Suit of the Week: BOSS Black

For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

This is a pretty basic suit, but I like so many things about it — the hint of stretch, the full linings, the princess seams, and — am I crazy? — the way the jacket opens at the bottom into a V as well as at the top. The blazer (BOSS Black Ministripe Stretch Wool Blazer) is $595, and the skirt (BOSS Black Ministripe Stretch Wool Skirt) is $250, both at Saks.

(L-5)

Comments

  1. momentsofabsurdity :

    I like it. I think it’s a classic, basic suit that could work essentially anywhere, and would be a great interview suit (if I could afford to drop $800 on an interview suit…sigh).

    Early TJ: Has anyone ever done a WarriorDash? A friend and I are considering signing up for one to have something to train for this summer, but neither of us are in hardcore shape (though of course, we would train) and don’t want to be in one of those races where we just block the paths of all the fast runners and are left in the dust.

    I have some knee problems and trail racing as well as breaking up running with other activities or obstacles is a lot easier on my knees than running straight on a paved surface, but we’re not sure if this race is just too hardcore for us. But it just looks like so much fun!

  2. Thank you to whomever posted the MUSTSHOP discount code for Jcrew yesterday! There was a dress there that I have been wanting and was able to get it at a good price.

    Also, I called Jcrew to ask about returning final sale items- I read on Extra Petite that you can purchase the items as “gifts” and return them through the gift receipt without any problems. I told the sales associate this and asked her if it was true. She told me she hadn’t heard that but that she would be able to waive the final sale note and I would be able to return the items if need be. Also, I was able to use the discount code over the phone. Definitely awesome.

    • Nice! Your solution is better, but I’ve also returned final sale items in store and feigned ignorance and gotten the associate to give me store credit. That has worked two out of two times. Better than nothing.

      • I online chatted with one of their sales reps, and expressed concern about their shoes. I asked if they had measurements on a certain size of shoes, and if they would stretch, etc. The associate was able to mark on my form that I could return them if it didn’t work, but still gave me the 30% discount for final sale. I love JCrew.

        • Seriously. I hate that their prices have gotten high and everything is made in China, but they really do have great customer service.

    • Beach Bar :

      Final Sale ended a few weeks ago, and accordingly to the ladies at J. Crew Aficionada should stay gone until sometime this summer. For some reason, the website was still displaying items as Final Sale, even though it’s now “Spring Sale” which allows returns. I’m guessing that’s while the SA was able to waive the Final Sale note.

    • Is the MUSTSHOP still valid? and according to beach bar, it’s not final sale? hmm… this is tempting ;)

      • I just used it an hour ago! order, order!

        • You all are such enablers.
          Not that I really mind.

          • a passion for fashion :

            enablers is right. just bought a suit, a pair of slacks, a dress, and a swim suit, all for $360 bucks. woo-hoo

        • Its still valid. I have a pair of the black minnies in cotton twill (NOT stretch twill) and I love, love them. I decided I wanted a pair in the brown color just as they disappeared from the website. I stalked for about 2 months (using a “favorites bar” link) and they were gone, gone, gone. I decided they were gone forever. Then, yesterday, I just happened to be browsing the sale and there was one pair in black and not my size. Today, I checked and there was BROWN in MY SIZE. I ordered them (along with a Tippi sweater, which is a great wardrobe staple in case anyone was wondering) and a pair of ballet flats (for the free shipping)).

          The above highlights that I have a shopping problem.

      • Oh dear. There goes my attempt at not shopping this month.

    • By the way, speaking of J. Crew, I guess I have you ladies to blame for the fact that I bought my first Thandie sweater (orange) over the weekend and love it. Now I’m part of Team Thandie and can’t wait to get more!

    • Thanks for the code. I just used it. One of the items in my cart was showing up as final sale. The rep on instant chat said that there should be no final sale items online right now and noted my account to make sure I wouldn’t have any problems returning.

  3. Another threadjack. I work in a small, female-dominated workplace (but very progressive). In my very small department, there are about six women in the department, and two of us (myself included) are single and do not have any children. The other four have small children. I am 33, the other woman is 23. The four women with children just announced that they, along with two other women from an adjoining department, were going to have “mommy lunches” since they all had young children. I feel pretty insulted and ostracized–as if I didn’t feel enough like the odd woman out being single and not having kids. Now I’m officially not invited to lunch?

    Just needed to share my frustration. Like I said, I’m 33–the other women are all 35-38.

    • so anonymous :

      That is so thoughtless on their part. I would make an effort to reach out to the other women who were excluded and suggest lunch or a walk or something. Sorry you feel left out – that is the worst feeling!

      • Agreed. It’s one thing to invite all the mothers to lunch on occasion, but to announce it to the others seems particularly rude.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      It is incredibly weird to announce you are going to have lunches which exclude others. Why not just go to the lunches and not talk about it? I’d see if the other childfree woman was interested in regular happy hours, and think to yourself how nice it is to be free after work to go grab a drink!

      • agree and love this passive aggressive solution!

      • MaggieLizer :

        This. Maybe they didn’t mean to exclude you, they just wanted to make sure you knew there would be children at lunch. Calling them “mommy lunches” gets you off the hook if you don’t want to deal with screaming children in the middle of your workday. I’d probably say something like “Oh I’d love to meet everyone’s kids! Just let me know when you’re heading out!”

        • AnonInfinity :

          Will there be kids at lunch? I assumed that they just meant “mommy lunches” means that they can talk about their kids the whole time, not bring the kids?

          • This was my assumption as well. As a fellow non-married, non-mom, I understand fully the feeling of being left out. That said, the lunches may have arisen because they’ve been comparing notes and majorly need a support network to deal with issues specific to the situation that they share. I agree that you should feel free to get together with others who aren’t invited. I also think, though, that maybe you should assume this is more like a support group that just doesn’t happen to apply to you, than an exclusive clique that looks down on you.

          • MaggieLizer :

            Ha oh. Some parents in my building get their kids from nearby daycares and go out to lunch once or twice a week, so I just assumed other places did that too. Even if the kids aren’t going to be there, I don’t think the ladies are necessarily excluding you. They’re just letting you know that the topic of discussion will be primarily motherhood and young children; they need a place to vent and a sounding board, so they’re getting that at work. I’m sure you’d be welcome to join them as long as you’re OK with a lot of mom talk.

        • I didn’t get that the children would be attending these lunches – just that attendance was restricted to those in the group who have kids. Which I think is rude.

          I’m really enjoying working in an environment where there is a mix of child-free employees and parents. By the end of my time at my last job I was the only woman without kids (also the only unmarried) and I often felt quite excluded, as workplace conversations seemed to revolve around breastfeeding, potty training, and ear infections.

          • Jenna Rink :

            My closest coworkers recently left, and were replaced by women who happen to have young children. Suddenly the topic of conversation hits giving birth and breastfeeding every day. I love kids and it never occurred to me that I would find this annoying, but oh my goodness, I do!

          • Especially annoying because even if you might have something to contribute on the topic (because you have mothers/sisters/friends/whatever going through the same thing), your opinion is discounted because you don’t have kids and couldn’t possibly have any insight on the ‘mommy” issues.

        • I think Mommy Lunches means that child-rearing issues – of which there are MANY – will be discussed. These lunches would be extremely boring to childless people – they are giving you fair warning as to the nature of the conversation. I think it is a great idea and not rude at all – sort of a forum.

      • Hear hear. Some days I feel like the only time people are interested in happy hour are the weeks we have my step daughter and I can’t go.

        It’s obnoxious that they excluded you and I’m sorry.

    • This is rude and inappropriate, but honestly, whenever I go to lunch with two or more of my “mommy” coworkers I end up wanting to stab myself in the ear just to avoid having to hear more about little Susie’s lazy nanny and Johnny’s diarrhea. Frankly, if these are the types of moms who primarily identify themselves as “mommies” I think you dodged a bullet when they disinvited you.

      • anon atty :

        I dont get why its rude or inappropriate, but for the exact reasons you articulate. Mommys who work want other mommys who work to talk to about being a working mommy. And it sounds like these ladies dont want to bore those non-mommys with these topics.

        • Oh, I meant excluding her from lunch was rude and inappropriate, not my comment. I think my comment is brilliant, naturally. :)

          • I would like a “like” button for Bluejay’s “I think my comment is brilliant, naturally.”

          • anon atty :

            i understood your comment. My point was that i think what the women did was neither rude, nor inappropriate. And the reason being that other, non-mommys likely dont want to listen to mommy talk. And “frankly,” your comment about mommies is what i find rude and inappropriate.

        • MissJackson :

          Yeah, I’m kind of confused all-around. Unless these moms said, “we’re going to lunch but you’re NOT INVITED because you’re NOT A MOM, so FOOEY on you” or something equally ridiculous, I’m not sure I understand what’s so offensive about this. Do you want to listen to moms talk about their kids? (I’m not a mom, and I can’t say I’m particularly enthralled with these topics myself. I would not be offended if the moms in my office started some sort of group and did not include me. That said, we’ve got plenty of non-moms here, so maybe that makes a difference?)

        • Except, anon atty, the mommies are announcing that they’re going to lunch and also announcing that the childless women are not invited. I don’t fault working mothers from banding together, and I absolutely agree that I have no desire to be there when they talk shop re: kid specifics. However, I would be hurt if it were announced that there were “mommy lunches” going on that I couldn’t go to. I would imagine the “mommies” would also be hurt if I had “Child-free” lunches that they weren’t invited to if I announced them, and that they were specifically excluded.

          It’s not about the lunch. It’s about being a human being in the office.

        • I think its rude to announce that you’re having a lunch (in such a small office) that particularly excludes a particular person or two (easily identifiable) people. Especially since, quite frankly, these sorts of things can be organized via e-mail with no problem.

          But I will agree with all the other commenters that, if this is indeed a “mommy” lunch where they channel their desire to talk about mommy specific topics at work without imposing it on everyone, that I think (a) that its not the worst idea in the world and (b) I think Batgirl should be relieved not to have to go. lol.

    • associate :

      I work around a lot of females, and I keep thinking I need a kid so I can contribute to the conversation in a more meaningful way. I feel your pain!

      • Blathering non-stop about kid-related administrivia is not contributing to conversation in a meaningful way. It’s just boring, the way small talk is boring if it is 100% of the conversation.

        I always get the impression that talking about their kids for parents is like talking about the weather or the traffic for non-parents. It’s small-talk that doesn’t get too deep with people you are friendly-enough with but not BFF with. While I get that there’s some benefit to checking in with others who are in the same situation as you and finding out if “X color baby poop is normal,” if that’s the majority of the conversation, I’m with Bluejay in the desire to self-deafen.

        I also wonder if it’s generational, with this era’s intense helicoptery parents. My mother told me that when I was a kid, the last thing she wanted to talk about when with another adult was to talk about kid-related tasks. While I think she really enjoyed doing a lot of arts and crafts and fun things with me, she never felt the need to recount the step-by-step details to another person.

        • Officially dying to use “administrivia” in an equally appropriate and perfectly descriptive way. Outstanding!

        • I would argue that it’s not small talk for working parents with small children, but their actual life. At least that’s how it is for me and other working parents I know. You work, sleep, and care for your little ones. You no longer know about new music, what’s playing in theaters, etc. What you can contribute is more limited, and what’s dominating your mind, other than work, is “administrivia.” And I would hardly consider working parents to count as true helicopter parents – they don’t see their kids much of the day, five days a week. Can’t properly hover over your kid from the office.

          • I work in a corporate environment and this job easily takes up most of my waking hours of the day. I really like my job, but ….as all-consuming as it is (and I can understand that being a parent is all-consuming), I don’t talk about my work all the time, and about the issues and problems and such all the time.

            So why is it somehow better if it’s parenting and not any other type of job?

            I think the cause of the offense is the exclusionary approach. A friend of mine is an admin at a large bank and while she is on very friendly terms with most of the bankers there, she’s a new-ish admin, and she’s non-white. The older admins on her floor, all of whom are at least 15yrs older than her and white, all go out to lunch without her. Granted, they’re not stupid enough to say: hey, it’s an older white ladies lunch, but that’s the message it conveys. It is exclusionary and my friend is quite hurt by it, and not sure what to do about it.

            I think if the mothers at the OP’s workplace want to do parenting-topics centric lunch, they should just leave the invitation open, but given that there’s a critical mass of parents at the lunch, and those topics will dominate the conversation, the OP can then join and then opt out going forward once she realizes that’s the drill. Having an open invite the first few times, and then allowing people to self-select out of the group when they realize that parenting-topics bore them, is way nicer than being exclusionary right off the bat.

        • Perhaps the inclination to have “mommy only lunches” was due to too many lunches with people who had attitudes like the one Susan demonstrates.

          My mother probably didn’t talk about stuff she did with me with other parents either, but that’s because, unlike the moms here, she was with me 24/7 and was probably sick of me, lol.

          Mothers who want to talk about their kids with other mothers without having to censor their conversation because you’re ‘bored’ are perfectly justified in having lunch by themselves.

          if you like conversations about kids, OP, then you might just say, “oh, I know some people get bored of kid talk, but I love kids and I’d love to go to lunch with you guys” I’m sure they’d be happy to have you.

    • I’m not defending BatGirl’s coworkers because they seemed to be actively excluding, but I can understand them wanting to talk without their coworkers being annoyed that their kids monopolize the conversation. I’m a newish stepmom and I honestly had NO idea just how much having a kid means your life revolves around them. And I say this as the stepmom of a kid who is old enough to get herself ready for school, pack her own lunch, etc. But rushing home after work to get dinner on the table before sports practice and getting homework done means I often go to bed without having done anything for myself. I don’t mean to talk about her all the time but it’s my main activity so to speak and I have questions and I need support. I am grateful beyond words for my non-mom coworkers and friends who patiently listen and give their opinion.

    • downstream :

      I really hope that when I have kids I never refer to myself as “mommy”

      • @downstream,
        It’s not the worst thing in the world. The worst is when I see these folks identifying themselves to me (on our first meeting, before I know anybody’s names as), “Oh, I’m Madison Emmylynn’s mommy.”

        • I think the worst is seeing email accounts like “[email protected]” (especially when kid #2 comes along and the email remains. gah!)

          • I went to a kids’ birthday party recently and all the kids called all the various parents there, “Jane’s Mom” or “Alex’s Dad…” At first I thought it was cute, but then it got really grating. Many of the kids were old enough to know better (6-9) and it just seemed lazy after a while. My friend who’s kid was having the party was annoyed most of all – I will not repeat what she said but suffice to say it was not complimentary.

          • wow. that is just awful.

          • …but AIMS, the ghost of Dorothy Parker demands that you repeat her uncomplimentary comment for our collective enjoyment! ;-)

          • @AIMS, it’s tough knowing what to tell kids to call you. My kids’ friends know my first name but I don’t want them to call me that. They don’t really know my last name, because it’s different than my kids’ last name, so they don’t call me that either. I’d prefer Miss firstname or Ms. or Mrs. lastname, even if lastname = my kids’ last name, but most kids aren’t that formal anymore.

            For what it’s worth, if my kids met you, they’d call you Miss AIMS, unless you told them otherwise.

          • @mamabear – for the record, I would LOVE to be called Miss AIMS.

            And, I know it’s tough. That’s one thing I like about the South – it provides an easy solution: Miss First Name and Mr First Name. FWIW, I think what was kind of obnoxious with these kids is that they were just running around shouting “Ariel’s Mom, when do we have cake?” much in the way some dooshy adults shout “waiter” in restaurants. Past the age of 6 or 7, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect kids to call adults Mrs. Kid’s Last Name. Then if you want to be the cool adult, you can just be like, “call me First Name” ;)

            And, confidential to Susan, it was something about how they’re all coddled cretins and her fearing for our collective future as a nation.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            I was going to ask why they didn’t just call you “Miss Aims” like most kids do.

            I had no idea that was a Southern thing. I still call my parent’s friends “Miss FirstName” and “Mister Lastname”.

        • Dorothy Parker :

          “If all the mommies who attended the birthday party about which AIMS speaks were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

          • LOL. I wouldn’t be, either. Am thinking that these boring wretches haven’t done it since their youngest was conceived.

      • Always a NYer :

        Hey, I still call my mom “mommy” from time to time, and usually when talking with her friends or my friends in reference to her.

        • Me too. Usually I remember to screen this out, but I can’t help it sometimes. When I lived in the same town as my parents, I had a good friend that even called my mom “mommy firstname” to her face. That was weird.

        • I think it’s quite different to have one’s child, even adult child, refer to you as mommy and to refer to yourself as mommy. The latter is generally a sign that you haven’t gone out on a proper date since 2005 and are about to regale me with a story about poopy diapers.

      • Why not?

      • “Unless someone has come out of my lady garden, they’re the only people that are allowed to call me mommy.”
        - The Bloggess
        ;o)

    • Please accept my apologies on behalf of professional women who happen to have kids.
      If you have an opportunity, bring it up (casually) to the dept. head… unless she is one of the “mommies”.
      Also, what Bluejay said, above.

    • I agree, but at LEAST you have some other women around the office even if they are thougtless. All I have are a few older lawyers who do NOT talk to me, and the manageing partner, who is bald, and has bad breathe and is busy all day polishing his head with his dirty hankercheif and stareing at me! FOOEY!

      I wish I could find a girlfreind that would be abel to hang with me @ lunch, b/c the manageing partner usuesally make’s me sit with him when he eats his tuna on a roll sandwich. I realy don’t like the smell of fish and he has extra onion’s on it from the deli. Double FOOEY!

      If I had a girlfreind, I could go shopping at lunch b/c we are close to Lord and Taylor and Macys’. If there is anyone at the HIVE that want’s to meet for lunch, I am avaeilable!

    • No, no kids at the lunches. I also don’t get the sense that these women are at all shy about talking about their kids. They talk about them constantly, which is fine. I actually participate (to the extent I can) because I love kids. But it just feels like they’re all bonding more and more and I’m left by my lonesome spinster self! :)

      • LawyerAnon :

        I do think that it is rude to announce the lunches, but maybe that’s not what happened….did one of them just say, “On Wednesday, myself and some of the other moms are going to lunch” or did they get up in a meeting and say it? One is an announcement, the other just making conversation.

        I think you are being too touchy about it.

        Why would you want to be included in this group?

        If you want to do lunch with some of these ladies, ask them to lunch on a different day. I guess I don’t see what the big insult is.

      • Anon from Chicago :

        And this, i believe is really what you are complaining about. This is not about the moms who work in your office (who, as you note, are bonding about something they have in common and about something that is very important to them). Rather this is about you and your feelings, and your inability to bond over having children. So my suggestion is to get over it. And i really dont mean that in a bad way. But the fact is that you dont have kids (yet?). So if bonding with your co-works is important to you, find something else to bond with them about — sports/shopping/training/etc. Otherwise, try not to let it bother you. The fact that people have an interest that you dont does not make them bad people.

      • Silvercurls :

        Can you encourage the moms to discuss the activities, board games, books, etc. that interest their kids? My hope is that emphasizing the positive parts of parenting might get the moms to do less bonding-by-complaining. (However, being an employed parent of young children involves juggling so many competing obligations that sometimes it’s hard not to complain or at least to vent.) Or could you start another themed lunch group for people interested in another subject (cooking? gardening? current TV shows?)? Hopefully this would draw a different slice of your coworkers by drawing in some, but not all, of the moms. I also like the ideas of enjoying after-work socializing

        Otherwise, I don’t have any brilliant ideas–just ((hugs)) because I know how lousy and lonely it can feel to be the odd person who doesn’t match everyone else’s demographics. Whether or not you can or want to change your life to match the majority, it hurts.

    • OK Batgirl, but if you do start going to the mommy lunches, no complaining that all they talk about is their kids.

    • Take yourself on a single girl shopping lunch because of all the money you have saved not having kids. Announce it to everyone. oooo or a manicure lunch. I am going to do that next week I have decided.

      • This! If everyone else is going to be taking a long lunch to talk about children — you should take a long lunch to do something else. I think a manicure lunch sounds lovely.

      • Mousekeeper :

        Uh oh. This way lies madness, for those who have to listen to you. I have older relatives who have never had kids, and they constantly travel, which is their perfect right. And of course, they love to talk about their trips and show pictures – lots of pictures. And my husband and I, because we love these relatives (his aunt and uncle), we listen and smile and ask questions. But inside we are thinking that we will never see any of these places because we will be spending the equivalent of a mortgage on a four-bedroom house to educate our two children, and once we are done, we will be TAPPED OUT. And yes, this was our choice – nobody foisted these children on us. We live with our choices. BTW, if you think it’s hard as a not-yet parent to listen to coworkers babble about their kids, it’s really hard for people who chose not to have kids or were just not in a position to have kids before their childbearing years expired.

    • On the one hand – ugh, mommies like this make working moms like me look bad! Puh leeze.
      On the other hand – yes, you are probably being spared boring child talk.

      Trust me. It’s boring even when it comes out of my own mouth. But I can’t help it. And it is REALLY nice to be able to talk to other parents (dads too!) and share and discuss and vent, whether it’s about poop or preschool. Because it IS a part of our lives, we can’t help it, it’s real, it’s what we’re living. It’s as real as my commute, my travel plans, what books I read, what I do on my weekends, or anything else you might talk about with coworkers.

      BUT I would never dream of starting something so exclusionary, though. Also, I almost NEVER go out to lunch unless it is a work lunch, because I am frantically scarfing my lunch (or, more likely, a protein bar) at my desk because a) I don’t have time to eat a real lunch or b) I didn’t have time to bring a real lunch with me that morning) so I can be as efficient and productive as I can during my hours in the office and get home more quickly.

      If you are really offended, I would just flat out say, “I know you appreciate the time to talk and share with the other parents. Susie (other childless colleague) and I would love to schedule all-girls lunches once a month to talk about everything else, because it’s really nice to connect with ALL of our coworkers on A WIDE RANGE of topics” or something like that.

    • Hi!
      I understand your feeling of exclusion but I disagree that this was done to exclude you. It is universally known that people who don’t have similar experiences or advice (think childless parenting expert here) find these conversations boring if not irritating. I’m not suggesting that working mums will all find it a wonderful kinship building / venting experience, you get the drift.
      To me, the fact that they announced it casually to you was probably to clarify that it was just *situational* that you were not included, and would prevent you feeling offended or wondering if you had bad breath or something.
      I like to imagine I’m not one of those mommies who bores everyone with lengthy descriptions / discussions about children, but there have been times, honestly, that I’ve appreciated being able to vent. There have also been times where sharing the stresses of being a working mum through period X of increased work time / stress have with others experiencing the same thing made me feel better. It also helps sometimes because people watch each others backs in that group, I’ve found.

      This must sound like I’m making excuses but really in the century of the supermum, it can be super stressful being a working mum. I guess that’s why, as someone mentioned above our mums seem to have dealt with this better. I am sure she felt perfectly comfortable getting dinner with us glued to the TV in a way that many of my friends and I are not.

      Also, of you feel upto it, why not ask to join. I have colleagues who shop / window shop during lunch and tend to exclude me since I’m so clearly not into it, but there have been times I’ve asked and tagged along, and regretted it, sadly, but that’s another story.

      I also wish others would take the cue and limit this sort or small talk to lunch. When faced with baby woes at work, it can be a little awkward to know whether to drop everything to let her finish the story or give a curt nod and get back to work.

      One other thing; I’ve been surprised at how many new Dads talk baby. I’ve finally put it down to reassurance seeking.

    • I would look at it the other way, I am so grateful not to have to sit through lunch listening to UTI, snot, poop and other infant talk.
      Instead, I would invite the other single ladies to go eat at a glamorous place and get a quick manicure or just indulge in something festive

    • Thanks, all! I’m not sure anyone will read this today, but the sole source of my frustration is that I feel like I am treated as an “other” in our department because I don’t have children. This lunch proposal just made it feel all the more official. It’s not about what they talk about (because, honestly, they talk about kids all day and I prefer that over talking shop any day), but about the idea that I don’t feel like I’m treated as a peer because I haven’t had children. It may be because I’m slightly younger and slightly junior, but I’m not that much younger or that much more junior. Also, to clarify, the announcement was made in the context of a 10-12 person meeting–I was one of two people not invited, the second one being 23.

      • Batgirl, that is super annoying that the “mommy mafia” chose to make that announcement in a meeting (which I assume had men and dads in it?)
        How do the men in your department behave? Do they go on golf outings? Poker nights? Do they announce those things at the table? Have you sensed a similar disconnect between the men in the office who do or don’t have kids?
        No one can make you feel like less of a peer unless you let them.
        Do you feel you are missing out on important/useful networking/work conversations because of the “mommy divide?” There will always be things to divide women/coworkers – married/not married, older kids v. younger kids, love sports v. hate talking about sports, etc.
        The way I see it, women have been excluded at the conference table, corner office, etc for long enough, we don’t need to be divided from each other! We need to be supporting and helping each other out. Working moms have a very specific area of shared interest and sometimes need to vent.
        Find other areas of shared interest to connect with these coworkers with. Do any of them like to run? Knit? Talk about American Idol? Whatever! Ignore the lunch and find other ways to connect, share, and work together as a team. Obviously they feel they need their “mommies lunch.” (Maybe they are somewhere on some blog saying how they feel excluded because they think no one wants to hear about their kids!) They’re being obnoxious, no doubt, but if you work in a small office, you can’t afford to ignore your colleagues over it.
        Then, just keep being awesome professionally (and, thanks to this blog, impeccably well dressed.)

        • Thanks for your comment! I can’t really get into the reasons why without revealing where I work, but my department only has one man (who is much older) and is otherwise all women.

  4. so anonymous :

    Calling all talented online shoppers: I’ve had a $300 credit at Bluefly forever. Their stuff is so expensive! I can go over a little but not too much. I wanted a nice laptop bag or other leather purse, but the selection kinda stinks. Any other ideas? I’m in a bus-cas work environment.

  5. SF Bay Associate :

    Love this suit. Will sale stalk :).

  6. Mamma Mia :

    Pregnancy apps – what do you like? (Android preferably) I’d like something to, I don’t know, track things that might need tracking? Make me feel like everything’s normal and right and good? I downloaded the “BabyCenter” one, but it’s more of a “fun fact about unborn children a day” sort of thing. TIA!

    • HippieEsq :

      At some point, you might want to track baby’s movements or items you still need to buy. Regular list apps are fine for the “to buy” list. I haven’t found many baby apps I liked in the Apple App store, so I am waiting to see what others say.

  7. Marie Curie :

    Threadjack: I recently got (soft) contact lenses (I even posted about it a while back — thank you for all the helpful tips!) and I really like them. I have peripheral vision again and can wear any kind of sunglasses, not only prescription ones which cost $250+. However, I can’t wear them for longer than six hours. After that, I become really tired and feel like I have to rub my eyes constantly. This is annoying because I don’t want to carry around my glasses and contact lens solution etc. so I can change after a few hours. Also, it gets worse when it’s hot outside, negating the sunglasses benefit. I already have the best lenses for dry eyes (brand name suggestions won’t help as I’m not in the US) and try to consciously blink more, but is there anything else I can do? Eye drops? Drinking more water? Taking a supplement? Something else completely weird?

    • I got contacts 15 years ago but my eye doctor told me to drop some saline solution in my eyes every couple hours when I first got them. It helped a lot. Eventually my eyes adjusted and now I only use the solution I keep in my desk if I get something in my eye or have terrible allergies.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Do you take a BC pill? Apparently that really dries your eyes out as a side effect for a lot of people. And/or do you work on a computer most of the day? That definitely effects me. I use systane eye drops multiple times a day when I’m working on my computer to help add additional moisture.

    • When I started wearing contacts in high school, it took a few weeks for my eyes to get used to them. That said, I do carry a pair of glasses and a contact lens case in my purse, and I have contact lens solution in my desk and in my gym bag. I never know when I’m going to be stuck at the office late.

    • I recently had my eyes checked and also have dry eyes. My doc gave me drops (not the standard wetting drops) that are similar to artificial tears to use about 10 minutes before I put in the contacts, so that they’ll have a less-dry surface to adhere to. She told me that if my eyes feel dry after 8-10 hours, to take the lenses out, put those drops in, wait 10 minutes and put the lenses back in. I haven’t tried that yet – using the drops in the morning has made a huge difference – but might be worth checking with your doctor?

    • It’ll take some time to get used to. A lot of people build up their wear time – starting with 1 hour a day and gradually increasing the length of time the contact lenses are in. I used to bring my lenses with me to work and put them at in the bathroom here to minimize the amount of time I’m wearing them (and so that I can nap on the train). Eventually, you’ll turn into an 18-hour ninja like the worst of us (and by us, I mean me).

    • I think your experience is normal, but I also get in trouble with my eye doctor for not using drops enough. I use both rewetting drops as needed during the day and these awesome drops from a brand called Systane (looking at their website, it’s the lubricant eye drops) first thing in the morning (pre-shower, or at least 10 minutes before my lenses go in) and last thing at night, after my lenses come out. There are always some days where my eyes are just really dry, and I try to recognize that by wearing my contacts as little as I can on those days, but in general, these two sets of drops work really well for me.

    • Not sure if this is a problem for you, but its allergy season by me and I am contact lens free for the next 8 weeks. I am generally no contact lenses April & May and Sept. due to seasonal allergies. It could be contributing to making your eyes more sensitive. You are probably adjusting to them as well. Its been while since I started wearing them, but I believe they gave me a gradually increasing time schedule starting with 4 hrs and slowly increasing up to 8 over the course of a few weeks.

    • Flax seed oil. Try capusles by Nature Made. There are studies that it helps dry eyes become less dry…I don’t have links to the studies off-hand. But flax oil can’t hurt.

    • I remember carrying eyedrops everywhere when I first got my contacts (so long ago!) I still do, but mostly for times when I’m going to be up really late and/or driving at night. I like the Refresh individual ampoules, which don’t get grubby in a bag the same way a bottle does, but check with your eye doctor; some are contact-safe and some aren’t.

      You might also try some different contact solutions. I’m allergic to a lot of the additives and buffers used in solutions (in fact, I can only use Aosept, a peroxide that transforms in the case to a plain saline) and when I’ve had to use solutions that my eyes don’t like, my eyes will get very dry and irritated quickly.

      • In-House Mouse :

        I second the recommendation for a peroxide-based disinfecting solution. I used to wear contacts every day and cleaned and stored them with the multipurpose solution, then stopped wearing contacts altogether for a few years. When I started wearing contacts again, my eyes would get really dry a few days after starting a fresh pair of contacts. When I switched to a peroxide-based solution, all of my dry eye troubles went away!

        My optometrist gave me some samples of single-use wetting drops that helped, but the switch to a peroxide-based cleaning solution solved the problem.

  8. Westsidebee :

    Question related to the “Interviewing in Changed Circumstances” post from a while back — I have been job hunting for some time, and am in the middle of phone interviews for a position. I just found out that I am newly pregnant (6 weeks). I have been pg before and it ended in m/c, so I am still going full steam ahead with my interviews. But at what point do I need to disclose it to the new employer?

    • “But at what point do I need to disclose it to the new employer?”

      Definitely not before you have the offer in hand (unless you’re visibly pregnant, but I probably wouldn’t bring it up during the interview unless it was obvious there’s a big pro-family vibe at this workplace, i.e. if the interviewer squealed with glee when she saw your belly or something and said she can’t wait for your kid to meet her kid on take your daughter to work day). I wouldn’t disclose it until you’re visibly pregnant, even if you have an offer before then. But before you accept an offer, you should ask to see policies about maternity leave, health insurance, etc, whatever could be relevant to your pregnancy.

      • Second everything Bluejay said.

      • River Song :

        Also GOOD LUCK with the pregnancy and with the interviews!

      • I feel your discomfort. I found out I was pregnant less than a week before I started a new job. That was two months ago. I’m trying my best to wait another couple of weeks before I have to inform my boss. Luckiily the maternity leave policy is generous because I am not eligible for FMLA due to the recent job switch.

      • HippieEsq :

        I got an offer a week after I found out I was pregnant, and a month after the interview. I disclosed my pregnancy at the 12 week mark to my supervisor only, because I didn’t want to tell my employer before my own friends/family.

        NOTE: FMLA doesn’t apply until you have been there 52 weeks.

  9. OK, I’m sure that a lot of you are going to hate this, but it cracked my political-junkie self the heck up and it’s based on that Ryan Gosling thing that’s always going on around here, so I had to share:

    Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan http://heygirlitspaulryan.tumblr.com/

    “Hey girl, have you heard of friends with benefits? The benefits of an efficiently functioning free market, I mean.”

  10. Kontraktor :

    I wish Brooks Brothers would do this exact thing for like, $450 total. Sighing at expensive clothes actually being so great sometimes such that their lower priced alternatives don’t really cut it.

    • Ann Taylor has a nice wool skirt suit on sale for 150$ total (it’s the 70s pinstripe suit in navy or something like that). Not Boss quality, but maybe it could do for now? :)

      • I should add that I bought the suit. It’s my first Ann Taylor purchase (weird, I know). They have a great sale going on!

        • Kontraktor :

          How is the quality? The last AT suit set I tried on felt paper thin and seemed to wrinkle when I looked at it. It was a wool blend of sorts. I wouldn’t be averse to AT suits but I feel the quality is so hit or miss!

          • I just ordered it. I figured for the price, it was worth a shot. I have one Halogen suit I wear as suit separates only (just doesn’t fit quite right as a full suit on me), and a BR suit skirt I’ve worn twice in the year I’ve had it (it was dirt cheap, otherwise it would have gone back). I hope the Ann Taylor suit works a bit better. Otherwise I’ll be stuck buying Karen Millen and Theory forevermore – fine for extra-nice court/ interview suits, but a little pricey for a fun suit just to throw into the mix. I will report back once I get it!

          • Kontraktor :

            I love Karen Millen/LK Bennett/UK brands in general. Wish they were more common in the US and not so expensive.

    • I love this suit. I wish all suits were made like this suit – i.e., simple, classic, well cut, suitable for all life’s occasions.

      I was reading an interview with Paul Smith in the free paper this morning (he’s a British designer) and he said that a suit is like a picture frame – you should have a great basic suit and then everything else is the picture. I wholeheartedly agree. This suit is a perfect example.

      • River Song :

        That’s a fantastic quote, and quite helpful as I start thinking about how to put together an interview outfit.

    • Stalk their sales online. Most of my suits are from Brooks Brothers, and I’ve never paid more than $450.

      • Kontraktor :

        I have a couple nice suits I got from BB, but I’m sort of particular. I hated most of the suits from last season (the ones on sale now), although I’m contemplating a knit navy suit with a button-y skirt. I think it would be under $200 with a $40 off coupon I have, but I am not sure if the knit is weird.

        • I really like that one. I think it won’t work on everyone, but if it works for you it’ll be like secretly wearing sweats at the office – it looks super comfy.

    • BB just mailed (postal) a F&F coupon for 25% off from May 9-14. I got mine in today’s mail.

  11. ANON for this :

    A few years ago, my group left to go elsewhere. I didn’t join them. I am starting to run into more and more people in my industry and the not-joining has come up. I haven’t been able to craft a better explanation than “It’s complicated.” I am concerned that that may make it look like I wasn’t asked to join (I was).

    I was pregnant when this was unfolding. If I had joined everyone, I would not have had any maternity leave, so we had things to talk about (including terms in addition to this, which I would have backed off in exchange for leave, but I wasn’t initially sure I wanted to share that). Things began to get dicey. I didn’t think that I should have to work alone, deal with all of the drama-sickness-fatigue of the early first trimester. And then the bleeding started. Something was wrong with the placenta and it was a day-by-day wait to see if the heartbeat was still there (all the while working since no one else was left and dealing with bullsh*t). And it was there! And what was I going to do for backup when I had the baby? And if I moved jobs, would I have to take unpaid leave for the baby? And then the heartbeat went away. And the bullsh*t continued.

    I’ve never forgiven them for putting me through all of that. I could never work with these people again. “It’s Complicated.” But in all of the unfairness of this, I am now becoming concerned that I am getting the short straw in terms of industry reputation for perceived squirrely-ness, while I see myself as being lucky for not having lost it completely during all of that or since then.

    Thoughts?

    • First of all, let me say that I’m so sorry this happened to you. It’s just plain awful.

      Is there any way that you could say to people that you were dealing with a personal health issue at the time that made it impossible for you to join them? Then leave it at that. It’s personal. None of their business other than that it was a health-related issue. Of course, that’s none of their business either but sometimes you have to find a way to defend yourself.

      • She could say that if asked.
        The real problem is when she is not being asked – no one voices this negative vibe, it just hangs there like a cloud.

    • Would it be so horrible to just say that you’d had a miscarriage then? I think it’d silence most of the haters, unless they were truly, despicably vile.

      • ANON for this :

        It wouldn’t be. At the time, I couldn’t even speak the words. The one time I tried I turned my face wrinkled all up and turned red with the paralysis of needing to cry but being too seized with fear and, later, grief. Then, once the great work slowdown was upon us, I was concerned that that would be used against me — well, if she tries again, she may just become unhinged – need backup – otherwise not be able to mind the shop. So horrible; these should have been happier times.

        “There were some client conflict issues to work through and once the recession hit, well, you know how that goes.” Also true. But then there’s the “why don’t you all join forces now.” Um, NO.

    • I am very sorry for what sounds like a miscarriage, but I think that for professional purposes you need to disguise the resentment, since at least to me, it doesn’t sound justified (not that you need to justify yourself to me, but to an interviewer, it matters). In any case, why can’t you just say something like, “While I seriously considered going with them, I would have received a better benefits package at my then-current employer, and it didn’t make sense to forfeit that. In addition, I had the opportunity to take on a lot more responsibility and authority as a result of the transition, and the experience has been worth it for me.”

    • also anon for this! :

      I am in the process of being similarly screwed by a bunch of people I will never want to work with again as a result. I totally understand both the anger and the need to keep a lid on it for the sake of your career. I think “it’s complicated” sounds a little shady though, like you’re trying to hide something about your own actions. Something more mundane-sounding, but still vague, might come across better–and you should be very clear that you were invited to go along. How about: “I was invited to join, and intended to, but due to circumstances at that particular time I had to decline.” Or, “they did extend me an offer, but ultimately my needs and their needs were not a match.”

    • How about, “I was invited to join the group and took that offer very seriously, but a major health crisis intervened and I decided to remain where I am. I’m perfectly well now, and that was the best decision for me at the time.”

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think the perfect answer is “I was dealing with some health issues and really needed the benefits of the old firm. It is too bad because I really enjoyed working with them and they really wanted me to join. So how do you know x? (ie, change subject)”

    • MissJackson :

      I also worked with a group that left the firm, and I deal occasionally with “why didn’t you go, too” type of questions. It’s complicated for me, also (although nothing like what you went through – and I’m so sorry), but I say, “it would have been a risk and a pay cut, neither of which I was ready for at the time.” This firmly conveys that it was my choice without getting into the details.

      If there is one thing that people in law understand, it’s risk and money. I’ve never had anyone press me further when I give that answer.

      I agree with Ace above that I don’t entirely understand your resentment toward the group that left, so I assume that there is somehow more to this story. I also agree that for the purposes of future employment, it’s best to bury any resentment (justified or not).

      • ANON for this :

        Thanks everyone — this is helpful. This is pretty much what I said a lot of to the parties that were in charge of all this: I am having a grave family situation and I can’t turn my attention to [moving drama] right now. Sort of someone is dying, which was in fact the case. You would not believe the hard time I got even after that, even while having to man the shop like nothing else had happened.

        I would have mentioned “health issues of mine” but that often spooks people who don’t know you well (especially when you are the sole survivor of a group). One of these days, someone is going to push the wrong button and what will tumble out is “I was too busy losing my first baby.”

        *Exhale*

        • And if it does, the only person who should be embarrassed is the person who pushed you to that point.

          • Yup. Ask a personal question, get a personal answer sometimes.

            (So sorry this happened to you OP. Have you talked it over with someone who you can kind of let it all flow out around, so you don’t have to worry about it flowing out in everyday life?)

    • “I was invited to join the new firm, but it was not an ideal time for me to change employers.” That’s all the answer you need. If they press you further, just repeat that it was not an ideal time for personal reasons. Then anyone but a total moron will drop it.

  12. DC ladies:

    Any suggestions for stores that carry maternity clothes that are not too expensive and decent quality? My pregnant friend is traveling to your lovely city this weekend, and I would love to give her suggestions of places to look for maternity clothes as she’s been having a hard time finding anything she likes in our midwestern city. She’s tried the usual Pea in the Pod, Motherhood Maternity, etc without much luck. Thanks.

    • Definitely check out Appleseed in Old Town Alexandria. They have good quality at great prices – got me through 2 pregnancies!

      • Don’t know about DC but generally recommend consignment- I found stuff from way better foreign and discontinued brands than what our crap stores sell (MM, PP, etc.). Wore a great Parisian top today @ 8.5 months that I got second hand.

  13. Good news, ladies – I got the job I was freaking out about on here a few weeks back! Yippeeee!!! :)

  14. In need of a little anonymous vent: just got my engagement photos back and I hate the way I look. My outfit choice looked soooo much better in the mirror than it did in photos. My shirt is clingy in all the wrong places and the blazer I thought was tailored nicely just looks really bulky. Mostly I’m sad that even after losing over 20 pounds in the last few months I don’t feel like it shows in these pictures. In my head, I knew that I still have a lot to lose and I wasn’t taking any pictures of myself when I was at my heaviest, but I feel like these photos just show how far I still have to go instead of letting me be happy about how far I’ve come. Really disappointed and frustrated and trying to prepare myself to not say these things to friends and family who will offer compliments because I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the nice things they’ll say or like a downer or like I’m fishing for more compliments. … So thanks for letting me get that out of my system, Corporette!

    • Anon, I know you are disappointed in your pictures but (1) I’m sure you actually look lovely and (2) congratulations on your weight loss. 20 lbs is a wonderful accomplishment. And (3) congratulations on your engagement!

    • Is this FP Angie from 6 years ago? Seriously, though, I lost about 30+ lbs for my wedding and didn’t even order my photos until about a year ago because I thought I still looked too large. We are our own toughest critic. I’m sure you look lovely and that your soon-to-be-spouse thinks you are the hottest thing on Earth. :)

    • Someone posted not too long ago that she had similar feelings towards her wedding photos. Someone else commented that when she looks back on them years from now, all she will notice is how young she looks. Put them away for a bit, and when you look again, hopefully you’ll feel better about them.

    • You probably are being too hard on yourself. Remember, that you don’t have to use engagement photos. If you don’t like them, just put them in a drawer somewhere.

    • Nony Makeover :

      Anon – First, I’m sorry that you are not happy with the pics. I just recently went through a similar milestone and I’m disappointed that no matter how happy I was, when I look at the pictures I can’t help but cringe. I’d second the recs to put them away and look back in a few years.

      The second thought that comes to mind is to say that I hope this lets you “get out” these feelings before the wedding. Of course keep eating healthy, and doing your thing, but keep in mind that years from now people will remember how much you smiled, danced and laughed at your wedding, not whether your dress was a little tight in that one particular spot. And congratulations to you!

    • I feel that way about my wedding pictures. I felt beautiful that day and I got them back and in like 7/8 of them I just think I look like a cow. And logically I’m not even heavy, but I have big arms and the dress was strapless and that’s ALL I see.

      I am sure in 30 years, though, all I will see is how my husband is looking at me in them, and that’s really what they’re for, so I just don’t look at them right now. Someday I’m sure I’ll love them, because objectively they are really nice pictures.

    • I think engagement photos should really be treated as a trial run for what not to do when you do your wedding photos. Really, I know a ton of women who hated their engagement photos. Also, I bet your fiance loves you now and he loved you when you were 20lbs heavier and will love you no matter what, and that’s what really matters.

    • :( I hate all of my wedding pictures, but life goes on. 10 years later we have pictures from other days. Hair etc all terrible, oh well.

  15. Threadjack/request for shopping help!
    I’m looking for a black strapless one-piece bathing suit, ideally with ruching (as I don’t really have a waist and ruching is my saviour). I’m only 5′ tall, so lots of things are just too long in the torso on me. Also, I’m relatively curvy (32D), so I need some space up top. Also, I’m in Canada, where not everyone ships…Any ideas?

  16. Married working mom with children post, however, could apply to others as well. I have been off of work for a few weeks and I am about to start a new job. I am amazed at the backlog of appointments (medical, dental) to schedule and reschedule, school forms to fill out, school materials and project items to buy, house projects that need attention, etc. It is like having a full time job. During my last job, I let alot of this stuff go by the wayside or barked orders at my husband several times a week, but I never took any time during the workday (or even after work) to take care of personal items (although I noticed others at work regularly did). At my next job I plan on being like others and taking time at work to make the personal phone call and run the personal errand here and there, because frankly, I can’t see any other way of doing it. So the question for the hive is, how and when do you take care of the personal stuff, and if during the work day, how exactly do you handle it?

    • I run errands during lunch or on my way home from work (my husband usually does daycaer pick-up). And for phone calls that have to be made during the workday I just make them when a have few minutes free in between other things. I definitely could be better at this too, though, so am interested to see othe responses.

    • For phone calls, I just close my office door and make them (not on speaker phone). When I didn’t have my own office, I would go to one of the phone booths on another floor. For errands, I try to work them in on weekends or on my way to or from work. Otherwise, I dash out when I’m not busy (usually between 11 and 4, so that if people see me, it doesn’t seem like I am coming in late or leaving early — work is slow for me these days, so I don’t want to give anyone an excuse to think I am slacking).

    • I make calls and run errands at work. I’m here late anyway, it all works out. I also use my commute. I am one of those obnoxious bluetooth callers – by which I mean, some people complain about being on the receiving end of bluetooth calls , but we have a hands-free law in CA (and I totally agree with it) and that’s the only way. If I’m stuck in traffic, I call and make appointments, follow up on where is that paperwork you said you would send me, call numbers where I know I’ll be on hold for a while – all that stuff.

      I have an office so I close my door if I’m doing any kind of personal business on the phone at work. Our office is mostly cubicle-based, though, so I see lots of people grab a small conference room when they need to make personal calls.

      In terms of errands, my office is closer to a Walgreens than my home is so I do a ton of shampoo/soap/razors type shopping there, as well as picking up prescriptions for the family. However, I’ve transitioned the vast majority of my prescriptions, as well as items we buy all the time, to automatic delivery by mail.

      • new york associate :

        How do you do all those calls on bluetooth? I would love to use down time to take care of annoying calls, but I feel like I need to have my calendar, paperwork, etc. in front of me to effectively make those calls happen.

    • Um, yeah I do personal errands at work. I also read Corporette. But I work hard and do a good job and you sort of have to call the doctor during office hours. I end up paying bills at home at night, filling out summer camp stuff at home on the weekends, but its unavoidable to do some of that stuff during the work day.

    • Marie Curie :

      I’m not a mother and I don’t have a full-time job (grad student + contract work) and I don’t see how people manage to go shopping, make doctor’s appointments, deal with household things etc. and find time to work out, have hobbies and see friends on top of that. I do manage to go grocery shopping about once a week and pick up stuff on my way home if there’s anything I urgently need. Luckily, there’s a post office and drugstore within walking distance to the university campus, so I can go there in my lunchtime. I sometimes feel completely overwhelmed and don’t know how my mother and her boyfriend (who both work full-time) manage. Perhaps I just have spectacularly bad planning skills.

    • I make my doctor appointment calls right before lunchtime. I pay my bills (electricity, phone) online as much as I can. I order my beauty products online and have them shipped to my work. For groceries, I have started going sometimes right after gym during weekdays (supermarket is about 7 minutes from gym, no traffic jam, no long queues), so it gives me some extra time to enjoy my weekend.
      I would love to have a smartphone sometime soon to be able to make calls, have my calendar, jot down notes etc. I was thinking of the Samsung Galaxy note but it is waaaay above my current budget , and I am against buying it from gray market (very common in my country).. so I will keep using my paper pads and non-smart phone for few more months while I first do the higher priority spendings.

  17. Does anyone know of any good week or two week summer programs for young teen girls in the DC or NoVa?

    SO’s daughter visits semi-regularly, but we don’t know anyone with kids in her age range, so she’s friendless, which makes for pretty boring visits for her. It looks like she’s going to be here more frequently for shorter visits, so we were thinking maybe a short summer program she could go to in order to make friends.

    Thanks!

  18. If you had to choose between the following people as a reference, who would you choose?
    1. Direct supervisor who is currently having some emotional issues that she has been taking out on me. She is emotionally volatile right now and I worry about what will happen if she’s caught on a bad day. Other employees have used her as a recommendation while in this current emotional state and she has given perfectly fine recommendations. Reasonably well spoken.
    2. Indirect supervisor, but based on job title would make sense for him to supervise me. I am 100% confident that he would give me a fantastic recommendation. Not well spoken at all. He tends to ramble and go on tangents, but he’s a wonderful person.
    I’m leaning heavily towards number 2, but I’m worried that the interviewer might not be able to get past his style of speaking. Thoughts?

  19. In search of mystery recipe??! :

    A while back someone had posted this really yummy looking recipe but I forget almost everything about it. It was vegetarian, maybe chickpeas? I think it was in the thread where people were suggesting ideas for cutting back on wheat – spaghetti squash instead of pasta, etc. I think someone said they make it as part of some religious holiday….?

  20. Male children in female bathrooms at work- am I the only person uncomfortable with this? I wouldn’t ever say anything (lots of moms where I work) but seeing a five or six year old boy
    in a space I sometimes change and shower makes me uncomfortable.

    • Is he seeing you change and shower? That would be creepy.

      Otherwise…lots of people are in and out of the bathroom, why does the kid bother you?

      • Well it’s a women’s bathroom with a shower. Sometimes I change in the bathroom or adjust tights or bra straps or things of that nature. The idea a child could walk in unnerves me.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a 5 year old boy and yes, I completely understand your discomfort. I have it too, when the child at issue is not my own. Its basically an issue of whether the child can be alone in a vulnerable situation — even at 5 years old, sometimes a kid needs help, and its help that cannot/should not be given by a stranger. In addition, there is also “stranger danger” — not going to get into that here due to moderation, but you probably understand — even if the place is your office and the stranger danger is likely (?) low.

      My son is easing out of it now, and refuses to go to the ladies’ room. Many times, I stand right by the men’s room, door ajar, but facing away. (Not great for the men in there either.) Its a tough transition time. The only thing you can really do is to either wait, or politely point out the discomfort to the parent in question.

    • Why are kids in your work bathrooms at all?

    • No, you are not. It makes me uncomfortable, but I understand why parents have to do it. Depending on the situation I may leave and wait for them to finish.

      • Could you make a friendly request that people check to see who’s in the bathroom and if the shower/changing area is in use before bringing in their son/grandson?

    • Yeah, 5 is a tough age, right in between going in with mom or going to the men’s room alone.

      What’s worse- when my husband was a SAHD, he had to take our daughter into public men’s rooms from time to time. I know we don’t like the “men are icky” discussions on here, but c’mon, men’s restrooms? They’re some special level of hell.

      • Thats helpful- I honestly had no idea a five year old might not want to go to the bathroom on his own… I assumed the mother was just overly concerned.

      • You obviously haven’t been in the women’s bathrooms at my place of work. Sometimes an even extra-specialer level of h*ll (darn hover-ers).

    • At work (as opposed to a public restroom) I think this is weird, mainly because she probably knows all the men who use the bathroom and unless she has a specific reason to be concerned about one of them, I’d assume the kid is safe on his own in the men’s room. Maybe she’s a bit overprotective, but the child’s presence wouldn’t make me uncomfortable.

    • Five year olds are generally too young to go to the bathroom on their own. The mothers are not being overly protective.

      • So what happens in kindergarten? Legitimate question here… I swear I’m not trolling but I do not understand how 5 and 6 year olds can be in school if they can’t use be bathroom.

        • Loking, a pre-school or kindergarten restroom is a closed environment. No strangers allowed, so that’s not a problem. Some kindergarten classrooms (even public schools) have dedicated in-room bathrooms. And every preschool I’ve ever seen has small toilets – when you’re 5, an adult toilet is an insurmountable obstacle. (At home, most people have small step-stools.) Even then, teachers spend a bit of time “helping” with emergencies.

          For me, I wasn’t comfortable sending my son in an adult male bathroom until 6.5 or so… But I think at age 6, I wouldn’t bring him into a women’s changing room. Some clubs cut off at age 6 and forbid opposite sex after 6 years of age. So there is a grey area where it’s hard to take them in and hard to let them go in alone.

        • Anonymous :

          In many schools, kids at that age go to the bathroom in a group with a teacher. They go as part of their schedule — ie. reading, circle time, bathroom, wash hands, lunch, recess. They are never not supervised.

        • This. Sinks are also difficult for 5 y.o. Most schools have lowered sinks to accommodate the younger kids.

        • In addition to what others have already said, most public restrooms are auto flush and the sound is terrifying for many kids. My son is getting more used to it, but in addition to the sound being very loud for him, the sound itself makes him think that the toilet might suck him in.

          Also, he doesn’t know how to choose an appropriate stall, deal with a seat covered with urine, look ahead for toilet paper, put a paper thingy on the toilet, etc. He can get on the toilet himself, and when he does, he’s trying to hold on and cover his ears at the same time. He’s getting better about these things (and not quite 5, but tall and very articulate, so most people assume he’s much older than he actually is). He can’t always reach the sink faucet or the soap or the paper towels. He cares greatly about washing his hands, and were I not there, his persistence with washing his hands would put him in the position of another adult, a stranger, offering to help him. At this age, he wants to button his own pants, but if they get tangled up in his underwear, he will have to rely on a stranger to help him untangle his clothes, because he is focused on doing things like getting his clothes on, not on whether it’s appropriate or safe for a stranger to help him. And while I’m sure that most people who would offer to help a child in this situation are well intended, the problem is that this type of help prematurely breaks down his barriers with strangers.

          I appreciate that you are asking because you don’t understand, but also keep in mind that world is not just your playground. :) I sometimes get a little tired of hearing child-less adults complaining about the presence of children in the world. Kids that age really don’t care about your body. They are grossed out that they are in the bathroom and want to spend as little time in there as possible. And truthfully, he would prefer to use the urinal in the mens room. But how am I to know if he can even reach it?

    • This happens in my gym changing room.
      I specifically go to one locker room because it is downstairs and away from swimming pool and other common areas with kids.
      Yet a lady got her son to come in and stare. I understand some parents have constraints but I just hate that, especially that they have at least 3 other very large locker rooms suitable for kids.

  21. Ladies, I’m back!

    Yesterday and a few days before that I asked for some advice on handling a coworker who is trying to “manage” me and is taking me out of meeting, trying to monitor my work, etc. Well today he moved a very important team meeting that I was to be a part of to the exact same time as another meeting I am running – so there is absolutely no way I can get out of the meeting and make it to the one he changed. I’m frustrated about this as it is an obvious play to get me to miss the meeting and have him “bring me up to speed” later. I already sent a note to the actual manager, who will be in the team meeting to, telling him that is was moved to overlap another meeting that I cannot miss and please let me know what you need me to do after the meeting. I am going to follow up with my manager again this afternoon. Is there anything else I can do??

    AHH!!

    • sorry for typos! trying to type quick before my next meeting!

    • AnonInfinity :

      What’s up with this dude? He sounds like one of those awful characters in law-school movies and books that I’ve never actually encountered in real life.

      I have no words of wisdom, just an expression of “yikes.”

    • Can you check people’s schedules and send an email copying everyone proposing an alternate time that should work? Like “Jack*?!, as you may recall, I have a conflict at that time due to X important meeting. Can we move this meeting to 2:00? Everyone appears to be open at that time. As you know, I need to be in attendance because of Y. Thanks.” If this is a one time meeting, you might let it go. If it’s a standing meeting, then you should definitely address it. Keep your boss in the loop. A superior needs to nip this in the bud.

    • Breathe. Stop panicking. You’ve done everything you can reasonably do AND you’ve informed your manager AND your manager is on your side. All good things. Also, as you go up the ranks, you will NEVER be able to attend every important meeting ever. You just won’t be able to. What happens if you get sick or go on vacation or life just happens? You just follow up with people who’s not this DOOSH and churn out fabulous work. The end.

      And not to give you a panic attack or anything but one day you might be managing this doosh. Or someone like him. What are you going to do when a subordinate fails to conduct him/herself in a reasonable manner? Put on your big girl panties and SHOW HIM WHAT’S UP.

  22. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable
    know-how regarding unexpected emotions.

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