Working Moms and “Me Time”: Mornings or Evenings?

working moms and me-timeHere’s a fun little question for today, ladies: if you could only choose one, which would you prefer for yourself: mornings or evenings? If you’ve successfully claimed one for your “me-time”, what are your tips? For example, I know of one mom who could get up and work on big projects from 4-6 but had to leave the house to do it; I know of another friend who trades off different nights to stay late at the office with her partner so one of them gets at least an evening to themselves. I even know of an entrepreneur who’s said the secret to her productivity is her divorce — her ex has the kids for at least three nights a week, which gives her both mornings and evenings and the freedom to work until 3:00 in the morning if she wants to.

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How to Handle a Defiant Three Year Old

Readers, what are your best tips for how to handle a defiant three-year-old, aka the threenager (or a kiddo in the terrible twos)? How do you deal with discipline as a working parent in general — and how do you get your nanny or babysitter on the same page?

Everyone says the that the twos are terrible, but for us it was the threes that have been truly, truly horrible with both kids. When my eldest, J, was a threenager, we were giving him time-outs on a regular basis. (That’s him pictured — after a particularly rough night we woke up to find that he had stripped the bookshelves in his room and thrown all of his books in a pile behind the couch in his room. Sadly, I have no good picture of the time he painted the same couch with poop.) We were constantly frustrated and screaming, and it felt like we were never, ever, ever going to be able to live in peace with our child again. Then, one day we sort of looked at each other and said, “Huh… we haven’t given J a time-out in a thousand years. That’s so weird.” It had just sort of ended. Now he’s a perfectly insane six-year-old who gets up to his own mischief, but thankfully we’re mostly past the screaming/time-out stage of things. But: now my youngest, H, is three and a half, and if the slightest thing goes wrong, he is screeching and screaming. He excels at making messes, and his favorite thing right now is taking a pillow and throwing it to knock things off of high shelves. Charming!

(It’s also interesting to note that in the classic, must-read POOPCUP article, this is a growth stage for parents also — the article was joking about how parenting is pretty easy for “parents of one perfect child under preschool” age, but stuff starts to hit the fan once you get into the preschool weeds. Here’s our whole roundup on great articles on pregnancy and motherhood…)

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Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Federal Government Attorney

attorney mom stay at home dadFor this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader S, who lives in a small Southern city with her husband and son and works as an attorney for the federal government. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…biglaw partner work-life balance - image of a business woman

Name: S
Location: Live in a small city in the South; work in a nearby small mom stay at home dad - stock image of a woman looking at a folder
Job: Attorney for the federal government
Age: 30
Home Situation: I live in a 3-bedroom house halfway between downtown of the city we live in and the small town I work in. I live with my husband, whose main job is staying home with our 3-year-old son, C.
Childcare Situation: My husband watches our son full time. We have family come watch C about 2–3 hours per week on Mondays when our work schedules overlap.

A Week in My Life

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Presidents’ Day Sales for Working Moms

Columbus Day SalesHappy Cyber Monday! Who are you shopping for today: yourself or your kids? We’ve rounded up some excellent sales for everyone below:

Sales on Maternity Workwear

  • Destination Maternity – 30% off full-price styles; up to 70% off sale items; styles starting at $5
  • Figure 8 Maternity – Extra 25% off select styles; extra 15% off fitness favorites; GWP Boob seamless panty
  • Gap – Up to 50% off everything, including new spring styles (prices as marked); extra 20% off everything and
  • Loft – Extra 60% off all sale styles; 40% off your purchase of full-price styles
  • Macy’s – Extra 20% off (10-15% in select departments) with code PRES; 10% off $25+ purchase (select departments) with code PRES25; lingerie event, 25–40% off select styles
  • Nordstrom – Winter Sale: Up to 40% off through 2/25
  • Nordstrom Rack – Clear the Rack: Extra 20% off clearance for up to 65% off
  • Old Navy – Up to 50% off storewide; 35% off your order (no code needed); free shipping on all orders with code FORALL
  • Target – Up to 20% off clothing

Gear (not above)

  • Albee Baby – Up to 40% off select Britax car seats; 20% off 2017 UPPAbaby; 15% off select Baby Jogger; 20% off Peg Perago Team; up to 24% off BOB strollers
  • Gilt – Spend $200, get an extra 20% off with code GET20
  • Land of Nod – Up to 80% off; over 2,500 markdowns
  • Pottery Barn Kids – 20-70% off 1000s of items

Kids (not above)

  • Boden – 20% off 2/19–2/25; 15% off 2/26; 10% off 2/27
  • Carter’s – 50-70% off entire site; extra 25% off clearance (up to 75% off total); extra 25% off your entire $40+ purchase with code PRESDAY; $4.97 all collectible bodysuits; buy one get two free (mix & match) on tees, leggings, and shorts; $7.97 1-piece PJs or sleep & play; $11.97 and up for 3-piece PJs; $13.97 gowns; 50% off shoes
  • The Children’s Place – 50% off entire site with no exclusions; clearance $1.99 and up; all basic denim $7.99 or less; all graphic tees 60% off; get $20 Place Cash for every $20 you spend
  • Garnet Hill Kids – Up to 30% off select styles; save 25% off select kids’ swim
  • Gymboree – Entire store up to 70% off; 40% off girl styles; extra 40% off markdowns
  • H&M – 20% off $100, bestsellers up to 60% off
  • J.Crew – 30% off plus extra 10% off & free shipping with code SOGOOD
  • J.Crew Factory – 50% off everything and extra 50% off clearance & free shipping with code EVENBETTER
  • Lands’ End – Friends & Family Sale: 30% off full-price styles with code FAMILY and PIN 2714
  • Osh Kosh B’gosh – 50% off entire site; extra 25% off your $50+ purchase with code PRESDAY

How to Avoid Mom Frump

OK, ladies, let’s hear it: what are your best tips on avoiding mom frump? We’ve talked about it before in a general “professional frump” kind of way, as well as whether you have “mom stores” that you prefer these days — but we’ve never directly talked about how to avoid mom frump. Personally I feel like it’s become more of a challenge for a variety of reasons, many of which have to do with my becoming a mother — my body changed after giving birth, as did my body image! I had a postpartum identity crisis! I barely wear heels anymore because it feels like I’m perpetually running after toddlers! (There’s also the “I’m older and care less” reasoning, aka the popular “zero f_cks to give” argument!)

So how do you avoid mom frump? Where are the battle lines for you — and do you care? Some tips that we’ve mentioned before:

Pictured: If you haven’t seen the original sketch on Mom Jeans, you must. Apparently Tina Fey and Amy Poehler told Glamour that they think the 2015 version of mom jeans is “granny panties.”

  • Pay attention to shapes and proportions, both in terms of what’s current, as well as what flatters you — including for denim, even if you only wear it on the weekends. This is a big one — if everyone is wearing skinny jeans and you’re still in bootcuts it affects every single thing you wear (pants, shoes, etc) and that in turn steeps into your work life because you’re used to those proportions. It isn’t a coincidence that skinny ankle pants for work came in around the same time as skinny jeans for weekend — and as designers try to talk us all back into flared looks for work and play the proportions will change again. We did a roundup in 2017 of some of the most-loved denim at Nordstrom, and because of all the customer feedback (even by age!) the Nordstrom site itself is a great resource. (Wearing the wrong shoes with the wrong hem length is a cardinal sin here — it’s old but I still stand by this chart on the best hem lengths for different kinds of pants). If you’re going back to work for the first time in several years, or at a weight you haven’t been at for a few years, note that even little details on things as basic as suits can change — a puffed sleeve, a shawl collar, etc.
  • Pay attention to fit. If something is too tight or too loose it’s never a good look, but especially after the baby the fit really matters. Make sure you’ve got a great mirror so you can check things from 360 degrees, whether it’s too look for back fat, bra overhang, or more.
    • A corrollary here: Get a great bra that fits you right now. We just talked about how to buy a bra a few days ago, with all sorts of tips on fit issues, so do check it out… but for moms this is particularly important because so many of us got comfortable to soft nursing bras after the baby (and, let’s face it, for many of us, breasts change after nursing). When I insist on comfort for the long haul I wear my Shapeez/Unbelievabra bras.
    • Psst: we’ve also talked about the best no-VPL underwear, especially if you don’t like thongs.
  • Frizzy hair. Postpartum hair isn’t fun — but hairspray is great to tame those frizzy wispies. If you’re beyond the postpartum stage, you can look into keratin treatments, or find an easy office updo that works for you. For my $.02, I find long hair to be easier as a mom because I can pull it up and out of my face more than I could with shoulder length hair (and, if I’m really going for a gold star, use hair spray to contain extra frizz). You may want to check out our recent discussion on Corporette on how long most women spend on their hair for work if you’re feeling bad — for most of us it isn’t long.

Readers, what are your best tips on how to avoid mom frump? Are there things you swore you’d never do that, as you’ve gotten older and gotten bigger priorities (like getting everyone out the door in the morning on time) that you now are guilty of? What common problems have you seen among friends and colleagues — or if you’ve seen women who still look chic but easy, what are they doing RIGHT?

Social media images via Deposit Photos / to avoid mom frump - image of family shopping

What are the best tips for avoiding mom frump -- and is it really that different from general tips on avoiding frump, like professional frump? We rounded up some of our best tips for people whose bodies may have changed recently (and may be changing again), as well as their personal identity -- to say nothing of their budget. Been there, done that... :)

Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Solo Practitioner in California

A solo practitioner mom shares her work-life balance!For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader P, who lives in Sacramento, CA, with her husband and two kids and works as a solo practitioner. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.solo practitioner mom - stock image of a woman doing paperwork

First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…biglaw partner work-life balance - image of a business woman

Name: P
Location: Sacramento, CA
Job: Solo practitioner 
Age: 35
Home Situation: I live in a large home (3,500 square feet) with my husband (works from home in tech) and our kids (Kid1: 3-year-old firecracker; Kid2: almost 2-year-old with developmental delays). The kids have their own rooms.
Childcare Situation: In-home preschool, $1,800/month.

A Week in My Life

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