Wednesday’s TPS Report: Shawl Collar Sweater

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Shawl Collar SweaterThis silk/cashmere sweater caught my eye in green last week, striking me as a more lux version of the Vince Camuto wrap top I posted a few weeks ago. Obviously, there are differences — a much higher neckline, and this one isn’t a wrap. Still, for the more conservative woman (or office), this might be just what the fashion doctor called for. It’s available in 7 colors (grey, ivory, navy, light pink, medium brown, and dark green and red). I’d wear it with a brooch (or even two or three) high on the shoulder by itself, or perhaps try it under a blazer with a long scarf hung loose between the sweater and blazer. It’s $148 at Brooks Brothers. Shawl Collar Sweater

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Comments

  1. Seeking collective hive-wisdom.
    My wonderful husband has offered to buy me a coat from J C R E W for Christmas. They’re all 30% off today. I have been wanting another nice wool coat for a while; I have a simple black one from BR that I love (single breasted, slightly A-line, very flattering fit- it actually looks a lot like the Lady Day Coat) but it is not nearly warm enough for winter. It is just a thin coat– perfect for fall. I don’t need one that is REALLY warm, as I am in DC and don’t spend a ton of time outdoors- just walks to the metro etc. But, I would like something warmer than what I have. I’m leaning toward the Cocoon or Funnel coat, as I generally don’t like double-breasted styles. I want something versatile, and warm. Thoughts?

    • Merabella :

      I love the funnel coat. I think that one is more figure flattering and ladylike – ie classic that you will have for a long time.

      I also must state that I’m probably biased because anything like the cocoon coat would make me look like a 1950s pregnant lady.

      • You’re probably right; the picture I saw of the cocoon coat had it unzipped, and it looked beautiful. Zipped it sort of looks like a potato sack. A cute potato sack though!

        • It’s winter, it’s cold, and that potato sack could end up being warmer than the more fitted option.

          - You can layer more beneath it as needed – an extra sweater, your suit jacket, whatever
          - The extra airspace you have with the cocoon design warms up with your body temp and helps keep you warm. If you just have lots of layers jammed together, that isn’t going to help.
          - Caveat – I live in a part of the country where it’s cold a good chunk of the year and staying warm is a bigger concern than looking cute. That being said, DC’s winter are decidedly damper than MN’s, and that a damp cold at 30 degrees can be as bad as a dry cold at a lower temp.

          So – if you the potato sack is still a cute potato sack, I see it as being a more versatile coat.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Have you looked at the double cloth greatcoat? I haven’t seen it in person but I noticed it on another blog a few weeks ago and thought that it looked so classy and ladylike. No idea about degree of warmth.

      • Thanks– that one is beautiful. I hadn’t really noticed it because I was looking for single breasted, but I’ll add it to the list!

      • SoCal Gator :

        I just bought the Stadium Cloth Boulevard Trench as a present for my son’s girlfriend (she is like a daughter to us). It looks gorgeous and perfect for a college student in San Francisco. Thanks for reminding me about the sale!

    • I have the double cloth metro coat and the lady day, both with thinsulate. I think the lady day with thinsulate is really warm, and the double cloth metro coat with thinsulate is warm but not as warm as the lady day.

      • Thanks! I wish they had the lady day in more colors– the black is the only versatile option (white + me = disaster), and I already basically have that color.

        Good to know on metro coat.. I like the longer length, and the camel is a beautiful color.

      • Sorry, I realized that didn’t exactly answer your question. Of the Cocoon or Funnel, I like the look of the Funnel more. But it doesn’t seem like either has a thinsulate option, so that might be something you want to consider.

    • Blue Stocking :

      I currently have the Lady Day coat with thinsulate. If you go with anything in their double-cloth, definitely consider adding the thinsulate as I can still be a bit chilly on my walks to the metro in DC in the winter. I also have one of their short peacoats (not used for workdays) in stadium-cloth. I find the stadium-cloth, which doesn’t even have a thinsulate option, to be quite a bit warmer than the double-cloth with thinsulate. The stadium-cloth can get a bit overly warm in early fall and late spring here in DC, but I’m actually thinking about upgrading my Lady Day to something longer in stadium-cloth (as soon as they make something in black) because I don’t want to be tempted to drive to work due to the cold.

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        Love your username!

      • I agree totally — and, are you me? I have a lady day with thinsulate, and a double-breasted peacoat from there as well. I wear the lady day to work every day that it is at least 35-40 degrees, and it’s quite warm.

    • Cornellian :

      I have one of their peacoats with a thin layer of thinsulate inside, and I’ve been happy with it in New York so far. I don’t think I’d love it below 15 degrees, but that shouldn’t be an issue in DC.

    • I have the Cocoon coat in that fantastic green color. I don’t live in a place that is very cold, but there is definitely room to layer underneath if you order your regular size in coats. I have gotten tons of compliments – I was a little worried about the shape, but I love it in person.

  2. http://abovethelaw.com/2012/11/departure-memo-of-the-day-parenting-gets-the-best-of-one-biglaw-associate/

    So the above article was pinging around my Facebook wall a couple weeks ago, and maybe it’s been discussed here.

    I’ve been thinking recently about starting a family, and that article really made me think about whether I really want to be a full-time lawyer and a mother at the same time. I’ve always been the kind of person who consciously limits my activities, because I like having a lot of down time. Even in law school and undergrad, I was careful to not over-commit. Articles like that make me feel like it’s crazy to even think about working full time while also having little kids to deal with. And I have a 40-45 hour/week job with generous paid time off, not a crazy biglaw job, but it still seems like a lot of that schedule would be the same (except the late night work).

    So, full time working moms & dads: is it really like this? Because if it is, I don’t get why people would sign up for it.

    • Almost There :

      I don’t have kidsso no advice, but the discussion is here http://corporette.com/2012/11/08/zadig-voltaire-stellato-pump/

    • A lot of it depends on how much your spouse helps. I work full time at a law firm and go to school at night, and I have two little kids. My life is crazy, but not miserable like that woman’s sounded. We make it work. Also remember that babies aren’t babies forever – at some point the night waking and needyness of the infant stage eases up. You just don’t know until you’re there – you can always negotiate part time once the kid is here.

      • Second this. Will your husband “help” with the kids, or parent the kids? My husband works at home and he cares for our son. I could not do it without him.

        • What does it mean to “work from home” and be a caregiver? Isn’t doing both (well) simultaneously kind of impossible?

      • This is true, but now my kids are all school age and we’re back to being busy again, even though we limit activities. For example, ds#1 has a wrestling meet after school. Kids have to find their own transporation. No other parents signed up to drive other kids, ds doesn’t feel comfortable asking any of his teammates (all his buddies from last year aren’t wrestling this year, and he’s just not a very social kid). So, dh, whose job is more flexible, is taking off early to drive him (possibly taking unpaid time), and I have to head home early as well (working through lunch to make up my hours) so the younger boys aren’t home alone too long.

        We are lucky in our family that we both have fairly flexible jobs. And we split family responsibilities fairly evenly, depending on who is available. I get up & make lunches because I have to leave earlier in the morning. Dh gets the boys ready & off to school because he leaves later. He gets the laundry washed, I fold. He makes dinner, I clean up. We take turns with bedtime. You get the idea. We also have our family as a top priority and our jobs know that. My career is the focus because it is the more stable & lucrative career right now, but my bosses know that if it’s my turn to cover a dr appt, I have to do it, and they’re OK with it.

        I had no idea what biglaw jobs were like (not being a lawyer myself) before reading this site, and I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who has a family while working those hours, man or woman.

        • oh, no doubt that it’s busy having school-age kids (one of my is school age too – preschool age was much easier!). But kids that age can at least have some responsibility for themselves to some degree, which to me is so much easier than the infant stage was.

      • Yes, this. The woman in the article sounded like she had no support structure – she was working BigLaw with 2 young kids and no help. She also had logistical issues working against her – an ugly commute with lots of traffic, daycare hours that weren’t condusive to a BigLaw schedule, etc. Its possible to have a career and kids, but you have to have a support structure built in. For me, that means a workplace with flexible start times and is reasonable about taking time off for doctors appointments etc, a husband who runs his own business and therefore has flexible hours, a great daycare we really trust, and both my parents and in-laws in the same down that love helping out with the kids, and feed us dinner multiple times a week. Even with that, I don’t get much “me” time – my commute and 1 hour after the kids go to bed, plus an hour here or there on the weekend to sneak to the gym while my husband or parents watch the kids. But we have a lot of “family” downtime – I usually spend the weekends with the kids just doing things around town like going to the library or taking a bike ride. I’ve also learned to live with some chaos – our house isn’t all that clean, our dinner is takeout or grocery prepared foods fairly often, and I am taking my first real vacation in years this weekend. The key for us is that we either need to outsource or you need one parent to work less than fulltime, and you need either a family support structure or $ to buy support- so the daycare years are going to be really lean ones.

    • we’ve discussed it a bunch here. There are just trade offs. For some, the loss of down time is worth it. Its not forever, and you get a child out of it, which for many is an amazing experience. others value time or the ability to be unincumbered more, and they might chose to not have children, or chose to have one spouse stay home part time.

      That article is not really about parenting. its about decisions and changing your mind, which is fine, but yeah if you commit to two very time consuming things (biglaw and parenting) you are going to lose all your free time time. there are many different combinations you can work with to make it work out easier while keeping sane

    • So I’m not a lawyer, but have 1 son, another on the way and both my husband and I are fulltime physicians. For us, we’ve made several compromises in order to make this work, and it works pretty well (we’ll see if I agree with myself when #2 is here).

      1) We moved to an area where “full time” is considered 4 days of clinical activities a week plus call. We pay our nanny for the fifth day. We usually end up doing a half day of catch up at the office and then have another half day where we either have couple time or individual recharge time. We also chose to live in a neighborhood where we have minimal commute. When we lived in a major city, we stayed in a tiny house (600 square feet) in order to allow both of us to have a commute that was less than 10 minutes.

      2) We co-parent. My husband doesn’t help out with my son, he parents my son. Last night (I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant, on call, and getting very tired) my husband: made sure he was home on time to take over for the nanny, cooked dinner, did dishes while I went back to the hospital for a quick minute, got our son into PJs, read books at bedtime. I do all of those often as well, but my husband doesn’t act like it’s not his job to do those things, especially when I’m on call.

      3) We have a nanny. For us and in our financial situation, it affords more flexibility and allows us more freedom to cut schedules closely, we don’t have to do a big day care pack up every morning and night, etc.

      4) We eat a lot of Trader Joes frozen food.

      5) We sometimes hire a babysitter on the weekend if I’m on call and my husband needs a few hours to get exercise. My son adores the woman we use.

      It’s not to say I’m not tired, or feel frazzled. I do, a lot of the time, and I feel like I’m always one mistake away from not keeping balls in the air. I’m currently feeling overwhelmed about planning my son’s birthday party, getting him birthday and hannukah presents and hoping I won’t go in to labor before all of those things are done. I totally did a half a** job on my husband’s birthday. I would love to be more organized, I’d love to entertain more and be more social. But it’s not in the cards right now. So I do my best, my husband is awesome, my kid is a delight, I love my job and life is pretty good. But sometimes the “me” time isn’t there.

      • SO agree with your statement “We co-parent. My husband doesn’t help out with my son, he parents my son.” This is true in our family too. Our church has a very traditional family social structure (which we struggle with, frankly) and it drives both of us crazy to hear dads talk about ‘babysitting’ their children. They are fathers and parents not babysitters!

        • This is one of my BIGGEST PET PEEVES in the world. I guess because I was raised by parents who truly co-parented, but the notion of a father baby-sitting his own children just blows my friggin’ mind.

          • I didn’t even realize that this was a thing until I was in college and realized that I had two parents, not a mom and a babysitter dad. Blew my mind, too.

          • I am such a beyotch about this. EVERY TIME one of my male colleagues or friends says he has to babysit (his own kids) I say, “It’s called parenting.”

        • KansasAnalyst :

          +1000 my husbands always says it’s not babysitting if it is your kid when he hears dad’s say “I have to babysit”.

      • My husband and I are going to start trying very soon, and I agree with the point about the commute. I’m in NYC biglaw, and my hours suck. At this point, I’m the breadwinner and we need the biglaw money for my student loans, so I am not really in a position to take a salary cut. Fortunately my husband has a more flexible job, and is fully on board with the co-parenting sentiment, so I’m sure we’ll balance out childcare and responsibilities. But we’re choosing to stay in NYC, and are willing to pay more for a place with good subway access, because a long commute (even if it’s easy) can be so draining and sap whatever free time you might have.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Do you have a participating spouse? the person who wrote this seems to have some sort of expectation that the firm “care” about her. I don’t mean it to sound harsh but they don’t need to care, she does, her spouse does, and she needs to have childcare that meets her needs. In her way over-sharing memo, it sounds like she is solely responsible for the kids. that isn’t going to work with a lot of jobs, not just BigLaw. also, she is using daycare, but seems to be the only one responsible for drop off/pick up. I think that just doesn’t work. Also, the limitations around day care just don’t tend to work for a job where your value is determined by the billable hour and/or your last minute accessibility. I had a nanny when still in BigLaw and have an au pair now because although I am in-house, my husband works in another state, so I am functionally a single parent.

      Having a child at Biglaw is doable in a variety of scenarios. But there will be tradeoffs

      • I agree that her memo was way-oversharing and I would die of embarrassment if I ever sent anything like that to a supervisor.

        I do have a participating spouse — he’s an academic, though, and also likes to have a lot of time to himself to think his deep thoughts. He’s a good guy, and I know I can rely on him to make sacrifices just like I would be.

        • Does he have tenure? I live in a college town, and there seems to be a huge difference in parent participation based on whether or not the academic spouse is tenured or not. In theory taking maternity/paternity leave is not supposed to hurt professors in tenure decisions in our town, but my recent ancedata does not support this fact, and all the non-tenured parents I know are having a hard time with work-life balance. I only have a few data points for this though, so YMMV.

          • Oof, no, he’s just started his first post-PhD job, so he’s about 6 years out from tenure. We’re in our late 20s, so we probably have some time to wait, but not a lot. I guess that is something to keep in mind.

          • Meg Murry :

            Just because he isn’t tenured yet doesn’t mean you definitely have to wait, but it’s something to keep in mind. Sometimes academics can have really flexible schedules or be really family friendly, sometimes not at all, it depends on the school/department/position. Look around at both your jobs to see if there are any 2 working parent families and how they handle it – if you don’t see any that could be a big red flag to you.

        • Even if your spouse is a participator, you have to know what you can handle. For example, my SO drives my stepdaughter to school and picks her up from after school care because I have a longer commute. He helps her with her homework before I get home and often offers to start dinner so it takes less time for me to cook when I get home. He does all of the laundry for the 3 of us and I cook/do dishes. Stepdaughter is old enough to help with lots of household chores so she sets the table and empties the dishwasher. BUT, my husband does not think ahead about anything for her (just not his personality, he’s not a “planner”). New cleats because she is outgrowing her old ones, what to do for summer child care, coordinating holidays with SD’s mom, what time is her game on Saturday, making appointments for teacher conferences, when does she have a test, etc. all are on me. I currently work a job with set hours and very low stress that only has me working on a maximum of two projects at once so I am 100% fine with being the family organizer/planner, but when I was a litigator, there is no way I could have done it. I was juggling so many balls at work then that it took all my mental energy just to handle work. Now that work is simplified, we are looking to have another kid.

    • There is a lot of variety in lawyer jobs, even with in big law, and even within my office of my firm. I have been a miserable single lawyer based just on who my boss was at the time. Even a dog would have been too much of a commitment then, let alone a relationship with a person (and yet I had co-workers with spouses and even female coworkers with children — different bosses, different clients, different expectations).

      It is working for me now, with a husband and 2 small children. It helps that we live very close to work (so the trade off is an expensive house that is smaller and older and nothing to write home about) in a good school district (using the public schools would allow the expense of a part-time after school nanny, which we will need in a year or so; also, our private schools are so far in the suburbs that our children would be on busses for a long time and we would miss a lot of school activities, plus they are rumored to be non-working-mother-friendly). It also helps that I have a flexible schedule (in that I can work at night and from home with no drama to make up for leaving early every day; I am full-time). I have carved out a niche practice, so I have no boss (can be good and bad) but I have clients to answer to.

      It is a crazy life in Big Law, but I look at it like the NFL — it’s a ton of money (for me, who comes from farmers) and it probably won’t last forever. In the meantime, I try to save what I can for the inevitable retirement / college and best position myself for what’s next.

      Maybe, find the female married + kids partners and see how it has worked for them? And not the newly-minted ones, but the ones who have some age on them who probably have their own clients. They’ve probably got some good insights. But overall, yeah, BigLaw doesn’t work out for so many different reasons.

    • I had two reactions:

      1) So, so inappropriate for a departure memo. Even for those who are sympathetic, I think it provokes a negative response.

      2) She needs to make a better deal with her spouse. The fact that her husband isn’t parenting their kids (at least based on that email) isn’t her firm’s responsibility. Harsh, but true.

      In the end, for me, it comes back to owning your choices. I love my job. I’m at 2300-ish hours per year. I want to make partner. This will involve sacrifices, including having kids late, probably only having one, and accepting that I won’t spend as much time with them as some other parents will. It also means finding a spouse who is on the same page as I am with regard to our life goals and the roles we have to play to achieve them.

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        +1

      • cbackson, this is an honest question – how do you bill 2300-ish hours and still love your job? Is it the people? Are you senior enough that you’re doing interesting things?

        I’m a current second year, will be at 2400+ this year (billed 2200-ish last year) and am so.freaking.miserable. I think a large part of it is the current case I’m on that is slowing down (thankfully!), but since I don’t foresee myself leaving biglaw in the next year or so, I’m trying to figure out how to make myself happier at work.

        • I think it’s a couple of things. First off, I didn’t love my first lawyer job – the work wasn’t interesting, and being a junior associate sucks (TBH). So I’m definitely not just…bred to do this or something.

          The biggest thing is seniority – I’m a senior associate in a corporate practice. My projects feel like *my projects*, not something that belongs to a partner. I’m directly responsible to clients, advise them without the partner present, and feel like I have an investment in the success of the work that I do for them. It’s easier to work hard when the work is *yours*, you know?

          I started in a general corp practice and I got bored with that pretty quickly – I was in regional biglaw, doing M&A, and it just didn’t interest me. Tons of small, formulaic deals without a lot of variety. Now I do very cutting-edge work, and so it’s something new every day.

          I’m also a fairly intense person by nature, so to that extent, I *am* meant for this. It’s so, so not for everybody, and some of the best people I know have left biglaw. But when those friends ask me, “When you look around at the partners, do you want to be them in 10 years?” my answer is, “Yes.”

          It helps, though, that having kids and lots of downtime aren’t major priorities for me. I’m not baby-crazy (it’s like I don’t have a biological clock, and if it never happens for me, I won’t be heartbroken), and I’m refreshed by small (intense) doses of solo time. I’m not a person who needs a lot of it to recharge. Those things aren’t the case for everyone, you know?

          • Goosebumpy :

            So this is off-topic, but I just wanted to say that this was very, very inspiring to read. I’m a few years out of law school, and while I’ve been employed at a couple law firms and am currently clerking, I’m at a point where I need to put on my big-girl pants and figure out What I Want to Be When I Grow Up. Congratulations on both finding your niche AND kicking a** and taking names!

          • Thanks – that definitely helps in reframing things in my mind! Being a junior associate is definitely not awesome, that’s for sure, and I still don’t think I want to make partner, but I do think the work is interesting when I have the opportunity to do something substantive. I think the biggest change I need to make in the short term is to work with other partners.

          • Not to be stalkerish cbackson, but I am happy to hear you sound so strong, confident, and happy about your life.

            I remember your posting a while back about some personal setbacks. As someone facing a similar situation to the one that you went through, it heartens me to think that some day in the future I will feel really good about my life again.

          • Aw, thanks, Bette. I can tell you that I’m happier now that I’ve ever been – really, ever, in my entire life. The experience I had (and which it sounds like you’re having) was gut-wrenchingly awful, but I am, painfully, better for it. I feel like I’m truly myself for the first time in my life.

    • KansasAnalyst :

      That article really resonated with me. It really bummed me out too because that is what I think it will be like if I have more than one kid (which I want to do). My day is way more packed than it used to be and I get off around five every day, compared to the article where she got off later. The weekends are my catch up days to do laundry, errands, and play with my little one. Bye bye down time. During the week I feel like I’m running until I hit the sheets, and if I decide to do something off of the schedule for a little me time, I pay for it in spades in terms of dirty laundry, or lack of sleep. I have actually refused to have another baby until I can figure out how to stay home, at least part time. I just don’t get to see my husband or my baby enough. You can’t do it all…or at least I can’t. I struggled before I had a baby to keep the house super clean and really organized, but I was improving until it fell apart during the first trimester.
      I’m trying to figure out how to get everything done and I’m failing EVERY DAY. Either the house isn’t as clean as I would like, or I didn’t get to spend time with my son, or I ignored my husband, or myself. My husband is super helpful too, as he will do dinner, general house cleaning and errands on his days off. He is a firefighter so he has a rotating schedule, which is great when he is off, but basically makes me a single parent when he is gone for twenty-four hours.
      I never thought I would want to be a stay at home mom. In fact, I had multiple conversations with my husband pre baby, where I stated that I did NOT want to be a stay at home mom. Now? I still like my job, but I hate to be away from my baby. Once I had to leave him at the sitters I thought, there is NO WAY I want to do this again…
      So long story short, if you like your down time and you are wanting a family, you will have to redefine “down-time”. It will change from having hours to yourself to having minutes, and you will have to prioritize. But maybe you will be way more organized than I am and you will be able to have lots of downtime and still feel like you have your life together.
      Sorry this response is so long! And if you asked me if I would go through it all again, my answer would be “YES!!” It is all worth it for that sweet little kid. Good luck and you will figure it out as you go.

      And my baby is 4 months old, so maybe things will calm down? Arghh

      • My $.02 on #2 :

        For this reason, we just crossed our fingers and hoped that #2 would come along quickly so that we were either in baby mode or done with it (and this way we’d usually have one day care or school schedule to deal with, although simultaneous college bills, ugh). Otherwise, I didn’t think I could do, say, kindergarten and maternity leave. 2 in diapers wasn’t easy, but the good thing is that every day is easier than the day before it. And with busy parents, I am glad that my daughters have each other.

  3. Merabella :

    I bought a leather and lace dress on The Limited’s website for Cyber Monday. I think it is really cute, but now I’m having buyers remorse. How would I wear it? (link to follow)

  4. Sydney Bristow :

    I’ve seen others post about this before and have been anxiously waiting the moment that I could do it myself. I paid off my first student loan!!! Of course I have a bunch of others and this one was one of the smaller ones, but it had the highest interest rate AND was the Sallie Mae one that has been giving me such a headache! Now as long as none of my other lenders sell my loans to Sallie Mae, I’m free of them and their idiotic ways!

    • Will Tippin :

      You are AWESOME!! Congrats!!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Excellent choice of username :-) And thanks!

        • Will Tippin :

          Haha, thanks. I couldn’t resist. I’m mid-way through rewatching the entire series for the umpteenth time. It is my guilty pleasure.

          However, I am disappointed in JJ Abrams for CHANGING THE MUSIC in numerous significant scenes for the new Netflix Instant versions. Did you think I would not notice JJ Abrams?!?!?!?

          • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

            I watched the series back when it aired. And over the Thanksgiving holiday, I watched the first season and half of the second season.

            A friend brought over Season 1 of “Suits,” and I was delighted to see Anna Espinosa! (Actually, Gina Torres playing the formidable and very fashionable managing partner, Jessica Pearson.)

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I’m in the middle of rewatching it right now too. I shrieked with delight and freaked out my boyfriend when Netflix put it on instant.

            Are you sure JJ Abrams is to blame for the music? It’s my understanding that a lot of the music licensing contracts made awhile ago didn’t include language to contemplate the new technology and nobody sees the point in shelling out the big money for the same music again since the show isn’t on the air anymore so they replace it with no-name stuff.

          • Yeah – I wouldn’t blame JJ for the music. Depending on what the contract to use the music says, it may have only been allowed for broadcast television. I’ve had DVDs that had different music than the broadcast version, and I can see that being extended to streaming versions of shows. Especially shows that happened prior to internet streaming episodes being at thing.

    • Congrats! I hear you on the Sallie Mae gripes…

    • RookieRette :

      Congratulations! Student loans in general are a curse once you reach the payoff stage (mine got sold to three different companies – thank you not at all, Citibank – and the only one who’s been anywhere near decent to me is NelNet). I may have to look at doing the same thing – pay extra principle onto the highest-rate one just to get the darn thing to GO AWAY.

      Anyway, well done you! *applause*

    • Maddie Ross :

      Dude, Sallie Mae is the WORST! Congrats!

    • Congratulations! I’m getting close to doing the same (next 6-8 months) and it’s all I can think about! I keep trying to find extra money in my budget to pay them down faster!

    • Congrats to you! I also second the Sallie Mae complaints! Enjoy the freedom!

    • congrats! great motivation to knock out the next one!

    • Congratulations!

      My very last student loan payment is due on Monday & I’m excited. However, my loans were nothing like you guys in the US have to deal with. And we still have a way to go with dh’s loans.

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      Congrats! And an advance congrats to CKB! :-)

    • That’s the best feeling. Congrats!!

  5. Hi ladies,

    My dear sister-in-law is scheduled to go in for a double mastectomy on Monday, with chemo to follow. I’m unfortunately on the opposite coast, so I’m looking for inspiration as to how best to show my support and love for her and my brother from a distance. Obviously cards and notes and phone calls are good, but I’m hoping to think of something more concrete. I’m sure they’ll be inundated with flowers, and there is lots of family local to them to bring them food, take care of their dogs, and someone else has already bought them housekeeping services for a time. I was thinking of sending her a cozy robe and maybe slippers for her recovery, perhaps along with some mindless movies. However, if anyone has any better suggestions (particularly drawing on the extensive experience this group has had with similar circumstances, both personally and with friends and family), I am all ears.

    • Just a couple of suggestions. If she will have a portacath, I would send her a soft teddy bear. Sleeping with a bear up against the cath is a lot more comfortable. When I first recommended it to Seattlite (my mom had done it), she initially didn’t think it would make a difference, but now she’s hooked. Also, Seattlite said that soft wraps and shawls are great for keeping warm during chemo treatments while allowing access to the portacath and having hands free (which you don’t have it you have a blanket over you.

    • Good call on the fuzzy robe/slippers. My mom had cancer and went through chemo too. I remember giving my mom a nice pair of fuzzy slippers and matching blanket for Christas. People going through chemo often have issues with getting chills. I also second NOLA’s suggestion of a teddy bear. I was in college at the time and got my mom a teddy bear with my school’s colors. Whenever she went to the hospital, and eventually hospice, she always took it with her. Sometimes it got kind of lonely for her when she was away from home and I think she appreciated having something warm to remind her of the people that loved her.
      Another suggestion would be books and things to do while she’s getting chemo. The actually process of receiving the chemo requires going to a doctor’s office and sitting in a chair while the chemicals are slowly dripped into the port. Basically, it can take a while and be really boring.

    • I know a someone who received a nice, soft, padded dog bed for the bathroom and thinks it was the most thoughtful gift ever to have been given something comfortable to lie on while vomiting. I think I would feel the same way about such a gift but I could understand how some people might not…

    • So sorry to hear about your SIL’s situation. Depending on how much you’re looking to spend, what about an iPad (or iPad mini) that she could use to read, surf the Web, watch movies, play games, etc.?

    • When my grandmother had chemo she lost all her hair and was really cold all the time, and one of the things she really appreciated was the hats my aunt knitted her with bamboo yarn – she said it was super soft on her sensitive skin, and was really great for maintaining her temperature – kept her warmth in, but didn’t overheat her. I think the robe & slippers is a good idea too.
      Is she your brother’s sister? You may want to think of things you can do for him as well – he may be really stressed out by all this, so don’t forget to include him in your “thinking of you” gifts, or schedule some time when he can call you and honestly talk when your SIL isn’t within earshot.

    • Unfortunately I’ve had far too many friends (and this week, my sister) in the same position. Girls, get your b–bs checked! My friends suggested the following for my sister- cleaning service, spa certificates for after their recovery, and a gift card to a nice lingerie store for after her reconstruction. One of my friends loved my stupid joke texts I sent her during her recovery. And, lots of good thoughts and prayers.

    • Sorry about (and for) your SIL. When my mom was in chemo a few months ago, she was cold and bored. I bought her a cashmere shawl that she loved and supplied her with a steady stream of magazines. If I could do it again, and how I wish I could, I’d give her a subscription to NextIssue for her iPad. It’s an app that has dozens of magazines that she can read online and they look beautiful. Every single fashion and trashy mag (ie Cosmo) as well as Time and Vanity Fair at her fingertips.

  6. Threadjack: I have been in my office for 10 years now. One of my co-workers has never been friendly to anyone, but we worked on a few projects together and I got to know her. Really, the only thing in common is marriage and kids with other employees being a bit younger, or older and childless. We do not call each other on weekends or socialize. She is now my direct supervisor for the past two years. We go to lunch once a week and at least once a day, stop by each other’s office to chat about other workers, or our kids, or latest clothing purchase. Well, I challenged her about a decision was making that hurt one of my projects. It is the same kind of challenge that I would give to any other boss:when it comes to work, I thought it was my job to advocate for my projects and her job to make sure I can justify. Thought it was give and take. She screamed at me and now won’t speak. Says we are no longer friends. I really didn’t think we WERE friends, but I work there. not sure what to do. I still need her signature on projects, etc. I feel like I am walking around the office, avoiding her.

    • This is ALWAY’s a tough situation. When I was in law school, my older freind who had the same situation. Her manger did NOT back her up on a major issue, and it was hurtful. They did not get along afterward’s, so she applied to law school, and she is now an A District Attorney in Maryland.

      Yesterday the manageing partner and I sampeled the food at the hotel. YUM!!!!!!!

      We finally decided on a choice of filet minnon, salmon filet, stuffed chicken breast, and pasta primevera. This way NO one will be abel to say we have not accomodated them. Yay!!!!

      We are ALSO bringeing in a KOSHER meal for 2 cleint’s who need to eat special meal’s.

      B/c I am now so heavy, I have to excercise it all off at the NYSC after work today. FOOEY!

    • I think I understand from your post that you challenged your boss in a way which she felt was inappropriate and/ or personally hurtful. This may not be what you want to hear but the constructive thing would be to put aside your personal views about whether you were justified or not, about who considered who a friend or not etc, and offer a sincere apology and state that you hope the incident doesn’t permanently affect her working relationship with you.

      With any luck, she’ll have simmered down enough to let the incident pass.

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      Can you give us more information?

      1. How valuable an employee are you to her? Are there things you know how to do that nobody else knows how to do? She might want to be the Incredible Sulk, but if there’s stuff only you know how to do, she’ll have to talk to you at some point.

      2. Also, given your skills, experience, location — can you find yourself another job?
      There is a chance that your “sucking it up” and letting her simmer down won’t be enough. Some crazy people never simmer down and will hound you to death. You may need to find another job. I’d start looking now. What if she is vindictive and decides to fire you? Be prepared.

      Your boss is problematic to me for three main reasons:
      (1) flying off the handle — this is unprofessional and frankly, makes me lose whatever respect I might have for her
      (2) silent treatment – also unprofessional, and also unproductive
      (3) equating a good working relationship with friendship, and equating friendship with being a YESman/YESwoman. Your boss somehow thinks that if you are friends with someone, you have to agree with everything they say. The basis of good working relationships is a shared goal – to get stuff done. That she thinks that if there’s no “friendship,” she can stall things, is completely inappropriate.

      I won’t even suggest going above her head, because she’s already this apoplectic. Plus, the people who elevated her to your boss sound like they have crap judgment and personnel skills.

      • She doesn’t have the authority to fire me but she can make me miserable. Big boss is hands off and does not like conflict or firing people. So, no going over her head for the same reason that he won’t fire me: he doesn’t really care about any of it.

        SS: I have considered whether my challenge was appropriate. The fact of the challenge was okay but, yes, I did go overboard in proving her wrong. It was a heated emotional exchange but I didn’t scream. If I could find a way to apologize for the way I approached the challenge without being weak or begging her for friendship, I would do it. I would also treat her normally if she talked to me – totally prepared to let it go. But, she is known as being ice cold with most people unless she let’s them in. I am looking for another job. sigh.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Kathy, it’s not weak or “begging for friendship” to apologize when you handled something badly. I think you put it well in your post: “Boss, I want to apologize for the way I approached XYZ issue the other day. I can get passionate about my projects and I realize that I went overboard in trying to prove you wrong. That was unprofessional and I’m sorry. I value our working relationship and I really hope can put this incident behind us.”

          • Okay. Thank you for the perspective. Maybe I need to stew a bit more myself.

        • What does being weak have to do with it? And why would apologizing be seen as being weak? And why would expressing the desire to return your relationship to its previous status be “begging for friendship?”

          It sounds like the most straightforward way to clear the air would be to apologize, sincerely and directly, for getting overheated, explain that you were trying to stand up for your project but didn’t mean it as a criticism or question of her authority/judgment/abilities, you know she has tough decisions to make, you respect her as a boss and a friend, and regret that you are no longer friends, etc. It’s not being weak, it’s being adult, and mending fences like a professional. Perhaps she was in the wrong in her overreaction, but at this point assigning blame is irrelevant, and you should care more about your day-to-day working environment than your ego.

        • It must’ve been quite an exchange for 2 relatively mature colleagues to emerge so rattled !

          Do have a go with the sincere apology before you start feeling like quitting is the only way out. This is obviously a job which works well enough for you if you’ve been at the company 10 years and with the same boss for 2 years, and one heated exchange shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve burnt your bridges. Also these wouldn’t be great circumstances to leave under.

          Senior Attorney has given you a good text – particularly effective because it omits mention of personality types and justifications, but is simple, sincere and to the point. Hope it goes OK and that things work out.

  7. Always a NYer :

    What do you ladies think about parabens and sulfates in your skincare? I’ve gone (for the most part) sulfate-free with my shampoo/conditioner and can’t believe how many of my skincare products have parabens and sulfates in them. I’ve culled my items greatly but haven’t discarded them yet in case I change my mind. Right now I’m using the fragrance free gentle cleanser by Neutrogena, Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 in the morning and pure coconut oil at night. I have serums and exfoliators that I’m investigating the ingredients on because I threw out the packaging ages ago.

    Do you care if your products have these ingredients in them? Am I being overly cautious to worry? What are some of your HG items (skin and hair products) and do they contain those ingredients or not?

    • hellskitchen :

      I have recently started paying attention to this. Haven’t gone completely paraben-free yet and am still using products with parabens and other harmful chemicals in them but for future purchases I have started investigating ingredients before buying anything. I am looking into Tarte’s Amazonian Clay line for products since its seems to be free of the most harmful stuff. Apart from parabens, BHT is another ingredient that you want to avoid. Check out http://parabenfreeprincess.blogspot.com/ – not the most well designed blog but lists ingredients for many common drugstore products

      • For what it’s worth, I really like Tarte’s products. I use their Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer and their eyeliners, and recently ordered one of their blushes. I can’t say enough good things about their stuff.

    • writergrrl :

      I recently switched to paraben-free sulfate-free shampoo (by the Body Shop, don’t remember which one exactly) and I am a total convert. It’s made such a difference in my hair- it looks better, it’s so much easier to manage, and the dandruff I now realise was in large part due to basically coating my poor scalp with detergent on a regular basis has gone down significantly.

      Given what a difference it’s made, I plan to transition to sulfate/paraben-free stuff as and when the products I’m currently using get over/my budget allows. We’ll see how it goes.

    • I’ve started substituting products but it’s definitely been a trial and error thing. The easiest ones from me were eye cream and hair products. Natural moisturizers have been tough – I’ve tried JM and Pangea and both have left my face oily so I’m back to Kiehls. I also miss my exfoliating cream from Philosophy.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Don’t care at all. I just think it’s too much for me to worry about honestly. I have an anxious tendency so when I can, I opt not to care about things. Like organic vegetables- I like them, but I dont care about them from a health point of view.

    • Huge proponent of sulfate-free shampoo for my (colored) hair. However, I have acne and use Pernox (which is sulfur + benzoyl peroxide) every day. My skin LOVES sulfur. A million years ago I worked in a financial capacity in the chemicals field. Anyway, what I learned (and what you probably know from high school) is that _everything_ is made out of chemicals, even natural stuff. So while I don’t want to say, go roll around in tar, you have to realize that “natural” products are not necessarily superior.

      • MJ thank you for saying that. You are so right about ‘natural’ products.

      • Anonymous :

        Word. This is my issue with the controversy over parabens, when methylparaben is a natural preservative found in certain berries. I try to limit my expoosure to all chemicals, but at a certain point, if I want to use X product and get Y results, I will be exposed to something.

      • Agreed! I tried to transition my skin off mineral oil and silicone. The problem: cold dry windy Boston is worse for my skin than those supposedly bad substances. My skin is better when it is protected by mineral oil/silicone than flaking and dry due to incredibly expensive “natural” moisturizer.

    • I started using sulfate-free shampoo because I found a few bottles of a decent brand for a dollar, not for any health reasons. But I’ll keep using it because it absolutely makes a difference in how my hair looks (I don’t do any coloring/heat styling).

    • I try to avoid as much as possible but am not consistent about it. I found Whole Foods products to be great replacements (also like Korres and Tarte make up from Sephora).

  8. Gift Question :

    I have a hard gift situation…I had a very small class taught by an adjunct professor this semester. She went way out of her way to teach it, took time away from family, etc. My classmates and I want to go in together to get her a gift but we have no idea what to get her. We don’t really know her personally, so we don’t know her tastes or what she likes. We probably want it to be something she can keep, not like food or wine. Any ideas? TYIA!

    • MaggieLizer :

      Maybe a nice picture frame for her office? Check out Macy’s, Tiffany’s, and kate spade depending on budget and her taste.

    • lucy stone :

      I am an adjunct and think this is really thoughtful of you guys. I think the picture frame or a vase is a nice idea. Honestly, just about anything you get her will be appreciated. My students made me cupcakes before my wedding last semester and I just about cried.

    • Does she have an office? Have you been in there for office hours? If so, something in keeping with her design style that she can display for her office hours might be nice.

      Otherwise, maybe a couple books in a subject matter adjacent to but not directly on point to the area of interest of the class. Also…cookies, cupcakes and such are always welcome. :-)

      Finally — if you’re looking for something fun and keepable and not booze, what about a fancy booze dispenser, like a carafe or a “whiskey decanter” or something that they could add to their home bar to make it seem fancier. You can generally get things like that on-line or at local shops for a relatively reasonable price.

    • Super sweet of you!

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      What class does she teach? My 1L class gave a boxed set of the Wire to our Crim professor, and he loved it–so that sort of related gift might be nice if something jumps out at you.

  9. Francie Nolan :

    I know many of you use slow cookers regularly. I am buying one for a gift, which one do you like and why. I think I have narrowed it down, but I want to be sure the recipent is picky. They have a big family, six kids, so it has to be at least 6 qts. Thanks!

    • e_pontellier :

      We have the C a l p h a l o n 7-quart from Bed Bath & Beyond and I love it. Makes a TON of food (but then again, it’s only me & DH).

    • I have the Crockpot 6 quart and have been very pleased. It’s programmable and easy to clean. I had a Kitchen-aid 6 quart before and had problems with the crocks cracking.

    • Maine Associate :

      I have the Hamilton Beach 33969 Set and Forget 6-Quart Slow Cooker. I love it. Using the temperatiure probe it cooks corned beef perfectly.

    • America’s Test Kitchen (PBS cooking show) has slow cooker reviews on their website, and I believe Real Simple also did a round up of good ones in last couple of months, so that’ll be on their website too. The gist I got from those reviews is that All-Clad was good for the high end, but there were good recommendations for lower prices too.

    • Another vote for the Crockpot 6 quart (or is it 6.5 quart?). It was the highest rated by America’s Test Kitchen and I love mine. Works great.

    • Francie Nolan :

      Thank You Everyone! I was leaning toward the Hamilton Beech Set and Forget but was nervous because it seemed to good to be true even with the good reviews from CI, Chowhound, and Real Simple. I am glad to hear real world usage.

  10. TJ: I’m in charge of planning a bachelor*tte party for my dear law school friend. I have sent out the invites, booked a hotel and dinner reservations, and now I’m trying to plan the activities and games. However, I’ve never actually been to one! So I’ve done my google due diligence, but thought I might get some hive input. Does anyone have any fun ideas for things to do before heading to the bars?

    • Give the groom a list of questions to answer. Then at the party, ask the bride what she thinks the groom answered. You can make consequences if she answers wrong, or just read the answers – it’s still fun that way.

      Some question ideas – about his/her favorite things, dates they’ve been on, or risque topics if you please

    • At the most recent bachelor*tte party I went to, we played dirty Taboo (which we made the cards ourselves, that was fun), we did a quiz with the future bride about her beloved, we played kings, and a couple other drinking games, and otherewise just let the party flow.

      I think it was a nice balance of “dirty” games vs. normal party games.

    • We usually do a couple different games:
      1) Make a Mad Libs game that is about the bride and groom for everyone to play and then read aloud. They’re usually pretty hilarious.
      2) Have each guest bring a pair of underwear (or have each guest bring lingerie) for the bachelorette and have the bachelorette guess who brought each thing.
      3) Get the groom to answer questions ahead of time, like the newlywed game, and have the bachelorette try to guess what he answered. I have seen bachelorettes take shots for every wrong answer in the past, but that’s obviously optional.

    • We usually do a couple different games:
      1) Make a Mad Libs game that is about the bride and groom for everyone to play and then read aloud. They’re usually pretty hilarious.
      2) Have each guest bring a pair of underwear (or have each guest bring lingerie) for the bachelor e t t e and have the bachelor e t t e guess who brought each thing.
      3) Get the groom to answer questions ahead of time, like the newlywed game, and have the bachelor e t t e try to guess what he answered. I have seen bachelor e t t e s take shots for every wrong answer in the past, but that’s obviously optional.

    • I went to one that had a really cute event: the MOH had every send in a picture of “Time to Remember” and “Time to Forget” with the bride– eg a picture of one of the best times you have with her, and one of the “worst” (obviously nothing actually terrible, but a bad hangover or other college-ish bad decisions). The MOH made them all into a slide show. Everyone was supposed to include a poem to read about each picture, although no one ended up doing that.

  11. writergrrl :

    Rant:

    Dear bosses, I told you the file had a problem at 11 AM, and then proceeded to hear nothing about it all day except that it would be taken care of. Why, then, do I have an email at 7 PM asking me to fix it? And furthermore, why am I even being asked to, considering I am not IT and know as much about how to fix the damn file as Todd Akin does about science?

    Grar.

    • I know you are just ranting, but why did you contact your boss about the problem rather than IT or whoever would be empowered to fix the problem? Bosses prefer proposed solutions over someone just pointing out a problem.

  12. I’ve recently began a business relationship with a Japanese company and have been emailing with a Japanese man. In all of our emails, he begins the email “Dear First Name Last Name,” just like you would a letter. We’ve exchanged about 10 or so emails over the last couple weeks and have met in person twice. THis morning we had a series of emails going back and forth. I’ve reciprocated the formality, but it feels so formal at this point. Is this just a differing of the cultures? I’ll continue to follow his lead on it and won’t drop the formalities until he does, but I was just curious as to others experiences.

    • Whenever I’m interacting with someone in a country with business formalities that are taken very, very seriously (such as Japan), I let them take the lead. Can’t go wrong.

    • I address most of my Japanese professional contacts as FirstName-san except when they are very much older than I am (then I say LastName-san) or if I observe that they are addressed by their corporate titles by those around them (Chairman-san etc). I keep the ‘san’ in email correspondence.

      It is possible that your colleague feels you haven’t invited him to use your first name and is therefore sticking to the safest option ?

      • Can you explain the -san convention? I’ve been in phone meetings with a Japanese colleague lately and some people call him firstname and some call him firstname-san. I’m confused.

        • Meg Murry :

          -san is an expression of respect, sort of along the lines of “mr” or “sir” in the south. I worked at a Japanese company, and all the Japanese were called by “lastname-san” and they generally called us “firstname-san” – because we Americans used firstnames with each other. The handful of Japanese-Americans were generally “firstname-san”.

          Don’t use it with Mr. though. Use either Mr. Name or Name-san, not Mr. Name-san.

    • I agree with the above. I email Japan twice a week or so, and it is always Mr./Ms. (one of them calls me SH-san, but with my first name…shrug). Even after finding out one of them grew up just about an hour away from where I grew up in Illinois it was Mr./Ms. Just go with it. :-)

    • Oh I should also say that a lot of Japanese folks I observe are addressed by their surname or surname-san by their office mates but go by their first names with English-speaking foreigners, so language and its related cultural baggage does make a difference.

      • Cosign everything that ss and SH said…Japanese formality almost never tones down. It is cultural, and it can be gender or age-based or both. It is much more important that you stay formal than not, as what might be considered minor friendliness to you can be quite offensive to them. So just mirror the tone.

    • kira kira :

      As someone who works in Japan at a Japanese company, I can tell you it’s likely he just doesn’t know what to call you and thinks First Name Last Name is a safe option. I think it would be perfectly acceptable to say “please call me…” Business emails here can still be very formal compared to the west, but given that he is calling you First Name Last Name (something you would not really say in Japanese), it sounds like he’s trying to err on the side of caution.

  13. Thoughts on how to negotiate a retake for law firm photos? My firm’s marketing department came up with the half-baked idea (which was sprung on us DURING the photo session) of requiring attorneys to take “action shots” while they were grilling us with interview questions. Mine (and everyone else’s I’ve seen) are beyond terrible. In one of them, I look like I just got electrocuted. In another, I look like I’m playing air guitar. I’ve already objected to using them on my bio.

    Any other ideas how to play this? I see this making above the law when the new site is launched and would prefer not to be a laughingstock. As they always say, the internet is forever.

    • K...in transition :

      I presume there’s one person who decides on retakes or not? Are you able to snag that person privately and ask? Also, if that person hasn’t seen his/her photos, maybe encourage that and hope his/hers is bad too and the person will want retakes for personal reasons?

      • Unfortunately, the person in charge of the photos is a staff member who, conveniently, will not have bio and thus didn’t have to go through the photos themselves.

    • Do you work at my firm? We did the same stupid thing for pictures. I think there was enough groaning from people that they allowed retakes for particularly horrid ones. We did have some great laughs from the first round though.

  14. K...in transition :

    Am going to set up my office today with the items I have and have paperwork to do that involves a client… and I have laryngitis. I’m at day 3 of not speaking at all (which the puppy loves) and am trying to drink tons of cold water since warmed apple juice burned and I hate the taste of tea.

    Not sure there’s much to be done about this other than whine to y’all and to keep wondering if I should expect my crab friend to start singing “Kiss the Girl” if I somehow end up in a boat with a prince :P

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      *hugs*

      Maybe take a teaspoon or two of honey now and then? I use honey to soothe my throat when it’s been raw from coughing.

      • Or honey and lemon juice mixed with hot water. Honey is amazing for sore throats (I think it has antiseptic properties too?).

    • Try lots of tea, that might help. Feel better, dear!

    • This recipe was at simplyrecipes today:
      http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/honey_and_lemon_tea/

      Despite tea in the name, there is no tea in it.

    • I lost my voice for three days last week. The best advice I got was to *shut yo mouth* haha but really, don’t talk, at all. I started texting my family members in the same room to avoid even minimal speaking. And according to websites I saw, whispering actually is worse than trying to speak, so no cheating! I also heard that sleeping with a humidifier helps. Keep drinking lots of fluids, but nothing too acidic (coffee, soda, juices) and just wait it out.

  15. My mom found this sweather in ivory at her small town Goodwill store for under $10! She loves it.

  16. springtime :

    somebody either talk me out of or into purchasing a black and floral print semi-sheer silk 3/4 blouse to wear (1) with a skirt for a holiday party and (2) for work.

    Problem? Cost is $120. But it fits me well.

    • What else would you use the $120 for?

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      Ask yourself how many times you’ll really wear it. That’s N. What’s $120/N? Is it something you’re comfortable with?

      Also, would you have to buy anything else to go with it? Like a camisole if you don’t already have one? If so, then ($120 + cost of other stuff to make this wearable)/N.

      You could just buy yourself a nice clutch, or a pair of shoes. :-)

    • If that is the only item you’re purchasing for holiday wear, and you won’t mind wearing it to more than one event, I think it’s a good deal, particualrly if you can incorporate it into your work wardrobe in the future.

      I don’t mean to be an enabler, just trying to be rational. A new blouse that can also be worn for work > a special occasion dress that can be worn once.

      Also, stalk the store for whether the blouse goes on sale after you buy it, and ask for an adjustment.

  17. Thread jack I am a 2l and just got rejected for my dream summer job. I know there could be many reasons for this and would like to know how to improve future applications. What should I do to follow up? How can I get the most honest answer?

    • springtime :

      Some firms in my area were actually really nice and when I asked for feedback they gave it to me. However, this is when I applied for 1L summer positions so maybe they felt like being nicer since I was only 2 months into law school at that point.

      If you interviewed and got rejected, your app package is probably fine, so it’s either (1) they just found someone they like better (nothing you can do, really) or (2) interview skills need improving.

    • Cornellian :

      In BigLaw, at least, I can’t imagine getting an answer as to why. They have nothing to gain, and lots to lose. Maybe the answer is different in smaller law firms or government.

    • SpaceMountain :

      Can you apply to work there as an intern during the semester? Those jobs are often less competitive than the summer positions.

    • Ah yes, I’ve felt the sting of this specific rejection. Unfortunately there is rarely ever a good “why.” We all hear of giant mistakes being made in interviews, and maybe your school’s professional development/career services office can help you set up a mock interview with a local attorney to give you good feedback. But I have the feeling you did a great job, were qualified, and well-prepared, they just liked someone else better. Sucks.

      But keep looking, it is a numbers game. I applied for a ton of summer positions and got rejected from firms that I should have easily been hired by and then got call backs (and by the grace of God a summer position) from firms I didn’t feel like I had a shot with. You just never know, but you should keep trying!

      • One other thought: It’s not always even that they “liked” someone else better. Sometimes that other person had better connections, was next in line for the position, etc, or they just plain old decided not to hire someone. There are times when, looking back on it, you probably never really had a shot — and there’s nothing that you could have done about it. I’m sorry that this has happened to you, and I encourage you to set up a mock interview or review of your resume at your law school if you believe that will help. Just know that this rejection may not have had anything to do with you at all.

  18. anon for this :

    Argh. My boss and I agreed on certain conditions for a raise and bonus (which led to me agreeing to defer graduate school by a year). Since then, the company has struggled (not due to me) and my boss has completely forgotten that we agreed to this guaranteed raise/bonus structure starting Jan 1 (of next year). He has offered me a position in another company he runs (to get out of the sinking ship) which is doing well — much better than the company I am working with. He seems to think it is all agreed (is planning to move over my payroll 12/1, etc) but seems to have completely forgotten the fact that we agreed on certain conditions (back in the springtime) for which I would defer a graduate school acceptance and continue to work for him, and while the opportunity has changed, my financial considerations when I made that decision haven’t.

    Should I bring it up? Or should I just be grateful to have a job (any job) and let it go and stay at my current salary? I am able to walk, if I have to, and move home to my parents house, but I would reallllllly prefer not to. I think he very much wants to keep me on as an employee (thus throwing me this life vest of a position in his other company) but I don’t want to seem entirely greedy or out of touch.

    • Yes, of course you should bring it up.

      • anon for this :

        Because the company I am with is not going well, I am not sure if our original agreement is even valid anymore. At the same time, I am frustrated that my boss does not seem to remember what we agreed upon. Also not sure if I should push for what we agreed upon, or be open to coming to a resolution somewhere in the middle.

        • Why assume your boss has forgotten? Perhaps he’s just hoping he won’t have to deal with the issue if he doesn’t bring it up.

        • I think you should definitely ask. If it will be impossible for him to pay you the extra, I’m sure he’ll tell you that you’ll have to keep the same salary rather than fire you. You could just say to him, “I wanted to confirm that our agreement regarding my raise and bonus will be in effect with the new company.” Then see where it goes from there.

        • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

          Are you looking for other jobs?

          Your boss does not keep promises. That’s a red flag.

          Ask yourself whether you will want to put off plans based on his word. What if you follow your boss to this new company and he puts you in a much worse job but still expect you to be grateful for the job?

          • anon for this :

            I have already put off the plans (after receiving the signed agreeement) — it was for entry this year (Fall 2012). I am planning on attending next year.

          • Susan is right – he doesn’t keep promises. Go to grad school and don’t put your life/ambitions on hold out of loyalty to him/company. Most of the time it won’t be returned.

    • e_pontellier :

      I don’t have any brilliant advice, but it sounds like you need to decide what you want in a more long-term sense. Are you still considering grad school? If so, it sounds like this new job would only be about 6-8 months of your life, so maybe it’s not a big deal. I don’t know that it’s fair to be frustrated with your boss for failing to remember something, especially if he has multiple companies and one of them may be sinking.
      I think it’s also worthwhile trying to learn from this experience. Next time you negotiate a job change/ salary increase for a future date, make sure to have it in writing, with copies for both people, so that you don’t have to feel awkward about saying, “remember this agreement we have?”
      This sounds like a pretty tough situation, so {{{hugs}}} and I’m sure you’ll figure this out. Hope I didn’t come off too insensitive.

      • anon for this :

        It is in writing, with copies for both people, and filed. It is just with a company he is proposing I no longer work with. Ugh. Hate this.

      • anon for this :

        Oh and yes – definitely still considering grad school. I deferred for one year and indicated that I would reconsider next year in the spring. I am now almost 100% that I will be attending next year (Fall 2013) but I have not yet told him this.

    • I’m sure your boss remembers and is hoping that you won’t bring it up. You definitely remind him of your previous agreement (do you have anything in writing?) and ask whether it will apply in the new company. You stated that your current employer’s problems are not of your doing, so why should you sacrifice your guaranteed comp? Your boss clearly values you as an employee (whether at your current firm or his other company) and you deserve to be compensated fairly for changing your life plans, i.e., deferring grad school. I’ve been in similar situations where I’ve made personal financial sacrifices b/c the firm wasn’t doing well (also not due to me), only to see my (male) colleagues walk off with their original comp packages w/any seeming concern for the effect on the company.

      You seem to have a very realistic and fair view of the situation (recognizing that the resolution may be “somewhere in the middle”) so I know that you will approach the conversation in a constructive manner. Only you can take care of yourself. Good luck and let us know how it works out!
      At the same time, it’s good that you recognize that the situation has changed somewhat so that the most likely outcome might be, as you said, “a resolution somewhere in the middle”.

      • Sorry, in my zeal to reply, that last sentence was inadvertently repeated and I left out “should” before “definitely remind him”. I feel for the OP (given my own experiences) and got a little carried away.

      • anon for this :

        This exactly. I don’t want to put the company in a tough position – but I don’t want to be a “nice girl” and walk away from what we discussed, agreed upon and I changed my life plans for.

        • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

          The company, because of the actions of its management is in the tough position it’s in. Don’t let your boss put the responsibility (and the illusion) of “saving the company” on you.

          Your making a personal sacrifice is unlikely to save the company or move the dial enough to tip the balance. In some cases, a pay cut taken by all the employees can save the companies. Sometimes, the senior management bungled it badly enough that not even that will help.

        • This is me from 12:20 and 12:23. DO NOT BE THE NICE GIRL! The professional thing is to frame the issue just as Violet suggested. I completely agree with what MJ and Susan have said. It sounds to me like your boss is taking advantage of your age/seniority (if you are pre-grad school, I’m guessing you are not a grizzled old professional). Also, I wouldn’t pay any attention to what anon @1:08 said…you’re just being mindful of all your options, which is critical to do when preparing for negotiations. YOU GO GIRL and let us know how it goes.

    • If you have a signed agreement, goodness yes, bring it up. He could be shuffling you from sinking ship to non-sinking ship to shirk the agreement, and if he thinks that you are not still considering grad school, now is a good time to remind him of your loyalty and appreciation for his consideration, but that you wanted to discuss the matters with respect to your career progression and remuneration which were _agreed_ earlier in the year.

      Even if the contract is void bc you won’t still be working at the old entity, the fact that he put anything in writing and is now dodging it is somewhat lame and sketchy, IMHO.

    • How does moving in with your parents even enter the equation? You’re seriously considering quitting your job without finding a new one first – and not because of sexual harassment or something awful, just because you’re not getting a raise you were promised – because you figure you don’t really need to work, you can just burden your parents with supporting you? I can’t even wrap my head around the sense of entitlement that seems so common in the younger generation.

      • anon for this :

        My parents offered (in a “Don’t worry about getting fired – if he will not keep to his agreement, you can make it clear you have other options as leverage, and as the truth. You deserve this [the raise you were promised]. Worse comes to worst, you could move home, save some money on rent and get an internship in the 6 months or so before you start school”). I did not just assume I could do it. Way to judge other people’s family situations.

        • So what if they offered? The point still stands. You’re an adult, it’s your job to support yourself. You don’t run home every time life is unfair. I’m not suggesting there is never a reason for responsible people to move home, but not getting a raise isn’t it.

          • anon for this :

            I think you’re projecting your own issues onto me, to be honest. I also come from a culture where it is common to live with your parents until marriage. You can say that doesn’t fit your standards of independence, but luckily, I get to make my own standards and it doesn’t make me entitled or you superior. I have a big issue with people imposing their own standards of independence on others. Why not just let other people decide what works for them, instead of making sweeping generalizations about “this generation” (which, frankly, is a complaint made since time immemorial about EVERY generation)?

          • LadyEnginerd :

            I think it would be more unreasonable for an employer to fire the OP for trying to claim her previously negotiated raise, and her parents offering a safety net is a great way to allow her to feel confident that she has a back-up plan. I think this is particularly reasonably because she’ll be attending school starting next school year, so any support would have a clearly defined end point.

            OP, I think you should absolutely try negotiating for that raise. Think of it as practice with uncomfortable conversations that will come in handy for the rest of your career with very few risks given your backup plans. If the very very worst happens and you get fired, an internship would broaden your experience before school and any resume gap won’t look so bad after you finish your grad program. If you don’t get the raise and it’s awkward, you won’t have to stick it out indefinitely in this job because you’ll be quitting to go back to school.That sounds pretty much the ideal scenario for some practice playing hard ball.

          • karenpadi :

            anon, FWIW, I agree with you. Anon for this, well, if you are going to be applying with people not of your culture, a break in your resume like this (and for this reason) might be a deal breaker in an interview.

            Interviewer: So, what’s this break in your resume starting January 2013?
            AFT: Oh, my boss at my previous company didn’t give me a raise as promised because business was really bad. He offered me a position at another company. I decided to live with my parents instead.
            I: Why didn’t you take the other position?
            AFT: He wouldn’t give me the raise.
            I: But he offered you a position? Any other reasons you didn’t take the job?
            AFT: No, I wanted the raise and the job.
            I: So you dropped out of the workforce and moved in with your parents? Without another job lined up?
            AFT: Yes, in my culture, that’s completely normal!

            I don’t have to tell you how poorly this reflects on your work ethic, loyalty, and stick-to-it-iveness. And yes, those are all requirements for most jobs (in varying degrees).

          • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

            +1 @ anon for this 1:40pm

            I’m glad your parents have your back. Good luck — I know it’ll be tough, but I hope you get your due. You’ve certainly fulfilled your end of the bargain. Keep us posted, dear.

          • Karenpadi, I understand your point but the OP wouldn’t have to answer the interviewer’s question in the way you’ve suggested. She would explain that she was let go or left b/c the company failed/was failing and that she had already planned to attend graduate school. All of which is true. There is no obligation to disclose a job offer that she chose not to accept for very legitimate reasons.

          • karenpadi :

            Anon, you’d be surprised at what people say in an interview without intending to. I’ve been privileged to hear about techniques for cleaning diapers, in-law drama, strip club visits, health issues, you name it. AFT might not use the exact words I wrote but the truth will come out–either explicitly or by the interviewer reading between the lines.

            Even if she somehow manages to not bring it up, the interviewer might call the current boss for a reference (even if he’s not listed as a reference). The boss will spill the beans.

        • little advice :

          This comes off as a rude and unnecessary comment. Leaving this job might not be the best career decision. fine. But it’s a far cry from being “entitled.” What is she entitled to, exactly? In many cultures, it is very common to live with one’s parents until marriage. In the west, but especially in the United States, there is a tremendous emphasis on social and financial independence. I believe that there are both merits and problems with this philosophy. But just because the OP doesn’t ascribe to your personal philsophy of career and financial independence as the ultimate goals in life does not make her “entitled.” What an offensive suggestion. Frankly, I think the so called “entitled” generation would do better to realize that climbing the career ladder to financial success is NOT the most important thing in life, and that letting our achievements define us is in many ways very harmful.

          OP–so glad you come from a loving and supportive family. That said, I would carefully consider the impact on your career that this decision might have.

  19. advice appreciated :

    TJ for a related family/career-balancing question – advice, not opinions:

    We’re expecting our first child right now. My husband really wants to be a co-parenting father, and I really want him to as well, and for us to be on equal ground. But we don’t necessarily know how to make that happen.

    We live in a rural area marked by extremely traditional gender roles. We moved here a few years ago for what continue to be very good career moves, but we didn’t think about family roles at that time.
    I know over 30 other mothers of school age and younger children, and I can count the number of mothers who also work full-time outside the home on two fingers. My husband’s local friends are extremely traditional – some have never changed a diaper, all consider time with their child to be “babysitting”, and most have no idea of the name of their childrens’ teachers in school. So locally, there’s not a lot of support.

    In addition, we don’t really know what an involved father looks like. My father was absent from my life growing up, and my mother raised me as a single parent. My husband was in a family with a stay-at-home mom who was controlling, verbally abusive, and a father who was not “allowed” by the mother to have any unsupervised time with him or the other children (and who went along with that to avoid her anger).

    So, while we know how we want things to look, I don’t know what reflects good co-parenting and what game plan we can make to make things easy. For those with children and good/bad co-parenting relationships, what are:

    things you wish you could do differently?
    things you did right?
    areas of potential conflict?
    special tips on household and child care help for two parents who both work ~55 hours/week?
    any tips on helping my husband deal with the attitudes of the community?

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      Not a parent, but I was a child once and my dad was a great co-parent! Let me tell you what he did that I really benefited from:

      1. If I was sick at school, and he was more available at the moment, he’d go get me. He didn’t automatically assume that it was my mom’s job to do so.

      2. He did his share of the grunt work. He wasn’t the kind of dad who offloaded all the scutwork (wiping down the table after toddler-me had made a mess, letting the mom do all the toilet / bathing / teethbrushing training) to steal the lion’s share of the fun tasks (playing games, special excursions). He was the one who tried to coax my 5-6yr old self, when I became a picky eater, to eat my dinner.

      3. When my mom was working on something she wanted to do (a hobby of hers), he respected her right to downtime, and would take me for long bike rides. He’d point out different types of trees, and taught me all this great stuff about nature, navigation, roads, maps, etc.

      4. I’m well in my 30s and my dad was a little bit of an anomaly. People would sometimes presumptuously assume that my mother was dead, or that he was divorced because he was *gasp* spending time with me, doing real stuff like teaching me things, and enjoying himself.

      He dealt very well with the attitudes– he’d say, “she’s *our* child and I enjoy being a father” and smile at them calmly. That stopped all but the nosiest pests in their tracks. I realize, looking back, that my father, while not being perfect, was very secure in his manhood.

      He didn’t subscribe to the idea that “knowing how to take care of a kid” meant emasculation. He wasn’t born here in the U.S., and frankly, I think that’s part of it. A lot of people here have this delusion that “not being able to do X, or being ignorant of Y makes you more Z [manly]
      ” It’s incorrect– it just means they’re not able to d X and ignorant of Y. It says nothing about their manliness or lack thereof.

    • Caveat – I am not a parent. However, I grew up in a community that was fairly traditional; while not quite as gender-segregated as what you describe, nearly all the fathers of my classmates worked full-time, mostly in blue-collar professions, while the mothers either stayed home or worked part-time (often helping out in the schools). My father did work full-time, though on a shift schedule which made him more available to us kids and to my mother during the day than many of the other fathers were, and my mother did stay home initially, only going back to work when I was in junior high and my siblings were all in school full-time.

      My parents split the parenting and household responsibilities pretty evenly (though not baby responsibilities completely because my mother breastfed all of us, and we were *difficult* apparently). I think the part that made the co-parenting easiest with regard to community attitudes is that my parents sort of don’t notice (or maybe just didn’t care about) the judgment of others. In many ways my dad is a stereotypical blue-collar guy – for example, he loves team sports and drinks beer, etc. – but somehow he never felt the need to prove his masculinity to the other men around him, and he definitely lives by the idea that if something needs to be done, you should pitch in and help do it. So, my parents divided tasks according to their strengths, with my Dad doing most of the cleaning and grocery shopping while my mom did the cooking. They each did laundry when it needed to be done. I remember both of them regularly reading us bedtime stories and putting us to bed, though who did that probably depended on whether my dad was working that evening or not. And they divided things based on their own strengths too – my dad taught us basketball and soccer while my mom worked with us on our swimming; my dad checked that homework was done at night while my mom got us ready for school in the morning.

    • It seems like you may be over-thinking this. Both of you should spend time caring for, teaching, and playing with the child. Make the big decisions about the child together. If other people say something about his spending time parenting, use Susan’s dad’s line. He does not need to make up excuses for hanging out with his kids.

      (I don’t put looking for recommendations regarding your work/home life schedule in the over-thinking category.)

      • Agree about overthinking. Also, if you are “co-spousing” (splitting or sharing chores, duties, decisions, etc.), then you just have to extent those practices into co-parenting. If you aren’t co-spousing, you need to start doing that now.

    • I think you just have to do it. Honestly, of everyone I know who is an involved and equal father, no one has assigned tasks, they have just made it a point to share parenting responsibilities. After a while you may divy up certain responsibilities, but I think it works best through trial and error, not by assigning chores. I would say that if it’s possible (and if he isn’t planning to do so already) your husband should take off some time from work when the baby arrives so you can both bond with it and engage in parenting. This way you don’t end up in a situation where you “know” how to “care” for baby and he doesn’t and then you end up doing most of the caring. Be mindful of the fact that you may at times want to be the only one that knows these things – I have seen that happen and it’s not a good path to go down.

      As for attitudes, I would just make a decision to not worry about it. The important thing is that your husband wants to be meaningfully involved. People will accept it if you just go on about it as if it’s normal. A good friend of mine lives in a very traditional area and her and her husband are both very much involved in their kids’ lives (he changes all the diapers, he puts the kids to bed, he volunteers to make stage sets for their school plays, you name it) and he just does it. When people react oddly to it, they just laugh it off. But most people don’t say anything even if they think it’s unusual, and frankly most women at her kids’ school just wish that they had husbands who were this involved.

    • It sounds like once you figure out a good balance between you and your husband you might still have problems implementing it in your community. I remember a story about Ruth Bader Ginsberg who kept getting calls from her children’s school all the time about issues with the kids. She finally told them, “This child has two parents and you need to call his father half of the time.” (paraphrase) The number of calls then dramatically dropped. The point is that if people in your community insist on treating you as the primary care-giver when you are not, you may have to push back and remind people that your husband is equally responsible. Just something to think about/prepare for.

      http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/family_ties1/

    • I am in biglaw and my husband is an academic. Here is how we split things up: He is in charge of daycare (both pick up and drop off). I know most parents have one handle pick up and the other drop off, but this arrangement works for us. I usually get home first, and make dinner and do chores before my husband and toddler get home. After dinner, husband does bathtime while I clean up from dinner. We all hang out until bedtime, which is my husband’s responsibility. When our child is sick, whichever one of us is better able to take the day off stays home, or if we are both slammed at work, we use my firm’s backup child care. My husband is responsible for doctors’ appointments. On the weekends, we both do grocery shopping and cooking for the week, and we also split the other chores too. If one of us has to work evenings or weekends, the other one watches the baby; if we both have to work, my work gets priority because I am the breadwinner, but this can be an area of conflict. I used to be the one who handled daycare, but it caused me so much stress, especially because my husband didn’t get home before me and get dinner ready, that we agreed to switch responsibilities and we are both happy with how things are working. For us, the keys were (1) frequent communication about how our allocation of responsibilities is working; (2) flexibility to rearrange responsibilities if one of us is miserable; and (3) time management.

    • My husband did early mornings with our daughter when she was little. That was great for me because I am *so* not a morning person. He’d get up with her, play, feed her, etc. She walked her first steps with him during that morning time. He also did almost all her baths (a night-time thing for us).

      He helped choose stuff for her nursery and her clothing (preferring bright primary colors over pink or baby pastels).

      He found a front carrier that he was comfortable carrying and used it a lot with her when she was little. I had a sling that I used instead. For carriers it’s about feeling comfortable with the way it hangs on your body AND comfortable with the color/pattern (there’s no way he would have worn the hot pink with purple edging sling).

      We always had two carseats — one for each car. We did that all the way up through booster seat time. That way it wasn’t me “lending” him the car seat from my car — he was just as prepared to take her as I was.

      I only had 4 weeks off after she was born and he stayed home with her for the next 2.5 months (he was on an academic calendar and it was summer, so he had the time off).

      As she got older, we arranged parenting duties around work — he would pack lunch and take her to school while I went on to work. I got off earlier and picked her up and took her to activities. He learned to make a “ballet bun” so he could take her to summer dance.

      There were audio books that they listened to together in the car, just the two of them.

    • So, my dad grew up in the South, worked full-time, and my mom stayed at home with me. Even though that’s a pretty traditional family structure, and you might expect my dad to have taken less interest in housework and child-rearing than he did, my dad was helpful and involved in many of the ways that Susan lists (tempered by the fact that he traveled somewhat frequently at times). I think the answer to the attitudes of the community around you is not to care. It’s your family, and you make your own arrangements. My dad is a quiet, introverted engineer. I think it helped a lot that I think it’s more important to him to be a good husband and father than it is to be a “manly man.”

    • We were in a very similar position to you several years ago, although I worked from home instead of outside of the home. However, dh has always wanted to be a very involved father.

      As for how to split things, you just need to do what works for you. Co-parenting looks quite different from family to family. However, as the mom and someone who is somewhat of a control freak, the hardest part for me was letting dh do things his way. His way would get the job done even if it wasn’t how I’d do it. Letting go of that control was probably the hardest part for us in the early days.

      As for the attitudes – you just have to learn to ignore them. Ignore the pointed remarks. Ignore the judgemental comments. Remind yourself that what you are doing is best for your family. Reassure each other when either of you gets feeling down about what something someone has said. And come up with some polite comebacks when someone says something pointed to you. For example, I participated in a conversation that went something like “Actually, I work full time” “Oh, I’m sorry” “I’m not, I really enjoy my job”. It’s amazing what some people will say!

      I find that the SAHMs that I know are either envious of my career, pity me that I have to work (mine is the primary career), feel superior to me because they don’t have to work, or the few that don’t care or at least can keep their attitudes to themselves. They are the ones that I spend time with (when I have the time).

    • My husband is an amazing father, despite the fact that his father played the more “traditional” hands off breadwinner role. One major thing is that you and your husband are just going to have to “own it” and be prepared to fight ignorance. At the end of the day, co-parenting means that you both step up to the plate and do what needs to be done, not sit back and say “not my job, that’s my spouse’s job” when it comes to diapers, cooking, bathtime, whatever.
      A few tips:
      -Use the language that is right for you, not what the others in your area use. So, for instance, your husband should not discuss “babysitting” the kids – its “his night” to be with them. If a teacher sends home a note asking for “moms” to volunteer, point out to her that it should be “parents”. Its a little like fighting racist language – sometimes you just use the language you want to see reflected, sometimes you have to actively correct people.
      -Does your husband have any experience with kids? Could the two of you take a parenting class or babysit a friend’s child so he can get comfortable with kids and things like changing diapers, holding a baby, making bottles, etc? Part of being an equally involved parent means being able to take care of the baby/child on your own.
      -Is he willing to stand up to his friends when they tease him about changing diapers, etc? Is he ok being the only dad chaperoning the field trip?
      -How is your division of labor in the house currently? Do you have a good balance on who does the cooking, laundry, cleaning up, yardwork, etc? It doesn’t have to be 50-50 all the time, but each of you should be comfortable with the amount of household work you are currently doing, and be capable of doing the chores the other does if necessary.
      -Have you discussed basic division of child-based labor? Who will handle daycare dropoff & pickup? What if the baby is sick, who will stay home? What about when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night?
      -Its ok if the division of child-related tasks ebbs & flows – for instance, if you are b-feeding you will probably handle more of the middle of the night wakeups, but when baby gets older maybe dad will handle more pediatrician visits.
      -Understand that the way each of you parents may be different, but that doesn’t make it wrong. For instance, my husband likes to wrestle more with our boys, and play with them in the garden digging holes and getting dirty. I like to take the boys to the library and read books and do craft projects with them. We each know that if we get the kids riled up or dirty or make a mess, we have to clean it up, not just pass them off to the other spouse. As long as what the other parent is doing isn’t actively dangerous, its ok if its a different style from what you would do.
      -Back each other up, especially in front of the kids. If mom announces no dessert, there is no dessert, even if dad really wanted pie that night – you can disagree later after the kids are in bed, but no arguing about it in front of the kids and no giving favors to convince the child to “pick you” over the spouse.
      -Be prepared to change any agreements you made before the baby was born. You may have thought you would handle all daycare dropoffs and your husband would handle pickups, but once you get into it you might realize that it isn’t working for your family/job. You’ll learn as you go, and thats fine too.

      For the “both parents work 55 hrs/week” aspect – finding the right daycare or nanny fit is going to be key, and in a town with a lot of SAHMs that may be hard to come by. Have you asked the other 2 working parent families what they do? Have you toured daycares or interviewed nannies?

      Good luck to you, but I promise that in just wanting to be a co-parenting father he has already taken a big step in the right direction, and you’ll figure a lot out as you go along.

    • My top piece of advice is to never, ever treat your DH like he’s your parenting “assistant.” If you want to be co-parents, you both have to be equally willing to make decisions together and not override each other. Try very, very hard not to be critical of how your DH does things, even if it’s different from how you might handle things.

      Also, co-parenting isn’t necessarily about keeping a running list of who does what. That gets exhausting. To me, it means that we pitch in to help each other, and respect each other’s capabilities. For example, I’m taking my DS for his 3-year checkup tomorrow. While I’m usually the one that handles doctor’s visits, if something came up at work and I couldn’t get away, DH would do it, no questions asked. For routine tasks, we both end up doing them about half the time, just depending on what else we need to get done. If I’m cleaning up after dinner, for example, then DH will give the bath. And if he forgets to put lotion on DS afterward … well, it doesn’t matter THAT much. I’ll do it next time.

      As for handling the cultural expectations, I’d suggest keeping your eyes on your own work, if that makes sense. Who cares how other people run their families? Who cares what they *might* think about you? If you try to parent based on other people’s expectations, you will be miserable. (Been there, done that.) You don’t need to apologize for how you run your family.

      • “If you want to be co-parents, you both have to be equally willing to make decisions together and not override each other.” This x1000. I’m in a bit of a different position because we are coparenting my husband’s daughter from a previous relationship, but from the get go he decided we would make all parenting decisions together. He seeks my input, listens to my ideas, and compromises on things he would do differently (as do I). Above all, in front of her, we never challenge each other. The other night he bribed her with the reward of soda every single night for a week without talking to me first (a rarity). I wanted to kill him. But instead I just told him after she went to bed that I wasn’t a fan of the idea and would prefer we use other bribes in the future. He apologized for not asking me first and said next time we’ll do something else.

        I also agree with the comments on bean counting. Generally my SO does all the laundry and I do all the grocery shopping/cooking/dishes. But sometimes I help with the laundry and sometimes I ask him to go to the grocery store or make dinner. It just depends on who is busy with what that week.

    • Not married but had SAHM and breadwinner dad who was still very involved. they alternated nights on reading bedtime stories is one thing i really remember. also, my dad had/has a 24/7 cellphone policy where he answered whenever i called 99.9% of the time, even if he had to say he was in a meeting or giving a presentation and he’d call me right back. this was nice if i was sick at school, or had a homework question before he got home – being constantly available made it seem like he was just down the hall instead of being at work. but obviously this wouldn’t be possible at all jobs.

    • My advice to you would be – let your husband parent, and let him parent his way.

      I don’t mean to stereotype all mothers as controlling, but there really is something instinctive about us wanting to do everything for the baby. And because we feel that way, we often feel like our way is the right way or the only way.

      If you are constantly stepping in for your husband when he is trying to accomplish a parenting task, he’ll end up just turning it all over to you. If you really want him to be involved, get out of the way and let him figure it out. As long as he’s using the car seat and not starving the baby, everything will be OK. Try to make joint decisions about issues like breast/bottle, co-sleeping, nap time etc.

      As you are doing your obsessive reading about how to prepare for a baby, ask him to read the books too.

      My husband stayed home with the kids for a few years when they were babies, and then worked part time for a while. My kids went to school some mornings with their tops inside-out and probably ate too many meals at the neighborhood chinese restaurant, but they seem to be turning out fine. :)

    • My husband is a typcial guy–loves sports, beer, cars, etc, but is also the primary caregiver to our three children. (He works on a part-time contract basis, mostly at night, some weekends–but works when I am off.) He is also more creative and crafty than I am and has baked and decorated each child’s birthday cake, sewn halloween costumes, and does most of the homework help with our older child. Most of the community reaction is positive–older woman at the library think it is sweet that he takes our younger two for story-time, etc. and he just ignores the rest! He does most of the housework and cooking, but I try to help also. It is getting easier now that our youngest is no longer an infant. For a while there, once the third baby was born it was just survival!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      If you both work 55 hours, you may need live in help with the kids and you’ll probably want to outsource some chores.
      Don’t forgot to plan for adult time.
      I tend to think the only “mom” required portion of parenting is nursing.
      Remember – you’ll need to split more than just parenting responsibilities…..

    • Meg Murry :

      One other place you may experience conflict is at your husband’s office. If all the other employees have SAH wives, he may get some pushback when he takes time to be with the kids – which could be hard on him. At my last job I was one of the few with kids and a working spouse and it was really hard when my bosses (with no kids or SAHMs) expected me to just stay late whenever there was a problem, which was often – and they were even harder on my male colleagues if they had to leave on time. He may also find that there either aren’t paternity leave policies in place or that no one ever actually has used them.

    • You two will figure this out. My husband was not particularly helpful with housework before kids (he would do it if asked, but wouldn’t initiate it) so I was also really worried about “co-parenting.” Once our kids were born he really stepped up to the plate. We have a routine – he drops off the kids in the morning, I pick up. He feeds the baby , I read bedtime stories, etc., etc. Routines really help. We alternate kiddo-sick-days and pediatrician appointments.

      My husband was raised in rural, traditional environment and neither of us had participatory fathers as role models. Our neighborhood has about 80% stay at home moms. None of that matters, and I would bet it won’t for you either.

    • First, to paraphrase some thing I saw on MTV once, haters are going to hate.

      There are a lot of “traditional” backgrounds. A lot of my female relatives didn’t “work” the way I do, but they were farm wives who worked just has hard as farm husbands, plus did child care on top of it. Plus, the family men were around a lot more and the whole family was together a lot more. Lots of respect b/c everyone was pulling their weight. Maybe there is more common ground than you think?

      I find that in rich suburbia, I see a lot of at-home mothers who have nannies and husbands who always seem to be golfing. If it works for them, it works for them. [And maybe that's the key thing -- my BIL's job is crazy and child care costs would mean that my sister, who is not opposed to working, would lose money right now if she were to work, not to mention the added stress and the disaster of having sick children when both parents have stressful jobs. The economics sometimes just aren't there.]

    • Research, Not Law :

      Things you wish you could do differently?
      I can’t really think of any, honestly. We maintain an open dialog, which helps in every situation.

      Things you did right?
      Let my husband be his own parent. So many mothers try to force their spouses to do everything exactly the way she does it – which leads to criticizing, nagging, taking baby out of their arms – then wonders why he doesn’t father more.

      Areas of potential conflict? See above.

      Special tips on household and child care help for two parents who both work ~55 hours/week? Get a housekeeper, meal plan, alternate pick-up/drop-off (I suggest he does drop-off), take advantage of flex time and remote access. It’s all hands on deck. Your time and energy are fininte; it’s a zero-sum game. Foster your relationship with your spouse above lesser priorities. Look each other in the eye and say “I love you” every day.

      Any tips on helping my husband deal with the attitudes of the community?
      Ultimately, he needs to be proud of his involvement. I know when my husband feels out of step with other dads, he reminds himself of how much more he is getting. Uninvolved fathers miss out on so much.

    • Anon in Canada :

      First of all – congrats on your pregnancy! I’m just back to work after being off for a year after my daughter was born – enjoy those early newborn months – they go by so fast. Overall, I would try to take a long view on shared parenting – it may take a while to figure it out especially where you don’t have many role models or community supports — my own father didn’t take a single day off work when either I or my sister were born but when we were in school – he got us up, fed us, did our hair and took us to school – every day for years.

      things you wish you could do differently? – I would have realized that my husband had significantly less baby experience than I did – first diaper he ever changed was the day our daughter came home from the hospital – I had changed tons as a teenage babysitter. If this is the same for your husband – maybe get a doll so he can practice baby care so he feels comfortable? ie: changing diapers, putting baby in carrier/stroller/car seat etc. My husband loved walking the baby in the Baby Bjorn.
      things you did right? – gave my husband time alone with the baby from very early on – this was a very conscious effort because it gave him the space to have sole responsibility which helped him build confidence (plus I got to take a nap)
      areas of potential conflict? early on – sleep deprivation can cause conflict. Try to make sure you both get as much sleep as possible – my husband took night shifts too – since I was BFing he would bring her into our bed for me to feed and then bring her back/rock her to sleep when I was done – this way I had to wake up but not get out of bed.
      special tips on household and child care help for two parents who both work ~55 hours/week? – outsource as much as possible (food, cleaning etc) – also, give yourselves a break – yours will not be the cleanest house, your child will likely not have homemade treats to bring to every bake sale and you will not be able to be there for every field trip but that’s 100% okay. At the end of the day if everyone is alive, clothed and fed then you can fix anything else the next day.
      any tips on helping my husband deal with the attitudes of the community?I think expand your definition of community – try to find an online community where he can read and share experiences with other involved Dads – there must be a c*rporette type community for involved dads out there somewhere.

      • In House Lobbyist :

        My husband is the primary caregiver for our son and it is an unusual situation for most of our friends and families but it is great for us. Some of the things that we did: he was way more into baby gear and did all the research on strollers, car seats, baby carriers. He got a manly diaper bag from the Army surplus store. It wasn’t my first choice but since he carries it more than me, he got to choose. I will say it does have lots of handy pockets though.

  20. Flying Squirrel :

    Just want to thank all you ladies for your kind words yesterday. I’m feeling less down today.

    Fertility treatments and now multiple losses have started to feel like a second job for me, and its nice to hear support from other career-oriented women. Just b/c I want one doesn’t mean I’m okay with the other suffering…though that’s life sometimes.

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