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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?
Meh. Those grandpa style sweater jackets look really sloppy on me. Best for wider shoulders, maybe.
I’m a hard no on sweaters in place of blazers.
Irish Midori says
Sometimes I like these on other people, but agree, prefer something more structured for me, even if it is a sweater.
How much do you care about your child having same age or older classmates in daycare? My daughter started in a 0-24 month room when she was 14 months. It’s a class of 8 and she was squarely in the middle age-wise. Now she’s 18 months and all the kids older than her have either left the school or been “promoted” to other rooms. I think they’re capped at 4 infants, so it’s not like she doesn’t have other toddlers to play with, but they’re all younger. I wasn’t that worried about it (someone has to be the oldest, right?) but one of my friends keeps going on about how she won’t develop appropriately, 6 months is a really long time to be the oldest in the room, etc. etc. and it’s starting to make me kind of anxious. We love the teachers and my daughter is very settled in this room, so if it weren’t for the issue of being the oldest, I’d be happy to postpone switching rooms as long as possible.
Seems like the flipside to this would be that by being oldest, she is developing “leadership” traits or helping teacher & younger kids and developing compassion? Don’t have a kiddo in your situation so just thoughts, YMMV!
Leave her there and practice telling your rude friend “I think she’s great, I’m not worried, and I don’t want to talk about this any more.”
I would assume the teachers are doing age-appropriate things with all of them and doing things to promote her development. I have been a little worried about this as my 2-yo is starting a program where she will probably be the oldest in the “younger 2s” class (her birthday is in the beginning of the cutoff month), but have basically accepted it. Like you say, someone has to be the oldest. She’s been the oldest in her nanny share already and is doing fine.
Your friend is making a fuss over nothing. My daughter is in a similar situation – she’s the youngest of her original cohort of classmates, so she’s the last one in the toddler room until she moves up to preschool in October. She misses her other friends but it’s giving her an opportunity to make friends with new kids and she’s continuing to stay with her beloved teachers.
What about all the first children with stay-at-home parents? They’re the oldest from birth until they start school. #ProbablyScarredForLife #toungeincheck
Well, I think SAHMs would tell you that their kids get way more adult interaction than daycare kids. They may not be interacting with kids their own age, but they’re learning a lot from all the one-on-one (or one-on-two or whatever) time with their mom.
My child has an October birthday. For a lot of kids, once the school year system is in place, this will just be life. Feeling so good otherwise about your daycare situation is worth its weight in gold. I wouldn’t switch because of this.
OP here – we’re 100% not leaving this center. It’s the best in our area and we were on a 2+ year waiting list to get in (which is why she didn’t start until past her first birthday). I guess I was just wondering whether I should talk to the teachers about her potentially moving rooms earlier than her second birthday. But if the answer is no then I would accept it, because there’s no way we’re leaving this center!
9:42 Anon says
There’s so many factors that can influence this, that it wouldn’t surprise me if she moves up sooner anyway. As kids turn 2 and move out of the 2 year old room, they’ll want to move kids up from the toddlers, etc. so that they can start new babies at the center. She’s first in line to move up unless someone new comes in between 18 and 24 months. I’d be pretty surprised if this didn’t happen naturally.
Psshhht this friend is being ridiculous. My kids have at various times been the oldest and youngest in their classes and both have lots of advantages! And it’s not like kids in nanny shares or with SAHPs “don’t develop appropriately.” It’s so great that she has awesome teachers — really loving your kids’ teachers is amazing and definitely not something to take for granted (over the course of 4 daycares and many different rooms, my kids have definitely had teachers I liked better and those I liked less, and having teachers I loved made dropping them off at school so much easier).
It’s designed as a 0-24M classroom so I really don’t see the issue assuming they can meet the needs of an 18 month old. I do remember that the 2yr old room in our daycare was when they really started working on potty training so it’s something to keep in mind as she nears that milestone. Especially if she’s not ready to train, that’s going to be futile to try and push it. But again, the schools deal with this all the time and usually are able to work out when and how to move kids.
Historically, we have raised children with their cousins and siblings and the other ‘village’ children, right? Somebody was always the youngest and the oldest and we evolved to grow up in that kind of a pack environment.
I will say, my kid has been the oldest in a couple rooms and it was amazing for his self confidence and patience in others.
Assuming the teachers are engaging her in age-appropriate activities, this seems fine to me.
OP here – What do you consider age-appropriate activities? I sort of think that all young toddlers really need to do is play, and the classroom has lots of toys and books, and a nice playground attached. I’ve gotten photos of her making art and playing with musical instruments. But they don’t seem to have a formal curriculum or structured time for specific activities, other than meals and naps (which this same friend was also judgy about!) I feel like there’s plenty of time for formal schooling later in life, but I’m curious to hear what people think kids this age should be doing. The next classroom up (which is 18-36 months) does seem to have a lot more structure, lesson plans, etc.
Hopefully “making art” means painting letters and numbers? j/k, this sounds great and your friend is ridiculous. At this age, I think a caring environment with engaging toys and activities is what you’re looking for (and what you have).
I’d say what you’ve listed here are absolutely age appropriate activities. Books, playground time, and art are absolutely perfect activities for the under 2 crowd.
I think you need to disengage with this friend about the daycare subject.
Play is how children, especially young children, learn. Scheduling for meals and naps is important, but they don’t need a formal curriculum. She gets to run and jump and climb and ride on toys and play with toys and listen to stories and music and explore the world with her hands to make art. These are all age appropriate and important for development.
Now if the teachers were trying to keep her confined to tummy time on an activity mat, that’s different.
Thanks all for the reassurance! They actually have a separate infant area in the room and do their best to keep the toddlers away from that (for the infants’ sake, not the toddlers’ sake, I think) so she’s definitely not confined to an activity mat or anything like that. And she loves going to school and seems really happy there which is the most important thing to me :)
I have kids on all sides of this. The short answer is: everything will be fine.
Will your kiddo be the oldest for her grade? Ie a sept birthday with a district with a 8/31 cutoff? I have one of those, and in daycare she was “aged up” so she was the youngest. When all her friends moved on to K but she had another year of preschool, that was hard. Then she wasn’t the oldest in her year, and that was fine!
My other two are late July bdays in a district with an 8/31 cutoff. In daycare one was aged up, so she was always the youngest. She learned a lot. The other was kept back longer so she was the oldest (she had already turned 3 and was still in a toddler room with kids 18 months-2.5). That was fine too! She went onto preschool as one of the youngest and thrived.
All 3 are now in elementary school. The one thing I do notice is that my fall birthday/oldest in her grade kid would have had *such* a hard time if she was the youngest. She’s my oldest. My other 2 are young but are used to running with older kids and are killing it in school and socially (my youngest kid is the youngest kid in her entire grade and is super social and has great grades).
I have a kiddo with an October birthday who has always been “aged up” too. We’re really thinking hard about whether we’ll have go 2 years in the same room or start public pre-K. On one hand, daycare is super convenient, so we should stay with it as long as we can from that perspective. On the other hand, I think she will have gotten what she is going to get out of the program and will be very ready to move on.
I’m the one with the Sept daughter. She did 3 years of preschool (different classes- 2.9, 3s, 4s) and by the 3rd year she told me she was “happy but ready for K.” She left preschool reading (basic sentences, tons of sight words) (note: not allmkids do this! In fact she told people she could read until like 1st grade when in reality she was just lazy and preferred to be read to). Public pre K gets my vote assuming no major complicating factors.
CPA Lady says
This is a bizarre thing for your friend to be worried about. Kids under the age of 2 have similar needs. They learn and develop just by being alive in the world and around other people. It’s not like your kid is a six year old who could be reading or learning math but is stuck with a bunch of babies. The “developmental needs” of an 18 month old are playing, learning a few words, beginning to comprehend simple requests, and running without immediately falling on their face. All of these things can be learned in a 0-24 month classroom. Sounds like your friend is projecting her own insecurities onto your situation.
My daughter ended up being one of the older kids in her day care class for two years, after being the youngest. The pediatrician kept advising me to have her pushed into the older class, but move-ups were based entirely on age and space. Despite being one of the oldest kids in her class, she still managed to develop well enough to be more than ready to start K at age 4.5. So I wouldn’t worry too much unless your daughter ends up being the only 2-year-old in a roomful of infants or something like that.
Law mama says
I actually think this is so nice and great for a near-2 year old – that’s just the age when you can really be a helper and are interactive enough that you can learn to play kindly with other children. If the teachers are good, I’m sure they are engaging your kiddo in being gentle and supportive of the babies and helping get their bottles, wipes, etc., which is a wonderful lesson to learn. When my almost-two-year old spends time around babies she is so sweet to her dollies and stuffed animals after! So I think it’s a good thing.
scared of the potty? says
We’re trying to potty train our 3-and-a-half-year-old and it is… not going well. She knows when she needs to go, and then sits on the potty for about thirty seconds, says she’s all done, and stands up… usually repeat twice, then she walks off and usually has an accident in the next two minutes. But if I try to get her to stay sitting longer, she cries and says she’s scared. And even if I get her to stay longer, she doesn’t seem to be able to relax her muscles enough to go, even when she’s genuinely distracted with a book or video.
I’d be inclined to hang it up and try again in a couple months, but a) she’s already so old– will this actually get easier with an almost four-year-old? and b) she is soooo in love with her undies. I kind of can’t bear to break her little heart by taking them away. She’s sad when she pees on them but she knows there are more in the drawer. Day care wants us to switch to pull-ups. What would you do?
Hmmmm….YMMV but my kid had sort of this issue with poop and the thing that finally cured it was us not caring at ALL (well, at least effectively pretending to not care). She was picking up on our anxiety and it was causing HER anxiety. Once we chilled waaaaaaay out her anxiety disappeared.
I will note that we didn’t act like accidents were ok — this was more about the leadup, aka the “going to the potty and sitting on the potty” part. We tried to ignore her/trust her during this process as much as physically possible. Like if she said “I have to poop” we’d say “ok, let us know if you need help” and continue sitting on the couch instead of rushing over to her, bringing her books/phones, etc. But when she had an accident we still said “oh no, poop goes in the potty.”
I’d (1) talk to my pediatrician to make sure there isn’t a physical issue that I need to be sensitive to, and if that all comes back okay, then (2) tell kiddo that daycare said no more undies until she regularly goes on the potty. If she truly loves her undies and there are no medical issues preventing potty training, taking the undies away might be the motivation she needs.
Tell her she can use undies when she’s ready to use the potty and until then she gets pull up. And keep practicing. If she does a good job on the weekend she can try again at day care.
This worked for us, too. She wanted her Elmo underwear back but we explained she had to have four days of no accidents (her issue was always for p**p, but man cleaning that up got old). We were hesitant to use the pull-ups because of all of the advice to just let them be naked or let them go commando, but pull-ups saved my sanity. Took her maybe a week to hit the four consecutive days of no accidents, and has since been fully trained for months.
I’d rule out a medical issue, then I’d keep trying. Not because of her age, but because she has a lot of signs that she’s ready, and she has one hurdle to get over — relaxing her muscles on the potty. She knows when she needs to go, she is sad when she pees on her underwear, and she is excited about her underwear.
We had a lot of problems potty training, and we really made no progress at all until we consistently put Kiddo in underwear (at 3.5). The first few weeks, he had several accidents per day, then it tapered off. It took 6 months until we were 100% accident free.
Just a word of support. It may be medical, but it’s most likely not. My oldest (also a girl) was just really really tough to train. She’s stubborn, a little flighty (we also had trouble keeping her on the potty for more than a couple of seconds), and while she didn’t love wetting her pants, she also didn’t hate it. There were more undies out there and one could just change. It took until about 4 to really get the hang. I’d switch to pull-ups for a couple of weeks and give everyone a break and a reset. Then try again.
(Let me just add: my daughter is smart, reading above grade level, and very social. I think especially with girls, people want to think they that can and should train so early (i.e., at or before 2.5) and that later trainers are somehow “less than.” That is so not the case. If that’s even remotely in your mind with this, push it out. This is not a competition. They will not go to college in pull ups.)
Anecdotally, some of the smartest kids I know were the hardest to potty train. I think there’s a stereotype that potty training late = not that bright, but I don’t think it’s true at all.
More Sleep Would Be Nice says
Anecdata here. My friend trained her DD via the “Oh Cr*p!” book when she was right at 2.5 and it seemed AWFUL and forced; almost like friend was doing it to “push” her DD ahead. DD was throwing a lot of fits and I remember visiting once with my DS (who is about a year younger) during the potty training time frame and she went on a screaming fest for like 1 hour before/after our visit.
Again, not quite at the potty training stage yet so maybe this was all normal, but I took it as a lesson to wait until DS shows interest between 2-3 and go from there.
Is she sitting on the big potty or a training one (like the stand-alone thing you have to dump out)? I was very “anti” the latter but my daughter would get scared sitting on the big one. We used the stand alone thing for a while until she gained confidence with it.
Advice on big baby and slower weight gain. I think I saw a comment about this a few weeks ago… I have a 2 week old who was born at 9 and a half pounds, v-birth, no issues. Did not have gestational diabetes and my first child was a little over 7lbs. They’re not sure why he was so big.
Anyways we’re EBF and he’s a bit slow to gain weight. I think someone else here said their big baby was slow to gain as well. Not back at birth weight but close. We’ve seen a good LC (in DC – got an LC from the bfing center) and the pediatrician has also seen him eat and confirms he has great latch/swallowing. He’s eating very often during the day but I have to set an alarm for the night because he would sleep a long time otherwise. Right now we’re adding one pumped bottle/day to see if that helps and the ped isn’t overly concerned but obviously wants him to gain a bit more.
We do not want to supplement with formula for now so please no “just give formula” comments. I b-fed my first for over a year FWIW
This sounds fine? Why all the stress?
OP here – the ped made me a bit stressed since he hasn’t gotten back to birth weight at 2 weeks which most babies do. They aren’t “overly” concerned but they are concerned so we’re going back twice in one week for weight check.
OP, make sure that the scale is the same if they are doing these repeated checks. Our pediatrician admitted the scales they have in different exam rooms vary slightly, which when you are looking at minor changes in weight with newborns can make a real difference. (I was so annoyed since they get so crazy-making about weight-gain – you would think they could control their end of the many variables!)
I had a 42 week 9 pound baby who had some slower gaining periods (memories are foggy so I can’t provide details). He also eventually was diagnosed with reflux, but was generally moving around the growth curve in his first year or 2. Now at 7 he’s at 95th percentile for weight and 69th for height and we are dealing with concerns that he weighs TOO much. Ugh!
Thanks! This was my first thought! Our old ped (moves suburbs) had one scale for babies in the office so they were always weighed on the same scale. This one has one scale per room. The LC also mentioned having to calibrate scales frequently. I’ll bring this up if it’s an issue on Friday. I kind of hate the way they stress weight gain. I mean it really can be a reliable indicator of health and or feeding success, but 90% of the time I think it just stresses parents out
My 1st was about 7.5 lbs and my second was almost 10. No other issues, same as you. 1st gained weight faster. I don’t recall this being a problem but I do remember I was surprised when we went for the first pediatric visit with no. 2 and he wasn’t over the birth weight whereas baby 1 surpassed birthweight quickly. My doctor said as long as baby is gaining weight and eating, no reason to worry. I didn’t do pumped milk at that early point (no reason why, just didn’t) but I did wake him up to feed him if he slept overly long.
That seems completely fine. We supplemented with formula bc my daughter was clearly not getting full and was screaming every 15 minutes for the breast. But I don’t see any reason to supplement if he’s gaining weight steadily and appears satisfied.
Fwiw, it’s a thing that big babies sleep better. Totally normal for a 9 lb baby to sleep through the night (by that I mean 6-8 hours, not 12). Are you sure you have to wake him to feed overnight?
Boston Legal Eagle says
+1000 for the last paragraph. Let him sleep! It sounds like he’s gaining normally and your ped isn’t concerned, so just keep at it. I had two large babies (over 9 and 10lbs) and the early longer stretches of sleep were glorious.
Yes unfortunately they want me to wake him at night. So normal weight gain is 1oz/day, he did 3oz last week so it is pretty slow gaining
Similar weight baby here who was also initially slow to gain. I also set alarms to wake him to feed every 3 hours during the night and offered nursing at least every 3 hours during the day. That seemed to do the trick for us. You could also try offering more often (every 2-2.5 hours). Have the LC or ped done a weighted feed (i.e., weigh baby before and after BFing to see how much baby actually ate)? My LC did this every visit and it was comforting for me to know that baby was getting a decent amount of milk, which made it easier to let go of the weight gain worries. FWIW after dropping off his curve (born at 99% weight then dropping to 70ish% weight at 1-2 months), he caught back up after a few months and settled in around 90th percentile.
I would add–Ped is the one who told me to wake to feed since my little was falling off his growth curve. They told me baby sleeping longer could be a symptom of dehydration. I don’t mean this to be alarmist at all, just want to say that in my case a big baby sleeping longer was not actually a good thing. But if baby is gaining, then by all means enjoy the sleep!
It sounds like kind of an uninformed ped imo. If your baby is lethargic, sleeping a lot round the clock and hard to rouse, that can be a symptom of dehydration. If your baby is alert and active during awake stretches and producing plenty of wet diapers, and just sleeping long stretches at night, you’re just #blessed.
Fair enough. We had other issues with my milk supply coming in so that was likely also a factor.
My ped said that birthweight is kind of meaningless because it doesn’t account for gestational age and they put on a half a pound a week at the end (so a baby born at 42 weeks will weigh a full two pounds than the same baby born at 38 weeks). She had no issues with baby dropping dramatically from the birth growth curve, so long as he then followed the new curve steadily. My daughter was overdue and was born at 90th percentile weight or something like that, but settled on the 50th percentile curve within a couple months and has remained there well into toddlerhood. The doctor has no concerns.
This is a good point and one I don’t know that my ped considered in giving this advice. Baby was born at 41+1 so perhaps the “you must wake to feed” advice was unnecessary.
This sounds random but no one’s raised it yet: did you receive IV fluids during labor? There’s some evidence that what looks like newborn weight loss is sometimes partly due to maternal IV fluids. If you have an otherwise healthy baby who is eating well and has good latch, is not lethargic, and is producing appropriate wet and dirty diapers, then I don’t think there’s much cause for worry.
+1 I don’t think it’s random. My daughter came out looking very swollen and then peed it out and looked much more like a normal newborn. I think the water weight factor is huge!
Yes my doula said something about this but I wasn’t sure how supported it is. I had a lot of IV fluids in labor since I was hooked up to pitocin from the beginning, so basically 27 hrs of IV fluid.
OP here – I did have about 1hr of IV fluids (July baby so apparently I was dehydrated and my pulse was high). So they said this at first but I guess the big concern is the week 1-2 slow weight gain. Day 0-8 had more appropriate gain
If baby is gaining (albeit slowly) and has plenty of wet diapers, I wouldn’t be concerned. I’ll second the suggestion to do a weighted feed to give you some piece of mind/more information.
So Anon says
Fun Question: My marital house closed last Friday!!! YAY!!! This was the last non-kid thing tying me to my ex. I am splitting the equity that I received from the house between savings and putting equity into the new house. Beyond that, I do have some funds left. I’d like to spend some money targeted at making my and my kids’ lives flow more easily and be more efficient. Can you think of anything that has made your life easier – big or small? My kids are 8 and 6. I received a Roomba from my sister for my birthday last month. (We have a cleaning service and a babysitter.)
Meal delivery service of some kind (either the kind you cook e.g., Blue Apron to cut down on meal planning/groceries, or the kind that comes prepared)? Yard service if needed?
I wouldn’t spend any of this money unless I had a very solid emergency fund. I’d put it in retirement/back into the house/college funds. Don’t take hard earned equity and just casually buy stuff
+1. This isn’t a sudden windfall like an inheritance or a big bonus at work. Home equity is savings and you’re taking it out of savings and spending it. And this is especially true since you need to crowd-source ideas for what to do with it. If you’ve been thinking for months about how you wish you had meal delivery or whatever, I would say sure, put some of the money towards that. But don’t just spend money to spend money.
So Anon says
Completely agree. I have those things and am looking for ways to make my life as a single mom easier.
You have fully funded retirement and college funds? Really?
Yeah sorry, I just don’t think taking money out of savings to spend it on things you don’t even know you want is a good idea.
So Anon says
I am curious about the presumption that one’s emergency fund, retirement account and college are not funded? Yes, they are. I am not looking to purchase a new car, buy a second home, etc. I’m looking for simple life hacks to the tune of a few hundred bucks that can make single mom life with a big job easier. Thanks.
Honestly though the biggest thing that makes my life easier as a single mom is financial security. My ex is not reliable. I can’t count on him for child support or college
I think people are questioning whether these are “fully funded” because it seems unlikely that you have all the money you could possibly need for retirement and college saved up already, especially since you just went through a divorce and presumably had to divide the marital assets.
And, gently, I have had a ton of sympathy for you as you’ve gone through the divorce journey, but the “single mom with a big job” comment signals “rebound” to me. I’d be cautious about spending a ton of money so soon after the divorce and the move. A few hundred dollars doesn’t sound like more than your budget can comfortably handle, but big spending decisions should probably wait until things have settled a bit. The decision you make now in the throes of your newfound freedom might not be the same one you would make in six months.
Fully funded means you have enough to retire and send your kids to college today, it doesn’t mean you’re funding it appropriately on an ongoing basis.
Also +1 million to Anon at 12:59 who said the best thing for a single mom is financial security. Your ex will disappoint you financially a million ways in the next decade from not paying his share for kid to do the cool summer camp she wants to do to not wanting to pay for college. Also, even if your ex miraculously steps up and pays his share, you don’t have two retirement accounts to count on in your golden years. The reality is that living in a two-adult household and sharing all the household overhead saves a TON of money and, even without kids, a single person doesn’t need 1/2 the money of a married person, they need more like 3/4 of what they’d need if they were married. To be blunt, you have a long way to go to build up the financial security you had as half a couple, even if you were the primary breadwinner in your marriage. I just don’t understand the resistance to saving now and then spending later when you’re sure what you really want.
Ok, but why spend equity on this instead of just budget for it?
So Anon says
Thank you for the replies. There are many presumptions in the replies. Again, I’m not looking to spend thousands, just a little bit on a meal planning service, a new vacuum or something to make my life easier.
I think the resistance isn’t to the idea of you spending money, but to the idea of you spending money for something that you don’t specifically need and can’t identify.
I just need to say that I almost never am affected by tone/reply/judgment issues in the comments section that others call out, but this reply string made me nearly cuss out loud on your behalf, So Anon.
All the ways any of us talk about spending money on this blog, and all the questions, both stupid and important, any of us ask on this blog, and responders are giving So Anon (whose situation any regular reader knows) grief about asking for recommendations for a few life hacks? I’m practically seeing red. Do all of YOU have fully funded retirement and college accounts? Do all of YOU never spend money on convenience items instead of aggressively paying down a mortgage you can afford? I could go on . . .
So Anon, I don’t really have any recs for you, because I have a housecleaner and that’s my big make-life-easier thing, which you already have. But yes, I would think about something you don’t like to do, that needs to be done, and outsource that. Laundry, cooking, driving the kids to activities, whatever. Think of what you least like to do and spend money to fix that. Best wishes on this new era of your life.
Artemis- the pushback is at the idea of using equity from your home to buy things that are pretty meaningless.
I’m one of the commenters above – I definitely spend money on things that are wants not needs, and I don’t yet have enough money to retire or send my kids to college. However, I would NEVER use home equity on something that’s not an emergency. To me, home equity is essentially as untouchable as retirement accounts – it should sit their accruing value and you only use it in a very desperate situation, which this is clearly not. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with upgrading her current lifestyle a bit, but in my opinion optional lifestyle upgrades should come out of current cash flow, not home equity and if you can’t afford to do it out of current income then you can’t afford it.
I agree with Artemis 100% on this one. So Anon didn’t ask for recommendations on how she can blow her money on a once-in-a-lifetime trip or on fancy jewelry. She asked for suggestions on “making my and my kids’ lives flow more easily and be more efficient.” How is that not a valid question?? How is this not what other folks on here ask every single day?? When other folks ask that question, no one gives an OP flak about it. And no one ever asks how an OP about how she plans to pay for it?
I suspect the responses went off course here because So Anon started off her question with: “Fun Question:” I suspect that prefatory remark to simply be a result of her excitement that she finally cut non-kid ties with her ex.
@I Heart Bacon: actually, I asked a similar question on the main page about a month ago when I found myself with a big disposable income increase due to kids being done with daycare (essentially, “what makes your life easier/more fun that I can throw money at?”) and there were quite a few responses telling me not to spend money unless I had a specific thing I wanted, and I should be saving the money until I had a specific desire for something. And I said nothing about using home equity or savings. I think a lot of the commenters here tend to be super frugal and just believe saving is paramount. You can say that’s not an approach you agree with, that’s fine, but I don’t think it has anything to do with being a single mom. It’s the “what can I spend money on?” phrasing that invites these kind of comments.
agree with this, but assuming those things are taken care of, are there are hair/beauty treatments that could make your life easier? more babysitter hours? a dyson hand vac? getting takeout every friday night?
based on all of your posts it sounds like you’ve been through a lot (you honestly are an amazing person – i don’t know how you do it!), what about a weekend away with friends for just you or if you are more of the type who prefers to include your kids in everything, a vacation with your kids? or if you are an extrovert who loves hosting and socializing – a party at your new house so you can make some positive memories there.
I don’t know, a Roomba is like $300 and I’m assuming that’s the level of stuff the OP is asking about. Somehow I doubt if $300 is going to make or break her kids’ college funds.
In terms of recommendations, a few ideas:
– go to the bookstore and let everyone pick out a couple of books
– membership to a museum or something fun you can do with your kids
– agreed with rakma that hiring someone to do some little house things could be really nice (hanging pictures or hooks, fixing a leaky faucet, etc).
Exactly — I saw the reference to a Roomba as the sort of things the OP was contemplating (i.e., I don’t have to spend the time vacuuming the floors myself or fighting with my kids about getting them to vacuum, which is an excellent saving of time at little cost).
I think some of the comments are pretty rude and reveal some regressive attitudes towards single mothers.
No kidding. OP indicated that she is splitting the equity between savings and more equity in the new house with some funds left over. I took this to mean that she wanted to make a one-time purchase similar to the Roomba with the rest going to savings and the house. If she wants to spend a few hundred dollars on making her life easier, she by all means should.
Since you’ve been in your new house for a while. are there any areas that could use a little tweaking to make normal routines easier?
I can’t believe how much adding some coat hooks to our entryway made coming home and leaving the house 10x easier. Once we were in the routine of hanging up coats and bags, they were always where we needed them. (Now we just need a workable solution for the shoes)
I bought a small, 3-level shelf to keep by our garage door and it was life-changing for our shoes. Typically we will each have our most-worn pair of shoes just on the floor, but all the other shoes (we each inevitably have 3 pairs we wear semi-regularly) go on the shelf and it is SO MUCH MORE ORGANIZED.
i’m actually looking for something like this for near our door – what did you buy?
Not Em, but I got the ones recommended by Wirecutter off of Amazon and find them satisfactory.
Also not Em, but we have a storage bench from Bed Bath & Beyond. It has 6 cubbies for shoes, and then the bench seats open up to put stuff in as well. It’s held up fine.
I have the Furrinno 3-Tier Shoe Rack. It is available in a few colors from the large internet store that starts with A and from Home Depot.
+1. We’ve been in our “new” house almost a year. We haven’t done any major renovations, but we’ve spent time and money on small to medium projects that make the house work better. Some of it was just having small stuff fixed. Recently, we rearranged the house to flow better, bought a few pieces of furniture and organizational items, and spent time and money installing ceiling fans, changing light fixtures, hanging blinds and curtains, etc.
(Side note–we would not have been ready to make most of those decisions a year ago, so maybe hold some money in reserve until you’ve lived in the house 6 months.)
Rakma, this is exactly the type of recommendations that I thought So Anon was asking for. Great rec.
I would consider the $100 or so for a grocery delivery membership from your preferred provider if available (for some reason I thought you were rural?). I work ridiculous hours, so it leaves my husband short-staffed a lot, and being able to manage groceries online and then have them delivered saves so much time and gives us more family time.
Congratulations on closing the house! I’d probably go for grocery delivery or meal kits. Your kids seem be old enough to help with meal kits, so that could be both fun and helpful. I might also look into a zoo or museum membership, or save it for summer camp? Also kudos to you on kindly answering some of the anons who perhaps don’t know your whole story.
Having a vacuum on both levels of our apartment and cleaning supplies in every bathroom is helpful. (I know, multiple vacuums is overkill for an apartment, but 2 out of the three we have were found on the street free, and all are good at different things). (Yes we have too much stuff).
So Anon says
Thanks!! This is exactly the type of idea I’m looking for!
Anon on says
Just curious what your full story is if you want to share. I also applaud you for kindly answering the people above, you are asking for some simple ideas to make life easier.
Cleaning service that also does laundry would be superbly helpful. Meal kits, grocery delivery is a great idea. Lining up babysitters, handymen etc ahead of time makes a lot of sense to me.
Don’t know why people are jumping on you. So many hugs.
So Anon says
Thank you! Sure, I’ll share: My ex had/has significant mental health issues, a diagnosed personality disorder and had an affair. We separated in February; I filed in March and the divorce became final in May. I handled everything with the assistance of a few attorney-friends (I’m an attorney too, but not in this area) who practice family law. In the divorce, as a concession to me taking less in child support (because I know he is unreliable — and he was fired right after the divorce became final), we kept our own retirement accounts and I took more equity out of the proceeds of the sale of the house. As all of this was going down, I elected not to go on vacation and save absolutely as much as I could. As a result, I had enough saved to purchase my post-divorce home with my bonus received after the divorce and my savings. I purchased less house than I could afford to keep my costs low. My kids have savings funds and trust funds from my mom for college. I have an emergency fund with twelve months of living costs. I receive child support but it goes to savings and the kids’ college funds. I am Senior Counsel in-house in a growing company. My kids see their Dad every other weekend and only during the day because he cannot be trusted (he “forgot” to feed the kids one Sunday). He does not attend doctor’s appointments or teacher conferences and always has some excuse. My life, and my kids’ lives, are much more stable now than they were one year ago.
I fully agree with Anon at 1:46 and everyone else defending you!
Before I got sidetracked by all the single-mom noise, I was going to suggest something fairly cheap that has made my life SO much easier: curbside delivery groceries. (My “local” grocery store–HEB–charges a $5 shopping fee and 3% on top of their normal prices.) It is my new favorite thing. I can put the order in and just swing by the store while I’m still in heels, or on the way home from somewhere with my dog in the car, and load everything up. I was resistant to it because I’d had such terrible experiences with Instacart and delivery people have a hell of a time getting into my building, let alone finding my unit, but curbside has been awesome.
Other than that, my standard make-life-easier things are a housekeeper and a Roomba, which you have covered! I also do as someone else suggested and have cleaning supplies in each bathroom and under the kitchen sink. For cooking, I just bought a new cookbook based on a recommendation from a nutritionist and am actually *starting* to get on board with pre-prepping some cooking. It’s called Cook Once, Eat All Week, and seems to have plenty of family-friendly options, though you might preview the recipes before settling on a week. If you haven’t tried meal kits before I’d actually caution you against them–they were way too labor-intensive for me and I have zero children (but one dog who LOVES it when I batch cook).
Similar to ramka’s suggestion, I might set a bit aside to use for a handyman. Maybe not for true needs or emergencies, but rather–I should really put curtains up in this room and I have the curtains, but I just can’t bring myself to hang curtain rods by myself (spoiler alert: it’s hard), or it would be really great if someone else could ____ while I work, or play with my kids, or cook dinner w my kids, or whatever. I always find a ton of these things when I move into a new place.
Good luck and congratulations!
I have a stick vacuum for our (rugs and hardwood) downstairs and the full-size vacuum for our (carpet) upstairs, and I vacuum so much more that I don’t have to lug the big-rig up and down the stairs, because invariably it was always on the wrong floor when I needed it.
I have a vacuum and broom on each floor, too. It makes it so much more likely to vacuum and sweep regularly. If I had to lug a vacuum upstairs any time I dropped bread crumbs on the carpet, I would literally let the crumbs stay there until they grew new bread. For the stairs, I use a handheld Dyson vacuum. I also keep a full set of cleaning supplies in each bathroom and one full set in the kitchen. It makes zero sense to me to carry one set into all the different rooms when I can just keep one full set in each room. The same amount of cleaning product is used so it’s not like it costs more (i.e., one bottle of windex that needs to get replaced every month versus three bottles of windex that only need to be replaced every three months). It also helps me keep the bathrooms tidy. If the mirror upstairs needs a wipe down, I don’t have to go all the way downstairs to the kitchen to get windex. I can just grab the windex and paper towels and wipe down the mirror in seconds.
In House Counsel says
Here are my things that make my life easier: housekeeper; Amazon membership (I hate going to the store for one off items); I like my kids clothes to all sort of match so it cuts down on having to pick them out; always keeping a few easy go to meals ready; and a gym with childcare and indoor pool. We pay so much for a gym membership but it has all the classes, kids activities, pools and snack bar. Sometimes you just a need a break and those 2 hours of childcare are golden.
Interrupting 3 yo says
I have a 3 1/2 yo who is very energetic and talkative. She is an only child (for now) and is used to “being in the spotlight.” For the last 6 months or so, she has gotten really bad about constantly interrupting us. As soon as one of us starts talking (to each other, not to her), she interrupts, usually with something we know is a deliberate means of getting the attention back to her. We’ve tried teaching her that it’s bad manners to interrupt, that if she has something to say she should put her hand on her arm and wait until we give her the go ahead, that she needs to wait until someone stops talking, but to no avail. She’ll do it once and then is right back at it. She also does this when other adults are talking, no matter how often we ask her to wait her turn and let the person finish talking. I’m at a loss as to how else to go about teaching her to not interrupt! It’s incredibly frustrating and makes it impossible for my husband and me to talk about anything until she goes to bed. And by that time we are so tired that we don’t feel up to it anymore or we’ve forgotten what we need to tell each other. Not to mention, it’s just rude!
Any tips on how to get past this?
She wants attention, so you need to ignore her when she interrupts.
Send her to timeout
Honestly I think this is really normal.
Tell her she has to wait, please, then ignore her until you’re ready. And model what you want to see. If she is talking and your husband starts to speak, tell him, “Please don’t interrupt Suzy while she is talking” and let her finish. Obviously you and your husband should both understand this is the plan and model this on purpose for her.
+1 we say “I’m talking to daddy right now you need to wait until I’m finished”.
My 2.5 y/o only child does exactly this. I say this gently and on the advice of my son’s montessori director: ignore her. Hard stop. I don’t enforce consequences unless he continues to interrupt or elevates his voice to a level where the adults cannot continue their conversation.
So Anon says
There is a great book called “Interrupting Chicken.” It served as a jumping off point for us to talk about what it means to interrupt.
It’s hard–our son does this still at 4.5, though it’s getting better. We repeatedly remind him to say “excuse me, mom/dad” and when he does, I’ll tell him to wait a second and then listen to what he has to say after adults finish up a thought/thread. But it is frustrating in the moment, and I don’t think ignoring it works because it makes impossible to have a conversation (as you mentioned). It might help to do a couple timeouts when you’re at home when it keeps happening, but I do think it gets better as they grow and better control impulses/take direction.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Maybe I have low expectations, but isn’t this just part of being 3? My husband and I aren’t really able to have a full conversation when the kids are around without some sort of interruption. It’s frustrating but there are a lot of frustrating things about 3 year olds.
I think it’s true that it is just part of being 3, and parents can start correcting the behavior. When our kid interrupts us, we tell him, “Mommy and Daddy are speaking. You need to wait for a pause, then say ‘Excuse me.'” Once he does, we give him attention, and also try to steer our conversation toward something that includes him.
I’m an only child, my parents did not correct my interrupting (and they actually have a habit of interrupting people). I had to learn not to interrupt as an adult, which was hard. I probably really annoyed some people before that too.
She wants your attention, but at this age, she also wants to make sure you don’t forget her (which we do!). One piece of advice I heard from someone else that was helpful is to teach your child to lightly tap your arm instead of interupting and then responding to your child by lightly tapping their arm repeatedly until you are able to talk to them. That way they know that you know they need to talk to you and they know you have not forgotten you. I thought this was really helpful!
Sleep help! says
Hi – Sleep help please! Our six month old’s sleep is getting worse not better. She goes down just fine but then is up every two hours or so and only goes back to sleep when we feed her. I’m at a bit of loss given our restricted options: we are in two bedroom apartment and our toddler is in the room they’ll eventually share so we have to leave the baby in our bedroom until she sleeps enough not to wake the toddler and she’s definitely a light sleeper. We tried CIA at 4 1/2 months and unlike our older kid it didn’t work well – it got her down at night no problem but never worked for middle of the night wake-ups and we folded after a brutal week and half (for real — we were totally committed but it definitely failed). I’m not willing to do CIA again after that experience. We’ve also already tried a sleep consultant and didn’t see much improvement from her suggestions so I don’t really want to do that again. Any suggestions or resources to read to get our lovely but deeply stubborn baby to sleep more consistently at night?
Focus on daytime routines if you’re not already. Daytime routines tend to lead to more consistent and longer nights. This would include feeding at regular intervals (even if you have to wake early from a nap) to make sure she gets enough during the day where she doesn’t get (as) hungry at night, making sure feeding is separated from falling asleep (follow eat-play-sleep order), and loosely scheduling sleep so that she gets enough at predictable intervals. Also counter-intuitively, early bedtime can help, big proponent here of early bedtimes, like 630 or 7pm for that age. Good luck!
Super late response. We had this exact issue with my daughter, it stopped after I stopped nursing at 12 months. Tried sleep training consultants etc.
Does your husband go in? Are you putting her down fully Awake like Seperating nursing from bed by an hour? Hugs it’s so hard.
My kid turns 6 four weeks after school starts. She’s moving from preschool, which has kids rom all over town, to one of 5 elementary schools. There are 3-4 buddies from her preschool that will be in her elementary school, but probably not in her class.
Who do we invite to her birthday party? Do we make it a small thing with her friends that she has now? See who her buddies are as school starts and invite them? Invite the whole K class plus a few good friends from preschool?
Possibly relevant is that her soccer team is all old preschool friends, and they will see each other 2x a week all fall so it’s not like the preschool friends are gone despite no longer being in the same class. And one is a neighborhood friend (same neighborhood, different schools).
My suggestion that we just pick 2 friends and do a daytrip was not taken well. She suggested inviting her whole preschool class + whole new K class and that seems like a lot to me.
Just have Grandma and Grandpa over for cake and wait until next year to see how this all shakes out?
If the birthday girl doesn’t want to do a 2 friends day trip party, I kind of doubt she would be excited to have a no friends party. (I do see where you are coming from though, Anon.)
If it were me, I would probably invite the K class + close friends from preschool. Or possibly the K class + the soccer team, assuming the soccer team includes all her close preschool friends and wouldn’t result in an enormous party.
I know what you mean, but a family party isn’t what I’m asking about ;).
I’m going to push a little harder that she invite her current ~4-5 pals plus 1-2 new buddies for a relatively low key home party (or like, mani/pedis).
Do you even have a way to invite the whole K class? We never get our class lists until well into the school year (if then). I would not do both whole classes as the K kids won’t know each other, and the preschool kids will, so that could cause some left out feelings, aside from obvious crowd issues. If you like big parties, I would invite either one whole group or the other. I am never willing to invite the whole class, so I would probably invite her current friends (or maybe them + other preschool kids attending the same elementary school). It takes time to form new friendships, and I don’t think she will have a new group that fast.
That definitely would be too much. You don’t have to send invitations until a couple weeks out – why not plan a simple birthday party (backyard, movie theater, pizza in the park…basically something that doesn’t need to be booked) and see who her friends are at that moment. I like the general rule of thumb of inviting roughly the number of kids as the age. I am also completely on team birthday-parties-are-such-a-ruckus so I would keep them simple and small for as long as possible.
so i was like your daughter and liked to be very very inclusive of everyone and fortunately my mom was willing to give in. she once let me invite 25 kids over for a slumber party when i was turning 9 and no we did not have a particularly huge house. (i think i was good at convincing her that i didn’t want anyone to feel excluded) one of my friends whose kid recently dealt with a similar scenario just invited the preschool kids and no new kids. if you don’t want to invite everyone, i would say either just preschool friends or just K friends bc you say the preschool kids will still all see each other at soccer – if one of them mentions the bday party the other ones might feel bad. yes at some point in life they will learn that they aren’t invited to everything all the time, but i feel like that lesson can wait a few years
I would invite the preschool friends who are still in class with her, and if you’re going to invite all of one or the other class, I’d invite the Kinder class. It’s okay that she doesn’t know the kids well yet; she will, and it’ll be a good way for you to get to know the parents.
I would invite the soccer team, any kids from preschool in his new school not on the soccer team, and the kindergarten class, but it depends on your daughter’s personality.
In a somewhat similar situation, we invited my son’s soccer team, a few particular friends, and his whole class. We brought the invitations for his class into school for the teacher to distribute, the school won’t give out contact information. We are having the party at a venue. Out of 30 invitations, we have 9 RSVPs for yes (1 from new class, 2 existing friends, the rest from the soccer team, one of whom is in his school but not class), which is actually better than expected.
we are in a very similar situation and are inviting the better friends from preschool as well as the entire 22 person K class. we want to get to know the K class but of course want to have friends my kid has been close to over the years as well. i chose a venue that can hold a lot of people and entertainment that does not charge on a per person basis. (pool party with mermaid.)
I need to get my two kiddos (age 3.5, 1.5) new fall jackets. I’ve just been buying them each a new fleece hoodie at Old Navy every year but wondering if I should look for something better quality that would allow for hand me downs. I’ll take any and all recommendations!
At the ages they are, I might still get nicer coats. I prefer the Patagonia nano-puffs, which can go under car seat straps safely and wear like iron (they also run big). Mine just hit elementary school though and I am no longer buying them. We’ve switched to Target/Old Navy/Columbia after too many incidents of lost/forgotten/possibly stolen items.
I absolutely love these coats. I have gotten off of e b a y and been so thrilled I’ll probably buy new and sell it when we’re finished using. It’s a great coat.
Ugh, you’re talking me out of buying a North Face jacket for my third grader. :)
This might be heavier than you’re looking for, but really like the super packable lightweight puffers. Ours have been Cat & Jack, but on the higher end, Patagonia has them. When we test them in the car seat, they’re fine. So they’re kiddo’s car jacket throughout the winter too. We live in a very windy area where fleece is essentially worthless.
We love the Cat & Jack 3-in-1 jackets for our same-aged kids. The inner liner can be worn in a carseat and adding the outer layer makes it wind/water resistant and great for colder days. They hold up well-enough that you should be able to hand them down.
We live in New England and have alll the seasons, so a ‘fall’ jacket is different from the Patagonia jackets IMO. If you’re leaning towards 1 purchase then yes, we always get (and love) the Patagonia down puffers with hoods. For fall jackets we tend to get bigger rain jackets (waterproof) so that we can layer them over a hoody. My kid really likes the Boden shaggy/cosy ones – look out for a 20-25% off sale.
Eh, my son’s old navy zip up hoodies would be totally fine as hand me downs.
What’s your weather like? If you’re talking about fleece hoodies, I’m guessing it doesn’t get terribly cold or windy. If you’re looking for a higher-quality fleece, I have been very happy with the Columbia fleece jackets since my kids were tiny. They wash up great and the price isn’t bad at all, especially on sale. For boys, look for the Steens Mountain style. We’ve handed them down to multiple cousins. Lands End and LLBean also are good sources for fleece that isn’t crazy expensive.
Fleece OP says
I’m in PA so usually do a combo of fleece jackets to get through fall/spring and actual winter coat for outside play at daycare.
Thanks for all the suggestions, appreciate some new stuff to check out!!