Lollipops & Laptops

The Sticky Life of a Working Mom

Month: June 2017

Balancing Extracurriculars and Full-Time Work Schedules

Kids' Extracurriculars & Full-Time Work - Lollipops & Laptops

When I went back to work after I gave birth to my daughter, my husband and I were each working about 60 hours a week. We’d often eat dinner at 9:00 pm while hovered over our computers finishing off the day’s work. It was a schedule that worked for us with an infant that had no interests beyond milk and sleep.

As she got older, we wanted to put her in extracurriculars, but there were very limited options that worked with our schedules. We settled on two classes in a row on Saturday mornings, but ultimately cancelled them because too many conflicts arose with birthday parties and other obligations, and it was impossible to get make up classes on the weekend. After my daughter begged to get back into her classes, we decided to give it another shot. Here are a few tips that we’ve found helpful as we learn to juggle extracurriculars and two full-time work schedules.

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Professional Wardrobe for the Casual Dresser

I spent seven years in higher education, and I really honed my “student” look during that time. Today, my weekend wardrobe looks a lot like that student look I perfected: jeans, a loose t-shirt, Converse or Rainbow sandals, aviator sunglasses, and a delicate necklace. Unfortunately for me, the industries I work in (law and commercial real estate) are extremely conservative. In my office, business casual is considered progressive in the wardrobe department.

I’ve been working on finding ways to be comfortable, both physically and mentally, in my professional clothes. I’ve curated a capsule wardrobe below that meets my three needs: comfortable, timeless, and as casual as acceptable for a professional workplace.

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5 Ways to Entertain Your Kids on Weekends (When You Just Can’t)

Entertaining Kids on Weekends - Lollipops & Laptops

I work full time Monday through Friday, so “family time” only happens on weekends, unless you count family time as eating dinner with one hand while bathing a baby and toddler with the other, in which case, I get about 2 hours per weeknight of family time. And yet, by about noon on Saturday, I’m fresh out of ways to entertain my kids. This is particularly annoying when, like mine, the kids are too young to entertain themselves for any significant amount of time. You can only go to the local park or play with the hardened play doh set so many times. In a desperate attempt not to lose my mind or fake a work emergency to hide out in the office on a Sunday morning, I’ve compiled a list of ways to entertain children when you’re not creative, don’t have Disneyland season passes, and can’t bring yourself to let them watch another hour of YouTube Kids.

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Kid Clothing Purge: Kidizen

Kid Clothing Purge: Kidizen - Lollipops & Laptops

Warning: this post is not for the sentimental. I legitimately do not have emotional connections to things. I sold my wedding dress a few months after our wedding. People ask me if I miss it, and I can honestly tell you I haven’t thought about it once. I keep photo albums and I do have one banker’s box of “memories” (a few sports medals, some hysterical passbooks of notes between friends in high school, and a book of really mediocre poetry that I wrote as an angsty adolescent), but other than that, I regularly purge everything in the house.

So what’s a girl to do with all those clothes your kids wear three times before they grow out of them? Well, for many of them, I hand them down. My daughter’s clothes have mostly gone to my niece, and about 70% of my son’s closet is made up of hand-me-downs from my nephew, which are now cycling back to the newest baby boy in the family.

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Mixing Business with Pleasure: A Recipe for Success When Going into Business with Family

Legal Considerations When Going into Business with Family - Lollipops & Laptops

It happens all the time. You and your spouse are chatting over pizza one night and an app idea pops into your head. Or your sister pitches you to invest in some real estate with her. Maybe a friend asks if you want to partner on a cool new business she’s been wanting to start up. Or maybe your parents offer up a position for you in their business when you finish college. Whatever the situation, it is all too common that these businesses get going informally, and this can create major problems if the business grows, or worse, if the business goes south. Going into business with family or friends is always risky, but when done right, it can be quite rewarding. Consider these as your starting point when starting a family business:

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Mommy Power Hour: 6 Self-Care Ideas When You Have 60 Kid-Free Minutes

Mommy Power Hour: Self-Care Tips - Lollipops & Laptops

Once upon a time, in a far away land, a mother was lounging by the pool, the summer’s hottest book in one hand and a margarita in the other. After a quick dip to cool off, she stretched out on her chaise, tipped her wide-brimmed hat over her eyes and drifted into a long, relaxing afternoon nap.

Of course, this is only a fantasy, since any mother knows this type of relaxation simply doesn’t exist in reality. Still, even the busiest parent is often met with a small period of time where the stars align and the kids nap at the same time, or a compassionate spouse, parent, or friend gives you an afternoon off. For those fleeting moments, from the pre-planned to the spontaneous, here are some ideas for self-care so you don’t use that time to fold the laundry.

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5 Ways to Support Women Around You

5 Ways to Support Women Around You - Lollipops & Laptops

Parenting is tough. Navigating a career is challenging. Keeping up with the curated lives on social media is exhausting. Making others feel loved, appreciated, and supported is so, so good for this world and just too easy to do. Here are a few ways to do some good for the women in your professional and personal life:

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Surviving Parenting with a Type-A Personality

Surviving Parenting with a Type A Personality - Lollipops & Laptops

I’m the type of person who adds something on my to-do list just to cross it off. I thrive on organization and certainty. I have a detailed five-year plan in my mind at all times. So as you can imagine, starting a family and living with a toddler and a baby has me way outside my comfort zone. Though the unpredictability of parenting can make me crazy, there are some ways to adapt both to the Type-A organization and the children’s chaos.

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Family Travel Itinerary: Mexico

I used to travel. Not like wanderlust world traveler kind of travel, but a reasonable amount. I’ve seen my fair share of places, though I have many on my list left to visit. But you know, you have kids, and you work full time. And it takes planning. And it costs money. And, let’s be honest, is it really even fun to travel with kids? We did do a bit of traveling–both domestic and international–with our first. But we added another kid to the mix and all travel came to a halt. We finally–FINALLY–planned and booked a vacation to Mexico, which we took last month. And it was so wonderful. I mean, it wasn’t leave-your-kids-and-spend-a-week-sipping-cocktails-on-the-beach wonderful, but it was better than I expected.

Family Travel Itinerary: Mexico - Lollipops & Laptops

Just me and the million things we need to travel with kids.

Full disclosure: the best part of this trip was that my parents and my brother, sister-in-law and niece were on this trip. Yeah, yeah. It was nice to spend time with them. But the absolutely BEST part was a ratio of six adults to three kids. Glorious.

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