Mommy, Free Time, and the Weekend: How Would You Spend It? (Fantasy Open Thread)

mommy free time weekendCommenters on Corporette were just discussing how one mom should spend Memorial Day weekend with her husband and child away, and I thought this would make a great fantasy open thread over here.  What would you do if you had an entire day (or 3) to yourself? Would you shop? Travel? Get together with friends? Spa it up?

I haven’t had a day at home with nothing to do without kids in a really long time. (I think I was pregnant with my second the last time that happened — I remember binge-watching Scandal and drinking pickle juice because, well, #pregnant.)  It’s funny to think about the question because without a solid plan, I’m sure I would whittle away my gift of free time working, Internet shopping, or cleaning/organizing.  So, I guess an ideal 24 hours to myself would look like this:

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Tips for Flying with Kids

Flying with KidsI was just talking with one of my mom friends about my best tips for flying with kids and thought it might make an interesting discussion over here. So ladies, what are your best tips for flying with kids? Have you found that different things worked when they were babies, then toddlers, then kindergartners and beyond? You may want to check out previous tips for using AirBnB with kids, as well as pumping while flying.

Pictured, clockwise: Applesauce / Stroller for car seat / Gate check bag for strollers / Thermos bottlelarge, lightweight, durable nylon bag for carrying on / kiddie headphones.

  • Pack snacks that suck. OK, here is my top tip: You need to pack snacks that kids can suck on to help alleviate ear pressure. Applesauce pouchesThermos/Zoli cups (not straw Take & Toss), lollipops for bigger kids, bottles/binkies/Mom for littler kids. (I always nursed on the plane… it tended to make them sleepy, too, which we always welcomed.) Another big tip: Warn your kids their ears are going to hurt, once before the trip happens and again, loudly, once when you’re on the plane and it’s starting to make its ascent/descent. This accomplishes two things, the first of which is that hopefully your kid won’t freak out when they feel pressure building. Even when the boys were infants I would explain this to them, because who knows what they understand and don’t — you can pull at your ear and their ear more if they’re littler. The second thing this accomplishes is giving your seatmates a heads-up. I think for new parents, particularly, it can be stressful flying with kids because you remember being that single adult on the plane who hated whenever kids cried. Before I had kids it never occurred to me it’s because they’re freaked out that they feel like their heads might explode… so consider it a subtle, informal education for your seatmates. We also bring a lot of other snacks, an empty plastic bag for all our little wrappers and other trash, and as many napkins as we can steal from the airport Au Bon Pain or wherever.

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The Hunt for Stylish Maternity Suits — and What to Wear Instead

Over at Corporette, we followed up on our recent roundup of suiting brands for women with a “Part 2” post of suiting in specialty sizes — including maternity suits. As we all know, maternity workwear can feel really limited, but stylish maternity suits are particularly lacking. The options we noted:

But I thought it would make a good topic for discussion over here.  For those of you who needed a suit while pregnant, which brand was your favorite? If you cobbled together a mismatched suit from separates, what are your tips?  I bought some maternity blazers in my first pregnancy, but in my second pregnancy (where admittedly I only gained the minimum weight), I found that my regular, non-maternity blazers fit up until week 38 or so.

Commenters have discussed this topic in the past, as well, coming up with the following ideas:

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Registry: Essential Books for New Moms

registry-for-working-momsWelcome to installment six of our registry for working moms: essential books for new moms. So far in the registry series, we’ve rounded up the best carseats and strollers, cribs and sleeping gear, baby clothes, baby carriers, and big toys and gear — stay tuned for more!

We’ve talked about my favorite pregnancy books for working moms, as well as some of the best maternity blogs and other free resources  — but what books, if any, should be on your baby registry? What books do you think were the most useful to you as a working mom, either in terms of parenting, juggling work and life, getting medical help, watching milestones, or other issues? What books do you like to gift friends with new babies? What books were essential to you in those early postpartum days? Some of my favorites, below…

Books For New Moms:

new mom books for working moms

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Mom Brands – Do You Buy ‘Em?

shopping for mom brands

Here’s a question Kate and I were just discussing (and I believe the readers were yesterday as well): at a certain point, have you found yourself buying brands for yourself that you would have previously considered “mom brands,” either out of convenience (like if you’re already buying your kids’ clothing at the store), a lack of patience for delicate-care clothing, or the desire for a more forgiving cut than you wore prior to kids? Do you seek out brands where the in-person shopping experience is best suited for moms, like the Evereve stores (here’s an interesting Inc. article about them)? 

Let’s face it, Lands’ End, J.Jill, Eddie Bauer — these are not usually the brands the stylish 20-something wears. In their marketing, the companies even try to brand themselves as mom brands, using models who are past their 20s (some even, gasp, with gray hair) and who have medium-sized and actually plus-sized bodies. I always think of the ill-fated Jones New York as the classic example here (although I did wear a ton of their clothes in my 20s), but I used to love the model they used on their site because she was pretty but medium-sized, with a much boxier, almost athletic build than you see on most models. So let’s hear it: Which brands have you recently tried, or tried again? Which do you like? Which brand used to be in the “mom brand” camp but is now crossing over — for example, Talbots has made huge strides lately to getting more fashionable clothes and cuts in.

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Open Thread: Work After Maternity Leave

work-after-maternity-leave

2017 update: We still stand by the advice below, but you may also want to check out our discussion on what to wear to work after maternity leave!

What are some of your best tips for adjusting upon returning to work after maternity leave? What do you wish you’d known, or what did you come to realize?

For my own $.02: Among my friends, the end of maternity leave has loomed large in all of our lives — but on a kind of sliding scale. Women who had to go back to work at 10 weeks (or even sooner) dreaded it terribly, while women with longer leaves — 6 months or more — typically felt much better about it and almost welcomed the end of their leave. A few bits of advice along those lines:

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