My son started daycare about 4 months ago. Every time I mention this fact, I feel compelled to immediately clarify that he’s only there part-time, for 3 half-days a week. Can someone please tell me why this makes me so defensive? I think subconsciously I’m convinced that the stay-at-home-moms of the world will see enrollment in daycare as a major mom-fail – abandoning my little guy and turning him over to the care of strangers.
But as much as some people might look down on the decision to put children in daycare, there is just as much derision thrown at SAHMs. In casual conversations with someone you’ve just met, one of the very first questions is “What do you do?” When the answer is “I’m a homemaker,” the response tends to be “Oh!”, stated in an awkward high-pitch as if to overcompensate with forced enthusiasm for the initial reaction of “oh, so you don’t really have a job.” Even many well-intentioned people Read more
A couple of months ago, the Washington Post published an article with the not-at-all-click-baiting-title “It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.” This is only one of many pieces I’ve read recently indicating, basically, that parenting makes you miserable.
But here’s the thing about the study on which the article was based. Aside from the fact that it was conducted in Germany (no comment), the measurement of happiness was based on participants’ numerical rating of their overall happiness/satisfaction on a scale of 0-10, from the period of time prior to having a baby through at least 2 years after having one. Can a single question about happiness really tell the story of what it means to become a parent? When you just got peed on during a diaper change, are you going to rate your happiness at that moment as a 10? Probably not. When your toddler starts Read more
A Facebook friend recently posted about an incident that happened after dropping her daughter off at school. On her way home she found a one-year-old playing in a busy street without an adult in sight. She called 911 and took the child to her home for safety, and eventually the mother was located and came to pick him up. As she said in her post, unfortunate incidents can certainly happen to anyone, but what concerned her most was that when the mom came to pick up her child, she wasn’t remotely upset, apologetic or appreciative. If anything, she acted mildly annoyed.
The incident was upsetting to be sure, and I can’t help but worry about that little guy who appears to have a mom who is pretty neglectful, or at least alarmingly clueless. But as a parent myself who tends to worry constantly about how every single parenting decision I make will affect my son, it’s weirdly comforting Read more
I know you’ve probably already been bombarded with unsolicited advice, so I’m sorry to throw some more at you. Even though I’ve only been a parent for 2 years, it feels light-years away from that period when I was eagerly awaiting my son’s arrival. The little bit of wisdom I’ve picked up seems worth sharing, so here’s some advice from a relatively new mom’s perspective.
First things first – do the stuff on the mama-to-be’s To-Do List. Yes, I know there’s a list, and yes I know there are things you haven’t done yet. But here’s some insider information about why it’s so important to her. Almost everything about the baby’s arrival and the reality thereafter feels totally out of control. This to-do list gives her a feeling of control amidst the chaos. Everything on the list that she can’t cross out is slowly driving her crazy. So just freakin stop putting it off and Read more
As the days have been getting warmer, there’s been a resurgence of Facebook posts warning parents and pet owners not to leave their kids and dogs alone in hot cars. I saw similar posts last summer, and flatly ignored them. I had no intentions of leaving my baby alone in a car, hot or otherwise, so I assumed the warnings had nothing to do with me. And then I read the Washington Post article “Fatal Distraction,” which recounted in heart-wrenching detail the stories of several parents whose young children died after being accidentally left in the back seat of the car.
When I started reading the article, I thought the whole thing was total BS. HOW COULD ANYONE FORGET THAT THEIR BABY IS IN THE BACK SEAT??!! I wasn’t buying it, not for one second. What kind of horribly negligent parent Read more
Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?
In the span of less than a year, I became a parent, left my job, and moved from a big city to a small town of about 3,500. I traded in my life of happy hours, high-end restaurants and theater performances for diapers, baby food and story time at the library. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything in the world, but it’s been a pretty dramatic lifestyle change. From my new vantage point I can see with new clarity all the things I took for granted in my “old” life.
I now work from home part-time, and most people think they’d do the same in a heartbeat if they had the chance. But working from home has made me acutely aware of all the things that are awesome about working in an office – the morning chats with coworkers, the potlucks and holiday parties, the lunchtime gossip sessions. Having coworkers Read more
I’ve written before about how my old opinions about parenting went right out the window as soon as I actually had a kid. No screentime before age 2, all home-made baby food, never losing my temper… yeah, I didn’t stick to any of those. But here’s another opinion from that list that I hope I can actually follow through on: not lying to my son.
I’m not making an argument for 100% candor. There are concepts that are too mature for my almost-2-year-old son, and complexities that I put in simpler terms that he can understand. What I’m talking about is the little white lies of convenience – the things that come out of our mouths without much thought at all Read more
As long as he’s outside, my son is a pretty easy kid to entertain. It’s amazing to me how long he can stay occupied just digging in the dirt, throwing rocks in a stream, or simply walking around wielding a stick. So if the weather’s decent, you’ll probably find us wandering around the neighborhood. On one such day I was trailing after my son while he tromped, stick in hand, down the sidewalk. We walked by a neighbor’s house, where visiting relatives’ young children were playing in the front yard. We paused so my son could “say hello” (or his version of it) to the kids, and as we walked away an isolated phrase floated to my ears: “Stick Boy.” I didn’t catch the context, but the little boy’s tone was unmistakable. He was making fun of my son.
The words were like a punch to the gut. I will readily admit Read more
In case you missed it, last week I confessed to the world that my husband and I are personal finance nerds. The advice from that post is a great place to start if you’re trying to get your family’s finances under control. As promised, here’s the second installment with more tips based on what I’ve absorbed from books, articles, and TV and radio shows that I enjoy as a money nerd. *Note: I’m NOT a financial professional.* These are just things I’ve learned that have worked well for my family. So you know, consult your own personal financial advisor, blah blah blah, before actually doing any of this stuff I suggest.
1. What goes out must come in – this sounds so obvious that it should barely be worth mentioning: don’t spend more than you earn. So why am I mentioning it? We can’t Read more
That’s right, I said it. My husband and I are big-time personal finance nerds. We TiVo Suze Orman and listen to Clark Howard podcasts. I get excited like a kid on Christmas morning when my quarterly statements come in the mail. I realize, however, that not everyone is like us. Most people’s eyes glaze over when they hear about 529s, ETFs, and FICO scores. But just about everyone is looking for ways to save money and get their financial house in order, so I thought I’d share are some of the most important things I’ve learned Read more