All posts by Kristina Cappetta

About Kristina Cappetta

Kristina Cappetta is a former TV News Producer turned stay at home mom to two beautiful little girls. After years of writing depressing news stories, Kristina turned to the blogging world and created The Mommy Rundown to talk about the things moms everywhere are dealing with as they raise their children. Follow Kristina on Twitter @kcappetta

Is “Mom” a Good Résumé Builder?

So you’ve been out of the workforce for “x” amount of years and you’ve decided now is the time to jump back in. You’ve been home raising your little ones and have worn every hat from cook to chauffeur to social worker to budget balancer. But, you have no “concrete” experience or references to show a potential employer. You’ve honed all of these skills while wearing your Mom hat at home.

How do you present this on a résumé? Should you put a catchy title like “Household CEO” to show you’ve been doing a lot of jobs while you’ve been at home? Do you try to bury the fact that you were a stay-at-home mom?

You may not want to do the latter. A recent survey shows 77 percent of employers think so-called “soft skills” like work ethic and multi-tasking are just as important as “hard skills.” Many also look at parental skills as achievements that can help in the workplace.

Many times we overlook our everyday doings and don’t see the hidden résumé riches they hold. Are you volunteering at your children’s school? Are you managing a committee? Do you help with the yearbook? Do you write updates for the school newsletter? These are all skills that can build your résumé as a mother. Don’t overlook them as “just helping out” at school. We all know they’re more than that.

If you’re not doing these things, it’s never too late to start. If you don’t want to or simply don’t have the time, then be upfront with employers when it comes to your lapse of time between jobs. While some experts say you shouldn’t try to put a catchy title on your household duties, I say why not? If you’re at home, chances are you are running the household, so why not put it on a résumé? If you don’t see the worth in all the work you’ve done at home then how can someone else?

Speaking as a stay-at-home mom, I think we sometimes sell ourselves short. When someone asks what do you do? Do you say you “just stay home with the kids”? I know I have said that before and then I end up kicking myself afterwards.

If you had a job outside the home would you say I’m “just a teacher” or “just a doctor” or “just a lawyer”? I think it’s safe to say you wouldn’t. So, don’t underestimate your own worth while you’re at home. You’re helping to raise the next generation of doctors, presidents, scientists, and teachers. That is something to brag about.

Once you have built up your confidence level, keep it there. Remember, you’re competing with other people who are probably in a similar position or who have years of current experience. Be proud of your mommy accomplishments and don’t be afraid to let them shine!

Are you a stay at home mom going back to work? How are you planning to address your years away from the workplace?

a baby boy sucking on a pacifier while in a cot

Is Saliva the New Pacifier Cleaner?

When you become a mom, you become immune to a lot of things that used to gross you out. You know what I’m talking about: poop, boogers, vomit… I don’t think I need to go any further. If you’re like me, you also became a germ freak. Germs are enemy number one as you boil and sterilize everything in sight. Toys, bottles, pacifiers: you name it and it hit the pot.

What if you didn’t boil or rinse off those pacifiers? What if you actually stuck them in your mouth to clean them and then stuffed them back in your baby’s mouth? OMG, don’t let your jaw drop completely to the floor just yet, because there’s more! What if spit cleaning that sucker actually could help reduce your child’s chance of developing allergies? That’s what experts say might be the best solution. To make a long story short, some researchers say germs are good. Depriving the body of them could lead to a weaker immune system.

Although I never sucked my children’s pacifiers clean, the thought actually doesn’t gross me out. Now, if it was someone else’s saliva, then this would be an entirely different conversation. In my opinion, there is no tighter bond than that between mother and child. This little person grew inside of you. You can’t get much closer than that, right? So, I don’t see why some people are getting so grossed out about this.

After having my second child, I can definitely say I think a lot of new mothers can be germ freaks. I should know, I was one. No one was going to go near my baby without washing their hands for five minutes and then hitting the Purell bottle…twice! Things change. Now, the “five-second” rule is the “twenty-second” rule. Now, forgetting the shopping cart cover in the car is no big deal (sometimes you don’t even bring it at all). The list goes on and on. I just think there are a lot more important things out there to protect our kids from than our own saliva.

Read the whole story here.

a baby about to cry

Should You Let Your Baby Cry It Out?

It’s 3 a.m. and it just won’t stop. It’s the sound that makes you cringe and want to curl up in a fetal position. No, it’s not a nightmare (although it may feel like one). It’s the reality of your baby crying… again. I think it’s safe to say no mother enjoys hearing that sound. But, what we do about it certainly may differ.

Do you let your baby cry it out or do you throw him a life line and pick him up? Well, if you tend to side with those who think it’s okay to let babies cry it out, you may like what one new study has to say. The journal Pediatrics released a study this week that suggests it’s alright to let babies cry while trying to fall asleep. Researchers say it is a “positive stress” that helps them grow and cope as they get older.

That’s all fine and dandy, but I think it’s always good to remember you have to do what’s best for you and your baby. It’s great to hear what “the experts” say, but I think you are the only true expert when it comes to your child. Researchers aren’t in your house in the middle of the night!

As a mother of an 11-month-old who still wakes up and cries at least once a night, this study does not work for me. If I let her cry it out, she ends up waking up her sister in the room next door. Then I have two crying children, one cranky husband, and one extremely annoyed mama (that’s me!) in the middle of the night. There is definitely stress there, but there’s nothing positive about it!

Do you let your baby cry it out or do you go in and pick him up?

Baby on white background with clothing, toiletries, toys and health care accessories. Wish list or shopping overview for pregnancy and baby shower. View from above. Child feeding, changing and bathing

How to Raise an Eco-Baby on a Budget

Going green can seem like an unrealistic expense if you’re the parent of a young baby. But it doesn’t have to be. The key: Make your essential purchases eco items and limit the amount of nonessential stuff you buy, especially when it comes to baby stuff.

Focus on what your baby ingests – and more

Perhaps you’re already opting for organic or local foods as well as BPA-free bottles and sippy cups. Focusing on the things that babies put in their mouths is smart and needn’t put much extra strain on your budget if you reduce the amount of packaged foods you buy. But what about the rest of your baby’s daily life? Some simple changes will minimize your child’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals at home, and also reduce your family’s impact on the environment.

Some of these changes can even be made for free — taking off your shoes as you enter your home, for example, is the public health equivalent of washing your hands. This isn’t a germ thing (germs are good for forming strong immune systems in babies). The bottoms of shoes contain everything from pesticide residue to car exhaust, neither of which you want on your floors, especially if you have a crawling infant at home. Yuck, right? Also free: Stop spraying pesticides on the lawn. They’re dangerous for babies and the environment, and you can spend those pesticide dollars on unsprayed, organic apples.

And there are other eco-trades that don’t require more cash than you’re already spending. For example, ditch conventional cleaning products for equally effective and safer green versions. These can cost about the same as their conventional cousins, and the swap drastically reduces indoor air pollution. In fact, everything you’re buying and bringing into your home – paint, diaper cream, nursery decorations, toys, clothes – has a safer counterpart. Yes, the greener versions can be more costly. But by buying less, you can:

•    offset the extra costs of safer, greener products
•    avoid exposing your child to questionable chemicals that can interfere with his development. A shocking number of these chemicals are found in consumer goods of all kinds
•    and protect the health of your baby’s planet by using fewer resources and tossing less outgrown kiddie gear into the landfills.

Paring down is the mark of any good (or budding) environmentalist!

The less is more approach

This less is more approach works well for babies, and later on, for children; they don’t “need” all that much. Think about it: What does a newborn need besides breasts (or a bottle), diapers and seasonally appropriate clothing? What you save, you can spend on an organic crib mattress. This is a great starting point; babies spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping (if you’re lucky). Organic crib mattresses generally cost $100 more than conventional versions, which is about the equivalent of a giant plastic swing and a changing pad, neither of which you need, and both of which could be releasing chemicals that you don’t want around your baby’s lungs.

Want a mobile for the crib? Draw your own simple images  (black and white patterns are said to be very stimulating for wee ones) and stick them over the baby’s changing area. Bathing her? Don’t slather her in cream (what’s softer than baby skin?) unless there’s some reason to. Cosmetic ingredients aren’t very well regulated; even products intended for babies may contain hormone-disrupting fragrance, questionable preservatives and carcinogens. See a rash on her face? Instead of opening a tube containing synthetic and petroleum derived ingredients you can’t even pronounce, head to your kitchen cabinet. A dab of (preferably organic) olive oil cures most dry patches. If you prefer ointments to olive oil, you can get lovely natural products that are safe for babies (and parents). And pay attention to the grown-up creams, lotions and perfumes you wear. The baby you’re nuzzling can absorb them.

If you’re ready to pare down and green up, here are five good trades you can make in the nursery.

Five Eco-trades for budget greening

1 .Don’t really need

Multiple swings, bassinets, bouncy seats and the like. One kid can’t sit in so many places! These are also the items that tend to be made of the worst plastics to have around a developing baby. Minimize exposure by paring down the excess.

Greener, healthier alternative

One hand-me-down or second-hand place for your baby to sit, lie or swing while you’re busy. Cotton or other natural materials on metal frames are preferable to plastic coated fabrics on plastic bases. And try your child out in the seat or swing at a friend’s house or in the store prior to purchasing. Some like them, some don’t. You don’t want to spend a lot on something the baby won’t even use.

2. Don’t really need

Plastic crib pads – putting growing lungs next to plastic is questionable. Some of the worst-for-baby plastics have recently been banned in toys and gear for kids under age 12, but you never really know what you’re getting, as labels (and regulation) are few and far between.

Greener, healthier alternative

Wool “puddle” pads make great moisture barriers. Lanolin, a natural component of wool, is nature’s waterproofer. Pour water on a wool sweater to see for yourself; it beads up. Wool pads are more expensive than plastic but will last longer. Buy the kind you can lay flat instead of one with fitted corners, so it can transition to a big-kid bed.

3. Don’t really need

Things that will only be used for a short period of time or that nobody really needs, like wipe warmers, plastic-covered foam sleep positioners, floating bath thermometers, etc.

Greener, healthier alternative

Avoid these things entirely and save your cash for an organic-cotton baby carrier. You don’t need to clutter your life with extraneous, potentially unsafe kid gear. When you want to test the bath-water temperature, use your hand, and if you squeeze the wipe in your hand for a moment, that will warm it up, too! Less is more.

4. Don’t really need

Foam and plastic mats and pads for the nursery floor. These materials might be off-gassing harmful chemicals and adhesive fumes into your baby’s breathing space.

Greener, healthier alternative

Wood floors are great places to learn to crawl. Cover yours with rugs made of natural fibers, like cotton, which can be thrown in the washing machine. If possible, buy organic cotton.

5. Don’t really need

Lots of clothes, including shoes for a non-walker.

Greener, healthier alternative

Only as much as your baby needs of hand-me-down or second-hand clothes in natural fibers. Kids grow out of things so quickly that it makes financial as well as environmental sense to use second-hand clothes when you can. When and if buying new, choose clothing made from organic cotton. Cotton is one of the world’s most sprayed crops; so organic is worth the extra expenditure.

“Goodnight Moon” Board Book and Bunny

Great Birthday Toys for a 1 Year Old Baby

You baby’s first birthday. How exciting! As you think about what you’ll give your little one, bear in mind which toys are just right for this stage of development. The right toy at the right time sparks a child’s imagination, rewards her with a sense of accomplishment and pushes her – or him – forward to new milestones.

Read on for our picks, based on what one-year-olds are up to developmentally.     

Tolo First Friends Play House

One of the most fascinating things about babies this age is watching their imaginations develop. Whether they’re pretend vacuuming or playing with dolls, stuffed animals or toy vehicles, they’re flexing those newfound mental muscles to learn about the world around them. Plus your LO will also be learning how to make decisions and gaining confidence along the way.


This toy house, which comes with some furniture and a toy child, will appeal to boys and girls – plus parents and grandparents are impressed with its sturdy construction and the fact that it closes up and has a handle for easy portability. And Tolo makes a variety of accessories, to help populate the house (more furniture, a baby, a scooter, a dog).

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Leap Frog Chat and Count Cell Phone

Babies love imitating anything that adults do. They also love pushing buttons, which means that cell phones are pretty irresistible. And there are certainly benefits to babies playing with phones – mimicking phone etiquette being chief among them, you don’t necessarily want yours accidentally calling Mogadishu or being dropped in the toilet. Hence the toy phone (or a decommissioned real phone, but be sure to remove the battery as well as dismantling all the service before you hand it over).

Leap Frog Chat and Count Cell Phone

There are lots of toy phones out there, but this one has an appealing, easy-to-use interface for the youngest ones and can also help them learn numbers, shapes, animals and songs.

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Plan Toy Cone Sorter

ring sorter

Sorting and stacking – they’re some of babies’ favorite activities, and stacking toys help them parlay that desire into problem-solving as they work to get the proper shapes on a spindle in the proper order, or next boxes or cups (or measuring cups). And along the way, these classic toys will help them learn to differentiate shapes and colors.

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Fisher-Price Corn Popper

Go to a playground populated with toddlers, and you’ll see a lot of push toys. Babies are fascinated by the cause-and-effect that push toys provide – push them and they go. In the meantime, they’re getting a lot of exercise and developing their muscles, coordination, depth perception and interpersonal skills (turns out the other babies want to “share” the good toys.)

corn popper

Once they’re walking, kids will be thrilled they can make this toy do things (love that popping noise). Parents love the nostalgia. The popper also provides great opportunities for imaginary play (It’s a vacuum player! It’s a lawn mower! It’s a weed whacker!)

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Colored cubes

“Building” is a fabulous learning experience for your baby, and a toy like blocks will provide years of enjoyment as your LO’s skills progress. Stacking and toppling (The power! The noise! The mess! The reaction!) teach cause-and-effect as well as control, key concepts for toddlers.

colored cubes

These eminently graspable, brightly colored blocks will encourage pattern-making – another task that they’re starting to learn with every round of piling up and knocking down.

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Melissa and Doug Large Shapes Jumbo Puzzle

Around age 1, babies are starting to “get” puzzles. They like looking at the shapes and the colors and, eventually, they get a thrill from the accomplishment of putting the right pieces in the right holes. In the meantime, they’re developing their hand-eye coordination, logical thinking and spatial intelligence. The very earliest puzzles have pegs so that even the youngest toddlers can pick up the pieces and, after they get the hang of it, put each one in the appropriate spot in the puzzle.

shapes puzzle

This one has 8 shapes, each with an easy-to-grasp wooden knob. Little learners can not only figure out how the puzzle works, but also, as you communicate the names of the colors and shapes, those will start sinking in, too.

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Hohner Glockenspiel

Babies love music, and whether or not listening to Mozart makes them better at math, listening to and making music definitely does help with their cognitive, verbal, and motor-skill development. Percussion instruments like drums and xylophones are a great present for this pounding-loving age.

Hohner Glockenspiel

There are lots of xylophones out there, but parents (especially musician parents) appreciate that this one has great tone – and not a lot of distracting bells and whistles that keep the baby away from just playing it.

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Prince Lionheart Wheelie Bug

As babies are getting closer to walking, they’re primed for “graduating” to more sophisticated ride-on toys. In the meantime, pushing the ride-ons around gives them confidence in being mobile. Once they’re ready to climb on and off, they’ll be strengthening their leg muscles – and achieving the sense of independence they so desperately crave.

Prince Lionheart Wheelie Bug

Bright, cute and well-wearing, the Prince Lionheart Wheelie Bug is a fun push toy for pre-walkers, and it satisfies older riders with spins and speed. Two sizes are available.

“Goodnight Moon” Board Book and Bunny

Books are a classic, time-honored gift, and babies and parents love them. While it’s great to read all sorts of books to little ones, board books have the fabulous benefit that those little hands can turn the pages – and the won’t rip. Whether you’re reading to the baby (that same book, over and over and over again) or she’s “reading” to herself, she’s developing language skills even though she can’t talk yet.

“Goodnight Moon” Board Book and Bunny

There’s a good reason this book is such a classic – it’s a wonderful book with language and pictures that will both appeal to and stretch the minds of babies. This gift version comes with a stuffed bunny who can be put to bed after saying goodnight to the bears, chairs and people everywhere.

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Playskool Busy Basics Form Fitter

Babies learn by trial and error and by repeating actions. A shape sorter is a classic grow-with-your-child toy that allows those increasingly coordinated hands to pick up (and eventually identify) the colored shapes and stick them through the proper holds.

Playskool Busy Basics Form Fitter

This classic shape sorter has been around for your years. Parents like the fact that it’s simple and straightforward (no noises or lights); when they hit the right age, kids love putting those shapes in over and over. Or stacking them up. Or making patterns with them.

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children at the restaurant

Should Babies Be Banned from Fancy Restaurants?

I’ll admit, I like to go out to eat. A lot. But, with kids it’s not always easy to find a sitter.

So, what do you do when you have plans to go to one of the world’s 50 best restaurants and the sitter cancels at the last minute? Do you bring the kid along or just order in and call it a night?

Well, one couple in Chicago decided to take their 8-month-old along. Just one problem…the baby cried…a lot apparently. Grant Achatz, head chef at the posh Alinea could apparently hear the wails from the kitchen and did what anyone would do in 2014; he turned to Twitter for guidance.

He tweeted, “Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no, but…”

Although he did not ask them to leave, the chef’s 180 characters or less got people on both sides of the table in a tweeting tizzy, raising the question, should kids be allowed at fancy restaurants? This specific restaurant is so fancy many make reservations months in advance and pay upwards of two-hundred dollars per person! So, for many a crying baby is not on the menu. In fact, neither are high chairs or your usual kids’ fare of fries and hot dogs.

I am all for taking kids out to eat, but, I for one, try to avoid fancy places when I’m toting the kids along. I personally am not able to enjoy myself if my kids decide to act up. I like to reserve those places and my credit card for times when it’s just me and my hubby.

I think we’ve all been in this couple’s shoes before where the sitter cancels at the last minute. Unfortunately, this couple, like all the other diners that night paid a lot of money upfront. I am assuming they did not want to lose their money because the seats are non-refundable. Many critics say they apparently could have tried to sell their spots instead of bringing Junior along.

If the baby was good and didn’t shed a tear, would the other diners have minded? Would people be talking about it today? I really don’t think so. But, because the baby was crying, there is now a debate as to whether places like Alinea should have some type of “no child” policy. While such a policy may make some diners ready for seconds, others may lose their appetites.

happy family newborn baby in embrace mother in white

Tips to Reduce Flat Head Syndrome

If your infant suffers from “flat head syndrome”, he’s not alone.  A Canadian study released shows that 47 percent of infants have some type of flat spot on their heads. That’s a big increase from some previous studies that showed only between three and 16 percent of babies having this condition.

Many child medical experts say more babies may be developing what doctors call positional plagiocephaly (the real term for this) as a result of the 1992 recommendation that parents put babies to sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Thankfully though, this has decreased the number of SIDS cases.

Doctors say a lot of babies can develop flat spots on their skull because many tend to favor one side over the other when they are either sleeping or eating or when they are in their bouncy seats or car seats. If they are in the same position all the time, doctors say their soft bones can make the skull flat on whichever side they love the most. Some kids end up having to wear a molding helmet or special band to correct the problem. But, there are some other things experts say you can do to help avoid this condition.

  1. Be sure to switch your baby’s head position when he is sleeping on his back even if he tends to favor one side
  2. Give babies plenty of tummy time (supervised, course) so they aren’t always on their backs
  3. Think about changing where the crib is in your baby’s room  so he has different things to stare at in different places as he nods off to dream land
  4. Try not to keep your baby in the car seat or bouncy seat for a long time (I can imagine this one is probably the hardest. We all know how babies love to fall asleep in the car and bouncer. It’s so hard to get them out!)
  5. Change how you hold your baby during feedings so he is not always in the same position, no matter how comfy he may get

Of course, if you think your child is developing this problem, be sure to talk about any concerns with your pediatrician.

the ipotty

Technology Takes on Toilet Training with the iPotty



mom taking a selfie with her and her two kids

Are You an Online Oversharing Mom?

As a mom, there are things that I sometimes think people need to know about to get through their day. They just couldn’t survive without knowing how little my daughters sleep, their eating habits, their milestones, etc., right? Hmmm…

When it comes to kids, you can’t forget the down and dirty details about their poop, nose picking, and all those other extremely attractive things that some people may find gross. I am happy to admit, I don’t share those, as tempting or hilarious I may think they are at times. But there are a lot of parents who do ramble on about these types of stories. That has at least one woman out there, saying TMI, among other things.

She has made a business out of highlighting the details of parenthood she thinks the world really doesn’t need to know. She’s not only poking fun at them, but is also telling us parents to “STFU.”  She’s stirring up a lot of buzz, and some criticism as well, mainly because she doesn’t have kids. Her hugely successful blog and now book, though, are clearly striking a chord.

STFU, Parents: The Jaw-Dropping, Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare

I think you can be guilty of online oversharing whether or not you have kids. I know a lot of people out there who like to share awkward and embarrassing stories of breakups and other moments that should really remain personal. So, I don’t think it’s fair to come down just on parents. Truthfully, there are times I’d rather read about a gross booger eating story!

With that said, I do think that social media has given us a license to let people know every little detail about our lives. I’m sure there are some people out there who really want to know what you eat for dinner every night and what songs you’re listening to while you’re supposed to be working. For the rest of us, we always have to option to keep on scrolling!


Is Kindergarten Too Young for Sex Ed?

“Kids these days are so much smarter than we were.”

We hear people say that all the time. They’re savvy with technology. They read at a younger age. They do math problems at a younger age. They seem to know everything.

But, when it comes to sex education, how much should they learn, let’s say in Kindergarten? Should they be learning anything at all at that age? It’s a touchy subject to say the least.

Here in the U.S., each state has its own rules about what and when certain aspects of sex education are taught. In some states, parents have the choice to take their kids out of these lessons for religious or personal reasons.

But, if you look at other countries, like the Netherlands, Kindergarten-aged children are learning about sexuality and all the feelings that go along with it. In fact they are calling it “sexuality education” rather than sex education. They are teaching about love and relationships and how to deal with all of that in the right way. They are not treating sexuality like it is a taboo subject or something to be ashamed of.

I know a lot of parents who read about what the Netherlands is doing may cringe. But, you may change your mind after you see that country’s stats. Children in the Netherlands have sex at a later age. The Netherlands also has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates. Compare that to the U.S. where nearly half of high school students say they have had sex. Although it has dropped, the U.S. also has the highest teen birth rate among industrialized nations. Some may ask, are we the ones doing something wrong?

As the mother of a Kindergartner and Pre-Kindergartener, I have to admit, the thought of my girls learning all about sex and everything that it entails does make me squirm a little. I think the main reason is because as a parent you always want to protect your children’s innocence. But, the idea of them learning about love and relationships and how to deal with all of it is a good thing. I think kids don’t often know what to do with their feelings, which in turn can lead to other problems as they get older. If they can sort it out earlier, it may help them (and us) in the long run.

Sexuality is not a bad thing. It’s real life. While we may think Kindergarten is a bit young to be learning about it, isn’t it better than learning it from television or friends? As parents, I think that’s what we need to be more scared about. I also think we need to take more of an active role in teaching our kids and not leaving it all up to the school system. Many lessons about sexuality should start at home. But, when it comes to schools, The Netherlands may be on to something with the lessons it is teaching.

Do you think Kindergarten is too young for sexuality lessons? What age do you think is appropriate?