Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Button Shoulder Satin Shell

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

This satin shell from Loft looks really cute, in part because of the little ruffled neckline, which I like for layering purposes. It’s a great way to make a crewneck sweater, for example, look a little more feminine — and a layered look is usually a little more put-together in general. We’re picturing the blouse in navy but it also comes in “whisper white.” It’s available in regular and petite sizes, and although you might not expect it to be, it’s machine washable. The top is $49.50. Button Shoulder Satin Shell

Did you known that Loft Plus is coming later this month? It’ll offer sizes 16–26. But since it’s not here yet: You can find plus-size options for this top at Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor.

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  1. Anonymous :

    Good Morning!

    I have been working in a temp job for accounting for a few months. The recruiter called me last week to inform me that they extended my assignment for two more weeks. My supervisor has yet to say anything to me directly yet. Is this weird? I would have assumed that she would have told me personally.

    • Are you working through an agency? If so, the company’s contract with the agency may state that all communication goes through them.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I contracted for years. This is very normal – the agency/contracting company usually prefers that all communication about your employment moves through them.

  2. How do you get your travel coffee mug really clean? I have the zojirushi mug that is phenomenal for keeping my coffee warm and not leaking, but it is starting to look really gross inside and just hot water + dish soap, or even vinegar, is not working. Can’t be machine washed. Any tips?

    • Polident (denture cleaner) and hot water might work?

    • Anonymous :

      Do you have a long, skinny bottle brush?

    • Here’s a tip I learned working in coffee bars back in the day for scrubbing stains out of coffee pots: Put a squirt of dish soap in your mug, then a good amount of kosher salt (I do ~1 tbsp for my Chemex coffee pot at home). Then add ice cubes to fill the vessel about halfway. Shake and swirl the ice cubes around, then dump the whole thing out and rinse. The ice adds weight, the salt helps scrub, and the soap cleans any oils.

    • Anony Mouse :

      Which Zojirushi mug do you have? I’ve been wanting to buy one for myself.

    • Does it really matter? It’s not hurting anything. Just let it be stained. It’s still clean, for purposes of drinking.

      I wash mine the same day after using to keep it cleaner.

      I love my Zojirushi too.

      I have this one (below) and have bought them for relatives at Xmas.

    • Coffee mug cleaner :

      Retainer Bright works great! You might need to do it twice.

    • It’s so easy – baking soda! A little paste and water; stains are gone. I just discovered this.

      • +1. Coffee stains need a basic (as in opposite of acidic) cleanser. So, baking soda instead of vinegar.
        Also, most dishwasher detergents are basic, but I’m assuming you don’t want to throw a nice travel mug in the dishwasher.


  3. Ok who is being EXTRA today?

    “One hopes you can have a bit of fun on a Friday — so today it’s all about being EXTRA. Think like Coco Chanel and drape yourself in multiple pearls (or, in more modern terms, do the ManRepeller arm party if it won’t annoy the ever-living crap out of your colleagues who hear you jangling all day). Add a scarf if you’re normally not a scarf girl.

    If you’re just not that comfortable with a statement as big as this, scale it back, but still try something new for you, like a statement necklace, wearing a long necklace as a bracelet (or if circumstances permit, as a belt), wearing a few brooches together on a suit jacket or cardigan, or a pair of geek chic glasses, wear a crazy bright color of lip you wouldn’t normally wear. You shouldn’t look as if you’re wearing eveningwear during daytime — the point is that you’re wearing MORE, in some way, than you might otherwise.

    This day’s challenge is, admittedly, more of a “vibe” than an outfit, but I will note that if you’re going for a sophisticated statement (and not, say, Carrie Bradshaw in a tutu), you can’t go wrong by keeping the rest of your outfit simple. White blouse + gray pants. Black on black. Gray sheath dress. If it’s Casual Friday at your office, go for dark rinse jeans, a black or white sweater, and then your STATEMENT.

    • I love pearls so I’m being extra with those, wearing 3 similar long strands plus another wrapped around my wrist several times.

      This is not the first time I’ve worn this combo. Like the monochromatic challenge, extra is my happy place.

    • Panda Bear :

      I’m a week behind the challenge! But I happen to be a little ‘extra’ today, if wearing the leopard print flats (I usually stick with black) counts.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      I work from home: Does wearing socks *and* wool clogs count as Extra? If so, I’m all in. :)

    • I’m doing a hybrid of two challenges from this week. My outfit is very simple and streamlined: textured navy cowlneck sweater, navy trousers, gray booties. However, I added more volume to my pixie cut than usual and am wearing a brighter shade of lipstick than I typically wear to work. I also added a highlighter to my brow bone. I’m having a good skin day, and like the contrast of my dark hair + pale skin + bright rose lip. That said, I don’t think statement lips are the most flattering look for me. Maybe I’m just not used to how I look with bright lips, but I always feel borderline garish. I also think strong colors make my lips look thinner (not in a good way).

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I have my long pearls wrapped four times, but I’m not feeling very “extra” today. I was looking forward to this challenge, but some bad news at work has me out of it.

    • Friday means I give up, not try to be EXTRA.

    • I’m wearing a sleeveless ruffle-neck shell (actually very similar to the one pictured, also from Loft) in an olive, blue, yellow and cranberry floral print, with a cranberry cardigan, jeans and a leopard print belt and flats. Gold jewelry (pendant necklace, big hoop earrings and statement ring). I am not a bold lip person so I stuck with nude but went with purple tones on my eyes. And I washed my hair, so that’s as extra as I’m getting today. I’m too ready for this week to be over.

    • Gold flats!

    • nerfmobile :

      I’m not a scarf person usually, so that’s what I did. For my base I have on navy cotton slacks and a slouchy crewneck sweater in a heathered lavender/grey over a light pinkish/blush tee. I decided to go with the blue for accents, so I’m wearing bright blue ballet flats (Tory Burch), silver earrings with blue faceted stones, and a deep blue (somewhere in between cobalt and navy) scarf with fringe.

    • Anon for this :

      I had a hard time with this one because let’s face it — I’m pretty “extra” every day! I told Lovely Husband about my dilemma and he said “that’s easy — just add another pompom to your purse!” (Did I mention I bought 12 pompoms for $15 at Amazon and have been rocking them on my bags every day?) So I did that, and I also added an “arm party” consisting of three rubber bracelets and two string bracelets, plus combined a striped skirt with a polka dot scarf and leopard shoes. So all together I feel even more “extra” than usual!

  4. Anonymous :

    Neither of the plus size options have the ruffled neck, which I really like. Any other suggestions?

  5. Anon for This :

    Paging the poster from yesterday whose cousin has autism and is going to need care.

    My heart goes out to you. I have two sibs on the spectrum (very far along the spectrum, non-verbal, significant behavioral issues) so I am looking at a similar situation when my parents are no longer able to care for them. That being said, we all are on the same page that they will be moving to group homes.

    Somethings you may not have considered. (1) a group home sounds totally appropriate for your cousin. Chances are he will be living with people with similar challenges to him; (2) some group homes can be really great. Granted, there are awful ones, but some are great. A lot of the adults get a real sense of community and belonging that they don’t when in school or home since they are surrounded by people similar to themselves. The really good ones in the area that my family is from are super involved in the Special Olympics. Those are usually the homes that are really getting out in the community a lot. If you think it would be beneficial to relocate your cousin to where you are, that can be something you are pro-active about. Start volunteering with your local SO team and you might get a feel for what places are good in your area. Also, my family’s experience with the SO has been amazing, for both my sibs and parents, so I highly recommend volunteering with them regardless:)

    And just because he is in a group home, doesn’t mean he is locked away and forgotten. Particularly if he is local, he can do overnights at your home, you can take him out to movies, SO practice every week, have him come over for the afternoon and bring him back after dinner every Sunday, etc. You love your cousin, and that is great. There are scenarios and resources available that can make this a good and workable situation for both of you. I don’t think that you guys living together is it though.

    • +1 to the comments about group homes. I volunteer with special-needs kids and adults, and two of my students currently live in a group home. Their parents are only in their 50s, but actually chose this so that their sons (they’re brothers) could have the opportunity to move out of their parents’ home like they saw their peers doing around 18/19. They have about the same degree of family contact as any 20-something not living at home – shabbat dinners, holidays together, regular family activities, etc., but they’re also working and have their group home friends. Their group home caretakers bring them to their lessons, and friends from the group home come with the caretakers when they have competitions.

      I have another student who has a TBI, and he also lives in a group home because his parents’ home can’t accommodate his wheelchair and he needs someone to be around 24/7 in case of a medical emergency. TBI is complex, and he isn’t cognitively impaired in the same way many group-home residents are, but he has a lot of trouble with speech and language, and that makes it hard to live independently for now. He has about the relationship with his parents you’d expect for a 25-year-old guy – regular poker night with his dad, loves his mom but constantly annoyed with her fussing over him, etc. – and while his group home caretakers aren’t as standout amazing as the ones described above (who are like a surrogate family for the brothers), living in a group home has helped him and his family maintain a much more normal and happy family life after his accident.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        cbackson – I always enjoy your input on these issues and am so glad to hear positive stories and outcomes. My son is only 6 but I already wonder about what the future will look like for us down the road.

        • I feel like it’s important to tell these stories because so much of what’s out there is about the hardships of parenting special-needs kids. Those hardships are real, but the fact that these are also just *kids* gets lost. There’s one boy on the spectrum I work with who hit me once, which sucked. That same kid has a special nickname for me that grew out of a long-running joke we have about Greek mythology; he can be a total pain a lot of the time, but much of that (maybe most of it) is because he’s a 14-year-old boy and thus REALLY wants to test authority, goof off, and impress girls. He’s terrible at trying to impress girls, and maybe some of that is his ASD, but, you know…14. His idea of “impressive” is pretty far off from the girls’ idea of impressive…

          • Mineallmine :

            Haha your description of the 14 yo boy reminds me a lot of the sulky teenager my little sister with Down syndrome turned into for a few years. Then around 18 she snapped back into being the sweet, calm self she always had been. Since she didn’t really have the ability to justify her anger and rebelliousness the way most teens do, it was very clearly the hormones.

    • Anonymous :

      This great advice. A similar approach has been used in our family. The special needs family member is in a group home but enjoys regular visits and activities and special occasions with family who take him out. The family members are able to enjoy the time together because they are not exhausted emotionally and financially from caregiving. The individual benefits from enjoying more and better social and therapeutic programming (like SO) than a single family could organize/provide.

    • Co-sign. I have nothing to add to what’s already been said other than that you should stand your ground if anyone starts trying to guilt you out of your decision.

    • A lot of great advice on this thread.

      A practical question – for those living in group homes, are you paying privately, or does the child’s ?Medicaid/SSI cover the cost of the home?

      • My situation is not an autistic child, but a disabled adult – assisted living is paid out of pocket; his SSDI covers half of that cost. Skilled nursing is paid out of pocket until you qualify for Medicaid.

        • Thanks. Adults have the advantage of SSDI, if they have a work history, which often pays more. I wonder how you do it for kids with no work history of course. It seems like the funds available must be much less.

          • Anonymous :

            I have a profoundly disabled relative who is covered by Medicaid. She is a ward of the state since she cannot support herself. I’m not entirely sure how it worked, but the family still had some say because they were able to get her moved between homes and advocate for her.

          • Most become wards of the state and the costs are covered by Medicaid.

  6. Anonymous :

    Paging Advice please?

    I just read your post yesterday about feeling obligated to take care of your cousin with ASD when his parents pass. I was in a similar situation, except with my brother who is 8 years younger than me and lives with my mom. He has Asbergers and significant mental health issues. He couldn’t successfully function in a high school, and my mom didn’t want to put him in a group home. He gets food stamps but no other support, and he is now in his mid-20s and totally dependent on my mom. I don’t know what they’re going to do when he turns 26 and can’t be on her health insurance anymore because he has many appointments and medications. Our parents are divorced and we were raised by a single mom, and our other sister lives across the country.

    My mom told me, and my husband, that when she dies we’ll get the house and my brother, who she assumes will never work or have any income. We had a difficult but important conversation saying that won’t be possible. He is my brother, and I love him, but we simply are not equipped financially, emotionally, or practically to be his caretaker. I investigated residential programs in the area and gave her information to explore. She was furious, but she came around. My brother was ok with it and never mad at us. Please know that you cannot be expected to take on such a large commitment. You should not go into debt and negatively impact your own health and wellbeing for your cousin. There are professionals to help individuals with disabilities for a reason. Family members need to proactively plan. I think with my mom, she likes feeling like a superhero caring for her son (even though she works full time). She probably thinks no one can take care of him like she can, but she’s in her early 60s and needs to realize this situation is not sustainable. It sounds like your aunt and uncle do, too, and unfortunately you can only do so much to encourage someone to face the facts.

    • I am not in this situation, but it’s so, so helpful to hear from someone who actually set this boundary and held it. Thanks also for acknowledging that people can be angry, but you work through it.

      • Idk, I feel like it’s family and you have to make it work.

        • Anonymous :

          You do your best but not at the cost of your own mental and financial health. Far too many family members take on caregiver when they do not have the resources to do it and situations end poorly or badly damage family relationships.

          It is much better if someone knows there limits and works to ensure family members can receive what they need within those limits in mind.

        • It doesn’t sound like there is always a way to “make it work” without negatively impacting OP

        • Mineallmine :

          But there are different ways of making it work, as described above. Sacrficing yourself is not the only, or even best in most cases not involving live grenades, solution.

    • I have a brother on the autism spectrum who has significant behavioral and mental issues. My mom has done a lot of working getting him connected to appropriate social services. He’s staying with my parents at the moment in between group homes. His life is much better when he is living in a situation that is able to provide for his needs, gives him a sense of autonomy, and has the appropriate support system for him. My parents are his legal guardians, and I am the designated successor legal guardian. I love my brother, but he is not going to live with me. When my parents are gone, he will continue to live in a group home, and I will make sure that I am involved in his life on an ongoing basis – phone calls, visits, outings, etc.

      In response to Anonymous as 12:10 pm, yes, he is family, and you have to make it work. And sometimes the best way FOR EVERYONE in the family is not to live at home.

    • I have some experience with this this too, and I want to bring up that I think it’s important that people with disabilities be supported in living as independent and community integrated lives as is possible – that usually means supportive living situations like group homes, having hobbies like special Olympics, being able to have small jobs if possible and spending money, travel to the mall or movies with friends or go on dates, serve as a volunteer at church, etc. Professional help and group living situations are often the best way to ensure full and happy lives like this, have the tools and community resources one individual family member doesn’t.

  7. MMlafleur-style workwear, but without the price tag? :

    Do you have any recommendations for workwear that is somewhat similar to MM Lafleur, but available in Canada and not so expensive? I really love the simple, classic look + modern necklines, and I haven’t had much luck finding similar items. I’m especially interested in similar dresses that are not black – I have one by tahari that has a notched neckline that I love, but I found it at Winners (TJmaxx) and it was only in black. Thank you!

  8. Can someone explain how to wear jewelry to me? I have a solid wardrobe but it’s pretty boring by design (I’m a lawyer and I regularly go to court, so lots of solid color and conservative patterns). I’d like to mix it up with jewelry but I don’t know where to start. I only have a Fitbit that I wear daily. My ears used to be pierced but they grew back, so I’d have to get them redone to wear earrings.

    Any advice for necklaces? I’m busty and usually wear scoop neck or v neck tops.

    • anonymous :

      I would get your ears repierced; I have faux diamond studs that are small and unobtrusive enough that I basically never take them out except to clean them, and then I put them right back. It’s an easy way to elevate my look with basically no extra effort.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        +1 to earrings. Now is a great time for finding interesting but subtle stud earrings. Catbird gets recommended here, and I like AIRlab and Virginia Wynne on Etsy.

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I am busty and usually wear scoop neck or V-neck tops. I love wearing either my simple diamond studs or pearl studs to work – they provide a little sparkle when I want to wear a statement necklace. I would suggest a statement necklace that fits within the lines of your tops and draws the eyes up or long necklace that draws the eye in and is slimming. I also love big statement earrings with no necklace. But please do not feel like you need to pierce your ears – you don’t. I would start simple – find a delicate real gold or silver necklace that you can wear every day. It’s an easy look to start with, and it’ll add a little sparkle to any outfit.

    • I would start with basics and then build out from there depending on your tastes and wardrobe.

      Pearl, diamond (fake or real), gold, and silver stud earrings. Delicate, neutral gold and silver necklaces on the shorter side (16″) to wear with scoop and v-necks.

      I really love J Crew and Banana Republic for costume jewelry. Most of my sterling silver jewelry is Tiffany – good quality and not outrageously expensive. Kate Spade is great for more fun trendy pieces.

    • Also check out Vrai and Oro/Bario Neal for imspiration.

    • I’m busty and prefer long necklaces to add a vertical element to my look. I particularly like a longer necklace with a heavy pendant of some sort to keep the necklace where it’s supposed to be and not draped over one of my b00bs. I like a length of 36″ – 40″.

      With a significant necklace, I wear no earrings or simple studs. If I’m wearing anything major on my ears, like bigger hoops, or dangly type earrings, I don’t wear a necklace. I feel like wearing both is too loaded up.

      I wear a bracelet on my left wrist most days. If I wear one on my right hand I feel it gets in my way – but I’m right handed so the opposite may be true for a leftie.

      • Anonymous :

        Whenever I wear long necklaces, both sides of the chain settle into my cleavage. How do you avoid this?

        I really want to wear them!

        • If you’re still reading
          1) pendants hold the thing where it’s supposed to be
          2) I wear a separating bra I don’t really want cleavage at work

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      You didn’t ask about rings, but I’ll chime in anyway. That might be a fun place to start. No obligation to match or coordinate rings to your outfit so you can be as conservative or out of the box as you’d like. You can find decent costume jewelry rings for cheap on Amazon or in the juniors section of major department stores.

    • You might want to try Rocksbox – it’s kind of like of like a combo of Stichfix and Le Tote for jewelry. You make a wish list and each month they send you three items to try out and wear. If you want to buy them you can, otherwise you just send them back after you’re done with them and get another three. It’s been really fun for me to try out different styles in a non-committal way, and also to wear things that I wouldn’t normally wear. I’ve also bought a few items, and had a good experience so far.

      • Oh man, I didn’t know about this . . . dangerous!!

      • I would caveat that I did this for several months a couple of years ago and the items are good to try your style, but in general aren’t very high quality for the cost. Think $50 for a small plastic gold ring. Try the style, send it back, go buy something cheaper and sturdier.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Do you have a referral code or something we should use if we sign up?

      • Anonymous :

        Referral code for rocksbox! I think it’s $25 off the first one. Enjoy. :)

    • Thanks all for your great suggestions!! I think I’ll start with necklaces before I pierce my ears again (they grew in because I wasn’t wearing earrings). I might try some fun rings as well.

      • You don’t have to pierce your ears to wear earrings. I am the only 35 year old I know without pierced ears, but I wear clip on all the time– screw back are the most comfortable by far and also the least clip-looking.

  9. WWYD- Guardianship :

    DH and I are really struggling with guardianship dor or kids in case if the worst possible scenario.

    My parents are young (late 50s), but divorced. My mom has a close relationship with the kids now (3 under 6), but I really disagreee with how she raised her kids *and* I do not feel she will raise or kids in accordance with our wishes.

    My dad would absolutely (try to) raise my kids in accordance with our wishes, but I think 3 kids would just not work for him. He’d have to stop working (which is fine, we have $2.5M in life insurance and a paid off house), and basically be a SAHD which he’s never in his life done. My mom would be constantly in his business (they still live in the same town and have a pretty good relationship, but my mom is Up In His Business). My kids love my dad a ton, and would love to live with him even if we are still alive ;).

    My sister and her husband had been our guardians, however, it recently came out that my sister’s alcholism is far, far less under control (if that’s the right term- we thought she was 6 years sober and she is not, and she’s a dangerous and irresponsible alcoholic) than we were led to believe. Her husband remains a fine guardian, but we cannot in good faith leave the kids to them knowing BIL would have to manage them + my sister if things got bad.
    Our kids love them and they live our kids.

    My brother is 29, has no real job or ambition, has a fairly questionable relationship with alcohol, has had several dUIs (and a stint in jail), but loves our kids and our kids love him. He currently is the coastal equivalent of a ski bum.

    My family is all on the same coast where we currently live.

    DH’s parents are old- 70 and 80. They live across the country and are exhausted after a 2 day visit with our crew. I can’t imagine them taking in young kids now, or 5 years from now, even though they share our values most closely.

    DH’s half sister is ballpark our age, has 3 kids of her own as a single mom, and doesn’t really share our values or know our kids well. She lives across the country try and our kids don’t know her or her kids well.

    Other options are my dad’s sister, who is mid 60s, but has raised 4 kids and 3 foster kids at this point- so what’s 3 more? ;). She’s fairly local to our area and I think she’d be involved if my dad got the kids anyway.

    I also have a healthy aunt/uncle in their early 50s, who are childless and we’re my guardians when I was a kid. It would rock their world to have kids (they’ve only ever had cats…).

    I have a couple cousins with kids that would raise or kids more in line with our values, but we aren’t really close at all.

    Thoughts or other ideas to consider? My mom is pushing hard, but neither DH or I feel right about that choice. She is still far too involved with my sister and my aister’s Issues and Affairs, and we don’t want the kids with someone who won’t honor our wishes.

    I am leaning toward my dad or DH’s half sister; DH can’t get behind his sister because she is so unlike us- she’s lower/middle class, super religious, doesn’t value education, lives in rural Texas…and he doesn’t want the kids to grow up like that. I understand completely, but none of that is *dangerous,* and we would have extensive directives in place to ensure or kids went to good schools/colleges as appropriate.

    Maybe dad for now, then DH’s sister once dad is too old?

    It kills me not to have my sister and BIL as an option, but it is completely off the table, probably forever. It’s complicated but I couldn’t sleep at night thinking my sister would be around my kids and drinking (this is far worse than being drunk- she’s extremely violent and has tried to kill someone more than once when drinking, I didn’t believe it until I saw it).

    • For a long time, my parents listed a longtime family friend as the guardian. Is that an option? (Regardless of high route you go, talk to an estate planning attorney about the best person to be a trustee for your assets.)

      • Pen and Pencil :

        This. My parents had it set so my brother and I would go to my mom’s parents until my grandmother became too sick, then one of their friends until we became old enough to essentially take care of ourselves. Then they switched it back to my mom’s dad, who while elderly, would be able to handle finances and making sure we stayed on the straight and narrow (we were both good kids though) for the few years in high school and college. When we were slated to go to their friends, my grandfather remained the trustee of the estate, so he would have control of the finances while the friends did the day-to-day chasing after kids.

    • It doesn’t HAVE to be a family member — two of my friends agreed to be each other’s guardians for similar reasons.

    • Do you have any very close friends that would be willing to fill this role for you?

      If not, I’d probably go with dad and have a conversation with him about using the life insurance money to get a live-in nanny to help out if the worst should happen.

    • I’ve just gone through this process. We eliminated our parents because we felt like they wouldn’t be able to care for our son until he left for college. We felt it would be too disruptive for a kid to lose his parents and to then cycle through two sets of guardians. For that reason, in your shoes, I would have second thoughts about asking your father to assume guardianship.

      How about your aunt and uncle? It sounds like they would be about 70 when your kids start college and could provide a really stable, loving home for them?

      • WWYD- Guardianship :

        They’re not much younger than my dad. My dad would be 76 when the youngest went to college. My aunt and uncle would be 74.

    • I would lean to healthy aunt and uncle if they have any kind of current relationship with your kids. Age is also a factor here. You want someone that will be able to care for them for at least 20 years and in 20 years then aunt and uncle will only be early seventies which is fine. Your mom or dad could be facing health issues in late sixities/early seventies – as soon as 10-15 years and your kids would only be 13-16 or so. The extra 5 years of late fifities vs early fifites matters. You may be able to appease your mom by pointing out that they are who your parents chose as guardians so they are clearly a good choice – plus your sister and brother sound like they will need support from your mom, support which she may not be available to give if she has 3 small kids.

    • Maybe also get closer to your cousins? A near-ish cousin is guardian for my children (and I’d pick her husband if anything ever happened to her). Other near-ish cousins would be fallbacks (all have similarly-aged kids, which ours adore; all grownups are up for it).

      But I’m like you: our parents are aging and live far away and our siblings (also far away) all have various issues that don’t make them the best choices right now (possibly forever for two of them).

      I am not sure that a $2.5M insurance policy would be enough to become a SAHD or SAHM — I could pay off the house for that and maybe stash some away for college, but to live on for the rest of my life I should probably work for 10-20 more years to have on-going health insurance and to not outlive my funds in old age.

      • Second the thought to think through your cousins. DH and I were talking about this and decided a cousin of his would be the best match with our values and priorities in life, even though we have living parents and siblings.

      • WWYD- Guardianship :

        It’s enough. Our house is worth $800k and is very close to being paid off. We have >700k in retirement and $300k in non retirement savings, and 100k for college at this point. That plus $2.5M and whatever we amass in between should be plenty for my dad (in this example) to stop working and live in our house and raise our kids. Or, sell our house and live in his-which he also owns.

    • It’s an important decision, but it also a decision that is very most likely an academic exercise. My husband and I said, Plans A through Y are don’t die. Plan Z is my parents being guardians, Plan ZZ if my parents can’t handle it is my SIL and BIL. Our opinion is not that they would fill in for us perfectly; of course they wouldn’t. But I think they’d try to make the best of the situation.

    • Your Mom or Dad; and you are overthinking this. If you both die all that matters is that your kids have someone to love them, someone who will do their best. Both your Mom and Dad can do that. Everything will be awful.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        +1 You’re overthinking this. Your Dad sounds like the front-runner. Remember, this is just a plan. Your Dad could die tomorrow. You sister could get sober, and stay sober, starting tomorrow. Just pick someone you know will love them and do their best to take care of all their needs (you’re not perfect either so don’t except perfect parenting from someone else).

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree with this. Honestly it’s quite unlikely so do the best you can and don’t make it a huge thing.

    • It sounds like your father would be a great choice.

      My partner and I similarly had to rule out one set of parents that have demonstrated they will not follow our wishes with the kids (and the second set is too old). We will probably go with a sibling who has similar values to us and is very, very responsible. We also considered some friends but were worried it was too big of an ask.

    • What about close friends? The guardian doesn’t have to be family.

      Also, I want to push back a bit on how much control you seem to want to exercise if you both die. I think you need to let some of that go. If you both die, someone else becomes the parent. It is unreasonable to expect someone to parent their kids one way and your kids another way.

      What type of values are you trying to enforce? If it is religious, could you have someone from your church serve as a god parent that isn’t the guardian? If it is political, could you talk to some feminist friends about staying involved in your daughter’s life if your family was ever raising her?

      • WWYD- Guardianship :

        No, and maybe “values” isn’t the right word on my end- my mom ended up enabling awful behavior and decisions withboth y siblings, who are extremely co dependent and she (mom) likes it that way. I want my kids to be independent and think for themselves. And ideally go to college/get a career (with or without college).

        DH is more concerned that our kids (who are privledged upper class east coast survurbanites) will turn into country bumpkins who pump gas for a living if they go live with his sister. I disagree entirely and find his sister to be a lovely person raising very nice kids and doing the best she can in her circumstances , but he’s pretty against it (he’s not a big fan of his sister because he’s an educated snob).

        • My alternate guardian for my child when she was very young sounds similar to your DH’s sister. That would have been fine when she was 5 (my sister is a wonderful person with a college degree married to a good man also with a college degree, but they are both deeply religious in a much more conservative denomination than I am and lives in a rural area with a very high HS dropout rate and antiquated beliefs about things like a woman’s place in the world). By the time my daughter was 12 (and maybe younger) my sister and her husband would have been a disaster. My daughter had absorbed enough of my pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-immigrant, feminist, “the Bible is not to be taken literally” beliefs that sending her to live in a small Southern town with a couple of devout Southern Baptists would have been really hard on everyone. At that point, I changed my alternate guardian to some good friends who daughter was very good friends with my daughter.

          I guess I am just saying that you can only make the best decision now that you can make (which sounds like your father) and know that you can change it as circumstances change. Also, I recognize that you disagree with your husband here, but I can see his point. I grew up in one of those communities and even with the best of intentions and planning on your part, the weight of community expectations and opportunities can be hard to escape – especially if you are not going to be there to add your voice.

    • Also, why would Dad need to be a SAHD? Is that one of the values you are looking for? If not, your insurance policy could cover child care so he could keep working. What is the current care situation for your kids?

      • WWYD- Guardianship :

        Hrm, I was thinking because he would move into or house, which is a (small) state away. But you are totally right, he could move with the kids (somewhere, here, there, somewhere new) and work with live-in help. Great point.

        • Yeah you need to let most of this go. There will be major changes for your kids. He will figure it out.

    • Your aunt and uncle seem like a good choice – young enough, and they obviously don’t have a problem with it if they agreed to be your guardian.

      You need someone who will be alive in 20 years.

    • +1 to the close longtime friend. My closest friend listed me and my husband as the guardians of her kids.

      • +1. I am not a guardian to any of my friends kids as they all have family options, but I would be if they asked.

        • +1 Same here.

        • Anon for this... :

          How do you handle it if you are (and thus not willing) to take this on? Do people *ask* whether you’d want to do it before putting you down, or could this theoretically be sprung on you?

          Asking for a friend…

          • We asked – and gave our askees an out. Most askers understand that it’s a lifetime commitment to take in children, and in the near term it’s an especially difficult job because the kids will have lost their parents. If you don’t want to do it, say so. I think ‘acceptable’ reasons are about you – things like I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with another child, I travel a lot for my job, etc. Just don’t make it about the kids (eg, I don’t like your kids). I really thought the person we asked might decline because she is single and, honestly, being a single mom is super tough.

          • Anonymous :

            It can’t be sprung on you in the sense that you would have to accept guardianship, even if you only found out they named you after they passed.

            If asked and you want to decline, try “I feel so honored that you asked. I would love to continue to be involved in their lives but I just don’t have the capacity to take on parenting/parenting more kids as their primary guardian.”

      • Yes, I’m the first-stop guardian for two different friends’ plus two siblings’s sets of kids, and second-stop guardian for another two.

        We chose two siblings as Option A and B and a friend as Option C, but phrased it so they’re choosing among themselves who makes most sense given their lives and ages of our kids, but if they all want it, A wins. The idea is that the kids will need a wider “village” if their parents go, so the other two commit to being a larger presence and source of support for the kids. That’s the concept my friends/family have followed as well – when they asked us to be their guardians, they said by being listed as even an option, they’re asking us to support their kids no matter where they end up and no matter their ages.

        To me, that’s beautiful and lessens the burden of making it exactly perfect. My kids would have a network of people who represent different sides of their dad and I, all helping to make sure they know what we were like and what we valued.

    • really, really tough question. I struggled with it too.

      The other poster who said this is option z is right. It’s extremely remote that both you and your husband would die before your kids reach adulthood.

      My kids’ guardians are my one sister who is at least financially successful, and then the backup guardian is a good friend. We skipped over A LOT of family members when naming the backup, but I have very, very good reasons for doing so, like yours.

      No matter what, if your children experience the tragedy of losing both of their parents (which, again, is very VERY unlikely), whomever raises them will do it differently than you would have. The important thing is that this person would love them.

      • Senior Attorney :

        And also? You can’t know how people are going to react. I have seen elderly grandparents do an amazing job raising orphaned grandchildren. And I have also seen a poor little boy go to his presumably loving and carefully-vetted aunt, who turned out to be resentful and horrible (she had a child the same age and treated them so differently it was painful to watch) and the boy ended up going elsewhere, where I devoutly hope he was treated better.

    • I live internationally so we had to grapple with this. Ultimately we chose my husband’s second cousins as we knew they would love our kiddo as their own, would ensure relationships were maintained with my family, and would parent in a similar way to us (based on how we saw them with their kids). It’s a tough choice and I’m so sorry your sister is in such a state, that must be hard.

    • Not too long ago someone said, on this very topic, that they didn’t want their parents to be the guardians. If that had to come to pass the children would loose not only their parents but also their grandparents who would now have to play the role of parent. Also, there is the high chance the grandparents would pass when the children were still fairly young, thereby leaving them without that family connection in their late teens/early twenties.

    • It’s a tough decision. We ruled out grandparents because of their age–exactly as [email protected]:55 said, I would not want my child to lose his parents and then (with a high degree of statistical probability) lose his grandparents. That said, all our parents are in the mid-60s, and I might feel differently if they were in their 50s.

      After that, we looked at who we trust to raise our child and who has the same values as us. We considered siblings, step-siblings, and close friends. We ended up asking one of DH’s step-siblings. They are both wonderful and empathetic people, and they share our values (and are probably even better at implementing them).

  10. Couples Counseling DC :

    Any recommendations for marriage therapists in DC? I looked on the Gottman website, and there’s only one listed (which seems odd).

  11. How can I get my shoes to fit better? I lost a lot of weight and now my work shoes (mostly ballet flats) are about a half size to big. My heels come right up out of the shoes when I walk.

    • Unfortunately you probably need to buy new shoes. As a stop gap you could try those heel gripper pads or maybe adding a cushioned insert to take up space in the shoe.

    • Heel pad sticker things and maybe insoles? For heels, a thick toe/ball of foot pad can help with sliding.

      Extra Petite and Alterations Needed have had a few posts over the years on things to make shoes fit better.

    • Buy new shoes, these ones do not fit.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      IME, you’re going to have to buy new shoes.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yep, this happened to me and I had to replace all my shoes.

  12. Baconpancakes :

    I just love it when the department head opens a meeting where Male Coworker and I are giving a presentation by announcing, “And now Male Coworker will be presenting on all the great work he’s doing.” Then, after we give a very joint presentation and I close by asking people to contact me with any questions, the department head says, “So make sure to reach out to Male Coworker if you have questions. Let’s thank him for all his work.”

    Just. Love. It.

    • If I were you, I would send out a follow-up email distributing the slides (if that’s typical) and say “___ and I wanted to send out the slides following our presentation today. Please reach out to me with any questions.” So freaking annoying that that happened to you.

      • I think this could be a good idea, but it risks coming across as though you’re Male Coworker’s admin. If you do this, add more “ownership” type wording like “_________ and I were excited to present the work we’ve been doing on Project X. I’ve attached our slides for those of you who couldn’t make it. Please reach out to me with any questions.”

    • Can you go talk to the department head about it? Say wtf?

      • Yes! Agree. Don’t take this lying down. Wow.

      • Baconpancakes :

        No. Just before the presentation, my boss cautioned me to be humble and helpful/cooperative. Would be taken very poorly to make any kind of stink about not getting credit.

        • I’d be going to HR then. This is sexist BS unless your role is a lower one like partner/associate. For sure, in law firms, the associates do all the work and the partners take all the credit. But the way you wrote, it sounds like an equal level employee taking credit.

          • Baconpancakes :

            We are in local government, and my department takes the “servant” part of “public servant” very seriously. Male Coworker is a step below me, but we’re in the same age group (a generation below most of the office). He talks confidently in meetings, takes ownership of new and challenging projects at about the same rate as I do (ie more than most other employees), and I thought that we were acting very similarly, but I got a “you come across as a know-it-all” talk and as far as I know, he hasn’t. I’m examining my own behavior and trying to be friendlier, but I’m also suspicious that I’m being punished for talking while female.

            After this, though, I am also actively pursuing switching to another department, which doesn’t have a lot of the same problems my department has.

          • If you’re in government there is probably/should be an EEOC/diversity or ethics office or officer for employees. Sounds like it’s time to find out who that is and have a discussion with them

        • Such garbage. Was the guy similarly cautioned? If the guy is going to get the credit, then let him do all the work. I am so annoyed for you and for women everywhere who can’t say it like it is, in the moment that it is happening.

        • I’d be polishing up my resume at this point, and then telling them EXACTLY WHY I left when I finally did. I’m so sorry this happened to you. What an awful workplace.

        • “Boss, I am more than willing to be cooperative and a team player, but not to the point of writing me out of the picture. It’s one thing to share credit or to sometimes let other people shine, but you basically just ordered me to let someone else take credit for my work.”

    • That sucks! Do you report to the department head, or do you have a manager in between? Any relationship at all with department head? Do you report to Male Coworker? This seems like something you should have a conversation about- just not sure with whom.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Burn it all down.

  13. Londoners and london lovers and foodies- if you had only 48 hours in London, where or what would you eat?

  14. How much Biotin is right? :

    What’s the hive think?

    I’m going to be 60. Have thinning and constant hair loss from hormonal condition and genetics. Have seen positive results with

    10,000 IU of Biotin daily (have to take it apart from my daily Synthroid though …)


    • I manage my thin hair with a combination of Rogaine (the men’s strength), zinc (has other benefits), Vitamin E, and flax oil. I also get my hair highlighted, which adds thickness, keep it short, and I use products that don’t weigh down my hair. The owner of the salon where my stylist works (rents a separate space) pulled me aside after my last appointment and said she thought my hair looked so much thicker and she wanted to know what I use.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I do 10,000 mcg of Biotin daily and a multivitamin that includes zinc. It took about 9-12 months to see a difference, but wow it hit.

  15. What are your must dos for NYC? I’ve been there a few times before and I’m looking for cool shopping, bars, restaurants – anything interesting and not too touristy!

    Thanks all!

    • Jacob’s Pickles – Upper West side, excellent fried chicken, beer, and of course, pickles!
      Amor y Amargo – tiny bar on the Lower East Side, all drinks made with various amari
      Tenement museum is a little touristy, but I found it very interesting

    • Well, I tried to reply, but it went to moderation. No idea why. Check back later.

    • Marshmallow :

      See The Band’s Visit or Come From Away on Broadway. I think both have recently released new blocks of tickets that are still available face value.

      Shopping: Visit the MMLF, Everlane, or Deciem shops– I get a kick out of physically shopping at places that are mostly online. I also have a special love for the small Bloomingdale’s in SoHo, and bonus, it is near the Glossier store.

      If you want a slightly off the beaten path museum recommendation, try the Morgan museum. Last time I went they had an amazing collection of drawings, including Impressionist and Post-Impressionist sketches and preliminary drawings for masterpieces like Van Gogh’s bedroom.

    • If you want to feel like a local, do an East Village day:

      – East 9th street between 1st & 2nd Avenues is loaded with little boutiques
      – Lots of restaurants, bars, and cafes in the area, like:
      – Veselka for Ukrainian comfort food
      – All the David Chang joints for hipster deliciousness (e.g., Momofuku)
      – Prune for fancy yet homey
      – Big Bar (it’s tiny) to feel like an insider
      – Go see live music at Sidewalk Cafe or Nublu
      – Comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade
      – Dance or theater at St. Mark’s Church or PS122

    • Amazing thank you! I am staying in the lower east side and already have an appointment at MMLF so I feel like I am on the right track! I will definitely check out the other suggestions!

    • Astoria… the Museum of the Moving Image, a drink/coffee at Cafe Bar nearby, and dessert at Omonia Cafe (if it’s nice out, go through to the back and out the door to their pretty patio!

      Only a few train stops from Manhattan so not as touristy, but totally doable in an afternoon or evening (figure 3-4 hrs for all of this)

      Have fun!

  16. Sort of a dumb question, but honestly have not been in a retail bank for years. I somehow ended up with a couple of $100 bills. Can I just walk into any bank branch and get them changed?

    • Yes. But stores will take them too.

    • Definitely a branch of a bank where you have an account.

      • +1 I worked at a bank and we would only do this for customers.

      • Ah…that makes it way trickier then since I have my checking account with a brokerage that doesn’t have branches. Ugh. I use cash so infrequently that I honestly don’t know when I will be buying something for even close to $300 in cash. I could use it to pay for my maid service, but that just seems like I’m passing on the problem to someone else!

        • People do still use hundreds and most likely the person you pass it along to won’t give it another thought. Do you do all your grocery shopping online? That’s an easy way to break a hundred or two.

          • Agreed. Grocery stores are the easiest. Restaurants should be able to handle this as well.

      • Nah, I do this at US Bank all the time. Well, more like 20s into quarters, but still. Also had small bills changed into 100s.

        • meant to add – I do not have any accounts at US Bank. They are always super friendly and never act like it’s weird.

          • Anonymous :

            +1. It’s cash. Why would you need an account at a bank to break a bill?

            I understand needing to be at your own bank for cashing a check, but breaking a larger bill seems odd.

    • yes

    • KateMiddletown :

      This sounds like such a silly question but I had the same experience! I feel this weird pressure since I never carry large bills, so I think this is going into my emergency kit.

      • although I think you’re supposed to keep small bills in case of disasters (because when the big one comes, no one will be able to make change?)

    • No account necessary. I do it all the time with the reverse, actually, in the US (mostly at TD Bank, I think). I will take out money from the ATM and get it exchanged into hundreds. There’s not really a reason for them to ask you for your account number for a transaction like this.

      • Anonymous :

        Not exactly true. Technically, all cash transactions are supposed to be reported for CTR requirements. They are well within their right to refuse or ask for an account number or ID.

    • Do you live near a casino?

    • Your grocery store will probably break them down for you.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Restaurants will take them happily. Pretty much any business that does a lot of cash transactions won’t bat an eye at a $100 bill.

  17. NAWL Conference :

    Anybody been in the past or going this year? I just won my firm raffle for a trip there and I’m excited– but I hope I get some good CLE and networking out of it in addition to just a nice break from winter. What can I do to make this really valuable for myself? I’m a Biglaw midlevel in a male-dominated litigation practice.

  18. Relevant to yesterday’s discussion about which cities are HCOL (and props to those who said SF was now higher than NYC)

    • I’m surprised DC is so high. I knew it was HCOL, and more expensive than Chicago, LA, etc. But I didn’t realize it was basically third behind SF, NYC (not counting Bermuda)

      • Yes, and it sucks because I think we still lack some of the amenities like NYC and SF. Although to DC’s credit, food is a lot better now than 10 years ago!

      • Don’t think this is accurate. I find NJ (which doesn’t really have cities) and Boston far more pricey than dc. Or if DC is 3rd this doesn’t show the huge huge gap between nyc and dc. DC people whine about COL but reality is you get a lot for your money down here – everything is new construction etc whereas for the same prices in nyc you’re in pre war construction. Not defending dc – can’t stand it here but COL is its one positive.

        • What are your issues with the data? I mean, your observation isn’t really data.

          • Not anon at 2:03 but my issues with the data begin with the site–it’s meant to be a resource guide for expats. Expats typically will live in housing provided for/recommended by their (large foreign) company, receive higher income than average citizen, send kids to international schools, live in areas closer to their (likely centrally located) work and expat community. After that, the central city is Prague — to which all other cities are comparisons. The data from which the comparisons come is provided by site users.

        • anon a mouse :

          Housing costs are higher in NY than DC, for sure, but so many little things in DC are just SO EXPENSIVE for no good reason. Manicures are like 2x the cost of NYC. The taxes here are really high. Car insurance is 3x the cost of my sister’s in a midwest state (for less coverage). Gas is expensive. Eating out is not much less than NYC, if at all. It’s exhausting.

    • That was me! I love it when I am vindicated by data :) Though as a SF resident, not sure if I should be happy about any component of this news :)

    • Maybe I’m interpreting it wrong, but I would interpret this list as just ranking the cost of living in the actual cities – so it’s more expensive to leave in the city of DC than the city of Boston – but it’s not taking into account the cost of living and ease of commuting in the suburbs. So overall the Boston area might be more expensive if the suburbs are more expensive or the cheap suburbs are way further out.

    • Here’s another ranking. This one has NYC and Honolulu ahead of SF so it might be out of date.

      Posted from #9 :(

  19. Looking for a Chicago area a therapist and a psychiatrist for a male relative in his 40’s. Needs ASAP help for anxiety/PTSD/depression/panic attacks. The only program I knew about at a local university isn’t accepting new patients. Ideally, they would take insurance. He is a teacher and doesn’t have a lot of $, so weekly therapy isn’t going to be brutally expensive, but he needs it.

    Thank you.

    • Dr. Susan Bank at 180 N. Michigan
      I don’t know what she charges but my buddy has had great results with her. Worth a call.

      • Thank you for this quick reply. She sounds good on her webpage, with a lot of her interests overlapping with what he needs.

        How I wish it wasn’t so hard to find a good person who takes insurance…

        She charges $230 per hour.

    • Start with his insurance company.

    • Psychology Today (dot com) > Find a Therapist > Input Chicago > Filter by Insurance, start calling around.

  20. Cat bed issues :

    My cat has this heated pad that she LOVES (it’s the K&H one on Amazon if it matters), but I have recently noticed that she’s losing hair on her belly. I’m pretty sure it’s the bed – I’ve googled extensively and this is actually a thing. She’s healthy otherwise and isn’t licking it or anything. On top of that, the pad sits on our couch and that part of the couch seems to get hotter than I’m comfortable with. Not fire hazard level, but could stand to be cooler.

    Searching seems to suggest that I can put extra padding to make the thing less hot. I tried this with some quilting batting, and it made the top cooler, but the bottom hotter – I’m guessing it did a weird insulating thing. Any crafty people with some thermodynamics expertise have any thoughts on other options to cool the pad? (Or recs for new pads that are cooler?)

    • Could you just use a regular heating pad that has multiple settings and keep it on low? I foster kittens for my local animal shelter, and that what we use to keep them warm. I often unplug it once it gets warm and the blankets around it maintain for the heat for awhile, without building more heat.

    • anonshmanon :

      The heat needs to go somewhere, so if you add some barrier/padding on top, it makes sense that the bottom gets more heat.
      According to the product description, it has an internal thermostat, that maintains a certain temperature (the other option would be a device that runs power constantly, with the danger of overheating when you trap the heat). But your pad should stop heating when it’s hot enough, cool for a bit, then automatically switch on again (sometimes you can hear the soft click of the internal switch, coffee machines sometimes do it too).
      So, you should be able add something fluffy underneath (folded up blanket) to protect your sofa. The fabric that goes on top should be more dense, like a towel, maybe the quilting batting is fine. It should conduct the heat better than what you put underneath, ie, it should get nice and warm for your kitty.

    • Does the pad stay on all the time? I got a heating pad that only heats when the cat is sitting on it. Purchased from Amazon eons ago… no clue which one it was or if that’s still a thing… but that might be an option. Mine doesn’t get too hot and kitty still uses it if he remembers that it warms up when he sits on it.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      We use the “self-warming” pet beds. These reflect the pet’s body heat back to them, so there is significantly less risk of thinning hair and no fire or other damage risk. They have a somewhat non-slip backing on them, so they stay in place great on furniture.

    • I use a heated blanked for my cats and for my foster kitties. I found this to be better for them than the heating pad because throws less heat than a heating pad.

  21. daytrip to NYC :

    I’m headed to NYC next week for the day for a work meeting and looking for recommendations for things to check out/eat/shop near Penn Station and/or City Hall. I’ve been to NY many times, but unfortunately won’t have much time to stray too far from these spots on this trip. Thanks in advance!!

  22. Profit sharing? :

    How many employers do a profit sharing bonus to employees’ 401ks? What are these? Is it different than the 3% match discussed yesterday?

    • My husband works at JPMorgan and they do this. It’s just like an extra little bonus into his 401k and he never really knows how much it’s going to be, but it’s always nice to get.

    • My employer does. 6% match and 4% profit sharing. They make an annual contribution to the account – usually in March.

    • My law firm does. Roughly 7-10% of base, and that is on top of the 3% match.

    • My firm does this but it goes into its own retirement account and is a percentage of salary. It varies based on the year, but typically 10-15%.

  23. Question about FMLA use for a new baby :

    My husband and I work for different divisions of the same employer. We’re expecting a baby soon and I’m going to take 16 weeks of leave (combination of parental leave and my accrued PTO) and then my husband is going to take 6 weeks of parental leave after my leave ends. This is entirely consistent with our employer’s parental leave policy, which says we each get 6 weeks of parental leave and it can be used anytime within the first 12 months after the birth of our child.

    Our employer’s HR is requiring us to also use up our FMLA and because of that requires him to fill out a medical certification form. But the form they sent lists me as the patient he’s caring for and asks my doctor to certify that I’ll be incapacitated due to a serious health condition while he’s on leave and that he needs to be out of the office to care for me. I can see how this would work if he were taking the time off immediately after childbirth, but he’s not. I don’t see how my doctor can possibly certify this, since his leave will begin 16 weeks after I give birth and I will have returned to work (and to do so, I have to provide a return-to-work letter from my doctor saying I’m healthy enough to return). And even if my doctor is willing to sign off on this weird form saying I’m incapacitated and my husband has to take care of me, I’m worried that it might interfere with my own return to work. My husband’s HR person says she can get us a new form that lists our child as the patient instead of me (?), but our child (hopefully) won’t be seriously ill either!

    Does anyone have any insight into what you’re supposed to do in this situation — basically how do you handle the FMLA medical certification form when you’re taking off the time to be the primary caregiver for a child, not to take care of an ill person?

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it. Just do what they suggest and have your husband fill out the form that lists the child as the patient when his dates don’t overlap with you being home. You may have two forms.

      This is just pushing papers. If HR says it is how they want to do it, it is what they have been doing for others.

      • Question about FMLA use for a new baby :

        HR really doesn’t seem to know what end is up – they offered forms listing the child as the patient when I pushed back on the idea of me being the “patient” 4 months after I give birth, but they’re demanding the completed forms now (even though my husband’s leave is months away) and we can’t give them the child’s name and date of birth, etc. until the child is born. Plus the child’s doctor would have to fill out the medical certification then I guess and we haven’t seen a pediatrician yet and won’t until after the birth. So it’s not as simple as “just do what HR suggests.”

    • I’d push back but probably because I’m a lawyer. If the law says caring for a child in the first year of life is a fair use then I would want my form to say that and my doctor to just certify that we had a child born in the last year.

      • +1. Also a lawyer, and I wouldn’t fill out a form that says I’m using FMLA for something different than its use, and I wouldn’t ask my physician to certify it either. If nothing else, I’d cross out the reason and state the real reason, probably using language from the company policy allowing FMLA to be used for this purpose.

    • I would send this explanation right back to the HR person who sent you the form– I think the baby is supposed to be listed as the patient, not you. He might not be able to finalize the paperwork till the baby has a name? Our HR did the paperwork for me, so not 100% sure.

    • Lots to Learn :

      Your HR department is wrong. The forms they are giving you are for the certification of a serious health condition – either of the employee or a family member. They are not designed to be used for FMLA taken for the birth or adoption of a child or the care of that child. There are no certification forms issued by the Department of Labor for that type of FMLA and most employers don’t require it (although they might require certification of your relationship to the child or proof of adoption). In fact, I just checked the FMLA’s regulations and there is no mention of a certification form at all for care for a child (not related to a serious health condition).

      • Question about FMLA use for a new baby :

        Ugh, that’s what I feared. Thank you. We work for a huge organization (10,000+ employees)…I can’t believe our HR is so incompetent!

        • You are getting correct advice – the leave to care for and bond with a new baby is not the same as leave for a serious medical condition. And as a labor lawyer, I can attest that HR at some VERY large organizations is incompetent. (No offense to the HR folks on this s*te.)

          • The HR department at my former 75k+ employee employer was a disaster of epic proportions.

    • Anonymous :

      I dont get the question as it relates to you as the patient, seems like that was just an error and HR said they’d fix it. I dont see a problem with listing the baby on the form . . . NBD

      • Question about FMLA use for a new baby :

        No problem listing the baby on a form (except they’re insisting the forms be completed pre-birth) but the medical certification form they want us to fill out says that my husband’s leave is to care for a seriously ill or incapacitated family member and we need a doctor to certify the person’s illness and say they need my husband to miss work to care for them. I didn’t think that makes sense (for either me or the kid) and people above confirmed I’m right and we don’t need these forms for the kind of leave he’s taking. HR hasn’t acknowledge that the original forms they gave me were an error. I said “Hey this doesn’t make sense, I won’t be ill/incapacitated 4 months after I give birth and I’m not going to ask my doctor to say that I will” and they said “Um, well that’s what everyone else does, but if you’re unwilling to do it…I guess we could give you a form with the kid’s name on it instead?”

    • nerfmobile :

      Do you absolutely need to have your husband file the paperwork now? Certainly most FMLA leaves aren’t planned that far out. It may be easiest to walk back the “officialness” of his planned leave until after the baby is born.

      • Question about FMLA use for a new baby :

        You would think! The baby is due in March, my husband’s anticipating beginning his leave in July, so it’s crazy to me that it all has to be completed now. But his HR is being super threatening and saying if we don’t get the forms back within the next couple of days, he might not be able to take the leave. Apparently there is some rule that the forms have to be returned within 15 days of when they were mailed and they were mailed over 10 days ago (my husband was out of the country for work and no one notified him via phone/email).
        And the other funny thing is my HR (each division has their own HR) hasn’t gotten their act together to mail me MY forms, even though I’m going on leave next month!

    • Here’s the Department of Labor’s main webpage on the FMLA, with links to more detailed info:

      This is a useful DOL Fact Sheet on leave for birth/adoption of a child:

      And here is one on employee notice requirements:

      There is no reason for your husband’s HR to be this demanding so soon. Here’s an excerpt from the Fact Sheet about the time of leave requests:

      “In general, the employee must give the employer at least 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when he or she knows about the need for the leave in advance and it is possible and practical to do so. For example, if the employee is scheduled for surgery in two months, the need for leave is foreseeable and at least 30 days advance notice is required. If 30 days advance notice is not possible because the situation has changed or the employee does not know exactly when leave will be required, the employee must provide notice of the need for leave as soon as possible and practical.”

      If necessary, print these out – and any other fact sheets that seem relevant – and hand them to HR.

      • I would maybe just cancel your husband’s request for leave and file a new one closer to the leave date, maybe more like 60 days before.

  24. Psoriatic arthritis :

    Yesterday I got tentatively diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. They showed me the X-rays of my hands and it looks like something has taken huge bites out of my joints (which explains the debilitating pain and swelling I’ve had for the last six months ). Now I’m a strange combination of terrified and despairing.

    Does anyone have any hopeful stories of managing inflammatory arthritis? I could use some optimism today.

    • Etiquette- wedding :

      My dad has it. Sounds like they caught it early which is great. There are a lot of biologics that treat it now that are great (but be careful with infections!) and prevent further damage which is key. The psoriasis part can be managed pretty well (depending on the severity) with meds and also, for my dad, the sun/salt water helps tremendously. My dad is a strong guy so it doesn’t really affect him day to day like it might someone else.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      This is anecdata, but I know a man with psoriatic arthritis concentrated in his hands…and he is a successful surgeon. So is clearly able to manage pain and function.

      There are great therapies out there, so I hope you find a treatment plan that works well for you. Hugs from the internet.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re still looking here – my mom has it + psoriasis my whole life. And I never thought much of it other than the skin issues and it was never a thing she struggled with, especially with the great biologics. but now she’s in her 50s and the game has changed.

      4 years ago she had her first (total) knee replacement. which is MUCH different from the partial, easy-peasy ones that old people get. She was in excruciating pain for months and it was very hard to see her like that. someday eventually she will have to have the other knee done but she’s terrified to go through the pain, recovery, etc again.

      I’m sorry to only give shitty information, but this is just my anecdata. It’s very important to maintain physical health and keep ahead of the joint game!

      • Psoriatic arthritis :

        Thanks for your story. This is the kind of risk I’m trying to get a handle on, but there seems to be very limited information available about prognosis or risk mitigation strategies beyond taking a biologic. My rheumatologist didn’t have a lot to offer. It is very frustrating to me that in 2018 we can have so little understanding on these diseases that affect so many people.

  25. NYC Vet Recs :


    Can anyone recommend a good veterinarian in Manhattan (uptown would be best)? Specifically for a cat if possible.

    • He’s in Chelsea but I recommend Dr. Dougherty at The Cat Practice. I really like the fact that they only treat cats (my kitties used to get so scared waiting next to curious dogs in the waiting room).

  26. Small law pay raises :

    Has anyone had experience asking for a raise in small/midlaw where you don’t have performance reviews?

    I’m at a firm of 11 attorneys, 6 partners and 5 associates including me. The other associate in the transactional group gets paid on sort of a “earn what you bill” basis so he can have more flexibility to travel, as does the only other female associate so she can have flexibility with her two small kids. The litigation head actually hired me and set my salary/benefits because we’d worked together frequently when I was general counsel for one of his clients, but I do 90% of my work for the transactional head, who was not involved in setting my salary. We have an office manager who deals with HR, benefits, and such but isn’t involved in setting pay. I’d like to ask for a raise, and/or maybe tuition assistance with an LLM, but I don’t know who to even talk to. I’ve also never asked for a raise outside of a formal performance review system so that doesn’t help – the informality of it makes me feel like I need to have been pretty much perfect in my work for a while before asking, and it feels harder to ask when I’m still newer (1.5 years) and learning – under a formal review system I’d probably have gotten a certain percentage based on achieving the metrics, but to ask on an ad hoc basis I feel like I need to present an extraordinary case for it that I’m just not sure I have yet. Who should I talk to? How should I address it? Is my imposter syndrome costing me money here or is it better to wait till I feel more solid about presenting a case for it?

  27. Triangle Pose :

    Why would we not expect this shell to be washable? It’s 100% polyester…

    • Maybe Kat didn’t realize it is polyester since it is described as “satin”. I would imagine most of Loft tops are washable though so I agree it wouldn’t be surprising a shell like this was.

    • The ruffles might just be a biatch to get back in order after a washing? I hate ironing, so.

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