Weekend Open Thread

Cole Haan Air Jalisa Tall Boot Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Yowza — in addition to tax day sales (with lots of pieces under $50), 6pm.com is also featuring sales from Cole Haan and Stuart Weitzman. I’m digging these tall classic boots, with concealed Nike Air technology, a nice round toe, and a stretchy back panel. They were $298, but are now marked 60% off to $119.20 (lots of sizes left in both black and brown!). Cole Haan Air Jalisa Tall Boot

(L-2)

Comments

  1. I am the “Basics” OP from earlier this week. Just wanted to post an update.

    I went to both BB (they didn’t have the really nice pants TCFKAG found) and J. Crew (for decades now, no pair of pants I have ever tried on there is cut for my body). Then I decided to meander through Macy’s. Motherlode.

    Jones New York: Why didn’t I know about this brand? Very basic staples. I found several styles of casual summer capris from which to choose. All well made (high quality fabrics and construction). Their fit model must have the same shape as I do, unlike the J. Crew fit model. Machine washable. Very reasonable prices. What’s not to like? I bought two pairs of side-zip, polished cotton, no waistband capris (one black, one white) and two pairs of front-zip, waist-band, flat front, side pockets capris (one black, one white). Also, a terrific black and white Chanel-type tweed skirt suit (more graduation or wedding attire than office, but the two pieces as separates go with everything).

    Lauren by Ralph Lauren jeans. Apparently, I am the fit model for the classic straight cut. I put them on, and they fit perfectly. No gaping at the lower back/waist (hello J. Crew). Good fit through the tush, hips and thighs. Not too “skinny” or too “flare” at the bottom. Reasonable price. Well made (fabric and construction).

    Anyone else have luck at Macy’s or with these brands? I know they are not haute couture, but they solved a slew of my basics issues.

    (FYI on the fit issue: I am 5’3”, 120 lbs, have a barely discernible waist but am otherwise shaped like a 40-ish woman who exercises regularly and eats well. Most pants I try on are too tight in the hips, tush, thighs and knees but curiously also have about 3-5 inches of extra room in the back of the waist.)

    • I’ve had days like yours at Macy’s — everything I try on fits well and is exactly what I need and is on sale and someone handed me a coupon to use — and more (many more) when I can’t find a single thing that I like, that fits, and that flatters. I keep going back hoping to have one of the good days, but they’re few and far between.

    • We must have a similar body shape except I am considerably heavier. Jones New York is great because the suits come in separates AND petites. I am 12P jacket because I have a short waist, no boobs, and very short arms and I wear 14 pants or skirts because I am hippy with thighs but pants often gape in the back on me. The other thing is the Jones looks like nice fabric even if it is a poly-blend. I, too, just discovered Ralph Lauren and bought a pair of twill pants that fit great. Before I quit smoking I was a 4P in top and a 6 on the bottom. I like Michael Kors at Macy’s as well.

      • Yes, the gape! What is that about?

      • Wow, we are the same sizes, apparently! 12P-small-chest top and 14 on bottom! I’m really trying to do something about that though…first session with a new trainer yesterday. Sadly, I do not have the “before I quit smoking” excuse.

        • I have a body that needs alot of work, ESPECIALY since SUMMER is comeing up and I want to go to the beach and go swimmeing!!! So I have to STOP eating MATZOs, and all other kinds of BREAD, and starting to drink more POLAND SPRING WATER.

          The manageing partner told me “your tuches is getting to big for your body”…..Nice guy (but he is RIGHT)…

          YAY!!!!!!

    • I am a pronounced pear, with all my curve in my hips and thighs, and the key is really tailoring. I know it sounds like such a pain, but it’s really soooooo much better than hours and hours struggling in and out of pants and losing all of my weekends crying in dressing rooms.

      I find pants that fit in my hips and thighs (as in, skim over my hips and thighs, so that they do not look tight on my thighs at all, because if they are tight in my thighs the pants look like they go *in* at the knees, and I think that just looks weird) and then I take them to my awesome local tailor, who can easily take in the waist for me in about a week.

      As soon as I found one pair of pants that fit well and I liked how they looked after she took the waist in, I went back and bought the same pants in every color, and took them straight to her. I am so relieved to be done freaking and obsessing about pants. …. except I will have to when it comes time to buy another full suit, but I am trying to block that out for now…

      Also, my perfect pair of pants I found from recs on here: The Halogen Taylor cut pants.

      • This, I love the Halogen Taylor cut fit. Perfect for pear shaped figures, I get a pair each year from nordstorm. No other pants fit me so well, AnnTaylor/Jcrew/BR are so painful and make my thighs look horrible.

        I also like Jones NewYork pencil skirts from Macys and Amber brand skirts from nordies, fit very well.

    • I am an hourglass and love my Lauren by RL jeans!

  2. Blonde Lawyer :

    Went to an awesome mentoring dinner w/ a judge and 6 other women yesterday. The judge had a white hair tie on her wrist (no blue fingernail). She also occasionally played with said white hair tie. I wanted to hug her and tell her how happy the other readers here would be to hear about her hair tie. I knew that would be weird, so I refrained.

  3. Equity's Darling :

    So, I’m being called to the bar this summer, and honestly, I’m having trouble choosing what my next “life goal” is.

    I had the plan to become a lawyer about five years ago, so I applied, wrote the LSAT, etc., and now that I’ve mostly finished that, I’m totally struggling with life goals- for career, and everything else. I’m feeling a little “now what?”.

    Any suggestions for refocusing my life? Making some new goals? I’m feeling pretty aimless, and not particularly passionate about anything (except travelling, which I do as much as I can).

    • Anonymous :

      I read an article earlier this week on pursuing non-traditional goals at Ms JD – the article is under the heading Big Time Small Town Law. The article is on the front page, but relatively low down, and is a Step 1. If you click on the author’s blog at the bottom, there is a Step 2 article as well, and I thought that was particularly useful.

      I’ve struggled with this too, and while I’m happy now, I kind of wish I’d read an article like this a few years ago and done less aimless drifting.

      Here, I’ll risk moderation: http://ms-jd.org/big-time-small-town-step-1-crafting-definition-success

      • Equity's Darling :

        Thanks for the article! I’m definitely going to spend some time thinking about the five questions posed, because as it stands now, I only have an answer for number 4.

        (1) Who do you want to build a reputation with? (2) Where do you want to be on a Friday night? (3) Where do you want to be on a Monday morning? (4) What are your five happiest memories?(5) What, objectively, is holding you back from your ideal life right now?

    • I went through kind of a long funk after law school over this issue. I had my clerkships and my biglaw job lined up and so…everything about my life was done. I’d spent every day of my entire existence before then building up to that moment and then there was a *huge* “Now what?” Especially because most people’s “now what?” is marriage and/or children and while I would love love for those things to happen for me, they haven’t so far (I’m 11 years out of law school).

      I don’t have any real advice, unfortunately. Two years in biglaw were quite enough for me thankyouverymuch, so I switched over to government. I eventually got the hang of “building a career” and so there is that to work on. But now it’s mostly just a matter of living my life, making sure I have interests other than work and playing on the internet, making sure I leave the house on weekends to see friends or meet new people.

      It really took me a good 7 years to get over no longer having a check-a-box list to achieve, which is somewhat ridiculous! I’m very happy in the job I have now and have no desire to move up, over, or out; for many, career goals can give you that structure. Therapy helped.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Well, I’ve been finished law school for a year or so, since in Canada we article, so I’m articling, and I’m really okay with the transition out of school and into work (I don’t miss school at all)…it’s more the transition from into being a full-fledged lawyer that is sort of making me feel lost.

        I’m turning 25 in three weeks, so I assume at some point a marriage/kids will happen, but I’m currently not pushing for that within the next 3-5 years, so I’m sort of like “what will I accomplish in that time, other than working and travelling”.

        • Springtime :

          As Type As, I think we all struggle with this.

          I’ve started running races. I’ve always been into fitness, but learning to train my body to run faster is a great way to keep pushing myself to new goals.

          Also, did you decide what practice group you’ll join? I remember your post from a few weeks ago. And did you keep dating the guy you were feeling ‘meh’ about? I’m struggling with the same concern right now :).

          • Equity's Darling :

            I’m signed up for City Chase this summer with a friend, maybe I’ll sign up for another race towards the end of summer too!

            I’m impressed that you remembered both the practice group and the guy!

            Still no decision on practice group, though I have made movement because now both groups know where I stand (which is in no-mans land), and I have lunches planned with both the practice group leaders (individually, and then with them both together), to help me pick. The plot thickened when an in-house position was also made available to me, and I’m mildly on the fence about that, though leaning towards staying with the firm.

            And nope, got rid of the guy. He needs to be more interesting than my existing friends, and worth giving up sleep for. When dating become a chore, I’m out. And I’m young enough that I don’t feel an immense amount of pressure for anything serious (thankfully). I really just needed external confirmation to trust my gut on the guy:)

          • Springtime :

            Oh well I remember because like you, I am an articling student (thank goodness a soon-NON-articling student).

            I’m assuming that the firm has already decided they want to hire you? I just know from my friend’s experiences sometimes you have to show undying love for one practice group in order to get an offer, otherwise you’ll be left in no-man’s land permanently. Just a thought.

            As for the guy, your phrase about “being more exciting” than my friends is perfect. That’s how I feel about this guy- he needs to be more interesting (how I manage to do way more than him every day still boggles my mind). I think I need to have an honest talk with him. Sigh. I feel bad because it’s been long enough that some attachments have developed.

          • Equity's Darling :

            Isn’t it so great to be almost done articles? Yay! I’m looking forward to meeting the next set of students.

            I’m lucky because though an actual decision hasn’t been said, it’s been…”suggested” by many that I don’t need to worry. And both groups have said that they would welcome me with open arms, and that it’s my choice, so….really, I’ve shown love for both, and at this point it’s a matter of long-term goals for me (probably why I have no clue which to pick). I have partners in my corner in both groups, so I think I’m good (or I’ve been told that I am).

    • SF Bay Associate :

      A word of caution – I had this too… worked hard my whole life, culminating in landing the biglaw job, and passing the bar. And then there was this profound sense of “now what?” I had everything I ever wanted, or thought I wanted, and somehow ended up really depressed. I hope that doesn’t happen to you, too, but keep an eye on yourself for signs of depression and get help early if it seems like you’re heading in that direction.

      • I am a banana. :

        I went through this too. When I switched jobs and moved to a new city it helped, because it reminded me that I can do whatever the eff I want. To the OP – it is a very difficult transition, and I wish I had better advice, but I would recommend trying to focus on enjoying small things that make you happy. I feel like I am just now settling down from what you are describing and I’m two years ahead of you.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Yea, I’ve struggled with that in the past, so I know what to watch for on the signs of depression, but thanks for the reminder, sometimes I need that so I can check in with myself. :)

    • I loved being a prosecutor and I love being involved in politics. Never did BigLaw, but did have a detouor in the non profit world. Also great, but the salary was unsustainable after having kids.

  4. 17 Things Successful Career Women Know :

    I found this article interesting: http://emilybennington.com/women-work/17-things-successful-career-women-know/
    My favorites are #1 (Lasting success is created by good habits, which are very often destroyed by bad excuses.), #6 (Tomorrow’s dreams are only achieved by today’s action.), and #13 (How people act is their karma. How you react is yours.)

    What you you add to the list?

    • 17 Things Successful Career Women Know :

      What *would* you add to the list? Argh.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Not sure but I love this line from one of her other articles:

      “There’s a thin line between being beautiful and being sexual. One is what you are, the other is how you act. “

  5. Cryptic PSA:

    Not to make this a story all about myself, but let me just say that if mamabear ever offers you an opinion on a matter of taste or style, you should listen to her.

    Because she has her finger on the pulse and she Knows Things.

    (mamabear: check your Etsy mail & all will become clear)

  6. Oh.so.tired :

    Colored blazers… where can I buy them? I’ll be starting BigLaw this fall and want to slowly start building my wardrobe. Im on the hunt for some nice colored blazers that are affordable (~$100) and preferrably available in stores so I can try them on. Where should I look? I’ve tried AT and BR and no luck.

    Along the same lines, what else do you ladies recommend I start buying now (6 mos. before job starts) to start building my wardrobe?

    Btw, I’m buying early because i have a long way to go but also because I want to find good deals on everything (sales + coupons) since I have a ton of buying to do.

    • This may have been a one-off, but I found a fantastic peach colored blazer at Forever21. It’s surprisingly well made (lined, pockets, etc.) and the fabric’s not obviously polyester. That said, I’ve seen hundreds of awful attempts at a blazer in F21, so this might have been a fluke. Worth a shot if you find yourself nearby while shopping though.

    • Zara had some nice, if slightly trendy, colorful blazers a few weeks ago.

    • phillygirlruns :

      my favorite blazers are all j.crew – they have great colors and are well-constructed, so they’ll last. they’re over your price range but i’d start shopping sales – there are a couple on final sale now in your price range (in limited sizes and colors, of course, but some fun ones – bright blue, a green tweed and a magenta flannel).

    • Ny and co. Great colors this season, sized to fit women rather than teenagers. Not bad quality either. Big sales going on.

      • Huge sales. I was there yesterday, crabbing about the long lines (even to get into the dressing rooms) until the cashier rang me up. That’s when I realized both the items I bought were 70 percent off. The blazers are nice, but FYI they are very bright jewel tones and a fabric something like twill. May be more casual than you are looking for.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        This has become my go-to store recently! They have a ton of blazers right now in a bunch of different colors. The store near me is organized by color, so that makes it easy to seek one out in a color that you like.

        Things have been 50-80% off recently. I think the UPS driver is probably starting to recognize my name since I’ve practically had to replace my entire wardrobe recently.

        • I don’t want to be all over this thread but- my UPS driver not only recognizes me, but honks and waves when he sees me out for a run 10 blocks away from my house. Maybe I shop online too much? No?

          • Sydney Bristow :

            That is too funny. I’m never home when my packages arrive, so he wouldn’t recognize my face but he probably recognizes the yellow sticky note permanently posted in the front window of my apartment building instructing him to deliver my package to my neighbor if my roommate isn’t home!

          • Yeah, mine has figured out that I have a new baby in the house (giant diaper deliveries at least once every 2 weeks) and now kmocks quietly instead of ringing the bell. It’s really nice. Also kind of sad?

          • I think it’s kind of sweet.
            Also, reminds me of the fact that my grandfather was on so many mailing lists that he developed a rapport with his mailman … to the point where the mailman came to my grandfather’s funeral!

          • Ha, this makes me feel better about my bi-weekly “you’ve got a package” routine with my doormen.

          • whatever, i know my mailman, and fedex guy, and ups guy! 2 of 3 are cute… been sleuthing for my single lady friends (confirmed one has kids/wife). they are really nice and during a snowstorm i saw them out there together chatting with neighbors in the street. in the middle of a city neighborhood. they wave at me too. this is a nice thing in life.

    • Try Talbots. They have three different fits and have a lot of great colors. I just purchased a kelly green and a pink blazer.

    • actually got a great blue/purple tailored blazer at Talbots a few months ago, awesome color. And a red one from Nordstrom’s.

    • Jacqueline :

      You’ll have to dig, but H&M has some great ones for around $50.

    • Appelican :

      I agree with Talbots.

    • Foundations :

      No, not that kind. Well, sort of that kind.

      There are some items you will need a lot of, so you might as well find versions you like now. And by “like” I mean: they fit properly, they are well made and so will last, they are tailored and so won’t go out of style, they are reasonably priced so you can buy two.

      * Black pumps.

      * Stockings.

      * Bras/panties for under office clothes.

      * Shells (or Ts or whatever you prefer) for under suits.

      On the suits question, I’d find a Macy’s with a large women’s suit section (not all of them have it) and go every couple weeks for a while to cruise the selection. When I was in your position, I bought a handful of not-expensive Macy’s-type suits (Tahari for ASL, Calvin Klein, Jones NY) and then, slowly over the years as I found them in timeless-for-me styles and as I could afford them, I added more expensive suits that last for years (Brooks Brothers, Nippon).

      • Anon for this :

        I have worked in big law for 12 years and can honestly say I have not seen a tremendous amount of blazer wearing. If you need to dress professionally for a day, you are going to wear a suit. On business casual days, I think cardigans are much more common, not o mention comfortable. I hate wearing a jacket at my desk.

        Things I would be on the lookout for now:

        The best neutral suit you can afford in grey or blue (I know black is more common but I feel like it looks so severe on me now). Preferably buy a cut that you can wear the pieces separately (consider fabric here too, I think wool crepe is easier to pair up.) If you are going to invest in a blazer, buy one where you are sure the weight and color of it go with your suit separates. For example, I just bought a Lafette blue suit and also a blue jacket in a boucle fabric that looks fun for work and with jeans. Sadly, I have a cute boucle jacket from Talbots that never sees the light of day because I didn’t follow my own advice.

        Shoes! You will need some pumps to match that suit.

        • Anon for this :

          Also, you don’t need to do a ton of buying. I honestly believe quality over quantity is the way to go. You would be much better served by a jacket in a neutral, like blue or khaki, that you can pair with different fun (cheap) tops than by three cheap jackets in stand-out colors that you cannot wear all the time.

          You may also want to get a feel for the place where you are working before you do major shopping. Even if you were a summer there last year, I would not judge the dress code for a firm by what folks wear in the summer, when things veer more casual. See what people are wearing in the fall first.

  7. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Okay ladies, y’all know I like to push the envelope when it comes to the prints I like to wear to work, but I want to know where to draw the line. So are these prints (and of course the dresses themselves) work appropriate? If not, why? Thanks ladies.

    http://bit.ly/HP1Ifj
    http://bit.ly/IRXpzH (I’m thinking this one may need a cardigan for work)

    • I love the black and white dress. The other one is just ok for me, because I don’t think it’s not very flattering on the model.

      I tried these boots on and they were very comfortable. They’re also available in a shorter heel at 70% off. http://www.6pm.com/cole-haan-air-jalisa-tall-boot-60-black

    • Ms. Basil, I freaking love both of those dresses. I don’t do bare shoulders at the office, but both of these would have been fine at my business casual law firm with a cardigan. I’m guessing they will be a little too too for other commenters, though.

    • Love the second one (especially the vintage vibe), but you’re right it’ll need a cardigan. Not sure about the first one. I work in a casual office but it looks like it can’t decide between dressy and casual. Or maybe it’s just not my style at all, so I can’t see it.

    • The striped one has a work-appropriate silhouette. If your office is keen on fun colors, I’d say go for it. It’s hard to tell whether the second one is a cute summer dress or more of a Betty Draper silhouette, but I love the dots and think they are generally fine for an office.

      • I loooove that colorful one! I’d wear it. If you’re nervous, add a blazer, and it’ll be fine. I agree the second one seems like it could lean toward Betty Draper, so I guess it would depend on the fit.

        • Agreed. I really love the colored one, and I think the polka-dots would be fine with a cardigan.

          • My only concern about the cardigan is that then it would *really* look ’50s housewife.

        • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

          b23, what do you think about adding a (colored) blazer to the black and white dress? Less housewife, more competent lawyer?

          • That’s where I think the fit matters. Sometimes when dresses have wider bottoms, like it appears this one may, I don’t think a blazer looks very good or is very flattering because it covers the waist. In theory a blazer would help, but I’m afraid in execution it wouldn’t look that good.

          • Also, I think at that point the dress becomes way less cute. Part of the fun of that dress is the shape, and you’d be covering it. I bet you can find something similar in a pencil shape, which would look great with a blazer and be totally business-appropriate, in my opinion.

          • Go with a flared blazer, or even peplum. Fit is going be important here like b23 points out – if you can get the tapered waist of the jacket to match up to the waist of the dress, score.

          • MissJackson :

            I think the solution here is a cropped blazer, so that you still have the defined waist, but you get the benefit of the more “business” structure of a blazer.

    • LOVE the black and white one to the point I’m wondering if I can justify the purchase. The striped one is not for me and seems a bit form-fitting for the office. But it would be completely appropriate for my office if anyone could pull it off.

    • I actually love the bright stripes, but the black and white is too Mad Men for me

    • just Karen :

      Love love love the black and white dress, but wish they would show the waist without a belt! If it doesn’t come with a belt, I am fine with them showing it styled with one in ONE picture, but come on! I want to see what it would look like as it comes!

    • Lady, I always love your picks. And that striped sheath is gorgeous. If the fabric isn’t shiny/shimmery, I would say it’s work appropriate.

      I’m more eh on the black and white one because it’s a pretty common style and print. If you like it, go for it.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I love the black and white one! And I think the colourful one is awesome too (though not my style), and would look great with a blazer or cardi.

      I think it’s all about knowing your office….the first one would be okay for me on a Friday, otherwise no go. The second print would be a no-go at all times.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        But one thing I’m curious about is how to know what prints are good at your office. I’m assuming people are not going to just walk up to me and say, that’s an inappropriate print, please go home and change.

    • Love them both! Are you trying to wreck my budget???

      If you throw a sleek-fit (not boxy) black blazer over the first dress, it could probably work (depending on your office.) Love the latter, and second (third?) the suggestion to wear it with a cardigan.

    • Littlest Attorney :

      I’m in love with the black and white one (saw it in the catalogue last night!) and it pains me that people think its not work appropriate. Full skirted dresses are the only ones that look vaguely right on my extreme pear. I know that they look a little (or maybe a lot) “lady who lunches” but I’ve decided I don’t care because I want to wear something that is flattering on me!

      • Anon for this :

        If you like the striped dress, check out BR’s MadMen collection. They had a griped sheath that was a bit more subdued and gorgeous!

  8. Nominations for an “Ask mamabear” thread? ;)

  9. Best Friend vs Boyfriend :

    A few weeks ago, during a girls night out, one of my closest friends admitted to another friend that she doesn’t like my boyfriend of over a year. I was in earshot of their conversation and heard everything, and I was definitely surprised and more than a little bit hurt when she said that. My relationship with my boyfriend is great and I’m really, really happy. He adores me, there’s no drama, we get along well…there are no red flags that would cause a friend be concerned, so I have no idea why she would say such a thing. Plus, she’s really only met him 3 or 4 times, so it’s not like anything happened between them to cause any friction or bad blood.

    At the time, this friend was getting married soon & I was in the wedding, so I didn’t say anything to her about her remark because I didn’t want to start any problems before her wedding. Her wedding is now over. Said friend and I went for dinner the other night, and she made more than one disparging or backhanded remark about my significant other. It’s really starting to bother me, and now I feel like I can’t even talk about him in her presence without feeling judged. I want to address it with her because I feel it causing a rift in our friendship (we’ve been friends for almost 7 years) and I would hate for that to happen, but I’m not sure how or what to say. Any ideas or suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      Grown ups use their words.
      Just ask her what’s up. She may know something you don’t. He may have hit on her, who knows.

      • viclawstudent :

        Or she’s just taken an irrational dislike to him, and when she’s politely asked to explain what her disagreement with your SO is, she’ll end copping to the fact that there’s nothing to it – which happens, and is best dealt with if it’s out in the open.

        Next time she says something disparaging/backhanded about him, just pause and say, “I’ve noticed that it seems like you don’t really like X. I’m not sure why that would be.” Then leave a silence and let her fill it. If it’s meaningless stuff or she doesn’t really have a reason, politely tell her that while you generally respect her opinions, you’d prefer she kept this one to herself in the future.

    • I would ask her straight up why she doesn’t like him. And if she doesn’t have a good reason (he hit on me; I saw him out with someone else) and it just comes down to incompatible personalities, then tell her how much you care about him and that you’d appreciate it if she’d stop making remarks about him around you because it hurts your feelings when she does.

      Incidentally, I think this is pretty crappy behavior on your friend’s part.

    • Friend Dilemmas :

      I posted on a similar situation a couple of weeks ago (some of my friends are not huge fans of my bf and they hardly know him). I will try to link to this since people gave some very good advice.

      Some other thoughts: First impressions are hard to get rid of. Maybe think back to the few times when your friend met your SO. Was there anything unusual? Maybe he is not a super social person, and they would do better if they had some time in a quieter setting. I would also think about how you have talked about your SO to them. I realized that sometimes I complain about little things my SO does and my friends hang on to every word. So now I’m trying to share the great things that the BF does for me, because otherwise they’re not gonna know about them. Good luck!

    • I would just ask her. Go out to dinner at a quiet restaurant where you can stay for a while (or if you live alone, invite her over). Say, “A few weeks ago I overheard you telling Kate that you didn’t like Jack. I want to understand what it is that you don’t like about him, because I think he’s great and we have a good relationship, and I want you to be able to see that as well. You’re one of my closest friends, and your opinion matters to me.” And, I think you could also throw in something to the effect of, “I feel like you sometimes make disparaging or offhand remarks about Jack, that make me feel like you’re judging my relationship, and it’s really hurtful.”

      She’ll be embarrassed and possibly a little defensive, and probably also a little reluctant to tell you why she doesn’t like him (because that’s a hard thing to tell your friend). You have to try to stay calm and not get defensive, but be persistant in trying to figure the source of her feelings. If she doesn’t have a “good” reason, or if you think her reasoning could be overcome by greater familiarity with your BF (examples: she thinks your BF is too possessive or jealous, she finds him boring, etc.), tell her so: “Cecilia, I know you’re not the biggest fan of Jack, but he truly is wonderful, and I would appreciate it if you would take some time to get to know him better so you would realize how happy he makes me.”

      Also, on a related point – pay attention to how you’re talking about your BF. It could be that all she hears is negative stuff about him. I know you said that you have a great relationship, but sometimes friend dynamics affect how people talk about things in their lives. I have had girlfriends who make conversation by over-dramatizing negative events, and they like it when other people do the same.

      These conversations are always hard, but if she really is a good friend, she will try to do better. Good luck!

      • Oh, and also – please try to avoid talking about this with your BF without trying to resolve it with your friend first. You don’t want to make him feel bad about something that he can’t control, and then be reluctant to interact with your friend if she turns over a new leaf.

        • Best Friend vs Boyfriend :

          Thanks! I like the wording you used, I’ll have to practice with that as this friend is not great at confrontation and I think you phrased things very nicely.

          No, my boyfriend doesn’t know what she said/how she feels, but I think he’s starting to figure it out. She didn’t acknowledge him once throughout her entire wedding weekend, which he realized and we both felt was pretty rude. This is also why I want to nip it in the bud before it gets any worse.

          • Yes but don’t “confront” her about it, just ask. And if she has a reason for disliking him, don’t argue. You can correct facts (she thinks he did X when you know he did Y), but if she thinks he’s arrogant, you can’t change her mind by arguing about it. It won’t help things. I think if you bring it up in this manner (instead of being defensive and confrontational), she will feel badly about what she said and hopefully it won’t happen again. Was she drunk at the time? She may have blurted out something she normally wouldn’t say out loud because of the alcohol.

            Also, it may just be that you and she hang out more alone than together with SOs in the future. That’s ok. Or you may drift apart over it. That’s ok too. Sometimes you can’t force things and you have to choose between a romantic relationship and a friendship. As another poster said, you can’t force her to like your bf. But you are certainly entitled to expect that she be polite to him and to you.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        This is great advice.

        I’ve been on the other side of the equation recently because my entire family dislike’s my sister’s boyfriend. I live across the country and before I met him, one of my other sisters called to ask my advice. I suggested she express her concerns (which I think are extremely valid) ONCE and then drop the issue because it will only cause a rift. If you have the conversation with your friend and she continues to make similar remarks about your boyfriend, you might want to tell her that you heard her concerns, love that she wants great things for you, and that you think your boyfriend is exactly that. Then ask her to not bring up the issue anymore because it is making it difficult for you to be yourself around her.

    • YMMV, my experience is totally different from yours, and all other disclaimers…

      My now-husband is (1) incredibly painfully shy, and (2) had surgery as a child that results in him walking with a stride that looks like an incredibly aggressive gangster swagger – and you wouldn’t know it was a limp and not just how he walks unless you knew. So, when I first brought him to meet my friends at a dinner, to them it look liked he swaggered in and then refused to talk to everyone all night.

      As a result, they were all really put off by him because they thought he was condescending and, in general, an ash-whole. It was only because I already firmly knew how awesome, funny, kind, smart, caring, and generous he was that I made a point of having everyone get together with him one on one so they could get to know him better where he felt more comfortable.

      In my situation, which I am sure is totally different from everyone else’s, if I had become defensive it would have made things worse. Now, everybody loves him too.

    • I don’t disagree with the other commenters’ suggestions on how to approach your friend to ask why she doesn’t care for him. It’s the best approach. But, I would add a caveat to remember during and after your conversations – your friend is not obligated to like your significant other. She is obligated to be nice and respect him, but he doesn’t have to be her favorite person too. For example, it was not respectful of her to be talking about him negatively to your other friend.

    • Totes McGotes :

      What stuck out to me was that your closest friend has only met this guy 3 or 4 times, and you’ve been with him over a year. If she feels like you’ve gone MIA since meeting him, she may resent your sudden inaccessibility (and what she may feel it implies about him) more than she substantively dislikes him.

      Either way, you should just ask her what’s up. Let us know how it goes.

      • Best Friend vs Boyfriend :

        I thought about that, but even though she’s only met him 3 or 4 times, she and I still spend lots of time together.

        My boyfriend works 60-80 hour weeks at an incredibly demanding job (think investment banking), so he’s just simply not available a lot of the time for social things like happy hours/dinners/etc, hence the limited interaction with my friends.

    • Frustrated Academic :

      If want to keep this person as a friend, you need to address it now, rather than let it get to the point where it blows up and the friendship ends.

      My fiance, his brother, and “friend” grew up together, lived together after college, etc. Brother and friend are the same age and fiance is about 20 months younger. From the time that I was in the picture (we were all in our 20s), all three had long term ladies who would, eventually, become their wives. At some point friend and his wife moved to to our midwestern town. Soon brother became engaged. Friend and friend’s wife were the MOH and BM at brother’s wedding. I was not asked to be in the wedding party and did not think anything of it–I was just upset on my fiance’s behalf that he was not asked to be brother’s best man, but whatever.

      Fast forward three years later, we are all at brunch and my fiance made an off-the-cuff remark correcting friend’s wife about a statistic. I did not think anything of it, but to friend’s wife, who evidently had been never liked me or fiance (she said we were too smart) and had evidently stated this to mutual friends, this was the last straw and she lost it. Upshot, friend and friend’s wife storm out, my fiance is reduced to tears (he is not a dude who cries!), and brother tells fiance to apologize because friend and friend’s wife are so upset.

      Eventually, fiance gets to the bottom of the situation to discover that neither friend nor friend’s wife like me and friend’s wife thinks that fiance is essentially jerk who likes to lord it over people how smart he is. Now, after 30 years of friendship, fiance and friend do not speak. We spend less time with brother and brother’s wife than we used to because those two couples are still friends. I would note that I had *nothing* in comon with either friend or friend’s wife, except for what I believed was our shared love for fiance and never said anything negative about them, etc because they were fiance’s “people” and you just don’t do that.

      However, if friend had told fiance years before that he and his wife did not like me and did not get my sense of humor, fiance could have known about the issue and dealt with it, either by ending the friendship on good terms, or choosing to do things with friend without the ladies.

      Sorry for the long rant, but I really think if you value this person’s presence in your life, you must address this issue now and nip it in the bud if possible. Otherwise, everyone could end up hurt. Hugs!

    • Any chance that your role with your friend has changed since your long-term boyfriend has become part of the mix?

      Or she’s gotten married, and the whole dynamic and expectations are, well, adjusting?

      With the backhand comments, say you said X, it sounds like you are [angry at BF], [protective of me] [whatever fits] – tell me more, I get the sense that you are unhappy/worried/XYZ, and as my friend, I want to understand what that’s about.

  10. Got rejected from my dream fellowship last night. :( I’m really sad about it, thankfully I do have an offer for one (my 3rd choice, but still an offer) and one pending still. I really really hopedthe dream job would give me the offer-I was one of 2 final candidates. I’m not sure if I should try to hold out on the other position, at an org that is great but has been so slow and disorganized in the whole process, or just accept the one I’ve got. I know having a position is great, I just really wish it were the dream job.

    • sorry about the dream job not coming through but take good vibes from being the first runner up, that indicates good fit and positive potential in the space. Meanwhile, I think it’s very appropriate to politely follow up with Bachelor #2 with something along the lines of “wanted to check in on timing and progress, I am very impressed with your firm and feel I could bring a lot of value to you with my skills in X/Y/Z in your A/B/C projects… Bachelor #3 has made an offer which is very intriguing but I would so prefer to work with your wonderful company but I will need to make a commitment to them one way or another within the week so was wondering about timing and next steps with you …” You never know, it might move things along.

    • I’m sorry you didn’t get your dream job — it sucks, but I really hope you can see yourself happy and fulfilled w nr 3. Also, making it to the final 2 is quite an accomplishment.

      I’d contact #2, like Michelle said. Did they say when you can expect to hear back? If the window has passed, I’d call or e-mail your contact to find out. I’d wait until Monday, though. If you don’t hear back within a reasonable time, I’d accept #3. Also, I’d be concerned that #2 is slow and disorganized in other areas, which might make it a pain to work at if you were offered and accepted a job there.

      • Thanks for the encouragement.

        I spoke with #1 and #2 when I got the offer from #3 on Monday to see where they were in the process. #1 said Wednesday or Thursday, #2 said by the end of next week. It is also frustrating because I don’t think it was me as a candidate, rather a few important logistical details that didn’t mesh.

        I know this is really dramatic sounding, but it is hard to see myself being happy at 3 after the exposure to 1 & 2. It isn’t the end of the world, I just finally saw myself doing something in 1 or 2 that was much more in line with what I want from a job/life. I’m sure that 3 will be fine, and at the very least, I will learn a lot. In a year, I might be a better candidate, but right now I just feel so far afield from where I want to be. Which sucks.

  11. My company has charity dress down days – pay the proscribed amount and you can dress casually for that day (they put a sign up to notify visitors/clients). However, lately they have changed from actual charities, such as the Red Cross after a natural disaster, to individual recipients “in need.”

    Does this strike anyone else as odd?

    • How are the recipients chosen?

    • I’ve seen it done this way. Usually its done where employees nominate people they know in the community who are in financial or medical crisis. I think the logic is that the few hundred or at most thousand dollars that these days raise don’t make a huge impact on the Red Cross, whereas they could make a huge impact on an individual having a temporary crisis.

      I guess it is more prone to abuse than traditional “charities”, but I think there are plus sides as well. Aren’t you told a little bit about the people who receive the donations each week?

      • Anonymous :

        Giving to individuals does strike me as odd…I could definitely see the reasoning behind giving to say, a local homeless shelter or a local women’s shelter rather than some huge organization like the red cross, but I’m not so sure that I would be comfortable with giving to individuals. It seems like it would be really easy for someone to take advantage of that system.

    • Huh? They actually demand the visitors AND clients to contribute? How many come back I wonder?
      If an employee has a need, e.g. there is a serious illness or death in the family, tying this with a “jeans Friday” seems callous to me. People will donate and normally not expect enything in return.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I think the sign is to notify visitors/clients of why the employees are all in jeans.

      • I think she means that they put up a small sign in the lobby so visitors understand why the employees are all dressed casually.

        • These signs always make me laugh. I don’t know why. Maybe its because I wonder where it stemmed from . . . like, the first time a client or someone complained that everyone looked like a slob. Maybe it just seems funny that it has to be explained. That a previously offended (?) party will see the sign and go “oooooooooooooooh, NOW I don’t care that the receptionist is wearing jeans.”

      • I also didn’t understand it to be a DEMAND to wear jeans and contribute. Instead, people could OPT to wear jeans and contribute.

    • Can I just say how much I dislike this kind of charity at the office? I prefer to make the decision as to how I allocate my charitable donations.

      A few years back the senior manager of my department collected donations after a major disaster and I had already donated a large amount to a favored charity. I declined the give to her charity and felt like such a jerk. I always wondered if she made a tax deduction for the full donation.

  12. Frustrated Academic :

    Any suggestions for cute flats or wedges that I can wear to my wedding weekend welcome dinner and to rest the footsies during the wedding day itself? Can build my Friday night outfit around the shoes, but they have to be able to peep out from under my wedding dress and look cute…Thanks in advance, ladies!!

  13. Background: A Democrat strategist stupidly shot off her mouth by stating that Ann Romney, a mother of five boys, has “never worked a day in her life.” Twitter exploded, the country went crazy, on both sides of the partisan divide, condemning and apologizing and distancing and blaming. Everyone proclaims that moms have a super-hard job and that all moms, working and SAH, work really, really hard.

    Thesis: These sorts of incidents, and the resulting panic where everyone has to repeat over and over that motherhood is the hardest work in the world, ultimately are harmful to women and feminism (from the perspective of equality), on the basis that they support the presumption that women and women alone are the caretakers of the children and the home. No one ever talks about how dads have a really hard job or work really hard. No one ever uses the term “working father.”

    Discuss! (Just the thesis, if you please – I’m not particularly interested in defending or condemning the Democrat strategist who made the comment that sparked this or discussing whether or not moms actually work hard (of course they do); I’m more interested in the effect of the non-partisan response.)

    • I don’t see this instance as harmful. Traditionaly, women have stayed home. I think that is changing, and quickly, but its not 50/50. Being a parent is tough, period. I think if it was a stay at home dad and someone said he had never worked, he would also be defensive.

      • But the response is not “parents work hard.” It’s “moms work hard.” Only moms. I argue that the response *should* be “parents work hard,” but it is not.

        • I agree, Lyssa. That’s always rubbed me the wrong way. You put it well.

        • I agree, Lyssa. My husband works at home so he is home with our son after school. Hubby gets a STICKER if he takes the kid to school!!!!! A sticker! For doing what parents do every day.

        • Oil in Houston :

          agree. it irks me every single time

        • Right, except that Mitt Romney is also a parent and he also worked during at least part of the time his kids were growing up so no one would say that “he never worked a day in his life” bit about him. I guess the alternative would be to say that “all stay at home parents” work hard, but that becomes quite a mouthful and isn’t as pithy as “moms have the hardest job of all.”

          This whole thing actually really bothers me. Not because I think parents – moms and dads – don’t work very hard, but because a lot of people – men and women – don’t have a choice but to work. Not trying to take anything away from stay-at-home moms, but I feel like all this media hoopla implies that the choice is simply between working women and stay-at-home moms and that both have important jobs, blah blah, when the reality is so much more complicated that the media pretends. And, yes, stay at home parents do work hard, but do we really think that working parents have it any easier? If we’re honest, can’t we admit that maybe some of them might – GASP- even work harder? Not to mention all the guilt they’re going through for being working parents? I know it’s not an acceptable sentiment in most circles, but not all things are equal.

          • Happy Anon :

            Well said. I agree. I’m sure there are many men and women who would choose to stay at home – to raise their kids, to write a book, to work out all day and be in amazing shape, to garden, whatever – if circumstances allowed. There are also many men and women who would “go to work” regardless of the paycheck. SO MUCH of this issue is about self worth and value. People get up in arms on both sides of the coin because they feel undervalued and stay at home moms (parents, whatever) are often so sensitive and need to assert the “BUT I WORK HARD TOO!!” because they feel somehow insecure about their choice. Of course everyone wants to feel they work hard, are important, contribute some value. Of course people who work AND parent are more often than not working harder than either (a) stay at home parents or (b) non-parents who work. Two jobs vs. 1. That said, if only we could just let an individual choice be an individual choice and respect that…. but that would probably wipe out at least half of our discussions here and amongst friends! (Not saying I’m beyond or above any of this, just pontificating.)

          • The working parent does everything the SAH does, just more and pays the bills, too.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Anon – I have to slightly disagree with you. The working parent doesn’t have to supervise the children for 8-10 hours/day. Usually there is either another parent doing that or a child care provider. Yes they still have to walk the dog and clean the house and feed and bathe the kids, but certainly the child care part is outsourced.

          • I think part of the problem is that Americans equate self-worth with work. It’s the protestant work ethic in us. There is a sense of guilt and shame that comes when people sense that that you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. We don’t want to be viewed as privileged or lazy. That’s basically a sin in many eyes. So that’s why everyone feels like they have to argue about whether a stay at home mom’s life is easier than a working mom’s life. It’s about attributing value to someone’s life based on what they do rather than on who they are. I think we’d all be a lot healthier if we could stop judging and comparing and just have a little more empathy.

        • I guess I thought the conversation is about “moms work hard” because Ann Romney is a mom, not a dad. I just didn’t read a female bias into it. I thought it was a rude thing to say, and it would also be rude if levied at a stay at home dad.

    • I worry these things are more harmful because they divide women between “working” and “non-working” — which I just think is a fundamentally false divide. I think part of the challenge “women’s issues” have faced over the years is that we’ve been fighting internal battles over what women “should” be doing with their time, rather than just supporting each other in our choices.

      • TCFKAG,

        I agree with you completely. I think one of the best tools the anti-feminists have is the conquer-and-divide argument. Also, I thought this was a really good article on the issue, that helped me to mature in my beliefs:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/shenegotiates/2012/04/12/ann-romney-and-womens-work/

        • That’s a very good article. People are so frequently too quick to judge. It is so worthwhile to remember that for so many issues we are all on the same side, just with very different ideas of how to get there!

          For the sci-fi geeks out there, has anyone read the Honor Harrington series by David E. Weber? Particularly in later books as Honor climbs through the ranks to more diplomatic/political positions the contrast between her society and that of the “People’s Republic” reminded me a bit too strongly of the right/left divide here in the US! (Hopefully I’m not talking to myself here…)

          • Anonymous too :

            Love Honor! Yes, definitely reflective of the various divisions that exist.

      • I completely agree both with Lyssa’s thesis and TCFKAG’s comment.

        The comment that spawned this was infuriating to me for exactly the reason TCFKAG mentions.

        It seems there are a certain set of responsibilities that are considered mom responsibilities whether the woman works or not. Then depending on whether the mom stays at home, works part time, or works full time, there are different expectations of what she “should” be doing at home. But the bottom line is that all these women have certain things expected of them on the home front. That hurts all moms and it hurts non-moms too because then they are assumed to have “all this free time” or if they are of child bearing age and don’t have kids, that they must be singularly career focused, etc. etc.

      • yes!
        Whenever this issue comes up it leads to a debate on which one is “better”, and ultimately that decision should rest with each particular woman or family.
        I also think that the view of men as childcare-incompetents doesn’t help. (anyone see the preview for the comedy about new fathers? “No judging!”)

        • That’s one of my biggest pet-peeve – the stereotype (see, for example, almost any commerical for a household product; most sitcoms) that men are completely incompetent to care for children or do housework (or are just plain idiots). Harmful to men and women.

          • Yes, it’s harmful and can lead to Kramer vs. Kramer. If you’ve ever seen that movie, it’s heartbreaking, but I left it wondering if that father would have ever learned to get his crap together and actually do some parenting if his wife hadn’t left and forced his hand.

          • I hate the portrayal that father’s are incompetent. My husband is a stay at home Dad and does a much better job then I would at sticking to a schedule, discipline, etc. At work, we are a team of 15 people and three of us have the Dad’s staying home with the kids, the economy has greatly changed family roles. Tough job on both ends, and yes, the Mom guilt kills me when I travel for work or go out with friends, but this is what works for us.

    • I’m sorry for the awkwardly worded post.

      I’m sure motherhood is rough (I’m not one so I can’t comment). I know being a parent isn’t easy. That (hopefully) is a path that is chosen and so while it may be important and hard, it is a choice. Yes, being a working mother is hard, but so is being a working father. So is being a childless employee who has to pick up the slack to compensate for others.

      The fact of the matter is yes, most women pick up the childcare duties in this country. But what is funny to me is that we emphasize the hardships but don’t ask WHY that is. Or what could be done to make it easier/more equal. All working parents should have the opportunities to contribute equally (or as they see fit) to raising their children. Shouldn’t be based on gender. (With the exception to this is that women who give birth will likely need longer to recover.) how many companies offer paternity leave? or would think its suitable for a father to take off a month to spend with his new child?

      Finally, the reactions to me miss the mark about a conversation we SHOULD be having in this country – work life balance. We push our employees until the breaking point and tell them you should just be grateful you have a job. How about encouraging people to be well rounded members of society? Providing incentives to be more productive and have higher quality work. We seem so focused on more more more that imo we’re losing sight of the bigger picture.

      • True, but then this country would start looking like Europe and Americans tend to find that irksome. Not sure why.

        My personal pet peeve on this point, are fathers who say “I have to babysit tonight”. No, you’re not babysitting. If they’re your children it’s called parenting.

        • Likewise “I help out around the house.” Help who? It’s your home and you have a role in maintaining it. You’re not doing your wife a favor here–especially if she had to ask and you want some kind of medal for doing the laundry once in a while.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I saw that this morning and my view is that there are a few categories of people with children (although the focus is always on the women in these categories).

      People who have “traditional” jobs or careers outside the home
      People who stay at home to raise children
      People who both raise children and have a traditional career/job outside the home.

      Each of these is work. In many (most/all) cases, it is hard work. Someone always judges someone else based on which of these categories they fall under. There is also judgment as to whether someone chooses to have kids or not, whether someone with kids is a “play date” kind of parent, etc.

      We all need to stop being so judgmental about these decisions. Speaking solely about women, how can we expect men to respect our decisions about these life choices (or necessities) if we as women continue to tear each other down for them?

      That being said, what Hilary Rosen said about Anne Rmney not working a day in her life was awful but I think the point she was trying to make was that Anne Romney didn’t understand what average mothers go through in deciding whether to stay at home or not because the Romney’s had the money to not have to make that decision. Although, if Anne Romney had wanted to have a traditional career, I’m sure someone would be judging her for letting someone else raise her children. It’s a no win situation until we start coming from a place of respect for personal decisions like these.

      • long time lurker :

        Many many women (my mother included) do not have a choice but to work because the family needs two incomes to get by. Not the case with Ann Romney. Rosen could have avoided the whole issue by saying the Romney family in general is out of touch with the economic issues middle-class families face given their substantial wealth. The fact that Rosen’s statement came out that way was really unfortunate and highlights the judging that women do of each other’s choices.

        • THIS THIS THIS. And some women (or men) stay home because their salary is what it costs to put the kids in daycare while they’re not in school or stay home because they accidentally chose a career path they hate and makes them miserable to be around so it’s easier for the family to live simply and have a happy parent than to be dual earners and keep up with the Joneses. What works for one family doesn’t work for another and we can’t judge each other for that!

          I wish Rosen had said the Romney family is out of touch with the middle class because that was exactly her point instead of this battle that is being played out now.

          • And along with judgment free, no one should be judging Ann Romney for staying home. She had the money to make that choice and she made it and we should support her choice regardless of whether we agree with her politics or we ourselves are in the position to make that choice.

          • Agreed that we shouldn’t be judging anyone’s choices. But I think there is something to be said for placing choices in context. And to pretend that choices are made in a vacuum does a disservice to the debate we as a society could be having.

        • But then it is a rich vs. have to work issue and not a women’s issue.

          Look, I am a lawyer. I am upper middle class because I have always worked. I have more in common, when it comes to voting about the economy, with other people who work than I do with people who depend on their family member(s) to support them. Equal pay. Access to capital for businesses to grow. Discrimination laws. Work-home balance. These are the things I care about. And Mrs. Romney and I do not have the same interests when it comes to these issues, even though we are both women.

          • Plenty of people have always worked and are just barely getting by. How hard you work is by no means the sole determinate of how well off you are economically in our society.

      • Not sure how many people saw the actual interview or read the transcript, but just for perspective outside of this discussion, here the full text of what Rosen said:

        “What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I am hearing. Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.

        She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we worry – and why we worry about their future. I think, yes, it’s about these positions and, yes, I think there will be a war of words about the positions.”

        It’s less about being a sahm and more about romney using his wife as an political tool to connect to middle class women voters.

        • I just reread the sub-thread and saw that this has already been addressed. Oh well, the more you know.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Yes, my post was more directed at the overall debate regarding stay at home moms than her remarks. I also agree that the full statement of what she said is important and I think she meant didn’t work as in didn’t need to get a paycheck, but the way she said can be interpreted to mean that she doesn’t consider raising children to be work.

      • I disagree. I don’t drink the “let’s not judge” Kool-Aid.

        If women want to be treated as grownups, rather than like a special disabled class of people who are victims, then the choices they make should be open to being judged. Hilary Rosen was wrong in saying that Ann Romney has not worked a day in her life because being a SAHM *can* be a sh!tload of hard work.

        However, being a SAHM can also mean that you have the latitude to do absolutely nothing, because you are not answerable to a boss. The people you deal with are your children, who, when they’re young, are under your power. In the real working world, we work with lots of people who are our peers, who are jostling with us also trying to get ahead, and we have no authority over most of them. We have to negotiate dealing with bosses, sometimes more than one, and sometimes difficult ones. SAHMs don’t have to do that.

        You are only answerable to your children if you have a sense of responsibility and not everyone does. You are somewhat answerable to your husband, but he’s probably afraid the SAHM will cut off the s#x, so he won’t say anything. (This is the power of “sleeping with the boss” and some lazy people who hide under the cover of being SAHMs know this and exploit this.) Work expands to fill the time.

        There’s also the effect that if a critical mass of people who are wealthy enough to be SAHMs choose to be SAHMs, then, they make it that much harder to get any sort of social or political momentum for companies to pay for childcare (on-site or off-site.) Why should companies provide childcare if they can expect that a reliable, and sizeable portion of the female population will drop everything as soon as their kids are born? Like it or not, SAHMs do affect other mothers and the childcare resources available (or not). They lessen the demand for childcare providers. And that’s a fact.

        Also, enough with the claptrap about how parenting is the “hardest job in the world” because you can’t really measure it. But if you can’t measure it, how can you tell it’s the hardest? Whereas if you want to go by some generally agreed-upon objective measures, then it’s not the hardest job in the world.

        • This! Why am I a lesser person or a nasty person just because I chose to become a full-time professional and support myself instead of having children? People choose to have kids and either work or not work. Great. Entirely their choice. Not my business. But neither is it anyone’s business that I chose not to have kids.

          CBC-HPSK = Childless By Choice – Husband Parents Step-Kids (and also was the primary caretaker when he was married to their mother).

          • Where anywhere in this thread did anyone say that people who chose not to have kids were lesser beings?

      • Agreed. This may go into what OP didn’t want the discussion to be about, but the (unhappily phrased) remark was made in the context of Ann Romney being an advisor to Mitt Romney on issues facing working women. The notion that she is qualified for that, just by virtue of her sex, is frankly offensive to me. As a childless working woman who doesn’t have relevant professional expertise, e.g., through having done relevant research or counseling, I also wouldn’t count myself as an expert on any issues facing working moms / parents.

    • I was surprised that Rosen’s remark turned into a “debate” about stay at home moms. I don’t think that’s what she was trying to say at all. Didn’t she say Ann Romney never worked a day in her life, she’s never had to worry about how to put food on the table or keeping lights on etc or something to that effect? And it was in response to Mitt Romney saying that his wife told him all women care about is the economy.

      To me, she was saying that Ann Romney’s opinion doesn’t matter because she’s rich. She’s not the average woman (nor is Mitt the average man). Honestly, even if they never had kids, Ann probably wouldn’t have had to work a day in her life. The family is loaded.

      Then republicans or whoever started it seized on that bit about Ann Romney not working a day in her life and spun it into an attack on stay at home moms. And this debate ensued. I agree that it is damaging to women to the extent that it took a non-gendered political issue (out of touch rich people) and turned it into yet another rehash of the SAHM vs working mom debate, thereby making women look petty, melodramatic, and irrational.

      This sort of thing reminds me why I hate politics and contemporary American political discourse.

      • Sorry, I see that most of this point was already made. I just wanted to add that I think this media circus/outrage is a bit of a non sequitur. I think the republicans very cleverly took an attack on the Romney’s wealth (which is hard to defend) and spun it into an attack on conservative family values (easy to defend). I hate that shameless political maneuvering gets treated like an legitimate philosophical debate.

        • Anonymous :

          Ok, but to be fair, let’s not make the whole scenario a Republican/Democratic issue. I think anyone running for president does not know what it is like to be in the shoes of a lower/middle income family right now. It might be a matter of degree the amount of money the Romneys have versus the Obamas versus the Clintons or the Bushes – but none of these people are lower or middle class, for goodness sake!

          • Anonymous :

            They’re not lower or middle class now. But let’s be clear: Bill Clinton was born into a middle class family and was basically the child of a single mother (and later an abusive stepfather), and Barack Obama certainly didn’t come from wealth. Both Bush presidents and Mitt Romney were born into extraordinarily wealthy and powerful families. There are certainly Republican politicians who come from the middle class (Huckabee, Palin) and there are Democrats who come from wealth (Kennedy), but it’s just not accurate to say that Obama or Clinton have the same background with respect to class that the Romneys or Bushes do.

          • True. I think it was the republicans who spun this particular comment- but only because it was made by a democratic pundit. I think if a republican said it, the dems would have scrambled to do the same thing. It’s definitely not party-specific. And it’s not like the dems are raising the level of this particular debate.

            And you’re also right that all of the candidates are in the top 1% of wealth. No doubt. It’s just that the Romneys are so far beyond that I do honestly thing there is a difference in Mitt’s ability to relate and any other candidate’s (Barrack or other Republican primary candidates). It is truly mind boggling how wealthy Mitt Romney is- not that this reflects poorly on his character, but it is not irrelevant to his perspective and world view.

            For the record, I am not a dem or a republican and I don’t vote consistently with either party. I go candidate by candidate. So any partisan bias was truly unintentional.

        • THIS. Ugh. The state of what passes for political discourse in this country these days sickens me. I blame cable news (not any particular channel, just the existence of it).

    • Lyssa, I agree with your thesis. That they never say this of fathers, and it’s so specifically about “motherhood” is where I smell the rat.

      It sounds like part of the agenda to absolve men from their responsibilities as a parent, to dismiss the roles of SAHDs, and also, a way to keep SAHMS in their place by heaping fulsome, insincere praise on them.

      Yesterday, I was posting about how a lot of the younger guys in certain industries (like finance) are very manipulative in forcing (and it’s definitely forced, it’s not an actual choice made by their wives because of the duress these men put on them) their wives to quit their jobs as soon as they have children.

      These men trot out the full catechism of false compliments:
      1)You’re just so special that our children will grow up emotionally stunted and warped without your devoting your time to them.

      2)I would quit if I could. (I always tell them that they can quit, actually, and there’s no law preventing them from being a SAHD. They give me blank looks when I say this.)

      3)It’s the hardest job in the world. (And then, when they’re out drinking with coworkers, they b!tch constantly about how their wives are stupid, can’t operate the blender properly, don’t do enough around the house and how “do you ever notice that the longer a woman stays at home, the less the b!tch does?”)

      • You make some good points. I also roll my eyes at the “its the hardest job in the world” business. Is it really? I think there are a lot reasons this cliche is so prevalent, but it really isn’t a feminist thing to throw out there. It’s pandering. And I respect SAHMs. No judgement from me at all. I don’t think women owe it to other women to prove anything by working, nor do men. I don’t think anyone who has been around small kids all day would say it’s easy, but hardest job in the world? hardly. Can’t imagine how miners, prison guards, roofers etc would feel about that. It’s not like it is either easy or the hardest job in the world. Can’t it be in between, like, you know, almost every other job out there?

        • Anonymous :

          I would rather go to my job every day than stay home with my son all day. That sure wouldn’t be the case if I were a roofer!

      • Susan, not to quibble on word choice, but I don’t know if it’s as cut and dry as men forcing women to do anything. You could, perhaps, argue that society tries to force women and the men you speak of subscribe to these notions and do their part (and certainly the tax code would support this argument) but I think it’s more complicated than a few guys in finance manipulating their wives into staying home – if it were that simple, their wives would have to be as stupid as they claim they are at happy hour.

        • AIMS, you’re absolutely right. It’s not that cut and dried and I hope my post didn’t make it seem that way.

          I was just trying to indicate that there are some people who definitely use this “hardest job” rhetoric to further their agendas, which I wouldn’t describe as “right wing” (sorry, TheCurb and b23!! and thanks for the correction), but I would describe as an agenda that wishes to perpetuate traditional gender roles.

          I find social pressure that forces people to adhere to traditional gender roles to be damaging to men and women, but am focusing on the women, as this site’s target audience is women. Some may view social pressure to make people adhere to traditional gender roles as a good thing, but I’m not one of them. :-)

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think the biggest problem in the response is that Rosen was right. Ann has not worked. “Work” and “job” are different from “wife” and “mother”. That doesn’t mean raising children isn’t hard or valuable, but it isn’t “work” in that sense, just like I didn’t have a job or “work” when I was a full time student. Admitting that doesn’t mean law school wasn’t hard work. I know it seems nitpicky, but I think refusing to acknowledge the difference hurts, and it helps mask the ways in which work – in the traditional for pay job sense- is fundamentally different from hhomemaking and childrearing. Calling Ann Romney the CEO of the Romney Family obscures the fact that she is not earning an independent income, and paradoxically makes it seem that home based activities are only valuable insofar as they are analogous to “work.”

      • Anne, I don’t think you’re being nitpicky, and I think you do make a good point that there is a difference.

        It’s odd to see factions from the left and from the right uniting to try to conflate work & job with wife & mother, for very different motives.

        For the right, it’s because they think that being a wife and mother are the only things a woman should do, so they’ll say anything to make that the case.

        For the left, it’s because tasks associated with “women’s work” like parenting, have so often been crapped on, that it’s seen as a way to reclaim and to show respect to women. I understand the impulse here, but I think it’s ultimately unproductive to muddy the terms and confuse the discourse.

        • Good lord. I get so tired of the left saying the right wants to keep down women. Some do. Some in the left do too. Stop making such horrible generalizations. It drives me flipping crazy.

          • b23, I’m not trying to drive you crazy. Sorry!

            When I say “the right,” I should have said, “socially conservative on women’s issues.” There are plenty on the right who are fiscally conservative, but are agnostic on social issues, and agnostic on women’s issues.

            But as for the social conservatives, yes, they are trying to keep women down. They define what they think as the only acceptable choice for women (be SAHMs), and if you limit someone’s choices, yes, you are keeping them down. I hope you’re not going to argue with that.

            Some on the left do it, too, but the social conservatives seem to have cornered the market on this one.

          • I appreciate your apology, but I still don’t think you get it quite right. I am socially conservative as well as fiscally conservative, but I also work (very hard) outside the home and plan to do so when I have kids. I also take birth control. But I am pro-life and don’t think the Catholic church should have to pay for birth control.

            My point is not to lay out all of my beliefs, but just to tell you that this is way too nuanced of a debate to be able to say “social conservatives want to keep down women.”

        • As a working woman who is “on the right” your response is incredibly insulting. This conversation is so interesting without going there.

          • Saw your clarification below.. should have refreshed the page before commenting. thank you!

      • Anne, I think you’ve articulated exactly what it is that has been bothering me about this whole debate, and conversations like this in general. It’s just not work. Doesn’t mean it’s not important or hard, or maybe ever harder or more important, but it is just.not.work. And while it’s perfectly sweet to think of Mitt coming home to Ann and saying, “you’re the CEO here, sweetums,” it’s just not the same as being an actual CEO.

        I sympathize with any woman or man who chooses to stay at home to raise kids and then feels disparaged for not working, I do. But the solution is not to pretend that they’re at work, too. That does everyone a disservice. The solution is an honest conversation that respects their contribution for exactly what it is.

        This might be going too far afield, but I just don’t understand why we have such an obsession with equality that we have to make everything “the same” in order to not make anyone feel left out. Worse is when we throw empty platitudes around, like “parenting is the most important job there is…” No, it’s not. It might be the most important job for you, the individual parent, but I think that person working on a cure for cancer or a vaccine for AIDS is actually doing something more laudable as far as humanity is concerned.

        I’m sure I’m biased, too, and this conversation will devolve into something where we all shout past each other, but I really just wish we could talk about these things openly and honestly. And, to start we need a new word for parenting that accepts its importance without calling it something it is not.

        • It’s not an obsession with equality, it’s insecurity. It’s needing to prove something to others. Sure, some people will judge you harshly, but so what? Life’s not as much fun, if you spend a lot of your energy jumping up and down to prove something to these people (who will still be judging you anyways!)

          If one chose to be a SAHM but then feels insecure about it, then it might be more productive to thoroughly examine one’s choices and determine if one feels like it’s worth it to be a SAHM or not.

          However, I often see that what happens is: handing out “Mommy cards” instead of business cards, driving around in cars with huge stickers that say in giant font: PROUD TO BE A SAHM, and sending annoying emails to non-parents and working parents saying stuff like: “I’m watching my kid, who’s watching yours? I love my kids more than you do.” The SAHM doth protest too much. The happy SAHMs I know just look happy, without any preaching.

          • I’m sorry, I don’t think anyone sends out emails saying that, or if they do they are a seriousa**h*le and probably not typical of the sample. Maybe you’re trying to make a point by saying that as a whole for SAHMs, but I think it comes off as bitter and divisive.

            I also disagree that it’s just about insecurity. It’s not that simple. This country does not deal well with difference. We believe that all religions are equal, that all career choices are valid, that all cultures are the same, etcetera and so on. In a way this is good, but in a way it’s BS and avoids actual meaningful discussion and impedes progress. Not all religions are equal. Those that believe stoning adulterers to death do not belong on the same page as more evolved isms. Intelligent design is not a theory on par with evolution, we should not treat it, or teach it, as though it were. There are countless more examples.

            This controversy is not happening because a handful of SAHMs feel insecure. It’s happening because we as a society say these things – working men and women included. Blaming it on SAHM’s insecurities is not going to move the conversation forward.

          • Adele, I agree with your point but just for argument’s sake I will say that I did have a “SAHM” say essentially that to me. She went on a tirade about how it would be extremely irresponsible of me to decide to have kids unless I was willing to give up my career because you never get the time back with your children and only bad mothers who don’t care about their children work. Just for personal rant purposes I will note that the reason she’s a SAHM and her fiance too is because they both got fired from their jobs and decided to use unemployment insurance as an excuse not to look for work for a year and sure if I got fired I could live off the government for a year too and stay home with my kids but I don’t think that’s something to brag about. Anyway, I do think it is based in insecurity on her part but when you are a working woman who wants/has kids there are SAHMs out there who try to make you feel guilty like that in order to make themselves feel better.

          • Sometimes the truth hurts. And is divisive. And yes, I have received those emails and I have seen people with those stickers on their cars. And I live in a very “blue state.”

            It’s not all about insecurity, but it’s certainly there. Not all SAHMs are like this, of course.

          • I don’t disagree that insecurity is a part. We are all insecure about our choices. And even beyond insecurity, our choices inform what we care about, what our pet peeves are, so on. Not incidentally, and I say this with affection, was this topic brought up by Lyssa who has a husband who plans to stay home. What rubbed her the wrong way is, I am sure, informed in part by her sensitivity to the subject based on her own life plans.

            My point is the insecurity is a small part of the bigger more complicated picture and to write it off as insecurity on the part of SAHMs and that’s that does a disservice to the complexity of the issue and fails to explain why this has touched off such a firestorm among everyone else.

            I am sure we are all nuanced individuals IRL, but sometimes the oversimplications on this blog and others really do not reflect this. Susan, I am sure we agree more than we disagree, but your phrasing does not advance the debate. It’s not about the truth hurting. There are a number of ways to say something; not all are equal.

          • I think you’re right about the insecurity Susan, but I think working moms are guilty of the same thing- making insulting judgments about SAHMs because they personally feel a little bit insecure about not staying at home. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, unfortunately, with everyone feeling attacked all the time for personal decisions. Not sure how to break the cycle except for everyone to stop projecting their own life choices and expectations onto others, which is easier said than done.

          • By saying it’s insecurity, you are implicitly judging their decisions. Like Adele said, everyone is insecure about their decisions, especially mothers (whether they work or not). To say SAHMs are the only insecure ones is pretty insulting, as if they have something to be insecure about. Some may be, for sure. But I know plenty who aren’t, who love their decision, who left high-paying and powerful positions to stay at home. Don’t judge their decisions and say it’s not about equality, it’s because they are insecure.

        • I agree with Adele’s distinction. When people talk of SAH parenting as “work,” I think they are trying to convey that it’s not pleasant/easy/enjoyable. But I don’t think anyone thinks it’s any of those things. And I don’t think that’s what’s meant by saying SAH parenting isn’t a job, or isn’t work.
          Something being difficult or gross or exhausting doesn’t turn it into a “job” or, as Mrs. Romney later called it, a “career.”

        • Interesting. I’m disappointed that Rosen’s apology/backtracking was so …cowardly. She’s going to spend the weekend with her kids! teaching them lessons! That’s the guilt speaking right there. I wish she had just let it go.

      • Good point – and I would add (as a mother who has always worked at a job that pays a salary) the whole “mothering is such hard work” line really annoys me. My child is not “work”. She is not something that was forced on me by the need to support myself. She is not a job. Parenting her is a joy and a privilege that I chose. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would stop working. I would not stop parenting (or even use the money to hire someone else to take care of her). Indeed, the biggest advantage to a sudden windfall would be the opportunity to spend more time with her.

        Being a mom is not always sunshine and roses – but I wish people would stop talking about it as if it were the equivalent of digging ditches in a southern summer for 8 hours a day.

    • divaliscious11 :

      I actually agree with what I perceived to be her intent – not dismissing that being a SAHM mom is a tough job. Its that a SAHM with virtually unlimited financial resources, and in-hme assistance (housekeeper etc…) has a very different experience than a SAHM who is doing so but scrimping and sacrificing because staying at home is a strain financially. I don’t think she intended to “knock” her but to point out that there is a chasm of difference between her experience and the vast majority of SAHM or WOHM’s for that matter. I thin the same thing is the case when we talk about our struggles as professional women, versus the issues working mom’s who work in blue collar, or even pink collar jobs. Even when I am really struggling to balance, I am aware that many people would love to have my “problems. doesn’t mean they are less problematic for me, but my griping about giving up my home office for my au pair, is NOT the same as the mom who is nervous about leaving her kid in a home day care because its all she can afford.

      I also don’t think you can discuss this in a vacuum – as you were getting at, because dads are parents too, but I think many men don’t feel the same pressure to primary parent their kids, and leave the issues associated with care-giving to their wives to work out. My husband is pretty hands on, but even still with a job that requires significant travel, the bulk of managing it, still falls on me…

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I don’t have anything to add (too late to the parade), but I really like this discussion on here–and I think it is particularly relevant on a blog like this one. Brava Lyssa and others!

      • Yup, agreed! Nothing to add myself, since I think others have already said what I would have, but it’s been very interesting to read all of the comments.

    • Lady Girl :

      Lyssa,

      Very interesting topic you’ve pointed out. I know what works for me, and that is to “work” in the sense of a full-time job with a paycheck and career advancement. My mother raised me to never depend on a man–and this came from a woman in a happy, solid, decades-going-strong marriage where she has worked part-time, but admittedly depends on my father financially and always has. I am only 24, but I pull in a strong salary and I work my a** off because I can sleep at night knowing that I am floating my boat, so to speak. I pay my bills, I buy my clothes, I put away my savings, and I call my shots. End of story. I would rather have my teeth pulled than have it any other way.

      In my college days I worked for a company that worked closely with public schools. 99% of the volunteers were women. On a larger scale, this opened my eyes to the fact that our society depends heavily on the unpaid labor of women. I think this will be changing radically in the next decade, but it’s definitely out there. Frankly I’ve had too much sauvignon blanc after a grueling day at the office to properly analyze such an observation, but just think about it.

    • If you don’t want to discuss the strategist, you shouldn’t have led with calling her remark “stupid.” The statement was accurate. I don’t think she helped herself or the president or Democrats by voicing it, but that’s another issue.

      • It troubles me how many people are defending Rosen. I read it in the paper and it made me ill. You can all rationalize it however you want, but the comment was not professional, considerate, or consructive. It does not help women or anyone to say things like this, no matter how you interpret the ‘true meaning’ or define work. Both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were treated like demons in the last round, and to me this signalled the kicking off of another sad, sad season of women treating each other horribly and making things worse for us all. It is shameful. Mrs. Romney also has MS and had breast cancer. Everyone has their journey in life. Making a personal attack and judgment on people’s families is just wrong, period. Rise above the fray people and see this in the broader context- mean girl behavior.

        • Something can be a mean thing to say and still be true. I defend the accuracy of the statement, not Rosen for saying it. We all have our our journeys, sure. And Mrs. Romney’s journey has not included having a job. That is neither an “attack” nor a “judgment,” although you seem to think otherwise.

          • The statement wasn’t accurate on its face without interpretation. If she said “she has not been employed by an organization”- yes. But the word work has different connotations, and to many, is insulting to SAHMs, making it an attack and judgment. That is why there has been such a reaction- it isn’t people’s imaginations.

          • I think this is a problem of language. Yes, we use ‘work’ very liberally. When someone keeps a strict diet and exercise regime, we may say they ‘work’ hard at their physique, but it doesn’t make their diet and exercise plan a job.
            The words work and job actually mean something specific. As Anne Shirley said above, lots of things are quite hard and yet aren’t work (e.g., law school). As someone else also noted, many mothers don’t see raising their children as work – they chose to do it and they do it because they are invested in the outcome, not because this is how they have decided to support themselves (although the last may be in a way true for some women, too). What Rosen said is accurate. Frankly, we do stay at home moms a disservice by pretending that what they do has to be the same as a job in order to have meaning. Being a stay at home mother should be viewed as valuable in and of itself, without having to resort to these pandering half-truths.

            FWIW, certain other languages have a word that similar to work but that translates roughly as ‘effort.’ I would not dispute that stay at home moms make a tremendous effort every day. But they don’t “work” in the same way I do. Certainly, they don’t have to worry about not telling off the boss or getting fired.

    • Chiming In :

      Here are a couple of random thoughts in response to what is posted above and below on this topic:

      1. The discussion should move away from the word “choice.” Use of that word makes it seem as if I chose to stay home with my children while you chose to go to work. I think that concept, if it applies at all, applies to *very few*. First, we are all born into a certain family, financial position, and cultural position. The studies show that it if very different to move out of this position. If I am raised to be a worker and you are raised to be a SAHM, chances are that is where we will stay. I could elaborate on this, but will leave it alone for now.

      2. I was raised in an ultra-left wing democratic family in an ultra-blue state. I didn’t meet my first Republican until I was in law school on the west coast. I say this just to put some context in what I am about to say. The idea of choice and that each person can just decide what to do, what to believe, etc. doesn’t work out so well, it turns out. Please see The Righteous Mind” By Jonathan Haidt. Also, another book as recently been published (see last week NYT week in review) that points out how the religious division in the United States has been negative for our country. These books point out that 1. societies function better when we are thinking about the greater good and 2. when we are religiously united in a single goal (at least that is what I got out of the reviews without reading the books).

  14. Nony Makeover :

    Long time reader and poster with an odd-ball / somewhat embarrassing question about getting my sh*t together. TIA for reading!

    I am a young, professional woman (not law). I have a graduate degree, and a good job. My colleagues would describe me as smart and capable. The problem – I have recently realized that somewhere in the past few years I “let myself go”. I gained a ton of weight (5-6 dress sizes), became sloppy with my appearance and started being very messy at home. As a result, I’ve recently become aware that I do not make such a great first impression, though that is promptly rectified once people see my work product.

    I used to say that all this happened because I worked so many hours, and while my hours are long, they’re not much more than the average successful professional. So, how do I start getting back on track? Every week, I’m confident this is the week when things are gonna change (diet wise, appearance wise, etc.) and it all flops by day 3. I’m definitely not trying to be perfect, but I want to feel like I’m a real adult (turning 30 next month). Thoughts on how to make this happen? For what it’s worth, I’ve been seeing a therapist and this has helped my mood, but hasn’t gotten rid of the bad habits I developed. Unfortunately I’m not in law, so my income does not allow for hiring help.

    • Hmm, maybe you’re trying to change too much at once. I think you would want to start with just one item — diet, exercise, appearance, etc — and start with something small there. Like with diet, your goal could be to eat salad for lunch 2x a week. Do that for a few weeks. Then add another goal — e.g. eat a piece of fruit every day with breakfast (or just eat breakfast period). Do that for a few weeks. Once you’ve accomplished a few of these you’ll feel much better about yourself and much more confident about your ability to change.

      • Oh, and lots of luck!

      • Can't wait to Quit :

        I agree, and my strategy would be to start with your appearance before you start on your weight – you will see results and improve your image much more quickly. My advice would be to do these things one at a time, so you aren’t trying to change everything all at once.

        Get a haircut. Tell the stylist that you want something that works with your natural hair texture and is easy to style and maintain, so that the day to day upkeep of the good new haircut isn’t so daunting that you give up.

        Take care of your skin. Get a scrub cream at the drug store and exfoliate a few times a week. Get in the habit of performing your skin care routine every night – you will look better immediately.

        Get some makeup advice (Clinique counter, Sephora, etc). Get a foundation that really works with and matches your skin. Have the consultant show you a simple, polished daytime look. Start wearing makeup to work.

        Look at your wardrobe, and get rid of anything you don’t enjoy wearing. Get some clothes that you do enjoy wearing.

        Feeling well dressed and well groomed will go a long way towards making you feel like you are in control of your life and image, and then you will be more confident and ready to tackle the bad habits instead of just beating yourself up about them.

        • I second can’t wait to quit. Do something now so that you feel better about yourself, and as long as you’re paying attention you’ll eventually figure out the rest.

          First: keep working hard. Nothing in your personal life will compensate if you start letting that slip.
          - get a good haircut this week :-).
          - get thee to a personal shopper, and improve your wardrobe now, for the way you are now. If you lose weight later, so be it, but at least you’ll be looking good in the meanwhile. There are many conversations about personal shoppers on this site, look them up and find one that works for you. Just about everyone recommends Nordstrom’s, but not everyone has one handy.
          - while you’re at it, get a proper bra fitting. Nothing does as much for your wardrobe :-).
          - more exercise before you start messing with the diet (although there is some good advice elsewhere on this site about healthier foods to keep in your desk). Can you spend 15mn walking to work in the morning, or back from work later at night? That alone will make a world of difference.

          What’s this can’t afford to hire help thing? I have a hard time believing you can’t hire someone to come and clean your house a couple hours a week. That alone would make a big difference, if only because like everyone else you’d have to put some stuff away first :-). Also this makes me think you may want to be paying some attention to your finances.

          • I was with you until the last paragraph, M-C. In my city, having someone come clean for a couple hours a week would be $300-400/month, and not everyone can afford that. It doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t paying attention to their finances; in fact, it may mean they are paying very close attention to their finance and living within their means.

          • Cleaners are a godsend :

            See if you can have someone come over less often than once a week. We have cleaners come by once a month, and it’s $110 a month to clean my 1800ish square foot house. I live in the suburbs of a major western city.

    • associate :

      As your colleagues say–you are smart and capable. To get where you are (successfully through school, into a good job, kept that job) you have applied yourself, made hard decisions, and shown self-restraint. Apply the same principles to your appearance/health too. “Letting yourself go,” for lack of a better term, is a series of small decisions. You are capable of making different ones, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to be as successful as you are. Try starting with one habit you’d like to change, and treat it like you would an assignment or work, or a test in school. Think of it as starting a new habit instead of breaking an old one. You can do it :)

    • I think the first thing to realize is that you can’t do it all at once. I am 30 and I struggle with all of this on a daily basis.

      Someone posted this article for me awhile back and I found it very interesting.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/your-money/09shortcuts.html?_r=1

      You can only do so much. Right now my goal is to lose weight. I didn’t let myself go in the way you described, I’ve always been overweight but I’ve always been very athletic, when I stopped being athletic (thanks to work, school, relationships) I started packing on the flab without really noticing. So now I’m focusing on recovering my athleticism. I am watching what I eat, and more importantly tracking everything I eat, but if I have a (or 3) ferrero roche chocolate egg (bad boss for bringing them in!) it’s okay as long as I don’t go more than 2 days in a row without a workout of some sort. As exercise gets to become more of a habit, I intend to cook more healthy meals rather than relying on raw fruits and veggies, which gets boring.

      Once exercise is a habit and I feel a little more comfortable in the kitchen, I know I need to add some cleaning time to my schedule. Right now I basically clean a bit on the weekends, only what really needs it, my bf picks up a lot of the slack in that area, and we call it good. That’s not fair to him, and honestly I would prefer my living space to be a bit cleaner, but I can only do what I can do.

      If you have specifics, you can try adding one thing per week, or every other week. For instance “every day this week I will wake up 15 minutes earlier, my bedtime goal is x” that will give you more time to get ready in the morning, able to be a bit more put together, maybe have breakfast or rinse your dishes before leaving for work in the morning, whatever works for you.

      Try putting things into the weekend. I’ve been cooking all my breakfasts for the week on Sunday then refrigerating/freezing for the week. Sometimes I nuke before leaving, sometimes I eat it cold in my car, it works for me!

      Find shortcuts. I used to despair about bringing a lunch to work because quite honestly I like to roll out of bed about 15 minutes before I leave for work. I found some healthy soups with low sodium and have been having a different one for lunch every day. I’ve had some repeats of my favorites, but I’m not sick of them yet! It takes 3 seconds to grab a can of soup and stick it in my purse. Maybe for you that means packing lunch the night before. Maybe it means buying premade salads at the grocery store. Whatever works for you.

      I highly recommend sparkpeople(dot)com. We have a group for ‘rettes, and you can find me under the name IronBlossom. Not only does sparkpeople help with diet and exercise, they have what they call streaks that you can set to be anything you want. So “vaccume 3x/week” or “watch 1 less hour of tv” and the site will track for you what percentage of the time you do that.

      Habits are habits good or bad! Breaking one and starting a new one is long hard work, but totally worth it!

    • I think baby steps are the way to go. You’ve already done the hard part of recognizing that things need to change and identifying what needs to change. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once because it is SO daunting and overwhelming and easy to fall off the wagon then. Pick the one thing that’s easiest for you to stick with (appearance, cleaning, diet) and focus on that. Don’t beat yourself up about the other stuff. It takes a LONG time to make a new habit (I think 21 days?) and everyone falls off the wagon when trying to develop new habits. If you fall off the wagon on Day 3, let it go and make an effort to refocus on Day 4 instead of the following week. Once you “master” one thing, it’ll be easier to keep in that groove and add another thing.

    • Get a thorough physical, get your thyroid checked, and blood sugar. You’re seeing a therapist so I assume you’ve considered whether you are depressed and if so are getting treatment for it. Feeling tired, unable to make yourself eat right, exercise, clean the house, put things away, all are signs of depression, but also thryoid issues. I’ve been there on both of those, so I know how hard it is to find the right treatment. Good luck, hope you get back on track soon.

      • Marie Curie :

        And have your vitamin b12 levels checked as well. Deficiency can manifest itself in depression-like symptons and general fatigue/lethargy.

    • Merabella :

      I think that it is a good idea for you to see a therapist, because some of this may have to do with underlying issues that you haven’t dealt with.

      Bad habits are always hard to break. I think that joining a group, or organization sometimes helps to break you out of them. Maybe trying something like Weight Watchers, or joining something like a workout group, will make you more accountable because others will see you. This has helped me in the past.

      Also in the appearance department – ie trying new make-up/hair/etc – try going to a make-up counter and getting a demonstration on new techniques. Maybe it will spark some inspiration to continue it on your own.

      And as always, take it one day at a time, if it flops on day 3 try to get back on the horse on day 5. It isn’t all or nothing. Breaking bad habits takes time and determination.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Echoing the baby steps thing. I had a similar realization about a year ago, and what worked for me was picking on issue that I wanted to work on first, and then waiting until I established good habits around it until moving to the next issue. So now a year later I am 50 pounds lighter, my house is mostly clean, and it’s time for me to start working on revamping my wardrobe and hair/makeup regiment. But I can say that starting small and having weekly/monthly mini accomplishments is what got me here.

      • ChocCityB&R :

        *picking one issue.

        Also I wanted to say good luck to you, and don’t let “slip-ups” stop you. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

    • I agree with baby steps, I had a similar situation a few years ago. I realised I was wearing a “uniform” to work. I work in tech, so no one really cared or noticed, but once I did, I felt like a total frump.

      Part of the problem was I’d gained a lot of weight due to medical issues. It’s incredibly difficult for me to lose weight and shopping was demoralizing so when I found something that fit, I’d buy it in every color…and bam. Uniform.

      I couldn’t change everything at once either, so I started small, decided I was going to do make up at home instead of in the car or at my desk. So that was 5 minutes more to my routine in the morning. Then I started to shop for cute stuff slowly. One blouse at a time, I made rules for myself…no matter how much I loved how something fit, I could only get it in 2 colors at most.

      That’s had an effect on my whole attitude…I’m still bigger than I’d like to be, I may never be smaller than this again, but I have realised that just hoping there’s a large something to hide behind isn’t the answer. I feel better about myself now, and it’s helped me to accept who and where I am right now.

    • long time lurker :

      Something you wrote struck a cord with me – it all flops by day 3. I struggle with making goals and then days will go by and I’ve done nothing, and I figure, why bother. Like I will say I will go to the gym Tues and Thursday. I skip Tuesday, because something comes up, so then by Thursday, I”m like, why bother the week is shot. I’ve been trying to make myself get over that – in my example, go to the gym Thursday. Even 1 day of exercise is better than none. Plus, it is getting me into the habit.

      Also, with appearance, I need short cuts to help me get ready in the a.m. I feel better when I look good, but I struggle getting ready in the morning. I got a shorter hairstyle with layers that does not take as long to blowdry/style as my long thick hair. I spend a few minutes thinking about what I will wear before going to bed, and I might pull out one thing as inspiration, such as a blue cardigan. I haven’t graduated to picking the whole outfit out, but I give it some thought and that makes it easier for me. I went to the makeup counter and said I need a look that takes 5 minutes, show me how to do that.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      Nony M., law school d*amn near broke my spirit. I am not the same person now that I was before I went to law school. It changed my life in a lot of negative ways and I truly suffered because of it (gained weight, felt like cr*p physically and emotionally, couldn’t sleep, my mood was jacked up, etc.). The smoke finally started to clear about a year ago (I graduated in May of 2010) and I realized that I was really unhappy and needed to change things because I was not being my best self and people were starting to notice. I took the approach that Nancy P mentioned and I decided to start with one thing at a time and went from there .

      I started my journey with my mental well being, because my anxiety (and a little depression) was getting in the way of my day to day life. I had turned into a terrible and angry person and that was the issue I decided to address first. I started therapy last fall and went consistently for a few months. Therapy helped A LOT. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to move forward with the rest of my journey until I went to therapy. I believe that it decreased the likelihood of self-sabotage.

      Once I got the “mental” aspect somewhat under control, I decided to get a physical done in January. My doctor tested me for the works and it turned out that I actually had some medical issues that were preventing me from being my best self. Hearing the doctor tell you that you are overweight and have some issues is totally more powerful than self-browbeating.

      My therapist and medical doctor made some recommendations and I have been implementing them slowly but surely. I started some medication, I changed my diet, and I started going to the gym.

      I won’t bore you with more details, but the main thing is that you cannot let your situation overwhelm you. I had to divide my issues into portions and conquer them that way otherwise I would still be paralyzed with fear and making excuses for myself (I’m tired, I’m busy, I’m already overweight so I’m going to just eat that extra taco). You also have to be kind to yourself in order to succeed. There are some weeks where no matter what I do I can’t get all my work done, my apartment is a disaster, and/or my eating habits are terrible. BUT I don’t give up; I allow myself a short pity party and then get up the next day and start over.

      Good luck Nony M. I bet a bunch of us here will be cheering you on because we have totally been there before!

      • very anon :

        B –
        You’ve said what I, also as a 2010 grad, have been trying to put words to for the past two years. Law school nearly broke my spirit, also. And not in the “oh this is really hard way”, but in a manner that made me seriously consider checking myself into some sort of inpatient treatment by graduation.

        • Also 2010- spent the last year of law school having PTSD every time I got within 3 blocks of my school. Even after moving 3000+ miles away, I still have nightmares. I already hated law school & then I had a TERRIBLE experience my last semester. It really killed my self confidence, my creative spirit, and everything I liked about myself.
          Whenever I hear people say going to law school can’t hurt… I always think, “you have NO idea.”
          2 years later, I finally feel like I’m regaining some of that back… but I’m not sure I’ll ever fully get over it.

      • anonforthis :

        I don’t think it was law school that did it to me but the start of law school definitely coincided with some tough mental health issues for me. I ended up dropping half my courseload spring semester of 1L year because I was too depressed to really function.

        I hope everyone is doing MUCH MUCH better now!

    • I echo what everyone else has said and add two recommendations:

      Zen Habits blog – I think he has a book, too
      The Happiness Project book – Gretchen Rubin

    • Not sure if someone’s already mentioned this, but I’d also check out Flylady. She has a free daily email or if that’s overwhelming, I think you can just follow her on facebook. She breaks down your cleaning into small tasks and small routines to get you started. Love her mottos — “don’t try and catch up, just jump in where you are.”

      Also, she teaches a lot about letting go of perfectionism. Instead of worrying midweek you’ve screwed up and the week is shot, she’d push for you to change your perspective and restart midweek. Do what you can – even if it’s only 10 minutes a day, etc.

      Hope that helps!

      • SpaceMountain :

        Flylady was so helpful for me back when my kids were little and I was working a lot. I stopped getting her email a long time ago when she had some technical issues, but much of it stuck with me, including the baby steps, laying out my clothes at night, and not feeling like a martyr when I did nice things for my family. It was a real attitude adjustment, but resulted in a brighter outlook on life that has lasted years.

        • I subscribed to Flylady for a while and, like you, haven’t received her e-mails for a long time now. But the one thing that stuck with me was keeping the kitchen sink clean. That one little thing makes me happy whenever I do it.

        • Same here re: Flylady — I haven’t subscribed in years, but I still do all the dishes/shine my sink every night, and make the bed every day. It really is such a positive attitude adjustment — I have strong perfectionist leanings, and it’s so much healthier, mentally, to have the “just jump in” and “just do 15 minutes” approach.

          • Oh, and for the OP — you can find Flylady here:
            http://www.flylady.net

            Second the recommendation for the Happiness Project book. The same author (Gretchen Rubin) also has a blog to check out for free.

    • anony too :

      I am also interested in the response to this question.

    • I just wanted to say, thanks for posting this because I, too, am having a hard time making the changes in my life that I would like to be making. The advice that people have posted is really helpful.

    • Newish lurker :

      Unlurking to say that you might find it useful to read “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg (he wrote the infamous Target data article). If you want a close look at how habits actually work, and how to modify your “habit loops”, it could be a possible resource in addition to other sites that people have mentioned, like Flylady. I have a good friend who is more or less in the same situation as you are — unhappy with her weight, her environment, her feelings about her job — and she started with the sites FlyLady and UnF**k Your Habitat. But she did say it all started when I took her to Sephora and had them show her how to do her eyebrows and bought her a lipstick. Making little changes that made her feel prettier, like putting on makeup every day, led to the ability to tackle larger, less immediately pleasurable changes. Good luck!

      • Jenna Rink :

        Thank you for posting about UnF**k Your Habitat! I tried Fly Lady a few years ago and found her too…twee. UnF**k is just what I need!

    • Nony Makeover :

      OP here. Thank you to all of you who have already replied with suggestions and encouragement. I really, really appreciate all your thoughts and love that your recommendations are concrete. I am encouraged to hear that other ‘rettes have been in the same position and managed to get things “on track”. I will keep you posted on my progress!

      • This thread is inspiring me to, at 8 p.m. Saturday night, go through the piles of clothes in the bedroom and 1) at least put everything away and 2) maybe put together an outfit for next week. Even though I really want to be watching TV.

    • Nony Makeover, everyone has given good advice. I’ve been there and my hints are to not have a do-or-die mentality. I’m prone to this…the “I’m going to lose 20 pounds in six weeks and be able to run a marathon and have an amazing, clean house…” and then burn out on day 3. The suggestion of the Flylady is good- build on her tactics. Clean for 10-30 minutes every day, not “clean for 3 hours and have my house look like Extreme Home Makeover in a week.” Clean one kitchen cabinet every night, or one desk drawer. After a week,your kitchen/office will have improved quite a bit. Similarly, with diet tell yourself you’ll eat 1 fruit serving and one veggie serving at each meal in week one. In week 2, cut down on your trigger food and replace with salad. Build on the success each week.

      Another idea is to hire a dietician or a personal trainer to get you over the hump. On day three when you want to quit, you’ve already made an appointment to see your trainer and if you skip, you waste the money. Or hire a diet coach that you talk to by phone or email every day for a month.

      If money is tight, enlist a girlfriend or workout buddy and agree to meet for a walk 2-3 times a week before or after work.

      Now I’m off to clean my sink…. good luck!

    • Lady Girl :

      When I was a student I was oh-so-carefree with a shaved head and no make-up and many unshowered days. Once I transitioned into professional adult life, I found it helpful to seek out female role models–yes, in the third-grade sense of the word.

      Do you have any ladies at work who are just the bee’s knees? They look smashing and exude confidence and are above all things brave and courageous? Emulate them! Seriously–copy them. Don’t go out and turn yourself into an exact replica, but let them inspire you and own it for yourself.

  15. Hello. I am seeking advice on a big where-to-live-decision. My husband and I live in a bigger city and currently are in a one-bedroom loft that is about 1,100 square feet. It has only one main wall dividing the large bedroom from the living area and kitchen so that the area is split about into about one-third bedroom and two-thirds living area. We are expecting a baby in August and have been looking for a small 2-3br house to rent. Unfortunately, the selection has been dismal. We are focused on a few key neighborhoods but have found nothing that will work for us. This is not a situation where we are extremely picky and so will never find anything to suit us, but we do have some core requirements: a d/w, W/D, close to a bus line. We have just this week begun to also consider condominiums but also have seen nothing that will work on the condo front. So now we are considering staying in our 1br loft. Here is what we would do: Convert the bedroom into a nursery that would also remain where we store our clothes and get dressed. Create a bedroom space for us in the main living area while reconfiguring the rest of the space for dining and TV/relaxation. My question: Does this seem like a crazy plan? We are not ready to buy (and won’t be for at least three years) and don’t want to live in the suburbs and are interested in some creative solutions. Have others had a newborn in a space this small and made it work? Any advice or guidance would be much appreciated!

    • Before I read the bottom 1/3 of your post I thought to myself “just reconfigure the loft”. Not crazy at all, I think it makes perfect sense.

    • I agree reconfigure the loft, but I would probably partition out a small baby bedroom rather than give baby the bedroom and leave your clothes there – it might disturb the baby when you need to dress or put away laundry or whatever, and babies don’t need large rooms.

      • long time lurker :

        I guess it depends on your habits, if you are watching tv or cooking while baby is napping then the baby might need the bedroom for quiet.

        I know people in NYC who have done a baby in their own bedroom for a year or two, before moving to a 2 bedroom, so I think it can be done. Good luck.

        • We’ve done this. I think it’s actually convenient, especially while nursing. Had to forgo TV in the bedroom, but many experts recommend against it anyway.

        • For the first year, our babies slept with us (me) night nursing was much easier and there was more sleep. We had a mini co-sleeper which we used as well (has storage space in the bottom) – it was between the wall and the bed, so our kids were in it until height became an issue.

          Put a waterproof mattress cover on the bed, if you don’t have one already.

          Our kiddos startled less with flannel sheets when we were laying them down to sleep independently.

          Random thoughts on a Friday. Congrats! And you’ll be fine. The Next Housing Arrangement will come, and after baby arrives is just as good.

      • Bursting out :

        Put the baby in your bedroom with you, in either a co-sleeper or bassinet. Babies don’t need much room and it will be easier to nurse/ change her at night.

        We are currently in an 1100 sq ft house with new baby (in an expensive urban area), and I kinda regret turning the office (tiny bedroom #2) into a dedicated nursery, because she is always with us in either the living room or our bedroom, and could really care less about her cute nursery. If you have more kids, or start to feel cramped in your place when she starts walking, you can look for a new place then.

    • Google “Attorney-At-Large” and look at her “simplifying” tab. She has a post about loft life with a child. I think it is totally doable!

    • DC Association :

      When I had my son, we lived in a 1br apartment that was probably 850 sf. We stayed there until my son was a year old. His crib was in the corner of the bedroom. Honestly, a baby doesn’t take that much space. You will be find in your current place as-is.

    • The baby can totally share your bedroom with you for at least a year. I think that’s pretty standard for apartment-dwelling families. That way you can continue looking for a place that suits your needs at your convenience, and move out when you find the place instead of having a hard deadline.

      • When I was a baby, my parents lived in a small place. My mom told me that I was in the room with them but they put up a curtain to separate my crib. They didn’t move into a bigger place until I could draw back the curtain. Maybe try something like that.

    • When we got pregnant with our son, we were living in a 620 square foot 100 year old 1 bedroom cottage. For about 8 weeks, we were convinced we needed to get a bigger place. This was in summer 2008, when real estate in our town was at it’s peak, but many felt as though the bottom was about to fall out at any time.

      Not wanting to take a million dollar mortgage when I was still in training, we held tight. For the first 4 months, our son stayed in a bassinet in our bedroom. We put a changing pad on our dresser. Over time, we added components. Eventually, he moved in to a crib in our dining room. At night, he’d fall asleep in his peapod (a small tent) in our room, then get moved to his crib when we went to bed.

      These are not your solutions — these were our solutions. But my point is that by looking at space creatively you can definitely stay in your loft. One thing I like IKEA for is that they are very focused on small spaces, and have some really creative solutions.

      Congrats and best of luck!

    • I just saw a link to this on Apartment Therapy. It seems like a great idea for your loft: http://www.hitherandthither.net/2012/04/mini-crib-update.html

    • Even though we live in a ~1800 sqft 3BDR house in the ‘burbs, our son didn’t use his bedroom for quite a while. He coslept for 13 months. I think he slept in his crib for all of 2 nights. You’ll be fine for quite a while in your current setup, IMHO.

  16. Wardrobe/packing help please! I will be attending a 5 day conference in DC next month. The days will be filled with meetings, and a blazer is required. For night, we have two sort of fancy (I think) dinners/receptions and one night of theater. What would you pack? I recently lost some weight and am lacking dresses. Do I have to wear a dress to the receptions/theater? Any help would be much appreciated!

  17. Barrister in the Bayou :

    I recently purchased some makeup brushes and while I haven’t used they yet they seem really soft and I think I’m going to like them.

    However, I’m curious to hear what the hive uses in terms of brushes.

    *Once I wash and get a chance to use my new ones I will try to review them and reveal the brand ;-)

    • Brushes are tools. Depending on the cosmetics and the look you’re trying to create, they can be awesome. Or they can be terrible. And good brush hygiene is important, too.

    • Seattleite :

      I have a Prescriptives foundation brush, and all my other brushes are a mix of Eco-Tools and Mac. Eco-Tools are softer, shed less, and much less expensive than Mac brushes. So that area of Ulta is now my first stop for brushes.

    • I’m paying rapt attention here, as I’m a makeup dunce and have never bought a makeup brush.

    • I have MAC brushes and use them as follows:

      189 Square foundation brush: in the very rare cases that I use a liquid foundation.
      252 large shader: I use this to apply undereye concealer and on blemishes
      228 mini shader brush: to apply eyeshadows
      129 powder/blush short: I use it to apply my powder foundation, blush, and sometimes to contour – I might get a kabuki brush but it will wait as these retail for almost 50 USD
      130 Stipler brush: this is a small blush brush for creamy textures, I don’t use it much but if someday you are going without makeup, you can use it to blend a creamy blush.
      217 blender brush: I use it to blend my shadows for a softer look

    • I only use two brushes with any regularity. I have a travel powder brush (retracts into the handle) and an eye shadow brush. I had always used eye shadow applicators and switched fairly recently to a fluffier eye shadow brush and I love it. I think I got both at Sephora. No idea of the brands. I also have a blush brush, but I rarely wear blush (I’m pale and I just own it).

  18. Are there any Prius owners here? I’m seriously thinking of buying a Toyota Prius and I wanted to see if any owners can give me their honest opinion of the car. I take public transportation to and from work, so I would only drive the car on weekends and one or two nights a week. Does anyone have problems with the battery draining when they don’t drive the car for a few days? Also, I live in the Northeast. Any problems driving a Prius in the snow?

    • I drive Priuses at work and they’re ok. It’s perfect for the amount of driving you’re describing. Battery drainage should not be an issue – our cars are sometimes not driven for a couple days at a time. I would say if you live in a big city and aren’t planning 300 mile roadtrips, go for it.

      • Anonymous :

        See, I would say that if Anon is driving that little, it doesn’t make sense to get a Prius, because it is unlikely that she will save enough on gas to make up for the difference in cost between the Prius, and say, a Corolla, or some other similarly sized non-hybrid but relatively fuel-efficient car. (I don’t own a Prius, but I did consider getting one when I was buying my last car).

        • True enough, perhaps the money/gas savings issue isn’t that pronounced. Then again, it depends on the driving environment. In a city like NYC, where you idling in traffic for dozens of minutes at a time, the engine actually does shut off and you’re sitting in a super quiet car (it’s kind of spooky, actually). If you’re in a less extreme urban environment where your foot is always on the gas when you’re driving, then I absolutely agree with you.

    • I don’t own a Prius personally but my MIL does and says that it handles poorly in the Vermont snow.

      • I’m a 10 year Prium owner. They are problematic in new-fallen snow (I’m in Boston) – b/c the wheels are small and it is a light car, they can’t get much traction, especially on hills. The 1st generation models had some battery issues but to my knowledge, they’ve all been addressed. If you get one, the dealer will probably tell you that if you don’t drive it for more than 2 weeks, you should unplug the small battery to prevent it from discharging completely. It’s a great car though, overall, and I strongly recommend it.

      • lawtalkinggirl :

        My sister and my dad each have a Prius and they seem to do just fine in the winter with proper snow tires. We had record snowfall in SC AK this year and I don’t think my sister ever got stuck once. A lighter car can have an advantage in the snow since only one person is required to push out of a snow berm.

    • My mother and grandmother both own prius’ as well as two of my co-workers actually (see above: CA) :-) I don’t think the battery thing is an issue. My mom works from home and lives in a very walkable town so sometimes doesn’t drive her car for days. My grandmother even more so, as she really doesn’t drive much at all anymore, so her car is usually only used when someone comes to her house and drives her somewhere. No issues yet.

      My grandmother lives in the mountains and has driven in snow without any issues or complaints. Note however, this is California snow. Usually, we just wait for the roads to be cleared and go from there.

      • I always think the plural of Prius should be Prii, no?

        • I think for years Toyota said people could call it whatever they wanted in the plural, but last year they came out and declaredd that the plural would be Prii. I still say Pruises personally. Or avoid talking about more than one.

    • I used to drive a Prius for work – they have terrible blind spots because of the shape of the back. Other than that no complaints. The newer ones might come with blind spot detection systems – definitely get that if you can.

      I highly recommend test driving all the hybrids you can find before you decide – the Prius is not the only option. Thats what I did and I ended up with a Ford Fusion Hybrid that I adore. It’s fine in the snow.

      Also theres a website thats all about hybrid cars that has user reviews.

    • I love my Prius! I also know tons of people that own them (agree with see above: CA) and they all love them too. We’re like a cult.

      There’s no snow here though, so I couldn’t say how it handles in the snow. I disagree with Godzilla though, they’re perfect for 300 mile roadtrips! Mine has gotten way worse mileage than normal the last couple of months when I’ve just been driving it 3 miles back and forth to work each day since I haven’t had time to go anywhere further than when I’m out more than ten minutes at a time. And even if the battery did drain (I don’t know why it would though) you could still run on gas which would eventually recharge it.

      • Yes, highway driving will of course give you better gas mileage than local driving. I just feel unsafe in small cars in long trips. I like being in more solid sedans, the Prius literally rattles when another vehicle speeds by in an adjacent lane. It’s a comfort thing.

        • Actually the Prius should get better local gas mileage. Because of all the starting and stopping the car will use the battery more and the gas motor less. The gas motor so small, that both the battery and gas motor will usually run together on the freeway. I didn’t believe the dealer when I bought it, so I tracked my mileage to confirm, and he was right!

    • I have rented them (these things happen when you are in CA–tons of hybrids!). Anyway, I found the visibility VERY bad for lane changes. There’s a lot of “car” and not a lot of window in your blind spot, which explains why people always say that Prius drivers are bad drivers. I now know that they can’t see.

      Also, I don’t think the interior of the prius is very nice–it’s very plastic-y. If you’re going to go for a prius and don’t mind a not nice interior, check out the Honda insight. It’s a lot cheaper than the prius…there’s a prius premium, and the insight gets just as good of mileage.

      I always research cards on Edmunds.com…you should head there an read real owner reviews too.

    • I’ve had a Prius for 6 years and love it. I’m also in California, so I’ve not driven it in major snow although its handled just fine in many weekend trips to Tahoe. If you’re on the shorter side, I think the back blind spots can be more of a problem, but I’m 5’7″ and haven’t had an issue. The battery has never discharged, and as Cali CPA mentions, the gas motor should charge it back up if it did.
      My favorite parts about it is the very comfy, spacious interior (adult size back seat!), the flexibility of folding down the seats and fitting 2 mountain bikes, or other bulky stuff in the back, and the great mileage (which is better in-town than on the freeway). I’ve taken it on lots of road trips and it does great too. It should be hitting 100,000 miles this month and I’ve had no problems.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve driven these things for years (long story). There’s a range of models now and Lexus makes a nice one too (CT200h). Low ownership costs and they hold their value. Stay away from the Gen 1s though!
      You won’t be disappointed.
      If draining the 12v battery is a concern you can get a switch put in to shut it down when it reaches a certain level.

    • divaliscious11 :

      I live in Chicago and have a 2005 Prius that we use as a third car. I love it, and if my main car wasn’t nearly paid off, I’d probably buy the new wagon one….. My only not so great is that the car was designed for small people. Yes my very tall husband can drive it for short periods of time, but I’m just under 6 ft, and I think if I drove it a long distance it wouldn’t be so comfortable. I haven’t had any issues with snow, but Chicago generally does a really good job of clearing roads etc… so no guidance for a place less timely on snow removal.

    • I’ve had my prius for 7 years and I seriously love the darn thing. I live near Denver, and it’s just fine in the snow, but I grew up in a snowy area, so I’m not new to driving in the snow. It’s seriously awesome in the snow since I bit the bullet and bought snow tires. It has a phenomenal amount of space to haul your crap too. I literally had someone do a double-take with what I had crammed in there (plus a car seat!) at IKEA. I’ve left my Prius parked in a lot at the airport for 5 days more than once, and it’s never been a problem. The only negative things I have to say about my Prius is that the seat doesn’t have electronic adjustments (probably does have that in a new model) and it’s not the best in the mountains.

  19. Interview advice :

    I am about to interview for an internal position that I would really like. It’s a lateral position, but would provide a much-needed change. I am completely qualified, but am also competing against other completely qualified people. I would really love your best interview advice!

    • Anon for this :

      Does your management know? Some companies require the employee to notify their supervisor prior to even applying for any positions within the company.
      Also, do not assume that an internal candidate has an edge just by virtue of being internal. In terms of pay, you are at a disadvantage against a cheaper applicant – you may be moving laterally but it’s assumed you won’t agree to reduction in pay.

    • Anonymous :

      2 things come to mind : first, understand as much as you can about the priorities of the new position with focus on the external ones ie. which are the key clients/ jobs/ projects, and be prepared to show how you can hit the ground running in terms of contributing in these areas (your ability to deliver on the internal priorities are likely to be taken as given and you’ll want to counter any impression that the internals are your primary qualification for the job).

      Second, be prepared to talk about why you see the new position as providing development which you would otherwise be seeking outside your company. Practically all companies like the idea of providing a career path for their people and mentioning this is likely to help the recruiter feel good about going with an internal candidate, all other things being equal.

      Good luck !

  20. For all of you ladies who were loving the Hilary Clinton photo and texts, did you see this column? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/opinion/dowd-state-of-cool.html?_r=1&ref=maureendowd

    • I found you again! I read this and wanted to come back here and make a comment, then got distracted with the 17 things article and…well…it’s now several hours later (and the final contract that I need to draft this week is not yet done).

      I loved this article, I think it expresses many of the things I’ve thought about HC over the years. Maybe it’s because she’s just a bit older than my own mother, or because the Clinton’s power dynamic (minus the cheating!) reminds me a lot of my parents, but I’ve always felt a “special” I don’t know, resonance? with HC? I’m not sure that’s the right word, but hopefully you see what I mean.

      Anyway, back when she was in the WH she seemed so stifled. She had great ideas and was a wonderful, active FL but…always seemed like she could do more. Then when she ran in 2008(7) she really just seemed so uncomfortable in her own skin. Like “well, duh you should vote for me, I’m me? Also, I’m going to get ridiculous and go hide in the corner over here and let my handlers talk for a while and OH YEAH, by the way, I’m HILLARY CLINTON!”

      Now she seems like a power broker, and she knows it, and she’s good at it, and EVERYONE knows it. All the potential that I think has been screaming to get out of her is being realized and I really truly hope she is elected in 2016, even though if I were her I wouldn’t want to work until I was 72, but I think she has the passion and the drive and the brains and would be fabulous for the country.

      Ok, enough gushing! :-)

      • I saw a video of her on a talk show somewhere in SE Asia after she became SoS, and she was so relaxed and funny. I don’t know what it was about the presidency and the WH that made it difficult for her to let that side of her personality shine, but I was utterly charmed by it.

        • Agreed! I was a Barack supporter in ’08, because something just seemed–off about Hillary; I didn’t have a particular problem with her, but I felt like I couldn’t get a read on her the way I could Barack. Now I love love love her!

      • You’re right – she does seem to have come into her own and is more comfortable being herself. I had also wondered about the age issue – would she want to work that long?

    • AnonInfinity :

      Thanks for sharing this. I’m usually not a huge Dowd reader, but this article gave me chills. It so perfectly articulated exactly what is so powerful about that photograph.

  21. blown away :

    Confession, and I’d love to hear what other people think of the concept embodied in the title of this article (much more so than the article itself): how busy you are is not the indicator of how successful you are.

    http://emilybennington.com/focus/if-busy-were-the-indicator-of-success-wed-all-be-billionaires/

    I read this as a link from the “17 Things” article above, and I feel as though a light bulb has gone off in my head. I have never once thought that I could be successful if I was not, in fact, busy every single moment of every waking day. I think I might have just opened this window to re-defining my entire life in light of this new concept.

    I don’t have to feel overwhelmed and stretched too thing to qualify as successful.

    • I read that from 17 things as well and really like the idea. I’ve been hearing a lot more of this idea of living a MIA life – Mindful, Intentional Actions, and I really am trying to put some of the ideas into use. It strikes me how much of my life gets whiled away on things that are just not very important, while I try to change my commute to save 10 minutes or go to bed after midnight because I’m trying to get all the things done that I should have and could have done earlier…but was “too busy” doing…something!

    • I don’t have to feel overwhelmed and stretched too THIN to qualify as successful.

      Also, then I’ll have time to spell correctly.

    • Wow – I had the same reaction. Not so much about work (though definitely a little bit), but more about other things in life I may not want to face. How many times have I used being so incredibly busy at work and elsewhere as an excuse not to focus on a meh relationship? Reducing the clutter, not being too “busy” to think about things you don’t want to – yikes.

  22. Anyone interested in a Tampa meetup?

  23. I am moving back to the area where I grew up and am interested in transitioning to a non-practicing legal job such as legal publishing or policy research. I am moving to an area that has a very large range of industries/jobs including federal and state government. I have worked in big law and currently work for a quasi-state agency. I have really only done contract work, although many different types. I plan to join the Junior League and local bar association after I move to network. I also have friends in the area that are lobbyists, lawyers, and legal administrative types. I plan to contact everyone to let them know I am coming back to the area and want to catch up, with the plan to sneak in a discussion about my job search at some point.

    Have any of you switched to nonparticipating positions? What all is out there? I am kind of at a loss of what to look for outside of the traditional job sites, etc. I have never had a problem getting a job before but anticipate the road will be much more difficult now. I have been saving and saving to prepare for my period of unemployment. Any suggestions or tips on avenues I explore or other things I do I try to figure out what else is out there? I’d love to go back to school to be a teacher, but at this point cannot take on more student loan debt.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Have you looked into your law school alumni network for leads, email the social/volunteer committee of the local bar association before you move in the area so you have some events on your calendar.

      What policy centers exist in your home town that are doing research in your quasi-state agency field? If you get a position at a university (research center), tuition remission for teacher certification may be an option. Your lobbyist friends may kn

      And be upfront with your friends, you want them to think of you IMMEDIATELY if something sounds promising. No sneaking :) You will find a great job.

  24. The Sheryl Sandberg article Kat posted in the previous thread struck me, esp this quote:

    “People one-upping eachother’s stressful work habits is an epidemic. Time spent is the easiest metric we have to measure our commitment to our jobs. Other metrics such as insight, creativity, and productivity are nebulous and subjective. Time is quantifiable: did you spend 5 hours more than Mary? Or 20? Time comparisons give the illusion we’re comparing apples to apples with respect to effort.”

    This country (or maybe just NYC?) is so crazy! It fits my current situation exactly. Our standard expected hours are in before 8:30 and leave no earlier than 7pm for most. Plus we have to eat lunch at our desk. There’s a running “joke” in my financial services office when ppl (besides secretaries) leave before 7pm “Are you taking a half-day today?” My job doesn’t even require so many hours of ‘work’ but here I stay, for better or worse, putting in that good ole face time (being too junior to put my foot down).

    • Also, I wonder how I would even look for another job if I can’t sneak out for an interview. How have others managed to find jobs while working 100% face-time in the office w/ no breaks allowed for the most part? Can only feign so many dr’s appts I imagine, esp when you do in fact need to go to dr. Gonna have to save those days off when the time comes I imagine.

      • Ask if companies are willing to interview you first thing in the morning. It obviously depends on your company, but I am not really missed when I’m an hour or so late because everyone here comes in at different times.

    • I’m in financial services and there’s definitely a face-time requirement here (mostly unspoken, but enforced by jibes and snarky remarks about when certain people leave. It’s used to make them object lessons to keep the rest of us i nline.)

      One really needs to be either the head of a big powerful (rainmaking) division to be able to change the culture. Even the senior line-managers don’t have the social/political clout to make lasting, wide-spread cultural change in the big shops.

      • And when you arrive as a rainmaker, you can look forward to replacing the requirement for office face-time with client face-time. Plus revenue.

    • I hate the emphasis on time rather than on results. At my job, we have often been asked to estimate the amount of time we spend on certain projects (even things we worked on six months ago, and it’s next to impossible to remember). Now we have to keep track of every minute we spend and give weekly reports to our bosses. Management has no other process in place to measure our effectiveness, and it drives me crazy. I am a quick, efficient worker. But I feel like I have to draw everything out so it looks like I’m busy enough not to layoff.

  25. Can someone recommend a good brand of nude stockings/tights for spring? In the winter I love wearing Hue’s black tights. Now that it’s spring, I’m noticing lots of women wearing stockings/tights that don’t seem like the typical drugstore ones I remember my mom wearing. Favorite brands?

    • I’ve posted on other threads, but I like the Hanes Silk Reflections. I think they’re great. If you search for that on here (search on google site:[name of this site]), you’ll find threads where other people have made recommendations.

      I also just recently purchased Philippe Matignon Jade/Playa Nature in Nude (a European brand) which I haven’t worn yet, because they look so fancy I’m sort of saving them for a special occasion. They’re a little…sparklier, then I expected, but they’re also very pretty.

    • I actually like Hue’s pantyhose too. I think the kind I like best is called No Waistband, or something like that.

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