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Workwear sales of note for 3.24.23:
- Ann Taylor – 40% off everything
- Athleta – 20% off shorts, swim, linen & more
- Banana Republic Factory – 40% off everything; extra 15% off purchase
- Boden – Up to 50% off
- Brooks Brothers – Clearance styles to 70% off. Some pretty serious markdowns!
- Express – 40% off dresses & tops
- J.Crew – 25% off your purchase; up to 50% off special-occasion styles
- J.Crew Factory – Up to 50% off everything; extra 15% off 3 styles; extra 20% off 4 styles; extra 50% off clearance
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty
- Talbots – 25% off select styles; 25% off markdowns
Some of our latest posts here at Corporette…
And some of our latest threadjacks here at Corporette (reader questions and commentary) — see more here!
- What are your favorite parts of a typical day?
- At what point in your life (age, income level, whatever) were you able to take an annual vacation?
- What shoes can I keep at the office to go for mid-day walks (that go with everything)?
- How do you release stress or trauma that’s stored in the body?
- What are the best “networking for women events” you’ve ever been to?
- I feel like we’re burning through any savings we acquire…
- I hate my job and make 30% of what DH makes – should I quit?
- What do you keep in your office?
Looking to Splurge
Luckily, I am about to receive a large bonus. I want to use it to buy myself a splurge purse for work. What purses have you ladies saved for and been happy with? I want to make sure I get something quality, durable, timeless and most of all, pretty. I know a lot of people tend to give more practical advice regarding bonuses, but I would really love some great purse splurging ideas.
What kind of budget are you shooting for? One woman’s splurge is another woman’s everyday purse!
Looking to Splurge
I was thinking of somewhere between $500-$2000. I also prefer something with shoulder straps.
Longchamp. I know most people identify them with the Pliage nylon bags, but they have incredible leather goods. I’ve been buying one purse a year as an investment from them and I find their bags to be durable, classic, and absolutely beautiful. Depending on the size and the bag, you can spend anywhere from $600-$1500
My most recent purchase:
+1 — I bought a Longchamp leather bag 6 years ago and it’s held up beautifully. I paid like $600 during the NAS, but now understand that it would be even worth it at full price.
I’ve carried the same Chloe bag daily for six years. It has held up very well and I still get compliments on it.
I have been admiring the Chloe bags, but alas, spending freeze for now.
Iwould love to get the Prada Saffiano Double Zip Tote. If I was in a position to splurge on a bag, that would be my choice.
Parker - Boardroombelles
Saint Laurent Cabas
If by work purse you mean something big that can carry files, I highly recommend the Brahmin Weekender. I have it in navy blue and got it as a sample at the outlet. I have posted about it before and I use it for so many things – trial bag, weekend overnight bag, bringing files home bag. Can’t say enough about it. They occasionally do fun colors and there are bigger and smaller ones too I think.
The Purse Forum message boards are great for this. I’ve been planning a purse splurge this year too, and some of my considerations are:
1. Style–most brands have a signature look and some just have much more visual appeal to me than others, so I can narrow my search to at least exclude those that don’t really do much for me.
2. Quality–definitely look at this on tPF. I was looking at a Prada but there’s quite a bit of discussion on there suggesting that Prada quality has gone downhill recently–at least something to look into if you’re seriously considering Prada, or for any other brand. At least for me, $1000+ is a lot to spend on a bag if the material and craftsmanship quality is not going to be any different than a $60 bag.
3. How the brand holds value–Some brands like Hermes and Chanel can be resold for more than you paid for it if you keep it in good condition. Also, prices are going up at a pretty steep rate for Chanel so if you have ever wanted a Chanel bag, I would buy before the bag that costs $4400 now (and was ~$1500 7 years ago) creeps up into the upper 5 digits–both to save yourself money for satisfying that personal want, and to get in at a lower price if you plan to resell.
I’m just naming some of those brands as examples that I’ve come across–if you’re looking at different ones, tPF is again an excellent resource.
Why don’t you stop by a nearby department store and see what style grabs you? It can be hard to decide when just looking online. Personally, I’m partial to the YSL Muse and Celine bags, but there are so many nice ones out there.
My DH just sent me a shopping question that I thought would be perfect for this site. He’s traveling overseas to Asia and is trying to think of gifts to provide his hosts that represent Minnesota (our home state). He was thinking fishing lures, but I’m pretty sure his hosts don’t fish. Any suggestions for gifts that would represent Minnesota? I’m drawing a blank other than sports-related gear. He has to pack everything, so they need to be smallish.
moccasins? scandinavian things? pictures of lakes? reindeer-festooned clothing? I say this as someone who adores Minnesota.
I was also going to say moccasins. Aren’t those great Minnetonka moccasins made in Minn?
I think the well-known Minnetonka brand is mostly made in China.
Shows what I know! I bought a pair in Minnesota once. :)
What kind of good is Minnesota known for? I recently gave a friend chocolate covered cherries and cherry salsa, as my state is known for growing cherries, and she loved it.
That should be food, not good! Time for some coffee!
Spam – Austin, MN
I think we’re known for lutefisk (yuk), fishing (hence the lures), and lakes. Maybe kitchen magnets of lakes from the MOA?
Said with love as a friendly Wisconsinite: a can of cream of mushroom soup and a Hot Dish recipe?
Seriously: Lake Woebegone paraphernalia, smoked fish (walleye…), cards for playing Sheeps Head or Euchre (more Iowan, yes, but still…), Mississippi River prints, Wisconsin cheese (sorry! I had to), Vikings gear, or local brews (OMG, yous guys have some excellent beers–ship them to his hotel ahead of time).
State Fair swag? It’s certainly unique and you can order online.
Ole and Lena joke books
Prairie Home Companion recordings
Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox myth/legend/pictures
Little House on the Prairie Books
Photos/postcards of the Boundary Waters or Lake Itasca area, or other points north
Things to do with timberwolves (the animal, not the team)
Things from Target (it’s Minnesotan!)
Things to do with corn (we grow a lot of it)
Also, the state flower is the Lady Slipper Orchid, the state bird is the Loon, and the state gemstone is the Lake Superior Agate, if that helps
Food related is often fun. How about wild rice? When I lived in Minnesota, we picked up some bags at the farmers market to take to relatives in Europe. They thought it was really neat.
+1 for the wild rice.
I change my recommendation to this.
I was also going to say Wild Rice! Or Pearson candies…Nut Goodies are made in Minnesota.
Please do check with the host country’s customs rules before importing food.
maple syrup (if it’ll clear customs abroad)!
Why don’t you look to see if your state has some sort of gift shop online?
I know the legislative assembly in my province has an online gift shop, with some really nice sculptures, prints of famous paintings of our province, coffee table books with pictures of our province, and weirdly, a bunch of really ornate cribbage boards since the game is oddly popular in the province (I’d never played until I got here).
During Stampede they did gorgeous branded leather goods (bags, book covers, leather covered journals, etc.), and sold brands with the provincal coat of arms.
We also have a local stone (ammolite) that is, sure pretty, but weirdly popular with tourists who come visit the mountains here.
Wild rice. It’s a huge hit!
There used to be a Minnesota products store at MOA (ugh, I know) that had a great selection of MN-made products. I think it may have been this one: http://lovefrommn.lovefromcompanies.com/minnesota-made
Ok, just one more post about these veneers. I’m very appreciative of the feedback I got yesterday! I had another conversation with the family dentist, and he does use the empress/emax high end porcelain system, which is the exact same veneers high end expensive dentist uses. He’ll adjust them as much as I want until I’m happy, and since his lab is in-house he can do it in one (long) day.
Sounds like I’ll be saving up and spending some extra time with my grandpa/in-laws…which is not a bad way to combine time off! $5400 is MUCH better than $12,900!
I’ll be getting them done around December, most likely, and I’ll just make my holiday trip a day longer. I’ll update when I get them…but since my grandpa just told me that this dentist did a crown on his front tooth 25 years ago and it is still fine, I’ll bet they will be great!
That sounds great!! I’d be interested to hear if it’s difficult to adjust to speaking with them, or eating with them. I have a friend who has veneers and he says that beer bottles are a true threat to the veneers but otherwise, he says they’ve held up great too!
Yay! I love it when a plan comes together!
I’ll let everyone know. The little fake “tips” he put on to try them out took a minute to get used to, but seemed fine. There was a little hitch – come to find out there are two types of veneers. CAD/CAM, where they take a digital image of your teeth, put it into CAD, and the tooth is cut out of a single block by a machine, and then to get the colors they add stain and resin.
The other kind is the traditional version, where they take a mold and hand layer it in the material. Both porcelain and durable, but the CAD/CAM is not going to look quite as good because the color is only on the surface, unlike the hand layered which will have color throughout. Also, the CAD/CAM requires the removal of significantly more tooth, where the hand layered can be much more thin. No difference now, but maybe might cause a problem when they get replaced in 15-20 years.
Since it is my front teeth, I’m now considering going with the more expensive version. The price difference makes a lot of sense to me now – it is computer generated versus hand done by a ceramic artist.
It isn’t urgent, so I’m pondering. I can always do the front two in December, get the $2k of coverage and pay $2k out of the HSA, and then do the other 4 in January, and get another $2k in coverage and pay the last $6k from the HSA.
After the horse sells, of course :)
Cute! I needed a new pair of nude flats and these look perfect. Got 10% off and free shipping with code Y6Y8
I just bought a pair of nude flats. Oh well, I don’t look great in ankle straps anyway. :-(
Thanks for the code! The 10% off doesnt work on clearance, but the free shipping and more importantly, free returns are great to have!
Ooh, I think I am going to order these too. I have a weird hatred of paying for shipping & now no excuse not to get them. Thanks!
Yes, they are VERY inexepensive, but are they LEATHER? I hope so! Dad called to say he was comeing back to the hotel early b/c the Komendant was leaveing early. What is a Komendant? He said it twice, so I am Sure he meant it, and I have NO IDEA what he is talkeing about!
I spent the morning at the pool and had a pina colada YAY, charged to the room so Dad can see I was not just shoppeing. There is no place near the hotel to shop anyway. I think that is why he picked this place. If I go into DC tomorow, I will be sure to go to Georgetown, b/c there are alot of places to shop and eat. Even Union Station has places now, tho it used to be a littel dumpy. We will see.
I think I will see if Sam want’s to meet me after I get back on Saturday. Myrna is out of town this week at some FINANCEIAL SYMPOSSUM. She texted me that she will likely stay the weekend there, in Las Vegas. FOOEY!
OMG, Ellen, as if I would ever buy pleather shoes. Patent leather upper and leather lining. You are never going to get married or make partner if you don’t start paying better attention to details. It’s right there in the description.
True Love AIMS. What a wonderful response to our favorite resident, Ellen.
there is an online store that sells beautiful silk blouses whose name escapes me at the moment – it starts with an “a” and i want to say it’s “azira” or something but I know it’s not that — does anyone remember what I’m talking about? thank you!
+1 I’m wearing one of their silk blouses today and one of the partners told me i looked quite elegant today. Seeing as I’m just wearing a blouse tucked into a pencil skirt, I’m guessing it’s the drape of the blouse and not my actual outfit
yup, that’s it! Thank you!
Sleep and Weight
Super interesting article about the importance of sleep: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/how-sleep-loss-adds-to-weight-gain/?hp Ladies, are the results of the study consistent with your experience?
Anecdata, but my father and sister are both overweight and have what I consider to be very disordered sleep patterns. My father would fall asleep after dinner (7ish) then wake up around 10 or 11 and work until 2 or so in the morning, then fall asleep again until he got up for work at 6. My sister is better, but still doesn’t sleep well.
I’m pretty sure there was some research a few years back that showed that if you deprived healthy volunteers of sleep (like let them have only 5 or so hours a night), after a short time they started to show evidence of pre-diabetes.
Thus, I am a total grinch about proper sleep. Must have it.
Yes. Definitely consistent.
Yes, when I am sleeping poorly I notice my weight sometimes fluctuates up a little bit. However, for me not sleeping well is often tied to a myriad of other factors, usually starting with extra stress at work, which then trickles down to other lifestyle impacts (not eating as healthfully as normal, less time to exercise, etc). It’s kind of hard to extricate sleep patterns and just say “when I sleep 8 hours a night I don’t gain weight.”
Agreed, consistent in my observation. Thanks for passing along! Im a bit obsessed ith sleep health info. The past issue of Scientific American had a good article in it too, they cover that topic a lot….hmm now if I would just start following sleep health tips instead of just reading about them.
TJ – I’m considering buying a new car. The front runner right now is the Jetta TDI, which runs on diesel.
Any opinions for or against a diesel car? Also, if anyone has any DC area (Northern Virginia) thoughts about the availability of diesel stations that would be helpful.
Anecdata – my aunt and uncle each drive diesel and each car is > 25 years old. So, they last!
My dad has a diesel truck, and to my knowledge has never had any issues finding a diesel pump in NoVa. No clue about other pro/cons of diesel, though.
My parents drove a Jetta TDI for years. Unless you regularly drive 50+ miles without stopping, there’s not too much increased fuel efficiency vs non-diesel. Diesels make a very distinctive sound when running (it drove me crazy but I might be a unique snowflake). Re: diesel availability, we learned pretty quickly where the diesel stations were and planned accordingly so it wasn’t a big deal.
How cold are your winters and will your car ever be parked outdoors in them? Diesels do not do well in very cold temps – but I imagine those temps are more of what you find in MN, rather than VA.
I know that diesels can have cold-weather issues and that VW does warn owners of them, but my parents drove the Jetta in northern Wisconsin in MN-type winters without issues.
My parents had an Oldsmobile in the mid 1990s that didn’t do well sitting outside during church, so that’s my frame of reference. New cars are probably better suited for the cold, but I would still be asking questions if I was buying a diesel and had to deal with a cold climate. The issue is with the fuel itself (will gel up at cold temps), so the car needs to have a way to address warming the fuel so it will run at colder temps.
Diesels do just fine in cold temps. Never had a problem starting the dodge cummins at below -35 F.
Don’t know much about diesel, but if it’s fuel economy you’re after, our 2013 Jetta GLI Autobahn gets about 27-31 mpg around town with stoplights and such, 30-36 mpg for combined around town and highway driving, 31-33 mpg summertime interstate at “I wish to assert my fifth amendment rights” speed with the air conditioner blasting, and if driving like you’ve got some sense and not during air conditioning season, my personal best is 39 mpg and DH’s is 41 mpg.
Maintaining a TDI is much more expensive and needs to be done on a very regular basis than a gas car. Not doing that can cause your warranty to be void. My husband works at a VW dealer, and he’s told me the horror stories of what comes in when people do not take care of their car.
This is not just true of diesel vehicles. Many people do not take proper care of their cars/trucks/suvs, regardless of fuel type.
Ah, this is the car that I got a speeding ticket in… as far as driving, I can vouch that it’s a nice ride. If you end up getting the car, chances are you’ll get to know which gas station in each neighborhood carries diesel and it shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re located anywhere near a highway exit they’re almost guaranteed to have it.
And as far as cold-weather issues, I lived in Maine and never had any issues with it in the winters.
I am a banana.
Bought. I usually feel like I can’t pull off the ankle strap (years of basketball/volleyball were not kind to the size of my ankles) but if nothing else I can wear jeans and hide it?
I have a passionate love of ankle straps regardless of how they look because i don’t have to worry about my shoes falling off my heels. I still have the pedestrian habits of a New Yorker, and walk too fast for most shoes. ;o)
I am a banana.
Sometimes the way people walk in SF makes me feel like I have the pedestrian habits of a New Yorker (I’ve never lived there). WALK, people!
This irritates me to no end! Especially in the financial district on a weekday… don’t they have places to be?
if im between a 38 and 39 should i size up or down in these? Thanks!
Has anyone bought a used smartphone? (an android, not an iPhone). Any suggestions of where to buy one at a decent price?
It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest, but it does have to replace mine with a cracked screen since I don’t get an upgrade through my phone provider for another 14 months.
You know you can replace the screen with a cheap kit from Amazon for like $20? It requires an hour or two of work, but cheaper than buying a new phone.
I didn’t know this. Thank you so much!!
Haven’t bought it, but sometimes your provider will sell refurbished phones on their website (AT&T for example). A friend of mine bought an older version iphone on craigslist with no problems.
I bought a certified pre-owned Droid Bionic through Verizon about a year ago, and I’ve been happy with it so far. The cost was almost half that of buying it new, and the only problem I’ve had with it is that sometimes the screen response time gets painfully slow, but turning the phone off and then back on generally solves the problem.
One of my colleagues bought a refurbished android phone from Verizon and she’s been really happy with it.
My SO bought a used Droid off eBay, and it didn’t work well (loud, high-pitched sound when on a call). The seller told him to get the problem verified by a Verizon store and then return it, but it ended up being covered by my SO’s Verizon insurance so they replaced it with a refurbished phone when he went in to talk to them about it.
I’ve purchased two on eBay after going through a run of broken screens. I bought from trusted sellers (ETRS) and had zero problems.
book club T/J. Help please. I am hosting book club and need a suggestion for what to read next. We read pretty much anything. Prefer books that aren’t incredibly long and that folks can find in a reasonably well-stocked public library. Last three books : LeanIn, The Night Circus, Sweet Tooth. So all over the map. Thanks!
The Sparrow, by Maria Doria Russell. I subtitle it “Jesuits in Space”
Oh my goodness. This is one of my very favorite books EVER. And I too call it “Jesuits in Space”!
Did you read the sequel? I pull them both out every 3 to 5 years and re-read.
I did, and I liked it, although not as much.
This book terrified me. Admittedly, I read it at 17, but the sheer horror has stuck with me.
this is one of my all-time favorite books. I liked that the sequel wrapped everything up, story-wise, but found the first one more satisfying for some reason.
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith *cough* JK Rowling, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (may be a little long), The Burgess Boys, The Silver Star, The Language of Flowers (may be a little lengthy), Ladies’ Night, Life after Life by Kate Atkinson (a little overlong but I really liked!)….just realized these are all books on my goodreads read/to-read list! ha
Oh, I just read Life after Life. It did go on a bit, but was a pretty enjoyable book. Is thissite’s GoodReads list still active I wonder?
i think the goodreads group is still active but no one has posted for like six months?
I second the recommendation for Life After Life – am almost done with it from a library loan on my kindle, and considered buying it just so I could pass it to my friends and be able to discuss it.
+1 i LOVED the cuckoo’s calling.
Just read Cuckoo’s Calling, but for a book club, I’d be concerned about availability– the library might have a long wait list for it.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. Best book I’ve read this year—not super short, but a quick and compelling read.
+1 for Americanah. My best book of 2013.
+1. Half a Yellow Sun is also grand.
“Thus Was Adonis Murdered” by Sarah Caudwell or “A Short History of a Small Place” by T. R. Pearson. Both books are probably a bit polarizing – the first for its somewhat arch style, the second for its somewhat verbose style – but that should make for interesting discussions… (And “verbose” is not the best word choice – I love that book, re-read it every few years, have a serious envy of Mr. Pearson for being the author of such a work of genius.)
I recently read A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams and loved it. It’s a fun beach read.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette! Also, I just started Ghana Must Go and it’s pretty awesome.
Thanks, all! my “to-read” list is huge now.
I am just curious what you all think of the Barbie USA President doll.
I like it, but I love Barbies unabashedly. And she’s wearing wedges. I’m on board.
I need advice. I feel like I’m in a minorly dysfunctional relationship with my nanny. Off the bat, she takes WONDERFUL care of my 2 children – 4 1/2 and 7 months. She’s extremely organized, does a ton of stuff around the house — laundry, picking up, organizing, cooking. She is lovely with the kids, does complex schedules well, and generally does a great job.
But she’s also pretty critical of me, and our household and our family at times. She is ultimately very self critical, but it comes out in a variety of ways, and I’m not sure how to handle it. For instance, she had a baby recently (for which we gave her 12 weeks maternity leave and also have her baby come 3 days a week with our kids) and dropped off stuff while we were out of town to get ready. I got a long email from her about how disorganized the house was, where there were messes and how that was increasing her anxiety about coming back. Some of the points were totally legit (the person taking care of the kids over the summer is NOT a good housekeeper, but she was good with kids so we let it slide) but some of it felt pretty harsh. Today I texted with her and she let me know how stressed out she was again and gave me some feedback about organization around kid’s schedules, etc.
I have many thoughts, and in discussing it with my husband, he wasn’t particularly helpful so I thought I’d turn to you guys for a gut check. Part of me is VERY understanding that returning to work after maternity leave, especially after your first child, is enormously emotional and stressful and I want to be supportive of her and her needs. Part of me is like, WTF, when I went back to work after 6 weeks no one was worrying about my stress level, I just had to show up and do my job. I think we are pretty understanding and flexible — the house was a mess when she was there but it’s not like we were expecting her to scrub it down the day she arrived. If anything, we are more okay with letting things slide than she is.
Childcare for me is such a huge issue — if I don’t think my kids are happy or safe or childcare isn’t working out, it’s a total anxiety producing moment for me, and I don’t have the cool clearheadedness that I have with other areas of my life. I’m not sure if I’m asking a specific question, but I feel lost as to how to handle this. Any ideas? I want to stress that in many ways she is the absolute best nanny we’ve ever had in a million ways…
Honestly, I would start looking for another nanny. Your nanny is obviously undergoing some personal issues that are causing her stress and she is blaming you for them. The state of disorganization of your house should not cause anyone to write a long email.
First, I envy you for having a nanny who is so great with the kids.
I would be bothered by the criticism too, and probably would tend to take it personally. But since you have no complaints about the way she handles the kids (and even the house, really), I would work hard on letting that slide.
I’d suggest allaying her anxiety about coming back by assuring her that your expectations are low, you’re happy with how she takes care of the kids – everything else is bonus. To the extent that her email about the state of the house was only focused on its impact on her, then it’s fine to stop at that.
A second issue that stood out to me though is her tone to you in the email. Was she rude and needlessly critical of your household skills – going beyond its impact on her work? If yes, then maybe think about how to convey to her that it is not ok (for an employee, to boot) to speak to you like that. She is a new mom, and overwhelmed and underslept, so she should get a pass on some of that though – but I didn’t see the email/text and can’t make that call.
First thought- no one was worrying about your stress level but people were covering you. You had a contact person and gave away some parts of assignments. Second how messy is your house? Is it like hoarder level? Why not higher a house cleaner? Get a few groupons or something. Use that as a conversation point to set some boundaries. “Name, I understand you are concerned about the mess. We are having house cleaners come before your first day back, I hope that alleviates some stress. In the meantime, please do not send me comments on the state of the house. We will work with you to get it in better shape”
If she is that good with your kids I would tolerate her comments, especially if you feel that she is trying to be helpful and constructive.
I would make it clear that your priorities are A, B and C and that X, Y and Z, which she mentioned, aren’t major issues for you. If the extent of the issue is as you described in your post, this may be the kind of problem that you can solve with money. Can you pay to have a cleaning service come in just before she starts? This way you can let her know that things will be in better order when she returns.
There may be more here. I’m not sure how she is critical of you in other ways (your appearance? they food you feed your kids?) and if this is the type of criticism that could carry over to your children. It sounds like it isn’t if she’s a great nanny.
My kids had nannies when they were younger so I know how incredibly important this is to you and how difficult it is to find the right nanny for your family. From reading your post, it looks like your nanny is watching 1 preschooler and 2 infants for 3 days a week, and 1 preschooler and 1 infant for the other 2 days. Is that correct? That is the problem right there. When I had 3 kids under 5 years old, going anywhere with them was nearly impossible, I had way too many spills, meltdowns, safety concerns, naptime, and my own sleep issues, and life was stressful. Your nanny has it even harder than mine did because when she goes home, she has her own infant to care for through the night so she never gets a “break.” So, no kidding she’s stressed out – anyone taking care of 3 kids under 5 are going to be stressed out all the time and most people are not willing to take on that responsibility by choice (unless they have help from others)…
Speaking of which, I think you have some good options here: you can have your older child in full-day care or preschool plus after care, and have your nanny watch just the two infants, who hopefully have similar nap schedules and feeding requirements. Pushing around 2 infants in a double stroller is much more manageable than doing that plus holding a preschooler’s hand.
Another option is to find another nanny who does not have an infant at home. I don’t know what your nanny’s plans were, but all of our nannies are/were hoping that once they have their own kids, they won’t be nannying anymore – nannying was supposed to be their pre-SAHM job only.
Another option is to employ this nanny for shorter hours and to supplement with other help. I know someone whose nanny watches her 3 kids (including an infant), but her MIL lives with her and can watch the infant when the nanny needs to run out to pick-up someone or run a quick errand. Another friend has an au pair plus her parents living with her. Again, 3 kids is tough – another person to help watch, even for a short time, would ease the burden.
Finally, if a messy house is what’s creating the anxiety, why not employ a house-cleaner to pick-up around your house once or twice a week? Only 1 of our nannies ever cleaned up our place, and she was only watching 2 kids at one time; the rest didn’t do any cleaning up really and we were okay with that since with 3 kids, there is no “down-time.”
Last piece of unsolicited advice – please try to communicate with her in person, or even on the phone, but not by e-mail and text. E-mails and texts do not convey the right tone. She may have just been venting or seeking support or asking for higher pay – it’s hard to say what’s going through someone’s head when all you read are their typed words. I know it’s ironic since I just typed you this novel, but I didn’t have any choice – you do.
Post-partum issues can mainfest as increased anxiety so it’s possible that could be part of what is going on. If she is otherwise a great nanny, I might let it slide for a bit and see if she gets back on track.
Out of extra caution, I say this. May not be necessary, but you may want to arrange a work from home day. Lots of women have anxiety/depression issues that go unchecked for a variety of reasons and you’d want to make sure (for your kids and her’s) that she is just in normal new mom stress and not something more.
This raised a red flag for me in the original post. I would be concerned about a nanny under high anxiety and high stress who is around small children. It sounds like she is overwhelmed and the situation is not working out for her anyway. I would take action before she reached a breaking point and not after.
Make it totally clear that she’s not responsible for extra housekeeping. And if she’s great with the kids, deal with her elevated stress level, which is probably temporary. A new person will come with her own baggage (or develop some).
I have been guilty of not dismissing nannies soon enough when problems were evident, but this doesn’t sound like that situation. If you think there’s a real problem, there probably is. If it’s just that you’re both stressed out, try to work through it if possible.
Having had nannies, part time and full time, for many years, I have found it’s best to separate the childcare job and the housekeeping job. A nanny can do the light housekeeping such as unloading the dishwasher, but shouldn’t be vacuuming, dusting and doing bathrooms unless there’s a lot of time when the kids are in school and/or sleeping. It just works out better that way, though it usually costs more.
Forgot to mention that my current (part time) nanny is a 65 year old woman who does almost literally no housekeeping, not even the light housekeeping, but she’s reliable and great with my kids. My house is messier than ever, but I wouldn’t think of looking for another person because of that.
Finally, I’d add that you are super nice to let her bring the baby to work. I wouldn’t be 100% comfortable with that, so maybe indeed, there is a red flag.
Anon in NYC
She’s an employee. I’m sure those of us who have had people report to us have experienced an employee complaining about stress levels / workload / a myriad of other things that we can’t exactly help with but are somehow expected to fix. It’s frustrating. But I think if she really is a great nanny, then you ultimately have to either let this slide or address it head on.
Since it’s not clear what exactly she is stressed about (the amount of mess? An expectation that she’d have to be responsible for cleaning all of it up? The sheer fact that the house was a mess?), I’d say that you should hire a house cleaner to come in right before she shows up. I understand her complaint that the house is a mess and that she’ll be responsible for cleaning up 12 weeks of accumulated mess. It will go a long way to smooth relations if you pay for 1 day of extensive house cleaning and then have her take over caring for your kids and light maintenance of the household.
If you want to keep this person as an employee, can you be firm with her about the boundaries of her job? For example, respond to her email with a very succinct, simple, “Thanks for the email. I appreciate your concern about the state of our household organization, but that is not something that you need to worry about. When you return to work, your focus will, as always, be on the children, not the housework. There is not an expectation that you will clean the house completely the first day you come back, so that shouldn’t be a worry for you right now.
I hope you and the baby are doing well, and we look forward to seeing you on __. Best, ….
As an aside, while it’s very generous of you to allow her to bring her 12 week old to work with her 3 days a week, I’m not sure that I would be totally comfortable with that. Doesn’t’ that mean that her attention will be split 3 ways, at best, rather than 2? And realistically, since her child is the youngest, and it’s HER child, she may spend quite a bit of the time taking care of him/her rather than your children. I assume you’ve already thought this through, and you didn’t ask for advice on that part, so I should mind my own business…but this arrangement would give me pause. Good luck with this situation, it sounds difficult.
My instinct is that on some level, although you are letting her bring her baby on some days, the bottom line is that she is going to be leaving her baby in some kind of child care to come take care of your baby. She may not even consciously realize she’s resentful, since it IS her job and obviously it’s a job she chose and until now, enjoyed; but I do think she’s resenting it and it’s manifesting in other areas. As in, perhaps reading between the lines of the messy house comments, it is really “you want me to clean all this mess AND leave my baby?” It may have seemed like a really good idea when you guys all planned this out BEFORE she had her baby, but now her baby is here and she’s facing the reality of leaving her baby to take care of yours. She may be struggling with that, and not even really realize she’s lashing out her frustrations.
Thank you all so much for your advice. You have given me much food for thought and I really appreciate ALL the feedback. You guys are an awesome community and I really appreciate the advice. I really really appreciate the tone — this is a raw issue and everyone was constructive and quite gentle, which I really really appreciate. A few notes to round out the picture
1) She will not be taking care of 3 kids 3 days a week. Monday, Wednesday Friday the preschooler is in full day preschool. Her child is coming Wed, Thursday and Friday. So Monday she’ll have an infant, Tuesday she’ll have our two kids, Wednesday and Friday she’ll have 2 infants and Thursday she’ll have all three. In ski season, the 4 year old will be in ski school Tuesday and Thursday mornings, which my husband and I will coordinate taking him back and forth.
2) The house was disorganized, not hoarder messy (I like that phrase). We have a housekeeper every other week, but could increase to every week easily.
3) Our expectations are kid focused only, it seems to be her expectation to keep an immaculate house. We have told her that letting that stuff slide is totally fine, especially as she adjusts, but I think she’s focused on doing the job “perfectly.”
4) PPD/PPA is a good thought. I’ll keep an eye on it.
5) Bringing her child is definitely a question mark. We certainly have thought of all the issues that you all have brought up. The under 1 childcare options in our area are not perfect, so I understand her desire to avoid her child going.
Ultimately, I think a lot of it can slide, even and especially her perceived criticism of me. She does a great job with the kids, and loves them dearly. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks again ladies, I really really appreciate the common sense and great advice.
I don’t have to personally want to be friends with the people who watch my children. I focus on whether the children respond well to them, which it seems that you have.
That said, I would not be okay with my childcare provider being critical of my housekeeping. You pay her for a service. If she wants to renegotiate the service provided or the price paid, that’s one thing, but just to be critical of you? I’d be done. I don’t need someone harping on how clean my kitchen floors are or something. If we are sufficiently above the “need to call children’s services and/or Hoarders” level, I’m good. Do your job.
Are you worried that her stress level is so great that she is not planning on returning to work as your nanny? That may very well be a possibility. If you like her and think it is worth keeping her on as the person who takes care of your kids, I would suggest having the housekeeper/cleaning service come once per week. Let her know that you don’t consider it her job to keep the house clean, and you will make arrangements to take care of it, because you want her primary focus to be on the kids.
A Different WWY Wear TJ - updated ?
Hi again. Many of you ladies responded to my question this morning about what to wear as the wife of a job candidate to a dinner with great advice. He just got the final schedule and the event has changed – now it is a happy hour in the middle of the afternoon at a gastropub. Please, please help?!
If he’s still wearing a suit: same outfit that you would wear to dinner just without statement accessories and with day-time make-up.
Are you specifically asking her (and paying commensurately) to perform the housekeeping duties? If so, I think her anxiety about the state of the house is a bit justified – she is concerned about having an unnecessary extra workload when she returns because your temporary help did not perform those tasks to a satisfactory level.
If not, I think you need to set some boundaries with her with regards to what tasks you expect to be done and, what aspects of your home should not be her concern. If that doesn’t go over well, or she maintains an overly critical attitude towards you, I would suggest looking for a new nanny.
argh, meant as a comment for anon at 4:16 pm.
Lovely flats. These nude heels are now marked down to $44. I have them in the cobalt and they are uber comfortable: http://www.bodenusa.com/en-US/Clearance/Womens-Shoes-Boots/Heels/AR567/Womens-Pointed-Mary-Janes.html
Poll: Black OMG Lo & Sons – appropriate for non-law interviews, or are we stuck with leather-only? I’m not vegan, but I’m not quite ready to pay for the black leather bag I want in addition to the carry-all workhorse work purse I need. I’m gearing up for a round of applications and hopefully interviews, so I can actually justify getting a Lo & Sons if it’s interview appropriate!
(Also, Capitol Hill Style has a 15% off code for Lo & Sons for August, CAPITOLHILLSTYLESUMMER)
From the pictures, they look a bit large to me for an interview.
If you don’t pack the OMG full of stuff it might be small enough for an interview. It is definitely a larger bag – meant for carrying a lot of things to and from work! But the nylon makes it light and it looks smaller with less in it. Overall, I think non-leather is fine for an interview.
If you want to stick with Lo & Sons but think the OMG might be too big, check out the Brookline for a sleeker design. That one would definitely be interview appropriate in my opinion.
Honestly, I think you’re better off getting the MK Jetset/Mac Tote if you need an interview bag and a carry-all workhorse purse.
I don’t think I’d judge anybody for bringing the OMG to an interview, BUT it reads more travel/gym/already have the job bag.
Quick question on how to wear navy blazers. I just purchased the JCrew navy school boy blazer, with the intent of wearing it to work. However, I am having difficulty finding the right pants or skirts to pair it with. Unfortunately I own a lot of black bottoms, so thats probably not going to work. I tried to assemble an outfit with a white blouse and a camel skirt, but that looked too boys prep school. What would you recommend?
We have an old diesel car and live on Capitol Hill. It’s not too hard finding stations with diesel, and like the others said, once you know which ones are nearby and convenient, it is no big deal.
I love the diesel–how it sounds, how it runs–and wish that our other car was diesel too.