Dear Lisa,
My six weeks of maternity leave is ending, and I've narrowed the nanny search to two finalists. Both are single, in their mid-20s, highly qualified, and wonderful around our baby. Each comes with a glowing reference. One is a knockout, and one is kind of average looking. My friends all tell me that because my husband works from home, I'd be nuts to hire the bombshell. We have a strong marriage, but am I tempting fate?
—Isabel, Toronto

Dear Isabel,
I have thought, I have eaten half a jar of pimento-stuffed olives and a butterscotch candy that I found in my child's sock drawer, and I have thought some more.

It seems to me that either your husband has enough integrity to not have sex with the woman who's been hired to babysit his newborn while his wife is out earning a living—or he doesn't. And if he doesn't, then it is my sad duty to report that it makes no real difference what she looks like. Exhibit A: Gwen Stefani, whose nanny was—well, no Gwen Stefani.

Isabel, could it be that this anxiety is more about you than your husband and potential nanny? At six weeks, I felt victorious when I didn't walk around with my clothes on inside out. Hormones are playing ping-pong, milk is leaking, you're on the receiving end of more puke than a Times Square sidewalk on New Year's Eve, and the only way you could possibly sleep less is if Metallica lived upstairs. Rather than listening to your friends, try listening to your gut...preferably after your gut has had a long nap.

And speaking of sleep, if you honestly think that you'll rest easier with a nanny who bears no resemblance whatsoever to Kendall Jenner, then, my friend, I'd say you've got your answer—and a perfectly legitimate answer it is.

Dear Lisa,
Several women I know have become involved in direct-sales pyramid schemes. I'm inundated with invitations to "parties" at which I'm expected to buy fruity diet powders, floral nail wraps, even leggings printed with DayGlo orange flip phones. I don't want this stuff, but how many excuses can I make for not showing up? And if I don't support their ventures, am I being a bad friend?
—Nikki, Tennessee

Darling Nikki,
I don't see you as a bad friend so much as a woman who'd rather not be swathed in neon flip phones from the waist down.

As for excuses, why make any? What about a simple "I can't attend, but thanks for thinking of me"? If your pal pushes, you've got three choices: Either say, "Much as I'd love to see you, I'm currently committed to maintaining chrysanthemum-free fingernails." Or say, "I'll be delighted to come, but I'll be a lot less delighted if it means I'm pressured into leaving with a case of kiwi diet powder." Or respond with the truth: "I've got a rule about never spending money at this kind of event—but let's have lunch."

Nikki, there's nothing wrong with mixing business and pleasure; it's mixing business, pleasure, and DayGlo orange that gets complicated.

Dear Lisa,
My soon-to-turn-12-year-old insists that her friends all wear makeup to school, and she wants to wear it, too. Should I let her?
—Cynthia, Illinois

Welcome to the tween scene, Cynthia!
Your daughter should absolutely wear makeup...provided it's Halloween. As for the other 364 days a year, I say let the kid stay a kid a little bit longer. But unless you want her borrowing goop and walking around school like the love child of Ronald McDonald and an aging French prostitute, the trick is to make your no sound a lot like yes.

Buy her a special cleanser and sunscreen for her "new beauty routine." Then explain that all the top models prefer a lash curler to mascara. They also groom their brows with a teeny brush. Complete her makeup experience with a fancy tinted lip balm and perhaps a pale gloss, all presented in a cool-girl case. With luck, this move might buy a good six more months of childhood for both of you.

Lisa Kogan is O's writer at large and the author of Someone Will Be with You Shortly: Notes from a Perfectly Imperfect Life.To ask Lisa a question, email


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