Washable Workwear Wednesday: Side Tie Pencil Skirt

I’m not a big skirt wearer. I ride a lot of different modes of public transportation, and I find it annoying to have to concentrate on making sure I’m sitting appropriately while wearing a skirt. That being said, I feel at my most “powerful” when I’m wearing a killer skirt or dress. I love this skirt’s faux wrap style and the bright colors it comes in. I’m drawn to the bubble gum pink color because I like the combo of the rest of my wardrobe (black, grey) with bright pink. This skirt is machine washable but the care instructions direct to dry flat, and it’s $79 at Nordstrom in regular and petite sizes. Side Tie Pencil Skirt

A plus-size option is at Amazon.

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

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just wanted to say a thank you to everyone who makes this such a great community. My husband and 14mo daughter unexpectedly traveled recently and thanks to all the great advice and conversation in here, I was able to recall some great tips that made our trip as smooth as could be expected.

    • AwayEmily says:

      +1. I am grateful for this community almost every day. It’s like the Wirecutter of parenting — so much great advice!

    • I realized the other day that this s i t e has now been around since my daughter was a few months old. She’s about to start kindergarten. I’ve learned soooo much from this community over the years and am so grateful for it!

  2. Meg Murry says:

    Another week, another announcement on Wednesday that my kid’s day camp will have a presentation Friday afternoon. This time at 2 pm, even worse than last week’s 3:30.

    Dear camp organizers – we send our kids to your camps because we want them to be occupied and have fun *while we work*. If you plan to have a Friday afternoon event for parents, couldn’t you have told us that during the sign-ups, or at least in the “don’t forget, your kid is signed up for this camp next week” email? Then maybe I could have had a chance at asking for the time away from my office – but even then probably not, since *someone* has to be in the office on Friday afternoon.

    Growl grrrrrr.

    • avocado says:

      Solidarity. I have gone through this so many times that I have just started assuming that all theme camps will have a Friday afternoon presentation and scheduling accordingly. Interestingly, the super expensive camp at the private school schedules all the presentations in the evening during a special parent night. This must have something to do with the fact that the school is entirely populated by dual-working-parent families.

      Sometimes I daydream about starting a nationwide movement to boycott all daytime kid-related events plus camps with late drop-off and early pickup. I still don’t understand how the people who run these camps think we are going to pay for the camps if we don’t have jobs.

      • KateMiddletown says:

        It boggles the mind. Especially when I’m dropping my kid off and see all the parents in non-work clothing (yoga pants and gym shorts). Do you just want to get your kid out of the house for the week? Next summer maybe I’ll take a week’s vacation while my kid is at daycamp and enjoy solitude during the waking hours.

        • AwayEmily says:

          I am one of those parents — I am an academic so I still have to work during the summer but can wear whatever I want since I’m not teaching/going to meetings/etc. So maybe some of those yoga pants people are work-from-home parents, academics, etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          Heh, I’m a environmental scientists to in the summer I’m usually wearing shorts and sneakers when I drop the kids off and am not infrequently covered in mud when I go to pick them up… Most of the other parents work office jobs in DC and are dressed accordingly, so I often wonder what they think I do!

        • Yeah, I mostly WFH, so I wear casual clothes to daycare drop off and pick up (we’re not at camp age). I am often self-conscious but decided that I just can’t care what other parents who don’t know my situation think. I work hard. There are also a lot of people in my area who don’t work typical 8-5 shifts and daycare/camps aren’t solely about parents being at work. Sometimes it is a parent’s only chance to sleep after working night shifts. In addition, many of those same people don’t work office jobs, so their clothes aren’t indicative of whether they’ve been working. I also don’t think you can judge a SAHP for having their child go to camp for a week or two here and there. Kids are often excited about camp. It’s not all about being a daycare for everyone. All kids can be interested in the subject matter and excited for the experience, whether their parents work or not.

          • Anonymous says:

            +1 to this. I had a stay at home mom (in the summers, she was a teacher) and I still went to camp for at least a couple weeks because I loved it and it was good social and academic enrichment for me. Kids summers are normally 12+ weeks long – most kids would get really bored doing nothing for that whole time.

        • Echoing the above – I WFH too, and will often do a quick workout before daycare pickup*, so I’ll turn up in workout clothes then. Sometimes I wonder what the other daycare parents think I do! But we have a lot of academic families so it’s pretty casual anyway, especially in summer. I definitely don’t know how families pay for daycare where one spouse is a SAHP, though…

          * At 36 weeks pregnant the ‘workout’ consists of some PT exercises and floating around the pool. Gym shorts *and* wet hair – it’s a really great look for daycare pickup, heh.

        • I WFH two days per week and am in office the other days. On WFH days, I absolutely wear my hair in a ponytail, yoga pants and worn out college t-shirt because the next day, it may be time to wear a suit in 80+ degree heat. DH is on drop off and pick up this week, and he is doing pick-up covered in dirt and animal gunk from farm work. Its a break from his regularly scheduled programming of working in an elementary school.

        • anne-on says:

          Ha, I work from home and can wear whatever I want. I’m usually pretty firmly in the ‘gym clothes only to the gym’ camp, but I am totally guilty of drop offs in wet hair/no makeup.
          BUT yes, in our town there are A LOT of SAHMs who do seem to use camp as a break for them plus an easy way to get the kids exercise/out of the house. On some days that seems like SUCH a nice life…

      • My spouse stays at home, and we send our child to daycare. DH does a lot. He handles the vast majority of the morning and evening routine with Kiddo. He keeps up with home repairs (we own a triplex that was built in the 1930s and maintained by amateurs, so not a small task). He cleans and grocery shops and runs errands and does laundry. He takes care of the lawn/garden. He also does all drop-offs and pick-ups and doctors appointments and stays home when Kiddo is sick. Basically, we don’t outsource anything.

        We could have taken Kiddo out of daycare, of course, but he has some sensory processing issues and social behaviors that daycare is really helping us address. Kiddo is also very high energy and needs several hours of outdoor play everyday.

        I’ll admit, having a SAH spouse is super nice for me. I don’t have to worry about getting anyone else ready to leave the house in the morning–I just get up when I need to and get myself out the door. I work as late as I want or need to. I go to after-work networking events whenever I want. (I aim for once a week, but I could do more.) When I get home, dinner is usually close to ready, and I play with Kiddo while DH finishes dinner. We all eat together, then DH handles the hard parts of the bedtime routine while I chill, and I join them for reading. After Kiddo goes to bed, DH and I have a couple of hours to hang out. On the weekends, we have some chores and errands, but we have plenty of family time too. Money is tight right now, but I’ve been killing it at work and have been promised a raise and a bonus, and I’ve never had so much free time.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Yes! So annoying.

    • Mid-afternoon or mid-morning performances drive me batty! Our elementary school is good about doing most concerts in the evening, but the PreK “performance” was on a Wednesday at 2 the last week of school. They didn’t tell us about it until Monday. My 4 year old could not understand why we couldn’t be there.

    • I think I just won’t go to these things…sorry kid. My 2 working parents could never make it to these types of things. I don’t remember ever feeling resentful and I turned out ok.

    • 100%, those things drive me crazy. I missed one last Friday and my kid didn’t seem too traumatized.

  3. AwayEmily says:

    We took the plunge and started our 28-month-old on Miralax yesterday. She’s been withholding her poops for ~3 days at a time since potty training a couple months ago. She is definitely making herself uncomfortable (the two hours before the poop comes are filled with crying/sadness/etc). It’s not a diet issue — her diet has not changed at all since potty training and she was pooping 2x a day while in diapers. We also tried a few days of prune smoothies and they did not seem to make a difference.

    Any advice or words on what to expect would be very welcome! We of course have talked to our pediatrician (we are giving her 2 teaspoons a day) but hearing from people who have been there is super, super useful. My hope is that if we give her a string of successes (ie easy poops) then she will stop being stressed about it.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Solidarity! My daughter has been on a daily dose of Miralax for a few months now. Expect that things will be softer and looser – akin to when kiddo first started solids. The good news is that your daughter is still willing to go on the toilet! Fingers crossed that you have a few successes and that it gets easier. My daughter is very stubborn and will only go in a diaper.

    • Solidarity! My 3-year-old is currently on Miralax. I will warn you that we had a rough start with it. In some kids, it can cause diarrhea-like poop. So, we were having major issues with messy accidents and even had to keep DD away from daycare for a couple of days until things settled down. So, my best advice is to go slow and back off on the dosage if your kiddo starts having issues. Now that we have the dosage right, it’s working — but she’s still choosing to have most of her solids in a nighttime pull-up rather than using the stool. Super, super frustrating, and she’s been potty-trained for almost a year. Unfortunately, having painful poops has turned into a behavioral issue as much as a physical one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have not used it with kid, but my own experience is that it just helps things be softer. Sometimes works, sometimes not. Also– apparently giving our kid watermelon produces enormous very soft results overnight, if you are looking for more alternatives. Potty trained for day and almost never poops in his night diaper but both times we’ve had watermelon at dinner, he woke up with the most disgusting dipes.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ive tried this skirt on and didn’t love it. The fabric is just too cheap and thin to lay nicely.

  5. PregAnon says:

    24 weeks pregnant with my first today and just feeling sooo distracted! That’s normal right? Feeling/watching her kicks is like the best TV show ever and I’m starting to get so impatient to meet her (but she better stay inside!)… Having so much trouble concentrating at work, just keep researching her progress, thinking about labor, planning her nursery etc. Should I just accept this as reality for the next 16 weeks? 18 years!?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry to hijack but your comment got me thinking – I’m 20 weeks as of tomorrow, and over the past week I have felt 3 kicks and some fluttering around, but nothing consistent. Should I be worried? At what point do the movements become regular?

      • I seem to remember 23-24 weeks? And then baby was a dancing machine. The only time I feel sad about being one and done is when I think about the baby kicks, I loved those.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I wouldn’t be worried yet. They’re still pretty small at 20 weeks. If you’re really concerned, drink some juice. The sugar should make him or her a little more active.

        And OP – it’s normal to be distracted!

      • No. They don’t recommend counting kicks until the third trimester. But I echo the others that if you’re worried, call your doctor!

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        I’d say around 22-23 weeks is when you start to feel constant kicks. They say you feel them earlier with your second, but for me, I still started really noticing the kicks consistently at around 21 weeks.

        For the OP – I totally remember feeling that impatience with my first! If you’re planning to have more, I will say that everything feels like it goes by a lot faster the second time (and I imagine the third and fourth, etc.) around because you’re just so busy with work + first child + trying to find some me time. So cliche, but try to enjoy that time to yourself and as just you and spouse as much as you can now. Go on lots of dates, sleep in, decorate away.

      • Anonymous says:

        For me, it was early, maybe 16 or 18 weeks that I started feeling at least some movement every day and probably most hours of each day. But my doctor was very clear that you shouldn’t worry about not feeling regular movement until later. It’s only once it’s started being very regular and then stops that you should worry.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m 20 weeks and feel tons of movement, but I know it is different for everyone. For me, it went from feeling maybe what was a movement to “pipe down in there!” in a matter of days.

        FWIW I am possibly a bad mom because I do not like the movements. They feel weird!

        • Anonymous says:

          Ohh just wait if you think they feel weird now…I liked the movements at 20 weeks but by about 28 weeks, my baby was head down and punching me in the cervix all day long. And at about 34 weeks or so, my stomach started bulging dramatically every time she moved. It was like Alien. So creepy!

      • ElisaR says:

        With my first pregnancy I pretty much never felt kicks….. the doctor would tell me to count kicks and I would freak out trying to tell if I felt something or not. Turns out the placenta was in the front of my uterus making it so I pretty much never felt anything. Gave my serious stress but was not anything to worry about…..Second pregnancy was much different.

      • Echoing ElisaR that anterior placenta can have a serious impact on feeling movement. Even without that, Pregnancy 411 says movement is sporadic before 24-26 weeks, and my OB said not to worry about counting until even later, I think it was 28 weeks.

        • Lana Del Raygun says:

          I have an anterior placenta and haven’t felt ANYTHING (23 weeks). I asked about it at my last appointment and they said I’d probably feel something in the next month and shouldn’t be worried!

    • avocado says:

      18 years. At least that is my experience 11 years into parenthood. For example, this week I am at training and my first thought was not how the material would apply to my work, but how it would make a perfect science project for my kid.

    • I was a lot more distracted at work when I was pregnant, because I was so anxious and excited. I felt like I had to have EVERYTHING ready (although in reality, you need like, a car seat, a crib and diapers…) and I spent many hours at work researching and buying baby stuff. My baby is 5 months old now and I’ve been back at work since she was 3 months. I have to take breaks to pump, and I do think about the baby some, but in general I’m nowhere near as distracted as I was while pregnant. She’s sleeping through the night, so I’m better rested than I was in my third trimester, and in general we are in a really great routine and I don’t need to think much about her while I’m at work unless I want to.
      For me, pregnancy was a pretty anxious time because I felt solely responsible for the baby’s health and well-being. Now that she’s here and I can share the emotional load with my husband, I feel a lot better. In hindsight, I almost think I had some sort of anxiety disorder while pregnant, because I was so worried about everything and it just got instantly better as soon as the baby was born.

  6. lawsuited says:

    I will be taking my then 19 month old on a trip requiring several long haul flights (while I am 7 months pregnant). The travel there requires a 3 hour afternoon/evening flight followed by a long haul red eye. The return travel involves a long haul red eye flight followed by an 8 hour daytime flight.

    Please give me all your travel tips! LO usually has zero screen time, but I am planning to take our iPad mini and sound-limited wireless earphones for the daytime flights hoping that it will be new and engaging. What do I load onto the iPad? What shows or games? I’ll take colouring supplies and books as well. Other activities that will engage him? I think I’m most worried about LO sleeping on the long haul flights. When he was younger he would sleep in a baby carrier or on me or my husband, but he’s already too big for a carrier and sleeps restlessly on us because he’s used to sleeping flat in his crib.

    • Traveling with a kid the same age, I saw this random tip on the internet and it literally took up like a full hour on the plane (well, like 10 minutes here, 20 there, etc.) A few days before you leave, make sure you have a dry, empty water bottle. Buy some of those pom poms you get at craft stores (or I guess cotton balls would work, but the poms are colorful – we got them on A M A Z O N). Put them in a Ziploc. Kid literally spent AN HOUR stuffing the pom poms into the bottle. I pulled them out and repeated over and over. Not messy, quiet, and super engaging.

      • Oh! Forgot to say this – On the iPad, I wouldn’t worry too much about videos. Probably won’t work for long periods. But there are a couple of apps that worked for us for flights. The Sandra Boynton book apps (not the eBook, the interactive app), especially for Moo Baa La La La, are excellent and engaging. My kid didn’t really care about sound, but if you think yours might, you should probably try on the headphones before the flight. We also had (and still have) a ton of success with the very very simple and child friendly Peekaboo Barn.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        That sounds awesome. I wish I had known about that tip!

    • Mama Llama says:

      At that age my daughter wasn’t really interested in videos, so I would have a back-up plan in case they don’t work. In our case, we would bring a ton of toys and books and switch out every few minutes to try to keep her entertained. It was exhausting!

    • AwayEmily says:

      You might want to get him a little acclimated to screen time first — both to get him used to the act of watching and to get him excited about the characters.

      We started ours at that age on Sesame Street clips — she really liked any of them that involved singing. the PBS Kids app has lots of short videos. I don’t think you need to do a ton, just three minutes a day of Elmo in the morning before school or something (I speak from some experience — we tried the “distracting with video” trick on our previously no-screen-time kid and she had zero interest, which made for a difficult flight).

      I’d also load lots of videos of HIM on the ipad. Nothing engages a kid more than watching videos (or seeing photos) of themselves.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 on videos of themselves (and pictures). Kiddo loves it. For apps, mine at that age also loved Itsy Bitsy (by Duck Duck Moose) and the Peekaboo apps (especially Peekaboo barn).

      • lawsuited says:

        Thanks for the recs so far! He does love screens – he can’t peel his eyes away from the Disney channel when he goes to the hairdresser. I’m going to get him used to the headphones before we leave.

    • At that age, my kid didn’t have the attention span for videos but she could spend hours (HOURS!) looking through the SkyMall. Now I’m not sure those still even exist. She also really liked to look at random pictures on my phone.

    • I’ve never taken a long haul red eye with my toddler, but I’ve taken a few 3-4 hour cross country flights. In our experience, he’s usually so tired by the time the plane takes off that he falls asleep pretty easily.

      Also, maybe snacks in one of those toddler kong things? I usually hate resorting to food, but that is actually something that keeps my LO occupied on flights.

      Those melissa and doug waterbooks are pretty great too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is he a lap infant or does he have a seat? We’ve had surprisingly good luck with getting our toddlers to sleep in their carseats on long-haul flights, so if he has a seat I’d strongly recommend bringing his carseat!

      • lawsuited says:

        He’s a lap infant, sadly. Would it be worth trying to buy him a seat? I’ve heard that many airlines won’t allow children to sit in car seats on flights, but maybe that’s only take off/landing? (We’re flying Delta and Air France if that makes a difference)

        • Anonymous says:

          ” I’ve heard that many airlines won’t allow children to sit in car seats on flights”

          I don’t know what that means – it’s federal law that children can be in a car seat if you’ve purchased them a seat (and in fact it’s much safer). Your car seat has to be FAA approved but all the major ones are.

          • Anonymous says:

            Agree. But I think many only allow carseats in non-aisle seats, so it could matter what is left to pick from.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yep, Delta will have to let you use a seat, though only in either the window or the middle of that set of 4 in a two-aisle airplane.

            International airlines are hit-or-miss, but Air France allows forward-facing seats.

          • Anonymous says:

            @Anon at 11:26, if you’ve purchased a seat for the child, the airline has to put you where you can use the car seat. So even if there aren’t window seats left, you can buy a seat for the child and they will have to move you to a window seat (and middle seat for the parent) at the airport.
            It’s amazing how many people don’t know these rules though! We just flew for the first time with our 4 month old and the gate agent told DH we had to check the car seat even though we’d purchased the baby a window seat. We had to pull up the FAA website on our phones.

        • Anonymous says:

          All American airlines (so including Delta) are required by the FAA to let you use a carseat, though you may get pushback from the flight attendants about rear-facing on a long-haul flight where people want to recline. Air France definitely won’t let you rear-face, but we had no problems using forward-facing carseats on two flights this spring.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon OP from above, who just flew with husband and 14mo. We didn’t take a red eye, so no tips there, but brought snacks (puffs and cheerios, and bought cheese, her favorite, at the airport) and water bottle to keep her swallowing during takeoff and landing to manage pressure pain. We brought our baby carrier on a whim and I was so glad I did! Even though we don’t use it often day-to-day, it was helpful for keeping our hands free at the airport for purse, coffee, etc. Also, even though I usually carry on, it was worth it to check all luggage but our personal items for the same reasons as above. If we hadn’t checked our luggage, we were planning to send one parent on to pre-board with suitcases while the other boarded with LO at the last minute to minimize wiggling. When she fell asleep before boarding, we boarded right away to get her situated.

      LO still nurses for comfort so that was a huge help during takeoffs and landings as well. I read somewhere not long ago (here? somewhere else?) to dress your baby in something cute for travel to buy a little goodwill from fellow passengers. We had long layovers (4 hours), which also worked well for finding our gates, allowing plenty of time to eat, and letting LO crawl around between connections.

      We brought toys and books but really only used one or two books total on the plane.

      • Anon at 11:20 says:

        Oh the other thing that I think I had read here was making sure you have the birth certificate along to prove that they are young enough to travel as lap infants. We didn’t need it but I was glad to have it.

    • Spirograph says:

      Honestly, if you have no problem with screen time for the duration, you’re probably golden. My 3 year old will happily watch movies back to back on flights or long car trips. Or endless episodes of Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger, and PJ Masks. For eye strain reasons, I usually try to break it up with books in between the movies, and the pom pom idea above also sounds great!

      I agree with the poster above who said carseats are best for sleeping. If you aren’t opposed to hauling it on the plane, this is your best bet. My kids do NOT sleep well on planes in the regular seat. It probably doesn’t feel familiar or snug enough for them, but blanket + carseat is basically lights out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure this would have worked that young, but when my son was younger he loved videos of diggers working that we found on YouTube. It’s a genre. So if there is anything like that that fascinates him in real life, see if you can find documentation on You Tube, and download those videos in advance. We also had a video compilation of fire trucks driving by. And several, in Russian, naming different types of construction vehicles. (For a while my son would only give me the Russian name for various diggers we saw).

      • lawsuited says:

        Great idea! He is completely fascinated by the construction going on in our area, so I bet that would be perfect.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t do it. Just don’t.

  7. Anyone else feel like the fatigue that comes with being a working mom is hard on your marriage? I know that I’m not putting enough energy and effort into my marriage these days, but I am so.flipping.tired from being “on” all the time. At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed, I have nothing left to give and just want to be left alone. But, I can’t deny that feeling this way is starting to show in my marriage. Being a working mom (who also happens to be an introvert) feels too freaking hard sometimes. I feel like I’m doing everything half-a$$ed — marriage, work, parenting, and meeting my own needs. I don’t feel like this ALL the time, but I feel like I experience major periods of burnout several times a year. It is not good.

    • Yep! I am just done at the end of the day. I feel awful about it but also secretly think that if my husband took something off my plate, I might be more amenable to married person time. Which is clearly a conversation I need to have but just can’t muster the energy.

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel you– and sometimes it helps to just say it out loud. My husband and I have both acknowledged to each other that our marriage is on the back burner right now. We’re both pooped. We do the little stuff: thank each other all the time for what the other does (in front of the kids), cuddle while watching TV after the kids are in bed. But at least twice I week I’m like nope, can’t do anything, and as soon as the kids are down I go take a bubble bath or climb into bed to read by myself while he watches weird video game streaming stuff by himself in the living room. I think it has helped us a lot to say out loud to each other that while we love each other and we’re in it to win it and all, this is a hard time and we’re not going to harbor disappointment that we aren’t doing the fun board games and dates that we used to do in our free time. When you are feeling burnt out you can drop the ball! It’s okay! No/minimal cleaning, spaghetti pie from Walmart for dinner (it is shockingly not as preservative-ridden as I thought it’d be), book/bed/bath right after kids go to bed. Both parenting and marriaging are marathons.

    • anne-on says:

      Yup. A few tips that work for us/me, is simply acknowledging that I can’t be 100% all the time (wife, mother, employee), and that in any given week I need to ‘lean back’ or ‘lean in’ in one area or another. Having dedicated time to rest/relax/workout also helps A LOT. Easier said than done but the following has really helped:
      Totally trading off bedtime duties – so I know I have a set amount of nights where I can read/work/get to the gym/veg out while my husband does bath/book/cuddles.
      Trading off weekend days – my husband gets a day to work out, and I do as well. Before I would silently stew about he’d work out both days and leave me with kiddo both mornings so I used my words (like a grownup!) and he accepted that wasn’t fair and we both check in with the other about ‘our day’.
      Trying (as much as possible) to schedule a date night once or twice a month. Giving myself permission to let the kiddo watch some extra TV and order takeout if I’m really slammed at work or ordering groceries online, etc. etc. Agree on modeling gratitude and thanking each other for our contributions – on the plus side, it rubs off on your kids! Last night my son thanked me for making dinner (which only happens when its a favorite, but hey, I’ll take it!).

      • lawsuited says:

        +1 Totally, totally agree that you need to “lean in” and “lean out” of your different roles to find balance.

        As a counterpoint to trading off duties, my DH and I do the LO’s bedtime routine together every night we’re both at home and it’s actually really fortifying for our marriage. Laughing and cuddling with our toddler makes us both feel grateful for the life we’ve created together, and watching my husband with my toddler makes me really grateful for him. Once LO is in bed, my husband and I talk as we make and eat dinner together, then go our separate ways for alone time, and go to our bedroom together about 30 minutes before our bedtime so that we can talk as we get ready for bed/fold laundry/set out clothes for the next day.

    • Anonymous says:

      My husband and I are lucky enough to have a bit of a unicorn situation–I took a job at his office (in a different department) at 5 mo pregnant. It’s probably not for everyone but it’s great for us. We carpool every day, it made picking a daycare location super easy (and we both get to drop off and pick up every day), and we can have marriage time together on the drive and at lunch.

      • Anonymous says:

        We work at the same place and do lunch dates too. We don’t commute together because we keep very different hours (I’m 9-5 in a staff role and he’s a faculty member who works from home a lot and mostly goes in to teach and for seminars). My friends are always shocked that we don’t really do “date nights” where we hire a babysitter, but I really prefer doing lunch – quality time with DH without the guilt of leaving the baby.

    • ElisaR says:

      I’m an extrovert and I feel completely shot and unable to make conversation or be present once I get those babies down. I worry about my marriage too. Trying to remember this time is temporary.

    • Evenings are just plain hard – we’re often both so spent that after kiddo is down, we just eat dinner and watch a show (which we discuss and enjoy, but still, not the most interactive). One thing that has helped is that we prioritize daytime weekday dates whenever we can swing them, either lunch or breakfast. Kiddo is in daycare, and we are both so much more engaged than in the evenings, and really enjoy the time together to just talk. I still often feel like you do, but the day dates help a lot and avoid the need for a sitter.

    • Due in December says:

      I feel like this. I also feel that in addition to being so tired, the constant mental load makes it so much harder for me to relax to the point that I can enjoy time with my husband. Like, I can zone out by myself once kiddo is down, but if I try to muster energy for quality interactions with my husband, my mind just goes to my to-do list and his to-do list and logistics and budgeting and grocery shopping…it is just so hard to shut it off.

      One thing really helped last weekend. We took a long weekend for the 4th and went to the mountains as a family (no cell phone reception, no electronics, no screens). Even with the kid there, after 2 days I was relaxed enough to enjoy really quality couple time with my husband once kiddo was asleep in the evening or napping in the afternoon. I can’t get to that point during just a date night or even a date day. We can’t swing this sort of thing that often, but it was a good reminder to both of us that some of the current challenges in our marriage are situational and just a phase in life, and don’t mean we don’t have the ability to connect like we used to. So there’s hope for the future. We talked about it.

    • Lana Del Raygun says:

      How much is “nothing left to give” and how much is “want to be alone”? Sometimes when I really tired (not exactly a “working mom” yet, but pregnant) I just sit on the sofa and go “I’m so tiiirreeed” while my husband pats my hair and tells me he loves me, and it counts as quality time. Could something like that work for you?

      Aside from that, “major periods of burnout several times a year” sounds totally unsustainable and like you two need a big-picture plan to reduce your workload.

  8. Where do you buy fitted twin sheets? We just moved our toddler to a real bed and I bought one sheet set for her but she doesn’t like using a pillow and has no need for a top sheet so I don’t want to buy more sets when I only need the fitted sheet. Is Company Store my only option? I’m struggling to find anything else.

    • IKEA? Also it is super normal to just have fitted sheets in the UK so maybe an order from Marks & Spencer? Throw in some tights and some cute kids clothes and you’ll meet the shipping minimum.

    • Anonymous says:

      Target used to sell sheets individually, I think. Not sure about the current selection.

    • octagon says:

      Places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls sometimes have individual sheets for sale.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      I just buy the set and use the flat sheet for fort building or dog blankets or when someone is sick. Neither of my kids use a flat sheet. If you have time for thrift store shopping (one of my hobbies) they usually have a good selection too.

    • I just bought a set at Target for like $20 for my toddler. We don’t use the flat sheet, but it can always be used for fort building or tucking into the couch on a sick day or a picnic blanket or whatever.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m six weeks pregnant with my first and while I’m excited, I’m kind of terrified of telling work. I work in a very intense practice group in NYC biglaw (I’m a fourth-year) and there are only a few women above me in the pipeline– and none of them have kids. I have a reputation as a very hard worker and I’m trying to work extra hard right now and bank even more goodwill…. but…. the first trimester exhaustion is REAL.

    Tips for getting through this time? When is best to tell– around 12-14 weeks or should I wait as long as I can until I start to show?

    • ElisaR says:

      CONGRATS! and wait as long as you can to tell. And don’t worry, I found the exhaustion got better as the pregnancy went on. The very beginning is the worst. I’d be asleep at 7pm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Congrats! I am 20 weeks along and a 3rd year in biglaw. I told by about 14-15 weeks, but my practice group sounds different than yours, because several other female associates have taken maternity leave in recent years. I think if you have really bad morning sickness you may need to tell sooner, but otherwise wait as long as you want.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1. I had terrible morning sickness and had to tell earlier because it was affecting my availability and my work. It wasn’t ideal, but people appreciated being able to make plans around it rather than being surprised by it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to be a downer, but if you are doing any kind of genetic or other testing that could influence whether you carry to term, wait until after that if possible.

    • IP Associate says:

      Congratulations!! Fellow biglaw associate and FTM with an 8 month old (had her in my fourth year). I told my practice group when I was probably 15 weeks along. I found staying hydrated and healthy snacking throughout the day helped with the exhaustion, but it is temporary – I found my energy again in the second trimester!

  10. Any thoughts on the Schwinn Interval Jogging Stroller? My in-laws have offered to buy us a jogging stroller, but DH and I feel like we can’t ask them for a $500 stroller. If anyone has any experience with that one, or other cheap (<$200) jogging strollers, I'd love to hear.

  11. VacayQuandary says:

    Hey ladies – Many thanks again on all the great advice here. I had posted a weekish or so ago about taking an international trip/vacay and the debate whether to a) Take our then almost 10 month old; b) Leave baby with Grandma; or c) Stay back and let DH go somewhere (we’ve each done solo vacation travel before, so this is not completely random). The more I think about it, option (b) seems to be the best. Our marriage can use some TLC, and I’ve learned that these chances to vacation and travel should be valued. My mom would come to our place (we live in a city away from family, so she would fly in) to take care of DS, ideally taking him to daycare during the weekdays, but giving her the flexibility if she wanted to keep him home, too. Any tips on: 1) How to manage/plan for Grandma being sole caretaker of baby (she’s great with him and pretty much will follow schedule, etc.) and 2) Pumping and dumping while away, and 3) Introducing formula before I go? He’s been pretty much EBF, but will likely be combo fed while I’m gone.

    • Spirograph says:

      Good for you, I hope you and your husband have a great trip to relax and reconnect!

      For introducing formula, I wouldn’t worry too much. Maybe a week or two out, start mixing increasing amounts in with the milk. A 10 month old will be getting most nutrition from other food by then, so even if he rejects the formula entirely, he will be fine.

      I would not do much managing of Grandma. When my mom comes to my house to take care of the kids, I leave a sheet that has the kids’ typical schedule (both sleep & wake times, and also daycare dropoff/pickup), map showing walking directions to a couple playgrounds, a list of other local kid-friendly activities as ideas, and favorite foods. If there are any special instructions, eg “Keep bathroom doors CLOSED, kiddo has decided it’s fun to play in the toilet recently!” or “Kiddo loves grapes, but please make sure to cut them in quarters since they’re still a choking hazard” I add those, but mostly I trust her to use good judgement.

      As for pumping and dumping while away, make sure you are prepared for outlet or power conversion needs if you are bringing an electric pump. Definitely bring a hand pump as backup, and pick the most minimal pumping schedule you can tolerate. Like I mentioned last week, I got by with 2x per day around 10 months, once in the morning, and once before bed. If you use only the hand pump, do 3 if you’re worried about protecting your supply. Since you’re not keeping the milk, don’t bother bringing a cleaning brush or extra sets of parts, just swish the stuff around in some soapy water and call it good. Ziplock bag to throw wet parts back in your bag if you have to hand-pump on the go. The one exception to my advice not to bring extras is membranes (or whatever the equivalent is if you don’t have a Medela pump), and also make sure to put them inside the bottles or somewhere else that the cleaning staff at a hotel won’t accidentally throw them away. Ask me how I know.

      • Anonymous says:

        A 10 month old should still be getting most of his nutrition from breastmilk or formula, fyi. Solid food provides only a very small percentage of calories at that age. But I agree that introducing formula probably won’t be a big deal, since he’s eating lots of things that aren’t breastmilk.

    • We’ve left DD with grandpa for vacation before (he came to our place), and I’d echo what Spirograph said about not managing too much. We left schedule and info on parks, etc., went over carseat protocol, and reminders about which foods are inappropriate for toddlers. We also told him the schedule was there to help him and if they varied somewhat, nbd, and if she wanted to eat waffles and pouches the whole time, fine, a few days of that wasn’t going to ruin her. Basically said stay safe, have fun, and THANK YOU! A few admin things I’d add are to leave medical treatment authorization form (I think we printed one from the AAP site, which authorizes a named caregiver to seek medical treatment), insurance card, and make sure you have any daycare authorization lined up such as if they require a signed form approving a new person to do pick up, plus the usual things I’d leave around for a sitter like poison control number. Enjoy the kid-free vacation!

    • I have a folder for all of the critical information when I leave my kids with grandparents. Daycare address, phone number, schedule, room, teachers names, dropoff procedure. Medicine dosage and when to use. Dr name and phone number, insurance card. I also have a letter in there giving my parents and my husband’s parents permissions to have the girls treated, although the letters have never been used.

      Re: formula, I would suggest slowly introducing it starting 3 weeks before (or more). My older daughter was EBF for about 6 months and when I wanted to add formula there were a few that she simply wouldn’t drink. I finally found one she liked and we were good. I had to mix it in with breastmilk at first. So 75% breastmilk/25% formula and slowly increased to 100% formula. It was fine but it did take a few weeks. So I would start early to make sure you have that runway just in case.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to the folder of critical information and a note authorizing treatment. I also leave an envelope/ziplock with our annual passes to the zoo, children’s museum, etc., some day passes we’ve received, and any gift cards or still-valid coupons for fun activities or favorite restaurants or treats.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just stop nursing. Don’t pump. He’s 10 months. Call it.

      • A less rude anon says:

        Did you want to provide that recommendation to the doctors at WHO, who recommend nursing until at least age 2?

        Also, even if she WANTS to wean, she will have to pump in order to not be in pain.

  12. To stave off exhaustion – Go on walks as much as possible. You’ll be tired, and this will help rather than make you more exhausted. Just a slow walk around the block. Drink a TON of water at your desk. That will also help. Otherwise, there isn’t a way out except through. If you have nausea, keep some small hard candy at your desk. Doesn’t have to be ginger – whatever you like, but NOT sugar free. You want the sugar!

    As for when to tell – it’s repeated here a lot, but really up to you. I waited until 14 weeks.

  13. anon for this says:

    So, I think my 3 yo is extremely advanced. She is reading at a 5-year-old level and her vocabulary and reasoning continue to blow us away. She seems to have an incredible memory (e.g., making connections between a book she’s reading and an old library book she hasn’t read for months). She is extremely creative and seems to get easily frustrated when she wants to play pretend with her friends who can’t seem to grasp what she is telling them. People often comment that she seems much older than she actually is.

    I know that it’s too early to do any testing for academic advancement, but I’m concerned that she is way ahead of her peers at the preschool curriculum and wondering if we should be considering academic-based private ($$$) preschool. Is that crazy to even think about? I recognize that there’s a huge social development component at this age and want to make sure she is gaining social skills as well.

    I understand I may get flamed for this, but maybe someone else has gone down this road and can offer advice? If I keep her where she is, any suggestions for talking to the director about how to meet her at her level?

    • No specific advice but I think it’s a good thing to consider about in a low-key way. I was that kid (read at three, super verbal and bright) and I remember really bored in elementary school to a degree that I think I often checked out.The private preschool I went to wanted me to skip kindergarten but that wasn’t an option in public school.

      I’m bright but not abnormally smart now so I do think that in ordinary circumstances, it evens out a bit in the end.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, I think it’s really really early to think about this stuff. Preschool is about teaching kids to get along with other kids, not about doing anything academic, and in my experience the earlier you put kids into accelerated academic programs, the earlier they burn out. I was just like your daughter in preschool, in gifted and talented in elementary school and accelerated in numerous subjects by middle school. I got into (and went to) Harvard, but kind of burned out after that (I have a fine job that I like and I can pay my bills, but it’s not anything that requires a high IQ or advanced education). My husband – who is at least as smart as I am if not smarter – wasn’t accelerated until high school and then only slightly (he took AP calculus senior year with all the other “normal” honors kids – I took it freshman year) and he went on to get a PhD in the sciences and is now a professor at a top university. I realize this is anecdata but we know a lot of other people with similar stories.

      I think preschool is just way too young to think of pulling her out of the mainstream public school. If there are weekend programs or summer day camps for gifted and talented kids in your area, she might enjoy those (although most of the ones I know about don’t start until kindergarten).

    • Spirograph says:

      My 3 year old is not as precocious as yours sounds, but I’d strongly advise against academic-based preschool. All the research I’ve seen on the topic shows little benefit and many potential downsides to kids being pushed academically at a young age. Even for highly gifted children. Social skill development is arguably more important at this stage.

      Absolutely find outlets at home for her creativity, and keep reading with her, etc etc at home, but I would not try to alter her peer group or academic environment yet.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      We decided to homeschool our son for many of these reasons after kindergarten. We haven’t had him tested and don’t really plan to at this point. We keep him in age appropriate activities so he has friends his own age but homeschooling allows us to meet his educational level. We struggle with advancing him too far so we just try to go very deep into the things he interested in – mostly history and science. So maybe just hop on some homeschool boards and get some good ideas about enrichment or book lists you can use after school is over.

    • I understand your desire to support your child. Do you have any child psychologists in your network who might be able to assess her and offer advice?

      I was that kid, and honestly lucked out: my parents were both financially able and involved enough to support me. On the suggestion of a psychologist friend, they worked with the preschool director to offer me some appropriate activities for a portion of the day, while still keeping me in age-appropriate class levels for socialization. So for example, I’d be off in one part of the room writing my own elaborate multi-page stories while classmates worked on their letters or word recognition, but I spent free play/ gross motor time, mealtimes etc fully participating in whatever was going on in the classroom. At home my parents would also let me do some workbook-type things (mostly practice math puzzles, which I recall thinking were fun?? I need to quiz my dad on this and the age at which we started, but there are photos of this at age ~4). I think that was the best of both worlds, really.

      Socially, I was behind but caught up in the end; academically, I was ahead of my peers but it evened out in the end. My sample size is 1, but I am a happy, productive, mostly well-adjusted if somewhat nerdy adult today, which is really all I want for my own kids.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is very similar to my experience. I went to “normal” preschools part time, but started doing some accelerated academics independently in K, and subsequently skipped 1st grade. My mom was absolutely fantastic at making various forms of enrichment available to me and my (also identified gifted) siblings when we were at home, but we stayed in public school.

        No regrets, necessarily, about doing the independent work or being advanced a grade, but I was definitely behind socially for a few years and I think highlighting the difference to my peers didn’t help. I wasn’t picked on, and I had friends, but it was a thing people noticed, and then there was me feeling smug and smart and acting bratty about it. My school district had a great pull-out gifted program, and I thought I was even smarter than my peers there because I’d gotten special treatment even before that started in 3rd grade. I have some distinct memories of feeling affronted when adults didn’t recognize me for the genius I clearly was in elementary school and even middle school. I think I was in college before I stopped thinking of myself as uniquely brilliant (on the plus side, I had great self-esteem).

        My kids are smart, and possibly gifted, but I’m going to do my best to see that they’re a little stronger in humility and social skills than I was as a kid, and I think participating in a mixed-ability peer group is beneficial for that. At home, I’m all about introducing my kids to more challenging, stimulating things, but it is a life skill to get along with people who have different talents and abilities, and that’s the primary purpose of preschool and most of elementary, in my opinion.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I’d be super careful with labeling your kiddo. It’s easy to convey to a child that they are interesting to you because they have X, Y or Z characteristics – being smart, being great at soccer, being funny, being cute. But no kid is two dimensional. They all have a number of different personality characteristics, and it’s important to recognize all of those. So your kid is verbal and has a great memory! Does she also hold grudges and emotionally shut down when a friend hurts her? Does she give up easily when tasks are hard? I’d push on those opportunities for growth, instead of focusing mostly on the areas in which she already excels.

      • Yeah, I would second this. I have a precocious kid who is in elementary school. He’s been super bright his entire life, much like your kid. BUT. His emotional intelligence, for lack of a better way of putting it, is his weak point. He’s the kid who tests above grade level in several academic areas, but consistently scores low in his social/emotional skills. (As it turns out, he’s a bright kid who also happens to have ADHD.) As a parent, it is really difficult to see him struggle in that area when everything else seems to come easily to him. So even though he might gain *some* benefits from gifted education, I am more concerned about his character development at this point. And, there are plenty of bright kids out there, and some of the precociousness levels off with time.

        Keep encouraging your kiddo’s interests, and do what you can at home. That’s awesome. But preschool is really more about socialization than academics, and trust me, the socialization piece becomes realllly important once they hit kindergarten.

    • avocado says:

      My kid was like this, and we purposely avoided academic preschool in favor of a play-based program. It seemed that the “academic” programs would actually have been boring and frustrating because they consisted mostly of worksheets and rote learning at a slow pace. We put her in kindergarten a year early because she would have been absolutely miserable in pre-K, and she still had a lot of issues with being the only kid in the class who could read, write, and do arithmetic.

      We looked at Montessori preschool and decided it was not a good fit for our child’s personality or our family. That might be an option for you to consider, though.

      We did have her tested privately during kindergarten before we had her tested by the school, but only to get ammunition to advocate with the school. The most useful thing we learned from the testing was that the local private schools would have forced her to repeat kindergarten due to her age and that we were better off sending her to public school for first grade.

      The best things you can do at this age are to support her interests and avoid labeling her. We never told our kid she was “gifted” and it was not until the third grade or so that she figured it out on her own. She still does not know what she scored on the IQ test, and never will.

      Something to watch out for with a kid who picks up reading, etc. with little effort at a very young age is low frustration tolerance. Our kid grew up believing that everything should just come naturally and had a rough time learning how to learn. If she couldn’t do something perfectly the first time, understand a new concept intuitively, or know the answer to a problem just by looking at it, she would totally shut down. Music lessons and sports helped some with this, as well as pushing for additional academic acceleration until she was appropriately challenged in at least one or two subjects.

      • avocado says:

        Also–we never said anything to the preschool director. We didn’t even bother explaining that she could read because it wouldn’t have changed anything. The teachers let her read aloud to the class, but they thought she was reciting the books from memory and didn’t believe she could actually read until she started reading the jokes on the yogurt cartons. The college student employees all figured it out really quickly, though. They would come over to me at pickup time and exclaim, “Did you know she could READ?” Um, yes, of course I know. I am her mother.

        • LOL at “Of course I know. I am her mother.” My parents had no idea I could read for a while because they thought I was memorizing/reciting books. My grandmother, who was a teacher, gave me a new coloring book with some words on the bottom and asked me to read them. I read through the coloring book, and she still had to convince my parents I could read.

      • This is a day late, but +1 to watching out for low frustration tolerance and shying away from difficult things.

        I will add: one thing that really helped me was being placed in my public school system’s gifted program – where I was surrounded by other kids who had similar ability levels, if not smarter than I was. Up to late elementary school, each and every one of us had had academics come easy; now we were appropriately challenged, and by teachers who were specially trained in gifted education and knew how best to encourage and motivate us. Was that the best thing for us socially? Perhaps not, but most of us interacted with peers beyond the program through sports, extracurriculars, religious activities, etc.

    • Midwestern Anon says:

      This might be too late for you to see, but I’m sort of in the same situation, and here a couple of things we are considering:
      * A Montessori classroom, which generally groups many ages together. In my experience, there’s a wide range of how Montessori is implemented, so it is worth it to consider different schools. But a mixed age classroom could let your child be pushed by the older kids, while still playing with kids her own age in. Even those Montessori schools that lean more academic are still self-driven (which I remember loving as a kid, though I didn’t start until KG — and my classroom wasn’t mixed ages. I was just super competitive).
      * An immersion school. Again, this varies a lot by school — some are play-based, some are not. But it’s potentially a way to play to your child’s strengths (verbal ability) without making it worksheet/drudgery. And plenty of age-appropriate social interactions.

      We are personally leaning immersion, for lots of reasons — including that we liked the teachers and classrooms the best, not strictly because we wanted her to learn that language. But it seems like we’ll be getting the best of both worlds (age-matched socially, but also something new and challenging for her).

    • I agree with a lot of the above, and would personally avoid academic preschools at this age for more play based ones. That is where the real learning is happening, and if they have a really small academic component, you won’t have to worry about her being bored.

      Another option, and one that we are using, is language immersion preschool. I think learning the new language gives our son the challenge he needs, while also allow him to develop socially amount his peers while playing a lot.

      • Yes this. Don’t label the kid and look for ways to give her a challenge so she doesn’t think everything comes easy. I went through “regular” school and then had a hard time in my 20s when I realized not everything would come easy to me. I still believe in regular school (not skipping grades and not in special gifted classes) but we’re sending our kids to language immersion elementary, and have them in lessons for music (for the one who isn’t musically inclined) and sports (for the one who isn’t athletically gifted). They each get to be in the thing they like, but must also be in the other one. It’s good to learn that you’re not going to be the best at everything. There’s always going to be someone better than you, and there will always be someone worse. Handling both situations with grace is the most important life skill.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes it’s crazy. She doesn’t need more academics she needs space to be three years old.

    • shortperson says:

      i have a nephew who was like this, and he just dropped out of college after his freshman year. please be careful not to label her as smart and have her know that you are invested in this. my nephew is very afraid of failure and has run away from anything where he’s not the smartest one in the room. which, no matter how smart you are, eventually happens.

      • Anonymous says:

        +10000 I dropped out after my freshman year, too. Spoiler alert, I turned out fine; the military was a great adjustment for me (and left everyone who knew me saying a collective “wtf?”). But after 18 years of sailing through school with no effort and being praised for how smart and talented I am, my instinct is to run from things that are hard, and it took a pretty drastic change to counteract it.

  14. TwinnysMom says:

    We have a 27 month old son with a speech delay. I’ve posted about him before and got great advice here to get that second opinion! He’s the one who speaks a normal number of words for his age, but they’re all nouns and no verbs or people– i.e. he just started saying “Mama” and “Daddy” and his twin sister’s name a few weeks ago after some frankly very intense drilling on my part. Not sure yet if it’s autism or just something else going on. He qualified for early intervention and is in speech therapy every other week now.

    At our first speech therapy appointment they mentioned trying to steer him away from “labeling,” which is how he reads books now– flipping through them fairly quickly and naming the “things” on each page– and towards more narrative speech. So we’ve been trying to cut down a bit on the I Spy type books, which he loves, and direct him more towards books like Close Your Eyes that are more story-oriented.

    So ironically, I’ve found in the last two weeks that one of the things that is helping the most is screen time?! His sister is SUPER verbally advanced and wants to watch Daniel Tiger, so we’ve been letting them see one half-episode every night after dinner. And Disney has some 3-minute shorts where all the characters interact and have brief stories and he seems really into those and always talks more after he sees one. Generally, on screen, there’s a lot more conversation between two characters or groups of characters than we’re getting even in his storybooks. It feels wrong because I am booky mcbookerson but I’m actually thinking about, after consulting with the speech therapist, upping his screen time slightly so he sees more friends-interacting-through-conversation examples.

    Does anyone have good recommendations for other age-2-appropriate shows that have the characters talking to each other a lot and not just explaining things? They love Elmo and Sesame Street clips from YouTube, but a lot of times it’s just one character singing or saying how they should brush their teeth or something. I can only take so much Daniel Tiger before I lose my mind and they’ve seen all the Disney shorts multiple times. We have Hulu, Netflix, and the Disney Now and PBS Kids apps on our Roku, but no cable.

    • No recommendations for shows, but I want to say that we have received similar type advice. Our oldest is on his way to an ASD diagnosis (what would have been Aspergers), and one of the recommendations we received was to let him watch more of the shows targeted toward friendship and social interaction. So now My Little Pony, Puppydog Pals, and Vampirina along with the Daniel Tiger are in regular rotation in our house. (Actually, those shows may work but they are a little on the older side – more PreK.)

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      Little Einstein!
      My kiddos love it. I find it fairly annoying, but I like how it includes art and classical music. I alos like that it is (sort of) educational, but very conversation driven. the characters speak to each other and to you the viewer. my kiddos (3.5 and 2) LOVE it.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I’m partial to Dinosaur Train and Arthur, both on PBS. Maybe a little advanced but they both have the “two stories per episode” format so you can split up the screen time.

    • Our 2 year old is really into the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series on Amazon right now. They do the “if, then” reasoning at various points in each episode, which is fun and probably educational.

    • BTanon says:

      Super Monsters and PJ Masks -my 2.75 yo has only gotten into the latter more recently, but he’s sufficiently enamored that he’ll recap episodes at dinnertime.

    • ElisaR says:

      I know you asked for show recommendations but I do have a really good book rec I thought I’d share: Good Night Gorilla. There’s only a few words but a lot to derive from the pictures. My 2 year old asks to read this again and again and we derive the story from the illustrations….. your son may like too!

      • NewMomAnon says:

        “Hug” is another one – there are only a few words (“Hug,” “Mama,” and “Bobo”) but I found it really fun to interpret the story through the pictures.

    • Peppa the pig on youtube. It’s like Daniel Tiger without any “lesson.”

    • anne-on says:

      We do a lot of PBS kids, Ready Jet GO is very cute, and I’d also suggest If you Give a Mouse a Cookie and Tumble Leaf on Amazon. Story bots on Netflix and the Magic school bus series (new and old) are also great.
      Odd Squad and Wild Kratts are big favorites, but skew more towards 4-7 yr olds if not even a bit older.

    • I really like the new Muppet Babies series on Disney Junior, and there is a ton of interaction between the kids and lots of imaginative play. Like Daniel Tiger, it has a social lesson, but it seems less overt since they don’t sing the lesson a dozen times an episode. (I love Daniel Tiger, actually.)

  15. What do you do to teach young kids how to call 911 in an emergency? It seems so complicated to teach a 4 year old to find and unlock a cell phone, and then figure out how to dial. Then they have to remember their address since it can’t be traced in cell phones. Am I crazy for considering getting a landline for this purpose?

    • We taught our kids our cell phone numbers (which we remind them to ask someone to call if we get separated at the zoo or other big place) and our home address. Beyond that, in an emergency, they are to get a grown up. Not call 911 themselves. In a few years, I’m sure that will change.

    • Mama Llama says:

      My husband thinks it’s ridiculous, but I insist on having a landline, and this is one of the reasons. My daughter is 4, and I’ve just started teaching her the number for 911. Once she has the number down I plan to start teaching her how to use the phone.

    • ElisaR says:

      hmmm good point. I never thought of this but it makes sense…. I have been considering a landline for other reasons. I hate being near my phone (Facebook temptation! Group texts about the bachelorette!) during the short period of time I have with the kids but I want to be accessible in case my mom needs me (I have missed calls from her before and not gotten them until kids are down).

      Good reason for a landline in my book

    • Anonymous says:

      We have a landline. In addition to learning 911, I have speed dials set for 911, me, DH, and each grandparent. The phone is in my office but my 4 y/o has been trained on it.

    • I can’t answer all your questions, but two points: 1) you can add your kid’s fingerprint ID to your phone and 2) if you want a “landline” it’s not as simple as having a home phone. We thought we got one with our cable bundle but it’s wireless and won’t work if the internet is out and probably is not better at pinpointing out location vs cell (not sure on the last point).

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      Our alarm key pads have buttons they can push for police and fire. We taught them to use those if there was an emergency and they are home alone (not that they are) or if something happens to mom or dad.

    • Anonymous says:

      I got a landline (or rather a VoIP phone) for this purpose. Other than the $20 for the phone, it’s free with our internet service.

    • Lana Del Raygun says:

      I don’t think it’s crazy to get a landline (see if you can get a cheap VoIP with your internet)!

      My recommendation for “teaching them how” is to get a toy phone and practice! Lay out the basics (know where you are, don’t hang up until the operator tells you to) and then role-play. The VFD where I live has an automated practice phone at their open house, which I like to think prepared me well for the few times I’ve called 911 as an adult, so maybe see if you have something like that near you.

  16. Anon for this says:

    I am 9 weeks pregnant (planned) and my husband is incredibly unsupportive. Despite us agreeing to actively try (and a miscarriage last July), he is now saying this was my idea and what I wanted. He doesn’t want to talk about the pregnancy, doesn’t want to attend any MD appointments (including ultrasounds), and essentially is blaming me for ruining his life.

    I imagine the reality of this is overwhelming for him, but I also feel stressed and overwhelmed. Plus hormonal, exhausted, and nauseated. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I’m worried this will hang over our marriage forever.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Hugs. I ended up in a similar situation. The good news for me was that I knew kiddo’s dad WANTED to be a dad, and would be a great dad, and he is. The bad news was, his anxiety and depression (because that’s what it was) killed the marriage.

      This will NOT hang over your marriage forever, because if it does, you should get out of that marriage. That is not healthy. I would start couples counseling now and both of you should get your own therapists. I think one of the hardest parts of pregnancy and new parenthood is having both parents rely on each other to process big feelings, when you are already both overwhelmed with your own big feelings. Build a safety net now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Im sure this is not want you want to hear, but I’d seriously consider ending the pregnancy. You don’t want to have a child with this man. If he’s this unsupportive while you’re pregnant, it will only get worse when you have kids. And while having support during pregnancy is nice and important, it’s absolutely essential once you have the baby. At a minimum, get him into counseling ASAP. This isn’t normal “ugh, DH leaves his socks all over the floor” annoying husband behavior. This is really serious and you need to figure out as soon as possible if there’s any possibility he can be a supportive co-parent.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Or rather, consider whether you would be OK sharing custody of a kid, or being a majority solo parent; if not, explore your options. If you really want a kid, and are willing to raise it in circumstances that are not “married mom and dad,” it’s OK to dismiss the idea of terminating the pregnancy. People suggested abortion to me when my ex fell into depression, and I found it deeply offensive (even though I consider myself pro-choice) because I really WANTED my kiddo. Take some time to explore your own feelings and test out different scenarios. It’s hard being a single working parent of an infant, but you adjust and develop new relationships and it gets better, just like all parenting struggles.

        • +1

          Many hugs, I’m sorry you’re going through this — it sucks and is.not.fair.

          Have a talk with him, when you’re ready, figure out if this is temporary stress or he’s really changed his mind, as best you can, and think about how you’d feel being a single mom and how you would envision it.

          My H and I had a few doozies of fights when I was pregnant, and while I ran through some ‘single mom’ scenarios in my head — I knew that termination wasn’t an option for me. Things worked out, but having worked out logistics mentally made those fights feel more like a road block, rather than a doomsday scenario.

          I’d also suggest some counseling, because even with the best case scenario of your talk snapping him out if it, YOU may still have some resentment for him acting like this.

      • I really don’t think this is a helpful suggestion when it’s pretty obvious that she wants to become a mom.

        • Anonymous says:

          I wasn’t trying to say that she must end the pregnancy, but that she should end the pregnancy if she doesn’t want to be a single mom, because this guy is checking out in a big way and I’d be shocked if he comes around when the baby is born. If she wants to be a single mom, that’s of course a perfectly valid choice. Personally, I would not choose to be a single mom. I have a very wanted child, but if my husband had indicated he was bailing before I was out of the first trimester, I would have terminated the pregnancy. Wanting to become a mom is not the same as wanting to be a single mom.
          Sorry if I phrased the initial post badly. My point was just that she can’t count on this guy and shouldn’t have a child unless she is enthusiastic about doing it alone (which may well be the case!)

          • Anonymous says:

            My mom ended a pregnancy when she was engaged to a man that she realized would be a terrible person to marry. She wanted to be a mom but not without a partner and having to deal with sharing custody from the outset. Another friend did as well. I think it’s not unheard of.

            That said, obviously talk to the husband before doing anything of the sort. He may just be freaking out and this is his way of dealing. A wake up call could be in order.

      • I just want to provide a counter-anecdote. My husband was not supportive during our (planned) pregnancy. Didn’t go to doctor’s appointments, showed no interest in helping me out during some really difficult pregnancy complications, checked out during first few months after baby was born. I then gave him an ultimatum: we were headed for divorce unless he went to solo therapy and figured out his issues. He loves being a dad now.

    • octagon says:

      It’s time for a RealTalk with him. You have been trying for a while. Does he still want to be a father? Ask him directly. Listen to what he says. If it’s anything less than YES, you should think very seriously about proceeding with the pregnancy.

      Pregnancy is hard, but parenting is way harder (and lasts longer). It’s no secret that I wanted kids before my husband, but he was very supportive. Every now and then in a difficult phase, he jokes “hey, you wanted this” but I can’t imagine how much it would gut me if he were actually serious about saying that.

    • When you agreed to start trying, were there any red flags that he wasn’t on board? Because this seems like a really serious about-face, and stunningly awful behavior, even if he is nervous about becoming a parent. The only thing I can suggest is counseling for both of you, immediately. I am really sorry you’re dealing with this; it’s the last thing you need when you’re sick, hormonal and growing life.

    • All the hugs. I’m so, so sorry you are going through this. I would definitely seek out therapy, if not for both of you, then for you.

      I would think very seriously about whether you want to remain married to this man. He misrepresented his desires on something HUGE.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am not sympathetic to him clearly being a turd and this is a MAJOR problem but I would also try to tease out how much of this is tied to the miscarriage. We lost our first pregnancy after a LONG time of trying. We were so excited– we found out I was pregnant on our anniversary, and it seemed so fated– and losing that baby just gutted us, but I was a lot more visibly upset re: crying, etc., and I think my husband felt like he had to be strong for me instead of getting all his grief out. He was then incredibly supportive our second pregnancy because he is not an ahole, but it was very high-risk (twins, one with severe medical problems) and I know he was a nervous wreck the whole time that we’d lose them too. He still participated, but the miscarriage really affected him, and men get scared too. Loving something and losing it can make you gunshy.

      I would not consider aborting a wanted pregnancy, but I agree with the above posters that no marriage is better than a partner who lives with you but doesn’t want to be a parent. I love my husband more than life itself but if he’d changed his mind during pregnancy then tough s**t, I wanted those babies more than I’d want him in that situation.

    • lawsuited says:

      You will both feel overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted for much of your parenting journey together. People used to say this kind of thing to me, but it really is impossible until the baby arrives to realize how much you need a co-parent who is all-in committed and how all the cracks in your relationship are magnified when you have to shift focus from yourselves and each other to the tiny humans you are responsible for.

      Have a conversation with him about whether he is in or out. Listen carefully to what he tells you. Ask every conceivable follow up question to be sure you understand his level of commitment (are you going to get up for nighttime feedings? are you going to do your share of daycare pickup/dropoff or will that fall to me?) and then make a decision about how you proceed with your pregnancy. If he says he’s committed but nervous, he needs to go and talk to someone to work through those feelings.

    • rosie says:

      Hugs. This sounds overwhelming. I have to wonder if this is part of how he is coping with the miscarriage and the stress of pregnancy after loss. I think individual counseling for both of you for starters would be a good plan, hopefully someone who focuses on pregnancy will be able to discuss the impacts of prior loss and impacts on the marriage. More hugs.

    • Regular Poster but Anon for this says:

      I’m sorry that you are going through this. I/we can’t tell you what this is, but I can tell you what this feels like to me: it feels like your partner may be experiencing depression/anxiety. My partner became severely depressed after our first was born, and we stumbled through many years of him being depressed and me essentially solo parenting and taking the brunt of his depression. I was blamed for his misery and depression. It took a toll on me, to put it lightly, and on our marriage.

      Maybe your partner’s actions/depression/anxiety stem from the miscarriage, maybe they stem from something that happened a long time ago or maybe there were underlying mental health challenges. Those are not questions that you can fully answer, nor can you treat them. Instead, I would highly recommend getting to a counselor. If your partner will not go to an individual counselor for him, insist on going to couples’ counseling ASAP. Any counselor who is competent will pick up on whatever is going on with your partner. In my opinion, you have every right to make this an absolute demand. If you are not willing to make that demand, and perhaps in addition, seek out a counselor for yourself. You need someone who can support you through this time.

      Aside from those suggestions, what I can tell you is that YOU nor the pregnancy ruined your partner’s life. You are not responsible for where he is mentally right now. You can support him, if you choose, but it is not your fault. If he starts throwing that at you, feel free to say “This is not ok.” and walk out of the room. You cannot control his behavior, but you can set boundaries for how you will be treated today.

      You also deserve to have someone, a friend or family member, support you right now. Do you have a close friend that can go with you to appointments? Or someone who will get excited about ultra sound pics and debate various nursery themes with you. When my partner was in the peak of his depression, I leaned on my mom to basically be my co-parent for a while.

      Finally, yes, we went through something very similar except our kid(s) were here. DH claimed that he didn’t want to have children, that I pushed him into it, etc. He is still in counseling, and it is/was a really really hard road. I was essentially a solo parent (plus my mom) for years, with a side of being blamed for ruining someone’s life. Now that we are on the other side, the length and depth of DH’s depression still ripple in our lives. DH is working on being a great dad. I would not give my children up for all the world, but … I wouldn’t wish my road on anyone.

      Take care of yourself, and, if you don’t have someone to debate nursery themes with or get really excited over ultrasound pics, come here and we will do our best to support you. Hugs.

    • Anonymous says:

      My husband was the same when I was pregnant with my 3rd. I had definitely talked him into it, he would have been happier to stop at 2. I think he thought it was amusing? to remind me it was my idea whenever I was unhappy about anything related to pregnancy, despite me telling him those comments upset me. In hindsight, I probably was reading some things into the comments that weren’t actually there, and he could have been more sensitive. Pregnancy is a stressful, hormonal time for everyone. He loves baby #3, and is a great dad and partner.

      I find your description within the range of normal reaction to early pregnancy, and it sounds like some communication disconnects more than anything. Talk about it. Talk to a therapist separately and/or together, but try to give him space to feel big feelings and talk about them without judgement, and make sure you are able to do the same. 9 weeks is really early, he’s only had a month to process. It is not ok for him to say things that are hurtful to you, but I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions about what kind of partner and father he will be from lack of interest in MD appointments and some verbal reeling in the face of a huge life change.

  17. KateMiddletown says:

    It sounds like your DH is forcing you to choose being a mother and being with him. It also sounds like you know which one you want more.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      So many +1’s to DH wanting you to choose between being a mother and being with him – I think my ex lost interest in me when it became clear that I would prioritize mothering a kid over mothering him. Even the easiest pregnancy tends to reveal how much effort mom-to-be was putting into caring for dad-to-be, and causes dad to realize how much attention he will lose to the kiddo. I often felt like my struggles with my ex were akin to parenting an older sibling of a new baby.

      But he grew up! And grew into a great dad.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can I just say how amazing and refreshing it is to hear someone compliment an ex-spouse as a parent, even if it was a rocky road to get there?! You’re amazing, and how great for your child that you have this attitude.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          He has earned it! Honestly, he’s pretty much the guy I hoped to raise a kid with, just…we aren’t married. Sometimes that hurts, but I try to keep those frustrations out of online forums and in private conversations with a few people I know will push me back toward an even keel.

  18. You make an interesting point. We have more than one kid, with a big age gap in between, which means DH and I default to the “divide and conquer” approach. We’re still in it together, but not doing the same things side-by-side.

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