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Workwear sales of note for 6.02.23:
- Nordstrom – The Half-Yearly Sale has started! See our thoughts here.
- Ann Taylor – $50 off $150; $100 off $250+; extra 30% off all sale styles
- Banana Republic Factory – Up to 50% off everything + extra 25% off purchase
- Boden – Sale, up to 50% off
- Cole Haan – Up to 50% off select styles; extra 20% off sandals & sneakers
- Eloquii – 60% off all tops
- Express – 30% off all dresses, tops, shorts & more; extra 50% off clearance
- H&M – Up to 60% off online and in-store.
- J.Crew – Up to 50% off “dressed up” styles (lots of cute dresses!); extra 50% off select sale
- J.Crew Factory – Up to 60% off everything; 60% off 100s of summer faves; extra 60% off clearance
- J.McLaughlin – The Sale Event: extra 30% off
- Loft – 40% off tops; 30% off full-price styles
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty.
- Shopbop – Up to 60% off sale
- Sue Sartor – Lots of cute dresses on sale!
- Talbots – 25-40% off select styles
Other noteworthy sales:
- CB2.com – Up to 40% off; pop-up sale up to 30% off
- Joss & Main – Up to 60% off, plus an extra 20% off with code
- Tuft & Needle – Save up to $775 on mattresses (Reader-favorite brand; Kat really likes hers!)
- West Elm – Up to 25% off in-stock furniture; up to 60% off clearance
Some of our latest posts here at Corporette…
And some of our latest threadjacks here at Corporette (reader questions and commentary) — see more here!
- Favorite comfy pants for an overnight plane ride?
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- I’m early 40s and worry my career arc is ending…
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- How is everyone wearing scarves in 2023?
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- What’s a good place for a relaxing solo escape?
- What are some of your go-to outfits that feel current?
- I need more activities that are social, easy to learn and don’t involve extreme running/jumping/etc.
A friend posted this story on Facebook. It seems extraordinarily complicated and heartbreaking, and I’m not sure what I would have done in this situation.
Since we have so many posters thinking about conceiving, infertility, adoption, etc, and have had (IMO) pretty respectful discussions on termination in the past, I thought I’d share it.
I read that story today too and was rendered speechless by it. I see all sides.
Ditto. My reaction was that it was awful for everyone involved.
I hope this discussion can remain respectful, but I’m actually really curious about you legal ladies’ perspectives here. Based only on this article, it seems like the surrogate is in the wrong here. She signed a contract that stated she would abort in the case of abnormalities, but in the article she states she is anti-choice (implying she would never be okay terminating). Regardless of my personal views on abortion, it seems like she willfully signed a contrract she couldnt honor. Her fault was agreeing to this surrogacy in the first place, especially with a couple that views termination for fetal health as humane.
For the record, having grown up around NICUs (mom is a neonatalogist) and volunteered in one, I am very well informed about the state of the art in fetal medicine. Miracles happen a lot more often than before, but the cost emotionally and financially is tremendous and unguaranteed. For this reason, alng with believing in a woman’s medical privacy, I am ardently pro-choice…
Whoops, I meant neonatal medicine.
A provision in a contract can be void as against public policy. For example, a contract to do something illegal isn’t valid (not that anyone would take someone to court for a botched hit, but as a matter of law, the hitman who takes the money but doesn’t do the murder can’t be held in breach of contract). There are other things that vary by jurisdiction that you can’t contract to do. My guess is that the law in this jurisdiction wouldn’t enforce a contract for an abortion. But, yeah, definitely shouldn’t have signed the contract because the whole point of contracts is to have parties work out these agreements before moving forward. If she knew she’d never get an abortion, she should have been up front with the family about it.
I’m betting the fairly sizeable surrogacy fee played a role in Ms. Kelley not being as upfront about her stance on abortion as she should have been.
I can understand Ms. Kelley’s position, and I can definitely see why no court would force someone to obtain an abortion…but if I were in the couple’s shoes I would be livid.
Personal services contracts generally aren’t specifically enforceable anyway, so no, the parents couldn’t force the surrogate to get an abortion (regardless of where the public policy argument would come out on that). That doesn’t mean the surrogate’s failure to get an abortion isn’t a breach, though. I would think the surrogate’s breach (not getting an abortion) lets the parents out of their end of the bargain, i.e. taking the kid or continuing to pay under the contract. I doubt they’re entitled to damages in the amount of whatever they’ve paid the surrogate; if the surrogate hadn’t breached (i.e., had had the abortion), then the parents would still be out the money they’ve paid under the contract. The only thing the surrogate’s breach changes is what happens going forward.
My only question would be whether such a clause would be legal in the first instance. If the answer is yes, then perhaps she was in breach. However, as the article points out, the term “abnormalities” is not defined in the contract. I wonder about the legality / enforceability of the clause, though. Kelly’s lawyer states that it’s not legal / enforceable but doesn’t say why. I suspect it’s has something to do with forcing someone to do something to their body. It doesn’t just implicate the fetus, but the surrogate as well. I don’t know, though, because as I think it through, advance care directives are legal / enforceable so you are able to cause medical treatment to happen or not happen through contract.
I think what the lawyer’s reference in the article was to is the fact that once Kelly decided she was not going to have the abortion (and thus breach the contract, or not, as the case may be), specific performance of the contract was not an available remedy. Its like an employment contract — its a rare instance where a court will force either side to honor an employment contract (who wants to force peopel to work together who dont want to), but damages are still a viable option.
I have no idea about the particular provision re the abortion in that state (though its possible it would be ok under the circumstances).
What I find really weird about the whole thing is that the parents tried to get their rights back because they wanted to give the baby up to the state, but she wound up with adoptive parents anyway. There was really no way that the parties could have come to an amicable agreement to do what they both kind of seemed to want to do anyway? I get that the parents might have been all for abortion at the outset, but once they got to the “no, give her back because we want to then give her away” point, why not all discuss adoption options?
The other thing I wasn’t sure about is why it creates additional legal complications in the case simply because the couple used an egg donor. Or maybe laws haven’t caught up to technology in the case of egg donors?
The article said that CT gives parental rights to the people who contributed the biological material. If the egg wasn’t from the wife, she had no rights and there was potentially another woman (the egg donor) out there who could claim the baby.
I assume the bio parents wanted to give her to the state because they would not be able to afford her medical expenses.
What a tragic story!
But presumably giving her up for adoption would also mean they wouldn’t have to deal with the medical expenses. Very odd.
Website issues??? I cannot even see this post or the glasses posts on my iphone. Anyone else having this problem?
Me too – it still only shows the first post from yesterday when I go to the homepage.
Using my laptop, I can see the posts but not the photos.
Same here. I found the post through my Google reader, but they’re not showing up on the website.
Phoenix - must do's/eats?
I’m headed to Phoenix to catch some spring training and escape the cold. Any must-do’s/restaurants to check out while I’m there? Thanks!
Ooooooh! I don’t have time now, but I’ll post tonight if you want to recheck tomorrow! What part of the Valley will you be in (Scottsdale, Glendale, downtown, etc.)
Hey AnonAZ — are we the only two Phonecians here? Meet up???
This may be a good chance to call us all out :-) I would be game for a meetup, for sure!
Hmm – good question. I’m at the Arizona Grand, which is near Tempe?
Ah, you’re already here! Thats a great location, assuming you have a rental car, which is pretty much a requirement here. Like PHX said, Old Town Scottsdale is a great location for restaurants and bars, though I’m not sure how busy it is during the week. Cowboy Ciao is good, you might also try the Old Town Tortilla Factory for what I think is one of the best patios in the Valley (may as well enjoy 75 degrees, right?!). I haven’t been in a long time, but Kazimierz World Wine Bar was awesome, and still has good reviews on Yelp. My only caution is its a little hard to find, at least the “hidden” alley entrance is… thats where the cool people go in (ha!). Its was a swanky, wine cellar like place, that was busy but not crowded last I was there.
If you want to shop, Scottsdale Fashion Square has lots of options. Restaurants near there that I like are Olive and Ivy, and Culinary Dropout. The waterfront is pretty there too (by water front, I mean the SRP canal, not an actual river, but its pretty cool.
Ok, back to work. More to come but that should get you through this evening. Arizona is renowned for its spas as well, I’m sure the Arizona Grand has an excellent one.
Oh, the other one in Old Town that I couldn’t think of is Citizen Public House. It was the most recent nice dinner I’ve got out for, but it was seriously awesome. All four of us thought it was fantastic, which I’m finding is a rarity.
If you want to stay a little closer to the hotel tonight, Tempe Marketplace wouldn’t be a bad option, though its mostly chain stores and restaurants, or if you’re up for a young-ish crowd, Mill Avenue is the main attraction around Tempe. Its right near ASU, so it draws a lot of college students, but there are also some great places down there. Rula Bula is the Irish pub, which I’ve always enjoyed. Big Bang dueling pianos is a lot of fun, and the Tempe Improv draws comedians from all over the country who are likewise eager to escape the show. Last time I was there (granted, this was probably 2007), Jimmy Fallon just showed up, unannounced, and they gave him about 10 minutes to be a goofball. Adorable. You might also look at ASU Gammage theatre to see whats playing here, if you’re into theatre type events. Downtown you have the symphony and the opera, if you’re so inclined.
Ok, for reals… work!
Ok, here are a few more ideas…
If you want to see central/downtown Phoenix, lunch at The Farm (near South Mountain) is supposed to be really good. In downtown itself, there are lots of restaurants and some shops, though Phoenix’s downtown is quite small compared to the size of the metro area. Arrogant Butcher is really good, and kind of a hip happy hour spot these days. Hannys is good as well. The Suns play across the street at US Airways Center if you like basketball.
A bit north you have the Clarendon hotel if you want to check out the restaurant that Victoria mentioned (never been but I might go try it now!), or Durants is classic old school Phoenix– wood paneled walls, leather booths, enter through the kitchen, awesome martinis and food. For museums and such, there is the Phoenix Art Museum (contemporary art– I think they’re having some kind of food festival there this weekend too), or the Heard Museum is all native american art and artifacts.
If you have time, Sedona is a little over an hour north of here on I-17, and it truly is beautiful. Another 45 minutes to an hour north of that, you’re in Flagstaff (pine trees and possibly snow). It makes a great day trip if you want to go see more of the state. In the valley, Camelback Mountain is the hiking destination of choice for many, though South Mountain has lots of trails as well.
Hope that helps! If you have questions, let me know :)
Thanks so much! Great ideas. I could eat my way through the whole town. Much appreciated!!!!
Cowboy Ciao in Old Town Scottsdale. Oh god, the food is amazing.
Gallo Blanco in the Clarendon!
Ankle straps are back in? I thought we don’t wear them because they cut off your leg making it look short and stumpy.
I’m with you. I find this style of shoe (mini wedge, pointy toe and ankle strap) to be universally unflattering. I haven’t seen a pair on someone yet that has made me go, huh, that looks cute!
I love them! They’re so much more comfortable and you don’t inadvertently start doing that toe scrunch thing when you walk so your shoes don’t fall off. I have to admit that I’m not very concerned about my legs looking stumpy, but even if you are, you can’t see an ankle strap under pants.
My narrow heels will take this style in a heartbeat. I’m sick of flats that refuse to stay on my feet, even if the size is correct.
I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out, but I finally got a pair of ankle strap wedges and it was incredible how much easier it is to walk when your heels aren’t slipping out of the shoe! Now I have to resist a “buy all the ankle straps!” spree ;)
Yes. We have RULES about ankle straps. But if you have great legs and aren’t worried about stumpifying, go for it.
And, the closer they are to nude-for-you, the less stumpifying they’ll be.
On me that is a weird shade known as “light bandaid,” which shoe manufacturers refuse to produce, but I am comfortable wearing ankle straps in any light-ish color… and I have some 1940s style black ankle strap Fluevogs that I refuse to give up.
Never stop refusing to give up Fluevogs.
#always reblog Fluevogs
I like shoes with ankle straps in the winter because they keep my shoes from slipping off when I’m wearing tights. I think straps that are lower on the ankle stumpify less. Also t-straps keep the eye going up.
Really pretty shoes! I can’t wear completely flat shoes without padding (they hurt my knees) so a shoe like this would be great. Any sense of how they run? I couldn’t figure out what the graph meant on the website.
I would NOT run in these shoe’s. You should get NIKE’s if you are lookeing for running shoe’s! (Just a funnie today).
I do have good news! We got the business in Baltimore, and the supermarket guy’s up here also are takeing another look at us, all b/c I made a good presentation about my strategy on handling WC cases. Evidently, peeople in Baltimore look to NY for precedent, and I have made alot of good precedent here, includeing Roberta’s case that will be PUBLISHED in NY Supp. YAY!!!!!!
So now the manageing partner says one of the older partner’s, Walt, will help me out, but he has not done any litiegation since the 1980’s! I wish I could get a go getter like me to help me, but Walt comes in to the office every day, but just read’s the Wall Street Journal and tell stories about how he met President Kennedy when he was in the Peace Core. When I told my dad about him, my dad wanted to meet him, but Walt had digestive issues when we had our holiday party, so could not attend.
My dad think’s I should still deduct my clotheing, even tho we had Judith, the expert, way in on the issue and she came out saying NO, I should NOT deduct. I do not want to get an IRS guy lookeing at my taxes, b/c dad is also doing a home office deduction for me. Frank did not think that was Kosher either, but he is NOT fileing my return. FOOEY!
I wish I did not have so many complex tax probelem’s to deal with. It is enough that I have alot of WC case’s (now in NY and Baltimore), and some guy who Esteban want’s me to meet. I am also goeing to talk to the Judge to see how he got on the BENCH, so that I can figure out how to do that too. YAY!!!!!
This article made me giggle. I have plenty of friends like this and I’m sure many ‘R e t t e s themselves are just like this!
:) I almost want to share on facebook but I think that may be passive aggressive of me…
oh my. that is my life right there. 30. law school grad… without the other milestones :/
Any recommendations for hair salons that can do this in NYC? http://pinterest.com/pin/217650594463357526/
Or this http://pinterest.com/pin/445997169318014964/
Or maybe I should do this http://pinterest.com/pin/30047522486091031/
Ooh, fun. Try Lovemore and Do on E 9th St.
That was me. Not sure why the name will not stay as in the past. Super annoying.
I can’t remember what your ethnicity is, Ru. I may be totally off-base, and I apologize in advance if that’s the case, but if you’re middle eastern in heritage, an Egyptian friend of mine turned me on to a Korean/Japanese salon that she goes to for pretty bold coloring. She says it’s harder getting bright colors consistently on darker hair of her texture, but that apparently this salon does it well. I got a haircut there myself a few weeks ago (donated 15″!) and was very happy. It’s called Hazuki Hair. Might be worth a shot.
My parents are from the Indian subcontinent. My roots (which are more than grown out, I’d say 6″) are black, the rest is purple dyed on bleached hair. Thanks for the recommendation!
And they’re super cheap. I actually agonized over whether to post them here and let everyone know my secret…. I mentioned it to a friend of mine who lived in Korea for five years, and he replied, “oh, i’ve been going there since 2002. They’re great!”
My friend mentioned going on yelp for reviews of individual stylists if you’re going in for anything outside the box (like my cutting off a foot and a half, or your bleaching and going purple), as they don’t have staff bios on their website. Maybe you could call and ask who’s good at coloring, too.
And you wear a hijab with that? I’ve had a tub of purple hair dye for so long it’s almost certainly gone bad, but I have never dared to actually do it. Awesome to hear of someone who’s actually taken the plunge (even if you do get to hide it in public)
You’d rock the purple-on-black, IMHO.
I have no salon recs, but I wanted to say these are amazing and I have “future-Ru-hair” envy!
I LOVE the idea of outrageous colored hair under a head scarf. I will now imagine all the ladies I see with their heads covered similarly coiffured.
S in Chicago
When I first heard bleached purple, I’ll admit I was a little dubious. That hair is stunning though. I absolutely love it. The cut is amazing, too. Hope you find someone able to produce something just as lovely.
S in Chicago
Thought that was going to appear under the first of the three options. (My favorite.)
Those are actually really cute, but probably would make me look like i had boats for feet.
I love when people start these, and I’m not sure of the etiquette, but here goes:
How many of you are the primary breadwinner in your family? Earn more than your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner? Or, you have more assets saved or inherited/gifted from family? The discussion started on this morning’s thread got me thinking about this, and I also read recently college-educated American women earn more than their male counterparts.
My answer: I (at 26) am on the cusp of heading towards long-term with a guy 7 years my senior with no retirement savings who earns probably 1/4 what I do. I’m thinking a lot about what that would mean for us and our future life, whether traditional gender ideas might rear their heads (despite both of us being quite progressive, him more than me, really), what you have to take in to account choosing a partner, etc. His income isn’t problematic to me, but it’s really terrifying that he’s been working full-time for 8 years, and part-time or as a grad student for another 5, and has no retirement savings! I hope to have a quarter million by the time I’m his age, just for myself. Catching up on that sort of stuff is SO HARD to manage, especially once children are in the picture.
What about you guys?
26. Make twice what my husband does. He will probably have heavier responsibility for any future kiddos.
I sort of suspect that may be true of the majority on this website. I hope more people respond!
I suppose there’s no chance i’m inheriting a dime, and he may get part of his parents’ wealth, which I don’t bring to the table, financially. It may sort of work out in the end.
I’m 35, married. My husband is 40. I make around 30K more than my husband. He did not go to college and didn’t have a clear direction of what he wanted to do after high school so he never got started in any type of corporate job. He’s got a good, stable job now and we both have the same goals, finance-wise. We don’t have kids, so that cuts down on expenses quite a bit.
I’m 31 and in-house counsel. My husband is 28 and a CPA. I make about twice as much.
36. Make twice what my husband does and have pretty consistently for the last decade–as we both get increases, it stays at the same ratio. It causes no issues for us really. He does end up shouldering more child rearing, but that’s also partly personality-driven.
Oops, college-educated women under 30 earn more than male counterparts! ONLY those under 30. above that it’s pretty dismal. I wonder how much of the improvement in earnign parity is due to progress, and how much is due to the fact that professional women over 30 end up on a mommy track (by choice or not). I suspect it’s quite a bit of the latter.
I just read a story on this. It’s mainly the whole ‘take time off to have a kid’ penalty/work less hours to have a kid effect. Interestingly, the article I read suggested that when women go back to the same employer, they suffer less of a pay differential than when they start at a new company. The article suggested it had something to do with not having to start from scratch, but it seems like that may also reflect how much time was taken off – e.g., I could take up to a year’s leave from my job (unpaid, of course) but if I took off more than that, I wouldn’t nec. be able to go back so easily and would potentially end up in a new company.
Might I ask why?
Why what? Why am I asking? General curiosity in light of all of the “end of men” stuff that’s been floating around recently, and personal curiosity given the life choices I’m facing right now.
I’m 32, married. I make more than my DH, probably by about 20-30k. No kids right now, but probably next year. I’m okay with the current balance between us (I have one friend who is THRILLED that she makes more than her fiance), and I was okay with the balance between us before I went to law school and he was making 30-50k more than me. He has more saved up in his 401k than I do, given that I took 3 years out of the workforce for law school, and he has stock options that will amount to a lot of money when they vest. His job is just more flexible than mine, with better family-friendly policies in place, so I imagine with future kids that I’ll be responsible for daycare drop off and he’ll be responsible for pickup / early evening stuff. He also currently does more of the housework / cooking than I do (although I do jump in on weekends). I’d like to stick it out at my biglaw firm for at least another year or so, so that I can pay down more of my student loans and feel more comfortable taking a salary cut (with the tradeoff being better hours).
33. My husband is currently in grad school, so I make three times what he makes. Before his grad school, I made around 30% more than he did. Post school, he’ll make around 30% more than me.
Anon for this
I currently am the sole breadwinner, my SO’s military orders got axed with the sequester. He’s been talking about starting his own business for years, so maybe now is the time. I want to believe he can pull it off, but I’m not counting on it, honestly. Even when he was on orders, is was sporatic at best, and about 1/4 of my pay, so we never really relied on it at all.
I am the saver of the household as well (though he is quite frugal), so I’ve self-imposed a tight budget on us by dumping large amounts of my paycheck into savings, retirement, student loans, etc. I’m not sure he’s thrilled about that, but he also doesn’t have anyreirement/savings to add to the equation, except his military retirement, if such a thing exists when we’re that old.
I am 34. I used to be the primary breadwinner, then we swapped after having kids. DH makes about 2.5 times what I make now, and I anticipate that that will continue in the future. He also has more in retirement because he has tax-advantaged saving (SEP) that I can’t use.
It didn’t bother either of us at all when I made more, and I am glad that he makes more now so that I am able to work PT at a smaller firm.
that is the sort of relationship I’d like to emulate.
It is pretty great (if I do say so myself). ;)
I earn more than my live-in boyfriend, but I also have more student loans, no health insurance, and no employer-sponsored retirement plan. He owes less in student loans than I do, has great insurance, and a pension. Once I factor in my increased payments and purchasing health insurance and contributing to my Roth IRA, our take home pay turns out to be pretty similar.
My income varies due to the nature of my work and my student loan payments vary because of IBR so we’ve had some serious discussions about how we split our expenses. We currently split things 50/50, but he has been very generous about taking on more of the expenses if my loan payments get too high compared to a potentially lower income.
So, I guess ours varies. I’m currently making more, but that is likely to change multiple times throughout our lives.
Oh and I’m 29 and he is 32.
Sydney, I didn’t realize you and your guy moved in together. That’s awesome! (Sorry if this is weird or I am really late to the party. Just was happy to hear that:))
Aw thanks! We moved in together over the summer and its been seriously great! :-)
This disappearing name thing is annoying!
primary breadwinner, husband is primary childcare and food shopper/preparer. He’s in grad school and may end up outearning me at some point but not for a while.
I am 34. In-house counsel, sole breadwinner. One toddler and one in the oven. Hubby stays home with toddler. We met in law school, but he has never worked as a lawyer. He occasionally will teach a class or two at one of the local colleges using his before law school masters degree. Due to the fact that we both have law school loans, money is extremely tight. Hubby wanted to quit law school after his first year, and I often wish that I would have supported instead of discouraged it.
26, married. Make slightly more than my husband, but we are essentially equals at this point, both in what we make and what we do around the house. This is all very up in the air, though, because we don’t know what our situation will be like in 2-3 years when we have children. Both of us are open to staying home/working less hours to be the primary caretaker, so that will depend on our particular job situations come that time.
Had a period of time where husband was out of work and was doing ALL the housework and I didn’t like it. I missed cooking dinner (one of my contributions to the housework) and feeling like I contributed in ways besides money. This makes me think that if I am the primary breadwinner later on I would still want to carve out something at home that’s “mine” so that I can feel more connected to my home life.
Your concern with having something that’s “yours” is one that I have, too. When I lived with my ex-boyfriend through law school and worked on top of law school while he was unemployed, he took care of a lot of household stuff, but it left me feeling like a sort of guest in my own home trying not to mess up his systems. I think carving out something that’s yours is a good solution.
I was clueless as to where anything was in the kitchen, drawers, and closets, and it killed me!
We’re both 43. I make roughly twice what he does. That’s been true for the past 15 years . I think there was one year in our (21 year) marriage when he might have made more than I did.
It’s never been a problem for either of us. We’re one of the strange couples with separate bank accounts and it works for us. I pay for certain things and he pays for others. We don’t really worry about making things proportional/even/fair. There are years when he doesn’t get paid in the summer and if he needs me to pay for something during that time, he just tells me.
We split child care in a way that worked for us, too. He almost always handled mornings and I handled afternoons/evenings most of the time (there was a period of time when he was responsible for picking her up some days and dropping her at dance and then I picked her up there). His work schedule changes each semester, but he was very responsible in choosing schedules that recognized family needs. (She’s now in college, so this is a moot point.)
It’s possible that we both could get nice inheritances, but then it’s also possible that neither of us could if health issues significantly impact either set of parents. As far as we’re planning, the money is our parents to spend as they want and they are under no obligation to save anything for us.
Which of us has more saved for retirement depends on how you count his theoretical retirement package (we mostly don’t count on it and use a 403b for money that’s more predictable).
I’m married and we’re both in our early 30s. I am an attorney and he works a blue collar job. At the moment I make about 30% more than he does but that number is likely to increase as he is already fairly senior whereas I just took a salary cut to get into a job I love and will move up in. He had no retirement savings until I came along but he also didn’t have any debt. I built up some good retirement before I met him but still have law school loans.
I never wanted to be the primary breadwinner and would be interested in staying home with kids but when I met my husband I knew he was a keeper and worth changing that for. Right now the child care is pretty even because my stepdaughter is 12 and doesn’t need constant supervision, but we plan to have our own kids soon and if daycare proves too expensive, he will be the one staying home. He has absolutely no issues with this whatsoever, but I was once in a 5 year relationship with another lawyer and the fact that I made more money than he did was a definite sore spot for him, so I do think it’s important to not only evaluate how you feel about it, but how your partner does as well.
How are you finding the stepmom role? I’m new to this, to stepdaughter 3 and stepson 9. We have the stepdaughter full time, and are thinking of having our own in the next couple of years. Its all a little overwhelming to me…
Honestly, I’m fairly new myself (we were not together very long before we got married), but I will say that I wish I had been around since my stepdaughter was 3 and that we had had her full time (we have a 50/50 arrangement). I think you will probably end up having an easier time with her than with your stepson.
I can very much credit my husband with making the transition easy on me though. He calls mom whenever I need him to, backs me to my stepdaughter, and tries to take the heat for me when possible. In return, I try to stay on top of her material needs (toiletries, clothes, foods she likes) and school stuff and help him relate better to a 12 year old girl. :)
Still, it is very overwhelming at times, coparenting is HARD, and we do plan to have kids soon and sometimes I wonder if I am crazy to do that. But I wouldn’t trade my situation. She’s always going to be the one who made me a parent even if she’s not my kid. (A fact of which you are going to be reminded of CONSTANTLY by your stepkids, your friends, their mother, etc.) :)
Thank you for your reply! I’ve been “mom’ to stepdaughter since right before she turned 2, so its pretty much all she knows (she knows I’m not mom, calls me by my first name, etc., but in terms of a mother-like figure). She’s realizing now that she’s in school that our situation is not “normal” and is starting to question it more. She and I have a great relationship so far, and I get along great with stepson too. He’s old enough that I don’t have to parent him a lot when he’s with us, except for things that are bonehead obvious that he will even laugh at himself about (dude, whats wrong with this picture? Oh, my wet towel and dirty clothes are left on the bathroom floor… Haha, oops). I think my issue is mostly intellectually with the parent but not situation. I literally do everything a mother would do, but with none of the “credit.” For example, stepdaughter was with her mom (out of state) recently, and SO was out of town, so I didn’t get to even say hi to her for literally over a week. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure she gets to talk to the other parent, but I’m supposed to just be lovey “mommy” when its convenient, and then suddenly have no interest when its not for everyone else.
I know I’m late to the party, but as a stepkid myself, I just want to tell you ladies that:
(1) I was a difficult, horrible, challenging child at times, and I can’t imagine what it was like to be my stepparent and deal with me, let alone the outside issues; and
(2) It all comes out in the wash. If you are loving, and try your best, the stepchild will look back later and realize it. And they will also come to realize all the inequities that may arise from the situation.
So I just want to say that if your stepchildren are like me, some day they will realize the difficulties that you had, and appreciate you for it.
You just may have to wait until they are in their twenties.
I don’t know if you’ll see this, but thank you so much for that, Alice! I really hope you share that with your stepparent(s), I’m sure theywould love to hear it, even if they “know” it. This is what I keep thinking, that kids are buttheads to their parents too, its part of being a kid, and then at some point we usually reach a point of being grateful, once we get a taste of that role ourselves. But it is hard, sometimes. I really appreciate your encouragement.
Late reply, but stepkids, I hear you on being an afterthought. It’s really hard some days.
Alice, thanks! I do tell myself that whenever things are frustrating. I do think that one day she will appreciate the things I did for her. I wasn’t in a position to appreciate my own mother until I was in my 20s and I didn’t really appreciate how hard she worked until now!
I’m 37, married for 18 years, and currently am the primary breadwinner in our family. We were students when we got married, I finished first and was breadwinner. Then Dh was for a few years while I worked p/t and had our children. Then his career went sideways and now I’m back to being primary breadwinner. However, even if dh was fully employed in his chosen career I’d still make more simply because of the field I’m in vs what he’s in. We’ve actually decided that while our children are home dh won’t work more than p/t once his current contract ends in June. It’s just way, way easier if someone is around to take kids to sports, dr appts, etc. We feel very thankful that we’re in the situation that we can do this.
We always try to remember we’re a team, and that even though one of us makes more money than the other, it’s a team effort to keep our family running smoothly. We don’t hold the income disparity against each other or ourselves, although dh does sometimes struggle with feeling like he should be contributing more to the family budget.
I’m 33, he’s a few years older, but didn’t finish college. We’ve been married forever, since way before I went to law school, so most of our marriage he’s out-earned me, but now I earn over double what he does. He left a job a couple years ago so that we could take my current job, which cut down his earnings a bit, too. He’s very smart and a very hard worker, and certainly has the capacity to earn more, but has mostly given it up to support my career. He has significant retirement; I do not due to having been out of the workforce more. He is likely to get some inheritance (wealthy grandparent), but I wouldn’t expect it for several decades, so it’s a non-issue for us.
We usually share housework fairly equally, but he’s been on parental leave while I’ve gone back to work, so he’s doing a lot more now. I guess that will change in a few weeks, but the ultimate goal is for him to stay at home, we just haven’t gotten there yet.
Oddly enough, both of us come from very conservative traditionally gender roled families (neither mom has worked full time or at a professional job for over 30 years), yet the change-up is a complete non-issue for us. We’ve had nothing but support, and it’s never seemed an issue to me or him. I don’t really see any big deal in it at all.
Married, mid-50s, Mr. Senior Attorney is 7 years older and works in a skilled trade and makes almost exactly half what I do. We are an “all the money goes into the communal pot” couple, but I am in charge of the finances on a day-to-day basis and as a practical matter I make most of the financial decisions. And to be perfectly honest, because I bring in most of the money I am not shy about being very assertive when it comes to deciding how to spend the money. (Although we generally agree and I can’t remember the last time we had a serious disagreement about how to spend money. Oh, wait. Yes I can. I deferred to him because he seemed to care about the issue more than I did.)
Perhaps because on a day-to-day basis the income disparity is largely invisible, Mr. Senior Attorney doesn’t seem to have any hangups about the salary disparity. I kind of like being top dog, honestly, although I would certainly trade that position if it meant Mr. Senior Attorney were suddenly making 2-3 times what he’s making now! (More vacations! More home improvements!)
Well, if we ever achieve pay equality, women will out-earn men 50% of the time so we’d better get used to it.
It is unfortunate that he has not put away any retirement savings, but note that if you combine finances, it may become much easier for him to do so. As a single person, I recently became conscious of all of the expenses I pay for 100% that I could be splitting if I paired up. While that is not enough to motivate me to go get hitched, I think about it quite a bit now. I know there can be expenses associated with being married (e.g., children, weddings, meeting others’ expectations about your living quarters, etc.), but overall those who are married build more significant wealth than singles. Of course this doesn’t answer the question about whether you should ditch him for someone that makes more money — more money is usually more money — but perhaps it can change your perspective on the potential of your current guy.
Also the tax code heavily favors single-earner married couples in the higher brackets (or double-earners with a huge disparity in income).
I’m not really worried about his income, but that he spent so long saving 0 for retirement is a bit scary. like, how did he see that playing out in the future???
Anon For This
Seriously. I’ve been semi-joking with my live-in SO that if we got married, I (we) would pay $12,000 less in federal income tax than I have to pay as a single high earner. And I could deduct my student loan interest. Who decided that higher income brackets shouldn’t be able to do this? What group is most likely to have high student loan debt… Argh!
I just realized recently that I couldn’t contribute to my Roth IRA if my boyfriend and I get married and file our taxes separately, which is totally nuts if you ask me! If I understand correctly, we’d pay less by filing jointly but it would increase my IBR payments by a lot but filing separately would be bad if it meant giving up my Roth. That’s a weird trade off and I’d love to know the rationale behind it.
Anon For This
I don’t know the rationale, but can’t you get around the limitation by contribution to the traditional IRA (with no deduction), and then rolling that into your Roth? I think thats the standard advice for those whose incomes are too high to contribute to a Roth.
I just broke up with my live-in boyfriend and I forgot how much more expensive it is to live alone. Paying all of the mortgage payment instead of just half of it really adds up. My quality of life has definitely taken a hit.
28, DH is 28. Last year, I made over twice what he made. DH is blue collar, didn’t finish college, just started his own business last year. I expect I will always make more than he does, but I think he will see his income climb in the next few years, as his business gets established.
The income disparity causes zero friction in our lives. Being a little broke at times does cause friction at times. But I never blame the brokeness on his lower income. It is what it is.
DH will definitely be the one that has to rearrange his schedule, etc. when Baby Midwest Anon arrives. He is totally fine with it and excited to be a more hands-on dad than his dad was. There was a recent WSJ article about this that really sparked his interest.
My DH is a year younger and was a year behind in law school. I’m in biglaw, he’s in midlaw, and I make twice what he does. For now. Until I get pushed out/step back to have babies/I don’t even know. I’ll never make this kind of money again. His family is upper middle class, so they’ve been slowly funding his IRA a little bit at a time since he was a baby, so compound interest has been very good to him. My lower middle class/working class parents did not do that, so my retirement savings are well behind his. I paid off my student loans before we got married, and we still owe $50k+ on his.
How does this work? I thought you had to have earned some income in order to fund an IRA? I’m curious because I’d love to defer more of my income, even if its saving it in the kids’ IRAs. I didn’t think you could do that, though.
I’m in my early 30’s; husband is in early 40’s. We’d earn similar incomes if we were both working (although I have higher earning potential), but he’s unemployed due to recession. I’m sole breadwinner; he is stay-at-home dad and primary cook/cleaner.
He actually has a larger retirement account than me because he had more working years, but he’s not adding to it. It doesn’t really matter to us, since we take a team approach to finances.
36 and currently I make a lot more since he is starting his own business with a little consulting on the side. We’ve been together through a lot, some years he made more and some I made more, I think there was 1 year we were exactly even. It has not been an issue for us, but we don’t have kids and neither feel tied to our gender roles. I would expect that over the course of a lifetime many couples will go through different situations due to job changes, layoffs, childrearing and retirement.
I am currently primary but wasn’t for first 9 years (3 dating/6 married). I will probably be for another 1-2 years, then we’ll likely be roughly equally 50/50 give or take 15% either way…
I am 26, have been married for 3 years and currently make 3x what DH does.
As long as DH is working somewhere and contributing something, it’s all cool with me.
How much aerobic exercise should a person really be aiming for? I recently joined a gym, but with my schedule it’s a challenge for me to spend a long time there (I’m usually squeezing it in between leaving the office bit earlier than usual and still trying to get home to see the kiddos). If I do 30 minutes of cardio (treadmill, stairclimber, or elliptical), is that enough? I’m trying to go 3 or 4 times a week. Or am I kidding myself, and to really get fit, I need to find a way to up the length of each cardio session?
What are your goals when you exercise? Lose weight, be active, strengthen your cardiovascular system? That’s probably going to dictate the sufficiency of your time.
It’s certainly better than not doing it, but my personal belief for me is that I need an hour to feel like I got a good run in.
I think with running there’s a definite diminishing fitness return afters 4 miles. 2 miles is much better than 0, 4 is better than 2, but 6 isn’t a huge improvement on 4 in terms of my general fitness level. I mean, sometimes I get in to long slow cardio shape for a half or full marathon, but i don’t think that really makes me much “fitter”. Like, if I am going to spend 10 hours a week working out, I can run 60 miles, but running 20 and doing three yoga or weight training sessions is much better.
What does “fit” mean to you? I think you can get and stay healthy with 3 or 4 days of pretty intense cardio work (I try to keep my average heart rate above 170 if I use a machine, and play with fartlek principals). If you want to lose weight, I think adding a weight training session would do more good for you than more cardio.
Agree with this- 3ish short cardio sessions a week is what I do when I’m just trying to maintain. If I want to lose weight or tone up I add a fitness class or two (pure barre) or a circuit of strength training and weights, etc.
I have had good results with 20 – 30 minutes of cardio when I do interval training. You can get your heart rate up enough for it to be beneficial. As someone else already said, something is better than nothing in this case. I would focus on making the 20 – 30 minutes you have count – e.g., intervals.
+1. Also on the days that you can’t make it to the gym, I find the Jillian Michaels videos to be excellent for a similarly short but intense workout.
Second the rec on the Jillian Michaels DVDs. They are only about 30 minutes but are pretty intense – in a good way!
For me, I try to do about 20-30 minutes 4x a week on the elliptical. I have never worked out consistently in my life, but finally in the past couple of months I’m starting to get into the habit. I wouldn’t mind losing 5-10 lbs and being more toned, but I’m not that motiviated yet. Right now, I’m starting slowly so I don’t get overwhelmed and quit.
But how much you exercise depends on your fitness goals, but I think what you’re doing is better than nothing. And it’s important to spend time with your family also, so that might mean not doing an involved workout every day.
When I don’t have a lot of time, I just do treadmill sprints. I’m not really conversant in HIIT, but I really like shorter & more intense workouts.
I think the latest recommendation is something like 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise per week (less than 2 for vigorous). That sounds fine. Unless you’re training for a half marathon or some kind of long race, you don’t really need to do long bouts of cardio.
Thanks for all the input. I guess in general I’m just trying to get more fit/healthy. I lost about 30 pounds a year ago just by cutting back on calories. A little of that started to creep back on and it was the motivation I needed to join a gym. But it’s much more about being fit and healthy for me than it is about trying to be a certain weight. I am seeing a trainer once or twice a week, but I’m really not loving that and don’t think I’ll keep that up long term. I really just want him to teach me a routine that I can follow to add a day or two of weight training in to my routine. Then I’m thinking that I would try to do maybe 3 days a week of cardio and 1 or 2 days of weight training. For now I just wanted to be sure that if I go to the gym and only manage to get in 30 minutes on the stairclimber, it’s still worth doing that. Intellectually I know it must be better than doing nothing, but I just needed a little reassurance that it really is worth the effort.
According to the NY Times, it may actually be better. I think the most important thing is you’re doing something active.
I’ve recently become more serious about getting fit and healthy as well, and as part of that I have established an actual gym system in my life for the first time in years. I had a personal trainer help me put together a program based on me being able to get to the gym 3 times per week for 1 hr each time. I do 20 minutes of cardio (10 minutes stair machine, 10 minutes stationary bike or elliptical), then half an hour of weights. The idea is to make the cardio count. I work way harder on the stair climber than I would if I was on the treadmill – it really gets my heart rate going and a good calorie burn as well. I am losing weight at a decent rate without making huge changes to my food intake, and am getting stronger, so obviously I’m doing something right.
If I run on the treadmill on my own, I rarely do more than 20 minutes. I run fast and do intervals, so I am sweaty and out of breath at the end of that time. Longer than that just feels like a chore to me. I probably do that routine 2 times per week, go for an hour walk once a week and do a barre class once or twice a week.
Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: I posted in the morning thread, but if you’re still in the Denver area, I’d be happy to take you out for drinks and venting sometime if you have time. I believe you have my email address from when we tried to get a denver meet-up going, if not let me know!
I believe she left you an email address in the other thread.
Electric Tea Kettle?
Anyone have recs for an electric tea kettle? My old one gave up the ghost this week.
I’m also curious about this! I really want a variable temp one, but with no BPA…which seems hard to find. I’m more concerned about the BPA than the variable temp, but ideally I’d like both.
We have the Breville Variable Temp one and love it. Had it for 2-3 years now and no problems. It has a very useful “keep temp” feature too. It’s steel so I don’t think there is a BPA issue. If you find it at Bed Bath & Beyond, you should be able to get it with one of their 20% off coupons.
Nope, it does have BPA, which is unfortunate because the kettle is otherwise (from what I can tell) perfect.
I’m happy with my Cuisinart electric tea kettle. I’ve used it for about three hours a day for three years and it’s still going strong.
Jackie, the Anon Threadjacker
OK, I know that you guys are sick of hearing about my job search emotionalism, but I just want to share that we just found out today that the partner who I would rely on to take over most of my work, should I get the new job will be having open heart surgery at the end of this week, and is, therefore, relying on me to take over much of his work. This means that, should I leave, we will be dumping three people’s work on one partner, who doesn’t take the type of law that constitutes a significant portion of our work. The office is now in collective freak-out over this.
I’ll be meeting with the new job folks tomorrow to discuss pay possibilities and start dates. No official offer at this time, but it looks very promising.
I just can’t believe the timing. Bear in mind that if the one partner doesn’t want to take my work, I can’t just drop them (ethically speaking) unless I give notice. I want to be excited, but also, oh, crap on top of crap.
Jackie, the Anon Threadjacker
To clarify, I’m stressed because all day has been people coming in laying out work that I’m to take over, and I have to pretend that I’m going to do it, when I know that there’s a good chance that I won’t actually be able to do it. It’s very frustrating.
Sounds like a very unfortunate situation for you to be in. My advice previously was that you do what’s best for you and they will figure it out, but I certainly understand the guilt. I used to work for a small company so being one person down did make a difference. I was there for 3 years and decided to change career paths (ie. not even going to a competitor but going back to school and changing fields completely). I thought I was generous to give a 3 weeks notice so they could start looking for a replacement without too much lag time. Well when I turned in my notice they told me if I want to go I might as well just get out and handed me a box to pack my office. Then they went around and told all the staff to say goodbye to me because it’s my last day (creating an impression that I was fired). It stung when I was trying to do the right thing, but I tell myself it’s not personal, it’s business.
I’m watching the snow pile up here in Chicago and am really regretting not wearing my heavy-duty boots into work today. The limits of my so-far-satisfactory La Canadiennes are going to be tested mightily on my walk-heavy commute tonight…
but in other news, check in tomorrow for a possibily hilarious story of me slipping and falling into a snowbank.
Sounds like all your snow is headed our way tomorrow! I’m guessing I’ll be working from home tomorrow since DC has no clue what it’s doing when it comes to snow (even though it snows here every. single. year.)
I feel like there is now way it will actually snow here right? Its like 50 out
Yeah, sorry about all that snow. Signed, Minnesota.
It sure is pretty though, isn’t it? I think we received about 8-9 inches on the east side of the metro. One of those days I don’t mind working from home…..
It’s pretty now that it’s melted down to the pavement. And having the sun shine while the last few flakes fall is kind of neat.
S in Chicago
I just spent 30 min. shoveling free our garbage can. Good luck!
And I hate my boots. I bought some Sorels on a deep sale that are really cute, but OMG they make my legs itch. Not sure what they make that fluffy part at the top with but it feels just horrible. Can’t wait to have an excuse to replace them. On the bright side, I bought a Northface arctic parka last year at end of season. Best coat I have ever owned. I feel like I’m in my own cocoon of wonderfully dry, windless, warmness. Has survived jumping dogs with ridiculously long nails at the dog park and a few slips on icy concrete resulting from poor traction of aforementioned hated Sorels. Highly recommended the artic parka to anyone else stuck facing the elements like this.
S in Chicago
I think learning how to walk in ice/snow must be an skill because we had some colleagues visiting from a warmer locale, and they had real difficulty walking on icy patches while all od us from the more northern areas were fine. That’s not to say I don’t slip, because I sometimes do, but those of us that live in icy areas are definitely better at it than someone who’s not. I’m sure there’s some equivalent thing that we’re bad at when it comes to hot/humid locations -staying hydrated?
And for those looking for jacket recommendations, I really love my Patagonia Tres-In-One. I walked home last night in -15C weather, and I was toasty enough that I had to take off my mittens every once in a while to let off heat.
Oh, it’s definitely an acquired skill. It’s the penguin shuffle – you take short steps so your center of gravity doesn’t shift as much and you can right yourself more easily if you lose traction.
I fell so many times in DC, it was crazy. I finally mastered the “penguin shuffle”, but it took a long time and many a skinned knee before I figure out that you can’t just go booking across streets and sidewalks like in good ole sunny AZ.
I’m going away for a week and am looking for some intense gym work-outs. I normally go to an hour long boxing class 3-4x/wk, but will just have access to a regular gym while I’m gone. I get really bored just running on the treadmill and have no real exercise routine anymore (since I just go to boxing class and then do a short run here and there on non-boxing days). Any suggestions for intense 40 min or so gym routines?
This isn’t particularly intense (or rather, it’s as intense as you make it) but the ZombieRun iPhone app for treadmills makes my treadmill runs WAY less boring.
A Nonny Moose
I get a great workout on the erg machines.
Bring a jump rope. Create some form of circuit doing dumbbells, pushups, jumprope, sprints on the treadmill, etc.
Google “peanut butter fingers” for a great blog that has tons of gym workouts. She seems to always be creating new workouts (both cardio and strength) that range in length.
Thank you for this recommendation – I looked at this blog and hopefully it’ll motivate me to get going at the gym (provided the 15-hour work days stop…)
Okay, what would you guys do?
I’m supposed to go into NYC on Thursday to see a show (this was pretty unexpected – so I am just now planning it). Show starts at 7pm. I’m coming from Boston. Originally (as in yesterday), I was planning on driving there and driving back after the show and dinner (long day but I’ve done it before).
I want to minimize time off work, minimize cost and preserve safety (in that order). I have to be back to work by Friday morning and was hoping to be at work Thursday morning as well.
I’m hearing various reports of snowfall (up to 1ft) and potential dangerous driving conditions for Thursday into Friday. However, with potential snow safety issues, combined with most likely being tired from already having driven into the city, I’m wondering if that’s the best option.
If I did take the bus/plane/train, here are the options:
– There are several buses that leave during midday Thursday but with potential snow delays and generally being on a slow moving bus, since I *have* to be there by 630, I’d probably need to leave by 11 to be on the safe side. This means I couldn’t work Thursday morning and would have to take the full day off. The bus costs between $20 and $30 (one way) so I would definitely save money.
– There’s also an Amtrak from Boston to NY that works schedule wise and avoids potential road delays due to snow. But it is $100+ (good lord, why does Amtrak cost so much? How do they compete with the bus? Just people like me?) and I’m not sure if there’s any way to get a discount. I think I could work from the Amtrak so potentially I wouldn’t have to use vacation time on Thursday afternoon.
– There are BOS-NYC flights that work totally fine schedule wise, but range from $200 to $400 this close to departure.
– There is a bus ride back to Boston leaving NY at 1230am for $9, which would be very easy for me to take and at least put the stress of driving in a snow storm in the bus driver’s hands, not mine. I booked it, just in case, to lock in the fare, but I can use the credit toward a different trip if I end up not taking it.
– I could say screw it and just drive there and back and hope for the best. It would probably cost me about 1 tank of gas + parking in the city (so ~$75).
What would you do?
Is not attending an option? It seems like the most likely outcome.
Otherwise, I would take everything but Amtrak off your list. Forget about flying. The airlines are getting so proactive about canceling that your flight couls be wiped out even if the snow misses you. And driving or bussing will just be a nightmare.
Unfortunately, not attending is not an option as tickets to the show are already booked, at considerable expense (sigh).
Looks like it’ll be Amtrak there and bus back at this point, I was just hoping there was some option I had overlooked.
Actually, not attending is still an option. It sucks that the money is already spent, but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to go. But it’s totally okay if you still WANT to go. The tickets are a sunk cost, so don’t let the already spent money factor into whether you go or not.
I would take Friday off!
Unfortunately not a real option but much less concerned with taking time off Fri than more time than necessary Thursday.
Amtrak survives because the bus can be really unreliable and awful, esp. in bad weather. I would say if you’re determined to come in, take Amtrak. You won’t be spending much more than you would have for gas and parking if you drove as planned and you’ll be able to work on the train and be more comfortable. If you have AAA membership, you can get 10% off your ticket.
As an alternative, you could make a cheap bid on a flight just to see what happens, but getting to and from the airport in a cab is expensive so factor in time for public transport (airtrain in $5, plus either subway or LIRR from Jamaica station – you’re looking at about an hour or more, depending).
Thanks! It looks like the discount is only valid if you purchase a ticket 3 days in advance so sadly I don’t qualify. Oh well, looks like I need to just bite the bullet.
Amtrak. The plane won’t take off, and the bus will be late.
Alternatively, what about driving to CT and taking metro north from there? Park your car in New Haven (or close in along 95) and ride the train in/out. Metronorth is awesome in the snow (comparitively) and runs frequently until late at night. I live in Boston and have relatives in southern CT and NYC. I’ve done planes, trains, cars, and even the ferry. Godspeed!
Thanks for that! Hadn’t thought of it and that would (hopefully) keep me out of the worst of traffic. Will consider.
If you really want to go (though I would just skip), Amtrak there, bus back, $109. You can work on the train to avoid taking time off work there, and you can sleep on the bus back and not have to worry about driving before going back to work Thursday.
Can’t skip. Do really want to go – it’s just inconvenient, It all came to pass when a family member unexpectedly came into town and (really sweetly) booked really expensive tickets to a show as a gift so we could spend an evening together. I know I won’t regret going – but the logistics are a painnnnn.
mama of 2
I’d take Amtrak both ways, or Amtrak and bus. The drive-t0-Metro-North is a good idea, but for me, getting back to New Haven and then getting in the car to drive to Boston would be pretty wretched.
Book of Mormon!
Too close for comfort
My boss just bought the house next to mine. Or should I say, attached to mine. They’re town houses. Weird, right? We will now be sharing a bedroom wall.
That is so weird I cannot even fathom how weird it is.
awful! Did he/she know you lived there?? I honestly can’t imagine how uncomfortable I’d feel. And I love my boss
Too close for comfort
Yes! After he viewed the house next door he dropped in to my place to say hi. Of course I didn’t think he would actually buy it…
East Coast Anon
That would make me so uncomfortable.
Ay yi yi.
Tha’s a damned shame.
Bunkster, is that you? LOL
Too close for comfort
Nope, has this misfortune happened to someone else?! Yikes.
Too close for comfort
Oh wait, do you mean because she had the terrible boss? Sigh.
This is the worst! My condolences.
Update on the brother chronicles!
Ok, so I’ve posted a few times on here about the boy. Long story short, our mom died in 2010 when he was 17, I didn’t have a place to put him (700 sq ft house) so I arranged for me to pay all bills while he finished school and stayed in the guest house at my mother in law’s. That went on for 2 years, and he finished NOTHING, and randomly moved out because “we were expecting too much” for him to spend 1-2 days a week doing yardwork and helping out. Ok. So I cut everything off except his cell phone ($10/month on my plan) and the car insurance which is super cheap on my insurance / car is still in my name.
Ok, fast forward 1 year (almost). He’s basically been couch surfing and not telling me ANYTHING about what is going on, but I took a policy of “I don’t want to know” basically, because he’s an adult, right? Well today he confesses to me he can’t find a job (he’s been “looking” for almost 2 years supposedly, and every “almost” job doesn’t happen for some mysterious not-his-fault reason), has stuff stuck in storage he can’t get out, doesn’t have food, isn’t going to school, blew his financial aid because of his grades, and on and on. The car is up for smog/registration this month, so that’s how I found this out. I said fine, I’ll pay for smog, but then it comes out that the check engine light is on and it needs oil, etc etc.
So I said fine, I’ll handle the car, and then made him a killer offer – my MIL needs help around the house. You give her 2 days per week, 10am – 5pm, and you get free room / food / I’ll continue paying car & phone, and if it works out for 6 months I’ll cover 2 semesters at community college to get you back to being eligible for financial aid.
He basically told me he’s “with good people” (his roomates) and that moving in with MIL would just make him depressed and not go to school or work ever (not that he ever has), and that because he’s had to sell his guitar and amp if he moved in with my MIL it would have all been for nothing, and on and on…
I don’t know what to do. He’s going to be 21 in July, and tells me he did take the GED test but is waiting for results. I don’t want him going hungry, but the bank account he had has been shut down so I can’t even really send him money. We used to have a joint account I could log into and monitor, but he said that was invading his privacy and closed it down. Both my MIL, our grandfather, and our uncle (both work in construction) have offered him jobs but he won’t call them, saying it would be “too stressful” and they are “mean.” (They’re not, they’re hard workers!)
Is the answer really “do nothing?” I’ve offered him the deal with my MIL (even took the time to write up a rental agreement which only required 3 days of work when not in school, 2 days when full time, and $200/month if he found a better gig and didn’t want to work + an agreement to pay 2 semesters of community college tuition if things were working out by July), and I’ve also told him our grandfather needs help because his sight is getting worse and that he would probably give him room and board in exchange for help too, but my grandpa (Marine, also raised me) wouldn’t put up with any shenanigans, and he knows it, so that’s probably why he won’t take that offer.
…but…I can’t stand to think about my brother going hungry, destroying his credit, and doing nothing at all with his life!
I probably just need a [this side] smack in the head.
“[this SITE]” nice typo
Tough love. He’s got a roof over his head and offers on the table. He apparently has valuables that he could sell if he needs cash. It doesn’t sound like he has any sort of debilitating injury/illness/depression other than being a bit of a peter pan. He’s got to make his own choices. Maybe being hungry for a little bit would help him.
Nope, there is nothing wrong with him. In fact, I did pay for therapy for him for about 6 months, and stopped after he stopped showing up and I ate 2 no show fees. The offer for him to start therapy at any time, with any therapist of his choice, or I’ll find him one, has always been open. I repeat it about every 45 days, in fact.
MJ, you’re right – I’m not good at confrontation with family. In court, in business, I’m great, in family…terrible. But I’ve told him basically “I don’t care what you do, but do SOMETHING. It can be work. It can be school. It can be trade school. But stop couch surfing!” I’ve offered to get him into any number of trade unions near where he is living and purchase /provide him with tools if required, I’ve offered to have my Uncle set him up with other contractors / not family so there was a little impartiality…he thinks, for some reason, that walking into random fast food and retail places and asking for a job is going to get it done. He’s being doing that for 2 years, and most recently he claims he got a job at Taco Bell but his background check “never came back” and the manager there is dumb. His friend works there, so he knows. What I’ll bet really happened is they pulled his credit and found the collections. Also…I’m sure you’re also right about the partying thing. He’s clearly not ready to give it up.
As far as tying the school payments to working for MIL – I’m not willing to lay out that money until he’s proven he can show up for something. I already paid for 2 years worth of living expenses while he was supposedly “going to school,” (financial aid paid actual tuition) but it turned out he failed all of his classes and was only showing up to band. If he held any kind of job for 6 months (and could prove to me he had) I would pay for school.
I would LOVE for him to have a real boss, not family…but he can’t find a job, and he won’t unless he actually passed that GED. I don’t think he will even with that as a 20 year old kid with no experience. He was doing yard work for a neighbor of my MIL, and he was paying him $10/hour and teaching him tons of stuff, but after no-showing 3 times the neighbor said “no more.”
Today he asked me if I would move into my MIL’s guest house. My answer was “if I had collections, couldn’t find a job, couldn’t pay my rent, and was hungry…you bet!”
As far as therapy for me…I did for about 9 months, when I stopped finding it helpful. Logically I know in my head he is 20 years old, and me continuing to cover car/insurance/phone is more than enough. But it just kills me to know he’s floundering!
Thank you mamabear for the smack in the head! I know you’re right.
Honestly, I wouldn’t even do the car/phone/insurance. I grew up a lot like you, So Cal, in that we what we needed, but there was no expectation of parents paying for school, or even for a car or insurance. I worked odd jobs (I found housesitting to be most lucrative) from about age 13 on, and when I was 16 bought a cheap car with my sister. My mom put us on her insurance, but we had to pay our share of the bill. Same with cell phones. Don’t pay, its gone. I didn’t resent it as much as other kids might have (though I really didn’t realize life was different for most of my peers), and I really appreciate it now. I lived on my own from half way through senior year of high school on, only one to graduate college (let alone grad school and law school), worked full time during college (and graduated on time), etc. I totally have your “if I hacked it, so can you” attitude that your brother would have far less sympathy from me than he gets from you. But I really don’t think you’re helping him. You’re perpetuating him being a child. You’ve spent far to much of your young life parenting him… let him be an adult and figure it out.
Even though you feel responsible for him, You can’t fix him.
If he doesn’t want your help, he might just need to suffer a little.
And if he’s 19 or 20, he’s still just a kid and a long way off from “doing nothing with his life”.
Heartless but true.
It sounds like he could use some therapy or counseling, to be honest.
I believe OP has tried to get him to go, but he bails on appointments, or goes half-@ssed.
You can lead a horse to water…
I do believe the right answer is to “do nothing.” If he’s still this delusional about the amount of true effort needed to get his life together, it means he hasn’t hit rock bottom yet. Only if he hits rock bottom will he be more likely to start making some effort to dig himself out. And only then will offers of help be taken up and actually acted upon. Some people need to flounder for a bit. One of my uncles did this until his mid-40s. Not ideal, but nothing and nobody could get him to budge a moment sooner.
Honestly, I think the answer is “do nothing” and continue to make yourself available for advice. My three year younger sister and I were 14 and 17 when our mom passed, and I spent all of college and half of grad school trying to make her life work. I laid off, she’s messed up big several times, but she’ll occasionally call me for advice or input in to something. I think past 20, they really just need to make their own mistakes and figure shit out, as hard as that is to watch.
Could you pay for therapy for him? I think you are awful hard on him with expectations, but that doesn’t mean you should be giving him more, and it doesn’t mean he is doing nearly enough. But I know you are saying you are ok with the minimum, but from your posts here I don’t get that impression at all. I think you compare him to yourself, and kind of have a “I did it, why can’t he” mentality.
I think the college offer should not be tied to living and working at your MIL. It should be tied to college, ie I will pay for two semesters if you are attending classes. It is really hard to see someone you care about struggle, sorry you are going through this!
Huh? I don’t think she’s being hard on him at all. The man is 20. He wrecked his chances at financial aid. He’s rejected everything his sister has tried to set up for him. He has people who love him and who are willing to give him a hand, but he’s not willing to use that hand to pull himself up. I agree with the other posters that if your horse is standing by the water, it’s not your fault if it wants to die of thirst. I can’t imagine how hard this must be, but I do think that he has to struggle through this on his own. If he wants help on your terms, fine. But otherwise he’s on his own.
Hard on him?! She is being WAY too nice. SoCAl, I think you have to stop looking at it like you’re helping him by continually fixing him mistakes. He’s a big kid. Make him figure it out. Be there for him if he wants advice, and possibly some financial assistance depending on the terms (though it doesn’t sound like he would keep them). Long term, you’ll be helping him so much more to force him to figure it out on his own. Rent doesn’t just get paid, jobs aren’t easy to come by, life isn’t fair, and things are hard sometimes. He needs you to give him a reality check while he still has a safety net. I know its hard, but that is just crazy. You’ve gone above and beyond. Let him figure it out.
* Smack in the head. * Do nothing. You’ve done more than enough.
I remember your story, which BTW has helped me deal with similar family members.
Sadly, yes, the answer is “do nothing.” He’s an adult, and while your help is well-intended, it’s not going to have the desired effect. Even a contract to live with/assist your MIL and/or other family members is going to be ignored/voided by your brother and his behavior. I know of what you speak, believe me! And folks like this are not able (willing?) to change unless it’s of their own volition. No matter what kind of awesome plan you come up with, he won’t change unless something inside of him flips a switch.
I’m sorry to have to be the bearer of this news — and quite honestly, I have a hard time remembering my own advice when it comes to my own family members. But if you want to help him, let him go.
I completely understand that you might not have been in a position to parent him but it seems kinda rough that he was basically cut loose at 17 after what sounds like a really unstable childhood and then everyone is shocked when he doesn’t manage his life well. Is there someone in his life who could act as more of a parent figure to him? That really seems like what he needs most now.
This. Maybe it’s just because I have really awesome parents who helped me out as long as I needed, but this sounds rough. Was their life insurance/an inheritance? Is there a set amount of money you can be giving him each month? Have you had a conversation with him the acknowledges how much being cut adrift at that age, even with sone support, may be causing problems for him?
No, there was nothing. I’m actually the first person in my family to ever go to college. I worked all through high school (luckily my high school hired me to teach after school music lessons and run the theater on the weekends when churches rented it out) to pay for my trips and any spending money because there was just enough money to cover living expenses, and basically nothing more.
In fact, I supported both him and my mom nearly 100% save some minimal state aid my mom was getting between 1999 and when she passed in 2010. I gave him (after he turned 18) a car, a cell phone, a free place to live, a completely stocked refrigerator, bought clothes about 3 times per year (usually spending around $500 per shopping trip and supplementing with whatever he needed between trips), provided him with $100-$200 / month in spending money – paid for gas – and continued to do that asking nothing in return but that he go to school, or get a job, or help out around my MIL’s house. I asked nothing more! 2 years, between ages 18-20 (and really long before that when I was paying his / mom’s expenses), I paid for everything. I only cut him off when he failed all of his classes (despite my paying for therapy and tutors) and dissappeared for months, refusing to tell anyone where he was.
So he has had complete support from me for nearly his entire life. Before he turned 18, I used to bring him to my place for the entire summer and winter/spring breaks, too – take him on vacations, Disneyland – as little as my mom and brother had when he was growing up, this kid did not lack for anything.
So no, this is not a kid that was ever cut loose.
It sounds like you’ve been incredibly helpful.
Paying for things is not the same as parenting though, has someone been there to help quide him?
True. Lots of people have…I’ve got a comment awaiting moderation, but the line includes my mom’s long time boyfriend (from about 1998 to when she passed in 2010) who even now tries to help (he’s got a son as well), but my brother won’t return his calls. Our grandfather, my MIL, my husband, neighbors, teachers…the list is very long of people that have offered to mentor, meet with him once a week, guide…but he just won’t pick up the phone. I’ve done my best, but we’re only 11 years apart and he’s really resentful of my success (he didn’t see me struggling to pay for college on my own while at the same time caring for our mom and grandparents. Yeah, my life has been a party).
But he lost his parents at 17, and lived on his own, right? I don’t mean to be accusing you of doing too little, but you’ve mentioned that there’s nothing wrong with him, and that just seems unlikely to me- that type of change can have dramatic lingering effects. I don’t know that it changes the advice that you can’t do any more and need to cut him off, but I don’t think, from the little slice I’ve seen, it’s fair to conclude he’s a deliberately lazy slacker.
Maybe you could hook him up with a mentoring program?
Didn’t you say earlier though that your mom was mentally or on drugs though and that your grandparents removed you from her care because she was unfit but left your brother? (not to have a creepy memory…)
That’s A LOT to deal with as a kid. I work with teens in difficult home situations and its hard to think that a 17 year old without a good childhood base would automatically thrive when living without direct oversight. It seems like you’ve overcome remarkable obstacles and thrived but that is definitely the exception, not the rule.
I know this is really tough since you too were a kid when all of this was going on and I do not want to appear to be blaming you at all for this terrible situation that you all find yourselves in.
You said above that you saw a therapist for a while and then stopped, maybe maybe you can see a social worker to find out best to relate to your brother?
Anon for This
I second Rough Situation, and add that there’s some really interesting research out there on how/why some kids are resilient and some aren’t – some people seem to have a quality, perhaps genetic, that allows them to succeed in situations that cripple other people. (And in my own family, I know my brother and I had very, very different reactions to my mom’s drinking, which was nowhere near as intense as what you describe.)
This doesn’t change the advice you’re getting but maybe helps reframe things a little? The issue isn’t that you or anyone else failed your brother or are failing him now (except for your parents, who no doubt had their own set of resiliency issues); it’s that he wasn’t able to rally the way you were. That’s something that only he can figure out how to handle, when he’s ready. In the meantime, you can only make the decisions you can make for yourself and let him know that you support him when he is ready.
Well, sort of. Since he was about 10 I had him set up with phone, transportation, and a bank account that I kept money in for him to buy food with and provided him with clothes. I also paid rent on my mom’s / his apartment for about 5 years before she passed so they had a stable place to live. Before that, they lived with my mom’s boyfriend / friend from HS that had a great house / job and was a great father figure. My mom passed about2 months before he turned 18, and totally understanding how rough that was, I basically got him a place (yes on my MIL’s property, but a separate guest house), paid all of his expenses, gave him a weekly spending money allowance, and asked only that he do 1-2 days of help around the house / week in exchange and go to school. That went on for 2 years with me basically pleading with him to go to school and do some chores, but he wouldn’t do either. At most he was going to school (to finish his HS Diploma) 1 day per week, and going to community college classes 1-2 days per week in addition to that (for about an hour or two a day). My fault for not making him actually give me paperwork and just believing him when he told me he was actually showing up and getting decent grades.
Every single person that could be a parent figure to him has now written him off. He no-showed on the neighbor that was doing just that enough times (neighbor is self employed and really liked him and wanted to mentor him) to make him stop. My mom’s boyfriend / friend from high school tried for about 4 years, and finally gave up when my brother refused to return a phone call or text for 6 months. My MIL’s kids are all out of the house, and she has nothing to do, and would LOVE to help him out…but he refuses to even bother answering his phone. My husband has tried, my brother can’t stand him (I think partially because my husband didn’t finish HS on time or go to college either and is very successful, and my brother has it in his head that he somehow doesn’t deserve that?). My grandfather tried really hard and was taking him to breakfast every Sunday at 8 or 9am, but my brother pulled too many morning-of cancellations and my grandpa stopped calling too. Grandpa, who is not the forgiving type, actually called my brother and said “hey look, your my grandson, let’s at least be friends I want to spend time with you” and my brother blew him off.
As far as job searching, I’ve spent about 4 hours with him re-writing his resume / cover letter, talking about the best ways to go about getting a job in retail or fast food or construction, done mock interviews with him…you name it, I’ve done it.
Even my Uncle has offered to pay him for work at his shop multiple times, and left messages saying “hey, if you want advice or some help give me a call” but has been ignored. There are countless more. Before and after our mom passed, I had his teachers calling me all the time telling me how much they liked him and wanted to help and would call him and he would never answer his phone, or show up to any offered tutoring sessions, or lunch, or anything else.
So he’s basically got an entire village of people trying to help him and he just can’t be bothered to pick up the phone.
As always, you ‘rettes give great advice. I’ll extend the offer for therapy again, deal with the car registration (in my name, I don’t want late fees) and basically tell him he’s got options if he wants, but other than that to do his thing. He’s got a phone, computer, and transportation and the rest he’s going to have to figure out or ask for help…from any one of the village of people that want to help.
You sound a lot like me and my family. I don’t know the answers to your questions, but I can tell you what my new policy is:
I help with loans if money is not owed to me.
I help with my time if the request will not cause an unmanageable burden on some other important aspect of my life.
When those two don’t fit the bill, I offer an ear and a shoulder to cry on, try to offer alternatives that might fit the bill, and then I let it go.
It sounds horribly callous, but I just can’t spend my life worrying about how other adults live their lives. So far, this policy has really helped me to have some mental and emotional sanity. The most important part is letting it go. And I feel like I can forgive myself for letting it go because I haven’t shut the person out, and I tried what, in my moral judgment, could be reasonably expected of me to try.
Oh, honey. Your brother sounds like someone with a substance abuse problem. I don’t say that lightly. It really, really sounds likes like a classic addict situation (and addict doesn’t have to mean hard drugs). The correct answer is to do nothing. He won’t get help until he’s ready to help himself–even if substances are not at play. Hugs. Seriously.
It sounds like you’ve done everything you can possibly do. Maybe it’s time to step back. But I saw that you mentioned how your brother is resentful of your success although he didn’t see how tough things were for you in college–have you talked to him about this at all? That you know stressful and difficult things can get? It might not resonate with him, but he should know that whatever you achieved has been the result of hard, diligent work.
Let him be for a while, but keep checking in on him and make sure he knows he can call you. So here’s hoping things turn out for the best. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!
No worries! My mom was a serious alcoholic, and my grandparents took me when I was 8, but she lived with us most of the time until I was in high school. When my brother was born my grandparents were in their 70s (this was about 4 years later), and my grandma had developed a serious medical condition (my grandpa and I were caretaking by then) so they couldn’t take him, but she was much more stable after having my brother. Yes drinking, but stable as far as household, food on table, neccessities provided for type things. They pretty much stayed in the same place most of his life. Until he was in high school they lived 1 mile away and were at my / my grandparent’s place almost every day, every weekend, all the time. It isn’t like he didn’t have any stabilizing influences.
I’ve had extensive contact with social workers, and so has my brother, to go along with the therapists. After working with him for month, the consensus was “we don’t know what to do. We can’t help if he doesn’t want it.” Thats from 2 different social workers…1 that worked with him from about 2 months before our mom passed to about 6 months after, and 1 that was more recent.
He may be depressed, but I don’t know that that excuses the behavior, especially considering the money I’ve laid out to send him to therapy and psch treatment, in addition to the hours and hours he spent with the high school psych before our mom passed.
His dad has never been in the picture, and I totally get that losing your mom / single parent months before 18 is really rough, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that he was not on his own until he was almost 20. Even now, it seems like everyone is trying to help him but he can’t be bothered to show up.
To Anoymous about the drugs – you’re likely right. I know he enjoys smoking certain products a little too much, although I have no clue where he gets the money. Everyone in my family is hard wired with addictive personalities, and I think what saved me from it was watching what it did to my mom. Why my brother didn’t learn the same lesson I’ll never know.
Wintergreen: I’ve talked to him, but he doesn’t believe me. He thinks some mystical person wrote me a check and I got everything I want. Truth is I got the same as he is – car, phone, insurance – but only so long as I carried a minimum 3.0 GPA and was a full time student. I moved out when I was 18 too, even supporting him and my mom…but he’s decided that I never had to do anything.
Truth be told, I won’t ever be able to relate to his attitude. I had food, shelter, and transportation, just like him. The rest I did on my own while taking care of half the country (I exaggerate, but it feels like it when you’re 16) including my brother. I’m now offering him food, housing, and payment in exchange for 2 days of work per week. You’re all right, I’ve got to walk away while letting him know he has options if he ever decides to use them.
..and that’s why I love this forum. Lots of us are the “responsible ones” and know when too much is too much, and we can help each other realize when too much is too much. I just worry about him and also there’s a part of my that frustrated when he is offered such good deals (in my family, you basically get NOTHING after you turn 18) and just turns his nose up at everything. Not in an unhealthy way, more of an eyebrow-raising “really?” kind of way, but there it is.
The only thing I would add to the “there’s nothing you can do advice” is to keep the lines of communication open. Even if he’s not taking the opportunities you are offering now (and don’t offer anymore unless he asks or approaches you for help), I would suggest that you still call/email/contact him every couple months, even if it’s a message that he doesn’t return. It sends the message that you are still interested in him and maintaining some contact. And if he ever gets to the point where he’s ready to ask for help, you’ve made it that little bit easier to do so.
Even if you can’t fix him and his situation, you’re still there for him.
My best friend is in a similar situation–younger brother who is flailing. Her parents are around, but basically, have never parented, never fully provided for basic material needs, and for some reason she’s thrived and her brother is still stuck. It kills her, and it is a constant battle for her to remind herself that she cannot control the situation. It breaks my heart to watch.
And I just want to add my +1 that it is OK if you don’t solve this for him, because you have done everything you can, and he is an adult. And while you can understand reasons why he is the way he is, that doesn’t change what you need to be doing.
You need to take care of yourself. It is your life, life is short, and you cannot be responsible for the world. And you cannot fix another adult’s life.
I worked with “troubled” early twentysomethings at a homeless shelter, and was also once in a very close personal relationship with someone similar to how you describe your brother. I do not think you can do anything, and the sooner you disengage, the better. Some people build their personalities around stories of heartbreak and exclusion. However, I would like to suggest, as sensitively as possible, that many of the people I have known with this personality pattern were struggling with private memories of pain from abuse that not everyone knew about. It is possible that your brother would benefit from clear boundaries – particularly financially – and a gentle acknowledgment that whenever he is ready to reach out to you and let you in, you will not judge him for whatever is affecting him. There is likely some reason he finds the thought of being around family or holding down a steady school or work situation painful. Set a good example by taking care of yourself.
Your option here is not to “do nothing” it’s to stop coming up with other options. You’ve done so much already, given him countless (hugely reasonable) options, and continue to she’ll out money for him. You can’t make him change. I think you’ll know that he has started to change when he comes to you for advice (not just money) and a plan of his own. Even if that plan is something similar to what you’ve suggested, it would be a change if he was the one who brings it up as an option.
You aren’t doing nothing. You’ve done all that you can and even more than that. You just need to leave the option out there and stop coming up with alternatives. It is on him now.
1) Can you go to a therapist *together*? Even if it’s only for a few sessions and not a long-term commitment, having a third party facilitate your discussions could be really helpful.
You’ve indicated that he has been a no-show to therapy in the past. Since that’s the case, I think you should find some way of ensuring that he gets there in a way that doesn’t make him feel throttled— have someone else commit to pick him up, take him to lunch beforehand, etc. Maybe even offer him $50 to show up. It really might be worth it.
2) Your belief in his potential is really, truly wonderful, and I hope it never goes away. Here’s the hard truth: he may spend his life this way. How much are you willing to support him in the future? For the rest of your life? For the rest of his?
If he becomes homeless someday, what’s your commitment to meeting his needs? $5-10 a day for food (maybe in the form of a tab somewhere so that it can’t be bartered for drugs)? Ensuring that he has a few sets of clothes? Medical care? More?
Maybe present that to him. Say, “No matter what, I’m going to make sure that you have XYZ, and I’m not going to put any conditions on me providing that to you. I believe in you, and I believe that you have the potential to have much more than that in life. I want to help you have a lot more than that, but for my own sanity, I have to put some limitations on more. But the bottom line is that you’ll always have XYZ.”
Just be prepared that for now, for a while, or forever, getting that XYZ and couch surfing or shelter surfing may be the way he lives.
3) Ask him to start pitching deals to you. This can be paired with #2. Tell him that you believe in him, and you very much want to help him. Your deals haven’t been satisfactory to him, and you’ve exhausted your creativity in making them, but you still really want to help him. Tell him he doesn’t have to come up with something immediately, but he should know that the offer is on the table for him to pitch something to you– (a job and an room setup) or small (groceries for the week). He probably has a pretty good conception of what you will and won’t agree to do. Put the ball in his court.
4) This part is going to sound cheesy and lame… How much time do you spend with him that’s not “about” his situation? If it’s zero, could you start spending time together? At first, you may want to make it very short and simple so that it’s sustainable (i.e. no more than 5-10 minutes so that you don’t have time to get annoyed with each other).
You could also tie this into making sure that he’s not (completely) hungry. Could you bring him dinner once a week? Or drop off a few groceries to him? Or if you don’t like the idea of spending time in the form of you providing for him, is there anything you could do together on a regular basis so that you can start to form a little bit of a bond?
Late to the party here, sorry, but Job Corps sounds like it would be a great program for giving him a kick in the rear and a fresh start. Or enlisting, if he gets his GED and if they’ll take him.
Re: Job Corps.
I got him in to the very tough to get into location in Sacramento. He turned them down. Doesn’t want to deal with the curfews / restrictions. That was about a year and a half ago, and he did say to me “I kinda wish I had done Job Corps.” Maybe I’ll bring that up again.
Yes, the answer is “back off and let him take his knocks.” At least until he asks for help. It’s horribly sad, but it doesn’t sound like there’s anything you can do for him at this point.
We are all on our own paths and unfortunately we all have to learn our own lessons.
When my son was in a similar position it was very very helpful for me to get some therapy for myself. You might want to look into it for yourself, too. If you’re near Pasadena I can recommend somebody super awesome.
I’ve been following the saga. Maybe you’re not good at confrontation, but why don’t you tell him how you feel? That he seems to not get with the program or want to actually fix his life? Or ask him why he has issues with _working_ to earn his keep, in any fashion, but doesn’t have issues with asking you for money, but when you expect anything in return, you’re smothering him/invading his privacy/mean/foisting your expectations on him. Why not have a real, honest conversation where you ask him, “Do you really want to live like this? What’s next for you? What are your dreams and goals? walk me through your jobsearch and exactly where you applied and how far each interview went.” That’s what he needs…not just tough love in terms of money, but some actual parenting. And if it shouldn’t come from you, figure out a “big brother” figure that could be inspiring and a mentor to help him understand that he _can_ make something of himself.
SoCalAtty: I have faced a similar situation and feel for you. Al-Anon would likely be a great resource to learn how to “detach with love.” Even if your brother isn’t an addict, the fact that alcoholism was a large part of your family experience, the disease has sadly affected both of your experiences, in what sounds like dramatically different ways. I know the program plus therapy has helped me, and by proxy, my loved ones because I have learned new ways of interacting/supporting without enabling. Best of luck with a tough situation.
Can anyone recommend a book or other resource about making peace with the idea of not having kids when they are very much wanted? And living a good life anyway? Mine is a situational issue, not a fertility issue, but I’d be open to both perspectives.
(FWIW, Rachel Dratch’s book was a nice amusing take on this theme until the last third of the book turned out to be how having a baby at 44 was the best thing ever and everyone should do it. I mean, I knew she had a kid, I just didn’t know her message would end up being that her life would have meaningless if it hadn’t happened… sorry, now I sound bitter, which is what I’m trying to avoid!)
Also, I do have a therapist, and she’s helpful. But hearing actual stories would be soothing, since most of my peer group is locked down in raising young kids right now.
Sorry to pry- but it might help if you elaborate a little bit. I can’t imagine a situational issue that would prevent you from having children if you want them
Maybe the OP wants them and her partner doesn’t, and she wants to stay with her partner more than she wants kids? That would mean she still wants them, but is trying to make peace with a life without them.
It could also be the OP isn’t in a relationship and doesn’t wish to be a single mother.
OP, I’m afraid I don’t have any books or resources, but I think about this on a regular basis, too.
Or, you don’t have a partner and don’t want to raise them as a single parent. Or, can’t get pregnant naturally, but doesn’t want (or can’t afford) the roller coaster of in vitro. Do the reasons really matter? She wants help dealing with the problem, not ways to solve it.
It does matter. If it was that her SO didn’t want them, my advice would be different than if she felt she couldn’t afford them. None of those reason mentioned occurred to me because those are all situational issues that could be overcome. So its a choice vs. “can’t have children” which would make the advice on accepting it different.
I don’t have any specific resources in mind, but maybe you would appreciate learning about women who are awesome and don’t have kids either because they were too busy being awesome to have them or for some other reason. I haven’t read it, but Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir might be a good place to start.
As a personal anecdote, I have a great aunt who never married or had kids. She got a masters degree in an era in which that was very uncommon for women, built a successful and fulfilling career for herself, and is very involved in a vibrant, multi-generational community through her church. If you ask her, she will say that she does wish she could have had kids, but that her life is also pretty dang good.
I hope you find peace with your situation.
Sad — you’ve read my mind (but for me its fertility issues.) Would love the smart women’s take on this…..
You could pick up Savvy Auntie. I recently heard about it and don’t yet have personal experience, so I’m not sure whether it would be salt on the wound or helpful.
I don’t have any resources to share. Just wanted to post to let you know that I feel the same way. I actually just checked back to see what kind of responses you got. I don’t know if our reasons for feeling this way are the same–I am 35, unmarried, and not currently in a relationship. Kids are likely not going to happen for me, and I have been trying to figure out a way to come to terms with that. It has been hard. I can’t imagine how life will turn out for me without a family. I wish I had something to share, or there were other encouraging responses to read. It is a hard thing to say goodbye to a dream, and when there aren’t a lot of good alternatives out there, it gets even harder. Re-reading this post, I realize that it might not be all that helpful. I don’t mean to bring you down further, just wanted to offer the thought that there are others in your shoes.
Are you involved with volunteer activities? Create a legacy of service related to your interests, whether that be kids, animals, veterans, church, etc.
To Sad and to Anon at 8:07 p.m.:
I’m sorry that life is asking you, in different ways, to make peace with the idea of not becoming a parent.
Expanding on what Susie said–feel free to reject it if it doesn’t fit:
There are so many kids out there who don’t have parents or other adults in their lives. Perhaps you could find a way to really be an anchor for a kid (or kids) who need it by being a tutor, a Big Sister, a court advocate, a mentor to a high school student, a foster parent, a post-foster-parenting-age source of moral or financial or familial support, or something else. No, it’s not the same as having your own kid(s), but you could still seriously encourage a struggling young person and make a positive difference in his or her life. Love can bloom between generations in unexpected ways. Young people like being taken seriously and accepted for who they are. If you’re moved to nurture, keep looking until you find a setting in which to do it.
Good luck. I hope that each of you finds peace and happiness in your journey.
Oh, and by the way, when he says he lives with “good people” and can’t work for your MIL, what he’s really saying is that he’s unwilling to stop partying with his roommates and show up ready to work in the AM 2 days per week. That’s what he really means. His choice. You’ve offered him some good choices, but he’s making his own choices. The offers are on the table and he’s chosen not to take them. It’d probably be more excruciating for her to be his disciplinarian, so maybe it’s better that family employment not be the first option. Maybe having a “real” boss would be best.
I’m having one of those “when it rains it pours” days/weeks. Nothing that in and of itself would be too big of a deal but it’s a lot at once (mix of financial expenditures I was hoping to put off as well as stuff that just requires some extra time to figure out/deal with). Ugh! A lunchtime trip to Starbucks and call to mom made it a little better but I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed. Will channel this frustration to a great, hard workout!
What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Or someone who will be 25 in 1 hour and 45 minutes… because that’s me!
I don’t think I’m making the most of life right now, but I want to change that. Wisdom, inspiration, and assurance that I’ll move on from the guy who (very) recently broke my heart will be deeply appreciated.
Aw, Happy birthday! You’re 25 which may seem old, but it’s really not. Spend the next 5 years asking yourself what do you really really want! (I freaked out when I turned 25 but I’m now 5 years later and still don’t know what I really really want.)
Happiest of birthdays! 25 was only a couple of years ago, so I don’t know if I have any wise counsel to impart, but I have something scribbled on a post-it note and stuck on my bulletin board that I really love:
“I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the negative. I believe that having a good, peaceful mind is the basic premise for a good life.” – Wilma Pearl Mankiller.
Happy Birthday! I think birthdays should be times for celebration but they always turn into periods of reflection for me. So to answer your question very seriously, see my response to Sad above. I would tell my 25 year old self to find a good husband as soon as possible to allow for the fact that you might want kids someday. Seriously, dont let the years get away from you, if that is something you might want. Otherwise, all of the good years are ahead of you! My early twenties were hard, but the closer i got to 30, the more confident i was in myself, and the better everything got. Hope you are celebrating
Seasoned advice from someone who is now… oh… 4 months into being 25:
What is it you want to do?
Go. Do it now. Start today.
Plan less. Drink more. Miss your deadlines. DO something crazy.
as someone who was SUPER EFFING RESPONSIBLE ALWAYS i really like this advice. make a few bad decisions here and there – they won’t kill you and the repercussions are much less now than they [potentially] will be in a few years.
Wear short shorts and generally experiment with fashion. Start taking good care of your skin and wearing sun screen. Meet new people and do new things. Take advantage of young people discounts for theater, opera, etc. Travel as much as you can. Don’t worry about anything you probably won’t remember in 5 years. Build lasting relationships. Be nice to your elderly relatives – they won’t be here forever. Enjoy the hell out of your twenties, inc. telling people, “I’m 25.” And yes, you will totally get over that guy and meet someone better. Time really does heal.
I agree with all of this and want to add a suggestion to start saving money for retirement now if you aren’t doing it already. Starting as early as possible leads to an incredible difference in the total value of your accounts than if you wait even 5 years. Seriously, its a huge difference!
Live abroad, or at least travel where possible. Learn how to save money and how to be a good friend. Start being friends with your parents. Get in the habit of exercising now. Enjoy those habits that you only indulge in when no one is watching. Accept that you are who you are, and that is exactly perfect, and remove from your life people who don’t love that version of you and support you. In fact, remove anyone toxic from your life. Learn to be happy alone, even if you’d prefer to be in a relationship. Be silly.