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Sales of Note…
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- Nordstrom – The Half-Yearly Sale has started! See our thoughts here.
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And — here are some of our latest threadjacks of interest – working mom questions asked by the commenters!
- If you’re a working parent of an infant with low sleep needs, how do you function at work when you’re in the throes of baby’s sleep regression?
- Should I cut my childcare down to 12 hours a month if I work from home?
- Will my baby have speech delays if we raise her bilingual?
- Has anyone given birth in a teaching hospital?
- My child eats everything, and my friends’ kids do not – how should I handle? In general, what is the best way to handle when your child has some skill/ability and your friend’s child doesn’t have that skill/ability?
- ADHD moms, give me your tips to help with things like behavior in the classroom, attention to detail, etc?
- I think I suffer from mom rage…
- My husband and kids are gone this weekend – how should I enjoy my free time?
- I’m struggling to be compassionate with a SAHM friend who complains she doesn’t have enough hours of childcare.
- If you exclusively formula fed, what tips do you have for in the hospital and coming home?
- Could I take my 4-yo and 8-yo on a 7-8 day trip to Paris, Lyon, and Madrid?
Happy new year! Question about sick leave: if you take off time to take care of your child because nanny is sick (kid was not sick), would you take that as sick leave or vacation? If kid was in daycare & stayed home sick, I would take it as sick, not sure in this case. I am probably way past overthinking on this one…
Sick leave for sure.
Anon in NYC says
My office policy is sick time is for if you or your child are sick, so I would take that as vacation.
Technically, this is my office’s policy too. BUT my kid gets sick waaaay less than kids who go to daycare (like 10x less, based on what I’ve heard from friends). So I’m using way less of my sick leave than the average parent of young children. So I feel ok taking sick leave on the (thankfully rare) occasions our nanny calls in sick.
This is a really big gray area, IMO and likely varies by office. Is there a work from home/make up the time option? That is what I do and recommend. All kiddos are different, but I can usually work two hours before kiddo wakes up (5-7), two hours during naptime, and two hours after bedtime, leaving two hours to make up the rest of the week. Most often, hubby and I each take half days taking care of kiddo, which makes it even easier to work a full nontraditional day that same day.
This is what I would do, unless I really wanted to take the day off and do something fun with kiddo. However, my company’s sick leave policy is unlimited and basically “work from home when you’re sick and do as much as you can but otherwise, don’t stress”. So I don’t need to account for sick days, and since the policy is so flexible people use it judiciously and don’t abuse it (no one would ever “call in sick” but actually take vacation).
Thanks, all! Grateful for this group :)
Yes, you’re overthinking. I’d take it as whichever you tend to have more of. If you have a ton of sick time, take it as a sick day. If you have a ton of vacation, do that.
I disagree with Anonymous at 9:51. I would NOT set an expectation that you will work from home while caring for a healthy kid. In cases like snow days, school holidays, etc, where I have a healthy kid at home, I usually tell my boss that I’ll try to check email and am available by phone if needed. If there’s an important meeting, I’ll call in, but otherwise I’m off. I find it stressful to try to work and parent at the same time and I don’t do either of them well in that situation. Better to just take the day off, do something fun with the kid(s), and go back to work the next day.
Sick kids are much more conducive to working from home than healthy ones. If I have a sick kid at home, I give work the same caveat, but usually will end up being able to work at least a half day while kid is napping or vegging on the couch.
9:51 Anon says
The reason I do it this way is because I work in the billable hour world. I don’t have real sick or vacation time. While I do build time for that stuff into how much I bill each day, I really hate falling behind and would rather save the time off for when I truly want/need it. I rarely work when I’m hands-on parenting (basically just accept the occasional quick call from my boss who knows what’s up and only calls in a rare emergency). But I work when kiddo is sleeping regularly anyway.
Fwiw, I’ve found that the ability to work from home with kids is super kid-specific. It also depends a lot on number of kids and ages, of course, as well as the general set up of your house.
True! It hasn’t worked for me with my kids through at least age 5. I rarely work outside the office, so part of the problem is that my home office setup is far from ideal, and my brain has limited practice doing “work mode” when I’m at home.
I have a nanny starting soon for the first time. What tips do you have for getting off to a good start? DH and I will be working at home her first week to help her get settled. How detailed are you in your instructions? Eg, each day should I be saying “feed her a banana and toast with peanut butter for breakfast” or should I just give her a list of foods the baby regularly eats and say “find something appropriate based on what’s in the fridge/pantry”? The baby is 11 months old if it matters.
How experienced is the nanny? Ours has taken care of so many more kids than me in her lifetime that I basically defer to her judgment 99% of the time.
When I was in college and nannyed (ie pretty inexperienced), the mom gave me a list of options for food like you mention, but would let me pick. She also gave instructions about stroller (how to get it in/out of the apartment building) and good places to take kiddo (park/playground/etc). Another family I nannyed for had an indoor play area on the top floor of their building, and she gave me access to that and mentioned it as a rainy day option. I don’t remember getting a printed out or written up schedule, but I think that’s worthwhile even if the nanny ends up adapting it a little as they see fit.
I would suggest writing something out and giving it to her that has the basic kid/house rules/guide. For us, this was a few pages of things not in the contract, but more day-to-day logistics (where to find things if not obvious, shoes off in house, current feeding schedule, etc.). It was a good guide to our initial conversation & I think our nanny appreciated having it in writing.
For food, I just started keeping a list of what’s in the fridge on a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge. For us, it’s more to keep track of when we make/defrost things, but I could see that working as a good way to keep track of what’s around.
I’ve been pretty casual in my instructions to our nanny, although my kids were 10 and 4 when she started with us. Basically, feed them, hang out with them, make sure they do their homework, keep them alive. I’ve found that to work really well for our nanny and our situation, as she is great about getting the kids outside, playing games with them, etc. My personality being what it is, I would have done the same when my kids were younger, but I can’t say if it would have worked as well (just because I don’t have the experience).
IP attorney says
I’m probably a control freak but for our 15 month old, I write out a menu for her lunches and snacks for the week on a chalkboard, so our nanny (and I) know exactly what our baby girl is eating and I can make sure the meals are varied each day. Our nanny puts the lunches together. I’ve found that it’s easy to fall in the rut of giving the same lunch multiple times a week so this way I’m always thinking about alternatives. It’s worked out great so far. If our nanny has any suggestions on how to vary her meals, I definitely take that into consideration.
IP attorney says
I should also add that our nanny is very experienced, like 20+ years experience, and she loves this method too (probably because it’s easier for her hah).
My husband started commuting a few months ago for his job, M-F. He was home for ten days for the holidays and it was annoying to have him around, I was constantly irritated with him. I felt such a big sense of peace and relief when he left, and I am so confused about what this is all about. Anyone else who has spouses who travel M-F has this issue? I am now dreading when he is no longer commuting to work in a few months and we are back to living together. Solo parenting is hard but I love having the evenings to myself after kids go to bed, and I don’t miss him at all. I think there are some issues that we have related to us both working in intense careers / division of household responsibilities (I will make a separate post above for that because I think it’s an interesting issue that a lot of people here could relate to), but not a ton of marriage problems or reasons we should get divorced. I do think I am very introverted and being around people all the time is hard for me, so that could be part of it.
Anon in NYC says
Several years ago, my husband traveled for a job for several months and only came home 2x a month. I got used to him being away and doing my own thing, and when he was home it was super irritating to have him in my space. Having to be considerate of someone else was frustrating. And, in your shoes, having someone be away but come home so frequently is also really frustrating because you get used to being on your own but are dealing with constant schedule disruptions! But, I honestly didn’t really read much into it other than having to re-adjust to sharing my space with someone. I imagine that if there are no other problems, that you will both re-adjust after his travel is done.
Husband and I both travel, and I definitely relate to the sense of “hm, it’s been awhile since I’ve had my alone time… doesn’t he have any trips coming up??” I don’t get annoyed with him, but I like not having to take his tastes into account for meal planning or compromise on Netflix shows. It’s also so much easier to get out of the house without him and his elaborate espresso routine (such a first world problem, I know). I also hate having to park with aircraft carrier precision in our garage so he can fit his car in too – when he’s gone and I hit that garage button, it’s like YES ALL MINE! lol.
However, I definitely still miss him and get excited when he’s back. Is it possible for you to get more alone time even when he is home? Maybe a girls night out, or send him out for a night (to do happy hour with colleagues or something)? I think this is a symptom of your needing some time to recharge, but also like I said above – living with the same person for decades does get old, even if you have a great relationship.
As a fellow introverted parent, alone time is precious, so I really wouldn’t read too much into this in terms of your marriage. I think it’s more of a stage-of-life and personality thing. Once you get back into the routine of having him around, it will hopefully get easier.
I can relate. My husband has never traveled frequently for work, but I need some alone time and space within my own house. I cope by getting up early and having coffee and reading in my “nook”–a specific spot on the couch in a room I like with my favorite throw blanket.
Also, when my husband has traveled for work for short periods of time, I’ve found some things to be easier. I keep meals and meal prep simpler, there’s less to clean up, there’s one less person to consider, and I seem to get along with my kid better. I’m sure its difficult to spend many weeks as the only parent available to, well, parent, but some things are more straightforward alone.
maybe this isn’t as good for our marriage, but for now it works for us – even when DH is home we both allow time to ourselves. we might sit in separate rooms to watch our own shows on tv. we do make a point to connect, but our weekdays are so crazy between work and caring for our twins that at the end of the day we are just exhausted and we are both the types of people who need some alone time to recharge
We’ve both identified what we need to do to recharge, we make time to do it, and we respect our spouse’s needs as well. Honestly, this sounds like something out of the “keep your marriage happy” playbook. Good for you! I see it as a 3 legged stool that needs balancing (even if not in equal number of minutes, but in effects)- me time, kid/family time, spouse time.
I get this. During the summer, my husband is constantly outside after our daughter goes to bed…golfing a few holes, mowing, tinkering, whatever. I enjoy my show (and by that I mean a Hallmark movie on DVR) while I relax and/or do stuff around the house. When the weather turns cold and I lose that time, it is a big adjustment. And I can be kind of cranky about it.
DH and I do about a half hour of alone time every night after the kids go to bed. Helps recharge.
Expect a big period of readjustment when your DH stops traveling. It’s like any life change, it will take a while to settle into a new routine and it may take some time to figure out what that routine looks like.
Husband and I both have pretty intense careers, and we have constant issues related to that… would love to get any advice related to that.
1. Division of household responsibilities. How do you divide household responsibilities when both partners have intense careers but one person makes more because they are in a field that just happens to pay more? We try to outsource a lot but you can’t outsource everything. A part of me thinks I should do more because my husband makes 5x as much as I do (which helps us to to outsource a ton more than if my partner was making as much as I do) but another part of me doesn’t think its fair that I am stuck doing chores, and he gets to spend that time pursuing the career he loves.
2. Also how do you deal with time spent on weekends /evenings working? A lot of times we both could use the time to work but don’t *need* to, but it could help our career advance better if one partner is home with the kids and the other one is at work.
3. And how do you manage time together? We are inevitably busy at different times, and so one of us will get resentful when one person is busy with work and the other person wants to hang out. It sucks when you have to work and your partner is nagging you because you haven’t spent any time together lately, but it also sucks when you feel like your partner is prioritizing work over you.
Nope nope nope to your #1. Pay should have no relevance to distribution of household chores, especially if either income alone could support the household in minimal fashion, because then you’re both “the breadwinner.” Divide based on how much you work, not how much you earn.
Mama Llama says
+1 You are life partners and a team, not a pair of profit centers.
do you think that pay should have no relevance to distribution of household chores even if one income alone could not support the household?
Anon at 10:13 here.
Personally, no. DH and I split chores equally regardless of income and always have. But if one income can’t support the house, I can maybe understand more why some people might feel that person should take more of the household chores.
Yes (different poster but yes). In our house time matters not pay. I don’t sit around at night lounging while my husband cleans just cause I make a lot more money and we together decided to live a lifestyle we couldn’t support on just his income. Often, I make more money and work more hours so he does more at home but not always.
We try to both be all in so if someone is working 80 hours a week at work, and someone 50, 50 hours person is more all in at home. We plan to spend time together and try not to work from home unless absolutely necessary. It works because we both respect and trust each other and are on the same page. When he thinks I’m working too much he nudges me to be more present. When I think he is, same.
I am so interested in this and do not have it figured out. I might be in your partner’s shoes. Based on our chosen fields and level of “Success” I’m more in your partner’s shoes earning wise, but my husband probably likes to work more than I do, but is crabby about it. I get frustrated that he seems to put his organization ahead of our family sometimes but I bite my tongue because I feel like if the genders were reversed, I’d be furious! Therapy is probably the answer…until then, outsourcing and not feeling guilty. I think some people “Take turns” prioritizing their careers. maybe that would work for you?
Agree with Anon at 10:13 and Mama Llama on #1.
For #2 and #3, it sounds like you two need to have a heart to heart about expectations and do some planning in advance. It would suck to wake up saturday thinking you are going to the park as a family only to have him say he has to work all day (or vice versa). But if you planned on him working all day saturday, and going to the park on Sunday, you both understand the plan for the weekend. And if you are planning on something and work comes up, communicate it immediately to each other.
Date nights take a bit of premeditating anyways if you need a sitter. Book a sitter and get something on the calendar.
1. Pay should be completely decoupled from chore split. One person does not generate less laundry or fewer dishes (or fewer children for that matter), and each of us has to pull our weight, that’s just part of being a family. Plus the pay differential may not stay that way forever – one spouse may go part time into consulting, one may get a promotion, etc. For instance, I’ve earned 2-3x what my husband has made for all of our married life so far because he’s been doing a PhD, but he’ll get a large pay bump when he goes into industry or a tenure-track job. It’s just pay. Aside from enabling a certain standard of living or enabling you to purchase more of the services that make your household run (house cleaning, mortgage insurance, repairs) it doesn’t make you any more or less of an equal partner.
2. Commitment to work vs family: how much control do you have over your time? In biglaw and investment banking, ’emergencies’ crop up. If you’re a surgeon, actual emergencies crop up. If you’re very junior, or hourly, you may be at the mercy of bosses and clients. Otherwise, you’re more likely than not to have some wiggle room to manage your time better. How do family logistics work? Do you have a shared calendar? If you can both figure out when you might trade off being home for kid bedtime/ going to work events and when you want to be home together or do things together, you may feel better about your various outside commitments because when you’re both present it’s intentional. At the macro level, can you plan your year a little bit – say plan vacations or date nights around your busiest periods?
Emily S. says
I was a pretty terrible score keeper, until one day, my therapist told me what her DH tells her: “We’re on the same team.” Cue the hallelujah chorus! It takes work and constant repetition, but if you can really truly believe that you’re on the same team, and divorce the idea of shared life responsibilities from pay, I think you’ll feel the angels singing, too. Outsource what you can (so much more palatable than “throw money at the problem”); for us, it was hiring a cleaning service twice a month, and NOT keeping track of whose paycheck was funding it. Instead, it’s about our team having an extra few hours in the week to enjoy rather than angrily scrubbing a toilet. (FWIW, I make 1/2 what DH does even though I have the doctorate, so I’m writing from that perspective, and I totally do not have it all figured out.)
Thanks. I struggle a little with the “team” approach because I think a lot of times it doesn’t feel like my husband has the team approach (like men aren’t exactly volunteering to take out the trash when it’s empty), so it encourages me to keep score, even though I know it is terrible.
What do you guys think about traveling solo (for pleasure, not work) as a mom? I feel like in my circles it’s taken for granted that parents go away together without the kids occasionally (to nurture the marriage and all that) but a mom vacationing solo is seen as selfish, like why would you choose to be away from your family when you could be with them? But my husband doesn’t like traveling, and my close girlfriends don’t want to leave their families, so I kind of have to go solo if I want to have an “adult” vacation (I love traveling with my kids too, but it’s definitely different!)
Question prompted by the fact that I’m weaning my second (and last) child soon and kind of want to go to a spa or wine country or something very not kid-friendly for a few days to decompress and celebrate the fact that my body is finally mine again after about 6 years of pregnancy and nursing…but I mentioned it to a couple moms in my circle, and the reaction was “Wow, I could *never* go off by myself, how indulgent” (with a strong judgy vibe).
I’m pregnant right now with kid #2 and already planning a big trip with friends for post-weaning (think a 2 week getaway to an amazing, not kid friendly location). My husband can hang out with the kids. Yes, it’s in over a year. Yes, I’m so excited already… So, go forth and enjoy your vacation!
Two weeks! Wow. I could never. I’d be livid if my husband pulled that. And it’s 2/3rds of my vacation time.
This is the kind of judgment I think OP was talking about.
Yes, it is judging, but some things are justifiably judged. When it comes to travel as a parent, a long weekend is worlds away from two weeks straight on vacation. Honestly, parent or not parent, I don’t know any working adults that regularly take non-honeymoon two week vacations, just because it’s so hard to get away from work for that long. I work in an incredibly laid back, work-life balance friendly office, and people only take 2 weeks if they’re going somewhere like Antarctica, which is (for most people anyway) a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. The idea of doing that without your spouse and young kids is insane to me.
Yeah for a long weekend enjoy no one should be judging. Two weeks is very different.
Mama Llama says
This is such a bummer. Why would someone else’s vacation provoke such a hostile response? I have never taken a 2 week vacation in my life, not even my honeymoon, but I wish I could, and I would never judge someone for doing so. In the US we need more vacations, not less! Presumably Aly’s husband is on board with this plan and she’s not just packing up one day and yelling “See you in two weeks!” over her shoulder on the way to the airport.
Mama Lama this really isn’t that hostile. It’s pretty boring if the only permitted discussion is “you do you!” and “yay for being awesome!” I’d like to think we are all resilient enough to just ignore comments that disagree especially when, as here, it’s just about a fun activity and not something stressful and hard. People can also fight their own battles if they need to. Jumping in on pretty benign stuff like this is unnecessary
I’m with Mama Llama. This kind of is backhanded “oh I could never!”-mama judgment is the worst.
“Some things are justifiably judged” – things like actual child neglect, yes, but going away for two weeks after making arrangements for someone to take care of your kids does not fall in that category, in my opinion. I can’t figure out why the idea of someone taking an actual full child-free vacation versus a long weekend struck such a nerve.
I think the combo of “wow” “I could never” and “if my husband pulled that” comes across as hostile (and snarky.) I don’t understand why Aly’s comment provoked such a strong reaction. She wasn’t asking for opinions or even saying everyone should go away for 2 weeks.
exactly. this person wrote then are planning a 2 week vacation with friends. maybe all of OP’s friends are single, but it is likely that many of them also have spouses/kids so are we also judging all of them? i personally would be furious if my DH proposed that because given our jobs and financial situation we could not make that work for both of us, but if it works for someone else, then great! maybe OP never takes a weekend away without kids and instead every 5 years goes on a 2 week trip. none of us know the circumstances. while we might think it is unusual that doesn’t make it wrong/bad.
+1. Two weeks is a lot, regardless of how much vacation time you have… I would also be upset if my husband wanted to go away for that long for vacation (with friends, family or solo, doesn’t matter) and I definitely wouldn’t do that to him. It’s sort of an unwritten rule in our house that friend trips are long weekends only and not more than once/year each. Even as a couple, we only go away for a week max, but that’s more because we don’t want to impose on grandparents who are giving us free childcare.
Okay, but this commenter didn’t ask your opinion about whether she should take a 2 week vacation. Presumably she works in a job/field where this is acceptable. If her spouse is okay with it and her job allows for it, why is it your concern or your place to make judgey comments?
I don’t think we can simultaneously complain about people who judge women for taking long weekends and then turn around and judge a woman for going away for two weeks if she’s able to swing it. Two weeks is a nice long vacation but it isn’t two years.
But see, there are a lot of comments downthread saying that all the judging of OP comes from jealousy and I just don’t think that’s true, as demonstrated by this 2 week vacation thing. I readily admit I judge any parent (male or female) who would voluntarily leave their spouse and kids for 2 weeks of vacation barring something really exceptional, like a sibling’s destination wedding halfway around the world. To me, choosing to vacation without your family for that long is unfathomable and demonstrates a lack of commitment to your marriage and to parenting. Trust me, this is not coming from a place of jealousy. I have the time and money to take two weeks off work, and a really easy-going husband who would watch the kids if I told him I wanted to go away for two weeks. The judgment is because that choice goes against my value system. And I believe there are plenty of people that feel that way about moms going away even for a few days. To be clear, I’m not one of them! I have gone away with girlfriends since having kids and would go solo if I enjoyed solo travel. I definitely think OP should go on this trip! But everyone has their own values and I know that plenty of people judge me and would judge OP and it’s not just because they’re jealous haters. Pretending like everyone who disagrees with your choices is jealous seems kind of immature.
Mama Llama says
I think it’s pretty presumptuous to insist that every family should demonstrate its commitment to each other the way you demonstrate commitment to your family.
“To me, choosing to vacation without your family for that long is unfathomable and demonstrates a lack of commitment to your marriage and to parenting. ”
Wow, I could not disagree with this more strongly. We say all the time that it’s important to put on your own oxygen mask first. I love my family, and I love my husband, but it’s really important to me to be ME, separate from my role as a wife and a mother (and an employee) occasionally. My relationship with my kids is healthier, and my marriage is healthier when I treat myself as an individual whose wants and needs are important, rather than a cog in the family machine. It’s fine if your values are different and that’s what works best for your family, but please consider that some people — who are equally loving and committed to their family — think about this very differently. I hope you don’t rain on your friends’ parades if they happen to enjoy solo vacations.
That said, fair point that some people are anti-solo vacations for reasons that have nothing to do with jealousy.
I agree with you that everyone’s value system on this issue is different. But I think it’s the passive-aggressive comments that are the problem. Whether someone else takes a vacation or not should not be subject to such much judgment just because that person is a mother.
To be clear, thinking that you wouldn’t want to be away for that long is obviously fine. But making judgmental comments (I think we all know the tone) is a problem because it makes parenting – which is already so hard – that much harder.
I ran into an acquaintance at the doctors office when my LO was a week old and she made a comment about how I could leave him at home (with his dad). For an hour. While I went to the doctors office. The words were “oh good for you, I could never….” But the tone was unmistakenably “what is wrong with you?!”
There’s putting on your own oxygen mask and then there’s going scuba diving with a tank of oxygen. Surely you would judge someone who went on vacation for 6 months? Two years? Everyone draws the line somewhere, and some of us draw the line well under 2 weeks.
My European colleagues regularly take 3+ week vacations. Multiple times a year. I know for a fact one guy goes without his daughter, because he’s divorced and she stays with his ex the whole time. He scuba dives and actually will go for multiple weeks and live on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean. Judge away, but it definitely does happen.
Mama Llama says
This sounds awesome – good for you.
I didn’t think this would be controversial. But I can see how it would be if this ate up most of your vacation for the year. For me, I have an insane amount of vacation with my job, so this doesn’t preclude time off with the kids and husband. My husband will be taking an equivalent vacation to do outdoors stuff he loves (really intense backwoods camping that I have no interest in). It’s not for everyone, but for us, this will be fine, really!
I think it is great that you and your husband are taking the time. Enjoy it!!
I don’t share my life with judgy people. If you want to spend some time at a spa have fun! I don’t travel with my kid because my time and money are limited and I can’t afford to.
Do it. I travel with girlfriends at least 1x a quarter and it’s essential for my wellbeing. However, I have also considered a spa or yoga retreat vacation by myself. It is important to give yourself that time off, and to me it’s more relaxing to know kiddo is home with Dad, than when we’re both away and the grandparents are watching him.
People have different comfort levels with travel and kids anyway – many of the SAHMs in my area never spent a night away from their kids until the kid was 3. I was at a bachelorette party at 5w PP. You do you.
Don’t take it personally. What they mean is some combo of:
– I’m so jealous, I don’t (think I) have s good enough support system to leave for 3 days
– I’m so jealous, I can’t afford it/find the time
– I couldn’t do it bc I’m not into solo travel & wouldn’t enjoy that
Anon in NYC says
Yes, this. I don’t solo travel because of vacation time/funds. But your solo trip sounds amazing and I’d be super jealous of (and excited for) my friend who got to go on one!
Definitely this. If your husband is ok with it, do it!!! Don’t listen to other moms because they don’t want to do it for whatever reason.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Find better friends. That sounds like such a mommy martyr comment, and it says more about them than you. Happy mom (and parents) = happy kids. I love going on vacations with just my husband to recharge and relax, but if your spouse is not into traveling, then going on a solo trip sounds great! Enjoy!
CPA Lady says
I’ve done it once and it was magical. I would definitely do it again. Leaving my kid with my husband for several days made him a better and more confident parent more than anything I ever did. I did it when she was six months old which was a great time to get us off on a good start towards equally-competent parenting.
I think this one of those situations where you have to resist the urge to justify or explain your decision. If someone says something judgey, I’d try to resist the urge to explain why it’s necessary or possible for you to get away — otherwise you’ll probably just make them feel like they need to defend why they wouldn’t or couldn’t possibly go on a similar trip. Just say “it works for us, and I’m excited” and move on. Talk about your trip with your non-judgey friends.
Ignore them and enjoy. I traveled solo for pleasure when my kids were barely 3 and barely 1. It was amazing. Happy mom = happy family.
I did this last May! For my mother’s day, I took off, solo, to a resort in the off-season. I spent 2-3 days on my own. I ordered room service, binged a show, read books, wrote, walked around the town, got a message. It was absolutely wonderful. I am the kind of person who restores via alone time, so a trip with girlfriends would not be as relaxing for me as one by myself. I was not on any one else’s schedule, and that was half of the relaxation for me. It was also a 2-3 hour drive, so I listened to books on the drive. I received a few comments (including one from my boss) that came across as me being self-indulgent. They did hit a little hard, but I felt so restored that I really didn’t care.
Good for you! I’ve definitely done solo non-work since having kids. and so has my husband. Most often for a week or less, but I also went on an international vacation for almost 2 weeks and left my husband home with 3 kids. My husband was OK with it, and I did not spare any thoughts for anyone’s opinion but his. He travels for work more than I do for up to a week and a half at a time, and also takes weekend trips with his friends, so we figure it evens out. We agree that weekends are the hard parts, actually… any time one of us has a trip, the only part that matters is how many weekends one of us is solo with the kids. Weekdays are annoying with 2 drop offs and pick-ups, but otherwise it’s same old same old with maybe a bit more take-out than usual.
Bottom line: Every family is different, and every mom is different. If this works for your family, who cares what anyone else thinks? Taking care of yourself is important.
I think solo travel (whether actually solo or with girlfriends) is really important. My husband and I each take one long weekend a year to do what we want. I usually get together with girlfriends at a spa. He often meets friends hiking. We have a small child so we haven’t yet gone away together without the kid, but hope to in the next couple of years.
Go and don’t feel guilty! I think this sounds like an amazing way to celebrate. particularly if DH doesn’t like traveling.
Oh, you should definitely go (assuming that you have discussed it with your family and THEY are ok with it)! It is not what I would do, but my choices literally don’t matter here. I mean, it’s not the judgment of acquaintances (or anonymous strangers on the internet) that is really important – what does your husband think? Is he on board? Your caregivers? All on board with it? You should then go and have fun and come back refreshed. That sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate weaning a last baby.
Also, let’s translate some comments!
a) What they say: “To me, choosing to vacation without your family for that long is unfathomable and demonstrates a lack of commitment to your marriage and to parenting.”
== What it means: I would not choose to vacation without MY family for that long because TO ME it demonstrates a lack of commitment to MY marriage and to MY parenting duties, and also when other people do it I feel like it’s a commentary on my own marriage and parenting style.
b) What they say: “Wow! I could never. I’d be livid if my husband pulled that. It’s 2/3rds of my vacation time.”
== What it means: I am jealous because my husband would not agree to such a plan/ I don’t have the support system I need to do it/ I cannot afford to do it/ I don’t have the necessary vacation time to do it/ I wouldn’t enjoy it because I’d spend the entire time worrying or feeling guilty because of valid factors or my own hang-ups.
Mrs. Jones says
+1. I have traveled with girlfriends/without DH and DS many times. I just planned ahead so everyone was on board. Enjoy!
+1, That was me with the oxygen mask, above, I didn’t meant to be anon. I like these translations.
We all have different personalities, family dynamics, and priorities, so of course we make different choices about how to spend our time and money. This is just a different spin on the same conversation we have over and over about doing the best we can with finite resources. We all (the collective, parents everywhere) lose when we question each other’s motives/commitment to our relationships/love for our families based on these choices.
Yes. Yes!! Thank you!
Mama Llama says
Do it! Let the judgy friends harrumph to themselves while you are enjoying a glass of wine in a mudbath somewhere. I regularly go away with friends, but if they weren’t up for travel, I would absolutely go alone. Not only is a great for me to recharge, but it’s a good chance for my husband to get some alone time with the kids – especially valuable when my daughter was in her “Mama Only” phase and didn’t want him if I was around.
Mama Llama says
Nesting fail – this was for the solo travel question above.
Hair help! says
I’m 4 months postpartum, and I feel like my hair is a total mess. It’s really thick and wavy in places, so wearing it down requires a lot of flat ironing that I don’t really have time to do with an infant. (Plus the baby tends to yank on my hair if it’s down.) My usual standby of a ponytail or makeshift bun (using hairties) just isn’t working at the moment, for some reason – I can’t figure out if the texture of my hair has actually changed or what, but I feel like my hair is constantly a mess. Help!
I’m terrible (like really incredibly terrible) at all things crafty so complicated updos are out. Does anyone have hair hacks or easy (like super easy, any idiot can handle) updos for someone like me? (Cutting it shorter tends to make things worse, and it just poofs out more.) I’m out of ideas!
Mama Llama says
Headband? Have you tried different kinds of ponytails, like high vs low, swept straight back vs hair parted, or move the part around?
i had the same issue. I went with a bun for 9 months until I fully weaned and then I had to accept this new weird hair of mine and deal with it. I got a keratin treatment. It was a good a solution but it didn’t last as long as I would have hoped.
Hair help! says
Thanks. This is a silly question, but how did you do the bun? I think maybe I need to upgrade my ponytail holder bun into something more polished.
mostly it was very casual. I use a regular old goodie hair elastic. Once in awhile though, I would do a side part and pull a very low ponytail in the back and twist it around and hold it in with bobby pins — a la ballerina. This might be laborious for some people but as a former dancer until my mid-20s…. it is super quick and neat.
Braid? Make a low bun, maybe off to one side? When was the last time you had a cut? I wouldn’t take off lots of length, but just a trim/shape refresh might help you feel better about it.
I generally have wavy, type 2 hair that requires either a flat iron, curling iron, or product to make it look nice. When I wear it up in a ponytail or bun, I usually flat iron the pieces around my face to make it look neater. Would that help? It’s quick. Or can you wash and use gel/cream to manage the poof better? I’m 3 mos PP and am losing tons of hair and trying to figure out what to do with mine, so I feel you.
Anon in NYC says
My hair went nuts at about 4 months pp. I lost a ton of it, looked sort of bald, and had lots of re-growth/baby hair that resulted in always looking like I had been electrocuted. It started to settle down at about 8 months pp, and I gradually started looking better. I’d maybe try changing your part, and/or talk to your stylist about products you can use to make your hair look a little more sleek. This too shall pass!
I am also 4 mo pp and my hair is INSANE. This happened last time too — my usually curly hair got significantly less curly until probably 15 mo pp. I think the pp hair loss contributed to that and it didn’t go back to normal until all that hair loss fully grew back in. FUN TIMES! I am just rolling with lots of product to encourage the curl this time. For me, I also need a very shaggy haircut to maximize curl.
anyone ever have a child who wouldn’t eat? started solids right after thanksgiving. on day 1 my child was interested, opening his mouth for the spoon. since then his lips are closed as tight as possible and he moves his head when he sees it coming. i’ve tried letting him feed himself with the spoon and i’ve tried finger foods. he just likes playing with the spoon, the bib, the high chair straps, etc. he is 7 months. i just messaged the pediatrician because i am not sure if i should be worried yet, but has anyone encountered this and had a child who has then decided to start eating?
What you’re describing is very common, although it didn’t last quite that long for us, maybe 3 or 4 weeks and she was younger when we started (5 months). What solids are you offering? People say “babies aren’t picky” but mine was. She would not eat vegetables (unless mixed w fruit or yogurt) until the age of 1 and then decided she loved them! Some kids do better starting with meat or fish, others like soft purées like yogurt or applesauce. Definitely talk to the ped, but I wouldn’t worry. It sounds pretty normal.
You’re good! As long as baby is still drinking formula/milk that is.
I will disagree a bit, and say I don’t think it’s normal for a 7 month old to show no interest in any kind of solid food more than a month after it was first introduced. Yes ‘food before one is just for fun’ and he doesn’t need it from a nutritional standpoint, but if he doesn’t want to eat anything solid it suggests to me that there might be some kind of medical issue – tongue tie and things like that can also cause problems with chewing and swallowing. Babies can definitely have strong taste/texture preferences from a young age, and I definitely would not sweat it if he were eating only purees or eating only certain specific finger foods cut up a certain way, but the fact that he’s eating nothing solid seems a bit unusual. And from a practical standpoint, you want to introduce the major allergens as soon as possible, ideally before about 9 months and you can’t do that if your kid isn’t eating. It’s not an emergency or anything, but I think it’s good you’re going to discuss with your doctor.
OP here. Yes, I would like to introduce the allergens asap, but obviously not possible if kid isn’t eating. He literally eats nothing. Waiting to hear back from ped to see if we should be intervening with feeding therapy or should just keep trying as is. Trying not to get too stressed, but it is frustrating
A friend’s baby is late with feeding and has a feeding therapist. Honestly it seems like a waste of time. The therapist seems to just promote playing with the food, which the parents/caregivers can do on their own. I would raise it with the ped, but in the meantime put lots of different options of different textures on the highchair tray and encourage him to pick it up or put his fingers in it. For example, cheerios at one time, yogurt or applesauce he can stick his fingers in another time, etc. You may want to ask the ped if you can try to introduce new foods by adding a little puree to his bottle.
checkout feedinglittles on instagram. it has helped me a ton
My oldest would eat a few mouthfuls at that age, but not a significant amount. Right at 9 months he started eating almost everything. It turns out he really wanted to self feed, but was not really able to. He is a pretty picky eater, but not abnormally so.
Food at that age is just for fun. Keep introducing things and don’t force it.
Billing after Mat Leave says
For those of you that bill your time, what was your billing like the first full month back from maternity leave? I got back in late-ish November and between sickness, the holidays, and just not being that busy, my December billing was pathetic. Ugh.
I don’t remember exact numbers, but it wasn’t good. I think most firms expect it.
My first month back happened to be really strong in billable hours because I was immediately thrown into a case that was going to trial at the end of the month. But I also came back a month later than I was originally planning to because I just wasn’t ready to go back to work at the end of my originally schedule leave. So in that sense, I billed 0 hours during the month I was originally supposed to be back to work.
Anyway, if your billable fiscal year runs from January through December, then I wouldn’t worry about it at all, because the clock re-started on Jan 1. If your fiscal year runs differently, then I also wouldn’t worry because you still have time to make up some hours, if that’s what you’re worried about. All around, I wouldn’t sweat it. It takes a while to pick up a full case load after you have been gone for a while. Your employer knows that, and I’m sure your employer is just glad to have you back.
HSG Safety says
Ladies, we have been TTC from 1 year with no success. I have HSG scheduled on Friday. All of a sudden, a thought came to my mind about safety of HSG, as in if it is harmful for the eggs/ovaries or cause cellular damage. I am feeling very uneasy and kind of thinking of cancelling the test and TTC for few more months before doing this. Can some one please convince me it is okay to undergo the test?
Mama Llama says
I did this. It was not a big deal, and I didn’t have any concerns about safety. Is there some particular reason you are worried? Maybe you would feel better if you had a talk with your doctor about the risks first.
An HSG is a standard and normal part of a fertility workup. Where is your concern stemming from? Could it be misplaced stress from the idea of infertility, rather than an actual medical concern?
If you have blocked tubes, you’ll want to know now before you waste more time trying. Fertility stuff is so scary when you get started with it – you really have to trust your doctor and reliable medical sources (so Mayo Clinic website, yes, random message board, not so much.)
(To be clear, “random message board” meaning the many, many fear-mongering “everything will kill you” discussion boards out there. This website is a great place to look for support on this, IMO.)
I would ask your doctor if you’re concerned, as they are the only one who can convince you that medically it’s 100% safe. I actually had both an HSG and a sonohysterogram. I didn’t even have spotting or cramping after – it felt like literally nothing.
Are you worried about the x-rays? I think this is one of those cases where it’s like… well yes there’s radiation hitting your eggs but it’s equivalent to 2 transatlantic flights (or whatever – I just made that up). So typically most people are OK with the risk.
What? It’s a procedure to test for and treat infertility. Why would they do it if it would damage your eggs or ovaries.
HSG Safety says
My concern is only about x-ray exposure to reproductive organs and its’ potential impact on eggs DNA. I did read some research papers and there are no known side effects due to this exposure or such a probability is low, but just some fear that is bothering me.
I’m a very paranoid person normally, but I was not at all worried about having an HSG. Your doctor presumably is recommending this and you’ve independently researched it and found nothing to suggest it isn’t safe. I really think you should just bite the bullet and get it over with. It’s not a big deal at all and it’s an important test in terms of finding out if there are structural issues that are causing problems getting pregnant. There probably are not, but it’s better to know now so that you don’t waste time and money on treatment options that will not work for you.
Also, waiting itself carries some small risks. And don’t discount the emotional costs of continued infertility; at least the HsG will either give you answers or allow you to move forward with other treatment.
No. This is not a problem. Honestly if you’re so worked up about it you’re thinking of canceling save yourself the time and start seeing a therapist now. My fertility clinic has one on staff. You don’t have time for this anxiety and it won’t help anything.
It’s safe and very common as an initial diagnostic. That said, assuming you’re < 35 & don't have any issues that suggest you will have trouble conceiving (like PCOS, etc.), wait a few months if it will make you feel better. Are you working with an RE? I would highly recommend finding an RE that you trust that will be patient and answer any and all questions with evidence-based opinions and compassion before you do any treatment. And I have heard that the pain from the HSG can (in part) be due to experience of the person performing it, so another reason to have an RE who does them routinely do it. And remember, asking questions and getting information (including through testing) does not commit you to a particular course of action. Good luck!
It’s basically washing your uterus. It doesn’t come in contact with your eggs andcannot cause cellular damage.
I did HSG and about a million other fertility-related diagnostic tests, and HSG was one of the earliest. This is a completely normal test to have. I recognize that normalcy doesn’t ease anxiety, and if you’re that anxious about this test I would address the anxiety and not cancel the HSG.
HSG Safety says
Thank you so much for all your answers and pointing out that my anxiety rearing its head. I think it is my anxiety and not any rational fear. I so much wanted to get the test done, scheduled the test promptly and was looking forward to it till yesterday and got some cold feet. I will go ahead with the test.