Family Vacations and Coworker Jealousy

family vacations and coworker jealousy

Here’s what is perhaps an odd question: Do you ever feel like there is coworker jealousy surrounding your family vacations? What are your best tips for how to take family vacations without instilling coworker jealousy? (AND: How many “buffer” days to you take off to prepare/recover from your family vacation?)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a vacation with kids is a trip — not a vacation! Still, as we’ve talked about before, many parents schedule regular family vacations, which means it may “feel” to coworkers like you’re going on lots of “fun trips.” (I vaguely remember feeling like this when I was a single girl working in BigLaw — and I think there’s definitely a difference to be made in “messaging” around the vacation.) Furthermore, because you may already know the upcoming dates and schedules for school and so forth, you may book the vacation and have it calendared FAR in advance — and that may make coworkers feel like you’re “taking” the best vacation dates.

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Do You Let Your Kids Play With Water Guns (or, What Toys Don’t You Let Your Kids Play With?)?

Do You Let Your Kids Play With Water Guns and Other Toy Weapons: A Discussion with Working Moms

It’s the season for outdoor water fun — swimming, running through sprinklers, etc. — so we thought it would be a good time to ask: Do you let your kids play with water guns and other toy weapons, such as Nerf guns? For his birthday last year, my son got one of those giant, Super Soaker-type of water guns (from a classmate), and this year for his birthday he received a Nerf gun (also from a friend — not us). He’s been asking for a Nerf gun for a long time and was so excited to get one. The kids’ parents didn’t know that we hadn’t given him any toy guns (I’m not a big fan), and in the end, we’ve let him play with the gifts (although we do have rules, such as “Don’t ever aim them at people or animals”).working moms discuss whether they let their kids play with water guns or other gun toys

If you want to keep your kids away from toy guns, a total ban seems impossible. If you prohibit them from playing with water guns and other weapon-like toys, won’t they just go and use them at a friend’s house and/or get invited to a “Nerf Wars” type of party for a friend’s birthday? (My son, who’s in primary school, has gone to two so far.) Or does it make a difference if you personally show your disapproval? Some parents just give up and go along with with the (stereotypical) reasoning that “Boys will turn anything into a gun anyway.” If we give our kids water guns and so on, should that enter at all into our conversations with them about, for example, why their school has lockdown drills? Do kids really look at violence or guns any differently when they play with toy guns.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been motivated enough to do any Googling about the effects of playing with toy guns, and whether my uneasiness is warranted — and when I finally did, er, today, I learned that research hasn’t found a link between violent play as a child and violent behavior as an adult. Many studies have drawn conclusions like that of this one, as summarized by Slate: “[W]hen kids incorporate violence into their pretend play, they may learn how to control real violent impulses and regulate their emotions.”

So, do tell: Do you let your kids play with water guns and other toy weapons? If not, why — and if so, what are your ground rules (and the conversations you’ve had with your kids about them)? Have you bought things like water guns or Nerf guns for your kids’ friends? If you prohibit toy guns at home and your child receives one as a gift (or gets one in a party favor bag) what do you do, and how do you explain it to your child? 

Further Reading:

  • It’s Fine for Kids to Play With Pretend Guns [Slate]
  • Why Boys Love Guns, and What to Do About It [CNN]
  • Boys and Guns: What’s a Parent to Do? [PBS Parents]
  • Weapons Ban: Just How Bad Are Toy Guns for Kids? [ParentMap]
  • Keeping Kids From Toy Guns: How One Mother Changed Her Mind [The Atlantic]

Pictured: Deposit Photos / leon_traut.

Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Contract Negotiator in the Midwest

contract negotiator work-life balance working momFor this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Lala, who lives in the Midwest with her husband and two sons and works as a contract negotiator. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…

Name: Lala
Location: MCOL town in the Midwest
Job: contract negotiator at a large company
Age: 31
Home Situation: I live in a 1,800-square-foot, 3-bedroom/2-bath house with my husband (35-year-old programmer), our sons P (3 yrs. 11 mos.) and J (1 yr. 8 mos.contract negotiator work-life balance - image of a working mom negotiating contracts for a midwestern city), and our large dog. The kids share a room.
Childcare Situation: full-time daycare center, $2,300 per month

A Week in My Life

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The Best Maternity Dresses for Work

the best maternity dresses for workIf you’re far enough along in your pregnancy that you’ve outgrown your regular-sized, old-standby work dresses and have realized you need to expand your maternity work wardrobe to actual maternity wear, fear not — today we’re rounding up the best maternity sheath dresses for work, many of which we’ve included over the years in our regular maternity workwear recommendations. We’re featuring options from the more affordable end of the spectrum (a possible strategy if you’re planning to be one-and-done) to higher-quality maternity dresses that will last you through two or three (or more) pregnancies.

What are your favorite maternity dresses for work? Do you ever choose double-duty styles that are meant for pregnancy and nursing? When you buy maternity dresses, do you tend to buy a few that are higher-quality or buy a bunch of less expensive ones? (Does it depend on how many kids you plan to have?) Which of your “regular” dresses have been particularly pregnancy-friendly? What do you think are the best maternity dresses for work?

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Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Business Manager in Boston

business manager in tech in boston shares her work-life balance as a working momFor this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader K, who lives in the Boston suburbs with her husband and son and works as a business manager in tech. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…

Name: K
Location: Lives and works in a Boston suburb
Job: Business manager in tech
Age: 32
Hours worked in a typical week: 35–44
Home Situation: I live in a 2,500-square-foot house with my husband (engineer in biotech); our 9-month old son, C; and our cat.
Childcare Situation: $1,200/month. We have a unicorn childcare situation: a licensed, in-home provider in our neighborhood who watches C and two other babies his same age. It is essentially a nanny share, but at a fraction of the cost.

We asked K about how she arrived at her “unicorn” arrangement for childcare: 

Mostly by luck, sorry to say, there is no magic secret. We toured several big-name centers, one independent center, and two in-home providers — in our area there is no shortage. I do recommend checking with your state’s child care licensing agency when looking for in-home providers, because many do not advertise. That’s how we found ours, but it was purely luck that all her kids were “graduating” to pre-K and she was starting with two other babies C’s age. And because of mandated ratios, she can’t take any more kids right now. We also got lucky that we click really well with the other families and the kids all have similar temperaments.

A Week in My Life

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How Do You Define Yourself After Having Kids? Hierarchy of Self and Other Fun Thoughts

how do you define yourself after having kidsSo here’s a question that may sound odd: How do you define yourself after having kids? Are you a mother first, or a wife, or a lawyer [insert your job here], or a woman? Where does wife/daughter/friend play into the mix? What is your hierarchy of self? Do you have a strict one that you refer to when, say, decisions need to get made — or is it something that kind of fluctuates? Is your hierarchy of self at odds with anything, such as a) your partner’s or boss’s view of what comes first, or b) oh, reality? If you’ve made internal adjustments to your self-definition, why/how did you make those adjustments?

For me, for example,how do working moms define themselves after kids I think I myself am pretty far down the list. I would say I’m a mother first, a blogger/business owner second, then probably wife/daughter/sister, then friend, then lastly a woman. As certain people might say, Sad!

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