There is an ad on TV where a woman is constantly saying “NO!” to her family’s shenanigans. Her husband walks out of a dressing room with skinny jeans on and she says, “NO!” Her son tries to bring some slimy creature in a shoebox into the house and she says, “NO!” Her husband asks to quit his job and start a blog and, obviously, she says, “NO!” Because that’s just crazy.

Well, for some unknown reason, my husband did not say “NO!” when I asked to quit my job and start a blog.

I mean, the discussion didn’t go exactly like that. I don’t just want to start a blog, and it wasn’t like I said out of the blue that I wanted to stop working and just see what happened. Well, maybe it was a little bit like that. Anywho, long story short, I quit my job and am taking an “investment interval,” as Anne-Marie Slaughter would call it. I’m still technically a lawyer but I am not currently practicing, and I can’t even explain how good that feels.

This break has been a long time coming. I got sworn in to the Maryland bar in 2004, about six months after I’d graduated. I had already been working for a few months as a lawyer at that big-law-firm-that-shall-remain-nameless, and was beginning to really grasp what I had gotten myself in to. For my swearing in, I put on my best suit. My husband and I drove to a courthouse in Annapolis feeling celebratory and excited, and he snapped pictures while I stood up and took my oath. After the swearing in, I stood in line to get my official certificate that I was now a bar-certified lawyer. And I waited there, in that line of other newly minted lawyers in their nicest suits, and shook my head and cried. These were not happy tears. It was that kind of snorting, pathetic cry, where you’re surprised and embarrassed to be crying, which just makes it harder to stop.

I felt like I had just bought a pair of really expensive shoes that everyone said were beautiful, and I had just finally put them on and discovered they hurt my feet. And even though they hurt, I knew I was going to have to walk in them for a long, long time.

Turned out it was about 8 years.

But today I’m wearing flip flops.

Guilt shmilt

My husband travels for work, and he was gone all week last week. After a week of dinners, baths, and putting the kids to bed by myself, I couldn’t wait for the hubs to get home and give me the night off. So he comes home, I kiss the kids good night and shuffle them upstairs with their dad – and instead of relaxing, I immediately felt SO SAD. Like the kids were going to miss me or have trouble getting to sleep without me there. I thought, “WHAT IS THAT?!!!” I will tell you: guilt. Soul sucking GUILT.

It’s apparently everywhere. I read this article about the regrets of a stay-at-home mom last week, and it’s been bugging me since I read it. Instead of some thoughtful advice for new moms, this feels like yet another example of a mom feeling guilty for her seemingly reasonable decisions. Some women’s decisions to stay at home are fairly cut and dry: if you make about the same amount as it costs for child care, and you want to stay home, then stay home; if you can’t survive without your paycheck, then get to work. But the author of this article had what seems to be one of those legitimately close calls. She admits she had little to no work life balance, she was emotionally strung out after the death of her father, she missed her babies, and she was able to do some freelance work while hanging with her kids. All of those seem like totally legit reasons to stay home. And 14 years later, she’s in a tough financial position and telling the world not to stay home with your kids?! Come on! (Also, it seems to me like the advice here should be “do some long term financial planning,” but nobody asked me.)

And then I see this “study” and think two things: one, how long till that kid scribbles with that sharpie on the computer?, and two, goddammit! When does it end?! I am over it, just so done with wasting time thinking that I should be doing something different or better or more thoughtfully or with more shamrock sprinkles (yes, I may have felt guilty earlier today for not making green cake pops with shamrock sprinkles for my son’s preschool party – again, WHAT IS THAT?!). So I’m not going to think about the laundry or the workout I should be doing, or the intellectual activity I should be pursuing (OH I just giggled typing that).

Instead, I will watch The Bachelor, and make snarky comments in my head about the women’s outfits and the ridiculous things Brad says. Wheee!


I was so happy to read this article today. I love the image of the dudes at the end of the article raising their hands all sheepishly when she asked who wants a sugar mama (OK, that wasn’t her question, but you know what I mean). I also forget that it wasn’t that long ago – like, my mom’s generation – that women couldn’t get a credit card without a man co-signing for it. What the what?!

Anyways. Today was a tough day at work, and I don’t feel great, and my dentist told me I have a cavity. I am feeling both old and crazy. These songs made me feel better, though. Enjoy.

When You Were Young (my god, LOOK AT THAT picture of Brandon Flowers):

Basket Case (Sara Bareilles, equal parts sweet and salty):

I am not an abandoned knitting blog

DAMMIT, it is hard to keep up with a blog! Seriously, I was hoping I could just write a few posts, get discovered, and then go on Oprah to tell her about my inspirations in life and my favorite kitchen tool (my stainless steel handled rubber spatula, obvs). But due to the high demand of my readers (i.e., a random woman asking me the other day, “Hey, didn’t you have a blog or something?”), I have returned. There is so much to discuss. In the last few months, I have transitioned the kids to a new preschool, gotten a new job that I’m excited about, traveled cross country with both kids by myself, and have peed in a sippy cup on the side of a major road.

I’ll start with that last one first.

So as background: something seriously disturbing happened in my house about six months ago, and I think enough time has finally passed that I can share it in any sort of lighthearted way. I hope you are sitting down, mainly because it’s just weird to read a blog standing up, right? SO one Sunday back in July, a crazy storm came out of nowhere and ruined our plans to go to the pool. It also knocked out our power. OK, it’s happened a couple times since we’ve moved in, no big deal. 12 hours later as my husband is getting ready to fly across the country for work for a week, though, it’s becoming a bigger deal. Well, long story short: we had no power for six days. SIX DAYS. Six days of waiting in long lines at gas stations to buy overpriced bags of ice so my kids had milk for breakfast. Six days of wearing a freaking headlamp while I did dishes and changed my daughter’s diapers. Six days of wondering if preschool was open, or if my big meetings at work were still on, or if my phone was going to run out of batteries, or if some nutjob was going to break in my house in the woods and no one would even know. Totally awful.

So the drive to the kids’ preschool is a long one, and is pretty much a straight shot down a major road. The road has lots of stoplights that were all knocked out during the storm. Our usually 40 minute drive to preschool turned into a TWO HOUR odyssey on the second morning after the power went out. The kids were actually pretty psyched to watch two hours of cartoons in the car. I, on the other hand, was freaking out. Cops were directing traffic at every intersection. People were honking, cursing, driving aggressively, and I had not used a blow dryer in a good 48 hours at this point. Well, about halfway into our journey, I realized I had to pee. Really bad. But I was so close to the kids’ preschool that I wasn’t too concerned. Twenty minutes and about quarter of a mile later, though, I’m wigging out and looking around for a gas station, grocery store, anywhere I can stop. Nothing. I’m literally on a stretch of road by nothing but neighborhoods, jam-packed with traffic, and I realize I am about to pee my pants. At which point, I start crying. So I do the only thing I know to do: I pull over, throw on my hazards, tell my daughter to finish her milk, scramble to the backseat of the car, yell at the kids to KEEP THEIR EYES ON THE TV SCREEN, and I pee in my daughter’s sippy cup.

I’m not sure the point of sharing this with you, except to totally embarrass my mom. And to say that life is completely ridiculous, and for all the hard work I (and every mom I know) put in to planning and preparing and anticipating, you still might end up on the side of a road pissing in your kid’s sippy cup.

But I really hope not. That is my wish for you. Which is totally what I will say, straight-faced, on Oprah when she asks me my one wish for the world: “To never have to pee in your kid’s sippy cup.” And Oprah will give me a knowing nod and lean in for a hug. And she will smell so good. She just has to, right?

I said good day.

Beating the odds

I have a couple of things to say about this article. First, Sonia Sotomayor’s teeth are amazing. Like a force of nature. And second, this is totally depressing but not really that surprising to me. I’ve heard smart, hard working people (both men and women) say that it’s only fair that women earn less because they get to take maternity leave and don’t work as hard once they have kids. Which – AGH. I just am always dumbfounded when I hear these words come out of someone’s mouth. I mean, I get that if you don’t work as much, you don’t get paid as much, and you don’t advance as quickly — but the fact is that women disproportionately work less (or drop out altogether) and suffer the consequences. And this study pretty clearly shows that these are women who are just as qualified and skilled as their male counterparts.

As someone who recently cut back her work schedule (and paycheck) to try to find some work-life balance, I wonder if I’m part of the problem. Post-baby #1 I tried to bill just as many hours as I did pre-baby, but (1) there weren’t enough hours in the day, and (2) I ultimately decided I didn’t want to. I wonder if my choice to cut back is coloring some hiring partner’s feelings about working moms? Hope not. I’m just lucky I had the chance to try a part-time schedule. Lots of my friends didn’t have that option and felt like giving up their career was their only good option, and articles like this explain why.

Semi-related: I remember when I was in law school and beginning the hellish “fall recruitment” interviewing season, a woman attorney who I really respected told me two things that totally apalled me: one, I shouldn’t wear my engagement ring in interviews because it would be a red flag that I would be “one of those women” who gets all wedding crazy and isn’t committed to her career. And two, she told me that while guys could talk about their family plans or kids in an interview, women never could — for men, getting married and having kids is a plus and shows that you’re stable and grounded, but for women, it just shows that you have a distraction outside the office and won’t be as committed to your career. I have had that story in the back of my mind for almost a decade now, and I’ve seen more things that support those anecodotes than things that discredit them. Hello, my name is Jaded N. Cynical.

Anywho. I don’t really have any answers, but these articles just always get me fired up. I keep hoping that one day we just won’t see stuff like this anymore, about odds being stacked against talented successful women. Women who are raising kids, which society says is noble and important, blah blah blah, but doesn’t do much to back it up. I agree with Leonhardt’s optimism — things are bound to change, especially with incredible numbers of women coming out of college and grad school these days and employers beginning to see the benefits of flexible work arrangements. Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later.