Tuesday’s TPS Report: Fringe Tweed Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. This week’s guest posts are from one of my best friends since college, who we’ll call Auntie M – read more about her here. – Kat

MICHAEL Michael Kors fringe tweed dressI love a good tweed. When employed properly, it’s always a classic. This dress is a fun twist on the classic, in that it’s sleeveless and has that great detailing and seaming at the shoulders. I love the high neckline, full lining and hidden back zipper. I’m a little concerned that the length might be too short for some of the lucky longer-limbed Corporettes out there, so to them I’d say save this for fall/winter and pair it with some opaque tights (but not in a “opaque tights make *everything* ok!” way) and kitten heels. I’d also wear the dress with a simple blazer or cardigan and, of course, some pearls. MICHAEL Michael Kors Fringe Tweed Dress Black 2

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.


  1. I have to keep reminding myself I already have a closet full of tweed, because I love it so much.

    • Agreed! LOVE this dress, but I may have a bit of a tweed problem and probably shouldn’t add anything else. However, this would go with so many other items in my closet …

  2. I like everything about it, except not sure about the “fringy” ends on this. I would have to try it on to see if I felt like I was unraveling.

  3. Could they have found a less flattering model for this dress? She looks like she’s stoned. My humble opinion. I could see this dress looking great on someone else, though.

    • I like her hair though! Hair parted to the side and pulled back always looked awkward on me.

  4. I don’t like the high neckline on this one. I tried it on earlier this year in a white and navy tweed. For those interested, it’s available at lastcall for about $60: http://www.lastcall.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod1250053&eItemId=prod1250053&cmCat=search&searchType=SEARCH&parentId=&icid=&rte=%252Fsearch.jhtml%253FNo%253D0%2526N%253D4294967292%252B406%2526rd%253D1%2526pageSize%253D160
    There was a matching jacket but I don’t see it on the website but have seen it in the store.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Wow, I love this, thanks for posting the link. What didn’t you like about the high neckline? Was it so high that it itched your neck?

      What do you ladies think about white tweed for fall/winter. Per one of the threads yesterday, I know white is usually a no-no after Labor Day, but does the tweed make up for it? I think it’d look fabulous with a darker colored blazer or heavy cardigan (a nice fall-ish magenta perhaps), but I’m interested to know what everyone else thinks.

      • a passion for fashion :

        I think yes, for early fall. I’d pair it with a navy blazer or cardigan (I have a great one from Boden I got a sale a few weeks ago that would look great with this — its the chiffon front cardi), or perhaps burgandy cardigan. I say early fall because Im not wild about white with dark tights. So i’d go bare legs (or nude for you hose) and nude for you pumps.

        • a passion for fashion :

          I couldnt find the one i was talking about, but either of these would work:




      • There was nothing wrong with the dress. I think that type of high neckline just makes me look top heavy. I really liked the material of this dress and I would wear it in the fall and winter.

      • I think white tweed is beautiful and absolutely appropriate for fall and winter! I’ve always found “winter white” items to be a fun way to bring texture and versatility to an outfit for colder weather. And I just love tweed anyway!

      • I have a winter white tweed dress similar to this that I wear in fall/winter with black stockings and heels love it!

    • There was nothing wrong with the neckline just not a good look for me. Necklines this high make me look very top heavy. I really liked the weight of the mate

  5. Could you put the price in the blog post? It saves me clicking if it is not something I can afford. Thanks.

  6. found a peanut :

    Nordstrom’s website says the dress is 39″ long…that SHOULD be long enough to be work-appropriate on most people

    • A tall one :

      On most people? Yes. On tall girls who want a knee length dress? Sadly, no.

  7. I like this, but couldn’t wear it due to the high neckline. Too bad!

    What do we think of these:


    I see that Cole Haan has a similar pair and I was thinking of picking them up because I think they are CUTE. But then I look at the soles and I start thinking, “Ugh.” So now I need some feedback from you guys.

    • I like them.

    • I like! With tights and a skirt, with jeans, a fall dress …

    • MaggieLizer :

      The close up makes them look a bit like fancy hiking boots because of the sole, but I’m not sure that the sole would be obvious when you’re wearing them. Do you have time to try them on? If you decide against them, there are a ton of similar shoes this season that don’t have that kind of sole. Nordie’s has a Halogen pair that have a bit lower heel (355903) and a bunch more that I didn’t get to.

    • I also couldn’t do a neckline like this. I feel like it would make me look like I have a short neck and gigantic breasts.

      I’m not a huge fan of the soles on the shoes, but otherwise they are very cute. I would look for something else similar, sans rubber soles, if I were you. This kind of element — if you’re not sure about it to begin — tends to drive you crazy after a while (or, at least it would me).

    • I love Talbots shoes. In my mind, they rarely fall short on either comfort or style … I would definitely gets these for the fall!

    • LinLondon :

      Oof, sorry, I think the soles are a bit too reminiscent of those inexplicable, weird Timberland-style stiletto boots.

  8. I like this one.

    Not sure if anyone watched Today this morning but Savannah Guthrie had a very pretty basic dress on today. If anyone knows where it’s from I’d love to know!

    • No idea, but I’ve become a huge fan of hers ever since she gues- hosted Meet the Press two weekends ago. I thought she did such a great job, and, unlike David Gregory, asked really tough questions, followed up on things rather than let the guests get away with canned responses, and generally kicked a** throughout. I hope NBC mans up, so to speak, and makes her the new host. It’s about time a woman hosted that program and she’d be fabulous.

      • I have never watched MTP since David Gregory took over for Tim Russert. I will have to watch her on there. I think she did a good job on Today.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I also thought she did great, although I do like David Gregory as well. Her follow up questions were great and right in line with what I wanted to have answered.

      • She was the same way on Today a week or so ago when she was covering for Ann. Really good questioning, and not afraid to keep going at it. Alas, I can’t remember who she was interviewing, but I thought Ann (Curry) ought to watch her back! :)

  9. Little Lurker :

    “but not in a “opaque tights make *everything* ok!” way”


    I continue to approve/fangirl Auntie M today.

    • Diana Barry :

      Ditto! She has clearly been reading the site, too, since otherwise the first comment would be “Too short for me at 5’10”!” :)

  10. PSA: Kate Spade sample sale starts today


  11. A tall one :

    Anyone order the JCrew memo dress and want to give a review?

    • No, but big thanks to those of you who warned me against buying J.Crew cashmere cardigans.

      • found a peanut :

        what’s wrong with them? I have several and am not disappointed (yet)…

      • Mine have starting falling apart – it doesn’t matter if I handwash them or send them to the dry cleaners. They pill like crazy and have teeny little holes cropping up everywhere. It’s sad because I love the colors they come out with each year.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          The J Crew Aficionada ladies would agree – the JCrew cashmere has noticeably dropped in quality in the past couple years. The ones from 10 years ago (lucky GRA) are supposed to be wonderful quality, but the “lightweight” cashmere they are putting out now is apparently not good at all.

          I tried on the Memo dress at my local store. It didn’t work for me, I think because my bust is too small to fill that one out in my size. I agree with Anon below that the neckline was a bit low for my taste – I have no cleavage to speak of, but it was a lot of skin, and too low for hunching over a table across from a colleague.

          However, the Emmaleigh dress and I got along great. It even has pockets!!! I ordered it in Peacock Blue and hopefully it will fit. FWIW, I needed the same size that I wear in Classiques Entier, which is new for me. In previous collections, JCrew dresses were cut so narrow in the hips that I needed to size up, which of course made them too big in the bust for me.

          • I am tempted by the Emmaleigh dress (similar to some other J Crew dresses that I have and love, plus so! many! colors! and matching jackets!) but thought the pockets would gap and look dumb. Do they?

      • I have been buying JCrew cashmere cardigans/sweaters for about 10 years now … and I still have some from 10 years ago. Overall I have been very happy with them … I’m sorry to hear others have not had good luck.

    • I ordered it. It’s been a few weeks since I tried it on, so I’ll try to remember and add more if I have a chance to try it on again later. I am one size smaller on top, and in dresses I order the smaller size to fit my top and usually still have enough room for my bottom (or at the very least, it’s a cheaper alteration to let out the bottom). But in the Memo dress, it was still kind of big in my usual size on top–the V came a little low for my taste, and the sleeves were really baggy (I have pipecleaner arms though, so if you’re able to lift more than 3lbs without being sore the next day, they might work fine for you). The bottom fit fine. I think Jcrew has vanity sized dresses about a 1/2 size, to where my usual size is too baggy and the next size down is too tight on bottom.

      I ordered this using my 20% cardholder discount and I really wanted some short-sleeved dresses, so I’ll keep these and maybe see if a tailor can fix the top. I was disappointed that the V was lower than on the model though, because you can’t really bring that up with where the waist is on this dress. I was thinking of ordering a 3rd color if I loved it, and now that I’ve tried it on, I’ll stick with the two basic colors I ordered.

      Hmm, one more thing–iirc, the waist was kind of high on this one (the reason why I said you can’t bring up the shoulders to raise the V). I actually prefer near-empire waists on my body, but I know they’re hated by many, so just a warning if you’re in that camp.

      • A tall one :

        Thank you!! I was all set to order it but your review has me taking it out of my cart (I was concerned the neckline was too low, and if it is lower than pictured on the model, I will not be comfortable wearing it – to each his own). Thanks for taking the time and saving me the trouble!

        Jcrew! Crew and/or boatnecked work dresses (with work appropriate hemlines)! Thanks!

    • I tried it on yesterday in black, but wanted it in the teal, so i ordered it last night. They were out of my regular size in teal, so i ordered it in tall. We’ll see if it works. it was just a teeny bit short on me in regular, so perhaps tall will work. If you’re well endowed, I think the neckline might be too low, but it’s perfectly fine on my small b-cup cleavage (or lack thereof). I also ordered the index dress-I’m going to compare and see which I like better. I’ll report back and compare once they get here.

  12. Nothing wrong with this piece per se, but I won’t buy sleeveless dresses. Can’t wear them at work without another layer, have to clean whatever jacket or sweater I put on over them more often — overall don’t get as much cost/benefit from them. Is it just me, or do other people feel the same way?

    • I love sleeveless dresses and usually wear a cotton sweater/top underneath in cooler weather. They’re easy to wash and help me spread out the dry cleanings for the dress itself.

    • I prefer dresses with sleeves mostly because I get cold but I won’t rule out a dress just because it’s sleeveless.

    • i love them, but i agree they are less practical than “sleeved” dresses … so i’m trying to get creative with the layers underneath and on top.

    • found a peanut :

      I prefer dresses with sleeves in the summer and sleeveless dresses in the winter so that I can wear a sweater over it. But this dress I wouldn’t buy because I think a sweater over it would look weird (the dress is bulky and the sweater would hang odd). It is really, really hard to find dresses with sleeves.

      • I was wondering that about layering a sweater over this dress. The tweed is such a thick fabric, would it look odd to put a thinner cotton or cashmere cardigan over it?

    • Little Lurker :

      Ru??? ;)

      • LOL – I was out gorging yesterday. Slowly trying to catch up on Corporette (and work, of course).

    • I am always cold anyway so pretty much buy dresses expecting to have to layer on top of them. This one I would wear with a short (hitting at top of hip) jacket, probably with a round neckline and ideally with some waist detailing. Maybe in plain black so as not to detract from the tweed, with a brightly coloured scarf tied around the neck for a pop of colour?

  13. R in Boston :

    After my husband looked at the nordstrom box that’s been sitting in our living room since the anniversary sale and said “aren’t you ever going to open this?”, I am wearing THE halogen skirt today in the dark pink color. I know there were some mixed reviews, but I think I’m with the majority in saying this works for me. I am 5’1″ and the petite hits right at the knees; I’m also pretty curvy and it looks neither too schlumpy nor too sexy.

    • I noticed today that they have new colors out, including a gorgeous turquoise blue. Turquoise/teal is my favorite color, so I might have to give in.

      • I know this isn’t “the” Halogen skirt, but thoughts on this one?


        • R in Boston :

          Not for my build, but I love the look of it. If you are of the body type that could make that work, I say go for it.

      • found a peanut :

        Just saw the new colors…I am definitely getting turquoise. The skirt does not fit me great but for $59, why not.

      • R in Boston :

        Oh man, the new colors. Not sure I could get away with some of them (I’ve been thinking the pink is bright for me, wearing it with a black top, grey jacket, black pumps, and pearls today), but I love the orange, green, and turquoise.

    • I got the lilac color for $17.50ish at Nordstrom Rack and the fit is perfect for my pear shape. Hopefully the turquoise will make it there too.

  14. Diana Barry :

    Review – I am wearing the BR Mad Men ‘begonia print dress’ today at work. I had to size up in it – I am usually a small 8 and am wearing a 10 – because it has a high, tight waist and it was too tight on my giant rib cage in the 8. So the back and shoulders are kind of big, but not so big that I want to get it tailored – I will see how I like it this way first.

    The 10 also had a longer length than the 8. I usually take a tall but they only had the tall in blue (I don’t really like blue w/ warm coloring), so although it is at the high end of my kneecap, it is still long enough for work. Plus, nice full skirt has POCKETS!

    Beautiful print and nice fabric, although if your toddler sits on your lap it will wrinkle right away. :)

  15. I think this tweed dress is a Loser – because – something fringy around the armholes and neck is darned uncomfortable. Also, this is not just a sleeveless dress but note that the armholes are cut way in. Maybe cute for a party, but not for work.

  16. Ladies, I just don’t know how to deal with my job. I got back from vacation yesterday, but my boss was out. So today is the first time I’ve seen him in over 2 weeks.

    He just pulled me into a conference room to tell me that the contractor quit and it’s my fault. I hadn’t seen the boss or the contractor in 2 weeks.

    He actually made me cry. And I can’t fathom why anyone would make a point of blaming the only employee left. He’s a bully and he has no management skills, whatsoever.

    To make matters worse, I’m sick. I’ve got a terrible headache, nausea, chills, and I’m achey. I was planning to leave soon.

    • A Regular Lurker :

      Yikes. You’re the only employee left? I’m not surprised. Sorry you’re having a tough time.

      I wish I had advice for you, or a better job to offer you, but alas. Hang in there, and I hope things are looking up for you soon.

    • I’m so sorry – you are in such an awful situation. Virtual hugs. Hopefully things will get better soon (as in, you find a better job or he gets fired).

    • Oh gosh Bunkster, I’m so sorry. I hope you feel better and get out, both for short- and long-term, soon.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If you are at the point that you just don’t give a poop, and you are ready to quit anyway, maybe you should try talking back to him and stand up for yourself. After you have time to cool down and regroup from the emotional melt down (don’t worry, we all have them) march into his office and say something like this:

      “Boss, as you know I have been away the last two weeks. There is absolutely no way I could be responsible for anything that happened in that time. The way you spoke to me was completely unacceptable and I will not tolerate being disrespected like that at work.”

      Then turn and leave and go back to work. If he wants to throw a tirade and scream at you, he will have to follow you out and you will have witnesses. He will look like the ass there.

      I was in a similar situation at an old job with an abusive boss. Right before I quit (I had found another job) my husband urged me to provoke the jerk so others could see his unprofessional behavior. I really think it worked. When I left, other higher ups said “good for you, x was really treating you like crap. I had no idea.”

      If there is no one higher up to see this and reprimand him, at least maybe he will realize you are not a doormat and will move on to another victim. At the very least, you will probably feel better after yelling at him.

      • Oh Bunkster, this is awful. I really hope you are able to find another job soon. And for what it’s worth, I think Blonde Lawyer’s suggestion is a pretty good one, although unfortunately, given what you’ve said about your boss, it’s unlikely to make him change his behaviour in the long term.

        And if you are sick, go home! Sounds to me like there is no good reason you should stay there today.

      • Thought I’d give you all a timeline. Boss (B) took management job in spring 2010. He had 2 people in reporting at that time. I started in October. In the 10 1/2 months since I’ve been here, 2 people quit and 2 were fired. I’m the last one standing and he just heaps abuse on me.

        Oh, and Blonde Lawyer, I dream about telling him off. I even drafted a statement for the next time he pulled me aside, but this was just out of the blue. I will definitely tell him off and tell HR, if/when I leave.

        Unfortunately, his boss is in NJ. We’re in Boston. And the only other people higher than him are on opposite sides of the floor. Also, he’s in a cube.

        And I haven’t left yet because I’d have to go speak to him and I can’t do that today. I need to stay far away from him. Also, Makeup Junkie, I don’t think I can take more time off, because he’d have to authorize it. Plus, the first 5 days of every month are the busiest days for our group.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Bunkster –

          Just to provide some light at the end of your tunnel. When I was dealing with my abusive boss I didn’t see any end to it. He wasn’t treating me like crap because I was a woman, he treated me like crap because he treated everyone like crap.

          I was scared when I moved to my new job that I could work for someone like him or worse. Instead, I now work for an attorney who tells me daily how happy he is that he hired me, how much he appreciates my work, that my work product is stellar, etc.

          All I ever heard from abusive boss was how much I sucked at my job and how everything I ever did was crap, etc. I started to actually think that maybe I was bad at what I did. But, oh a whim, I applied for a job I was barely qualified for, got it, and rock it. I feel so much better and wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy.

          If you are thinking “this does not help at all, there are no other jobs out there, I don’t know when I will ever get to leave, I have to pay the bills” . . . that is exactly where I was too. But, somehow, by the grace of whatever power you believe in, it happened. I bet something better will come along for you too, you just got to get through this part.

          • AnonToday :

            Thank you BlondeLawyer. I too am going through this but my boss is HR so there’s no relief. I have been looking for 6 months with nothing to show and it is discouraging. Nice to hear good stories and to remember it isn’t me. I find myself dreaming of giving up my career entirely since my boss makes me feel so incompetent and I start beleiving it. Bunkster–you aren’t alone and hopefully my good energy helps you out. I keep a stress ball hidden under my desk to squeeze when needed. Other than that, I have no other advice.

        • Anon in NYC :

          No advice – but so sorry to hear this! Chin up – it’s not about you, it’s him. And I’m sure by now his management abilities are definitely in question given the high turnover rate.

          • LadyEnginerd :

            Bunkster – the only advice I have is to document, document, document. I’m sure the lawyers on here can give you some pointers as to some best practices. Even if no one else ever sees your crazy boss journal, your written record can remind you that you are not the crazy one, and that you are entirely justified in how you feel. I’m not in a corporate environment so I don’t have any specific advice, but I have to wonder if there’s a way to quietly get someone else in the loop. Can you ask someone for advice as to what you can do better and get the situation on their radar in a better fashion than, say, finally snapping and yelling?

            When you do finally stand up to this prize of a boss, all of the semi-anonymous ladies out here will be cheering you on!

        • Bunkster, please read Blonde Lawyer’s comment above – I too just got out of an abusive work situation (the therapist I started seeing literally is treating me as she would an abuse victim), and I too had a whole host of excuses why I couldn’t quit. The problem is, if your boss is anything like mine was, it won’t ever get better and it will probably escalate, and you won’t even realize that it’s gotten worse until it’s dangerous. You also probably don’t realize how much you’ve internalized the abuse; I am still struggling to find the self-confidence to do simple things like hit send on an e-mail that I’ve “only” proofread four times.

          I now sleep through the night, I don’t get scared when the phone rings, I don’t cringe when my phone bings for a new e-mail, and I am told on a weekly basis that my work product is exceptional (because it is). Set a deadline for yourself – apply for a job a day until you land one, and if you don’t have one by your deadline, just quit. You’ll find a way to survive.

          *hugs* and best wishes

        • Lostintranslation :

          Hope you get out of there ASAP. Everyone else has awesome advice, esp. regarding not internalizing the abuse. I also just switched office locations within our company and realized my old boss was extremely sexist/pervy, but I had always made excuses for his behavior. Now I have a great boss who will never do that, and I hope you have a better boss soon too :) It will get better, and until then, I’ll virtually punch your boss in the face over and over for you…

          • Lostintranslation :

            Ugh! I just reread my comment and I totally sound like Ellen. Was just trying to send you my best awkward wishes, I swear.

          • Nah, not enough caps and spelling errors. :)

          • AnonToday :

            You and me both Lostintranslation. I swear I can spell and that I’m not EllenLite (my problem is not that the MANAGEING partnerr has bad breathe.)

          • I do employment law and have just heard about a boss (company owner) who was throwing objects at the human resources person (female) in anger (repeatedly). She kept dodging and stayed on the job because she needed employment, but was later fired. Does this beat anything?

        • Valleygirl :

          I know this echoes what many others have said but document everything. Also don’t be afraid to go to HR. I was having similar issues with my boss (grey area sexual harassment and hostile work environ, being asked to do tasks clearly outside my area of expertise, being bullied around in general, etc.) and I was a wreck. Hated going to work, constantly job hunting, high stress and anxiety bleeding over to other areas – and then I went to my HR person and laid it all out with documentation. HR rep had a chat with my boss, who is one of those it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission types, and things have completely turned around. I think it actually showed my boss that I wasn’t f*cking around – that I would 1) report him and 2) walk and leave my group hanging on several projects due to his behavior. In a twisted way I feel like I get a lot more respect from him now because I called his BS behavior (and this isn’t the first time he’s spoken with HR about these issues)… so – moral of the story is to document and talk to HR. I initially went in just wanting his poor behavior and outside the scope of my work requests documented in case they tried to fire me… and instead I got a 100% better work environ. so really it can happen.

          • Yes. Talk to HR now. Why wait until you’re out the door?

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Agreed. Even if your HR is in a different place than your office, you can request a time to have a conference call between you, and then spell it all out. I was sexually harassed at a job years ago and was terrified of coming into work every day. Setting up an appointment with HR instead of just randomly calling helped underscore that I was very serious about what I was saying.

      • I was thinking of similar language but you could put it in an email. That way you won’t have to worry about emotions and you create a document trail. Hope something better comes along for you soon!

    • Your job just sounds awful. Big hug.

      I don’t have much advice other than to keep looking for something new.

    • :( Bunkster, I’m so sorry you’re sick and getting abused. You could consider making a discreet phone call to the boss’s boss in NJ. I did this once and was basically told to wait it out because the boss would be gone in a couple months. The higher up was already aware of the problem and working on it, and that made me feel like I had a little license to talk back and stand up for myself. Just write down what you plan to say or you might sound like the incoherent victim of a purse snatching.
      My experience was similar to others above who needed therapy afterwards. I started to internalize the abuse, and then I actually did start to perform worse because I was so unhappy and self-doubting.
      I don’t want this comparison to sound like I’m making light of abusive relationships, but some of the self talk is similar -Like: I can’t leave because what if I can’t find something else? It will get better. Some of this really is my fault. There are still good things about this job that are worth staying for…
      And I second the rec to document everything.

  17. A mental health update, and advice needed, if you’re so inclined.

    A few months ago, I posted about having severe anxiety issues. Long story short, I talked to my doctor, who was fantastic about the whole thing, and have been taking Zoloft since. It’s done wonders for the awful racing heartbeat/panicky feelings. So, I’m really glad I sucked it up, got past my issues with having to be medicated, and just did it.

    From that standpoint, things are better. But I’m still stressed and not sleeping well, which makes everything worse. I’ve been talking to a therapist about things and she’s suggested yoga, meditation, more exercise, finding time for fun, etc. Also, a vacation to just REST and recover from the stress of working full-time, raising a kiddo, and juggling the rest of life.

    OK, great. Those are the things I can’t seem to do even though they’re so freaking obvious. I feel so, so, so guilty for taking time to myself. What right do I have to spend time away from my toddler son when I’m already away from him so much? And, as you ladies know, vacation doesn’t make the work magically disappear; it just prolongs the inevitable.

    I want to work through these guilt issues with my therapist, but we don’t seem to be getting there very quickly. We’ve talked about other motherhood issues, but GUILT is the major one that doesn’t seem to get resolved. I don’t know if I’m not being clear enough about what I need, or what. I’m not convinced therapy is helping that much even though I like her and find her easy to talk to.

    Ladies, if you’ve faced these issue, please tell me how you got over it. Because I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing, but I haven’t been able to convince myself that I’m deserving of a break. Millions of women seem to do it all and do it well — why can’t I?

    • Formerly Preggo Angie :

      I don’t have much advice to offer, but I get where you’re coming from. I posted just yesterday for feeling awful about a potential 2-night work trip I’ll have to take… in November! I can’t even seem to break away for a yoga class these days. But look at it this way – you take the break, come back feeling better, and when you feel better, you are a better mom. I admit, I probably should take my own advice. :) Hang in there.

    • No bright advice, just sympathy. But I do want to point out that

      “Millions of women seem to do it all and do it well — why can’t I?” – please! No way, millions of women do NOT do it all, and the fact that you are raising a son (alone?) and holding down a demanding FT job puts you in an even smaller circle of women who can actually attempt to “do it all”. So please don’t be so hard on yourself.

      I’m not a mom, but if taking a teensy (more) bit of time away from your son means he gets a happier, more mentally healthy mom – probably worth it?

    • I agree with anon’s disagreement of “millions of women do it.” First, millions are not doing it and doing it well; many women are barely holding it together no matter what they tell you. Second, you are you, not any other one of a morass of successful women. You are an individual. Your choices can thusly be individual.

      I’ve burnt out of a couple of jobs because I couldn’t “do it all” which led me to believe I am a failure at working full-time. It took about four months of therapy to get me to see that a bad fit between my life and my health and my job at the time did not mean I was a failure. It meant that I was doing the wrong thing for me at the time.

      On guilt at doing something for yourself: a former boss told me “Always put the oxygen mask on yourself first.”

      Finally, on therapy: I’m going into year three of seeing my therapist. Not everything can be solved in a few months, and this longevity has allowed us to work in session on long-term issues such as kids, seasonal triggers to my depression, and changes in extended family. Your guilt didn’t build up in a few months (I’m guessing) and it may take time to alleviate.

      I hope this helps. Therapy helps me. Outside perspectives (like the wisdom here at Corporette) help me. I feel better than I did the last time I burnt out/wanted to die, but I can’t quite say I’m completely “over it.”

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      There are lots of self-help books out there on guilt. A friend going through a similar issue felt it helpful to read a psych book about the science behind guilt – not the self-help type. If you get to see what causes guilt and how it manifests maybe you can recognize unhealthy guilt versus healthy guilt and deal with it. I would say unhealthy guilt would be “I just can’t do everything all the time.” Healthy guilt would be “I accidently ran over my boyfriend’s cat.”

      Then, even with healthy guilt you work on realizing when it is time to let it go. In the hypothetical cat issue, you took it to the vet, paid the bills, there is nothing left you can do, etc.

      Regarding finding time for the things you want to do – as much as I absolutely hate it, the only way I can do that is to do it first thing in the morning. A pay myself first if you will. If I go to the gym after work I feel guilty that I am not home with my husband or walking my dog, or feeding my cat, etc. In the morning when they are all sleeping, I can go with a clear conscience.

      • I liked both The Gifts of Imperfection and I Thought it was Just Me (But it isn’t) – both by Brene Brown.

    • (1) Hang in there! It is extremely challenging to be a working mom, and I haven’t met one yet who doesn’t have some level of guilt.

      (2) As for taking time for yourself when you feel guilty about leaving your child already – what about a stay-cation that includes your child? Don’t go anywhere. Just don’t go to work. Take your kiddo out of daycare for part or all of the day (or wait until after school?) and do something fun that you would both enjoy – the zoo, library, children’s museum, park…heck, even the grocery store can be a good time if you go in the middle of the day when you’re not “supposed” to be there. Enjoy each other for a few days. Taking a break from the routine can really help my stress level. You can also take some just you time, too, but you won’t feel so guilty since you’ve spent some quality time with your child.

      (3) Could you tell your therapist that you like her and find her easy to talk to, but you’re not sure you’re getting anywhere with your guilt issues? She might focus more on that if you’re straight with her. Otherwise, could you consider a new therapist? It took me a couple of tries to find someone who I felt was effective.

    • AtlantaAttorney :

      First, just as background, I am a working mother of 2 young kids. So I know where you’re coming from.

      Second, I think you need to reframe the issue. What you’re talking about is not getting a “break,” but incorporating some healthier lifestyle habits into your day on a regular basis. I agree a vacation is not really a solution, but yoga or daily exercise is. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and maintaining your mental health, is your JOB as a mother. It’s something you need to be driven to do, and is not in any way shape or form an indulgence on your part.

      So, given that daily, or near daily, physical exercise is important to your health, will help you sleep better, will help soften the edges of stress, the question becomes, how do you get it in and still maximize your time with your son?

      Here are some suggestions:
      –Get up early while he’s still asleep. Try a 6am class/walk/run. It may mean you have to go to bed at 9pm, but might work with your schedule.
      –Run or walk in the evenings with him in a stroller. If he’s a toddler, maybe he could have his dinner in the stroller while you get your exercise in (think sliced grapes or apples, string cheese, smoothies, cut up pieces of sandwich or french toast).
      — Run or walk with a girlfriend in the evenings after he goes to bed. He should be asleep around 7:30, right? That’s plenty of time for a good power walk with a girlfriend.
      –Make the playground your gym. Take him to a playground on Saturdays and Sundays, but work your booty while you’re there. Run around, do the monkey bars, go up and down the slide 300 times, push him on the swings but run a circle around the swings every time you do it – he will find all of that hilarious and you will definitely get exercise in.
      –If you have a playroom, put a big TV in it and do yoga in there while he’s playing. It won’t be *as* relaxing, but you will get to be together and you’ll still get the benefit of doing the moves.

      The guilt comes when we think we are doing these things just for us. But maintaining our own health *is* what makes us better/more patient/more even-keeled/more engaged mothers, which is our goal. You don’t think of taking the time to wash your hands as an indulgence, do you? This is no different. It’s steps you take to keep yourself healthy so you can be the mother you want to be.

      • These are great suggestions. I’m copying and pasting your last paragraph in my journal and plan to re-read often. Maybe this lesson will sink in, finally!

        • Midwest — I have been thinking of you too. Thanks for the update. And @AtlantaAttorney: This. A thousand times. And then some “Cosigned” just for good measure. :)

        • Seattleite :

          Midwest, before my depression was diagnosed it manifested as guilt. I wonder if it would be helpful to 1) have yourself evaluated for depression (I’ve heard it’s frequently tied to anxiety) and 2) think of the guilt as a symptom of the depression/anxiety, rather than a sign that you’re doing anything wrong.

          (The other thing that helped me was to tell myself, when wracked by unhealthy guilt, that that was just the devil playing mind games with me. But YMMV.)

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I’ve been thinking of you Midwest, and I’m so glad you checked in.

        I’m not a mother yet, but I have recently come to realize what Atlanta is saying – “But maintaining our own health *is* what makes us better/more patient/more even-keeled/more engaged [relationship partner], which is our goal.” I am a much better partner to my SO when I work out daily at 5:30 am. We both work long hours, so I feel guilty taking time away from “our time” by working out after work, plus frankly I can always come up with an excuse for why I can’t go to the gym that day. Now I am an early morning gym fan – even if the rest of my day goes to crap, I know I started my day right, taking care of my health and getting some personal time. I also sleep SO MUCH BETTER now that I work out every day with weight or cardio. Yes, every day – even 30 minutes makes all the difference in the world to my physical and more importantly mental health.

        I’m starting to really understand that the crux isn’t *more* time with the people you care about, it’s more *quality* time. If you are stressed and anxious and upset, that’s not good family time. Reclaim some time to yourself for your health, and be amazed at how after just a few short weeks of regular exercise/personal time, your improved mood will result in a better quality of family time, even if it’s technically fewer minutes in order to accommodate your personal time. Quality, not quantity.

    • I wish there were a magic pill for dealing with guilt. I also wish I could give you more constructive advice with regard to therapists, but the last time I went to a therapist it went down like this:

      me: I can’t stop feeling so guilty about ________. Growing up Catholic probably ruined me for life.

      therapist: You’re probably right.

      Needless to say, I quit therapy.

      Here’s my advice: remind yourself that taking time for your mental/physical/emotional health is your job. It’s something vital you need to make time for if not daily, then as often as you can. Making time for yourself is going to help you present your *best* self to your son, family, friends, and colleagues instead of your stressed-out, suffering, tired, hurting self.


    • Less Sleepy Anon :

      Have you talked to your doctor/therapist about adding an additional medication for sleeping? I was recently prescribed Trazadone (sp?) on top of my medication (Lexapro) because I was not getting restful sleep. I was groggy all day, exhausted – even though I was technically logging 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Trazadone is an anti-depressant in high doses but in low doses is prescribed for insomnia/sleeping issues. It has helped me tremendously – no more grogginess, I have more energy, and am making better, clearer choices throughout the day. FWIW I didn’t want to take other sleeping pills, such as Ambien, Lunesta, etc. since I’m already prone to sleepwalking/talking, which those medications can exacerbate.

      Re: the guilt, I am not a mom, but one of the best things my mom did for me was go to law school when I was around 5 years old. I learned early on that mom had things going on other than me, and that her life didn’t revolve around my needs, which gave me a healthy perspective (IMO). I learned boundaries, because when the door to her study room was closed, I knew I couldn’t bug her (unless it was an emergency), and so I also learned autonomy and how to figure stuff out on my own. When she failed the bar the first time, I saw what extreme disappointment looked like, and when she passed on the second try, I learned the value of getting up, dusting yourself off, and going for it again. Most importantly (to me), I had a mom who accomplished something big and important for herself, and was rightfully proud of herself for it. It was one of the best things she has ever done for me, which I’m sure was an unintentional effect, but there you go.

      My point is, I think it’s very (very) important for kids to see mom doing something good for mom. YMMV.

    • Have you had your hormone levels tested by your doctor (thoroughly)? If they are off, that can cause some of the issues you describe. So can vitamin D deficiencies and other issues. A few years ago I went of BC and got an IUD. I became crazy. I hated myself and I didn’t feel in control of anything in my life. I had a progesterone deficiency and now use a progestererone cream daily and most days I am “off” emotionally (reacting in a way that is not in line with what I am experiencing) I realized I forgot to use the cream. I’m not saying that’s your issue. But a good GP can make sure there isn’t anything else going on that could be causing or just contributing to your feelings. I’m a firm believer you can really only absorb the lessons of therapy if you are in a relatively healthy place physically. Maybe that’s too strong – I’m sure it helps some. But to get the full benefit, it really helps to be physically strong.

    • Diana Barry :

      Do you have a partner, or are you a single mom? If the former, ask your partner/spouse to take more time with baby one night a week at least, so you can go and do something just for you. If you are a single mom and able to hire a babysitter, I would take time after baby is asleep – if you put him down early, then the sitter will be at home with him and you can go out and do your stuff.

      Also, be open to the idea that your job might be causing you stress. If it’s a long commute, long hours, etc., that will eat into your time at home and make you more stressed out. I do like my job, but sometimes get resentful of its time commitment – so I solve that problem by inventing “appointments” away from work – and I use those “appointments” to do things for myself (go to yoga or get a manicure or whatever). Then I catch up on work, if needed, after the kids’ bedtime.

      Also, if your therapist doesn’t seem to be helping with the guilt issues, TELL HER and consider trying another therapist to see if you can work through things better with someone else.

      Hang in there, mama! We do NOT “do it all and do it well” – we do it all, poorly, or do some things, well. :)

  18. Makeup Junkie :

    wow, that sounds just awful and have you have my every sympathy. I have had a bully boss and I know how wretched it makes the work place.

    Is there any way you take more time off while you look for something else? Maybe go on stress leave or something?

    • Makeup Junkie :

      that was for Bunkster, but a posting-too-quickly-error placed it here. Grrr.

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    The call it a “tweedy fabric,” not tweed. It’s a handsome dress.

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