Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Don't Be Afraid to Hire a Babysitter

My best advice for new moms is: Don't be afraid to hire a babysitter! Bunmi Laditan, the author of "Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault," posted the hilarious video above on the difference between hiring a babysitter for a first child versus a third child.

With my first child, I did not hire any babysitters, determined that only family members would look after my precious son. I only worked for two hours in the morning before my husband left for work. My mother-in-law also watched him once a week so I could run errands.

In hindsight, I was an idiot. With my second child, I hired a babysitter after my daughter was five months old. My mother had moved here by that point, but both grandmothers eventually got tired of watching my daughter after I went back to work part time.

I love both my babysitters. The first babysitter moved to Hawaii after three months. I was so depressed I wore the same outfit for three days after she told me she was moving out of state. (By the way, no one noticed I was wearing the same yoga pants and pullover.)

The second babysitter has been with use for three months, and I am crossing my fingers that she will stay. Having someone else to watch my child and do light housework three mornings a week has made me a much happier mom.

My daughter cried at first when I left with the babysitter. Now she happily gurgles and waves goodbye to me. I don't know which is worse, having her cry when I leave or having her not care at all. But I'm happy to get out the door.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Starbucks, I Can't Quit You

Photo courtesy of Starbucks
After my husband pointed out I spent more than $100 at Starbucks last month, I've been trying to change my evil, coffee-loving ways. The debut of the new Starbucks reward system on April 12 also made it easier to see how much money I was spending for a free coffee.

Under the new system, you need to earn 125 stars for a free food or drink item, which is $62.50. Now if someone said "Hey, if you spend more than $60, you get a free coffee!" I would say that's a horrible deal. But when it's cloaked in shiny stars that pop up on my Starbucks app, it awakens some urge buried since kindergarten to get shiny gold stars.

Finance guru Preet Banerjee serves up a good breakdown of the new Starbucks reward system on YouTube for anyone who's as obsessed as I am with Starbucks. Basically, if you spend less than $5, you were better off under the old system, which rewarded patrons with a free item after 12 visits.

So here I am at Panera, sipping herbal tea and trying to get into the writing groove. I switched tables three times to get comfortable. The first one was too close to the soda machine, with its distracting whirs and gurgles. The second one was too close to a large party discussing something boring. The third table lacked an outlet.

Starbucks, I can't quit you... but my budget needs to quit you for a while.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.