Tips and tricks from a busy mom: Kid allowance, Monday mornings, and a household "re-org"

Hi there! It’s been a hectic week for our household with a busy summer schedule! This post is a compilation of parenting and time hacks that have been helpful and top of mind for me this week as it’s been an intense time.

If these tips are resonating with you, please share and also feel free to drop us a line by replying to this post - we promise to write back!

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Parenting advice: Kids allowance - Give, Spend, Save

If you’ve been wondering about the best way to introduce your kids to money management and how to think about allowance, I highly recommend The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber

The key takeaway is that we shouldn’t wait to teach our kids about money until the only mistakes they can make are big ones (remember that time when you got your first credit card when you turned 18 with a $500 credit limit and you didn’t quite know what that meant - maybe it was just me).

Based on this book’s recommendation, here is how we approach allowance:

  1. Give the amount of money that matched the kid’s age every week (starting at age 5 or later if they don’t express interest - our oldest started asking about money around 5 1/2).

  2. Discuss how to split the money across three categories that align to our family values (give, save and spend) and set ground rules and what money can and cannot be spent on (for example, parents still buy books and necessities, kids buy stuff they want, but there is a list of things that are not allowed - mainly candy).

  3. Empower kid decision making - parenting win is that our oldest no longer ask us to buy them toys or souvenirs when we go places. Instead we discuss if the item is a need or want, how much it costs and whether or not it will be meaningful.

Parenting advice: Hiring a nanny/household manager (again)

Honest talk: it’s been a rough few months - between a new job and busy summer with lots of kid activities resuming (camps, sports, friends - yay) and to top it off, our nanny also gave notice that she needed to take a step back from working, sending me on a nanny search.

The silver lining is that it has given me space to re-examine our family needs and realize that it is time to transition to a different kind of model at home - where we need kids to be picked up from school, but also find someone who would be excited to help manage the house when the kids are not at home.

From my earlier post on hiring a nanny - I can definitely see how the job description has taken a pivot - where we bring back the household management as a key need:

📃 As with any hiring, write your job description and identify what is most important to you (link to sample). For us, it was reliability, warmth/love of children, and household support. For the first few years, we also had a language requirement - we wanted our nanny to speak Russian. We also willingly traded an early educational background for warmth toward kids.

We had some baseline requirements - had to have a car, clean driving record, and background check. Over the years, some of these have shifted and adjusted (for example, we dropped the language piece) and lightened the household management stuff, but some requirements got more stringent – such as high energy with kids.

This time around, it took 2 weeks of intense searching to find a great nanny - I used SitterCity as well as Ani’s Nannies agency. The agency was really helpful because our needs were a bit more specialized than in the past and they had a good pulse on vetting and sending strong candidates from the get go.

Kids took the news in stride - I’m always amazed at how resilient they are. We baked a cake for our departing nanny, invited her to stay in touch and wished her well. We are now looking forward to welcoming a new nanny + household assistant to our household.

Life tip: Block your Monday mornings to get organized

I remember I used to come to work on a Monday morning and start scrambling to figure out where I left off, and where I need to start. Since as a PM my job is to look ahead, I saw that my routine was not helpful for me to be able to do that.

Inspired by my husband as well as studies that show that we focus better in the morning, I now block 90 minutes at the beginning of my week to get organized. This has become a protected time for me to get organized for the week. Here is my routine:

1) Look at my calendar ahead (for the next 2 weeks) - and get a refresher on where I’m already committed to spending my time (opportunistically decline meetings that I think I can skip and resolve conflicts)

2) Write down by 3 priorities for the week and reflect on my last week’s goals - did I accomplish them? Did things slip? Do I need to double down on something I know is important but I haven’t been able to make time?

3) Socialize - I send a weekly email to my team and key stakeholders summarizing what I am focused on and what is top of mind. I do this for self- accountability (I’m an obliger) as well as awareness for my team and partners.

4) Start the day to day - Only after I get organized, do I start responding to emails/Slack messages and get going with my focus areas.

Baby gift (product rec): A sensory filled Lamaze toy and an excellent sleep sack

If I have arrived too late to a baby registry, here are my go to gifts for first time parents:

Freddy the Firefly (or Fifi if you’d like the gender specific one) has been a hit for both kids - it has many textures, colorful and can easily be attached to a stroller or a playmat. You can also throw it in the wash as many times as needed.

If you want to spend a bit more money, then this Woolino sleep sack is amazing. I like it for multiple reasons as a gift - it is of high quality merino wool - great for all seasons. It survives wear and tear really well - my first one was a hand me down that was used by at least 2 kids before mine and it held up really well. And lastly, it spans a long-ish timeframe. The one I usually buy is 2 months - 2 years, which means you get a ton of utility out of it.

Content recs: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso is back - season 2! I don’t remember the last time I watched a TV show week by week - but it is officially a highlight of my Thursday evenings. I love this show because it reminds me of the best in people and makes me be a kinder human being.

Coda on Privilege

We end most Mind The Beet posts with a note on where we chose to spend our volunteer time and money. Our oldest’ best friend is a stage IV cancer survivor (diagnosed when she was 3). These kids are warriors and we want to honor the community around them that tries to support and lift up their spirits - such as Make a Wish Foundation. Make a Wish foundation’s mission is to grant a wish to kids diagnosed with a critical illness. As a parent, there is nothing worse than seeing your child be sick, so I am highlighting this charity today in support of both children and their parents fighting every day to get well.