use gadgets (hello piping tips), these cookie scoops might be worth it if they speed up the time between raw dough and a warm gooey chocolate chip cookie hitting my plate.
This set of two includes a small and medium cookie scoop so you get the perfect amount of dough every time to ensure even baking. The soft grips keep your hands comfortable while you scoop and squeeze.
OXO’s cookie scoop set is $29.95 at Williams Sonoma.
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Sales of Note…
(See all of the latest workwear sales at Corporette!)
- Nordstrom – The Half-Yearly Sale has started! See our thoughts here.
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Any tips for making pumping less miserable when going back to work with #2? I enjoy breastfeeding and my supply won’t maintain without it, so I’m dedicated to doing it for a least a little while, but from what I remember with #1 it was not fun. Pondering if it’s worth buying an Elvie Stride, brainstorming about some fun snacks I can buy myself as a pumping treat, but is there anything else I can do?
I don’t know about “fun” but I tried to look at it as a little break in my day and tried to just look at fun webs*tes while having a nice cup of tea. Only possible because I had a hands free bra, which I am assuming you have? If not, that will be the biggest game changer.
Great podcast or audio book that you only listen to when pumping so you look forward to the session. I prefer audio books over podcasts. I always liked to pump with my eyes closed, imagining nursing helped with better let down. I listened to a lot of audio books on maternity leave and enjoyed continuing that when pumping.
If you can, try to really make it a break from work rather than trying to work through the pumping session (I know, not always possible). I remember being super stressed trying to answer work emails/edit documents while pumping.
+1 take a real break, if possible. Easier said than done, but I used to dip into my snack stash (Kind bars, Babybel cheese, chocolate) and read a book on my phone for those 20 minutes!
Mary Moo Cow says
I saved magazines or books to read only while pumping, and I think a special snack or drink would be a nice treat. I also had a special playlist that I had listened to while nursing at home in the early days, and then played while pumping at work. Finally, I made sure I was warm and cozy, huddled under a soft throw.
My second child is 8 months – so four months into pumping round 2. I’m nearing the end of my patience for pumping but what’s keeping me going is a family vacation in 5 weeks. I don’t want to deal with formula on the trip so my plan is to pump until then and after the trip I’ll day wean. I took a trip when my first was about 10 months so used the same strategy.
Gonna be honest here. Not sure there is a way to make it any better. I would say just throw money at whatever you can – for example, I bought like 3 sets of parts/bottles, 2 bras, and I think 4 large tumblers (I mixed all my milk from different sessions when I had oversupply and was worried about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, and then I found it WAY easier and less washing to just keep going w/ it).
I have a Spectra and an Elvie Stride, and only use the Elvie for weekend pumps when I’m trying to get ahead on bottles for the week – I produce less with it, and think that if it were your primary pump it might lead to supply issues.
One thing that I would have gotten to go with my Spectra, had I known about them earlier in my pumping timeline, are the Legendairy cups. Honestly, I might have gotten them instead of my Elvie, although that I got half price used. The problem with all of this is that you can’t try it and return, and the experimentation can add up!
Oh interesting- did you feel like the legendairy cups were a similar size/feel to the Elvie ones? I got some with my first time and HATED them. I’m already well endowed so I looked like Dolly Parton with them. I was still tied down with my Spectra with them so didn’t get any portability and just felt like they were a waste.
Oh! Sorry if that was confusing – I don’t have the Legendairy cups, but I wish I did based on how much friends like them. I just never found a pumping bra that worked for me as a regular bra, too, and I hate having to pull down my regular bra, put the pumping bra on over the top… just a lot of uncomfortable excess fabric.
For me, the Elvie isn’t secure enough in my bra to really move around, so I mostly use it when I’m on the go and need to pump in the car or something, rather than lugging the Spectra. So I’m not really mobile with either option in terms of moving around while pumping, it’s more about how easy they are to transport.
I’m not well endowed at all, so that was not part of my consideration – although I feel like Dolly Parton when I use the Elvie, so I imagine that someone with a larger cup size would feel that even more!
Elvie Stride was 100% worth it for me. It made pumping so much more bearable. I did not use my Spectra even once with my second child. I was told that it was more common than not to have a higher supplier for second kids, which was true for me. No supply issues with the Stride here.
Same here. I always told myself that whatever I could do to make pumping less annoying with #2, I would do. This means using the stride because it’s easy and less annoying, supplementing with formula when supply tanked, and knowing that fed is best. Hormonal issues with pumping have really thrown me (DMER and removing one pumping session lead to/exacerbated PPD) so while supply was better the second time around, lots of other things were worse. All this to say, fed is best, protect yourself first and before your bf-ing goals/pressure.
Pumping directly into the same bottles that baby drank from was a big game changer for me! If I remember correctly it was the Madera bottles that matched with the teal blue collars from (don’t remember the brand). Also, having multiple pumps- I had one at work, one at home. And my boss got me a mini fridge for my office and a better lock for my office door.
I’m on my second maternity leave and really thinking hard about what comes next for me career wise. I will now be a senior associate in big law and that has worked out really well for me so far and I value the flexibility, work from home, etc. that gives us breathing room that my spouses govt job can’t, even though his is less hours and usually less stress. I know everyone says don’t make big decisions now and I’m not, I’m definitely going back for now but I’m so happy with certain parts of life right now and am truly dreading going back in a lot of ways. I’ve been considering in house for awhile but don’t know if that’s ridiculous and worry that will bring instability to our lives given the current economy etc. I don’t know what I’m looking for but I welcome advice, your stories, etc.
I was also coming back from my second maternity leave as a senior associate in big law. I had been at the firm for 7 years and had wanted to leave at various points but inertia set in and the pay was hard to leave behind. I started interviewing for in-house positions during my last couple of months of leave and was offered a position shortly after I went back to my firm (so I ended up leaving after less than 2 months back). It was a huge pay cut ($360 plus bonus to $190 with a smaller bonus), obviously, and I’m fortunate that while my pay went down, my husband’s went up substantially so our living standards remained the same. My quality of life has improved so dramatically. I never worked the insane hours some did (I guess I set more boundaries) but I was always stressed because my hours were low or on the occasional really really busy months when I had no time for anything else. I am loving in-house life. I would just make sure that you go in-house somewhere that has good quality of life and is not super leanly staffed.
In terms of dealing with the large pay cut, I would think of it as you’re taking a break in saving (I was saving a ton of cash during my big law years after I paid off my loans) – fund your 401(k) and spend the rest on living expenses. Assuming you have an emergency fund, you are allowed to take a break in saving aggressively to protect your mental health and enjoy your family!
Boston Legal Eagle says
Congratulations on the second baby! Agree to not make any major changes now, and probably for the next 6 months after you go back (basically first year of baby’s life), if you can. As for going forward, what is stressing you out the most? The unpredictable schedule? The number of hours? Can you make some of those a bit easier by hiring as much childcare as you can? Do you like the work itself? If so, there are ways to make it work, I’m sure. But if you’re looking for something else, I would start putting feelers out when you go back (I know, who has the time?!) I’m in house now, and I also have flexibility and WFH, and am not too worried about the economy given the nature and size of my company. I’ve been here for over 6 years now, and I know lots of people who have been here a decade +. I wouldn’t advise you to go to a tech start-up right now, but you can look for a strong company that can withstand recessions. What field of law are you in?
I was in a similar position to you and ended up going to the federal government. For me, the decision was mostly due to not feeling like I wanted to make the big push it would take to be up for partner within 1-2 years, and not feeling like my bosses at the firm were supportive of that route for me. I think if I’d had a super supportive boss telling me I could absolutely make partner, I would have stuck it out and gone for it, but I wasn’t feeling it. Now I’ve been in the government for a few years and am thinking about what I’d like to do next — either looking at in-house positions or maybe trying to find a place at a firm in a specialized senior counsel type role. I’d say government is a soft place to land for a while, but the politics (and low ceiling on pay) make it not super attractive to me long-term.
I moved in house shortly after returning from maternity leave after having my second. Biglaw with two small kids and a spouse with a stressful job wasn’t working for us. It just wasn’t. My firm was also super, super busy when I returned, so I was staffed on no fewer than 12 matters my first day back with each partner telling me I had no choice–I would be the lead associate on their litigation. It was going to be an absolutely insane return with zero ramp up time and conflicting case schedules. No one cared I had a not-yet-sleeping 5 month old and an also-not-sleeping 2 year old. I had no idea how I was going to make it.
Moving in house has been amazing for my sanity. I still work hard, but have almost complete control over my schedule and almost never work on weekends or after bedtime. The pay drop also ended up being less than I expected once you consider all of the different forms of corporate compensation (salary, bonus, short term incentive, long term incentive, 401(k) match, charitable contribution match, better health insurance, etc). I enjoy my work, work with amazingly smart people, and have more opportunities to make strategic decision than I did as an associate.
I would look for a company that looks stable–it’s obviously not good to get somewhere and get laid off. Hopefully you’re already familiar with a few industries and are up on who is doing well and who isn’t. Be picky, but don’t be afraid to look.
This is SO helpful and exactly what I needed. I’m in white collar and I do enjoy the work quite a bit but I don’t want to be a partner, I know the group will be incredibly busy when I return, and I don’t want to give all of my life to my work anymore. I don’t work all night long or anything and have one of the better gigs but the truth is, I don’t want to hire more childcare so that I can work more. I want to spend that time with my family. And although reduced hours is an acceptable option at the firm, this type of work doesn’t really lend itself to it. And it would be hard to enforce with others (and as an overachiever myself). I would so appreciate any tips for how to weed out which places are the right ones in terms of in house and what questions might help me figure this out in interviews.
Boston Legal Eagle says
With the background, you could look for compliance type in-house jobs – there should be a need for this in most corporations, especially public. You can find public companies’ annual reports online to check on the health and longevity of the companies you’re looking at. Again, a small tech start-up is probably not the best bet for longevity, but small companies are a nice way to get your foot in the door and get in-house experience (this was my path before my current large F500). You’ll want to use your interviews to really learn about the team – a good boss can make things really great, even if the work is busy. Ask about general culture – i.e. hybrid? 9-5 expectations? More project based? Ask about tenure of other employees.
I manage a team of 7 attorneys and 2 admins. We work for state government, so not only is the pay low but some of the work policies are not inline with the private sector. One of our admins lives about an hour from the office. I’ve worked hard to allow admins to have the same wfh options as the attorneys. The admins can wfh 2 days a week (same for attorneys). However, the admin with a long commute wants me to count her commute time towards work time.
A big issue for her is child care – the only child care she can find in the rural area where she lives has hours that are impossible to reconcile with her work hours. While I have sympathy for this situation, I can’t get over the concept of counting commute from home as time worked. One of her supporting arguments for this policy is that attorneys are allowed to count work time to hearings that are out of town. Which is easily distinguished.
I want to check myself and see if my immediate hard stop on commute=work time is one of these antiquated notions I need to let go of? I’m willing to consider other options (shortening hours on in office days to accommodate daycare hours is the only current option I have come up with).
I think shortening in office hours is more than fair. Making commute time count as work time- doesn’t that mean you’re incentivizing people to move far away? It’s not the same thing as traveling to a hearing and shouldn’t be compared. The only way I think it could possibly count is if she’s on public transportation and logged in working.
Commute does not equal work time. The only possible exception I can think of is if she has a public transit commute and there is work that she could do while commuting provided she can do the work at the same level/in a substantially similar way as she would if she was wfh or in the office. (The attorney equivalent would be reading a motion/brief on the train, which I would bill for and think is appropriate).
Yep, my husband takes the bus in and slams through all his easy email on the way into the/from the office on his office days. His boss lets him count half of it (he’s government so clocks in/out). I fly in to work city and work on the bus to the airport and at the airport, but then the flight itself is all novels (academic so no one counts hours).
Boston Legal Eagle says
I agree that counting commute hours as work time doesn’t make sense in this case – presumably she is not doing her tasks while commuting? Can you give flex times in office (i.e. 9-3 or something), with the expectation that she make up for the remaining hours at night or on the WFH days (when she’s not commuting and presumably has more time). Or some weekend work? Is 32hrs/week an option? I’m guessing she’s hourly so has to count hours? For salaried employees, there’s generally more flexibility (but more working “off” hours, to make up for it).
I’m right there with you. The reason off site travel is counted as work hours is because it’s not your work location. You can plan around your office location, and make living choices based on it – you cannot predict where off-site hearings would be and they are not necessarily in the same area as the usual office. The corollary for her would be if she had to travel to a different office of your company for a training, in that case I would count the travel as work time. For her standard office, I agree it should not. Also, I am not a lawyer, but there might liability concerns at play as well: if a lawyer were to be in a car accident on the way to one of those hearings, I believe it would fall under workers comp. Not so for a usual commute into the office. Counting her commuting time might open up a can of worms in that regard.
Commute time is not work time unless she’s on a train or bus and can actually be working.
Absolutely not. Tell her no and refuse to reconsider.
Someone tried that at my workplace too. It really opens a can of worms. What happens to her work hours when she moves 30 minutes further away.
Yeah I’m with you. Do you need these admins working more than 30hr/week? If not, I would just give her the option to go part time. That is what I did when I had a analyst who worked for me and needed flexibility. This was pre-COVID, she worked 9-4 and a half day wfh Fridays. That seems extremely flexible to me, and honestly I got more than enough work out of her because she was a great/efficient employee. I would take that into consideration as well – is this admin effective, in office or not? Actual work product makes a big difference in the flexibility that can be allowed.
I don’t think this is antiquated. My org’s official policy is that regular commute time is not work time. We’re reminded of this every pay period with emails that you can do in-office work and telework on the same day, but can’t count the time going from the office to home as working hours.
I also supervise in government and you can’t count commute time. The comparison is incorrect and not adding to her cause.
The most I would do (understanding that she has a tough situation) is allow her to do in office days shorter and WFH days longer. Is your gov’t work week 37.5 hours? Could she do 9-3 2 days/week (12h, no lunches) and then one 8 hour day (7.5 with lunch) and then the last 2 days as 10 hour WFH days?
Next question – are you okay with the precedent this sets?
I agree that commute time cannot be work time. I have tons of sympathy for the situation and know that in my city, a lot of lower paid employees live in rural areas because they are priced out of homes in the city and that childcare is really hard to figure out for anyone.
I support the idea of shorter in office days and longer WFH days. We have a no kids at home while you work policy. If you do, too, I would encourage you to make sure she knows that doesn’t count if she’s making up a work hour in the evening or something similar (if you can).
“We have a no kids at home while you work policy. If you do, too, I would encourage you to make sure she knows that doesn’t count if she’s making up a work hour in the evening or something similar (if you can).”
This seems a little harsh. My understanding is these policies are to prevent employees to work full time without any paid childcare. Making up an hour here and there is not against the spirit of these policies. Also if she has another parent in the home at the time, then in a sense she does have childcare, right? It doesn’t have to be paid childcare.
Commute time is not work time unless you’re actively working and someone else is transporting you. I think shortening office hours is reasonable and probably the best you can do.
Commuting is absolutely not work time. Did she take this position when it was fully remote and now it’s changing, or has she always had a long commute?
My government office has taken the position that if you are in the office at least half the day, it counts as an in-office day. They don’t care if you leave at lunch, go home, and finish the day from there. Maybe that’s something you could consider?
I use my small cookie scoop constantly for making meatballs (one of the only things my picky child will eat) and we use a large one as an ice cream scoop and for filling muffin tins. It would also be good for making pancakes but I never remember to use it for that.
+1, Buying scoops like this has been handy in our kitchen. My kid likes energy balls (oatmeal w/ honey, chocolate chips, etc.) the scoops make it a lot easier.
+1. Also for falafel. And making sure my 2-pan banana bread recipe is evenly divided without having to pull out the scale.
Talk to me about how you practice reading and writing for elementary kids. Our school has a no homework policy until 5th grade and I believe 15 mins or less of “homework” which is reading, writing, or math practice per day would be beneficial for my children. Not sure where to start and how to build this in. Would welcome any tips. TIA!
We get reading sent home but the books are too easy/boring, so we do the school books/speed words 2x a week, and read another book on the other nights, the weekends.
During the week, T reads while someone makes dinner. We set out an appetizer and a glass of milk at the breakfast bar, and he reads to us. On the weekend, we do longer reading practice, midmorning. So a full Elephant and Piggie, etc.
For math, we don’t do tons of it, but I like the worksheets at K5learning because they are organised by age level, nicely formatted. It’s not compulsory but we try to do 1 a week or so, just because I’m not convinced how much math they are getting.
We often bring a book along to a cafe, so we can read while we’re waiting etc. And in the summer, I look forward to doing reading outside.
Where do you live that has a no homework policy until 5th? I want to move there.
My kids’ elementary also has this (Arlington VA). Homework is reading 15+ minutes a day, and “looking for everyday math.”
OP, depending how old your kid is, I recommend the series “Bedtime Math.” The premise is that everyone knows to read books to kids before bed, but math is also important. Each page has a fun background/context provided as a little “story” and then three math problems with increasing difficulty for different ability levels (they carefully do not label as ages/grades, but as abilities; for reference, my first grader can always do the first two levels and can sometimes do the third level; my five-year old can do the first level). They are goofy little word problems.
My town has this too. Massachusetts.
Some parents have requested “practice homework” in 3rd-5th so kids get in the habit of doing it.
If you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to know which town in MA.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Yeah, this sounds ideal. I think ours start homework in 2nd or 3rd grader. FWIW, my 1st grader doesn’t do any homework and we don’t even have him practice reading to us. We do read to him before bed, which we’ve done since kids were babies. Kid is fried when he gets home and all he wants to do is run around and play soccer. In case anyone wants the other side!
Same. My first grader does not do any homework and we don’t have any regular reading practice. We will often suggest reading to her (e.g. “can you read a book to your sister?”) and we give her books in her bed that she can read before she falls asleep, but it’s never mandatory. After school my #1 priority is giving her independent down time, whether that be playing in her room or at the playground. I figure that if she starts to fall behind on something, we can intervene as necessary (with homework or other strategies) but until then I want to give her as much autonomy as possible in those non-school hours.
It’s pretty common. I think it varies by school district more than state. My best friend is in the Bay Area and her kids’ school is like this.
We read together nightly for at least half an hour before bed.
Writing is harder to work in nightly, but I have my kids write birthday and holiday cards for friends and grandparents. They also write while playing games together and notes to friends. We do longer writing projects in the summer to keep skills fresh.
Math practice tends to be on the tablet, which is nice because it doesn’t require a parent to assist. We use Math Tango, Reflex and Beast Academy. All are really good.
You can search Teachers pay Teachers for “morning work” printables that are relevant to your kid’s grade. Those are usually designed to hit key concepts in 10-15 minutes. I’ve found that they’re fairly easy so it’s not necessarily about challenging them, more about reinforcing the concepts and just practicing the reading/ writing aspects of it.
Once every week or two, we switch up the worksheet for open ended prompts – like, write three sentences about your favorite Roblox game. Or draw a picture of what you did at recess. Or sort these candy hearts by color and write the names of the colors in order from most to least. We buy a big roll of paper from Ikea, tape it down onto the table, and let them answer the prompt wherever they want on the paper.
We have a chore checklist for the kids each school day. They come home, do ~15 min of light chores (like restock the toilet paper, vacuum your bedroom, or empty the dishwasher), do the worksheet and read one chapter of a book. If they do it all, then they earn 30 min of screen time after dinner. They can choose not to do it if they don’t want screen time, but then they have to complete the rest of those on Sat morning before they get screens on the weekend. Also every week or two, they get a free day with no chores or worksheets.
Our school has the same policy, but teachers make it clear to kids and families that kids should be reading at home for 20-30 minutes in lieu of formal homework. No haves 1st and 3rd grader. Here’s what we do:
3rd grader: she’s a book worm. She goes to bed at 8 and is allowed to stay up as late as 9:30 if she’s reading. Otherwise it’s lights out at 8:30.
I recently noticed she was not super quick at multiplication, which struck me as off because math is her fave subject and also she’s been really strong at it. I told her about flash cards and asked if she’d be interested. She groaned a bit, but I bought them on Amazon for $4 and said she never had to use them but if by chance she could get through the whole deck without mistakes I’d get her a Roblox gift card. Guess who mastered the deck in 2 days?
Hates to read, loves to be read to. Wild imagination.
We do a chapter of a book every night where I read to her. She loves non fiction so I’ve gotten a bunch of interesting books out of the library and she will often spend 20 minutes looking at/reading those before she goes to bed.
She has shorter chapter books that she reads to me, one chapter per night.
She also has a notebook by her bed and has been writing stories if she can’t fall asleep.
My kids also have screen time limits but if they read a book (or a chapter of a big one) they can get extra.
I take my kids to the library and let them pick out books when then they read.
We count time spent reading to our kid because she hates reading to us and we don’t want to turn it into a battle.
How old? We also don’t have homework in elementary school (CT) and I love it. With my K student, I’ll often have him pick a book and read me a few pages at snack time or bed time before I read to him. He enjoys it though. With my older it was like pulling teeth so I didn’t force it (his teachers were on board with this – even when reading was assigned he sometimes wouldn’t do it). You definitely don’t want a negative association with reading. That strategy paid off and now in 2nd he reads to himself about an hour a day of his own choosing (at breakfast, snack, and bedtime; sometimes in the middle of the weekend when he’s bored.)
For writing practice, is there something in particular you want to work on? I suggest doing activities that strengthen his hand muscles and dexterity, like cutting with scissors, playing play dough, etc. Schools have eliminated a lot of this in favor of formal writing, but they are so important! (Give him a magazine and have him cut out pictures of X, for example.) Making birthday cards for people is another fun way to practice fine motor skills AND writing.
We have a half hour blocked in our schedule every evening for reading. DH and I read to ourselves sometimes during this time, or we read to the kids, the kids read to us, or the kids read to each other. Varies based on what they are interested in. Oldest kid a voracious reader in her first language so we generally make her read in her second language. I give over the top reactions to the gross out parts in Dog Man and Captain Underpants so the twins like reading to me. I can’t wait until they are ready to move on from those books.
For writing, we have a lot of family that is long distance so we encourage them to write paper letters. Aim to send at least one full page letter a month. Usually have them add a couple sentences each week. This is a big hit with elderly relatives and all the positive feedback encourages the kids to keep going. Plus they like getting the reply letters.
We don’t do much extra with math except try to incorporate it into usual life skills. Like if I need x grams of rice for a recipe but I want to double the recipe how much do I need.
Mary Moo Cow says
Writing to family is a lovely idea! That reminded me that my 2nd grader has a pen pal, a friend who moved out of state, and she also loves getting real mail! Since they’re both learning cursive, they’re really proud of it and like writing to each other. OP, do you have someone you could tap as a pen pal?
Mary Moo Cow says
I have a 2nd grader and Kindergartner, and both have homework of reading 15 minutes a day. Being read to and reading independently count for both, with the preference in 2nd grade being reading independently. Both my kids love books, but K-er sometimes chafes at reading for homework, so instead of saying “time to read for homework,” I ask to read the book she got at the library or pull out a new book I bought her. We read about 30 minutes at bedtime and both girls are allowed to leave their light on for 5-10 minutes to read to themselves after parent leaves the room. We also listen to audiobooks on the way to school in the mornings and on car trips. We make weekly trips to the library, ask about the books they get out of the school library, go to bookstores as an outing occasionally. Now that K-er can read by herself, I think we’ll try to make family drop everything and read for 15 minutes on the weekends a thing.
2nd grader also has to do a Bedtime Math problem each week, and she actually looks forward to it! That’s a good place to start. Mine also likes the Kumon workbooks (mazes, money, cursive words) and the Brain Quest summer workbooks — they don’t feel like homework to her.
The only thing my kids get daily is reading–they are allowed to read anything they want for the half hour between bedtime and lights out. We encourage them to do things like write letters to family, lists of whatever plans they have, etc. during free play, which builds in some writing practice but isn’t anything formal. Math they get through cooking (“if we’re doubling this recipe and it wants 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla, how much do we need?”) or playing ipad apps.
I am so interested reading. I was not aware people are intentionally practicing math at home. Our 2nd grader is supposed to have 20 min of reading (either independently or being read to). We read to the kids for 20-30 min at bedtime. 2nd grader also reads to himself whenever he wants, usually 6:30-7 am. Math is limited to whatever math kiddo wants to talk about (often complicated subtraction problems while going to sleep at night ?!?!?) or occasionally he asks me to make him a problem set (and then yells at me that it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for). If we are allowing extra screen time for some reason he often wants to play Prodigy, but I think of that like any other screen time.
I was always very pro working and proudly said I would “aways” work. I enjoy my career (overall), make about $300K TC, and always valued the security to support myself, etc. My work/life balance is pretty good (WFH, no weekends but occasional evening work, little travel). I now have 2 children (2.5 and infant) and for the first time have floated the idea of what it would be like to not work. My husband would be supportive of me stopping work if it’s what I really want; we could afford to live on one salary (we currently live significantly below our means but would like to move to a larger house before oldest starts Kindergarten and our living expenses would likely double). I’ve considered maybe sticking with it until kid starts kindergarten and then reevaluating stopping/part time options.. then again, I’m missing baby years with youngest right now.
I guess what I’m asking is: has anyone else floated this idea and what did you consider as part of the decision making?
I would love to quit and we could live very comfortably on my husband’s income. The main reason I work is I don’t want to lose my financial independence. My husband and I are both financially responsible but I enjoy luxuries like travel much more than he does and I think it would really strain our marriage for me to be earning nothing and doing most of the discretionary spending. I’m the sole beneficiary of my parents’ high seven figure estate and if they died tomorrow I would for sure quit my job immediately. But of course I hope I have them around for a very long time.
Boston Legal Eagle says
I think the flexibility and part-time is actually more useful when they’re in early elementary. Can you look into what options you have for part-time work? Parenting may feel all consuming now, and it is, but eventually these kids get older and don’t need/want you around as much, and it’s a lot harder to go back when you have a long gap vs. part-time work.
I personally have a big hang-up around being completely financially dependent on my husband. I love him and he’s my best friend, and I do trust him, but that’s a big risk that I’m not sure I would be comfortable taking. Life happens, and it’s always a nice hedge to have two income earners. And I feel like our marriage/parenting is pretty balanced right now. I wouldn’t want to be the default parent or house caretaker.
+1. I switched to part-time rather than quitting completely, and it has been a good solution for me.
How little is your infant? Did you have the same feelings with your first? Do you want to be a SAHM? I’m squarely in the pro-work category for all the same reasons, but definitely pondered when mine was little, little. It stopped by the time they were 1 year old and I was glad I stayed the course.
Realized this may have come off as dismissive and I want to clarify I don’t mean it to be! SAHM is an incredibly valuable and valid life choice. It’s just not for me. Those thoughts weren’t congruent with who I am- I think they were more a phase of tiny baby, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, finding a new balance etc.
If you’re really considering it, I’d vote for a week+ long trial. Take a vacation from work but stay home, pause childcare and do the routine you guys would normally do. It’s going to be the best of that world, but it might give you some insight as to if you enjoy it or if you’re bored and missing work by the end of it.
I dont think a week really gives you an idea of whats its like. Its very overwhelming to have this change in the begin if you arent used to watching two little kids all day, but over time, the new normal can become nice once you develop a solid routine.
I highly recommend part-time work. I work 9 to 2 every day in an industry where its extremely uncommon, but it’s a small firm and they were willing to take a chance on me. I was just like why not, I will ask everyone I know for this arrangement and if they say no or it doesnt work, ill just become a SAHM in six-nine months. I truly believe its the best of both worlds now. I would have loved more baby years time especially with my older daughter in part-time preschool, but now that both my kids are elementary/almost elementary, i can pick them up every day and their school hours are longer than my 5 hour work day, which will only continue to increase as they get older and have activities etc. Also, i took a massive paycut to have the firm take a chance on me, but have since negotiated a significantly higher income as they’ve seen that this schedule works really well on both sides.
I mean, DH makes $240 and I work part time and make about $100k. We live in Large, comfortable home (bought for less but now worth easily $1.3M) in a fancy bostons suburb and have 3 kids. We dive nice cars and have a lot of money saved for college and retirement. We go on nice vacations.
We on occasion talk about me going back to work full time, then realize we don’t actually need anymore money. Our HHI used to be more like $450 when I worked full time.
I don’t see a reason that you and your husband both need to work full time. Unless you want to.
I apparently do not make enough money for spell check though :)
There is a lot of grey area between two FT working parents and one fully SAHP. One of you should explore part time options if that’s what would work for your family.
+1 or even full time jobs where you can lean way out. I work full time on paper but in practice rarely work more than 20 hours per week. My pay ($50k) isn’t enough to support most families but it’s a lot better than nothing.
Same! I make the same salary and sometimes I feel really demoralized that I earn so little as a JD. But I basically work part time even though it’s a full time job.
Anon at 12:27 says
I’m a JD too! Cheers to not living up to our potential, lol.
Mary Moo Cow says
I absolutely have floated the idea but can’t bring myself to do it. I don’t really care about the financial dependence, and DH makes twice what I do. I carry our health insurance, though, and get a pension and giving that up is hard to swallow. Really, it is the lifestyle cuts that hold me back: on one income, we’d have to budget for clothes, vacations, toys, etc., in a way that we don’t now. I’m also really afraid of leaving my pretty good job now and not being able to find a comparable job when I was ready to start working again. The answer for me might be working part-time but I’m not really exploring that now.
I am a SAHM, but I knew for years before having kids that was what I wanted. It definitely reduces a lot of logistical stress, which is good for our marriage and family. I also come at it from the perspective that we only have one life – am I spending it how I want to? There was a post yesterday about someone who knew five people who died unexpectedly before 40. Yes, have a plan for the future and save wisely, but we don’t max out retirement or the college accounts. I want TIME with my family. You may still be in a postpartum haze and only you can answer, but think about what you most want. It’s somewhat risky having one income, etc, but I don’t want to structure my life around fear.
so i floated the idea and then realized that the idea of being home all day with two small children would make me go insane. it sounds like you really like the baby stage, but do you want to be a SAHM to two kids, would the older one be in some kind of childcare? would you have to cut back on anything you outsource and do you want to spend your time doing those things. i actually am in absolute awe of SAHM who don’t really outsource/have additional childcare because i think it sounds a million times harder than working. any way to extend your maternity leave? if i were you i’d see if there was a way to extend your leave, go part time, and/or make sure you’re using all your vacation time – like can you take a half day here and there to spend with the baby.
I went part time when youngest started kindergarten. I work a 60% schedule (3 full days a week, in office) – I avoid WFH so I am very ‘present’ on my office days. My office had no precedent for part time so technically I’m on a leave from my permanent position and contracted for a part time one. I convinced them to use the other 40% of my salary to hire a junior lawyer or senior paralegal (recruitment issues, I’ve varied which I had) who works for me full time so that I have the same case load but not managing it on my own.
Daycare years were physically exhausting but having them at a specific spot 9-5, M-F was straightforward and less mentally taxing than balancing different activities/preferences/interests in elementary years. Plus all the random parent teacher interview days and performances and snow days and professional development days and summer camp fiascos.
Biggest upsides are more time with my kids. Biggest downsides are financial stress – DH and I lived below our means so I’m not used to having to think twice about which flights I book for a vacation due to a $500-$1000 cost difference. We’ve had to be a lot more intentional about our finances.
In your shoes, I would throw a lot of extra income at household help so when you are not working, you can spend time with your kids. When mine were in daycare and I worked full time I had weekly cleaners who changed sheets and put away folded laundry. Now I have biweekly and do sheets/laundry myself or with help from kids.
I quit working a year and a half ago for the objectively bad reason that I didn’t want to work, not because I always wanted to be a SAHM. But it’s been fantastic. My kids are 7, 4, and 4. When the twins were 1 I left the full-time job (government) I loved for a part time position in private practice and it wasn’t for me. When my oldest went to K I realized that I didn’t HAVE to work. Since we’d been paying for daycare for three kids (about 3/4 of my take home), it wasn’t a big financial adjustment.
I will likely start doing something part-time once my twins go to K in the fall, but being home has been amazing. They go to part-time preschool, and I’m able to volunteer at my oldest’s school and just enjoy my life. Everyone here was right that having kids in daycare is the easiest and least complicated scheduling around. I’m not concerned about getting another position if I have to, but I’m also not trying to make up hundreds of thousands in lost income.
Tl: dr – You should probably look at what it would be like to go part time, although I must say you seem like you have a pretty sweet gig right now. I’ve been a SAHM !with childcare!(important caveat) for two years now. I am starting a new job next week. I’m going back to work (full time) partly because I want to and partly because I need to. Want: I’m bored and lonely and the 10+ hours of work I do daily is extremely undervalued by everyone: including myself and my spouse. Need: our spending has increased for the last two years and we have a retirement goal of 40. We’re not going to hit that unless I work these next 2-4 years. We looked at decreasing our spending but my earning power is so great we can’t slash the budget enough to make up the difference (I know this is a good problem; just giving you the facts). I have one in kinder, and two toddlers in day care part time. They’ll obviously switch to full time day care next week when I start working. I currently have no other help: no laundry help, no one does the dishes, meal prep, school lunches or any house keeping. This is going to have to change when I work because I can’t work two full time jobs. I’m sure it will be bumpy but we’ll figure it out. If you’re serious, you need to sit down with your spouse and talk about finances and scheduling. If you can work out those two, it should be smooth sailing. There’s no right or wrong answer here: the heart wants what it wants and you don’t have to justify your decision to anyone else. I hope to go back to being a SAHM at some point but my experience with small kids is that it’s really hard and lonely and thankless.
So Anon says
I agree that there is space between working full time and not working at all. After my youngest was born, I went part-time to 80% for her first year. I continued my oldest in daycare/preschool, and that gave me the time to some-what keep my head above water. I went back to full-time when she was a year. I seriously deliberated going part-time when my oldest was in K, as he was going through the process of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I was out of paid time off and the primary bread-winner/insurance carrier, so unpaid time would seriously impact our income. I am so grateful that I stayed full-time. Two years later, I divorced my ex. Working full time gave me the financial independence to walk away from my marriage for my and my children’s well-being. I have seen so many women who want to divorce but are unable to stand on their own financially that I could never counsel someone to be financially dependent on their spouse. And, circumstances can and do change so quickly that what seems solid today may not tomorrow.
I had no interest in going part time during the baby years. I missed my babies, of course, but also found those years pretty intense and work was a change of pace. My colleague with young kids used to say “thank g– its Monday” because weekends were intense and I related to that. Now in the younger elementary school years I desperately wish I could afford to go part time. I would LOVE to be able to enroll my girls in after-school activities instead of cramming them all into weekends and I would LOVE a more leisurely weeknights with my girls. The parent pick-up/drop-off scene seems fun at our school — people linger, chat and the kids play in the afternoons. That’s all to say, part time seems amazing if you can get a true part time and want to do it.
I’m in a similar position to you – we have generally tried to live only on my husband’s salary in terms of needs, and my salary goes to childcare and nice-to-haves and savings. It gives me a sense of relief and savings, and it allows me to take advantage of job flexibility to do mom things without feeling stress about it.
Honestly, the reason I’ve kept working is because, I don’t want to be a childcare provider, I want to be a lawyer. I am so grateful for the amazing women who have cared for my children 9-5 (or more!) every day all their lives. People talk about how women today don’t have a “village” the way we used to, and to some degree it’s true, but professional childcare is our version of the village, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Quick note too that you’re not “missing” the baby years, any more than you “missed” the first few years of your marriage by not being with your husband during working hours. There are many hours in a week, and work is only part of it!
Boston Legal Eagle says
+1 to all of this! My kids’ daycare teachers, especially their infant teachers, have been some of the most amazing, compassionate, caring people I’ve ever met. You can tell that they love babies and they love their jobs. Childcare needs to be paid wayyy more than it is now, but I’m grateful for that village that we found, despite that. And yes, I don’t feel like I missed much during the baby years – they’re pretty monotonous honestly – what you get one hour a day is pretty much the extent of the variety! Weekends and holidays are there too. And I certainly didn’t miss being around a tantruming toddler all day!
+1. Similar experience. For what it’s worth research shows that people enjoy childcare less than chores.
I quit 5 years ago. We were on a really strict budget for the first 2 years until his salary increased. Like I only did free stuff with the kids and never went out to eat. DH makes about $200K in DC suburbs, we live below our means in a 60yr old house. But we also have a cleaning service and lawn service (to maximize family time). We also only pay for 1 car since he has a company car. DH and I have always been on the same page with money/family goals so that really helps. I take care of 90% of household spending, he takes care of investments. I have loved never missing moments with my kids and even being there to work through and support all the big feelings. I find having a group of SAHM friends to be CRUCIAL and you have to be the one to arrange events/invite people over/show up. Mine have gone to part time morning church preschool at 3 and 4. I think we have a lot less logistical stress because I do all the shopping/cooking. I do not have plans to go back to work at this time. Like, I could, but it would not be worth the stress to us
Public interest lawyer here and went part time after first kid. It was only doable because:
1) money was not an issue. Not only did I make peanuts working full time, it was peanuts compared to my husband who outearns me by a lot.
2) my husband has an inflexible job and someone has to have some cushion when the kids are little (sicknesses, appointments, etc). He also is on call a lot and works weekends.
3) my organization has a track record of ppl going part time when kids are little and then ramping back up when they got older. I knew it would not destroy my career *at this particular organization.* I feel an extreme sense of loyalty to this org and would feel bad ever switching jobs.
Kid stayed in full time daycare and I would drop him off late/pick him up early and would work a few hrs each day. This worked for me bc then I could get some housework in, run errands and have me time as well.
OP, Can you please share what you do that is $300k TC and no weekends, few evenings?? That sounds like a unicorn job that would be hard to replace.
Stock options and RSUs says
Understanding that it’s not legal or tax advice, anyone have experience with exercising options or cashing out RSU’s? I have both, my options have vested and are worth a substantial amount of money now, but when I looked into exercising it seems like there are some significant tax hits if you do the simplest method of buying/selling all in one transaction.
The options do expire, and I also want the money to do some home improvements, so I do want to do something w/ them, even though I expect our stock will continue to outperform the market. Especially if leadership does what I tell them to lol.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Not a financial advisor so speak to one, but the basics are you can do a cash exercise, a sell to cover or a cashless exercise of the options. It’s been a while since I dealt with options, but I believe you are only taxed once you sell. The rate depends on whether it’s short-term or long-term capital gains. If you’ve had these for a while, I’m assuming you’re in the long-term, so just be sure to save about 15% for tax time. For RSUs, same deal, but if you sell right when they vest, there is no profit (or loss), so the quicker you sell after vesting, the better for tax purposes.
I wouldn’t stay invested in one company for too long – diversifying is always best. If you want to stay in the market, invest the proceeds in a mutual fund. You don’t want to be dependent on your company for both the actual job and your finances. Stocks go up until they go down. See: SVB, tech companies, etc.
I ran into this recently (just RSUs) and an article I read basically said “if you got a cash bonus would you buy stock in your company?” Our answer was no so we sold it. For some reason I think they were taxed as regular income, because we only got like 70% of the value, but don’t quote me on that.
Boston Legal Eagle says
RSUs are taxed when you get them when they vest (the shares are treated like any other income), value is number of shares x stock price – many companies withhold the amount of shares to cover taxes for you. Then you’re taxed again when you sell the shares, either long term or short term capital gains.
Which makes me edit my earlier comment on options – they are probably also taxed when you are first granted them, but the valuation is a little trickier than the simple market value of the RSUs.
Again, not a financial advisor, just a lawyer whose had these kinds of equity in the past/current!
Yeah, problem is from what I read if you do cashless, you are taxed as short term capital gains and/or will need to pay AMT. If you exercise and hold for a year, you are taxed as long term capital gains, but you need the cash to cover that (or exchange a certain # of options to cover that).
The best thing I seem to have found online is to exercise and sell the max you can without triggering AMT, but that’s such a small number it seems a bit silly.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Gotcha. For diversification sake, and for pure simplicity, I would probably just exercise and sell in full here, and make sure to save enough for tax time, or counter with some deductions. But I’m sure there are better yet more complicated ways to save on taxes, which a financial planner would know.
Are the options ISOs or NSOs? Is this a public company?
If you exercise ISOs, the spread between the current FMV and the exercise price is an AMT inclusion item, so you may pay AMT on the difference. My understanding is that the AMT can be used as a credit against future tax. Personally, we’ve been cash exercising our ISOs because we think the value of the stock will increase, but we have the means to take the cash + tax hit.
If you exercise NSOs, the spread between the current FMV and the exercise price is ordinary income, taxed as compensation. When we had NSOs, our strategy was to wait until we needed the cash and then exercise. The tax hit is higher, but we didn’t want to come out of pocket for the tax or sacrifice options and then lose if the stock went down.
RSUs typically are ordinary income when they vest, and then you start the holding period in the stock, but there could be two vesting triggers to avoid a tax hit upon vesting if the RSUs are in a private company. We waited until past one year of vesting and then donated the stock to a donor advised fund or sold the stock.
(Obviously just anecdotal, but wanted to share)
Does anyone know if those little PBKids anywhere chairs or the Crate & Barrel similar kid chairs flip when they sit too far back in them? My 1 year old is obsessed with sitting in chairs but the one grandma bought keeps tipping backwards.
We haven’t had issues with our PBK anywhere chairs (and we have the “pullout sofa” one too) tipping back but I also tend to put it up against something. Also, they’re so low to the ground that even if it did tip over, I don’t think it would cause much harm.
Which sofa one do you have and is it comfy enough for adults? Realizing we need a second seating option in nursery (2.5 year old and 2 month old and holding both in glider works, but not when i am nursing 2 month old, so we’ve been making a pillow camp on floor for those times).
i mean if they lean hard enough they tip, but that is something my kids realized and did on purpose/for fun. if you were to get one, i’d get the largest size PBKids one. we have it in a room with carpet and so they can’t really get hurt if it tips
Yeah, my kids tip them over intentionally too. Ours “live” against a wall, but get moved around for playtime quite frequently.
Shouldn’t be an issue.
Yes. They are stupid chairs, and I don’t know why they’re popular. Ours got accidentally destroyed and I haven’t replaced it.
I needed to read this. I’m always so tempted to buy them.
I don’t know, mine mostly uses hers as a jungle gym/fort component. If they tip back, they just fall in padding so I’ve always been kind of shrug about it.
are there any ski mountains driving distance from NJ that typically can make snow around Christmastime. I realize it can be too warm then for real skiing, but this would be for beginners who would probably be spending all of their time on the bunny hill.
Poconos – Blue Mountain or Camelback
Jiminy Peak in Western MA is a great hill for beginners and has slope side accommodations – probably about 3-4 hour drive away.
IVF Anon says
So, I went through with the FET 3/10. I’m now about a week post transfer. I got a positive HPT Tuesday. Line got darker yesterday, and today is a bit lighter. Sigh. I know the HPTs aren’t anywhere near as accurate as beta tests (Monday) and tracking line progression isn’t recommended, but also every time this has happened it’s ended in MC. I’ve been down this road before.
I basically had a complete breakdown walking in to the fertility center for the transfer last week. I was inconsolable. Just so triggering. Then, I got the positive on Tuesday and didn’t jump for joy – probably just posturing / trying to protect my feelings? I guess the good gut check is that I didn’t feel regret or dread, which was a sincere fear. Now that I’m on this side of it, I’m glad I went through with it. I’ve actually allowed myself to dream about what it would be like to have this baby, which was probably a dangerous thing to do for my mental health. But here we are.
Not asking anything of this community with this post, but I offer another thank you for providing the space to write this out and help to process it all.
Thinking of you!
Chin up! IVF warrior here so I 100% get it.
Line progression this early two days apart is not an accurate measure of HCG trends (as you know). Deep breath. You will get through the next few days until your next beta on Monday and then you’ll know for certain how things are trending. It will feel like eternity, but do your best to stay busy. Can you plan a fun brunch or meet up with friends? Get a manicure/pedicure. Try to plan something over the weekend to take your mind off it. Love and fingers crossed for you!
oh big hugs. I KNOW it’s so hard, but I would try to do anything to keep my mind off it and not test any more til beta.
Hypothetically, if you worked at home part time for 20 hrs a week, would you be able to also care for one child full-time? And if so, up to what age? Assume supportive spouse/family
Depends on both the baby and the job. My professor husband worked a fair amount (probably at least 20 hours/week) during his leave where he was the sole workweek caregiver for our child (I worked 9-5ish outside the home). This was from age 4 months to 11 months. But she was an easy baby and this was pre-walking and mostly pre-crawling. It would be hard with a toddler I think. And a lot of his job is just thinking, so he could work while taking baby on a walk around the neighborhood or something like that. It’s not traditional office work where he needs to be at a computer.
I could not have done this until my kid was in kindergarten and out of the house. Before then, there was too much unpredictability in the day and not enough maturity to stay entertained. Or a job where the work could be done in the evening after bedtime, but that sounds exhausting if you are parenting all day and then doing work.
For me? Nope. It’d wreck my mental health. I want to be fully present at work or fully present with my child. Even my great sleeper doesn’t nap for 20 hours a week so I couldn’t just do it all at nap time.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Maybe with an easy going baby who naps a lot, and consistently, from months 4-10 or so, before they start moving around too much. For toddlers, you’ll want some sort of part-time care, either sitter or part-time daycare. Unless this job is very freelance where you can work whenever, but they you may end up working all the time when not caring for kiddo.
School age while kids are in school. Like 8am-1pm M-F. Could work 10 hrs/week at most if kid had a reliable 2 hr nap daily.
Kids struggle with lack of availability if they know you are home but are not engaged with them.
Trying to work and do childcare at the same time is a way to feel like you are failing at both.
Could you get a two day a week daycare spot and work two 10 hr days? Some daycares in my area offer MWF or TTH spots.
Sure, but not both at the same time. Are there 20 hours per week when you’re not the primary caregiver for the child, and are those hours during which it’s ok with your employer if you schedule your work?
depends a lot on whether child was/is a good napper, and if you had to work certain hours and the nature of the work- like can you work at night/early in the morning, do you have a lot of calls or is it primarily independent work? it also probably would’ve killed my mental health if kid was in the house bc unless all other household stuff was being outsourced, presumably I’d need time for that too? my current job i do work part time, but it is very very zoom call heavy and so frequent interruptions would not work
Definitely not unless I wanted to go insane . I still have covid flashbacks from when we had no daycare for months on end, and that was only with a 7 month old to one year old. It’s probably doable with an older elementary aged child. If you have supportive family, does that mean they could babysit? That would be nice.
No. I need extreme focus when working. FWIW I am an appellate attorney. In my former job I think I could’ve done it. Most of it was answering emails and pushing papers (philanthropy).
Does anyone have a nice looking backpack or tote with luggage sleeve recommendation that will fit a Spectra pump? As light as possible is what I’m looking for. Amazon has too many choices and I’m guessing many of these are terrible quality and most weigh 5+ lbs. TIA!