Weekend Open Thread

Cole Haan - Air Tali OT Wedge 40 (Chickadee Patent/Cork) - FootwearSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

These happy pastel yellow shoes from Cole Haan look like the perfect comfortable height for running errands and other weekend fun. For my $.02, I don’t like cork at the office — it seems too casual — but do note, the shoe comes in lots of other colors with non-cork wedges. These are $158 at Zappos. Cole Haan – Air Tali OT Wedge 40 (Chickadee Patent/Cork) – Footwear

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  1. CarolSeaver :

    Happy Weekend to all! Just want to share something funny. Recently there have been a couple different posts about corporettes who are dealing with their spouses who are depressed from being unhappy at their job. The recommendations suggested that if you give them “permission” to quit, they will feel less pressure and would stay at their job with a better attitude. Well, this week, I gave my husband “permission” and the next day, he quit his job!! It sure backfired on me!! Haha! But he is so happy and we are fine financially so all I can do is just laugh at myself!

    • Oh no! That was me! It makes sense though that it would backfire where you are financially secure. In my situation we weren’t and it would have meant some major financial consequences that my husband realized would be equally depressing. I’m glad you are okay though and that your husband is happier.

    • I have a friend in this situation – her husband got laid off, took a job that made him miserable, and quit it for a volunteer gig. I’m not married, but I told her that frankly it seemed more stressful to be married to an unhappy spouse than to be the sole breadwinner (they can live on her salary). They both seem really happy, and I hope you and your husband are too.

    • Helene Burke :

      Congratulations! If he is home more, then he should be able to handle the laundry and food shopping! That’s a plus. When you come home, he can also meet you at the door wearing his thong and from there, the sky is the limit! You go for it, Girl!

    • A happy husband is all, love is all ;-) Other things will just follow, they have to!

      • My ex got depressed with his job, left work with my encouragement, stayed home for 9 years without lifting a dish, a pan , doing any shopping or childcare and I stumbled through it all being superwoman exhausting myself and turning into an automaton. He found Golf, tennis, coffee shops and God, met a lovely woman in a coffee shop who was more than willing to share his fun filled days while I was at work and left our family, leaving me a wreck, our children heartbroken and our finances a mess. Now I pay maintenance while they have a happy and workfree life together, and I probably won’t retire till I’m about 80. Just a warning- it can go too far and you can be too supportive!!

        • I have the same response as Maxine. Spouse didn’t want to return to work, wanted to be a SAHD without doing any of the work. It almost came to divorce, and if I did, I too would have had to pay spousal support. I’ve made major consessions to stay married but only until the kids are grown. I would say that if you agree to have spouse quit and stay home, have an explicit, written agreement that he needs to return to work and that the expectation is that this is a temporary situation.

          • You should just stop having sex with him and believe me he shape up and will go back to work quickly. I knew a guy who got lazy, but then once he could not have sex, he decided what was important was his marriage and went back to work.

        • People may not go back to work for a while if they fall out of a toxic job, that’s true. But if you put up with a non-working spouse who doesn’t do a speck of housework or childcare, and for nearly a decade (!!!) you have no one to blame but yourself when the fallout is unpleasant. Plenty of friends of mine have rightly concluded that it’s one thing to be a single mother supporting the family and doing all the work, but adding the husband as a parasite is just more than a reasonable person should have to put up with. Children grow up, husbands don’t.

  2. momentsofabsurdity :

    Sorry Kat. I think those shoes look like big bananas. Maybe if I had cute and tiny feet?

    • Blackbird :

      My sister has bright yellow flats like this (several price ranges below this particular pair, however) and she looks adorable in them. She has a normal foot size for her height – 5’8″ and wears a size 8.5 or 9. I think it depends on the outfit and the confidence of the person wearing them. My confident sister who is always dressed “in style” can rock them; whereas they would look silly with my more conservative persona. (or more accurately, I would be uncomfortable in them).

      • I like the peep toe and the cork….it should be VERY springey! But I would NOT wear the yellow to work, b/c the manageing partner likes to stare at me, and this would give him another EXCUSE to look at my feet.

        A year ago, he aksed me if I wanted a foot masage after work, but I said NO THANK YOU. He has NOT aksed since. FOOEY on that! I do NOT want his hands any where on my body! DOUBLE FOOEY! I never even liked ALAN to touch me on my feet!

        • Helene Burke :

          I love ELLEN! She is so original and exciting! And her relationship with the managing partner is very informative. I suggest, however, that she not lead him on, by letting him get away with saying / doing silly things. Ellen, you must always stand up for what you believe is right! Keep up the good work, Ellen, we love you!

        • Fully agree! Go Ellen! Boo Alan!! Boo Managing Partner! FOOEY!

          • I’m newer to commenting – are these comments from Ellen supposed to be a joke? Or is this for real? Does no one know?

    • I could and would wear them and I wear size 9 1/2 to 10. I think it’s kind of old fashioned to worry about feet looking large (like very 1950s.) In fact, certain styles look better on larger feet. Most models have large feet.

      • I think taller heels look better on larger feet (better proportions, maybe?), which is ironic, since larger feet usually mean tall person. I will say that may shoes seem to be designed to look cute at smaller sizes and don’t size up well.

        And, as my grandma told me once “You don’t need a big foundation for an outhouse”. (whatever she meant by that)

    • Aww, I love ’em. They’re so cute and fun and, in the words of my mom, kicky.

    • I’m with you on this one. They look like something a cute little granny would wear to church in the spring. Along with her pastel suit. And hat. And matching purse. With her reinforced toe hose showing through the peep toes.

    • It might be the shininess and lighter yellow. I have some bright yellow flats that are more of a primary color, and matte. I wear 8.5, but don’t feel like I’m wearing banana boats on my feet. I was on a hunt for a long time for cute yellow shoes, though, and did think a lot of them made my feet look like super noticeable and huge. From my non-scientific observations, it had to do with shade of yellow & shininess vs matte.

      • Exactly Hannita. I too would choose a more primary shade, and would probably want to go with a more classic court shoe or stiletto-type pump style. The yellow speaks for itself, so I think the design should be simple. And matte all the way, absolutely. If your 8.5s feel like gunboats, think about my 10s!

    • a passion for fashion :

      I have a pair of about 1.5 in bright yellow manolo’s from about 5 seasons ago that I love.
      I tried to find a similar one on line just now, but could not. I did, however, find these yellow d-orsay’s that i am now drooling over.

    • viclawstudent :

      Oh man, I think these are adorable and not banana-like at all! I do have really small feet for my height, though (it’s like they stopped growing about two years before the rest of me did).

      Anyway, I am coveting, but they’re too expensive for something I think I’d only wear in my off-work hours.

    • hahahaha… big bananas. I’m literally laughing out loud.

    • I bought these last summer in the non-cork version and love them. I even wear them to my office (business casual) with the right outfit (usually navy trousers).

    • Cole Haan is doing 30% off (Friends and Family Sale) thru…Monday, I think? So these would actually be cheaper thru Cole Haan this weekend…

  3. Anne Shirley :

    Project Evening Bag: where to hunt for one that will fit iPhone, flats-in-flash, keys, and cash. Preferably under $100, classic style, with a strap/handle of some sort. I find these things hard to decide on online, so any good physical stores to check out in NYC?

  4. I just bought the Air Camille espadrille which is very similar to this. Here’s my Cole Haan issue: size 8 1/2 is tight on me, especially in the toe box. I can manage the open-toe espadrille, but the pair of closed-toe heels I have is snug and pinchy after some time. Size 9: I step out of them. Ugh.

    • I have similar problem with the Cole Haan Air shoes: the 6 is tight on me, the 6 1/2 slips off. I have to add padding in the ball of the shoe and something in the heel, and then they’re almost too small.

    • Me too! Between a 7 1/2 and an 8 here! It’s so frustrating, they have a lot of really shoes and I get disappointed every time.

    • This is what inserts are for. Insoles are very useful, but so are those heel pads. You stick them inside the heel of the shoe. It keeps it nice and snug so your heel doesn’t step out.

    • Except for patent leather, I think Cole Haans also stretch so I always buy the size that’s slightly tight.

  5. Help for a friend :

    I have a seriously depressed friend in a bit of a crisis situation. I picked her up last night and had her stay at my house. I’m hoping she will stay the weekend. I’ve talked with a crisis center and we agree that she is not a danger of doing permanent harm to herself at this time but I know it could still escalate. I know what to do if she gets worse so I’m comfortable monitoring and reacting as needed while she stays with me.

    What I need is advice from people who have been at their lowest low and what I can say or do around her that won’t make things worse. I’m helping her get set up with a new therapist and trying to help find her a new place to live. She is in that spot where she knows what changes she needs to make to make things better but just to low to take the steps to do them. I’m trying to help with that.

    Anything I should or shouldn’t say or do in the meantime? Any gems that helped you in your dark hours?

    • Honestly, you are an amazing friend and even if she can’t thank you right now, you are being truly wonderful.

      Only advice I can give is to remember that you’re not dealing with a rational being. If she says she can’t do something (even though you’ve laid all the groundwork and it is truly a very simple task she has to accomplish) don’t take it personally and maybe try to say “that’s why I’m here.” Also, I always relied on the Little Engine That Could when I was down. Silly but it was something.

    • I can’t give you anything to say (though I know a few regular readers have been through this and have some good advice). But as far as some good dos. Think about your house. Do you have medication, knives, or large amounts of alcohol easily accessible? You need to put them somewhere not easily accessible or completely out of the house. You can’t be with your friend all the time; you can’t completely suicide-proof your house, but you can remove some obvious choices.

    • I think one important thing to consider is how she is going to fill her time while you are working get help for her. Is there an activity that she could do to help pass the time and get out of her head a bit? I’m thinking something along the lines of knitting or baking or a craft project or a puzzle book or something. I have known people in these situations who liked to color in coloring books. I think some sort of activity that could keep her busy and get her into a numb/neutral/safe mindset and out of crisis/panic mindset is good.

      Someone very close to me went through something like this, and I *made* her go for a walk outside with me and her dog every day at lunch time. It gave some structure to her day by giving her a reason to wake up before noon, got her outside, got her some exercise, meant she wasn’t spending the whole day alone, and helped her take good care of her dog.

      And, by the way, you are a very good friend. She is very lucky to have you in her life.

    • just Karen :

      You are doing absolutely everything you can – and serious props to you for doing so. Patience and a fine balancing act of accepting that your friend will likely be irrational, without actually going along with the irrationality. Good luck with everything, my thoughts are with you!

      • just Karen :

        Oh, and in terms of gems from my past? Seriously, there was once a point when someone had to direct me to do each little tiny thing. ANY decisions were overwhelming, and I had absolutely no motivation to do anything. Including driving my car home from where

        • just Karen :

          argh – that wasn’t supposed to send. …from where I was – someone needed to tell me to drive my car home. Then I had to be given a schedule. Get up at X, eat Y, etc… for me it was just a few days of total low point, but it’s crazy to think how needy I was at the time. Be prepared to give directives beyond what seems reasonable.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      You are an incredible friend. Honestly, when I went through something similar, the best thing a friend did for me was just sit with me. I think we just sat and watched hours and hours of Sex and the City, but I don’t really remember. I was in a very dark place and didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to do anything, didn’t even want to get out of bed so she just hung out with me for hours on end.

      My brother had a period of very serious depression, and I did the same thing for him. He had gone back to stay with our parents while he was going through it and pretty much shut himself in the family room. I would just sit with him. We would watch tv or he’d sleep and I’d read a book. Sometimes it just helps to have to have someone in your presence with no pressure to do or say anything. Just to be there.

      In my case, there wasn’t anything anyone could say that helped. It wasn’t brought on by any specific event, but rather something I dealt with for a very long time. It sort of got worse out of the blue when I was in college, when my friend was so helpful, and that is when I went back to seeing a therapist and taking medication that allowed me to clear my head enough to the point that I could function and I managed to pull out of it something like 6 years later. I’ll always be grateful to my friend for just being there. My sister-in-law told me recently that my brother told her what I did for him and how much it meant to him to have me there, although he and I have never talked about it.

      I hope your friend is able to get through this and kudos to you for being such a caring friend.

      • Another Zumba Fan :

        This. I spent many, many hours sitting with a friend after his mom passed away. Probably three years later he sent me an out of the blue message saying how he will forever be grateful for that time I spent wth him.

    • When I was really depressed (situationally, not clinically, but nonetheless), making ANY decision was totally overwhelming. When people asked me to make a decision, it would make me panic. So while she’s in the worst part of this, I’d be careful around that.

      Also: I sure couldn’t make myself cook or even decide what I wanted to eat. So if you know things she likes, presenting them cooked as a fait accompli might be really helpful.

      And what everyone else says: just being there unconditionally is HUGE. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much people actually cared about me. While that didn’t fix the crisis, it sure did help to know/discover it.

      • YES, just put food in front of her. I am always like; I don’t want to eat. And if someone tried to make me make a decision about what to eat? ugh, i would probably lose it. But if food appears in front of me, no matter how depressed I am, I will probably eat it.

        And, just as everyone else said: don’t worry about saying things, or talking. Just being there is the best thing. It is so much worse to hear a lot of: oh, it’ll be ok. You’ll feel better. Just be positive…. someone depressed just can’t hear that. I find it much more calming to just hear “I know. It sucks. I am so sorry it sucks. I wish I could help. It really sucks.” Validating that I feel crappy feels much better than feeling like someone is trying to fix things, when I firmly believe there is no way to fix it right now.

    • Ditto, you are a wonderful friend for seeing her through this.

      As for what to say/do or not say/do, do you know what brought this on? Do you have a sense of her triggers? If she’s got lucid moments, I would try asking her. My husband is going through a major depression; we’re in month 19 of it now. In his lowest low points, I am learning to leave him alone. If I try to comfort him, he often lashes out at me and gets worse. So with his therapist’s sign-off, that’s what I’m trying. It seems cold and counter-intuitive, and the direct opposite of what several people above said helped their friends and family members. So in the end, knowing her needs is paramount, since everyone is different.

      Also +1 to the poster who said be aware of guns, knives, medications, alcohol, etc in your house. She may not be suicidal now, but it’s better not to leave anything available to impulsivity.

      • Appealing Lawyer :

        What a great friend you are!

        This may sound obvious, but don’t say things like:
        Cheer up
        Snap out of it
        Look on the bright side, you have X,Y or Z going for you
        Compare her to people with “real problems” like physical ailments etc.
        Or anything else to diminish what she is going through.

        In one of my darkest hours, a teacher told me: “Sometimes, all you can do is offer it up.” She didn’t explain what that meant, but I understood. I’m not a particularly religious person, but that phrase helped me tremendously and sticks with me to this day (20 years later).

        Ditto as to what the others said about creating some structure and a schedule, whatever that might be. Have to brush your teeth. Have to take a shower. Have to get out of the house once per day and see the sun.

        I think the coloring idea is fantastic (or any other craft). Maybe she likes cross words? DVDs? Just try not to overwhelm her with choices.

        Also, try to encourage her to eat healthy food. Letting her go without eating and/or binging on junk is only going to make her feel physically worse.

    • It’s good to know there are people like you in the world. You are doing something so wonderful for your friend. I wish you both the best.

      • This!

        I would echo the majority of the suggestions made here – I think the key is to focus on small steps

        • Posting fail. I was trying to come up with some advice, but realized I don’t have much to offer beyond what has been said.

    • I can’t tell you what TO say, but I can tell you what is really really destructive (at least to me) when I’m in a depressive head space. It doesn’t help when people start listing all the good things in my life (which are many.) Because then you just feel guilty about feeling depressed, which is a psychological condition — not a rational one.

      And if you want something that really reflects what its like, read this web comic. http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html

    • You’re a wonderful generous person for taking on your friend in these conditions, and you have my admiration. I will echo the advice on finding something harmless and craftsy that she can do to fill her time.

    • and, to reiterate, you are so wonderful to be making this effort to be there for her, and even asking for advice about what to say. I have never had anyone do that for me, you are so good to your friend, and she is lucky to have you.

      • I second all of the wonderful advice so far. Also remember to take care of yourself. You are doing an admirable thing and we should all be as lucky to have a friend like you. But please know that there is no magic comment/idea/advice that you can provide that will truly help your friend. Modeling good self-care is often the best thing we can do for those who are in crisis.

    • You’re a great friend! I went through a very dark period a few years ago- death of my sibling, illness, job loss- and I got through it through it because of friends who simply were always there. Sounds simple, but I lost a lot of other friends in that time because they got tired of trying to get me to “snap out of it” or “move on”. There were many times I would have a voicemail or email from a friend that would made such a difference in me not feeling hopeless, and despite that I often wouldn’t return the call because I just didn’t feel like I could find the will to talk to someone. But I’m forever greatful that they kept trying, even though I didn’t tell them that for many months, once things got a bit better. I also found having some small things that I needed to do- walk and care for my dog, help a friend with her kids- made me feel better; I had to get out of the house and it gave some structure to he day. And anything that helps with health- made huge difference for me, and I really believed 100% that it wouldn’t; keep it simple, x amount of water a day (broken down, 1 bottle by 12:00, nexy one before dinner, dinner between 6:00-7:00, bed by 11:00, etc). But really, you being there and being proactive is the best thing you could do.

    • Help for a friend :

      Thank you all. To answer an above question, I do know what triggered it and it is situational mixed with underlying depression. The good news is there are few easily identifiable steps to make the situation so much better and while it won’t fix the underlying issues that got her this low, it will hopefully make day to day living bearable. While in crisis mode she told me what was causing it and what she knew she needed to do to fix it but just.couldn’t.do.it.

      In particular, thanks for the reminders about just making decisions for her (about the minor things) and recognizing if she is being irrational and just letting it slide. Without that reminder I probably would have gotten upset about something she did that would just not even be worth discussing ever.

      To my pleasure, she is doing great. I don’t think she is faking doing well to please me either because she is still clearly unwell but taking the small steps to getting better – eating, showering, small talk with me and my husband, and participating while I worked on her more permanent plan.

      Thank you for also reminding me to care for myself. I was shocked how exhausted I was yesterday morning following the previous night.

    • Your friend sounds like me earlier this week, after my accident. It turns out I have ptsd and I’m now on meds for it. I had a very bad night on Monday.

      I did not sleep at all, but in the early morning I determined that I needed to hire a lawyer asap to handle the accident and then I needed to see a therapist immediately. I spent most of Tuesday lying on my floor until the appt late day. That evening I went to stay with family and I’ve been here ever since. I’m doing much better. The doctor actually prescribed more time with the children in my life, as well as the meds.

      Going to work on Monday will be difficult, but hopefully not paralyzing the way it was earlier this week.

  6. Do any of the larger-busted readers have a recommendation for a very lightweight, wireless bra to wear on long haul flights? I don’t really need support so much as coverage, and I wear a 34H. A little lift would be nice. I’m thinking something soft and comfortable like this, but in my size:

    • Blackbird :

      I still wear my maternity/nursing sleep bras for these kinds of things. Check out Motherhood Maternity – my favorite one is from there. If I can find it online, I’ll post a link in a reply. It is soft, full coverage, and supportive all at the same time. Because it’s a sleep bra, it doesn’t have the clips or anything to let down the cups for nursing – it’s more like a sports bra but better. I’ve found that the stores that specialize in maternity/nursing things offer a larger range of cup sizes. Mine is a 36E or 36 F for example.

      • I just can’t bring myself to try a maternity bra as a childless woman in her 20s. but they do seem comfy…

      • Joan Holloway :

        I didn’t realize you could find sleep bras at maternity stores that didn’t have the clips. Thanks for the tip! I’m not necessarily opposed to the clips, either, however. The main thing is whether the bra performs the function I need it to perform.

    • Merabella :

      Try Soma. I am busty, and I LOVE their stuff, even their underwires are comfortable. They always have buy one get one 50% off or some sort of deal.

      • Soma doesn’t carry my size, which is sad, because I’ve heard great things about it.

        • Baltimorean :

          You’re in DC, right? There is an amazing place in Laurel called Bra La La if you don’t mind schlepping out there.

          • Thanks! I don’t think I’ll have time before my next trip but I’m filing that info away for future use.

    • Appealing Lawyer :

      Cacique carries cotton, wireless bras that are pretty comfy and supportive (and cover you up)

      • Sadly Cacique starts at a 36. Their bras look great, though.

        • I am a solid 34 but have been wearing Cacique bras for a while. If you haven’t tried one on yet, try. Try adjusting a bit in the cup to make up for the band. They do make a really great wireless t shirt bra that does not result in dreaded uniboob.

    • Oil in Houston :

      I have a couple Calvin Klein wireless I wear when travelling that I really like, I bought them at Macy’s

    • Joan Holloway :

      I’m also a 34H and haven’t had much luck finding a style like the one you linked to in our size. I’ve been wanting something like that for home at the end of the day.

      A bra-fitting forum that I’m a member of had a link to this bra, and it looks quite promising: http://www.freyalingerie.com/lingerie/kelly/aw10/soft_cup_bra.aspx?colour=platinum

      Also, Curvy Wordy is on a quest for the perfect wireless bra for larger breasts. Her latest review includes links to her past reviews at the bottom: http://curvywordy.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-quest-for-sleep-bra-royce-charlotte.html

      Have you considered a sports bra? Not the best for lift, I know . . . .

      • I ordered the Gap racerback (product no. 636142) and an Old Navy adjustable strap sports bra (731901). Will report back and let you know if either one works for me. That Freya bra looks great too. I had never heard of a sleep bra until this thread… I can’t believe there are women who are worried about their breasts flopping around at night. Who cares? I hate wearing a bra.

        I usually wear a sports bra, but my sports bras are these anti-gravity monstrosities by UA and while they’re amazing for high-impact sports (they’re the Moxie in DD, but I get an XL and it works for up to a 43″ bust), they aren’t comfortable for extended wear.

  7. wynn duffy :

    Help me find this shoe please! (TCFKAG I’m looking at you through the internet)

    Leather (hopefully) closed toe wedge, not too high around 2.5, hopefully comes in 7.5 wide and I’d really like a grey color that I can wear with grey, navy and black pants. I wear pumps with pants and I am always like why I am in high heels! I’d really like a good durable wedge.

    Cheaper the better, hopefully under 100

  8. I’ve been wondering for this for a while and thought maybe the ‘rettes could give me some input. How did you decide you wanted to have children? Is it possible that I will wake up one day and just WANT them without a reason? Is there something that pushed you to decide to go for it? I understand this is probably not an area of life where logic truly reigns, but I am just curious what others’ experiences have been…

    • I have the same question! Please share, people!

    • I decided that I didn’t want to be 70 years old and look back on my life and realize that I had missed an important part of the human experience. And I’m very glad we went ahead, as is my husband.

    • I told myself that if I thought I would ever want them in the future (e.g when I’m 10 years older) then I should have them Now, when I’m healthy. Basically I would have them unless I was sure I was ruling them out. And I wasn’t sure.
      I thought about how I pictured myself as a child growing up, and I always pictured myself with a family (in the abstract). But if I asked myself do I want kids Now, then I would hesitate. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Maybe my husband and I needed to enjoy ourselves more first. Travel first. And so on, it never seemed the right time. But I realized I needed to bite the bullet before I got too much older.
      As for your question, yes I think it’s a hormonal thing too. At some point many of us wake up and just want one. Maybe because our friends have one. Maybe because it seems like the thing to do. Or just the biological conditioning.

  9. I’ve been wondering for this for a while and thought maybe you guys could give me some input. How did you decide you wanted to have children? Is it possible that I will wake up one day and just WANT them without a reason? Is there something that pushed you to decide to go for it? I understand this is probably not an area of life where logic truly reigns, but I am just curious what others’ experiences have been…

    • I have three kiddos. Honestly, I just always knew I wanted kids at some point. Had no doubts, it was always a when and not an if. The “when” was more a matter of waking up and realizing we were ready. But the “if” was always there.

      I don’t think this is something that easily fits into reason. You have a certain way you envision your life. Picture yourself in 10, 20, 30 years. What does your life look like? Who is there around you? Yes, something might happen to change your mind … but I would think that’s something pretty major, not like you’ll see a cute baby one day and decide you want kids after all.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I have no kids (only 24) but want them eventually. And honestly, I’ve always wanted them. It’s never occurred to me to even consider planning a life without children, at some point, with someone. Sorry if that isn’t helpful at all but I know for me, it’s hopefully going to be a “when” question – if it’s an “if”, it’s not through my conscious choice.

    • I’ve been wondering this myself as well, especially after the SO and I had a kids-related discussion the other day when we both revealed that we’re completely indifferent on the notion of parenthood.

      • As an aside – is anyone else out there incredibly, inexplicably (well, maybe it’s not that inexplicable) terrified of pregnancy and childbirth?

        • I am indifferent to the idea of kids too, and scared of both the thought of pregnancy and giving birth. I try to avoid conversations with my pregnant friends because I sort of just don’t want to know what I would be in for if I ever get to that point.

          It’s not that I don’t EVER want kids, it’s just that I don’t find myself particularly WANTING them either…I wish I were one of those people who had always known. For a while I just assumed that I would have them, but once I thought about it being a real choice you have to make, I thought, well maybe I won’t want to do it after all. It’s confusing.

        • Yes, I am. And in my case, I’ve already had a successful pregnancy and childbirth (with twins). But as we contemplate #3, I’m terrified of the whole thing. I don’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want to have a baby (both the giving birth and the bringing it home with me). I don’t want to do maternity leave and the impact to my career and life. And yet, I’ve still agree to try for #3. I decided to make the decision not as I feel today, but based upon how I think I will feel in 5 or 10 years. I don’t think I will regret having another once it’s here, but I may regret NOT having another (and my husband very much wants another, so this is a compromise decision). I also really want to know what it’s like to care for ONE baby, as opposed to TWO.

          I’m channeling Ellen with the caps for some reason.

          • Thanks for writing this. I would probably have children if my SO really really really (and I mean reeeeaaallllyyyy) wanted them, but I can’t help but speculate that I will never be excited about progeny. I guess it’s comforting to know that there are current mothers out there who feel this way.

        • children? :

          I find pregnancy to be fascinating. I mean, I can literally grow another human, that’s INSANE to me! So, part of me thinks it would be really interesting to be pregnant, but I don’t really want to raise a kid. DH and I aren’t sure if we’ll ever have kids, but we’re mid-20s, so supposedly it will hit us when we’re 30ish.

        • Tired Squared :

          Yes. I once had an in-depth discussion with a then-pregnant friend about “stretching her abs into momma pooch” or “stretching her v*gina beyond recognition.”

          Since then, the idea of childbirth can quite literally give me nightmares.

          • The idea that I could die for someone I don’t know is off-putting to me.

            I know firefighters do this, but I am not a firefighter. If I was OK with sacrificing my life for someone I didn’t know, I’d have chosen a different profession, probably, but I’m not, so I didn’t. I’ve never felt any yearning for children, even though I like children and like the little kids many of my friends have now.

            Mind you, I would donate a kidney or part of a liver (both have some small, but non-zero risk of death, like childbirth) to someone I knew (and not just a relative) and loved. But a child that I didn’t know yet, is someone I can’t love. Because I love people based on their character and their deeds and their interactions with me. If you don’t have that basis with me, I don’t love you.

            I also don’t like people having power over me, and don’t want to have power over anyone. I’m a bit like Kipling’s cat, so it would bug me that I’d have almost absolute power over my child for some years of his or her life.

          • Anonymous :

            To Susan below:

            In my experience, you always “know” your baby, even when he/she is a fetus. They move, they have personalities even then. In utero, my first son moved his right arm a lot (shades of Jersey Shore fist-pumping!??!?) and kicked miserably whenever I ate spicy food. As an infant, he continued to make the same arm move regularly. He’s now five and a very picky eater — spicy, NO WAY.

            Also, the idea that you can control your children…….. not so much. You can guide them, you can set rules and limits. Control? Nope.

          • Ada Doom Starkadder :

            Anonymous– interesting comments. LOL re: Jersey Shore fist-pumping.

            As for knowing, I think that’s a lovely belief. However, my future brother-in-law is a horrible person, just a bad, bad person all around. I don’t think his mother bargained on having such a horrible person be her child. And his brother, my future DH, is completely different. Watching her know (?) him in all his horribleness, and dislike him while loving him as a mother is like watching someone (her) be tortured. I would be afraid that somehow I’d have a kid like that, but not afraid of the dying/childbirth part.

            And yes, you can control your children a lot, perhaps you haven’t met enough First-Generation-Asian Mothers a.k.a. Tiger Mom. I’m not being facetious, I’m saying this as the product of such a controlling mother.

          • Susan, this is very interesting (unwilling to die for your unborn child). I recently had a baby, and I kind of felt that way when I was pregnant. At that point, she was just an abstract concept on an ultrasound . After she was born, I had a total 180 and would give anything for this child. So it is possible to accept in hindsight that the risk was worth it.

        • associate :

          I’ve never felt one of my preggy friend’s baby kick b/c I literally can’t force myself to touch a pregnant stomach. It freaks. me. out.

        • Not really terrified but I got really grossed out when Miranda on S and the City was pregnant and Samantha said “you realize you have a little penis growing inside you.” I don’t know why that has stuck with me, especially since I wasn’t a particular fan of the show but the whole idea of growing a person in your belly just made me shudder with revulsion.

        • ME. Well, I guess it’s less terror, that just–uck. Moms, please don’t jump on me, but I seriously think of a baby in my body, and all I can imagine is that it’s a parasite siphoning off my life force. Childbirth I think I could handle, honestly, since I have a high pain threshold; it’s the having of another living creature, inside me, moving around and pooping, that skeeves me out. Typing this is making my skin crawl.

          That said, I really like kids! Not so much babies–I think they’re annoying and useless until they can hold up their own heads–but after that point I think they’re pretty cool little critters. I would be open to acquiring one or two someday, potentially through adoption because of the above skeeviness. I am also 23, so who knows whether this will change someday or not.

          • Ada Doom Starkadder :

            My classmate from undergrad became an ob/gyn. He has said that medically, you are 100% correct. The baby/fetus is a parasite that is siphoning nutrients from you. It siphons as much as it can take from you without killing you, because that would not be beneficial for it, but only just enough. He said, what makes it all OK is if you are *willing* to let it happen.

            He said that’s how he interprets this “gift of life” thing– a gift should be something knowingly given and freely given, not something extracted from you by force. I feel sorry for all those generations of women who lived w/o reliable or accessible birth control and who were forced to be pregnant, give birth, and be mothers. You know not all of them wanted to be. Frankly, I’m not surprised that parents in ye olden days were so downright mean and abusive. I’m not saying it’s right, but I can see that having children foisted on you would trigger certain people to behave abusively.

          • Oh lord, I’m–I just. I will never become pregnant. Eeeeek.

          • It seems weird, but i found it kind of cool. It helps to think of the baby as being an extension of you rather than a foreign object. I actually missed the kicking for a few weeks postpartum. It was like my body was an empty house. Anyway, I know that it seems weird. I was terrified of pregnancy and childbirth and long ambivalent to kids. Well, pregnancy was easy, childbirth wasn’t bad at all, and I love being a mom. I am lucky.

          • Not that this gets to the heart of your problem, but babies don’t poop until after they are born (or right before).

        • River Song :

          I was terrified of pregnancy and especially birth, but here’s some excellent advice: don’t read the pregnancy advice books. Seriously, don’t. They’re alarmist and extreme, especially “What to Expect.”

          Every pregnancy/birth is different, just like every WOMAN is different, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but… I loved being pregnant. I felt wonderful. I exercised (swimming and prenatal yoga) up until my 8th month, which I absolutely recommend. My hair grew long and thick, and the adult acne which has plagued me since turning eighteen (thanks, genes) disappeared. A friend told me her doctor said you’re often never as healthy as when you’re pregnant, and that was true for me.

          I did have a long and difficult labor–I chose to deliver at home without pain medication, which I’m not entirely sure I would do again–but you know what? I survived it. You don’t remember the pain, but you do remember the strength you summoned to get through the pain. That strength will be with you forever. And honestly I like my body more now, post-pregnancy. Not every woman gets stretch marks (I didn’t). Breastfeeding often takes the weight off quickly. Now, I feel leaner and stronger, and I feel incredibly capable, awed by what my body can did do.

          Don’t let fears of your body changing or going through pain scare you away from having children. Your body may or may not change, but how you feel about your body will also change.

        • yes.
          I’ve always liked the idea of raising kids and being a parent. I plan on adopting children when I am in my early 30s.
          Part of it is logistics, Pregnancy was a struggle for the other women in my family and I don’t want to take the risk. Twins and dangerously premature births are something that my SO and I have in common. Pregnancy also creeps me out.
          Even if I suddenly change my mind and decide to pop out a kid that is genetically mine, I will still adopt. I see no reason not to adopt and I think more people should.

      • wynn duffy :

        Yes! I feel totally indifferent and also feel like i want to throw up when i think about having a baby inside of me that needs to come out. Honestly its like a horror movie fear.

        When I think about being like 60, I want children. Like I want a 28 year old that I raised. But I just have never felt like “yes” to kids. But I also don’t feel like “no, never.” I like children, but the ones I see are just so annoying. Maybe DC has particularly bad children but I hate them all. They are so poorly behaved and the parents are just out to lunch on the blackberry. And I like all my free time and my fancy dinners. I dunno. Your def not not alone in either feeling. I honestly feel like my fear of childbirth is so strong that if I want children I might adopt. I read a cracked article about all the terrible things that can happen and I literally was just like “how can people go on after this!”

        • I completely agree with everything you said. Also, i’m not terribly enthusiastic about the idea of ever getting married, and no way in heck I’d be a single mom.

          • To add, you don’t usually get to choose whether you end up a single mom either. Divorces and deaths can surprise anyone. I know this sounds extreme, but especially since my Dad died I just can’t get out of my mind that if I have kids I need to be prepared to take care of them solo, as my mom has ended up doing.

          • @Monday – yeah, what I meant more is that there’s no way in heck I’d decide to become pregnant on my own without a spouse or partner. Although what you describe terrifies me, too.

            I just need 8 hours of sleep a night, you know?

      • children? :

        DH and I are also indifferent, but leaning toward “no”. It’s weird, the way I think about it is that some people have always loved “their” children, if that makes sense. Even in high school, I feel like my sister already loved her future children, and I just couldn’t even imagine having a kid. I remember when I got married and people started asking when I’d have kids, I replied, “Oh, not for another 10 years.” My mom piped up with, “You’ve been saying that since you were 15…”. I’ve decided that until I get pregnant, my answer is always, “in 10 years.”

        I feel like I would like to have a relationship with my adult children, but I don’t want to raise kids. I want to go to their graduations, weddings, vacations, etc., but I just can’t imagine sacrificing my career and general life flexibility for a child, changing diapers, and handling the phase where my kids hate me. I’ve also been wondering how you make the decision to have kids, because it’s just never been a priority to me.

        • This !! you are speaking my mind here so clearly. This is exactly how I feel too
          “I would like to have a relationship with my adult children, but I don’t want to raise kids.

        • This is me too. I think would enjoy having adult children (though you never know how any children are going to turn out!) but I have known for some time that I do not want to bear or raise kids. This has been true throughout three serious boyfriends (the last one of whom is now my husband). Baby fever never hit me — I’m now 42 and don’t feel any void or lack in my life. I love holding newborns, but dislike toddlers and older kids. (And, yes, I know, everyone says, “But it’s completely different when it’s your own child.”)

          For the OP, the way I thought about it in my 20s and 30s was this:
          I’m going to build the life I want to live. If baby fever hits or I suddenly start to have parental yearnings, great — then I will act on those yearnings. If I continue to feel indifferent, though, then better not to have children.

          • Also, re: ambivalence — since my teenage years, I have always felt very strongly that I do not want to do anything in life because “it’s what everyone does” or go through life mindlessly checking off boxes. Got into good school — check. Grad school — check. Good job — check. Get married — check. Have kids — check.

            So I may have been coming at the kids issue (and definitely the marriage issue!) from a pretty resistant standpoint to begin with. But I think being thoughtful about one’s own life choices is the only antidote — and from what I have seen on this board, the OP and most overachieving chicks generally are extremely thoughtful in this way. . . .

        • Yes exactly! When I was a teenager I always said I would never have kids, as I’ve gotten older (30 now) that has somewhat wavered at times, but I’m still on the no side. I look at my relationship with my parents and I think I’d like to have that kind of connection to another person when I’m 60, but that’s a long time from now and there are no guarantees. I look at my bf’s relationship with his children and think about what a waste it was for him to have kids at all! (I know that sounds really mean, but you would have to see the relationship.)

          With my bf there is no chance of children, but he won’t be around forever either. I dunno, I guess I think that when I’m 60 I’ll probably regret it either way, so I’d rather be happy and not sleep deprived until then.

          • Anonymous :

            Wow. Maybe that says something about the boyfriend. Jesus.

          • I think it says more about his kids, since my bf is the best person I’ve ever known. A bit too much of a doormat to his children, but that’s pretty literally his only flaw (well, I don’t particularly like how he fights, but we’ve worked through that).

            Also, to clarify, HE doesn’t think it was a waste to have children, I think it was. But I wasn’t around then, and his wife REALLY wanted babies.

            Anyway, he gives his kids anything and they are more than happy to greedily take take take and treat him more like a bank account, future inheritance, and impediment to their lives. And they’re not little kids, they’re grown adults with their own families. But when one son can say with a straight face that “you better not waste my inheritance or give it to [unkind expletive meaning me]” (which has never been a question, when bf passes of COURSE the children split his estate, I have too much experience being on the bad end of that!) it really makes you feel like they WANT him to die so they can get their hands on his money.

        • dancinglonghorn :

          You should really read the book “Selfish Reasons to have more children.” He proposes that the “right” number of kids that people want varies by decade – none in their twenties, one in thirties etc. He presents evidence that shows that almost all people imagine a retirement with grandchildren. Its really interesting because your statement is basically exactly consistent with the argument outlined in the book – no one wants to do the grunt work in their early life but most people want to have family surrounding them in later life. At least, the reason I have children is because I want to have adult children.

        • My husband and I were ambivalent until both of us started working full time in our careers. Now, seeing how little time each of us is going to have to devote to a child, we’re solidly in the “no” camp.

          To be fair: I think even if we both worked 9-5 and had weekends free, we’d still have come down in favor of remaining childless. Neither of us wants to give up what we would have to in order to have children, considering that we’d never pictured ourselves having them. Like others have said, I imagine that I would very much enjoy having adult children. But child-aged children and I have never really gotten along. I just don’t understand them.

          That said, if we ever change our minds, we’ve already decided that we’d adopt because pregnancy and childbirth scare the daylights out of me.

    • How old are you? I think some women do wake up around age 27-29 and want kids. I was ambivalent about it before, but then I hit that age, and I knew what I wanted. (I also wanted sex all.the.time. Be prepared for that.)

      • Woah, that’s happening to me right now! I’m driving my bf crazy! He can’t keep up! (Literally, the other night he was like, “will you PLEASE just go to sleep!”

        I thought it was because I’m losing weight.

      • anon in pgh :

        I had this exact experience, but at age 25. I ended the relationship I was in at the time because it was clear it wasn’t going that way.

        I’m 29 now and haven’t had another relationship since. I want to have multiple kids and really don’t want to still be having them any later than age 33 or so. (My parents were older and I don’t want the same for my family.) I am considering going it alone, but I have no close friends and my only family members are my aging parents who wouldn’t be in a position to help me (and aren’t local), so I would have no support system at all other than hired help.

        Anyone else with a similar experience? How did you decide what to do?

        • so anonymous :

          I think you can find someone who wants what you want – just try to be open and honest about it from the get-go. I know people who were in your position and are now married mothers. And I have lots of guy friends who want kids.

          I think one barrier you face is the culture today where people don’t want to grow up. It’s like a game of chicken where people end up racing to the alter and having kids in their mid-30s because they waited so long and realized they had to get going. If you’re dating OL, I would even mention in your profile your goal of being a mother.

          • anon in pgh :

            There are a lot of guys in my area who want what I want – the problem is, they already have it. Everyone gets married in their early 20s and is working on their 2nd-4th kid by 29. I wasted my early 20s in 2 dead-end relationships one right after another, and when I finally woke up to this at age 25, it was too late.

        • Why haven’t you had relationships since? No one came along, or you haven’t been looking?

          If you’re interested in having a partner to raise kids with, I also suggest going online. I met my wonderful boyfriend there. I realized early on that he’d be a good father. And he wants kids. So we’ve been dating about a year and are certainly headed that direction.

          (Where do the nice guys go to find ladies to have kids with? In my neck of the woods, there aren’t many good places besides online and church. And neither of us are the church type.)

          • anon in pgh :

            I have been looking actively for 3 of those 4 years. Online mostly (also not a church person). In those 3 years, I’ve been on about 15 first dates, 2 2nd dates, and 1 3rd date – all but 1 of these dates were people I met online. I know that’s not enough but the pickings are /very/ slim here (I probably need to move). Everyone is already married by age 24-25 or so.

    • I echo the sentiments on “if” v. “when.” For me the “if” was always a given: “someday I want to have children.” But as to the “when,” there was a period when my friends started having kids that I was annoyed and wondered what was wrong with them. When one of my friends told me she had baby fever, I could barely refrain from looking at her like she was crazy. Then one day baby fever hit me. I still haven’t started trying to have any but we have set a date for it.

      • anon about babies at work :

        I, too, for a few years, sort of ‘looked down’ on my friends who seemed obsessed with having babies. And then, I woke up one morning about a year ago, 28 at the time, and seriously – it is like having a fever, or allergies, or being incredibly turned on. It takes over my thoughts. I really want to get pregnant, I really want to have a baby, and have multiple children. We’re starting next month (finally!)…but I’m still embarrassed to talk about it to my other friends who have clearly not felt these feelings.

        Sometimes I wonder if this is a true physical or hormonal event that affects certain women more than others (whereas I always thought of it as social conditioning before it happened to me – but now it is like a genuine physical urge)…and while I cannot wait to have children, I also sometimes wonder that if I just waited this out, or if I had a condition where I couldn’t have children, if after a few years I would lose this urge and not have regrets about remaining childless.

        • Another S :

          This is me, only I was 32 when I woke up one morning wanting them. I think I liked kids when I was a kid, I remember enjoying babysitting as a teenager (yes, I know babysitting is nothing like parenting but what mean is I enjoyed interacting with kids). Then in law school and for a few years after law school I had ZERO tolerance for anything kid-related. ZERO. Then I woke up one day and, bam, I want kids. I can’t explain why I want them and I try not to think about it too much because I know it’s not rational – life will be so much harder with kids! This is not an approach I’ve taken with anything else in my life as I’m by nature an over-thinker. Luckily DH is okay with all of this. If/when we do get pregnant, I think I’ll probably flip out then start thinking through the logistics of life with a kid. But for now, it is always in my thoughts, yet I’m always trying not to think about it.

    • Anonymous :

      Growing up, I never thought about having children at all. Then I got married (at 35) and I think about, ok, what will my life look like in 10, 20, 30 years? Then it was more of a “oh sh*t, better start now, I’m 35 and time is running out” type thing.

      That said, now my kids are 3 and 5 and I cannot imagine life without them. They are amazing and exhausting and I love every bit of them (even when, as my younger one just did 10 minutes ago, they pee on the couch). I do not miss my pre-kids life at all. I hate to say this (fear of sounding judgmental) but I really wonder what the hell I did before I had kids — that life, although lovely, just seems really self-absorbed and lazy now. (My life, not everyone’s!)

      I was never the type to ooh and ahh over babies, I never babysat, I never had the big I NEEDS A BABY thing you see in movies. Now, I am a fierce mamabear and I will cut you if you get near my kids. lol.

      • Hm, this is interesting because I’m 37 and have always been highly ambivalent about children. Now I am finally in a relationship where kids are actually an option and find myself reconsidering the whole thing. And I am definitely in the “oh sh*t” mindset now as well. I still don’t know what is going to happen or even if anything *can* happen at this point, but your story does give me hope that if it does, it could still be a good thing.

        • Migraine Sufferer :

          As soon as you think nothing can happen, you are in trouble. :)

      • It’s interesting how different women approach this issue so differently (both compared to each other, and throughout their own lives).

        In my case, I was pretty girly growing up and loved to “play house” and be the mom. I would also play a mothering role to my younger siblings while we were growing up. From ages 11 through 22, I babysat extensively (at least several times a week – sometimes every day!). I have always been obsessed with babies, especially newborns. I even love how my hands and clothes smell after I’ve been holding a baby.

        However, I’ve known for quite some time (I’m almost 33 now) that I do not want kids. It’s a visceral thing, also supported by a long list of rational/logical arguments that I have to pull out whenever people question my choice and tell me that I’ll change my mind and have a million kiddos.

        My sibs both want big families, and I’m super psyched about the idea of being the cool aunt.

        • I grew up with much younger siblings (8, 10, 12, and 19 years younger than I) and I really, genuinely feel like I already “raised” kids. I couldn’t be less interested in my friend’s kids and generally dislike most kids under the age of about 15. Maybe I’ll grow out of this, but it’s just that I spent SO MUCH TIME taking care of my siblings and having every family decision grow up revolve around the “little kids” that I’m totally meh to the situation. (Not that I resent the way I grew up. I love my siblings dearly and feel that being the big sister taught me multi-tasking, cooking, coping, and going with the flow skills.)

    • Thought I’d chime in here, although I have a different perspective… I never really decided to have children, although I always thought I would have them just because that’s what people DO. Fast forward 20 yrs, I’m now 40, no kids… and I’m good with it. Looking back I think for me to have actively decided to have kids, it would have really required a ‘perfect storm’ (perfect mate, perfect career, perfect timing) and life is rarely perfect. Although I have to say I think my life is as close to perfect as I can imagine. While I enjoy my niece and nephew, and have a little sister through the Big Brother/Big Sister program, I don’t feel a ‘void’ in my life or anything. :)

    • I always thought I would have kids but was the kind of person that if presented with a puppy or a baby always chose the puppy. Here is the rather crazy story of how the decision was made in our family.

      Never felt a strong push toward being a mom. Married very young, had been married 6 years and DH and I had both quit good jobs to go back to grad school full time. Moved across the country to start grad school and about 2 or 3 days after arriving in new city, were sitting in a Perkins restaurant having lunch. Saw a family with a cute little toddler maybe 18 months old. Felt something snap (my brain quite possibly) and told DH “it’s time.” Went off BC and was pregnant 3 months later; kid born in the middle of grad school. DH and I were full time students with half time assistantships; we juggled childcare between us for that last year of our master’s programs.

      In retrospect, totally unlike us (we are both major planners) and actually rather irresponsible (my grad student insurance didn’t cover pregnancy so we paid for it out of pocket). So you are right – not much logic here – but it all worked out. :)

    • I want to have kids because I want a family. I want my life to be more than just about me, and I think being a mother would be one of the most personally fulfilling ways to leave a legacy and contribute something beautiful and lasting to the world. I want to read my kids books before bed. I want to play games with them in the backyard. I also know my boyfriend would be an amazing father, and I think it would bring me incredible joy and pride to see him in that role. I was very close with my dad, and it would be amazing to see my boyfriend connect with our children someday in a similar way. I want to re-experience all the things I loved about being a kid – the curiosity, the wonder, the newness of it all, the excitement of the holidays and vacations. I love the unbridled energy and lack of self-consciousness children have. I love to walk by playground sometimes just to see them being their ridiculously wonderful, zany selves. The idea of giving my parents grandchildren is also dear to my heart. I

      • I know what you’re saying here, and I applaud your decision to have children, but those of us who don’t want children don’t necessarily have lives that are “all about us.”

    • I was on the fence – could have gone either way – for a long time! One of the things that pushed me was when some relatives passed away who had not had children. Something in that made me think about my life, my whole life, not just who I am at 25, but who I might be or want to be at 35, 45, 55, and so on. And the picture I came up with involved being a parent.
      I also read the book “Flux” by Peggy Orenstein. I highly recommend it. It gave me what was possibly the greatest idea in my adult life so far, which was having my husband take time off to care for the baby too. Not just 2 weeks. He took the 2 weeks right away. I took 4 months off, then he took another 2.5 months off. He had the leave, so why not? It made him such a better dad and us better partners, and made my transition to work much better. So plant the seeds early and often…dads can take time off too. And he doesn’t have some slacker job where nobody would miss him…he was a senior person in a very busy office.
      We were married 4 years before we had our first. That time was really important to me.
      Being a working mom is hard! But I wouldn’t trade anything for it!

      • OMG, that book totally changed my life. It made me feel like there were options, and while none of them were necessarily perfect, none were terrible either. I gave it to an older single friend of mine who really wanted kids and 2 months later she decided to adopt — and now has a fantastic 7-year-old. I credit the book with inspiring her.

    • Anonynonynony :

      I’ve always wanted kids. I babysat semi-full time in high school and at parties I always steal the babies or smallest child in the room. I also am the type of person who internally, and honestly frequently externally, squeals “babies” when she sees a baby. Its an involuntary reflex (I do it for puppies too).

      The hard part is that I probably can’t bear biological children for a variety of serious medical and genetic reasons. So my husband and I discussed it before we got married and decided we will adopt. We’ll probably start the process in a year or two. The part that scares me is the horror stories you hear about it taking a decade to adopt. But, I guess that’s what we’ll do.

    • People may hate me for saying this, but I have to confess that I think that people who don’t have kids — by choice — are kind of weird. I exempt from my comment anyone (male or female) who’s single, who’s still young and might change their minds, or who try but can’t conceive. But when I meet a professional couple in their 40s or 50s, who never had kids by choice, I frankly find that odd. And look, I’m not saying that someone who really doesn’t want kids should have them just to satisfy cultural norms. I’m just saying that I assume the couple must be truly, truly self-centered people.

      • Anonynonynony :

        Okay — I’m the baby lover from immediately above. I LOVE BABIES. But come on, if you are not a baby lover, deciding not to have children despite the gigantic social pressure to do so is the exact opposite of self-centered. Its a responsible, logical, kind decision. Because nothing is worse for a child then being raised by indifferent parents and it is a HUGE commitment.

        • 100%. Thank you, Anonynonynony. That is all.

          • Yes, thank you Anonynonynony.
            Lurker is showing a distinct lack of thoughtfulness.

        • Anonymous :

          This. I would hate to know that my parents only had me because they were afraid Lurker would think they were weird if they didn’t.

          I don’t really see how the last 2 sentences of this somewhat mean post can be reconciled: you don’t think they should have kids just because of people’s assumptions, but you stand by your very harsh assumptions nonetheless.

        • Anonynonynony :

          And not to throw a wrench in your, oh so well developed world view, but some people are childless for reasons outside their control. Perhaps they have infertility issues and were unable to adopt. Perhaps their children died. You don’t know their situation, and your assumptions could be downright cruel.

          • You didn’t read very carefully. I specifically said that I exempted people who wanted kids but couldn’t have them. And I’m not talking about people whose situations I don’t know, I’m talking about several people I know who are quite open about the fact that they’ve chosen not to have kids, specifically because of things like not wanting to gain weight, not wanting to give up their jet-setting lifestyle, not wanting to share their husband’s attention with kids, etc. I think that’s “self-centered” in the truest sense of the phrase, i.e., being very centered and focused on yourself.

          • Anonynonynony :

            But you say in your post that you find any 40-50 year old couple odd that doesn’t have kids odd. You don’t say that you know them. But leaving all that aside, I guess you’re entitled to think whatever you want is odd. But even if their reasons are what you would view as “self-centered”, don’t you think it better that people who really DON’T want to be parents not be parents. Bad parents can be worse than no parents at all.

          • Anonymous :

            I am with Lurker, for the most part. Of course there are people with gifts such as musical talent, or even legal or medical talent, who give to the world much more than they could than by having children. Of course there are people with really good reasons not to have them. But, in general, the decision seems to be a result of immaturity. Sorry but that is what I think. But, yeah, don’t have them if you don’t want them.

      • Can we just not with the Mommy Wars? Please? For the love of God?

      • children? :

        To me, it’s much worse to have a child to avoid being seen as “selfish” when I don’t really want one. If I’m not going to put in the time to raise it, and I’m going to resent it, I think it’s a much more healthy choice not to have them. How horrible for me to bring a child into the world that I won’t properly love, raise, and sacrifice for! I don’t think it’s doing a child or society a favor for me to have a kid if I don’t really want one. If that makes me self-centered, I’ll own that title proudly, because I know I’ve done the right thing for not only myself, but a potential child that doesn’t deserve the resentment I would feel toward it if I got pregnant right now.

      • Moonstone :

        Well, what can a childless-by-choice person say to that except “I appreciate your honesty.” The way some women always know they want to have kids is exactly the way some of us know we do not want to have kids. I am a great aunt (and not even an ogre to babies on planes), but having kids was never the right option for me and I have always been grateful that I was born in this century and actually had a choice in the matter. It’s true, I am pretty self-centered — but not nearly as self-centered as some parents I know.

        • Co-sign!

        • This exactly.

          In high school I had a friend tell me once that there was probably something genetically wrong with me that I don’t want children. That was fabulous. Of course, she’s now 30 as well and still doesn’t have kids herself!

          The thing is, I’m sure I would love the kid, I’m sure I would be a good mom. I have a great role model in that my mother was a great mom despite her mother being a somewhat indifferent mother. I can enjoy children in very small doses. (Although I really want to kill a certain 8 year old. NO BOUNDARIES! I walk out of my room in the morning and he says “don’t look at me.” I say “what?” He says “I’m not wearing pants, don’t look at me.” I say, “well, this is the living room and I have to get ready for work, so you should either go put on pants or get over it.” There was a blanket right next to him and he was sitting down and had a shirt on, so I couldn’t have seen anything if I did look, but WTF?)

          But all the same, I just wonder why I should have kids. I have 3 siblings, one of them can deliver grandchildren.

          I did have a weird guilt feeling at Easter though. My cousin (who totally wants BABIES NOW) mentioned there aren’t any kids in the next generation yet and said that I, as the oldest, should really get working on that so the rest of them can have their turn. And I actually thought for a second that made sense! Like, since I’m the oldest and was the first to do everything (walk, talk, read, drive) and they all followed me I needed to have a kid so that the rest of them could! It was weird and I immediately had another beer.

          • It’s probably good that you don’t want to have kids, given your attitude towards that 8 y/o little boy. Some kids that age can be self-conscious about being seen without clothes. Would it have killed you to say, Okay, I won’t look at your pants-less self? Doesn’t prevent you from walking through the living room or getting ready for work. Jeez, he’s 8.

          • Yeah, exactly, he’s 8. He’s old enough to know he shouldn’t be in the living room, sitting on the furniture, nude! He wears pajamas to bed, there was no reason for him to be nude. For that matter, there was no reason for him to be in that room either, dressed or nude.

            8 isn’t that little. I remember being 8. I didn’t want people looking at me nude either. That’s why I didn’t walk across a house that had 7 people living it and sit in the living room nude! Sheesh!

          • I really dislike you immensely, CA Atty. Get the hell out of your boyfriend’s life, if you can’t tolerate the kids in it.

          • We have a nice home here and our hostess is Kat; I don’t think anyone should use language or express sentiments that Kat herself wouldn’t use.

          • Ella, I’m sorry your misread of my situation offended you. There are no children in my bf’s life. His kids are grown, as stated above. The 8 year old is someone different and I really don’t have to explain my whole life to you. That is why jumping to conclusions is a bad idea.

          • Ella, I think your comment is truly uncalled for. Why would you “dislike intensely” someone whom you’ve never met based on one comment? Please stop.

          • Sorry, should have said “immensely” but you get my point.

          • You’re absolutely right, CA Attorney. My comment was out of line, very overreactive, and you didn’t at all deserve it. Really should have calmed down before writing that, and I extend my apologies (sincerely.)

          • Ella, thank you. I appreciate that you were willing to apologize. No hard feelings!

          • And P.S. I did see an adorable little kid over the weekend. At the dollar store, apparently mom told him he could get a toy and he immediately grabbed it and chugged (sort of a walk/run mix that that age (2ish?) does) straight to the cashier, completely ignoring the line but getting behind the woman who was in the process of checking out and handing the cashier the little toy he beamed up at her and says “MINE!”

            I think the whole store was laughing. It was super cute.

          • You’re a class act, CA Atty. If I ever have kids, I may even let you babysit them now.:)
            In all sincerity, thank you.

        • agree, and sorry lurker, but what is owed to people (babies) who don’t exist? I have never bought this argument: you owe some selflessness to people who aren’t created at this time. What on earth, wake up you sound ridiculous. I once heard a male say this about his daughter in an elevator and could hardly believe it- he meant selfish as in not giving him grandkids- it isn’t his life, sorry. Really, this does not make logical sense.

          • Also, one could argue it is selfish to have kids. overpopulating the world, having less time/money for the poor, etc. I don’t like that line of logic either, so won’t expand, but do you see how subjective your worldview is?

          • Anonymous :

            Nothing is owed to the future children. But, if someone doesn’t want to bother to raise kids, that same person won’t help their sick or disabled sibling, or elderly parents. It is just the mind-set that seems to lead to not wanting kids – it is generally held by the selfish and immature. Not always, but a lot. Look at how many women GROW UP and now their eggs are rotting. whoops.

          • Accountress :

            Having a child doesn’t mean you’re going to raise it, Anonymous. My aunt has two children, both grown now, and they are a few of the worst human beings I’ve ever encountered (and I grew up in Florida, so that should tell you something). They are terrible people because their mother and father are terrible people who, frankly, should never have had children.

            I really hope you didn’t have kids for the sake of having someone take care of you when you’re unable to take care of yourself. I mean, I’ll be taking care of my mother- but that’s because I love her, not because I’m obligated by coincidence of birth.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Accountress, I sincerely ask, what did you mean when you said that your two cousins are “a few of the worst human beings I’ve ever encountered (and I grew up in Florida, so that should tell you something).” We’re contemplating a move to Florida once we have kids because it’s so much more affordable than here, plus his parents are there, which is a huge, huge draw. But I’ve never lived in Florida, so I don’t know much about it. What do you mean?

          • Accountress :

            SF Bay Associate, your experience may differ from mine (and I can really only speak of mine) based on where you end up and what your belief system/values are. There’s a lot of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. in a lot of the general population- even in cities with large universities. While the rest of the US may have heard only about that one church in northern Florida that was burning the Koran- there’s a lot more Floridians that would have liked to see that than were horrified. The state government (currently) has some really interesting ideas on what will save them money (drug testing welfare recipients, and then repaying them when the test returns a negative result). The public school system is horrific- the charter schools can get out of hands, and there are cuts being made to the system every year. Private schools aren’t necessarily better- one Catholic school in my county was notorious for drug problems on campus, but there were rumors at the other ones, too. Yes, it can be more affordable to live here, but only if you’ve got a lot saved up ahead of time- as my mother was told when she heard the salary for her first job offer in the state, “You get paid in sunshine!” Homebuilders built cheap-a$$ homes, dumped them on the market, and then left- they’re expensive but poor quality. Or, you can buy an older, smaller, established home (aka hurricane-proof), and expect to get dropped from your insurance when the house turns 50.

            Again, this is all my experience and I cannot speak for others, but definitely do your research on everything when you’re looking for a move. My folks didn’t really have many options (Mom’s arthritis = must leave PA now, and my grandparents were already in my hometown), but if circumstances had been different, they’d have picked someplace else.

          • Anon, your statement is not only wrong but offensive and contains unfair assumptions. Before I wanted kids, as a broke newlywed working long hours in New York, I took care of my husband’s dying grandparents for years in outer Brooklyn. It was hard, depressing, they were mean and bitter and it was gross. We did it because it was the right thing to do, during our 20’s when we could have been partying etc. I’m sure the kidless world is full of people who contribute in their own ways to others just as much as those with the jetsetter mindset you are juxtaposing onto all of them. I’d do some self-examination if you are assuming so much about those around you.

          • re: “But, if someone doesn’t want to bother to raise kids, that same person won’t help their sick or disabled sibling, or elderly parents”

            are you for cereal right now?

          • Oh dear, Anonymous, I couldn’t disagree more. There’s no logical connection between the two. In fact, a person without children has more time to devote to caring for others than the busy mother or father does. Given that you aren’t among the childless by choice, I don’t see how you could possibly understand the “mind-set that seems to lead to not wanting kids”. Often it’s motivated by a desire to preserve a life full of deep family and community involvement.

            I want kids myself, but some of the most selfless people I know are childfree, including the head of the nonprofit whose board I sit on; a partner in my firm who moved to a tiny town across the country to care for a terminally ill parent; and my brother and sister-in-law, both of whom are deeply involved in community work in my hometown.

          • @Anonymous at 7:15 – that is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t want children, but in part because I spend a large amount of time helping to care for an aging relative so that we can avoid full-time off-site care for as long as possible. I dislike the idea of having my own children, but am in no way the selfish monster you appear to think all people who are childless by choice are.

            Why, exactly, do the mothers here appear to think it’s fine to engage in “mommywars” with those of us who don’t have children or want them? Isn’t it 2012? Why on earth does it somehow make me some horrible, selfish person to A) recognize that I won’t want children and B) may not be the world’s best parent were I to have them?

            I am frankly disgusted at this conversation.

          • Help for a friend :

            I’m 31, married, and childless by choice. I am currently housing a friend through a mental health crisis. If I had kids, I couldn’t have taken her in, and she would have literally no where to stay right now.

          • As someone also childless-by-choice, some of ignorant comments in this thread have really crawled under my skin. You think I’d be used to the stereo-types by now, but to have someone spell them out like that… wow. I withheld comment earlier because I was too annoyed and didn’t trust myself to say anything inappropriate. I can’t see how choosing to not have children, because you don’t want children, is any more self-centered than choosing to have children, because you want them. Especially since one of the more common reasons for having children is often ‘preserving the family line’ or some sort of variation on that… how much more ego-centric can you get, than believing your DNA is so important in the grand scheme of things? And it also appears to me that many of the rest of the tasks of the world, outside raising children, such as caring for others in the family, or friends, mentoring underprivileged children, advocating for children, being involved in charities, etc, often fall to those who aren’t singularly preoccupied by their own little bundles of DNA.

      • Lurker, I think you’re weird.

      • It’s truly self-centered of you to assume that people who don’t want exactly what you want are somehow morally defective in some way.

        Why do people have to all want the same things in life?

      • Anonymous :

        Ita. I generally think that people that continue to act “young” (nightclubbing, etc) in their 40’s and up are odd.

        Also, my neighbors are aging hippies. They are over 60 and have no children, just cats. When my first was born, when we arrived home from the hospital the neighbor lady caught us in the hallway (apartment bldg) and wanted to know where we were, since the cat was meowing? And her cat was very excited about my cat and they meowed at each other through the bay windows, etc etc etc etc cat cat cat cat blah blah blah on and on and on.

        I had given birth 2 days before and my newborn son was in my arms. Aging hippie lady DID NOT NOTICE. No ‘congrats’, no ‘who is this’, NOTHING. That is weird, imho.

        • Ada Doom Starkadder :

          You’re just getting p!ssy about people who don’t want to have kids because some kooky hippies didn’t coo enough that you had a kid.

        • Since when are those of us who are childless acting “young”? I’m 27, don’t have children, and haven’t been to a “club” in I don’t know how long.

          I’m also surprised you feel it’s necessary for someone not close to you to you to congratulate you on procreating. How self-centered is that, really?

      • Have to confess I have the same thought.

      • But what about couples like my husband and me? I have two children from my first marriage; I was young and got pregnant six months after we got married (hello forgetting BC one night). So yes, I have children.

        My husband didn’t have children in his first starter marriage (five years, a house and a dog). When we met, I was very clear with him that I wasn’t interested in starting over with more kids again. That means he would fall into your category of weird (mid-40s with no kids).

        But honestly that’s the right choice for us. I didn’t/don’t want more children, and honestly if I’d thought things through back in my first marriage, then *I* would fit in your category too. But I forgot my stupid diaphragm June 5 that year and bam, fertile me got pregnant.

        Where does honest choice, the admission by women like me that maybe I wouldn’t make the best mother, fit into your world view? Not being snarky, honestly asking.

      • You know what I think is self-centered? Assuming that everyone should be like you or be deemed “weird and self centered.”

        So what if I don’t like children? So what if I like my career? People have children for self-centered reasons all the time. They have them to make themselves feel good, to give THEIR lives meaning.

        I’d prefer to spend the time I’m not spending on children on doing good in my community and volunteering for causes that make the lives of those people who are already here better. If doing that instead of having kids makes me self-centered in your book, then so be it.

        • Here are some of the selfish reasons why people have kids:

          1)They think it’ll repair a fraying marriage (often, it doesn’t)
          2)They want a little mini-Me (that’s selfish and egotistical)
          3)They are getting older and feel their mortality and want to leave something of their genetic material when they themselves die (here’s a clue, even if you have 100 kids, when you’re dead, you’re still dead because they are not your 100% genetic copy and won’t have your memories)
          4)They are bored or lonely and want someone to fill their time

          People also have children for selfless reasons, but not always.

          Not everyone who decides not to have children is trying to extend their 20s indefinitely. Your taking on a task that nobody is asking you to take on (because Lurker and Anonymous, seriously, your both having kids will do nothing to change the world, so don’t delude yourself that you’re doing anybody any favors other than yourselves) does not make you selfless.

          Your kids (if you have any) didn’t ask to b born, so how exactly are you being selfless? You just created a person, and a whole set of tasks for yourself so you can make yourself feel needed and important. Maybe instead of calling the people who choose not to have children “selfish,” you should call yourself codependent.

          • True. Nothing to validate your own existence better than having a baby who depends on you. All of sudden, everything you did in your life—or DIDN’T—doesn’t matter because you’re a parent.

            Not at all “selfish.”

          • Anonynonynony :

            Just watch Dance Moms. Lol.

      • There are many ways to be self-centered. People without children have more time and other resources to help relatives in need of all ages and do volunteer work, if they are so inclined. Some people with children are self-centered, but they expanded the definition of “self” to include their children or are not the best parents. People from more traditional backgrounds have a more difficult time going against cultural norms because the price they pay is high. In addition, so many people who are in their fertile years in the U.S. are putting off children because they have massive student loans along with unemployment or underemployment, or just salaries atypical for a corporette.

        I hope you reconsider this perspective if you are still rearing children. What would you do if your child made this choice?

    • PharmaGirl :

      I was always indifferent to the idea of children and assumed I would never have them. I met my husband when I was 31 and was 33 when we were married. Around the time of the wedding we decided to ‘pull the goalie’ and see what happened. Nothing happened that first month or two and we were both surprised by how disappointed we felt so decided to actually try (have lots of sex at the right time of the month, basically) and I was pregnant immediately. Now I can’t imagine my life without the little guy and ache for a second child like you wouldn’t believe. It’s daily insanity but so much fun.

      Not gonna lie though, the first year (and beyond) was rough. It took a long time to feel connected to my child (I continued to feel indifferent through the pregnancy which was very worrisome). Our marriage suffered heartily but we’re slowly getting into a groove and are able to really enjoy the wonders of having a child.

      • I’m totally appreciating all of these posts. DH and I are about to start really trying (now we’re just not not trying), but I’m worried that it’ll take me a while to get that connected feeling. Like you, I was always indifferent to the idea of children, but I went from being horrified at the idea 10 years ago to starting to think most little kids are really cute and fun and that looks like something I can do. It’s nice to hear from such a range of people.

    • I am 27 and single right now. I think I would love to have kids if I was a man, so hassle free for them. All they have to do is earn good money and there are so many women ready/willing/excited to have kids and raise them . That is the case with all my male co-workers, they have small kids, took only a week off when they were born and work long hours and keep rising in their careers. There are so few women at work, and none with kids. At this point I think kids would really hamper my career. I am also really really afraid of actual child birth (i don’t think I would ever survive labor). I have seen my mother sacrifice all her life for kids and be content with it and I never ever want to be like her. For whatever reason, I am kind of glad I don’t have kids and I don’t think I will regret if I never have any. I just feel it is too much sacrifice for a women (physical pain, weight gain, career set back, sleepless nights) to have kids, men have the easy way out to have it all. May be I am the most selfish b**tch around, but this just how I feel about kids at this point in my life.

      • Anonymous :

        Honestly, this is how I feel too: can picture having kids if someone else gestated, birthed, and for the most part took care of them, while I continued living a fairly similar life to the one I have now. Whose arrangement does this sound like?

      • Re: your first couple of sentences, much of my financial, career, and romantic planning is basically focused on making that possible. Unless my hypothetical future husband wants to stay home with our hypothetical child, my plan is basically that we’ll outsource the bulk of the childrearing burden to professionals (a nanny would be my preference). It’s sort of the 19th-century upper-class American approach to childrearing, and perhaps because I had a version of that as a child, I’ve always been comfortable with it.

        When I explain this plan, the response I typically get is, “why have kids, then?” But no one ever asks men that.

        • I’m all for this. Just because you want kids (the full-fledged, talking 5 years and up type) shouldn’t mean you have to stay home and raise infants and toddlers. Who says I’m better than the professionals anyway? I know my daughter is way more advanced, social and happy because I put her with professionals in daycare/preschool than she would be if I stayed home with her. There would be no daily arts and crafts, songs, books, puppet shows, etc. with me. I do not have a degree in child development – will gladly pay someone who does to nurture my little one 40 hours a week until she’s the age that I am good with.

          That being said, I do miss her during the day and wish I could leave at 3pm everyday to pick her up. But we can’t have it all.

          • Thank you! I am feeling sad about sending my baby girl to day care, but I keep telling myself that she will learn a lot from professionals. Thanks for reinforcing!

      • Auntie Em :

        What an archaic view you have of today’s dads. The ones I know are nothing like what you describe. Ok, they not be be able to get pregnant or give birth, but beyond that, most young dads I know totally share evenly in the parenting. They’re getting up in the middle of the night to give the baby a bottle, taking turns going to the pediatrician, leaving work early to get to a soccer game, all that stuff. I don’t know any dads who think they have it easy. And I have three kids and I don’t think it set my career back for a nanosecond. Amazingly, you can actually have kids and not sacrifice your entire life for them. Indeed, it’s a heck of a lot better for them if you don’t, because otherwise you’re just teaching your kids that the world revolves around them.

        • Anonymous :

          Ditto. All of it.

        • Agree!

        • Eh. It seems to be about 50/50. If your married friends are mostly professional women, they’ve found the good half. Remember, there are tons and tons of men out there with stay at home wives and a girlfriend or two on the side.

          • Ada Doom Starkadder :

            This. Or men who say they’ll do 50-50, but as soon as the kid is born, they do next to nothing.

            They figure they’ve got you trapped. They have a hostage, too (the kid). They won’t do anything, which forces you to do everything, because you don’t want the kid to suffer.

            A few women have the big ovaries to divorce men like this, because they’ve given them the ultimatum to keep their promises of helping with the kid, the men balk, and the women realize: you may live here, but since you do jack to help with our kid, I am de facto a single mother. Might as well be a de jure, official single mother then. But most stay, are miserable, and suffer.

        • I agree with most of this, in that the young fathers I know are much more involved than the fathers of prior generations (though my father was always the one to be home at the end of the day when I got home from school. I loved those times, and in addition to thinking it’s a great step for gender equality, I just loved having a lot of time with my dad). I definitely agree it’s good for your entire life to not stop when you have kids – both my parents worked, and I think my childhood was all the better for it.

          However, I think you’re simplifying the career issue. Maybe your job is different than mine, but I travel a lot, and don’t have a ton of flexibility (trial lawyer), which I’m told is almost absolutely necessary for one partner to have when the children are small (or to have a good sitter/nanny situation). But as it stands, my husband and I would have a hard time not sacrificing major things in our careers if we actually wanted kids if we didn’t hire full-time or later-than-normal-business-hours help.

        • The original poster for this comment again who said above “I would have kids if I was a man”. Guess what I just got back home from friday drinks with a group of co-workers, one of the guys had a new born baby 10 days ago and he is still out bar hopping AFTER I left. He is in early 30s and was so proud to say he only took 3 days off or he might be put into the closet office ! I have seen 3 male bosses in mid to late thirties have kids and come back to the office in about a week. So far there have been no females in non-support/assistant roles going and coming back from maternity leave. See the attitude I am surrounded by day and night that gives me “archaic view of today’s dads” and partly explains my above apprehension about kids. I know I need to find progressive enough guy who is willing to be a true partner at home (Sheryl Sandberg’s advice from the TED talk) but such a version of prince charming hasn’t popped up yet. Or perhaps I need to find a more family friendly workplace, but I don’t know if it exists in this industry (hence lack of females).

          May be one day I will wake up next to the above mentioned prince charming and realize i absolutely want babies but that is not the case now and I don’t know if it will ever happen.

          • AnnonFoo: one of the male attorneys in my office asked to go part-time so he could care for his baby. His wife had a good job where she worked from 1 pm to 9 pm so if he went part-time, they could keep baby out of day care. The boss refused; the lawyer quit to stay home with his baby. Those men are out there!

          • Dude that isnt because he is a man, that’s because he is a d*ck head. Sometimes the comments on this site make me realize why people think feminism = man hating. He has an arrangement with his wife that is none of your business. You are thinking you wont have kids which is none of anyone else’s business. Ada the men I know are not trying to keep their wives HOSTAGE. I’m at the age where a lot of my friends are having babies. All the dads, and I really mean all but 1, seem like really great caring involved dads. The wives are still working (except the 1 couple, but he makes crazy money and she hated her job, so its working for now. My husband is an awesome dad and father, and since my job is a little better he has done the cutting back at work and stepped it up in the housekeeping department. You are looking for a “progressive guy” you are looking for a normal not an a hole guy

      • It also depends a great deal on whom you marry. DH was clear from our earliest dates that he had no interest in a stay at home wife/mother, and wanted to marry a professional woman who was self sufficient. (He also know circumstances /life intervene, but that was his starting point.) I knew I would never want to be a SAHM, as much as I admire what they do and think it’s a completely legit call, and that I would expect DH to do the childcare as well. He took as much or more leave than I did when our kids were born, and we parented in shifts at night. The sleepless nights/diapers/potty training etc were always “ours,” never “mine.” The marriages your male co-workers have only mean that the husbands/wives involved decided to split the work of earning money and childcare along those lines. It doesn’t have to be that way, necessarily. It does suck that you’d be pioneering it in your office, though, and have no other women who have been there-done that.

    • layered bob :

      I always figured I’d never have children – I had a good childhood but just really *hated* being a kid, and didn’t think kids would ever fit into my life.

      Then I met my husband, even though I didn’t think I ever wanted to get married, I was certain I wanted to marry *him.* He was sure he wanted kids, and after being with him for a couple years I was sure I wanted kids with him too. We’re not quite ready for them yet, but yeah, I basically woke up one day and wanted them. But not just *kids,* I want to be a parent with my husband to our children.

      Still struggling with the fact that I hated being a kid and don’t really want to put anyone else through that, though… esp. when I think that if I didn’t have kids myself I could continue contributing to my community a lot more in other ways. It almost seems selfish to me to have kids – putting all that time and energy into *my* family and *my* children when there are lots of already-existing needs in the world.

      • Another S :

        layered bob: I don’t think my mom enjoyed being a kid, but she really enjoyed being a mom to kids. Your comment makes me wonder if she worried about putting me through something she herself hated so much. Anyway, I will say that she did have her own little version of the It Get’s Better project going. For example, she’d tell me things like “anyone who tells you these are the best years of your life doesn’t remember what it’s like to be your age.” I really appreciated her efforts in that regard.

    • anon atty :

      i honestly just woke up one day and was like, lets have a baby. Same thing happened for #2. I did not always know I wanted children. I think I generally assumed i would have kids, but it wasnt something i really thought about, and in fact, i do recall consciously thinking, throughout most of my 20’s, that i was way to selfish at this point in my life to have kids. Once i finished law school and got married, about a year into our marriage we decided to go for it.

      • anon atty :

        also, in reading all of these and seeing that i could have written some version of many of these posts, i wonder if the generally career minded people that most of us are has something to do with it (or is this a chicken/egg thing?)

        • Ditto. It seems like a lot of us are / have been in similar thought boats — nice to know we’re not alone.

          • Very. I think this might be one of my favorite serious threads on this website. And agree with anon atty that I could have written some version of everyone’s post except Lurker’s!

            I agree too about the whole mom/dad debate, though I don’t have a lot of experience with that one because my dad was always very involved and most of my male friends have done something like what was also mentioned above, mom takes time off with baby while dad goes back to work, when mom goes back to work dad takes his FMLA time.

            cbackson’s comment is also interesting to me. It makes me remember a comment my dad made once when I wanted to spend the night at a friend’s house. I was told no because “we didn’t have kids to send them off with other people, we had kids so we could enjoy their company!” I believe I retorted with “no, you had kids so you would have slaves to do all your chores!!” Ahh, 8 year olds.

          • @ CA Atty: My parents were seriously all about enlisting the aid of babysitters, nannies, daycare, schools, etc. I started going to summer camp as a second grader, and spent over a month away from home every summer from age 15 on. My parents spent a lot of time together, without my brother and I, and I think that their relationship was better for it (they’ve been married 43 years). They were sort of the anti-attachment parents. It’s not the right approach for everyone, but it worked for them. If it’s not clear, I’m incredibly close to them to this day.

          • @cbackson, your upbringing seems to have been great! I was just commenting on how different parents can be. I don’t think my parents ever thought about being attachment or anti-attachment, and they were strict, we’re not talking helicopter parents here. I actually would have loved a bit more independence at a younger age! I did have a few week-long summer camps, but nothing more than that until I left for college.

            Your kind of parenting is much more doable and approachable to me. My mom was sort of (because she still worked a lot, just for free!) a SAHM for 10 years after my youngest brother was born until my younger (but not youngest, there are 4 of us total) brother went to college. Then with only 2 in the house and 1 in HS and very independent, she went back to work. So I barely remember her as anything other than a SAHM and that is a very intimidating lifestyle for me. I’ve never NOT worked!

      • I never had the urge for kids at all. The moment never came. My husband started to get it bad and I agreed eventually b/c I was afraid of regretting it later once I was too old, and decided to trust the collective wisdom of people out there who love their kids. I am due next month, 35, have had a truly miserable pregnancy and hated every minute of it- constant pain, hassle, impact on job, no exercise for 8 months, etc. I am dreading the next year of exhaustion and poop but expect to love my baby girl very much. I don’t plan on having another- way too hard on my particular system. Terrified of the birthing day but also want it to come so I get myself back (except for the feeding). I have given up a year of enjoying life- while I’ve kept going, this year has been a struggle only, not a joy. But I don’t regret the choice- I think it will be fulfilling and all of that. When I’m 80 its hard to imagine spending vacations alone if something happened to husband, or looking back only on how many great meetings I ran. That said, I think I’d have been fine with that too actually. But I took the plunge so there you have it! Despite feeling same as the OP on this- not wanting kids, not liking kids or babies (sorry to others), always preferred dogs, liking very much my peace and life and job. It is a challenge if you travel for work. But I did have the set up: spouse, money, nice home, etc. just no family nearby so figured conditions were good as they’d get. The families are excited and husband has been caring though because things have been enormously difficult for me physically it’s already been a huge strain on us (though we’ll be fine). Anyway good luck with your process- some of us just never have the moment, we just go ‘what the hell, I’m getting old.’ :)

        • Thanks for writing this. I’m hearing about all of my friends’ pregnancies being “amazing” and “the best time of my life” (yes, seriously). I’m sure some people have great pregnancies, but I’m glad to hear an honest account from someone who has, indeed, been miserable (as I wholly expect to be if I ever have children).

          • Pregnancy was truly, truly awful for me. And still, I love my son dearly and I want more children, I just dread the thought of another round of constant and extreme vomitting, exhaustion, achiness, and the eventual c-section thanks to my first emergency delivery. The actual child is wonderful, I just wish I had known how hard pregnancy would be on me.

          • Ada Doom Starkadder :

            Some of your friends are lucky. Some of them may be afraid that they’ll get burned at the stake for uttering the heresy that pregnancy hasn’t been 100% fun for them. Some of them have Stockholm Syndrome.

          • EK: do you “seriously” think your friends are lying? That is as bad as women who think other women are lying about having cramps. Pregnancy for me was “amazing” because I felt great and beautiful, akin to a Goddess, the whole time! It is called hormones, you silly goose! I also had fabulous skin and hair. Now, having a child has been up and down, and yes, I had quite a crash after he was born but please don’t assume that those of us who got the upswing of the hormones are exaggerating because we are not. As for your expectations, you have no idea how yours will be.

          • Mary, statistically speaking, is it possible that, until this comment thread, all of the personal pregnancy stories I’ve heard first hand have been spectacular? That every single one of my pregnant friends and family members have felt exactly how you felt? How is that position any less ridiculous than me just assuming that I’m going to hate being pregnant?

        • Ruby, couldn’t agree with you more. I have a month to go to – good luck and hang in there. I too hope that this will all one day be worth it.

    • Married a great guy and a few months later lost a friend unexpectedly. Days later, hubby lost his beloved grandmother. Decided we wanted to bring a couple more good people into the world. Had thought I wouldn’t have kids, changed mind, pregnant the following month, rest is history. :)

    • Anonsensical :

      I’ve struggled with this and don’t think I’m going to end up with kids. I’ve never really wanted them, and I don’t think the urge will ever strike me. I thought maybe as my friends and siblings had kids, I’d feel some twinge of “I want that!” but it’s never happened. I like being around my friends’ kids and all, but I’ve never really thought about having them myself. Well, sometimes I force myself to think about it, to see if I like the idea. Mostly I come up with, “Meh.” It’s tough, though, because I don’t actively *not* want kids either, and my husband’s no help because he’s exactly like me. I just don’t know for sure. But I think time and biology are going to decide for me, and I’m OK with that. I think. *sigh

    • I didn’t want them until I was around 30, and then I suddenly wanted them immediately.

      It made me regret being so obnoxious in my early 20s about never, ever wanting kids.

      My sister and then one of my close friends had babies and I was so nuts about theirs I no longer saw myself as permanently childless.

      And now I call myself mamabear, it’s such a major element of who I am.

    • I think you just know if you want to have kids. It’s not a rational decision – it’s hard on your body, challenging for your marriage/relationship, and they’re expensive. You also lose the freedom that you once had to travel or even choose a place to live (gotta be a good school district!), and it’s a tough juggle with your career. But I know there would be a gaping hole in my life without children. When I’m 70 and look back at my life, I won’t take much pride or joy in some random case I won – it’ll be my family that will make me happiest (if I’m so blessed as to have and enjoy them for all those years).The sacrifices to have those children are worth it to me. They won’t be for everyone.

    • I go back and forth on wanting kids/babies for their own sake, but I know I will have them. I’m pretty interested in my family history (it happens to be an interesting one), and I love the idea that I will grow that family tree, and hopefully someday get to share it with someone who actually cares rather than listens politely.

    • Something to think about:

      “The world is heading for demographic catastrophe. Fertility rates have been falling across the globe for 40 years, to the point where, today, Israel is the only First World country where women have enough babies to sustain their population. The developing world is heading in the same direction, fast. ”


      • Except we’re also overtaxing the Earth’s resources, so a dip in population isn’t actually catastrophic.

    • Anon Lawyer :

      This thread is so fascinating. Just to add my two cents: I don’ t want kids basically because I don’t particularly like them. I know a lot of people will freak out about that statement, but it’s just what it is. Some people don’t like broccoli, I don’t like kids, it’s really not a big deal and I have finally learned that it doesn’t make me a bad person.

      I’m very close to my family and friends and care about them a lot, but it seems a lot of people equate my desire not to procreate as being somehow selfish, mean, un-caring etc. This isn’t true. I would drop everything to look after a sick family member or a friend in need without a second thought.

      I have had a lot of people tell me I will change my mind and I suppose even now I can’t be sure that this isn’t going to happen (I’m 30 and single). However, I just can’t see that happening since I feel like I would at least need to like kids a bit before I could consider wanting to have some.

      I’d also just like to add to this that I have a LOT of respect for moms, dads, people who have families and esp people who have families and jobs. It’s just not for me and I’m having a hard time understanding why society is such that everyone MUST want kids and live their life a certain way.

      • This. So much this. Except I’m married, which makes me even weirder by societal standards.

        My closest work friend just had her first child at 32. Everyone in the firm is now giving me side-glances and asking “So, does this make YOU want one?” *cue significant looks* The answer is no. I’m so very happy for my friend, and I’d bend over backwards to help her as she comes back, and her baby is cute as babies go, but … that life is just not for me.

        But like you, I’m fiercely loyal to my friends, and would (and have) dropped everything to be with friends in need.

      • Probably late to this thread but I never liked kids and didn’t want any. But husband did. We’d been married 8 yrs and I honestly didn’t want that to be the big regret of his life. But when my son was born, it felt perfect. It helps that husband is a busy banker but still makes loads of time for the kiddo, and has been super supportive in every way as I too have my career.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        You basically took the words right out of my mouth. I feel the same way.

    • I know this thread is probably cold by now, but I have been thinking about this question since yesterday. One thing I will say is that I have always been a little indifferent to other peoples’ kids. Unless I see them very often, I even feel this way about kids in the extended family. But I LOVE kids in my immediate family. Something about the emotional and physical closeness really changes the game for me. I am forever grateful that I have a sister who is 8 years younger than me because otherwise I’m not sure if I would have had kids. Anyway, I now have a two month old baby girl and love both her and the process of taking care of her.

      • Anon for this :

        I never particularly wanted children, but it seemed like one day, with the right partner, I might. Part of my issue was that I had pretty close to perfect parents: Dad was the breadwinner, but was super-involved. Mom stayed home and did everything like in a magazine – she cooked homemade everything, even whole grain sandwich bread, she sewed most of our clothes, the house was always clean, she helped us with homework and took us to after-school activities.

        Honestly, I couldn’t see being Mom, but Dad’s role seemed do-able.

        DH and I met when I was 30 and he was 32, and both agreed that we didn’t want to be parents. My career takes up a lot of time and energy, and he’s a musician who frequently works late hours and has to travel for work. We don’t have the money for a nanny in our city, but neither of us could see sacrificing career for childcare. And neither of us really wanted it, so why do it?

        Flash forward 12 years, and we had a test of our convictions. Last summer, I thought I might be experiencing the start of perimenopause, but it turned out I was pregnant. We talked a lot about it, but decided to terminate the pregnancy. We didn’t have a plan, couldn’t see being new parents at our age, and when it really came down to it, didn’t want a child. Maybe that makes us “weird” or “selfish,” but it is what it is. I think every child should be wanted.

        • Tiny greyhound :

          I’m glad to see some of the older ‘rettes without kids weighing in. I’m 38, husband is 42, and we probably won’t have them either. I’m not sure why people think that makes us odd or selfish. At least I figure we know our own minds about it and made a deliberate decision. I have lots of friends with kids who really should have thought harder about it before having them, because for one reason or another they are crappy parents by anyone’s estimation. I would rather be an awesome aunt than a reluctant parent anyway. (also, I don’t mean to offend but I always find the whole “my kids are everything and the best thing that ever happened to me” comments kind of funny because they’re usually people who have younger kids. My friends all have teenagers and even the great parents don’t always have that view once you get a glass of wine into them! )

        • @Anon for this

          *hugs* That sounded difficult and harrowing, but you and DH had to do what was right for your family. I remember reading singer Neko Case’s writings on this subject– her parents were young, poor, and traveling(?) musicians, who had her even though they knew they didn’t want her. She was an unintended pregnancy carried to term. She said that while her parents weren’t abusive by any stretch of the definition, to know that you are unwanted is a horrific burden and she urges people who feel this way to just abort.

          I know a couple who had 3 kids already, and the wife really, really wanted another one. They could barely manage the logistics and the financials for the family as it was. But the wife was really determined. She got her husband really drunk, they had sex and she got pregnant. When she told him she was having #4, he hit the roof. This triggered a series of bad fights, each leaving more and more cumulative damage. Fast forward 1.5yrs, and they’re divorcing now. These types of situations are just tough.

          I secretly am siding with the husband, because I saw her drunken s3xoring of him as a betrayal– he made it explicitly clear that he did not want any more children after they had #3. And to spring #4 on him like that is not the sort of “relationship building” thing. I think he did the right thing– if you know what you want, why should you just passively slide along with something that others foist on you (when they know perfectly well that you don’t want it?)

          • I know a couple where the wife really wanted an extra kid, the husband didn’t, the family was financially stretched already, and she had a planned “oops.” They learned in utero that the child has a major disability. He wanted the pregnancy not carried to term, but she went ahead with it. A tough situation that seems unlikely to make for a happy marriage or a happy family.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            Why didn’t he just have a vasectomy? Or was it just her responsibility not to get pregnant…….?

    • I never thought babies were cute. Around age 25, suddenly OMG BABIES ARE SOOOOO CUTE. Must be the biology.

    • Wow–thanks for all the thoughtful posts. A lot to think about!!

    • I always knew I didn’t want children. Had some fights with grownups going back to kindergarden about it. But now at nearly 60 I’m still so happy I didn’t :-).. Yeah for contraception! And abortion! Everyone should live their own lives, not inflict them on a mandatory later generation.

  10. ChocCityB&R :

    Question about seeking out a faith community:

    I’ve been atheist for a while after being Evangelical Christian (long story, happy to share if anyone is interested) and now I’m starting to poke around a bit into renewing my spiritual connection with others and the universe (bear with my new age language, I live in Berkeley).

    I just have no idea how to go about finding a compatible faith community. Things are complicated by the fact that I’m (a) terribly introverted and shy; (b) somewhat wary of traditional religious services and faith communities from my past experiences and (c) also wary of over the top new-agey type stuff, despite my residence and general openness to a diversity of experience.

    I’ve been to a few neighborhood churches, but I haven’t found a place that suits me. In some ways, I think I might just be looking for a support group/philosophy class/meditation seminar, and in others I think I’m being too picky and maybe I’m not really ready to be taking this step afterall.

    Any advice, guidance, and specific faith practice recommendations (location specific or just general) would be truly appreciated.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      A friend of mine in the East Bay who is a lapsed Christian, now lapsed atheist, presently “wondering” as she likes to say, has fit in with the Unitarians. Spiritualness, not necessarily with a deity. Not sure where she goes, but I’m pretty sure that there are several Unitarian “churches” over there.

    • Anonymous :

      So, my high school history teacher called Unitarians “Atheists who can’t kick the god habit”. And while I think HE was being sarcastic, I think there is something to it. They are a faith that allows for doubt and for multiple beliefs and for community and for togetherness. I think it’d be worth a try.

    • I am trying to find a new church now and I’m also a bit introverted and wary of organized religion too. Since my kids are off at college, I miss the sense of community that I had with their friends’ families, sports teams and PTA (yes, I did like being involved in the PTA to my surprise) and I want to give back to my community. So I want a local church, preferrably one close enough so that I could ride my bike to services.

      I think there are a couple things you could try. First is to look by denomination, so you’d need to research what each faith “believes” and what the key tenants are. Second would be to look for a church where you would fit in with the people, regardless of the sect. You could find out if you have any friends who go to a church and ask them what they like about their church.

      Unitarian Universalist churches by definition are very non-churchy and non-institutional. They tend to be very liberal socially and politically so that might be a factor for you. In my experience, they are very welcoming. Episcopalians are also pretty welcoming but the service is pretty traditional -similar to a Catholic mass.

      I don’t think you can force the process. Allow it to develop slowly. You may find a church that feels “right” but it may not be the first few that you visit.

    • I would be so interested to hear the responses to this. I am uncomfortable with organized religion because of the way I see it used to hurt/exclude people, but I favor traditional services over contemporary. I am sure there are churches out there who worship traditionally and have progressive theology but I have no idea how one finds them! For now I find myself reading Momastery and similar blogs for my religion fix (she’s very into God, probably more so than I am, but her version of Christianity is definitely one that makes sense to me) :)

      • Re: traditional worship and progressive theology, that’s essentially the mainstream of the US Episcopal community. Unless you’re in one of the dioceses that swings super-traditional.

        • Yes! I have kind of a weird church history–my parents weren’t together, and my dad wanted me to be an Episcopalian and my mom wanted me to be a Baptist, so while I was baptized Episcopalian I mostly grew up in a Baptist church. Which was pretty okay–quite socially progressive for Southern Baptists, so there’s an argument for finding a congregation you fit in regardless of its denomination. Alas, the original pastor died and the new one started mouthing off about The Gays. My mom decided we were going to stop going after she got excoriated by her Bible study group for saying she thought LGBTQ people deserved the same rights and treatment as anyone else.

          I’ve been happy without a church for a long time now, but recently I’ve been wanting to go back. When I do, I will almost certainly go Episcopal, because I appreciate the fact that they’re socially progressive, but have a traditional service. KLG, maybe we should go check out our respective Episcopal churches this Sunday.

      • United Church of Christ and Presbyterian (“PCUSA”) churches tend to be pretty progressive, mainstream Protestant churches, typically with a commitment with serving their local communities.

    • One of my best friends from high school and his parents are Unitarian. I agree with the above (based on what he tells me and what I experienced at the services I attended as a polite guest). It’s a way of sharing values and spirituality and kind of stepping back and appreciating your life and the world you are living in without having to commit to the doctrine/obligations that a council of men have decided apply to your life. If I weren’t happily Jewified, I might look to a Unitarian community.

    • If you were still in DC, I would tell you to check out All Souls Unitarian. But I’m sure there must be a UU church in Berkeley too.

      UU churches can vary widely as to the type of services they hold and their beliefs. Most of the people I’ve met through All Souls are atheists, but the service tends to be traditional in structure if not in belief. (Does that make sense? Like, there are songs and a sermon, but they aren’t necessarily about God.) I don’t go to services all that often, but participate in a spiritual book group that meets once a week. That activity satisfies my need to contemplate higher things everyone once in a while. So maybe you aren’t a Church on Sunday type of person, but there could be other activities in a faith community that would suit you. Keep trying different things until something feels right.

      Good luck with your search!

    • All the suggestions so far have been for Christian denominations, but have you considered finding out more about Buddhism perhaps? Buddhism is very flexible and doesn’t necessarily involve organized religious services. It may provide just the right type of spiritual connection that you are looking for without the rigidity that comes with a lot of religions.

      • Just so you know, Unitarian is not Christian. It accepts all faiths, one of which is Christian, but it’s as much Buddhist as Christian.

    • TurtleWexler :

      Do you have a Humanist Society or Ethical Society near you? I used to go to Ethical Society meetings occasionally before I moved and I think it might be what you’re looking for. For me, it had the things I used to like about going to church (community and a sense of a common purpose) without the things that bothered me (pretty much the entire doctrine). Could be worth a try.

      • Anne Shirley :

        I know some churches, like Foundry United Methodist in DC, have alternate services designed for people struggling with church/ who have left their denominations of origin. Their website has a more eloquent description- if it sounds like what you are looking for it migh be worth emailing their minister and asking for a referral. (this isn’t my home church, but I’ve found them very open and welcoming when I’ve visited).

    • Anonymous :

      I was not raised in church but as an adult, wanted some type of spiritual connection. More importantly, I wanted my son to have an introduction to some type of religion. I personally believe that God speaks to people through their own culture whether that be Judaism, Muslim, Christian, or whatever. After attending a Greek Orthodox service with a friend, I realized that religion and culture are completely related. After that, I started attending Lutheran services with my son for no other reason than the fact that my mother was German and raised as a Lutheran even though she ultimately rejected the church. My husband is mostly German as well. I don’t really believe in Jesus but it made sense for me to introduce my son to the religion of his cultural background.

    • Have you considered a zen Buddhist meditation community?

      Or Quakerism? I’m a Quaker. We have an hour of silent worship/meditation. You might check out a Quaker Meeting in your area. Some Quakers consider themselves Christian and some consider themselves more Universalist.

      You’ll probably find both Quakerism and Buddhism a little less structured than what you are used to, but both are centuries old traditions.

      • Seconded.

        I have a friend who privately wavers between atheist and agnostic. He started going to Quaker meetings about five years ago and LOVES them.

    • Reconstruct it :

      I went through this about 13 years ago. I am Jewish, and I needed to find a new temple. I identified all the likely options in my area (I was raised Reform, so that meant anything more conservative than Reform and anything that segregates was not an option). Then I started attending services at each one. It took about a year. I really liked and joined and still belong to the Reconstructionist congregation near me. I was lucky in that it is one of the more robust in the country but is ten miles from me.

      Someone else commented that she isn’t a fan of organized religion but prefers traditional services to new-agey ones. I am like that, and Reconstructionism fits me perfectly. It is more traditional in terms of the liturgy and the rituals, but it is more modern in terms of the language (gender neutral) and the philosophy (strong focus on civil action and civil rights). Someone mentioned Unitarianism. I know two women who were raised Jewish and now worship in Unitarian congregations, so maybe Unitarianism is like Reconstructionist Judaism?

      I think this will be an interesting process for you, but I suspect it will be a lengthy and labor-intensive one. Good luck!

      • My first exposure to UU was a friend, whose parents choose UU because Dad was Jewish and Mom was Catholic and UU was their blended choice.

        Maybe I should check out Reconstructionist temples? I have considered Judaism but feel it would be too hard to learn a new religion and a new language and culture (although I know a lot about the culture).

        • Reconstruct it :

          One of the things I like best about Reconstructionism is the prayer books (the everyday Friday one and the High Holiday one). They have everything in three versions: (1) Hebrew; (2) transliteration, so you can read along with the Hebrew out loud, and (3) English, so you understand what you’re saying.

          They also tend to have a lot of adult education classes because there are so many people who were “not born Jewish, but chose Jewish” (euphemism) in the congregation.

          Check it out and let us know what you think!

    • layered bob :

      no good suggestions, just encouragement to keep looking… I’ve never “left” the church, but each time I’ve moved to a new area it’s taken me about two years to find a church where I fit, trying out probably 15 churches over the course of those 100 Sundays. It takes time. Keep looking.

    • Have been going through this myself. I am agnostic and have issues with organized religion. OTOH, I’ve been needing to recharge my spiritual batteries and am seeking community for my children (it is hard to raise agnostic children in a world that seems want to put you in a theist/atheist box).

      I am currently trying out a UU church. It’s a tough fit in some ways and a great fit in others. The content of the services are just the right tone for me. However, the services themselves are too “touchy-feely” for my comfort level. I actually prefer the ritual of, say, a Catholic service, than what I find at UU churches. I’m going to stick it out for a bit to see if it is just my introverted nature, or if I really do need more personal space in my services.

      • I’m in the same place as the original poster.

        I’ve been to a couple of Unitarian services, and I know lots of people who get a lot out of them, but they frankly kind of annoy me (I’m easily annoyed, this isn’t a negative reflection on the church). Just the: “let’s bow our heads and pray… to someone,” “let’s be thankful… to someone,” bothers me. While I haven’t gone yet, I think my first attempt is going to be with the Episcopalian church. I’ve been to Catholic services with my friends, and I enjoy the structure of the ceremony, but I also know how much my liberal Catholic friends are struggling with their personal disagreements with the Catholic hierarchy. I think the Episcopalian church will be a good compromise between my desire for a liberal social policy and a structured, traditional ceremony. Of course, it remains to be seen if I can get over my conservative upbringing enough to convince myself to believe in a socially liberal God.

        One rule of thumb I’ve been using when looking at church websites is whether or not there is a female pastor on the staff (or mention of a female pastor in the past). I use it as a kind of shorthand for how liberal the denomination is, since I’m realistically not going to do in depth research on the theology of every church in my area.

        • I’m an Episcopalian, and I love how open and welcoming most Episcopalian congregations are. My church is very diverse, with everyone from the homeless to CEOs in attendance. I find the ritual of hearing the same litergy week after week comforting and relaxing. I hope you’ll find it the same!

    • check out Unitarian Universalists nearby. It is a liberal faith with no specific creed or dogma (believe in Christ? Fine. Don’t? Also fine. God exists, or not? All fine. Be a good person, do good works, and make the world a better place) and while individual churches (many of which don’t call them selves churches becuase, well, see above) can vary widely, I find the community is supportive and great, with like-minded (somewhat wacky) people with good intentions and open hearts. My husband and I were raised in different faiths and were disenchanted with them, this is a comfortable faith community for us both.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I’m the original poster, and though it’s late I want to thank everyone who offered words of wisdom on helping me on my “spiritual quest.” I took your suggestions to heart, and attended a Unitarian service this weekend (and plan to attend an Episcopal service next weekend). I enjoyed the Unitarian service, but I did feel a bit shy when people came up to say hello and welcome me…I just can’t help it :-) I guess I liked my old Catholic church where I was just a cog in the machine, and didn’t have to interact too much with others, but that’s my hang-up.

      In any event, I’ve saved all of this advice to a word document, and I will be using it in the coming months. Thank you all again!

  11. I just put these in my Zappos cart today, and now here they are on Kat’s recommendation! I love them, but I really question their practicality. I also just bought a pair of that “rock candy” color hot pink patent Cole Haan heels from Endless, and I realized that I want to like them more than I actually do like them. In a way, they are all things awesome and channel my inner Elle Woods, and then they are horrifying Barbie pink at the same time. They are going back, and I worry that I’d feel the same with these yellow wedges. Sadly. I clearly crave color!

    • These may work better for you RR. I think it’s easier to do bright shoes on the weekends with casual clothing than hot pink heels. You could easily throw these shoes on with summer dresses and skirts.

  12. Longtime lurker here…

    I’m starting law school in the fall, and am going to be attending a scholarship reception this coming Thursday at a business club in the city I live. I’ve been out of school for about six years at this point, and actually never had any receptions or anything similar during undergrad. So – for anyone who has attended one of these things – what are some tips for mingling with other students & professors? I get super nervous about these sorts of social situations!

    • If you’re six years out, you may actually have more in common with the professors than with the other students. But, expect to answer these questions ad nasuem:
      “Why are you going to law school?”
      “What brings you to XXX School?”
      “Where did you go to undergrad?”
      “What did you do between undergrad and now?”
      “Do you have a family?” “Really?” “Wow…that’s really grown up!” (sorry, little snarkiness there).
      “What type of law do you want to practice?”

      If you have answers to those questions, you’ll be fine.

    • Appealing Lawyer :

      Have 2 rather innocuous current event topics you can talk intelligently about (e.g., a sports team in your town but not something like peace in the middle east). Try reading the Personal Section of the WSJ as they usually have an interesting human interest story you can relate.

      Try to think of questions you would be genuinely interested in knowing the answer to, like:

      Have you read any interesting books (or seen any great movies) lately?
      Do you have any vacation plans for the year?
      If the reception is for alums, you can ask questions regarding your school, such as “what do you think of the new dean/building/program/etc.?

      If you hit it off talking casually about one of the above topics, then you can launch into a more substantive discussion like what kind of law they practice and why or how they chose their firm or if they have any tips for a law student/young lawyer.

    • Appealing Lawyer :

      Oh, and if you are sitting with someone from a firm who funded your scholarship, be sure to say “Thank you!”

      I went to one of these in school and was seated with the firm that sponsored my tuition so it was pretty easy to know who was who.

  13. First post is stuck in moderation so I’m trying again…

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a jeweler in NYC to make a custom diamond wedding band? I have a pretty good idea of what I want (leaning towards a channel set baguette diamond eternity band in platinum) but could use someone to highlight any additional stylistic choices I should keep in mind (and if any of your Corporetters have any input on design points I may not have thought of, please chime in). I’m looking for someone who has top-notch workmanship and who I can count on to use quality diamonds. We plan on spending up to ten thousand for the ring. Thanks in advance!

    • sending my SO to this place when the time comes: http://www.marisaperry.com/

      • Love marissa perry! My engagement rings and wedding bands came from there and marissa and her husband were wonderful. Plus, their dog is super cute…

      • oh, I am in love with those micro pave rings, they are perfect

    • I fly to NYC to see them :

      Blauwess Berkowitz on 47th. My Dad’s (several) engagement rings and push presents for various wives. My engagement ring and wedding band. We fly from southern California to see Barry Berkowitz.


      • The baby is the present :

        Thoughts on “push presents”? I find both the term and the idea to be, well, gross. Anyone else?

    • My fiance and I used Leon Mege, a jeweler in the diamond district, for my engagement ring and I highly recommend him. His website is artofplatinum(dot)com. He does exquisite micro pave, his pieces are hand forged, and I am beyond happy with how my ring turned out. I found him easy to work with and professional (though somewhat artistically opinionated, but I think he has great taste and would be very helpful recommending how exactly to execute your vision). I can’t speak to his diamond sourcing personally since we used a family diamond, but a co-worker used him for his wife’s engagement ring and seemed very happy with the diamond he sourced through Leon. I thought his prices were very fair given the level of craftsmanship. Good luck!!

  14. associate :

    Recently, a couple of older attorneys indicated they believe the legal field is no longer an attractive area of employment for men, but it is women. They think women make good attorneys, and being a lawyer is a good job for working mothers, but men are getting pushed out/face too much competition. I’ve been dwelling on the premise for a while. I think it’s an odd way to think, but I’ve heard it more than once. Thoughts from the hive?

    • Associate :

      Well…though I think its a load of doodoo from older men who think the presence of ANY women just mean they’ve stolen other mens jobs…there could actually be something to it. Increasingly, especially on the litigation side, the name of the game is mediation and settlement much more than actual litigation. Something that women MIGHT be more innately talented at (if you bought that sort of thing). But I don’t know if I think that’s what they mean.

    • My thoughts? They clearly didn’t work at my old firm. I was just one in an exodus of females leaving because there were literally no partnership prospects for women and the firm would routinely fire women while on maternity leave or as soon as the women transitioned to flex-time. I’m at a *much* more family-friendly place now – our office managing shareholder is a mom with two kids who is very active in their lives, but I would hardly say the men are being pushed out or face too much competition. I think the older attorneys’ opinions above are likely a product of wherever they practice…

    • MaggieLizer :

      I just heard a variation – that women have better mentoring and business development opportunities than men because women can take advantage of women’s affinity groups and men can’t. The boys club never existed or if it did it doesn’t now. I just… don’t even.

    • D Train South :

      Ummmm . . . this suggests that men are only in competition with men and women occupy a separate space. I couldn’t be more offended by that way of thinking. I would argue that it is this very thinking that creates real barriers to women’s success in the field, disproving the point these guys are trying to make.

    • Lawyer is a good job for working mothers? Are they aware of the female dropout rate? Biglaw is horrible for working mothers – and I’m a biglaw working mother.

    • Perhaps it is geography or practice area dependant but I snort at lawyering being a good job for working mothers. I have easy peasy hours at my current job (less than 1800) and still can barely make it home in time for dinner/sports/etc. and there are definitely days when I miss everything. I can’t imagine being a working mother at my old job (1800-2000 hours, lots of weekends), let alone in BigLaw!

  15. Appealing Lawyer :

    I am going to try this one more time here because I messed it up royally on a post earlier today.

    Any thoughts for styling this jacket? I think the black black black is kind of boring.

    (Link is in Reply)

  16. MissJackson :

    I’m curious as to the Hivemind’s thoughts on oversized watches? Still in? Okay on the weekend but not at the office?

    I ask because Lord & Taylor have a 25% off code that works for the Michael Kors watches (and Nordstrom will price match). I almost bought one over a year ago, but somehow resisted — now I’m tempted again.

    I’m looking at this one: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/michael-kors-bradshaw-chronograph-bracelet-watch/3282377?origin=keywordsearch but wondering if it is too much. Does anyone have one of these (or similar)? How much wear do you get out of it?

    I’m also considering a Kate Spade bracelet watch instead, but I tried one on this weekend and it was really hard to open (I guess that’s better than the alternative, but still). For anyone else tempted, L&T has the zebra one and it qualifies for the 25% off too: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/kate-spade-new-york-delacorte-bangle-watch/3290393?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=2699
    Does anyone have a Kate Spade bracelet watch? Does it get easier to open with time (ie is there just some trick that I haven’t learned yet)?

    • I see a lot of people wearing that MK watch. I liked it until I saw how many people had it. I love that KS watch and am tempted but just bought a Movado. FWIW, my new watch was hard to open at first but now I have the hang of it.

    • I wear an oversized Seiko and love it. I also am not a small person (5’8″, and I actually have trouble fitting a lot of bracelets that don’t open over my hands), so I think it balances well on me. It’s definitely still on the larger side, though and I LOVE it.

    • I just tried on both a new Michael Kors and a Kate Spade watch. I liked the Kate Spade one so much better. The Michael Kors was just a bit too big for me.

    • I’m wearing the MK watch you linked to (with a little more bling on mine) & love it. I don’t care that everyone has it. I wear it to work daily (conservative work environment for the SF/Bay Area).

    • There are a couple good rational reasons for wearing an “oversized” watch. Nearsighted, don’t want to be squinting at your wrist all the time. Big frame, don’t want to look like a drag queen with petite jewelry (like my aunt did :-)). I always wear men’s watches and like them a lot. However I wear more subdued designs like Kragen sleek Danish stuff, rather than oversized -and- over-sporty.

      • MissJackson :

        Thanks for all your replies!

        From a practical perspective, I really like the oversize watch, and that’s the direction that I’m leaning. My current dress watch is very pretty, but (this is embarrassing) I honestly have trouble telling the time on it because it’s somewhat small, rectangular in shape, and only has numbers at 12, 3, 6, and 9… so the in-between numbers are hilariously tricky to identify. If I’m being honest with myself, I’m probably going to have the identical problem with the KS bracelet watches, too.

        I also very much like a watch that has the date displayed — my sport watch does, and I find myself looking at my wrist to determine the date all the time.

        I missed the L&T 25% off sale, but at least I know what I want now!

  17. What do you see? :

    Happy Friday, all! I thought it might be interesting to poll the hive about what advertisements they see at the top of the page and the sidebar.

    I’ll start. I see ads for ModCloth, even though I rarely go to their site and have only purchased one item from them.

    Your turn!

    • Mine depends on what I’ve been vicariously shopping for. For the last couple of days I’ve been getting ads for these really hideous tights that are supposed to mimic shark skin from the shark scarf googling. Today its an add for a razor, maybe my browsers trying to tell me something.

    • Right now I’m seeing Madewell, Ann Taylor, and that particularly insidious one from Nordstrom that taunts me with the items I’ve viewed but not ordered.

      These are all pages I visit way, way too often.

    • Commenting on the ads will probably make those ads show up…it could be a self fulfilling prophecy :)

    • I found a model on the Bloomingdales website who looks strangely like (a younger, thinner) me. I’ve kept going back to gawk at her so much she’s now appearing on my sidebar ads.

    • None. I love AdBlock :)

    • I’m getting all different Vegas hotels, because I was doing some quick rate research for a friend who is unfamiliar with LV but will be staying there one night this summer with her family. It’s cracking me up.

      • Modcloth every day. Also I hate hate the meebo bar, researched it and you can’t eliminate it only minimize. I understand Kat needs to make $ advertising but the meebo bar is a deterrent for me. Coming here and many other websites all of a sudden.

    • I got such a screwball sidebar yesterday that I thought about posting it, but got busy and didn’t…so thanks for reminding me of it! It was the face of a pink-haired Asian girl with the words VAMPIRE DEATH NEON GLITTER LOVE FASHION written across it. It made me clutch my pearls, what can I say.

  18. Need clothing advice. Going to a mini conference next week in Miami and will only know one person. Conference attire is business casual. We are going out in the evening, “a fun event outside the hotel to provide taste of Miami and more casual attire is welcome.” Thoughts on what to wear? TYIA!

    • A wrap dress or a sun dress in more casual fabric. Perhaps cute capris with a appropriate shirt. Its probably going to be hot, so even a casual skirt and a casual but trendy (but still appropriate) shirt would work.

    • Miami out in the evening probably would mean a fun dress. Something like a sundress, a more casual c*tail dress or something strappy (but not too s*xy, since it’s a work thing) or even a nice maxi dress. A very light wrap or cardigan in your bag might be good to take along — it will be warm outside but chilly in the air conditioning.

      • spent 3 yrs in south beach. those are daytime outfits. if you’ll be going ‘out’ it is more like skimpy club wear. Find something flashy but not too revealing in black or whatever with some style. Sundresses are for the beach and lunch, you would look like a tourist wearing it after dark (not that there is anything wrong with that)- it’s a very euro/tacky latin world fancy scene at night. have fun, miami’s a blast if done right.

        • and sorry tcfkag- definitely don’t bring anything like khaki capris- screams midwest business traveler let out of their conference room for a bit. solid or print skirt or dress much better, or colorful tight capris but those aren’t good for work people.

          i live in seattle now, happy in my fleeces and parkas:) but i certainly wore as locals did in miami. you get used to it fast and it is rather freeing to wear those kind of clothes.

          • one more… regular wrap dresses: way too hot for those usually this time of year

          • I guess its a conference, but its still a work thing. I was just suggesting things that might be semi-beachy while still work appropriate. Miami clothes are…hard.

        • no offense meant, just sharing from a resident’s viewpoint as there is a very specific dress style- not hard if you know it. nothing wrong with looking like midwest conference goer, but it is very noticeable to the locals and the frequent visitor crowd. generally, who cares right? but she asked. i was often out with lawyer colleagues, so found things that were night-time-y (sparkly.. black…)and also covered up enough skin to not be embarassing. though the standard there is different than northerners are used to.

    • Definitely second the cardigan advice – Miami is all about A/C :-). But think whether you want to fit in more with the Miami crowd, or with the conference. Miami would be showing a lot more skin than would generally be appropriate in a work situation. And refer back to other posts on this site about conferences being primarily about work…

  19. It’s time to revamp my wardrobe! I just finished my 2L year, and with a summer associate-ship and a judicial clerkship confirmed (yay!) I am starting to feel reasonably confident that I will actually end up being an employed lawyer and should start dressing the part. So far I’ve been getting by on the bare minimum, and since I’ve been in school pretty constantly since high school, my clothing in general has been becoming worn and dated.

    So, what are the basics that I need for a professional wardrobe? The firm I am going to is business casual, with more casual Fridays, but I imagine I will need a decent selection of business formal clothing. I figure after I get my wardrobe full enough of basic stuff, I can just shop for fun after that and get more pieces as needed.

    Here’s what I’ve got in my “work” closet already: 2 suits (one grey, one black), 2 button up shirts to wear with suits, 2 pairs of dress slacks, 2-3 blouses that I feel comfortable wearing in business casual environments (mostly black or white with a simple pattern), and about 4 cardigans in basic colors (brown, grey, plum, red).

    How much more do I need to be able to dress up for work every day of the week? What kinds of things should I get now, and what kinds of things can wait for later? My budget is about $2000, and I’d prefer to get as much as I can in a couple long days of shopping, because shopping with a mission kind of stresses me out. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • I’d add a couple more pant suits — you really can’t have too many, because you can wear it as an actual suit (which you will need even if your office is business casual) or you can just wear the pants as dress pants with a nice blouse, a non-matching statement jacket, a sweater set, etc. It’s worth it to spend more money on high quality suits, as they’ll last you a long time and styles don’t vary much. Find a brand that fits you well, and stick with it (try Ann Taylor, BR, Talbots, Tahari, Jones NY). Then fill out your wardrobe with less expensive blouses, sweaters, jewelry, as these pieces are more trendy and you won’t want to keep them forever necessarily. And if you’re trying to make your dollars stretch, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend that Ann Taylor Outlet stores, see if there’s one anywhere near you (and note, they’re having a 40% off sale this weekend only). I buy almost all my suits there — the curvy pants fit me perfectly. They’re clasically styled pants suits, in a nice mid-weight fabric. And then they have a lot of inexpensive blouses to jazz your suit up.

      • Easy Jewelry :

        “Find a brand that fits you well, and stick with it.”

        This. And by “fits you” I mean that the fit model has your body shape so that the clothes fit your body, and that the construction fits your long-term view of building a wardrobe (high quality fabric and sewing, tailored enough to be in style for years).

        That may or may not be AT, BR, J. Crew etc. For me, it is BB.

    • I think $2000 can go pretty far. There were some discussions yesterday about building a business wardrobe from scratch, so you could always go back and search for that thread too. Anyway, with that budget, I would say focus on the following things.

      -Probably get a couple of more suits. Macy’s, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s are good places to look for suit sets (so that you would be getting bottoms with matching jackets and stretching your dollar a little more). Some people might advise getting a more expensive suit at Ann Taylor or Banana Republic, but I think if you have relatively few items currently, it’s best to bulk up your wardrobe a little so that you have some variety and don’t find yourself immediately in a rut. These places will have suit sets for maybe $100-150, so you could get a couple at once easily.

      -Get a bag, if you don’t have one already, that you can carry often to work. This will probably be a neutral brown, gray, or black bag. I like gray because it can go with lighter or darker outfits, but it may depend on what colors you expect to have a lot of. Heading to an outlet mall (or Marshall’s or TJ Maxx) should let you find a good selection of nicer bags in the $100-200 range.

      -A few pairs of pumps. A place like DSW is a good place to head because there are so many styles, and if you find one you like, you can often buy right there in multiple colors. I feel shoes there are rarely over $80 a pair, so you could easily get 3-5 pairs. I would recommend a pair that coordinates with the bag you plan on getting as your main bag. Good colors in general are black, brown, nude for you, possibly gray if you can find them. I like to have a couple of pairs of black patent shoes as well, but some would disagree. Maybe if your budget allows, get one colored pair, say in a maroon/navy/dark purple/etc. to add a little variance to your routine, but I would say stick with basics and neutrals first.

      -Blouses or shells that coordinate with your current 4 cardigans. I would say you definitely need more shirts/blouses for sure. With 4 cardigans in the colors you listed, I think you can find a lot of blouses to coordinate. I like to look for printed blouses with the colors of my cardigan in them. I think heading to an outlet mall or previously mentioned discount place would be good to search for blouses, since you can get quite a few for maybe an average of $30-40 each (maybe cheaper if you rumage) and thus stock up for a lot of possible combinations. Kohls also has a pretty good selection of passable non-button down tops. Ann Taylor and Talbots right now are having very large sales, so I might look around in those places for higher quality tops at a low price (for now).

      -Some basic bottoms. Whether you get skirts or pants is up to you, but I would focus on having bottoms in black, dark gray, and light gray. Possibly navy, brown, or khaki depending on what other colors end up in your wardrobe, but I find grays the easiest to pair the most things with. I also find cream highly versatile, but others may disagree. I think between all the normal stores (BR, AT, etc.) you should be able to get at least 3-5 bottoms, maybe more. If your shape is right, the Nordstrom’s Halogen pencil skirt may work great for you. It comes in about a million colors (many conservative) and is about $70 full price, but often some colors are on sale. If it fits you, that one might be a good skirt to get in 2 to 3 colors.

      -Make sure you have a few pieces of jewelry that go well with everything. It doesn’t need to be good jewelry, but even mediocre costume jewelry at Macy’s or something can cost $10-20 per pair of earrings. I would make sure you have some basic earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that will go with a lot of things that are maybe a step up from Claire’s quality (that’s why I suggest Macy’s). Pearls, gold studs, silver studs, a couple of pairs of more dangly earrings, perhaps solid metal or colored bangles, maybe a drop pendant necklace or two. When I was building a wardrobe, I feel like I overlooked jewelry and would suddenly realize I had *a* pair of conservative earrings, and then I would have to go rush out to Claire’s in a yucky-jewelry-buying frenzy just to be able to have something to wear.

      -If you have anything left, I would say look around for more cardigans and blazers, but I think it sounds like you need to focus on getting some basics first. A few business dresses, found at places like Marshall’s, Nordy’s Rack, etc. could be great finds because at those places, you might be able to stock up on some great Calvin Kelin/TASL/etc. type basics for probably $50-80 a dress. And those can be combined with cardigans and blazers as well.

      Overall, I would say focus on getting items that all coordinate with each other so you can maximize wear. If you get 2 blazers, make sure all the dresses you buy can coordinate with them. Make sure the blouses you buy look good with a few of the bottoms you get, but also the cardigans you have. That sort of thing. I would say making sure that every new thing I buy can coordinate with multiple (often at least 3+) pieces of my wardrobe has been the single most effective thing I have done to expand the wear of my clothes and my business wardrobe in general.

      • Another 2L :

        How necessary is jewelry? I’m in a similar position as OP, but with more basics stocked up and a lot less than $2K to spend. I’m not really a jewelry person (1 simple silver Tiffany pendant necklace & 1 pair of pearl earrings) and haven’t been buying any while trying to slowly build my professional wardrobe over the past year.

        • I don’t think jewelry is critical, but I do think it’s important to have a few things you can wear at a given time (vs. scrambling to find something that day you really need a necklace). I still am not at the point where I prioritize nice jewelry on a regular basis (I sometimes ask for basic Tiffany items for birthday/anniversary), but I have probably 8 pairs of earrings and 5-10 necklaces I wear 90% of the time. Most of these are pieces in the $15-50 range I got from Macy’s. The nicer things I have are either old/gifted, but not necessarily something I buy on a regular basis.

          I think for now, if you need a few things, go to Claires or scour the Macy’s sale racks for basic things, and you will be able to find things that will give you variety in the short term. For studs I like having pearl, diamond, gold, silver, and gray rhinestone. My basic necklaces are a single pearl strand, multi-layer pearl strand, a couple of thin chains with charms like a bow, single pearl or CZ solitaire, and my 10 yr. + Tiffany silver chain necklace (but a similar chain look necklace could be found anywhere). I usually don’t wear bracelets, but when I do, it’s either the matching silver Tiffany chain one, 2 vintage gold bangles, 1 of 2 vintage enamel bangels (I have one turquoise and one red), or a silvery/CZ watch that looks more like a bracelet and has some bow charms on it.

          I also think Kohls is a great place to find cheap, but more fun, jewelry and some of the stuff I have that I don’t wear often (but I really like) I got from Kohls (more durable than Claire’s, but not quite as pricey as Macy’s for similar costume look stuff). Sometimes when I want a quick pick me up, I head to Kohls and get a fun/random necklace for less than $12 or so and that is a great way to get some fun jewelry a little at a time for not a huge price.

        • Easy Jewelry :

          Go to Nordstrom and buy two Majorica pearl pieces: one white short (16 – 18 inch) necklace and one pair of matching stud earrings. The pearls should be 7-8 mm. You can wear this set every day with every outfit we’re talking about here. Total cost less than $300 and you are set for years as you/until you add other items.

          Ten years ago I would have said you also need a traditional/classic watch. Today, no one will notice if you go watchless.

      • a passion for fashion :

        I think this is pretty good advice. However, I would spend more money on maybe one or two more suits from BR, JCrew, Theory, or AT that sell in separates and get multiple pieces (jacket, slacks, skirt, dress). You can certainly find suits at the other stores listed, and they will be much cheaper and totally wearable. But, they are much more difficult to split up/mix and match. For example, often the slacks dont look that good on their own. But a JCrew or BR suit can easily be split apart and you will ultimately get much more wear out of it.

        • I think this is basically true, but sadly I also think that suits from the stores you listed are not necessarily by default the greatest quality for the price tag that is often $100-300 more expensive than what is offered at Macy’s. Admittedly sometimes those stores have great things, but I cringe to think of paying $300-500 for a suit ensamble at Ann Taylor (where some of the garments wrinkle if you look at them wrong and involve thin fabric/no lining). Another example- I recently stalked a fabulous winter white blazer at Ann Taylor that I got for about $80 (still high price, but I loved it), but I think it was about $300 full price. I almost died. Not worth that price at all (fabric was a wool blend and lining was of course poly, not silk), and I had no idea why AT thought they could get $300 for that jacket. I think AT/BR/JC know they are some of the only places that offer women’s suiting so they purposefully raise the prices on merchandise that isn’t necessarily great because they know people will pay those prices.

          If you’re willing to spend for a suit in the $300-500 price range, I’d honestly suggest trying to go to a Brooks Brothers outlet/factory store (or even a regular store) because those clothes are much better quality for the price you’re paying (the wools feel better, many of the pants are lined, fabric drapes nicer, etc.). I’ve found a lot of very lovely suiting pieces at the BB outlet, and usually I like to check there first if I am in need of a really nice basic pair of pants/skirt/jacket. I’ll only check out BR/AT/JC if I need a pair quickly and don’t really care about super nice quality and longevity (or finding the best balance between price and quality).

          I know a lot may disagree, but I have been in that trifecta of stores too many times and felt horrified at the quality of the clothes for the price. I’ve decided in many (not all) cases, I’d rather buy suits at a lower price point at Macy’s/TJ/Marshall’s and rumage extra to find something I like/that does work vs. buying an over priced and just as bad quality suit from AT just because it’s AT and that is where I am supposed to buy a better suit.

        • Jenna Rink :

          AT, BR and the like are constantly running sales codes. Since it sounds like you can wait a little while, I would try on their suits in stores and then wait until the next sales code comes out and buy them online. I have a great BR wool skirt suit that I got for $160 with a 30% off code. I feel like BR emails me at minimum a 20% off code every week, and 30% or 40% at least once a month.

    • I’ve been through this EXACT same process (building a wardrobe almost from scratch for a summer associateship at a lawfirm with an identical dress code while living in SLC with a budget of $2000).

      I had the most success shopping at The Limited, AT, Target, JC Penny, Nordstrom Rack, Uptown Cheapskate (consignment shop across from the Gateway), the AT Outlet in Park City, Ross, and H&M (surprising, but awesome, place to find niceish blazers that clearly aren’t the top half of a suit). I started work with four suits, six pencil skirts (mix of black, grey, and colors), two pairs of slacks, a pair of trouser jeans, four cardigans, eight tops/blouses, three stand-alone blazers (black, white, and grey), three sheath dresses, three pairs of heels, two pairs of flats, and a work tote. I wanted more blazers and especially blouses fairly quickly, and probably could have done without the dresses.

      I went to work almost every day in a skirt, blouse, and blazer, which was plenty dressed up enough to fit in with the attorneys at the (SLC) firm, but was a lot cheaper (and more fun) than wearing a suit to work every single day. I’d recommend getting another suit or two when you come across a great one, but focusing on separates, especially blouses.