Maternity Monday: Melissa Maternity Top

I’ve always liked the brand Olian for maternity clothes — the quality was on par with what I was used to with the price range, things washed well, and I generally liked the designs. This swingy top could be great for work or weekend — and I like the hint of edge the faux leather accents bring. The top is $120, available at Nordstrom.  Olian Melissa Maternity Top


Building a maternity wardrobe for work? Check out our page with more suggestions along both classic and trendy/seasonal lines.


  1. So, I’ve asked to stack my maternity leave because my office calculates its 12-month period based on calendar dates and the FMLA period changes over during my first twelve weeks. It means I’m asking for about 20 weeks instead of 12. HR has responded as though they don’t understand my request. Does anyone have a good link (preferably from a .gov website) that explains that I’m entitled to this? I’ve been trying to find one but have only found websites warning employers not to use a set calendar year because that allows employees to stack their twelve weeks. Or any good advice from people who’ve been there on how to respond? (Despite working for a state agency full of lawyers, I am not at all surprised that HR seems shocked and that they intend to push back on my request).

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you checked the employer guide? www (dot) dol (dot) gov (forward slash) whd/fmla/employerguide.htm

      Somewhere I saw it noted that either parent can take FMLA for bonding time with newborn. Not sure how the math would work out for you but thought I would mention it in case that helps. As I understand it, you can be off under FMLA for your own birth recovery, DH can be off for baby bonding, and when you are recovered, you can take FMLA. I don’t think DH’s time eats into your time off. Depending on when/how his rolls over, maybe he could take another couple weeks when you go back? I may have this wrong but thought I’d mention it just in case.

    • I have never heard of this – do you mean you’ll be out over the New Year (like, November – January or something?). Or does it roll over based on your company’s benefits year, or when you started employment?

      This is intriguing!

    • IANAL, but at my company, FMLA requires a qualifying event to be eligible for the 12 weeks. Since you won’t have two separate qualifying events, you’re still only eligible for one 12 week period for a given birth. If your spouse works at the same company, you have to share your 12 weeks, so you may get say, 8 and she/he gets 4.

      You may be able to request 20 weeks of leave (likely unpaid) but only 12 of that would be eligible for FMLA protection. Remember that FMLA is ONLY guaranteeing you can’t be fired for pregnancy immediately following birth. It’s not paid, it’s not your actual leave, and you technically could still get fired if it wasn’t for pregnancy reasons.

      • I just read my company’s policy. It doesn’t require a qualifying event, but it’s calculated on a rolling basis. The policy states that specifically.

        OP, does your company’s policy not define the 12-month period at all?

    • Leatty says:

      29 CFR 825.200 is directly on point.

    • Hi everyone — thanks for your answers. I didn’t mean to post and run. Sad to say, but based on responses so far I don’t think my HR understands 29 CFR 825.200 — but it looks like the employer guide may have some helpful charts that I can use.

      To further explain and answer questions, my employer calculates the FMLA twelve-month-period on a fixed calendar date, not rolling. (I had to ask, since it doesn’t definite it in the policy, but I have it in writing from multiple people in HR). So, to explain by simplifying the dates (because my employer uses calendar dates specific to it): say the office calculates its twelve-month period by the calendar year, my maternity leave would have started in 2016 and reset to another twelve-month period on January 1, 2017. Which gives me another twelve weeks to care for what is still a child within a year of birth. (So, anon, it doesn’t require multiple qualifying events other than having a baby under a year old; the same as if I were caring for a chronically ill parent I’d be entitled to twelve weeks in every twelve-month period even if it was the same “event”).

      Someone posted on here a few months ago about calling the DOL to confirm that it worked this way and having to explain it to her own employer. That’s how I learned it could be done.

      • Leatty says:

        Employment lawyer here – If the policy doesn’t define how the leave is calculated, the one that is most favorable to you applies. In any event, I would explain to them that the examples provided in the regulation are directly on point and encourage them to discuss it with an employment lawyer. If they don’t, you can always file a complaint with the DOL.

      • Somehow I didn’t scroll down enough: 29 CFR 825.200(c) is exactly what I need. Thanks, Leatty!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good morning fellow working moms.

    We are baptizing our baby in a month and we are also going to have a religious wedding ceremony at the same time. We expect to have around 13 people invited. Do you have any suggestions for online invitations? Or should I send regular paper invitations? The event will be low key but I still want something cute. Everyone invited has emails.

    I plan on wearing a beige sheet dress that I can re-use in the future. Any suggestions?


    • NewMomAnon says:

      No suggestions, but what is a “beige sheet dress”? All I can picture is a beige sheet with a hole cut for your head, worn poncho style…

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, I meant to write “sheath” dress. :))

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m assuming she means ‘sheath’

      • I know this was a typo but the visual is amazing. Thank you for a much-needed Monday laugh!

        Paperless post has nice e-invitations, but I have more experience with Evite. For something special like this I would splurge on printed ones though, especially since you don’t need a lot.

    • Anonymous says:


      Paper invitations would be a nice touch and make for a nice keepsake for yourselves as well. With only 13 people, you could just buy a box of blank cards and handwrite the info. Vista print also has flexible options – use a photograph on the front and provide your own event specific text on the inside.

      For dresses – try JCrew. My BFF eloped (just her and her DH on a beach) and she chose a beige toned dress from the bridesmaid dresses that they have. That might be more formal than you are thinking? She’s reworn it, changing up accessories, for semi-formal events but it would be too formal for a work dress.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks! Great suggestions!! How does Vista work? Is it an online invitation? I will definitely look into the J Crew dresses.

        • Vistaprint is a very cheap way to get paper cards printed. I used it for all my wedding stuff. If you’re not in a rush, it is so much cheaper than Minted or TinyPrints – they have super long lead time options that work out to like $0.10 a card. If you want the cards in a week or less, they charge ridiculous shipping.

          You can also always google VistaPrint coupons and save even more money that way.

        • Anonymous says:

          vistaprint (dot) com is paper stationary but very inexpensive. Don’t look at the wedding invitation section because I don’t think you’ll find something suitable for your combined events. Just pick a picture you love (maybe a picture of the three of you?) and have them print your own text inside. Order a pack of twenty so you have extra just in case you spill something when addressing them.

          example template:

      • Or BHLDN, the Kinsley is on sale at the moment and is gorgeous! I also like the idea of a winter white dress with a little jacket (and maybe a hat, but I quite like vintage-y looks)

        • Anonymous says:

          Super cute dress! I was also thinking about a cute hat. Any suggestions where I can buy one? Or a nice hair band?

          • BHLDN is a good source for that. I also wore a sparkly hairband through my hair that I got from etsy. I have dark hair and it brightened things up a bit.

        • One of my friends just got married in a BHLDN “wedding guest” dress. It looked like a modern wedding dress, but in gold. I thought it was an awesome riff on a traditional wedding dress.

          • ChiLaw says:

            Oh I got married in a BHLDN “wedding guest” dress in gold too! But quite a few years ago. I wore a hat/fascinator (Sara Gabriel “Dotty”) and made a little blusher veil and wore a green jacket over my dress when it was cold. It was lowkey but cute (if I may say so).

    • I like Paperless Post, I did them for my wedding save the date and rehearsal and found them easy to use.


      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you!!

      • You can also order a paper copy of your paperless post invite if you want a keepsake but otherwise are happy to go online. In general, I like the paperless post interface far better than evite. Just be careful not to be swept into the premium options if you want it to be free

  3. NewMomAnon says:

    I am staying home from work today because I would be so annoyed if a coworker came in as sick as I am. It is obviously the right decision. So why do I feel so anxious about it?

    • Katala says:

      You are doing the right thing. People have been walking around my office with gross, hacking coughs for months now – I think it’s the same cold getting passed around. I really wish people would just stay home. It’s gross, and it’s not fair to other people.

      It’s so frustrating that work culture, especially law it seems, makes it feel unacceptable or like people will think you’re weak if you stay home. Sometimes it’s a good idea even though you *could* make it to the office. You shouldn’t have to be dying to take a sick day. Ugh. Hope you feel better soon!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Vent: kiddo’s dad and I both got sick. I suspect it is the flu. Kiddo is starting to get sick, and has asthma. I called her pediatrician to get a prescription for Tamiflu, but they require an office visit to prescribe that. And they ask that parents with flu symptoms not accompany a child to their offices. So….no Tamiflu for kiddo.

      I understand both these policies, and thank goodness for modern medicine, but I know I’m going to be out sick today and then have a sick kid later this week and I wish there was a better answer. *sigh*

      • The combination of these policies makes me kind of mad. Could they meet you in the parking lot to write the script?

        • NewMomAnon says:

          They sounded kind of surprised when I said that both parents were sick. I think they are used to the kid getting sick first, and parents following after? And even if they didn’t have that policy, am I really going to pull my too-sick-for-work self off the couch to take kiddo out of preschool, drag her to the pediatrician, and then wait around the pharmacy for half an hour while the scrip is filled? Nuh uh. I showered today and put on clean clothes. That’s my major accomplishment.

          • Honestly if you think it is really the flu I would get to the ped and get that prescription – flu has meant a solid week of missed preschool for us due to high fevers for 7 days, which is really hard to manage.

  4. I am booked in for my 12 week scan next week but just got a call that they want me in tomorrow for a viability scan and meeting with high-risk OB and then to meet with a hematologist on Friday. I guess I should consider it time to get used to a baby throwing my calendar in disarray? At least teaching hasn’t started yet, I don’t know how I’d manage that.

    • Babies do throw your scheduling in disarray, but remember you can also ask questions and push back. Why are they recommending these visits? Are they necessary? Does your insurance cover them? Why do they need to happen immediately? Is there harm in waiting and combining them with your 12 week scan?

      Doctors offices sometimes forget that people have day jobs. You just have to remind them that you have limited leave available right now, and need to combine your appts whenever possible. And then keep reminding them of that every time you schedule something.

      I had to have weekly monitoring for all 32+ weeks of my pregnancy. I was able to get a standing appt before the office officially opened, because I explained I would have to skip some of the appts otherwise. I want the best care for my kid, but I also want to keep my job so I can provide health insurance to pay for that care. They usually understand and will work with you on that.

      • I felt like I was totally unprepared for how many appointments I needed in the final month of my pregnancy. It was especially challenging as I was trying to wrap things up at work then, too. Just keep that in mind!

        • I know! Luckily teaching will be done (teaching from 14-24 weeks) so my schedule will be pretty flexible with just marking and PhD stuff.

      • I’m in the UK so less pushback or provider choice here but also no concerns about insurance and finances. It’s all a bit unclear, the midwife told me I was high risk (but didn’t explain what that meant) and then I got a call from the OB’s secretary today. I suspect they’d like me to start on heparin injections.

        Glad they are being cautious but feel like they are keeping me in the dark a bit. And they don’t seem to realise that people have jobs (and PhDs to write before babies arrive).

        • Just a note on the heparin injections – if it’s an option for you, you might ask your dr about lovonox. It’s longer-acting so you only need 1 shot a day (vs 2 of heparin) and IME the shots are much less painful and I have less bruising. I think it’s way more expensive though (still under patent) so may not be covered. If you do heparin, using an ice pack for a few minutes before and after helped reduce bruising.

          • I was on lovenox previously, not sure what they’ll prescribe in the uk but I’ll ask because my stomach took a beating last time (and that was 8 weeks of injections, I’ve got 6 more months of pregnancy)

  5. Thanks for all the doula responses the other day – they were very helpful.

    Our situation is that the hospital where my OB is affiliated has a set of ‘hospitalist’ OBs that deliver – so none of the OBs in my practice ever deliver. I would definitely meet the OB who would deliver my baby on the day of delivery (as opposed to maybe having met them once before while rotating through the practice).

    For this reason, I really like the idea of a doula who has attended many births at the hospital, knows all the doctors and staff, etc. I totally agree that’s its more of an insurance policy, money-wise, since the doula could end up doing basically nothing in a fast labor or a C-section.

    The OB practice did recommend a doula group, which has an event where you can interview all of them – so that’s what we plan to do!

    Worst cast, I guess we could investigate other OB practices/delivering elsewhere. But I do love my OB and the hospital is SO nice. It just seemed like a weird setup.

    • That is a weird set-up. Here, you don’t see the OB outside the hospital (and you only see the OB if you’re high risk) so I can see how a doula might be super helpful, even just as a familiar face.

      Have you had a scan yet? I had mine scheduled for next week but the OB wants to see me tomorrow so should get a sneak peak. Hoping that they told me today means I have less time to get nervous / convince myself that I’m not actually pregnant.

      • Yep! we had a scan the other day (I have a cyst they needed to measure/evaluate). The baby was actually moving and kicking during part of the scan, which was incredible.

        • Oh so good! I told my husband that he didn’t need to go (it’s an awkward time and he’s in his last week before moving jobs) and he said “You’re not going to get to see the baby without me!”

          • rosie says:

            It sounds like your husband is going to be joining you in any case, but I just wanted to second that it’s good for him to go to support you, if he is at all able to do so.

          • Yes, if he can go I recommend it! Hearing the heartbeat was huge for DH, and seeing that it looks like an actual baby. At our viability scan (7.5w) it was just a blob – though you could see the heart beating even then.

    • Anonymous says:

      Doula sounds like a great idea in this scenario. A really good doula can actually be useful even in an emergency c-section scenario – it can be challenging to accept that you are not having the birth you wanted, having someone to support you that this was a necessary decision, and help get BF started afterwards (if you’re BFing), can be valuable to your overall experience. I had a long labor and it was great that our Doula knew the hospital so well that she could direct DH to the coffee shop when he needed to take a break to eat and check in on our oldest.

    • bluefield says:

      I had a doula and a super fast labor (with some other factors that meant that I was in the hospital already when I started labor so got epidural ASAP and didn’t really need labor support). The doula showed up maybe 15 minutes before I started pushing. She did basically nothing. But if I was doing it over again I would get a doula. The peace of mind she provided during pregnancy was invaluable.

    • I’ll just say that you can’t predict what will happen. With my first, my OB showed up in time to stitch me up — was delivered by hospital staff. With my second, I hardly made it to the hospital in time & was delivery by hospital staff. (Ever wonder what those roped off sterile birthing suites are for? People like me.) If you really like your OB stick with her and get the doula for support for birth.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        Also, something that didn’t occur to me when I was pregnant: OBs are people who take vacations too! My OB was on vacation when I went into delivery. I only stayed with her (she was a lone provider not part of a larger practice) beause I wanted the same person the whole time, then I had someone I’d never met before deliver my baby!
        Honestly though, it wasn’t a huge deal. I thought it would be but it wasn’t. I think because the “new” OB was very similar to my old one. It would have been more disconcerting if I went from a young woman to an old man or something…

        • Totally! When I had this convo with my SIL, she told me about her two births and how different they were – for her first her midwife (who she loved) was on vacation, she had a long labor, and was delivered by someone she’d never met. She would have loved a doula then, she said.

          For her second, she had switched to a new OB. That OB was able to be there for her birth, which happened less than one hour after she got to the hospital and the OB was with her practically the whole time. A doula would have been pretty unnecessary there, because she knew her OB and was very well-attended (plus it all happened so fast).

  6. Nanny Payroll service recommendations? With Intuit closing we need to switch. Doesn’t need to be nanny specific. We want something to make our lives easier but could do some work ourselves. Relatively simple arrangement and located in Texas if that matters…

    • We used Hompay (Breedlove). They were expensive but took care of absolutely everything, and their customer service is amazing. We last had a nanny in January 2016, and I received a weird notice from our state in September. Homepay took care of it with no questions asked.

  7. It is SO COLD in my office right now that I have been putting off pumping..i know I need to bite the bullet, but it hasn’t hit 70 in here yet even with the space heater running full blast and the last thing I want to do is take off my layers…brrrr! Thinking maybe I should bring in a lap blanket for this purpose?

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have a coat? Get yourself set up and then put your coat on backwards (don’t put your arms through) – hold it in place by buttoning the top button/snapping the top snap on the back of your neck. Sort of like a front cape.

    • Get one of those blanket wrap things. I had one and couldn’t have pumped without it.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      I got an electric blanket about the size of Amazon and use it all the time.

      • In House Lobbyist says:

        That was supposed to read about the size of a scarf. But it is amazing for winter.

  8. Totally frivolous question: I just weaned and now my b**bs are completely deflated. They’re back to pre-pregnancy size, which, let’s just say, would allow me to chair the itty bitty t*tty commit*ee. (Let’s see that get through moderation!) I’d like to treat myself to one or two new bras, but don’t know where to begin. What brands do you recommend for someone who’s roughly 30A/B- 32AA/A?

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      Victoria’s secret has some “bralettes” right now that have a bit of padding (enough to prevent everyone from knowing if you’re cold) and are lacy and pretty, but no underwire. I’m a 32AA since I had my son (was a 32B before) and once I left the underwire for bralettes I never went back. They’re still lacy and pretty but so much more comfortable, and you can still get matching lacy underwear if that’s your jam.
      I have some of their “bombshell” ones that I got a few years ago. They feel like they have a memory foam mattress in each cup, but they come in 32AA. They gap a bit, but they store told me they do that for basically everyone. I use them when I find a dress that is a bit big in the bust area but otherwise perfect. They also provide some [email protected] if that’s something you’re into for date night ;)
      Let’s see if I make it through moderation too….

    • Depressing, right? I actually enjoyed being back at my small size as I realized the challenges of a bigger chest first hand, but the deflation is just a bummer
      First check our reddit a bra that fits to take your new measurements. They also have a wealth of suggestions
      I ended up going with Natori Feathers which is helpful to shape things without being a push-up style. Once you determine your size you can also find them new with tags on ebay. But I’ll check out the bralettes mentioned above too. Ironically, even though I’m small, I find myself in greater need of shaping than before, so not all stand up to that challenge

    • I had the same experience (and sadly, they’re still a little deflated 1.5 years post nursing – got me seriously wondering if I might seek an augmentation in the future). I went to Aerie a few months ago and they did a fitting and seemed to have some pretty good options, and I was pretty impressed with the experience (granted, I’ve only ever shopped for bras at V.S. or cheap department stores before; I’m sure that there are better higher end options, but I don’t think that they’re really necessary for us, er, committee members.

    • Anonymous says:

      LulaLu Petites is my go to for small sizes. They have some more practical options with a range of padding (none to some – nothing like a Bombshell) and also some pretty choices with lace. I love the Kallie for a pretty choice.

    • Ha, made it through moderation! Thanks all. reddit A Bra That Fits is an incredible resource. Looks like I’m a 30B. Time to go shopping!

  9. Itching - Cholestasis in Pregnancy says:

    Has anyone had experience with cholestasis in pregnancy? I just learned of this via Dr. G o o gle. Long story short I am just beginning my third trimester and have severe itching and a raised, red rash on the backs of my hands (although not palms) as well as intermittent intense itching on my arms, legs, back, face, and other random spots. It’s bad enough that I’m constantly scratching and even do so in my sleep. I didn’t think anything of this but did an internet search on it today and learned (yay) that intense itching can sometimes be a symptom of this condition which can be quite serious. I have left a message for my doctor’s office but am still freaking out, which I realize is not super helpful or rational. Anyone have knowledge to share about this condition? Thanks.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Could it be PUPPPS?

      • Itching - Cholestasis in Pregnancy says:

        Hmm, it doesn’t look the same as the pictures that came up when I googled PUPPPS and my belly is not one of the hot spots for itching. Thank you for the suggestion.

        • Itching - Cholestasis in Pregnancy says:

          I also only have the rash on the backs of my hands – no rash anywhere else.

        • From what I remember, I don’t think that cholestasis has a rash associated with it (also, for whatever it’s worth, my PUPPS never was on my stomach – it was my shoulders, hands, arms, and [email protected] – they thought it was yeast at first).

          Good luck! HOpefully your doctor will take you soon so can get you answers.

      • +1 – far more likely to be PUPPS, which I got and what your symptoms sound like. I get it just after delivery, which is not how it usually presents, and then it magically goes away like a week later. Definitely go to your OB, but also schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. At least in my experience, my OB never got the diagnosis right – she ruled out the more serious conditions (like you mentioned), but didn’t have a solution for the itching. My derm did a bunch of research, and came up with a cream that was safe for nursing moms.

      • Itching says:

        I had PUPPPS. It was awful, but I think the key difference in distinguishing them is the placement of the original rash. Definitely check in with your OB to be monitored. Unfortunately I don’t know too much about cholestasis apart from that I had something different. You have my sympathies!
        To relieve itching, the only thing that worked were cool baths using pine tar soap. And that only was a brief relief. I basically didnt sleep the last few nights before I gave birth due to itching.
        You might also want to look into silk gloves to keep unconscious scratching at bay. And in general, wearing silk is super helpful.
        One of my kids has been battling a rash for months, and I’ve found vanicream to work best. You can also get duoderm bandages to cover the spot which might be good for any localized welts, but they have to be ordered online from a specialty medical company

    • My friend had it. Does it itch on the bottoms of your hand and feet? She said that was a dead giveaway it was cholestasis (vs a less dangerous pregnancy-itching). She did not have a rash anywhere.

      Regardless, a blood test tells your doctor immediately if you have cholestasis or not, so hopefully they get you in quickly! Either way benadryl should be helpful in keeping you comfortable.

      If it’s cholestasis you’ll be monitored carefully with blood tests, but otherwise there is no treatment besides giving birth.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      A friend who had cholestasis described it as itching under the skin, with no rash. Like, the worst itch possible but you couldn’t ever scratch it. Your rash sounds more like PUPPS or the horrible pregnancy dry skin.

  10. Bluesuedeshoes says:

    There seem to be three new high tech breast pumps hitting the market this year: the Medela Sonata, Naya Health, and the Willow. Has anyone heard or experienced any real-life tests of any of these? I am expecting my second soon and willing to invest a little more if it will improve the miserable experience of pumping this time around.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      Maybe I’m dumb but I’m still unclear on how the willow is more discreet. They make it sound like you can just sit on the train and pump and no one will notice. However, they look like GIANT inserts… people would certainly notice if I had those shoved in my bra. doesn’t seem much more discreet/hands free than a pump with a hands free pumping bra? You’re still having to reach up/down your shirt to place, adjust something.

      It’s been years since I pumped so maybe there’s something obvious i’m not getting.

      • Yeah I don’t understand the Willow at all. I’m happy they’re trying to innovate, but it looks like it adds a TON to your bra cuppage. I’m a D, that thing would look like I bolted extra boobs on my boobs, and don’t look like they’d fit right in even a G or H bra.

        Plus, the capacity is really small. It’s 4oz each (so 8oz total). For most pumping moms, you need to get more than 8oz in a day unless you’re also supplementing. So you’re still going to have to find some place to get it out, switch out the bags, refill, and put it back in. And even if you only pump 8oz in the day, is it okay at room temperature for that long? I always refrigerated mine but I thought it has to be used within 24 hours if it’s a room temp, so your morning pump would need to be used first thing in the morning the very next day.

        Doesn’t seem very practical at all, honestly. I fully support the push for better pumps, but pumping just doesn’t replace the need for actual baby interaction. I wish we could get good enough paid maternity leave so moms wouldn’t have to pump in the first place.

        • So I think people will still notice that something is going on, but it’s supposed to be nice and quiet and not have any of the crazy tubing. So if I want to sit at my desk (open floorplan) and maybe throw a nursing cover on, it would be no big deal — rather than going to the inconveniently located lactation room with no workstation. I’d still plan to refrigerate the milk and take the inserts on/off throughout the day, and change bags as needed.

          I was actually thinking I’d use 2-4 sets of bags a day though, and at $0.50 each, that’s up to $4 a day of bags — more expensive than the spendy Holle I have in case of emergency!

          • So I’m curious because I want this to work… what size bra would you wear? And where would you go to switch out the bags? The bathroom?

    • AnonMN says:

      No personal experience, but a friend of mine tried the Willow and said it tanked her supply. She ended up going back to Medela and having to work hard to get it back. I’m hoping they improve it by the time I have my next though, it looks cool.

  11. Lean In or Not says:

    Those of you who went up for a big promotion with little ones at home, what made you decide to do it? Those of you who didn’t, why not? Are you pleased with your decision?

    The time has come, or will come soon, for me to start the partnership process at a big law firm.

    Honestly, I never thought I’d stick it out this long. But ~8 years after starting, I’m still here and the senior partners I work with want me to consider throwing my hat in the ring. It’s a multi-year process at my firm, and partnership prospects are statistically slim, but in theory I’m in a good position practice group wise.

    I don’t know if I want to go for it. I’ve got a toddler at home, and I already feel like I don’t have enough time and energy for dealing with her while working a ‘reduced’ schedule. My husband has an equally intense, but not as well paying, job, and we don’t have any nearby family or back-up.

    Not only is the process time and energy consuming, my impression is life as a partner is even more work than as a senior associate — more travel, more things to juggle, more non-billable work.

    Of course, I have no idea if I’ll get it, and I admit part of me wants to try to just get that check mark, but part of me doesn’t, because I don’t want to fail.

    I’m also not sure what my options would be like if I didn’t go for it, but I’m sure I could figure something out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Take a step back and figure out what you want your life to look like in 5 years and in 10 years. Do you want to work less, more or same as now? What does a typical day look like? That might give you some indication of the right path for you.

      It’s great that you’ve had such a successful career thus far, but I would be cautious about making a push for BigLaw partnership unless you actually want to be a BigLaw partner. That’s a lot of effort if you’re just doing it for the checkmark. The best description of BigLaw partnership push I’ve heard on this site is that it is like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie. That’s great if you love pie, but if you don’t, it might not be the right choice for you.

      • Lean In or Not says:

        Yep — your second paragraph is excatly why I had been on the ‘no, thank you’ side of this when it was theoretical. I like pie, I just don’t love it! :-)

      • + 1,000,000. Only do it if you love your job immensely. I would also start looking into job opportunities outside your firm, maybe inhouse or gov’t, just to see what else is out there if you don’t pursue a partnership path. You might be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities available. I know many people who, faced with a similar decision, decided to leave the firm and are very very happy with their decision.

        The only female partner I know who seems to have “made it work” with balancing her jobs with kids was an appellate partner who worked 70%. For everyone else, it was having a stay at home husband or live in nanny/au pair and not seeing the kids as much as they would like.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have to say that I disagree. The checkmark is important. I interviewed at a firm where I was told I wouldn’t be a partner candidate b/c I hadn’t been a partner at my old firm. And I wouldn’t be up for partner for years b/c I was a lateral.

        Contrast that with firms that (at the time) made you partner after 5 or 6 years (where my firm had senior associates). Those people made out even though nothing was different except the title. I was only offered being a senior associate (but with a billing rate that I thought was too high to make me used and a title that meant that people would go to a partner with anything “hard” so they could say that a partner had reviewed it). It was bad, but eye-opening.

        It is a stupid system, but if those are the rules, it doesn’t make sense not to be partner. You can always lean out and go to counsel (or something non-associate, but I’d try everything to be a PT partner before going that route).

    • No advice, but I oddly find myself in a similar position. My boss, GC, is retiring next December, and has made it known that they will look internally and externally starting in Q2. I have no idea whether I am even qualified, but it has me thinking about many considerations similar to the ones you posed.

      My biggest question, right now, is whether I even want his job. Undoubtedly, it will be more hours and more responsibility, and 2016 was not an easy year for my family. The additional money would be nice, but is not a “need.”

    • mascot says:

      Going through some similar soul searching here. I left big firm life several years ago to go to a lifestyle firm. It was a good couple of years. There was a reversal of fortunes in my niche practice at that firm and going back to a big firm was the only viable option in the market. Now I am definitely feeling the up or out pressure and I am struggling on the motivation to climb the up ladder.

    • I wouldn’t *not* do it just because you don’t want to fail. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know. I agree though that you should really want it – I just don’t think a fear of failure is a good enough reason not to go for it.

      I went up for partner this past fall, and made it. I have been part-time for 5 years, and my youngest is 3 and my oldest is 8. Our formal process isn’t that time-consuming. I heard of people working like crazy in the build-up, but I didn’t. Part of that was my practice group, which has been very supportive both of my part-time schedule and my career.

      Having said all that, I haven’t been a partner for very long, so we’ll see how it goes!

    • Lorelai Gilmore says:

      I will put in a pitch for staying and trying to make partner. When I was in this boat, I looked around and shopped my resume and decided that I didn’t like anything as much as I liked my current job. Other jobs seemed to offer less autonomy and flexibility – not to mention a lot less money. As my family’s breadwinner, those things are all important to me.

      I was concerned about foreclosing exit opportunities. In discussing with others, people said, “Look, right now you’re a senior associate. If you leave now, you leave as a senior associate who didn’t make partner. If you try to make partner and fail, then you leave as a senior associate who didn’t make partner.” In other words, the time to leave BigLaw is as a midlevel when you are highly marketable and flexible. When you’re a senior associate, you might as well stay. Your exit opportunities will not be meaningfully different in three years if you fail to get the promotion – but they will be meaningfully different if you do make partner.

      One other note: partnership is a lot of work but it is also more fun. I enjoy the entrepreneurial aspects of firm management, and I like the client advisory work I do now. In my experience, the law gets better the more senior you get.

      Finally, I am a female litigation partner at 100% with no nanny, no au pair, and a husband who works full time (albeit in a very flexible, though demanding, job.) (We do have great babysitters who provide indispensable support.) The juggle is not easy at all – but it is possible.

  12. Anon in NYC says:

    Does anyone have a Learning Tower (or a similar one)? I think my 19 month old would really love being able to get up to counter height and helping in the kitchen, but the price tag is so high. I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth it or if there are good alternatives. (The Ikea hack that I often see is probably a bit more than we can handle.)

    • I wanted one, but never pulled the trigger. I found that setting DD up at a table with her ‘helping’ activity worked better–the highchair pulled up to the counter at first, then the kitchen table. Now at 3, she stands on a step stool at the counter.Our kitchen set up wasn’t conducive to her being at the counter when she was very young–to many knives, glass containers, etc, with no place to move them.

    • We got my son the IKEA Bekvam step stool ($20) around that age in lieu of a learning tower, and it has turned into one of those “best $20 I ever spent” IKEA purchases. It doesn’t have the raised sides, but he has never fallen off of it (and it’s not that high anyway). Plus I use it all the time to get things off high shelves in the kitchen. Win win win.

    • Yes, love it and would pay full price given the daily use it gets from my twins but got it for free off a local list serve. Definitely check off those sorts of options and Craigslist first. They are sturdy and hold up well, but are so big that most won’t want to hold on to them after their kids outgrow them.
      Which brings me to my second point – they do have a large footprint so make sure you have enough room in your kitchen for the tower to live there for the next two years.

    • We paid full price for a kitchen helper, and love it. For almost a year, my kiddo ate all her meals there (probably bad, I know, but I was over the high chair / booster seat battles), and it’s used daily. It does have a large footprint, but doesn’t take up a lot of room when collapsed. All that said, my kiddo is small and relatively uncoordinated (even for a toddler) so we didn’t feel comfortable using a regular stepladder — but if you kiddo is different, a stepladder would serve the same purpose for a lot less money.

      • shortperson says:

        i got one because my 2 year old will not do anything while i cook except help me. meaning i was constantly holding her while she stirred scrambled eggs, etc. she loves it and uses it every time i cook (which is not to say every day). she is getting to the point where she is actually starting to be helpful, not “helpful”, in the kitchen, so i think it’s a worthwhile investment. that said, we have a pretty big kitchen, the thing is huge. we also got the chalkboard/whiteboard attachment so it’s a nice place for her to draw in the kitchen when she feels like it.

        • I could never pull the trigger and regret not doing it. My current 2 year old (and my former? two year old, who is now 4) both love “helping” in the kitchen – very similar to shortperson’s short person. If I’m in there, a 2 year old is in there with me. We use a folding stool with two steps, and my younger child fell off of it a TON at first. My older child was a lot more coordinated, and he never fell – but the younger guy really struggled with the steps. He’s much better now at 2.5, and cries for his “big step stool” if we put it away, so space we thought we’d save with a folding stool was not saved (almost more of a PITA to put it away and bring it out again). Also, if it’s not out, he wants to be in my arms, which really makes cooking hard. Our kitchen is small, and that thing was expensive, but man, I wish I would’ve just done it. Our cost per use would’ve been almost negligible, based on how often we use the big step stool

          • Oh, and the 4 year old is not as interested in being in the kitchen with me anymore, but when he is, they aren’t great about sharing space on the big step stool. I think they’d both be able to stand in a learning tower and even if they jostle each other, it would be less likely that one could topple the other. Ahh sibling rivalry. Awesome.

    • EB0220 says:

      We got a kitchen helper from the grandparents at some point and it is amazing. My kids love to help with everything and it gets them high enough to be useful.

    • Sarabeth says:

      Have one, love it, seriously wondering if we can fit a second one in the kitchen so that each child has their own (we have a year or so before that’s relevant). Recently lived without it for a few months as part of a move, and it made me realize how much better it works for us than stepstool/chair/etc. Much more stable, and we leave it in one place so it’s “her place” in the kitchen. She eats breakfast there every morning while I make my own breakfast and coffee and pack my work bag. She will also color or play at the counter while I cook (and sometimes “help”), while it is much harder to convince her to play independently on the floor or at her small table.

      We started using ours around 16 months – we just stuck a big cardboard box in it so that the sides were closed and she couldn’t fall out. When she got more stable, we took out the box and let her have free access.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      We use a dining room chair for kiddo to help in the kitchen…

      • Closet Redux says:

        Us too. I like the learning tower in theory, but at that price tag and huge footprint I figured the old fashioned way was going to have to do. My 3 yo has always loved helping in the kitchen and has yet to fall off the kitchen chair.

    • We have the Guidecraft High Rise Step up and have liked it a lot. The handles on the side are nice when they are younger.

      If you are in NYC is your kitchen big enough for the learning tower? they are not small.

    • My husband did the ikea hack one. He isn’t particularly handy and doesn’t have an array of tools. We have used the first one daily for more than a year. Last week he made a second one for our 13 month old. I love them and think each is worth every inch of space they take up.

    • My friend has one from Buy Buy Baby. She is a mommy blogger and got it through a sponsorship with them but has told me that she actually genuinely loves it and finds it super useful and isn’t just shilling it on her blog because she got it for free.

    • When my LO was 19 months, I thought it was a great idea but, like you, didn’t want to pull the trigger on the price and space it would take up. LO is just over 2 now and getting taller by the day so it seems less necessary since he can kind of see the counter now. I’ve also equipped him with his own measuring cups and spoons, veggies he can cut, and a sandwich making kit so he can play with these things while I’m making dinner.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Thanks, all! This gave me a lot to think about. I was balking at the price (and size – but I think we have the space for it), but I didn’t really think about kiddo’s clumsiness. I will talk to my husband about the Ikea hack too. Apartment living isn’t cut out for much construction, but we might be able to figure something out.

    • My kid has used a chair since she was 16 months. Supervised, of course. We were too cheap and for a while, too space constrained for anything more.

  13. Closet Redux says:

    Here’s a pro-tip: Do not try to hit up some great sales at your favorite clothing retailers three weeks post-partum. No matter how body positive you think you are, your ego will take a hit. What was I thinking/ leggings forever.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      Oh nooo! I’m so sorry! After I had my son (like literally 2 weeks after) my mom took me to some of my favorite stores to shop as a treat. It ended with me breaking down in tears in the dressing room. She meant it for the best and it was such a kind gesture, but looking back WHY DID SHE THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA. The poor J Cr3w dressing room attendant…

      • Closet Redux says:

        Yes, this was a trip with my mom for a treat! Moms of the world, do better!

        • Anon in NOVA says:

          I think they really intend it to cheer us up, like they remember how bad they felt and want us to get something we feel like we look nice in. all I could think was “i’m so broke and my body is so weird and if I get something that fits it now I’ll never have any clothes when it goes back to normal and OMG WHAT IF IT NEVER GOES BACK TO NORMAL” and just all the tears happened. Sigh. I’m sorry. It’s really sweet that she tried.

      • Oh no, sorry!! You’d think your own moms would know better!!

    • Spirograph says:

      +a million to this. I’m 5 months pp, and while I fit into pre-pregnancy sized things, they don’t look the way they “should” yet. I tried on a box worth of Nordstrom orders the other night, and it put me in a very foul mood. Almost all of it is going back, and no more shopping til I either accept current reality or get a few months further back into my workouts/away from holiday treats.

    • I kept re-reading to see if you said three months instead of weeks. Dude, you left the house and went shopping. Forget trying to fit into clothes for awhile, that’s impressive enough!

      • dc anon says:


      • Closet Redux says:

        THANK YOU, yes!

      • MomAnon4This says:

        THIS. And, if your mom really wants to help, cutting a check with a memo for “post-pregnancy clothes” or a gift card or a new haircut are all really helpful gifts — the 2 weeks before you go back to work, that is.

        • Closet Redux says:

          Great idea. Now that I think about it, I should have redirected this very lovely offer to a haircut or pedicure.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Do any of you curl your hair? I have shoulder length fine hair and I could use some volume. I am thinking about splurging and getting the Harry Josh Curling Iron. I have heard very good things about it and apparently the curls last very well without using products. Plus it does not damage your hair. The question is, will I get used to it and use it often? How much time do you spend on hair?

    • I have fine hair that falls between my shoulders and ears. The best thing I have ever done for my hair was to go to an amazing hair guy and be brutally honest. I need my hair to look good with wash and wear and maybe five minutes with a hairdryer. I’m willing to use any product that is recommended, but I don’t have time in the morning to devote 30 minutes to making it look great. I also said I needed a cut that I could spend 30 minutes on and have look fantastic for those random occasions that call for amazing hair. I spend a good amount every 6 weeks to maintain the cut, but the time saved and having hair that looks good with little effort is so very worth it. So I guess that is a long way of saying that I don’t have time to curl my hair.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s what I am afraid..Lack of time. I am afraid curling would take around 20 minutes which is a lot of time considering I have a 4 month old baby and work full time.

      • Betty, your hair sounds like mine! Could you please post some public images (of celebrities or whatever) that have your hairstyle/haircut? I’m really curious about your haircut right now, products used, and what this looks like.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I had a friend with stick straight hair and she got it permed. Not like a bad ’80s perm, just curled (or whatever the perm terminology is) so it was really nicely uniformly wavy. It looked very natural and good on her.

    • I have similar hair. I’ve tried curling. It works for a night out, but every day, it’s just too much effort.

      I also find it requires way too much coordination. My friends tell me “just watch this youtube video! see how the girl does it?” I might as well be trying to replicate olympic gymnastics.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      I use a twenty dollar curling iron and curl it for work about once or twice a week. With practice, I can do it in about ten minutes, maybe less. I have straight, collar bone length, fairly thick hair.

    • Closet Redux says:

      I really want to learn to use hot rollers. Too ambitious for a straight-haired lady who is generally lazy about her hair?

      • EP-er says:

        I love hot rollers and suggest you look into them, but don’t use them in the morning before work — it is more of a going out thing for me. I love that I can put them in and then spend time on my make up/doing other things. I don’t make the choice to sleep less so that my hair is curled for work, however. :)

        • NewMomAnon says:

          Oh man….my mom used to use hot rollers every morning before work. Every, single, morning. And then she would put on blue eye makeup and a brightly colored blazer with giant shoulder pads and a little bow tie thingy or ruffled blouse. I had no idea at the time how much work she was putting into that get up.

    • ChiLaw says:

      OK this might be too silly, but have you tried a sock bun? I have long long hair, but I get my mermaid curls but wrapping my hair up in a sock before bed, no joke.

  15. Local DC residents — what are you guys doing about inauguration? I had given thought to attending the women’s march with my 5 year old daughter, but my husband vetoed it for safety reasons (big crowds, volatile issues, etc.). As it gets closer, I’m increasingly nervous, and now wondering whether I’ll stay in town with the kids. If nothing else, it will be a demoralizing weekend for me at least, and I’m wondering whether it would be nice to get out of town, put my head in the sand, and then refocus the week after.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      I would get out of town if I could. Unfortunately I work in a field where I’m required to be here for National Security Events, but otherwise i’d be far away. Not looking forward to it, that’s for sure.

      Not attending the women’s march due to logistical considerations (where will I pee? Are the metros going to be running? IT’S SO COLD! etc.)

    • NewMomAnon says:

      FWIW, I was in DC during the Obama inauguration and left my apartment only once to attend a celebratory luncheon. It was COLD, traffic was awful, Metro was so packed that people were leaving the stations and walking in the streets instead, and there were so many tourists that all the public places and restaurants were overwhelmed and dirty. Also, it was way more interesting to watch the inauguration on television with all the historical info and commentary (and really good audio feed). I don’t know that this inauguration will be as well attended, but I also expect that the tourists who might travel to it will be more hostile to district locals (swamp denizens, if you will).

      Which is just to say – if you are in the district, getting out of town isn’t the worst idea. If you are in the burbs, plan to stay out of the city for a few days.

      • Obama’s first inauguration? Yes! SO COLD. So cold. And so crowded. My friend and I watched from a pub. It was great. We ate and drank sitting next to a cozy fire and watched it all on TV. All for the best since we were hung over from the ball we’d gone to the night before!

    • Anonymous says:

      My office will be open on Inauguration Day, but with the option for telework. I’m staying home, and definitely steering clear of the metro and everything in the city for several days. I also considered attending the Women’s March, but I’m concerned about safety, logistics (pumping on the Mall? no thank you), and I hate crowds. I’ll be there in spirit.

      I’d get out of town. For Obama’s inaugurations (pre-kids), my husband and I spent a couple nights at one of the nearby ski resorts. It was great. In 4 years when the kids are old enough for ski school, we’ll probably do it again!

    • Also Anon NoVa says:

      Staying here — but we’re not in DC proper/not on a metroline or in a touristy area. I thought about trying to get out of town for a few days, but didn’t want to deal with the logistics because of special snowflake reasons.

      Most likely the small one will go to daycare and I’ll work from home, or if work is quiet, I’ll keep her home and we’ll do something hopefully more productive than watch too much TV.

    • In NoVa as well says:

      My work is telework only that day (Arlington). I wouldn’t worry about staying in town safety-wise if you just mean hanging out in your apartment/house. There have been many more volatile happenings in DC than this inaugeration/womens march (which hopefully is peaceful!). I wouldn’t take a school-aged child to the march either just because of crowds and logistical concerns (bathrooms, food, cold).

  16. Eye cream says:

    What is your favorite eye cream? I am 32, normal skin, trying to prevent aging.

    • Momata says:

      Kiehl’s avocado eye cream. It works well for me under makeup, soaks in quickly, and stays put. It doesn’t have any suer anti-aging chemicals or anything, but it’s very moisturizing and depuffs and keeps the crepey lines at bay.

    • Winter skin says:

      Ha I spent an hour today looking for new face creams. This winter air is making me want to rethink my routine. A friend recommended la Bella figure oil – it comes in a roller ball applicator. She also likes Tammy fender. All of this is on the Fillain website. She used to work for vogue so she knows her stuff 😉

  17. I’ve had some back problems pop up with my second pregnancy that is forcing my hand to move my 21-month old out of her crib. We are thinking of going straight to a twin bed. Ideally we would get one in a classic style that is bunkable — so that we could keep the option, five or ten years down the road, to purchase a bunk bed. Flexible on price. Any suggestions from those who have been there before? Or should we get a toddler bed or put a mattress on the floor for now, and worry about our long term furniture setup later?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d actually recommend the Busunge Bed from Ikea. It’s not bunkable but it is extendable from crib mattress (toddler size) to twin bed size. That way you would only have to buy a crib mattress not a twin right now. The headboard has a nice little nook area that makes for a cozy transition from a crib.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      I’ve said this before, but I see no point to a toddler bed. Just get whatever permanent bed works for you. Our son still thinks his giant (full) bed is awesome.

    • Meg Murry says:

      FYI, if you want the bed to be bunkable/expandable in some way, you need to buy all the parts to do that *now*, or just get something basic and plan to buy a bunk bed in 5-10 years.

      I have more than one friend that got burned on the “buy the crib that converts into a toddler bed and then full size” but they didn’t buy the extra pieces when they got the crib and a few years down the line the appropriate pieces were no longer available (or they were available but not in the color they had bought the crib in).

      I wouldn’t spend extra on getting something that *might* be expandable in the future. If you find a bed you like at a price point you like that happens to be expandable, go for it, but I wouldn’t make that a super priority right now. Mattress on the floor also isn’t the worst plan in the world – you can even pretend like you are doing it on purpose because you want a “Montessori-style” bedroom (it’s a thing, google it).

    • ha!

    • CPA Lady says:

      I’m an unashamed talbots fangirl, and even I am looking at that and saying “yikes”.

      I mean, I can imagine the woman who would wear it, and it would be a very artsy, slim, tall, 60+ year old art teacher. She’d pair it with some kind of long interesting layered necklaces that she bought in Morocco.

      The rest of us would look like idiots in that thing.

  18. In today's edition of "go home, LE, you're d r u n k" says:
  19. Question on potty training and beyond. We’re planning to start with the twins (2.75 yr old boys) next weekend. I’m moderately freaked out about this, but it will go how it goes. My question is how we need to handle life once we’re past the “stay home and put the kid on the potty every 20 min” phase and back into real life. Kids are currently in cribs and when they wake up in the morning, they often hang out quietly in their beds and look at books. Do we need to be up the second they’re up to put them on the potty? (We’re planning to do pull-ups overnight. But I know we’re not supposed to encourage them to go in their diapers anymore.) On the weekends, I’ll hitch our dog to the double stroller and go out for an hour long walk. What do I do if I’m 20 min out and one kid has to pee RIGHT NOW? How insane is it going to be if I’m out on my own with the kids — shopping or whatever? I just see rushing to the bathroom every 10 min since I’ll have TWO kids just out of diapers. Finally, we’re supposed to travel to South Carolina over Presidents’ Day weekend. Probably by air. How likely is it that one kid will have to pee RIGHT NOW while the plane is either taking off or landing? If so, what do we do? (Pull-ups for the flight? Even though all the experts oppose pull-ups?) I’m frankly terrified less of potty training itself and more for what it means for the rest of our lives, until they’re fully self-sufficient in this area. To be honest, diapers are just incredibly easy!

    • Oh and just to clarify — because the kids read quietly in their cribs when they wake up, I often don’t know they’re awake until they’ve been up for a half hour or so, and have started talking to each other or singing. They’ve never called out for us when they wake up.

    • EBMom says:

      Did you read Oh Crap potty training book? It is really helpful and has some advice on pretty much all of your questions. If you are tackling the nighttime training, I’m not sure that works with a crib. Perhaps others can speak to this, but I think you need a potty that the kid can access (so they are either getting you up or they have one in their room) at night. We put one in toddler EB’s room and it has been going well.

      For the other issues, we got a portable potty (the Oxo one, but there is another brand). Kiddo goes in the portable potty in the car or at the park or whatever if needed, so it solves the issue of looking for a toilet. We’ve done 5 flights since potty training. We just made sure to give a chance as late as possible before boarding and that seemed to work, although there was one accident and we just switched her clothes. Toddler said “I need to p**p!” right after take off on one flight, but we just told her to wait since we knew she could hold #2.

      Potty training does have its own issues, but it is really nice to be out of diapers. Good luck!

      • dc anon says:

        Related – my two year old girl is ready to train. She tells us when she needs to go about 75% of the time, but only when we are at home and have her stool and ring. What do we do if we are at a restaurant or the library or anywhere but home? She is not used to a regular toilet and holding her on one just freaks her out, so she cant relax and go. Any tips?

        • Anonymous says:

          buy a foldable potty seat at walmart. carry it in your purse in a large ziploc.

          • Pigpen's Mama says:

            Of course, if your kid is like mine, she’ll NOT want to use the potty at home, but then as soon as the only near by bathroom is a disgusting, toilet-paperless, stall where you can’t even open the door without hitting the toilet, she’ll insisit on going. Annnnnd then touch everything, and then touch your face…and then not even pee.

            Why yes, my first attempt at using the folding seat was a fail.

            I’m sure it’s generational punishment for making my parents stop every 45 mintues to an hour when we were out so I could pee.

            Seriously considering the pottete, even though my husband will make fun of me for ever. (Until he has to take her, bwahahah).

            See also

          • That cartoon was amazing. At least I realize how lucky I am to still have my kids in diapers. I was all “oh we have to do it before 30 months! Oh [email protected] told me so!” And that time came and went. And now they’re almost 3 and they have to be 100% potty trained by September for the 3yo room at school, so…But I put it off as long as I could.

        • With my niece it helped her if I peed first to show her it was ok. Poor thing, we took her on a bunch of outings (science museum, on a train, to a public beach – which all had bathrooms frankly I was slightly terrified of) not too long after she was potty-trained.

          If it has an autoflush, covering the sensor with your hand keeps it from flushing on them (which I agree is also pretty terrifying if you’re that small). Knowing it won’t flush on them sometimes lets them relax enough to go.

          If it’s a single bathroom (like at a nicer restaurant) you can run the water, too.

      • +1. Google Lucies List + potty training. She has good product recommendations.

        Start scouting out the bathroom locations in every store you go to now – Target, grocery, fave restaurants, etc. We did a 4 day training method and used an extra day to talk about peeing with distractions, so literally we flushed the toilet while she peed, or washed our hands, and practiced peeing while we held her over a big-person potty. (She was doing awesome at the end of the 2nd day, so we felt okay adding this on. Would have stretched it out to a following weekend if she was still struggling at the end of boot camp.)

        And yeah. At first, you try really hard not to be out on your own with two kids, even when one of them is already a potty trained toddler. It’s really really hard to keep one out of the other stalls/toilets when you’re helping the other pee. It gets better about 4 months out, so it’s temporary insanity, at least.

    • mascot says:

      At first, they are going to have to get used to the sensation that they need to go and to trust their bodies that they can hold it. So for the first couple of weeks, I’d be prepared to not have them wait for more than a couple of minutes because they will be freaking out that they have to go right this very second. This means taking the potty with you in the car and being really aware of where bathrooms are when you are out and about. 9/10 people are super accommodating to let little kids use the bathroom when they would refuse an adult. Just embrace that this is going to be insane, but temporary.
      I wouldn’t worry too much about the overnight process initially. Are they staying dry for naps? I agree that they need to be able to access a potty once you get to the overnight point. What worked for us with a singleton was to take him to the bathroom first thing in the morning. At first we woke him up to do that. Then he got to the point where he was waking up on his own and could stay dry long enough to come to us to go. Then he got to the point where he could get up and go reliably in his own bathroom.

      • We’re not planning to tackle overnight training yet. But I’m just concerned about them waking up and having to go, but not having us right there, but also them not thinking to call out to us. They have literally never done this. If one needs something, he might cry, but never “mommy!” Maybe it will change with potty training?

        • avocado says:

          I wouldn’t worry too much. Mine used to go in her pull-up in the morning on purpose so she wouldn’t have to get out of bed and use the potty, and it didn’t undermine daytime training at all. If you really want them to go on the potty in the morning, you could remind them at bedtime to call for you as soon as they wake up.

          We had a pottete and used it a few times on long car trips.

          • + 1 – my son just started waking up dry around age 4 (approx 6 months after day trained – he was not a prodigy), and I was totally shocked – I was convinced he would pee in his pullup just because it was easy. YMMV but it isn’t necessarily a problem.

            I also liked the Pottette – useful on top of a public toilet or as a standalone. Frankly with public restrooms the biggest problem is getting my kid to deal with automatic flushing (block the sensor with your hand) and those loud air dryers (no solution).

          • That’s reassuring. Honestly if it doesn’t hurt daytime training to let them go in the pull-ups for awhile, I’m all for that. We’re totally spoiled — our kids are so quiet and happy on their own, that we often don’t wake up until close to 8:00 on weekends! I know from weekdays when I’m up at 5:45 that they typically wake up around 7:00/7:30. But they just play on their own and it’s only when they get more awake and rambunctious that their singing and chattering wakes us up.

    • bluefield says:

      I got the pottete potty and have used it many times. It works as a stand-alone portable potty and as an insert in a public bathroom. I also got the bags that go inside of it but I haven’t used those many times. Usually I set up on grass or something to save the bag.

      I’ve been doing the potty training thing for a while, our kids are about the same age, and I’ve been using diapers at night throughout. I think you’re fine to use diapers at night if that is what you need to do.

      Also bring many changes of clothing.

  20. pumping signal? says:

    At a meeting today my boss said she feels I have a “closed door policy” and that she feels she is disturbing me. It’s because I’m pumping, and I mentioned that – she has knocked on my door probably 3-4 times since I’ve been back from leave where I’ve been pumping, and I always say “just a minute” and quickly get presentable and open the door. So I thought it was obvious that’s what I’m doing, since my door is closed three times a day for the same amount of time around the same time. She is not in the office much and so perhaps that is not obvious to her. I asked how I could help, such as signaling with something on the door, and she liked that idea. So, what can I do to let people know I’m pumping? Tie something on the doorknob? Hang something? Putting it on my Outlook calendar or something like that would not help, I know that. (I know my boss.) Something physical would be best. I want something not tacky or weird, if possible. Am I overthinking this? I think I’m just embarrassed and also a little mortified that she thinks I’m just randomly working with my door closed and not available for her. (She is very much an “at the moment”/ad hoc type of person – we don’t have monthly one on ones, she’ll just stop in my office and talk to me for 45 minutes, so that’s part of the problem.)

    • Famouscait says:

      Try a Command hook on the outside of your door and hang a small dry-erase board on it when you need to close your door.

    • Google “pumping at work door sign” and look for a non-cutesy one. There are a thousand on Etsy and Pinterest. Or you can agree on a symbol with her – like if she sees the cow (or a Dilbert cartoon or a specific greeting card or whatever) sign taped to your door, she knows you’re pumping.

      • avocado says:

        For a clueless boss, I love the cow sign idea so very much. Also agree with LegalMomma that cutting a pumping session short may undermine your efforts to establish the sanctity of pumping time.

    • LegalMomma says:

      After my first I hung a hotel like “do not disturb” sign on my door handle. Will do the same when I return to work this time. Worked 99% of the time – only hiccup was oblivious older male partner who could NOT understand why he couldn’t enter my office right now. Administrative assistant had to say you can’t go in there 3 times – the last time with an explicit explanation as to why not …

      On a side note – I would not stop a pumping session mid-go. I would be unavailable until I was finished – whoever needed me would have to wait. Good luck!

    • Meg Murry says:

      One thing that helped at a past office was to use a whiteboard, post-it or one of those “will return” clocks that what time you expected to be available again. It was good for both pumping and for when someone was in a meeting, as well as if someone just wanted to have an hour of closed door productive time – knowing that they would be back available at a set time helped keep people from knocking for “just a quick question” and completely defeating the purpose of closing the door.

      Getting multiple people to use this system also cut down on the amount of “hey neighbor, Jane’s door is closed. Do you know if she’s in a meeting or out for the day? When do you think she’ll be back?” questions.

    • ChiLaw says:

      Yeah I had a sign on my door that said something like “mom at work”? Vague enough that I wasn’t embarrassed but specific enough that everyone knew. I put it in a colorful frame from IKE and made a loop to go over my doorknob. And I wedged a doorstop under the door because folks here don’t always wait for an answer to their knock before entering!

      • pumping signal? says:

        Fortunately my door locks! I just ordered a whiteboard from [email protected] and I’m going to do the whole “available at 3:30” style thing. We don’t currently have a front desk person (the position is vacant) so there’s no one really to ask, but literally everyone else in the office knows that’s what’s going on when my door is closed, so I never even dreamed my boss wasn’t getting it. I feel stupid but whatever, this should work and be fine! I think I was just really, really embarrassed in the moment.

  21. Embryos says:

    This might be too late in the day, but I’d love to hear how others have dealt with extra embryos post IVF. I’ve just paid my latest storage bill, but eventually have to make a decision. I have a fabulous set of twins and feel very happy with the current size of my family – my husband and I haven’t had any yearnings for another baby and given my very challenging pregnancy/birth, it’s something I’m not keen on going through again even if it would likely be easier. We still have two frozen and have discussed donating them to science or to an infertile couple. But it’s such a hard choice and I’d love to hear how others have made the same difficult decision (I’ve read a few articles but it’s hard to find people who talk about this).

    • We haven’t been able to make the decision. Same boat: twins and we’re done. My husband wants to donate them to an infertile couple. I want to donate them to science. We’re each totally not okay with the other person’s position. Honestly I think we missed a storage fee awhile back, which might have solved the problem for us. I realize it’s not a good answer. And I also realize we should have thought this through at the beginning. But pre-kids, we might have each been okay with the other’s position. Post-kids, less so.

      • We both see pros and cons of each position, which is tough in its own way. My facility doesn’t donate them to medical research directly – just to train embryologists. Which I guess is important in its own right. If we wanted to go to research, we’d have to find something ourselves.
        I’m just also hoping that do to changes in supreme court, etc, these choices aren’t taken away before we make a decision – although I’m not aware of any specific threats on the horizon.

    • We have many, many extras that we’ll never get to. I was originally OK with donating to an infertile couple, but now that it’s becoming more ‘real’ that we’ll have our own children it hurts to think of them having siblings out in the world that they’ll never know. Or another couple raising “our” baby.

      So I think we’re both leaning towards donating to science (once we’re totally done). Without embryos to study, we would have never gotten pregnant. Certain research is impossible without embryos.

      As far as “is it our actual child that we’d be destroying/giving to science?”, I weirdly got past this by listening to a RadioLab episode called “The Primitive Streak”. If you listen to it, it explains why scientifically before 14 days an embryo is not quite self-deterministic in a way that makes it less person-like. For example, at that point, it could still split into twins – so if an embryo doesn’t know if it’s one or two people, how can it be any people at all?

      That may not help you at all, but it really helped me. Plus it talked to actual researchers using embryos, so I got a more warm fuzzy feeling about what our embryos could go on to do!

      • I’ll have to find that RadioLab. My husband is okay with the morning after pill, my IUD, and early term abortions, but our own embryos? He’s not comfortable with willfully destroying them. Me? I’m with you on the donating to another couple. I know it must be devastating to need a donated embryo. But I just don’t want OUR baby out there. I know I would want it, and it would hurt me to know I have another child I can’t have as my own.

      • SciAnon says:

        Late to this, but we also have a couple embryos left that we need to decide what to do with, and the not self-deterministic yet bit is a really interesting way to think about it. We have identical twins from a single embryo, so when we put just the one back it clearly hadn’t yet decided if it was one baby or two!

      • Closet Redux says:

        I loved that Radio Lab! My jaw was dropped the entire episode– fascinating!

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