Family Friday: “Eep Op Woot” Girls’ Robot T-Shirt

If you and your daughter aren’t thrilled with the typical girls’ clothing selection, check out Girls Will Be — they offer “[c]olors beyond pink, no sparkles or frills, imagery that breaks gender stereotypes, and a fit that lets girls be kids.” They also give girls an option that’s between most girls’ styles, which are often very fitted and very short, and the alternative of boxy, oversized boys’ clothes. The clothes from Girls Will Be are designed to let girls move freely, be comfortable, and have access to real pockets. A friend of Kat’s has raved about Girls Will Be, saying that her 8-year-old daughter loves the designs, the pockets, and the fit. (They even have shirts in adult sizes!) Today we’re featuring this robot t-shirt, which is 100% cotton, tagless, and made in the U.S.A. “Eep Op Woot” Girls’ Robot T-Shirt

P.S. The Girls Will Be website is currently telling customers, “With all the recent press, some items are sold out, but we’re making more! Click here for an inventory update and email us to get on the wait list.” If you don’t want to wait, check out PrimaryMitz Accessories, and Princess Awesome.


  1. Building off the Working Moms series yesterday, someone commented about kids needing you even more as they get older. I have two toddlers and that idea makes total sense, but is terrifying me. How have other dual-working-parent households managed this?

    I’m just coming off a “pause” in my career and DH is now “pausing” his to get through all the first days of school and little kid bus logistics, but we’re running out of ways to pause. And by that, I mean we structure our days to have more flexibility. I took a less intensive lateral move instead of moving up, and he took advantage of a corporate change to take a few months between jobs and just recently was able to add another layer to his team to buy some flexibility when our second started preschool.

    What do other people do?

    • Sorry, I meant two preschoolers. I WISH I had two toddler still. Daycare logistics were relatively easy.

    • We are not there yet, but our projected budget for the post-daycare years still includes about $1,000/month on childcare. I know it won’t solve everything, but we will plan to pay a college student to get the kids, shuttle them to activities, and help with homework. If all goes well, I’ll be at a point in my career where I’ll have almost complete control over my time (academic – fingers crossed, I’ll have tenure by then), so flexibility won’t be a problem, but I’ll still need to work 50ish hours/week. My husband has similar hours, so neither of us will be doing the activity carpools during the workday.

    • mascot says:

      You set expectations for yourself and your kids that that parents can only be so many places at once. Our kid is in elem. school. DH works from home which really helps with transportation logistics. But he’s got a 25% travel job and my days can run long (law), so we can’t over commit. Our kid plays only one sport a season and we don’t go to every school event and the ones we do attend may only have one of us there. This year we are going to start carpooling for sports practice. Also, we don’t do a lot of extra enrichment activities besides the one sport. If the class/club isn’t offered as part of the afterschool care program, we don’t do it. We are lucky that we live close to our school and they offer a variety of enrichment activities after school.
      We also prioritize having someone clome clean our house every week. It saves us a lot of time on weekends.

      • This is my plan – our elementary school has lots of enrichment, so if it isn’t there or a nearby field, we’re not doing it. I hear many parents say they’ll let their kids each choose 2 activities. Well 2 activities * 2 nights week * 2 kids = 8 meetings/practices a week! So I’ll keep it to one – kiddo won’t fail to be well-rounded because she did 1 activity instead of 2 or 3 – I can work one-off activities to fill in the gaps.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I didn’t see the comment from yesterday, but I’m a bit confused about what you’re asking.

      I’ll share how I handled preschool, though. I had to choose a preschool that had extended before/after care, non-negotiable. I was a single mom with a full-time job that offered little flexibility. If you’re both working full-time, it seems like your only choice is to choose a preschool experience that can accommodate that. Otherwise, it is just too stressful for everyone involved, kiddo included, if the world falls apart every time something comes up and neither of you can leave before 5. You also don’t want to end up trapped in your work situation or have to pass on a major opportunity because your childcare arrangements can’t accommodate a traditional work schedule. I briefly tried a preschool that didn’t meet those needs, and it was much more stressful on my little one. In winter, he would wake up and go “wear am I going to be today?” (as in his regular school or backup care from a snow day). It broke my heart and I realized I needed to provide him more consistency.

      The same goes for elementary school. I still pay $800/month for before and after school care despite my child being in elementary school (I’m in a HCOL area, where full-time daycare and preschool are usually 1400-1800, for reference.) My husband and I have adjusted our schedules so that he doesn’t have to leave the house with kiddo until 8, and I am picking kiddo up by 4:45 most days, so he’s only at said care about an hour a day. BUT we have the option of 6:30am-6:30pm, and on the rare occasion we’ve needed to drop him off early or pick him up a bit late for work reasons, it was nice to not have to scramble and stress to find a solution and to not disrupt his routine too much.

      This care also covers snow days, teacher work days, school early release days (which are fairly common in elementary school) etc. These are things to start thinking about as well as you near elementary school.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        tl;dr version: find a preschool that offers the same convenience as daycare. AKA year-round, extended day, etc.

      • I wish I could find a school that offered year-round 6-6 coverage. Our school district, one of the highest ranked in the state, offers Aug-May from 8am-2pm with several week-long breaks. I don’t understand how they have any time for learning. Our public after school program is a lottery system so you are not guaranteed to get in each year, nor are siblings guaranteed to get in at the same location.

        I’ve literally formed a group of parents in similar situations to try to change either our public school calendar (not a chance in hell) or the local private school (slightly more likely but still almost zero) to accommodate the increasing number of dual-working-parent households. At this point, we’re paying private school tuition for each kid because they created a guaranteed-admittance after school program that will run to 6, but it’s still closed on all school holidays and breaks. And of course, it’s almost the same cost as daycare. We’re working with our group of parents to form an informal sort of in-home-daycare to take “shifts” of PTO to cover the random days off and breaks, but we don’t have summer coverage yet. That’s as good as it gets in our area, and unless we want to leave the state we’re stuck here.

        I guess I didn’t realize year-round, no-break school was such an available option elsewhere. I thought maybe my situation was more common, and I was asking for ideas on how other parents have handled it without having to go part time or find a unicorn work-from-home job.

        • That said, I know I am lucky to be in a place (NYC) where so many parents work. I found a daycare that offers before and afterschool coverage and is only closed in August. We’re starting K next year and I am cautiously optimistic. School isn’t year-round in our area but most elementary schools have at least one afterschool program available onsite or that picks up from the school, and most of these offer “camps” or other coverage during vacation weeks and holidays. So the summer holidays are the big whole in our childcare calendar, and for that there are a multitude of camps available. We’re using the afterschool program; my husband is a teacher himself so is also off in the summer and on some of the random holidays (not professional development days though). However, I know a lot of the working parents, especially those with more than 1 kid, hire babysitters to handle afterschool.

          • Sorry I mean our PRESCHOOL offered afterschool.

          • And I also completely screwed up my editing by beginning with that said…I didn’t post above, just deleted a previous sentence. Ignore me.

        • avocado says:

          Our area is similar. There are just no working moms so after-school program options are limited and of terrible quality. The school district doesn’t even offer an after-school program, and the Y doesn’t serve our school. Most summer enrichment camps are half-day or 9 – 3, and sports teams have morning practices during the summer so parents have to figure out how to get the kid from practice to camp in the middle of the day.

          After several years of substandard after-school care and then a miserable attempt to work from home in the afternoons, I stumbled upon an after-school program for athletes that offers homework assistance, transportation to practice, and snow day coverage and has made our lives so much easier. Sadly, my kid will age out of the program at the end of the coming school year and we’ll be back to square one. I literally discovered the program when I saw its van in the parking lot. I would never have heard of it otherwise. It may help to ask your school for a complete list of after-school programs that pick up at the school, and to look at websites for sports facilities to see whether they offer after-school programs. In our area there are a couple of martial arts gyms and a soccer club with such programs.

          After-school supervision and transportation are an even bigger problem in middle school and high school than in elementary school. In our area you risk a CPS call if you leave a kid under 12 home alone, but my kid won’t be 12 until halfway through the eighth grade. There are even fewer after-school program options for middle-school kids. The only other family I know with two non-teacher working parents has nannies to cover after-school supervision, homework help, and transportation.

          • avocado says:

            Oops, she will be twelve halfway through seventh grade. My math skills are failing this morning.

          • Anonanonanon says:

            I really worry about what to do when my son is 12! The programs in our area end once they’re done sixth grade (his school is K-6 then 7-12). I don’t feel like at 12 he’d be ready to get off the bus and go home to an empty house, but I’m not sure what our option will be!!

            In my dream world, we have a housekeeper who comes and does light cleaning every day and is there to make sure he gets into the house when he gets off the bus, but the chances of that working out seem slim.

        • mascot says:

          We stayed in our adequate daycare longer (which had some preschool components and offered year round care) instead of going to one of the “better” traditional preschools that only had care from 9-2 or whatever. We then opted for private school at age 4 rather than chance the public school pre-k lottery and because they offered onsite after care. Our friends in public schools end up with after school sitters or the kids get bussed to the YMCA/local daycare/martial arts program for afterschool care. Options for holiday care are limited and mostly revolve around the YMCA/JCC. Summers/holiday camp are a little bit easier once kids reach age 5 or so because there are day camps that cover most, but not all, of the weeks. We are still cobbling together the next couple of weeks before school starts. Basically your option is picking what solution you want to throw money at.

        • Anonanonanon says:

          Yea the school system’s before/after care isn’t adequate. We were lucky to find a daycare that also does before/after school care. So you drop them off there, and they drive the kids to a few elementary schools in the area, and they do pickups.

      • +1 Our day care *is* preschool. We choose a place that does a lot of play, but also pre-school teaching. My daughter even attended a “Jr. Kindergarten” class there when she turned 5. We still have the 6-6 availability, lunches/snack included… so easy! Plus, they do “school age” care in the summer & during school breaks, so my elementary child goes to the same place in the summer.

        I suppose this doesn’t work if you need to attend the part-time preschool to increase your chances of getting into a good elementary program though — but we have good public schools right around the corner from us.

        Also — the care costs are still there once your are in elementary school. So I am planning on those costs going down, but not away. What we are planning on is flexing our schedules: I will work from 6:30 – 3:30 while husband gets the kids off to school. He’ll work from 9-6, while I get the kids after school. (Utilizing latch at school & one day WFH to allow for two late days for me & one early day for him.)

  2. Our 5.5-month-old had been sleeping pretty consistently 6-6 (with a dream feed before we went to bed) but every night this week has woken up at 4am. He’s usually cheerful for a while and but then cranky and clearly wanting to go back to sleep. The problem is that even when we get him to go back to sleep by 5, we’re wide awake and a week of getting up at 4 is really not my favorite. Is this just the sort of thing we need to wait out? Delayed 4 month sleep regression? Or are there some strategies you’ve had luck with?

    • Anonymous says:

      probably ready to start solids. Nearing the six month mark my kids all started to get hungry in the mornings – usually they’d go back to sleep with an extra nursing session. Does he fall back to asleep if you nurse him in bed with you (assuming you don’t mind co-sleeping for a couple hours).

  3. Keeping a house ready to show to prospective buyers 4-5 times a day with two full time working parents and one toddler and one preteen is not an easy job. I need all the wine, all the coffee, and all the vacation right now. Jesus take the wheel.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Oh god, that sounds miserable. I dread the day that’s us.

      • I keep telling myself “this too shall pass..” We are also simultaneously coordinating all of the work in our new house (amidst city construction and spontaneously closed roads that cause carpet installations to be rescheduled!) and I basically feel like I have not had one second of sitting down to relax in weeks. At least it’s a hot market and we’re already getting some offers. I hope it goes quickly for you, too, when it happens!

    • Lurker says:

      I always try to find the “glass half full” view. You are all used to being out of the house daily. It would be even more annoying if you were a SAHM and had to leave your house with your toddler and pre-teen 4-5 times per day!

      • That is true! Our baby is usually watched in-home, though, so that has added a really annoying element. But you are right – at least I don’t need to pop out to the library every few hours! (though that sounds kinda good right now)

    • Marilla says:

      We had friends in this situation and they came over on the weekend so their kids could trash our house instead of theirs – is there anyone you can spend the Saturday or Sunday with? Or a day trip to the zoo? Good luck!!!

      • You read my mind – we are headed to my parents’ cabin this weekend and hoping they can pack the house with showings and we can sell it over the weekend!

    • Solidarity. We did the exact same thing when our daughter was 4 months old. It was a week of pure hell and then it was over, thankfully. Memorably, she had a huge blowout right as the broker’s open house was about to start and I was trying to get the poopy stinky baby and diaper and underpad and clothes out of the house on a 10 degree day. And then I got everything cleaned up and she threw up on me as the brokers were coming up the stairs. Ugh I get hives when I think back on that week.

    • EP-er says:

      Just think about how nice NEXT summer will be in your new home!

      We did this last year and….shudder! I’m so glad it is over! I found some people just weren’t respectful of our time. Of course I am going to let you come see my house from 7-8 at night, but when you are still there at 8:30…. my kids need to be in bed! But I want you to buy my house, so I don’t want to be rude about it….So very glad we moved, though. The new house makes it totally worth it!

      • Ahhh JP that is stressful! The person coming to see the house first thing this morning was, of course, early and witnessed us flying out carrying a bunch of [email protected] with a shouting baby who didn’t understand what was going on – my hair was soaking wet – my husband was double-checking we had vacuumed all the thrown-around breakfast eggs.

        And EPer…you are right, next summer is going to be great. Because air conditioning. And other things also, but that’s what I wish for most right now!

  4. Rainbow Hair says:

    Am I nuts or are these pricey non-gendered/gender-subversive/whatever kids clothes kind of unnecessary?

    Today H dressed kiddo (and in a surprising twist, it was a cute, matching outfit!) — he put her in a pink skort thing (a hand me down, kinda frilly, but easy to play in) and a teal/blue/green tee with a dinosaur on it that I picked up at Target in the boys section, for St. Patricks Day. Then kiddo got oatmeal all over her shirt so I swapped it out for one with line drawings of dogs on it, white and blue and red. Also looked super cute, also allegedly for boys (it came as part of a set with overalls). Another favorite outfit was this “punk” tee (it had suspenders and pins printed on it, bought it from a pile of ‘boy’ clothes at a yard sale) with grey cheetah print leggings and neon pink high tops. Etc. etc.

    Far be it from me to say that gender expression doesn’t matter, or that clothes are frivolous. But it doesn’t seem like rocket science to me, especially in these tiny kid bodies that don’t have any of the secondary sex characteristics, to just buy whatever, from boys section or girls section, and not spend a fortune to get a “girls” shirt with science on it?

    • I really like this sort of thing for my 11 year old stepdaughter, who is very into STEM but also would probably clutch her nonexistent pearls at the idea of wearing clothes from the boys section as she has recently actually become interested in brushing her hair and wearing matching clothes.

      • avocado says:

        My 10-year-old STEM nerd who has also recently become interested in hair-brushing prefers the science shirts from Peek. To her, Girls Will Be still looks like it comes from the boys’ department.

      • Anonymous says:

        check out svanha – they have cute STEM dresses.

    • avocado says:

      Yeah, I am not a fan of Girls Will Be or Primary because they look just like the stuff from the boys’ department. I will admit to having paid a fortune for several “girl” science shirts over the years, but that’s because my kid likes slim-fitting shirts, and at least one of them featured an actual female scientist.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      A year ago, I would have had the same reaction. But now, the idea of me “dressing kiddo” is hilarious. She dresses herself, and has many opinions. One of her strongly held opinions is that she will not wear “boys” clothes. And as she gets bigger, it’s starting to become more obvious which clothes are from the boys section – the fabric tends to be thicker, the fit is longer and boxier (for no reason, but still). It is nice to have options that fit and feel like “girls” clothes but with non-girl designs. Because agreed, my kiddo will wear a twirly skirt with a dinosaur t-shirt, but not if the dinosaur t-shirt is a “boys” t-shirt.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Aaah, yeah, I guess once my kid gets to articulate her choices more (as opposed to her current strategy of having an arbitrary meltdown once a week about getting dressed just because she’s two)… then this might be better.

      I am just bummed about the whole gender/clothes thing, I guess.

      • I’m with ya! When people want to buy my kid a gift, I direct them to these, since they are indeed overpriced, and we have more than enough toys.

    • I would like to think so, but no matter what I say, my kid won’t shop in the boys department. It only works when she doesn’t come along, but I need her to come along so I can try on the clothes.

    • The boys’ department is definitely an option, but I think the appeal of Girls Will Be is finding something that’s cut like a typical girls’ shirt but has different graphic options. That said, I don’t think Girls Will Be’s stuff is all that cute. It still looks like it’s from the boys’ department but costs a lot more. I am super grateful that my standard kid places (Target/Oshkosh/etc.) are starting to have a wider variety of options for girls. Heck, I found a super cool solar system tee in the Kohl’s toddler girl dept last weekend and it actually matches with her girly shorts and leggings. (Matching is important to me; sorry not sorry.) Maybe mass retailers are finally getting the hint that parents and kids are looking for better, more inclusive options.

    • Spirograph says:

      This is when I’m kind of glad my daughter has a big brother. She just wears whichever of his old clothes she wants and mixes them up with the girl stuff from her grandmas however she wants. Today she’s wearing a poufy tutu skirt and a Superman t shirt. It’s pretty adorable (and matches!).

      If I’m going to pay a premium for non-girly girl clothes, I love princess awesome.

    • I see a lot of comments about these specialty brands being pricey or overpriced… It is true they are more expensive than “fast fashion” — but in my mind I am paying for the quality, which is very good, and the message, which I support and want to reward. Bonus that Princess Awesome for example is made in a factory in Chicago…


  5. Oh, good idea. We’ve been lazy about feeding him solids, but this might be a good reason to ramp that up.

  6. AnoninBoston says:

    Another question prompted by the Working Moms post yesterday…

    I’m curious to hear from other moms with older children about how they instill responsibility and independence in their children. My stepdaughter (who lives with us full-time) is 12 and has been packing her own lunch since she was 10, is responsible for her breakfast on weekdays, wakes up on her own (alarm clock) and is responsible for various chores (setting table, folding laundry etc.). She is also on a competitive dance team, though the schedule is not nearly as grueling as a competitive swim team.

    I’m curious to hear what other people do because she has said that her peers do not have chores. When I was her age, I had many chores including preparing a simple family dinner once a week. My husband had even more responsibilities because he was the oldest child of a single mother and has three younger siblings.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I didn’t have chores like preparing dinner, but I did have chores and there were certain things that were expected of us because we were members of the family. I specifically remember being a kid (older elementary school age) and being at a friend’s house who lived down the block and her mom being amazed that I helped clean the table. But it was expected at my house. When I was older (high school), my mom started making us do our own laundry.

    • ElisaR says:

      I think it sounds like she’s doing a lot! I’m sad to admit that my mother made my lunch until I went away to college….. I didn’t do much in terms of breakfast and maybe in high school I started setting an alarm to wake up but I’m pretty sure my mom still came in to yell at me as a human snooze button. Chores included setting/clearing table, folding laundry, vaccuuming, dusting, and cleaning the 2 bathrooms once a week. Those chores started around age 12. I am pretty sure I didn’t prepare a family dinner until I was……30+ years old. I know, not something to brag about.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think I did even less than you…I vacuumed and folded laundry, but my parents gave me (a very small amount of) money to do it. Taking care of the dog and setting the table for dinner were pretty much the only chores I did without getting paid. I never cleaned a bathroom (we had a cleaning service so neither of my parents did either) and honestly haven’t ever really cleaned one since I lived in dorms with janitors in school and then hired my own cleaning service. Mom woke me up every day and made all meals, including school lunches (although we usually went to a drive-thru for breakfast because I had early morning sports most days). I did cook a little bit in high school, including dinner for me + dad sometimes when mom was out of town, but that was pretty much 100% voluntary because I enjoyed cooking.
        I cringe when I think about it and would definitely like my own kids to do more chores.

      • I think I did even less than you and Anonymous. My parents expected very little of me around the house. We had a cleaning lady come every week, and I had to pick up my room and hang up my clothes before she came. My mom did my laundry. (She still does my laundry when she visits. She can’t help herself. There will be 3 items in the laundry basket, and she’ll start a load.)

        On the other hand, we were rarely home. Both my parents worked throughout my childhood. My dad was a minister, which also meant he had long, irregular hours. We ate dinner out almost every night so he could be back at church at 7, and my mom and I had to be involved on Wednesday nights and all day Sunday.

        Mostly, I was expected to be somewhat independent. I did my homework in after school care. I studied for tests mostly on my own. My parents didn’t do school projects for me. I ate school lunch. I had to find a carpool to most of my after-school activities, although my parents picked me up. On the weekends, I was expected to finish my homework on Saturdays so we could be available for church activities on Sunday. Really, all this sounds like the bare minimum, but we really didn’t have a particularly active home or family life outside of church.

        Their approach worked out in the sense that I was always a good student, and I’m very independent. I didn’t have a ton of practical skills when I graduated from college, but I figured things out by calling my mom with stupid questions almost everyday for a year, which mended a relationship that had been strained since high school.

        All that said, DH and I have a different philosophy with DS (who’s 2). Family time at home is very important to us. We involve DS in our housework and grocery shopping and other errands. We’ll probably teach him to cook dinner and make him do his own laundry and give him a few other household chores when he’s old enough.

    • Denver Anon says:

      I think her assertion that others don’t have chores is probably false, at least in my experience. I have a 12-year-old and she does her own laundry, helps cook dinner when she’s around, cleans up after the cat, and keeps her room picked up. We have a cleaning person, so nobody in our house does whole lot of actual cleaning. I do fear I’m doing her a bit of a deserve us by not teaching her how to do that type of thing. My daughter’s friends all have chores, at least to some degree.

      • I grew up with a cleaning person who came every 2 weeks and I remember wiping down counters, dusting, vacuuming, and even cleaning toilets. My mom was/is a clean freak, though, so these were things we did in the “off” week. My mom would leave us lists of chores every day in the summer and they had to be finished when she got home from work. It was like 3-5 things that probably took a total of 30-minutes to an hour out of our day.

    • I had a pretty grueling extracurricular schedule (pre-professional ballet dancing) as a tween and teenager, yet I still had a fair amount of chores and responsibility around the house. If I was home for dinner or a family meal, I was expected to help set the table and clear the dishes (though I was often excused from actual dishwashing to give me some time to do homework – if I’d been playing on the computer or watching TV with that time, I probably would have been doing dishes too!). I also had to make sure our two dogs had been fed dinner and had clean and full water bowls. I had to start doing my own laundry in 9th grade. We had a cleaning lady come weekly, but my room and bathroom had to be picked up and neat or she wasn’t allowed to clean it. My parents bought me a car once I got my license, yet I was responsible for washing the car twice a month and keeping the interior clean, or they’d take the keys away (that happened once, which was enough to ensure a pristine car from then on).

      I was generally a good kid who was pretty responsible for herself and who did well with my busy schedule, so my SAHM often helped with packing lunches or making me breakfast. My sister was a more difficult kid with a more lax schedule, so she had more oversight from my parents in terms of making sure she was doing her chores and learning discipline and personal responsibility. We both turned out okay, though.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your S-D currently has way more on her plate than I did at 16. I’d ease off.

    • My mom was a super control freak about cleaning, so I probably had it easier than most, as far as daily chores were concerned. That said, she was really good about teaching me how to do things along the way. I regularly cleaned with her on Saturdays, helped with watering plants and pruning, mowing, and even with quarterly deep cleanings. It was never presented in the “let’s check something off your chore chart way!” that seems to be popular today. She just … taught me to do stuff, because grownups need to know how to take care of a home. It did teach me about responsibility, even though that goal was never stated. Plus, since she was a clean freak, we learned what needed to be done on a daily basis just by watching her. All of us keep neat, tidy homes today.

  7. avocado says:

    As far as chores go, my 10-year-old cleans her own bathroom and bedroom with some assistance, puts away her laundry, and helps with dusting the rest of the house. Some chores are not practical to assign her because she’s still too short–she can’t reach the cabinets to put away the dishes or reach the bottom of our gigantic top-loading washer (I can barely reach it without falling in). She helps with grocery shopping and occasionally cooks dinner or breakfast with a little adult help. She has been responsible for her own self-care for a long time and took on many of these tasks earlier than her peers.

    More broadly, we have been working on instilling responsibility and independence from an early age by “scaffolding” experiences so she gradually experiences more responsibility and freedom. She has been ordering for herself in restaurants since she was a toddler. When she wants a snack while we are out and about, I send her to buy it herself unless we’re in a really chaotic place like the baseball stadium. We have been sending her to sleepaway camp since she was six years old, and when she was nine we let her fly alone to visit relatives. Since she was tiny I have been encouraging her to speak directly with the pediatrician, dentist, and orthodontist. I started dropping her off at the curb for her activities instead of walking her in when she was in first grade. When she is a little older I would like to have her take charge of more planning and research tasks–e.g., planning a trip to the water park, including figuring out meals and finding the best ticket discounts.

    I have to admit that she does not pack her own lunches, but that’s because I remember what terribly inadequate lunches I packed myself from elementary school through high school.

    Most of her friends do have chores. What I find really interesting is the difference in the freedoms her friends’ parents have chosen to give their children. She does not have a cell phone and is only allowed to use the internet for limited purposes with a kid-safe search engine. Her friends started getting cell phones at age 8 and nearly all of them had them by age 10 or 11, all with unfettered access to the internet, yet these same parents could not imagine sending their children to camp until they were 10 and disapprove of some of the books, music, and movies we allow our daughter to consume with our knowledge and guidance.

    • I posted a novel above about my household responsibilities (not many) but being expected to be pretty independent. My parents did a lot of the things you describe in your second paragraph. I remember being 6 or 7, and my dad made me read the signs and lead him to our gate at the airport. I always ordered for myself in restaurants or at counters (at least as far back as I can remember). I started going to sleep-away camp for a month every summer when I was 8. I flew to visit my grandparents by myself around the same age or maybe younger (but back then, my parents could walk me to the gate, and my grandparents could meet me there). I chose and planned some activities for family vacations.

      My parents would say that this was largely my personality and that I was always willful and independent and determined to do what I wanted to do. That’s probably true to some extent, but my parents, especially my dad, encouraged it too.

    • shortperson says:

      this is a good list to remember for those of us with littler kids.

  8. Anonanonanon says:

    Question re: having my second kid but my husband’s first.

    I’m pregnant with my second, and it will be my husband’s first. He came into our lives when my son was 4 (he’s now 7), and has basically been his father since then, but he’s never had a baby before. I’m already struggling with the fact that I’ve done this before and he hasn’t. I’m worried I will have very strong opinions about certain things and feel even more strongly about them because it’s what I did last time and it “worked”, and I really don’t want to get over-tired and hormonal and grumpy and say something I can’t take back along the lines of “well I’ve done this before and you haven’t so I have more experience!” because, quite frankly, that’s mean and hurtful. But… it’s also kind of how I feel? With our son, we’ve been collaborative and discussed parenting decisions as they come up, because we’re going through phases for the first time TOGETHER, but this time I will have already done the first four years with a kid while he never has.

    I don’t want to discourage him from “researching” things and forming his own opinions by being a know-it-all, but I’m really struggling with it. I feel bad for him that we’re not doing a first time parenting journey side-by-side. I’m not sure what I’m asking, I guess has anyone been through this with a partner? Did you end up making different decisions than you did with your first? Did the kids turn out wildly different?

    • CPA Lady says:

      I mean, no two kids are the same. So you can totally go into this prepared to do one thing, but maybe this kid won’t respond to it the same way, so I would suggest you at least be open to playing it by ear. I know this family with three kids, and they have this really rigid parenting method. I can’t remember which one it is, but it’s some kind of heavily scheduled “sleep x amount. eat x amount at x time. CIO from six weeks old” thing. The first two kids did great with it, but the third is being actually damaged by it (so stressed she’s pulling out her hair), but they’re so rigid they won’t deviate. It’s cool to go in with some general ideas of what you want and to be on the same page. But it’s madness to say it’s only going to be one way (your way), no matter what.

      Some babies are great sleepers. Some have colic. Some won’t latch. Some hate being worn. Some want to be held 24/7. You never know what you’re going to get and how it’s going to change how you respond.

      Also, being the boss of parenting has its pros and cons. Being in charge is great in some ways, but can also be a good way to foster a helpless co-parent who you can’t trust and end up resenting. And who ends up resenting you.

    • avocado says:

      I think it’s difficult whenever the dad wants to have input on decisions that primarily affect the mom, like birth options, choice of pediatrician if he’s not the one taking the kid to the appointments because he’s back at work, bf’ing, or sleep if he is not the one staying up all night because he is not on maternity leave. In those early days any parenting decision has a direct impact on the mother, her body, and her sanity, and dads need to acknowledge that and give proper deference to the mom’s preference. It’s different once everyone is getting some sleep and the baby is no longer physically attached to the mom half the time.

    • rakma says:

      So I don’t have experience doing the baby years with another partner, but man, my two kids are so different. My husband did something yesterday with the baby that first kid loved at the same age, baby was like nope, not having it, and my husband literally said, “right, different kid”. What worked with your older kid may not work with the baby.

      Also, I was so surprised by how much I forgot. DD2 is in love with her pacifiers now, but didn’t really take to it in the first couple of weeks, so I just forgot about them as an option. DH came across one on a particularly hard day of solo parenting, and like magic, had a calm baby. DD1 was completely over pacifiers by this age.

      Also, there are areas where DH can research all he wants, but I’ve got the boobs and the maternity leave, so some things just happen the way I need it to in the first few weeks. DH and I had more topics that we had to compromise on when the older one was about 2.5 than when she was a baby–we had more differences in how we wanted to handle tantrums and discipline than feeding and comforting a newborn.

    • Taking DH out of it, once baby comes you might not have as strong opinions about second child as with your first. With my second I was less anxious, so more open to handing off baby to DH and going to sleep, more open to trying different things to get baby to sleep/burp/whatever, letting baby try things earlier than older sibling, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      The issue will take care of itself. Kids are different. I have three and the same things worked sometimes and other times I had to do something completely different. Try to phrase it as ‘you’d like to try xyz because it worked with older child’ and if that doesn’t work you’ll figure out the next step together. My middle child completely favored my DH throughout the first year. I was just the lady who nursed him – DH was his real comfort. Thankfully #1 and 3 liked me better. #2 is currently a total momma’s boy so everything has a season.

  9. Anyone have experience with “mommy thumb”? I had carpal tunnel when I was pregnant (numb fingers/palms) and now, I think from a combination of compressions while pumping (I am done pumping as of a few weeks ago, wahoo!!!!) and a heavier 7.5 month old baby, my wrists hurt all the time, hard to make a fist, hurts when I bend hands at the wrist, etc. Dr Google tells me that this is a kind of tendinitis common in mothers. Has anyone else had this? How did you get it to go away? I got cortisone shots in my wrists while I was pregnant that helped a ton w carpal tunnel, and as awful as it sounds, I’d love a quick fix like that instead of physical therapy/not lifting my kid (how is that even possible?!)/wearing a splint or brace that would get covered in blueberry puree.

    • October says:

      Yes. I self-diagnosed and treated, and my baby was right around 8 months…what worked for me was wearing a brace that stabilized the thumb, about 23-hrs/day for at least a month (and probably closer to 6/8 weeks, if I recall correctly). At first I tried a wrist brace that did not stabilize the thumb and that didn’t work, so you may need to try a couple different ones. And honestly, it got a little grimy looking towards the end but it wasn’t so bad. Also, stop using that hand for swiping on your phone until you are all healed.

      • 19 Weeks says:

        Yes! This happened to me when kiddo was ~6 – 8 months old and using a brace really helped.

    • Anonymous says:

      Been there, done that. Cortisone shots are an option, and they ultimately worked for me. The weeks of PT/brace wearing/trying to rest them did not, but my doc was insistent on trying that first. If it happens to me again, I will be insistent on the cortisone first.

    • I had it and I ordered a brace off Amazon that I wore for a few weeks that fixed the problem. There was a discussion about this a few weeks ago and some people went to PT for it and found that helped, as well.

    • I had this with each. Went away after 6 months. Also tried to sleep with my wrists straight – surprisingly hard to do!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Yes. I’d see a PT and get some exercises. I found that the brace that I bought at the drugstore actually made it feel worse, but YMMV. Don’t use your phone as much (I found that it aggravated it).

  10. blueberries says:

    No experience with this situation, but can you take a newborn/baby care class together if your hospital offers one? Your husband can get instruction from not you and you can brush up on the latest recommendations. You can also discuss where you might differ from what was taught and why ahead of the sleep deprivation.

  11. boys too! says:

    I love this line too – t-shirts with positive messages for girls AND boys!

  12. Belly fat says:

    Do any of you wise ladies have advice for getting rid of stubborn belly fat? A year and a half after my last pregnancy, I look 5 months pregnant – and by the end of the day, sometimes 7-8 months. I’ve been eating well and exercising and the weight comes off everywhere but there – which is exactly what I don’t want, as losing weight elsewhere just makes me look gaunt and drawn. I was getting worried enough that I had an ultrasound and everything came back fine. But no matter what I do, the weight remains there and comes off elsewhere – sometimes, the better I eat the huger my stomach looks. Which makes me wonder if I need a second opinion on whether there’s something medical going on.

    I know this is shallow, but I’m getting so frustrated. Any advice?

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