Friday miscellany: Many links

With all my book posts this week, I failed to provide an update on the pinewood derby from last weekend. The good news is that my 11-year-old won the “unlimited” division (for friends and family of Cub Scouts). The bad news is that the 7-year-old had also made a car for that division and she was not happy about her brother winning. Ah, siblings.

Anyway, I spent a fair amount of my non-Juliet focused time reading Nabokov’s Speak, Memory… and stories about the college admissions scandal. Many years ago, I wrote an op-ed for USA Today (I don’t think the link is up anymore) asking why elite colleges bothered reserving spots for recruited athletes on sports teams. In retrospect it seems inevitable that people might exploit this side door into admissions when the stakes are high enough. Of course, there are many other angles to this story (like cheating on standardized tests) but that one stood out for me.

My Best of Both Worlds co-host Sarah Hart-Unger and I had a very proud moment this week when we were named to The Bump’s list of top parenting podcasts (along with some of our other favorites, like What Fresh Hell and The Mom Hour). The Bump noted our “no-judgement and you-got-this attitude.” Hopefully we’ll get some new listeners out of that!

A BOBW request: We are doing a round-up of best advice on childcare — things you wish you’d known going in about daycare, nannies, after-school programs, etc. Feel free to email me (lvanderkam at yahoo dot com) or post here, or over at the Best of Both Worlds Instagram page.

I also had some thoughts about being named to this list over at Entrepreneur of the 15 best productivity books of all time. It’s a good list with some great books, though when my husband found the link and texted it around to our family, I was waiting at the intersection where our street meets a rather busy street. I had been summoned there by a call from the school district’s transportation office. Our street was undergoing repairs and the school bus wasn’t going to be able to get down it, so I needed to go get my kids at the intersection to walk them home. (I’m kind of curious what would have happened if I hadn’t picked up the phone.) I noted that I was going to take a wild guess that I was the only author on that list who was spending 20 minutes standing by a stoplight waiting for a bus, this being the sort of activity that possibly doesn’t wind up on many of the other authors’ plates.

I was on several podcasts this week. You can list to the wonderful Science of Success show, or 21-day Hero, Keith Arthur’s My Instruction Manual, or Lisa Nicole Bell’s Behind the Brilliance.

As a long-time Modern Mrs. Darcy reader, I was also excited about Juliet’s School of Possibilities making her Quick Lit list this week!

Now I am gearing up for the launch of my new podcast, Before Breakfast, on Monday. We’ll most likely release 3 short episodes on Day 1, and then one episode per workday after that. If you have a productivity question you’d like me to address on that show, please send them to before breakfast podcast at iheartmedia dot com.

This weekend we’ve got a baseball evaluation, a birthday party, and I’m going to a performance of Bonhoeffer, performed by the men of my chamber choir. I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Also, for the past few years, we’ve been visited by leprechauns on March 17th. The kids build a trap for the leprechauns, and if they escape, they tend to leave candy for the children. Does this happen in your house? I can’t say I was thrilled about yet another gift-leaving visitor entering the pantheon (with Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy…) but so it goes.




14 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Many links

  1. The best childcare advice I received was that it was okay to put your child in daycare if you have a day off. You’re paying for it either way and it’s so much easier to get errands done and have some self care time. You can always pick them up early to do something fun if you want.

    1. @Amanda- oh yes. I think this is one situation where the “guilt” factor kicks in for people, which then has the downside of making your day off more stressful and less efficient AND undermining the kid’s routine.

    2. I second that!
      I have gone even further: my kids after school care program offer day camp during the winter break for an additional cost. My workplace shuts down Christmas to New years. I have sent my kids to day camp while having those days off. It gives me time to really relax or tackle some home projects and cost wise the day camp is cheaper that the money I would spend entertaining two energetic children in a time of year when going to the beach to chill is not an option.

      1. I third that! I work 12:30-8:30 on Wednesdays, and I still bring my infant daughter in for 8:45. Along those lines–pick a daycare (or nanny) you love! Even if it is more expensive! Start looking early! I don’t personally have any guilt about dropping her off when I have time off (or when going to work) because I like and trust her caregivers.

        1. I fourth that. My boys are now 22, 19 and 19 but I would do that sometimes. There’s a lot to be said for sanity.

  2. If you’re considering day care centers, read their policies carefully (and talk to staff or people whose kids go there to get an idea of how well they are followed). Different centers vary wildly in how often they close (planned closings as well as snow days), how tolerant they are of child illness, and how flexible they are. Will the center close for every dusting of snow, or just major storms? Will you be able to pick your kid up early or bring them in late, and will you be able to do it spontaneously? How will you feel about your toddler sharing a toy with a kid whose face is covered with snot, and conversely how will you feel if you have to keep him home half the winter because he has a sniffle?

  3. Leprechauns definitely visit here. My 8yr old says it is his second favorite holiday. I am kind of over it, but my youngest is 7 so we are probably just a few years away from being done with all these traditions.

  4. Things I learned about daycare – we used large center-based daycares for both kids from about age 1-2.5, then switched to Montessori preschool:

    1. Don’t be in a rush to switch to a “real preschool” – often they have more holidays and less flexibility in hours. With our fall birthday kids, we’d have been fine leaving them in daycare until 3.5 or 4.
    2. No solution is ever perfect. Every single one will have *something* you don’t like about it so choose your battles.
    3. It’s ok to send the kid to daycare and take the day off (echoing comment above).
    4. Toddler daycare is a magical thing – my girls learned SO MANY skills I had no idea they were capable of at age 1, like putting on their own coats, cleaning up after themselves at meal time, putting toys away. It also got my more reluctant talker speaking and my non-mobile child crawling 🙂 Oh and they were 100% responsible for potty training my second and it was a breeze. I wasn’t ready, but they thought she was, so they just did it :O
    5. Pick a daycare close to work if you’re still breastfeeding, or close to home otherwise so you can still send them if you don’t go to work that day (like when you’re sick).
    6. Try not to pick a daycare that is only convenient for one parent to pick up/drop off. It was really valuable to be able to share the load, or stay for a late meeting, etc.
    7. Do not make your life more complicated by choosing a preschool that requires potty training if your kid isn’t there yet, effectively giving yourself a “deadline”. It probably works for some people, but wow did it not work for my stubborn kid/me.
    8. Daycare teachers will often babysit at night! Some centers might have rules, so it’s best to ask, but ours were fine with it. My girls were thrilled when their teachers came to our house.

  5. Get everything in writing. This applies especially to home-based daycare but be sure there is a mutual understanding with your provider.

  6. What works right now won’t necessarily always be right. Your children grow older and their needs can change. Don’t be afraid to re-assess and make some changes to your arrangements, Children are generally resilient and flexible to cope with the change.

  7. Congratulations Laura on being included on such a great list! The 168 hours concept was and is brilliant. I always enjoy your practical, slightly different approach to thinking about time and money. All the Money in the World is great too.

    1. @Mimi- thanks so much! And so glad you enjoyed All the Money in the World. Please tell people about it 🙂

    2. Second the congrats on making that list. I’ve read 5 of the 15 listed, but never found myself googling the others, buying their books as gifts on a number of occasions, or following their blog religiously like I have your work for a few years now (though, in full disclosure, I first found you through “I Know How She Does It” then went back and bought and read 168 Hours).

      1. @Karissa- thanks so much! I really appreciate your support — and yes, people find me different ways. Then often go back to the beginning to read 168 Hours!

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