Family Friday: Dinosaur Table Lamp

We have this dinosaur table lamp, and it’s a really nice find. We’ve had bad luck with lighting, particularly for the kids’ rooms — we had one lamp that we paid far too much for from Pottery Barn Kids (or PBTeen) that basically fell apart after about a year of regular use. (I don’t think my son was tackling it during the day, but you never know.) This one is $30, so it’s very affordable. (Note that it’s ceramic, though, so it will break.) So if you’re looking for a cute lamp for your kid’s room, do check this out. There’s also a panda bear and a unicorn, and they’re all around $30 at Target. Dinosaur Table Lamp Green – Pillowfort™

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  1. FTMinFL says:

    Ugh, I need to vent. I’m in my third week back from maternity leave with kiddo #2 and, against all precedent at my company, I asked for and received a work schedule that allows me to come in early Monday through Thursday and work just a half day on Friday. It is working beautifully for my family on a number of fronts.

    This morning a coworker commented that I was here early. I explained my new schedule and she (a mother of three children in late elementary through early high school, and in HR no less) said that other people get here early and stay until end of office hours and they just make it work. This has set me off way more than it should. I’m in the office for 44 hours per week, work in the evenings and on the weekends, and play a critical role in the company which is why I was granted my request – it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to replace me. At the same time, I’m supporting an entrepreneur husband, navigating the terrible twos, and nursing a baby in a growth spurt all night long.

    I should have said, “yes, they make it work, but is that the life they want to live?” Because my number one reason for this schedule is to give me more quality time with my family and this just works for us. THIS is the life I want to live. I wish I had owned my decision and I wish people saw this situation as a powerful woman creating the life that she wants instead of an overtired mom trying to skip out on work. Just, ugh.

    • Your schedule sounds awesome and she sounds like an a**hole. Sorry!
      I know it’s easier said than done but I always try to remember that comments like this rarely come from a happy place so I try to not take it personally.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Ugh, try to ignore her as much as possible. Good for you and your schedule!

    • She sounds jealous, IMO. She didn’t ask for this, so she didn’t get it – and you did. That says volumes about you. All good things! You advocated for yourself and your family. I hope the temporary emotions from this encounter fade and you can feel proud of creating the life that works best for you.

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        Or she asked for it and didn’t get it, or was too scared to ask for it and thus didn’t get it. I agree that this is coming from a place of jealousy but if you are close enough, maybe this could be a window of opportunity where you can express both of your concerns with rigid cultures? Is there a way for you to advocate for her and other parents (or just, you know, human beings who have lives outside of work) to get similar flexibility? I think work would be a better place if we could support each other, although I definitely understand your feelings of frustration.

        • avocado says:

          Re. envy: In my organization there are some jobs that by their nature require in-office availability during business hours, and some that can and should be more flexible. It just so happens that the jobs that require one’s physical presence in the office during business hours every day are also lower-level types of positions that require less education and less autonomy, and pay less. My team has had ongoing issues with our admin, who wants to work a flexible schedule that would make her unavailable every afternoon despite the fact that her job functions require her to be sitting at her desk ready to field calls and e-mails from clients, not taking the afternoon off and then “working from home” (which she can’t actually do because very little of her work can be be performed at home) in the evenings. She is openly resentful of the fact that the professional staff are not always in the office precisely from 8 to 5. What she doesn’t see is all the time we put in traveling, answering e-mails from the sidelines at soccer games, writing over the weekend, etc. There could be similar resentment going on with OP’s HR person. She could be thinking, this person is paid more than I am, gets more prestige, and gets to flex her schedule–that is so unfair. She probably just doesn’t get it.

          • Jacque says:

            Mmmmm….yes and no on the lower levels being office bound because they are less important. I understand an admin thinking, “Why can’t I work from home, too? All I need are these programs on my home computer and the calls forwarded to my cell phone.” She has a point. She could field phone calls, emails and data entry anywhere. We all can. We just can’t handle reception and greeting the UPS man from home. :)

            My husband is jealous of his best friend, who recently negotiated his computer programing job to 4 days work from home. Husband is an insurance auditor (limited WFH options) and I’m a manufacturing PM (zero WFM options) and all I could say was, “Wow. BF must not be very important to the company if he can be gone 80% of the time!”

            My industry is very team heavy. We need everyone in the office/plant because we’re all working off each other and addressing problems on the fly. We need the admins all the way up to the President here, and as a result only people who are UNIMPORTANT TO DAILY PRODUCTION can work from home.

            It works both ways! You can be important enough to earn WFH (like our OP! Congrats–and don’t let your HR lady upset you!) or you can be unimportant enough to a team that you can go off and do your thing without anyone at your company noticing or caring.

          • avocado says:

            I don’t think it’s because they are less important, it’s because of the specific function they play. It is very important that my admin take these calls during business hours. Yes, perhaps she could do it from home, but she would still have to be working during business hours (which she doesn’t want to do). It’s not about being important or not important, it’s about whether you can do your job from home and/or during off hours. It just so happens that in some organizations, the people whose jobs can be done remotely are also those who are paid more and have more prestige, so lower-level folks are already predisposed to resent them.

          • Jacque says:

            So your admin wants to take the afternoons off of her client-facing job and just respond to everyone by email later on that evening? *snort* Yeah, no. Clients expect a result before they leave for the day, not sometime later than night when XYZ Corporation’s admin picks up her email again.


            Sounds like your admin can no longer perform the main duties of her job, and needs to look for something else. There are businesses who need evening receptionists–she should go there.

          • Jacque says:

            You mentioned this admin is openly resentful of the rest of you for having flex schedules. She sounds like a pill, and I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

            In situations like that, I’m all for a stern wake up call. “When you accepted this job, you knew the hours were 8-5 M-F. You agreed that you could work that schedule and you were happy to accept the job. Due to the nature of this position, we still need someone who can be here for those set hours. Are you still that person, or should we start looking for a replacement?”

            WFH and flex schedules are combos of: a.) a perk granted to a very valuable employee, and b.) the schedule fits easily into the nature of the job. Lots of jobs (and lots of mothers!) will never have work from home options. Like me. And I’m okay with that, because I know that’s the nature of my job. I signed up for this!

          • avocado says:

            Yeah, my point in bringing up my admin is just to give an example of why OP’s HR person might be envious of her schedule.

            OP, sorry you had to deal with this. Totally obnoxious on the part of your HR lady.

        • FTMinFL says:

          Thanks for this. I may go back and discuss with her. The CEO is my supervisor and he had no problem with granting the request – the rigidity in the company culture seems to be perpetuated by the employees. I know of two other women who have asked for schedules that didn’t conform exactly to “office hours” and both were granted, but one of these was seven years ago and the other five-ish years ago. I do think this is an issue of people looking around and not seeing anyone with flexible schedules and therefore being too intimidated to ask. I hope the fact that I’m open about my arrangement will encourage others to consider what will work best for them in their situation, but comments like hers don’t make it easy.

          • blueberries says:

            Thanks for being open about your alternative schedule! It was so helpful to me as a young lawyer to see lawyers with alternative schedules doing a phenomenal job.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Wow – I’m really sorry, and I’m angry on your behalf! How obnoxious of her.

      FWIW, I would seriously consider going back to her and explaining how she was in the wrong. I don’t know if you want to make this A Thing, but I would at least consider it.

    • I’m sorry. That reaction would set me off, too. I don’t think anyone can accuse you of under-working. And good on you for asking for what you need. That is something I have not been very good about, and I truly admire the women who are brave enough to speak up for a more flexible work schedule.

    • CPA Lady says:

      OH HAAAAYYELL NO! What is it with HR people being so horrible??

      When I quit my public accounting job, the head of HR (a woman who worked 40 hours a week), sent me an email (yes, this is in writing!), implying I was lazy and saying she didn’t understand why I couldn’t make it work like all the other working moms, and that I just needed to keep working after I put my kid to bed at night. I was working 60-70 hours a week and making enormous sacrifices for that job and she was calling me lazy and clucking about me not being able to make it work. I still get infuriated when I think about it.

      Sounds like your HR lady and mine are cut from the same cloth and I’m enraged on your behalf.

      • FTMinFL says:

        I know this response is late, but my goodness why is it not acceptable to answer, “why can’t you make it work?” with, “Because I don’t WANT to make THAT situation work, so I’m changing things”?! In the vast majority of situations you don’t have to blindly accept the parameters others want to impose on your life. Of course there are trade offs, but I wish women and men in any and all life situations had the imagination and courage to arrange the pieces of their present to create a life that is meaningful and fulfilled to them.

        CPA Lady, I remember posts of yours talking about “leaning out” and doing what was right for you and your family. Examples like yours help people like me to muster the courage to advocate for the lives we want. Thank you!

    • octagon says:

      I see this at my company too — a bizarre premium on in-office time when what really matters is getting stuff done. It wasn’t until after I had a kid and asked for a schedule similar to yours that I realized just how much free labor and wasted time I was giving to the company. My response would have been in that vein — I’m able to do my work in this time, and I don’t see any reason to spend more time at work just to be here.

      • FTMinFL says:

        Exactly. I appreciate the privilege of this schedule – my supervisor didn’t have to allow it – and it has made me that much more efficient.

    • Spiprograph says:

      Ugh, I don’t blame you for being annoyed. Not really the same situation, but I dropped to 80% and worked 4 days a week after #2 was born. To anyone who commented on it, I just said I felt fortunate that leadership had granted my request for better work-life balance, because the reduced time was a huge mental health benefit and I was a much better employee as a result.

      I always encourage other people to ask for their ideal schedule, too, because I truly believe that happy employees = good employees. If they ask and are turned down, it’s ok for them to be jealous. If they haven’t even asked, no points for suffering through long days of “making it work.” Good for you for advocating for yourself!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      A very successful attorney at a previous job said something once that still stands out to me – he was talking about another male attorney, and described the other attorney as working like a “beast” while he himself was more like a “fragile poodle” who needed time away from work to be his best at work. People are different and they have different work habits; some people need to get in the zone and stay there uninterrupted for long periods of time; some people need to step away and refresh themselves frequently. So when someone compares my work habits to somebody else, I’ll either ask about the other person’s motivations and personality (if I don’t know them) or, if I do know them, will share some insight I have into how their work habits differ from my own.

      Because yeah, I work my best when I’m at work for 7-8 hours a day, working on several different projects throughout the day, with a couple pre-planned breaks to do non-billable work. I am so bad at working from home, unless it’s a phone call, in which case taking the call from home often leads to some incredible, creative solutions to problems. I have co-workers who work from home when they have a big deadline because they are more focused at home; I have co-workers who prefer to work 12-14 hours a day uninterrupted for a week and then take several days off in a row. We’re humans, not robots.

      • FTMinFL says:

        Yes! I am a serious morning person and coming in early means (1) they are getting me at my most productive, (2) my husband steps up and takes the kids in the morning which is making him a much more confident and involved partner in parenting/housekeeping, and (3) I’m happy to be at work instead of resentful of the time I don’t have with my children. I am thrilled to have found a situation that is ideal for me personally, and I hope that I would only be encouraging of anyone else searching for the same.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s really obnoxious of her. Usually I chalk comments like that up to ignorance, but she knew what she was doing. It sounds like a petty attempt to tear another woman down instead of lifting her up. I’d give her the cold shoulder and try to forget about it, as much as possible. Hang in there, mama! You know that you’re getting the work done and doing what works for your family. FWIW, the first few weeks back were really hard for me because baby was still getting up a lot and I feel like I really had a mental/hormonal reaction to separation anxiety. I hope things smooth out for you in the next few weeks

    • ElisaR says:

      i agree that is super obnoxious. it’s too bad she didn’t think of it when she was in your situation (i mean with young children). i find that there’s really nothing you can say that will make her think differently or even make you feel better. just try to remember that this is what works for you and pat yourself on the back for making it happen. we just can’t worry about what other people think, we just have to be happy with what we can control!

  3. ElisaR says:

    PS we have this dinosaur lamp and it’s super cute – it is a little on the small side, but overall i’m happy with it.

  4. Is it a “Thing” that colds get more intense as you get older, or after kids? I had pregnancy rhinitis with both of my kids, and ever since that, a cold takes over a month to go away and I sound like I have cotton stuffed up my nose. The amount of mucus is incredible. Nothing really helps. A few times over the past years, I’ve gone to Urgent Care to get checked for sinus infections and bronchitis and each time it’s just a “really bad cold”. But these really bad colds end up being my life for 4 months of the year, and it makes fall/ winter miserable.

    Am I being a baby about this? Is there some miracle medicine that I just don’t know about (Dayquil/Nyquil don’t work)?

    • avocado says:

      A couple of times when I have had a really bad cold or sinus infection, my doctor has prescribed a steroid nasal spray that helped. I think some of these might be available OTC now. Something to bring up with your doctor, perhaps?

      • Anonymous says:

        yes yes yes to the Flonase! Its available OTC and helps soooo much with the swelling in your nose.

        • Flonase has been life-changing for me. Without it, my colds are almost guaranteed to turn into sinus infections. My doc told me to start using Flonase the second I get sniffly, and it really helps cut down the inflammation.

    • Anonymous says:

      I actually think its due to being run down with a baby/kids and your body not being able to heal like normal. All three of my colds since DD was born 8 months ago have knocked me off my feet. This last one took a month for the cough to go away.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I agree. Last winter I was probably sick for 4-6 months in total, just back-to-back colds that lasted forever. I’d recover for a few days and then I’d catch something else and start the cycle over again. Now I know, however, that if I’m still not recovered after 2 weeks, I should go to the doctor and get antibiotics. Last year I tried riding out a bad cold for 4 weeks and then I went to the doctor and the NP told me their generally philosophy is that anything lasting more than 2 weeks needs antibiotics.

    • EB0220 says:

      I don’t know if it’s a scientific thing, but I am currently knocked out with an awful cold. For me, the kids sniff once or twice and I’m out for a couple of days with a full-blown cold. Yuck.

      • I missed two days of work this week because of a freaking cold I caught from my kids. I could barely move my head without getting dizzy. Even my muscles were weak and achy. I slept most of those two days. I couldn’t believe how bad I felt.

    • I don’t know of any actual science, but I can say that my experience is like yours. Every cold that I have had since my child has been worse than any cold I remember pre-child. And they take weeks to go away. Prior to having my child, I would be knocked down by a cold for 3 days at most, and most colds went away in 1 or 2 days with any lingering symptoms gone in the next day or two. Also, when DH and I would get sick together, he would show symptoms first and for longer than I would. Prior to the child, it was pretty clear I had a healthier immune system. Now the opposite is true–I show symptoms first and heal slower than DH. It is super annoying and not much I can do about it but try and eat right and get rest where I can. I know that sleeping in on sick days would help me the most, but . . . HA HA HA HA HA. Even when DH lets me “sleep in” I can’t really get the rest I need and constantly awoken by the noises toddler makes in the morning. I am also one of those people who has trouble going to sleep, so doing it over and over again just doesn’t happen if I am already awake.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get Advil Cold and Sinus — not a cure all, but I find it more effective at dealing with mucous than Dayquil type stuff.

  5. My son’s backpack, bought from LLBean in 2015, broke. Bean will replace it, but I’m debating whether or not to take advantage of their policy. It’s been through a lot of use and abuse, so maybe 2 years isn’t unreasonable? Would you return or buy a new one?

    • At two years I’d return/replace. Maybe at 4-5 years I’d buy a new one, but I think two years is on the low end, especially for a heavy-duty bag.

    • LL Bean really stands behind this policy. Return it–you paid for this policy when you bought the bag and LL Bean means for them to last longer than 2 years.

      • Frozen Peach says:

        +1 billion.

        I’m currently struggling through a similar ethical dilemma for a North Face jacket that’s pilled and tired but a lot older than 2 years…

  6. Default Parent says:

    How do you not become the default parent?

    With BFing and maternity leave, it became the norm that I was on baby duty unless I specifically asked DH to do something. And if asked, he will and does a great job. But he will walk in the door after work or being in the yard and proceed to go about his business without offering to take the baby. Even for his jobs (bedtime), he will delay because he just needs to send “one more email”. You don’t think I want to send one more email sometimes?!

    How do I make this more equitable? It seems so unfair. Last night after mowing the lawn he came in and drew himself a hot bath – the kind of pre-kids luxury I literally never get to experience, but especially not unless I had cleared with him in advance to be on duty. Without asking he assumed it was fine because I’m the default parent.

    Do people divide up which days they’re “on” after work? Or have rigid cutoffs for when the other parent takes over?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s really hard, but it takes constant communication. I think having a baby has been the hardest thing on my marriage, ever. Like before baby I didn’t understand what people meant when they said “marriage is hard.” I had to tell my husband that no, he couldn’t just leave me with the baby all weekend to spend 2 hours at the gym/sauna when I got zero breaks. So we negotiate free time on the weekends. If bedtime is his job then I wouldn’t hesitate saying “No, the email can wait, bedtime cannot.” Yeh it means you are going to sound more like a nag than you used to, but eventually you work things out. Or with the bath example you have my permission to say “No, you said you were taking the baby, not take her/him”

      • I had the opposite reaction on the “just one more email.” Make sure Baby is safe, then disappear when it’s your spouse’s time to take care of Baby, and don’t micromanage the timing. He’ll figure out for himself that it’s hard to write one more email while Baby is fussing, or that delaying the bedtime routine makes the whole routine fall apart. Or maybe nothing terrible will happen, and Baby will happily look at a mobile for 5 minutes while your spouse writes one more email. Basically, one good way to make sure you’re always the default parent is to step in (or micromanage) when DH is supposed to be doing it.

        Also, I used to rage because my husband did the same thing with just taking time because I was already “on” baby duty. I’ve had good luck doing the same thing–if he’s interacting with Kiddo, I actually can just go read a book, and he will ask me to step in or take a turn being “on” if he needs it (or sometimes it seems like DH could use some backup, and I’ll offer to step in via facial expressions and pantomimes behind Kiddo’s back). That does require both people being willing to communicate what their needs are at any given moment.

        • I agree with SC about making your husband figure it out on his own without micromanaging. For example, my husband gives our 8 mo. old his bath almost every night. I realized that if I’m around, he will ask me to do everything for him: close the bathroom window, get baby’s pajamas out , lay the towel out for him, get the shampoo, washcloth, etc. etc. So now, as soon as I see that he is about to give baby a bath, I go upstairs to our bedroom and hole myself up there until bath time is over. And what do you know… husband manages to do it all on his own.

          To my husband’s credit, he’s just better at asking for help than I am. He knows that the job is easier on him if he gets someone else to chip in. For some reason, I fight that. I feel that either (a) I’m going to do it all on my own or (b) other people should be thrilled at the idea of helping me and should volunteer their help without me having to ask. So for him, he is about to perform a chore. He sees a competent adult hanging around and asks that adult to help. The chore gets done, and he only had to do half of the work. It’s a win/win for him. For me, I seethe when I’m doing something all on my own and he doesn’t offer to do it/chip in. That’s not a win/win for me.

          To the OP, one way to handle your husband just going about his regular day is to just walk over to him and hand him the baby. Believe me when I tell you he will FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT it. I had this battle with my husband when our baby was about 3 mo. old when the baby-related work distribution between the two of us was about 97/3%. My husband pulled out all the manipulative mind tricks to make me feel guilty about it all. I held my ground and every time my husband would have a tantrum about it, I would say to him, “I know. Change is hard” and then walk out of the room, leaving the baby with him.

          I’m sure there are healthier, more mature ways of effecting change, but this method worked for me when I was in absolute crisis-I’m-about-to-throw-myself-out-of-a-window-after-I-pound-your-skull-in mode due to trouble with BF, lack of sleep, and really bad baby blues that didn’t quite reach post-partum depression. Now the baby-related work is split about 70/30. Not an even split (and we both have 50+/hr/week jobs), but it’s better.

          It ruined my marriage though…so there’s that.

    • AwayEmily says:

      We don’t have a specific schedule but when we are both together we do a LOT of communicating. This morning I can recall at least three verbal handoffs:

      – After breakfast, I said “You take her while I clean up.”
      – At some point, he said “Can you take her now while I shower?”
      – After he showered, I asked “Do you have her now?” before I got ready.

      Basically, the “default” is that we are both together with her. And so if any one of us is going to leave for more than a minute, we clear it with the other person.

      This works partly because she’s in daycare all day, so for the 3.5 hours we are with her, we both WANT to be with her. But do I think it is a good norm to establish. And maybe framing it to your husband like that — ie, “the default is that we are all together. if either one of us needs or wants to do something else, we need to specifically ask the other person.” Having to verbally articulate these requests also has a side benefit of making it much more clear whether one person is taking more time off than the other, or taking it off for dumber reasons (really? a bath? you can’t wait until the kid goes to bed?). You DO have to be comfortable asking for what you need and saying no, but to be honest I can’t remember the last time I said no. On weekdays it is mostly about getting time to clean/do chores/etc but on weekdays we will both regularly ask for bigger chunks of time (ie, I’ll say “can you take her to the park for a bit while I finish some work?”).

      • anne-on says:

        +1 – the teeny baby up until say 3yr old stage is SO hard because someone MUST be ‘on’ or ‘have’ the baby at all times (including watching the monitor when napping). So yes, we also follow the model of asking for/requesting time off to do ‘things’ around the house or for us. It took A LOT of arguments and tears to get to this point to, because, like your husband mine simply thought it was ok to just go run errands while I had the baby. At that point a trip to the grocery store solo felt like a wondrous vacation!
        So, yes, talk, and then talk some more.

        • Hold on, watching the monitor during a nap? Or do you mean just being around to hear when baby wakes up? Nap time is “off time” for both of us on the weekends. Obviously if one of us wants to leave the house we clear it with the other, but other than that we will hear when baby wakes up (maybe we’ll occasionally peek in if there’s a reason) and pick up parenting then. We need that break to recharge and get chores done.

          • anne-on says:

            I just mean someone needs to be around to hear the monitor – so it is not ok if my husband uses that time to do his own hobbies out of the house unless he pre-clears it with me. We have had too many instances of a nap being cut short due to one reason or another and the person who is home doesn’t get their ‘full’ 2-3 hours ‘off’ when the person out of the house does.

      • mascot says:

        Getting into a habit of a verbal handoff helps in the future when kids become mobile and safety is a bigger concern. You do need to up the supervision game then and make sure that someone knows that the toddler is making a beeline for scary pit of danger while at a party.
        As with most parenting issues, sit down and talk about it. Also talk about what you see as the right amount is for active interaction. Is the baby just as happy chilling in the swing watching you doing something else as they are being held? Are both parents on the same page as to the baby’s schedule? Are you both clear about your own schedules and needs?

      • This is exactly what we do and you said it much better than I would have articulated it. We do lots of communication, both on a macro and a micro level. If I am going to be gone for book club on Monday night, I will remind my husband the night before. If we are both home with our son and one of us needs to leave to do something (mow, make dinner, go upstairs and move the laundry, etc.), we say “do you have him?” With few exceptions, no one just leaves the room without checking in about who is caring for the toddler. Also, with the exception of actual work obligations/planned socializing events, neither of us are doing much “me time” on evenings. Showers, reading for fun, watching TV on the couch etc. all wait until our son goes to bed. We are either doing household tasks that need to be done at that time (mowing before it gets dark or cooking dinner) or we are spending time with out son.

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        I like this default framing – we are all together unless one person specifically asks for time to do something else. That’s how it works in our relationship too. We even tell each other when we’re going to the bathroom so that the other person is aware it’s all on them for a few min!

        This is hard when you’re on maternity leave because you’re sort of assumed to be the baby person all the time. Which is one of the many reasons why paternity leave should be paid and encouraged. There can also be this unspoken thought when one parent works outside the home and the other stays home that only one of them is “working” and the other is having fun, which is so not true because, as you know, taking care of an infant is a lot of work (and can have fun moments, of course).

        I know that being the default parent works for a lot of couples but this is one huge reason preventing me from trying to go part time or otherwise seek more flexibility at work. I really don’t want to be the default – I want us to be equal, and maybe sometimes (ok, often, at busy times) even have my husband do more.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you. Yes, this. This is the communication. This is the shift: You are BOTH the default parent when you’re home. I struggle with this because I intentionally took a lower-stress, lower-paid job so that I could be the one to pick up kiddo every day. We jointly acknowledge that I am the default pick-up parent, but we talk about anything that comes up in my schedule that would prevent me from picking up. We constantly verbally hand off the kiddo. It helps the feeling that you’re on the same team, when DH asks “do you have her / can you take her” before leaving the room.

      • This is exactly what we do when we’re both at home. And when one of isn’t at home, we absolutely make sure it’s ok with the other. AwayEmily phrased it exactly right in that you’re both always on.

        When I was on maternity leave, I basically handed baby off after dinner until bedtime when I’d nurse him. It gave daddy a chance to be with baby and I cleaned the kitchen, threw in a load of laundry, checked email, took a shower, etc.

    • PregLawyer says:

      We divide up a lot of things so that we have a set understanding of who’s turn it is to do X. We take turns putting the toddler to bed (this is possible when you’re no longer nursing); giving the kid a bath; making dinner; etc. If it’s my turn to put the kid to bed, then my husband will shoulder more of the load before bedtime that night.

      And we just talk a lot about this stuff. The biggest thing that makes the mom the default parent is nursing. If you can transition to having him do bottles with pumped milk, or supplement with formula, it will require him to quickly take on more responsibility.

    • I really don’t know how to get away from this. We trade off weekend mornings, which sort of helps, although I resent that my DH usually has more free time to do stuff because he gets more sleep during the week than I do. So I’m usually using my weekend time to sleep, but he is usually out with friends or working on his hobbies that he had before the baby. (Spoiler: I NEVER have time for my hobbies.) And like you, I have to ask for anything and get it cleared and DH never has to do that. He is only “on” during these specified times, otherwise I am the default. For now, having our routine is helpful, but I do wish that I wasn’t always the default.

    • Sarabeth says:

      Yes, divide up nights. When we had one kid, the deal was that one parent was “on” the kid from when kid got home until the start of bedtime routine; then the other parent did bedtime and dealt with any overnight wakeups. We swapped every day. If we wanted to go out when the other parent was on, we just had to let them know. If we wanted to out when we were on, we had to actually ask. Even when BFing, my husband would do the whole bedtime routine and just give me a shout when it was time to go in and nurse; or, if I was out of the house, he’d give a bottle instead.

      Also, strong recommendation to arrange some more extended time when husband has to do all the kid stuff. For me, work travel was a natural way to do this. I started going to occasional weekend conferences when kiddo was 4 months old, so he had to learn how to be the primary parent. But it could also be just a full day out of the house while you do a volunteer gig, or hang out with a friend or whatever. If he balks, make clear that you are willing to return the favor so he can also get some truly free time. The point is that he needs to have time when he is alone with the baby for long enough that he actually has to resolve issues (figure out how to get her to nap, deal with fussiness, etc) and can’t just wait for you to be there to solve the problem. This is particularly a dynamic for BFing mom, since BFing can be a magic solution to so many things. But if you want equal parenting, he’s got to figure out how to deal even if he can’t BF.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      We have a mix of negotiated and flexible responsibilities. I agree with AwayEmily that the default is that we both spend time with her and we just trade off who is the lead parent at any given time.

      Negotiated things include:
      — alternating days to exercise on weekday mornings or on weekends. So every Saturday morning H gets to go to the gym, and I get to go on Sunday, etc.
      — I’m the default parent for daycare pickup because I can leave at 5pm and he can’t always do that. But in the converse, he’s the default for drop off.
      — We generally try to alternate bedtime, but are not rigid about it.

      Flexible things include:
      Who makes her dinner, who washes dishes, who sits with her during dinner, etc. Sometimes we both sit at the table with her and one person engages with her while the other zones out on their phone, or that other person goes into another room.

      Really, communication is key here. This is just one of those uncomfortable conversations you’ll have to have, and will probably need to have more of down the road.

    • Are you still BF? If not, make him get up at night if baby is up. I don’t believe in keeping score for who did what so when I was nursing I did do all the night stuff b/c it made no sense for two people to be miserable when only one had something to do but as soon as I stopped night feedings i would just say ‘you get her’ or whatever. And even before, if I was up all night I’d sleep in and he would take the baby. Sometimes I’d have to ask but if your partner is with it, they quickly learn the new pattern.

      My big advice is to leave him alone with the baby as much as possible so he gets the hang of just responding. When I was home and he’d come home from work, I’d go walk the dog to ‘switch’ gears. We still have occasional moments akin to your bath situation; I think some people, men especially, are better at carving out time for themselves in a way that some aren’t. I have a tendency to need everything to be perfect before I can relax – baby in bed, toys cleaned up, etc. Mr. AIMS will come home and make a martini and sip it while cleaning up and slowly putting away all the crap from the day. When I see him start on this sometimes it drives me nuts but then I go take a shower and by the time I’m done he’s sorted it all out. Don’t let yourself be a martyr.

      • I’m nursing and my husband does the pre-feed nappy change and then hands over the baby. He then makes sure I have my water/kindle/blanket and confirms that I’m ok for him to go to sleep. if I’m really tired, he will stay up (maybe 1 in 5 nights) to make sure I don’t fall asleep while nursing. We are down to 1-2 wakeups so this is manageable in terms of sleep.

    • I offered some input in response to SC’s comment, above, but I’ve now read everyone else’s comments and want to add one more thing.

      OP, when I read your post, I understood it to mean that you are currently in the crisis-mode that I mentioned in my prior comment. I don’t know of any better way to get through that crisis-mode other than what I did, so perhaps someone else can chime in on a better way to get through it.

      Now that my husband and I have gotten into a 70/30 split, we do what everyone else has suggested. We take turns being “on.” For example, husband picks up baby after work and hangs out with him for about an hour until I get home from work. As soon as I get home, I take baby and hang out with baby for about an hour, then husband gives baby a bath for about 30 minutes, and then I sit with baby in his room for about 30 minutes until baby falls asleep. The nighttime routine is an equal split and it gives each of us a little time to unwind after work. Once baby is asleep, we each do whatever we feel like: watch tv, read, talk on the phone, sit behind our computers, etc. On the weekends, we each have a morning all to ourselves.

    • It’s natural for mom to be default during maternity (and it’ll linger till the end of breastfeeding somewhat). Once your maternity is over, you need a reset. The BEST reset is paternity leave. If not paternity, then DH should have part of each day that is his shift when you’re not there. If he’s not getting a shift through paternity or your daily schedule, well, I don’t know what to suggest. Accept your reality maybe?

  7. EB0220 says:

    Another LL Bean backpack question – anyone have the Deluxe backpack for younger elementary kids? My kindergartner needs an upgrade from the Junior and has her heart set on purple. Unfortunately, the purple classic is backordered. I’m afraid the deluxe will be huge. I would like to monogram so I don’t want to have to return. She is quite tall for her age so maybe it would be OK. Feedback?

    • The Deluxe is only one inch longer than the original. When they’re in kindergarten, even the Original looks giant on their tiny bodies!

      • EB0220 says:

        Thanks! I totally agree, that’s why I’ve been resisting the upgrade. But since she singlehandedly filled up with school lost and found this week with all of the jackets and lunch boxes and water bottles that didn’t fit in her backpack…I guess it’s time.

  8. pumpingquestion says:

    Any advice for pumping in the car? I’m on my first daytrip next week and am trying out Milkstork and think it’d be helpful to pump while driving if possible. I have a battery powered spectra, so that part is fine, but how do I make it discreet?? use my nursing cover??

    • blueberries says:

      Use Freemie cups if they’re compatible with the Spectra.

    • I wrote a reply that got eaten… apologies if this posts twice!

      When I pumped in the car, I would either start parked somewhere a little discreet or kind of shimmy down in the seat so I was sitting fairly low. Then I’d get all my parts set up in my hands-free pumping bra and get it on over my nursing bra, then pull everything up/down as needed under the pumping bra and get the parts situated. For warmth, I’d put on a big cardigan or hoodie and kinda pull the sides forward as much as possible. Or, if it was warm out, I’d throw said cardigan kinda loosely over my torso. And then undo everything when I got to my destination. But, TBH, when you’re driving, other drivers really aren’t going to notice what you’re doing–they’re also driving! That said, when I was nursing, my approach was to just hike up my shirt wherever we happened to be and I never used a nursing cover, so take that into account with my advice… Good luck! I always felt kinda nuts when I pumped in the car (like, this is really what I’m doing right now?!?), but it’s also a huge time saver and I felt so much better having gotten a pump out of the way during a “convenient” time. I also used Milkstork when on business travel and it worked out really well for me.

    • I used a nursing cover and it worked just fine.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      Concurring to say I use a nursing cover and a cardigan that I kind of pull over the sides. I discretely set up with the nursing cover on. Turn the pump off while driving since I don’t need to look and unhook when I get to my destination, or if driving a ways still, I pull over at a gas station parking lot or similar.

      Only time I ever had anyone notice was a car of teenage boys while I was trying to hand express, without a cover, and my husband was driving. Poor kid.

  9. Stati says:

    My son is 15 months. We went in for a well visit about two weeks ago, and the pediatrician really got on my case about him still being on the bottle. We have had a major move (VT -> NC) within the past two months, we’ve got another baby on the way, and while it’s been on my radar, I put more emphasis on getting him off formula and on milk. We were successful with that, so I let the bottle continue to be a comfort thing for him.

    Pediatrician suggested I use the transition nipples, softer spout sippy cups, and various straws. ALL have been met with zero success, extreme frustration, and unhappiness by my son. He literally chucks them across the room (funny, but still…). He *will* drink from a cup at mealtime, though. His lip seal isn’t great and a lot dribbles out, but at least he doesn’t launch it across the room. We use the cup at mealtime but it’s not practical for daycare or on the go. Any suggestions? Should I really be that concerned about this? Pedi made it sound like I was setting him up for speech delays and bad teeth. :/ But, he’s only 15 months??

    • Anonymous says:

      Get a new pediatrician. This one is not supportive or helpful. My LO was on a bottle until she was 2.5 years old, because that worked best for me, as I became a single mom. 15 months is fine. Yes, you should make a plan to get baby off the bottle. But honestly, look at the whole picture of your baby’s development. My LO’s emotional development meant she needed a bottle because there was literally no other comfort object she could have with her whenever she needed it (she refused pacis and didn’t suck her thumb). Now she’s only 4, but so far, no speech delays or bad teeth have manifested.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Agreed. Your pediatrician should not be guilting you about this. Some kids just take longer. It sounds like he’s making progress, which is the important thing.

    • I don’t know if this helps, but my son (also 15m) still drinks milk from a bottle, but all his water from a sippy cup. The ped hasn’t asked me *explicitly* if we are off the bottle, they just asked if he can drink from a sippy (which he can), and I am going with that for now. He tends to enthusiastically fling his drinking implements still, and while I don’t mind cleaning up water, I hate getting milk everywhere. I am just choosing to not get that stressed about it. Maybe I’m wrong.

      I also chose not to push it, as we were doing all of these things about six weeks ago: starting daycare after being cared for by grandma/nanny at home, moving into a new house, stopping breastfeeding. I just decided that’s enough stress for him right now and as long as he is physically able to consume a beverage from a non-bottle, I won’t sweat it. He doesn’t fall asleep with a bottle and is fairly efficient about emptying it.

    • EB0220 says:

      My first was around 15-16 mo when we dropped the bottle but it was a huge struggle. I’m actually surprised that daycare will still give a bottle – all of ours required cups when kiddos moved to the 1 year old class. The Zoli Bot cup finally worked for her, but I’m guessing you’ve tried that one. Out of curiosity, have you ever tried a regular open cup? My second child refused to drink out of anything but a tiny open cup. It was messy at first but it worked.

      • Stati says:

        I started him on something called a Doidy cup when he was really little.. maybe 5 months, just to see if he could do it – and he could! He’s pretty handy with it, but it only holds a little and it can get messy. Maybe I will try a small plastic juice cup, like you sometimes get at restaurants for a “small” orange juice or whatever.

        Thanks for the reassurance. I am so sensitive to criticism that seems to indicate some awful long term affect (speech delay, teeth, etc). I also feel exasperated because we’ve literally tried everything – even Amazon is out of ideas on their “recommended for you” feed ;)

        • EB0220 says:

          We have these tiny plastic cups. Our daycare uses them in the infant and 1 year old classrooms and will sell them to you for $1. They don’t hold much so they aren’t practical for when you’re out and about, but they work well at home. At least if it gets spilled it’s not that much liquid….It seems easier for the kids because they don’t have to figure out a different sucking motion. They’re like this:

          But anyway – I wouldn’t worry too much. My first has always been one of those kids who does things on her own schedule and d*mn the parent, doctor or teacher who says otherwise.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I think patience is key. We introduced soft spouted sippy cups and straws with water at around 7 months and my daughter just wasn’t successful with them for a while. Have you provided daycare with cups? I would maybe start by slowly reducing the number of bottles you provide to daycare and replacing them with a cup. Only give him water in a cup. I don’t find it hard to tote around a cup on the go rather than a bottle (unless you’re talking more about his reaction to it). It will just take time.

    • farrleybear says:

      Don’t stress! Our son used a bottle for milk until past his 2nd birthday. He never really took to sippy cups and we had the most luck with straw cups with lids. It was one of those tasks on the radar but things kept coming up–holidays, illness, busy at work, new nanny, etc. When we finally did the switch, we did cold turkey and got rid of the bottles (out of sight, out of mind, eventually). He’s nearly three and no speech/teeth problems.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      My son is 18 months and is now down to one bottle of milk per day, at night. At daycare, they only do sippy cups, so he drinks milk out of sippy cups there but at home mostly just drinks water out of sippy cups. We’ve slowly transitioned him away from the bottle in the morning, so now he gets a straw bottle of milk then. I’m really hesitant to switch from the nighttime bottle because it’s so much a part of the routine and it’s more of a comfort item at this point. We’ll switch eventually, just need to find the right time :) He’s switching daycares at the end of this month, so I’m guessing it’ll be closer to age 2 when he’s finally off the bottle.

      Our ped didn’t say anything about this at the 15 month checkup. We’ll see if she brings it up at the next (18 mo) one. He was slower to start to talk but seems to have a decent amount of words now. And I figure braces are in our future no matter what, so might as well let him enjoy the bottle now.

      • mascot says:

        We introduced straw sippies at 6 months, the bottle was gone at 12 months and paci gone at 2. We are going on year 4 of speech therapy so I’m not sure it did us all that good to be rigid on those timeframes. ::shrugs::

    • Anonymous says:

      If you happen to be in Raleigh and looking for a new pediatrics practice, I have one for you that I am in love with.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      1. It’s three months past the recommended one year. Your kid is fine.
      2. If he takes a regular cup well, do you think the problem could be that the spouted sippy cups are too much like the bottle but not close enough? Have you tried the spoutless ones (like munchkin miracle 360 Degree cups)?
      These have been my kid’s favorite by far.

  10. My kids switched over to straw cups really easily for milk.

    Is your kid still drinking milk in a bottle as if it were a meal? Or is the bottle with a meal at a table? I’d try to serve milk with meals (in a sippy or bottle if it’s gotta be a bottle), but don’t use the bottle in the nursery or in the car.

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