Archive: Top Ten Tips

Tips for Getting Kids, Spouses and Employees to Share

It often strikes me that children, spouses and employees act in surprisingly similar fashion when it comes to sharing. More accurately, when it comes to not sharing. Whether toys, money, responsibility or attention need to be divvied up, sometimes we're all children deep down. So how can we help our loved ones and co-workers discover the wisdom of sharing? Here goes. 1. Let them duke it out. Too often, we intervene too early and prevent people, even little people, from learning valuable lessons on their own. Toddlers can sometimes find the right compromise if parents step back. Ditto for competitive co-workers. 2. Make them take turns. Set a schedule for a favorite toy, seat next to mom, etc. With co-workers, it's time, attention and prized/hated jobs that need to be alternated. 3. Be fair and don't take sides. It's nearly impossible for anyone, of any age, to play fair in...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | June 16, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (35)

Giving Your Kids (and Yourself) a Balanced Summer

Children dream of summer -- swimming holes, picnics, lazy days, cool movie theaters, outdoor concerts in the park, catching fireflies. One of the casualties of today's increased demands by employers -- coupled with our trend toward overscheduling kids with year-round activities -- is the relaxed pace of summertime. How do you keep summer's magic alive, without driving yourself crazy? Here are my and readers Top Ten Tips for a serene summer: 1. Plan in advance. It seems paradoxical, but one prime ingredient in an easy-going summer is organizing ... in January. Some camps fill up quickly, plane tickets cost less in advance, beach rentals book early. So as soon as you've finished paying for Christmas presents, start thinking summer. 2. Work with other parents from school, daycare, or your neighborhood. Imagine a team approach for a group of working parents. Each leaves work early one day every two weeks to...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | June 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sex & The City Reviews

Did you notice, starting Friday night, that women about town were dressed in brighter colors, with a little more spring in their high heels? One of the uniquely wonderful success factors in Sex & the City, which opened nationwide on Friday, is its ability to make women feel fabulous about being insecure, vulnerable, sexual, complicated, and shoe-obsessed. Here are my thoughts, mixed in with a representative sample from other On Balance posters: "It was fabulous. Yes, parts were predictable. And, yes, the girls seemed more fashion-obsessed than normal. But I just missed them. I loved seeing Carrie tell Big off. I loved Miranda showing vulnerability through her anger. The girls supported each other as they always do. Samantha did something with sushi I'd love to try. And I nearly wet my pants when Charlotte "Poughkeepsied" in hers. For fans of the series like me, watching the movie was like hanging...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | June 2, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Finding the Smart Time to Return to Work

This is the kind of advice that flies in when you're a working woman pregnant for the first time: "Infants don't really notice if it's you or someone else taking care of them -- go back to work right away, and take a break when they need you to help with their homework." "When your kids are teenagers -- that's when you really want to stay home. You know -- big kids, big problems." "I don't know what you'll be like but the night before I had to come back to work, I realized I couldn't leave my baby. It's better to stay home when they're so vulnerable, and go back when they starts school." In other words, welcome to the maelstrom of motherhood. Lots of good advice, but you've got to make your own decisions. To help out, here is the collective wisdom from On Balance readers: 1. Don't...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | May 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (54)

Keeping Your Sanity as A New Mom

Ahhh ... those blissful early days of motherhood. My boobs looked large enough to feed half of Detroit. Flaps of fat swung around my belly like leftover gefilte fish. I was afraid to look down below; a simple trip to the potty required an inflatable donut, a sitz bottle of warm water, and endless courage. I cried like a wild animal when dusk fell. I screamed at my husband when he brought me a fax from work. A glance at the baby's umbilical cord brought me to tears. And then there was the Village, who days before had treated me like the Pregnancy Goddess of the Planet. My mother-in-law admonished us, after three days, that she didn't feel "involved" in her grandson's life. My excited younger sister drove six hours to meet her nephew -- but she had Strep throat so I wouldn't let her into the house. Hordes of...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | May 12, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (60)

Top 10 Tips for Finding the Right Child Care

In 12 years raising three kids, I've sent my children to four different day-care centers in three states and hired at least 25 babysitters. I used full-time day care when my children were infants, as well as a patchwork of relatives, friends and paid in-home care. Our primary babysitter moved from Minnesota to D.C. with us, staying for seven years total. Finding -- and keeping -- good child care is one of the hardest, most critical, least understood components to working parenthood. You simply cannot go to work, or do a good job once you get there, without it. Here are my (and On Balance readers') top 10 tips for finding -- and maintaining -- high quality child care. 1. Spend the time to figure out what kind of care you need. The costs, advantages and disadvantages vary: day care, home-based center, live-in nanny, live-out nanny, nanny share, au pair,...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | May 5, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top 10 Tips for Equality at Home

If your boss treats you unfairly, you've got options: You can quit, file a lawsuit, call in sick, or, at the very least, complain incessantly to co-workers. When your home life feels unfair, your options are more limited and more complicated. It's harder to find and maintain equality at home amidst the chaos of working, tending a marriage, raising children and managing a semi-sane household. Unequal division of chores and child care tends to creep up on a couple, and resentment (okay, fury) can build before you realize it. So, achieving a balanced division of labor at home seemed a worthy topic for On Balance. Here are readers' Top Ten Tips: 1. Find a partner with similar values when it comes to home life. If you marry someone whose mother waited on him (or her) hand and foot, it shouldn't surprise you when your beloved expects all compromises to come...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | April 28, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top 10 Tips for Responding to Inappropriate Personal Questions at Work

We've all been on the receiving end of painfully personal questions. In the white-collar corporate factories where I've worked, protocols abound, so people are hyper-sensitive to blundering into one's personal life. As a result my awkward questions always come from a) relatives and b) acquaintances. (I find that friends, whom I can pick and choose, don't venture into inappropriate territory too often). One relative inquired, a few days before my wedding, how often I got my period and did I know when I ovulated. A male relative asked me when I'd be able to fit into my jeans again -- two weeks after my first child was born. Another wondered, over dinner with my second husband, whether I missed my first husband. In fairness, I blunder as well. My worst was the time I asked the mother of my daughter's new best friend where they were from. "Ethiopia," the mom...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | April 21, 2008; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top 10 Tips for Getting Promoted

The frustrating reality for parents today: The standard work model required from roughly age 25 to 45 is Monday through Friday, eight to 10 hours per day. We need to invest sweat equity at work to keep our jobs and get promotions and raises and benefits. Unfortunately for the children involved, that time frame is when they need parents most. Parenthood and work inevitably and repeatedly collide, demanding that we be in two separate places at once. But many people are still accomplishing the impossible, figuring out how to work diligently, stay late, schmooze the boss, build rapport with co-workers, volunteer for overtime, get promoted and still leave at five for day-care pickup. Here's how On Balance readers juggle getting ahead with being there for our kids. 1. Do your job and do it well when you are there. 2. Technology, technology, technology. Get a Blackberry and use it. Invest...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | April 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top 10 Tips for Marital Bliss

Marital bliss? Some days I'm happy (really happy) to settle for marital survival. Here are the top 10 tips for keeping a marriage together, contributed by On Balance readers: 1. Be nice. This is stupidly simple, but it works. Even when you feel like hell, or have a beef with each other, or are tense or tired, make the effort to be kind and gentle with each other. Make the partnership a safe harbor where the other person wants to be. This means taking a breath, biting your tongue and going easy even when that's not exactly how you feel. 2. Before you get married, find common ground on your most important issues -- where you want to live, the role work plays in your family balance, how you will handle your finances, whether or not you want children (and if you are older, what lengths you will go to...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | April 7, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (75)

Top 10 Tips for Talking to Kids About Sex

We just got our kitten spayed, prompting many fruitful discussions with our kids, ages 11, 9 and 6, about sex drive and the consequences of unplanned pregnancies. Even our youngest can now give a brief, age-appropriate talk on the joys and perils of sex. The recent news that one-quarter of teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease, along with the Eliot Spitzenfruede and the first photos of Jamie Lynn Spears "showing," got me wondering, yet again, why it is so hard for parents to talk openly, and productively, to their children about sex. I found a teen health expert, Karen Lieberman Troccoli, who's also the mother of two kids ages 10 and 13, to help us out. Troccoli is a contributing author to the newly released book, Like Whatever: An Insider's Guide to Raising Teens and co-author of Like It Is: A Teen Sex Guide. She has worked in the...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | March 31, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top 10 Tips for Managing Household Chaos

A friend from business school works full-time at Johnson & Johnson, travels several days a month, and has a long commute. Her husband's schedule is similar. They have two daughters in elementary school. The last time we ran into each other we shared notes on our nutty, totally unbalanced lives. The most hilarious stories centered around our lack of ability to execute minor (or major) household repairs. My friend confided that two of their house's three bathrooms were kaput -- and had been for over a year. We howled over how unlike our neat business school forecasts our lives have become and how nearly impossible it is to get to chores and repairs, to stay home for the plumber or electrician, to get our cars serviced and other increasingly non-essential essentials. Which leads us to today's Top 10 Tips for Managing Household Chaos: 1. Groceries: Get 'em delivered or grocery...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | March 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top Ten Tips for Going Back to Work

When I started writing Mommy Wars five years ago, I was desperate to connect with other moms battling the "inner mommy war" -- that incessant voice in my head questioning whether my choices about work and family were right for my kids, my husband, the universe ... and oh, yes, me. I got what I needed -- wisdom, self-deprecating humor, camaraderie and advice from other moms. Between the lines of the 26 essays in Mommy Wars, I also found outstanding, practical advice on how and when to leave the work force to stay home -- and how and when to go back. I collected all the collective wisdom from the Mommy Wars contributors, moms I met on book tour, headhunters, human resources managers, and hundreds of comments from posters on this blog. Here it is, boiled down to my Top Ten Tips For Going Back to Work listed below --...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | March 10, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

10 Tips To Stop Fighting in the Car

Despite juggling work and family for more than a decade, I am powerless to solve a problem that is ruining my personal and professional life: I can't get my three kids, ages 10, 9 and 5, to stop fighting in the car. Every morning I send three happy, well-fed, rested kids out to the car to head to school. The bickering speeds up the closer we get to the garage. "I'm sitting in back!" "No I am" "I don't want to go around to that side" and so on. Once inside the car, the fighting gets worse. "He touched me!" "Stop singing" "She's making that scratching noise!" By the time I drop them at school and get to work, I'm a wreck. At the end of the day, the routine starts all over again, as if the kids have been plotting all day long about how to drive each other...

 

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | March 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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