Washable Workwear Wednesday: V-Neck Blouse

We’re featuring the white dotted version of this simple, V-neck blouse from H&M, but it also comes in red and black — and if you zoom in on black you can see some nice seaming details on the shoulder. This great, classic blouse is machine washable, and it’s part of H&M Conscious (although I’m not sure what aspect of it makes it more sustainable). FYI, as I’ve noted before, if your kids need organic cotton undies or anything like that, the H&M Conscious line is affordable and generally great. This top is $25 at H&M in sizes 2-16. V-Neck Blouse

Here’s a plus-size option (unfortunately not labeled machine washable — but it is “dry clean” and not “dry clean only“).

Looking for other washable workwear? See all of our recent recommendations for washable clothes for work, or check out our roundup of the best brands for washable workwear.

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Comments

  1. Has anyone seen this viral post going around FB? It really annoys me. I hate the implication that moms are just so sacrificial that they truly mean it when they say they want nothing. And never ever would this post go around on fathers day. Yes, of course parents want their kids to be happy and fulfilled, but to this seems to imply that moms are bad parents for wanting explicit recognition of their efforts. Am I just being crabby from lack of sleep, or does it bother anyone else too?

    The post:

    “Every year ( well, maybe not every year) my children ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer:
    What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around more, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.
    I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work.
    Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
    I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.”

    • Clementine says:

      So, I actually read this totally differently than you. I read this is, ‘your time is more valuable than material goods’ and the whole idea that people are more important than stuff.

      I don’t read this as ‘I don’t need recognition’, but as ‘I don’t need stuff’. Which is true. (Interestingly, my mother also needs a material item or she feels forgotten. I am the opposite.)

      • I agree with that.

        Though I have to say, I don’t really want anything for Mother’s Day because (a) I don’t really want to spend the family money, and (b) I don’t want the obligation of reciprocating next month. So, it’s not sacrificial at all. :)

    • anne-on says:

      Would it help if it was reframed as ‘I want to do something with you”? I also think there is a definite difference between what moms ‘in the trenches’ so to speak want for mother’s day (rest! pampering! a day off from doing all.the.things) and what mom’s with grown (or nearly grown) kids want (enjoyable experiences/more 1:1 time with those kids) it seems.
      I also hear the same thing from my dad – his ideal father’s day gift is time with us/grandkids, not a tie/steak/scotch/etc.

      • mascot says:

        This was my take too. I’ve only seen it posted by parents of grown kids. Also, it reinforced my instinct that my mom will be happier with my visting her this weekend because I happen to be in town for work than she will with the token gift I bring. Gifts are high on her love language list so I feel like I need to come up with something.

        • Anonymous says:

          I saw it posted by someone with kids in college. That crowd is really living it. They want to be something other than a funding source. Me, I’m still my kids’ favorite person (or in close second place to DH and or any of the grandparents).

      • AnonMN says:

        +1 I think this is a difference between parents with grown children and those in the trenches. I got a little teary when I first read it, thinking about my kids being grown and wanting them to come over and hang out. But right now? I want my husband to finish building my garden and a solo brunch (both of which are happening, ha)

      • hoola hoopa says:

        +1

        I’m not into this type of touchy-feeling FB share and it does have things like the ‘raid my fridge line’ that’s… unappealing… so it doesn’t make me Feel Feelings, but I do read it this way and it’s consistent with what my own mother would say and how I imagine I would feel too (and pretty close to how I feel now, actually, since I prefer MD to be a relaxing day but spent together and don’t want gifts).

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate this. It really rubs me the wrong way.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1. I hate that parents of grown kids are posting this. I hate that this says, “OH POOR ME, MY KIDS NEVER COME AROUND, I HAVE SUCH LOW EXPECTATIONS AND I AM SO WONDERFUL TO PROVIDE FOR THEM EVEN IN ADULTHOOD.” I hate this so much.

        • Yes maybe that’s it. This is mostly older women with grown sons, where it seems like the DIL is apparently the “bad guy” who hides the son and grandkids from the MIL. It seems like such a passive aggressive attempt at saying oh, I’m such a wonderful person who doesn’t want a thing and my kids can’t even figure out that I want a visit on Mother’s Day.

          Obviously I’m reading wayyy too much into this. But it sure seems like it’s posted by grandmas who don’t live near their kids/ grandkids.

        • 100% agree. It’s not that I don’t love my family, but for the most part they are obligatory relationships. My mom has given me some version of this (not as much detail) since I moved back to my hometown. I think she’s finally learned to initiate if she wants to see us. 99% of the time we’ll go if available but I typically don’t initiate things with my family because I’d rather hang out with friends. I’ve gotten over feeling guilty about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I haven’t seen this but just saw one that says “if a mother says she doesn’t want anything for mother’s day, she’s lying. She wants Trump impeached.”

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t have as much of a problem because it’s clearly written from the perspective of a grandma who wants to see her kids and grandkids more. At that stage in life, I buy that many women don’t want more ‘stuff’. They want time with family because they are starting to realize that time with family is not unlimited as you get older.

      At stage of life I’m currently in (3 under 5), I just want DH to take sole responsibility for the kids for the day so I can sleep in and not change any diapers. And wine. And coffee. But I definitely don’t want more ‘stuff’ to organize and try not to lose. I can buy myself a spa day, I don’t need a spa gift card that I’ll probably forget about in my wallet. I just want peace and quiet (so opposite of grandma quote who wants all the kids)

      • Spirograph says:

        Meeeee too.
        But I buy that fb post from a mom of grown kids. I object because it’s saccharine, not to the I-want-time-not-stuff message.

      • PatsyStone says:

        +1 I’m taking Friday off- no daycare dropoff, no work. It’s my mother’s day gift to myself. Aiming to not be annoyed when I’m on the clock all day Sunday.

    • Actually, this makes a lot of sense to me. I think Mother’s Day means something different when you have grown children, as opposed to when you’re doing active, hands-on parenting every day. This gives me some insight to what my MIL (maybe) means when she says she doesn’t want anything for Mother’s Day. I, on the other hand, would love some recognition. Not gifts, but some words of appreciation and time to recharge.

    • Anonymous says:

      To me, it’s the tone of the message, not the content. It feels extremely gendered in a condescending way. I can’t stand this. And yeah, I get that mother’s day is a gendered holiday – I still hate the tone of this message.

      • avocado says:

        I think it’s smug and condescending but not in a gendered way. It reads as a humblebrag: “look what a perfect mother I am–all I want is to spend time with my children.” This is why I don’t do facebook.

        That said, I am really sick of STUFF. I have informed my family that on Mother’s Day I would like to have a free hour to actually go to yoga class, then dinner that I don’t have to cook and a tasty drink on a patio somewhere.

        • avocado says:

          Oh, and I am not saying I am sick of STUFF because I am some morally virtuous minimalist. I am sick of stuff because I don’t want to have to clean it or look at it cluttering up my house.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I roll my eyes at it, but understand the general message. Also agree that it’s a phase of life thing that
      chafes a bit when you’re so exhausted from the 24/7 nature of young parenthood. Sort of like when some old lady tells you to “enjoy every moment! it goes by so fast!” and you’re barely holding on and just want to sit down and cry.

      The ones that really make me mad are the woe-is-mom “I’m such a martyr” ones that talk about not even having time to take a shower now that you’re a mom. That’s just ludicrous. And kind of gross. Especially if you were sweating as profusely as I was when I had a newborn.

      The one I chuckle at is the one that says “Take your mom out for a margarita this mother’s day! You’re the reason she drinks!” It was an advertisement for a mexican restaurant, and it cracks me up. Of course it’d require a certain sense of humor and generally positive relationship between mom and kid.

    • Blueberry says:

      I have nothing to add other than that I saw a FB post someone shared from Alpha Mom that said something to the effect of, “If a mom tells you she doesn’t want anything for Mother’s Day, she is lying. She wants to see Trump impeached.” I can’t engage with anything on FB lacking that level of snark or lacking pictures of my friends’ kids and dogs.

    • So, I’m not on FB and I haven’t seen this post before. But my mom truly doesn’t want anything for Mother’s Day. She wouldn’t be hurt if I didn’t call her. I haven’t sent her a card for years. We have a great relationship; she’s just convinced that this is a holiday invented by hallmark to make people feel more guilty and obligated to each other. I’ve totally come around to her point of view and I have told my husband that I am 10000% ok not celebrating this holiday, Father’s Day, or Valentine’s Day. I guess my point is that some people really do feel like this. And if you can get to that headspace, it is really liberating. Don’t shed any tears for me — last year I celebrated Father’s Day by *getting myself a massage*, because it happened to work out for our schedules and I had had a gift card for six months. I’m so glad I didn’t have to put that off for an obligatory brunch or other nonsense.

      It sounds like a lot of other posters look forward to being recognized on Mother’s Day because they put in way more than their share of parenting and other household duties. But is the solution to that really Mother’s Day, or some more frequent time off throughout the year?

    • My conclusion from all these comments is that for Mother’s Day, Dad should take kids to Grandma’s house and leave moms the f* alone for the day. Everyone wins, except maybe Dad, but that’s why Father’s Day is next month.

      • avocado says:

        Dad wins too, because he gets to sit on the couch watching golf and drinking beer with Grandpa while Grandma entertains the kids.

        • CPA Lady says:

          I just laughed out loud at that image. For some reason, my 2 year old loves watching golf. She’d be sitting on the couch too.

      • Frozen Peach says:

        SLOW CLAP

      • Pigpen's Mama says:

        +1 — no grandparents near by, but really, I’d like to kick them both out of the house for 5-6 hours and not have to pack a bag for anyone. And then when they come back for her nap, I’ll leave and maybe go get the new glasses I’ve been putting off getting.

        H is good about gifts, but sucks about planning — first mother’s day I got a lovely, meaningful necklace — but reservations at a steakhouse at an odd time (I’m vegetarian). Typing this out makes me realize my love language is probably acts of service, and gifts are probably last.

        I’m also cranky after a full week of husband traveling last week + not being home until well after bedtime two nights in a row this week.

  2. I need more tops like this — something fairly basic, but with a little something to make it special. I also highly recommend H&M’s basic tees for kids. The fabric is super soft, washes well, and inexpensive enough that I don’t get upset if they get stained at daycare.

    • I really love this but hate the polyester sweats. Ugh, why is it so hard to find non 100% poly clothes? /rant sheer, /rant exposed zipper. etc.

      • I agree that we need more non-polyester options and I don’t love the feel of poly on my skin. I’ve mostly solved the sweating issue by layering a thin cami or tank under my poly tops.

      • hoola hoopa says:

        I really love this, too. I have some similar tops and wear them almost weekly.

        I have rayon ones from old navy and vince camuto (? or maybe someone else at Nordstroms). I’d love silk but those are (probably fairly) expensive. I think Pendleton may have one, though.

    • anne-on says:

      This – also, if anyone has suggestions for these kinds of tops please share! I am so ready for the stupid off the shoulder trend to be over.

      • I was thinking of requesting a post covering all the different places to get natural fiber clothes. Eileen Fisher doesn’t really fit my aesthetic, and Everlane doesn’t either (plus I wear a size 12 and need tall sizes). If you like bright colors and dislike polyester, you’re basically buying t shirts at Lands End.

        • I miss my Lands’ End clothes desperately now that I’m fully in maternity clothes. I went looking to see if they had a maternity line (they don’t) and the handful of maternity pieces they do have are horror stories from when I was a kid (as opposed to what I view as their newer, slightly more modern styles).

          • I also searched to see if they had any maternity wear and what I saw had me “oh hell no.”

        • shortperson says:

          amour vert, cuyana

      • This is not a new idea but the Boden Ravello top is similar and more natural fiber-y (silk and rayon blend I think). It wrinkles more than poly crepe but the prints hid wrinkles well. And I adore it.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      I have this top and have found myself wearing it once a week for the past three weeks now. I love it with red pants, or black pants or jeans. I was thinking of going back to see if they had any other colors so this post is helpful.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        It looks really boxy – is that just a misleading picture? I have narrow shoulders so things that are meant to be boxy often look like I’m wearing a sheet….

      • I have this top too, and I really like it. It’s not terribly boxy – I think it has a flattering fit (hourglass figure here, with large b**bs). I wish they had more colors. I’ve been on a failed quest to find slightly dressy, short-sleeved shirts that aren’t cold shoulder, off the shoulder, or ruffled. It’s been incredibly difficult.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          That is helpful – I find that when shirts accommodate big b**bs, they don’t work for me. So I’ll take a pass on this.

        • anne-on says:

          +1 – if someone finds this magical, unicorn (and machine washable) item, PLEASE post it here!

  3. Piggybacking on the post above – If you live in town with both grandmothers, how do you balance mother’s day? I made a point to plan something with my mom and something with my MIL, but what about for me? I feel silly and petty saying this, but all I want for mother’s day is to not have to juggle family like we do for every other holiday!

    • anne-on says:

      Multi-generational drinks/brunch/dinner /visit on another day. I am firmly in camp ‘I am a mom too and I deserve a day to celebrate how I want!”

      • This. Grandmas get flowers and a phone call the day of. I’m a mom, and it is not a celebration for me to have to pack up the kids and shuttle them between 3 houses (my parents are divorced and remarried) not even including my own. Shifting all the brunches to a different day/ weekend just means I’m frazzled on a different day.

    • Anonymous says:

      DH and kids bring me coffee and flowers when I wake up. DH takes kids to spend morning/lunch at his mom’s (he brings lunch with him so she isn’t cooking). I snooze a bit or take a bath, then go out for a boozy brunch with my mom. Afternoon nap for everyone. Then we have dinner at my parents house with my parents + kids + DH/me. My Dad cooks (BBQs) dinner.

    • JayJay says:

      This is my exact problem. This weekend we’re spending Saturday with MIL and Sunday with my mother. I’m going to tell Husband that Saturday morning, I’m going to the gym and he can take the kids to their karate classes by himself.

      Next weekend I may demand a day to myself. We’ll see if we get too busy then.

    • LegalMomma says:

      I informed my husband that I refused to plan anything this year (and then reiterated that I refused to plan after he asked “but what do you want to do”), but that I expected *something* planned for Mother’s day for me – I didn’t care what it was or how small, but there needed to be some recognition (I felt justified in laying down the law as he completely forgot my first Mother’s day when I had a 3 week old). I also refuse to plan anything for anyone else. We saw my Mom last weekend along with my siblings who had all traveled in for her birthday and I will call her day of. I refuse to figure out his Mom/Step-mom that is his job, and if he doesn’t I have no guilt. I reminded him once that I wasn’t doing anything, it is now on him. I have spent enough years juggling everyone and running around, not doing it anymore.

      We shall see what happens.

    • Only MIL/FIL in town (my parents are a 2 hour drive and I established an early rule that we don’t travel for Sunday holidays (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.)) because traffic/work on Monday). Husband and I picked out flowers/plants on Sunday that will be delivered on Friday. 1-800 flowers is a little pricier, but with the 1 year of free shipping for something like $39 and mother’s days, birthdays, etc. (also good for Fannie May which we love), it has been well worth it. This year is our first mother’s day (baby due August), but we are escaping the issue this year by heading out of town for an alumni event (that happened to be mother’s day weekend). Next year will be stickier, as I will probably be more in the mood to be treated, MIL will be in town and my mother will likely want to see the baby, but maybe that will be the week of my family’s annual beach vacation and it will be a non-issue again (travel plans trump holidays in our world)?

    • Agree! My parents live OOT, but I have two sets of in-laws (divorced and remarried) in town. I also don’t want to cart Kiddo around town all day. We’re going over to FIL’s house for a large family gathering Sunday afternoon–FIL and step-MIL planned that entirely on their own, and we’re bringing beer and wine (so DH will buy and drop off beer and wine earlier). And I told DH to plan something with his mom and sister, preferably on a different day, but if Sunday, something at our house that does not involve cooking. As far as I know, that has not been planned yet because his sister has been dodging calls, but not my problem.

    • My grandmother is insisting we invite my aunt/uncle for mother’s day. It’s causing all sorts of drama.
      We already have my mom, mother-in-law and both of my grandmas.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      My mom and in-laws are within 1-1.5 hours from us. A few years ago we started planning brunch on a weekend day that was not Mother’s Day, but typically within ~2 weeks of the actual day. This has worked great for us. Some years we go out, some years we host. This year we’re hosting. It works great because we don’t have to run around and do multiple Mother’s Days.

    • hoola hoopa says:

      Mother’s day is with my spouse and children. We do ‘Grandmother’s Day’ separately with each, plus siblings and their families on a near-by weekend.

      We used to do a brunch with everyone on MD, but it got out of hand as there’s a chain of spouses with local mothers. Thankfully the grandmother’s suggested this arrangement. It’s so much easier for everyone.

      We still call and send cards/art from kids for the real day.

  4. We’re all going out to brunch together.

  5. Looking for help phrasing a response that is not me totally blowing up: I am a member of my Church’s Vestry. For a bit of context: Sunday School happens during the service and parents volunteer to teach. Our education director (a paid position) who wrote out each lesson plan, bought materials and coordinated amongst the parents recently moved on to further her career. The decision was made to move to a “co-op” model for Sunday School by the “Education Committee,” which is comprised of two parents, the rector and the out-going education director.

    One of the Vestry’s foci this year is on “in reach,” taking care of the members of our parish, and we have a meeting next week to specifically discuss this. At our last Vestry meeting, I said that given the shifting dynamic in the education program, I thought we needed to be cognizant of the message we are sending to the families in the parish. The response was that our church is welcoming to young families but that they don’t contribute enough, financially, time-commitment wise or serving on committees, etc. I responded in the moment and emailed our rector about this last night.

    The email basically said that the conversations about commitments and finance do not recognize the modern reality of young families: between work that extends beyond the “work day,” paying for our own educations, childcare (that is easily double our mortgage), saving for retirement, being at the peak of financial and career demands, and the extra-curricular commitments of our children there is no more time or money to give. In addition, when parents alone are asked to pay for and staff the education program, Church is not filling our “empty wells” but giving more of ourselves. And it is all to easy to walk away from the Church.

    I received a response late at night from our rector that said: I see your point about the finances. However, your concerns are not part of in-reach and need to be brought up “later.” The response validated my points and felt like being told to “pipe down.” How would you respond?

    • Sounds “in reach” to me – how does ignoring the reality of modern family life move towards the goal of caring of church members needs? I’d leave a church that told me that the ‘price’ of admission was more money and time.

      • avocado says:

        +1. You raised your concerns and got your answer: we don’t care, so pipe down. Time to start looking for a new church where your family and contributions are valued. Church should be a source of renewal, not an obligation that drags you down.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      This is what sealed the deal on my departure from the church I was raised in – “Families” (read: SAHMs and SAHWs) were expected to put in a significant amount of time on various committees, volunteering for all the things, baking for bingo night, etc. It sounds like your church’s view of families is similarly skewed, and assumes that one parent has few or no obligations outside the home so can dedicate a significant amount of time to church volunteering. Honestly, I’d re-evaluate whether that type of relationship works for my family. But then, I see church as mostly a social safety net arrangement and don’t subscribe to the religious dogma, so it would be easy to walk away. If you deeply believe in the religious aspects, I understand this would be a harder decision.

    • I would probably respond with an email full on links to other local churches Kids Programs, saying, “Here’s your competition. This is where today’s tired, working parents of young children feel welcome. Once they feel at home at these churches, they will stay there as parents of teens, college kids, and empty nesters. You will miss out on the next generation of church members because of this co-op Sunday School policy.”

      I went (notice I said *went*) to a church that eliminated both the paid Children and Youth leader positions and pushed the parents to step in and do the work for their own children. Each parent/couple was assigned a 2 month stint in their child’s Sunday School class or Youth Group. It was awful. You’re either gifted to teach or you are NOT, and having irritated Dads doing the bare minimum to manage the pre-school class put everyone on edge. Some couples found that they really enjoyed the work, but most were annoyed and several left. After a year, we left.

      I see where churches are coming from, trying to trim costs and get more members involved, but forced service isn’t the way to do it. ASK for volunteers, ASK for funding, but don’t demand! It’s also incredibly short sighted to see young families as a “drain” on church resources because they aren’t pulling their weight! Young families are the next generation. Without them, your church of old people will soon die off.

      • Betty says:

        This is basically what is happening at our church: They didn’t *eliminate* the paid child/youth leader position but decreased the funding to the point that we cannot get anyone to step in to that role. We are at the threshold of doing this, and I feel like I am the only one saying that it will drive families away, mine included.

    • I’m not a member of a church right now because of this exact mentality. I do not have time to do all the volunteer work for every single community institution in my town – I am already on the PTA and asst coaching a park sport. I cannot ALSO teach a Sunday School class, when the point of church is to develop my own faith.

      I get all the penny pinching, but why is it that now if you’re at all present, you’re expected to actively participate in your kid’s activities? You can’t just watch the soccer game, you need to coordinate snacks or take over a nightly practice or carpool to a game. You can’t just send your kids to school, you need to fundraise and provide a carload full of supplies and organize a game night and donate to a bake sale.

      I get that sometimes you have to say no, but there’s so much emphasis on “you have the resources, and there are so many families that can’t do this” and there’s actual pressure to participate. I say no to a lot of things, or try to just give money instead, but this seems to be a standing expectation now. What happened? Where did all the resources and time come from in the 50s? Was it all housewives and SAHMs? Weren’t they busy with non-school age kids during the day too?

      • Anonymous says:

        It used to be that kids did less activities. There weren’t swimming lessons + soccer + piano + gymnastics + ballet level of activities happening. SAHMs did have younger kids at home but parenting was different. Kids were expected to play quietly and not bother the adults who were busy baking for the bake sale. Heck, my grandmother used to put my Dad in the pram on the front porch with the dog to watch him while the housekeeper cleaned and she organized whatever church luncheon she was responsible for. This was viewed as perfectly acceptable parenting.

        We expect a lot of ourselves as parents these days – lots of activities and lots of stimulating quality interactions.

    • I think you’re being totally reasonable. It sounds like the way they handled changes to the Sunday school put the burden unequally on young families.

      I don’t know what denomination you are, but my family is Catholic. Every time our in-laws’ church has some kind of fundraising drive my MIL says “why can’t they just sell some statue from the Vatican?!” This always cracks me up. She has a point.

      That said, in all the Catholic churches I’ve ever attended, they might ASK you for money a lot but I’ve never been forced to pay to participate in anything (I don’t even think we had to pay for our wedding?). I understand this is probably different for smaller denominations that are governed locally and have no financial support from a larger organization.

      • Betty says:

        The tag line is that there is no obligatory financial commitment. However, during stewardship season, we publicize that the average pledge is 2K “per unit.” It is an Episcopal Church so part of a much larger organization.

    • CPA Lady says:

      Is this a deal-breaker for you? If so, bring it up at the meeting even though the priest think’s its irrelevant (it’s not and I would be enraged too).

      This exact issue is why my mom moved us from one church to another one. We went from a church with a volunteer youth group leader who did jack squat to a paid youth group leader who was amazing and very involved. The attitudes of the two churches were very different though they were both Episcopal.

      Children are not only the “future” of the church, they are the RIGHT NOW of the church too. I still go to an Episcopal church, and part of the reason I feel so welcomed there is that not only do they have a youth director on staff, they actually have one priest who is focused on ministering to young families. Two of the three priests have young children, and it makes such a difference in the feel of the place. I really love it.

      • Anonymous says:

        It makes a lot of difference.

        I grew up in a dying parish. The town demographics were skewing gray and young people were moving away. No $ for the few kids who were there.

        I live in a growing city and attend a relatively rich parish. The difference in bells and whistles is night and day. They are basically doing social work for the harried 2-working-parent crowd (and I really appreciate it).

      • Betty says:

        This is an Episcopal Church, but a smaller one with one priest for all. There is very little “in reach” to or support of the families. The words of support about the importance of children are there, but the actions (or lack thereof) speak much louder.

        Attending an Episcopal Church is important to me, but there are limits to what I am willing to do. I’m now wondering whether it makes sense to drive an additional 20 minutes to go to the larger church that has a dedicated priest for the young families.

        • Anonymous says:

          What if you suggest that your priest meet with the young families priest at the other church to find out what in-reach activities are working for their congregation?

    • Walnut says:

      You might have better luck if you come equipped with suggestions that both involve and help young families.

      My church has “parents night out” fundraisers a few times a year. For $x per kid, you’re buying an afternoon or evening of babysitting at the church. If you arranged a fundraiser like this once a quarter, you could allow people who staff the babysitting one night get an in kind credit for the next one. You can also start/end the event with a bit of fellowship if that’s an objective.

      Another thing that makes it easier for young families to participate is to have more shift work type volunteering than ongoing commitments. I can’t commit to Sunday school every week, but I am more than happy to sign up for one Sunday a month or volunteer at the parish picnic.

      Speaking of parish picnics, if you have options for time contribution/food contribution/money contribution you’ll more likely get young families to commit to one of the three. Maybe I have conflicting plans, but I can still drop off a side dish or dessert. Perhaps this month is tight on cash so I’ll volunteer to set up or tear down instead. No mental energy to dedicate? Perfect, $50 check is on its way.

      Good luck!

    • Frozen Peach says:

      Honestly, I’d probably start looking for another church. Cannot agree that attitudes like this are a huge part of why churches are struggling to attract and retain young families. We are their target and we only attend sporadically because we already feel the pressure and can’t take on anything else.

      So just in case you’re looking for more data points, tell your rector that this lifelong Episcopalian literally is avoiding church services with her young family to avoid the extremely constant social pressure to do stuff like teach sunday school.

    • a bit of a counterpoint says:

      It’s a bit of a circle, no?

      You join a kid-friendly church, but the activities don’t magically happen. Someone has to “do” them. Who are the natural people — the parents of the kids who benefit from those activities.

      I didn’t do stuff to help when my kids were under 3. Once they hit 3, I really felt that I had taken advantage of the help of others and that it was my turn. And my turn was less worse when others stepped up to help.

      I don’t run any key committees. But I help in a small way b/c one day I worry that no one will step up and something we value will be gone.

      There are not enough SAHMs to contribute their time to do everything. I write a check (which may be harder for them to do) to help with supplies and help also with my time.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1

        Can you suggest that Sunday school parents be asked for a set contribution and then use that money towards hiring a college student to run the program. An education program student looking for work experience might be delight with a few hours work per week. Depending number of kids, you could ask that parents sign up to volunteer to assist one Sunday a month. Presumably they are at church anyway so there’s no extra time commitment, they’re just a warm body to help the college student who runs the show.

        “in-reach’ for parents of young kids should be about supporting their attendance at church – limiting expectations of what they can contribute is part of that support.

        • a bit of a counterpoint says:

          We have worked out so that 2 adults work 1 Sunday/month (and yes, we are there anyway, and just track the main lesson of that day or the general church calendar). But we still need to coordinate with the kids’ parents re sending in weekly snacks (not mandatory, but it helps to avoid hangry kids). Our church provides our craft supplies. It’s not unmanageable if everyone helps a little.

          I’d love to have a kids music program, but we’d need a lot of $ to hire someone or talented volunteers to step up and make a big regular commitment, so we make do with what we have.

        • Yeah, I ran the nursery programme in high school and college. They paid me 10-15 bucks an hour. I had help from people doing their senior year volunteer hours. I don’t know how theologically sound my teaching was but the kids had fun and hopefully learned a little bit. We mostly did Noah’s Ark themed activities and my animal craft skills are excellent (toilet roll elephants? Tiger masks? I’ve got you covered)

      • Betty says:

        Part of my frustration is that families with kids are doing their fair share around the church: 3 of 12 members of the vestry have young children; the head of our Christmas Fair (major fundraiser) were both mothers with small children (one of whom was me and I will not be doing that for a third year in a row); the Sunday School program, with two exceptions is taught by parents on a rotating basis; they sing on the choir. Yet, when a finger needs to be pointed for why we do not have enough volunteers for X task, the parents with young children are frequent targets.

    • Anonymous says:

      My church has a lead coordinator for the program (a parent, I believe she is not a church employee), but the curriculum is some standard off-the-shelf thing. Parent volunteers just show up, read the prescribed story, do the prescribed activity, and maybe throw in one more activity before giving the kids a snack. I can’t speak to the tween classes (Confirmation classes, in my denomination, so a closer study of scripture and more guided discussion. They might have different, more static, teachers), but it works fine for the little kids. Most classes rotate among 2-3 sets of parents, so it’s pretty low commitment, all things considered. They ask for volunteers for the next school year over the summer, and there doesn’t seem to be any desperate scramble to fill the teacher spots due to lack of volunteers. I’m don’t currently help out with Sunday School, but I may sign up next year. If that’s the kind of “co-op” they’re talking about, it might be OK.

      How does the church serve young families aside from the Sunday School issue? Mine has a group focused on parents of young kids, and almost all the activities are either after kid bedtime, or family friendly and often immediately following the service. For special events, one of the ministers coordinates childcare. It makes it easy to participate, which makes it easier to step up to help. The comment about young families not giving enough time or treasure enough sounds incredibly gauche and short-sighted to me. It would put a bad taste in my mouth about staying with that church, TBH.

  6. (former) 3L mama says:

    We co-sleep and I have decided I need to wake up before my kid wakes up. I think I want a vibrating watch alarm that will not wake up kiddo. Does anyone have one they particularly like? Are fitness trackers my best bet or is there a more reliable/less expensive option?

    • This does not directly answer your question, but I’ve put my iPhone on vibrate alarm and put it under my pillow.

      • Meg Murry says:

        Along the same lines, for a little while there I used one of the sports arm bands that straps to your arm meant to hold a phone/iPod/etc while you run with an ancient Motorola flip phone in it. You know, the kind of phones that used to vibrate so hard they would shake themselves right off of a table? That was adapted from what I used to do when I was in college when I would nap on campus in a lounge (set an alarm on my flip phone and then stick it in my bra so that the vibrations would wake me and no one could steal it while I slept).

        I have the Fitbit Alta now, and part of the problem is that the vibrating wrist alarm doesn’t wake me enough to be conscious and get out of bed before I wake my husband – or before I manage to shut it off in my half awake state by thwacking at it until it shuts up and then I fall back asleep. So if you are like me, I’d still set a real alarm that you can turn off if your tracker doesn’t wake up you up, but that you can turn off it the tracker does wake you.

    • Anonymous says:

      My Fitbit has a vibrating alarm it works great!

  7. Baby sunglasses recommendations? We’re talking about a child under 1. I’ve heard about Banz and Babiators –
    any firsthand recs? Thanks.

    • avocado says:

      Julbo Looping. They come in several sizes for different age ranges. My kid would mostly keep them on her face as an infant/toddler.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      The smallest Babiators size were enormous on my kid when she was sub-1 (and she has an enormous head). They fit her now as an almost-2 year old.

    • Sun Hat says:

      We bought baby banz for our ~8 month old. Didn’t work, the band was too big on the smallest setting, and although you can pull more of the velcro through, it didn’t sit right.He was able to pull them off, unless the band was too tight.

      Try a sunhat with a clip that kiddo can’t easily remove. This worked for us until ~18 months (then he started throwing the hat, too). I’ll post the one that worked for us in a separate comment. Now that he’s 2.5, he likes his sun hat again.

    • ElisaR says:

      We used the baby banz – they come in different sizes which are hard to suss out on amazon. The first pair we had was great until he was about 8 months and now he has outgrown them. I ordered a new pair which LOOK the same size but the band is bigger. We haven’t been using them regularly like last summer yet but I think they are pretty good. Also, yes a hat is another good idea but in true sun still leaves my baby squinting… I have a friend that had babiators but she was like 3 years old…..

    • Cat & Jack at Target have fairly small toddler aviators that may kind of fit a baby. We’ve had ones from H&M in seasons pat that have worked.

      • ElisaR says:

        are those UV blocking? i wouldn’t expect glasses from those stores to actually protect a baby’s eyes….

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Same, we probably have ~4 pairs of Target sunglasses floating around our house. Weirdly, my hat-refusing kiddo wore them happily from about 6 months on. She now knows they make her eyes more comfortable in the sun, and she fusses for them in the car if the sunshine bothers her.

  8. Diaper changing tips for a 17 month old who HATES changes? Kiddo’s totally fine at daycare, but at home can be a nightmare. I often do standing changes, which mostly work (though occasionally end with pee on the floor like this morning…), but there are times when it’s just not an option. I’ve tried distraction with books (used to work great), toys, whatever kiddo happens to be playing with/holding when it’s time for a change. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t and then it’s just awful. This morning’s second change involved kiddo taking a header right into the wall among other things. We change on the floor, which is definitely safer given everything that’s going on, but maybe also making things harder because getting up, trying to get into my lap, etc., are all realistic options. On the plus side, I can’t wait to potty train, so there’s that.

    • Anonymous says:

      We still use the diaper change table because I can strap kid down with the strap. Songs work really well. I’ll sing the Thomas theme song or Wheels on the Bus and pause for him to fill in the words or actions that he knows.

    • Stickers?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I used to change diapers while kiddo was strapped into her car seat or stroller…..not always an option, but thank goodness for 5-point harnesses.

      I also used to let kiddo use the bulb snot-sucker on my nose while I changed her diaper. I know, super glamorous.

    • I wrote your post about 10 months ago. Songs helped–for us, first it was Wheels on the Bus, then Row Row Row Your Boat, and now Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. He also hit us during diaper changes for a while, and I found that he likes being given something positive to do with his hands, such as clapping, showing us where his eyes/ears/head/belly button is, or hugging his doll or stuffed animal. It also helped to do what we could to get him involved in diaper changes–asking him to pick a diaper and pull a wipe and help put his clothes back on, asking him who was on his diaper (he knows all the Sesame Street characters now), etc. And finally, a little bit of a warning before we scooped him up and a narrative of what we were doing helped keep him calm. Nothing worked all the time, and he had diaper-changing tantrums at least once a day for months. I think mostly he just outgrew it, so hang in there.

      We do still use the changing table, but without strapping him down. We just stay close and keep a hand/arm on him all the time. It seems better and easier than letting him crawl away or having him get frustrated that he can’t play with a toy that’s 5 feet away. I tried having special “diaper changing” toys, and they worked for a few days, but he got over it too quickly and went back to tantrums. We do let him take whatever (small) toy he’s playing with to the diaper changing table, mainly to avoid yanking it away from him, but he usually didn’t maintain interest in it when he had to be still.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      Tip 1- agree with the special diaper changing toy or something to hold in their hand while changing them. Distract.
      Tip 2- my kids prefer being changed on the floor so they don’t get strapped down. Give them one warning and then they get put on the changing table and strapped down, which they really don’t care for. Generally, after a few times being brought to the changing table, they start being still better.
      Tip 3- Pin their arms down and out of the way with your feet.

    • I could’ve written your post – kiddo was a big squirmer from about 10 months to 18 months, at which point he could simply get up and run away. We only ever changed him on a changing pad on the floor, so he could just roll off and crawl away. I would ask ‘Do you want your diaper changed now or in 5 minutes when mommy’s phone alarm goes off?’. You could also promise to go back to whatever kid was doing before the diaper was needed – part of the resistance is because kiddo doesn’t want to stop playing. And once actually on the changing pad, ‘Here, help mommy hold this train/ stuffie/ other small toy’ usually distracted him for a few minutes.

    • DD was a little older, but the only thing that improved diaper changes was me instigating them by singing a silly song (it’s just ‘Diaper Time’ over and over, not even super creative) I sang the song through the whole change, (through the screaming, the rolling, the tears) a couple times, and within a few days, DD was singing the song with me through the change. Because the only response she got was more singing (no negotiating, no bribes, no yelling, no handing her 400 special toys to see if one would work, all things that had been tried and failed) I think she became resigned. Also, it’s a stupidly silly song, so it was really hard for her not to laugh.

      Acting calm externally while inside it feels like my head will explode with frustration is apparently my new parenting superpower.

      Also, I think I got this advice here: diaper changes in the middle of something, not as part of a transition. ‘We need to change your diaper, then we can go back to your trains’ worked better than ‘we need to change your diaper when we’re done with trains and before lunch’ Transitions were hard enough, adding diaper in made them miserable.

    • Totally opposite of the above posters — I changed mine standing up. Laying him down was like murder and torture. Now he stands up, usually on a stepstool, and it all works out fine. Sometimes he reads a book or colors on our easel while getting changed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks, everyone! We’ve tried variations of what everyone’s described here (except strapping down, since we’ve only ever changed on the floor and don’t have a table setup). I think being even more explicit about the build up of “it’s time for a diaper change” and songs have the best shot at working. And just resigning myself to standing diaper changes. Possibly with a smock for myself, as this morning involved a squirmy poo butt trying to get into my lap.

      • That was me, the OP…

      • Spirograph says:

        No no no, forget standing changes! You’re perfectly set for my technique if you normally change on the floor anyway!

        Maybe I’m a terrible mother but this is what I do:
        1. Move the kid to the floor still on the changing pad
        2. Sit on the floor, and put one leg over kids r torso. Like knee slightly bent over ribs/tummy. Not smushing, just as a physical deterrent to rolling or squirming too much. I can add pressure if it needs to literally be a restraint.

        Works like a charm. I’ve done it with all 3 kids. One time my mom saw me and started cracking up — apparently that was her technique, too.

        • Not terrible, totally done it, too! I’m just not fast enough to get kiddo onto the pad and throw my leg over. I used to use that method, though. Now little SBJ is an amazingly quick wiggle worm and can flip over halfway through getting down on the pad.

      • Meg Murry says:

        For songs, I sang “Now it’s time to XYZ” to the tune of Mary had a little lamb for everything. “Now it’s time to change the diaper, change the diaper, change the diaper. Now it’s time to change the diaper [so we can be all clean/before we go to bed/before we go do X]”

        Swap out “change the diaper” with “brush our teeth” “put on jammies” “put on shoes” etc.

        Since you do changes on the floor, consider a portable setup – get one of those diaper wallets with changing pad, diapers and wipes, and bring it to the kid instead of hauling a kicking and screaming kid off to the diapers if possible. Also consider having them stand on a puppy pad or similar – you can fold it up and re-use it until it gets peed on, then you can pitch it.

        Also +1 to “Now it’s time for a change break, then we’ll go back to playing trains” instead of “now we’re going to change your diaper and then go do something completely different”.

        • We sing for everything at our house. We actually need a new diaper song so I might pick this up. It used to be based around the blue line showing she was wet (tune was Candy Man from Willy Wonka) but now we’ve switched to Cruisers and I miss the blue line!

        • We also sing for lots of things. My son loves Elmo’s World, so we sing what we’re doing to the tune of Jingle Bells… “pants pants pants,” “socks socks socks,” and “shoes shoes shoes” are some of his favorite songs, and he’ll start singing them for us. He especially likes “shoes shoes shoes” because that always means we’re going somewhere (“for a ride…in the car”).

  9. I just got an email that Costco is carrying maternity clothing now. I have never bought clothing there but definitely would have tried maternity clothes, since the fit is all over the place and Costco has the best return policy!

  10. Post nursing chest says:

    I’ll repost in the morning but wanted to get it out there. Six months after being done nursing (actually, exclusively pumping) I’ve come to terms with my floppy-dog-ear boobs. The question is, how do I find a bra that makes my clothes fit? I got measured at Nordstrom and “diagnosed” with a near-impossible size (30dd). None of their bras fit (the fitter only found three of that size in the whole store). I ordered some online and none fit either, some cups were huge, most others very high for my frame (5’1, protruding sternum) and landed above my collarbone. I’m back to wearing sports bras under my work clothes and feel sad. Pre-preg I was a 32c but feel like I have a much flatter chest now and the old bras don’t fit at all. Do I need to get resized again? Where? Or is there some solution I’m overlooking? Is there some sort of “universal” bra I can buy in the meantime nicer than sports bras? Or, do I need to embrace feminism and my new natural shape?

    • Do you have a good bra specialty store in your town – not a chain, but an independent store? In NYC I would recommend Linda’s Bra Salon or Iris Lingerie in Park Slope. I think you probably need a better fitter and better selection – 30DD does not sound that exotic to me. Failing that, try contacting Linda’s online store (lindasonline.com) – you can call or email them with questions, and they also have a bra problem solving guide. Similarly, try the “Know Your B**” Bra Finder tool at Herroom.com. It asks a lot of questions about your shape and size and then gives you recommendations for specific bras. It is less helpful than I hoped since it gives you different recommendations for different fit issues, and if you have multiple issues you have to cross-reference the recommendations yourself, but it might help you figure out what to look for. You could probably also call them and ask for advice too. I have larger (34G) but similarly floppy boobs, and I am a passionate advocate for the Chantelle 3281; unfortunately the smallest band size is 32 though. (Maybe 30 is exotic!) Generally speaking I have the best luck with full coverage bras with non-stretchy cups (look for seams) and straps toward the middle of the cup vs closer to the side (no balconettes). Good luck!

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