Tuesday’s TPS Report: Short Sleeve Knit Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

BOSS Black Short Sleeve Knit DressI know no one’s shopping for themselves right now, but I gotta say: there are some great sales going on. For example, this lovely dress from BOSS Black looks like a great dress. Love the twist detail at the shoulder, as well as the short sleeves and the ladylike length. It was $475, but is now marked to $236 at Nordstrom. BOSS Black Short Sleeve Knit Dress

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Comments

  1. Salit-a-gator :

    Sorry for the threadjack……but speaking of shopping for oneself, I’m really intrigued by these shoes and they are 40% off at Talbots. Problem is, I’m not sure if my love for these shoes is clouding my judgment – are these appropriate for a business casual environment? What if I wear them with black tights? I have the sinking feeling they are too va-va-voom. What does the hive mind say?

    http://www.talbots.com/online/browse/product_details.jsp?id=prdi27255&rootCategory=cat70018&catId=cat440039&sortKey=Default&section=Sale&conceptIdUnderSale=cat440039

    • Always a NYer :

      I don’t get a va-va-voom feeling from these shoes, maybe slightly sexy but not in your face. While the heel is high, they almost feel like a modern twist on oxfords. They would definitely be appropriate in my business casual office, especially with black tights. But then again, my office tends to lean more towards the casual side than the business side. For work or not, I say buy the shoes, they’re on sale ;)

    • They would be inappropriate in my workplace.

    • Rural juror :

      I’d wear those to my office and we’re technically business formal (but more like dressy business casual in reality). Go for it! If you are nervous at first wear them with pants.

    • Diana Barry :

      I think they are a little bit va-va-voom, but mostly I think they’re ugly. Sorry!

    • With black tights, yes. With trousers and thin unobtrusive black socks, yes. With skin showing, save for afterwork occassions. I don’t think people would notice negatively with truly opaque black hosiery.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree. Fine with tights. But I think they’d be ugly with pants. These are skirt/dress shoes, made to be shown off.

    • Salit-a-gator :

      Thank you for all the input! Since the hive mind is split on this one, I decided to get them and see how I feel about them in-person. If I’m still on the fence I can always return them :-)

      • Mountain Girl :

        I love them and glad you’re going to try them out!

      • I’d wear those to work in a heartbeat if I could walk on heels that high! Just keep the rest of your outfit fairly conservative (ie. not a short, tight skirt) and you’ll be fine.

    • They’re not my style, but I think that Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen has these and has been styling them for work with opaque black tights, and I find it cute and work appropriate on her (though her office is not business formal). If you love them, I say go for it.

  2. Wow, this is gorgeous. I love the shoulder twist detail. Even if it turns out to be too short for work, I could very easily see wearing this out to dinner, or some other type of event. Wish my budget weren’t already spent for the year!

    • Me too- I just got clear nailpolish on a knit dress yesterday and am not sure I will be able to get it out. This would be the perfect replacement if it were around 20% of the price!

      Any tips for removing nailpolish from clothing? I tried non-acetone nailpolish remover and that didn’t work. I’ve also heard acetone and off skintastic may work if you soak it for 10 minutes. I’m a little apprehensive about letting acetone stay on a knit dress for 10 minutes though.

      • We actually just had a red nailpolish/white tablecloth incident over the weekend. We blotted the tablecloth with acetone-containing nail polish remover, and then rubbed the area with carpet cleaner. I think the carpet cleaner worked better. I was a bit worried about the fabric deteriorating (cotton/polyester blend, I think), but it held up ok after the acetone, carpet cleaner, and a washing.

      • I’ve heard shaving cream can get nail polish out of carpet…

      • What’s the fabric? I literally dissolved a rayon dress when I spilled acetone nailpolish remover on it.

        • Second this comment. Acetone is a pretty good organic solvent, so will dissolve some materials. I’m pretty sure I’ve spilled acetone on cotton with no ill-effects. Signed, Clumsy Scientist

        • MeliaraofTlanth :

          Yea, acetone dissolves rayon. Also acetate. I think natural fibers are a bit more resistant (I think it’s something to do with the manufacturing process of semi-natural/artifical fabrics), but I still wouldn’t try it.

          HowstuffWorks has a how to remove nailpolish article: http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-remove-nail-polish-stains.htm

  3. I covet this and every Hugo Boss dress that shows up at Nordstrom Rack.

    Threadjack/PSA: Ann Taylor is doing 50% off everything online. Code WINTER50

  4. Office Culture :

    People were talking yesterday about what to drink at a job interview at a bar and mentioning that it was an important aspect of office culture. What happens at this places when they interview people who can’t/don’t drink? I can’t drink for health reasons and that’s not really something I feel comfortable discussing in a job interview. It’s something I feel is way too personal for a first or second interview, and it’s not like I can just have a sip or two. I’m more than happy to go out with coworkers after work, but I’ll be there drinking something non-alcoholic. Thoughts?

    • As someone who can have one drink and then be flat on her face, I say get club soda or another non-alcoholic drink of your choice. If asked, say, thanks for the offer but I’d prefer a (insert drink of choice). If someone in management (who is presumably interviewing you) is judging you for how much you drink, then IMO, maybe that’s not the place to work.

    • I don’t think that is an issue at all and I wouldn’t worry about it. I think your approach is correct – don’t mention it but go out with people and be social.

      • Yup. People will remember that you were there for that really fun office happy hour, not what you were drinking.

    • Always a NYer :

      While I would have a drink during a job interview at a bar, I won’t have a drop of alcohol if I’m getting behind the wheel of a car. I know many people will have one or two drinks if it’s a few hours before they’re driving but I’ve never been comfortable with that. You could order your non-alcoholic drink, then non-chalantly say, “I have a long drive back,” and completely change the subject. Most people won’t question you.

      • OP re: drinking at interview :

        OP here for the interview at the bar. Wanted to send out an update.

        When I arrived, he seemed to have realized that going to a bar might be a little out of the ordinary. He basically asked if I preferred a coffee shop or a beer. He also had asked his female secretary to stick around / join us. He showed me around the courthouse a bit and then we ended up back in his office (the secretary was there, too). We never made it to either a bar or a coffee shop.

        Long story short, he offered me the job! I’m very excited and can hardly wipe the grin off my face this morning.

        Oh, and he did ask me (joking) whether I felt ripped off for not getting a beer. I think it’s going to be a good personality fit!

      • I don’t drink because I personally don’t like the taste of most alcoholic beverages. I am the only one at my (relatively) large southern firm who doesn’t. My boss asked me to a local bar to extend an offer of employment, and I politely requested water. There have been numerous social occasions since then where I was the only one not drinking. Obviously I can’t speak to other firms, but I have found that simply telling someone I prefer “x” over an alcoholic beverage works fine the vast majority of the time. Most people are too polite to press further, but when pressed, I just tell them the truth – I don’t care for the taste. I think the biggest thing is not to make an issue of it – simply have fun within the bounds of professional taste. Most people will follow your lead, even if they choose to drink themselves.

        • I agree. This is exactly why I don’t drink. I just haven’t gotten used to the taste, and don’t see a reason to try! Both for my health, and my wallet! But when it comes to social functions, or work, I’ll just order what I want (usually a coke). If someone comes up later, they’ll still assume it’s a mixed drink, and if someone hears me while ordering, then I can just say I’d much rather have a coke.

    • I perfer to get a “Virgin Mary” when I go out, particularly for work luncheons with the manageing partner. It looks like a real drink, but there is NO alchohol in it, so I do NOT get drunk. Also, when they put a stick of Celery in it, it looks just right so others will NOT acuse you of not drinking.

      After Alan took the bottle over me, I will NEVER drink hard liquer again! FOOEY on him and that! FOOEY!

      • A Virgin Mary? I believe the proper term for that beverage is a Bloody Shame!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      In no way do I want to prevent you from getting responses here. I think Kay did a full post on drinking awhile back and there was a big discussion on this issue. You might want to search for it for additional ideas.

      I personally rarely drink and I’ve never been pressed on my decision to order something nonalcoholic, although I’ve never been in that situation for an interview. I think the key is to just order casually and not really draw attention to it. If asked, I like the suggestion to say no thanks and that you’d prefer something else.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        *Kat. My autocorrect and I have been having a disagreement lately.

      • Office Culture :

        There has been a discussion about drinking at work generally, but I can’t remember anything about drinking at interviews. Perhaps that’s something I missed?

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I think you’re right. I just thought it might be helpful for ways to artfully deal with people who ask or make comments about you not drinking. There might be something you could adapt for interviews.

        • While some of the advice in the drinking thread is helpful, unlike at a larger gathering where it’s easier to disguise whether / how much you are drinking, at a small interview it’s impossible to hide what you are ordering. For that reason, I think best to order a beer / wine / whatever the specialty of the bar is, and nurse as appropriate. Obvious exception for people who can’t drink for whatever reason.

    • In your place, I’d cultivate drink that is non-alcoholic but fancier than water or a soda. Club soda with a twist of lime? Something that looks like it could be an alcoholic drink, reads as “I’m out and drinking something fun” but doesn’t require explanation.

      • I have worked for my boss for over five years. Every time I am out with my co-workers, he acts surprised that I am not drinking alcohol. He is pretty much the only person in the office who doesn’t know that I am in recovery. The funny part is that if I told him, I don’t think he would understand. Someone who doesn’t drink is not in his world.

      • My go-to is either cranberry and soda, or pineapple and soda. They both look fancy and are a little more fun to drink than just plain sparkling water.

      • karenpadi :

        This. It’s perfectly normal for there to be someone who isn’t drinking. But not drinking anything or drinking plain water or a can of diet coke reads as “Debbie Downer”. I’d go with a soda and lime or diet coke and lime or an ice tea with lemon. I like the suggestion of pineapple and soda too.

        Congrats on getting the job! It sounds like his secretary or wife(?) heard about going out for a beer and put the kibosh on it.

        • People who think that someone drinking a diet Coke is being a Debbie Downer are the ones with the problem.

  5. That’s a beautiful “little black dress” and the fabric seems to be very good. But I wouldn’t wear it to work, nor would I wear it in the winter! I have a similar dress I bought on sale at Ann Taylor last summer that is very slimming and was dirt cheap. Also, mine is washable. Very important when you are thinking about the price point.

  6. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Love this dress.

    On shopping for yourself, I had to get quite a few things for myself recently following a dramatic change in haircolour, and I noticed that the run-up to Christmas is a great time to do this because clothing stores are relatively quiet and there is hardly ever a line for the changing rooms, as everyone is buying stuff for other people!

  7. I need help dealing with anger. I don’t know how long it’s been like this, but I get angry at the stupidest things like traffic,weather, and how long it takes to get an elevator. But more importantly, I get angry at the people I love most over minor things (that I allow to spin out of control in my head and turn into a major issue). One of them is my mother and she’s put up with it for far too long, I guess because she’s my mother and nothing I do will make her stop loving me. But I’ve driven away the other most important person in my life by getting angry at him and making him feel like he was doing something wrong, when he has been nothing but wonderful, loving, and respectful toward me. It’s unacceptable and I can’t continue to do this. I’ve Googled steps for dealing with anger, so I’ve seen the more obvious stuff. But I’d like the input of women who are in similar life situations–stressful careers that generally take a high-achieving, demanding (at least of yourself) personality to be successful in.

    I am very open to therapy but I honestly have no idea where to start looking for someone. It looks like my insurance covers 15 sessions per year, yet there’s no way to look for providers on the insurance company website. I also don’t really understand the differences between all of the different labels (other than knowing a psychiatrist has an MD and can prescribe meds). And I don’t know how to find out who is “good.” It’s not like I can go to Yelp like I would for a dry cleaner.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I think there were comments on a thread about this before, in the last couple of months I think.

      I had a similar experience in college and it turned out to be hormonal and related to the Pill I was taking. Whether or not you are taking the Pill or other hormonal contraception, I would suggest getting checked for a hormone imbalance as this can really affect you more than I ever realised. The first doctor suggested Prosac and it turned out that would have been ompletely excessive so there can be medical reasons for why you are going through this.

    • I was dealing with this for a while, probably since I was about 14! I’m am currently dealing with minor depression due to a year filled with drastic life changes and a sudden death in the family. Similar to your experience, I tend to take too much out on my mom. I end up flipping out and then crying b/c I feel so bad for being mean to her over something so stupid.

      I ended up going to a therapist, who was recommended by my general doctor. I now know that my anger is due to anxiety. I get so anxious about things that I get angry very quickly when I cannot control situations. I was put on a medication for anxiety and depression (low dose). This allowed me to chill out. Once I could relax I was able to realize the situations that triggered my anxiety and anger. I am now learning how to breathe and take control.

      I suggest asking your current doctor for a therapist. They cannot prescribe, but your general doctor will for them if necessary.

    • I used to have huge mood swings and emotional/angry outburts, and one thing that greatly helped me was reading a book called The Art of Happiness, which is a conversation between a psychologist and the Dalai Lama. It’s pop psychology, but the core message is very good: you should treat people with compassion by putting yourself in their shoes and treating them the way you would want to be treated, and that you cannot control people or situations but you can control how you react to those situations. I found that it really resonated with me — so much about anger is about control, and one key to happiness is letting go of the need to control things (particularly other people, because at the end of the day, you will never control other people).

    • I commend your openness to therapy, because I think that is the most practical step you can take. (And I say this from the perspective of someone who has been in your angry shoes; I like to think I am better now.)

      If your company has an EAP, please use it. Those people have already screened the therapists they recommend — think of them as the Yelpers. If you have to look on your own, you probably want to say something like you are looking for “short-term cognitive behavioral therapy.”

      You are probably going to work through this without meds, so please consider a talk-therapy approach with someone who does not have an medical degree.

      Best of luck and good for you for dealing with something that is making you unhappy.

    • My FIL had a similar problem caused by high blood pressure.

      • I’d start with your PCP for therapy recommendations (both psychologist and psychiatrist, in case you want to go meds route). Depression also manifests itself in all sorts of ways in different people – anger, sadness, anxiety, and physical pain.

        Good luck!! Honestly, taking the first step is a relief. I posted anon last week about being depressed and after I came clean with my doctor, it was a huge weight off my shoulders. Now I already feel better because I’m taking control of my emotions — I hope you have the same effect.

    • Accountress :

      Since you’re already open to it, remember that a therapist is like a good pair of jeans- there’s several out there that could be great for you, it might just take a few tries to find the right one.

    • I just want to add re: insurance. My insurance said the same thing, that it would cover 15 sessions a year, but when I went to my therapist, she basically just needed to submit a certification stating that there was a medical need for more sessions and got pre-approval for another 15. I went weekly for 2 years and the insurance paid for it. Your insurance might be the same, so don’t assume you are limited to those 15 sessions.

      I found my therapist through a listing on the psychology today magazine website. There’s also zocdoc, which has reviews and I hear angie’s list does too, but they are a paid service.

      Best of luck!

    • I was a very angry person for a long time. I channeled it into being edgy, sarcastic, funny and very driven and successful. However, it was tearing me up inside and damaging my relationships. After my divorce, I fell into a deep depression, which I think was just the anger going underground.

      With the help of several therapists, I learned to understand myself much better. Even though on the surface it looked like my family handled my parents’ divorce well, I realized later that a lot of damage had been done. Even though my mother and I had been “best friends” for years, I saw that this wasn’t healthy for me since she is an incredibly angry and judgmental person. I finally “left the nest” and broke away from living the life she wanted for me at age 40.

      It took me years to realize that much of my anger was justified, especially toward my parents. That was a vital first step in learning to see them as real humans and to forgive them. My father and I are very close now, but my mother will never be satisfied.

      I’m not saying that your relationship with your parents is bad or the source of your anger. Just that you may be surprised at where exploring this takes you. It is well worth the journey, though, toward a more whole self.

    • Anon for this one :

      Do you by any chance smoke? For me, nicotine stimulates the rage part of my brain. I noticed it after I quit and then lit up on occasion. Smoking turns my brain into an angry mess. You have a lot of good suggestions here, but I wanted to mention this because had I never quit in the first place, I wouldn’t have noticed the connection.

      • Another Sarah :

        For me, it’s coffee. Had I never stopped drinking coffee, I would never have noticed what a horrible, angry person it made me.

    • Thanks to all who’ve replied.

      To answer some of what’s been raised, I am on hormonal BC. I went off it briefly last year but went back on because my cycle was so irregular and my skin broke out pretty badly. I also did not experience much relief from my anxiety when I was off it, though I don’t remember any specific anger incidents.

      I don’t smoke and never have–haha, that’s actually something I get super anxious about. The smell makes my eyes and nose burn and I get really worked up when I’m around it, when I have to go to a bar or restaurant where there’s smoking, or even if I’m walking around the city with it. And the guy I refer to’s friends smoke (he doesn’t) and I would get anxious about him being around them, and I know it bothered him that he felt like he couldn’t talk about hanging out with his friends because it would upset me. I only bring this up as an example of how my anxiety spins out of control and I project it onto other people who don’t deserve it, and then I get more anxious about the consequences of my anxiety (i.e., I get anxious that he’s upset at me because I’m being too anxious).

      I have an appointment with my PCP to start talking about things, but my PCP is in my hometown where I no longer live (I’ll be there for the holidays) so I don’t know how helpful she will be for recommendations in my current city. I know I should find a PCP here, but I really like mine and finding new doctors is so stressful that I thought I could get by just squeezing in my annual visit when I visit family.

      • OneMoreThought :

        Have you considered having your Thyroid levels checked too? I am a person who can become ran by anger if not checked, and coupled with my anxiety I can be a real pain. I found that when I was losing my temper over the most silly things (lost keys, rude people, itchy tags on my shirt) that my thyroid was low. While keeping the thyroid in check doesn’t eliminate all anxiety and anger, being sure that it is functioning right seems to help substantially.

      • This is a late reply, but you sound exactly like me. I’ve been going to CBT with a licensed clinical social worker for over a year and it is really helping. I hope you find something that helps you too. :)

  8. found a peanut :

    Nooooo! I have been waiting for this dress to be further marked down before I buy it…I hope it doesn’t sell out in my size!

    • Buy it and keep checking back for a price adjustment! That’s what I tend to do with Nordstrom items.

      • found a peanut :

        great idea. ordering now!

      • I actually just got a Nordstrom price adjustment this morning. I bought “the skirt” in purple for my sister-in-law for Christmas. It just went on sale this morning so I got the adjustment and then bought her a top at Nordstrom Rack online.

  9. Diana Barry :

    Funny moment for today: My secretary just gave me a bottle of wine for Xmas. But I’m pregnant and can’t drink until May, and it’s a kind of wine that I don’t like. Oh well! :)

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Has she been your secretary for a while? That seems odd, but the kind of thing people get someone when they don’t know what to get!

    • Regift it… to me!

      • Actually, chances are it’s not the kind of wine I drink either.

        • Send it my way! I have not yet met a kind of wine that I won’t drink ;)

        • Amelia Bedelia :

          Luckily, I will drink anything that does not drink me first — regift it to MEEEEEEEEEE! :)

    • She might buy a case of wine and use a bottle for everyone’s generic gift.

      • An assistant in our office did that one year. It was some kind of novelty Christmas label, I can’t remember now, it was cute, but wine itself was really not very good. Nice thought, though.

    • I got several bottles of wine when I was pregnant the first time, one of which was pretty great, or so my husband said.

      The second time I was pregant, I was 8+ months at Christmas. No wine. I would have liked it at the time because I was only a few weeks out from enjoying a glass.

    • hhmmmm, maybe she is regifting….. ;o)

  10. Really Anon :

    Ok, sorry if this ends up being a double post . . . Not sure where it went the first time I hit “submit.”

    My New Year’s resolution is to wade into the online dating pool. Any advice for a novice?

    The plan is to use eHarmony, but I’m open to other suggestions.

    • OkCupid is pretty good if you’re under 35-40. Their matching algorithms are slightly less b.s. and they don’t have eHarmony’s nasty reputation of excluding GLBT people, but my mother was using it for a while and she said the selection of men over 40 was dismal.

    • My impression is that different sites can yield drastically different results in the same city. eHarmony was dreadful in Chicago. I had great luck on chemistry.com about 2 years ago. Good luck out there!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I’ve posted before about my couple months on eHarmony, so this will be a bit repetitive for some.

      1) Good for you!

      2) Say yes to lots of guys – I would have 4+ dates a week. I think the key to not feeling rejected is knowing that there are a bunch more lined up even if Mr. Tuesday doesn’t like you or you don’t like Mr. Thursday. Think about your Must-Have criteria, which should be only a few things. For me, it was a college degree, no weekly church attendance, not super overweight, not super Republican, good spelling and grammar in messages, and no creepy vibe. If that criteria was met, I said yes to coffee.

      3) Best ways to meet are coffee or happy hour. IME, first date should not be a meal, but could lead to a meal if the initial meet goes well. If it’s bad, you’ve only wasted a half hour and less than $10. Happy hour can lead to dinner, weekend coffee can lead to lunch if you end up hitting it off. I did not meet anyone at night, period.

      4) Safety first. A trusted friend should know where you are and who you are meeting with every time you meet a stranger. Meet in public at a place you don’t normally go to – not the coffee shop you sit in for 4 hours every Saturday morning. Have a set time and a nonobvious safe word to check in with your friend at regular, pre-set intervals.

      I learned so much about myself from the experience. I met a lot of duds and a few great guys. My friend joined eHarmony at the same time I did – we took the plunge together – and she ended up engaged to a wonderful man inside 10 months. They’re now married with a beautiful son. I ended up meeting my now-husband through friends while I was on eHarmony, and I think what I learned from 50+ first dates may have helped me land him :).

    • I am using okCupid these days, am not quite ready to ‘commit’ (ie. pay) for eHarmony, my impression is that its best if you are really looking for something serious asap. I have a first date with one guy tonight, dinner with another (our 4th date I think) tomorrow.
      I agree with Bay Associate, don’t take forever chatting and building guys up in your mind, meet and see what happens, with a good set of criteria. I found on the whole that I have met some really nice guys (not for me for a number of reasons) and it generally has increased my confidence in the dating world.

    • Think of it as dating and fun rather than interviewing or relationshipping. Come from a place of yes– not for everything all the time :) but as in defaulting to a “why not?” attitude before a “why should I?” attitude. Use it to do things you’ve wanted to– theater companies you haven’t seen, restaurants you haven’t visited. Don’t think of a date as a failure if it doesn’t result in ____. Schedule after-work dates where you wear what you wore and so don’t think of it all as such a big deal or investment. Don’t convince yourself a guy is something he isn’t for you… enjoy the company, and you’ll know True Love when you see it, having fun along the way there.

    • I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m from a family of three daughters. I met my husband on match.com in 1998. My two sisters each met their husbands on eHarmony, late 2000s time frame.

      They really should put us in an ad.

      In the 10 years between my and my sisters’ experiences, I noticed match seemed to be going toward the serial daters and casual hookups, while eHarmony seemed marriage focused. I think if someone, particularly a guy, will go to the trouble of filling out the long questionnaire on eHarmony, he’s pretty serious about meeting someone.

      And I agree with SF – date lots of men. The saying about needing to kiss a lot of frogs? True. I had first dates probably 4 times a week at first and narrowed it down to two guys, whom I dated for 1-2 months each, then I met my husband and *fireworks* – we were instantly monogamous and I broke all scheduled dates.

      By the way, my husband worked across the street from me, but even so, I would never have met him other than online.

      • Diana Barry :

        I met my husband on match.com in 2001. :)

      • Met mine on Match.com and married 2 1/2 years ago!

        I found eHarmony’s questionnaire irritating — lots of multiple choices on questions I either didn’t care much about or had obvious “right” answers that people could choose. I liked that Match.com let you find out a lot about a person and filter out those who aren’t interested in the kind of relationship you are. I second the “don’t waste time on multiple contacts before meeting in person” advice. Would add that you should specify what you want up front. Want marriage? Casual dating? Say so in the first line. Also choose your photos wisely: nothing overtly sexy unless you want to just hook up. And don’t trust people who won’t reveal details/photos or don’t bother to fill out the whole form!

    • What a great New Year’s resolution!

      I met my current BF of 9 months on Match.com and couldn’t be happier. I also have a lot of friends who bet their boyfriends/husbands online, so I’m a big proponent of online dating.

      I would say that it’s definitely important to make time for it and make it a priority. I signed up for Match.com at the beginning of March 2011, met my now-boyfriend 3 weeks in, and we were exclusive by mid-April. I think it was part luck that it happened so quickly, and part that I found some time literally every single night after work to either browse the site or go on a date.

      Be open-minded. If someone meets most of the criteria on your list and doesn’t seem like a serial killer, meet them for coffee or a glass of wine. Worst case scenario, all you lose is an hour of your time.

      Don’t spend forever sending 1o or 12 emails back and forth with the same guy. If you send and receive 3 or 4 and get a good vibe, suggest exchanging phone numbers or personal email addresses. I found that the longer it took to move things to the ‘real life’ arena, the less likely an actual date was to materialize/the more likely the guy was to be hiding something.

      It’s okay to be nervous! Even though I’d been on dozens of dates, I was terribly nervous for my first Match date. It’s normal and once you get one out of the way, the rest are cake. I promise.

      Lastly, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. My now-boyfriend is not physically my usual type at all, but because he seemed to have all of the qualities (and then some) that I was looking for, I agreed to meet him for a drink. To be perfectly candid, during our first date I remember thinking, “This guy is so great! It’s too bad I’m not attracted to him.” Then, at the end of our date as we were waiting for my car at the valet, he so genuinely said, “I’m so glad you came tonight. I had a really great time.” It was so honest and heartfelt that when he called a few days later for a second date, I couldn’t say no. By mid-way through our second date, he was becoming cuter by the second and now, 9 months later, I’m insanely attracted to him. He’s the best man I’ve ever been with (I’m straight-up gushing now, I apologize), and I’m thankful everyday I said yes to that second date.

      • anon for this :

        This may just be me being slightly paranoid but I set up a google voice account just for online dating. It gave me peace of mind and I was also able to further screen guys via phone call. Just a thought.

        • Really Anon :

          Great idea! I actually set up a google voice account a while back for an unrelated reason (calls related to a charity event), but I’m not really sure I understand how to use it (I ended up just using my cell number). Note to self: Learn to use Google Voice.

    • How do you all have time for dates 4+ nights a week? Honestly, between working 12-14 hrs a day, and then trying to make time for the gym, seeing friends, personal activities that I enjoy.

      Really, I’m not willing to make the time to meet someone unless they show actual potential, because as it is, I barely get enough sleep.

      Maybe this means that I’m not ready to actually find someone, because if it was that important I’d make the time.

      • As I mentioned in my post above, I decided to make dating a priority, just like working out/meeting friends/etc. If you meet someone and there’s no spark, you can be out of there in 45-minutes to an hour, so it’s not a huge time sink. I only work 9-10 hour days though, except when I’m travelling, so that made meeting someone after work a lot easier. However, the most dates I ever went on in one week was 3, no way I could have fit in 4+!

      • No, no, I certainly didn’t go on dates 4+ times a week. I did a lot of phone calls/Skype/e-mails and weeded out a lot of people out before the date stage. Basically I wanted to get to know the guy a bit and make sure we could actually hold a decent conversation before we even met, and I found that worked very well for me. So don’t go into it thinking you absolutely have to date every night of the week.

    • Good for you! I did eHarmony in 2010 and going into it, I was about the most skeptical person re online dating there ever was. I was convinced it wasn’t going to work and told myself I was only doing it because my dating/relationship situation couldn’t possibly get *worse*. But lo and behold, I met my now-BF there and – news! – we started talking marriage this past weekend!

      I had a pretty good experience with eHarmony and really liked how the process was “managed” for the first few interactions. I found that most people I met seemed to take the process seriously. I did find that it took me a lot of time on a daily basis – I had to put aside an hour or so a night just to go through requests, answer questions, etc. But it was worth it.

      I agree that a meal is a good first date. I made one big mistake with one date where the guy actually flew in to see me and I ended up feeling like I had to play tour guide all weekend. Problem was, the second I met him face to face, I *knew* he wasn’t the right person for me, even though we had had some really good phone conversations. It was a long, long weekend – I felt like it would never end. Don’t put yourself in that sort of situation.

      Good luck! Despite being so skeptical going into it, I actually ended up having fun and am now so glad I did it.

      • Really Anon :

        Wow! Thanks everyone for the positive feedback! I am really appreciative and a little less nervous about the whole thing.

    • Met my boyfriend of 3 years on OKCupid. Still embarrassed to admit that for some reason, but whatever.

      • To throw a different plan of attack, so to speak, out there – I was very picky about who I would talk to during that process. I literally only met two guys in person. The first one lied about his height and had a lisp and I was just not at all attracted to him. The second one is still around.

        Not disagreeing with those above in the kissing frogs sentiment, but luckily I didn’t have to.

    • I read this in an old Carolyn Hax column in the Washington Post, and it sums up what I’ve always felt about online:

      “When you’re online, you’re meeting someone outside the societal vetting process, so your histories are obscured, and you’re meeting with your motives out in the open. Under older-fashioned conditions, it’s the exact opposite: Your histories are wide open but your motives are obscured. I haven’t seen anything to budge me from my belief that this stark reversal needs to be accompanied by a just-as-stark adjustment in participants’ expectations.”

      Full disclosure: I hate online dating, but I met my current SO on eHarmony.

  11. Agree with Kat that there are some great deals out there, and probably even more to come after Xmas. Sadly, I just saw my credit card statement and I think it was trying to tell me I need to stop shopping.

    But now a review — I got my Clea dress from JCrew! It did ship much faster than promised (1/16). I think I am going to keep it. The pros-great green color, very flattering (on my hourglass figure), v. warm, good neckline (high, but not suffocating), and it’s lined. The cons- the wool is not high quality, so feels a tad cheap, and I need to get the sleeves shortened because they are somewhere between 3/4 and full length on me and it just doesn’t look good as is (I’m going to make them bracelet length). As for the length, which was a concern for others, I’m not tall and so it’s not too short. I can see how on a tall person, it may be too short. On 5’3 me, it hits me right at the knee.

    • AIMS, I’m glad that you liked the dress! I received my Clea dress over the weekend and it will be a definite return. My thoughts:

      The sizing runs generously, which surprised me. I’m more of a pear shape and figured that the size 4 (my normal size) would be too tight in the hips, but it instead hung on me like a sack. And I’m pretty curvy (8 inch difference btw waist and hips) so I was surprised. So I would consider buying one size smaller.

      I also agree with AIMS that the wool feels cheap. The color is pretty muted, and I’m someone who likes more saturated jewel colors. On the plus side, it’s a good length. I’m 5’5 and it hit me at the knee as well.

      Finally, I just felt that the dress looked matronly on me. It didn’t nip in the waist as much as I would like and I felt almost too covered up.

      • Yikes, good to know. I’m also curvy (with a bloody great fourteen-inch difference between my hips and my waist) and had also been eyeing the Clea dress–thanks for the heads-up!

        • I really would try it on. I have roughly 11 inches difference between my waist and bust and hips (bust and hips same), and the dress fits great. Wool could be better, but fit is spot on for me. Maybe just size down from your usual size.

        • Am similar with an 11 inch difference. Where have you been buying jeans lately? Jag jeans and AT are my usualy go-tos, but Jag sizing has been inconsistent, and AT changed the jeans material and sizing this year. :(

      • I agree that the sizing is generous on this one. I was actually worried because I ordered my usual size even though I’ve definitely gained a bit of weight recently and it fit great (so definitely appealed to my vanity…) So, Me too, maybe you should just size down? Although, if you’re not wild about the color and the wool is what it is, maybe it’s not worth the trouble. You’re def. right about the color being more muted, but I am not into saturated jewel tones, so that actually worked for me.

      • J.Crew dresses are getting large in sizing. I ordered a 4 recently, worried it wouldn’t fit, and I was swimming in it. (I am not a 4.)

  12. a nonny miss :

    ‘Rettes,

    A recruiter from a bank contacted me last week about a position that would be a dream job for me and get me out of the dead end job I’m in right now. The initial contact was last Thursday afternoon and she would be in touch shortly. I know it’s holidays and people are busy/on vacation, but should I reach out to her at some point or wait to hear from her again? If I should reach out, should it be after the Christmas holiday or after the new year?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Things get extremely backed up during the holidays with people taking off, etc. I would wait until next Tuesday ( after Christmas) to touch base. However, there is a good chance you will hear from them before.

      It has been my experience interviewing during the holiday season that wires inevitably get crossed. Recruiters have a million things on their plate, so never a bad idea to reinforce your interest. Plus, they might be trying to coordinate with others who are on vacation, unavialble, etc. Don’t stress it, reach out to them, and good luck!

      • P.S. sorry for the stream of consciousness response, I am trying to get 10 things done at once before the holidays :)

    • Middle Coast :

      I am currently interviewing people for a position, it is a nightmare during the holidays. I need to interview at least 5 candidates in accordance with our hiring policies. It is tough to schedule these as I have to work though the recruiter, who has to contact the interviewee to set it up, then get back to me to see if the time and date are okay. I will be doing one interview at 7:00 am and another at 8:00 pm just to accommodate everyone’s schedules and get them done. It is tough to find a time which meshes.

      If you are working through a recruiter, there is probably a chain of 2-3 people required to set up an interview. I would suspect that they will touch base with you before this weekend to let you know where the process stands. If not, I would try to contact the recruiter on Tuesday, saying something along the lines of “I wanted to touch base to let you know my availability this week and next.”

      I have been telling those I interview that we are conducting interviews this week and next as it is hard to schedule over the holidays. I also tell them that the final decision will not be made until after New Year’s to keep them from anguishing over the holidays.

  13. anon for this :

    Following up on the conversation yesterday about having kids, I’m struggling with ambivalence about having kids. For the record, I just turned 34 and I’m getting married in a few months. My fiance and I both have decent careers but we’re not crazy about work by any means. We kind of just like to go home at the end of the day, relax, go out to good restaurants, go hiking/running, take long vacations in Europe, and basically just spend time together. We live in a condo in a city we love, we can walk to work, we’re saving and investing tons of money, and everything is pretty great, honestly.

    I *think* I want kids, but I’m just not sure. The reasons I want kids are that I do think kids are amazing — they are interesting and smart and sweet and loving, and I’d love to have a child and watch it grow. Plus I’ve heard that having kids changes you in this inexplicable way that no one can understand until it happens, so I’m not sure if my ambivalence is enough to give up on trying to have a kid. On the flip side, I have several siblings with kids, and their lives are just not what I want for my life. The kids take up all their time and seem to have put a huge strain on my sisters’ relationships with their husbands. I just spent the weekend with one of my sisters, and she was chasing around her little boys all weekend and barely had time to shower, let alone have a conversation with her husband. They’ve given up all of their interests from before they had kids and spend most of their time just trying to prevent one or the other boy from melting down at any given moment.

    I just don’t know if that’s what I want for my life. My fiance is similarly conflicted. But like I said earlier, I’m 34, and we really need to either start trying or make the decision that we are not going to try. Has anyone gone through something similar? Or any insight from people who were conflicted but either decided to have kids, or decided not to?

    • Diana Barry :

      I would think about how *you* and *your fiance* are going to be with kids, and not try to compare it to how your sisters’ lives are. Would your fiance be an equal partner in child-raising? Would you try to space out the kids out more, or only have one, so you are not too overwhelmed with 2 under 3 (or whatever)?

      Every relationship is different and every child is different, so I would try to think of your own relationship and why you would want/not want kids, and try hard not to compare to your siblings’ lives or your friends’ lives. Good luck!!!

    • Great topic. I’m coming at this as a mom of one daughter (age 2). Hubs and I would like to have one more. POSSIBLY two more, but we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully you can deduct that I like this kid thing — since we’re going to go another round.

      I honestly don’t think you ever really “know” that you’re ready. What I would tell you, though, is to try to find some people (friends) who have kids and whose lifestyles are closer to what you envision for yourselves. Obviously, kids change your life! But most of it’s for the better and I definitely do not think you have to give up your hobbies, interests, etc. just because there’s a little one around. For example: buy a kid carrier and take your baby hiking. Traipse around Europe with Junior in a sling. Kids take more planning (and ok, admittedly more gear), but there’s no reason you can’t do that stuff with children.

      Now, is it harder to travel/go to restaurants/whatever with kids? Yes. Is it worth it to watch your offspring discover the ocean/a beautiful flower/the beach for the first time? Absolutely!

      FWIW, my bro and SIL have four kids. They live life in a constant frazzle, but I believe much of this stems from the fact that their kids aren’t well-behaved, and because they live in a household where they (bro/SIL) do everything for the kids — no chores, assignments, etc. It’s chaos, and definitely NOT how I want to live. Now, it’s obviously different for me and my husband since we only have one, but we’re talking about two major trips this year (Europe and East Coast for a wedding). Find some folks with a similar mindset and go from there.

    • Not telling :

      I just wanted to say that a lot of what you have said about how kids are interesting and it’s fascinating to watch them learn and grow is correct. However, YOU decide how much they change your actual lifestyle. I do not want the lifestyles my SILs have (similar to what you describe) but I realized after our first was born, that it doesn’t have to be that way.
      We spend a lot of time together as a family, but also, the child goes to bed between 7:30 and 8, so I have a few hours with my husband every evening where we can relax. We take her on some of our trips and she’s become a great traveler. Sometimes we leave her with a relative or babysitter when we go on vacation and she loves her special time with an aunt or some cousins.
      Husband and I still go on dates (sometimes we just plan a date night where we put her to bed a half hour early, get some sushi takeout, open a bottle of wine, etc.), we still do our “own” thing. Saturday mornings are usually relaxing family time, but in the afternoon, he does errands, workouts, whatever while I do laundry and she naps. Sunday mornings I do a long workout while the two of them make a big breakfast, pick up the house and watch cartoons. Sunday afternoons are usually fun family activites like the zoo.
      I think you’re right that a lot of people lose their identities as H/W and become just D/M, but it’s possible to be both. I think my daughter has learned to be flexible, laid back, accommodating and patient. She is very well-behaved and we do a lot of fun things as a family. Some of our hobbies have become her interests, as well. (Husband is a pilot, so she loves to go to the airport with him and watch planes land. I like cycling, so she is always asking for a ride in her trailer that I pull behind my bike, and she’s always excited when we say we’re going to watch bike races.) I think as long as you don’t push it too far, kids can be involved in your activities and make them even more enjoyable.
      You just have to make it a priority that you won’t give up everything you love, because if you do, you’re really not being the best parent you can be. They need to see that you are well-rounded.

      • Not Telling, you sound awesome and give me hope that I too can be a good loving parent while also still having a life.

      • Ditto.

      • Always a NYer :

        You really do sound awesome. Your situation is definitely something I aspire to have one day.

      • Anon For This :

        I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I posted yesterday about being a single mom, and even with being a single mom, I was able to hang out with my friends, go to restaurants and do things I liked to do. Kids only control your life if you let them.

      • Praxidike :

        This is awesome and, IMO, one of the real benefits to having an only child. I am an only child too, as is my husband, and I think I can safely say that we did not change our parents’ lives significantly. It is as much a function of the parents “allowing” the kid to change their lives as it is the number of children. And that, my friends, is why I will only have one child (hopefully a girl).

      • Exactly. I feel like my son fits perfectly into our lives and families but we made sure that we didn’t lose the things we love doing. He goes to bed around 7, and we love having evenings together and getting babysitters so we can still hit the town. We had my in-laws watch him over Thanksgiving and took a somewhat impromptu trip to Ireland. If I can’t have a great relationship with my husband and really nuture that, I feel like I can’t be a good mom. We don’t have a lot of parent friends because I (judgingly) think a lot of parents go completely crazy and over-parent their kids. Take time for yourself! Leave the kids with a sitter! Continue to explore the world! Your children will be grateful you did!

      • DH & I have 3 kids, and honestly, this is fairly similar to our lives. Our boys are really quite well behaved. We go to restaurants as a family. We haven’t done as much travelling as we’d like, but hope to someday. Our boys (even our almost 12yo) are in bed by 7:30 or 8pm every night (not lights off, though) and dh & I have a few hours in the evening to reconnect. We also try to plan regular date night. Now that ds#1 is older and able to be in charge for an hour or 2 dates will become more frequent, even if they’re just a trip to the local Starbucks after the younger boys are in bed.

        Sure, when they were younger things were crazier, but that stage truly doesn’t last long. It feels like it does when you’re in the midst of it, but before you know it your child is old enough to carry on a real conversation, and you realize what an interesting, funny person they are. You start to see the benefits of your parenting pay off as you observe them treating others with kindness & respect. Last night I walked into the tv room and my oldest (almost 12) was snuggled on the couch with my youngest (6) watching a Christmas special on TV. It was really sweet.

        Weeknights can be crazy, but we choose to limit the evening activities our boys are in so that we can spend more time as a family. We try to always do something fun on the weekends, even if that means a family game of something on the Wii. We also love board games & card games, and it’s great that the youngest is now old enough to participate fully in these.

        My boys love to learn, and love educational outings, it’s great!

        I’ve even picked up new hobbies since my boys were born. I took up running, I sew more, and we’ve started hiking as a family. I think someday I’d like to train for a longer race – half marathon, but I know that right now I’d rather go for shorter runs so I can spend more time with my boys while they are young, and that’s totally OK with me.

        I’m a firm believer in letting people make the decision that is right for them, but don’t make your decision solely on what your lifestyle may be for just a few years when your child is small. Try to think of the big picture. I’ll never regret becoming a mom, but then again, it was not something I ever questioned, to be honest.

    • The period when the kids need to be “chased” is tough and the cuteness does not really make up for the stress and the sacrifices. Especially if your interests are more on the cerebral side.
      But the kids grow up.
      The most wonderful moments for me as a parent were shared experiences that included European vacations and having everyone laugh over a book or a movie. I am seeing mine and my husband’s genes blossom into amazing human beings and feel that not having had kids would have been a waste.

      • Thank you for your comment. We are in the toddler stage right now, and while I love my son and we do have “some” of our life back, I keep wondering when I can get back to some of my more “cerebral” interests.

    • I would also like to hear how other women came to their decision to have kids. I think when I was a teenager I said I was never having kids. I’m 26 now and am ambivalent about it (would depend on spouse and our career paths). I definitely feel like I could live a perfectly fulfilling life without having children, but I don’t if I’ll wake up at 34 or something and have my biological clock go off.

      • I was told over and over again that I would regret my decision not to have children. That my clock would go off and I’d be too old to change my mind.

        It never happened. I adore my wonderful nieces and nephews, and have since they were babies. But I never had that feeling of, “Oh, I want one of my own!” at any point during their childhoods. I am 48 and now past the age where anyone comments on this decision any more.

        I know I’m an outlier, but wanted to chime in so that the position of “no kids, no regrets” is represented.

        • Thanks for posting this, it always makes me feel better to read some stories like these. I’m 30 and don’t plan on having kids, and I can’t count the number of times someone’s told me that I’m going to wake up old, alone and full of regrets in X years. I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether I’m truly, 100% committed to not having kids, and have come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to be 100% sure about any such major life decision. You make the best decision based on your circumstances and what you have, and you never really know what you’re going to regret later.

          I could give lots of rational reasons for not wanting to have kids (time, money, travel, hobbies etc), but what it comes down to for me is that I just don’t seem to have the desire to parent. I don’t feel that fascination that you describe with the process of watching them grow up, etc. And if I still don’t really feel that urge even after years of people telling me that I’m wrong and will regret it, etc, then I’m pretty sure that means I’m not meant to be a parent.

          • phillygirlruns :

            completely agree on just not having the desire. it is definitely the minority position, and it can be alienating or, at the very least, make one spend a lot of time wondering “just what exactly is wrong with me, anyway?” i am also 30 and in the past year or so have come to realize that i don’t want to be a parent for the same reason i don’t want to be, say, a chemist or an architect: it just never occurred to me as something i’d like to do.

        • Same here.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Yes, thanks for posting this. Some people don’t take it seriously when the subject comes up like its not a valid position. I agree with what N said as well. I have never thought that I want kids and can also give a list of what I consider to be rational reasons, but when it comes down to it I just don’t have the desire to be a mother. If that changes down the road for me, so be it. I certainly have changed my mind on things over time before, but that doesn’t make my current feeling on the matter invalid. Sorry for rambling a bit there…

        • Also childless by choice :

          45 and no regrets yet

    • It is important for you to hear that life with young children will not necessarily turn out the way it did for your sisters. But you and your fiance have to make the decision to maintain the time you need for each other – and agree about how that is going to work.

      My husband and I have demanding, but well paying careers. We don’t love to work, and if we won the huge lottery jackpot, we both definitely would quit our full time jobs. Pre-kids we took great vacations that required long plane rides, ate in great restaurants, saved a bunch for retirement, and had a great life.

      We had kids (2 of them) and guess what – we still have a great life. Because we take the time for each other to make it that way. Granted, the trips by ourselves are shorter and have to be worked out in advance, but we still take them several times a year. We regularly get a babysitter and head out for great meals. We have great coversations after the kids are in bed. We have this because we agreed that it is important to us. You can too, but you both have to be on the same page.

      We have lots of friends who are very child-centric. When we go out to dinner, they call to check on the kids every 30-60 minutes. They even talk to the kids and hear about what they have been doing with the babysitter. We don’t. We figure the babysitter has our number and if there is an emergency she will call – it has been 5 years, and a babysitter has never had to call. We have lunch dates where we don’t have to pay a babysitter and we can talk.

      Are there going to be times when you can’t get a shower? Yes – especially at the beginning. Will you have weekends where you devote 90% of your time to resolving meltdowns and fights over a toy they are both several years to old to play with, and the other 10% reminding yourself that you really do love your children? Absolutely. But your life as a couple is not over unless you choose to let it die. You just have to remember that the choice is yours.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Well said.

        We’re admittedly the parents who have a hard time leaving their kids. We plan our weekends around activities that everyone will enjoy. We rarely go out by ourselves. But we still have a great marriage. We’re affectionate, spend time together, make each other laugh. Having children doesn’t change the way you feel about your spouse. Actually, in my opinion, that’s often the issue with couple’s whose relationships suffer having kids. It puts stress on the cracks that already existed.

        We’ve made sacrifices for a family life, but it’s absolutely worth it. Watching your children grow up and experience the world through their eyes is nothing short of amazing. It’s like every phase change in life, you lose some but you gain some. It’s the right time when what you gain is more important to you than what you lose.

        And as others have said, the really hard time is at the beginning. It gets easier as they gain independence. I may never be exactly the same person as before having kids. I have the same personality, the same interests, but less simply less time to exercise them. But I’m okay with that because I’m happy with who I am now. I love being “mom.”

        • Research, Not Law :

          PS – I should add that we don’t go out by ourselves much, etc, because we *choose* to stay home with our family. It’s not that we’re unable.

    • no advice, going thru the same thing, and love reading these comments. please keep them coming.

      • I really appreciate all these thoughts too. Also, if anyone has input for someone who is terrified of being pregnant and giving birth…? To me, raising kids is less overwhelming, as a thought, than the act of having them.

        • Diana Barry :

          If you can let go of the worry, or try, please do. I found that the more I worried, the more I needed to worry, etc. etc., and the more I let go and tried to be fatalistic about it – whatever happens will happen – the better I felt. And my labor/delivery experiences were absolutely fine. Good luck!

        • As a first-time mom who is now 30 weeks and staring down the barrel of giving birth, I get the “fear” that you have. But, I keep reminding myself that pregnancy and birth lasts only 10 months. And to be fair, many pregnancies aren’t all that complicated. From weeks 13-28, I felt great and often forgot I was pregnant. Now – I just keep focusing on “it will all be worth it!” versus “get your head off of my sciatic nerve!”

          • When you get to be 38-40 weeks you’ll be feeling so giant and exhausted that you’d do *anything* to get that baby out of there. It’s all about perspective!

        • Ha! I feel the same way. I haven’t had kids yet but when I stress about that aspect of it, I remind myself that my body was in fact designed to give birth. If it was just H and I out in the wilderness doing our thing, I would give birth out there, no docs, no hospital, no medical intervention of any kind, and statistically it would probably be just fine. So I guess my answer is: have faith in your body’s ability to do what it was primarily designed to do.

        • Being pregnant and giving birth are incredibly natural things, though they can be scary. I would (if/when the time comes) look for a good midwife. They are skilled at making the process less scary! Also, before labor, learn some techniques to manage fear. I found with my third birth (a water birth) that I was able to manage the pain much better once I managed the fear. When I felt myself getting out of control, I breathed, and calmed myself down, and really visualized my baby moving down. It was a fast labor and birth (4 hours total), and I really felt in control. I also had a great midwife!

        • Hey Monday

          I felt terrified about childbirth, especially the first time. It is such a thing in our culture to complain/brag about the pain and torture and endurance of childbirth, it’s kind of ridiculous. And it can freak you out.

          What helped me was walking down the street looking at people and thinking, “every one of these people was born.” Whether vaginally or c-section, we still haven’t found another way to make new people. :)

          I also thought of women in other cultures who just squat down in the field and give birth.

          I guess knowing that I was doing something almost every woman on the face of the earth over the whole history of time made me get over myself a little.

          And really, it wasn’t FUN exactly, but at the end, you get a baby! Totally worth it.

          • Anonymous :

            The more I hear about childbirth, and knowing that my mother had me naturally (no drugs and I was 9lbs. 10oz.), makes me really want a scheduled c-section when I decide to have a child.

          • Mamabear –
            THIS: And really, it wasn’t FUN exactly, but at the end, you get a baby! Totally worth it.

    • I’m struggling with the same issue, and I just don’t know what to do. On top of my ambivalence, I feel like I’m not going to be in a financial position to have kids any time soon. But I’m running out of time to make a decision, and I don’t want to look back and wish I’d chosen differently. I wish I had wisdom to share, but right now all I’ve got is a boatload of empathy. :)

    • mommyinlaw :

      I am 35 and had my daughter while I was a 30-year-old 2L. My advice: First ask yourself if you want to have *a* kid, not kids plural. Having one child is much different from having two or more. With one kid, the first few years will still be difficult. You will feel at times that you have lost your identity and compromised your relationship with your spouse. If you choose to work outside the home, you will also feel that you aren’t doing either of your jobs (mommy or career) well. All of this is pretty much inevitable, but it will diminish as your child gets older. By the time your child is one year old, you will probably be finished nursing and you are likely to be getting a reasonable amount of sleep. A year or two later, the constant onslaught of viruses and ear infections your kid brings home from day care will slow down dramatically. With just one kid, this most challenging period only lasts a couple of years. It is also logistically and financially easier to handle a dual-career household with only one child, and when you are in mommy mode you will be able to devote your full attention to your child. Having more than one child creates an entirely different dynamic, and you don’t have to decide whether that’s what you want until after you’ve had the first one. (Not that it’s a bad thing to have more than one kid–it’s just not for everyone!)

      • thanks for this perspective. i think having one child is much easier for my fiance and I to contemplate. for a long time though, i had this idea that i wouldn’t want an ‘only child’ – although now i really don’t know that the conventional wisdom on this makes any sense. (the CW i’m referring to is basically the school of thought that only children tend to be more spoiled, or socially less adept, or whatever it was that people used to say).

        there was a big Time mag article on this a year or two back, basically debunking the myths. any only children out there or parents of one child with thoughts?

        • Only child here! I definitely got some extra spoilin’ around Christmas and my birthday, as I am also an only grandchild, but it didn’t do any lasting harm.

          I did spend a lot more of my childhood alone than most people, especially as I spent half of it on a farm and the other half in a neighborhood that skewed towards retirees, but eh, it didn’t bother me. I think being comfortable alone with yourself and your thoughts is a very valuable skill, which I am grateful to have.

          I wasn’t ever the most outgoing kid in my class, but I was never an outcast, either, and always had one or two good friends to get me through those inevitable periods in school where people suck. (I’m looking at you, eighth grade.) I’m still no social butterfly, but I am plenty adept in social situations, and honestly don’t think being an only child had much of an impact on that.

          I don’t think being an only child is better or worse than having siblings–like so many things, it’s just different.

        • Anonymous :

          I am mom to 1 child now and think about this. I also thought I wouldn’t want just 1, for child’s sake. My grandmother is an only child and always told me she felt painfully lonely– not as a kid or young person, but as the years went by and she was the only 1 to remember things and people, had no one to recall Aunt so-and-so, no one really to care about her memories or be witness to her life and legacy. Of course I loved her stories and learned the family tree form her, etc., told her so, but she said it’s not the same as having that witness, that bond of shared existence with someone.
          I think now that my child may be an only, and that’s okay. But I hope any onlies get to have genuinely strong relationships with cousins or a chance at a lifelong friendship (not moving around.)

          • Littlest Attorney :

            I’m an only child, and moved around a fair bit as a child. It was hard at times because I was around other adults mostly and had a hard time relating to and making friends with other kids until high school. That said I did almost always have 1 good friend.

            I do understand about the loneliness of having no one with whom to share memories. I’m close with my cousins but I’m 10 years older than the eldest one and they live overseas, as does all of my extended family. Another downside of being an only child is that you don’t get to have that big family feel. This is especially noticeable to me after my immediate extended family had 3 deaths in 18 months (grandfather, mother, uncle). It doesn’t leave that much family left.

            Even so, if I were to have children (I don’t feel the urge and at 29 if I don’t feel it I’m not sure I will) I think I would only have 1. Maybe its not true for all families, and money certainly plays a role in this, but I had so many opportunities to do things as an only child that wouldn’t have been practical if I had siblings and I would want my child to have those options too. We went on fabulous trips to Africa and India when I was still in elementary school. We lived overseas on short notice. I got to participate in any activity I wanted because there was never a scheduling conflict between me and a sibling.

        • Using my name from the wallet-as-gift-for-teen-girl thread from a couple of weeks ago. I was an only child, and while I grew to love solitude, I also failed to develop any social skills until age 10 or so. (One big reason was my mother didn’t speak English, so she wasn’t inclined to take me out of the house to places where other kids were.) Generally speaking, “only” doesn’t have to mean “lonely” but my social/emotional well-being just wasn’t a priority to my parents and that’s where I’m going with this. My niece is an only child, and I see her being raised the way I was raised. We’re like weeds growing in a field: yes, I turned into a beautiful wildflower and so may she, but would it kill mom and dad to pay attention to the water and sunlight, maybe try fertilizing the soil?

          On a lighter note, my favorite teacher in HS (25 years ago) went through a long period of discussion/negotiation with his wife about kids. They decided very mindfully to have one child. Cut to: her waking up in recovery after an emergency C-section, and her husband whispering joyfully “TWO!”

          • MeliaraofTlanth :

            my mother had the same experience (though not at the c-section…). They found out about me about two weeks before we were born. I guess my brother was blocking me from view in the sonograms or something.

            The best laid plans…

          • I have to tell this story, and then I swear I’m going to get back to work.

            A colleague of mine and his wife had one son. They both had powerful careers and the wife thought the one son was enough. But the dad really really wanted to try again for a little girl, so he talked her into it.

            She had triplet boys.

            I swear I am not making this up!

          • mamabear – I have a friend with a similar story. They already had a large family (4 kids) and her husband really wanted one more. Convinced her to have one last baby and they had triplets. Some things you have no control over.

        • I am an only child. It was/is awesome. I got a lot of benefits – lots of attention, lots of early development, felt very secure, etc., and I don’t think I am spoiled or have any typical “only child” traits. People are always surprised to find out I am an only child, actually, which I think is really funny. Personally, I think the whole only child thing = selfish, self-involved mess idea is just bullsh*t. But I was involved in a lot of group activities (classes, etc.) from an early age so perhaps that helped. Who knows?

          Going back to the original question, my parents didn’t change their lifestyle too much when they had me. Perhaps in part because it was just me and not several kids, they would just take me with them when they travelled (or they’d leave me with my grandmother), or went to the theater, or went camping, or whatever they did before I came along. Some of my fondest memories are hanging out with my mom and her friends and listening to them gossip, or going to movie festivals with my dad and watching 3 movies in a row. I loved it. I hung out with a lot of really brilliant adults, I was comfortable in different social situations, I learned new languages, I got to meet great people and rode a camel … It was awesome. I wouldn’t trade my childhood or my parents for the world. I think it really is a matter of how you approach it. At some point you just have to make a conscious decision of how you want to live your life. Kids rise to the expectations you set for them. If your kids are used to being around adults, having to behave, being quiet in restaurants, etc., they will be; if you never take your kid anywhere because he runs around at home going crazy, that’s how he will act when you do take him out… Obviously, it’s hard work but I think the experience is well worth the hassle.

        • mommyinlaw :

          An only child who attends a high-quality day care center or preschool should not be at any disadvantage when it comes to social development. My daughter and her day care classmates were together for nearly five years until they all went off to kindergarten, and they definitely had to learn to take turns, share, and work out their disagreements! In fact, my “one and only” has an easier time socially than her cousin of the same age, who has a sibling but didn’t start preschool until she was 3 1/2. Sure, my daughter sometimes asks why she doesn’t have a baby brother like so many of her friends, but we explain that our family is perfect for us just the way it is. We also make sure to support her special relationships with her cousins who are close to her own age, especially the one who is also an only child. As a. says in her comment, “like so many things, it’s just different.”

        • Praxidike :

          As I said above, both I and my spouse are onlies. I don’t think selfish or spoiled is a word that could accurately be used to describe either of us (and certainly not him).

          Only children share characteristics with firstborn children. The conception that only children are spoiled or narcissists is generally incorrect, though they may be spoiled by attention or gifts from family. For instance, I am the only grandchild on both sides, and I definitely got a lot of gifts. But you know, that’s what happens to KIDS. As you grow, things change. I wouldn’t even consider having more than one child, to be honest. I know it’s what’s right for me.

        • If you do have room to choose whether to have more than one child, I think you need to consider the other end of being an only child, not just growing up but as you and your spouse grow older. I am in my early 40s and my friends and I are at the stage where our parents need us a lot more — they are getting older, developing health issues, etc. I am lucky to have a brother who I’m very close to and we will deal with all of this together (not financially, my parents are in good shape there, but all the emotional, logistical, decision-making parts of things).

          Some of my friends who are onlies are dealing with their parents’ problems, which range from losing a spouse, to downsizing, deciding on assisted living, serious health issues, not driving, etc. Even with spouses, and even when financial support is not needed, it is a big burden to carry alone on lots of different fronts.

          • This is a good point. When my mother died, I had to handle everything alone (my parents are divorced). But there’s not really any guarantee that having siblings means you’ll have support. I know plenty of people who are estranged from their siblings and their parents, and who would be handling their parents’ deaths alone regardless of sibling status.

          • @Whit – this. I’m an only child with divorced parents, neither of whom are in great financial condition. I’ve watched both parents struggle to support their mothers (their fathers passed away 10+ years ago)–and my parents each have 3 siblings with whom to share the burden! I occasionally get pretty stressed about how I’m going to take care of two ailing parents when presumably I’ll have kids and a mortgage in addition to my already hefty student loan debt and potential a spouse’s parents to care for, as well. Where’s the money going to come from? Where is the time going to come from?

        • This is very late and I hope you see this.

          First, I am an only child. I never knew my father, my mom worked and I was raised by my grandma mostly. I never had problems socializing in school and I don’t have them now. I spent a lot of time around adults, but my neighborhood was full of kids and we all used to get booted outside in decent weather after breakfast, came in for lunch, and then got booted outside until dark. Now that I am older the main thing that seems to mark me as an only is my absolute need for quiet me time. My husband, who is the youngest of 9, still finds this unfathomable after 24 Yeats.

          Second, I had my children at 16 and 20. I love them much more than I can express, but I can honestly say that if I had not gotten pregnant so young I would not have had children. I don’t regret the choices I made back then, but I know that as I matured I realized that if I were in your situation at this time my answer would be no.

          I don’t know if I can effectively explain this, but I’m going to try. Me now understands the commitment children need. And I’m not speaking from my experience as a mom. I just believe that as you mature you become more acquainted with reality, with the weight of decisions, and the level of commitment you have. Me then thought I knew all of that and on some book knowledge level I did, but today I know it on some other level. Being where I am in life’s progression I can honestly say having kids would not be a choice I’d make. I’m not sure how helpful that is, but I’m hoping you’ll find something in it.

          Third, please don’t make a decision to have more than one child based solely on the burden you fear leaving on your child. My mom died earlier this year after a very long illness. I had supported her financially, emotionally, and medically through it all and I never once wished I’d had a sibling to share the burden, now matter how hard things were. She is my mom and I love her. I would gladly have borne 100 times the burden without giving it a second thought. Should you choose to have an only, I’m sure they will feel the same.

          There are no right or wrong decisions here as far as the rest of the world is concerned. You can only make the decision that is right for you.

        • I’m an only child.

          Can’t comment on whether I’m spoiled or less socially adept–other people are probably a better judge of that.

          Not having siblings growing up didn’t bother me at all. I was perfectly content to play by myself or with friends when available.

          Not having siblings now does bother me. If I have kids, they won’t have any aunts, uncles, or cousins on my side. After my parents die, I’ll have no immediate family. That’s depressing. If I have kids, I’d like to have at least 2 so I don’t put them in the same position.

          I have another only-child friend whose father died while she was in law school and whose mother passed away suddenly this summer. She too has described feeling like an orphan.

    • two teenagers :

      Agreed with most everything above. You can (for the most part) create your own reality and create the life you want for your kids. The nice thing about being Type Corporette is that you likely have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills to be able to create said reality… especially if life throws a monkey wrench at you, like having triplets when you planned for one, or your child has bipolar disorder, or one of you develops health issues that cut back the life you planned to lead. (And for people like me with a lot of problem-solving skills but need a little help, well, that’s what my therapist has been doing.)

      My parenting experience has been the opposite of a lot of my friends’. I had a really hard time when mine were little; they were loud and energetic and didn’t listen and ran away in public, because that’s what toddlers are like. Meanwhile I was surrounded by mothers who just.adored. their little ones and treasured (so they said) every moment of their babies’ and toddlers’ tranquil (so they said) existence. I wanted to sell mine on eBay.

      They’re teens now. They’re bright and analytical and motivated, and they’re growing into young adulthood and we have our moments with that, but on the whole life is a thousand times more harmonious than it was when they were little. In contrast, some folks I know have virtually given up on their teens. I’ve been told, “I don’t know this teenage girl with her moods and her feelings. What happened to my sweet BABY?”

      So your experience doesn’t have to be like your sibs’. And the experience that you do have can change.

    • Haven’t yet read the comments, but thank you for bringing this up! This is something I am thinking about more and more these days. I’m a few years younger than you, but we’ve been married for awhile and I feel like we should start thinking seriously about kids….if we’re going to have them. Everyone I know says you never regret having kids and being a parents is the best thing that’s ever happened to them and you don’ tknow love till you have a child….but a little part of me is always thinking, “don’t they HAVE to say that?” I mean, even letting yourself think otherwise would make you miserable, I would think…it’s not something that can be changed, really, so don’t they have vested interest in making themselves believe that they love it? I am very curious to see all the responses.

      In particular, I’m curious to hear from parents to have more than one child. I’ve always felt that siblings were a very important part of my childhood and I would want to give that to my child. That of course means we’d have to have more than one. From my observations, my friends with kids who only have one child do maintain a pretty fun, cool lifestyle, similar to my own and similar to what you describe…but once they have the second (or third), they inevitably need more room, moved further away to get it, buy a bigger car, and their lives become much more about “chasing” the kids, as you call it. Not saying it has to be that way, but I would love to hear from someone with 2, 3, 4 kids.

      • I have three kids. There is a large age gap between the first two, and then a small gap between the second two. Honestly, we have a ton of fun together! Of course, it is difficult sometimes–shortly after we had our third, I asked my husband why on earth we thought it was a good idea to have an almost teenager, a toddler and then add a newborn to the mix! But that was mostly sleep-deprivation talking. Now, the baby is almost a year old, sleeps better and the older two have adjusted well.

        We still go camping, hiking, to baseball games, bowling, etc. and we travel together. We make time alone together as well. Usually this involves dates at home once everyone is asleep, but honestly, we were homebodies before we had kids, so this is fine for us. We do leave them with a sitter every now and then and go out to eat or whatever. We also do lunch dates during the week, which I love!

        One part of making it all work is that my husband is a true partner. He is just as hands-on with the kids and the housework as I am and we both find a lot of joy in watching our kids grow and have new experiences. We both have a similar way of dealing with stress and so we are able to just laugh sometimes when the kids are having meltdowns, because sometimes there isn’t much else you can do!

        So it is hard sometimes, it is hectic, but it doesn’t mean your life is over! It is a different phase in life, but there is nothing better than having little arms wrapped around your neck, and a big slobbery kiss on your cheek! I especially love when my children express their love for each other. It is so heartwarming to hear my middle child tell the baby “I love you soooo much! You are a sweet baby!” Or for when my oldest says thank you for giving me my baby sister and brother!

      • I agree that life with one child is much easier and its easier to maintain your own individual identity- my brother and his wife have one and plan to keep it that way. My sister, on the other hand has three, and loves it. I personally want more than one because I love having siblings (though I didn’t always as a middle child) and I want my kids to have that. I think that is the other common wisdom about not having only children– when your kids are adults, it will be nice if they have the built in support network that siblings can provide. Also siblings help share the burden of caring for elderly parents. Of course, there are other ways to build those networks too (cousins, friends).

        I do think it’s impossible to know this for certain before you have kids. My sis in law wanted 4 kids, but changed her mind to just one after she had the first. I don’t think she appreciated the loss of identity/personal life while kids are small and potentiality of extending that by having more. Also, the expense is an issue.

        • I wonder whether I should have more than one child (someday). I think I might feel guilty about not giving my child a sibling because having a sister is one of the greatest gifts in my own life, and I would want my child to experience a similar bond. Plus, I would worry about burdening one child when I got older and needed more help. But then I think, how do you know? Maybe your children won’t be close. My older brother is one of the most toxic people in my life. What if it had just been him and me? And isn’t there ways you can plan your own elder years so as not to burden your child quite so much? So many questions. I guess you have to do your best and have a little faith.

      • Before I had my son, I definitely bought into the whole “you will never regret having a child,” “a child makes your life whole,” “being a mother is wonderful camp.” I love my son, and I accept being a mother now, but I wish people would have been more honest with me. Motherhood is messy and random. The last two years have been the hardest of my life, and I often feel like my life is fractured. Now that we are out of the no sleep phase, my perspective has gotten better, but I never really realized how much children change your mental and emotional life. Knowing these realities, I don’t know if I would have not had my son, but I imagine that I would have thought long and hard about it a lot more.

        • Thank you for posting this viewpoint- I think many moms feel this way but it’s socially unacceptable to admit it. My job sometimes touches on child welfare. There are a lot of moms who are overwhelmed and ill-equipped (often for personal reasons that they can’t change) and regret the whole thing. We only see the worst cases, obviously, but based on the sliver we do see, I can say I’m pretty confident that there are a lot of moms out there who struggle with the demands of motherhood. So I guess it’s good to get out there that having kids is not the right answer for everyone. And that is ok.

        • Thank you! I love my baby, but I definitely feel that the echo of people saying “It’s awesome! Totally worth it! You’ll never regret it!” could have been balanced by others who said “The first two months were the hardest two months of my life!” as I would say today.
          I always felt (and still do) that I’m either particularly incompetent, or have a particularly difficult child, because everyone else seems to breeze through parenthood with nary a complaint.
          But for me – a person who used to sleep 8 to 9 hours every single day- it’s been a hard, hard slog these 8 months. Despite my excellent, supportive, extremely involved husband and a very helpful mom, AND a fairly uneventful delivery and baby without major health issues.

          It isn’t just the extreme tortuous sleep deprivation and the lack of time to eat regular meals or have a normal conversation, but the overwhelming worry! The stress of: baby won’t sleep, baby will sleep in arms but wake up and scream when put in bed, baby has colic, baby bumped his head, and the doozy – when I went back to work -baby won’t drink from a bottle and just waits (and screams) till I come back home!
          I’m thankful to the folks who tell me “this too shall pass”, but if they’re the same folks who told me at the beginning that it’s all wonderful, then I remain skeptical.
          Of course there are the happy moments. But there’s a lot left unsaid about the many, many hard moments.

      • I have 3. I feel like, with each addition, there was a 6-month period of adjusting to the new load of labor. And then my husband & I got used to it and forgot how it was before. (Part of it is that they become easier aroud 8 months, part of it is the adjustment.)
        Now that they are older, the work is more about activities – the carpooling and the attending. I dreaded this, and I love it more than I ever thought I would. It’s fun watching them blossom into their own people, and as a type-A, I love watching them develop their own style in sports and the arts. The “mini me” is intoxicating, but watching them become themselves is also.
        The biggest thing I can say about having kids is that there were so many things that I thought I would hate to give up, but I never, ever knew how much I’d love them and how much fun it would be – which makes it all worth it.

      • We have 2 kids.
        Just before the younger one was born, we moved from an apartment into a 3-bd townhouse and are still there 12 years later. It would be nice to have more space and we could afford it, but that would mean moving further out, worse commute, less choice in kids’ activities, worse schools.
        We have never owned a minivan or even a car with 3 rows of seats. Like I said, the kids grew up in a townhouse, with no backyard to speak of (I believe the horror of yardlessness has been well covered in a prior discussion this week).
        We do spend a lot of $$$ on the kids enrichment and we are always busy driving them to activities, but I have realized that this is not a burden but an opportunity for “me” time. I can read, work on my laptop, or go for a walk while the kid is in class.
        One thing you may miss is socializing sans kids. This has never been a priority for us, but we carved out date nights and also outings with girlfriends for me and boys nights for husband. It helps if you have friends with kids close in age to yours.
        Bottom line… kids do not ruin the “fun and cool” in your life, though you will lose some of the things you enjoy. Please understand that your life will change regardless of the kids – you will get older, move to a different city, change careers – and your “fun and cool” will evolve as well.

      • On a practical level, a couple I know had two daughters and did the “try one more time for a boy” and got a baby boy, and that’s when the expense curve got much steeper because they needed a bigger house with a bedroom for the boy and a bigger car to accommodate a baby seat plus the toddler boosters. Now the kids are a little older and things are more expensive because the family is very…. gender-traditional so there’s expense for the girls’ competitive cheerleading and expense for the boy’s football and baseball. They don’t do family vacations because there’s no money left. From talking to them, she seems pretty happy with this. Him less so.

        • Anonymous :

          I always get uncomfortable when people talk about “trying once more for a boy(or girl).” It’s understandable that people want one of each but it’s always come off to me as the children they have aren’t enough for them, and that seems wrong to me. And this is coming from an only child whose mother always told me she’s happy I was a girl because if she had to have only one, she knew a girl would “take care of her more than a boy would.” She also told me if she were to have two she would have wanted a son and then me so he could “protect me.” Shudders, don’t get me started on that rant. Apologies for this rant, I needed to get it off my chest.

      • Wow, all of these responses are so interesting. I really appreciate everyone’s honesty. Also, thanks to the person who pointed out that your life will change with or without kids. That is an excellent point…it’s not like not having them is some guarantee of a life and lifestyle won’t change.

        In addition to my general ambivalence about having them, I definitely do also have a fear of things being “permanently foreclosed” to me, as one person said above. I think part of it is fear of commitment, and immaturity- it’s hard to get over the idea that your life is going to be somehow extraordinary. That when you “grow up”, you’ll be important, fulfilled, famous, special in some way. Please don’t read that as saying that parents are not amazing people. If I really want to do something, there is nothing stopping me. I just have this fear of such a deep commitment- of getting something you can never give back.

        • “I think part of it is fear of commitment, and immaturity- it’s hard to get over the idea that your life is going to be somehow extraordinary.”

          ML, I think that is a really astute point and one that many of us probably share on some level. For me, it’s made me very reluctant to get married. There’s something about that youthful immaturity that makes you expect a grand adventure, and those big grown up decisions — babies, marriage — mean you’re giving up on the chance for something bigger. I’m guessing in 20 years we’ll realize marriage, kids, work, friends ARE the grand adventure.

    • We currently have one child, we’re adopting another. I was always ambivalent about having children. I also found it confusing when so many of my peers knew that they wanted to have kids and planned early on for motherhood. I was waiting for that magical moment to happen when I would also know it and feel it deeply. But, that feeling didn’t come until my infertility really pushed the issue. When the option to have bio children started to disappear, I became really worried that I would miss out on something that I really wanted (or that my husband really wanted, but was too loving to tell me that he wanted a bio child) but never knew how much I wanted it. In the end, I realized that when I’m in my late years and looking back on my life, I doubted very much that I would be disappointed with the decision to parent a little being. But, I might be disappointed with the decision not to. I hope I’m making some sense here! And no, no regrets on being a mom. It’s been an unexpected and amazing experience. I love being a parent, and I know that I’m a good one, too (another concern of mine that added to my ambivalence about having a child).

    • Anonymous :

      You can have every intention have a life filled with children and travel and a career and dinners out with your spouse and . . . BUT, sometimes when a child arrives, things don’t turn out how you expect. At age 1.5 my child was diagnosed with a disability that turned everything on its head (I was pregnant with child number 2 when the diagnosis came our way). Well balanced full time job with great daycare and supportive spouse turned into a still-continuing struggle to balance a part time job with full time expectations along with therapy, doctors appointments and seemingly endless bureaucracy. Do I love my child? Yes. Has it been much harder to be a mom than I ever thought it would be? Yes. Life lesson number 1 with children is that, despite your best efforts, your plan for your life is no longer entirely within your control.

      • Gotta go anon :

        This is my other fear. That, and having a kid and then my husband dying or divorcing me. I’m already on the fence enough and there is no way I would voluntarily go it alone.

    • I have to throw this in, because nobody ever says this. I am a mom of 2. I had children because I was expected to, because I heard my stupid biological clock ticking and because my husband wanted to. It never occurred to me to question whether I should have children, how totally and completely my life would change and how much I would change (unfavorably) by becoming a parent. Now, I don’t have the most helpful husband, which is part of the problem, but… as much as I love my kids, and would NEVER want them not to be in my life NOW, I’m not sure I would have had kids if I knew all that I know now.

      And it’s not just the daily things – the enjoying your hobbies and your relationship with your spouse. It’s the huge giant things too – like at some point, you realize there are all sorts of things that are almost totally foreclosed to you. Like not being able to take that great job because your children are socially sensitive and would have a hard time adjusting to such a totally new environment. Or never being able to have a non-family-centric holiday again.

      There’s so much that is unpredictable about kids, and how they will turn out, and the deep parental guilt that goes along with every problem that your children face. My best friend has a high schooler who she just discovered is cutting herself. HTF do you deal with that? Another friend has a daughter who is going through chemotherapy for a brain tumor. When I lost my job a few years ago, I realized that savings that would have sustained my husband and I for a year would last less than 6 months with children related expenses added in.

      • anonforthisalso :

        Thank you so much Anon for your honesty. You’re really brave to say this. I think it’s one of the biggest taboos still out there and I am sure there are lots of people who feel like you do (especially women who may not always have the same escapes that men in busy careers often have– at my old firm, a lot of male attorneys with young kids spent quite a bit of their weekends in the office and the same wasn’t true for female attorneys).

        I totally believe that you love your kids to pieces and I think your being true to yourself in the face of expectations will help you maintain your sanity.

      • I really, really appreciate your honesty here, Anon.

      • Littlest Attorney :

        Maybe its because I was an only child, but my parents always took the dream job that required the move and I went along. It wasn’t always the easiest thing as a child but I don’t know if making life “easy” for your child is always the best option. Actual life as an adult is seldom “easy” and learning the coping skills you need while you’re a child is a lot easier than trying to learn as an adult, where the cost of failure is much higher.

        • I wrote this entry. @Littlest Attorney. That’s the thing. There is a giant black hole about what’s on the other side of having children. I was going to be one of those parents who didn’t let my children dictate every aspect of my life. But then they came along and, you know, real life interceded. I became one of those terribly guilt-struck parents.

          My oldest had terrible socialization problems for the first 10 years of her life. It took hundreds of hours of “management” just to get her to be able to get through a school day without some sort of a panic attack. Moving anywhere else is a non-starter.

      • Anon for this :

        Lots of what I wanted to say has been represented already, but I will chime in that my son was diagnosed with a blood disorder that acts like cancer at nearly 2, when I was 39 weeks pregnant with our second. The year that followed with his treatments and juggling a newborn and a new job as a litigator was almost indescribable.

        I learned that the fear of losing a child is a fear like no other, and that surviving something like this (he’s fine!) gives you an appreciation for life you never knew and can bond you to your spouse like nothing else.

        Things like “me” time fall to the wayside with 2, it’s completely true. But I also feel like I finally learned how to love, how to really love, with children. Before love was about how he made ME feel. Loving your children is about being happy at how THEY feel, and the act of giving to make them happy and the difficulty of teaching them how to be responsible people with good values.

        I cannot describe my joy now that everything is ok and watching my kids get ready for Christmas. I’d give them everything in the world just to see their eyes light up if I could. I live so much more in the day now than I ever did, and STUFF means a lot less. Sure, I still love to shop, but now I concentrate more on things to do with the kids, experiences to have, how to create life lessons to teach them about being good people.

        I would never have learned this without kids, and much of it without the challenges of a child with a potentially fatal illness. I also learned that as hard as it is to negotiate the medical system, I am beyond thankful we have one that had a way to save my child.

        Children change you and you can’t predict how, but know that if you truly want nothing to change, kids are not right for you.

    • anonforthisalso :

      Thanks all for your comments. I, too, have been in doubt for several years and so has my husband (with me leaning toward trying to have kids, and him leaning toward not having them). We have finally decided to just stop birth control and see what happens. There’s a good chance it may not happen as I’m 38 now, and we’re not obsessively “trying,” but I am much more at peace now that we’ve left things to nature. I’m also still sufficiently ambivalent that I feel ‘ll be really fine if it turns out we don’t have kids. I’m absolutely aware that “not deciding” for as long as we have is also a decision, but I have no regrets.

      FWIW, I like my job very much and so does my husband, and we have lots of interests and activities including traveling, to far-flung places and going out for dinners, concerts, plays, etc. My BIL and his wife are a clear example of the life I wouldn’t want for myself after kids, but both of my sisters manage to have a full life and still be interested in things that don’t involve their kids. Actually I’m so in love with my sister’s kids (despite my doubts about having my own kids I’ve really taken to the role of aunt) that they sometimes remind me they’re more than just the moms of my niece and nephews. ;-)

    • Gotta go anon :

      Love this thread. Husband and I have both been uninterested in having kids for quite sometime. We are 30 and don’t go out as much as we used to and don’t live near family. He has a fairly “easy” job with normal hours and flex time. I have a legal job with pretty long hours. He recently started mentioning that we should actually decide soon whether we want a kid or not rather than waiting until it is too late and seeing the decision made for us. I don’t feel the burning desire to be a parent but I can see the positives of it too. I’m afraid of pregnancy and birth. I’m terrified of having to go off medicines I’ve been on for years. I’m afraid of passing on those same issues. I’m afraid of working too much or not enough. I’m afraid that once I have a kid I can’t just give it back. I’m afraid of not having enough money to responsibly have a kid. I’m afraid of never being able to retire . . . but I can’t just say “nope, I never want them.” I have no idea how to decide or when I will know but I agree that I can’t just keep waiting for a magic desire to decide for me.

    • One thing to consider when you mention that your sister has given up all of her interests is that perhaps her interest in her kids is something she chose to be her top new interest, without regret.

      I skipped a work-related Christmas party this weekend because I didn’t have a babysitter, but really I enjoyed staying home with my kids. We made cookies then we cuddled on the couch to watch a movie. I know I would have had fun at the party too, but I honestly think I had more fun hanging out with my little family.

      Ask me again when they’re teenagers. I may change my mind. :)

    • This is such an interesting thread and many thanks to everyone who’s posted on such an intimate subject.

      For the original ‘anon for this’ : no advice or insight except to say am 4 years ahead of you and still sitting on the fence (and aware that nature is probably taking the decision further out of my hands every year). I married young-ish (24) and thought we’d have all the time in the world to have kids. But the last 14 years have gone by really quick and kids now seem like an ever-bigger mountain to climb.

      I am afraid of the physical challenges of pregnancy and childbirth, afraid of having one which doesn’t sleep/ eat/ settle down until 5 years, afraid of getting caught up in some competitive thing to ensure mine gets access to all the advantages which her peers do, afraid of turning my husband and I into child-centric worry-warts. And in the mean time, I have a wonderful marriage, rewarding work which I love, time and energy for parents, friends, travel and new experiences, and a general good feeling about no longer having to prove myself personally or professionally. It seems to be risking a lot of good stuff for some pretty big unknowns !

      Am sure all the many responses have given you plenty to think about though. Certainly has been the case for me.

  14. Hello hive — this is random but I’m dying to know: have any of you ever lived in Bentonville, AR (or the surrounding NW Arkansas area)? Husband has a slim chance of being offered a relatively short-term (2-ish years) spot there with his company, which is a Wal-Mart vendor. We’re in our early 30’s and have a toddler, with plans for another kid.

    I would appreciate any input or advice on this geographic area or corporate moves in general. We’re coming from a small Midwestern town chock-full of friends and family (his; I moved here when we got married) but see this as a fun adventure we could have for a limited period of time. Thanks in advance.

    • I didn’t go work there, given the opportunity, though it was some time ago. YMMV, but my impression was it was a way company town, complete with distinct neighborhoods for different levels in the company, very conservative values, gun racks on pickups (almost reverse snobbery, like domestic cards over foreign, for example) – but the clincher for us was lack of mobility for a two career family. If you’re a stay at home mom who likes the midwest, it could work; for a meaningful two-career family I would say extremely difficult.

    • I live in a small midwestern city close to NW Arkansas. A friend of mine recently moved there. She has a child in elementary school and a new-ish baby. Their family moved for a career opportunity for her husband. She had a career here (she owned her own business) that she could not immediately continue with there, but it sounds like she is perhaps considering trying it once the baby is older. I will be the first to tell you that I love my little midwestern city and I have heard great things about NW Arkansas. But. My friend had a heck of a time trying to find a house to rent that was suitable for her family. (This may not be an issue if you are going to immediately buy a place, though.) I know she enjoys a church that she recently joined and has made friends that way. She also seems to like the school her daughter attends. Daycare isn’t an issue since she stays at home. FWIW, she lives in the Cave Springs area, which is right outside Bentonville. I wish I could give you more information, but that’s all I have. I do know that some of my colleagues are from that area and really miss it compared to the city that we live in now.

    • I know people who have gone their semi-regularly for longish stays (say a month at a time). They loathed it, but I think their experience was somewhat tainted because they were staying in a hotel and didn’t necessarily have a lot of free time. But I agree with the above commenter that it does very much revolve entirely around Wal-Mart and there isn’t much else there in terms of a “city.” Most services and restaurants are big chains and there isn’t too much going on off the main strip of stores. But — again — since my friends weren’t really “in” with the Wal-mart crowd, they may have been missing a lot of the culture and activities that would be centered around work.

      Obviously, this is all third-hand, but I thought I’d share my two cents.

    • AnonArkie :

      As a lifelong Arkansan, I feel the need to give a shout-out to my home state.

      From what I understand, Bentonville is pretty centered around Wal Mart, but lots of people enjoy living in Fayetteville. One of my best friends in college had a father who worked for a Wal Mart vendor, and they chose to live in F’ville rather then B’ville. She loved living up there. It has a lot of the same things as most medium sized midwestern/southern cities in terms of shopping and stuff to do. There’s a university there with lots of interesting lectures and plays and classes. The surrounding area is BEAUTIFUL. Excellent hiking and other outdoor activities if you’re interested in that stuff.

      Other posters have mentioned the conservative or stereotypically southern aspects of living here. I don’t know if that matters to you. Maybe you are looking for a place with that personality. But if you’re not, I have to say that it is definitely possible to find moderates, liberals, and conservatives who want to be friends with you despite your feelings about their gun racks. It’s slightly harder to find those people than in San Francisco, I’d imagine, but it can be done.

  15. Review of the JLo pants from a few weeks ago. I got them for $20 on clearance at my local Kohls. The regular length works great for me. I can wear them with kitten heels, even though I’m 5’9″. The waist is very high – hits me at my navel – but I personally really like that aspect. They are unlined, but I feel they drape well and I like the width of the leg openings. The only minus is that they do tend to collect lint a bit, although not as badly as some other items of clothing I’ve had.

    Overall: not sure I would pay full retail price for them, but they are well worth at least the $20 I paid for them, especially since I have such a hard time finding pants that are the right length for me!

    • How are the sizes and what’s your body shape?

      • I got a size 8. I generally take a 6 or 8 in pants, and a 6 in dresses. Given where the waist hits, the 8 is right for me. Right now my weight is hovering in the 145 lb range. I do have some hips and a slight belly (having had three children) but not really a JLo tush.

  16. Threadjack to ask for some advice about my SO and unemployment. He’s been looking for a job for a while (JD in 2010, has had short-term employment and been volunteering in work that uses his degree, but is not his area of interest).

    I generally look for job postings and keep my ears open to see if there is anything to encourage him to apply for. I found a posting on a listserve for a policy job that he seems well-qualified for, and he wants to do policy, not litigation or legal counseling. The subject matter isn’t that interesting to him, but it’s within his broader area of interest–let’s say it’s forestry, and he’s interested in energy/environment, but not really forestry.

    I feel like he should definitely apply. It seems like this kind of job would be a good start for him, and the job description makes it seem like there would be good networking opportunities. I also really want him to be employed, from a financial standpoint as well as the fact that we both agree it will be good for him to get out of the house and he’s getting distressed with his job search.

    He is hesitant to apply because it’s not what he wants to do. I guess I feel like he needs to broaden his search and be a little less picky (he shoots down many of the jobs I suggest), and besides, applying for a job doesn’t mean commiting to work at that job for your entire career.

    Do you think I’m being reasonable? Any suggestions on how to address this further address this issue with him? We’re not fighting about it or anything, but I feel like I nag him about job applications all the time and don’t really get anywhere.

    • Diana Barry :

      Hmm. He definitely needs to broaden his job search and apply to anything/everything that he can. I know a 2009 grad that JUST last week got a job.

      You might try to go about it by saying, the FIRST job is not the ONLY job you’ll ever have. Once you get A JOB – ANY JOB, then you can continue looking for and applying for the jobs that you really want. The market is tough and employers will look more favorably on people that are already employed (stinks, but that’s how it is). He may think that he’ll be stuck in the first job he takes, but that is most definitely not the case.

      You should also consider, for yourself, how long you are going to put up with the situation if he refuses to consider jobs that are not specifically in forestry (to use your example). Is there a point at which you would say, no more, or would you stay with him no matter what?

    • He should definitely apply. I’m a 2011 JD and while I know exactly what I want to do, I apply to jobs that I would be able to tolerate doing. He should definitely cast a broader net. The funny thing is, I’m only getting interviews for the jobs I really want, and not within the other fields, but it definitely can’t hurt. At worst case he can get some practice interviews or perhaps a contact that can lead to something he’d like more.

      I will say, it is tough out there, and I’m am probably suffering from depression due to the job search situation. I don’t feel like myself, and don’t enjoy some things that I used it. It is frustrating to keep applying and applying to jobs and never hearing anything.

      I’m in a little different position than you’re SO because I’m currently employed full time, just not in a legal capacity. But I would definitely take legal job that is not exactly what I want to get my foot in the door.

    • If you feel like you’re nagging him about job applications and it’s not getting either of you anywhere–why are you nagging him? I completely understand caring for your boyfriend, and wanting to see him find a job (any job!), but at the same time, it is his decision where he does or doesn’t apply. I personally feel that if you’ve registered your very reasonable opinions on broadening his search, not having to stay in his first job forever, etc., and you know he’s heard you–then you should let it go.

    • It’s been over 18 months since he graduated. At this point he can’t really afford to be that picky. He can’t just stick to jobs that 100% fit his interests. I disagree that he should apply for ANY job, as I know some people who really are in dead end jobs that make it hard to get out into anything better. Those jobs typically have pretty well-known reputations and should be avoided at all costs, but otherwise he really should be applying to everything.

      How long you’re willing to put up with it really has a lot to do with how involved you are in his life at the moment. If you’re living together and he’s not contributing, then I think you have the right to make some sort of demands on his job search effort. There’s nothing wrong with saying that you’re not going to continue supporting his lifestyle without real evidence that he’s applying for jobs- be it 2-3 jobs a week or a set amount per month. If you’re not living together or paying for anything of his, then I don’t think you have as much leeway to do anything about it.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I feel like this is a big issue. Also a 2010 grad, suboptimally employed for a year and now at I great job. I applied for anything in litigation in my geographic region. Any job at all. Refusing to apply for a position that’s not perfect is delusional and self indulgent. How does he pay rent? Buy food? Have health insurance? A cell phone? Are you supporting Him? I’d be having a conversation about him needing to take responsibility, get over his attachment to perfection , and get a job.

      • On a similar note, how long is it okay to stay in my non legal job, for the above mentioned reasons (paying bills, health insurance). I feel like at some point I’m going to be an unattractive candidate compared to more recent grads. I’m currently admitted to 2 states. I’ve applied to other states, and am considering taking more bar exams. I was doing some per diem work, but my access lexis/westlaw has expired.

        Does anyone have any anecdotes about going out on their own out of law school? It sounds really scary, but I am pretty driven and have a decent amount of money saved up (to buy a house), so I could cover start up costs and living expenses for probably 6 months.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think you’re being reasonable and it’s great that you aren’t fighting about it, although it seems like something that would put stress on your relationship.

      Is it possible that there is something else going on with him? Is he apathetic about other things going on in your lives? It seems like if he’s volunteering in an area that isn’t really his area of interest anyway, that it shouldn’t be a big deal to apply for paying jobs that aren’t really in his area of interest either. I’d try to talk with him about what is really holding him back. If it really is that he doesn’t want to work outside of his interests, I think he will need to consider broadening his search. I graduated in Dec 2009 and my friends in May 2010 and most of us have had to expand our search and do thinks like document review, which we absolutely don’t want to do forever. Good luck.

    • I totally sympathize, my SO is also currently going through a difficult time career wise. Have you tried just talking to him directly about what you’re feeling, rather than about specific jobs (ie, telling him that you’re feeling stressed about finances and worried about his mental state, etc)? Sometimes a kick in the butt can be helpful, but if you’ve tried that and it’s not working I would back up and see if you can address it with him at a more general level. Let him suggest some solutions to the problems you raise instead of just suggesting solutions for him.

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      Yes, you’re being reasonable and yes, he should apply.

      I’m a 2010 grad that didn’t have a job. It took me a very long time to find a full-time, non-volunteer job. I basically applied to anything remotely resembling litigation or policy areas I was interested in. I finally found one. It’s a fairly niche area and not one I want to stay in forever, but it is a job and it will give me some good skills that are transferable.

      I can understand wanting a job in a specific area (I really wanted a specific job in a certain policy area, actually), but on the other hand, gotta pay the rent somehow. I remind myself a job is not a career, and I know very, very few people who are still at the same company/firm as their first job after law school 10 or 5 (or even 2…) years out.

    • Yes, you are being reasonable. But IMO — that’s irrelevant. You can’t force him to apply, take a job that’s not what he wants or otherwise get him to see these options as reasonable.

      My husband’s looking for a new job, after being turned down for a promotion. This morning, I asked him if he had considered talking to a mutual friend about his job search since she may be a resource. He got tense immediately. I then stopped and asked him — did my suggesting this upset you? Stress you? What would you like me to do to support you in this search? His answer basically was that he wants to do it himself, tell me what’s going on but does not want “helpful” suggestions.

      This is hard for me. I’ve watched him take steps that IMO, are not helping. I see him applying for jobs on-line, not networking and then being shocked when he hears nothing back. But yanno what? It’s his career and there’s only so much I can do without becoming a nag and harming our relationship.

      • I agree. My husband is extremely sensitive with anything that has to do with his career. Not only can I not give him unsolicited job-seeking advice, I can’t give him on-the-job advice either. Maybe the psychology is related to how men define themselves by their work. Anyway, if your husband is at all like mine, I would stand back, and let him work through these issues himself. Offer help WHEN he asks. At some point, he will probably come to the same realization as you have. That would be the time to point out some other options that he might want to consider.

    • original anon :

      Original poster here. Thanks for all the advice and comments. I did not specify our relationship in my OP, but we are married, and we share finances, and I know those details might have altered responses.

      I feel like I just needed a reality check, because I’ve been particularly stressed lately. I think we need to sit down and have a serious talk about this. I know he’s upset and frustrated–not sure if depressed would be the right word, but maybe–and it’s not that he’s not looking, it’s that he’s (very) selectively applying. It’s hard for me to know how to approach it, though, because his issues are common issues (i.e. no one likes getting repeatedly rejected, and few people are in their dream job, especially right away), and at some point he just needs to get over it.

      • anon –
        This was me a year ago. My husband has a bachelors degree, and when we moved, he was very selectively applying for jobs that fit the image in his head of what he wanted to be doing. That might have worked in 2005, but not in this economy.
        After months and months, it basically got to the point where we had about four months left we could pay all our bills on my income + savings. Then, one day he “woke up” and began applying for other jobs. It put an enormous amount of stress on our marriage – in no small part because I felt like I was having to stand up for him to other people and talk about how hard he was trying to find a job in the tough economy, but inside of my head I was very, very angry that he wasn’t doing enough IMO to try, while I was searching for jobs for him during my own lunch breaks.

        I’d love to say that him finding a job fixed everything. It fixed our financial situation. But it took us a couple months to work through it – especially because I came from a background of “I will take any job needed to pay the bills” and he, most definitely, did not, and I resented him heavily for it.

        What I thought was indifference on his part towards the job search/towards our relationship and goals was really a symptom of a major stuggle he was having with his self-worth and pretty significant depression at how difficult things were, to the point where he was immobilized. We had to be several months removed from the stress before he was able to open up about what he was dealing with.

        That said – our relationship is now better than ever. It was something we had to work through as a couple. It is hard, but you’re not alone.

        • also anon :

          ML, I could have written your post literally word. for. word. My hubby graduated from a good law school in 2009 and has yet to find permanent employment. The self-image collapse, the wake-up call, the enormous strain on our relationship as I had to defend his employment status to friends and family while suppressing my fury and frustration. I come from the same “whatever pays the bills” background and resented the hell out of his privileged upbringing ego. But what was really going on was my husband was immobilized by a major depression because he felt his lack of employment made him a failure at life. He finally found a a contract job earlier this year, but nothing permanent yet. However, after going through that horrible experience together, I am certain we can get through anything.

          OP, I’m afraid your husband may be depressed in the same ways that mine and ML’s was. My biggest regret is not somehow forcing him to get professional assistance sooner. The male ego was/is something I don’t fully understand, but it is a powerful force.

    • I agree with you. 18 months is a long time to be out of work. Even if this isn’t his dream job, it sounds like it’s in the general area where he wants to end up. He could use this job to gain experience and ultimately make the move to his dream job. Since he’s just out of law school, it may take a job or two for him to figure out what he truly wants to do for the rest of his life. It seems silly to me for him to reject even applying. He may not even get the job and can cross that bridge when he comes to it. It is also possible that he will really click with the interviewer and like the job more when he gets more information about it.

    • Praxidike :

      This may come off as harsh, and I don’t mean it to. He is unemployed. His volunteering hasn’t lead to anything. The lack of experience is probably what’s preventing him from getting in the door at most policy jobs. At this point, “what he wants to do” is not as important as “what he NEEDS” to do, which is to find a job and get some experience.

      Personally, I really cannot stand the attitude that people are allowed to wait for their dream job to just pop up out of nowhere. Your first (or second, or third) job is not your dream job. Your dream job comes after you’ve accrued enough contacts and experience to MAKE it happen.

      After law school, I had a clerkship and was then unemployed for nine months. After four months of searching, I knew I would have accepted basically ANY job that would give me experience. Even if it was something I didn’t want to do, I would have accepted it because it would have helped me make comments and to shore up my experience and my resume. I landed a job in litigation eventually, which turned out to be a good fit for me. After five years, that job turned into an in-house job for one of our best clients.

      Would I have been able to go in house right off the bat? No way. I was only able to get the in-house position because I worked my ass off. I think your husband needs to broaden his search and get a dose of reality. If this job is what he wants to do (policy) and it doesn’t meet his “interest” criteria, then he’ll get policy experience and he can try to move into his area of interest later. And he might also find that he’s more interested in the area of this position than he thinks. Finally, there is an art to interviewing, and if he’s not applying for jobs (and therefore not interviewing), he’s not going to be at the top of his game if his dream job DOES show up.

  17. So today I’m wearing “the skirt” in magenta and an olive green cashmere sweater, ala last week’s splurge recommendation. A woman in the ladies’ room just complimented me on my “great color combination.”

    • That does sounds like a really cool color combination.

    • LOVE this color combination.

    • Bunstker…I’m ALSO wearing the skirt today in magenta (though with a pale blue button down).

      We should get together sometime to wear the skirt and watch Hart of Dixie. :-)

      • Absolutely. I just watched the re-runs last night. I’d never seen the heat wave one. Oh my! Hot, shirtless Wade!

        • Yeah, never have I disagreed with a character on TV more than when Hart there decided not to hook up with Wade during that episode! Silly girl. ;-P

  18. Does anyone have thoughts about doing a Kaplan course to study for the bar? Barbri seems to be the standard, but the Kaplan course is significantly cheaper. . .

    • I took Kaplan this past summer and passed the bar with flying colors (to my great relief and moderate surprise). Over the summer, when all my friends were taking BarBri, I second-guessed myself a number of times, but now that it’s over I’m really glad I didn’t spend the extra $800 or whatever it was. I thought Kaplan was great, although all those courses still seem overpriced to me. And I promise I don’t work for Kaplan, even though this post might sound like it! I can try to answer if you have more specific questions about it.

      • Thanks, Eleanor! A couple more questions if you don’t mind: Where did you take the bar? Did you sign up to do the classroom lectures or online only?

        • I took it in Ohio, and I did the online lectures only (cheaper! And I could do them on my own schedule).

    • I’m in FL and people here seem to give Kaplan better reviews than BarBri. I had a few friends who took BarBri next to the Kaplan class and they said they wish they had taken it instead. There have been several administrations where BarBri specifically told people not to study X and Y and of course X and Y appeared prominently in that administration of the exam. I think it all depends on your state though. I’d see if you can talk to people who have taken each in prior years to see what they say about it.

    • Another Sarah :

      I did Barbri a couple times and Kaplan once. My biggest issue was with the MBE, and IMO, Kaplan is muuuuch better with the MBE than BarBri. While I didn’t pay much attention to Kaplan’s state-specific lectures, I liked how I could practice by drilling essays and they would actually grade them instead of self-grading. Seeing lots of little green lights next to my essays made me feel better.

      As a repeater, Kaplan also gave me a super-fab deal on the course and tutoring, fwiw…

  19. Mary Ann Singleton :

    I know some of you have slow cookers that you love. My bf just asked for one for Christmas. Any recommendations for brand/type? (I’ve never even seen one before so I don’t know where to start.) Also, any recommendations for recipe books for a slow cooker?

    Thanks in advance!

    • All-Clad is the. best. It sells at Williams-Sonoma. My advice is to splurge for the metal liner over the ceramic, so the bf can do the almost-always-required browning step right in the liner on the stovetop instead of doing it in a separate pan and losing all that delicious fond and juices that come from the browning step.

      I love Cuisine at Home’s slow cooker books.

      • I’m beyond annoyed with All-Clad. I had one of their slow cookers (2007 model) and the ceramic pot broke. They told me they did not have a replacement part that fit. So, I had to junk the entire thing because they changed the pot and did not have replacement parts. I hate that we live in a “disposable” world.

    • I seriously just watched this episode of Cook’s Country over the weekend. They tested and rated slow cookers. They also made barbecue beef in the slow cookers: http://www.cookscountry.com/videos/Slow-Cookers/31831/

      • Also, I don’t have a slow cooker cookbook recommendation, but this recipe is my go-to: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/thai-style-pork-stew-10000000354826/

        • That sounds delicious Bunkster! I’m going to try it tomorrow. My fave recipe is a Cooking Light Beef Stroganoff – sub red wine for the beef broth and it is to die for! http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/beef-stroganoff-10000001535413/

          • Yours, too. Per the reviews, you should double the sauce ingredients on the thai pork stew.

        • That sounds so good. I wonder if you could substitute chicken for pork? I am not much of a cook, but I might try this recipe.

      • Littlest Attorney :

        I have a 6 quart slow cooker by crock pot that bf and I adore. Three years old and still works great and I think it cost $40 on amazon. Its worth it to spend the extra money (not that much extra) to get a fully programmable one that will switch to “keep warm” after cooking, in case you are delayed at work.

        My favorite slow cookbook for it is “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” which has some really good chili and soup receipes.

    • Cooks Illustrated rated the Crock-Pot Touchscreen “Highly Recommended” “Crock-Pot Touchscreen. The control panel is extremely easy to use, and the timer counted up to 20 hours, even on high. Sunday gravy thickened to the correct consistency, pot roast was tender and sliceable, and onions caramelized perfectly. $129”

      The All-Clad one came in second with a “Recommended” rating. “All-Clad Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert. Pot roast and gravy cooked to the correct consistency, and temperatures fell into the right ranges. But we got equally good results from our top-ranked model at a much lower price. The button controls are easy to use, but the timer could not be set for more than six hours on high. $199.99.”

      • Forgot to mention, these tests were Published August 1, 2010 from Cook’s Country. It’s probably the same as Bunkster’s link above since Cook’s Illustrated/Cook’s Country are the same.

        • It is. I couldn’t remember which one won (and I can’t watch videos at work), but the description you posted is spot-on. 20 hours is impressive.

          • The ones with nothing but the big old ON/OFF switch will cook for any length time…

            Sorry. I just hate to see “feature creep” on a crockpot!

    • I’ve got a really basic slow cooker (the one that you can travel with? I don’t remember the brand) that I love. My advice would be to make sure you get one with the removable insert, it makes clean up a lot easier. Also, in my experience the oval ones are the best because they can fit an entire roast, or turkey breast. Finally, the Williams-Sonoma slow cooker cookbook is the best.

    • Crockpots are incredibly simple appliances. I’ve never heard of one failing. The most likely failure point is the push-button electronics, so the simpler, the better. No rocket science involved :-)

      Look for cookbooks that don’t include preprocessed ingredients like canned soup. A quick flip through the book should show lots of fresh and basic ingredients like individual spices. What’s the point of cooking from scratch if it just uses stuff that’s already cooked?

    • America’s Test Kitchen has a great cookbook that I use regularly – link to follow. Like Cook’s Illustrated, they also recommend the Crock Pot Touch Screen Slow Cooker.

      • http://www.amazon.com/Cooker-Revolution-Editors-Americas-Kitchen/dp/1933615699

        • I was going to suggest this recipe book. Anything by America’s Test Kitchen is guaranteed to be good – and this book is no exception. I’ve tried MANY of the recipes listed and they’re all excellent. Bonus points that they use real ingredients and not just “can of soup,” “onion soup mix,” etc.

          • Lol. I just read this after I posted my recipe which has “can of soup” and “soup mix”. I can’t help how delicious those two things make a crock pot creation, but now I really want to get that cookbook, too :)

          • Not knocking the can of soup recipes. My favorite go-to comfort meal is a chuck roast in a slow cooker with a can of cream of mushroom soup and dried onion soup mix. More sodium per serving than a cow’s salt lick, but so delicious.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Thank you everyone! I love Cook’s Illustrated (that magazine appeals to my geekiness) so I will check out their reviews, as well as the other options mentioned.

    • I have a Crock Pot brand slow cooker and I love it. My MIL bought it for H and I three years ago and it’s still going strong. I don’t have any cookbook recommendations but here is my “go-to” recipe:
      1 Boneless Beef Roast (whatever size is right for your family size)
      1 large can of cream of mushroom soup
      1 package of dried Knorr (or Lipton) vegetable soup mix
      1 cup of water
      Throw it all in the crock pot on Low for 8 hours and serve over mashed potatoes.
      Healthy? Not particularly. But it’s beyond delicious and basically foolproof.

    • I have this one from crock-pot and it has held up well for 6 years. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=18067536&RN=72&
      With a BB&B coupon, it’s $40. These recipes are making me hungry even though I’ve already had lunch!

      • We got our Crock Pot brand slow cooker for our wedding over 17 years ago and is still going strong after being used several times a month during the cold seasons (we live in Canada). All it has is a switch for off, low & high, but it works great.

    • I bought the Hamilton Beach 6 qt. on Amazon based on all the positive reviews – pretty basic but well-designed for what it does do. I agree that the browning feature of the All-Clad would be really nice, but I figured I wouldn’t really use it enough to justify the price. I do brown my meat separately before throwing it in the crock pot if I have the time. And I also like the Williams Sonoma cookbook.

      http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-Forget-6-Quart-Programmable/dp/B001AO2PXK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324406557&sr=8-1

    • I currently have some random British brand because that’s all I could find where I am, but back in the US I have a programmable Crockpot brand one that I love, that I got at Costco for a steal. If it matters to you though, I’ve heard on the blogosphere that Hamilton Beech brand is preferred by many because their crocks are supposedly lead-free.

  20. Quick question for this young job hunter–if an application has a section for “Employment History,” that is separate from your resume, how blasted far back do you have to go? I started working in high school, so seriously, does an employer really care about that random summer I worked at a video game store? (True–and long–story.) I also don’t have my supervisor’s contact information, which is required.

    Argh. At least I’m wearing my cuddly new cashmere sweater, along with my prized Ferragamo riding boots (bought at a thrift store! victory!) that are back in action, after two years of waiting to find a cobbler that I trusted to fix them…

    • I had a professional job in college, and that’s as far back as I go, but it depends how young you are, how many jobs you had, and what jobs you’ve had that are relevant to what you’re applying to.

    • I never have supervisor info. I don’t even remember the names of all my past bosses, but I’ve been employed for almost 20 years.

      I’ve gotten to the point that I only go back 10 years on online and hard copy applications. They have my resume so what’s the point?

    • Camel H&M sweater, champagne J. Crew silk top (Elodie, if I remember correctly – and I just bought the forest green, which is on sale + 30% off!), Merona Collection calf hair leopard print flats, gold bangle, long vintage pearls, and jade earrings.

    • Thanks! The particular app that I was working on was just giving me fits, because there were a lot of bolded instructions to include ALL employment and ALL supervisor’s contact information OR ELSE.

  21. Can we do one of those what are you wearing today threads? I say this because I’m wearing my new Theory pants that I got on clearance at TJMaxx for $25 last night. I’m loving them not only because of the price but because they are obviously mis-sized which means they are 2 sizes smaller than my regular Theory size and kind of big on me :-)

    Other than the new pants, I’m wearing my basic black Theory blazer, a white blouse with ruffles on the collar and red Jimmy Choo “snakeskin” pumps (a great find at Nordstrom Rack on clearance).

    • As mentioned above, I’m wearing “the skirt” in magenta and a light olive-colored ruched tee under a darker olive colored crewneck cashmere sweater. I’m also wearing black tights and black aerosole 3″ wedges, plus my black armani tank watch and some silver bangles. Forgot to put earrings on again.

    • I love my outfit today, so I’m happy someone made one of these :)

      I have on a deep purple cashmere cardigan with pleated front, over black t-shirt and black skinny jeans. The jeans are tucked into knee-high Ferragamo riding boots (see above: bought from a thrift store! the only way I will ever afford Ferragamo anything!), which are a very dark cognac, and have a lovely chain detail at the ankle. As far as accessories go, I’ve got champagne diamond studs, a gold necklace of a running horse, and my grandmother’s gold signet ring. Nails are bright, seasonal red. It’s pretty casual, but this is my last day of work before my vacation starts, and I just could not summon the will to wear a skirt this morning.

      • This sounds gorgeous!

      • Ferragamo boots found at a thrift store? you are my hero.

        • Well, it’s a really nice thrift store in a wealthy area, where they knew what the boots were, so it’s not as if I paid $6 for them (or, under $150 for them). Still. Fraction of the cost of a new pair, and they came already broken in, but with no visible wear! Win.

    • I’m wearing a deep red Brora cardigan with 3/4 sleeves, an A-line knit skirt that has embroidery all over it in different colours (lots of reds, browns, yellows), brown tights and dark brown Aerosole booties. Diamond studs because I was too lazy to change my earrings this morning, and my very boring el-cheapo Timex watch.

      • Diana Barry :

        Jersey v-neck faux wrap grey dress from BR (this is the last time I can wear it since it is non-maternity and starting to get shorter in the front than in the back), lighter grey BR blazer, black Assets maternity tights, Clarks knee-high riding boots, pearl/bead necklace from Forever 21.

    • Love the red snakeskin pumps detail!

    • Formerly Preggo Angie :

      Telecommuting – jeans, a black t-shirt, a UCLA sweater and thick socks!

    • black low heeled boots, black pencil skirt, black v-neck sweater, charcoal-veering-toward purple handknit (by me) cardigan (Adrienne vittadini yarn and pattern)
      rose gold hoops, gold bangles

      • Mamabear, do you make all your own sweaters? I am exceedingly envious….

        • AD, no, not all of them. I have a hard time actually liking what I knit after I knit it. But two of the 30+ sweaters I have knit for myself are in my current wardrobe rotation and I really do like these two.

          These days I mainly knit for my kids, and socks for my husband, because I have come to understand that I am too fussy to knit for myself.

    • Camel cable knit sweater, J Crew double serge wool flair skirt in red, leopard scarf, fleece lined leggings (warm), brown suede boots.

      • This is my favorite combo of colors and pattern: camel/red/brown/leopard!

    • Black slacks, a Missoni-ish cardigan with black, blue, brown and green zigzags, a brown tank, a big beaded blue stone necklace that makes me feel like Wilma Flinstone, a red Burberry watch for contrast and black suede wedges.

    • PT Lawyer :

      Ok, here goes:

      white T shirt, old Gap jeans, 10 year old sneakers, no makeup.

      3 of 4 family members have stomach viruses and I’m working from home. I love my babysitter.

    • My favorite purplish sweat pants and a light pink waffle weave long sleeved t-shirt! Husband’s white athletic socks. No make-up and (clean) hair in a bun. I’m at home, writing an article. :)

  22. PSA – Here’s the link to Theory’s private sale (today only, final sale)

    http://www.theory.com/private-sale/private-sale,default,pg.html

  23. Ms. No Name. :

    Any advice on finding a legal recruiter in NYC? I’m a 4th year associate at a mid-size law firm looking to lateral to another mid size firm.

  24. North Shore :

    Time for another round of workout songs? My playlist is getting old and I need some motivation to keep working out during the holidays. What are you listening to at the gym these days?

    • I don’t have any great suggestions myself, but I’m all ears! I just started the couch to 5K last week, and I could use some peppy songs to run to.

      • I love Couch to 5k! Just started it this year. I use the free itunes podcasts where the guy times the runs for you, which makes it easy, but then you’re stuck listening to that guy’s music. That’s kind of a bummer.

        • I just started, too (on week two right now). I usually do spinning in the winter, but I decided I’d try this out for something different this year. I’ve taken up and quit running a few times before, but this time I thought I’d give it a proper go with building up gradually instead of just going outside for a run, deciding I hate it, and going back to the bike. I bought an app that does basically the same thing as the podcasts but lets you listen to your own music while you run — totally worth the two bucks!

          • ooo what app is that, if you don’t mind sharing? That would be great (though I have to admit, I kind of like the guy on the free podcasts. He’s all geeky and nice and encouraging)! For what it’s worth, I’ve only built up to week 4 after months of doing it – it’s so hard to get to the gym every other day 3x a week! And I’ve found that just trying to get in when I can doesn’t work – if I run 2 days in a row my knee will have sharp shooting pains the next day. But, that all being said, week 4 is working for me and I’m in way better shape and actually not hating every single step while I run. It’s a great program.

          • It’s called 5K runner — there’s a free trial version as well that covers the week one runs so you can test it out first. I can already see that finding the time is going to be a major challenge for me, even though it’s only half an hour. I’ve been going MWF on the way home from work. It would be nice to have the option to do one run on a weekend, but the gym is rather far away from my house and it’s way too freakin’ cold where I am to run outside!

          • anon for this one! :

            Thanks! I will check that out. Same problem here with gym being near work, not home, and it being COLD outside! Have been considering getting a treadmill at home, but I baaaarely have the space for it and it seems silly to get one really just for weekend use …

    • I’m all over this thread today. My sister-in-law just asked me for a similar list. My apologies if some of these are old. I actually read my kindle at the gym.
      Pumped Up Kicks, Foster the People
      No Sleep and Roll Up, Wiz Khalifa
      International Love, Pitbull with Chris Brown
      Red Solo Cup, Toby Keith
      Take it Off, Ke$ha

      and OPP, Naughty by Nature. Just for an old-school vibe.

      • Sweetknee :

        Hmm. Let’s see. . on my ipod. . . ” You Oughta Know” ( Alanais Morisette); Strut ( Sheena Easton); S & M (Rhianna); Eye of the Tiger ( Survivor); Devil Inside ( INXS); Baby Got Back ( Sir Mix a Lot); Sexy and I Know It; Good Feeling ( Flo Rida).

        I know my taste skews heavily to the “80s, but these all have good beats that I can run/walk to.

    • locomotive :

      I just updated my workout list! Here are the new additions:

      Rihanna – We Found Love (actually sounds like she’s saying ‘we fell in love’, but I guess she just doesn’t enunciate very well)
      Kelly Clarkson – Stronger, Mr. Know it all
      Selena Gomez – Love you like a love song (I know… but it’s just so darn catchy)
      Tune yards – business
      Foster the People – Don’t Stop (color on the walls)

    • I like Girl Talk “Feed the Animals.” It’s a mashup album – lots of rap mixed with some oldies/classic rock. I also like the Kleptones “Night at the Hip-Hopera” – mostly Queen + Beastie Boys mashups.

    • Longtime Jew :

      Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Avril Lavigne.

  25. Wait! No one’s shopping for themselves right now?! Then how did those two pairs of shoes find their way into my shopping cart this weekend while I was finishing my holiday shopping?

    • Hee hee, that happened to me this weekend too. It was like the shoes just jumped into my basket. They *wanted* to come home with me. I had nothing to do with it.

    • Ha! I have bought two pairs of shoes this month, too. Must be in the air.

    • I’m pretty sure my me:them shopping ration is 7:1. A section of the chunk will end up going back tho – the deals were just an excuse to try some things without stressing the credit card.

      • I’m pretty sure my ratio is about the same and I’m pretty sure I’ll be keeping most of what I bought. The sales really are just.too.good this time of year!!

    • One of Kanye East’s necklaces just made its way into my online shopping cart, all by itself. Merry Christmas, me!

    • I am just.barely.holding.on until after Christmas. I figure the sales then will be worth it…

  26. Just wanted to follow up on the birth control discussion from a few days ago:

    Lyssa, thank you for suggesting VCF as a non-hormonal alternative to condoms. Went right out to the drugstore to pick up a box and tried them out- they seem to work well and are super easy, mess, no fuss. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Gotta go anon :

      Must have missed that thread. What is VCF?? At work and can’t google it.

    • anon for this one! :

      I’m the OP from that thread and VCF is on my shopping list!! Thanks for reporting back!

    • Oh, great, now my name will forever be associated with “the girl who uses VCF.” (Just kidding!)

      Gotta go, it’s a contraceptive film. I won’t explain how it works (let’s just say the no-applicator tampons will seem much more tame afterwards), but it is very simple and mess-free, and, once it’s in, there’s absolutely no way to tell, so it’s a great alternative to condoms (assuming that you’re not worried about diseases, of course). It is a bit expensive, so I wouldn’t use it all of the time. (I usually use hormonal and have only used it when I’ve needed a back up, and even then, sparingling, such as, on date nights.) Also, you do have to give it 15 minutes before you get started, which is not a horrible amount of time, but could get in the way sometimes. But otherwise, it’s really great and almost seems too easy. Glad you liked it, Anon! Please let me know what other entirely personal and private matters I can advise you on. (Kidding, again! )

    • OP here. Haha, Lyssa- you are too funny.
      I didn’t find them to be that expensive- i think it was maybe $15 for a box of 9? They are single use, so I guess how “expensive” they are really depends on how many times a week/month you will need them!

      The insertion didn’t bother me- I normally use a diaphragm, so getting all up in it is pretty normal. The one thing I’m slightly nervous about is that they have a lower rate of pregnancy prevention than other forms of b.c. But for now, i’m definitely going to keep using them.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Oohh… thanks for this! I had missed this rec in the OP, but will certainly look it up.

  27. Kontraktor :

    Maybe I’ll post on a later thread too…

    Corporettes, HELP. How do I get a job? No really… how do I get a new job? I’ve got an MS and about 2 years work experience (1.25 with current company).

    1) Can’t transfer internally with current company.
    2) Can’t really submit to online hiring system of large companies… let’s be honest. Few people, especially junior level ones, get hired this way.
    3) Have tried frantically to get actual formal referrals into a few companies. Have not yet been contacted by any I have referrals into.
    4) Already trying to “network” and get “informational interviews” but people either don’t write back at all (biggest problem) or they talk to me and give me useless, pithy, unapplicable advice.
    5) Job hunting from across the country, so small firm jobs are hard to apply to, since they often want to hire immediately and locally… this is problematic because I am terrified to move cross country without a job.
    6) Too far out of school to be able to do recruiting/uni programs or openings.

    What am I missing? No really… how am I supposed to get a job? What do I do? Having a freak out moment right now.

    • Just keep doing what you are doing. Really, it’s a process that’s time consuming.

      In your “target” city you can try to reach out to smaller firms and make it clear you pay your relocation costs and can start in 30 days. Most firms will go for this since they expect you to give 2 weeks notice.

      As for networking, it isn’t about what they say/advice etc. It’s about developing a relationship so that when they hear of something in your field they think of you. Around here companies are starting to hand out recruitment bonuses again. So if someone refers you in they get $1000/$500. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2012 this picks up even more. If you have a broad network it’s just a matter of time.

      Keep going, you are on the right track.

    • Just saying… This is why I think it would be great to have a corporette group on LinkedIn so we can help each other more formally with professional issues (as opposed to suggesting shoes and birth control options here!) Kat – hint, hint!

  28. Sweetknee :

    I am an only child. My parents struggled with infertility, and my mom was 28 years old when I was born ( 1971- – 28 was old to have a kid then).

    I really hate the stereotypes about onlies. My parents were very frugal people, and we did not have a lot of material things growing up, and I learned the value of money, and that “things” were not what made life important. I still have a very close relationship with both my parents.

    The only thing that I would caution someone who is going to be the parent of any “only” to be carfeul about is becoming too invested in your kids life. I think because I was such a “wanted” kid, my parents did a little of their living through me, and my breaking away and not consulting them about every little thing was very hard for them .

    I agree. . decide if you want “a” kid; worry about more than that later. One is pretty manageable, and we are not all spoiled brats. I have seen parents with 2+ kids who have spoiled their kids. It’s all about how the parent parents, not how many there are.

    • Most of my kids’ friends are onlies. I don’t think the onlies are spoiled. However, in most cases, as you say, the parents are way, way, way too involved in their kids’ lives. Two moms I can think of are so aggressive about making sure their kids aren’t left out of anything social that I honestly avoid them at this point. Thank god for caller ID.

      Example – Last Friday one of the aggressive moms overheard another mom ask me if my daughter could come for a playdate with her daughter. I saw this aggressive mom clearly listening to our conversation and thought, Oh no. Sure enough, my daughter told me later that this mom called her friend’s mom and basically invited her daughter to join the playdate.

      This sounds ridiculous and petty, I know, but it happens All The Time with these moms, and I feel like it’s really harming their own children.

      So, I agree with Sweetknee. That’s something to watch out for.

  29. I just had to cancel and order with Target because they “lost” it, and it never shipped. And then they only refunded me the cost of the item, NOT the cost of shipping, or the estimated tax. They got a sternly worded email for that, let me tell you.

    Nevermind the fact that they wouldn’t re-send it – I have to get my money refunded and then reorder the item if I still want it.

    • You should dispute the tax and shipping costs with your credit card company. You do not pay tax on goods that you didn’t purchase, and Target would be pocketing the $$$.

  30. OU grad (not DR) :

    Google Deborah Reed. One small step for womankind.