Washable Workwear Wednesday: Mid-Rise Slim Flare Harper Trousers

Something that was very interesting to me for a few years was that it was so difficult to find flared or bootcut trousers, and I am happy to see that they are back. In fact, Old Navy was just crowing about these new Harper trousers, which come in a bunch of colors in a slim flare, mid rise — in regular, tall, and petite sizes 0–20. They’re machine washable and available in four colors for $37 full price. (When you add them to your cart, they’re reduced to $29!) I think you could wear this lovely claret red with a lot of different things. Just a general question for you ladies: What are your favorite affordable trousers, whether it’s Express or Old Navy or Gap, or something else? Mid-Rise Slim Flare Harper Trousers

Here’s a plus-size option at Old Navy.

Looking for other washable workwear? See all of our recent recommendations for washable clothes for work, or check out our roundup of the best brands for washable workwear.

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  1. THANK YOU from Accidental VBAC says:

    I posted late in the day yesterday and wanted to make sure those of you who responded to my post about being 38 weeks pregnant and dumpy know how much I appreciate your responses.

    I did take all of your advice and actually did something radical – asked friends to come over. I have a tendency towards stubbornness and thinking that I can do everything myself all the time. It was really helpful to hear that it’s OK to need extra support right now. Your responses also made me realize how foolish I was being not accepting help in the first place. I am fortunate to have a strong support system nearby who say things like, “Let me know what you need.” and mean it. The first person I reached out to inviting her to come over one evening was enthusiastic and thanked me for asking. It made me realize that it can be selfish to not accept love and help from those who genuinely want to be present and involved. After Friday, my husband and I are both done with work until after baby. Now that I have plan to get through these last three days, I feel a lot better.

    NewMomAnon, you really hit home, too. I actually do meditate! I had a great meditation practice through most of pregnancy that helped me so much. Pregnant or not, I consider my morning routine vital to my mental health – exercise, prayer and meditation or some combination of them. Guess who has done none of these things in several weeks?!

    To October – thank you for sharing! I hope your toddler is feeling better. I appreciated hearing that you’re back and forth, too. Made me feel less crazy.

    Thank you thank you thank you, All!

  2. I just posted this on the too-small clothing thread from yesterday but wanted to post here too since this will probably get more views.
    H&M (or at least some locations) has a bin for recycling old clothes; you get 15% off your next purchase for your donation. I’m a fan of their kids clothes so it’s a win/win as far as I can tell.

  3. Paging NewMomAnon re: Dustbusters says:

    I commented on yesterday’s post, but probably too late for you to see – you can get handheld vacuums that plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. Search G 0 0 gle shopping for “car vacuum”. Most of them have pretty crummy reviews so you’ll have to search around a bit, but there are options!

    • Sweethome also has reviews of handheld vacuums with this in mind. They tell you how thoroughly you can clean a car on a full charge for most models.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I missed yesterday’s post and am too lazy to go back and look, but I tried forever to find the best handheld vacuum for my car. My cordless dyson doesn’t even cut it. I am resigned to the fact that the gas station ones you put quarters in really are the best performer

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Do cars even have cigarette lighters anymore? Now I’m going to have to check my car….I wonder if they have USB-powered vacuums, because I know I have a USB outlet.

      On the handheld vacuums – if I have to remember to bring it from the garage up to my apartment and then back down again, it’s not going to happen. I know this about myself. I have a great dustbuster (seriously, one of the best baby shower gifts I got from an experienced mom) and it makes it down to my car about once every six months.

    • A word of caution: we used one of these for maybe 10 min a few weeks ago (with car engine off) and the next morning our battery was dead. The battery had just been tested as part of an oil change and has been fine since the jump, so it was definitely the vacuum.

  4. I have posted a couple times about my 3.5 year old son who had anxiety about peeing in the potty and was holding it all day when we tried potty training. Just wanted to update for others who are experiencing the same – last week my kiddo started peeing in the potty and is now going independently and happily at home! Poop is another story, but we’ll work on that one a little later. I was so stressed about this and am so relieved. We worked with him a lot and tried several strategies and I’m happy to share more info if anyone wants it – but at the end it probably just came down to his mental/emotional readiness (and juice. lots of juice).

  5. Kiddo has not napped in 3 days, seems not-tired and not-crabby. He’s not quite 2.5! I am not ready for this. (Because this happened over the long weekend, what I am is *tired*.)

    • All three of my kids stopped napping right after 3. It was just when they were ready to give it up. I wasn’t ready, but it was kind of nice not having weekend days revolve around the nap. We compensated with an earlier bedtime at first, but they were fine without it.

    • We have great success with a hour of “quiet time,” where kiddo looks at books in her bed quietly. She’s 3 so not sure how it would work with a younger kid, but we love the hour of down time and we compensate with a slightly earlier bedtime. So sad to say goodbye to the nap– the only block of time during the day where I get any chores done. But, agree with RR that it is amazing not to have to plan the day around a nap.

      • Tired Mommy says:

        We also have a version of this that is salvation. My oldest stopped napping at 2.5 so I feel your pain. We started out with toys specifically for quiet time to get him interested and use the toddler clock nap function to set the timer. Now that he has been doing it for over a year, he just plays with whatever toys he’s interested in (lots of legos junior for building) and he knows when the alarm goes off he is done. He sometimes complains that he is bored, which I also think is a good thing in small doses :)

  6. Anonanonanon says:

    Complaint time: I have a cold and I’m miserablleeee. I hate having sore throats, they’re my least favorite thing. I’d rather be puking than have a sore throat. I think a pregnancy cold is a lot like a “man cold”, you whine a lot more, are convinced you might die, and refuse to take most medication. Just have to make it through a presentation this afternoon (that I know will have a lot of annoying questions) then I can go home and collapse.

    On the bright side, my son is 7 so he can largely fend for himself this evening and I’ll make an easy dinner, I have a super helpful and understanding husband who will understand if I’m being lazy when I get home, and if this presentation ends early I can get home kind of early, and my son doesn’t have sports practice or anything this evening. Also my husband has a work happy hour this evening so I am going to watch an episode of my guilty pleasure reality tv show while he’s out so he doesn’t have to be annoyed by it.

    • POSITA says:

      I’m sorry. That sucks. If you haven’t already, take some Tylenol for that throat. I always forget about pain reliever for a sore throat, but it does make a big difference.

    • ElisaR says:

      i’m with you – 27 wks pregnant and the worst sore throat ever! I took tylenol this morning but the pain woke me up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I just took a rapid strep test that was negative (phew). I am hesitant to overdo the herbal tea and regular tea because of pregnancy but I had one of the each of those this morning too.

      I just spent $7 on an “immunity” juice blend at the local juice house. I’m a sucker but hoping anything will help me. Hope you feel better soon too!

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Thanks! it woke me up a bunch last night too. I think I’m going to take benadryl tonight since that always knocks me out.

        • I find tea and honey helps (you can get decaf tea if that’s a concern). Honey and hot water is also good. Emergen-C may be a placebo, but also makes a difference for me. And, yes, Tylenol.
          Having a cold sucks extra when you can’t take anything to really help. Hang in there.

        • Wehaf says:

          Warm/hot lemonade with honey is magically good for the throat. I don’t know why, but it’s incredibly soothing. It’s my go-to sore throat drink.

    • NOVA Anon says:

      Me too! I was up on and off all night between the having to go to the bathroom (19 weeks) and the sore throat.
      Hope we all feel better soon….

    • Man cold mad me laugh :)

    • Anonymous says:

      I got a terrible terrible cold and cough with my last pregnancy. It was made far worse by having a toddler to take care of on top of everything else. I broke down and took some DayQuil and NyQuil. One dose of each per day. I cried at my doctor appointment when talking to my doctor about it, and he basically just said take care of yourself. If you’re too sick to function that’s not good for anyone.

      So I would say break down and take some cold medicine if you’re really miserable. And this is from the lady who took no cold medicine through her first pregnancy and subsequent two years of nursing. My now eight week old does not seem to have been affected by the occasional small dose of medicine :)

      • This. My husband works with the at-risk population so he is frequently encountering people that are doing the parenting thing all wrong. Anytime I fret over something like cold medicine he’s like “is it crack? Is it heroin? No? Then you are fine … and doing better than half the people I see.” I know that’s sad thinking but it really puts it in perspective for me.

  7. Congrats! And yes, please share any strategies that you think helped. I have a 3.5 year old who is apparently immune to bribes, and though I don’t want to force the issue, I would like to encourage her.

    • This was for R above, threading apparently didn’t work on my phone.

      • Here’s everything we tried. I can’t really say what, if anything, made the difference at the end. Ultimately we felt that our kid needed a lot of encouragement and support so that’s what we tried to offer.
        – At first he didn’t even want to sit, so we gave one chocolate chip as an incentive just for sitting. We also got some of his favorite books and made them books just for potty time. That got him interested in sitting and “trying”. We sat with him on the potty and read books for months without a drop of pee…
        – If he really started resisting we would back off entirely and not mention it for a week or two before going back to the “sit and try” routine
        – We watched Elmo’s Potty Time and the Daniel Tiger potty episode, read potty-themed books
        – We talked a lot about listening to our bodies and my husband and I verbalized when we needed to go and had kiddo come in with us if he wanted to.
        – We tried to minimize other conflicts, and didn’t push him on other things while we were working on this (e.g., he likes us to stay with him until he falls asleep and we didn’t fight it)
        – Last week we were on vacation and took him on two day trips without baby brother. Maybe the quality time helped? One trip was to an amusement park which seemed to give him confidence about being a big boy and being brave. Who knows if that made a difference, but maybe…
        – We offered big prizes for peeing. They didn’t seem to incentivize him much but they helped us make the initial successes into positive experiences
        – Last week we decided to try half days without a diaper. We figured if he didn’t pee he’d get a diaper within a few hours anyway. We let him have as much juice as he wanted. The first few days he only peed when he was bursting and then he got the hang of it and has been doing great since then. It’s only been a few days so hopefully things continue this way!

        • Oh, and he has a beloved stuffed dog and he randomly started telling us that Woofie pees in the potty and sometimes he would say “Woofie has to pee!” and would take him to the potty and then say “great job woofie! you earned a prize!”. It was super cute and maybe helped him process things. He did this on his own, we didn’t prompt it.

        • rakma says:

          Thanks for all of this! I really like the half days with out diaper thing, will have to consider that. And the Woofie thing is just too cute.

  8. What kind of help do I need? says:

    Husband and I have come to the conclusion that we need more help but we’re not sure what KIND of help we need, so I’m looking for ideas. We have two kids, ages 3, and 5, and both attend full day preschool (until 5 pm). College sitter comes to our home at 4:30 pm to do dishes and some tidying up and dinner prep, and then picks up the kids around 5:15 pm and stays with them at home until 6:45 pm. I usually come home around 6ish and we all eat dinner together until sitter leaves. So we have 2 hours of babysitting help a day. Husband and I then take turns giving kids bath, bedtime routine, etc. Kids go to bed between 8 – 8:30 pm, husband and I eat dinner if we didn’t eat it before with the kids, and I spend the last 2 hours before bed doing cooking/cleaning/attempting to work out.

    We have a housecleaner who comes twice a month.

    Here are the things that seem to take up a lot of our time:

    – cooking
    – laundry (but sitter will fold clean laundry if I ask)
    – DISHES (even after sitter has unloaded and loaded dishes, we have to do another load before bed). I feel like there are constantly dishes in our sink and our kitchen is a mess.
    – miscellaneous things that always seem to come up — taking out the garbage and recycling, paying bills, sweeping the floors, life stuff, etc.

    A full time nanny seems wasteful because we love our preschool and like that it offers after school extra curricular activities.

    What help do we need?

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Can you pay your sitter extra to do the dishes from dinner, since she seems to be staying until close to when it’s over? Or just become ok with leaving things rinsed in the sink for her to deal with the next day?

      With laundry, can you either up your housecleaner to every week or see if they will do laundry at least every week?

      If your babysitter is already doing prep, what cooking assistance do you need?

    • POSITA says:

      Have you thought about an au pair? We love that we can leave for work earlier in the morning so we can get home earlier. We also avoid having to do a morning routine with the kids. The au pair gets them dressed, brushes teeth, brushes hair, makes lunches, and takes the kids to school. She handles in service days and sick days. She also does the kid laundry and helps with dishes. She’s also willing to start dinner, though we haven’t asked this of her since it’s really hard to watch a 1 yo and newly 4 yo and make dinner without using screentime. We’d rather have the kids play and we make dinner.

      Evenings are still lots of “life stuff” and picking up, but it’s nice to trade a stressful morning routine for an hour of pre-dinner playtime with the kids.

      • Thanks so much for the responses so far! We live in a small rental in the city, so no room for an au pair and sadly, no ability to swap out a smaller dishwasher for a bigger one!

        I do cook a lot — I cook a certain kind of ethnic food (from our culture) which sometimes can be labor intensive. I agree that I need to do more batch cooking on the weekends so that I’m not spending time after the kids are in bed to do yet more cooking. The sitter just roasts vegetables for dinner, but I’m the one who is actually doing the cooking. I usually don’t make enough food on the weekend to last the week so I am running around during the week doing more cooking.

        I also agree that more housekeeping help is probably what we need. We don’t have a laundry in unit, so going to the laundry in the building takes up more time and a houskeeper would be perfect for this.

        Finally, having the sitter there until 6:45 doesn’t stress me out. It really helps because sometimes husband/I only get home closer to 6:20 pm, so I need her to reliably stay until 6:45 pm. Also, if we’re done with dinner early I can go bathe the kids while she tidies up, so we do find it very helpful.

        Thanks all, keep the ideas coming.

        • Isn’t the trade off of cooking a lot the fact that you have a lot of dishes? If you want to cook, then accept the dishes. If the dishes are too much, then cook less. Get premade stuff, or go out to eat, or order in, or whatever. But that’s precisely why I don’t have time to cook full meals during the week – the prep and dishes are just too much to keep up with, when I also have kids and jobs and house to tend to. Something has to go, and when you don’t have space or money for a staff, then you pick which one it is.

          • This is where I’m stuck, too. With two little kids I have very little time for hobbies. Cooking is the one thing that I really get to enjoy from my pre-babies days (hoping this will change when the littlest one stops BFing and starts sleeping through the night– oh help me, gawd) but the resulting dishes are just so oppressive. We’re trying batch cooking/prepping on the weekends and also paring down our menu significantly– namely by adding one night of food that doesn’t have to be cooked (like veggie sandwiches or mezze) and one night of a slow-cooker meal. But I like cooking, so its a hard change.

        • Have you looked into a laundry service? I’m thinking of a wash-and-fold service that picks up and drops off once or twice a week. That exists, right? (It’s been a while since I lived in the city, but DH and I used to use a wash and fold on our block occasionally.)

          • Katala says:

            Yes, this. In NYC we exclusively used wash-n-fold and even now that I have a washer/dryer I miss it. They were so good at folding. After a few times I knew how they would fold each thing and organized my drawers to have the perfect size spot for everything. Now half the time we’re all living out of laundry baskets. sigh.

          • I have heard of this but never used it before, and a quick google search tells me that they will do free pick up and drop off in my neighborhood. THANK YOU!

    • EB0220 says:

      What about a housekeeper who comes in twice a week in the morning when you aren’t there to do all that little annoying stuff? Tidy up, do/fold laundry (maybe even put it away?), take out trash & recycling, empty/reload dishwasher, maybe start dinner in the crockpot? If you can have that 2 days a week it would probably remove most of the stuff that needs to be done in the evening. Also – bear with me here – but I wonder if you would feel more relaxed if the babysitter left when you get home. I love babysitters but the days I have them feel a little more stressful than the days I don’t (I have a babysitter 2 days a week in the evening).

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I had the same thought re: the babysitter. having to interact with what is basically an employee when I get home would stress me out. Can the sitter prep the kid’s dinner and then leave when you get there? I know it’s nice to all eat the same thing for dinner, but in reality that rarely works out for us on weeknights. We sit with our son while he eats his dinner so we can have family conversation, but we eat something different later (usually on the couch while watching tv together)

    • Following! says:

      We have the same problem! I believe a factotum who handles childcare, house stuff and life stuff is now called a “family assistant” but I have no idea how to find one, especially when an au pair is not feasible.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      It seems like you have a lot kid help but not a lot of house help. Do you have someone to do yard work if applicable? How about a cleaning service so you’re not spending time sweeping/cleaning toilets/cleaning out the microwave etc. on evenings and weekends. You could also have them do some laundry things, like wash and change out all the bedding and towels, for example (i’ve never been comfortable with housekeeping doing my personal laundry). Can you outsource more laundry to the cleaners? Take a page from men’s book and take all your work shirts to the laundry to get washed and pressed. Of course that adds an errand, but if there’s somewhere near lunch you can do it on your lunch break or a service that will deliver your laundry it’s worth a consideration.

      Maximize your lunch break if you can: it’s much easier to pick up supplies for a school project, a new baseball glove, etc. on a lunch break alone than dragging kids with you in the evening/weekend to do it. Even adding a stop alone on the way to daycare in the evening feels much more draining to me than doing it during lunch.

      Also it seems like you’re doing a lot of cooking. Can you either make larger batches of things and have leftovers, explore simpler meals for the family, or get some sort of meal service? Maybe the sitter could make dinner for the kids and you and your husband can make your dinner from the meal service?

      Do you do grocery delivery? Grocery shopping tends to eat up a chunk of a weekend day.

      • avocado says:

        It does sound as if you are spending a lot of time on dinner. If you have a strong preference for a particular cuisine that is relatively complicated to cook and creates a lot of dirty dishes, can you simplify meals by reducing the number of separate dishes you serve? For example, just serve one dish that includes both veggies and protein, with rice from the rice cooker. Buying pre-chopped vegetables, prepping ingredients on the weekend, batch cooking so you can eat leftovers the next day, and working in quick and easy meals like panini or breakfast-for-dinner a couple of times a week will help.

        Re. the perpetually full dishwasher, lunch containers are the big culprit in our family. With three people packing lunch and multiple snacks, we can fill a full-sized dishwasher almost all the way up just with one day’s worth of containers, and that’s before we add the dinner dishes. On the days when I pack a fake bento lunch in a single large container (basically just stick all the components in there without separators like a Starbucks protein box), the dishwasher gets a lot less full.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I would increase your housekeeper to 1x a week, if you can afford it, and ask them to do tasks like laundry, sweeping, and emptying the garbage/recycling/dishwasher. Although if you’re running the dishwasher 2x a day, I don’t think you can get around having to empty it yourselves at least once. I think what might be easiest is having you unload the dishwasher in the morning before leaving the house, having the sitter unload/re-load in the evening, and then running it when you go to bed.

      Obviously there are things that you can’t outsource (paying bills – but put as much of it on autopay as you can!). Why, if your sitter is doing dinner prep does dinner/cooking still take so long? My husband and I meal plan and do prep every weekend so that we can cook as efficiently as possible on weekdays, but we still “meal plan” for dinners like a can of soup and grilled cheese.

    • CPA Lady says:

      You say that cooking takes a lot of time. What are you cooking? Can you get stuff from your grocery store that is closer to pre-made? Like a pre made salad rather than chopping up the veggies and toppings yourself. My grocery store has stuff like fajitas where it’s seasoned chopped up chicken, onions, bell peppers, and all you do is put it in a pan and stir. Yeah, it’s more expensive that way, but it makes the entire dinner prep process literally 10 minutes long, and you only use one pan and don’t need to dirty knives and cutting boards, etc.

      Also, there are hacks. Like, the way I make guacamole is putting avocados in a a food processor with a spoonful of salsa. That way I don’t have to chop up tomatoes or onions or anything. Can you simplify your recipes or do more one pot cooking?

    • This may be stupid, but – how big is your dishwasher? It sounds like it may be on the smaller side if you have to run it twice a day. If you have the space and budget, consider getting a bigger one – it’s an investment but at least it’s only a one-time expense!

      • EB0220 says:

        I thought the same. My kids are the same ages as OP’s and we can make it once a day. Maybe she needs thinner plates!

    • shortperson says:

      have your sitter come a half hour to an hour earlier every day to do dishes and put laundry away. we have 3x/week housekeeping to do dishes and laundry and it keeps us functional. i also like to cook and we both hate dishes.

      • Interested in what your housekeeping arrangement is – how many hours, what do they do other than dishes/laundry?

        • shortperson says:

          all cleaning, taking out trash and all the amazon boxes, making beds and general tidying, unpacking from trips, etc. about 14 hours/week. costs ~$1200/month, but we both earn high incomes. housekeeper + daycare is cheaper than a nanny and works better for us.

    • What are you doing on the weekend? Most of that stuff gets done on the weekends in my house. We do laundry pretty much straight from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, just transferring clothes/towels/sheets around from washer to dryer to closets.

      Sunday afternoons are household maintenance. We pay bills on the first and third Sunday afternoon of each month (they live in a specific bin on our entry table until then). We use the second and fourth Sunday afternoons to clean up the house and do any random “life stuff” that is needed. Because we keep to a schedule and everyone in the house pitches in (the toddler and preschooler help pick up every night, and “dust” and “sweep” on those days) it doesn’t take much more than 2 hours each weekend.

      And we have a larger dishwasher (it appears) than you do, but we also do fewer home-cooked meals. While I love to cook, it’s just not happening during the week. We do chicken in the oven with a steamer bag of veggies, or we do a one-pot stir fry, or we order in a pizza. We get our cultural food in on the weekends when DH and I have the time to do all the prep and clean up (and we try to make enough so we can have that as a second meal during the following week – easy to reheat or change slightly).

      I’m not sure how housework is taking you 2 hours every weeknight – you might want to look into an organizer to help you start a system, or you might want to just go through and simplify your life and adjust your expectations. If cleaning is taking you two hours each night, then you need to downsize. The kids have too many toys, or you have too many things, or your house is too big. Something. Having a ton of stuff isn’t bad, but in your case you’re overwhelmed. You are spending more time “maintaining” your stuff than you are enjoying it. Maybe spend some time thinking about how to reduce your time cleaning so you can spend time enjoying what you have.

      • ElisaR says:

        quick question: these stir-frys everybody speaks of — do you follow a recipe? i have a wok and a cookbook but i’m wondering if there’s an easier way. ie: bottled sauce and precut stuff- just not sure where to start with that.

        • avocado says:

          I usually use a recipe for the sauce, but when I’m in a hurry I use ground chicken instead of cutting up chicken breasts. It saves time on the chopping and the cooking. You can buy bags of frozen vegetables selected especially for stir-fries.

        • Our meat counter will cut up meat for us, so we buy pre-cut meat. We get the frozen stir fry veggies. I cook those two in a frying pan, add some soy sauce and sesame seeds, and call it a stir fry. I’ve usually already started the rice in a separate pot.

          It’s not fancy, but it’s fast and pretty yummy. And only two pots and one spoon to clean.

    • Katala says:

      I heard about a woman in my neighborhood offering a “concierge” service geared towards working moms. You pay for a few hours in advance and she deducts (in 10 minute increments, I think) time as she does things on your to do list, which she helps you set up with her. She has keys to your house and does things like pick up your mail/packages/drycleaning and drop it at your house/put it away, changes your A/C filters each month, schedules appointments, makes calls (and can transfer to you once a person answers), organizes other household help (e.g., she doesn’t clean, but will help direct your housekeeper). I guess her philosophy is sometimes getting help seems like more work than doing the tasks yourself and she wants to change that for busy people. I thought it was a cool idea, maybe something like that would help you with the miscellaneous stuff that always ends up taking over.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have room for a second dishwasher? I know someone who has two and it is amazing and genius.

      Other options: personal chef / drop off dinner service (call around to catering companies if you can’t find one listed in your area). I know several people who do this and love it.

      Hire a cleaning lady to come once a week and do laundry and dishes.

      Pay college sitter to come in one or two mornings/afternoons a week and do “personal assistant” work like organizing to-do lists, making appointments, food shopping/prep, dry cleaning, getting things framed, deep cleaning, organizing baby clothes, etc. This will be good for her because being a “personal assistant” is much better on a resume than “babysitter” (ask me how I know!)

  9. Toddler snack bin? says:

    My toddler has started dragging her step stool into the kitchen and helping herself to the snacks we keep on the counter. I have been thinking about giving her a bit more food independence by setting up a designated snack bin for her, but I wonder whether this will just increase her consumption of highly processed carbs and also result in her eating less at meals, where we tend to get in the protein and fruits and vegetables. If you’ve tried this approach with your toddler, could you let me know if it was a success, any lessons learned, any specific snack recommendations, etc.?

    • Maddie Ross says:

      As much as I love independence, we instituted a firm rule that our daughter cannot get any snacks/food without asking first. 99% of the time she’s good about it. The 1% when she’s not is right after school when she’s exhausted and I don’t have dinner ready fast enough. Those are moments when we’re usually headed for a breakdown anyway though…

    • POSITA says:

      We actually tend to put snacks well out of sight or the kids always want them. I would probably tuck the snacks away and encourage waiting for meals or fruit for a between meal option.

    • Anonymous says:

      we allow munching on fresh veggies – cut up carrot or green pepper sticks etc. I have a tray I pull out of the fridge when I get home and lay on the kitchen table. Food is eaten in kitchen only. I usually put it away 15 minutes before dinner so they don’t lose their appetite. And worse case they lose their appetite eating too many veggies.

      I actually started this pre-kids so I wouldn’t eat all the crackers when I got home from work and I just kept it up.

      • Anonymous says:

        adding that I tried including fruit but I had to stop because the kids would gorge the fruit and leave the veggies and be too full for supper.

      • Tfor22 says:

        I had a friend who told me she always gave her kids vegetables before dinner so they ate them when they were hungry. I tried to follow that as well and basically slipped the kid some of the vegetables from the upcoming meal when he wanted a snack. Hmm, I wonder if this is why he prefers raw vegetables to cooked.

    • Tfor22 says:

      Maybe a snack bin in the refrigerator with applesauce, veggies, cut up fruit and cheese sticks? I think I had a snack area when the lad was a toddler. I still have a snack bin in the fridge for him, and he’ll be 12 soon. I often have yogurts, cheese sticks, applesauce, baby carrots, and apples in there. The hardest part is keeping the hubs from raiding it when he is making the lad’s lunch for school.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I keep a snack bin of unappealing foods at kiddo-height in a cupboard – the “healthy” granola bars, packs of nut-based crackers, raisins. I also keep pre-cut and pre-washed fruit and veggies in the refrigerator drawers, and cheese sticks on a low shelf in the fridge. If kiddo wants a snack, those are her options. It’s funny how often “I’m hungry” really means “I want junk food.” But it’s nice to know that if she is actually hungry, she has options.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I don’t have a snack drawer yet, but I can see this being a good idea when my kiddo is a little older (not yet 2.5). Right now, we try to not give her snacks because she wants things like raisins or goldfish and fills up before dinner. We used to give snacks to stave off meltdowns and she would basically not eat dinner. Since we’ve stopped, she eats a lot more at dinner (and more nutritious food).

    • Anonymous says:

      Look into Montessori kitchens and snack set ups. It’s usually pretty healthy ideas. And lots of stuff can sit out more than you would think.

      My kiddo currently prefers cheese to anything else in the world so I would make fruit and veggies available. But right now she’s in a skip afternoon snack (unless it’s junk or cheese) and most of dinner and then eat a giant breakfast and large lunch phase, so snack is not really a thing for her at the moment.

  10. Overspending? says:

    I’m sorry for posting twice, but I posted late in the day yesterday and don’t think it got a lot of views:

    My husband and I went to an art exhibit yesterday and he spent $42 on a tshirt featuring the artist’s work — for our 3 year old son. Does this seem excessive to you guys? Because I’m frustrated. We aren’t rich – have tons of student loans and 2 kids in daycare. And he seemed to think my frustration was an overreaction. What is your take?

    • Um, yes. That is ridic. I would be annoyed if he had spent that on himself! Let alone on a kid who will outgrow it by next year. UNLESS the artist is a friend/ family member or the buy was a fundraiser, maybe. Otherwise, no.

    • Uhhh, yeah, it’s excessive. Do you guys have a good handle on money, generally, or is a talk about budgeting in order?

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Yes, excessive.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      If it’s a one-off, I’d let it go – it’s $42, which is two tanks full of gas, which is probably not going to make or break most families posting on this board. If it’s part of a pattern (like, kiddo has a dresser stocked with expensive t-shirts and you are worried about whether you can afford your daycare bill this month), it bears some ongoing conversations and maybe some strategic money management.

      One thought: you might have different tolerance for debt. Like, you may see student loans as a curse that must be shed immediately, but he may not care as long as your paychecks cover your expenses. You should talk about that.

      My ex and I had very different money management outlooks; I wanted to aggressively throw money at my student loans, and he wanted to be able to splurge on drinks for his buddies on the weekends, expensive clothes and the latest video games. We set up a “yours/mine/joint” system in which each of us got a fixed “allowance” from each paycheck that went into our individual bank account, and then the rest was split between savings, retirement and checking in a way that we both agreed on. We agreed that we would not comment on the other person’s use of their “allowance” money, and sometimes if we disagreed on a big purchase (like ex’s car or his sports season tickets), it came out of allowance instead of joint funds.

      • Pigpen's Mama says:


        One time thing, not a big dent in your budget, don’t worry about it –esp since there isn’t anything you can do about it.

        If it’s a pattern, or looks like it’s going to become a pattern, then a discussion is in order.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Only thing I could say in your husband’s defense is — if he wanted to support the artist but couldn’t actually buy a piece, this is a way to do it that’s ‘cheaper’ than buying a print or an original or whatever?

      But yeah, I’d be frustrated.

    • I’m on the fence. I would never spend $42 on an item of mass-produced children’s clothing, even if it was seen as a high-end brand, and I would call that ridiculous. But I can see wanting to support the artist by buying something and thinking, “Well, this t-shirt is cute, and at least someone will use/wear it.” At least, I don’t think it’s ridiculous on principal. If your budget can’t take the hit, or there’s a pattern of spendy impulse purchases, those are different issues.

    • I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all. It’s one shirt. You didn’t say it’s a pattern, you didn’t say this will make you miss a meal this month, and you clearly have enough money to go to an art exhibit. Maybe you made a frivolous purchase for yourself this month, and he sees his as “better” because it’s for the kids. Maybe he switched what he buys for lunch and wanted to spend the extra on something extravagant for once. There are literally a thousand background stories that would make this okay.

      But none of that matters. A bunch of people giving opinions on an internet board isn’t helpful to your situation. What are you trying to do? Prove you’re right? Justify your frustration? Get advice on how to address this? Figure out what your actual issue is, and talk about THAT with him, because it doesn’t sound like it’s just about the shirt.

      • Overspending? says:

        Thank you so very much, everyone, for taking time out of your day to share this feedback. It really helps me. To the last Anon — your point is well taken. What I wanted to get out of it is whether my frustration was reasonable. On matters of money/overspending – which we don’t discuss very often at all (maybe a couple times a year) – my husband seems to see me as overly restrictive, and I think unreasonable. He doesn’t seem to see how little things add up. When I’ve talked to him about those small things, he points out that my law school debt dwarfs anything else he spends. Of course, that law school debt has enabled me to make an income I wouldn’t have otherwise.
        So I wanted to see if I was being out of the norm in viewing this as an excessive amount to spend on a toddler’s t-shirt.
        And it wasn’t a local artist – it was the Murukami exhibit at the Chicago MCA, and this was the first time we went to a museum in a few years (had the day off, while the kids were in daycare.)

    • How do you handle your money and who buys most of the things for your kids? I tend to “buy” most of our kid’s clothes, toys, books, and order all the diapers and etc. on amazon. As a result, her father sometimes will buy things that are completely senseless and silly for her (I can see him buying a $42 shirt if he really liked it) because he doesn’t generally feel like we “spend” a lot of money on her already. It happens so randomly and infrequently that I just let it go because, while we’re not rich either, it won’t affect the budget. If it was more frequent, I’d say something.

      • Overspending? says:

        This is really helpful. He definitely doesn’t feel like we spend a lot of money — he thinks we do without bc we don’t ever go on vacation, for example. But then, we eat out a few times a week, without thinking twice about it. We don’t have a budget which is embarrassing.

        • We don’t have a budget either. I think that may be part of the issue. And we sort of carried over a division of labor from our pre-kid days where he deals with X bills and I deal with Y bills and we adjust as needed but it’s really a system that needs to be reassessed because there are things I just don’t register as expenses (e.g., our cable bill) and things he doesn’t realize cost what they do (I don’t think he would come anywhere close to knowing how much we spend on diapers per month).

          • avocado says:

            Ha, we do have a budget but I do all the shopping so my husband has zero idea how much things actually cost these days. This usually results in a nasty surprise when he has to run to the grocery store for something at the last minute, especially because he usually goes to the nearby store that is overpriced.

    • avocado says:

      I don’t think my kid’s ever had a $42 t-shirt. A $42 t-shirt may well be problematic for your budget. However, if you try to police your husband’s spending on individual items like this it will create a lot of resentment. You need to work together to set up a system/budget/set of rules that is realistic and fits your shared goals, then let him buy the $42 t-shirt if he chooses as long it fits within the guidelines. Some possibilities include “yours/mine/ours” accounts, a shared budget using a system like YNAB, and a dollar amount limit on all unilateral purchasing decisions.

      My husband seems to believe that it is some sort of moral failing to visit gift shops or purchase souvenirs, and it drives me absolutely crazy. Our daughter loves this stuff the way all kids do, but he doesn’t want to let her spend her allowance on it or even visit the gift shop without buying anything. It has put a damper on a lot of our vacations because he gets mad whenever she even asks to visit a shop, and she gets upset when he won’t let her or spends the whole time complaining or allows her only 5 minutes. If your husband is not buying $42 toddler t-shirts every week and it’s not interfering with your long-term goals, I’d just let him have his fun.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, I feel so bad for your kid. I remember hoarding money to spend at gift shops whenever we took a trip or did something like that as a kid. Some of the things were really dumb, but I still remember our vacations because of them.

        Maybe get her a charm bracelet or a postcard book so that she has something to go looking for that’s a legitimate “collection.”

      • Anonymous says:

        My daughter has a $42 shirt! I knew it was a mistake to look at Nordstrom’s kid section, and I resisted almost all of it, but this one was so freaking cute, and it’s the kid where the sequins change color if you flip them up or down, and it just made me grin to look at it. I knew it was ridiculous when I bought it, but she loves it, and I love it, and it makes both of us happy. She stained it with spaghetti sauce the first time she wore it, too. This is why we don’t regularly buy nice things. Otherwise, most of my kids’ clothes are clearance, second-hand, or generically inexpensive.

        I feel like the point of having money is so you can spend it on things that make you happy (assuming you have enough to live on, of course, which I think we all do, here). If you’re sensible 95% of the time, “ridiculous” purchases that are a non-budget-breaking price are OK in my book.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if I’m asking for advice here, or just venting.

    I feel like one of my biggest frustrations as a parent are people in my life – like my childfree friends – who don’t get the realities of my daily existence.

    A few weeks ago, one of my friends (who doesn’t have kids) asked me if I wanted to go out with her this Friday. I can usually swing a quick happy hour after work on a Friday, with enough advance notice, so I said yes.

    Today she emailed me – her idea for us going out was to drive an hour to another town to this event she got tickets for. Doors for the event open at 5. She wanted to get there “early” and so asked if I could leave work a little before 4 on Friday.

    I thought my head was going to explode. A., I work 9-6 (she knows this) so I can drop my son off in the morning. I have some schedule flexibility, but I do also have a boss, coworkers and clients I’m accountable to, and I’m also in my busiest time of the year right now. So no, I can’t leave work at 3:30 on Friday, sorry. B. If we drive an hour, go to the event from 5-8, and drive back, I won’t be home until 9-9:30. Which means I’ll miss dinner and bedtime and will have to get everything together for the soccer games and birthday party we have this Saturday at like 10pm. Not my idea of a good time after working this week, even if it was a short week.

    I feel like she just doesn’t get it. And maybe she doesn’t need to – she’s childfree, in a pretty easy-going marriage, and she runs her own business, so her life is definitely more flexible than mine. But I try to get where she’s coming from when she has to, say, spend time answering client calls when we go to lunch. Is it that hard to understand that leaving work at 3:30 to drive to an event an hour away where I won’t get home until late really isn’t doable for me? Am I expecting too much here?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      So, I hear you – it’s hard to say no, and being a parent means saying no a lot. But I actually think she’s being somewhat considerate; she gave you a few days’ notice, probably because she realizes that this is both a work disruption and requires child care adjustments, and because she probably realizes there is a risk that you won’t be able to swing those. You should say no quickly so she can find a different companion, if you don’t want to make those adjustments.

      And – she invited you. How would you feel if she spent so much time worrying about your schedule that she just stopped inviting you? Because I have friends who stopped inviting me to stuff after kiddo came because I could never go out when she was tiny. I have other friends who say, “I understand if you can’t make it, but I want to keep you in the loop,” and gosh, that means so much to me. She sounds like she’s in the latter camp but maybe not saying it so artfully.

      • +1. Some of my childfree, esp. childfree and single, friends assume I can never do anything and so just rarely include me these days. It’s also hard for people to understand that you want to see them but you want to limit it to 2 hours somewhere on your way home and that this doesn’t take away from genuinely wanting to see them. I would just be honest that you can’t leave work early and tell her if she wants to go with someone else that’s okay with you, and if she want to go have a drink at X location, great.

      • Anonymous says:

        Our friends stopped inviting both me and my husband to stuff immediately after we had a baby. And it was stuff we could’ve made it to! Like going out to dinner for 2 hours.

    • I’m sure she doesn’t get it – why would she? Before I had a kid, I couldn’t even imagine the 24-hour aspects of parenting (e.g., for every moment of a 24-hour day, you need to plan for who is watching the kiddo.)

      In this instance, you can go or not – but in the future, you can avoid these kinds of things in your initial response to her request to hang out. “That sounds awesome! I’m available Friday between 6 and 8, and I need to stay local. How about __ (X restaurant)?”

      For what it’s worth, the event she’s planned sounds like a nightmare to me, even aside from the kid aspect … the last thing I want to do after a long workweek is DRIVE for an hour to something that I have to pay to get into, then separately pay for dinner and drinks (but not too many, since I have to DRIVE an hour back). No thank you.

      • Myrna Minkoff says:

        This is why I love this board. OP, I was completely outraged as I was reading your post — I would have had the exact reaction you did — but (once again) seeing the other comments has shed a different light. These are such great points – I forget how clueless I was about parents’ schedules, pre-kid.

    • Knope says:

      Honestly….yes, I think you are expecting too much. I didn’t fully understand things like the importance of being home for bedtime every night until I was actually a parent. Before I might have thought that if you agreed to go out, great, that means you lined up your partner to do the heavy lifting for the night and we have the whole evening. Also, you’re expecting her to anticipate your schedule restrictions, which is different than understanding her restrictions when you’re both out together. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s reasonable – I think you need to be more up front about what your schedule limitations are. Next time just say “Yes, I’m free from 6-7” if she asks you to go out on a Friday.

    • ElisaR says:

      I get frustrated w/ this stuff too. In this situation I would probably respond with “whoops! Sorry I would really love to see you, but I meant I could grab a drink somewhere local after work but I can’t commit to leaving work early and getting home super late!”

      My friends pulled that business the other day–they planned a night out in the city when we all live in the burbs. I have learned that I stay silent until I find out what the plans are and then I let them know if I’ll be joining or not.

      • Liquid Crystal says:

        This. It doesn’t always work, but I try to not accept a half an invitation. An invitation or plan needs a date, time (or at least loose timeframe), and place, or I don’t commit.

        • +1. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who say “let’s do something Saturday! I’ll call you in the morning and we’ll figure it out.” Um no. Let’s figure it out now. I was like this way before kids, so it’s not even a kids thing.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I would also be annoyed if a friend asked me to basically take a half day with just a few days notice! That’s not the assumption most people make when a friend asks to get together after work. But I would completely divorce your annoyance from her child-free status. Sure, she doesn’t realize that you have a bunch of life tasks waiting for you at home, but I would be equally annoyed if the only thing on my to-do list was walk my dog and sit on my couch.

      I would just tell her that you’re in the midst of your busy season and can’t go to the event. Ask her if she wants to get together at a mutually convenient place, and that, if not, you’ll have to reschedule for another time.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Sorry, I realize that “life tasks” sounds obnoxious. I meant, like, child-related tasks meant to make your life easier.

    • avocado says:

      I don’t think child-free friend v. mom is the issue here. This is asking a lot for what was originally billed as a casual after-work get-together, whether or not you’ve got kids.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I just want to throw this out there– missing dinner and bedtime to go do fun things with grownups is such a treat. Maybe not this specific outing, since it sounds like quite a hassle, but every once in a while doing something like a long, no-kids-allowed dinner with your girlfriends where you get home late to a quiet house and remember what it was like to be your old self. I really enjoy doing that from time to time.

      What burns my biscuits the most is making a plan, getting a babysitter, and having the childless person flake on me with some non-excuse. I basically no longer make plans with my flaky childless friends except inviting them to do things I was already planning on doing myself.

    • I read here because I’m TTC so I can’t speak for what it is like to have children. I have plenty of friends that have children though. I’m more annoyed about her asking you to leave work early than I am about asking you to miss dinner/bedtime. My friends with kids eat early dinners and put their kids to bed early. If I’m asking them out for the night, I’m assuming their spouse is handling that stuff that night. I had a SAHM as a kid so it was really no big deal for a sitter or my dad to put me to bed some nights. I guess as a working parent every precious moment counts and it’s hard to miss a night of dinner/bedtime. That said, from the not yet having a kid perspective, you get to do dinner / bedtime almost every.single.night! You really can’t miss it one night to spend some quality time with me? As someone that’s been struggling TTC for almost 2 years now, that tends to sting even more. I really appreciate a night where my friend gives me 100% and isn’t calling to check in on the kid every 10 minutes. (PS, if you do that, dad never figures out how to be self sufficient!)

      • Anonymous says:

        This may just be me, but when DH and I leave DD with a sitter or a relative, we text frequently to check up not because we think that person is doing a bad job, but to soothe our own anxiety about leaving our baby. I thought it would be much easier to go out/get free time before I actually had a kid. But I hate leaving my kid! I like hanging out with her! And despite the provocative articles on the internet…most dad’s ARE self-sufficient and can take care of their kids. I really don’t know any dopey clueless incompetant dads that are so frequently talked about.

      • “That said, from the not yet having a kid perspective, you get to do dinner / bedtime almost every.single.night! You really can’t miss it one night to spend some quality time with me? As someone that’s been struggling TTC for almost 2 years now, that tends to sting even more. I really appreciate a night where my friend gives me 100% and isn’t calling to check in on the kid every 10 minutes. (PS, if you do that, dad never figures out how to be self sufficient!)”

        Yeah…maybe you won’t understand until you have kids. A parent can be totally self sufficient. It doesn’t mean the kid doesn’t ask for or want the other parent at bedtime. That also applies when neither parent is there – just anyone is not a substitute for the parents who put them to bed most of the time.

        Also, I miss lots of bedtimes because of work and work travel. I mean…this is a site for working moms…I don’t think that concept should be far-fetched?

        And I just gotta say – the whole “focus 100% on meeee when we’re together” thing is a little self-centered. Again, maybe it’s not possible to understand why until you have kids.

        • I am a little self-centered about having tried to get knocked up for 2 years. There are times I mentally want to expose myself to that world to be prepared (ie: why I read here) and times that I want to distance myself from that world and protect myself. Reading about strangers with kids doesn’t really bother me that much. Reading here is like exposure therapy. Listening to my friend sing a bedtime song to her kid while we are at dinner together can feel like a knife to the heart. Not because my friend isn’t paying attention to me. I worded that poorly. Because it’s just a massive reminder of what I want and don’t have. I’m stuck in a world where I don’t belong. My single friends that want to be married with babies don’t want to hear me complain because at least I have a loving husband to try to conceive with. I was literally told this, not just assuming all single people want to be married. My married friends all have kids. I’m just straddling the two. Yet, another reason I read here. To understand and relate to my friend’s with kids. I’ll try to be more understanding of their need to call and say goodnight.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Yeah just to add to this, sometimes in one week I’ve missed bedtime because it was ABC’s birthday, and then I had therapy that I couldn’t schedule for later, and I know I’m going out of town next weekend, and so I’ll be missing bedtime for a few days in a row, and then… the “yay, I get to take a night off of momming!” becomes “waaah I hate missing bedtime so much!” (Bedtime is actually one of my favorite things with Kiddo — after the teeth brushing battles! We snuggle and sing and say goodnight to her stuffed animal friends. Sometimes she holds my face in her hands while I sing and just stares lovingly at me, and it’s so freakin’ sweet I could die. It’s hard to miss.)

          Big hugs to you, Anon. I really hope you have phone calls home for lullabies in your near future.

    • Thanks for all the replies, genuinely. I felt so much better after I read them.

      I’m really lucky in that my husband never has a problem doing whatever needs to be done if I want to go out, and I actually do go out more than a lot of moms I know. Part of the issue this week is that my son has social anxiety and we have a pretty big day of social activities scheduled on Saturday. I just know – because I know my kid – he will do better if we can have a normal night on Friday and have our usual “here’s what to do if you feel anxious tomorrow” pep talk at bedtime on Friday. My friend knows about the social anxiety but doesn’t know we have a crazy day scheduled for Saturday. So I texted her with an explanation of why I couldn’t make the event Friday night and she understood. Which I appreciated. I also told her, hey, for next time here’s what “going out on Friday” means for me. I absolutely didn’t do a good job setting boundaries/expectations previous to this and so I’m hoping the explanation will help.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree, of course she doesn’t get it. When I was in my early 20s, I had a friend (A) who was a single mom. Her mom helped her out a bit, but she was a very young single mom. I still remember one time our mutual friend (B) had volunteered to babysit for A’s child so that A could go out and do some evening social event kind of thing. B cancelled on a whim at the last minute and wanted A to come do something with her instead. A was LIVID. B was so put out that A dared to be mad at her, because hey, plans change! I can’t babysit, find another babysitter and come to this fun thing with me! No biggie! Their friendship fell apart over it. I remember thinking at the time that A was in the right, but now that I have kids… wow, was she right. and wow, was B wrong. Free time is such a precious commodity as a parent to young kids, and I don’t think you can really understand it until you’ve been there.

      Fast forward 10 years, B has a couple of kids of her own, and A came up when I was talking to her recently. B said “I reached out to her recently to apologize for how everything happened. Now that I have my own children, I realize how much stress she was under, and what a terrible thing it was to expect her to change her plans on the fly like that. She was totally right to be p1ssed at me. I treated her like she was 23, but she was a MOM and I had no idea what a different world that was.”

  12. Speech therapy? says:

    Hi Moms, I wanted to get gut check on speech therapy for my 18 month old. He was born 2 months early, so he is 16 months adjusted. At his most recent well child appointment, the pediatrician recommended that we have him evaluated for potential speech delays because he does not have enough words for his actual age. We did that, and the therapist said that he is a little bit delayed. She recommended weekly sessions for about 6 months to help him along. My husband and I are not concerned about his speech at this point. He is making progress, especially in the last few weeks – picking up new consonants/noises every few days. He’s been meeting his motor milestones on the later side of normal/close to normal for his actual/adjusted ages. For example, he started walking at 16 months actual, 14 months adjusted. So we just kind of expect that for other milestones too.

    We are considering waiting until January before starting speech therapy – because we think that if he hasn’t made good progress by then, we will be concerned. And, also because we’d rather not pay for two years’ worth of deductibles (over $1K), since we’d be starting from $0 this year. The money isn’t an issue, but it just doesn’t seem necessary to start therapy right now. But maybe we’re wrong, and it’s better to intervene early?

    • Did you ask either your pediatrician or the speech therapist what their thoughts are about waiting a couple months and checking in at the beginning of November? It would give him a couple months to catch up to his adjusted age, and if he is still delayed you won’t have waited a full 4 months to get him therapy.

      • Speech therapy? says:

        I haven’t yet discussed with the speech therapist, but plan to do so before making a final decision. What she said during the session was that it’s great we are getting him in “so early” and that his delay was very minor.
        And I will ask HR if expenses can roll over.

        Thanks for the gut check and advice!

    • Anonymous says:

      Check on how your deductibles work. For my insurance, if I haven’t met my deductible already for the year, I can effectively “roll over” costs from October onward (I might be wrong on the month – could be Nov or Sept) into the next year’s deductible. No advice if that isn’t an option for you, but I don’t think most people know that could be an option.

    • With my late talkers, our ped wasn’t too concerned until 2. And she was more concerned at 2 with my daughter than son, since boys often hit speech milestones later. Combined with the 16 months adjusted… I would wait. I might start signing with him regularly to help the communication frustrations, if you are seeing that. Did your therapist give you some ideas on how to communicate with him at home? What does day care say about it?

    • ElisaR says:

      i’m no expert but 18 months is young, I think I would hold off until January too. Kids develop at different stages… my cousin didn’t speak much at all until 3.5 years old. Now he’s a stand up comic that babbles on stage every night.

    • I know anecdata doesn’t compare with the opinions of medical professionals, but if you want to here some, my son had like 3 words at 18 months. He seemed to understand what we were saying and could follow simple directions, so I wasn’t concerned. He had a language explosion at 21/22 months, and now at 25 months is speaking in sentences, using pronouns and possessives correctly, and every day seems to bust out a new adjective or expression. So no, I do not think you are crazy to wait a few months and keep an eye on it.

    • NOVA Anon says:

      I don’t think you’re crazy to wait. I’ll give you my anecdote to the extent it helps. My son was also born 2 months early, and he started speech therapy at 16 months (14 months adjusted). At the time, he had 7 words, all of which he’d learned at 13 months, and had stopped learning new ones. He also has a very mild tongue tie that wasn’t diagnosed until he was over one. I do not think speech therapy moved the ball forward much at all. He had about 20 words by the time we stopped (after about five months), and we didn’t feel that the sessions with this therapist were very productive. In consultation with other specialists he sees, who we like and trust, we decided to stop his sessions and revisit after he turned two. He had a language explosion about two months later, and now he is almost three and speaks in full sentences, uses adjectives, appropriate verb tense, pronouns, and tells stories.

      I think that part of our problem was the speech therapist, who we got through early intervention services through our county — maybe we would have seen progress if we had worked with someone different; she just wasn’t a good fit for our family. But I think the bottom line is that your decision seems reasonable. Also, there are many things you can do at home to encourage speech (which it sounds like you are doing) — check out the Hanen Method. We didn’t own the book, but one of his other specialists uses it and we liked the techniques from it. It’s also a lot less expensive than weekly speech therapy lessons.

  13. Command Center says:

    I think my family would benefit from having a command center in the kitchen. Anyone have an option for a kitchen command center that isn’t the ubiquitous one from Pottery Barn? My kitchen is slightly more modern and the Pottery Barn one seems a little too traditional for me.

    • ElisaR says:

      i’m not sure what a command center is – but i feel like west elm and cb2 are kind of the modern version of pottery barn. have you looked there?

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you try Container Store? They have lots of modular hang on the wall calendar/white board/magnet/list things.

  14. avocado says:

    My command center is the fridge.

    • Command Center says:

      Thanks… I’m trying to get the stuff off of the fridge in some sort of organized fashion.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Talk to me about first birthday parties. It’s coming up at the end of the month and we have nothing planned. I’d sort of assumed we would host at our apartment, but now that we’ve made up a guest list, I realize there’s no way we can fit the number of people we’d like to include. And it’s a bit late (not to mention $$$) to reserve an indoor space. It’s fine to have a casual gathering in the park, right? Right?? I’m thinking balloons, casual food, cake.

    • ElisaR says:

      i went to a lovely 1st birthday party in central park. I think they technically reserved an area for it so maybe check with your park to see if you need to do that. They had lots of balloons so we could spot it from far away…..

      for my son’s 1st birthday we tried to be as low key as possible and only invited family to the party at our home. it still felt huge and overwhelming and I don’t even think we have a big family. do you have shared outdoor space (roof? party room?) in your building? casual is best – you don’t have to go crazy!

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Absolutely fine to have it in the park! You don’t need to go all out. Take a picture with everyone in it to put in kid’s scrapbook, give the kid some cake to blow her little mind, and that’s basically all you need to do!

      If you want to brainstorm about more official spaces, here are some that might work: restaurants with a party room, like one that has doors that close to separate it from the rest of the restaurant (this really depends on the temperament of the 1 year old and whether there are other kids coming) or even just reserving a big patio table; ice cream parlors with a party room (there was one by my place in Chicago, and I think the room was free for the asking as long as everyone was eating ice cream); indoor playgrounds (depends a lot on the guest list); friend’s house or backyard; church hall/community center; apartment clubhouse.

    • I love park birthdays!

    • We did a low-stress park 1st birthday and it was great! It poured for much of the time but we had a shelter reserved. We grilled hot dogs and bought premade kebabs. All other foods and drinks came from Costco. I bought a balloon decoration from the local balloon place who delivered it. We did red checkered tablecloths and I made a banner that said Happy Birthday [Son]. That was it. Good times were had, not TOO much money and definitely not too much time were spent, it was a great day.

      Oh, Grandma (MIL) bought cake, I told her there was no theme and to get whatever she liked – she has great taste. She had a Sophie (the giraffe) cake made and it was adorable, plus a little cake for Son. We weren’t really planning on doing a “cake smash”, but he had a cake, and he ended up smashing it, so that was adorable.

      I have zero regrets about my low-maintenance approach. I knew I wouldn’t take many pictures because it would be busy, but we made sure to snap a few of his cake-eating, and it was all good.

    • EB0220 says:

      Yes, we just went to one at the park and it was great. Down sides are that you are dependent on the weather and you have to provide all of the food and stuff. Up side is that it is usually pretty affordable and the kids really enjoy it as long as the weather is passable.

  16. I didn’t have time to get back to yesterday’s thread, but thanks to everyone who gave suggestions on dealing with toddler cat tail pulling! I’ve already gotten a chance to try them out (sigh… toddlers…) and taking away kitty and focusing on her seems to be getting the message across more effectively. Of course the tail pulling is still occurring, but I’m not expecting instant miracles…

    This blog is so helpful for my parenting. I don’t post that regularly, but I read and take away suggestions daily!

    • shortperson says:

      this is what “siblings without rivalry” recommends to curb sibling fighting, funny that it works for the cat too.

  17. Anonymous says:

    How do you handle both parenting young children and helping aging parents?

    I have a six week old and a just turned two year old. I also have a father who is in increasingly poor health. My parents live about two hours away from me. My mom has been making increasingly passive aggressive comments about how I am not helping out enough and not prioritizing family “while they are still here.”

    I honestly don’t know what to do. Taking care of two very small children takes up pretty much all of my mental and emotional bandwidth right now. And the constant guilt trips are pretty exhausting.

    I don’t want to be a bad daughter and want to help my family. But I really don’t know how. I feel like my grandparents were relatively healthy until I was in high school and more independent. Babies and toddlers need you 24/7. Help!?

    • Anonymous says:

      You have a six week old. You take care of yourself and your baby. Put on your own oxygen mask first. You are not a bad daughter.

      Being sandwiched between young children and aging parents is hard. If you are on maternity leave, use this time to work out who is your ‘village’, who are the people both paid and family/friends who will help you manage all of this. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. It’s impossible and will only lead to you feeling like you are constantly failing.

      Figure out how often you want to visit your parents and stick with it. Do the best you can to find balance for yourself and your babies and your parents, and then ignore the comments.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d passively aggressively point out to mom all the other grandmas who take care of their grandkids.

      (But I’m mean.)

      If your mom is not normally the passive aggressive type, she may be trying to hint that things are much worse than they seem from the outside. In that case, enlist dad to watch babies one weekend day a month and try to figure out what is going on. See if there are tasks you can do remotely (or set up — like auto bill pay / auto deposits) and if so, take on one (one single task — no more.).

      Encourage your parents to organize their accounts, wills, power of attorney, etc. documents. If you’re a lawyer, help. If you’re not, tell them that and find them one.

      My grandmother just passed and I wish my daughter had more time with her (we are across the country). We do facetime every week with my parents, but had to set that up for them.

      (Also, I am seriously considering telling my daughter to get hitched and have babies before she gets a Masters/JD/Doctorate. I want to be young enough to help her, many universities have cheap childcare programs for students and economists have shown that women who have kids younger take less of a pay hit than women who take time off [comparing women who obtain same level of education].)

      • I know someone who did this – got pregnant at 21, married and had a 4 year old by the time of her third year of law school. It doesn’t always work out this way, but he’s a great kid, and she seems able to focus on her career now when her peers are all “leaning out.” Someone I went to law school with got pregnant 1st year and ended up taking a semester off to have the baby and then coming back to finish. At the time, everyone viewed it as a giant mistake but her career is fine, too. She had a second after graduating and she said that it was way easier the first time around when she was younger and just dealing with classes.

        I know it doesn’t always work out this way, but I do wish that I at least considered the possibilities as opposed to just assuming it as gospel that having a kid before you’re in your late 20s is just giving up all your opportunities.

        • layered bob says:

          I think a big cultural shift towards having babies directly after college and then going to grad school and starting a “career” when you’re 30 would be a huge, huge win for women. I wish I had had my kids between 21 and 27 and then gone to law school. Would have been waaaay easier.

        • EB0220 says:

          Yeah, looking back this didn’t even occur to me and I wish it had. Not everyone meets their partner in their 20’s, of course, but I did and we were married for 7 years before having our first child. My pre-grad-school job would have been PERFECT for babies. My current one is much tougher.

          • I don’t personally regret waiting – I loved my twenties and the freedom to travel, hang out, be selfish – but I do think it’s absurd how I viewed it as the absolute end of the world to do anything like get married before 27 or have kids before 29 (no idea where I came up with those numbers). It certainly made me very responsible with birth control but in retrospect was wholly unwarranted. There are trade offs to doing things either way, to be sure, but they are trade offs more women should be considering.

          • CPA Lady says:

            Yeah, I got married at 23 and had a kid at 30.

            I would have 100% definitely gotten divorced if I would have had a kid in my early to mid 20s. I was just not mature enough. My husband was not mature enough. We grew up a lot in our 20s. Also we were so incredibly broke. For a couple of years we were living off of ~$25k per year. I cant imagine putting childcare expenses on top of our already extremely stretched budget.

      • Anonymous says:

        OP here. Thank you.

        Complicating matters is that my dad has mild dimension so he cannot care for my kids and my mom is his sole caregiver. I know she, too, is spread thin. It’s a great idea to see what I can take on remotely.

        • Not sure if this would be helpful for your situation, but sometimes just calling more frequently to check in can be a big help. My grandmother was very far from us towards the end and my mom would call her to just chat a lot; I think it was a big support. Grandma had other family nearby to help but she really cherished just catching up with my mom for a few minutes. It’s hard to find the time when you’re dealing with two little babies, and especially if you get grief and guilt when you call, but if you don’t already, maybe try being there a bit more emotionally for your parents?

        • Anonymous says:

          Not your dad — your kids’ dad. :) Husband can do once a month going with you and watching the kids at your parent’s place/nearby or solo parenting at home. (Or if you lucked into a good sleeper, husband takes toddler and you and baby go for a visit.)

      • ElisaR says:

        I am sure you don’t mean it this way: but the message to “get hitched while you’re young” can put girls in unhealthy marriages that they are unprepared for….. I know lots of people are in healthy marriages that got married young…. but a lot are not.

        As someone who *almost* married the wrong person several times, I am very thankful to be having babies at 40 (even if it means i’m exhausted) because it is with the right partner. Thank God.

      • Totally agree. DH and I got married in our early twenties but held off on having our first child until we were 29 and 31. Second baby came along at 34 and 36. And now we’re dealing with his aging parents, my soon-to-be-aging parents and keeping up with young kids. Had I known what I know now, I would’ve had kids 4-5 years sooner.

      • shortperson says:

        you cant plan these things. my mom had been in perfect health and was diagnosed with terminal cancer when i was 26 and in graduate school so she couldnt have helped me. and if i had a baby at the time it would have been impossible to be there for her.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, but you can’t “plan” anything. I’ve got a toddler and could be hit by a bus tomorrow.

          But we make general assumptions and good guesses and we try our best. And I wish I’d had kids in my mid-twenties instead of my mid-30s.

  18. blueberries says:

    I take care of my young family first and then do what you reasonably can for my infirm parent, who lives across the country. For me, that primarily means regular FaceTime calls with the kids and my parent. When needed, I also coordinate with local relatives, look into local resources, order groceries online, etc.

    I can’t do more for my parent without taking away from my young children. My parent wouldn’t ask for me to do that, but if I was asked, I would be firm in my choice knowing that my parent has had a lifetime to plan for being infirm and elderly, but my kids were just born.

    • Yes, this. My family (that I chose to have and need to be responsible for) comes first. Others had a lifetime to plan their care, and if that plan was me, it wasn’t a good one. That still doesn’t mean that me or my family have to suffer for their bad planning.

      I get that this was a generational shift, where traditionally, the elderly had nearby daughters who stayed at home with kids in their 20s, didn’t have much in the way of full time work, and then right when the kids aged out of the house (or into teenager-itis) then they had capacity to care for both nearby sets of parents. But that stopped happening in the 80s. And in fact, many of the currently-aging elderly folks were part of that shift back then. They raised us daughters to have jobs and kids in our 30s and not necessarily think caregiving is the utmost achievement of being a female. They should have seen this coming for at least the last 10 years, and the fact that so many didn’t make alternate plans, or stuck their heads in the sand and pretended they wouldn’t get old or sick, is inexcusable.

      They were the original sandwich generation. They’re being willfully obtuse if they expect their daughters to step in and start a new sandwich generation.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is so true! My mom took on most of the care for her sick parents, but I was a teenager and then out of the house the bulk of the time. But my mom had me later than her mom had her. And I had my children later than my mom had me. Meaning I have tiny kids right when my parents are starting to get old and sick. This is pretty unworkable.

      • Katala says:

        Completely agree. My grandparents were all pretty self-sufficient in that they had the financial or other means of support not to need my parents to do much of the caregiver heavy-lifting. And they were all living independently until I was out of the house. So I’m hoping my parents will not be expecting me to take that on.

        On the other hand, DH’s grandmother lived with them while she was sick (but he was in high school), and his mom has some pretty significant health problems and an older husband. We’ll do our best to contribute financially, but physical presence (we live halfway across the country) and care is not in the cards. Our young kids come first.

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