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Advice plz says
Looking for some advice. I’ve been approached to join an amlaw 100 firm as a non equity partner. Currently am an equity partner in a 60 atty firm in the Midwest. I’m interested in the opportunity because while I’ve built a good book, it’s started to decline because I can only do so much and my firm refuses to hire associates to support my group. At the same time, I have a ton of flexibility and seniority where I am. With two kids, one of which has special needs, I use that. Am I crazy for considering a move to a bigger place? I’ve never been a huge biller so I’m nervous.
Hi, are you me? Same deal here (equity partner, inadequate junior help, same kid situation), approached by Loco AmLaw 50 firms paying stupid money. I keep deferring, TBH. If I wanted to jump, I have friends where I could jump to after being completely candid re deliverables on my end. But going from the frying pan into the fire . . . too disruptive. THAT SAID, my book is steady / growing slowly, although in my mind I should be growing it more, I’m realistic about having resources to support that (especially after our schools shut down for a long time last year). I’d just be very CYA in your discussions, make sure you get as many years of guaranteed comp as you can, be very clear salary metrics, and be candid re family needs (there may be some expectation that you just have a nanny do all that, but for my complex needs kids, I need to be there coordinating vs getting everything second hand; it would be different if it were a dental cleaning vs a kid with many specialists and complex care / school needs). Also, path to equity partner needs to be clear, and knowing if NEQ partner comp maxes out and also what lowest EQ partner comp is (you may be better off as NEQ but maybe not).
Anon near DC says
I would not move anywhere that would make you a nonequity partner when you already have equity. Full stop. I was nonequity at an amlaw 100 firm and recently moved to another amlaw 100 firm that gave me equity and has a single tier partnership. It was really challenging being a “second class” “partner” — it was all the bad stuff (getting taxed like a partner) and none of the benefits. There’s an article from 2019 in the WSJ that speaks to this and is dead on accurate as to my experience and that of others I’ve talked to who were in similar roles in other firms.
However, the lateral market is really good right now, so even though it sounds like you have a great gig at your current shop, it cannot hurt to hire a trustworthy recruiter and see whether you can find a place that will have flexibility AND will support your desire to grow your group. The unicorn may be out there, and you’ll never know unless you look. But do not let anyone talk you into being a nonequity partner when you already have your own book.
You aren’t crazy, but, it’s easy to undervalue your present job when some shiny new object shows on the scene. You seem to have a good thing going, so I’d think hard about how you’d manage if your new job was substantially less flexible — especially as a non-equity partner you’ll be expected to bill and will be an employee, not an owner, with all the demands that come with that.
Make sure that you and they are crystal clear on the expectations about what your billings and hours will be before you join. Do they expect you to fully cover yourself (meet all requirements based on your own book)? Or are they also expecting to feed you work? I have seen a lot of non equity laterals wither on the vine because not all their clients were willing to move with them (especially if it means higher rates) and the receiving firm expected they would fully cover themselves.
All anectodal, but I’m in a similar firm/position and I can confidently say that I would not want to make this move. I have a few friends who work in biglaw and their quality of life, flexibility, and balance is frankly much worse than mine. They make a lot more money but it wouldn’t be worth it to me.
Lateral moves are also just really difficult (ask me how I know) so I would need to have confidence that the destination would be better than where I’m coming from – if that makes any sense.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t make a move from your current firm, but nonequity at AmLaw 100 wouldn’t be all that appealing to me personally. (I bet the money would be great though!) At the very least, ask a lot of questions about expectations, hours, and billing requirements first.
Advice plz says
OP here- thanks everyone. I needed to hear this. I’m not even being offered that much more (more guaranteed money but if my current firm has a good year like this year it’s comparable). I do appreciate this community and a group of moms who get it.
anon for this says
Going anon for this, but currently an equity partner at a similarly sized firm and considering going back to biglaw for very similar reasons. Two young kids (not special needs though), and my only hold up is hesitancy about losing flexibility and autonomy, so I’ve been asking a lot of questions of the younger partners at the proposed new firm. My book is growing, but our associate support is abysmal and we keep losing the few good people we have to biglaw. I feel like a solo practitioner a lot. My comp is good, but most days, while I have flexibility, I am working stupid late because sh*t needs to get done and we have very few competent people on our team in this area so it’s impossible to get anyone to adequately cover a vacation (ironically, I’ve talked to a few people who have made similar moves and have noted that it was in fact easier to take a vacation once in a while because there were other young partners you could team up with and cover for each other, instead of feeling like an island; I know I will still be working late). I will probably do it, but still need to see what the proposed comp is at new place. I’ll report back if I make the move. Thanks for asking the question, I am eagerly reading the other comments as well.
Do you find that one person in your marriage tends to be the primary driver of family decisions, and are you okay with that? DH has a go-with-the-flow personality and has told me that he sees me as taking the lead on big life decisions, like where to live. In theory I’m okay with that. What I’m less okay with is the way that it’s very easy, after the fact, for everything to have been my choice, and therefore potentially my mistake. The reason it feels unfair is because a) I don’t just go around making decisions without consulting DH, and b) I’m usually prioritizing the kids and our family generally, not myself. We always talk things through, and I always make sure he’s on board. We’ve never changed our lives over his objections. So I feel like he shares responsibility.
To be clear, this is a simplified version of things. But it’s accurate enough that I would love advice on navigating this. I don’t want resentment to build over time.
I am The Decider. I sort of fear what would happen should I die with young kids, but am hopeful that I’ve got a foundation that is buildable in place (good doctors, OK neighborhood for schools and school choices, reasonable house that could be sold easily if needed, good financial planning). Some things one person is just better at (one parent may be good at dealing with a very sick kid in the ER and the other parent is better wired to stay home with the other kids; one parent may have a work schedule where they are always the morning or noon or night dog walker; one may be better at being the family quartermaster or gutter cleaning; or driving with a student driver or doing math homework). It’s like football — your linebacker linebacks, your runner runs.
Yeah we’re the same way. For the most part it doesn’t cause problems although it does occasionally. When we moved to our current area I made a house-hunting trip alone and bought a house (after showing him pictures) and at the time he was super enthusiastic about the house and kept telling me how much he appreciated me going and doing this alone so he didn’t have to worry about it. But then once we moved in and he gradually discovered things that weren’t perfect about the house, he would grumble with “I wouldn’t have chosen this house” or “this house has XYZ issue, we shouldn’t have bought it.” My dude, you could have come on the house-hunting trip (this was pre-kids so there was really no reason he couldn’t go). You could have told me you didn’t like the house when I sent you pictures and told you about it. You could have taken the time to actually read the inspection report. You did none of those things, and I am not responsible for it. Fortunately that was quite a few years ago and it happens pretty rarely now. These days our “major life decisions” are more trivial (e.g., vacations).
I’m the strategic thinker and long-term planner in our relationship and that’s fine until it’s not…Either I feel overburdened by the responsibility / being the only one who can do math or my husband feels like he hasn’t had a say and will pester me with things (ie. we currently have an affidavit that we’re not allowed to talk about electric cars until the end of 2022 after the 3rd argument). My husband is lovely and great at many things, but he’s crap at math and struggles to prioritise.
We’re getting better though over time. I delegate lots of the brawn to my husband, I’ll do the sums on something but he’ll make all the phone calls and deal with any paperwork. He’s getting better about telling me how he’s feeling and when something is a serious consideration versus a whim that’s popped into his head. We also set aside time to talk through everything at once – house projects, upcoming travel, big life stuff.
If you’re just concerned about the possibility of resentment, don’t borrow trouble. I don’t really see the problem – he has an opportunity to speak up or discuss anything with you at any time. Presumably you’d suggest things like “This looks like a nice area to move to” or “Maybe we should look at this house” instead of like going out and buying a house without consulting him.
I’m assuming that something is going on that is causing some base-level resentment, or you wouldn’t be posting here and saying, ‘i don’t want resentment to build over time.” At the minimum, the load feels unfair to you. What do you want him to do to help carry the load? It sounds like some initiation from him might help?
You have my empathy. My husband actively tries to do this and I find it annoying as hell and basically won’t let him. On the plus side, me saying “I don’t care that you don’t care, I need you to be my partner in this decision” usually works, I just get frustrated in having to say that to him repeatedly.
I do try to just make the decision when he says doesn’t care about little things (Christmas card design etc) or things that I clearly have a strong opinion about (choosing the fabulous daycare 2 blocks from our house). And I remind myself he unilaterally makes some decisions for us too.
Often, I feel like I’m the driver (or the accelerator?), and DH is the brakes. That can be a great thing–DH checks my tendency to make impulsive decisions out of anxiety, frustration, etc. On the flip side, I push him to actively make, or at least participate in, decisions by pointing out that not acting is its own decision. For example, when buying a house, I decided we had to move, looked through Zillow every morning, and set up appointments with our real estate agent. DH came to all the appointments, saved us from at least one bad house, and then did all the work when it came to getting a mortgage.
Also, on the occasions that DH is interested in something and I think it’s a bad idea, I usually get my way by doing nothing.
I’ve had some luck with separating out big areas of decision making and giving my husband primary responsibility for them. For example, he handles everything relating to home bills (gas, electric, water, cable), tech, household maintenance, appliance research and purchasing, etc. He will ask my opinion and discuss things with me, but he’s the driver and decision-maker in those areas. We’re also transitioning some of the kid-related decisions to him, which have mostly fallen on me so far. I think it’s helped both of us feel like we’re a management team rather than a president and VP.
Decision making is work, whether researching, determining that it doesn’t warrant research, or even just the mental energy to make the choice. I am the one who decides a lot of things (we did jointly determined our house, and we each pick our own cars). But it’s totally part of the mental load and we’ve been trying to do better at having him take over some things because I resent having to be the one to move things along. If he’s resentful that you’re making choices, I think he needs to own up to actually be involved (unless you are freezing him out, which would be a problem). We are planning to try the fair play deck, to better allocate ownership (including decision making) over various areas. Maybe look into that? Though I can’t speak to it as we haven’t yet done it!
Finally flying to see grandparents says
We are stationed in Europe with the military. Due to Covid our little one has not met any of his grandparents in person but we are flying from Germany to TX this weekend.
So please, give me your best tips for a transatlantic flight with a two and a half year old. Besides prayers and well wishes haha.
Finally flying to see grandparents says
Oh and flying during daytime so I am not expecting him to sleep much
We do long car trips, as opposed to long flights but I think the tips will carry over. I know its tricky with Covid but I would plan a huge number of snacks. We normally pack an entire cooler for a 12 hour car trip. Dried fruit, goldfish, other crackers, m&ms, cheese sticks, yogurt pouches, vegetable pouches, berries, raisins, other cut up fruit, clementines, etc. Then I would buy some new small toys and wrap them to hand out individually. Stickers, wonder wow (paint with water books), a small set of magnetic blocks, some cars/trucks, a roll of painters tape, crayons and paper, etc. And then I’d lean into screens even if you don’t normally. Start practicing with headphones now.
Seconding all of this about snacks, small new toys, and screens, though we usually have the best luck with saving screens to pull out when the adults need a break, rather than offering it up front.
Netflix has lots of good kids shows you can download for offline viewing. My 2.5 year old likes Spirit, Trash Truck, Puffin Rock, and Go Dog Go.
When all else fails my kids will watch videos of themselves. I once spent an entire 2 hour flight with my then-18 month old just watching every video of her on my phone. Good luck!
Yup, that is the only thing that ever worked when my kids were ~18mo. Our little narcissists.
PBS Kids (Daniel Tiger) and Disney+ (Bluey, PJ Masks) let you download for offline viewing too.
Agree with all this except I would say not to wrap the toys; that can cause issues going through security.
I got a go-go baby car seat strap on wheels to use as an airport stroller and car seat to kiddo strapped in in case of turbulence (and so I could go to the bathroom solo) and to use upon arrival (need to rent a car when we visit grands). Highly recommend. Also, I bring 2-3 more meals of plane food than I’ll likely need in case of getting stranded somewhere if changing planes. Washable crayons and lots of notebooks. Agree on screens. Also: backpack for you and small backpack for kiddo’s seat / fidget items, a fleece, and additional snacks. Kid leash if you have a runner (not so much for airports, but my kid bolted in the rental car lot after being cooped up on a plane).
Also: ziplock with a change of kid clothes in it. You don’t yet if you have a kid who vomits on planes (and the ziplock will help keep the smell down). Bring wipes.
Screens may work even if they don’t normally work that well for you at home. My daughter watched the entire Toy Story movie several times over on a US-Europe flight when she was 14 months old. Even now at 3.5 she can’t sit through a movie at home, but a plane is just different, I guess because they’re confined to the seat.
And yes, pack all the snacks!
Pack so many snacks. On a 2.5 hour flight recently, we had to stop our toddler from eating an entire container of puffs. We brought lots of stickers, some small coloring sets, and very small playdough containers. In retrospect the playdough was a mistake because he started crumbling it and dropping it onto the floor. We cleaned it up as best we could, but between dropped snacks and the playdough our seat was a mess.
Honestly, iPad over everything else. Load a bunch of things he likes (or you think he might like), and just let him go for it. My similar aged daughter likes Peppa, Cocomelon and Paw Patrol.
Bring a lot snacks!
Good luck! My advice will vary slightly based on whether it’s one long flight (Germany to Texas – I’m guessing about 10-12h?) or two. If it’s one flight, you are essentially living out your day on the plane. If it’s two flights, let kid run around as much as possible during the layover. I know this may involve getting through international customs and arrival during your layover so it’s not always feasible.
Either way, screen time limits go out the window, and 2.5 is old enough to sit and watch Finding Nemo three times without sound (…or maybe just my kid…). And pack lots of books that you don’t mind reading over and over, reusable window stickers, roll of paper and crayons, etc. (One day I will write a book of science experiments that you can do with readily available materials to entertain toddlers on planes without annoying all the other passengers.) We had those inflatable cushions for naps but they didn’t turn out to be very useful. If you can, try to start eating on the Central Time schedule and consider melatonin gummies for a few days because that can help with jetlag.
Party Animal says
Bring a change of clothes (or 2) for everyone in your family. Ask me how I know.
i’d really like to cut down on the amount of tv my kids watch in the afternoons, but i’m not sure how to do so while keeping them safe and me sane. i have 3.5 year old twins who go to preschool in the morning and then after school our nanny takes them to the playground for 2+ hours. by the time i get them they are exhausted and want to be on mommy. yesterday i tried to play with them in their playroom, but it so quickly dissolves into fighting (which can lead to biting/hair pulling, etc.) or both wanting to sit on me/so close to me that they can’t actually play or throwing and biting their toys (we are in a strange biting phase). what can i do with them that isn’t screens? on the flip side, i kind of get that they just want to veg out in front of the tv, but i feel like 1.5-2 hours a day is a lot.
i have this same struggle and once covid hit…. it really became a challenge for me. luckily we have kind of reversed course now and have worked it down to 1.5 hours or so. ideally I don’t want to be over an hour (kids are 4 and 5.5). They are kind of the age where magnatiles can consume them for a period of time. My kids always want to be around me…. so i can relate to that. they aren’t great at playing in a room without me so sometimes i get frustrated. other ideas: dance parties, reading books…. unfortunately these are things i don’t have time for when i need to prep dinner. My kids have different personalities so my 4 yr old will actually look at books on his own whereas the 5.5 yr old won’t even though he can read a bit…..
Gently, yes, that’s a lot of screentime for 3 year olds. What time do you get them? What time do they go to bed? Is there any way to extend nanny hours? Do they play alone/with each other at all? My 3.5 year old has been incredibly resistant to playing alone her whole life, but she’s really turned a corner in the last couple months and will now entertain herself with art, legos, or pretend play for quite a while. She’s very extroverted so she wants us in the room with her and occasionally we will make a comment (“wow, look at that tower you built, so cool!”) but it’s not the same kind of hands-on play we had to do just a few months ago. If what they want is to be physically close to you, can you cuddle up and read books together? Or if you want something that is more passive but not a screen, what about audiobooks or listening to music? Several of my friends with 3 year olds swear by the Tonies box.
Is this maybe just a season? The March 2020 Covid shutdown coincided with my daughter being 3.5, daycare shutting down and me being unemployed and frantically job searching. There was a lot of tv during that time, especially as she stopped napping then. We couldn’t reasonably engage her without a lot of supervision, which we didn’t always have the bandwidth to do. Now she’s 5 and too much tv is almost a depressant for her…but she can play independently in all kinds of ways and prefers that to tv. Monitor your kids energy levels and moods and maybe just consider this is a phase.
Do they need quiet alone time in their rooms between preschool and the playground, or after they come in from the playground, so they’re not quite so exhausted at the end of the day?
1.5 – 2 hours of unstructured indoor time every afternoon is a whole lot and would drive me crazy. If you are stuck with this schedule, I’d break the time up into segments of 20-30 minutes with different activities–read aloud, watch a more interactive or engaging show like Sesame Street or Signing Time, play a card or board game, do a puzzle, color. At that age I liked playing tea party or teddy bear picnic. I would sit on the couch while kiddo “cooked” play food
I’d try sensory activities at a table so each twin is in their own chair and space with their own materials. You should be able to get them started and then they should play for a bit independently, particularly if they have already spent their physical energy.
Playdoh with tools. Separate tubs of water with bubbles and scoops. Kinetic sand (in separate containers). Water beads with scoops and pots with lids. Cookie sheets with shaving cream.
Coloring, play-doh, sensory bin, play kitchen, trucks/trains/cars, build house/garages out of blocks for their toys ,musical instruments, dress up, sing songs/dance, yoga, gymnastics, play outside more, sandbox?
I can’t quite figure out the schedule, preschool 9-12, 12-2 playground, 2pm home? Will they do quiet time? It might be harder with twins if they share a room though. We started doing quiet time when my son dropped his nap during the first lockdown, and it makes such a big difference in our lives. It sounds like they are a bit exhausted and therefore acting out. We put on an audiobook, he can rest, play in his room, but TV time is contingent on a good quiet time.
Kiddo is in full-time care but if we were home during the afternoon, we’d do lunch at 1, a bit of play, a few books, an hour of quiet time (longer if he’s absorbed in an audiobook), an hour to an hour and a half of tv (it’s only 2x a week though), bath, dinner, bed at 7.
Yeah, agreed on quiet time with audiobook for some relaxing time in the afternoon. Our kids (3 and 5) are also in full-time care but on weekends we tell them they need to stay in their room and play quietly, and if there starts being yelling or too much coming out, then we’ll turn the book off and the lights off and they will nap instead. It’s worked pretty well as a disincentive, they usually manage to be largely quiet for an hour and come out in a better/less exhausted mood. The 5yo usually colors or does Legos and the 3yo joins her or else just lies on his bed listening to the book.
My other recommendation is to do five minutes of prep time to set up an activity for when quiet time is done. I use the term SUPER loosely — put out a cardboard box and some markers, build a tower with magnatiles and put an animal at the top of it, get out the play-doh, etc. I find that if there’s something already set up, they’re more likely to get right into playing and avoid the Transition Clingies.
Another vote for quiet time with an audiobook. I would offer the kids the option to quietly play with something while they listen, too. Mine sometimes like to fidget with a stuffed animal or build with blocks while they listen, but the audiobook calms them down significantly.
Some things my daughter who is around that age will do, from a mom who dislikes having to engage in imaginative play with toy people etc:
-Those dot paint marker thingies and a book of dot paintings. They have ones where the dots make shapes and letters, or ones where they make pictures. She feels like she got to “paint” without me being left will all the clean up. We can sit at the table and mindlessly dot paint and chat.
-Play-doh monsters. We have a bucket of… monster parts? from the internet and you can make play-doh shapes and stick them in the shapes. Hats, feet, eyes, mouths, silly arms, tails, etc. I ordered it online for pretty cheap. Again, something we can do at the table.
-We have a game called “gas out” that’s a huge hit with my daughter that age. They draw a number and press the toy that number of times. it eventually lets out a big noise. The actual rules are you’re out if it does that on your turn but my daughter plays that you WIN if it’s on your turn. The suspense keeps her engaged and the noise cracks her up.
-Chutes and Ladders is hit or miss, usually a miss, but your kids might do better with it. I liked a game called hi ho cherrio or something at that age, I keep meaning to find that.
-Magnatiles are fun.
-Look up sallys baking addiction Christmas sparkle cookies. I make the dough and chill it then my kids do the step of rolling the balls of dough in coating sugar. They still feel like they helped and get to have fun but I don’t have the frustration of them being in the kitchen for the messy/difficult parts.
-Could they make cards for their preschool teachers/helpers?
Hang in there. between the cold and early darkness this time of year is just so tough.
Sally has so many great recipes for baking with kids.
+1 to quiet time, if you can manage it. My twins get along much better when they have an hour or two alone in the afternoon to recharge. I think you live in a small apartment, so I don’t know how well this would work for you, but we have two rooms in our house set up with quiet time activities (puzzles, blocks, stuffed animals and dolls, etc) so that one twin can be in their bedroom and the other can be in the other room. It might be hard to set up the routine, but mine know that after lunch is quiet time and don’t try to object anymore (and also realize it helps them feel better).
it’s preschool 9-12:30, playground 1-3ish, and then home with me 3:30-bedtime (and i’m often solo for this stretch). the big issue now is that the play can quickly dissolve into physical fighting if i turn my head for one second. the twins also have very different interests – so one can do sensory stuff for hours, the other one is done after 10 minutes and then wants mommy to come play with her. they are in this newish destructive phase (and we recently moved into a new house), so i’m nervous to have them wandering around for too long, in the last few months sometimes they will play delightfully together, but generally they are in the most difficult phase we’ve had so far (other than the newborn phase). they used to be amazing at independent play – once i literally read a whole book while they played but now they can barely play for two seconds
Yeah, with this schedule I’d definitely try adding in quiet time, maybe 3:30 – 4:30. I’d also set up a contained childproofed playroom or play area so you don’t have to worry about them wandering around the house. We gated off what is supposed to be a formal dining room for this purpose.
Are you trying to work during this time? Do you have a partner/where are they? Being solo with 3 year old twins from 3:30 to a 7 or 8 pm bedtime sounds really hard and I would try to get more childcare help.
i’m not working. i work part-time. partner is working at this time. i do probably need to be a bit better about planning out. i tried to do that yesterday, they did the thing i planned out for 20 minutes and then it dissolved. i’m hoping after having DH home more during their break and having some visitors to help with childcare i can break this habit. thanks for all the ideas! (and the acknowledgement that it is hard)
Have they eaten enough at lunch? 2 hours of playground time can be a lot every day if they’re already worn out from school. i’d make sure they are getting enough to eat. I’d also consider coming from preschool and doing quiet time from 1-2:30 and then doing playground/errands from 3-5 pm. tV/dinner from 5-6 pm then bath and bed by 7:30. If they aren’t napping, a 3 year old needs a minimum of 11 (mine are closer to 12) hours of night sleep.
Hugs, it’s so hard.
Eck! Especially if your twins used to play well together, I’d guess they are just overly exhausted with that schedule. My twins fight like cats when they are tired, and do really, really well when they are well rested. I honestly think it’s the hardest part of twins – they turn on each other when they are tired or hungry, rather than just having a normal meltdown :)
I second the suggestion that the nanny needs to enforce quiet time – ideally from like 1:30 to 3:30/4 with audio books and quiet time. Then, take them to the park at 4 until dinner, let them watch TV while you make dinner, bath immediately following dinner, and then bed.
Candidly, I also don’t think that you will have any success with planned activities if they are full on active from 9:30 until 3. They will be absolutely done at 3, but too far from bedtime to do anything but veg by the TV. I think you will get exhausted kids who don’t want to do anything else, unless you build rest into the afternoon. My older kids went to full time daycare until they were 5, and they still had enforced rest from 1 to 3 up until the time they left daycare, then snack, then outdoor play. I try to mimic this schedule with my twins now, as it seems to lead to the happiest, most rested kids.
Agreed with Anon at 12:47. My 4yos would be a disaster with the schedule (and basically are a disaster every night for the two hours between getting home from school and bed, because they’re exhausted). If nanny could do quiet time instead of playground, I bet that would help a lot.
I’d push back on this. If she doesnt work, it’s not that much time. No doubt very very challenging, but it’s par for the course if you work part-time or stay home.
I mean, sure, people do it. People do a lot of things that are very hard. But if she can afford it there’s no shame in it in having slightly more childcare than hours worked, and using that extra hour or two for chores or self-care so she can be more present with her kids when she’s with them. We’re not talking about a SAHM employing a 40 hour a week nanny here. I would absolutely extend the nanny to at least 5 pm, so I could get dinner prepped and maybe a couple other chores done in peace. And honestly I think it won’t even result in less quality time with kids because knocking chores out while you have childcare allows you to focus more on the kids when you don’t.
Why do you only have the nanny 2 hours?
Could your nanny do a longer home portion after lunch and then you take them to the playground between nannytime and dinner, instead?
What time do they eat dinner? What time do they go to bed? It sounds like you have about a 4-hour stretch between playground and bed?
Move blocks around as appropriate, but I’d do something like this:
3:30-3:45 – snack
3:45-4:45 – quiet/alone play time. If you can, try separating them for at least part of it.
4:45-5:15 – play time with Mommy
5:15 – 6:00 – bath time
6:00 – 6:45 (whenever you make dinner) – tv time
6:45- 7:00 – dinner
7:00 – bedtime routine
What about having them do bathtime in the afternoon? I think I read on a blog (theshubox, maybe?) this idea and it works really well for us on weekends; maybe it could work for your twins? It won’t necessarily take two hours, but I’m finding that baths are pretty hands off for me right now- I mean I’m there with them but mostly it’s watching them play in the water. Then it’s out of the way for the evening.
Or quiet time with audiobooks or a podcast? Or the BBC has a podcast that’s fifteen minutes of songs, stories and pretend play activities. At my kids preschool, after outdoor time, they usually have wind down quiet time on the carpet.
Or books or playdough, or some kind of art that isn’t messy. (Or messy is okay if you have the tolerance… sensory bins are great for keeping my kids busy, but I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with them all the time.)
Maybe if you give that time a label, it might help the kids transition to it. So like “quiet time” or “story time” or “leave mom along time”. Like the activity doesn’t have to be structured and micro managed, but you can still have clear expectations of their behaviour during that time.
Depends on the OPs twins, but for mine bathtime is completely exhausting because they’re trapped in a small area and will often end up attacking each other. It’s easier to have them play somewhere else where they can move away when they need a break.
Look into the Yoto Player or the Tonie Box. We got the Yoto Player for my just-turned-4 year old recently and it’s a huge hit during quiet or wind-down time in the afternoon.
Also, for what it’s worth, my young under 5/unvaccinated kids get about 1.5 hours of TV a day (30 minutes in the AM and 45-60 minutes in the late afternoon/early evening). I stopped feeling guilty about it a long time ago. We are very Covid cautious and my kids are home with us or our nanny all day, with the exception of a few hours a week of preschool for my oldest. Once we go back to doing indoor activities outside of the house, we’ll scale down screentime, but right now it’s Survival Mode over here.
I can’t really tell from your post exactly but if you’re just feeling guilty for letting them watch tv but it’s not impacting their behavior, maybe just let them watch tv? My 4 y/o goes to preschool 9-4 then watches 30 minutes of tv (usually Wild Kratts). Then he plays til dinner and we watch about an hour of Seinfeld in the evening. He sort of watches it sort of doesn’t. I think what a lot of people don’t appreciate about twins is how quickly they devolve into fighting. Mine are 10 months and virtually all play activity quickly turns to stealing toys and scratching each other. No advice but you have my sympathy.
i just think it’s adorable and hilarious that your 4 year old watches seinfeld??!! i love it.
I’d switch up their schedule if you can. Do they eat lunch at home? Do preschool, lunch, read books with mommy, quiet time (45 mins), THEN have your nanny take them out for an afternoon outing. In the winter we save tv for 4:30-5pm so I can cook (I work PT), night time after dinner is looney toons in the winter but other times of year we throw them outside after dinner.it sounds like they’re overly tired.
I think your schedule sets them up for failure. After preschool they need to come home and rest. Then go play.
Yes. Every PT preschooler I know is zonked after lunch. This is why daycares have naptime/quiet time. Give them food/water, hour of rest, THEN afternoon fun.
Agreed with this. Even for non-nappers (I have one; she hasn’t napped since shortly after turning 2) that quiet time is really important for a mental and physical break. My kid could not go 9-3:30 straight with no quiet time, particularly if most of the day was spent being active and around other kids. I’m assuming you set it up this way so the nanny can get them from school, but I would try to rejigger it so they’re home for quiet time first and then out with the nanny in the late afternoon.
+1. I am guessing OP wants the nanny to take the kids out of the house in the afternoon so she can work in peace, but the lack of downtime after lunch is probably why they are a mess after the nanny leaves.
Have you tried a puzzle? We gave my 3.5 year old a very simple puzzle set for Hanukkah on a whim (it was a birthday preset for another kid that got replaced and not returned to the store on time) and holy moly she has not stopped playing with that thing for two straight weeks. And it’s totally independent play. I’m not sure if it’s just the novelty of a new toy or if she has a secret love of puzzles we didn’t know about, but I just ordered 10 more puzzles from Amazon to get us through our three week winter break.
roller which? says
For moms with older kids, should I go for rollerblades or roller skates for my five and six year old? I was thinking rollerblades but then read skates might be easier to master…
You don’t have to choose! For this age, get the Roller Derby adjustable-size skates from Target that convert to quad or in-line. As a practical matter I think in-line skates are actually easier to handle than quads.
Stopping is easier on in-line skates because of the heel brake. With quads they will have to learn a t-stop.
I had both as a kid and never learned to stop on either of them; I just jumped into the grass. :) My kids have rollerblades. Where do you expect them to be used? Rollerblades seemed better for outdoor use, skates were better for our unfinished basement.
ha, my husband still makes fun of me because the one time we went mountain biking this was my preferred method of slowing down. Just head off the trail and into a field, easy-peasy!
Outdoors for sure! That’s a good point, that’s sort of how I think of them both!
These replies are funny :)
+1. Had both as a kid and generally stopped by jumping into the grass, grabbing the railing of my parents front steps, or wiping out on the sidewalk.
I don’t know about older kids, but as an adult I can’t rollerblade yet I can roller skate. I feel like skates are way more comfortable.
Within the space of an hour, I found out that the shower drain is clogged, I was notified that I did not win a big important grant for reasons that seem kind of bogus, and then my husband informed me that the transmission on our Subaru appears to have failed. This is all coming a couple weeks after a giant and unnecessary ER bill and finding out that our kid is 2e. WTF, universe? I cannot take on anything else right now.
Re: the transmission on the Subaru– that happened to us. Apparently there are a bunch of models that have had this transmission issue, so they offered an automatic extended warranty for the issue. Our dealer replaced it on our 7 year old Forester without costing us a penny.
Yeah, we had an issue a few years ago that Subaru fixed for free, but they refused to replace the whole transmission so it was a ticking time bomb. And the extended warranty is over.
4 Year Old Party says
Does anyone have recommendations for party games for an indoor party (8 kids, 4 families including ours) for ages 4-7? We have a playroom with enough space for kids to walk (but not run) around.
Son is very into lego and I was going to buy those $5 boxes of legos for each kid as a party favor/game (“build a creation”), but that’s literally my only idea. No theme for the party yet. Party is Saturday. (Yes… I know…)
At that age I found it difficult to keep the kids focused on party games or activities, especially if they were in the playroom. Someone else’s toys are always very interesting.
+1 that “someone else’s toys” is sufficient to keep most 4-7 year olds engaged for a good long while. Let them do their thing for a while, then break for cake. Sounds like a great party to me.
I also agree with SC — If you want an organized activity and can stand the noise… balloons are always a hit. Kids can bop them around and try to keep them off the ground, and at the end you can do the “everyone stomp the balloons to death” blitz.
Balloons. I recently attended a birthday party where several of the adults knew some basic balloon animals (not sure why, except they have a very large extended family with a lot of kids). Kids ranging from 3 to 15 and several adults were having fun with the balloons.
We just went to a 5YO birthday party (mostly girls), I think 7 kids. They played in the basement, played outside, painted wooden frames (took maybe 10 minutes), back to the basement, had cake and opened gifts, up to the birthday girl’s room, and then back outside again until it was time to go home. My kid thinks it was the best party she’s ever been to. So my advice is a loose theme plus lots of free play and you’ll be set.
FWIW, she would not have the dexterity to build a lego set without a lot of assistance.
You could have them build ‘themed’ creations- like build a cake out of the legos.
I host a lot of stuff at our house and I never plan activities. Kids aged 2-8.5. They all literally just play and it’s amazing!
I might add coloring sheets, but the “playing with someone else’s toys” situation is a big hit. Also I would save the party favor legos and just let the kids play with a big bin. Otherwise it may get complicated to track the legos. Or just buy a big bin, everyone can take their creation home, and all other legos get put away.
Any brilliant strategies for getting kids to drink more water? My almost 4 year old is chronically dehydrated. Her pee is dark yellow and she’s basically never not constipated, despite us trying a whole bunch of constipation remedies (fruit, prune juice, probiotics, fiber supplements, Miralax). She’ll take a few sips with most meals and then tell us she’s not thirsty but it’s clear she needs more water. I would say on a good day, with lots of coaxing to drink, she drinks about 16 fl. oz and the internet says she needs twice that. And there are definitely days she drinks more like 8-12 oz. We let her pick out special cups to drink from. We’ve offered fizzy and flavored waters but she isn’t interested. We try to turn our nagging into a game as much as possible with pretend play, setting a timer, drinking “contests” etc. but it’s only upped her intake a little bit.
We also struggle with this. My kid (about the same age) isn’t super food-motivated, either, so juice or dilute juice doesn’t help. I suspect unlimited yoo hoo would but that seems like it could backfire on constipation. Is she understanding about the consequences? We’ve explained how liquid intake is related to darkness of her pee (which sometimes hurts if too concentrate) and how easy it is to poop. It hasn’t solved the problem entirely but has made us more on the same side since she knows and understands why she needs to drink more versus just constantly nagging her. We also try to make a big deal about how much water we drink.
Yeah we’ve talked about it and why it’s important for her health, but she was kind of treating it like a game and saying she wanted to make her pee as dark as possible. Maybe we need to use reverse psychology or something. Juice is not a big motivator for her either, I’m not even sure she prefers it to water, although that may be because she drinks a powdered fiber supplement in a prune-apple juice mix so she has kind of a negative association with juice.
It’s not juice but I’ve had success with mixing the miralax with water and a something like mio to flavor. I’ve also let my kid pick what color water he wants to drink and add a few drops of food coloring or mix and match. He’s 4 with feeding issues so it might work for you .
Have you tried sticker charts or bribes? “After you finish your water bottle you can get one m&m” etc.
I’m envious of everyone who can bribe a kid with one M&M! My kid isn’t bribed easily and it would take offering something big like a cupcake to entice her to do something she didn’t want to do. I don’t think we can offer a cupcake every time she drinks a glass of water ;) On the plus side our pediatrician said she won’t be susceptible to peer pressure as a teen because she’s so “independent” (I would use a less polite adjective, lol).
At that age we started forcing the issue because nothing else worked. She isn’t allowed to leave the table after meals until she’s finished her drink.
Thanks, yeah we’ve started forcing it a little bit and I think a large part of this question was just wanting validation that I’m not a bad mom for doing that.
You are not a bad mom. You are a good mom for doing what your kid needs. This crowd doesn’t approve of requiring kids to eat or drink, but if you have one of those kids who is willing to starve or dehydrate herself there may be no other option.
You are NOT a bad mom! I was reading this and thinking of how patient you were before contemplating forcing the issue.
Thank you <3 It's less about patience and more that my kid is incredibly strong-willed and reacts really badly to being forced to do things, and I was trying to avoid turning the whole thing into a giant power struggle.
Our 2.5 year old struggles with water. We do double diluted Pedialyte a lot at the moment. We also offer a lot of fruit at every meal and snack and try to make sure its water heavy fruit like watermelon, strawberries, oranges, apples, plums. Melon, peaches, cucumber, celery and tomatoes and iceberg lettuce also have a lot of water if your kid will eat any of those. Although it seems like it could backfire if we offer something salty like veggie straws generally she will eat some of those and then drink a lot of water (by her standards). At a guess most days my kid drinks 12 oz milk and 8 oz of water, maybe.
My 3.5 year old is currently very into silly straws
Thanks, I ordered some.
Will your kid drink milk? We added water to my son’s milk for years as he wouldn’t voluntarily drink water until after age 4. But he would drink milk, which we serve with meals.
She doesn’t drink milk at all! She never has since she weaned from breastmilk and formula (we combo fed). So her fluid consumption is all water and a bit of juice to help with the constipation.
My kid drinks more than I do, but things she likes that you might try: chocolate milk or hot cocoa (in moderation of course, and I usually only mix it half strength because she doesn’t know the difference), cups with swirly straws, crystal light lemonade mix, drinking anything out of my yeti or her pink one I got her (slider lid, not water bottle lid), popsicles (we use some sort of nominally fruit ones, but I bet you could freeze your own if there is a juice she likes), especially in the bathtub in winter.