life Parenting

Meeting the challenge . . .

March 8, 2022

I know it is not exactly revolutionary to work a full day without nanny coverage. Still, I haven’t done this for many years and I am relatively proud of myself for pulling it off.

As mentioned previously, our nanny had to take an unexpected trip to help with some family overseas and I was (luckily) able to enroll the kids in 3 days of aftercare since I had full days of patients scheduled both yesterday + today, plus a full day of meetings last Friday.

I have to admit I was a) nervous and b) dreading things somewhat.

It has been okay so far.

Things that helped yesterday:

Letting the big kids help G with things (her shower especially – I was able to clean up while this was happening and she seemed reasonably clean afterwards, so I’ll call it a win)

Letting the big kids make lunch (my absolutely least favorite task, for whatever reason – even though it’s not objectively that hard!)

Josh taking over laundry (not my least favorite task, but harder for me to fit in. He tends to stay up later watching tv and has noted himself that this gets very well with laundry folding!). He also arrived home at ~7:30 and was able to help C finish his math homework while I put G to bed.

The school being awesome and flexible and allowing us to enroll in aftercare on a day to day basis (for a daly fee that is reasonable, it’s basically $20/kid for coverage until 6p at the latest — I picked them up at 5:30). I hadn’t realized this was an option, but they were great about it and the kids seemed happy at pickup.

the joy in this one . . .
pasta primavera was perhaps not loved but at least tolerated.
Not shown: G eating in only underwear

Not planning on any radical changes to our childcare situation any time soon, but it was nice to know that we are capable of doing this when needed.


  • Reply Gwinne March 8, 2022 at 7:37 am

    Sarah, I also really despise laundry. Because I don’t have a Josh I give each kid a pile of their own clothes. No one folds. That’s their problem. My clothes go nearly in drawers!

    Glad to hear aftercare worked out

  • Reply Shelly March 8, 2022 at 7:54 am

    That is great that the aftercare was available and also you can use the novelty of the time being different and an adventure for the kids!
    I don’t mind, maybe even enjoy doing laundry! I think it’s the folding of warm laundry that I like. For me it’s meal planning and cooking that I dislike. That’s related to the limited palates in our household. We are in a rut of trying to figure out what to make that won’t be despised at the dinner table.

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly March 8, 2022 at 10:51 am

    Packing lunch is the worst! I don’t know why but I suspect it’s because there are too many decisions. Is this healthy? Will it keep until lunch? How likely is the kid to eat it? Will the banana make the sandwich taste like banana too? (Maybe this one is a personal problem.) Are sandwiches even OK anymore? Why does my kid hate sandwiches? My kids have been eating lunch at school since the pandemic and I do not plan to go back unless they want to pack their own lunches. They eat breakfast at school too and it has greatly simplified our mornings.

    • Reply Coree March 8, 2022 at 11:50 am

      We have free school lunches for all nursery and primary school students here, and it is genius. Avoids food waste, competition, and distinctions between kids on free meals and those who aren;t. I think the kids eat a wider range of foods because they see their friends eating it, etc. I sometimes side-eye the repetition of ham baguettes but oh well, my kid really DOES love ham baguettes. Some parents still pack lunches for their kids, and I’m perplexed by people making their lives harder (absent the very real issues some children face with eating).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 8, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      Our school hasn’t offered lunch since Covid! I would pay for that in a heartbeat.

      • Reply KGC March 8, 2022 at 12:59 pm

        @SHU – Is that because you guys do private school? I thought we were still under a federal mandate for free school lunches related to the pandemic but maybe I’m wrong…and/or maybe it applies just to public schools.

        My kindergartener’s (public) school is still offering free lunch to all this year – he initially wasn’t into it but now prefers that over me packing for him. Which certainly makes my life easier…but I will contrast what @Coree said above regarding a ‘wider range of foods’ – I do not see that this is the case here =) (I think I recall you are in the UK?) Our school basically has the same 6 offerings on rotation, and they’re generally kid-friendly-but-not-that-healthy (cheese pizza, chicken nuggets, quesadillas, always a vegetarian hummus or yogurt option). Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that he’s happy to eat it and it does make things easier, but I have seen the school lunch menus from schools in Europe and they put us to shame!!!

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 8, 2022 at 2:38 pm

          Yes assuming it is bc private.

        • Reply Margaret March 9, 2022 at 2:08 pm

          I agree that European school lunches seem so much better. My daughter’s school is also offering free lunch this year. She is 11 and has always taken a lunch from home, a few weeks ago I asked her if she would be interested in giving the school lunch a try. Her reply was, “If you saw the lunch you’d know why they have to give it away”.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns March 8, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    Folding laundry is one chore I do not mind at all and I also try to pair it with a tv show or a podcast. It’s one thing I’m very anal about… clothes need to be folded right away and put away right away! I put mine and the boys’ clothes away, my husbands stuff gets stacked on his dresser. If he is around while I’m folding laundry, he folds his own stuff. Otherwise I do it so it’s out of the way.

    I’m glad this week w/out child care is going ok! Hope that continues to be the case and that your nanny is back soon!

  • Reply Erica Sparky March 8, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Thankfully my 4th grader eats the exact (literally, exact) same meal every day at his request, so lunch packing isn’t that hard for us aside from the fact that it has to be done. I suspect my youngest will be the same way next year, or he may eat school lunch since he is 75% less picky than my oldest. Thankfully there is no mental load to it other than remembering to buy his pita chips and babybel cheese every week. My husband does 85% of the laundry in our house – I told him when he bought our washing machine that it is too deep for me to empty into the dryer, and he’s very tall, so it works out! I hope your week continues to work out.

  • Reply JMH March 8, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    I went to a Montessori preschool as a toddler about 40 years ago and we had the exact same pink blocks! Wow, that brought back memories.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 9, 2022 at 11:17 am

      so funny that they haven’t changed the lessons! Josh went to a Montessori preschool too and recognized some things when we first toured the school 🙂

  • Reply Aimee March 8, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    It’s all about having options. The panic starts when you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO

  • Reply Helena Murphy March 8, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Love seeing G’s Joy with the Pink Tower! It has always been one of my son’s favorites. She probably also likes the Brown Stairs. His school offers “drop-in” after care from 3-5pm and I have only used it once (our sitter-on-retainer had an emergency). It turned out my son loved it and until today complains that he doesn’t have his own lego box (the regular after-care kids each have one assigned to them!). You wouldn’t believe the GUILT I felt leaving him there until later that one day… Definitely a learning experience. One more tool in the proverbial toolbox…

  • Reply Helena Murphy March 8, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    On school lunches: when my husband was working out-of-town for 3 weeks in Jan I had to pack that gosh-forsaken lunch every day. My son loves pb & honey sandwiches and eats far more varied foods at home than at school. Instead of insisting that he pick a different main food for his lunch I just let him have his pb&h e-v-e-r-y day for almost 2 of those weeks. He loved it. Another learning experience!

  • Reply omdg March 9, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Our school district has been offering free breakfast and lunch to all children, which frankly has been amazing. I hate making my own lunch and would not be able to tolerate the nonsense associated with making daughter’s lunch, especially since she is so picky. At this point if it came to that, she would have to make her own. We still don’t have aftercare around here, but daughter is old enough (and responsible enough) to be home by herself for short periods, and we have attentive neighbors nearby. What I’m again struggling with is her extracurriculars and how to get her to them in the evenings. She wants to do horse and field hockey, but of course not piano (which is right down the road from us and the teacher is so great for her), and if she did all of that I have no idea how we would get her there. The break from activities that covid brought was such a blessing, honestly.

  • Reply Hilary March 10, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Agree that flexible after school care is such a blessing. I’m glad you had that available. At our children’s Catholic school and the other local Catholic schools this is a given. Yet, it is not as accessible in the local public schools. This blows my mind and I believe this is a necessity to support parents in the workforce.

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