Nursing Tuesday: Layla Maternity/Nursing Dress

This really cool black shift dress from Loyal Hana has very interesting zippered nursing access panels — I haven’t seen anything like them, and they’re very discreet. If you’re looking for a dress for maternity as well as into the nursing months, do consider this one, which is machine washable. It’s $115 at Nordstrom — it’s almost sold out, but it’s also at for $150 in sizes XS-L. Layla Maternity/Nursing Dress

Two plus-size options are here and here.

This post contains affiliate links and CorporetteMoms may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. Wow, a cool looking maternity/post-mat dress? Nice find! And thanks for posting this earlier than usual, Kat/Kate.

    Question: my 16 month old stays home (vs. daycare) but I’d like to enroll her in a few classes during the week. She already goes to story time at the library and things like that, and she’s generally fairly social/good at sharing, so I’m not that concerned about building those skills although more of that is always better. What kind of classes did/do you find beneficial at this age? I feel like there is a ton of expensive music and art programs but I wonder how much better they really are vs. just a gym run around and sing a song at the end type of thing? If you were going to do just one or two things, what would you want your kid doing?

    • We’re in daycare, so I can’t speak to quality/usefulness of outside classes, but I think the art stuff they do at daycare has been really helpful as far as motor skills and recognizing colors. And it’s stuff we don’t regularly do on our own because of the mess. For us, music is a lot easier to do at home so I wouldn’t outsource that.

    • Anonymous says:

      We do one music based and one movement based. Movement one is a class at the Little Gym –

      Music one is a free program which is great because it is socio-economically and racially diverse in our super white city. My kids have loved it and constantly sing the songs at home which is great for their language development. I took them when I was on maternity leave and my mom takes them now and drops them at daycare afterwards. It might only be in Canada though. Posting link in case there is anyone in Canada interested –

    • avocado says:

      I am unsure of the benefits of structured classes for kids that young, beyond socialization for baby and mom. We did one of those run-around-the-gym classes when my kid was about 2, which was fun and did seem to help with gross motor skills a bit. For slightly older kids, I have two recommendations:

      When my kid was about 3, we briefly tried out an early childhood music school that taught solfege (do re mi syllables, eventually leading to sight-singing) using a structured curriculum. Unfortunately, I cannot find the name of the curriculum. The course was excellent and taught really useful music literacy skills. We ended up having having to quit after a couple of months as a result of scheduling issues, which I have always regretted.

      I am also a strong proponent of dance, martial arts, or sports classes when kids are 3.5 or 4. Specifically, a structured class where kids are required to line up, listen, take turns, and follow rules, not a class where they are just running around chasing bubbles and singing songs. I especially like pre-ballet (at a real professional dance school with a live pianist and the formal ballet class structure, not a storefront studio emphasizing competitive dance) and martial arts for this because of the emphasis on demonstrating respect for the self and others. Some preschool gymnastics classes will also be somewhat structured, depending on the gym, but those can also be pretty wild.

      • Spirograph says:

        I can’t wait to get my kids into martial arts for a lot of these reasons, and because martial arts is usually heavily focused on “we don’t use our strength to hurt people” and channels the desire to punch and kick more constructively at young ages.

        But I’m really here to say that we have intermittently done preschool gymnastics starting at 1.5-2, and it was great for lining up, taking turns, and following directions from someone who is not a parent. You definitely have to find the right gym/program, though. We had good luck with one that does real gymnastics coaching for older kids, not a “little gym” type place that is preschool specific.

    • Anonymous says:

      in moderation – one class at the Little Gym (physical literacy) and one music class – Mother Goose type songs class (great for language development)

    • CPA Lady says:

      Uhm, honestly, I would just pick what works best for your schedule and is reasonably priced. At 16 months old, my kid was really not capable of “learning” beyond just playing and having normal toddler experiences, and running around in a gym and then singing a song would be just as good as anything else.

      I agree with the advice to do whatever you don’t want to deal with. My kid is 2.5 and we have no paint and no kinetic sand at home because those are things that I just don’t want to deal with.

      Maybe swim lessons? That’s so young that I’m not sure how much she would actually learn, but it’s a good thing to start exposing her to.

      • mascot says:

        Agreed to pick activities that you like. Swimming is a great option. At that age, she can learn by getting comfortable in the water, blowing bubbles, putting her face in, and learning basic safety rules like waiting for an adult before entering the water, entering at the steps, beginning to float, and so on.

      • Meg Murry says:

        I agree that at this point the goals are:
        -Something she wouldn’t otherwise get at home
        -Something that doesn’t break the budget
        -Something that doesn’t make the caregiver want to poke their eyes out
        -Something that works with her current naptimes

        Is this something to do with a parent or a nanny? With a parent, I’d try to pick something that at least somewhat interests the adult that they can do together – for instance, I really like taking my kids to swimming class, whereas my sister loves taking her daughter to a music and movement class – I feel like those classes are mostly about the parent sharing something they love with the kid. With a nanny, you could ask if there are any classes the nanny would want to participate with the kid in (art, music, dance, etc) but otherwise I’d just look for something you know isn’t happening as much at home – which for us is physical activity in cold weather.

        Honestly, I think 95% of the classes out there during the day just exist to give stay at home parents a chance to interact with other adults. Nothing wrong with that – but I don’t think the kids get so very much out of it that it’s worth paying much for. My only exception to that would probably be some type of gym/swimming/indoor playground in with long seasons of bad weather, so that kids can run out some of their energy.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I agree. I personally wouldn’t do swimming with a non-parent at this age. I’d want my daughter to get comfortable in the water with a parent.

          I think a music class or a gym class is probably the best at this age. Art is a good one, but 16 months might be too young for an organized art class.

    • avocado says:

      Apparently I have too many thoughts on this subject. A word of warning: After the age of 3 or so, do not sign her up for any sport that you are not willing to let her pursue long-term if she happens to love it. Think not just about cost, but also about practice schedules and transportation. Some sports start sucking them in to the competitive track as early as 4 or 5, and once your kid falls in love with an activity it’s very hard just to say “we are done with this at the end of the session/semester, so now let’s do something else.” My kid started her sport in a rec class at age 4.5, fell passionately in love it the first day and announced that she wanted to be on team like the big girls, and within a year had joined the expensive and time-consuming team program, which wreaked havoc on my work schedule.

    • anne-on says:

      I’d vote for a physical activity type of class that can help teach them gross/fine motor skills (my child totally needed lots of coaching on how to jump). In addition to that, pick something you think she’d enjoy that works for your schedule/budget. I am also NOT crafty and cannot handle finger painting/playdoh mess, so I’d be all about an outside art class.

    • POSITA says:

      We had a great experience with a Music Together class at about that age, but it does depend on having a good teacher.

      • Thanks all! Very helpful, esp. w/r/t it not being all that important beyond giving the kid something to expend energy on. I was talking to someone who had her kid in all kinds of classes since he was 6 weeks old and I suddenly started to just feel ALL the guilt and imagining that I my kid is just wasting away and letting all her brain power languish. Awesome spiral.

        I’m going to look for something reasonably priced that works with our schedule. It’s sort of nuts how expensive all these classes are. I’m in NYC so maybe that explains it but all the classes basically break down to $40-50/class with some “free” playroom time during the week thrown in.

        • avocado says:

          Holy cow! In our LCOL/MCOL area, I pay $40/hour or less for private lessons! Group classes are in the $15 range.

          • AnonMom says:

            Reading this, I am starting to feel that my kid is just wasting away time too! What age did you start group classes/organized activities? We hope to keep the baby home with a nanny until 2.5 years old. I was thinking that once he starts daycare that will be his only activity besides maybe weekend pool with parents.

          • Meg Murry says:

            No kidding! In our LCOL area, classes tend to run around $40-50 or less per MONTH for a once a week group class, or under $10 each for drop in classes once you’ve purchased a membership to the rec center.

            Don’t waste your money trying to keep up with the Jones’s. If there’s something in the future that’s really important to you (learning Mandarin so the kid can converse with grandparents, Suzuki violin because you loved it as a child and want to pass that on, ice skating because it’s something you want to be able to do together), splurging on one particular lesson like that makes sense. But you don’t need to spend tons of money on a pre-2 year old who is probably learning just as much at the free library storytime as the parents shelling out for the fancy lessons and classes.

          • Meg Murry says:

            AnonMom – if your child has an adult interacting with them, and/or is being allowed to explore the world in an age appropriate way, I’m sure they aren’t wasting away time. Throwing a ball or building and knocking down a block tower is learning about gravity and the laws of physics. Having an adult talk to them while they walk down the aisle in the grocery store is a good way to develop vocabulary. Running on the playground is developing their gross motor skills and balance. As long as the nanny isn’t plunking them in front of the TV/tablet for hours at a time, I’m sure they are NOT wasting away time. Kids are always learning, it doesn’t take special classes for that.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love my daycare. But the main things my kid learned from there until preschool was:
            -You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit
            -You are not the central point on this earth upon which all adults revolve, sometimes you have to wait your turn for attention or a toy
            -Potty training and positive peer pressure from slightly older role models
            -Hands are not for hitting
            -Don’t eat the art supplies
            -The teacher doesn’t have time to put on 20 coats and shoes, so if you put them on yourself you get to go outside faster

          • avocado says:

            My kid is 10 now–she was definitely not taking private lessons of any sort when she was in preschool! I agree with others that for itty bitties the parents may get more out of the classes than the kids. My kid attended a fantastic day care where they did all sorts of activities, walked to the library for story time and special events, and walked through town to see neat things like animals, so I didn’t feel the need for much enrichment during the early years. We did a semester of baby gym when she was 2, tried a music class when she was maybe 3 but the schedule didn’t work, and put her in pre-ballet at 3.5. We didn’t really start up with the extracurriculars until she was in kindergarten and asking to try different activities.

        • Anonymama says:

          No, no, the latest trend in child development is all about free play, and making sure kids are not overscheduled, etc etc. (really I think either way is just fine for most kids, just pointing out that you can find some intellectually-backed justification for most parenting styles).

          I think kids at that age can enjoy classes but they are totally not necessary. More like, a fun thing to do, not a critical part of childhood development.

      • PregLawyer says:

        Music Together is awesome. My mom has been taking my kid for the past 6 months (starting when he was about 18 months old) and he LOVES it.

        • AnonMom says:

          Meg Murray-thanks for your suggestions. Daycare teaches children a lot of things that they would not learn being home with a nanny no matter how dedicated she is. That is why DS will go to daycare once he is ready. I grew up in Europe and we started the extracurricular activities around 4-5 years old and only activities that my family could easily accommodate. I turned out perfectly fine. Is it me or there is a lot of pressure on kids nowadays? I am only concerned about the quality of education (during school hours) and of course giving DS a loving family environment. Until recently I never thought my son should be attending classes until we start daycare (except swimming).

    • Anonymous says:

      Swimming or art. Basically things that are hard to replicate at home. Art like pottery or big messy painting that you wouldn’t do in your kitchen. And kids who start swimming classes early may not swim earlier (though some do, obviously), but at least they’re less scared when they get to be four or five and ready to really learn. (I doubt your kid will become scared of musical instruments if you skip baby music class.)

      I’m personally looking forward to enrolling kiddo in gardening classes at the botanical garden, but they don’t start until age 2. (We don’t have garden space, see “replicate at home” above.)

    • Strategy Mom says:

      We signed our son up for mommy’s morning out at a local church one day a week. Great for socialization, independence. Gives the nanny time to catch up on chores around the house

  2. avocado says:

    Ugh, my long reply got eaten. Short answer: when she is a little older, a music class that teaches solfege (do re mi) and a dance or martial arts class where the kids have to line up, take turns, listen, and bow or curtsey to demonstrate respect for self and others.

    • avocado says:

      Also–swimming! Essential safety skill.

      • Do you think swimming is beneficial in “lesson” form if you could just take your kid to the pool and do it on your own?

        • Anonymous says:

          I think both the parent and child benefit from having an instructor explain what to do. If you’re a comfortable competent swimmer, you’re probably fine with your baby in the pool for the first 6ish months, but at some point, you need direction.

          • avocado says:

            It also depends on the kid. My husband is a former lifeguard who has taught swim lessons, and our daughter refused to learn from him. She would only learn from the teenagers who taught the classes at our pool and the Y.

          • My husband and I are both pretty decent swimmers, and have had no luck teaching the older kid (now 4 though 3 last we tried) to swim. I keep intending to sign him up for a class soon.

        • I do. At 18 months they actually do begin teaching skills like pulling, kicking, back floats, etc. The parents are really involved of course but I think it’s much better than just playing in the pool (which is great for fun & water comfort, of course!).
          The “class” part of it is really helpful because it’s usually repeated the same way every time (with helpful songs and whatnot), so the toddlers know what to expect each time and practice the skills consistently each class.

          • Meg Murry says:

            I think it also depends on your kid’s comfort level with the water and the skill of the teacher as well. If your kid is terrified of the pool and teacher, then formal lessons means paying for them to cry at the side of the pool for 25 minutes, finally agree to get swished through the water for 5 minutes and then have to wrestle them back out of the wet swimsuit and into clothes in the cold slippery locker room. Been there, done that, so we went back to just weekly mommy-kid pool dates and tried lessons again a year later.

        • PregLawyer says:

          The little ones also benefit from watching the other kids do it in a class – something they can’t really get when you just take them to the pool one-on-one.

        • I do, to some extent. We spend lots of time in the pool with Kiddo in the summers. Last spring, when Kiddo turned 1, we did the “water babies” class, which was focused on getting parents and children comfortable in the water together. We picked up a few songs and games and techniques in a month of once-a-week group lessons and continued those all summer. Next month, we’re doing a “toddler” swimming class, which supposedly teaches them some swimming basics like kicking, paddling, etc. We’ll probably try to do the same thing, where we keep reinforcing those skills the rest of the summer using the techniques the swim class introduces.

  3. AnonMN says:

    Any nice sweatpant recommendations? All of the ones I love are literally 15 years old and from places like Abercrombie and Aerie (clearly I was a teen when I bought them, ha). They are, for obvious reasons, starting to get thin in places. All of my attempted replacements have ended up pilled within a few washes or shrunk within a few washes.

    Do they just not make sweatpants like they used too?

    • American Giant. A little pricey, but worth it and made in the USA.

    • layered bob says:

      +1 American Giant. I also love Soffe (yep former cheerleader).

    • Anonymous says:

      I got pants between sweats and yoga pants from Zella that I really like. They feel dressier than sweats but are t ski right like yoga pants. They’re the Soul 3 at Nstrom.

    • shortperson says:

      athleta restore jogger. i also love the athleta city jogger but it’s less of a sweatpant material.

    • LegalMomma says:

      I have a pair from Eddie Bauer that I love.

  4. POSITA says:

    One of the teachers in my daughter’s infant daycare room is expecting. She due pretty soon and they’re having a shower for her and have asked parents to contribute. I would usually donate generously, especially knowing how little daycare workers make and that this teacher doesn’t have paid leave.

    The problem is that I really don’t like this teacher. She’s assigned to a different classroom, but is responsible for the combined class for early morning drop offs. She is always parked in a chair and lets the babies do whatever while she ignores them. Usually they are happy playing, but she will not get up even if they are screaming. She just sits. She doesn’t manage a smile for parents dropping off and just mumbles if you ask her a question. She won’t intervene if a baby melts down when you’re leaving. Basically she’s a warm body in the room but isn’t a caregiver. I’ve complained to the daycare manager many, many times about her behavior to little effect. They tell me that they’re “working on it.”

    Do I bring in shower gifts for this teacher? I know she’s probably in for a tough go of it as a young single mother with a baby, but I really don’t like her. I’m having a hard time mustering any generosity. Blah.

    • anne-on says:

      I’d suck it up and do the bare minimum, like $15-$20 giftcard to Target or something.

    • POSITA says:

      I can do that. I think my struggle is that I know I would give a gift worth a couple hundred dollars to several of the other teachers if they were in the same situation. They work hard and do their best. This just feels icky, like I’m not being generous and at the same time like I’m rewarding her for being neglectful of babies.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Separate it from her personally and just think of it as donating to a young single mother who doesn’t get paid leave. I’d add a moderate amount of cash to the group gift, and perhaps ask the director if she is open to any hand-me-downs? If she knows the baby is going to be the same gender as yours, do you have any baby clothes that would be appropriate to hand down? I know we had clothes with tags on them that got forgotten in the closet and not re-discovered until my kids were already too big or it was the wrong season. Not to be scrooge-y, but perhaps you could give her baby items you would have otherwise donated to Goodwill or another family?

      Although is the daycare a for-profit? Because if so, it makes my blood boil a little bit that they have to ask for donations from families and can’t pay their employees a living wage – although I know that a systemic country-wide problem, not one at this particular school.

      • POSITA says:

        We have aggressively passed all of our clothes and gear down to a slightly younger cousin, so we don’t have much laying around.

        I don’t know how much our daycare pays, but it’s a downtown Bright Horizons in a HCOL area. They aren’t asking for donations in this case–they proposed a baby shower for a teacher. Normally I’d be happy to celebrate with an expecring teacher.

    • I loaned a favorite daycare teacher a ton of maternity clothes in addition to giving her some gifts for her work shower. Then she never came back from maternity leave and never returned the clothes. Oh well.

      But, these caregiver make crap money. It’s awful. Anything that can make life easier would be appreciated, I’m sure.

      Basically just +1 to Meg Murry:
      “Separate it from her personally and just think of it as donating to a young single mother who doesn’t get paid leave.”

    • Anonymous says:

      So she’s eight months pregnant in an emotionally and physically demanding job (and most of the white collar workers on this s!te spend time trying to figure out how to sneak naps under their desks) and sitting on the job? The NERVE!

      • Anonymous says:

        *under their desks while pregnant. I’m still not sympathetic to your complaint.

      • POSITA says:

        She was a crappy daycare worker before she was pregnant. This isn’t new. I have little sympathy for anyone who can listen to a baby scream and scream and not try to do anything.

        • Anonymous says:

          A teacher in my daughter’s class worked up to literally the morning she gave birth. She was awesome the whole time, and I do NOT know how you deal with non 18-24 month olds while 9 months pregnant.

          She recently came back to work, and I also don’t know how you find the energy to deal with 9 toddlers during the day when you have an infant at home. She’s a rock star.

  5. I would probably give something small. It doesn’t seem worth causing any kind of stink and it’s worth a little $ to take the high road. Continue the discussions with the daycare – they’re really the ones you should have the beef with.

  6. anne-on says:

    PSA for those of you doing the target car seat trade in – drop off was at guest services at my local target, they still had loooooads of the coupons left, and of course I spent $100 on other random things I needed while I was there to run ‘one quick errand’…

  7. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car SeatEvenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat says:

    Hi this is Rainbow Hair!

    Someone recommended this seat on this board a few weeks back, as a backup/travel seat. I bought the Cosco Scenera one that people recommend for that and I haaaaate it, so I’m wondering if anyone can compare those two, or speak to the things that I hate about the Cosco one for this one.

    Straps — the Cosco one is extremely hard to tighten and loosen, and it makes me worried I don’t have a good fit.
    Installation — I can never get the Cosco one in tight.

    It would be for traveling (airplane and then rental car when we get where we’re going) and for grandparents’ car/backup for our car in case of puke.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I feel dumb that I pasted the name in there twice, but y’all know what I mean.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      We have this car seat specifically for traveling and it is fine. The installation is not as easy as our normal carseat (Britax Advocate Clicktight), but my husband manages to do it just fine. The straps are easy to tighten and loosen, but can get a little twisted at times – once to the point where my husband had to uninstall the seat and adjust it to fix it.

      We’ve flown with this car seat twice and it fits fine in an economy seat. However, we’ve noticed that when we strap in the seat with the airline seatbelt that the buckle is positioned in an uncomfortable spot.

      All that said, it’s fine for traveling so if you hate the Scenera, it might be worth a shot. Plus you can do the Target trade in, if you are near a store.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Also I can’t believe how many times I typed “fine” in that post.

        • Clementine says:

          HAHAHAH. Okay, so I didn’t see your response when I was typing mine and I ALSO used the word fine over and over.

          Basically, the consensus is: this carseat is fine.

      • avocado says:

        You can sometimes solve issues with the buckle on the airplane seatbelt by using a belt extender.

    • Clementine says:

      I have this one! We use it as our spare/travel carseat. I have found that I can tighten and loosen the straps just fine.

      With regards to installation, my husband did have a hard time installing it, but I never did. A couple things that worked for me were to make sure that you have the installation strap in the correct forward or RF slot, then to put my knee in the carseat and use my body weight to push the seat down while I was installing it. If I did this then really yanked on the strap that connects it to the LATCH, it goes in just fine.

      My only complaint is that the clips can really pinch your finger. ‘Nicer’ carseats have the push button to release clips to attach to LATCH, but these are just normal clips. Honestly, I just am careful and it’s fine. We got the carseat for like $50-60 on Amazon and it’s really lightweight and perfect for travelling. I personally wouldn’t use it with a teeny baby because I don’t feel like there’s enough support, but for a kid 6 months and up, it’s great.

    • Famouscait says:

      I also have a backup seat I dislike and am considering getting rid of during the Target sale. Kiddo is 2.5, 30lbs and 24 inches. He’s currently in a Britax Boulevard; is it too soon to be looking for whatever kind of seat comes next? I assume we’d hang on to it for awhile, and not use it immediately.

      • mascot says:

        We used a Boulevard until age 4 (average height, but low weight kid). Then we switched to the Britax Pioneer harnessed booster. Might be worth seeing how far out the expiration date is.

        • Maddie Ross says:

          This. LO is 4 and still in a Boulevard because of her height/weight. They changed the Pioneer recently – we bought one for my H’s car after a particularly bad carsick session in the Boulevard in his car – so it may be that buying a new Pioneer is safe and they won’t upgrade it again quickly. But at that size, I’d probably wait a bit before buying. Especially if kiddo is only24 inches tall. He’ll fit in a Boulevard for a LONG time.

    • We use the Evenflo (I believe it’s that model or similar) as our travel / grandma car seat, and we love it. We lug it through the airport, with kiddo inside, on the folding Britax carry cart (works with all brands) which keeps toddler locked down without stroller needed. Very easy to install. Sometimes I catch my finger when tightening or loosening the straps but otherwise I really like it.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Thanks all — heading to Target tonight to do a trade in!

  8. GrayZone says:

    Just got the all clear from our pediatrician to let the baby swim. We have a pool and all safety features and can adjust the temperature for him. Also, he loves the water – LOVES bath time, doesn’t mind being splashed in the face, etc. So given all of that, any tips for first time in the pool?

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      How old is kiddo? I hope he takes to it like a fish!

    • Momata says:

      Respectfully, this is not a big deal. Put a swim diaper on and hold your baby in the water.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m guessing if you needed a pediatrician’s all clear that kiddo is four months-ish? The four month old in my daughter’s first swim class just kept falling asleep. The six month olds who could really grab things seemed much more interested in the toys and splashing. Watch a couple videos on youtube to work on “holds” (our swim teacher had, like, six of them — I used two)

  9. How do you have the emotional labor discussion with your partner without letting it devolve into a fight? DH’s instinct reaction is to get defensive whenever I bring stuff up. The last few weeks at work have been very stressful for him and he has had to unexpectedly travel a lot (job usually doesn’t include travel). The last few weeks for me have been very stressful at work AND I’m picking up all the slack at home for him being busy and traveling. I sat him down over the weekend and made a family schedule for this week which shows everyone’s activities and who is covering what (got the idea from the day in the life of a mom post last week) and attempted to get the buy in from him. As usual, he looks at it and agrees that it is great, but that is the end. I asked him over the weekend to print it and put it on the fridge for our nanny. Of course that didn’t happen. So this morning, amazingly all kids were sleeping in and I asked him to print it (he was sitting in bed playing a game on his ipad). He told me his ipad is old and a piece of junk and can’t print wirelessly and he doesn’t understand why it needs to be printed. I tried explaining to him that I field multiple text messages a day from the nanny while I’m working and I’m hoping that this would alleviate some of it. So I went downstairs and got my laptop and printed it. Not a big deal, but again, just another thing I had to do while I’m running late and he is playing games. The games are obviously a trigger for me and I know that. So then I got upset that I do everything and we got into a huge fight about how busy he is. Every time I bring it up when I’m calm, he just yesses me to death and things don’t change. If I bring it up when I’m not calm, we just fight. Am I approaching this wrong?

    • AwayEmily says:

      Following. I do not know the answer to this. I do notice that the calm “yessing” discussions do seem to have a cumulative effect — even if in the moment he doesn’t say “YES this is amazing wow you are the best partner ever and I will be picking up so much slack from now on” (like I wish he would), his behavior does change slightly — and keeps changing the more we have the discussion.

      • avocado says:

        Agree that the calm “yessing” discussions can have a cumulative effect. I have also found that requests for him to take over specific tasks and functions work better than general requests for a more equitable distribution of labor.

        In the moment, be calm and specific about what you need and why. “The nanny needs a printed copy of this schedule so she doesn’t have to text me 10 times a day asking where the kids are supposed to be next. I am running late and it will take me another 5 or 10 minutes to fire up my laptop and print it. I see that you are ready for work, so can you please print the schedule?”

    • Anonymous says:

      I actually think the printing thing is a big deal. That would make me insane. I wouldn’t actually do it but I have visions of tossing the iPad in the toilet tank.

      You’re doing a great job. Continue talking to him when you are calm. Ask him to take specific actions. So no ‘what do you want to do’ or ‘you need to do more’. It needs to be – “I cannot continue to take all text messages from the Nanny so we will need to take turns to be the default contact parent, would you like to have M/W and every second Friday or T/TH and every second Friday”. If he tries to argue that he can’t be available – take that option off the table. You will flex on which days but he must take 2.5 days every week. Period.

      I also find my husband responds better when I talk about how his behavior makes me feel. So “I feel alone in managing the kids” “I tried hard to make a good family schedule and I’m hurt that you didn’t appreciate my hard work and show your support by printing the schedule.”

      Sports team references also seem to connect – I’m quarterbacking the nanny/household situation but you can’t leave me alone here on the field. You need to at least – insert specific action (buy diapers on the way home) – .

    • anne-on says:

      If he is truly just ‘yessing’ you to death, can you start assigning him things to do, and then let him feel the pain when they don’t happen? Our school advocates this for older kids – you tell them once to bring in a school project, and if they forget, mom/dad cannot drop it off – they get to ‘feel the pain’ of the lowered grade.
      So…for home things, can you tell him HE is in charge of say, mother’s day gifts to his side, kid birthday party schlepping, nanny schedule managing/questions and THEN – inform kids, nanny, his mom. They get to go to him (in person, via phone, text, whatever) with questions/whining about not being at the party on time, complaints about no cards/flowers.

    • shortperson says:

      just hearing the signature keyboard sound of my husband’s favorite computer game enrages me whenever he hasnt done things he has promised to do. so 90% of the time.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      So, my ex is not a husband anymore, so grain of salt and all that….I’ve found that it’s most effective to be very concrete. Instead of saying, “I feel all alone, I’m doing so much emotional labor myself, you need to help” say, “I’m overwhelmed, and I need you to take over x, y and z tasks. Here is what I have been doing, now it’s all on you to do as you want.” And then follow through with that; don’t micromanage or criticize.

      In our family, that means kiddo’s dad handles hair cuts, kid’s dentist, dinner two or three nights a week, and registration/selection of a weekend sport activity; he is also the primary parent responsible for getting kiddo to those weekend sport activities and staying with her during them. I have no problem telling him that I need him to pick up a medication or call the pediatrician about some kid health issue.

      We still have struggles and there are tasks I have to repeatedly hand back to him, but it’s better than simply saying, “Let’s be equal” and then hoping he understands what that means.

    • EB0220 says:

      On this specific thing I would totally tell the nanny to text husband with questions so he “feels the pain” as anne-on mentioned. I’ll add that my husband gets pretty defensive about being a good parent so I try to follow that Gottman thing of 5 positives to 1 negative interaction. So I throw in multiple positive comments about his parenting before having the discussion about something that I want to change. It really helps with his feeling of defensiveness. It also helps with my own attitude and discussions are more productive. I started doing this because I realize that I, too, get defensive when husband wants to talk about something I’m doing with our kids. YMMV of course.

    • Meg Murry says:

      I 100% am in on the hatred of the darn games on the tablet or computer. My kids lose their electronics priveledges for things like talking back or not following directions, so it *killed* me the other day when I asked my husband if he’d dealt with the laundry like he promise he would and he said he hadn’t while playing his stupid game – my 5 year old walked over and said “Daddy, you aren’t being ‘sponsible and following directions, you lost your ‘lectronics priviges” and took the tablet out of his hand.

      But to take a step back in the household division of labor front – is this a symptom of your husband being more laid back than you, and he wouldn’t have even made all these commitments to soccer and dance class etc in the first place that you are printing out the schedule for? Or is this just the more basic everyday school pick-ups and coordinating who is working late and who has a dentist appointment, etc? Because one of the ways I know we are way too over committed and over scheduled is when I start overly stressing or fighting with my husband about the schedule, and we need to take a hard look at what we can take off the schedule/and or take a deep breath and recognize that it’s a busy time and things will slow down soon.

      I do think it would be a valid point for you to say “I either need to you print out the darn schedule for the nanny, or I need you to handle ALL the texts this week from her.” Does the nanny have a smartphone, and could you also email her the schedule in addition to putting it on the fridge?

    • POSITA says:

      I would try to pass off things that can be his alone and which matter more to him than to you.

      In our family I do a lot of the emotional labor in our family, but my husband is 100% responsible for cooking and meal planning. It makes things feel waaaaaay more even. I don’t ask him to do little things so I don’t have to stress when he doesn’t do them. It’s not perfect, but better than me doing it all.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds more like he’s being a jerk than “you’re approaching it wrong.” Pick a day, tell the nanny she has to text him and only him. If he complains, oh well, maybe he should print the schedule. If he doesn’t complain, great, new normal. Or maybe the nanny will figure it out.

  10. AwayEmily says:

    Another carseat question — any recommendations for carseats that fit well in small cars? We have a Honda Fit and have been putting off getting a new carseat (she probably has about a month left in the infant one) because we aren’t sure what will fit. It will go behind the passenger seat, and I don’t want the front passenger (who will mostly be me) to have their knees crammed up against the dashboard.

    • Anonymous says:

      Clek Fllo. Great for extended rearfacing in small cars as the seat pitch is shorter than the Diono.

    • anne-on says:

      The diono is nice and narrow, kind of a beast in rear-facing, but fantastic if you need 3 seats across, or 2 truly usable seats next to it.

    • Thisperson1 says:

      We have the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 in my Mini, and it fits fine behind the driver’s seat for me.

    • I love my Fit and I actually think the backseat is really good-sized. We have the Britax Advocate Clicktight. It had good safety recommendations and it’s not too deep (and it has multiple recline options). There are several inches of space between my seat and the back of her carseat.

    • Anonymous says:

      Peg Perego!

    • Katarina says:

      I really like my Chicco Nextfit, and it is highly adjustable.

  11. Lactation Consultant in DC? says:

    A dear friend of mine moved to DC a few months ago and knows pretty much no one. She just had a baby a week ago and thinks she is having some supply problems. To calm her down, I suggested she see a lactation consultant, but there’s certainly a range of quality in LCs, from the supportive and accepting, including that supplementing with formula is totally ok, to the super crunchy militant EBF kind. I’m looking for the former – any recs?

    Also, recs for Georgetown-area new mom groups (facebook, IRL, etc) would be great too.

    • And another carseat question! says:

      I highly, highly recommend the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington (it is in Foggy Bottom, so fairly convenient from Georgetown). I saw Pat Shelly several time and she was fantastic. Tons of experience, a great manner, very, very non-judgmental. Also they have resources that can help get insurance to cover appointments (I was denied and then had to send a couple of letters, but it all worked out).

      • +1 to the Breastfeeding Center – I saw Amber, who I’d recommend. They also have a weekly support group for breastfeeding moms that I went to while I was on maternity leave and it was really helpful, just to know you’re not alone and maybe grab lunch with a few moms after.

        • LC recs says:

          Make that +2 — I had appointments with LCs there for issues with each of my kids, and also went to a bunch of the “new mom” meetings the second time around (every Tuesday, free after you pay a one-time $20ish fee).

    • Anonymous says:

      No experience with a LC, but if she can get in to one, I highly recommend a PACE group – its a great way to meet new moms! w w w dot pacemoms dot org

    • octagon says:

      The BF groups at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington are a bit further for her, but not too far and they are terrific. Run by a great LC and they provide scales so you can do a weighted feeding.

      • Rabumba says:

        I second Virginia Hospital Center. I delivered there (six weeks early) and worked with a fantastic LC (Amy) who made the whole experience of navigating feeding a little one in the NICU feel so much less overwhelming. I cannot say enough good things about her!

  12. And another carseat question! says:

    Buying a convertible carseat to fit in our 2015 Subaru Outback. Anyone else with this car that can point to seats that definitely fit well (or definitely do not)? Thank you!

    • Blueberry says:

      Our two kids have Britax Boulevards in our 2015 Outback, which fit well. But I bet pretty much any convertible seat would fit fine.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have a Subaru Crosstrek, which is smaller than an Outback – my Evenflo Symphony fits fine and I could fit two across the backseat (but no more). Kiddo has no problems even when the front passenger seat is pushed all the way back. My parents have an Outback and use the same carseat; I think they have it installed wrong because kiddo’s legs get smushed, but it works fine when I install it….

    • EB0220 says:

      Recaro ProRide was fine in our WRX (impreza platform).

  13. Thisperson1 says:

    First time flying with 16 mo son coming up… I see people posting about which car seat to use for flying, but we were thinking of just holding him for the 2.5 hour flight and then getting a car seat from the rental company. No? Please enlighten me! :)

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      We held our baby on flights when he was small. We brought a car seat and checked it as luggage (I think it was free to check).

    • I think it depends on the kid. Starting at around a year, holding our kid for a 2 1/2 hour flight (plus boarding and deboarding times) would have been a complete nonstarter. Our in-laws offered to buy H and I tickets to visit their side of the family at Christmas, but we didn’t want to ask them to buy a seat for a 14 month old so we said no. She was no longer sleeping in our arms and it would have been a nightmare. I’d fly holding a younger baby, but a toddler? No way.

      • Eh, we did it with a 30 lb 23 month old. Not super fun but definitely worth the cost savings on cross country flights.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I’ve done it! It was fine. We brought our car seat to the gate and asked to be seated next to an empty seat and got that on one leg of the trip but not the other; when we didn’t, we gate checked the seat and just passed kiddo back and forth between us.

    • Anonymous says:

      I usually check the seat and gate check the stroller. With so much new and exciting, my kids have loved to have their familiar seats on arrival. Even when only 9 months old, they were excited to see the seat. Plus I was worried the rental agency either wouldn’t install properly or wouldn’t have the manual so I could install properly.

    • Usually people will say not to rent a car seat from a rental company because you have no idea if it’s been in an accident. You could buy one to take with you, but I hate lugging crap on the plane and I worry about checking car seats in case they get lost.

      Two other options:
      1) Buy a car seat at your local Walmart, and donate it to a local shelter/goodwill/daycare/baby rental company when you leave. This takes some logistical work and a Walmart/donation center close to the airport or hotel, but it’s my favorite option. I usually order online ahead of time so it’s ready for in-store pickup. The Cosco Scenera is small, fairly easy to install, and only ~$35 so oftentimes cheaper than renting.
      2) See if there is a baby-equipment-rental company in your destination city. Just google “car seat rental [city name]” and you will find one. Most of them deliver straight to the airport for a fee, or a hotel for free. If that doesn’t work and you’re staying in a hotel, call the concierge and ask if they know of a similar place to rent car seats.

      • Anonymous says:

        I posted above that I check our seats. We’ve flown lots in the last five years and never lost a seat (knock wood). We have padded car seat bags. But, when I asked about it, a couple of the airlines said they generally have loaner car seats on hand at most major airports if they do lose your seat. And you could always rent one from the car rental agency on landing if they don’t and your seat was lost.

    • rosie says:

      Still pregnant, but have been thinking about this issue–namely, whether to always buy an extra seat or go the lap infant route because of safety issues. If you look at FAA’s rationale for not requiring kids under 2 to be in their own seat in an appropriate restraint system, it’s that flying w/a lap infant is safer than driving, and they don’t want to make flying with an infant cost-prohibitive. But putting the kid in their own seat is safer than holding them in the event that there’s turbulence or a crash.

      I’d be curious to see how others deal with the safety issue & process this info.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        honestly, this bothered me a bunch but i just… tried not to think about it? and held her extra tight during turbulence? :-/ there’s certainly a part of me that is glad i have to buy her a seat now.

      • We used an ergo for the baby when flying. To me this felt very secure because she was strapped onto me and I was wearing a seatbelt. Flying with an extra seat is definitely nice, space wise, esp. as they get older but no way my kid would have stayed in her own seat for most of the plane ride anyway. It’s just nice to not have to apologize to a stranger every time your kid is being a pain or you accidentally jab them in an elbow.

      • empresaria says:

        We buy a seat every time and are obviously the exception. It baffles the flight attendants. Our son has flown three times in eight months (that was not the original plan!). We love doing it now. We always have the whole row and if the flight is bumpy or during takeoff/landing, we can really secure him. I don’t think I could not buy it. I read that most babies who die or are injured on planes are not in plane crashes – it’s turbulence or landing or whatever. I know it is incredibly rare. But when I do the cost/benefit analysis, it is worth the extra ticket to me.

    • Butter says:

      We held our kiddo in our laps on flights when he was 6 months old, 11 months old, and 13 months old. At 13 months we realized we needed to start buying him a seat – holding a rambunctious toddler was so hard! Before that it was very easy, even in turbulence (for what it’s worth the kiddos don’t notice the turbulence at all. I did hold him tighter during bumps and on landing, but was never scared he’d get injured).

      We rented a carseat with our rental car on our last trip. I know some people feel weird about it, but it worked fine for the minimal amount of driving we had to do.

    • I did two flights, total about 6 hours when our daughter was 16 months old and it was perfectly fine. Actually, much easier than when she was 8 months old, because her attention span was longer and we could engage her with magazines, coloring, looking outside at airplanes. She has a great, easygoing temperament, though.

    • Walnut says:

      I’ve done it both ways depending on the price/length of the flights. For the lap flights, we gate check the car seat when there isn’t an empty seat on the plane for it.

      Stickers were a HUGE success with my 16 month old. Highly recommend. They also stick to and peel off the in flight magazines well.

  14. BabyBoom says:

    Would you take a babysitter to the beach with you? We have two under two and we are planning our first trip to the beach this summer. One of our babysitters offered to come with us. I think its a great idea – but am I missing something? We would certainly pay her (although we need to negotiate the amount). We are renting a house, and she would have her own room. Thoughts? And any other suggestions on beach trip with toddler and baby would be much appreciated!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My parents used to bring my cousin on vacation with us – she was a teenager when I was a preschooler, and my brother was a baby. I think it was much more relaxing for my parents. I also tagged along on a couple vacations for kids I babysat for in high school; I would sit with the kids in the back seat for the drive to and from, procure food items and entertainment, and be “mother’s helper” for family adventures and do some solo sitting at night when the parents went out for dinner/drinks.

      I would be clear about the hours you want sitter to be “on” (similar to au pairs, sitter can’t be “on” all day and all night; probably 8-10 hours a day max is realistic) and when sitter will have personal time.

    • POSITA says:

      This sounds amazing. One more adult to schlep stuff and change diapers. I’d make sure that you can go out for dinner or drinks a couple of evenings, too. It would certainly make it more of a vacation for you.

    • anne-on says:

      We took our au pair with us to the beach (same situation, house already rented, so no extra cost on travel/lodging). It was awesome! We were very clear about hours on/off – and the ‘rule’ (which I think is a good one) is that any time with you in the car/plane is time ‘on’. Having another set of hands to do sunblock/play kiddo games/supervise so we could swim/have a night out was amazing. We generally had her do bath/bed time every night and took 2 ‘date’ nights. We also counted her morning hours helping us get ready/go to the beach with us as time on, so on average 6-8 hours/day.

  15. NewMomAnon says:

    Kiddo is starting a new school! Teacher turnover (and corresponding student turnover) sealed the deal for us. But the new school doesn’t feed lunches so we’ll have to pack lunches and snacks. I think I’m going to pre-pack lunches on the weekend. Any favorite pre-packed kid lunch ideas?

    They have a fridge and we can send peanut butter because nobody has allergies right now. I don’t know whether they can heat food. Kiddo is down to less than 10 foods she’ll eat (pizza, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, yogurt (but only in pouch form, no fruit chunks), peanut butter, pears, potato chips/french fries, and pepperoni/sausage), so I’m just going to send whatever I want with a side of fruit, and let her be hungry if she chooses to eat only fruit. *shrug*

    • avocado says:

      My favorite make-ahead lunches are dinner leftovers. For hot foods, the Thermos Funtainer is great. I fill it with boiling water to heat it, empty the water, then put the hot food in, and it stays hot all day. We use it with mac and cheese, pasta, and soup. I have also heard that you can loosely roll pizza slices and put them in the thermos to keep them hot, but I haven’t actually tried it.

    • Momata says:

      You may find that your kid will eat more/different food at school than she does at home – mine do, maybe because of peer pressure and lack of other choices. I’ve listed some of my favorite entrees before. I send one veggie, one fruit, one non-meat protein (cheese stick / hard boiled egg / hummus) and an entree.
      – leftovers from adult dinner the night before
      – spaghetti (or spaghetti squash) and meatballs
      – tuna salad
      – chicken fried rice
      – black bean, corn, and feta salad
      – any kind of shredded slow cooked meat (barbecue chicken, pulled pork, pot roast)
      – shepherds pie

    • Anonymous says:

      I do a lot of leftovers from the night before. Or just plain PB+J, or pasta with parmesan grated on top + fruit + baby carrots sliced up. Another trick it to make a baby version of your own lunch. So if you’re making cobb salad for yourself – send pieces of ham and hardboiled egg + sliced/chopped veg+ crackers + apple sauce squeezie.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Regular lunch rotation in my house includes:
      pasta + meatball + veggies
      black beans + veggies
      chickpea curry + veggie
      black bean “casserole” (basically black beans baked w/ tortilla chips, cheese, tomatoes, corn, etc.)

      We also send fruit, cheese, crackers, and dried fruit (like raisins or craisins).

      We use a Thermos for the hot food and do what avocado does (fill w/ hot water, empty, add heated food).

    • We do a lot of Annie’s mac and cheese with meat (shredded chicken/ground beef/ground turkey) and veggies (greens/carrots) mixed in. I make the meat and veggies in big batches and freeze them in 1 oz cubes so we just make the mac and cheese and throw in a couple meat/veggie cubes the night before. We also do meatballs (can also be made ahead in large batches and frozen) with pasta, jarred sauce and veggies.

    • We are also Team Leftovers. Other ideas:

      – TJ’s chicken gyoza (this is my son’s favorite, so he gets it at least 1x/week)
      – Bean & cheese quesadillas, using TJ’s black bean dip for the beans
      – Greek yogurt (easy to throw a container in an insulated lunchbox with everything else)
      – Carrots/cucumbers/tomatoes + hummus

      DH always throws in a cookie, too, because he’s nice like that.

    • We usually just pack something from each category if not leftovers from dinner the night before:

      – Proteins: little beans with cheese melted on top, cottage cheese, cheese stick, mini meatballs, sliced hotdog, turkey rollups with cheese and jam (this is a weird one I know.. but a big hit!)
      – Fruits/Veg: grapes, apples, fruit cup, avocado chunks, steamed carrots and broccoli, half of a corn
      – Grains: pasta with nutritional yeast/ tomato sauce/cheese, quinoa, wheatberries, faro, rice with seaweed rolls etc
      – Sandwich, or pita wrap

  16. Lorelai Gilmore says:

    Might be too late in the day for answers, but I’m hoping to get some good suggestions from you experienced moms about my daughter’s piano lessons. Daughter just turned 7, is in first grade, and is taking piano. She was interested and asked to do it; I also think it’s very important for lots of reasons. She is not particularly musically gifted, but she’s doing ok.

    However, I am losing my mind at how to help her take ownership of practicing. She won’t do it unless a parent supervises, and when she does, there’s often a lot of whining/moaning/complaining/explaining that she’s terrible. Once we get through the whining and moaning, she does great and seems genuinely to enjoy it — and most importantly, she actually improves, and feels authentic pride in the fact that she’s worked hard and gotten good results. It’s growth mindset in practice! But it’s so brutal to get to that point.

    Other details: I am only home with the kids 3 nights per week; the nanny has them the other two. Kids are in school from 8:15-6 every day. So there’s just not a ton of time at home to do the practicing, about which I feel terribly guilty but there’s not much that can be done. I also feel a ton of anxiety every Tuesday when we get to lessons time and she hasn’t practiced. I’m clearly not doing a good job of letting her be in charge of this.

    I took piano lessons for 12 years and was never very good, but it was extremely valuable to my own development, particularly with respect to things like growth mindset. And today, I still value the ability to sit and play piano for myself. I’m really trying to make this work and don’t want to just let her quit.

    Any thoughts/suggestions? Am I just projecting my own issues on her? Should I let her quit? Help.

    • ElisaR says:

      I don’t know – I think I would let her quit. While it may have been valuable to you, it doesn’t mean it will be valuable to her. I took piano lessons for 5 years and I HATED practicing. When I did practice, it yielded results and I was happy with that (as you mention) but it was just torture practicing. Maybe it’s just not her thing. Turned out my “thing” was ballet and it totally shaped me and my work ethic and although I wasn’t great — it was one of the best experiences of my childhood. I know ballet wouldn’t be so great for everyone — we are all different! Maybe she just needs to find her thing, and trying piano is important but maybe now she knows that’s not her thing…..

      • ElisaR says:

        man I said “not her thing” wayyyyyy to much in that comment. but I guess that was the real take away of my comment!

    • Anonymous says:

      I would let her quit. If they are in school 8:15 – 6pm that is a really long day for a 7 year old. I would prioritize climbing trees and making mudpies in the backyard. Or heck, just blowing bubbles or drawing with chalk on the back deck.

      I did five years of piano lessons (ages 7-12). I hated it. It was a constant argument with my parents and I still dislike Tuesdays (lesson day) because of it. Gigantic waste of money for them and a negative memory for me.

    • Anonymous says:

      If she wasn’t in school quite so long I would recommend using a timer (like a wind up kitchen timer). She has to sit at the piano for the whole time the timer is going — whether she practices or not is up to her. Then let her teacher know this is the plan and you expect her to complain to your daughter when she doesn’t practice.

      Considering your kid is in school for a crazy long day and needs to be asleep within about two hours of coming home, I’d table lessons until the summer. (And if you have a nanny, why doesn’t she come home at 4? Put the nanny in charge of it.)

    • I’d talk to her teacher. Maybe with the long days at school, it would be more productive to do fewer practices or shorter practices? Has your daughter asked to quit? Also, it sounds like the complaining is based on anxieties that she’s not “good” at piano–maybe her teacher can help with a more positive message about practice, getting better, playing for its own enjoyment, etc.

      As a counterpoint, my husband took piano for years and says he struggled and argued about practicing. But he likes that he can play, and it was beneficial to him in a lot of other ways.

    • Famouscait says:

      What about letting her do lessons but not practicing otherwise? Consider it a guided introduction to the instrument, that she can pursue or quit later on.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      This may be inapplicable to your daughter, but I hated practicing because I had terrible stage fright, and was keenly aware that everyone in the house could hear me practicing. I remember asking for a keyboard and headphones; my parents couldn’t figure out why I wanted those when I had a very nice grand piano sitting right in the middle of a very large room with the best acoustics (meaning, every note could be heard throughout the house). I think if I had been able to practice without sharing my mistakes with the whole family, I would have enjoyed it a lot more….

    • We started with ten minute practices, and I told the teacher that that was what we could manage for now. At each birthday, practice time went up by five minutes. (Now he’s 8 and a half, we just moved up to 25 minutes, but his current teacher uses an ipad app that he just loves). Maybe try smaller increments?

      Also, we practiced five days a week. So, that meant Saturday, Sunday, and three weekdays. That was also way more manageable for us.

    • POSITA says:

      I think that at that age practice can consist of shorter attempts. What about having her play a “come to dinner song” every night before dinner? Or a “time to go to bed” song before bed? Or a “time to go to school” song in the morning before you leave? Or you could have her play one song before TV in the evenings? I used to sit and bang out a song or two a few times a day, but rarely sat to play for a real practice session.

      Perhaps you could also have her give a family concert for you and your family on Sunday evenings so that she can show you what she’s learned? This would help her be ready for Tuesday lessons.

    • avocado says:

      How long has she been taking piano, and how long is she expected to practice? Has she done a recital yet? When my kid was that age she was on her second year of piano lessons and her teacher expected her to practice a whopping ten minutes per day. Consistency is more important than quantity.

      My daughter periodically goes through phases where she constantly begs to quit the piano and throws screaming tantrums every time she is told to practice or makes a mistake. These phases usually coincide with inconsistent practice or a big jump in the difficulty of the music she’s assigned. When she is having a good streak of daily practice, she sees progress and actually enjoys it. Things that have worked for us are:

      – Manageable goals for daily practice time
      – Sticker charts to earn privileges for consistent, complaint-free practice
      – Practicing before school, instead of in the evening when she is exhausted
      – Letting her go back and play old, easy songs
      – Having her learn songs she’s interested in–favorite movie themes, songs from musicals, etc.
      – Letting her start playing Christmas music in the fall (ugh)
      – Having her play for grandparents over the phone

      If I were you, I would not let quitting be an option until she’s put in enough consistent practice (5+ days per week) to really know whether she likes piano or not. Piano is a great way to develop a growth mindset, but it takes time and tons of parental patience.

      Re. school hours, if part of the time is in an after-school program those hours sound totally normal to me. My kid has been out of the house at school/after-school/sports for 11-12 hours a day for pretty much her entire life.

      • avocado says:

        Also–taking her to hear live performances might inspire her for at least a while. We go to hear piano concertos at the symphony, but if you have a local university with a music program there will usually be free recitals by students getting their degrees.

    • layered bob says:

      I took lessons for 12 years beginning in kindergarten and hated it until at least junior high school, and now being able to play the piano is one of my favorite/most relaxing/most enriching skills. I had to sit at the piano for five minutes per grade level five days a week. Sometimes I spent those minutes kicking the piano angrily or banging my forehead on the keys. But I wasn’t allowed to quit and I’m so glad.

    • Lorelai Gilmore says:

      Thanks, all – this is really helpful. The recital is in June, so I think I’m going to try some strategies to stick it out until then, and then we can make a decision about what next.

      • Spirograph says:

        I have so much to say about this, but I’ll on my phone and have no patience for typing, so I’ll try to page you tomorrow with some more thoughts… But please stick with it. I was a terrible practicer, and my mom made a deal with me that I had to take lessons until 6th grade, at which point I could quit if I didn’t like it. Spoiler alert, I liked it by then, eventually took ownership of improving my skills, and still play (pretty well if I do say so myself) today. It is my favorite hobby.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.