I’m adding a few “fun” blazers to my wardrobe, and here’s one that gives me warm weather feelings.
This one button blazer is made from a unique crossweave fabric for a textured effect. The fun color is balanced out by a traditional silhouette. Wear it with the matching pants for a full suit or alone with jeans for a casual Friday look. And, it’s lined and completely machine washable!
This blazer from Ann Taylor is $179 (check back for frequent sales) and comes in “forest leaves” (a pastel green) or “deep wisteria” (a pastel bluish-lavender). It comes in sizes 00–18.
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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I need some reassurance if y’all can. In the past four months, we’ve had Covid, RSV x2, the mother of all colds, and a bad stomach bug. Of course these all meant weeks with no childcare, and it’s all happening right after I return from maternity leave so I have no accrued leave. Please tell me this is a) not my fault and b) will someday get easier…
It is absolutely not your fault! And I think people are more understanding, because it seems like everyone, kids or not, has been hit with some sort of horrible illness.
(1) This is definitely not your fault. (2) I, as well as all of my friends who have babies/young kids are in the exact same boat. This season has been brutal. I got Covid and a horrendous respiratory infection along with my kids for 2 of the bazillion sicknesses they’ve had, and it set off my asthma so badly I have had to take strong doses of oral steroids for a month now.
But this season won’t last forever. Spring should at least bring some reprieve. It can’t get here soon enough!
It’s not your fault, but it will likely still be a long winter before it gets much better. Spring is still a ways off.
In the same situation we did cry uncle and moved to a nanny/au pair situation. The illnesses completely abated, saving our sanity and careers. Maybe they wouldn’t have stopped anyways, but we were both at the end of our sanity.
People say that you’ll just get hit with the illnesses in preschool/kindergarten, but we didn’t find that to be the case. And it’s far less scary to have a 5 yo with a high ever than a 6 mo with a high fever. With a 5 yo, you just give them ibuprofen and put them back to bed. With a baby, you’re up all night rocking and snot suckering, if not heading to urgent care.
The only other feasible option is if I were a SAHM, and that would probably be worse for my sanity, lol!
I think it’s terrible that new mothers are frequently required to exhaust their sick leave to cover part of maternity leave. There is generally no time in your life when you need sick leave more than the two years after your infant or toddler starts day care. I think all new parents, whether or not they gave birth, should get extra sick days to use during the first two years of the child’s life.
So Anon says
This is absolutely not your fault, and there is little to nothing that you could do to prevent this. You are working in and through a system that does not support working parents, and it absolutely stinks. I’ve been there – using all my accrued leave to have some type of maternity leave and then having a baby and toddler who were sick. It does get easier on this front. I almost posted yesterday that an odd but glorious milestone of parenting is when your kid is old enough to 1. recognize that they are about to puke, and 2. get themselves to an appropriate puking location.
NLD in NYC says
+1 DS just turned 3 and was so grateful he’s old enough to use the words “I feel sick.” Did he throw up twice after uttering these words – yes. Did we have to keep him home the rest of the day even though he was right as rain by 8:30am – yes. But it does get better.
Another milestone is realized you have some accrued sick leave. Woo!
Lady, it gets easier! When my kids were in daycare they had drippy noses and were full of germs like Nov-April. Now that they are older (youngest goes to K next year) we do get sick but 1) not constantly 2) kids are largely fine and can go to school 3) when they have to stay home they can watch TV and chill out alone as long as there is an adult home. Pretty soon my oldest can just stay home alone (she’s 10 and can stay home now, but I wouldn’t leave her all day).
Do know though that when they are older and a kid goes down they often go down HARD. Our family had norovirus a few weeks ago and it meant a rolling 3-4 day stomach infection across 5 people. There was a lot of bleach (but everyone is fully capable of making it to the bathroom for whatever needs to happen).
Definitely not your fault.
We only have 1 toddler, but he was sick every other week. And then I’d get the bugs during the in between weeks.
I started him on a Zarbees elderberry supplement about a month ago, and he hasn’t been sick. Maybe just a coincidence but something to try if your kids old enough. There also might be something suitable for babies.
It’s definitely not your fault, but unfortunately it’s possible things will be bad for another few years. My kid is 5 and this winter has been non-stop illness. We’ve avoided Covid and flu so far (knock on wood) but she had an absolutely brutal case of strep, RSV that was mild in the chest but turned into a terrible ear infection, and another unexplained ear infection. We spent at least $1k at the peds office last fall and of course the clock rolled over for insurance on January 1. (All of winter should be on one insurance year!! I will die on this hill.) We’ve been (knock on wood) healthy since going on vacation in mid-December followed by winter break, but I’m sure that streak will end any day now. The good news is DH and I are not getting nearly as much of it as we did her first year in daycare.
I had a day off with T (5) yesterday (strikes) and the grand adventure we had planned was thwarted by me not checking the opening times of the science centre (closed). But we regrouped in a cafe, paid a visit to his old nursery where he was a visiting celebrity, went to another cool exhibition space, etc. T was pretty sad when I realised it was closed, as we were supposed to go before Christmas and got Covid but rallied. As we got on the bus to go home (after sushi, lego store, bookstore to spend our Christmas money), he said “it wasn’t the day we expected, but it was a wonderful day!” and thanked me for taking time off to hang out with him. I realise this is 90% just inherent temperment, but today, I’m going to take credit for raising such a chill, agreeable kid.
that’s so wonderful. my daughter is similar, she thanks me frequently for “taking such good care of them” and I know this is just who she is, extremely empathetic. she’s also very emotional so it’s hard as well but this is the upside of that trait.
Both my kids are also always down to try new foods, have new experiences, say hello to new people, easy to make new friends, and are just generally fun and loving. They’re also very high energy compared to a lot of other kids so that brings me to my knees sometimes but I also see the positives of these traits.
Yes, T said “You’re a very good mum, aren’t you?” the other day, and regularly says “that was kind of you” etc. His dad is really good with compliments (I could be better) so I think the kind words being modelled helps. T loves a new experience, new place, etc. Other 5 year olds, not so much, but we’re working on it. He’s got a grown-up vocabulary and I think the other kids just haven’t caught up verbally quite yet.
Boston Legal Eagle says
I’m trying to focus on the best parts of my two kids’ personalities, which can be pretty different. My older kid is the more high energy, highly sensitive kid, but also loves to try new activities and sports – he’s done well and participated at soccer, basketball, swim, gymnastics and now skiing, and he is not shy around new people, including far-away grandparents! My younger kid is more reserved around new people, and generally will stick to us (me), but also seems to love being read to and has very imaginative play. And I think we’re finally seeing some relief from the threenager stage…
It kind of bums me out to see so many posts couch any child-related successes with “I realize it’s mostly that I got lucky…” Are men also doing this? You deserve to take any win you can. I’m glad that’s what you’re doing today.
Read yesterday’s cupcake thread if you need a reminder that parenting has very little influence on a child’s personality and behavior. Dads should also be acknowledging that it’s largely the luck of the draw.
I don’t think parenting has any influence on a child’s personality, but I disagree that parenting has almost no influence on a child’s behavior. Methods vary, but children need to be taught how to exist in the world and become functional adults. It’s not innate to know how to write a thank-you note or do a firm handshake or vacuum the living room. Parents model and teach all of those behaviors.
I would argue that you can teach social niceties to children with generally complaint and agreeable personalities, but some kids are just not wired to behave themselves and there is very little the parents can do to change that. I am thinking of the ones who throw themselves on the floor of a restaurant and scream. The parent can carry the child out, but is not going to be able to train the child not to throw the tantrum in the first place.
Yeah, my husband and I have a tremendous uphill battle to teach our child to become a functional adult, and we hope but don’t know that it’s achievable for him. He likely will not write proper thank you notes or be able to look someone in the eye and give a firm handshake as an adult. He’s capable of vacuuming but needs earplugs or headphones to do it–otherwise, the noise drives him to the farthest corner of the house. He also doesn’t learn social niceties by other people, even his parents, modeling them. We have to give him step-by-step instructions and scripts and walk him through it several times.
startup lawyer says
my husband reminds me that we just got lucky all the time. hes the primary caretaker.
Yeah, I feel like I got lucky with an easy kid (crap sleeper until he was 2 though…) but also, I’m a great mom and there’s a positive feedback loop in our interactions. I speak to him nicely and try to accommodate him when I can (stopping to read a book, a quick trip to the playpark, his favourite snack in his bag, one last cuddle at night) and in return, he speaks nicely to me and is lovely in public, happy to help me when asked, etc.
I think your actions as a mom do matter. Even easy kids will struggle with rough parenting.
I don’t have an easy kid except in the sleep department but DH and I both definitely couch any discussion of her sleep with “I know we got lucky but…”
My 1st grader was incredibly psyched to learn algebra last night Older sister was spouting off about how in algebra you use letters instead of numbers, and asking simple addition & multiplication “solve for x” problems. Algebra is my favorite and we had nothing better to do, so I got a piece of paper and showed them how you can isolate x using properties of equality. At that point my daughter got bored, but my son thought it was the best thing ever and kept asking for more & longer equations until I had to cut him off for bedtime. I love that he inherited my propensity to geek out on math!
That’s incredible! I love when kids geek out.
My husband wasn’t feeling well yesterday evening, so our toddler went and got his favorite stuffed animal and gave it to him so he would feel better! It was so sweet.
Definitely not your fault and will also get easier!
Is your baby in daycare by any chance? That was always our “get sick with everything but then build up a great immune system” curve.
Does anyone else lose much of their sex drive in the winter? Suggestions on fixes? I already am great with general wellness – exercise, eating well, etc. This dips so much for me this time of year, and it is a bummer. Thanks in advance.
Could it be the cold? A warm shower at bedtime, and using the electric blanket on the bed beforehand, has been helpful.
What would you say in this moment: was in the elevator with my kid (almost 5) and one of our neighbors. Older man, who probably appears older than he is because he moves slowly, talks slowly, walks hunched over, etc. My kid loves to press our floor button but goes, “I’m going to let the old man press the button because he’s old” …. I was mortified!
We talk and talk and talk about how we don’t comment on peoples bodies, skin, appearance, age, size, etc., but of course kids are kids and he still does it occasionally. I was honestly so shocked though that I just smiled awkwardly and said “excuse us” and the neighbor was nice and said, “And how old are you, young man?” to my kid.
We talked about how calling him old wasn’t polite when we got home. Just wondering if there is any better way for me to have addressed this in the moment because I am sure some version of this will happen again no matter how much I keep telling my kid it’s not something we should do.
Honestly? In this case I would say “That’s very kind of you for letting someone older than you go first.”
Heck, my 40 year old DH has been called an old man before ;)
I absolve you from any mortification. It was clearly meant in a nice spirit (an application of youngest goes first in games principle), and the man didn’t seem to take offense. It’s not like the man was like “oh my goodness, I AM old” and has spiralled into an existential crisis. He knows he’s old. We’ve had some recent chats about keeping some thoughts in our head, ie. not calling your annoying friend annoying, even if her mum agrees with you. “But A’s mum said she WAS annoying!”
This. Plus to a 4 year old, everyone over age 10 is “old.”
Plus, kids don’t yet see “old” as an insult the way adults sometimes do. To my 4 year old, old is practically a compliment.
I think you handled it perfectly and so did the neighbor. Kids will be kids and 99% of people will be amused by this type of faux pas when the parent is obviously doing their best.
No chill this is fine. Old man knows he is old.
To a 4 year old, everyone is old.
Just be glad he didn’t ask your neighbor about his p*nis or something.
My child in an art gallery (picked up because of child height fragile objects) “The way you are holding me is hurting my p — !” Everyone stayed stock still, and I said “we’ll see ourselves out…” and the room erupted into laughter. The gallerist laughed so hard, she cried.
Hahahaha that is hilarious! The other day we were taking a walk and my daughter said “what’s an armpit?” and I was showing her on my body and a woman walking by us burst out laughing.
Also her saying”what’s an armpit?” came AFTER her repeatedly complaining “My armpit is cold!” which is what was really funny to me. Your body part is allegedly cold but you don’t even know where it is??
Thanks guys! I think I was mortified because this neighbor just seems “old” beyond his years to me and I didn’t want to offend him, but thinking about it, I think you all are right and that’s not how y kid intended it or how the neighbor took it (he’s a teacher so probably has more experience with kids than I do).
Also, to the p*nis comment, my kid has also gone thru a phase where he would ask you if you had one and if you peed standing up or sitting down. Can’t accuse him of being a dull conversationalist.
I think my son went through a similar phase, which is why I made that comment. The obsession starts early!
If your neighbor is/was a teacher, I can 100% tell you that it didn’t faze him one bit. I was called old by students when I was still in my 20s.
A few food related life-with-children hacks:
– My kids are hangry all the time. I found recently that having pre-cut veggies (cucumbers, peppers, broccoli and carrots in our case) on hand in the fridge means I can just throw the container of veg on the table with hummus and /or blue cheese and they go to town. Until I realized this, I’d have to like, cut a pepper or cucumber or broccoli and it just seemed insurmountable some days.
– When you make taco meat, add riced cauliflower in for a sneaky veg. They will never know!
– Make your own quesadilla night is all but guaranteed to be a winner. They pick what goes into the quesadilla.
– If your kids eat indian takeout and pick out all the delicious chicken/cheese, save the sauce. Add precooked chicken to it for a second day of food (over rice).
– If you make a giant @ss lasagna or casserole and nobody wants leftovers after a few days, freeze the rest and bust it out as an emergency option for someone who doesn’t like what you’ve cooked for dinner.
– you can cook frozen chicken breasts in an instapot. Use a hand mixer to shred them when they are done. 20 minutes and you go from frozen to shredded and it’s entirely hands-off.
Sorry if these are “well duh!” for you– my oldest is 9 and apparently I’m only now getting smart about things. Please add yours below!
Shredded zucchini also sneaks into ground meat very well.
These are great. We do probably half already but I learned some new ones. Pre-cut veggies are clutch for us. Nothing like that after school appetite to make veggies seem appealing. One kid is weirdly obsessed with eating carrots whole so I always leave a couple uncut for him to munch on.
No, all of these are excellent. I would add:
Teach your kids to cook. My first grader can scramble eggs, make grilled cheese, make toast, and make sandwiches independently. The rule is he needs an adult in the room, but man is it nice when he makes lunch for him and toddler – toddler is his sous chef and takes her jobs VERY seriously.
If you’re having salad with dinner and your kids are STARVING, offer them salad while cooking as a ‘first course’. Same idea as the chopped veggies.
+1! My kid started just watching me. I remember watching videos of other kids in my son’s Montessori cooking and thinking “he will never be able to cook independently like that.” He’s almost six, and made not one but two dinners last week for the family with minimal help from me (but plenty of supervision).
While some of these are in my routine, I think they merit the post! I’ll try the veggies/hummus for hanger. We have quesadillas every Thursday and they are LOVED by all.
– One from me that has been mentioned by many on this site – “template” for the week. I cook on Sunday – usually a soup or Indian/Asian protein and rice dish, and that’s dinner Sun/Mon. Mon eve, I cook dinner for Tues/Wed – a pasta, rice/daal (we eat a lot of rice), quinoa/beans, etc. Thursdays are quesadillas, and Friday is pizza. I do something similar for breakfast – MW – Hot or cold cereal, TTh – Toaster waffles, F – Toast.
– Fruit is served with every meal. For lunch and dinner, I don’t usually serve veggies on the side – they’re typically part of the meal – like sautéed spinach in quesadillas, cooking some garlic/onion and then blending other veggies into a jar of Rao’s (I like a smooth sauce), etc. Yesterday I made egg bhurji with tomatoes, bell peppers, cilantro, and cheese for dinner. And yes, my older one still complains about veggies.
OP – I’m Indian, and when we had Indian takeout/restaurant leftovers growing up, we always treated the sauce from butter chicken or chicken tikka masala (not “TIKKI” as Katherine Heigl pronounced it in a video she did for Harper’s Bazaar…gahhhh) as GOLD – it’s so good just plain with rice, or as a dip with roti or naan. My DH (not Indian) takes this to another level…nachos, anyone?
I highly recommend the IP butter chicken recipe here – she literally gives you extra sauce as part of the recipe which I freeze, and then can have a quick gravy sabzi or paneer dish.
I am the OP and we are not Indian but my kids are OBSESSED with not-too-spicy Indian dishes. We love the IP butter chicken. my 3rd grader has requested it for her b’day two years in a row.
Your kids are welcome to my house anytime…perhaps they can show my older son what’s up. :)
I make that recipe for Diwali every year and love her cookbook – it may be up your alley.
We have it!
Butter chicken nachos implies butter chicken tater tots, which in turn suggests butter chicken poutine, and now I’ve made myself hungry…
I frequently forget how helpful it is if *I* can grab presliced veggies when I’m hangry!
Love the riced cauliflower idea! We do that with fried rice too (adding rice cauliflower to rice) and they never notice and eat everything happily.
We leave washed apples and tangerines in a big bowl on the table so my kids can always find a snack (we used to have them in a hanging fruit basket and they never got eaten but now I can’t keep them “stocked” enough). Apples are also a great side when I’m too tired to cook something more meaningful but don’t want my kids just eating beige food for dinner. Sliced apples and chicken strips is a regular rotation.
I also double batch the sauce whenever we cook one (butter chicken, bolognese, you name it) and freeze half for an easy future dinner.
Whole wheat flour is great in banana bread and actually tastes better, I think. This is something we cook with the kids together, if anyone is looking for easy cooking gateways.
My other half-baked trick with my kids is I keep chicken stock on hand and when all else fails make “soup” out of stock, diced up baby carrots and egg noodles simmered for like 15 minutes. The kids’ default is to ask for pasta at all times and this feels slightly more virtuous. I sometimes make the stock and other times get it at my local butcher shop – both freeze well.
So Anon says
Can anyone who has an au pair speak to how the program is going these days? I’ve heard that it was tough to get an au pair over the last few years. Also – any impact from updated regulations and/or lawsuits, especially those who live in New England/1st Circuit? I had an au pair in 2016-17, and I’m ramping up to hopefully hire another au pair.
I’m not current on the happenings in the 1st Circuit, but visa issues have pretty much resolved for most countries. It’s pretty straightforward to get an au pair from Europe or Central/South America and the program is no longer functioning in pandemic-mode.
Last fall our large agency (Cultural Care) did somehow run out of visas for the year and said they couldn’t have any new au pairs arrive in 2022, but that seemed to be a fluke.
We dropped out of the program during the pandemic when new au pairs weren’t allowed in. From conversations with our old coordinator (cultural care) it seems like the regulations in MA are better understood and the tax deductions are much clearer now. More au pairs want to work in MA because of the higher wages, but the downside is paying the higher wages. Otherwise it seems like the problems I hear from her are the same ones we faced – teenage drivers are more prone to accidents/higher insurance rates, it can be hard to have a live-in roommate if you’re not used to that, cooking/shopping for a teenager can be an eye-wateringly expensive if you’re used to little kids, and screening/onboarding someone new into your home is more work than you’d expect it to be (which you likely already know).
If you want to post a burner email I’m happy to send you my family guidebook/social media policy – we live and die by schedules/routines in my home so we wanted our au pair candidates to know that early and be on board with that. We had 4 German au pairs (though almost had a lovely French girl) and they were all totally fine/appreciated having a lot of guidance on the household routines/expectations vs. guessing at what the ‘house rules’ were. Good luck!!
1. THRILLED for you. It is something that helped my mental health and sanity so much! I didn’t realize how much mental energy I was spending finding backup care for all those half days off from elementary school.
2. In the Northeast, wages are slightly higher with my agency now ($215 min/week, we pay more). Au pairs are TOTALLY available right now – no issues with visas this early in the year and lots of pent up demand from au pairs who wanted to go in the past couple years but couldn’t.
3. Post an email if you’d like to chat more offline!
Spring Break in Europe? says
Sourcing from the hive mind: if you had an opportunity to take your kids (third grader and kindergartener) to Europe for spring break, would you and where would you go/what would you do? My husband has been invited to present at a conference in Europe right before spring break and has suggested using it as an excuse for a European vacation. I’m questioning whether it’s worth the expense and whether it will actually be fun (for me). The kids would be excited about castles/museums/etc. but are very picky eaters and have never traveled out of country before (though we already have passports for everybody).
Berlin!! Or Legoland Denmark (that’s our October break plan!). Definitely do it. You’ll find something for them to eat and they might surprise you and try new things.
I wouldn’t go to Legoland. I think it’s different for you because you’re in Europe already, but for anyone in the US, the Legolands in CA and FL are much bigger than the one in Denmark and much easier to reach. The Danish one is the original, but I don’t think that really matters. The Legoland in Denmark is also quite a schlep from Copenhagen and there’s nothing particularly interesting in that area except Legoland. We’ve been in Copenhagen with our kids (my husband goes there a lot for work) and specifically didn’t do Legoland because it was such a pain to get to. It’s not like Eurodisney where it’s a <1 hour train ride from Paris and doable as an easy day trip. Generally I find that moving around and staying in different hotels is one of the things that really amps up the stress factor when traveling with kids, and I don't see how you avoid that with Legoland unless you JUST go to Legoland, which seems like a huge waste of a trip to Europe from the US.
Ah that makes sense. I just gave Legoland on the brain as we are booking that as our autumn trip, plus Lego House which seems amazing
Given that you’re in the UK I think it’s an awesome trip idea! I’m sure your kiddo will have a blast. I have a same age kid and we’re also going to a Legoland this year. She is HYPED.
Trips are always worth it! You should definitely, definitely go and make some memories. I would consider Italy, Germany, Austria, or somewhere in Scandinavia. Italy might be best for picky eaters.
Where is he speaking? Europe is a big place.
Depending on your spring break, spring weather can still be a bit spotty further north or at higher altitudes–rain and mud season. I might consider Spain or Italy.
I think it’s a great idea, as long as you go into it with reasonable expectations! Aim for one main attraction (museum, castle, etc) per day, plan in some playground time for them to burn off energy, and rent an apartment so you don’t need to eat all your meals in restaurants.
My kids are not picky eaters at home, but tend to be pickier when traveling. We figure that for a week in Europe it’s not worth stressing about exactly what they’re eating, and let them mostly subsist on bread, cheese, fruit, and raw veggies.
Definitely! Currently planning an Easter break trip for our kids. Info on the timing of your break and what activities you like to do and what kind of weather you like will give more ideas/suggestions. Does the conference have a kids program? Skiing is still a great option in mid March. Are you more into cities or nature experiences? Southern Italy and Spain are decently warm in late March (not swimming at the beach weather but certainly eating outside/enjoying beach walks)
Keep it low key. Even exploring a few new cool playgrounds and eating at cafes in the historic parts of cities is fun.
I have kids that age- mine are 4.5, 6.5 and 9. I’d make sure to stay in an air BNB style set up (more than one room, basic cooking facilities). Go to a grocery store and get stuff you know they will eat (bread, pasta, whatever). Pack “to go” lunches for the kids, grab whatever you want while you are out for yourself.
Pick a spot that’s close to a park or playground or something like that. Don’t expect to vacation like you would if it were two traveling adults (museums, castles, etc). Expect this to be “living in a fun city and hitting up some fun spots when the kids are up for it.” I’d pick somewhere that speaks English fairly well- Scotland? Ireland? Maybe somewhere with a fun beach- Spain?
Yes I would take them, and literally anywhere, but practically speaking we’d just stay near the conference location to save on extra airfare/travel costs. Green field, I’d probably do France or Italy. France because I’m most competent at French, Italy because I somehow missed Rome when I traveled Europe in my 20s and really want to visit. Plus, I am 100% confident my kids will find things they like at Italian restaurants.
If you’ll be there around tulip time, though, I’d bump Amsterdam to the top of the list.
Yes of course go. Where is the conference? They have bread and ice cream and cake and pastry in Europe.
I would. But we go to Europe regularly even without the excuse of a conference. I’m partial to Italy and it’s fantastic for picky eaters – doesn’t get more kid friendly than pizza, pasta and gelato.
We went to the Loire Valley on spring break when I was a teenager and my siblings were younger, and it was so great. The weather was gloomy, but the castles were practically empty of tourists. If your kids like ham, cheese, and bread, they will do fine with French food.
So Anon says
Absolutely worth it! I’m taking my kids to Europe (Ireland) in April. This will be their first trip out of the US, largely because Covid canceled plans since 2020. I guess I approach these type of trips with a certain mindset: it will require a ton of advance planning (yay for Celiac’s and needing to do all the research ahead of time), moments of fun and moments where I question many of my life decisions, including the decision to go on the trip. For me, though, all the frustration and planning are worth it. I love to travel, and I love to show my kids different things. I grew up traveling, and I know how much it impacted me. The other piece to it for me is that I will undoubtedly feel overwhelmed and scared at times (driving on the “wrong” side), but I know that stepping through that overwhelm and uncertainty helps me grow and expand my own world. I’m also showing my kids that travel is worth it, that we can do the scary big things, and that we will be ok and have a good time in the end
my gut reaction to this question was “oh god no, that’s too hard.” but obviously i’m the only one that feels that way! at drop off this morning a friend was telling me of her travel w/ 5 yr old and 2nd grader. Cancelled flights after already sitting on the plane for 2 hours, going through international check in twice in 12 hours.
i don’t want to be debbie downer but i can see why one may not do this! i am not sure what age my kids will be ready for europe but at this point florida is all i can handle. i wasn’t going to comment but then i realized differing opinions can be helpful.
I think you’re in the majority actually. It’s just that people who are enthusiastic about it are more likely to respond to a question like this. We travel a lot with our 5 year old including Europe 1-2x per year and everyone we know acts like we’re nuts. The only people I know who’ve taken kids under about age 12 to Europe did so because they had family there to visit. Most of my friends’ same age kids have never even been on a plane (and the families are all very affluent so it’s not a $$$ issue).
This is a fair point. We haven’t been with our kids to Europe yet because 1. pandemic, 2. all our family lives far away and we burn a lot of our travel capacity visiting them, 3. for me, the benefit of Europe vacation over a US-based vacation is not worth the extra time, money and kids-with-jet-lag headaches, yet. We have a loose 20-year dream travel plan where we’ve windowed vacations based on kids’ ages, and the overseas trips start next year when the youngest kid will be in 2nd grade. BUT, if a good opportunity/reason presented itself like it has for the OP, I would take it.
It depends on your kids’ personalities, too. I know my youngest would have appreciated a Europe trip in kindergarten, and he would have been all the more enthusiastic because he’d “studied” some foreign countries in school and was really interested in the idea of differences in language, culture, climate, buildings etc in various parts of the world. My oldest probably wouldn’t have cared at that age. (Also, OP, if you do decide to go to Europe, I recommend showing your kids pictures online and checking out some books at the library about your destination so they have some context before they get there!)
I’m curious about your 20 year plan! I’ve tried to loosely do that based on age (I only have one kid) but I’m not sure I got it right. We traveled a lot with her from birth, with a large break for the pandemic, but it was not because we thought she’d get anything out of it. We just didn’t want to stop traveling and it was not too hard to fold her into what we wanted to do. One kid is a factor in that of course. I would say age 4 was the first year she “got it” in terms of actually being excited about the place we were visiting, learning a bit of the local language, having opinions about activities and thinking some places are better than others, etc. But I think it will take being much much older (possibly adulthood??) before they appreciate an international destination as being worth the time and expense over a local destination. I read an article by someone who took an 8 year old to Antarctica and it sounded like they had an amazing trip but she said her favorite part was watching Frozen on the plane. Kids are just easy to please that way.
Technically it’s part of our life plan that we use for financial goal-setting & decision-making. DH and I love to travel, and we want our kids to enjoy it with us. We went to Philadelphia in Feb 2020 (kids ages 3-6.5) as step 1 on our “teach the kids to be good travelers” plan. We were going to do NYC and various city breaks & hiking trips that are drive-able from DC, building up to bigger trips as they prove able to handle them. Covid threw a wrench in our training plan and we haven’t done many city breaks, but lots of hiking the last few years. :)
In the next 10 years we want to do family trips to some major US national parks, Central America, a few countries in Europe, Morocco or Jordan, and China or Southeast Asia. Once the kids are all high school age, we’d like to start sprinkling in couple’s trips like biking through Tuscany, assuming we can tap a grandparent for responsible adult oversight while the kids orbit through their activities without us for a week. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to do everything, but #goals.
We started with each of our bucket lists, then factored in kids’ ages (ease of travel, associated likely attitudes, costs & constraints), and family members we wanted to accompany us. For example, we want to visit grandparents’ birth countries with them, so those are first on the Europe trips because who knows how long they’ll be up for it. I want to go to the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica, but unless I win the megamillions, I’m not paying for all 5 of us, so those are windowed in the years after at least two of them should be “launched.”
yes, i have no interest in spending the money to take my kids to Europe at this age and we could afford it. I just dont think it would be enjoyable enough for me to be worth it. We have some friends who’ve taken kids, but typically have a reason they have to be in Europe anyway (wedding, conference, etc.) or are traveling with grandparents who have an extra set of hands, or have one kid, or a large age gap (so like a 12 year old and 5 year old). with my two 4.5 year olds i dont think it would go well. I am a person who needs sleep as do my kids. and while obviously you can have a very different kind of fun than you would if just going with DH, I also don’t feel like my kids need to experience everything before they start kindergarten
I totally agree. I feel like kids that age will barely remember it, or at least, it would be an equal memory to something else much cheaper and easier.
YMMV, but for me, I have to actively push back on my own negativity about the work that goes into experiences. Going to Europe with kids is definitely a lot harder than sitting on the couch with Netflix in the background while I doomscroll on my phone, but the benefits have always, ALWAYS outweighed all the hassles and inconveniences and annoyances. It’s hard for me to see that in advance, though – sometimes all I can think about is how long the flight is or how much money it is. Telling myself “it’s always worth it” is the push I need to make it happen. Every single time I’ve made that effort, I’ve been glad for it, even though I’ve had plenty of travel nightmare days.
Agree with this, with one caveat: My kid is not an “easy” kid in general but is an excellent sleeper and has never had a major issue sleeping in hotels. If I had a kid who didn’t sleep in new places (they exist!) we wouldn’t travel. I need sleep and so does my kid and I really don’t think a trip would be worth it if no one slept. In fact our worst trip ever (Hawaii from the east coast with a baby who woke up every day around 2-3 am and refused to go back to sleep) was not really worth it, and I’m kind of amazed we ever went back to Hawaii. We did, at age 3.5, and it was totally different because we could tell her “it’s not morning, go back to sleep” and we had a wonderful time. But in hindsight I’m surprised I was willing to try it again given how horrible it was the first time.
I think 5+ is great foe travel. if your kids were 2 and 4 I’d say don’t do it but we’ve taken some HARD trips this year with our 3 and 5 year olds after not traveling at all before 2022 due to their age and covid and every trip has gotten better and you truly only remember the good stuff. if it’s not a stretch financially, I’d 100% do it especially at your kids ages. I also just love to travel and want to instill that in my kids too
Where have you gone?
we crossed 12 time zones around Thanksgiving with a 24 hour flight time from where we live. we’ve taken two 5+ hour flight trips with smaller planes after that to carribean destinations.
Italy! DH and I went pre-kids and would be delighted to do it again with kids (similar ages to yours), obviously at kid pace. Or Spain or Portugal. Depending on when you go, I feel like Easter itself would either be dead quiet as everything shuts down and people spend time with family, or there could be some interesting festivals and customs – I would definitely research what’s going on at the time.
Italy is the best, especially with kids. We’ve been twice with a kid under 5 and going for a third time this year. I feel obligated to see new places but really I just want to go back to Italy again and again. DH is against it but I want to spend a whole summer there sometime (we both work remotely in the summer).
We did London and Paris with our nine, 11 and 13 y/o – a little older, but it was totally worth it.
After travelling to a major Asian city last fall with an almost-2-yo and a 5 year old – I’m going to say GO. We had the time of our lives and it was amazing on many levels. I’m so ready to keep travelling with them – I know it’ll in theory only get better with age, and man the memories are so sweet.
Even though we went with/to see family (and yes, had them to help), the planning was a LOT – especially because there was a family wedding, and the 2 weeks there we had 3 different locations to be at, outfits to pack, visas, malaria meds, 1.5 days in the air, carseat/boosters to contend with, etc.
Your kids are at the perfect age for travel (my 5 year old was mostly a delight) and most of Europe – South, Central, West – will have plenty of kid-friendly options. French fries are everywhere!
Can you buy zucchini pre-shredded? You can buy riced cauliflower frozen!
You can also buy frozen chopped onion which has been a recent game changer for me.
Frozen chopped onions are great when kids cook, too. Practically every main dish recipe starts with chopped onion, and chopping an onion will be the very last kitchen skill I teach my kid because it is tricky and dangerous.
I posted Monday about how the baby got Covid. She is still totally fine and has not had a single symptom but I tested positive Tuesday night. Is there any chance I could test negative by next Wednesday? I’m supposed to fly to CA to give two talks and I’m wondering if I should bother preparing them or just assume that it’s a lost cause. How long have you all been testing positive post-bivalent? When I had it in June I was positive for 12 days.
Yes, definitely a chance. My 2nd go round I think I tested negative on day 6. I had very mild symptoms for about 3-4 days and tested positive right after developing them. This was in the summer, before i had the bivalent booster.
Boston Legal Eagle says
When husband and I got it after Thanksgiving, I’m pretty sure he was testing negative about a week later. I was still testing positive for a few days after, and I actually tested positive first even though his symptoms were worse! I thought some of the new guidance was isolate for the first 5 days, then days 5-10, wear a mask but you can go out if you no longer have symptoms? I could be off, it’s hard to follow. My symptoms ended by that first week though (so, I had it Mon.-Thurs., fine by Friday/weekend). We’re boosted with the latest.
That guidance (assuming you’re referring to the CDC guidelines) is considered not fit for purpose. OP, I’d let the organizers know, keep testing, and consider yourself good to go if you have two or more negative tests in a row and no symptoms.
The guidance is also slightly more stringent in CA as opposed to the CDC – to enter the “you can go out but must mask” phase after day five, you have to test negative, it’s not automatic after five days. And even if you test negative you’re supposed to continue wearing the mask through day 10.
Our positive periods ranged from 6-8 days when it hit our house last month.
It is so individual. A week is a long time. If you are determined to go if you test negative, I’d hold off until Monday to warn them that you might not make it. If you are still testing positive Monday morning I’d let them know so they have time to put contingency plans in place.
I personally wouldn’t go no matter what because I think the CDC guidelines are politically motivated nonsense and people should stay home for 10 days or until testing negative two days in a row, whichever is later.
I think you’ll be good wearing a mask. Also though, HEY COVID TWINSIES. Baby tested positive Monday, I tested positive Tuesday.
Currently locked in the primary bedroom with just the baby and… it feels like a Spa day.
What a bummer, I’m sorry. If it were me, I’d prepare and plan travel if I had no symptoms, but wear a mask for the trip except for the actual talk (presumably alone or distant from others). That’s assuming the event is for the general population. If you’re speaking engagement is for a high risk audience, I’d just cancel now.
Both my bouts of covid have been extremely mild and I felt totally fine with no more coughing or sniffling by day 3. I’m unsure how long I tested positive; the first time I had it, at-home tests were not readily available yet. The second time was during the summer and it was easy for me to stay out of public indoor places for a couple weeks, so I didn’t particularly care. As optimistic anecdata, though, my son tested negative by day 6 last year.
Ugh, I’m sorry. I’m very faintly positive on day 8 after symptoms started (took me a couple days to test positive).
Why do you need to test negative? It will have been 5 days (actually 8 days), so can’t you go wearing a mask? I’m Covid cautious but I don’t know anyone who is isolating beyond 5 days at this point. Our daycare, public schools, workplaces all follow the “isolate for 5 days, mask for another 5 days” rule.
Thanks all. Given that it seems possible to clear the virus in <8 days, I will keep working on the presentations just in case, but I'm not going to go unless I am testing negative…I would feel uncomfortable being on a plane if I was still testing positive, even if the CDC was okay with it. Fingers crossed! It's nuts to me how different this experience has been from when I got it in June…that time I started testing positive the minute I felt bad, and I was down for the count with a fever for two days. This time, I had a scratchy throat for two days before I tested positive, and I'm already 90% better with no more than very mild symptoms. This virus is so weird.
I already emailed the conference organizers just in case and they were super nice and offered to let me join virtually if need be.
It’s normal for it be milder the second time you get it. That’s how it should work when your body recognizes the virus and can start attacking it immediately. Covid is actually unusual in that sometimes it’s worse the second time.
Fingers crossed for a negative test but it’s good you can join virtually if need be.
As a high-risk person, I really want to thank you for being responsible and thoughtful! Your actions really help.
Same here too!
I feel like the negative test is important but even more important is how you feel, and you’ll just have no idea. When I had covid i felt ok but a week later got hit with a debilitating post-viral fatigue which lasted for weeks. No way could I have gone to a regular day of work, let alone fly to a conference.
I know you’re looking for reassurances but they’re just frankly no way of knowing until you know. I wish you the best!
Heading to Naples and Sarasota with my 6 year old and 1 year old. Any recommendations for fun things to do. Also flying for the first time in a long time can I bring the squeezes with 4 oz for the 1 year old on a carry on?
+1 to the Naples zoo.
Also the Aquatic Center – it’s basically a giant water splash pad – if you’re not going in January when they close for maintenance.
The Pier is fun, too, esp. if you go when the pelicans are feeding in the morning or early evening. We’ve even see dolphins there.
There was a post late yesterday detailing a lot of activities in Sarasota!
Yes, you can bring pouches through for the 1yo. Pull them out of your carryon at security and be aware that they might need to be hand checked, depending on the whims of the TSA agent.
You can bring pouches but yes take them out and show them to TSA.
More Sleep Would Be Nice says
We had a lovely afternoon at the Sarasota Botanical Gardens with DS #1 when he was 1.
I’ve posted on the main s*te a bit about this…and posting here for commiseration. Basically I like my colleagues, my substantive work, and I learn a TON…but have finally realized my boss is…very nit picky about the work AND stuff that doesn’t matter (e.g. I made a joke at a meeting that they didn’t like about us being nerdy…they brought it up a month later to me as inappropriate; constant comments like “everyone wants to be promoted, no one wants to do the work” about our team – which is high performing, “I can’t be the only one doing all the work”, etc.).
It’s worn on me, and I constantly was feeling not good enough. I’ve talked to DH and loved ones a bit about this (and in therapy) just to confirm that the behavior I’m experiencing from them isn’t actually ME.
Anyway, I’ve decided now just to – focus on the mission critical aspects of my work. Draw boundaries. Stop anticipating/killing myself for a boss that will never feel that I’m good enough. I really want to keep rising in my career but for H1 of this year, I’m just taking a bit of focus away from that part of my life.
One of my close friends who works at a big job in management consulting put it well “Oh you think I’m ? Ok. Are you still paying me? Great!”
I think that sounds like a healthy response. But I also think you should consider looking to make a move. Why settle for this kind of boss? Can you make an internal move? Have you considered looking for an outside position? As you know, there is a lot of movement in the labor market and, from what I’ve seen in my personal networks, there are many opportunities to make changes now.
Thank you for the support…it’s so hard to not just question my self (“Is it me?”, “If I were a stronger professional this wouldn’t happen.”)
We have a new executive leader starting this quarter, so I’m looking to see how the first half of the year goes and will re-evaluate. I would love to stay with this company and I’m open to moving internally, but if not my industry is very strong in my area.
I’m in a similar situation except I don’t much like my substantive work or colleagues either. I think I’d be happiest finding a new job I love, but that’s not really an option for me, and in the meantime stepping back has been a decent compromise. It’s better if you can reclaim some of the hours you used to be working to do things that bring you joy. For a couple years I felt kind of listless and unsatisfied at work because I was kind of just slacking without getting any tangible benefit for myself other than working less. But last year I was much more intentional about carving out time in what used to be my workday to do things that bring me joy, like volunteering, taking long walks, picking kids up early and taking them to get ice cream, etc. This year, I’m focused on growing a hobby/side gig that some day might become a career for me. I think having something “productive” you do with those extra hours is key, at least for me.
And yes to your friend’s point, it’s really ok to just be ok. I’ve been surprised how little people notice or care that I’ve leaned way out.
Toddler sleep says
Anyone have advice for toddler sleep issues? DD has been a very needy sleeper since she was a baby (i.e., would scream for hours, would only settle if rocked for long periods of time, etc). She also has an extremely strong preference for me over DH. We worked really hard to get to a good place, and from about 12-24 months things were going well, even great. Well, she recently learned to get out of her sleep sack, and everything has gone south fast. Plus we have a vacation coming up and I know she’s going to be a mess with the change in environment and proximity to me (Christmas overnight with my family did not go well). Any advice on how to deal with sleep issues at this age? It feels like the root of the problem is her need to be with me, and I’m not sure how to solve that. I really want to avoid having her in our bed, because the few times we’ve tried it, no one sleeps. But when we don’t intervene, she’s capable of screaming/ crying for several hours.
My daughter has had on and off sleep problems most of her life. Right now we’re in a cycle of her climbing in our bed midway through the night since we moved to a new house, so there is still work to be done at age 4.
If it were me in your shoes, I would try putting on the sleep sack backward and/or transition to one with the feet holes if you haven’t already. If this just makes matters worse, I would ditch the sleepsack altogether. Since DD is over 2, you could either just dress her more warmly or see if she is more comfortable with a light blanket. Have you also introduced lovies/stuffed animals for her to attach to? They were a huge comfort to my daughter at that age.
As far as travel, I try to make it really clear that sleep away from home is not the same as sleep at home. I generally give in to a lot when traveling. I used to lay on the floor next to the pack-n-play until my daughter would fall asleep at that age. It is understandable to me that a young child would be unnerved by trying to sleep alone in a strange place. I personally just take it as one of the quirks of early parenthood. Once back home, we are back to our routine.
Now in general, dealing with less specific sleep issues at this age: I try to be very clear about expectations (mommy is going to read you a book, sing you three songs, and then stay with you for 5 minutes. After that, mommy is going to her room and you are going to sleep in your bed.” They may not comprehend all of that, but the more familiar it is, the more comforting my daughter found it to be. (I also reinforce the idea of kids sleeping in their own beds regularly, like pointing out in shows and books like Goodnight Moon, etc. that the grown up leaves and the kid sleeps in their bed). After clear expectations, I follow through. Then, if DD cries when I leave I use basically some version of the Ferber method where I let her cry for increasing amounts of time (I’m a softie and usually cap out at like 7 min) and go back in to reassure her that I’m nearby, she is safe, she needs to sleep in her bed, and I am going to sleep in my bed. It usually only takes a couple nights of this dreadful sequence to end up with a calmly sleeping toddler who is finally comfortable and trusts the routine.
Good luck! Sleep problems are, to me, one of the hardest parts of parenting!
These are great ideas, thank you!!!
How is she at other times? At age 2 my kids loved an ‘uppy’ after daycare. I used to leave the toddler ergo on the kitchen chair and they would bring it if they wanted to be up. I often cooked dinner with a kid on my back. The physical closeness on demand during waking hours seemed to relax the bedtime panic.
Other ideas might be to keep an eye out for teething (tylenol over advil for bedtime as advil wakes them up), and mine liked to know what we were doing – boring stuff like “It’s mommy’s turn to have a bath, I’ll check on you after my bath’ seemed to work. First few nights I actually got a bath and check in after, graduated to just flipping on the bathroom fan.
Try Elizabeth Panting’s book ‘The No Cry Sleep Solution For Toddlers’ for other ideas .
How old? Mine just went through an epic 40 day sleep regression/illness/teething/mommy phase and it was brutal. I don’t really have a solution, but I wanted to tell you you’re not alone. When mine started having major sleep problems (crying for HOURS at night) a lot of people made me feel like it was me – I’m here to tell you it’s probably not you. I have two good sleepers and one terrible sleeper. The bad sleeper is also a twin, so it’s not necessarily genetic. I’ve paid two sleep consultants who both seemed perplexed and told me I was doing everything right. He sees a pulmonologist and ENT regularly: neither seem to know what’s causing the sleep issues but I’m debating having his adenoids removed as a next step (we’re also doing immune system testing). Things that help: humidifier, sound machine, cool, dark room; same bedtime routine every night (and same when traveling as much as possible); not picking him up in the middle of the night but patting/shushing to soothe; warm bath every night; turning the lights down after dinner and doing something calm like reading a book. He’s almost two and it seems like it’s getting better? I don’t know. Not sleeping is really hard. Make sure your partner is trading wake-up’s with you as much as possible. Hugs. I hope it improves soon.
Low stakes question. Is anyone else susceptible to buying things based on internet hype that they later realize are not really worth it after all? For me, it was the air fryer, the instant pot, and the Clek Foonf. The air fryer I just never use—it’s such a pain to drag out and the things I make in it never seem to turn out well anyway. And the instant pot is great sometimes but sometimes a disaster. Plus, every recipe takes waaaaay longer than the recipe says due to the time it takes to heat up (which for some reason is never included?)
The Foonf is so darn heavy and bulky, which maybe I could deal with…. BUT you have to uninstall, remove, and reinstall the darn thing every single time you need to adjust the level of the straps. Who has time for that? How does this annoying fact never seem to make it into the online promotions? I hate that I paid $600 for a car seat that is so darn difficult.
What have you bought based on general hype and later regretted? (Or am I the only one who remains susceptible to influencer marketing?)
I returned the foonf for these reasons plus it was so awkwardly high! I don’t know how anyone uses it.
I have bought two Foonfs and absolutely love them. The rigid latch system means they take five minutes to install and they are so much robust than any other seat. We even travelled overseas with one. My kids are super tall and long in the torso and outgrow them ridiculously early which was devastating.
I also live and die by my IP.
So I would fully endorse both of those purchases!
Caveat: I have a lawyer and will be speaking with them this week.
If you have had your child’s other parent (your ex) move away (either out of state or far away within a large state), what did you find work for you in terms of custody arrangements? My ex is applying for jobs elsewhere. He is in a niche market so there are limited jobs and limited places he can work. He hates living in our current VHCOL area and is very depressed (he hates his job, hates the traffic, hates me for causing us to live here due to my job). I secretly would be really happy having him move far away because he is causing me so much stress and anxiety (for many reasons), and I’m also willing to be collaborative within reason to make sure he gets to see our daughter regularly (which is really important to him). He is a great parent to her and adores her. Do you find that it’s easier if the parent that stays gets full physical custody (but maybe not legal custody)? Do you do some kind of arrangement where you bring the child to the out-of-state parent maybe once a quarter, and then work out summers/holidays too? We were not married so no divorce lawyers involved, and no formal custody arrangement. (Right now we are living together and coparenting and it is not sustainable.)
I far outearn him and will need to get additional childcare help if he moves away, but it will be worth it a million times for my sanity and starting to heal after years of being told I’m a horrible person. I’m fully prepared to be on my own and starting to rebuild my life.
Thank you for any advice!
I think I’d start by finding out what his desires/expectations are in terms of shared custody.
Also, how old is the child and will they have a preference for living primarily with one parent vs the other?
Unless there’s more you haven’t shared, I don’t think it’s safe to assume that his moving will mean that you keep full custody and other parent has quarterly visits. If that’s what he wants too, it’s more likely.
Isn’t that sort of the only option, at least once a kid is school age? A kid enrolled in K-12 school can’t be goig back and forth between two different cities that aren’t commuting distance – how would they consistently attend school?
Growing up one of my friends legitimately flew to her Dad’s house every weekend and then back to her Mom’s house during the school week. It seemed absolutely batty to me and it made her made her miserable. I don’t know any of the details (other than clearly it was a contentious divorce), but apparently there are other “options”.
If that were the only option then I don’t think she would have asked the question.
I feel like the regularly flying back and forth between houses thing was much more common in the 90s than it is now? I knew kids growing up with this custody arrangement but don’t know anyone now who does this.
Child is preschool age.
Sit quietly and write down who you would consider to be your child’s community. Friends? Daycare teachers? Preschool? Neighbors?
Providing stability is going to be an important factor here. The parent able to offer the child most stability is most likely to get primary physical custody (default is joint legal). I would think about what you think is reasonable – would you be okay with splitting major holidays? Alternating years for Christmas and Thanksgiving/Easter? Kid goes for either Spring Break or February Break and then for a longer period (a month? two 2-week periods?) during the summer.
Think forward to Kindergarten. I would recommend setting this up on a school year system.
Non-custodial parent arranges and pays for all travel for visitation. Custodial parent does not “bring” the child anywhere. Your only obligation should be to deliver the child to the airport at the designated time, or to allow him to pick her up at the designated time and place. By moving far away, he is making it more difficult for him to see the child. He should bear the burden of that decision.
I have an acquaintance who splits her preschooler’s time with her ex, who moved to another state for work after their divorce. TBH I haven’t really talked to her since her kid went to live with her ex, so this is all what she was planning to do. As I understand it, they have no formal custody agreement. Kid spends half the year with dad, where kid attends day care. Mom pays for full year of day care in our city (due to space) but kid only attends Thanksgiving through May. I don’t know what they plan to do when he’s school aged.
Anonymous family court judge says
I am glad that there is a chance things will move on positively for you personally. Living together and co-parenting is certainly not sustainable in your situation. There are many ways that families can be successful when the parents are separated geographically. I think you have the best chance for success if you focus on the fact that “He is a great parent to her and adores her.” If he can be happy and you can be happy then I believe you two can work this out. Your lawyer may have some suggested parenting plans for similar situations, or you can probably find some online as a starting point. You are doing your job and fulfilling your obligations to HER if you support the success of her relationship with her father, whatever that turns out to look like for you as parents, but you probably know that already. Lots of parents can’t get themselves to that point so way to go, you!
Good luck with these big changes ahead!
I just have to say, he sounds emotionally abusive to you and while he “adores” his preschool age daughter now – while you two live together and presumably he is not the sole parent figure – I fear for her having alone time with him as she gets older and has a mind of her own and starts to disagree with him. Someone who is abusive to a mom is not a good dad, full stop.
That said, you will need a formal custody plan for all of your sakes – doesn’t matter if you never married. Your child is very young and obviously can’t travel alone; I also wonder if she can be away from you for long periods of time? That will be much harder than what she currently has which is two parents in the same house. If she can, then yes perhaps a quarterly visit (with what, you staying at a hotel for a week while she stays with him? Or you flying back and forth, or the two of you splitting it?) or something like that? But one person will have to be the primary parent in a big way.
I’m glad there is a big silver lining to you of him moving far away but please prepare yourself legally and emotionally for how challenging this is going to be for the next 15 years of your life. Sending you the best.
Thanks everyone. He is a very good parent to her and she adores him, but she is very much a mama’s girl (she’s just over 2). It would be hard for both her and me to be away from each other.
He has only just started to treat his depression with therapy and is considering meds (I’m doing what I can to encourage it), so I’m hoping he will be happier (and therefore kinder). He has also been self-medicating with alcohol, so I am keeping a very close eye on things with my daughter, especially when he’s driving her somewhere (which is rare). He has never been drunk around her or even proposed to drive when impaired, so a lot of it is my own anxiety. But I know 100% that the relationship is over and I can’t continue to live with him.
I want him to move away so much that I’m willing to collaborate to make sure he gets to see her regularly. Definitely not underestimating how difficult things will be.
Agreed that we need a formal custody plan. Just trying to figure out what I should propose.
I want to host a party around Valentine’s Day for my 1st grade daughter and her friends. I’m thinking ~4-6/6:30, maybe something like 10 girls, age 6.5-7.5.
Ideas for activities? So far we’ve brainstormed:
– crafts (tbd what, card making? Bracelets? Both? Nothing with glitter.)
– cookie decorating
– kareoke (we have a machine but largely this means just putting on Alexa and dancing wildly), maybe a photo booth? Maybe do a photo shoot with her instamax camera?
– serving dinner (maybe heart shaped pizza?), maybe cupcakes (unless they eat the decorated cookies?)
I am pretty set on buying heart shaped glasses as a party favor.
I’ve never actually hosted an indoor party for this age group before. Does that seem like enough to keep them busy? Too much? Other ideas?
We have a large house and I’m thinking they can have the dining room & finished basement. Do I aim to move them through activities as a group or do it as 2-3 stations? I am going to cap the invites at number of seats I can fit around our dining room and /or basement table so they can all do things at the same time.
This sounds so fun! Love all of your ideas. If possible, consider inviting all of the girls in your daughter’s class. This is the age where kids start to be conscious of the invites they didn’t get. Signed, Former Loner Kid
Agree. Especially if you’ll be inviting mostly classmates. It’s one thing if it’s mostly friends from church or an extracurricular and just a few classmates, but many elementary school classes only have ~12 girls and it would really sting to be among the one or two who didn’t make the cut.
Oh yes. We are inviting all the girls in her class that we have contact info for, plus a few that were in her class last year
The school directory does not have contact info for two of the girls and it’s impossible to get – it’s opt-out so they’ve intentionally opted out.
Okay, so American Girl Magazine had a ‘Pink Party’ template which we threw in like.. 1994? Maybe? I’m going to find it because it would be so perfect for this!!
At that age, 2.5 hours is going to go by quickly, esp with dinner. Here’s what I would plan:
4:00-4:30 Arrivals/ Getting Settled: Play in basement
4:30-4:50 Craft: I’d do a simple craft like coloring love bugs out of egg cartons, foam decorating a picture frame, etc.
4:50-5:15 Dance/Sing Party: Have feather boas or fun props and play songs on Alexa. You can take group or individual Instamax photos to add to their crafted photo frames
5:15- 5:45 Decorating: Pre-made cupcakes or cookies, with pre-colored icing, that they ice and add sprinkles or candy to
5:45-6:15 Dinner: Eat pizza, fruit, and a different dessert while you pack a to-go bag of the cookies or cupcakes
6:15-6:30 Wrap Up: Have everyone gather their stuff and goody bags and play in the basement until parents come.