The Podcast

5 on a Friday: School Update, Time, and More

March 15, 2019

1- Time Change Woes. How is everyone doing with this? It’s been a mixed bag over here. Despite being over 5 days in, last night the two big kids would. not. go. to. bed, and each morning getting them up for school is like torture. I have been letting C sleep in because his school start is not a hard deadline like A, but maybe it’s time to force the schedule change on him, too.

On the plus side, G is sleeping until nearly 7 most mornings. I personally am all for abolishing the time change entirely. I honestly don’t even care which direction would be permanent, though I suppose I prefer Standard Time (lighter AM runs). I cannot imagine there is a parent in the world who doesn’t absolutely hate these shifts.

2- MATCH DAY! If you matched, congratulations!! It’s a very big day in medical schools & residencies today! We got our 2019-20 roster yesterday (yep, program leadership gets to find out early!) and I’m already excited for July! So much to do now to prepare . . .

3- School update. On much soul-searching and discussion with parents whose kids attend the magnet school — I don’t think we are going to do it. Dealbreakers: I found out the bus takes a very long route and I don’t love the idea of an hour-plus trip each way for C at his age (with kids as old as 8th grade on there, too!). I also heard that projects at home are a big thing and very frequent there, and that parents are often getting very involved in that at-home work (ie: parents with jobs and 2 other kids may find themselves very frustrated). Our nanny does drive, but it makes no sense to have her drive 30 min each way with A&G in the car for drop off and pick up, and while I work nearby the hours do not coincide.

Conclusion: not worth it.

We are going to stick with our local public school, I think, at least for now. I am going to check out one other (private) Montessori program in the area, too, but mostly for G. Whew! Thank you for your thoughts.

4-     BOBW news! We made a big list! The Bump featured BOBW on their list of best parenting podcasts. Hopefully some of their 400K insta followers will check us out 🙂

We will be doing a Listener Tips: Childcare episode soon, and this is my first plea for your tips! Post them here, email them (here), DM me on instagram, or leave us a voicemail (kidding, we don’t actually have that option yet . . . need to get on that).

5- Time Tracking. Inspired by Laura’s newest release (yay Juliet – check this out if you haven’t already), I think it’s time for a round of time tracking for me. While this is not something I do steadily, I find that doing it in spurts helps me revisit my time use patterns in a helpful way. I am definitely overdoing it on the screen time lately (call for me always prompts this anxiety-fueled escapist behavior) and feel I need to stage my own intervention.

please work!

(BONUS: Bathing suit update: I ordered this one from Athleta. I’m running out of time before our trip! But I can always fall back on two piece/rash guard combo as I have several of those I am okay with. I wanted a chic one piece though!)

20 Comments

  • Reply Cbrown March 15, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Childcare tips: We are in the early stages but a few things I’ve gleaned thus far from my kid’s nursery experience (started at 12 months, now 19 months).

    If you can, bring everything your kid needs for the week on a Monday. We do cloth nappies so on Monday am, bring milk, a pile of nappies, wet bags (which we bring home each evening) and spare clothes.

    My kiddo’s nursery is info-lite (no reporting on napping, meals, diapers etc) and I had to learn to be okay with that. I realized that I really trusted and respected his teachers and as a result, trusted they’d tell me if there was an issue. We get an occasional story but mostly judge his activities by how much mud is on his clothes – lots of mud or a complete outfit change indicates a busy, active day outside. He’s only 19 months so he’s not a reliable narrator, he was very insistent that his favourite teacher had a mouse in her pocket last week.

    Use the teachers and the directors as parenting resources – we had a concern about something my little guy was doing and I asked the nursery director about it. She’s seen 100s of kids and was able to offer some parenting advice and reassure me it was totally normal. They are part of your kid’s team – use them.

    Also, I know there is a spectrum (and a UK and US divide) on holiday presents but I typically in the UK, it’s a tin of biscuits. I did a big basket of fruit – from the grocery store and some nice bagged tea and the teachers raved about it for ages. It was a refreshing change from all the sweets and the basket has been now repurposed as a doll bed.

  • Reply Gillian March 16, 2019 at 11:34 am

    I grew up in AZ where DST is NOT observed. I have lived in the northeast for 19 years and I HATE DST. It makes my kids crazy for an oddly long period of time.

    As for Childcare tips, we have had in home childcare for almost 12 years now. I have several thoughts.

    My first would be reassess your needs regularly. I think it is easy to trundle along with a so-so situation for years just because one is worried about the stress of changing things. But really, everyone’s needs change regularly (parent, kids and caregivers). I have started reassessing our needs on an annual basis. This doesn’t mean upending things, but rather thinking about changes in schedule, what kind of support your kids need (homework?) and what kind of support you need (laundry, cooking?). Yes, sometimes you come to the conclusion that your current situation doesn’t work for you any more and it is time to find someone new, but sometimes just a tweek will improve things.

    Think outside the box. We had considered switching to an au pair program for years, but I was worried about our need for hours. Still, we had two sitters for a few years. It never occurred to me that you could have a sitter and an au pair combo. When it finally did we made the switch and it has worked so well for us. We get both the stability of the sitter and the flexibility of the au pair…one might say the of best of both worlds (pun intended). I have know families who do daycare and an au pair too. Lots of combinations can work.

    Have more care than you think you need! I work full time. So does my husband. We have 4 kids. We have 61 hours of childcare per week. We have done with less in the past, but now that we are adequately staffed I wonder why we ever tried to make things work with less.

    Caregivers can help with housework (even au pairs). I would rather have my au pair doing laundry and taking care of my 3 yo at the same time that ME having to do laundry and take care of my 3 yo at the same time. My undivided time with my children is more valuable than my caretaker’s undivided time with my children. I am their mother. Maybe this sounds harsh, but I have heard so many mothers talk about how they are multitasking when they are home, but their caregiver isn’t. It seems backward to me.

    Consider au pairs. They are a great source of affordable childcare. There are lots of myths out there. But really there is no more flexible childcare situation. Yes, their hours are somewhat limited, but not as much as many people think (i.e. whether they can work overnight is agency dependent). Our au pairs have been an amazing part of our family and lovely young women who I have stayed in touch with.

    I think that’s all I’ve got.

  • Reply Sara B. March 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Happy match day!

  • Reply Karen March 15, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Childcare tip (coming from mom of 3yo and new baby arriving in one week): The two biggest things that have made me stay sane while working full-time and having my kid in full-time daycare are the following: 1) 110% trust in my daycare provider and 2) really enjoying my job.

    I go many hours at work without thinking about my kid. In the beginning, I used to feel really bad about this (did I not care enough!? why wasn’t he on my mind ALL THE TIME), but I realized it’s because I literally do not worry about him during the day…so when he does pop into my mind, it’s because of a cute story or memory that has come up, not because I’m wondering what he’s doing/if he’s happy/if he’s well cared for. He goes to an in-home daycare with 7 other kids of varying ages and the new baby will join in June when I return to work. His provider is a former Montessori teacher with >25 years experience in childcare and I trust her more than I trust my own parenting skills.

    I also really enjoy what I do (allied health professional at major medical center) and generally like coming to work every day, though could do without the 2 hour commute.

    I often hear new or soon-to-be mom lamenting about leaving their kid all day to go back to work and the only thing I can say is that it just…wasn’t that hard (for me). I fully credit the two factors described above! I think it would be a totally different situation if I had any doubt about our childcare provider or if I didn’t enjoy my work so much.

  • Reply Resident March 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    tips:
    1. all childcare plans need redundancy bc kids and caregivers get sick and you should always have more care than you think you need. If you have have a retired relative nearby that’s great but if not, be prepared to pay for a combination of nanny/day care/sitter/au pair. If you make friends with local stay at home moms they can be a great (paid) back up also.

    2. if you live near a college/university/medical school you can make a google doc and have someone send it out to all students and they can list themselves as potential sitters (with qualifications, preferences and contact info). I’ve used ours as a resident and there are 20+ possible sitters listed at any time from the medical and graduate schools. Students like making extra $$ and the work is honestly often easy after you put the kids to bed and basically get paid to study for 3+ hours. When the info gets old, I ask a current student to email it to the schools for updating.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 15, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      THIS IS FREAKING GENIUS.

      • Reply Sydney Brown March 15, 2019 at 11:07 pm

        Did that when I was a Med student and got a few great sitters that way.

        • Reply Gillian March 22, 2019 at 8:17 am

          We also used to send an email to the whole first year class at my med school and would get lots of potential sitters.

      • Reply Brittnie March 16, 2019 at 12:59 pm

        Yes! When I was in grad school I landed many regular babysitting jobs this way!!

  • Reply Gillian March 15, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I grew up in AZ where DST is NOT observed. I have lived in the northeast for 19 years and I HATE DST. It makes my kids crazy for an oddly long period of time.

    As for Childcare tips, we have had in home childcare for almost 12 years now. I have several thoughts.

    My first would be reassess your needs regularly. I think it is easy to trundle along with a so-so situation for years just because one is worried about the stress of changing things. But really, everyone’s needs change regularly (parent, kids and caregivers). I have started reassessing our needs on an annual basis. This doesn’t mean upending things, but rather thinking about changes in schedule, what kind of support your kids need (homework?) and what kind of support you need (laundry, cooking?). Yes, sometimes you come to the conclusion that your current situation doesn’t work for you any more and it is time to find someone new, but sometimes just a tweek will improve things.

    Think outside the box. We had considered switching to an au pair program for years, but I was worried about our need for hours. Still, we had two sitters for a few years. It never occurred to me that you could have a sitter and an au pair combo. When it finally did we made the switch and it has worked so well for us. We get both the stability of the sitter and the flexibility of the au pair…one might say the of best of both worlds (pun intended). I have know families who do daycare and an au pair too. Lots of combinations can work.

    Have more care than you think you need! I work full time. So does my husband. We have 4 kids. We have 61 hours of childcare per week. We have done with less in the past, but now that we are adequately staffed I wonder why we ever tried to make things work with less.

    Caregivers can help with housework (even au pairs). I would rather have my au pair doing laundry and taking care of my 3 yo at the same time that ME having to do laundry and take care of my 3 yo at the same time. My undivided time with my children is more valuable than my caretaker’s undivided time with my children. I am their mother. Maybe this sounds harsh, but I have heard so many mothers talk about how they are multitasking when they are home, but their caregiver isn’t. It seems backward to me.

    Consider au pairs. They are a great source of affordable childcare. There are lots of myths out there. But really there is no more flexible childcare situation. Yes, their hours are somewhat limited, but not as much as many people think (i.e. whether they can work overnight is agency dependent). Our au pairs have been an amazing part of our family and lovely young women who I have stayed in touch with.

    I think that’s all I’ve got.

  • Reply Sydney Brown March 15, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Childcare tip: babysitters are caring for the most precious people in your life, so treat them well, figure out your dealbreakers, and learn to let less important things slide. Oh! And try not to displace rage you might have towards your spouse or boss onto your babysitter, expect her to read your mind, or think of her as entitled if she wants her work hours respected. Imagine how you would feel if your boss did that to you!

    • Reply Resident March 15, 2019 at 11:50 pm

      Yes. Also pay them fairly. I’m shocked when people tell me they pay 12/hour for sitters in NYC (the minimum wage just went up to 13.50 and the going rate for one kid is $20/hr). You will not get smart people working for you for long if you treat them poorly and/or pay them poorly. Also, the difference between being cheap and paying your sitter fairly (and legally!) is not actually that much $32 for 4h of care i.e. a typical night out.

  • Reply Maria March 15, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    My childcare tips would be to consider the available childcare time for anything you need to do without kiddos, not just work. We have 45 hours of daycare time during the week. During this time I will also workout, fit in any doctor or other appts for me, short errands, and some “admin” time on my computer like you talked about in a recent post. This sounds like a lot but is max a couple hours a week. (They are very short workouts, but, better than nothing!). Laura has a post on this I believe “do you home from work”. Most days I do focused work work in the wee hours before kids get up, finish work tasks after bedtime, and have not in-frequent weekend work also offsetting things. This is with a standard corporate job with pretty decent control over my work schedule. So basically, seeing the time as fluid and using the childcare available to help as much as possible! (I know I will never feel like working out once kids are in bed but I can finish work tasks).

  • Reply Ashley G March 15, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Childcare tips:

    Find someone you trust and then actually trust them. I am much happier when I have that trust in someone than I am worrying myself with all the minutia of their day. You picked them for a reason, etc.

    Keep the provider happy! I know this sounds obvious, but even the self-less souls that devote themselves to caring for other people’s children are human. If they like you as a family, I think this goes a long way for the relationship as a whole.

    Don’t be afraid to switch things around. Even the best childcare arrangements probably won’t last for the duration. This was a really hard thing for me to learn. Also, realize the kids will probably recover faster than you will 🙂

  • Reply Sarah S March 16, 2019 at 3:56 am

    We have always used daycare as childcare. My biggest tip is lower your standards! Nobody will care for your child exactly the way you think they should and the minute you realise and accept this, the whole child care journey is way more enjoyable. This also applies to nanny’s, grandparents and eventually school teachers!

    For example, with our first child (in typical first time uptight mother style) we didn’t allow any sweets, processed foods etc so when she started at daycare (where meals were provided) I used to get anxious if they gave her food that we wouldn’t usually allow (biscuits, honey sandwiches, lollipops on special days). Once I accepted that it was out of my control (I could’ve tried to ask the teachers to not give her these foods but knew this wasn’t the best long term solution) I felt so much happier. By letting certain things go, and relaxing your strict standards, you will have a much better relationship with the daycare centre and your child will not suffer! Letting kids experience things outside their comfort zone (eg. People doing things differently) will help them become a more soaciable, well adjusted and adaptable kid.
    So whatever it is that you think the caregiver is doing wrong (with obvious exceptions relating to safety), ask yourself is it really that much of a problem or am I just being a control freak?!

  • Reply Brittnie March 16, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Congrats on the podcast recognition! Very cool! Also, a childcare tip coming from a stay-at-home-mom who works very part-time from home. Make friends with a stay-at-home parent you trust, learn their weekly schedule, and ask if they can be backup care when your sitter/nanny etc gets sick or needs to leave early, etc. It’s a win-win for all of us. I am happy to love on my friends kids for a day/a few hours as needed. I don’t ask for payment (if it was a weekly thing then something would prob be arranged), but as a courtesy my working friends will usually “pay” me in the form of a Starbucks card or like gift card, or offer to watch my kids, etc. Anyways, just an idea!

  • Reply Courtney March 16, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    I’m really excited about your upcoming childcare podcast! I’d especially love any tips on how to hire a nanny who is a fantastic fit, as we will be looking for a nanny soon.

    My tip is to hire more care than you need, even for date nights. We know that we rarely actually stay out until 11 (we love our sleep too much!), but having the sitter until then allows us a huge buffer if dinner runs long or if somehow we weren’t exhausted and wanted to go out for drinks after. We obviously pay our sitters for the full time, even when we come back really early.

  • Reply Lily March 17, 2019 at 9:10 am

    I’m a child-free BOBW/shu box fan and just wanted to say that although I don’t have any advice on this one (for obvious reasons lol) I do think this a great approach to crowd-source some great tips and suggestions from your followers pre-podcast – I do enjoy your advice but this approach means you’ll have suggestions from a more diverse group of women

  • Reply Victoria B. March 17, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Childcare tip – Don’t forget to ask your friends without kids to help out in a pinch. I love spending time with my friend’s children and am not bothered at all by spending a few hours with them so my Mom friends can “get stuff done” or whatever they have going on.

  • Reply Kristi March 22, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Looking forward to the childcare podcast! I have three kids, oldest is 5, and have had a few different childcare situations over the years. I agree with the person that said reassess your needs regularly! What’s working and what isn’t. We are in the process of that right now, and think a nanny will be our best option. Would appreciate any tips you have specific to that.

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