Lollipops & Laptops

The Sticky Life of a Working Mom

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9 Reasons Why Managing Employees is the Same as Parenting Toddlers

9 Reasons Managing Employees is the Same as Parenting Toddlers - Lollipops & Laptops

A recent promotion at work has me managing a few new employees, and I realize I’m uniquely qualified for this big task because I parent a toddler. These scenarios are interchangeable for me whether I’m in the office or at home.

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Monthly Challenge Review: Book Blast

Monthly Challenge Recap: Book Blast - Lollipops & Laptops

This was a very bad idea. Setting a time-consuming goal two weeks into adding blog writing on top of a full time job while parenting a toddler and baby was a bad idea. I’m not really sure what I was thinking here, other than I really wanted to catch up on the 50+ books that continued to stack up inside and on top of my nightstand. I challenged myself for the month of June to read one book per week for a total of four books.

I don’t read particularly fast, despite my parents’ investment in a speed-reading course in high school, and I know very well how little time I have outside of work, parenting, and now, blogging. And yet, I delved into my first book with high hopes. On June 13, I was 60 pages into 234 of book one. Out of four. Did I cut myself some slack and cut my goal down? Hell no. Within 2 days, I finished book one and was on to book two.

And by June 30, you bet your ass I finished All. Four. Books. Aside from learning that I can function on very little sleep even when it’s not baby related, I actually did manage to enjoy most of my reading. I tried to hit different genres for each book to push myself out of my comfort zone.

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Mentor Mistakes and How I Fixed Them

Mentor Mistakes Fixed - Lollipops & Laptops

Like most students, I was pretty wise to the concept of getting a mentor from early on. I read a lot about how to find a mentor. I was good at pursuing the relationships. And yet, I let a few potentially incredible mentors slip through the cracks because I didn’t properly cultivate the relationship. Luckily, I’ve adjusted my approach and been able to find some fantastic mentors despite my initial mistakes. Keep reading for some of my worst mentor-seeking offenses and how I’ve succeeded at finding a few great mentors since.

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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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