The Daily Daycare Dash

You’re stuck in traffic running way behind schedule.  Your palms start to sweat, your heart is pounding.  Is it because:

  • (a) You’re late for your best friend’s surprise birthday party—the surprise will be long over by the time you get there?
  • (b) You’re late for a flight at a busy international airport with massive security lines?
  • (c) You’re late for an important court hearing (you’re the lawyer or the litigant)? or
  • (d) You’re late for daycare pickup?

For most working parents, the correct answer is (d).  

  • Your best friend will forgive you; you’ll laugh about it together one day.  
  • I’ve cajoled my way to the front of TSA lines at airports—most fellow travelers and TSA agents will take pity on you in those circumstances.  
  • And, despite the formidable black robes, most judges will exercise leniency so long as you have a decent excuse and don’t make a habit of it.  

But daycare providers?  Forget it. They are merciless.  Many daycare contracts state that you will be charged $5 to $10 per minute  for late pickups, no exceptions.  And then there’s the guilt factor.  You walk in to find your sweetie-pie sitting in the director’s office looking forlorn.  “Mommy, did you forget me?”  

And, joy of joys, there’s an opportunity for working parents to experience this road-rage-and-parental-guilt-inducing stress Monday through Friday most weeks of the year. 

What’s a frazzled working parent to do?

For parents with long commutes, try finding a daycare close to your workplace.  That removes the traffic/commuting-time variable, although you may be forced to listen to the Paw Patrol theme song repeatedly while driving in traffic, which is its own form of torture.  

You can also hire one of your child’s daycare teachers, put her on the sign out list, and pay her to sign out your kid and play with him outside on days when you’re running late.  It will cost much less than $5 to $10 per minute.  

If you have family members near your daycare who are willing to help in a pinch, you truly are blessed—thank them profusely.  

And when, despite your best efforts and a few creative interpretations of how long that light was yellow, you arrive ten minutes late, do what your child does when she’s in trouble.  The sad eyes. The apology and explanation. The promise, “I’m usually so good about picking her up on time. This won’t keep happening.”   

Sometimes even daycare providers will relent.

Easier Thanksgiving Apple Pie

In my family, Thanksgiving and apple pie go hand-in-hand.  As the family baker, my job is to get dessert on the table for the big meal.  (When I retire from the law, I’ll open a bakery called the Torte Lawyer, featuring . . . you guessed it, “appeal pie.”  We’ll also feature subpoenaed brittle . . .)

All joking aside, however, I’ve developed some techniques that make apple pie baking go as quickly and smoothly as possible, which is crucial if you’re juggling kids, work, and holiday travel.  The first trick is this marvelous contraption:

It cores, peels and slices the apples in one easy step, and the kids get a kick out of turning the handle and collecting the apple skin ribbons that it produces.  Mine was manufactured by “Back to Basics,” but any heavy duty cast iron/stainless steel device will work.

My second trick works for all types of pies and tarts.  Roll out your pie dough on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper.  That way, you skip having to scrub down the countertop before and after you roll out your dough.  Plus, when it’s time to transfer the dough to your pie dish, you can simply pick up the paper and flip it upside down into the dish.

And, yes, technically the photo is of a tart, not a pie, but the same concepts apply either way.

Have a happy, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving!


Time Saver: It’s Kind of, Sort of, a Business

My husband and I joke that running our household is a second job.  But it really is, and we run our home like a business.  We keep a calendar with all the family events and nights when one of us needs to work late.  We send each other Outlook appointments.  We try to sit down and plan for the following week each weekend—each night’s meals, who is picking up the kids after work, what we need to buy for the following week.

We function as co-CEOs (although my husband would claim otherwise).  He is the family CFO, as his real job involves budgeting and working with numbers.  We both handle HR, which mostly entails dealing with cranky, disgruntled children (“Mom, why can’t I have the last Klondike Bar”). I handle procurement, and I also serve as the family’s General Counsel—that role is not always necessary, but it’s good to have one on board, just in case.

It sounds silly, but by dividing up tasks and areas of responsibility between us and doing a little advance planning, things run much more smoothly, which saves both time and money in the end.