Makeup and Beauty Monday: Weightless Shine Working Serum

Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Working Serum

I’m thrilled to introduce April, a longtime reader of CorporetteMoms who’s going to be taking over morning posts with product recommendations! Her child is 14 months old and she’s a public interest lawyer in NYC. Welcome to the blog, April! – Kat

This line of products is one of my many “Instagram told me to buy it” finds. The celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess, who cuts, colors, and styles the hair of Lauren Conrad and Jenna Dewan (RIP the Dewan-Tatum union), has a line of products exclusively at Target. Her Instagram videos of her styling hair using her products are so mesmerizing and a great sales tactic. I went to Target to scope it out and left with this shine serum. I use it on wet hair to de-frizz if I am going for a natural/wavy style, and on dry hair if I blow my hair straight. It’s a really light formula but also does the job well; I can see this working on many different hair textures. For the whole line of products, nothing is above $14, which is in keeping with my theory on celebrity/designer collaborations with Target — expensive for Target but inexpensive for the quality and design. Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Working Serum

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  1. Mommy Break says:

    I’m sure this has been discussed on here before, so feel free to point me toward a different discussion, but here goes…

    I’m returning to work on this Monday after feeling particularly deflated about not getting any projects done or break time during the weekend (thanks, Masters…). I shoulder the majority of child and home care during the week. For lots of reasons that makes sense in our family and I don’t necessarily mind it as long as I get a break once in a while. I will definitely assign nights to cook to my husband, etc. But usually that’s because I’m busy at work and not because I’m getting a break.

    But here is the dumb thing…I just really don’t know what to do for a break or even how often I need one. What do other moms do? A little bit here and there? One big weekend day off less frequently? What do you do? Bonus points if it isn’t expensive.

    Related, but not. How do you really stop from keeping score on housework, childcare, breaks/free time? I know it is unhealthy. But my Type A lawyer personality won’t stop. I definitely know that some of this is on me, but I’m at a loss.

    • I am a total scorekeeper and am working on it when it comes to house stuff but think free time score keeping (or having equitable amounts of free time) is probably fair. My husband goes to choir one night a week which means I’m solo with baby for about 3 hours before bedtime. I think this should buy me solo time (coffee date with a friend, yoga, etc) at the weekend.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I’m generally not a score keeper about most things, but I do think some degree of score keeping on free time is mostly fair. Both partners need to be equally invested in the other having a chance to recharge their batteries. I think this is hard when one partner works longer hours while the other person is home with the kid – both parties need a break! – but I think you can carve out some free time on weekends.

        We incorporate small breaks (like an hour or so) for each other almost daily. My husband and I like to exercise, so we alternate gym days. Granted it’s usually really early before our kid is even awake, so it’s not really a break from childcare responsibilities, but it’s still an hour where we can focus solely on ourselves. Or, sometimes my husband will meet a friend for a drink on a weekday evening, and I’ll get a pedicure on a Saturday afternoon.

        We’re lucky enough to have semi-local family, so we will sometimes have grandparents come in and babysit for a few hours on a weekend afternoon. It’s nice to have a few hours together! It’s too easy to become bogged down in tasks and everyday chores, and it’s a nice reminder that we actually still like each other. Only rarely will we do something like have grandparents come in and watch our kid overnight (although it is GLORIOUS when we do that!).

    • Betty says:

      I have struggled with this immensely: both the score keeping part and not knowing what to do for a break. I’m afraid I don’t have much advice on score keeping. As for the breaks, a few things help me: I get out of the house on the weekend to run/walk/get fresh air. If my walk takes me to Starbucks with a book, all the better. Also, about once every six months/year, I get away for a “retreat” weekend. I go somewhere seriously off-season, get a nice hotel room for a night or two and spend the day or two reading, writing, sleeping, exercising and doing whatever else I want. I need breaks and the only way that I can get them is if I leave the house (for an afternoon or a weekend).

    • mascot says:

      What do you find restorative? For me, self care makes a big difference. Recently that has meant taking naps on the weekend and making sure I have time to work out. And I feel you on not getting anything done this weekend. We had a bunch of kid stuff on Saturday and I spent all of Sunday sick in bed. I got nothing done house or work wise, but hey, I did get a lot of sleep and that has been huge.
      For score keeping, what are you trying to accomplish? If there is a specific task that isn’t working, then change that (example- it doesn’t make sense for me to drive across town to do this errand when you pass by the place on the way home from work). Otherwise, it’s an exercise in frustration. Both parties generally feel like they are giving 100%.

    • Mama Llama says:

      In my experience, stopping myself from keeping score depends on whether I feel like the balance is fundamentally fair or not. If it is fair, I can remind myself of all the things my husband does and let it go. If it’s not fair, it’s a sign that I need to address something.

      As for breaks, I go out with friends, exercise, and take naps . My favorite is when my husband takes our daughter out to a class, so I have the house to myself, which happens rarely.

      • YES – this! We fought so much at the beginning and I found myself keeping score all the time. I truly believe the reason was because the balance was fundamentally unfair. It wasn’t all his fault – he just made time for his hobbies, and he would have been fine with me doing the same if I had tried to – but I didn’t.

        Once I started asking him to watch the baby because I was going to book club or running with my friends or whatever (things I do = book club, running, lawyer networking happy hours, dinner with friends, mani/pedi/hair/massage) the balance just kind of shifted to be more equal. And suddenly I was keeping track less. So I guess my advice is – instead of picking something to be your “break,” just schedule something you want to do, and then schedule something else next week. You don’t have to pick!

      • I agree with this. Anytime I catch myself score keeping or just mentally being resentful I did something or my husband didn’t do something, I stop myself and start mentally running through all the things my husband does do, which is a lot, and includes a ton of stuff I don’t want to do or don’t have the skills to do. About 95% of the time I realize that we are both doing 110%, even if we are doing different things. If I ever still feel like it’s an issue, I talk to him about it.

    • For the breaks, I have two things that help. One is a regularly scheduled massage, which goes on the calendar and is an appointment that I can’t easily move, so it is really rare that it gets pushed around. The other is a easy to pick up and put down hobby that I can do for 5 minutes or 3 hours, depending on how much time is available. So yesterday when the kids ended up sitting on my husband while he watched some kind of sport, I sat in the kitchen and knit.

      For scorekeeping, I had to redefine the ‘points’ I was awarding DH for some of the things he does that I would never ever even attempt. He made the kid’s bedroom door stop squeaking. Sure, it took him 15 minutes, and wasn’t rocket surgery, but I would have lived with the squeak that woke up my 4yo like 25% of the time for years. And a half asleep 4yo takes more than 15 minutes to get back to sleep even once.

    • CPA Lady says:

      “I just really don’t know what to do for a break or even how often I need one. ”

      For me, it’s enough when I feel guilty about how much I’m asking for. If I am still angry and resentful, I’m not asking for enough. If I’m (societally induced, not personally induced) guilty but happy, that’s when I’m asking for enough to keep me from score-keeping or feeling like things are unfair.

      What this looks like when husband is in town is usually one evening a week post-dinner I go do something alone and don’t come back til after kid is put to bed. Then he takes her to the grocery store on Saturday morning and I sit on the couch and hang out alone in my silent house. If he’s been traveling a lot, I usually also take half a day on the weekend. Anytime my friends are going out to dinner, I usually go with them too. That happens every several months.

      As far as what to do, I think this is the part where you have to think about who you are as a person. Not as a mother. But a person. Do you have any hobbies? Any interests? Want to go see that new movie that just came out? Want to maintain your friendships? Want to learn how to play tennis? Want to start playing with lipstick? The world is your oyster!

    • Anonymous says:

      So, your lazy husband spent the whole weekend watching golf and left you to do all the work? That’s what’s really going on? You can try to pretend like you just need to figure out your needs but it’s clearly nonsense. You need to tell your husband that you expect both of you to be giving 100% to your family all weekend every weekend, which means he gets to watch some golf but not all of it. Stop being a doormat maid.

      • Unnecessarily harsh.

      • This is a ridiculous response. What is wrong with you?

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I agree that this comment was worded harshly but also – husband spent all weekend watching golf. Poster feels upset at being “on” with kids and housework all weekend. I’m not going to counsel poster to stop keeping score; I’m on team “husband needs to get off the couch and help even when the Masters is on because that’s what a responsible parent and spouse of a working mother would do.” Unless the arrangement is one parent on/one parent off each weekend, that’s unacceptable.

    • For breaks, I run – it’s a fairly dedicated hobby of mine (I like competing with myself), takes a max of 8-10 hours a week during marathon training, can be done at night, at naptime, and with or without toddler in stroller!

      For scorekeeping: what, for you, would make the division of labour feel more equitable? (In my case, I do all of the weeknight cooking and kid bedtime, and husband does most of the dishes, except for the 1 night a week he’s at the lab overnight.)

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m ‘off’ Sunday mornings until 11am, DH is ‘off’ Saturday mornings until 11am. He usually gets up at 9:30 and goes for a run for an hour. I usually sleep until 10:30 then take a long shower. Eyemask + ear plugs = key to actually sleeping through kids waking up. We make exceptions for big events. Obviously did not sleep though Easter! I do breakfast/brunch with my college friends about once a month on Sundays.

    • Anonymous says:

      For breaks – I find that I really just need 2 hours a week to feel much better. A lot of times getting a mani/pedi is all I need. Sometimes it’s going to spin class for an hour on saturday mornings. Other times it’s wandering around Target without a child in the cart. Once every few months it’s a girls night out in the city. So if you are looking for suggestions for “me-time” I would say exercise (that you enjoy), hanging out with friends, going to a coffee shop alone and reading, or more indulgent grooming (mani/pedi, massage, facial), etc..

    • I take really long really hot showers. And sometimes put music on to drown-out the screaming while my husband holds the baby (we’re going through a lot of separation anxiety right now). And frankly, I think of work as my break – I get to do interesting things, hang out with people I like and not be dealing with a cranky, fussy baby for a large chunk of the day. My husband is a SAHD, so on evenings and weekends, if I am not working (and this weekend I worked two full days, so he was on, a lot) I try to take the baby until she goes to bed. I also do the laundry and dishes on the weekends because my husband is still getting the hang of babycare. We try to go out once every other weekend, either me and the baby to give him a break or all of us as a family, to meet up with friends (many of whom have children themselves). When the weather’s nice I put the baby in the stroller and go for a long walk.

      On scorekeeping, I just have to remind myself that there are many reasons I married my husband and his ability to “keep house” was definitely not one of them. He is a wonderful father and wonderful partner to me in so many other ways, and I knew what I was getting into. He is trying to be better, but in 3 years of marriage I think he has loaded the dishwasher once and washed towels maybe twice. At least he does his own laundry, so that’s something.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow. He’s a stay at home Dad and he’s only loaded the dishwasher once? Why do you put up with this? College frat bros do better than that. You can’t score keep because you’d lose too much.

        • I do always love the supportive and helpful nature of this group. And, you know, highly recommend scorekeeping for success in a marriage.

          • Please ignore her. This is the same weirdo that posted above, about the OP being a doormat. And her comparison to college frat boys shows she doesn’t recognize that your husband is actually WATCHING A KID ALL DAY and so the analogy is completely inapt. It also shows she must have wandered over from the main s i t e and has gotten lost.
            As for you, you you have exactly the right attitude and your husband sounds like a doll. I was SAH for a while and I agree with you that work feels like a break now.

          • +1 Ella. I actually laughed because it sounds like a comment from the “Man Who Has It All” page.

          • baaaha, thank you for introducing me to Man Who Has It All -you’re right, it totally does sound like a comment from there!

    • FTMinFL says:

      Check out the book (or audiobook – commute time FTW!) “Drop the Ball” by Tiffany Dufu. The first part of the book was almost depressing because I felt like she was reading my mind about my “stealth submarine of resentment” toward my husband for my perceived imbalance of home-related tasks. Hang in there, her solutions are worth it. She also addresses finding what will make you happiest/most relaxed and how to carve out time for it. I highly recommend!

    • Anon for this says:

      I was thinking about bean-counting and how I struggle with it a lot.

      One issue that I have is not that my husband is out having fun, but that he’s not around because he’s working, BUT, I have an equally stressful and busy job that is most likely more intellectually demanding, yet I manage to get my s#*t together enough to get things done around the home. Because he knows I’ll pick up the slack, he can be less efficient at work, chat with co-workers, go out to lunch, etc, and therefore stay later. He admits he’s horribly inefficient and the late nights are his own fault, so it’s not me judging from the outside.

      And when he does have to do something house/kid related that is time sensitive solo, there’s all sorts of drama on his part — yes, it is hard and stressful trying to get out of work in time to fight traffic to do daycare pickup — tell me something I don’t experience 4-5 times a week.

    • Can you try to pinpoint exactly what types of things bother you about the imbalance? For me, it was lack of communication and the assumption by DH that I was “on” unless I specifically asked him to watch the baby. I remember complaining about that here! Now I make a point to have a discussion where we lay out our plans for the day and confirm that’s OK with the other parent. We carve out time on the weekends where we each get to do our thing.

      Echo the suggestions above: facial, massage, mani/pedi, running, yoga, drinks with friends or work happy hour, wandering around Target with no children and a coffee.

    • I feel like guys just take the breaks they need, without giving thought to the partner necessarily, and so tend not to keep score – because they figure if it’s too much for the other person, they’ll say something. As for me, I would keep in mind my partner when I figured out breaks, tend to sacrifice too much, and then get resentful.
      So I finally just started offloading more onto him, which has made me happier, and nicer, and that makes him happier and nicer. I realized it did neither of us any good for me to take what ended up being too much of the work – without him even asking -because I would get grumpy and unkind and then get angry that he wasn’t appropriately grateful. Now I try to be more reasonable with what I take on, and we’re both happier. And the house is sometimes a little messier. But oh well.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      I think both my husband and I often feel like we don’t get a break and are each doing 110% because we are and there’s just that much extra work with kids. I can absolutely see how much he is doing and remind myself of this when I start to feel resentful, it’s just a lot for both of us. Right now, we have one toddler and our breaks consist of about an hour at night after son is in bed. We split up the bedtime routine, but we are both usually there unless I have a late night at work. We also get some breaks on the weekends during naptime. I’ve been dealing with first trimester morning sickness/exhaustion, which has meant that my husband had to take over basically the whole night routine for the past few weeks. That’s been tough for both of us. No easy solutions there other than acknowledging that it’s a tough season for both of us. And getting some help on the weekends.

      My parents are local and whenever they come over to watch our son, we both get a break, which is glorious. We just did this yesterday and we had about half the day to ourselves. For my breaks, I tend to work out, read, pedicures and occasional massages. Husband likes video games, playing on his computer and working out. When my parents come over, we also tend to do Target runs and then grab dinner after.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve gotten tons of great advice already, but I wanted to recommend the podcast “Best of Both Worlds” – a podcast by a pediatrician who blogs at the SHU box and Laura Vanderkam. They did an episode on this, sorry, can’t remember which one but LV has a recap on her blog.

      (Warning: LV is annoying and I find myself a lot less interested in her books and blog after listening to her voice and general attitude but SHU is worth every second)

      In that episode, SHU makes the point that she starts by figuring out what will make her feel like she’s living a good life. She’s all about planning, so she plans out in lots of detail what a weekend that will fill all of her different needs looks like: So, she’s a runner so there’s a long run in there somewhere, and she has 3 kids so she wants to spend some time with them, and she wants a date night with her husband, and she has book club. Then she figures out what her husband has planned or if he has to work, and they figure out who will do kid coverage and all the other not-fun stuff. And if her husband has obligations that interfere with hers, they outsource child care…because they are outsourcing HIS responsibility, not hers….

      I have been ruminating on this advice for a while now, and I haven’t actually implemented it, but just thinking that I’m grouchy because *I* am not asking (or even knowing) what it is I want has helped me from scorekeeping, and has made me a lot less resentful. Someday I’ll be more organized and figure out what I want but for now just the reframe has been helpful.

      Also, I think that part of the issue for me (and maybe others based on comments) is that DH just does what he wants. It’s not that he’s selfish or trying to burden me, it’s that it legitimately doesn’t occur to him that we are family unit that needs to be in communication about our plans at all times. And when I do try to remind him, I’m usually mad and it comes off to him as controlling. Anyway, I digress. Good luck to you, OP

    • I enjoy taking shorter, more frequent breaks–1-2 hours. I rarely take an entire half-day. I try to give the same breaks to my husband, but it’s not formal, so when one of us sees the other struggling, we step up and handle child-care and let the other person go chill out.

      When I take a break, I like to be alone and quiet with nobody touching me (except maybe the cat). I read a lot. I run personal errands like getting a manicure or getting my car washed or shopping for something. I try to avoid browsing on my phone or the computer because it’s not restorative.

      It can be hard not to score-keep. One thing that has inadvertently helped me is to have a weekly logistics meeting with my husband. We look at our calendars and make to-do lists. By talking about our weeks, I’ve realized that DH spends far more time than I realized changing the AC filter, fixing things around the house, keeping the computers running, etc. Meanwhile, I think he’s realized that I spend a fair amount of time on things like buying and wrapping gifts, planning trips, making reservations, etc.

  2. My maternity leave is almost over and I’m really annoyed/sad that I didn’t try to take more than 12 weeks. It would have had to be unpaid but we can afford it and there is nothing at work that wouldn’t have waited right now. I’m not sure it would be easy for me to get an extension now though given the amount of bureaucracy/bs I would have to deal with unless I had a good reason and my reasons are basically my baby is so teeny still and the weather has been such crap and will finally be getting nicer and I wish I could enjoy it. I felt similarly with my oldest, though I took a bit more time, so I think I’ll be fine but just wanted to vent a minute.

    • Maybe a part time return for 1-4 weeks would be easier to negotiate? Hugs. I took 11 weeks in a firm where that was considered an eternity (but my boss who recognizes that is way behind the times was super supportive). Going back sucks. I’m so sorry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask. If you don’t ask they can’t say yes.

    • Anonymous says:

      definitely ask!! I asked for an additional week (unpaid) and it was no big deal!

      • I am trying to get a non traditional schedule approved so don’t want to ask for additional time, but will maybe broach it with HR if a new schedule gets approved quickly. This is one of those things that no one would have batted an eye at if I just asked for initially but now becomes technically difficult because we have layers of approval required.

        • Anonymous says:


          “Thanks for approving the new schedule. I’d like to begin the new schedule on DATE, and take the time until then as unpaid leave. Hope that works. Looking forward to getting back to everyone.”

          fingers crossed.

          • rosie says:

            I like this wording. Please do this, I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest for you to come back at a certain time just because that is what was previously agreed to if you are feeling like another couple of weeks unpaid would make a difference to your happiness.

          • I like this wording. Thank you! At this point, I need to wait for the new schedule to get approved though so I guess it will all be TBD, depending on when that is.

            To answer BTanon’s question from below, I felt the same way when I was returning with my first and it all worked out fine. I’m hopeful that even if I do have to come back soon, I will have a similar transition.

    • BTanon says:

      Did you have similar feelings about returning after your first? How did you feel after a couple weeks back at work?

      Fwiw, I also returned from mat leave with my second very recently, with feelings very similar to what you’re describing (also took 12 weeks of leave.) It helped to remember that with my first, the anticipation of returning was much worse than actually being back once I got through the first week or two. That agonizing over whether I should have arranged to stay home longer was miserable…hope that whatever you decide to do here is a good decision for you and your family.

  3. Betty says:

    Yesterday while my kids were out of the house, I went through 8 months worth of PreK/1st Grade artwork, found a few pieces to keep, and stashed the rest in our large recycling trash can (read: very large amount of coloring pages/painted snowmen/math homework sheets that had been decorated). The recycling trash can was put out this morning, only for it to tip over on this very windy day. My 1st grader looked out the window at breakfast and asked why his and his sister’s artwork was ALL OVER the front yard and down the street. When I took him out to the bus, my son was devastated that I didn’t want to keep all the art and I ran around trying to grab artwork swirling in the wind. Our bus driver, who is awesome, couldn’t stop laughing when he stopped for my kid. Plus, the wind blew it all over the farm part of the yard as well, so it looked like a strange hippie/outdoor preschool experiment. Oh, and did I mention that my 4 year old is home sick today? I’m ready to raise the white flag for the day.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Oh man. Busted! I try to get rid of stuff so stealthily but sometimes it doesn’t work. My kid has found stuff in the recycling bin too.

      • avocado says:

        So funny and yet so frustrating at the same time. I have found it easiest to be completely honest about the fact that I am recycling the stuff. Now that my kid is older, she is in charge of choosing a few pieces to keep and getting rid of the rest.

    • Mama Llama says:

      I’m sorry, I know this sucks, but it’s also pretty hilarious.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Oh man! That is hilarious (although I would not have wanted to explain that to your son!).

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the worst! I use the small opaque kitchen garbage bags and bin it (not recycle it which requires clear bags). We’re super earth friendly otherwise so I don’t feel guilty.

    • My kid has learned to look in the trash can this morning! She gets mad when she finds candy wrappers from candy she isn’t allowed to eat, broken toys, and discarded artwork. I’ve learned to hide it better or take out the trash right away.

  4. So my one year old ate a rock yesterday. I don’t know how big it was or whether it was smooth or jagged because I didn’t see it before it went in so this could be NBD, but I’m still a little worried. I mean he eats dog food and dirt outside and that doesn’t freak me out, but this is like a THING INSIDE HIM.

    So I guess I just need to wait it out. Anyone know how long? He’s also sick with a cold so it’s hard to tell whether he is whining because he’s sick or whining because he’s trying to poop out a rock. I realize this must happen to pretty much every kid and think some anecdata and funny stories might make me feel better – anyone??!

    • Aww! I did laugh a little, I’m sorry. Can you call your ped and just see what they say? I have to imagine they have experience with kids eating legos and whatnot and might even be able to tell you things he can eat/drink to help it move on out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Call your doctor?

      • I absolutely will if I think it’s necessary but I’m not there yet. Just thought some might be able to commiserate or share a funny story.

    • Oh man. I would be a little freaked out too. My little one ate a plastic googly eye (one of the bigger sized eyes) when she was maybe 3. I remember freaking out then too. A quick internet search told me that as long as she was breathing ok, she would be fine. I tried to pay attention to her poop, but I never did see it come out…! Good luck.

    • Anonymous says:

      No advice but I’m so happy to find I’m not the only one who is a bit blasé about the animal food (my 1-year-old likes cat food….I *think* we’ve finally made the point that we don’t eat the kitty’s food, but every so often a diaper comes out smelling like cat chow.)

      Hope the rock comes out soon and painlessly!

    • Anonynous says:

      I ate a marble as a kid. I was like four or five. It was dirty and I put it in my mouth to clean it. I’m fine now (I mean internally).

      Also don’t let your kid eat dog food — it has ground bones in it that can cause stomach perforations.

      Dirt is cool.

      • Hah, yes def do not let him eat it if I can help it. But I am positive he sneaks a little by me.

        What I want to know is – these things do not taste good, right? So the little dude, who shakes his head violently at completely random, delicious food (chicken nuggets?), will happily put dirt in his mouth?

  5. Suitcases says:

    I want to buy a rolling kid size suitcase for my three year old. I want it to be big enough for a few nights away, but small enough that he can roll it himself (sometimes, at least). Some of the little rolling backpack ones are really cute but seem too small for a three or four night family vacation. So, my criteria are: 1) bigger than a rolling kid backpack, 2) small enough for the toddler to maneuver, and 3) really cute (puppy dog face anyone?) Thanks for any help!

    • CPA Lady says:

      I got the skip hop zoo rolling suitcase for my kid. It’s backpack sized, but I can fit an entire week’s worth of clothes in it for her by rolling everything. Plus it is lightweight and has a strap on it so I can carry it easily after she gets bored with rolling it 10 minutes into the airport.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      My LO has a 18″ kids roller from Target with characters on it ( something like this

      She’s a short 3, and is able to pull it for a reasonable amount of time, and most importantly during boarding and deplaning. The one we have has a panel on the back so it can be put on my roller when she’s done with pulling her own suitcase.

      • Pigpen's Mama says:

        Oh, and it’s fine for carrying about 3-5 days of cold weather clothes and a week of summer clothes for her. Although some stuff ends up in my suitcase.

        It’s held up so far for ~5-7 round trip flights, some of them checked, maybe more, and a few road trips.

    • I’ve recently been shopping for the same thing, and I leave you with this $575 kids’ suitcase I came across:

      • Pigpen's Mama says:

        Hah! That’s insane. Especially since most 3 year olds would be SO much happier with a pop-culture character.

        Now if the bag packed itself and wheeled your kid, hands free of course, through the airport, then maybe it’s worth it.

      • Wow. This isn’t even that cute IMO . . . and no inside photos of the suitcase or many details about materials? No spinner wheels? It really looks like this is paying for the label, but no one would ever know the difference between this suitcase and one purchased at Target.

    • AnonInBigLaw says:

      Pottery Barn Kids has really nice quality luggage if you are willing to splurge a little, and they have plenty of patterns to choose from. We got our 3.5 yo her own hard-sided “spinner” suitcase for Christmas and she has it used it on several trips already. The large size is the size of an adult carry on, so we got her the small size. It easily fits all of her clothes and such for a week; the only things we have to still put in our adult checked luggage are her kid air mattress and a blanket/sheet. The handle can be the right size for a kid to lug through the airport, but the wheels also spin/roll in any direction so it’s really easy for her to maneuver. She loves it!

    • Anonymous says:

      We’ve had 2 of the skip hop suitcase that seems too small for years and both kids have enjoyed them and used them since age ~2.5. Now at 8, my kiddo is kind of aging out of it and I’m trying to figure out the next step. I really, really want one of these: Zinc Flyte scooter (find on A M Z ).

      They are remarkably roomy and especially if you do the packing (and I recommend using at least one but 2 or 3 would be best cubes). Definitely fit 3-4 days for a 3-year-old. What I have now negotiated is letting them pack all the toys they can fit in the front pouch and let me pack the main compartment. On longer trips they also carry a small backpack for drinks and food and reading material.

    • Anonynous says:

      This might be one of those “take kid shopping” times rather than a just tell me what to order times. You’ve got so many requirements and since one of them is whether your child can manipulate the bag, I’d just go to a big box store and try out a few.

  6. Viva Las Megas says:

    Book suggestions for a newly-minted 3 year old girl? She has two brothers and thus has a ton of books about trucks. Would like to find a few treasures that are less about trucks (but not necessarily in the princess-genre). Since I’m the one reading them, I prefer clever books that have interesting text – rather than books that rely on flaps or unconventional narrative. Bonus points for books that rhyme! Recent favorite has been There is a Bear in My Chair and Charlotte and the Rock. Extra super duper bonus points for books that feature strong girls or diverse characters!

    • Mama Llama says:

      Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer have been two favorites with my 3 yo daughter.

    • Anonymous says:

      I like Robert Munsch and tend to pick the ones where a little girl is the main character

      – Ready, Set, Go
      – Fire Station
      – Pigs
      – Angela’s Airplane
      – Millicent and the Wind
      – Paperbag Princess

      Fancy Nancy was also popular around age 3-4 and has last up to age 7. She’s a girly girl but super smart. She loves fancy words so great for vocab.

    • Non-vehicle books my just-turned-3 year old (boy) loves include:
      The Man with the Violin (Kathy Stinson) – picture book about the violinist Joshua Bell – grabbed it at the library and it’s a surprise hit
      Blueberries for Sal & Make Way for Ducklings (Robert McCloskey)
      Mouse Tales, Mouse Soup, Frog and Toad books (Arnold Lobel) – just in the last month
      Night Driving, Two Old Potatoes and Me (John Coy) — wildly different illustrators so they appear really different, but the storytelling is pretty similar
      Paperbag Princess (Robert Munsch)
      Bread and Jam for Frances (Russell Hoban)
      Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney) – it’s a little wordy so he has to be in the right mood, but often loves it
      This is the Way We… series by Scholastic (i.e. This is the Way We Go To School, This is the Way We Help at Home) — how kids do various things around the world. Pretty didactic but he LOVES them.

    • Jeffiner says:

      My 3 year old is loving the Princess in Black. Its a chapter book, but its still short enough for her to sit through.

  7. So this is a macabre topic for a Monday, but– for those of you who live far away from your families, how did you choose a guardian for your children (and a trustee for your estate)?

    We live two plane rides away from our families, and those families live a plane ride away from one another. My brother-in-law is the most stable option, but he and his family live in a rural area, a long drive and a plane ride away from any family, plus his eldest has special needs. My sister is a single mom with an only somewhat stable career and her ex (who is around) is a horrible person, though my sister is lovely. Our other siblings are non-starters. Our parents are in their 70s. We live in a random town far, far, away (thanks academic job market!) and have local friends but not super close friends. Our super close friends live out of state.

    I know the need for this plan is very very unlikely, but I still feel a lot of pressure to choose this correctly. How did you choose? Are there provisions to include that make less desirable elements more desirable (e.g., if our kids go to my brother in law, we could include provisions about the frequency of visits with my family who live out of state)? We’ve also been advised to make the trustee a different person from the guardian. How do I choose that person?

    • Anonymous says:

      Pick your sister. You’ll be dead. It will be a massive tragedy. She will love them and that is what they need. Have enough life insurance that the cost won’t be a burden. No, you cannot add provisions about frequency of visits with out of state family.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I thought about personal and parenting style and chose a relative (my sister) who was not in the most stable of life situations (lives overseas, single at the time, unsteady work) over my BIL, who is married w/2 kids, lives near-ish to family, and has steady jobs, because my BIL is a jerk who is mean to his parents and I could not bear the thought of my family having to interact with him when I’m dead just so they could continue their relationship with my kid. If my sister was not willing to take on the responsibility, I probably would have chosen friends instead.

      • Yes. We have two options. Both would love our child and absolutely take her in as their own and love her and give her everything they possibly could (with the help of sufficient life insurance). To that end, we’re incredibly lucky. One option has a very strict parenting style. The other is very similar to how we’ll raise our child. We’re leaning towards the latter.

      • Redux says:

        This is a helpful question you raise– how would the guardian interact with the other members of their family as well as the other side. Thanks.

    • My sister is an amazing mom to her own kids and we are very close, so that was a pretty easy option. She and my BIL are not great with finances though (a fair amount of debt and making very frivolous purchases) and we have a large amount of life insurance, so we went with co-trustees. It is her and my father (who is very in-line with me on finances), and once he dies, it is her and a bank. I wanted her to not feel financial pressure to provide for my kid, but I also wanted another party to have oversight on the money.

      • Redux says:

        It hadn’t occurred to me to make a bank the trustee/co-trustee. Did you have to get permission from the bank for this? Or is it pretty standard for banks to take this role?

        • I think it’s a standard service banks offer. My dad was the one who suggested it. We just went with the bank our attorney used for this in her other wills (I am an attorney, as well, but we hired a friend of mine to do it since I don’t practice estate law and I wanted it done correctly).

          • AnoninNY says:

            In my experience, the bank will require a fee for this service, so best to ask about fees if you’re considering having them (or anyone who isn’t family/friend being trustee out of the goodness of their heart) act as trustee.

    • Do you have reason to believe BIL wouldn’t take them to visit your family? It never even occurred to me you’d need to stipulate that, though my BIL has a relationship with my parents because we’re all from relatively small families.

      • Only because they live really far away (a few hours to the nearest airport, then a plane ride several states away) and don’t really know my family. I think they only met at mine and DH’s wedding 10 years ago. Plus they’ve got their own kids, one of whom has special needs that make them less comfortable traveling as it is. I do think it’s possible to put a travel budget in a stipulation, despite what anonymous above says.

        • Anonymous says:

          You can’t compel him to parent the way you want.

          • Yeah, that’s not what I’m proposing. If you have specific experience or advice here, I’d welcome it.

          • rosie says:

            One thing that we are working on is a letter to the guardians that obviously doesn’t try to force anything but expresses a preference or desire. It seems like you could also leave a letter to be sent to other family members that are not the guardian expressing a hope that they would continue involvement in the child’s life.

            I think also leaving enough $$ in the trust for travel (and for the other kids to travel, although realizing it may not be that easy even if you fund it) is important. I’ve been told it’s good also to leave enough $$ to pay for things to be equal with the relative’s children–so if your child always goes to camp and the guardian would have trouble paying for that, the trust could pay for your child to continue going as well as the guardian’s children to go.

          • Redux says:

            I had not considered funding everyone’s travel and other extras like camp! That is a good, albeit depressing, point.

          • rosie says:

            Yeah, this is not easy stuff to think through.

        • Anonymous says:

          Would your parents/sister travel to pick up the kids and then take them to their location?

          You can’t compel him or your sister to parent exactly how you would but most people would take the wishes of their deceased sibling pretty seriously and try to accommodate that if possible.

          Our kids will be with my parents who are local but we have discussed that when they are old enough (like elementary school age), they will spend a month in the summer with DH’s brother’s family. My parents will fly them over and brother in law will fly them back. DH’s brother’s family would be my preferred choice but they live in another country so uprooting the kids to there would be a further huge shock. Local friends are the back up when my parents get too old.

          • Anonymous says:

            This (12:40) is my first post on this read – probably should put that in my name.

          • Redux says:

            Yes, I agree about your point in uprooting the kids being a second trauma! It’s part of my hesitation being that we only see our families about once a year. But yes, I think both sides would take the request to travel seriously, especially if we specifically earmarked certain funds for it.

    • Jeffiner says:

      Our families are all plane rides away as well, but we picked some friends of ours because 1. We love their parenting style, 2. They have kids near my kid’s age, 3. They have stable jobs and lives, and 4. They would make sure our families were still a part of my daughter’s life. They also live a plane ride away from us and from all of our family members, but I see that as a minor downside.

    • Sabba says:

      I struggle with this. Our siblings have mostly not wanted kids. The one sibling that is a great mom and would otherwise be the obvious choice married a die-hard tea party Republican, and that is just a nonstarter for us. We have (for now) chosen a more distant cousin that is childless but that we believe would welcome our child and raise child with values aligned with ours. The cousin and spouse have agreed to take on child if needed and have been wonderful with child during the few visits they have had together. But we see our family very rarely. I wish we had someone nearer with an established relationship with our child. My best comfort is that MIL, who has a great relationship with child and is retired, would likely travel to help child get settled with cousin and would make all the effort she could to ease the transition.

      One thing to think about is to get enough insurance to set up a trust for the child but also to leave a substantial inheritance or trust for the guardian, enough so that they can enlarge their home or buy a new house, vehicle, etc.

      • Redux says:

        Thanks for sharing this! You’ve actually made me consider a friend who had not otherwise occurred to me since we dont see her all that often and she is not a parent (or a partner). But she is so committed to my kids when we do get to see her and knows our families well.

    • Anonynous says:

      One thing you can also consider is: changing the person as your kid gets older. For example, by the the time your kid is 12, you may feel that your BIL is a better person to be the guardian because your kid can hop on a plane and visit relatives by herself.

      You’ll probably want to change your will as every ten years or so to keep it current with things like home purchases and laws governing trusts anyway.

    • biglawanon says:

      Neither my husband or I have ANY family aside for ourselves and our four kids, so we had to go with a close friend. We talked to multiple friends to find someone who was willing and able to take on that responsibility. We went with once of my law school classmates, and set up a trust so she would have funds to take care of them. Once my oldest is old enough, we intend to change this up to make him the guardian of his younger siblings.

  8. biglaw mat leave mentor question says:

    Ladies, I know many of you don’t read the main s!te anymore, but I encourage you to head over to the comments and help out the (non-mom) commenter who is asking about mentoring a BigLaw attorney returning from maternity leave.

  9. AwayEmily says:

    Just a PSA about febrile seizures, because my two year old had one on Friday and it was legitimately the worst five minutes of my life. I didn’t know about them at all but they are not uncommon (2-5% of kids), occur mostly among toddlers, and don’t necessarily indicate a super high fever or severe illness (hers was 101, and tests showed it was caused by a cold virus. She was totally healthy again 24 hours after leaving the hospital). So I guess I am just hoping to spare someone else at least a little of the terror of watching your kid go through that. They are normal! Still require a doctor check in but don’t have lasting effects . Anyway, we are all fine now, but if you have a toddler I recommend taking five minutes and googling febrile seizures.

  10. Jeffiner says:

    My daughter’s daycare recently send home an information packet about signing her up for extra phonics lessons. She’s only three, so I was planning on skipping it, but my husband wanted to sign her up. I’m more concerned that she gets to play a lot and learn things like patience and sharing than how to read. About the program, another mom did say, “Its about time, Kindergarten is only two years away.”

    The daycare has regular lessons where they teach all the kids letters and other things, the phonics would just be in addition to that. My husband and I read to her every day. We also wanted to sign her up for the music lessons, and I don’t want to overwhelm her with classes. Do you think phonics is important for a three year old?

    • Delta Dawn says:

      I would not put a three year old in phonics. I think music lessons would be much more beneficial for her at that age. There is way too much academic pressure on little ones who need to learn to play and be kind and have fun much more than they need to learn to read right now, which it sounds like she is already doing anyway with letters and with you reading to her. And, music will help her brain more than phonics will, right now. (And you didn’t ask this, but I would probably not hang out with a mom who said it’s “about time” for my three year old to read since “Kindergarten is only two years away.”)

    • Carine says:

      No! I do not think a 3yo needs phonics lessons. I recall reading about research that found kids who were early readers and kids who started reading later were basically all at the same level at some point in elementary school – I’m oversimplifying I’m sure, but the takeaway was that it doesn’t really provide a long-term advantage. And I think some Scandinavian country doesn’t even teach reading until kids are 7 or something for similar reasons? Music and play, talking a lot while interacting, reading to her, learning developmentally appropriate social skills – that’s what matters at this age.

      • Anonymous says:


        Finland has the best rated school system in the world (per PISA) and they don’t teach them to read until age 7.

        My DH is from another European country where they don’t start reading until age 7 either.

        Lots of playtime, especially unstructured free play outdoors is the best thing.

      • Sabba says:

        +1. Playtime is all the learning time a 3yo needs. I really don’t believe in foisting other lessons on them at this age, and the research (which was mostly done in America, but actually implemented in Finland, if I understand things correctly–wtf, America) backs this up. If 3yo shows interest in learning more, you can follow up on it, but phonics lessons are unnecessary right now.

    • avocado says:

      Why are they charging extra for phonics lessons? I understand extra charges for music, gymnastics, dance, etc. that require a specially trained outside instructor with equipment/props, but somehow extra $$$ for phonics just seems like a moneymaking scheme to me.

      And I say this as someone who did phonics at home with a 3-year-old and is a huge believer in phonics and early reading.

      • avocado says:

        Another thought–what will she be missing out on if she does the phonics lessons, and how many of her classmates will be doing phonics? If phonics take the place of outside play, that weighs against phonics lessons. If she will be the only one not doing phonics, she may get her feelings hurt because she is left out. When my kid was 4, we did not sign her up for a lame and overpriced add-on that most of the other kids did, and she complained a lot about being left out until we signed her up for a non-school-affiliated class that was better and explained the tradeoff.

      • Right? Why isn’t this part of the curriculum at the school?

    • Anon in NYC says:

      My daughter is about to turn 3. It never even crossed my mind that she would be close to reading yet or that she needed to start lessons to do so! We read plenty to her – it’s like nonstop books in my house – and I would not sign her up for extra reading lessons.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope, I wouldn’t do it.

    • Anonynous says:

      I wouldn’t do it. Play is much more important.

      That said, phonics is more important for teaching reading than learning the letters of the alphabet. All the parents of toddlers I know who are also teachers just do phonics and don’t worry about letter names. It’s sort of a weird way to do it, but is more effective.

  11. Patty Mayonnaise says:

    Ok ladies, vain question ahead: I have been pregnant or nursing for the past (almost) two years, during which period I did not keep up with my previously routine botox and retin-A, etc. I’m likely to stop nursing shortly, but will also probably begin TTC #2 not too long after. Anyone have thoughts or experiences with cosmetic procedures – botox, fillers, etc. — shortly before TTC? I’d love to try and do some self-maintenance/care in-between nourishing babies!

    • I have no experience. I’d probably just ask my OB what is compatible with TTC and then ask my derm if becoming pregnant will negatively affect the results. Then I’d just have to see what I can live with. For example, am I okay with waiting X months to TTC or take the risk that pregnancy weight gain will affect the results of an expensive procedure?

      I’m sure you were looking for a different answer and had already thought about that stuff. But just my two cents.

  12. NewMomAnon says:

    Anyone have favorite books about ABCs for a four-year-old? Kiddo is really into identifying letters and doing the letter sounds, and we have only one book that uses some….odd…examples (“c is for condensed milk!” wtf).

    • Anonymous says:

      Sleepy Little Alphabet was a huge hit with my kiddo at age 3 or 4.

    • avocado says:

      Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (more about letter recognition than sounds, but so much fun)
      Dr. Seuss’s ABC (zany examples for letter sounds)

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. There’s also a youtube video and the song WILL get stuck in your head.

    • Anonynous says:

      We have A is for Apple by Tiger Tales. I liked it because the capital letters are made to be traced with a finger. It’s a lift the flap book and the top layer has been cut out for the capital letters. (Does that make sense?)

    • CLMom says:

      My daughter was gifted a book called “J is for Jazz”, which is an ABC book loosely themed on Gatsby/art deco era items. There are other ABC books from the same publisher with different themes. I think one was based on camping?

  13. Spring/summer Shoes for a skinny footed toddler says:

    My toddler is a size 6, but has low arches and i swear, the world’s most narrow feet. There was ONE pair of shoes I could find for her last summer when she first started walking- oddly narrow stride rite ugly white monstrosities.

    Since then, we’ve tried so.many.brands. My other daughter has “normal” feet and all her old shoes are just way, way too wide.

    Most sneakers are too wide, and those that aren’t are too high arched. Almost all velcro tabs are too short (ie the velcro part is too short and extend past the ‘sticky’ part because her feet are so narrow so they can’t close). Every buckle shoe we have we’ve had to punch holes in to get them to close snugly. And 9/10 times the toe box is too wide, so we punt and use thick socks.

    She can wear velcro Pumas, which have mercifully lengthy velcro. She wore Ugg knockoffs all winter because even though they were wide, thick socks and the overall style of being a boot kept them on her feet.

    Right now she has Puma sneakers, a pair of mini Melissas which I think are so silly but are nice and narrow, and we just bought her natives which are definately way too wide but because of the design stay on her feet (plus, she rocks them with socks right now).

    Ideas? Plae, see Kai run, saltwater, Birkenstock, every brand of flip flop, and all my other go-tos are too wide/high. I can’t stomach another pair of mini Melissas- one is enough! The old navy jellies that never fit my ODD are almost good, but we have to add more velcro to make the strap tighten enough.

    • For summer, what about a pair of Salt Water Sandals with buckles at the toes and on the top of the foot? You can just punch extra holes and trim the strap if it is too long.

    • Kids’ Toms also run flat and narrow.

    • Anonynous says:

      My daughter has similar feet, but I thought See Kai Run ran narrow enough. Natives also looked narrower than the Croc dupes she wore last summer (they were wear in the park sprinkler shoes, I did not care how they fit). Was thinking of trying Toms for her “real shoes” and Natives for water shoes this summer.

    • Some brands that have worked for my daughter, who also has narrow feet:
      – Nike
      – New Balance
      – Converse – pink glitter Cons are the cutest thing ever

      Keds and Sperry might work, too, but be prepared to size down because they run long, IME.

      • Just remembered that last year we had a pair of cheap Oshkosh water sandals that worked well. They ran narrow. They’re called the “aquatic sandal.”

    • avocado says:

      My kid with narrow, flat feet had luck with Jambu, Merrell, Saucony, Pediped, and Keens as a preschooler. The Jambus in particular were very small in the toe box. For dress shoes, the Nordstrom store brands seem to run narrow. Toms have always been too wide.

      • Spring/summer Shoes for a skinny footed toddler says: says:

        funny, Pediped and Keens were not-even-close too wide when we tried them on. I haven’t heard of Jambus but will check them out! And we do have a pair of Nordstrom rack shoes that managed to work with socks, so maybe i’ll keep an eye out there (they did NOT work with tights or bare feet, ugh).

        • avocado says:

          As far as Keens go, only the sandals worked for us. The shoes ran wider.

          With dress shoes, fancy ankle socks are your friend as long as she is little enough to get away with them.

    • Spring/summer Shoes for a skinny footed toddler says: says:

      I forgot to mention…she’s a toddler and will therefore only wear shoes she can out on HER OWN SELF. So all laced or buckled shoes are out. As far as I could find, they don’t make velcro sperrys for girls–just the “boy” style. In baby shoes she had a pair of lace up sperrys and they were great!

      Salt Waters won’t work because (a) they buckle and (b) they require punching an extra hole in the strap at which point the straps are so long they look silly and flop around. Crocs are a complete no-go and like 3/4″ too wide– my ODD rocked those hard. With socks, too.

      For sneakers, she has some New Balances that work, but we’re set on the sneaker front. Tiny Toms are too wide FWIW (the velcro doesn’t go far enough for them to be a snug fit). Converse is the same problem with the width and laces– the entire shoe is like, half an inch too wide, and the straps don’t work.

      I’m not even kidding when I say she has EXTREMELY NARROW feet. My oldest had narrow-for-a-toddler feet (ie not chubby) but this takes it to a whole new level. She must get it from DH/MIL, who both have absurdly narrow feed (MIL is a 9AA, DH is a 12C and often those are too wide). This kid can’t even wear a pair of flip flops because the elastic doesn’t get tight enough despite the fact that her foot is the right length for the shoe.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Rain boots. I’ve known so many kids who wore rain boots for an entire year as toddlers because they can get them on and off independently. The width wouldn’t matter as much because the boot shaft keeps them on. You just need to find some light enough that kiddo can walk in them.

    • biglawanon says:

      My six year old twins have long, narrow feet. They live in Chuck Taylors for casual (high tops and low tops), and Sperry dress shoes. Everything HAS to have laces or I get a kid who comes home with one shoe.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Memory fail – although this is my second pregnancy I don’t remember how big you are when. I am due to go to a wedding when I will be around 18 weeks – am I right that at that stage I could probably fit into a loose/stretchy but regular size dress? Or is that too close a call and I should just buy a maternity dress? I remember last time there were maternity items i couldn’t fit into until I was like 26 weeks or something so don’t want to overshoot…

    any advice appreciated!!

    • What about bookmarking a few maternity options that you can order at the last minute if you need them?

      I’d think you could wear a forgiving, stretchy regular sized dress then, but I am tall and was able to wear non-maternity clothes for a longer time than some.

    • I think you could probably go either way provided the non-maternity dress was pretty stretchy. I’d just note that a lot of clothes won’t un-stretch back to normal. So you might not want to wear your favorite dress.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m 18 weeks with #2 and still in regular clothes for the most part, though a size up. A lot of the maternity dresses have ruching on the side that looks strange on me at this stage since my belly isn’t big enough to really fill it out. I think lsw and J’s advice is good since everyone “pops” at different times.

    • My first pregnancy I went to a law school reunion with fancy events at 5 1/2 months and had to find a maternity dress, but I popped really early (short torso problems?). I hear second pregnancies you show much more and way earlier, so I think you might be more comfortable in a maternity dress. It took me a while to find something I didn’t deem hideous (I think macys was the winner), so probably not out of the question to start looking now. My best advice, particularly if you’re not sure you’ll be showing, is to either go stretchy lace body con or something like an empire waist a-line. Because they’re stretchy, they should be good even if you’re only showing a little.

  15. Another summer shoe question says:

    I’m at a loss of what summer shoes to use for daycare this year. DD’s new daycare’s playground is this awful sand/gravel mixture. It’s great for drainage, but we literally dump out a fistful of sand from her shoes every dang day. Kiddo doesn’t like the feeling of stuff in her shoes, so I have no idea what she can wear this summer. We usually get Natives but she hated them after moving to the new playground. Any ideas for a closed-toe style that’s more breathable than a regular tennis shoe? Would the Stride Rite amphibian sneaks work, or are the ventilation holes large? It’s hard to tell from the pictures.

    • We had a pair of Nike tennies last summer that were a super breathable mesh. Those could work? Otherwise, I’d be tempted to just send an outdoor pair or shoes and ask daycare to change her shoes when she comes inside. I’d hate that too!

  16. Spring/summer Shoes for a skinny footed toddler says:

    Forgot mention hat she’s a toddler and will only wear shoes she can put on HER OWN SELF. So sperrys do fit, but as far as i

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