blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: April 2015

April 20, 2015

Kaleidoscope


It's been a while since I posted an outfit post, but being buried under the most snow in the history of Boston made taking pictures a little tough! The snow has finally all melted and and the temperatures have even warmed up enough to show a little leg (and toes)!


This weekend N and I attended a banquet thrown by our ORMA (the office of recruitment and multicultural affairs). The event honored the newly admitted minority students to HMS as well as the graduating minority medical students - it was a little surreal being there as a graduating student when I still so vividly remember being there as a recently admitted student! Man has time flown by.


Our banquet was followed by a fun night out on the town (and ended up at a club dancing with Waka Flocka Flame)? Hahaha what a weekend. This dress and coat are both on crazy sale right now (the dress is just over $20)! Shop the outfit below! 


April 17, 2015

Links I Love (4.17.15)


Hello and happy Friday!! Around here the weather is finally starting to really feel like spring (although it's raining currently), and we're so looking forward to spending time outside this weekend! Today I'm rounding up another post on some of my favorite recent links from fellow members of the internet (on the good chance you didn't get that reference, check out the amazing lady I stole it from). 


  • Have you heard of theSkimm? I finally signed up last week and feel so much more up-to-date on the world around me already! This daily newsletter does an amazing job of educating its readers of important news in a short and digestible email that still leaves me feeling well-informed (and even curious to learn more)! 


  • This article is a little vulgar and a little rude, but amazing nonetheless. I certainly don't mean to offend anyone who thinks this way, but this article will hopefully shed light on a movement that is unnecessary at best, and downright harmful at worst. Win for this amazing "science babe."




  • I loved this read from the Boston Globe Magazine - I think it does a wonderful job of illustrating what it's like to be a low-income or first generation student at an Ivy League (or honestly any private higher education) institution. 


  • Do you do podcasts? I was never big into them, but once I moved and my commute changed from a 10 minute walk to a 45 minute-1 hour ordeal on public transportation, I love them (more like need them) and am constantly searching for good ones. This list is perfection. 


  • This is an oldie-but-goodie. If you haven't watched Amy Cuddy's power pose TED talk, make sure you do now (or when you have 20 minutes to spare)! And then practice it! 


  • Everything at Gap is on sale right now, with an extra 30% off using code APRIL. I had to buy Liv the duck swimsuit... and at $14 on sale I didn't even feel bad about it!






  • Wedding season is back in full swing. And with that comes some major spending of money we don't necessarily have. I'm always looking to save as much money as possible when preparing for these events. I love these tips for saving money traveling (although they don't all work for weddings - we can't really control our destination or the time of year we travel, but some of it still applies)! 
    • For dresses, I love using Rent the Runway (a service that lets you rent gorgeous designer dresses), but during times where I think I'll be reusing a dress a couple of times, sometimes it is more cost-saving to buy a cheap dress instead of renting it. Below are some of my favorite picks all on major sale right now at Asos (all less than $100) - the top row dresses are appropriate for black tie weddings, and the bottom row are perfect for outdoor ceremonies. Click any of the images below to shop the looks!






I hope you all have a great weekend!

April 14, 2015

Spring Nails

These are two shades I'm absolutely loving right now (as the weather finally warms up)! The light mint shade is OPI That's Hula-rious (and what I currently have on my nails) and the beige/greyish shade is Orly Country Club Khaki.



What colors are you craving this spring? 

April 10, 2015

Good-for-you Banana Carrot Muffins


Today I wanted to share a fun recipe I threw together in an effort to ease my mom guilt over giving Liv too many baked goods. I'm a huge sweet tooth, and when Liv would literally wake up in the morning and the first word out of her mouth was "cupcakes," I knew we had a problem. These banana carrot muffins (or cupcakes as she thankfully thinks they are) are way better than their super-sweet and nutrient-lacking funfetti cousins (although I still love funfetti cupcakes), and are a huge hit in this household.


(Really) roughly, the recipe I threw together looked something like this:

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 (almost disgustingly) ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients (some fancy bakers will say do the dry first, then beat in the eggs, blah blah blah. Just throw it all in there it'll be fine)! Liv loves helping out with baking these, so I'll pre-measure the ingredients and let her toss them in the bowl (and then estimate how much she got on the counter instead of the bowl and try to replace accordingly)! Line your muffin tin and fill them with your batter, then pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes (or until a fork comes out clean)! 


And voila! Delicious muffins you'll actually feel good about eating!

Also - I promise I do Liv's hair. We made these first thing in the morning with her bed head, because she literally did wake up repeating "cupcakes." 

April 8, 2015

Is Medicine Still Right for Me?


Today I wanted to touch on a topic that I get asked a lot - mostly in person when I get the pleasure to meet some of you at events (shout out to the Harvard undergrad women who invited me to speak on their Road to Success panel last month) - but also in emails from you all as well. And it always has to do with some variation of, is medicine still right for me? Maybe you're in your junior year of college, having completed most of your premed requirements and even having already taken the MCAT, but now having doubts about a career in medicine. Maybe you've already done the "hard work" of making it to med school, but you're in your second year and concerned that you may have chosen the wrong field. This is exactly where I was my second year of medical school, and I hope that sharing some advice can help you come up with your own answer to that terrifying question. And for those of you outside of medicine, this post totally still applies to you, whatever path you're on. 

The most important thing to help you reach your answer is to figure out what's making you have these doubts in the first place. I'll share a little bit of my experience with this question and some self-reflection I did to figure out why I was feeling that way.


Right around second year of medical school I hit the "I hate this and want to do something else" phase of my training. Second year is a stepping stone for med students - gone are the days of the familiar anatomy and biochemistry and genetics that many of us were already mostly familiar with from undergrad - now it was all new territory. And add to that, we were now facing the first big exam for clinical licensing - the all powerful Step 1. With all of this came self-doubt in the face of that increased work-load. And not only that, but everywhere I looked, I saw doctors who were unhappy. I don't know about you, but nothing raises more self-doubt about a dream than seeing those who are living your dream unhappy, some even downright miserable. The question started coming up in my mind - "Why I am I working so hard? To have that? I don't want that." I struggled with this for a while, eventually mustering up the courage to talk to a few people about it - namely, my medical mentors, and my parents. My medical mentors all told me to stick it out, and my parents just couldn't understand at all (but thankfully said they respected whatever I decided). There was a lot of guilt that came with feeling this way, after all, this is what I wanted all along, right? People would kill to be in my place here at Harvard Medical School. And here I was, being ungrateful for my blessings. (Looking back, this is a mindset that hurts a lot of people, especially those suffering with depression). Anyway, make a long story short, my change of heart and renewed drive and motivation came from the unlikeliest of places. A blogger meetup. Finally I had the chance to talk with women outside of medicine, and instead of hearing that they all loved their jobs, it turned out that many of them were unhappy or unsure of their jobs and the path they were on. This was a critical aha moment - the realization that it wasn't unique to medicine or the path I was on, that it could happen to anyone, that it was in fact probably a downright normal sentiment to have at this stage of life! So I did some more thinking, and outlined below you'll find the biggest points I learned from this experience and hope may help some of you!


  • Negativity perpetuates negativity. During this time in my training, although I felt like the doctors I was seeing were miserable, I realized I was almost looking for those physicians. If I did meet a physician who appeared happy, I would assume that they were hiding how miserable they were, or that they somehow just got lucky - that they were an outlier. I would read medical forums and commiserate with other medical students who were considering switching careers as well. This was an incredibly unhealthy habit and led me further down a path of unhappiness and almost encouraged it. I was feeding into the negativity loop. When I got out of it, I realized there actually were happy people in medicine, and I could definitely be one of them. 

  • The grass is not always greener on the other side. Not only do we tend to only see the bad in our current situation, we also tend to see those outside of it with rose-colored glasses - it's all good on the other side. We think that if only we were on that other side, everything would be better. Figuring this out was the key to me realizing that I was in fact still on the right path. Meeting with those other amazing bloggers who were in all different careers, and hearing what they thought about their fields was incredibly enlightening for me. They all had things they disliked about their jobs and they all had daydreams of switching fields (and obviously this may be biased because they were all bloggers, and so already had interests outside of their "day job," but I think the lesson is still critical). After meeting with these women I came to the life-changing conclusion that the grass isn't greener on the other the side; the grass is greener where you water it. (I can't take credit for that line, though, but you get the point). So I decided I'd water my own grass, dammit! 

  • We tend to question our path when we're unsure of ourselves and our capabilities. In my case, it wasn't just that I was seemingly surrounded by people who were where I wanted to be, but unhappy. It was also that I was finally facing my first big hurdle in medical school (Step 1), where a number (your score) presumably dictates the specialties you can enter, and therefore your future. That is terrifying. And with that fear came along self-doubt, and with that self-doubt, the fear of failure. One way that some of us deal with the fear of failure is to quit before we fail. To go out on our own doing before we actually figure out we're not good enough. I've been there, and I completely understand. But I also know that the only way we truly fail is by not trying. I've spoken about self-doubt and the feeling that you're not good enough before (read here if you missed that post), so I won't get too much into it now, only to say that do not let that self-doubt get to you. Rise up to the challenge - study your butt off - and trust that you are good enough. 

  • This age (for most of us, our 20s, but it can happen anytime) is a time where we all are unsure if we're on the right path. There's a fear that if we don't hurry up and choose a path, someone will choose one for us. And if we have chosen a path, there's a fear that we're committing to a field (and it doesn't have to be medicine - this goes for those of you in business, or grad school, or law school, or teaching, whatever field you choose) that may not be "the right one" for the rest of our lives. Almost every single one of us hits this stage, it's normal, part of becoming a so-called adult and hoping that we'll somehow fit the mold we set up for ourselves as adolescents. As much as it feels like we're stem cells committing down one path to becoming a fully differentiated cell locked into that fate forever (sorry for the corny science reference, I couldn't help myself) - we are not differentiated cells! We can change at any time, even if it doesn't seem like it now. As much as it feels like you should have everything "set" by the time you hit 30 (or whatever random age you choose), rest assured that most of us are just winging it. The best advice I can give is to trust the path that you're on, work hard towards whatever goal you set for yourself (even if you have your small doubts about it), but don't be blind to new opportunities as they pop up either. Life has a funny way of working out for those who make the best of it. 

  • Finally, don't be afraid to quit if that's what you truly, truly want to do. I put this as the last option, because I'm not a huge proponent of "quitting," and I really do believe that most of the things listed above are our true reasons for wanting to quit. But, if you've gone through this list and really done some self-reflection as to why you're unhappy, and still feel like medicine (or whatever field you're in) just isn't right for you, maybe it just isn't. And that's completely fine. It takes a courageous person to really see that and take action on that, but more power to you if you can. Now I'll say this with a caveat - if you're not in medical school yet, it's a much easier time to decide to do something else. I don't think anyone would even call it quitting. If you are in medical school though, my most sincere advice would be to stick it out and get the M.D. degree. You don't have to pursue medicine after, but whatever you choose to do instead, you'll be a much more valuable and desired person with the M.D. This becomes even more true when you're further into medical school and already amassing quite a bit of debt. More likely than not, you'll find something in medicine you love and decide to stay in it after all. But some people don't, and that's just fine. Even when a change of path seems like it will take a lengthy amount of time, as they say - never give up on a dream (or a new dream) because of the time it will take to accomplish it - the time will pass anyway. 

I hope sharing this could help some of you! I hope you'll share it with anyone you think would benefit from reading this. At the end of the day, if you've decided you're on the right path but not necessarily happy, learn how to water your own grass! Find the positive and happy people and figure out why they're that way. Find something you love, or someone you want to help, or a problem that needs solving, and feel like you have a purpose again. And remember to be thankful that you're even in a position to be contemplating your place and potentially changing that place - so many people do not have that liberty. Would love to hear what you think about the post or if you've been in this place before in the comments section!

April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend

Happy Monday! I hope all of you had wonderful weekends - just wanted to share a few shots from our relaxed Easter at home. Liv made it really magical.


Liv had a blast going through her easter basket - my mom through in waaaaayyyy too much candy, but we definitely let her have at a chocolate bunny.


She got a little wind-up chick in her basket that she was obsessed with. She'd get us to wind it up and then expected it to come following her, looking back in confusion when it wasn't coming after her! (She also got that little fedora in her basket and loved wearing it)!


We had colored eggs Saturday night (more like I colored, Liv played in the natural dye and smashed eggs) and I "hid" eggs out on our patio Sunday morning. I put that in quotations because I made sure to lay them out in plain sight! Liv had us all in tears with laughter watching her - she immediately understood that the object of the game was to get the eggs in the basket - but for some reason she threw in the extra required step of cracking the egg on the ground a few times before tossing it in the basket. She did it every single time.


She was so proud of her work and we were so proud of her!


Soon after we went on a long walk outside, playing at the playground, then walking along the Harbor Walk for hours while Liv napped in the stroller. 


We finally stopped somewhere for brunch where Liv put on a show for us all - she loves singing dramatically and getting us all to laugh - and boy did we laugh! 


I hope you all have a great week!

April 3, 2015

Links I Love (4.3.15)

Image via
Happy Friday everyone! Today I wanted to do something a little different and share some of my favorites from the web this week! It's always one of my favorite things to do on other people's blogs (I can't tell you how much I've learned reading A Cup of Jo's weekly links), so I thought it could be fun to do here too! Would love to know what you think, but more importantly, have an amazing weekend!!


  • We are so excited to paint some eggs this weekend with Liv (it'll be her first time, and she loves painting, so I can't wait to see how she likes this)! I'm loving this no-dye easter egg inspiration (for myself of course). How about this tip for dying eggs without (as much) mess?! 


  • I haven't been able to put this book down. Well who am I kidding, I barely have time to read, but when I do, I'm trying to finish this book. And even if I never get around to finishing I already feel like it's changed my life so much!


  • A recent study came out this month on quality time vs quantity of time with kids. All of you working moms dealing with that inevitable working mom guilt (and let's face it, all moms, whether they're home or not, worry that they're not spending enough time with their kids!) need to give this one a read.


  • I found the perfect nude heeled sandal, and of course can't find it online anywhere. So I'm relegated to sharing with you the second best nude heeled sandal. I tried, ya'll. (These are even more amazing, but insanely expensive, at least for me)!


  • These blogging tips from a successful (and more importantly, down-to-earth) blogger and medical student are pretty much all you'll ever need.


  • Are you her mother? A must-read for anyone, especially those who have the nerve to ask this question.


  • How many of us say we're "going to bed" only to spend another half hour in bed on our phones? I know I'm as guilty as they get when it comes to this! Love this challenge: 30 days of disconnecting after dark.


  • And finally, I have to share some of my favorite Forever 21 finds. Let's be real - although I have Nordstrom taste, I still have a Forever 21 budget. And that's ok! Especially when they're putting out stuff like this! Just click any of the images below to shop the looks!


April 1, 2015

Choosing the Right Child Care


One of the questions I get the most from new moms is how to choose the right child care. I'll start by saying that choosing a child care provider is almost as personalized and unique as choosing a partner; what's right for one family may not be the best for another. I think what can sometimes make it difficult to compare is that we frequently hear from a family that uses daycare and compare it to a family that uses a nanny - it's a little hard to compare these when the nanny family has never used daycare and the daycare family has never used a nanny, ya know?

I say all of this because I feel like we're in a pretty good position to truly compare almost all of the child care options. In Liv's short year and a half of life we have gone through me playing stay-at-home-mom, having a nanny in our home, using a small home daycare (one woman watching 3 babies), a large typical daycare, and finally, having family move in and provide live-in daycare. So short of maybe an au pair, we really have used virtually every type of childcare provider! I hope I can provide those of you who are trying to figure out what to do for child care with a relatively unbiased view of most of the different types available. I realize that many families don't really have the option of selecting between different types of child care, either for financial or geographic reasons, but I'll present them as if we all have a choice! 

Nanny

our experience: We had a nanny taking care of Liv in our home between the time she was 9 and 11 months old (the summer entering our fourth year). I searched on Care.com for potential nannies, liked what I saw as options in our area, and so went ahead and created a job posting. For those interested applicants who responded to the job listing appropriately and who had a picture, etc., I messaged a few follow up questions specific to their experience with babies of that age, their interests and goals, etc. and the ones who I liked the most through that interaction (professional and prompt in their emails, their experience sounded good, they gave a real answer and not a generic copy-paste they send to everyone) I then set up in person interviews with at a local cafe (where I brought Liv too)! The interview was a time for me to just get the vibe of a person, hear a little bit more about their experience, and see how helpful and comfortable they were with Liv. Make a long story short we found the right girl, and she was a Godsend while we had her. To save on costs (especially because we knew we only needed her for the summer), we hired a responsible college student who was getting her degree in early childhood education and fluent in Spanish. Having a nanny was wonderful - they can come early so you have time to get ready for work, you can give individualized instructions as to what you like/what you're child likes, and (most helpful for us) they can be incredibly flexible with their schedules, so if yours is an unpredictable one, rest assured that someone will be taking care of your child when you wind up having to stay at work a little later than usual. She could even help with light housekeeping and keeping things in order, something that I really missed once we had Liv in daycare! We communicated very early on about what days she would need off, when we'd be taking vacation, etc. so that we could all make the most of our time. 

what to look for: One of the biggest drawbacks in my opinion about having a nanny is that kids could potentially miss out on social interaction with babies their age. Of course this can easily be addressed by having playdates and going out to story times at the library, etc. - while searching for a nanny find out how comfortable she is with the area and if she knows about these activities (or can be proactive and find some herself)! Also, make sure you hire someone you like. This person will be in your home, many times while you are still there, and the last thing you want is to feel like you don't want to be around them, even if they are great with your child. A lot of people worry about trust and security with a nanny, and I have to say, I'm not really one of those people. I never considered having a nanny-cam or anything of the sort, but I certainly trusted my intuition (especially when meeting with applicants - there were a few I wasn't too fond of for no particular reason, but I went with my gut). One thing that I found did put me at ease was that N or I could drop by the house at any time without warning and find them playing, or eating, or napping, etc. Make sure you hire a nanny who is ok with this, as it will certainly make you feel much better about what's going on when you're not home! Because we were hiring her for a short period and she was getting financial aid we didn't get into doing taxes and all of that, but if you are hiring a nanny and this is her profession, you will have to make sure to discuss the nitty-gritty like taxes, health insurance, etc. Before hiring it's also key to speak to her references and get the low-down on what her previous families thought of her - if they're not raving about her, don't hire her! If they can only say she was "good" or she was "responsible," it could potentially be a warning flag of a not-so-stellar nanny - trust me, when you have a great nanny you will love her and will not be shy to tell the world how amazing she is (we love you Dahlia)!

this might be for you if: 
Your child is very young and needs lots of cuddling or 1-on-1 time.
You have multiple children.
You don't have super duper trust issues (I say that only half-jokingly).
You can afford it (this is usually the most expensive option, unless you have multiple kids, where this actually can become the more economical option).
You need flexibility in your schedule. 

Small home daycare

our experience: This is how we started with our childcare - we dropped Liv off every morning at a friend's house who also took care of two other babies (her own boys) and lived nearby the medical area. We had this arrangement from the time Liv was about 3.5 months up until almost 9 months. This was nice because we didn't have to bring toys or books or other things - she had everything in her home. She also was a mother herself, knew so much about what to expect (she was so helpful in starting Liv on solids, noticing when she had a tooth coming in, etc.) She got all of the babies on an amazing schedule, was able to go out on fun trips around the area to local parks and play groups (with a double stroller with a standing platform), and most of all Liv got to really learn from the boys (one was a couple months older than her, the other almost a year older). I must admit I still miss them playing together! I've spoken to other moms who used small daycares and they felt that the interaction was really optimal in that situation - the number of children was just enough to really know all of them well, but not enough to be constantly sick like in larger daycares! I think one of the biggest negatives of this arrangement was that (not having a car), the commute really got to be a lot some days, and after walking there and then to work and then there in the evening and back home I really was drained. This was obviously unique to our situation, but it was a valuable lesson in how the commute really does make a difference even when everything else is wonderful! (Colleen we miss you and the boys soooo much!)

what to look for: Look for well-reviewed small daycares - I lucked out in that my friend who I already trusted was able to do it, but some of the best places I've found when searching at other times have been through mom groups (many are on Facebook, here in Boston, GardenMoms is great). These reviews from other moms really go a long way! Visit the home and make sure you really check it out - everything should be baby-proofed, the toys and equipment should be clean, etc. Make sure the surrounding area/neighborhood is safe, and hopefully in a convenient location to you or your partner's job. Find out what their emergency plan is should anything ever happen - if it's just one person you want to make sure they're not taking on more than they could handle, if it's two or three it's still good to know that they have a protocol in place.

this might be for you if:
You like the idea of your child being around a few other babies, but not too many!
You like the home environment in small home daycares.
You want the community that can frequently comes along with small daycare parents.
You have good options for home daycare in your neighborhood.
You can benefit from learning from another mom (as a large majority of home daycare providers are moms themselves!)


Large daycare establishment
our experience: We finally transitioned Liv to the more typical daycare right before her first birthday and stayed there up until 18 months. We started in the infant movers room and then later transitioned to the toddlers room. We compared various daycares and took tours of the centers, and they were all incredibly similar (in Boston, especially in the Longwood Area, daycares are pretty top-notch and have waiting lists a mile long). We ended up choosing the one that was closest to our home (literally across the street from us). The transition was a harder one for me because I for some reason felt more guilty about daycare than I did about any other of our childcare situations. Part of me at first felt like I was dropping her off at a baby factory where they all just got left around to themselves and make sure they didn't choke on anything. Thankfully that feeling changed very quickly when Liv started growing close to her teachers there (Natalie we will forever be grateful for you) and would run to them in the morning. Dropoffs were still hard for a little while longer, but if I "left" and then peeked my head back around the corner she was already playing with her little friends, which always made my heart melt. The toddler room was an even more exciting transition for us because all of the kids were blossoming socially, and clearly being together was beneficial for them! I loved the sheet you'd get at the end of the day with a summary of activities, wet and dirty diapers, meals, etc. as well as the pictures and crafts from the day! It really was special! The teachers were incredible, and once we got to the toddler room we had the option of picking a bilingual class which I loved (I try to speak Spanish at home as much as possible, but because N can't, Liv doesn't get to hear the back and forth of conversation as much). (Gloria y Mildred, gracias por todo!) I think the biggest drawback to daycare for us, and part of the reason we had to seek something different, was the lack of flexibility. As we get ready to start intern year this summer (arguably for many the toughest year of residency), we really couldn't stick to the typical 7-5 or 8-6 schedule. Depending on what rotations we're on, some days we'll have to be in a 6am and might not get home until 8pm... and it all depends on what happens throughout the day. Daycare works much better when parents (or at least one parent) has a reliable and stable schedule - for us this just is not the case. Another drawback is that kids will get sick - throughout our time at daycare Liv almost always had a stuffy nose, a bit of a cough, colds, a GI bug, an ear infection, and pink eye. Honestly though (and being in medicine), we weren't too bothered by that (once the day or two of my poor Liv being miserable was over of course); it was all very minor and only priming up her immune system! But days she had a fever one of us had to pick her up and stay home, something that was feasible while still in medical school, but a little less so once we're interns. I'd say overall, we absolutely loved daycare, especially once we got to the toddler room. Had it not been for the scheduling, we would 100% still be there.

what to look for: Search for daycares in the area or near your job with good reviews. Take a tour of the facilities and see what the babies are up to! Good signs are always lots of arts and crafts hanging up, parents interacting positively with daycare staff, cleanliness, etc. Hopefully teachers are down on the ground interacting directly with children, not on their cell phones or only talking to other teachers. Don't get turned off by the sound of babies crying (unless they're all crying!) With the number of kids there, there will always be one who is hungry or upset, hopefully you will see someone attending to them quickly! Look for a daycare that provides daily communication as far as what went on throughout the day, this is really helpful in this setting since you can't just call or text like you can with the nanny or small daycare provider. Open door policies should stand at the facility (meaning you can come in whenever, not just at designated "drop off/pickup" times; some daycares even have live video monitoring throughout the day so you can observe remotely (I always found this a little creepy but honestly, if given the chance, I'd definitely check it)! Some more "official" things to check (that are pretty regulated here in Boston) are the teacher-to-child ratios, accreditation status, and teacher qualifications.

this might be for you if:
You'd like to get your child interacting with other children
You have good daycare centers near your home or work
You have a relatively normal work schedule.
You love the idea of your child coming home with art projects and getting school pictures. (There was something incredibly adorable about the whole "school" aspect of it - Liv carrying her little backpack in, coming home with things she'd made and getting her first class pictures)!

Family caregiver

our experience: This is what we have now, and we feel incredibly blessed. When we moved to a bigger place, N's mom moved in with us and has her own room and space in our home. Some families do it a little differently and take their child to their mom's house or something like that, so the live-in situation isn't the typical way this happens, but I love it! My parents were always working so our caretakers before we were school-age (and every summer until we were old enough to stay on our own) were my grandparents. Knowing how beneficial that was for me and my development (and my sense of family), I loved the thought of it for Liv, but it just wasn't feasible until just recently. It was hard for me taking Liv out of a daycare because she was clearly thriving there, but we also knew we needed something more flexible. We also were paying an insane amount of money monthly for childcare (Boston is notorious for being the most expensive place for childcare - let's just say that daycare was the cheapest of all of the childcare options we had, and we were paying just over $2,000/month. All of which was coming from school loan money). I think part of what I love most is seeing the relationship that Liv and her grammie have now - it's the absolute best. She's also really active with her - they go to playgroups, do arts and crafts, and puzzles and books; the last thing she's doing is sitting in front of the TV all day. The live-in part is even nicer because date nights can be relatively spontaneous again. We are definitely conscious of giving grammie her own time and respecting her time away from Liv, and she does the same for us. It really has been a win-win and will only become more critical/life-saving once we hit the crazy intern year schedules.

what to look for: Obviously you can't get too picky about family that may be available to take care of your child. The biggest key in making this relationship work is feeling completely comfortable communicating, making sure they still do plenty of activities with your child, and hopefully they can also get them socializing with other children. Although in complete honesty my grandparents did none of this with us - they fed us and loved us and kept us safe on the couch most of the time, and I turned out all right ;)

this might be for you if:
You have a family member who can take care of your child full time.
You like this family member, and they like you. And your child, obviously.
(This arrangement is usually a no-brainer for those lucky enough to have the option, but for some it's not what they want, and that's ok)!


Some take home points on all of the various forms of childcare we've now used? As a new parent, you're likely going to be nervous about any option that doesn't involve you staying home taking care of your child. I even cried the first few times I left Liv with my own mom! This is completely normal (at least that's what I tell myself)! Along the same lines, though, remember to trust your intuition, and if something just feels wrong, hopefully you have other options that feel more comfortable for you and your family. Another huge lesson we've gained from all of this is that kids are incredibly flexible. I was worried that changing things so frequently could be difficult for Liv, or could somehow be doing harm. But she adjusted and thrived in every single setting we put her in. Now, as much as I think Liv is special, I'm pretty sure this will be true of most children. It really does take a village to raise a child, especially when both parents are working full-time, and that village looks a little different for every family. Find what works for you, and don't be afraid to change if you haven't found it yet. And rest assured that the best part of your day will be reuniting with your little one! 

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