Washable Workwear Wednesday: Ponte Sheath Dress

I love this dress from Ellen Tracy — I think it’s just so chic and cool. I like the wrapping details at the waist (which are only on the front), the flattering neckline (for me, crewnecks are no good), and the unobtrusive back zipper. The dress is available in a very bright green and this lovely purple. It’s machine wash/tumble dry, and it’s only $79 ($118 after The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is over). It comes in sizes 4–16, and do note that it runs large. Ponte Sheath Dress

Here’s a similar dress from Ellen Tracy in plus sizes.

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.

Psst: See all of our picks from the 2017 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

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  1. I know potty training is a frequent topic here but I haven’t seen much discussion on the particular roadblock we’re facing. My son is almost 3.5. We’ve attempted potty training twice – the first time we started with the Oh [email protected] method – it was ok for the first half day and then he started holding his pee and getting really anxious about having accidents. He refused to sit on the potty and completely freaked out at the idea of doing #2 in the potty. We pushed through more than a week without diapers but it didn’t click and he was clearly stressed and anxious so we went back to diapers and took a break for a while.

    Over July 4th weekend we tried again. It was better – he didn’t seem anxious and sat on the potty many times to try and pee…but he just couldn’t let it out. He had no accidents (even stayed dry through nap a couple times) but that’s because he is able to hold it all day. So it seems like he is totally physically ready but has some mental/emotional block. We’re back to diapers again for now.

    Would love to hear any advice/anecdotes/reassurance from other parents who have experienced something like this! I know it will work itself out in time but right now I can’t see how it’s going to happen and I’m struggling with the fact that I can’t do anything about it.

    • shortperson says:

      this was my daughter’s problem too along with many of my nieces and nephews. (some ocd/anxiety genes in the family.) we watched a lot of videos in the bathroom while waiting for her to pee, for the first week each time it took 45-80 minutes. it was so awful. i felt like a pee doula. but the only way out was through. stickers and skittles as rewards helped.

      on the bright side it’s been six months and she’s only had one accident since then. she always tells us when she needs to go. so once she was done, she was done.

    • We are facing this precise situation ourselves with my 3-year-old daughter. She was doing really well a few months ago, then suddenly started refusing to sit on the potty at all. We’re attempting again, and while she seems pretty enthusiastic about it, she just can’t release any urine while she’s actually on the toilet (but will hold it for hours and hours, then have a giant accident on the floor). The objective, of course, is not to make her anxious and fearful, but it’s frustrating to see the physical readiness without it clicking.

      So…you are not alone! I would also welcome any insight.

    • Jeffiner says:

      This is exactly the problem we are having with my 2.5 year old daughter. We also tried the Oh [email protected] method and had to give up, and the second time she held it all day just like your son. My husband wants to try again in a few months, but I have no idea what to do!

    • What about rewarding him for trying. Doing something to make sitting on the potty and trying to go a positive experience, whether or not he’s successful? My kid had some constipation issues early in her life and became really afraid of going, so she’d hold it in and then it would be even worse when she did go. We finally started being able to break the cycle by (please don’t jump on me) giving her a small piece of chocolate when she pooped. Over time she came to associate pooping with something positive. It has helped a lot. Still not perfect. A sticker chart might work for your kid. Or some other x number of smileys = a small toy or something.

      • With the caveat that I have zero experience with potty training, several of my friends have used M&Ms or other small candies for potty training with very effective results. Particularly if candy is not something your child gets regularly, I think potty training would be the perfect situation to use it as a reward.

    • Experienced something similar. Kiddo was wearing pull-ups, and had been introduced to the idea that we’d get a specific requested toy, AND fancy new underpants for day-time wear once Kiddo used the potty regularly (so: motivation to perform was in place). Yet still the freaking-out anxiety. Our two phases of attack were (1) to plan an entire 3-day weekend at home with Kiddo naked, with a potty chair in the living room where we watched WAY too many movies and encouraged sitting on the potty while the movies played [which seemed to let Kiddo zone out enough to not really provoke the same anxiety as regular potty use], which got us a handful of successful uses, and (2) letting kiddo go in a pull-up while sitting on the potty, and then eventually – no joke – cutting holes in the pull-up so kiddo could go in the potty while wearing the pull-up. +1 to feeling like a toilet doula by the time we actually got through it, but once Kiddo earned that toy and the new underpants, the anxiety was totally vanquished.

    • Thanks so much everyone! It’s helpful to know that others have gone through this. We have been offering rewards – we started with M&Ms just for sitting and that helped. Now he doesn’t mind sitting and seems to enjoy it because we read special books together. We have offered a bigger reward for going, and he’s gotten one the couple times he has had success. But it seems like he still can’t relax enough to make it happen when he needs to. Maybe I’ll try letting him watch videos in the hopes that he’ll zone out and we can get some more successes and make them positive experiences. I’ve also thought of cutting a hole in the pull up…

      • I also suspect that we might have over hyped his successes and inadvertently created some performance anxiety…

  2. DC anon says:

    Any diaper backpack recommendations? Is it worth getting an actual diaper backpack with special features or is a regular one good enough. I would like something unisex so I can she with DH. We have a toddler and I usually carry a skip hop versa bag with water bottle or milk cup, a snack, and crayons, wipes, sunscreen, and sometimes even a change of clothes. I would love to have a backpack that I share with DH that is always ready to go and carry a small purse for my normal haul of phone, wallet, keys.

    • AwayEmily says:

      We have a Baggu black canvas drawstring backpack that I’ve been very happy with. It’s not huge but can fit the basics without things getting lost inside of it. It also looks decent and (my favorite part) hangs very nicely on the back of a stroller. Also: if someone’s partner was to (hypothetically) forget to put the cap on the stupid Dr. Brown’s bottle and it spilled all over the entire bag, it can just be thrown in the wash.


      To give you a sense of the size, we stock it with a few diapers, wipes, a sippy cup, a bag of Cheerios, two extra outfits, sunscreen, and diaper cream and still have extra room.

    • My sister just registered for the charcoal gray Eddie Bauer diaper backpack from Target. I was actually a little jealous and wished I’d gone that route instead of a regular bag! I liked the organization and the biggest difference from a regular backpack was the wipe dispenser on the side. That would be so handy in gross public restrooms. It also has the stroller clips, which a regular backpack lacks.

      • Oh! The other advice I’d give is that designer diaper bags are kind of overrated. By all means, look for something high quality that will hold up, but I guarantee you’ll want to burn that thing once the kid turns 2.5 or 3 and is no longer requiring so much *stuff* for outings. At least in my area, diaper bags are really hard to resell, even the fancy ones.

    • We just use a regular small hiking daypack from REI – it holds water bottle/ my water bottle, snacks, couple of kid entertainments, wipes, sunscreen, clothes, wet bag, epipens, hand sanitizer, kleenex – that’s about all we need, and I carry a small crossbody. (I know – such a cliche – standard mom kit!)

    • Clementine says:

      We just use a Kanken Fjallraven backpack. It’s awesome and I would highly recommend it. It’s not so big that we carry our life with us, but I stock it with a diaper clutch (the Skip Hop one), an extra outfit for baby (I used to also have one for parents), snacks, a book or two, and a couple small toys.

      Surprisingly efficient! I also really like that there’s a snap on top so it’s very easy to clip onto a stroller or another bag.

      • AwayEmily says:

        The Fjallraven is the backpack that all the cool college kids use these days! I bet they’d be mortified to learn that it was also a diaper bag favorite. I will absolutely inform them of this fact next semester.

        • Anonymous says:

          Like half the parents at the Brooklyn’s Children Museum seem to be carrying that backpack around.

    • Anonymous says:

      In my experience, a regular backpack works just fine. The Mom Edit . com (no space) did a roundup of backups recently, and based on that post I bought an Anello brand backpack from Amazon. It is AMAZING. You have to look up a picture to see why – the way it opens is a game-changer. Hihgly recommend.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I just bought the backpack lo and sons has out (sorry can’t remember the name) for use at the park etc., and was thinking the other day that it would make a great diaper backpack. I got the black one and it’s definitely unisex

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I forgot to mention it has an optional removable insert that has pockets and compartments etc. inside

    • Due in December says:

      I know this response is late, but I have the Boken bag and DH and I both really like it (though we like the more utilitarian aesthetic and will probably keep using it after we no longer need a diaper bag). We use it as a backpack but you can add on a strap to use it as a tote bag. Only $68. The thing I like most is that it is lightweight and machine washable.

      Also, they have great customer service. The zipper on our bag broke about a year in and Boken shipped us a new bag at no cost to us, and let us choose a new color as well.

  3. What would you call this kind of neckline? It’s not a boatneck, and if it’s not a crewneck, I’m sort of stumped. But this is the kind I like best for work so…

  4. Cornellian says:

    Here’s a dumb question: How much (non-breastmilk/formula) do you feed your baby at various ages? My six month old has been getting 2-4 oz of one pureed veggie at lunch for about three weeks. Eventually he’ll need to eat real food more than once a day, but I have no idea when that is. I’m thinking about it now because his first little razor sharp tooth is beginning to poke through on the bottom.

    I think he’s getting plenty of nutrition (and actually bounced back from 14th to 80th percentile for weight after losing a bunch as a newborn), and I know the LLL folks would say that food is just for fun at this point, but what do you guys do?

    • Cornellian says:

      meant to say “How much (non-breastmilk/formula) FOOD do you…”

    • Anonymous says:

      Food is just for fun in that you shouldn’t stress about how much baby actually eats. Just offer lots of different tastes and textures to get him used to solid food. I generally did breakfast – mid morning snack – lunch – mid afternoon snack – dinner. So basically offered a mashed or chopped version of what we ate for breakfast/lunch/dinner plus something to try at snack time – piece of toast, mashed carrots or avocado, cheerios, chopped grapes or melon, chopped hard boiled egg.

    • AwayEmily says:

      That is a hell of a bounce-back — nice eating, baby Cornellian!

      I think it varies so, so much by baby. Is he in daycare? We just kind of followed daycare’s lead on this…At six months she was eating once a day, and by 8 months she was getting three meals a day, including finger foods. So the period between 6 and 8 months was mostly just a low-stress period of learning to feed herself/trying new flavors and textures. At around 9.5 months she started doing a regular meal schedule of 3 meals plus two snacks a day (this was daycare-driven). We were not a BLW family — combo of purees and finger foods.

    • My son really liked solids so we were on the high-end. We started at one meal a day at 6 months and were up to 3 by 7 months. He nursed the same amount until around 8 months when I dropped a feed, so I didn’t necessarily consider the solids a crucial part of his nutrition, although he was likely getting a good amount of nutrition from what he was eating. He would have baby cereal with fruit for breakfast, pureed veggies for lunch (we added meat around 7 or 8 months), and a fruit and veggie (later a meat) for dinner.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      At that age (6 months), I think it was maybe a tablespoon or two of food at one meal (lunch). Then, after a few weeks we introduced a similar amount of solids at dinner (so ~ 7 months). We waited another few weeks to introduce breakfast (similar amount). My daughter didn’t have teeth for a while, so she could only gum food. At dinner, once she had the hang of purees, we began to introduce things like peas + carrots and avocado. Maybe that was at around 7.5-8 months.

      As for the quantity, we really just let her lead. We’d put a small amount of food on her tray and if she ate it all and seemed like she wanted more, we’d give her more.

    • BTanon says:

      My kid was at the opposite end of the spectrum described by most of the responders so far – he hated all solids so much that he barely ate anything other than breastmilk/formula until about 8 months. We tried lots of things, purees as well as finger foods, but his actual intake was almost nil for a long while. Doc wasn’t especially concerned since his weight was not an issue, and kid eventually came around and started eating meaningful quantities of solids (never did accept being spoon-fed though.)

      • This was both of my kids. Neither ate much more than a bite or two a day until ~9 months. Then they figured out how to feed themselves (finger foods like puffs and blueberries) and starting eating more, but they weren’t really eating MEAL-meals until after 12 months.
        Basically they wanted no part of being fed by us – it was by themselves or nothing. So we just had to wait for their motor skills to develop enough to let them do that. In the meantime, we tried to keep repeating “food is just for fun” and tried to make sure those 1-2 bites were varied in type/texture/spices/etc. It’s hard to be zen about it, especially when the other kids at daycare are shoveling in jars of peach paste, but whatever. My kids are eating just fine now (ages 2 and 4).

    • I have a skinny kid who was a skinny baby, so the “food before one is just for fun” thing really helped ease my anxiety about not giving him ‘enough’ food. We did purees for about a week, then BLW because I am both lazy and frugal and no one else in the family likes purees. As it turned out, kid didn’t even like purees himself and ate much more when he was offered straight-up avocado, banana, sweet potatoes, and peas. (Seriously, can you think of any food grimmer than pureed green beans?)

      At that age I think we offered 2x a day, once at breakfast and once at dinner, and began sending tiny Tupperwares of finger food to daycare when he was about 8 months – usually stuff he’d already tried at home. The amount he ate really varied day to day; if he seemed like he wanted more, we gave him more. I think the serving size is about a tablespoon and goes up to 4 tbsp for older infants eating things like oatmeal cereal. Between then and 15 months, I think we then transitioned slowly to the toddler eating schedule (so breakfast at home, morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack at daycare, dinner at home).

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I just want to chime in to say this is not a dumb question. My son is now 7, so I don’t remember what I ended up doing, but I do remember starting solid foods being SUPER STRESSFUL! I was constantly thinking “omg I’m forming patterns that will exist for the rest of his life and if I mess this up he will be unhealthy and obese and it will be all my fault also what if I mess up something to do with food allergies omg” and I’ve had SO MANY new moms come to me and ask about starting solids with the same panicked look in their eye. So don’t feel dumb :)

  5. Have any of you had a spouse go back to school? Looking for tips on what to expect, how to be supportive, etc.

    Husband is going to take a few classes this fall while hopefully dropping his hours down to around 30 or so per week at his job. He’s hoping to take the classes back to back in the mornings when offered, so no night classes at least.

    I was really excited for him at first. He’s been a little blue since giving up his law practice and this is a great next step. Of course, now that he actually wants to do it I’m nervous about the time commitment! I’m a senior associate in a regional firm and my hours can get crazy. We split childcare very evenly (in fact, he probably does more) and I’m nervous about his time being ramped up while taking a dip in income. Looking for any tips from those who have been there.

    • EB0220 says:

      My husband opened a business a year ago. It’s not the same thing exactly, but a similar feel in terms of his time commitment being high while income is dipping. My advice is that you need to both have a shared long-term vision of how this will benefit all of you individually and as a family. You can keep it together short-term if there is a payoff at the end, but you will resent him if you end up shouldering more of the household load and he is not focused. I also think it’s helpful and fair to have checkpoints along the way (every semester). If you don’t feel that the situation is working for your family, you need to agree that there is an “out clause”, even if money has already been spent on the school path. That will keep you from feeling trapped. Hopefully this doesn’t seem too negative! I think it can succeed just fine, but you need to take care of yourself along the way.

    • Anonymous says:

      My husband and I have both gone back to school — he, pre-kids, and me afterward. The biggest thing we did to support each other is recognize that we are very different students, and respect that. I intend to get an A in every class I take, and prefer to spend time on schoolwork consistently throughout the week. My husband shoots for a B, does the bare minimum to get there, and procrastinates like crazy. I remember he’d spend all week playing video games, and then lock himself in his room for the day or two before a major assignment was due. I marked his due dates on my calendar, made my own plans, and did not offer “advice” on being more conscientious. He did his own thing after the kids went to bed and let me do my schoolwork in peace without any guilt trips that I wasn’t spending time with him.

      Another great thing he did was encourage me to still take time for myself — I felt incredibly guilty leaving for evening classes, so I tried to minimize my time away from him and the kids otherwise, but that just meant I got no breaks from being responsible. He practically kicked me out of the house sometimes, and it was really necessary for mental health.

      If you are honestly going to run into financial difficulty or are getting resentful, absolutely talk about it. But your husband probably has a lot mentally and emotionally tied up in this plan. Probably more than he has expressed to you, and more than he even realizes, himself. I had a really visceral reaction to the few times my husband expressed hesitation about whether my taking classes was wise and what the payoff would be. To his eternal credit, he bit his tongue 99% of the time, let me come to my own conclusion about quitting the program, and has never insinuated that it was not the best use of my time or effort. I’m not saying you feel that way, but your “nervousness” may read that way to him (I’m totally projecting right now). I’m sure he’s thought about it the financial and time implications and is sensitive to them, so unless they actually become insurmountable, it would be very kind of you to express confidence.

    • anonnn says:

      I work FT and I’m in grad school. Our kids are 3 and 4. My spouse has a very demanding career and works late hours. This meant I was rushing from work to pick up the children, settle them in, make dinner, bath, PJs and bedtime by myself. After all that, I was too exhausted to do my homework. I hired a babysitter that comes 3-4x a week. She comes for 2.5 hours and covers dinner (I prep and plan) and bath. I go to the library during that time. Since the meter is running on the sitter I REALLY crack down and plow through my school work. I increase the sitter’s frequency when I have an upcoming exam or a big paper due. I think it helps to have structured time set aside for homework. He has his specific chores and I have mine. There is no bickering of housework. (Plus we have housekeepers come 2x month). He takes the kids out for 4-5 hour mini adventures on Sat and Sun (usually lunch and playground/shopping).

  6. Anon-for-this says:

    Reposting from main site.

    How did you come-up with a style that you like and makes you feel confident? I am very easily influenced by other women’s style and appearance. For example, I decide to wear dresses in the summer, but then I see a co-worker wearing skinny pants and I turn around and want to wear skinny pants. I guess what I am saying is that I lack confidence in the way I look and what I like or dislike. I know I should be myself, original, and confident, but how? I am decent looking, not overweight, I am happy at home and at work. But somehow I always find myself copying other women…This is a confidence issue, right? How do I “become myself” once and for all? Please do not judge.

    • avocado says:

      You might enjoy taking a look at Anuschka Rees’s blog and/or book for guidance on discovering your own personal style. It basically comes down to evaluating your lifestyle, aesthetic, coloring, and body type and defining some guiding principles in terms of colors, silhouettes, etc. It can be a long process, and your style can evolve over time. KonMari may also be helpful as a starting point–let go of everything that you don’t love and then use what’s left as a foundation.

      That said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a style you like on another person and working it into your own personal style. Creativity is mostly about taking existing ideas and combining them in your own way.

    • layered bob says:

      why do you have to have your own style? Clothes are just clothes – they don’t have to mean anything to you. Copy other women all you want!

    • CPA Lady says:

      Okay, so this might sound kind of insane, but I’m really exploring this topic right now, so I’ll tell you what I’ve discovered. There is a thing called “Kibbe” and it’s an image analysis framework. Basically what it boils down to is finding what type of clothing is most flattering on your body type, and what is most harmonious overall. It goes down to nitty gritty details like your jewelry, shirt neckline, and patterns– stripes? geometric? soft? What looks best on you and what goes together in a way that seems natural.

      There are lots of pinterest boards that I’ve found useful to get some examples. I’ve always liked the idea that trends are fun and fine, but knowing what is most flattering on me (and only embracing trends if they fall within that) helps me look my best and feel true to myself. For example, within the Kibbe framework, I’m a “soft classic”– which is a preppy look that is flattering to my more curvy shape. I need a certain amount of structure in my clothing, but I’m smallish so a ton of bright patterns and fussy details are overwhelming on me. Super flowy things look really awful on me. I need high closed necklines. When I started tucking things in, it was a lightbulb moment for me and everything magically looked so much better. Polo shirts do not look frumpy on me while they do on some other people.

      You know how some women look cool and edgy and can wear gold high top sneakers? And some can wear peter pan collars without looking like lunatics? And some look at home in golf clothes? And some can dress like David Bowie and it totally fits? Those are all things that are explained with this whole image archetype Kibbe thing.

      I know a few women who have had style analysis done by this woman and they have been very happy:

      • CPA Lady says:

        Also BAHAHA, to the completely different responses from layered bob and me! This is clearly one of my hobbies!

      • anne-on says:

        This is so interesting – thank you for sharing and I love your points on image archetypes.
        I definitely favor a preppy/classic look – my SIL looks great in trendy/flow-y/edge-y clothing and I can’t pull that off any more than she’d look at home in my classic navy sheath dresses and pearls!

      • This is so interesting! (I’ve fallen down a bit of a rabbit hole.) It’s a revelation – the Kibbe framework explains why I look terrible in some things and much better in others (pants, pants, always bootcut or ankle pants).

      • Um, I know what I’m doing the rest of the day. I like your brand of crazy.

      • Anon-for-this says:

        CPA Lady, thank you for the recommendation. I need to find my framework. Is this the test you did? Do you have any other resources?


        Your comment is point on! I love edgy outfits but I am petite so you can imagine the gold sneakers do not look good on me. I cannot wait to discover what my type is. Thanks a million!

        • CPA Lady says:

          I didn’t actually do the test. I’m in a closed facebook group about it where you can post photos of yourself wearing different stuff and then get advice from other women. I’m fairly hourglassy so I at first thought I was a romantic, but that just never felt right. I’ve done a bunch of clothing try ons and taken so many selfies that if you got a hold of my phone you would think I was deeply disturbed.

          The whole thing is about proportion. If you like edgy but you’re small, look into the Flamboyant Gamine archetype. Lots about that one on pinterest.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          womp womp, i took that quiz and there was no description for my answers!

        • PrettyPrimadonna says:

          I got “Dramatic Classic” which is just perfect!

    • anne-on says:

      I think this is something that comes with time and experience. I wore a lot of what I’d now call ‘professional lady costumes’ as a younger women – pencil skirts and sweaters, blazers/suits that didn’t fit quite right, and ‘good enough’ clothes because I needed to wear something!
      I finally (after having my kid and having to basically rebuild my work wardrobe from scratch) spent a lot of time and energy thinking about what kind of clothes fit my (new) build best, made me feel good (professional, put together, suited my age/experience level), and worked well for my work place (nice business casual). I developed a uniform of sorts (which also helps when I travel) with all my clothes being mostly in the same color scheme. I lean heavily towards dresses, ankle pants/skinny pants, ‘blouses’, tunic sweaters with scarves, and a few skirts here and there. Blazers on occasion, but my ‘third pieces’ tend towards scarves or jewelry. My overall aesthetic is pretty classic/retro in that I favor sheaths, straight or a-line skirts, and smaller prints/solids.
      What colors do you like? What silhouettes look best on you and make you feel good? What level of formality suits your position/firm? These are all good places to get started – and once you know the answers, I’d suggest either a mall trip, or a good personal shopper.

    • I also find myself copying other women sometimes, but that’s mainly because I don’t follow styles or trends and need to see something like skinny pants on someone who looks sort of like me for it to click that ‘hey, I could wear those’.

      I do have some internal constraints about my wardrobe — I like dark colors or jewel tones, I don’t wear pastels or very bright colors, I don’t wear very tailored tops because they make me feel constricted, I have to be able to walk in my shoes, and these kinds of things help me to feel like I’m sticking with ‘my’ style rather than getting in a rut.

      I also need some variety in my wardrobe. Right now I’m pumping, which means it’s easiest if I wear a top and bottom rather than a dress. I’m missing my dresses so much right now (I went in my closet this morning and looked at all of them, tried to talk myself into wearing one just for today and dealing with the annoyance of getting undressed to pump, and then sighed and picked out some pants) So that might be playing into your decision–maybe dresses everyday seemed like a good idea but now you’re rethinking it?

  7. Help with baby wearing says:

    My son is almost 4 weeks and I have not been able to get him in the Ergo! I carried my daughter all the time in it; it was her favorite place to be. He howls like he’s in pain when I put him in. I’ve tried several times, each with the assistance of another person to check his position (for example that his legs are in that frog position). I’ve also tried the moby wrap a few times. I feel trapped in the house as a consequence; I can’t make a real grocery store run. I’d also love to be able to throw him in during that 45 minute pre-dinner period.

    Anyone been through something similar? He’s in the 99th percentile for height; could that have something to do with it? I’m wondering if I should buy another baby carrier to try it out, or if I should resign myself to instacart for another month and hope that he likes the Ergo enough without the infant insert.

    • anne-on says:

      It may just be your kid – mine HATED being worn. Is it worth letting it go for now and trying again when he’s a bit bigger and able to be front facing? In the meantime, embrace the swing, and maybe get a snap and go frame so you have something lighter/easier for grocery runs?

    • Blueberry says:

      Maybe try without the insert? I think it never really worked with my similarly huge babies. I take it that the Moby didn’t work well either? Does he calm down after he gets settled in there? I seem to remember my kids disliking the process but being content once they were in.

      • That’s an interesting idea – I’ll give it a try, although he’s so floppy that I’m a little hesitant. I had him in it for 10-15 minutes yesterday and he never calmed down. I was trotting around the house like a horse to keep him from screaming, but my mom (who was spotting me) told me that his back was always arched and he was pushing away from me the whole time.

        No, Moby was also a failure. :(

    • I have a nephew who really preferred to not be held–he apparently likes his personal space. He’s an otherwise happy, cuddly toddler now, but as a baby wanted to spend more time in his own space than being held/carried/worn. Is a car seat in the cart an option?

      • I can do this at Costco, but I don’t think I can swing it in the Whole Foods carts. Maybe I’ll give it a try. Ideally I’d go grocery shopping once a week for my entire family, which is a lot of food – but maybe I’ll just have to go more frequently.

        • October says:

          Ha I have vivid memories of sticking my baby in the back of the cart and also carrying a shopping basket around. It was clunky, and perhaps not the best plan, but it worked in a pinch.

        • Do you have a stroller? That was my primary shopping cart when my son was small, partly because I live in NYC. But you would be surprised what you can fit if you are creative. A snap and go with a car seat on top holds a ton.

        • Anonymous says:

          I have gotten very. very creative at whole foods and grocery stores about stacking things around a car seat and on the bottom rack. Trader Joes is a special kind of hilarious b/c really small carts + the majority of my wine purchases occur there. It can work.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My very active kiddo wasn’t a fan of baby wearing until she was closer to 4-5 months old. She didn’t like to be restrained. Once she was able to see further, she liked being carried on adventures (ummm…grocery store trips) so she could see more of the world.

    • AwayEmily says:

      what about trying a folded t-shirt or receiving blanket at the bottom of the Ergo instead of the infant insert? My kid did not like the insert so that worked better til she was able to do without.

      • Cornellian says:

        +1 to this. Also check that the infant insert is in correctly. Since this is your second kid, it’s probably not the problem, but I had installed in such a way that it was pinching him a bit.

      • Ooh, I will try that! Great idea!

    • EB0220 says:

      I didn’t find the Ergo that great until my kids were about 2 months. Until then, they were uncomfortable in it because the seat was really too wide. You could try making the seat more narrow by tying a ribbon around it. For that age, I found that a ring sling or wrap worked better.

    • Okay hear me out…. see if there’s a Babywearing Facebook group for your metro area. They tend to have several meetings a month where they bring a TON of carriers so you can try different ones with your kid until you find one that works for both of you. They all are obsessed (said in a nice way) about carriers so have a thousand tips and suggestions to try to make it work.

      I had a similar situation where my second son HATED the carrier and I also felt trapped, so a friend dragged me to our local babywearing group. Turns out he hated my existing Baby Bjorn and Moby, and a couple others too, but loved the Tula. He was happy the whole meeting and even fell asleep in it! I bought one on Amazon before I left and had it in 2 days. Life. Changing.

      • EB0220 says:

        This is a great idea. The group is usually associated with Babywearing International, and they are super helpful. We loved the infant Kinderpack with our kiddo because it comes with a mesh panel so you don’t get super hot and there is a strap on the seat that you can adjust as baby grows. I just saw a picture of my sister with her 2 week old in her Kinderpack.

      • I’m going to look into this! Thanks!

      • you can also go to a baby wearing-friendly store – they often will help you with an existing carrier and will have others you can try

    • Anonymous says:

      If you’re willing to try a new carrier, the baby ktan worked really well for my infant and still does as she’s 4 months old. It’s literally the magic bullet – if she’s overtired I pop her in there and she’s asleep in 2 minutes.

    • Anonymous says:

      My daughter was the same way until I tried it with her legs out in the Solly wrap – keep experimenting!

    • Anonymous says:

      My baby was/is not a fan of babywearing. She runs hot and I think that was some of it. She also despised being swaddled. We used the k’tan and the ergo and would often just suffer through the 5-10 minutes it took for her to calm down and then she’d be fine. She really enjoyed the ergo facing forward, especially in the winter. (Now she should be a back carry, and she is not thrilled.)

  8. Rainbow Hair says:

    Would love advice short of “throw your husband in the garbage” because I’m ready to do that: how do I instill a Sense of Urgency in my damn husband for getting out the door in time?

    The twist is: he stays home, so there is never any rush for him, really. But I do daycare drop off on my way to work (daycare is AT my work so this is not a huge thing). I hate that I’m always the badguy, like “No, you took too long eating breakfast, so you can’t feed the cats.” (This is not just blindsiding her, this is like, “here’s the two minute timer, now it’s time to go” and then her fussing and crying that she’s still hungry…) And frequently he’ll say, “There’s time!” and then they feed the cats together and I’m not *late* for work, but drop off is rushed and much harder. Or like, getting out of bed. He goes into her room and lounges on the sofa until she’s “ready” to get up. Which can be like, 15 minutes. Then I have to march in and be like, “If you don’t get up now, there won’t be time for breakfast and you’ll have to eat it at school instead.”

    Maybe I just need to chill out a bit? Maybe I need to accept being the badguy? Maybe I *can* throw him in the garbage?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Hahahaha, do not throw your husband in the garbage over rushed drop offs! If you want experience difficult mornings, try doing every single morning all by yourself, every day.

      One suggestion: is he in charge of getting her ready? If so, what happens if you stop micromanaging the two of them, and just say, “Whatever state she’s in at X time is the state she’s leaving in,” unless he wants to drop her off later. My kiddo *may* have been taken to school in her pajamas, holding a banana when she was dawdling.

      • @NewMomAnon, you are a hero! I solo overnight (2 solo mornings) once a week due to husband’s work and there’s usually a meltdown on the second day. I avoided this today by sending kid to school still in his PJ shorts and a shirt that he picked out. The whole outfit has, uh, unique flair.

        Agree – if he stays home, what if he just drops her off later?

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I always thought I would be the “fun, cuddly, curious, spontaneous” kind of mom. It makes me a little sad that I’ve had to be a very structured, disciplinarian parent just to keep all the balls in the air. I’d love to have a softer relationship with my kiddo.

          • Anonanonanon says:

            I feel you. when I was single-momming it I would see all of the TV shows where the kid and the mom were so cloooooose and just slowly went about their awesome life together always happy and I’d be like “OK BUT HOW DO THEY EVER GET OUT OF THE D*** HOUSE?!?!”. It’s hard by yourself, everything has to be a lot more structured or we’d never get through it. Hugs, everything I’ve seen from you on here makes it clear you’re doing an awesome job!!

          • anne-on says:

            This is IMHO, what weekends are for. My kiddo is up with the sun most days, so on Saturday he eats, I have coffee and then we have a laaaazy cuddly morning reading books, tickling, playing games in PJs until the late hour of 9am at which point I usually allow a TV show so I can shower/get dressed at which point we can go have real breakfast (for me!) and mid-morning snack for kiddo and still run errands.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Woah, yeah, appreciate the reality check. Solo mornings would def. be harder!

          He’s like 85% in charge of getting her ready — maybe I should just suggest shifting it to 100% and then back off entirely, as long as she’s in the car by 7:05. (He can’t do drop offs because we only have one car because maybe we’re only fake grownups? But I guess conceivably the consequence could be that she misses school that day. Oof that’s pretty heavy though.)

          • Sarabeth says:

            Is there any way he could conceivably get her to daycare if you leave? Uber there and back? Is it close enough to bike?

          • Rainbow Hair says:

            Gah I wish. It’s like a 20 minute drive. I mean he could conceivably uber it, I guess, but it would be like $30-40 round trip and a huge pain in the butt. Perhaps step 1 is “acquire second car.” Perhaps step pre-1 is “acquire more money.”

      • Anonanonanon says:

        HAHAHA to be fair I found mornings were easier by myself than with the husband I threw out in the trash :-P

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      I’m in a similar boat with a lollygagging H, so I hear your frustration re: throwing ’em in the garbage.

      One thing that helped ME become less perpetually late was to mentally backtrack from my goal of where I want to be when, and think of everything that needs to be done to make that happen, estimating the worst case scenario for traffic etc. But it sounds like you’re doing that all ready (XYZ has to be done by 7am in order to do ABC).

      If it’s just this issue, what about breakfast on the way to school?

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell your husband you have to be at work 30 minutes earlier. And take whatever time you need at daycare drop off. Don’t tell him you need to be in by 9am, tell him you need to be dropping kiddo off by 8am. He’s working backwards from whatever deadline you give him, and it’s not working for you. Give him a new deadline. Or stop doing drop off. Or take the kid in her PJs without breakfast. (My LO doesn’t wear PJs — she sleeps in her school clothes and eats breakfast at daycare, so I can pick her up out of bed and put her directly in the car.)

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Are the kids who sleep in their daytime clothes potty trained? It seems like, since I have to do a diaper in the morning anyway, I’m not really saving any time by already putting her in school clothes to sleep? (Also, she sometimes leaks a little onto her jammies, which is fine and what washing machines are for, but not appropriate for school.)

        • AwayEmily says:

          I’ve thought the same thing. They must be, right? Also they must not be sweat monsters who also get food all over themselves during breakfast. Basically my child is super gross (though also super adorable) and definitely cannot go to school in what she’s slept/eaten breakfast in.

          • Rainbow Hair says:

            Oh YEAH that’s another reason we feed her breakfast before changing her. Though she still managed to get dropped off with a knee coated in oatmeal today. Sigh.

          • October says:

            Yah I totally don’t understand it either, for those reasons. Plus it takes like 30 seconds for me to put a shirt and shorts on my son, unless he’s in a really bad mood, but even then it’s like a minute. I guess I also associate sleeping with wanting to be *really comfy* and thus in nice pajamas.

          • Yeah I’ve never got that either! My child is wonderful, but also a grade A mess.

        • Anon at 11:44 says:

          So it was easier when my LO was in diapers, because I didn’t bother with a diaper change (I would change her at daycare before leaving). Now that she’s potty trained, I ask if she has to go before we leave, she invariably says no, so she has to hold it during the 10-minute drive to daycare. If I doubt her, I just pull her pants down and put her on the toilet, just like a dream pee in the middle of the night.

          As far as the food issue — yeah, she gets gross when she eats. I’ll give her a banana or apple in the car, and then her oatmeal/other food when we get to daycare.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I would be completely enraged at my husband contradicting me like that. That is the part out of all of this that makes me the maddest on your behalf. That said, I think you’re making this harder on yourself than it has to be.

      So, getting a kid “ready” to go to school only takes about 10 minutes. The only thing they “need” to do is go to the toilet/diaper change and get dressed. If the school has breakfast, then eating a full breakfast at home is optional, and I’d think about if you can cut that part of your morning.

      The way things go at Casa CPA Lady is as follows (DH is out of town ~3 weeks of the month with work, so it’s all on me most of the time):

      – CPA toddler wakes up
      – I take her to the potty
      – She puts on her clothes
      – I make her a smoothie (she eats real breakfast at school)
      – She then gets to do what she wants. But she gets no smoothie, and no screen time, no feeding the cats, no hanging out with DH, no nothing until she has gone to the potty and gotten fully dressed and is ready to leave the house
      – while she is watching TV/doing what she wants I get ready. I shower at night, so “getting ready” in the morning is only putting on makeup, combing my hair, and putting on clothes.

      I am a lot less stressed out by me being the one running late than by my daughter being the one holding up the process. Once I figured that out and started getting her ready first, things were much better.

      My whole process take place in between 6:30 and 7:15 am. At 7:20, I am getting my coffee, grabbing my purse, etc. By 7:30 we are in the car to go. So it’s not a huge rush, but everything is streamlined and we have the same routine every morning.

      • +1. We do the non-negotiable first: potty/diaper and changed into clothes. After that, whatever state they are in is how we leave. They can watch Sesame Street or eat three bowls of cereal or whatever as I’m taking my 20 minutes to get ready, and then we leave. They know as soon as I turn off the blow drier, they have about 5 minutes until we go (I also just yell “we’re leaving in 5 minutes!”) so they finish up whatever they’re doing. Keeping my routine consistent has made the mornings much more reasonable.

        For you, I think I’d “fix” it by saying “I am leaving at 7:30. If kiddo is not in a state that is ready to go, you need to figure out what happens next – either she stays home with you, or you have to take her in. But I am leaving at 7:30.”

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Alright, I like this idea. Up, diaper/clothes, then IDGAF what happens between that and getting butts in the car at 7:05… We have been doing breakfast first, but thinking about it… that’s kind of nuts.

    • mascot says:

      I think you’ve got 2 issues. The first one is helping kiddo accomplish everything she needs to accomplish so you can be out the door on time. Maybe use a kitchen timer so everyone has a visual/audio reminder of the time that’s left and you aren’t as much the bad guy. It’s hard to argue with a timer’s interpretation of 10 minutes. Also a (picture) checklist which capitalizes on a kid’s love of routine and task management.
      The second issue is getting your husband on board with sticking to the schedule. Assume good intent here- he’s snuggling with her bc he loves her, he wants her to be happy and responsible for feeding the cats so he’s enabling her. But, what he maybe doesn’t realize is how much that behavior is undermining the squad goals here. Maybe she gets special snuggles with daddy once she’s ready to go and this is the motivator to hurry her up. Sit down with him tonight and calmly discuss how you want to address this as team parent.

    • My husband also has zero sense of urgency, really about anything, unless, say I wake him up at 1 am to go to the ER with chest pains while pregnant, at which point he moved at what I would refer to as “normal person speed”. Particularly when waking up, which is at least a 20 minute process from the first jab/time to get up poke. He has to give me daily shots and sometimes I just want to scream at him to hurry up and open up his eyes so that I can get to work! Fortunately, work has been super slow and I’ve been sauntering in when I feel like it (see 10:30), but for firm deadlines/calls, I just account for the lollygagging and start the process earlier.

      Same goes for when we have to be out the door on time. He has to take first shower/start waking up at least 2 hours before we have to leave to be anywhere. I’m a 30-45 minute person from eyes open to out the door. I just don’t get it, but I’ve learned to accept it and plan for it and things have been much better.

      So, my advice is two things – (1) have them start their process 15-30 minutes earlier to allow for lollygagging (but keep the same routine – don’t let them add more stuff) and (2) chill out a little bit and learn to accept the lollygagging (or at least not say outloud the swearing that is going on in your head, because I assure you, grumpy upset husbands move even slower).

    • Anonymous says:

      Set the clock. Tell them both that’s when you leave. Leave baby with husband. One time and I swear you will not have the issue for at least…six months.

  9. NewMomAnon says:

    In today’s edition of “things that never happened before kids”: I have a big networking event tonight so I wore a gray skirt suit with a black and white sleeveless top tucked into the skirt. Got to work and realized the suit coat smells bad, and cannot be worn as-is to a networking event. I won’t have time to go home or go shopping, so here are my options in the office:

    – no jacket; I’m a bit self-conscious about my jiggly arms, but my shirt has some cool architectural detailing around the arm openings so it’s meant to be seen
    – a navy cotton sweater; can one wear navy with a black/white top?
    – a cream linen blazer; a bit wrinkly, doesn’t look very formal, can one wear cream with white?
    – a black suit coat; it just feels wrong to wear a black suit coat with a brownish-gray suit skirt
    – a navy blazer; again, navy with black and gray?

    Alternatively, I have a second top in my office that is also sleeveless and has a red and navy print; it could go with the navy blazer or navy sweater, but it feels less “special” than the black and white top I’m wearing and doesn’t fit as well.

    What would you do?

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I would rock the shirt without the blazer! Look at it as a chance to show off the cool details that you’d normally be a bit shy about!

    • avocado says:

      I have seen multiple magazine and web articles lately declaring that yes, you can wear black and navy together. The brownish cast to your gray skirt may complicate this, but I’d try on the navy blazer and see how it looks. The red and navy top with the navy blazer also sounds fine.

      • avocado says:

        Reading fail–I missed that this is a networking event. For that, shouldn’t no jacket be fine?

    • Are you an amazon prime member in an amazon now zipcode? Because I were, I would amazon now some febreeze and spray the jacket and wear it. Or does someone in your office keep febreeze there? Absent that, I would go no jacket. No one else is looking at your arms with the intensity that you do, I assure you.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I second febreeze or no jacket

    • Katarina says:

      I would try them on in front of a mirror to see what looks best. I would probably wear the black blazer, but it depends on the shades. I am currently wearing a brownish gray blazer with black (skirt and shirt), and before reading this I felt like it looked good.

  10. I am a slob says:

    Ladies, anon for this because it’s embarrassing. My DH stays at home with our toddler and has always been much better at housekeeping than me. I was raised by crazy hoarders and have honestly some of the worst housekeeping skills of anyone I know. I do not see mess. Even big messes. I create a trail of mess behind me wherever I go. This has been well documented by multiple roommates long before I met my husband. If I didn’t want kids, I’d probably never live with another human because this has been such a long-standing source of distress. It’s breaking my marriage. My DH takes it personally now, since he is at home and on point for house maintenance. It’s not personal at all, but I GET IT. I don’t want to live in a pigsty either. Just because I understand how I ended up this way doesn’t mean I am not responsible for fixing it.

    UFYH has been an incredible resource that I credit with getting me from “probably needs social services involved” to “can put up a pretty good pretense of adulting and doesn’t live in filth, but struggles with clutter and hoarding in closets, etc.” I’m ready for phase 2. Does anyone have any recommendations for resources or therapies or jeez, I honestly don’t know because this is something most people’s parents taught them? I would totally hire someone to live with me and teach me things, except I think that is not a thing that people do.

    • Spirograph says:

      FlyLady? UFYH is more my speed as far as tone, but the idea of routines in FlyLady may be really helpful for you. Especially “cleaning up your hot spot” and the quick drills to pick up ## things (I forget what that one’s called). Kudos to you for working on this! It is hard to unlearn habits you’ve had since forever.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I second the idea of setting routines. If your issue is clutter, maybe making yourself a checklist could work? For example, mail is a huge cause of clutter. Maybe spending a couple of weeks focusing on mail would help. Like making sure you bring it in every day, and when you do you sit down and throw away what can go and keep only the items that require action (filing or paying then filing). I only give myself one evening to look at catalogues. If there’s something in there I like, I take a picture with my phone and can find it online. Make sure you actually FILE the things you need to file once a week, not just stack them in a neat stack somewhere, if that makes sense?

        Then you could focus on adding clothes to the mix. I’m bad about letting clothes pile up. I finally admitted I needed a big laundry basket, and a rack to place things on when I’m too lazy to hang them up but they’re not dirty enough for the dirty clothes. I force myself to take things off the rack and hang them up once during the work week, and once on weekends. This keeps clothes from piling up in the bedroom (I’m obsessive about cleaning the rest of my house, but my bedroom is just a disaster). These are just examples, of course. Fly lady has great routines.

        There could also be a daily checklist… a lot of people do a round up before bed, but honestly I like to do a roundup right when I get home from work so I can enjoy a clean house for the evening. My roundup consists of any dishes on the counter (my son puts his dishes on the counter after breakfast, and I’m already gone by then), any glasses left out the night before after I went to bed, any blankets etc. laying around, stuff like that. Having the evening to enjoy the tidy house is more motivating than doing it before bed.

        Also, can you afford to bring in a professional cleaning service just once? Then you can get your house set to a good place, and see what it looks like uncluttered, and strive to keep it as close to that state as possible.

        Sorry this is so long. My ex-husband really struggled with this, too. It’s very difficult to learn a life skill when it is not something that was ever modeled for you. Good for you!

    • anne-on says:

      Um, teaching someone to clean/organize would be my dream job (I have massive control issues and tend to clean as a way to de-stress).
      ANYWAY! Yes – there are absolutely books about this! I have heard good things about the books below. I’d also suggest the apartment therapy ‘january cure’ or ‘weekend projects’ section. It basically breaks housekeeping and deep cleaning chores into manageable weekly or weekend projects. The ‘ask a clean person’ posts/podcasts are also wonderful and I’ve absolutely picked up lots of tips that way as well.

    • rakma says:

      For seeing the mess: can you make a visual aid? Like, a picture of the coffee table the way it’s supposed to look, and before you leave the living room at night, you look at the picture, look at the table, and remove the things that are not supposed to be there? Identifying areas that tend to accumulate stuff (for us it’s the entry way table and the counter next to the sink) and focusing on that could help you to recognize the little things that get left behind and pile up.

      Have you been to therapy to deal with the hording tendencies? Maybe there’s a CBT near you who could both help with the underlying history as well as help to develop strategies for going forward?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Ohh! Me too. I definitely prioritize EVERYTHING over cleaning. The only thing that helps me is having a house cleaner who insists that I clear surfaces and pick up the floor. I hate doing the pick up for her, but it forces me to de-clutter once a week, which keeps my house livable.

      I also draw a hard line for myself on certain things that could cause unsanitary conditions – no food or dirty dishes left outside the kitchen after eating is done, and garbage has to go in a waste basket immediately. I have waste baskets all over my house so I can’t make excuses.

      Also – consider that maybe you aren’t the problem, or aren’t the only problem. I’m messy, but livably messy. My ex used to act like I was ruining his life by being messy and would get hysterical about how he could never have anyone come visit because of my messes. In retrospect, that was his OCD and social anxiety displacing blame onto me. Life got easier when I thought harder about that.

    • CPA Lady says:

      Lifelong slob here. I’ve finally been reformed and it’s been through a few avenues:

      1. the blog A Slob Comes Clean–I found this blog last year and it gave me all new ideas about the importance of daily maintenance routines and letting your containers set a natural limit.

      2. Mindfulness — this was my biggest issue. I’ve been able to change how I flow through the house by greatly increasing my mindfulness/being in the moment. I’ve been doing the A Year to Clear program on daily Om, but there are many ways to learn mindfulness. Prior to doing this program, I would just be going through my day leaving chaos in my wake, but now that I’m more mindful and in the moment, I consciously make better decisions moment by moment. When I make my kid a smoothie in the morning, I put everything away as I go, so when I leave the kitchen, the blender pieces are rinsed and in the dishwasher, all the ingredients are put back in the fridge, and the banana peel is in the trash can.

      3. An offhand comment from my eyebrow waxer about something her grandmother always used to say: “Messy bed, messy head.” i.e., if you don’t make your bed, that is a sign of mental chaos. I started making my bed every morning immediately and have done so every day for months now.

      I made this change because I wanted it for myself, not because I was tired of listening to other people criticize me (my mom and husband are both neat freaks). You have to want this for yourself or you’ll be resentful and anxious once you get there. Every time I start to have a resentful thought, I tell myself “This is for you, because you want it.”

    • I definitely understand the “I don’t see mess” aspect. I only noticed that I tend to leave cabinet doors open after my husband mentioned it. Now I try to notice it. I also sometimes don’t notice mess if it’s been there for a while – I see the box on the table, the box on the table is there for a few days, I no longer see the box on the table because it is part of what is on the table. Someone on here or the main s!te recommended “The Hoarder in You” and I found it really helpful to read – partly because it made me feel less alone with my crazy emotional attachment to objects and my tendency towards things like not seeing boxes on tables. I wonder, too, if therapy might be useful for you.

    • I am your husband and my DH is you in this scenario, right down to the dysfunctional family habits. We’ve developed two “rules” that help me not go completely insane and keep our house from looking like a barnyard.

      The first is that we try not to leave a room or walk down the hallway empty handed or without putting something away. It’s like, I’m going to get up and walk somewhere else anyway, so I might as well put away my shoes or quickly make the bed.

      The second is that I give DH explicit instructions on what needs to be done, because he literally does not see mess. Instead of saying, “Please clean up your office” one hundred times and him giving me a confused look (because to him, it seems “clean”), I’ll say, “Please file the papers on your desk, pick up your socks from the floor, and put your mug in the dishwasher”. I thought it would bother him (and me!) to micromanage the cleaning process, but he actually prefers when I tell him specifically what needs to be done, and it usually happens once I point it out to him. Now that he’s been getting more specific instructions for awhile, he’s slowly starting to see and do more of these things on his own.

  11. Ours screamed in any carrier if awake until at least 4 mo– but carrier plus pacifier was a sure way to get him to sleep. If awake, he wanted to be on a quilt on the floor, not being held. Soooo depends on the kid!

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