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Reporting back from the department of preschooler sleep challenges: Instead of demanding to get into our bed every night and kicking up a fuss when denied, 4.5yo has happily accepted the mat+sleeping bag on the floor next to our bed. She goes to the bathroom then trots into our room, gets into the sleeping bag, and falls sound asleep till 6:30 or so. Thank you for the suggestions!
Woohoo, that’s fantastic news! Honestly, whatever works for sleep. We were reminiscing about the phase my son had of refusing blankets, and instead sleeping in a pillowcase. Now he demands to be cocooned in his duvet.
Can anyone share how they stopped score-keeping with their spouse or partner?
We have a new-to-use schedule this school year, which is necessary, but which results in me handling childcare from about 7 am – 7 pm during the work week. My husband handles at least 50% of household work and childcare overall — almost all life admin / house admin / vacation planning (things that I hate) and is a present, active parent on the weekends. Yet, I still find myself counting every cup I wash, meal I make, homework session I supervise, sibling fight I referee, etc. Obviously there’s lots of good moments during the week that I’m lucky to witness, and since our schedule is not going to change, I need an attitude change. Gratitude journal? Growing TF up? What has helped you?
When you say you’re handling childcare from 7 am-7 pm, what does that look like? Are you handling the entire morning from wakeup to getting the kids to school? Are you handling after-school snack, homework, then dinner and bedtime? If I were you, I’d hand the kids off to your husband as soon as he gets home at 7 pm, so that he can supervise bath/bedtime and you can get a break. I’d also ask that he do something in the a.m. (or night before) like getting school lunches or breakfast ready so that when the kids wake up, you have less to do.
Come sit with me on Team Petty Bean Counter…
I think an attitude change and a question of whether you can call in any additional help? Takeaway in the playpark once a week? Team up with a friend in a similar boat and take turns hosting the chaos? A treat post-bedtime?
You literally work in another country? If you count your beans for sure he wins.
Oh he definitely does! I think I do 50% of pickups, and 50% of bedtimes though, but that’s mostly b/c I hate cleaning the kitchen.
Are the kids in full-time day care or an after-school program? If so, it’s only 2 hours a day max that you are in full-on parenting mode. If that’s still too much, can you hire an after-school nanny who will handle the homework and some of the other stuff? If the kids are not in after-school/full-time care then they need to be if you are working.
How is it only two hours a day max? School might be only like 9-3, aftercare should take you to at least 5, but it seems totally plausible to me she’s with them two hours before and two hours after, I.e., four hours total each day.
When we worked in offices and our kid was in aftercare, we left for school drop off before 8 and didn’t get home from picking kiddo up until 6. That is pretty normal with a full-time job.
I’m not saying that’s abnormal but it’s also pretty normal to only have care for ~8 hours per day, especially if you work remotely and live near the school.
I’ve never heard of anyone with a schedule like this. 8-9 hours is the max before/after and school that I’ve seen.
How do you have two full-time jobs with only 8-9 hours of care? Even if you both work just 40 hours a week, one parent is going to have to go in late and the other will have to leave early every single day to make that work.
9 hours of care per day is 45 hours per week…. so if your job is 40-45 hours per week it’s very doable. I think it’s also common for people with more demanding jobs to work more hours than they have childcare for, either working after kids are in bed (with little kids) or when kids are at activities or doing homework (older kids).
There are literally no aftercare programs in my city that would get you 12 hours of care/day for school age children. You would need a nanny or au pair if you needed that much coverage. Even the daycare programs maxed out at 11. But I live in an area with a lot of SAHMs.
Why would the parents have to stagger their schedules if they both work 40 hours and have 9 hours of care? 8 hours of work + 30 minute commute each way (which is long for my area) is 9 hours.
30 minute commute + 8 hours work + 1 hour lunch (typical 8-5 schedule) + 30 min commute = 10 hours
I don’t know any salaried, exempt employees who take a 1 hour lunch break or count it against their workday.
OMG. No salaried, non-exempt employees are expected to be in the office or on line 8-5 during normal business hours? What planet do you all live on? And can I get a job there?
?? When I worked in an office I was only there from 9-5ish. I don’t think that’s that crazy! Yes, there’s normally an expectation that you can answer emails outside those hours, but that doesn’t mean you need childcare for all those hours. It’s really not that hard to respond to a quick email even with toddlers in the house. And it’s substantially easier with school age kids who can entertain themselves easily for a few minutes.
Usually when one of us is counting beans it’s because we have too much on our plate and it’s not sustainable. Look for some way to get yourself a break. This balance isn’t working–not because of your DH–but because it’s just too much.
You aren’t happy with this schedule. It’s okay to realize that and look for a solution.
+1 to this. When I get into this mode I usually stop for a moment and think about what I need. Sometimes it’s to stay late at work for a day each week until I feel caught up, sometimes it’s to have a weekend day alone in the house, sometimes it’s to offload a particular task that’s been annoying me. Generally I see the bean-counting as a red flag that I have an unmet need and I need to figure out what it is and ask for it.
One thing that helped me (aside from making sure the actual balance of work is working for both) was having a conversation with my husband where I told him I wanted him to acknowledge me/thank me/notice all the work I was doing more often. I, in turn, practiced doing the same for him.
+1 Sometimes when I’m handling a lot, I have felt invisible and taken for granted. Having my husband acknowledge and truly appreciate me (and the kids too) has made a big difference. Vice versa also. Learning true respect for one another- not respect as in authority, but respect as in deep appreciation for this other person who has time or talent that you don’t have and is using it to better your family.
Also, it does sound like you’re doing a ton. Being the person that creates stability by helping to maintain these 7am – 7pm barriers so he has peace of mind during the work day is a lot. If you’re both working, it may be worth just hiring help for pickup/drop off. Then you can handle any issues/emergencies that crop up during the day, kids doctors appts etc. This is the arrangement we have right now, and DH even chips in random events that happen, and it still feels like a lot, but is manageable.
Thanks to you and Anonymous above for articulating this; it really resonates with my current situation.
I agree that acknowledging the stuff your partner is doing (and vice versa) is essential to keeping frustration at bay. I often take the stuff that’s not my responsibility for granted. So sometimes I get annoyed that when we go visit grandparents, I am the one who packs up all the things the kids need, dresses them, gets them out the door, etc., but then I totally forget that I am also the one napping in the car on the way there and not worried about having an extra glass of wine driving back b/c I am never doing the driving.
That’s a bullshit schedule and if you’re still this dissatisfied even though he’s otherwise doing a lot, change it.
Presumably there is a reason you all decided on this schedule – typically it’s because the partner working such long hours is earning the majority of the household income. If that’s the case for you all, it would help to frame it in that way — you do more of the weektime childcare, but he does more of the weektime money-earning. Sometimes people like to act as if the amount of income earned by each partner is irrelevant to the value they bring to the relationship, but that’s objectively not true.
+1. This is the deal with me and my husband too – he makes significantly more than I do, and I have the much more flexible job and do more kid stuff during the week – but to be honest, I still think I have the better end of the deal.
With that said, OP if this schedule is not working for you, then I think you need to have a convo with your husband and see if any adjustments can be made.
I don’t think salary should factor into the division of household labor, but work hours should. If there are 40 hours a week of household work + he works 60 hours a week + she works 30, then he should do 5 hours of household work and she should do 35 so they are each doing the same amount of total work (paid + household) to benefit the family unit. I get paid slightly less than my husband but at times work more hours, and during those times he does more household work than I do. I recently took on a big volunteer leadership position at our church and he is taking on more at home so *we as a family* can contribute my service there.
Our salaries are about equal; I earn slightly more. He has a Big Job but public sector so prestige without the corresponding pay. He definitely works longer, higher-stress hours (although part of the reason I haven’t raised my hand for opportunities at work is to preserve my flexibility, so…). Thanks for the food for thought.
I’m guessing that he is not actually doing half of it.
Two things – shift all prep items to his plate (packing lunches, laying out spirit day items, doing the acme online ordering and dinner planning, etc) to him.
Build in dedicated time to yourself to recharge. Tuesday nights he does 7pm onwards solo. You get Saturday mornings to sleep in/run.
Doing that much solo parenting us hard and you aren’t wrong for feeling burnt out.
Also, if this much solo time doesn’t actually work for you after trying it out for a while, you can reopen the conversation and talk through a plan to get back to a more even split.
+1, I was going to say that he should be taking anything that doesn’t NEED to be done between the hours of 7 and 7. In addition to what Bette said, I would add –
At night after 7 he can take over: bathing kids, combing hair, putting them to bed, reading bedtime stories, brushing teeth, putting on PJs, cleaning up dinner dishes
In the morning before work he can: unload the dishwasher, gather up coats/backpacks/shoes and make sure everything is by the door ready to go, set the table for breakfast and put out any food that can sit out (i.e. pour a bowl of cereal and mom adds milk), start a load of laundry
It’s great that OP says he is present and helpful on the weekends, but I can completely understand resentment if OP feels like she is doing 100% or close to it during the week. 5 days >>> 2 days.
Sorry, but if he’s out of the house working a high-stress job 12 hours a day it’s unreasonable to expect him to pack lunches and do bedtime, just as it would be unreasonable to expect that of OP if she were the one working 12 hours a day. If one partner has a big job, the other has to pick up the slack at home. Perhaps they need to consider whether his big job is really worth it.
I agree with this, actually. That’s why I need to reframe this as an attitude adjustment *for me* because our situation is not changing in the short term. This whole thread has been super helpful, and I’m so grateful for this community!
I don’t think anything is objectively reasonable or unreasonable, it’s just whatever OP and her partner decide and can live with, both together and individually. They’re both “on” from 7 to 7 – him at work, her at work and providing childcare on either end. Why should he get to take a break after 7 pm while she continues working? They should at least split it.
Also, if you’re working traditional M-F jobs, handling childcare and the household routine by yourself on weekdays is SO much harder than coparenting, or even a few hours of solo parenting, on weekends. Monday through Friday, there’s a morning rush to get out the door, the kids are cranky in the evenings, there’s a rush to get dinner ready before everyone melts down, and you’re tired and stressed from work. If school is canceled or a kid is sick, the weekday person handles backup care or doctors’ appointments or whatever.
If OP’s husband has long days during the week, it is what it is. But I don’t think that contributing the same amount of time necessarily means you’re contributing equally, especially if one parent is doing the everyday, in-the-trenches parenting.
If you’re overwhelmed, get more help, or offload what is overwhelming you most.
I’m in a similar schedule…I’m a SAHM with three kids and husband is gone from about 7a-7p three days a week and then working from home the other two (with some weeks necessitating more time in the office). I also do most of bedtime, handle the financials and all kid appts, the laundry and bulk of other household chores, etc.
Still, I feel like I’m getting the good end of the stick! This is because my husband handles a lot of stuff that I hate and does more than 50% of everything when he’s home. Specifically, I like a lot of sleep and I sleep in until 10am or later on the weekends, while he gets up with kids at 7. He also packs the kids snacks/lunches before he leaves and sets us up for a good morning because I’m NOT a morning person. He does dishes and kitchen cleaning every night, and on the nights he’s home also does the cooking. He is a fantastic organizer and can tidy up the house much faster and better than I (I get so flustered by mess).
I guess what I’m saying is – find the thing or thing that is most important to you and offload that to your husband. To me it’s sleep, and the fact that he always sacrifices for me in that area counts more than many other tasks. If you play to each of your strengths, and really indulge the other in your pain points, you may feel better – like he’s taking care of you instead of just checking off a list.
Also, I remind myself that this is the schedule we *chose* for our family. If something really isn’t working, you need to sit together and find a way to make other choices.
I mean, I still score keep, but when I find myself getting resentful I do the following. Have a conversation with DH. Sometimes he can take additional things on. If he’s also feeling at max capacity, I either drop some stuff or I try to outsource. My mom has come through in a pinch for after school care, but now she needs a break so we’re readjusting. I know it’s not easy.
Thank you all for your helpful comments and feedback! I should have stated in my original post — childcare is not 12 hours; kids are in before-care + school from 8-4:15, so it’s really only ~4 hrs/day of hands-on parenting. The 7am-7pm is childcare + my full time work. What’s odd is that, we’ve been doing this since August but it’s just recently started to wear on me. Anyway, thank you for your thoughts and helping me think through what it is I’m unhappy with and how our schedule can improve!
Just here to validate that doing both mornings and bedtimes both can be overwhelming, even if the other spouse does a whole bunch of other things!
so i do a ton of solo parenting and have since my twins were born. it’s funny how it is one of those things i thought i’d be fine with before i became a parent, but it is actually really really hard for me. we have twins and different stages have presented different challenges. i don’t know what time your kids go to bed and how old they are, but as others said, think about the parts you don’t like. you mentioned in your original post washing cups – i literally don’t do dishes, almost ever. that is something DH is in charge of when he is home and sometimes if he is traveling and i’m feeling lazy i use paper plates
Are you trying to work in the late afternoons after school? Even if you aren’t, it seems like after-school care until 5:30 or 6:00 or an afternoon nanny would give you some breathing room. If you could get someone else to handle homework that alone would be a huge weight lifted.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Those “only” 4 hours can be the worst 4 hours of the day though so don’t undersell yourself! It’s a lot to be in charge of both the morning and evening routine. Especially in the evening when the kids are tired and cranky but you still have to feed them and get them ready for bed. I agree on getting a weekday night or two for yourself, hopefully that would give you something to look forward to and a change of pace. And give him the weekend mornings solo.
I started complaining more. And by that I don’t mean complaining that my husband doesn’t do enough or this isn’t fair etc etc because it sounds like this schedule is what you’ve agreed on and mine is similar. But when I feel resentful, I am much better now about expressing it to my husband—hey, this is how I feel, and I know things are the way they are for a reason, but here’s how I’m feeling and I’m working on it.
Sometimes just having him listen helps. Sometimes it prompts him to think of solutions I couldn’t see.
But not keeping it all bottled up—just releasing it to him in an “I just need to vent” way—really actually has made it better!
My partner earns more and works longer hours; I have more flexibility so I end up doing more childcare (and lots of times I’m doing both morning/evening parenting duty alone).
When I get in that “keeping score” mindset, it usually means I need to do one of a few things:
– Take time to do something for myself (a workout class, walk or a dinner with a friend). Even better if it’s regularly scheduled to take place each week and I can look forward to it.
– Ask for more recognition and acknowledgment for everything I’m doing. This can be as simple as more “thank you”‘s and gratitude from my partner.
-Speak up and ask for more help if there are weeks I feel really overwhelmed and like I’m drowning. If he’s WFH, I’ll ask him to block his schedule for 20 minutes one morning to do school dropoff (a task I usually take) or I’ll ask him to be home early enough to cover bedtime one night. It’s not a permanent schedule shift but just having one-off help from him on days or weeks that I really need the extra hands makes a big different.
Help me plan a month/daughter trip. My oldest has been on 2 solo overnight ski trips with me, and both times my 7 year old was invited but declined (didn’t want to do that much skiing). I told her we’d do our own adventure and it doesn’t have to be a ski trip.
I talked to her about what she wants, and her main excitement is over the hotel stay.
With that in mind, what’s a fun but not super expensive overnight? We are in the Boston area and this kiddo is sort of an indoor cat and not a super adventurous eater. I think the hotel is a good 70% of the excitement for her, must have pool 😂. She’s just turning 7 and doesn’t have a super long attention span so I think something like a musical or Broadway might be out (we did a musical this year and she got squirrelly). Doesn’t much like sports to watch.
Great wolf lodge is out- that’s a family trip.
NLD in NYC says
I think overnight in a hotel is lovely mother/daughter trip by itself. Does she like “spa” treatments? You can bring face masks, scrubs, nail polish, etc. Spend time time in the pool and/or sauna. You can order in if she don’t like to eat out. Rent a movie. Lots of inexpensive options. Have fun!
Stay in a “fancy” hotel in Boston or NYC and just walk around and look at stuff. We visited Boston when my daughter was around that age and she really enjoyed a duck tour, the science museum, Boston Common and the Public Garden, and the Boston Tea Party museum. A fancy afternoon tea would be fun too. In NYC my daughter liked the Public Library, all the parks, MOMA, Grand Central Terminal, walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, eating sushi, Chinese, and Korean food, Magnolia cupcakes, and riding the subway (but these days I am not sure the subway as good an experience).
+1 museum, shopping, eating in a restaurant, fancy cupcakes can all be fun for that age!
OP here; we do day trips into Boston pretty often and all my kids have done these things- it was the first idea I pitched and didn’t get much in terms of reaction.
I’m thinking maybe we do cambridge instead of Boston? Maybe the MIT museum and stay somewhere near Harvard sq? Any ideas over that way?
What time of year? We did a weekend getaway to the White Mountain Hotel and Resort this past January (also live in the Boston area) and my kids’ eyes bugged out of their heads when they saw the outdoor heated pool: “WE CAN SWIM OUTSIDE IN THE WINTER??????? AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” Rooms are nice and not insanely priced and the restaurants had some kid-friendly options.
aw, I love that. So awesome what kids are gobsmacked by.
If her main excitement is over the hotel, why not just center that? Is there a town that’s a short train ride away where you could take the train, go to a hotel, swim in a pool, and then order room service and let her pick a movie to watch? Seriously room service and a hotel pool are such treats for my kid.
Agree that staying in a nice (doesn’t have to be super fancy!) hotel in NYC with a pool, and going to a fancy afternoon tea could be fun! And maybe a visit to something like American Girl store or FAO Schwartz?
Seaport, ICA (especially on a weekend when they have family activities – there is a program that gets kids and teens in for free and they can bring a +1), mini golf, some yummy food (Shake Shack, Taiyaki for ice cream treats)? Or: Assembly Row, Legoland, catch a movie?
Ooh- I forgot about the mini golf place. She’d love that. Have you been? Are there times that are better for kids? Every time I’m at the seaport it’s a bunch of 20 somethings and that ain’t her scene :).
Heh, the Seaport has a 20something young professionals vibe all the time unless it’s 10am on a weekend when they’re not yet awake :) Actually, if you’re going when the weather’s warmer, what about an outdoor mini golf and ice cream outing? It’s low-key enough for indoor-cat kids.
does it need to have a special pool or just any kind of pool? what time of year are you thinking of going? do you want to go some place different? what about going to Providence, RI or a town in CT or the Berkshires?
Burlington, VT and go to Ben and Jerry’s?
OP here, I just got back from that area- took my older one up to Stowe. It’s a good rec but probably too far and not enough interesting stuff for someone who doesn’t want to be outside in winter :).
Burlington is also really great in the fall (for anyone looking to do a fall break trip with kids). I took my daughter to Woodstock for fall break last year and it was fine but a bit boring for a small kid – in hindsight we should have spent more time in Burlington.
Don’t discount that the hotel/pool could be basically 99% of the excitement (plus of course time with you). I’ve done this with my 6yo for a weekend each of the last two years, pool was the main draw. We didn’t leave the hotel property all weekend and we had a blast. Brought some of her favorite games, coloring stuff, books to read together, ordered room service which is now one of her favorite hotel things to do, and spent all day at the pool on Sat (it was nice that there was a restaurant poolside so we didn’t need to leave the area all day). We went most recently in the fall and she still talks about how the hotel was her favorite hotel, and it wasn’t by a long stretch the nicest one we have stayed at, it just had stuff that she liked and I let her take the lead on what we were doing. I vote keep it simple!
+1 to this. I’ve traveled a lot with my kid and while I try to plan destinations and activities that are at least semi-interesting for me, she would 1000% be satisfied with a hotel pool.
+1. Different scenario, but my parents have a lot of Disney vacation club points. In a twist of fate, my 7 year old, their only grandkid, has sensory processing disorder and ADHD, so Disney World is difficult for him. I asked him how he felt about going back to Disney World this summer, and he said, “Maybe, but I only want to ride 3 rides and then leave.” Disney’s just a little expensive for 3 rides, so I asked how he felt about staying in a hotel and swimming in the pool and eating at the restaurants. His eyes lit up and his whole body lifted in excitement and relief that this was a possiblity.
So, this June, we will be spending 4 nights at the Beach Club, in 2-bedroom vacation club unit with my parents, swimming in the pool (IMO the best at Disney World) and eating in restaurants. Maybe a trip to the Lego store, maybe a trip to one of Orlando’s mini-golf places.
I am in month 5 of remote work and still not in the groove. It’s been surprisingly difficult to make the transition from a very busy in person job with lots of pressure and deadlines to 100% remote with very relaxed schedules. It seems like partially an issue with the job itself (very little built in team interactions- I find myself calling random team members for virtual coffee dates) and partially my home life and personal boundaries (DH also WFH, and 3 kids plus an au pair in the house- maybe we are all just cramping each others space??) To those who have made the switch, any advice, sample schedules? Especially, talk to me about what mornings look like.
I have to have pretty structured mornings to feel like I’m getting stuff done. Either I block time for focused work and do it, or I book a lot of 1:1s and team calls with my direct reports and project teams. And for a change of scene, what about working from a library or coworking space if there’s one nearby?
Oh no, all those people in the house … I think I’ve found the problem! That would drive me bananas.
I struggled with getting in a WFH groove too. What helps me: Take a “commute walk” in the morning. Depending on how much time I have this is anywhere from 5-30 minutes, but having that transition really helps. After you get back from your commute walk, do work. Don’t come back and start a load of laundry or engage with the kids or your husband, just close the door to your office and get ish done for a while.
YMMV, but when DH and I are both wfh, I ask him not to talk to me. He can send texts/IMs like we do when we’re both in an office, but I find it incredibly disruptive to my flow to code-switch from work to home interactions, even if he’s just being nice and bringing me a new cup of tea. We do plan to have lunch together, or take a break and go for a walk, but if I’m working, I’m working, and my office is off-limits. I can’t help on the rest of the schedule front; my job is busy & meeting-intensive, so I basically just work a regular 9-5+ day in my home office.
That’s a lot of people home. DH and I both WFH but we have offices on separate floors and a 4k sq ft house. And no aupair.
Kids get on the bus @ 7:15am. DH does bus stop duty and then heads down to his office. I usually get up earlier, pack lunches, then once htey are on the bus I take my shower. I start working around 8. DH and I have lunch together most days and go for a walk. I’m working straight through with small breaks for coffee, to switch laundry, etc. Kids get off the bus around 3, I meet them most days. I usually do snack duty and get them settled. Depending on the day, either DH or I take them to whatever activities they have, then home. I’d say we are done working mostly around 4 most days but sometimes he’ll have late meetings and sometimes I will.
My situation is somewhat different because I work in the office once a week and my kids are in school/daycare. But in case it’s helpful, my WFH days look something like this: 7 am wake up kids and get them ready, 8 am drive kids to school, 8:30/8:45 start work (try to get in good focused work during this early block), 1:00 break for quick workout at neighborhood gym, 2:00-5:30 more work and meetings. My husband brings the kids home around 5:30/5:45 and we start the evening routine of homework, dinner, baths, etc. My husband and I have offices on different floors of the house and we try to keep interactions pretty minimal during the work day. Could you try to add in a gym session or walk to your day? It helps me stay focused, especially because (like you) I don’t get a ton of social interaction or collaboration time during my work day. Hope this helps!
I am relatively new to remote work but am developing a schedule. I also have some people in the house–DH is a SAHD. My 7 year old goes to school, but he’s been home a lot, with DH supplementing with home school type activities. (It’s a long story, but there have been problems at school.)
My schedule is roughly:
– 6 am – wakeup
– 6:30 – head out for a walk
– 7:30 – DH/kid leave, I get ready for work
– 8 – 8:30 – start work. I am not a morning person, so I like to start my day by reading industry news, replying to emails, organizing my thoughts for the day, typing up notes from the day before, etc.
– 9 – 1 – mostly on calls. In between calls, I respond to emails if only a quick response is needed.
– 1:00 – break for lunch, read a book
– 1:30 – 5:30 – this is when I usually do my focused work. A few days per week, Kiddo gets home around 3:30, and I often take a break and spend a few minutes with him, then go back to work for the end of my day.
This rhythm is not much different from when I worked in an office. I’ve always accomplished more in the afternoons than the mornings. But now that I’m away from a billable hour, I feel like I have the freedom to structure my day to account for that.
Todays the last day of swim lessons and I want to get my son’s swimming instructor a gift. She’s mid 40s, an Ironman competitor and a single mom. For some reason a Starbucks gift card seems silly. Other ideas?
Amazon card then?
Lululemon gift card? Is there a smoothie or meal prep shop she likes?
I do Target gift cards. Everyone can find something they want or need at Target and they can choose to use it on household essentials like groceries if money is tight, or put it towards something fun and non-essential.
Card with a note about how you appreciate her teaching and how your son has progressed/enjoyed lessons is universally appreciated. Cash in the card is an excellent present. Or, a Target/Amazon gift card if you feel awkward about cash.
+1 for heartfelt note plus cash. FWIW I always give cash plus a long note to teachers/instructors, and several recipients have explicitly thanked me for giving cash rather than gift cards. If it’s totally outside of your comfort zone to give cash, that’s understandable, but I do think it is very appreciated.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Rant of the day: our school committee is voting on a proposal that would have elementary schools have weekly early releases (as in, early release one day a week, every single week). It’s part of “solution” to help teachers have more time to plan. Aftercare is already in such demand and they’ve said that as things stand now, none of the programs could cover the extra early releases. So wtf are parents supposed to do. I know there are others in MA here with early releases – what do you all do? At the last school committee, literally every parent that spoke up was against this but we’ll see if they listen to us.
I’m not in Ma but we have an informal childcare co-op with neighbors. I have four kids at my house once a month, the other weeks my kid is at a neighbor house. They mostly entertain each other but once a month is infrequent enough that even if I had to be more hands on with them it would be manageable.
Gahh that is frustrating. And schools/teachers are so overtaxed, I guess something has to give. In my area, lots of camps seem to pop up on days off school; I wonder if there’s a kids play place/rec center/etc that could fill the gap with a (paid) weekly program? Or else there will probably be a rush over to private schools…
I’m in MA and our district has half day professional development wednesdays. It’s not every week, but it’s many, many weeks. Our after school program runs during them. The rec department does field trips/ afternoon stuff during them. many kids have b’day parties during them which is super convenient because weekends get filled with sports and family activities.
How old are your kids? Mine come home from early release days and just chill out or have playdates with friends. DH and I both WFH so this isn’t an issue and they don’t bother us (most of the time).
Boston Legal Eagle says
They would be 3rd grade and K when this is implemented. We can’t reasonably expect them to entertain themselves from 12-5pm every week, nor would they be capable of it!
What do they do now from 3-5?
Boston Legal Eagle says
My older one is currently in aftercare or watched by my dad. However, aftercare as it stands now would not be able to accommodate weekly early releases if this goes through.
Campaign against it and fight tooth and nail.
This is not great advise unless you have an alternative. We have half days. Other districts have every other Friday off. The teachers are going to get their PD time, it’s just a matter of when that’s at issue.
FWIW there are lots of middle and high schoolers that also have the day off, many of them babysit.
It’s bananas that they are not just leaving the school day the same and giving kids a longer lunch by 30 minutes or something. Teachers can rotate lunch duty. Even if they have lunch duty once a week that’s still two hours prep time.
Or more recess! Good for kids and teachers.
Yeah my husband is a teacher and prep is built into his schedule. I’m sure he would appreciate more though. PD, on the other hand, he would probably pay good money to avoid. We do have half days, but they are almost always for parent-teacher conferences and so only 2-3 per year.
Ultimately chools need more money to hire more staff. That is the solution to most public school problems (e.g. class size) but no one wants to pay for it.
We have early release every Friday, but a decently long school day the rest of the week. We could do aftercare that day, but mostly switch off between the two of us, and exchange favours with pals.
It’s annoying through! And sometimes my husband just has to take annual leave.
Most teachers are also parents — how on earth is this supposed to work?
Boston Legal Eagle says
Agree. I don’t know what they expect teachers who also have kids in this district to do. So much for teacher retention!
Where I live, all schools do an “early dismissal” day, one day a week. For our division, it’s Thursday and school lets out at 2:30. My 7 year old just does an extra bit of after-school care. I think if the division changes, the after-care programs will have to adapt. However, in the immediate tense, a babysitter might be a good option? An older cousin did the extra hour when I was in school; she was a high school student so dismissal lined up.
In our district, teachers would skate out on the afternoon PD sessions, so we have a different kind of hell — the late start day. School starts 90 minutes later on random Wednesdays… they best way to approach (if you can’t avoid it) is to team up with other parents and rotate child care.
Dorian Gray says
Random low-stakes question: Is it weird to put pictures of your kids in their own rooms? DH says it’s weird. While I wouldn’t put glamour shots of myself in my own bedroom, it doesn’t feel weird for me with kids. Where do others land on this?
I think it’s not weird for a baby or toddler room. Once kids are 3 or so, they probably have opinions and I would let them make decisions about the decor in their room (with reasonable limits like no profanity, etc.)
We have a lot of pictures of kid + family members (grandparents, cousins) and one each of them as babies. I wouldn’t turn it into a shrine to them, but otherwise I don’t think this is weird!
Just a hilarious anecdote: my first grader did a craft in his class that involved making/decorating a photo frame with his holiday pageant individual photo in it. It was supposed to be a gift for us but he likes it so much he keeps it on his nightstand. I do not think it registers as weird to him. So – your kid may decide for you!
Ehh with your DH on this, I find it weird. We have pictures of the kids in the hall and on the stairs but not in their one rooms.
My 6 yr old loves pics of herself with family members in her room. We have some in plastic ikea frames and others hung up with clips on a string….if the kid wants it I say go for it! We also have a photo album of pics she keeps in her room and she can see how she’s grown over time.
My oldest has a photo of him and me, and a whole family pic in his room. I was going to put his kindergarten pic up but that did seem a bit weird. But I also could have just asked him, so I vote that route if it’s an option. I also have twins, and I think it would be funny to put a photo of each individual above his/her crib, but as a joke.
Both sets of cousins are long distance so ours like pictures of themselves with their cousins in their rooms.
Just a vent that I’m dragging today…we got home from spring break yesterday afternoon, almost 24 hours later than scheduled due to airline delays; I’m still crazy jet-lagged and woke up at 5 am this morning after 8 hours of sleep so I shouldn’t be tired but I feel like I’m moving through molasses; we have a houseguest currently; and I’m behind on approximately one million work and personal things.
Sounds like it’s going to be a slog week. That was me last week! Heck, I’m still feeling Daylight Savings from last week. Good luck! Things will probably feel better when that house guest is gone.
I want to have DS’s 3rd birthday party at our area’s small zoo in August. I think it would be fun! We would invite our friends and family with kids and have a face painter and other activities. DH would prefer to do something more low-key at home with family only. He thinks that we shouldn’t bother with big birthdays at this age. I am more social and enjoy the kid-centric activities. DS likes the zoo but is also interested in cars and trains. What should we do?
Also, in my effort to make parent friends I have invited the whole class to a play date and to DS’ 2nd birthday party at the park, but I have only gotten two kids to come to each thing out of 14, and we haven’t received any invites, so I should probably stop inviting the whole class, right?
No opinion on the birthday thing but I think if you want to make parent friends, you should reach out to the parents you like directly and ask them to get a beer. Or a coffee. Or meet up for a post-kid-bedtime walk (I have made several friends with this last strategy — one of the few good things to come out of Covid!). It’s SO much easier to bond with other parents when kids aren’t around.
I think the zoo party sounds fun and appropriate for a 3rd birthday. 3 is the first age that kids really “get” what it means to have a birthday, so I think it’s nice to do something more than just celebrating at home. I also think it’s ok to keep inviting the whole class if you want (though having a smaller group is definitely fine too). We were the only ones to invite the whole class last year (for a 4th birthday) and the first ones to do it this year (for a 5th) and I felt super duper awkward about inviting people twice in a row with no one else doing it, but since we did it a couple months ago, three more families in the class have done it and several people thanked us for starting a trend, lol.
But yeah this isn’t the best way to make parent friends, especially with kids who are 2-3. Parents will be too focused on making sure their kid doesn’t dive bomb head first into the cake or hop into the tiger cage. Once they’re 4 or 5, the parents can be more hands off, although that’s also the age that parents start asking if they can drop off (at least in my experience).
so interesting bc at my kids’ school everyone invited the whole class for 4 year old bday parties, and almost everyone has invited the whole class for age 5. maybe like 2 kids haven’t. we didnt have a bday party for age 3 bc Covid, but it was a blessing in disguise bc all my kids cared about was cake. By age 4 they were into it and now for their 5th bday party, they’ve been talking about it for 6+ months
I will tell you my personal opinion on birthday parties, with the big disclaimer that this is what works for us, not what works for everyone. We did not do birthday parties with friends until our kids turned 4. By then, they are old enough to understand the concept better and actually appreciate the party a bit. So in this case, I would fall on your husband’s side and just have a birthday party at home with family.
Re the second part of your question, I agree with AwayEmily’s response. Rather than inviting the whole class to a playdate, target a few parents who you are interested in getting to know better, and hang out separately with them. I find it challenging (impossible?) to make true friends when there is a big group just standing around chit chatting.
Keep at it says
Nah, I say keep trying!! If people don’t want to come or can’t make it, they won’t come, but as one of the people who would’ve been one of the 2 to show up, I love when people make the effort. I also find group invites less pressure with people I don’t know well.
Agree! I think if it’s not going to work for you or whatever, skip it this year (that is do not stress either way), but we did a 3rd birthday party for my kid and invited everyone in the (pretty small) daycare class + siblings. All but 1 family came, and now I say hi to all the other parents when I see them in the hall and feel like it would be less awkward to invite them for a playdate or coffee or something.
Our experience has been that this is a great age to do a large party especially if you like it. As ours have gotten a little older (DS is 7) there is a gender divide and no one seems to be doing class-wide parties for this reason. My DS did one and girls came but did not have a good time. The boys did their boy thing are were not super inclusive. Our 5 and 4 yo girls love going to these large parties.
Oof this makes me so worried for my kid. All her friends are boys and her interests skew way more stereotypically boy than girl. It’s fine for now (age 5 in pre-K) but I really worry about what’s going to happen in elementary school.