Internet Digest: 9/2/2016 Edition

The best articles from around the web this week. ? @kikivonglinow

around-the-webOur favorite reads from around the web this week. Lap up the last weekend of summer. ?

So. Much. Truth.

We can’t be 24-hour women. It’s not possible. A must-read.

Worth It.

Carpool Karaoke With Britney is everything you want it to be. Possibly the best 10 minutes of our week.

Low Commitment.

If a whole book is too daunting, read this riveting mystery LA Times 5-part series about a PTA mom instead.

A Good Reminder.

As moms, it’s easy to put ourselves last. Don’t do that. Take care of you.

Cannot Wait.

The Amanda Knox Netflix documentary airs September 30. Set a calendar reminder now.

Cutest Baby Ever.

It’s been done before but not this well. This baby sleeping Insta series is good stuff.

You Don’t Have to Stay the Course.

Here is the permission you likely need to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. Now go!

Duhdun, Duhdun.

Hamptons-goers, you’ve been warned.

? @kikivonglinow

 

 

Rachel’s Must-Have Baby Registry Picks

Rachel shares the baby gear and products she couldn’t have lived without the past year.

randg
Dear Cricket’s Circle Readers,

You are the definition of awesome. Your response to Rockets of Awesome has been nothing short of amazing, and for that I am beyond grateful. We’ve received countless emails and calls about where to get trustworthy product recommendations and the best baby registry now that we’ve closed Cricket’s Circle.

I wanted to personally reach out and recommend the registry I used myself: giggle. Like us, they believe in doing the work for you: They vet everything out there and offer a tightly-edited selection of what they consider to be the best. Their selection is on-point, and their product reviews help you make the right decision for you. Plus, they’ve been at it for 12 years, so they know their stuff.

As a new second-time mom, I wanted to share the products I couldn’t have lived without this past year with my own baby.

xoxo,
Rachel

Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper

This innovative bassinet does it all: vibrates, rotates 360 degrees, plays soothing lullabies, and has a nightlight and nursing timer. It’s also perfect for small spaces!

Uppababy Vista

I upgraded to the new model with Gemma because it has so many configuration options, it allows me to easily push two kids. Plus the huge under-basket and easy steering make it effortless – this is by far my favorite deluxe stroller on the market.

Fridababy Bundle

Nobody’s solving the problems of moms like the geniuses at Fridababy. This bundle of solutions will get you out of those WTF am I supposed to do? moments every parent faces, including cutting teeny-tiny nails, sucking the snot out when baby gets a cold (yes, that’s a thing), and relieving painful gas.

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

If pumping was an Olympic sport, I’d likely metal. I was one of those buy-an-extra-freezer dedicated pumpers, and I owe much of my success to this hardworking pump.

Hands-Free Pump Bra

When you spend hours a day pumping, you need to be hands-free. This bra isn’t cute, but it lets you multitask like a champ. Game changer.

Quick Clean Wipes

Trust me, washing and drying all those parts every time you pump is a racket (and don’t get me started on trying to do it in an airplane bathroom!). These sanitizing wipes are brilliant and necessary.  

BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light

We traveled several times while Gemma was a baby and we couldn’t have done it without this crib. The best part is how easy it is to set up and how compact it travels.

Summer Infant Video Monitor

I love that this monitor never failed me. It’s everything you want in a baby monitor: no interference, color video and sound (and the ability to turn either off), and an intercom which enables you to talk to your child if you want.

Ergobaby Adapt Carrier

I tried them all, and this was hands-down the most comfortable baby carrier. Plus my husband loved it too, so I can vouch that it works for both tall and short people.

Manhattan Toy Spiral

The brighter and tackier it is, the more babies love it. My daughter was mesmerized by this toy that attaches to the car seat and stroller. We never leave home without it.

The Guide To Finding Your Dream Babysitter

Where to look, what to ask, how much to pay – tips and tricks to help you score the right babysitter for your family. ? @careatcare

babysitter-guideYou need a kid-free night out in a serious way. Problem is, you don’t have a reliable Saturday night sitter. Here’s how to find what you need, get what you want – and still be home in bed by 11pm.

What To Look For

The first step is to decide what you’re comfortable with: Is a local high school or college student okay, or do you need a professional nanny who moonlights for other families on the weekend?

This is obviously a matter of personal preference, but we do recommend broadening your horizons – and your child’s – by opening yourself up to solutions you may not have initially imagined.

Whatever you decide make sure you are on the same page as your partner.

Where To Look

First things first, use your social network. A quick post on Facebook is likely to yield some parent friends willing to pawn their teenagers or neighbors off on you. Encourage your partner to also post. You both have different co-workers and circles – the wider the net you cast, the better.

Next, shop local. If there is a college in your community, post an ad on their job board or call specific organizations (think sororities) and give them your details. Share your request with your local mom group. Spread the word at your gym daycare or kid’s gym class. Often teachers, coaches, and developmental specialists are interested in picking up extra work after hours.

Finally, you really can find everything online these days. Some of our favorite national websites for childcare:

URBAN SITTER: The most “social” of the resources. Your profile layers over your Facebook network so you can see sitters that your friends have used. You can also see which sitters are recommended by local family businesses and who has repeat families. Rates are $14.95 a month or $99.95 a year.

SITTER CITY: The largest national database of sitters, they’re the OG for finding sitters online. Memberships are $35 for one month, $70 for three months, or $140 for the year.

SENSIBLE SITTERS: Sitters are pre-screened and vetted before being accepted into the exclusive network. Not available in all cities. Rates start at $22 an hour per child with a $150 annual fee.

SITTERS STUDIO: Available only in NYC and Chicago, these sitters are fully vetted and come prepared to do more than just sit on their iPhone. Each sitter is also a college-educated artist who arrives with a tote full of activities. Rates are $18 an hour in Chicago, $25 in NYC with a four hour minimum. There is a $20 booking fee for one-off visits. Or pay a monthly $50 fee if you plan to use multiple times.

What To Ask

  1. Get the obvious out of the way before you invest time: What is their availability? Do they have other weekend commitments? How early could they start? How late are they comfortable staying?
  1. Do they have transportation to and from your house? If not, do they need you to pick them up and drop them off? Or are they comfortable taking public transportation or an Uber/taxi? Note: We enjoy a cocktail or two on our night out, so a sitter who needs a ride is a no-go for us.
  1. Are they comfortable doing more than putting the kids to bed? Are they willing to make dinner, wash dishes, or – gasp – unstack the dishwasher (the sign of a real gem).
  1. Do they have infant and child CPR certification?
  1. What do they like to do with kids while babysitting? What are some of their favorite children’s books (this will give you a sense of the last time they read a bedtime story while sitting).
  1. Request multiple references.

Note: We were once interviewed in person by someone looking to use our nanny. While at the time we thought it was an imposition, in retrospect we realize how very smart it was. If you do not personally know the reference, don’t be afraid to request a coffee. It will give you a much more intimate picture of the caregiver.

Going Rates

Money talks. But depending on where you live, it says very different things. As a generalization, city sitters expect more than suburban sitters. Older, experienced sitters or professional nannies get more than the neighborhood kids down the street.

According to UrbanSitter’s 2014 National Childcare Survey, here’s what it’s going to cost you on average, per hour for one child:

New York, $15.34
San Francisco, $14.99
Boston, $13.64
Los Angeles, $13.53
Chicago, $11.91

Dotting I’s & Crossing T’s

If it’s a sitter’s first time at your house, ask her to come over for a 30-minute meet-and-greet with your kids before the actual night.

Give a call or text mid-week to confirm their availability and remind them of the arrival time; ask them to come at least 20 minutes before you plan to walk out the door.

When it comes to dinner, we either leave money so the sitter can order in after the kids are asleep, offer them a full run at our pantry, or ask if they’d like to be included in the kids dinner. Whichever path you choose, just remember to make the offer.

On many of the above sites, you pay through your account (bless them). Otherwise, ask ahead of time how your sitter prefers to be paid. Some younger ones will request payment via apps like Venmo. Others will only want cash. Be prepared.

When it comes to tipping, most parents we know “round up” to the full hour instead of giving a formal tip. We’ve also been known to cover gas money, taxi fare, or an Uber home – especially if we’re later than initially promised.

And don’t ignore that mom instinct: Always ask for a text from the sitter once they’ve safely arrived at their final destination.

? @careatcare

 

How To Opt Out And Re-Enter The Workforce

Two professional moms launched Apres, a business dedicated to paving the way for moms who “opted out” and want to head back to work.

apres-groupThe impossible situation: You have 2 young kids, a stressful job that requires frequent travel, a daily commute to and from the ‘burbs (because you know, “quality of life”), and coworkers who roll their eyes when you leave at 5:30pm (which only means you see your kids for 10 minutes before bedtime). You’re not doing anything well, and you’re about to f*^king lose it.

So you opt out of work and stay home for a few years. (Because really, what other choice do you have, but that conversation’s for another day…)

Cut to 6 months/3 years/10 years later: Your kids are in school full time, followed by after school activities, and you are itching to go back to work. But how?! Where do you even begin?

Niccole Kroll and Jen Gefsky totally know how you feel. They were equally as lost when they wanted to re-enter the workforce. Which is what led them to the idea for Apres, a new company that guides women through the process of finding (and getting!) the right opportunity for them. With super-helpful content, career coaches, prep tools, and curated job listings, it can be as hands-on (read: hand holding) as you like.

We peppered them with the endless questions swirling around in our head, and they answered them like the #BossWomen they are. Read on for some of the best advice, whether you’re thinking of opting out or heading back to the workplace.

Educate, Educate, Educate

Our approach is two-fold:

  1. Educate our members about their value to a workplace. It sends the right message to current employees who aren’t yet parents, giving them mentors and a beacon of hope that they’ll be able to do the same thing when they have a family. Lead by example, ladies.
  2. Educate companies about why “returners” are so valuable to the business: Clients want to work with companies that employ women with kids – it puts the company’s priorities and culture in a positive light.

Preparing to Opt Out:

  1. If feeling financially independent is going to be a trigger for you, plan ahead by stashing away  some savings to alleviate that stress.  
  2. Talk to a few people who have done it, so you have an understanding of what’s to come.
  3. Think about strategic volunteer opportunities that will add value if and when you go back to work (90% of women do) – be on a board, help a local small business – something that keeps your skills sharp or builds upon them.

Making SAHM Friends

  • Don’t shy away from connecting with women who may not be at all like you. You have being moms in common, and that’s enough.
  • If your kid is in school or signed up for activities, the parents of your kid’s friends will become your friends. Sounds ridiculous, but it truly happens that way.
  • Go to exercise classes during the day (i.e. not before/after work times) – barre, spinning, yoga – that’s where your people are.

While You’re Home…

You may think you’ll never ever go back to work, but 90% of women re-enter after opting out. Just in case, do the following – it will make it so much easier should you decide to go back.

  1. Keep an ongoing doc that keeps track of projects you take part in (think class mom, helping a friend launch a business, volunteering) and the skills used.
  2. Stay connected and engaged on Linkedin – join groups like alumni networks and professional groups.
  3. Keep your social media buttoned up – any future employer is going to look at it, so consider it your own personal brand.
  4. Stay abreast of your industry’s news by reading articles and staying engaged in groups. It’ll keep you informed and prevent playing catch-up should you find yourself interviewing one day.
  5. Don’t lose touch with professional contacts. Meet for coffee or drinks occasionally. Besides hearing all the industry gossip, it makes it not awkward to ask them for help if you decide to go back.

Let’s Do This Re-Entry Thing!

  1. The friends you’ve made on the soccer sidelines are a great resource. They know you on a personal level and will likely be very willing to refer you or make introductions if you ask.
  2. Be honest and up-front about the gap on your resume – it’s not something to feel insecure about. Say confidently, ‘I made the decision to spend some time with my kids.’ They will respect that.
  3. Know the requirements of the job (hours, travel, in-office policy), and don’t accept one that isn’t feasible for you.
  4. If you’re needing to move hours (not reduce hours), be up front in the interview process. They’ll either be willing to do it or not, but don’t take it thinking you can mention a shift in hours upon starting.
  5. If you don’t want to go back to doing what you did before, that’s fine! Work with a coach who can help figure out how your skills transfer to other jobs and sectors. Companies are opening up to this and recognize that cultural fits are increasingly important – not just having the perfect background.

And breathe… you’ve got this.

For more information, go to apresgroup.com.