Washable Workwear Wednesday: Belted Scuba Sheath Dress

We featured this Ellen Tracy dress over at Corporette a couple of weeks ago in the black, and since it’s machine washable we’re highlighting it here as well. (It’s machine wash cold, tumble dry low.) I like the neckline, the cap sleeves, the belt, and the length; it’s very flattering. (If the skinny belt isn’t your thing, I think it looks fine without it.) It’s only $108 at Nordstrom. Belted Scuba Sheath Dress

Here’s a plus-size option (dry clean, unfortunately, but not dry clean only).

Looking for other washable workwear? See all of our recent recommendations for washable clothes for work, or check out our roundup of the best brands for washable workwear.

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  1. AwayEmily says:

    Low-stakes question: Toddler hair…to cut bangs or not to cut bangs? My 15-month-old daughter’s hair is getting in her eyes. I’m worried that if I use a barrette to hold it back she’ll pull it out and try to eat it (she’s still pretty into putting things in her mouth). I think bangs are super cute on little girls, but are they too much of a pain to maintain? Can I cut them myself, or should I suck it up and take her to a professional?

    • EB0220 says:

      I didn’t cut bangs with either of my girls, but I am really lazy on hair and my girls (5 and 2) have had one haircut between them. I’d just go with the ponytail on top of the head look until it grows out a bit more!

    • I have bangs myself and they need trimming at least 1x a month. I have found it pretty tough to cut my son’s hair well myself, but maybe you would do better. You could use a rubber band instead of a barrette – seems relatively harmless if swallowed.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I infrequently cut my kiddo’s bangs when they get in her eyes. It takes about 30 seconds.

    • So we cut bangs at 2.5 because daughter’s hair was ALWAYS in her face and in her food and she was bad about the shampooing process. We went to shop to get her hair cut the first time. The upkeep isn’t bad — I would just do it myself most times — and then when I would take her in to get the back trimmed once a quarter or so. But she is 5.5 now and wants to grow them out…. so this is the summer of headbands & barrettes. I don’t think that upkeep is so bad, but there is going to be a time where you have to grow them out. It can be now or it can be in a few years or when she is a teenager….

      Bangs don’t seem popular with my daughter’s friends, and I don’t have them right now — I think that this helped make her choice to grow them out.

    • That’s where I started with little ponytails. I just take the hair on the top of their heads and put it in a ponytail to the side on the top. Those little clear stretchy ponytail holders are great for this and much harder to pull out than a barrette.

    • We cut bangs for my daughter at about 2.5. Her hair was growing forward and was always in her face & food and she wasn’t good with the shampooing process. We took her to a shop for the first time, but then just maintained at home. Once a quarter we got to a place and get the back & bangs done.

      She is 5.5 now and asked to grow her bangs out… so this is the summer of headbands and barrettes for us! It sucks so much… but it is her choice & I am hoping to take advantage of fast growing summer hair to get over the hump. I don’t have bangs and most of her school friends don’t either. I’ll say she looks so different without them!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      You can get a bangs-only cut where I am (bonus is that it is half the price of a normal haircut!). My kid would never sit still long enough for me to cut her bangs, but she’ll do it with a professional + video playing in the background.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Oh, that sounds perfect. Do you know if most normal hair salons will cut toddlers’ hair, or do I need to take her to a kids’ place?

        • NewMomAnon says:

          My hair stylist will do a bangs cut on kids’ hair, but the kids’ places are so much more fun because bright colors! and movies! and toys! and suckers!

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I know some places by me will not cut a kid’s hair if they’re under 2. Other places have an age cutoff of 4. So I think it can really depend on the salon. I agree that the kids places can be fun for them, if not the best haircut ever.

        • Katarina says:

          I have used a regular cheap place for my older son since his first hair cut at 14 months. The first time was done sitting on someone’s lap, but subsequent cuts were on a booster seat. It is cheaper and more convenient than a kids place.

    • Onlyworkingmomintulsa says:

      My 4 year old has a cute little pageboy and when we get her haircut, I ask that her bangs be cut on the shorter side so to give us more time between haircuts. We go to a kids place because the Frozen/Paw Patrol/Trolls videos help her to stay at least a little more still.

    • My 2.5-year-old has had bangs since she was about your daughter’s age. No regrets whatsoever — it’s been so much easier for day-to-day maintenance. Also, she looks really stinking cute in bangs and they suit her personality.

      I don’t trim them myself. I take her to a nearby Cost Cutters every 4-6 weeks, which is when her big brother needs a haircut anyway.

    • Redux says:

      Super easy to maintain at home, in my experience. My kiddo has had them since she was about 2. I trim them in the bathroom every 6 weeks or so and she loves getting to watch a video on my phone for the few minutes it takes. I think toddler bangs are insanely cute (even when they’re a teesny bit crooked) and they were an imperative for us because of the hair-in-food situation.

  2. anonanon says:

    Here’s a random one – my almost 3 year old would like a watch. She can’t tell time yet – do I get her a digital or traditional clock face? I am leaning towards traditional clock so that she can learn how to tell time. Will this be way over her head? Also, do you have any recs for books or games that helped teach time?

    • mascot says:

      Swatch makes some cute kids watches in their FlikFlak line. If you want something cheaper, try Timex. We have that Ok to Wake clock and it shows both analog and digital times on the face, so maybe get one of those too.

  3. Anon for this says:

    I need a reality check, ladies. DH is amazing with our daughter and pretty good around the house (sure, he could be better but things are fairly equitable). But I freaking cannot stand the amount of time he spends buried in his phone. I’m being ridiculous, right? He should spend his free time how he wants (we all have our vices). But it’s to the point where it’s affecting our relationship or ability to get stuff down around the house. We don’t talk or bond when he’s buried in his phone at night. Several times I’ve walked in recently and he is sitting on the bed with just one sock on because he had to stop halfway through putting on socks to check twitter. I try to suggest shows we can watch but then he just scrolls through his phone so it’s no longer a shared experience. I’m at my wit’s end. It feels like such a silly thing to criticize him over but it’s driving me batty.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re completely reasonable. DH and I leave our personal and work phones in the front porch when we come in. It’s close enough to the kitchen/family room space that we can hear them ring. I realize that not all jobs allow this. But ours generally don’t require responses in the two- three hours for supper/bedtime. We made an agreement that we would each spend not more than an hour on our phones (total time) after the kids are in bed. That’s plenty of time to reply to urgent work emails or catch up on news etc. It’s important to our marriage that we spend time every day connecting and being buried in our phones all evening doesn’t allow that.

    • Girl, I hear you. My friends have also mentioned that their husbands are buried in their phones, and don’t even notice when their wives stop in mid-sentence and just walk out of the room in anger.

      My husband and I just came out of a round of marriage therapy over a.) lack of intimacy, and b.) video games and cell phone usage. He went *just* enough to realize that his video games and me time were out of control and I was fed up, and then he decided that this was something he could correct on his own and going to the marriage counselor was a giant waste of time and money. He wouldn’t go anymore–I canceled the rest of our appointments–but I feel like it wasn’t really resolved.

      Is it better? Yes. But he still can’t resist picking his phone up to flip through aimlessly while we’re watching a movie or just relaxing. If there’s a down moment (waiting in line, waiting for food at a restaurant, waiting another 15 minutes to help tuck the kids in bed) he’s got his phone out. There’s no opening for spontaneous conversations, or worse, for our kids to go over to him and open up. It’s like he stopped just enough to appease me, but you can tell he’d much rather go do his own thing than interact with me.

      Wow. That just made me feel small and depressed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hugs – if you don’t feel that you can tell him that his behavior makes you feel that way, then it might help to go back to counseling. You can go on your own if he won’t go with you.

        • Marriage therapy showed me that BOTH partners have to want to change. If one side is only showing up only because the other side wants it, and s/he sees no point and thinks the whole thing is a waste of time, then therapy is going to be a waste of time.

          My husband showed up. He was pleasant and participated when asked, but he wasn’t volunteering anything or fully engaged. Picture that one person who shows up at Book Club after skimming a couple chapters of the book, and who’s only contribution is “Yeah, I didn’t really like it.” That’s what I was working with.

          I was upset about the video games, the disconnect between us, that he spent way more time with his phone than me. He wasn’t upset. He still isn’t–he just kind of sighed and realized that he needs to “scale it back” for his high maintenance wife. (*see footnote)

          That really rankles, but I had to decide if this was the hill I wanted to die on. Is this enough to end our marriage over? Is his attitude and behavior around *this* enough to cancel out that he’s a wonderful father, that he’s an equal partner in the childcare and the housework, that he really does love me and will absolutely set his phone/game control down when shi!t is going down or I say, “I need a date night.”

          He dug in, I dug in, and then I had to step back and say, “I really hate this about him, but not enough to divorce him over it. He refuses to change, so I have to learn to work around it.” It became COST OF ADMISSION.

          *High maintenance wife – One of the “toxic thoughts” I shared in individual therapy is that “I’m too much/I’m too needy”. My therapist pointed out that I was likely having this toxic thought reinforced by my husband, who would lash out in anger and “NO MATTER HOW MUCH TIME I SPEND WITH YOU IT’S NEVER ENOUGH!” huffiness whenever I asked him to put the electronics down. She pointed out that I wasn’t “too much” and that I needed to spend more time with other people (friends, family, the kids) rather than only seeking my husband out. So, when he’s wrapped up in his me time, I go out and leave him at home. And just like in the dating world, as soon as you start going out and ignoring a guy, he suddenly gets all interested in you again. The more of a life I go and have, the more phone-free attention I get from him later. Ridiculous? Yes. But it’s true.

      • Anonymous says:

        I could have written this, except we haven’t been to therapy yet. And probably should, for exactly those reasons.

    • mascot says:

      I’m guilty of the scrolling through my phone while watching tv. I don’t really consider watching tv as serious bonding time. I like being in the same room with my husband while we relax, but we don’t have to be relaxing in the same way. So he may be watching tv and I may be reading a book or whatever. Perhaps find a different bonding experience where phone usage doesn’t work. Play a game, sit and talk with music on instead of the tv, go for a walk, cook dinner, etc.

    • No you’re not crazy. Phones can be an addiction like drugs or alcohol. My DH and I both were struggling with checking our phones too much. I’m ashamed to admit, but it took our 4 year old saying “You love your phone more than me, Daddy” to knock the wind out of both of us.

      – Leave your phones in a different room. We leave ours in the bathroom.
      – Set a designated time, with an ending, to check your phones. Since we keep ours in the bathroom, we get ~5 min every couple hours to check them.
      – Delete problematic apps. We got rid of all the games and time wasters.
      – Turn off notifications on everything else. Make it so you have to go into your app list, open the app, and check to see if you have any notifications. Choose only 1-2 social media apps that you’ll keep. You don’t need FB and Insta and Twitter and Snapchat and FB Messenger. You just don’t.
      – Decide on a shared hobby (or parallel hobbies) to fill your time and hold your interest. A TV show likely isn’t going to help. Learn a new board or card game, work on a model airplane, learn to knit, anything to keep your hands and mind busy.
      – There are several articles and research studies that are starting to show that “distracted parenting” has a very real and negative effect on kids. At a minimum, it’s demonstrating that checking your phone is more important than whatever they’re saying or doing, which is not a great value to model.

    • Anon for this says:

      Thank you all for your responses! That’s why I love this community. It’s good to know others are struggling with this.

    • Wow. I’m guilty of being on my phone way too often. DH is clearly annoyed by it, and Kiddo will misbehave for attention when I’m on my phone. After reading these responses, I’m going to make more of an effort to limit my phone time.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re not crazy. My husband is great with the kids, reasonably helpful around the house, but I feel like I am way down on his priorities list behind video games and scrolling through Reddit on his phone. I am overwhelmed at home and work, tired, cranky, and sick for the last week and have been seething about it a lot more than usual, but I almost lost my sh1t with him last night when he came in the family room at 10:30 after playing video games straight through from the second the kids were in bed and said “I’m just going to play one more game, and then we can start [DVR’d show that we always watch together]. And by “watch,” I mean I watch, and he sits on the couch and looks at his phone while the TV is on.

  4. Meditation/Mindfulness says:

    I’ve dabbled in meditation over the years but I’ve developed a fairly decent practice over the last few weeks. It’s been beneficial through pregnancy and I feel much better when I start my day sitting outside with my meditation app talking me through 10-15 minutes. Then there are days like today where toddler wakes up too early that it doesn’t happen, or I get thrown into work too quickly and all feeling of peace and zen are out the window before 10AM. Really, it’s always gone by the end of the day.

    Do any of you meditate? Have you found successful ways to keep some level of what you feel after meditating throughout the day?

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t meditate but I do yoga a lot. I have one DVD I use if I can get it done before kids wake up and another I use if they are awake and want to follow along. They actually love starting their day with the kids yoga dvd. It’s not the same experience but I try to embrace the variety. I think you can get meditations for kids as well. If you don’t want to include toddler, can you put on a video they might like for 10 minutes and use the app with your headphones in?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Wow, I never thought of developing a “practice.” I do mindful breathing in 2-5 minute increments throughout the day. My main meditation period is at night while kiddo is falling asleep or just before I fall asleep.

      When I’m feeling fancy, I have an app called the “Insight Timer” that lets me customize number of minutes/chimes throughout and has some guided meditation audio tracks.

  5. Cornellian says:

    I know this is petty, but it is driving me up the wall. Our five month old just started daycare and is bringing home every bug known to man. Late last week it was some sort of cold bug. My husband and I both got it and have been sneezing/coughing/headachey/congested since Saturday. Last night I sneezed, and he was like “oh, are you getting sick too?”

    I feel like he’s so wrapped up in his own problems that he’s not paying attention to me or the baby. I have just gone to work (taking extra precautions with sanitizer, etc, I have my own office), and my husband has missed 2.5 of the 3 days in this work week so far. It sucks, since I’m up bfing every 3-5 hours, but it feels like part of life for me. He’s home, not doing any cleaning, yelled at the baby on Sunday for being a normal cranky sick five-month-old, and talks about his symptoms all the time. It’s starting to grate on me. It’s so self-centered, and it’s not exactly interesting conversation! I almost knocked a bowl out of my hand with the microwave (which I was using to warm up dinner for both of us after he had been home all day) and joked that I was a klutz, and he was like “Yeah, that’s me every day now because of this cold! it’s like my head doesn’t work.”

    How do I get him to shut up and be less self-centered? Or am I just cranky from lack of sleep?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Soo….co-parenting a tiny human with another working adult can often feel like a zero-sum game. Remember that you are both operating above 100% capacity, so any additional work feels like a huge burden to BOTH OF YOU. Empathy is huge.

      And for this particular situation, if you’re feeling that lousy but continuing to plow forward with work and house stuff and kid care, your husband might not realize how sick you feel. Borrow from his playbook; take a couple days off work. Tell him you’re too sick for the constant bf’ing all night, and you two need to trade off night shifts (a 5 month old should be able to make it at least 6 hours without eating, assuming no other health issues). Ask him to take on work around the house before you start doing it.

      If he says no to any of that, then you can be cranky. But before going nuclear, make sure you’ve clearly communicated your health situation and needs.

      • Cornellian says:

        Fair enough. I think part of the reason I’m upset is that because he doesn’t get paid when he takes off work, I feel backed in to a corner financially about not being able to miss any myself. When he takes time off, we still have to pay daycare, utilities, etc. I also have a job where being available 8 AM to midnight (if not always working, then just seeing emails within say a half hour) is normal, and he has a nine-to-five, so I feel like the ratio of house/baby-work is backwards here.

        I think you’re right that he doesn’t think I’m sick unless I’m complaining about it all of the time. That’s not really my style, and to me it seems obvious if I’m surrounded by tissues, taking my temperature, making tea, etc. But maybe I need to make more of an effort.

        • Katala says:

          I will say something like, “I sure hope my cold doesn’t turn into a man cold like yours, then we’d really be in trouble” to point out the whining with a bit of a (unfunny) joke. It usually wakes him up to the fact that we’re both sick but he’s complaining more. Not that it stops, but I feel more acknowledged.

          I’d be upset about the financial aspect too. Can you raise it that way? Something along the lines of “can we try to find a way to budget days off so we can each take a day when the family is sick?”

        • House Rule: Everyone goes to work/school unless they are vomiting, feverish, or a doctor says “Stay home, you’re contagious!” (pink eye, strep). My kids call me evil, but the whole family knows I practice what I preach. I’ll go through a box of tissues and cold medicine at my desk rather than waste a precious vacation day.

          Zero pay for calling off? And he took off 2.5 days for a severe cold? NOT OKAY. Unless he has a physical, demanding job (steel worker? repairing railroad ties? lineman repairing electrical lines over the highway in a bucket truck?) he can pop some cold pills and suffer through a miserable 9 hours.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      You are definitely cranky from lack of sleep, but I would be annoyed too. I would let this go for now. If he keeps up the talk about his cold/symptoms, just tell him that he should go see his doctor since it seems really bad and maybe something is seriously wrong with him. I usually find that that stops a lot of the whining but also maybe he’ll take you up on it and go to the doctor and learn that it’s just a cold and he should take some advil.

      • Cornellian says:

        Yeah. He seems to think it’s important to express his feelings about being sick a lot more than I do. I mean, I get it if you are really dangerously ill, or it’s a new and confusing symptom you’re worried about, but here… we all have the same, run-of-the-mill cold.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I think you’re reasonably annoyed and then extra annoyed on top of that from the lack of sleep. Honestly, with breastfeeding and having undergone major physical trauma (sorry but that’s what birth is, in my opinion) 5 months ago, your body is handling A LOT right now without a cold! So I can understand being annoyed.
      I definitely second the “wow it sounds like maybe it’s turned into a sinus infection or something, I really think you should (go to the doctor) (take cold meds) (whatever suggestion)”. If he refuses to act and continues to whine, then you have that to fall back on.
      Hugs. This period is just so, so hard. You’ll get through.

      • Cornellian says:

        Yeah, I am definitely extra annoyed. I feel like I’m breastfeeding, still recovering from birth (have an MRI on my pelvis coming up.. ), recovering from being hospitalized with dehydration two weeks ago, and fighting some sort of b. infection/plogged duct, plus a cold. He just has the cold, and I want him to shut up.

    • Penelope says:

      Agree with the other posters and I basically told my husband in a similar situation last month. 1) I am sorry you are sick 2) I don’t feel well either 3) Parenting is hard with a healthy baby, let alone a sick and cranky one 4) I love being back at work and it is difficult 5) for all of the above reasons, I don’t have the mental capacity to give you the attention you want right now 6) Talk to someone else if you think it would be helpful 7) I need you to help us get through this by this doing xyz.

      I think it can be a hard adjustment for fathers especially when life suddenly seems all about the baby and it will never end. My husband seemed to think that complaining was commiseration (umm, no) and honestly was feeling neglected. That is something to work on in the future as baby grows, but now you both need to focus on getting through the day/night!

      • Cornellian says:

        This is probably exactly what I should say to him if he’s still whining when I get home.

        I get that colds suck, but i want him to think for a moment “Hmm, my wife, who is breastfeeding, sleeping less than me, working more than me, paying my share of bills when I take off work, recovering from an ER visit, AND having the same cold may not have the bandwidth for this.”

        • Anonymous says:

          I would copy and paste this into an email and sent it to him. He has an actual child and needs to stop being a man child on this issue.

        • I don’t want to be cruel, but you may not get your wish – he may not be able to step outside himself right now enough to be more considerate – and you will probably be happier if you tell him directly an affirmative need (something you need him to do, not something you want him to not do). Transfer his to do list back to him. And lower your standards for everything as much as possible until everyone is better.

          Marriage would work so much better if we could take turns having high-need times but it never seems to work that way, and getting into a contest to compare who is suffering more doesn’t usually end well in my experience.

    • Sounds like a classic man cold. I am dreading when my daughter starts daycare in the fall because my husband literally takes to his bed when he’s got the sniffles. He claims that I don’t know how much he suffers when he has a cold (incidentally he said this when he had a cold and I was 8 months pregnant, after I spent the first 5 months with HG and going to work anyway…my head almost exploded! But I decided to give him one last cold to wallow in before the baby came). No advice, just commiseration.

      • Cornellian says:

        I really do wonder why “man cold” is a thing. I have never seen any medical explanation for it, but men (not just straight men I’ve been involved with, but all men I’ve been close friends/roommates with) really do seem to think they need to just lie down for four days when they have a cold and that no one has ever had a cold like them. Societal training??

        • Time to binge a few seasons of The Vikings. Somehow I can’t imagine Ragnar Lothbrok wallowing with a man cold. :) Maybe it will shame your husband into toughening up?

        • My husband is transgender and gets man colds. We met post-transition so I’m not sure if he was always this way, but it definitely wasn’t male gender socialization during his upbringing. It’s a mystery. Testosterone?

          • Cornellian says:

            fascinating! On the flip side, one of my close friends is transgender, and she is also of the “lay in bed, I am DYING” sort.

        • Redux says:

          I heard a great podcast about quantifying pain. There was a piece about how men report pain differently than women, contributing to higher fatalities for women experiencing heart attacks than for men.


      • My husband thinks every head cold is something he will *die* from, and insists on going to the doctor for it, where they tell him to rest, drink fluids and wait it out. Which is the exact same thing I tell him but I don’t charge a co-pay. Not that the co-pay is material in our budget, but the principle of the thing! I blame his mother, who also thinks that sniffles (or a papercut, minor nail infection, etc.) are deadly (and don’t get me started on the rage I had when she told me I wasn’t being sympathetic enough over his head cold when I had the same one but was still going to work/being a human). Also he and his mother both think colds are caused by being out in the cold, not by GERMS. And that Dayquil cures everything (even stomach bugs) – it’s like the Windex in my big fat greek wedding. I cannot wait to teach our baby basic biology.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would be absolutely RAGEy. That said, I am learning how to say, “I’m sorry you are sick. I am also sick. I will handle X, Y, and Z, which all have to get done. Can you handle A, B and C? If you can’t do them, please arrange for [another person, frequently hired] to take care of it.” Sometimes this means he has to call the babysitter to arrange for daycare pick up. Sometimes this means figuring out how to get dry cleaning delivered (in our suburban world). I can begin subsequent communications with, “I don’t have bandwidth to support you because it’s taking all of my energy to keep myself going, including X, Y, and Z responsibilities. Are you ok and if not, do you need anything from me?” What helps me is making sure my sick husband doesn’t turn into my burden.

      • Cornellian says:

        I’m relatively ragey as well. I am so exhausted from having versions of these conversations. I feel liek anything on my to do list is mine to do, as well as everything on OUR to do list, and then half the things on HIS to do list.

        • Kindly, this was an issue with my parents and it had a bit to do w/ her martyr syndrome. My mom is at 100% all the time. Her expectations are unrealistic. What would happen if you took a couple sick days too? What if you just didn’t make dinner? Would he feed himself? What if the things on the to-do list just didn’t get done? Some stuff must get done but other stuff usually can wait a few days. Rather than telling him you need him to do stuff, what if you say you CAN’T do stuff. I don’t think I ever heard my mother utter those words. It was always fine, I’ll do it. Even when she had surgery, my dad’s upkeep of the house wasn’t up to her standards. She hired a housekeeper. Fine I guess but they really didn’t have the money and the place did not need to be spotless, even if home health was coming in. I’m sure they have seen worse than some dust and some pet fur.

          • Cornellian says:

            I see that dynamic in my aunt and uncle and try to be aware of it.

            Maybe it’s hard to be objective about yourself, but I don’t think anyone would call me a neat freak or very exacting. Two nights in the past week I’ve had cereal for dinner, and I’ve basically wiped off the kitchen counters, vacuumed once, and cleaned the toilet in the last week, and that’s sort of my standard currently. It’s actually more non-concrete chores that need to be done that I feel like I always have to do.

            Pay the daycare. Register for the summer session. Make the next pediatrician appointment. Submit the claim from the last one. Refill the dog’s prescription before he runs out and has seizures. Pay the utilities. etc. I don’t think these are really optional. but I think I need to sit down with my husband so we can know what the other one is doing (maybe he has work he’s doing I’m not acknowledging or thinking about) and what balls we can let drop.

  6. Reposting since I was stuck in modertation and posted late yesterday afternoon. {Thank you to the women who responded!}

    My husband and I have been TTC since the beginning of the year. Any tips or hints? I am 31, healthy with very regular cycles. We usually get 2 well timed baby making sessions in a month. I am getting frustrated that it’s not happening yet. Any vitamins, foods, hints for TTC? I am thinking of cutting out alcohol, however, I’m not sure how much of an affect that will have. Ovulation tests are showing ovulation every month.

    I apologize if I am coming off ungrateful or bratty. I know many of the women here and in my life have struggled with fertility

    • Anonymous says:

      So I was married and 25 when I got pregnant with my first, but I came off hormonal BC and wanted to get pregnant quickly. (Also, I was 25.) I cut out all meat, eggs, and dairy (all animal products) for the first 2 weeks after my period and ate entirely fruits and vegetables. I had s3x every other day. I didn’t have processed sugar, alcohol, gluten, anything. It was pretty crazy but it worked and I got pregnant immediately. (Also, that may have been because I was 25.) Have you read The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant? Not saying you’re impatient, but that may have some tips.

      • No, no…I am impatient. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • Katala says:

        +1 to this book rec. I read it, stopped hormonal birth control, charted for 4-5 months and got pregnant the first month of trying. I was bad at temping consistently. For me, cervical mucus was a great indicator (but don’t trust it postpartum…). Did not change diet or alcohol/caffeine consumption.

        • Katala says:

          Oh, and we had sex every day for about 8 or 9 days around when my charts said I would be ovulating. I used the Fertility Friend app and paid for the upgrade that told me when I should be ovulating.

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t see the responses yesterday, but I advise getting those ovulation predictor tests and also reading Take Charge of Your Fertility/TCOYF. I was regular enough, but had the timing wrong of when I actually (a) was ovulating — it was happening way earlier than I thought, and (b) needed to be having sex. After going through a cycle and figuring out when I was ovulating, I started having sex every other day starting a few days before the test predicted I was going to ovulate, but I started to see signs (again, read TCOYF and you’ll start watching your discharge to know when you start to be fertile). Then, we just did it every other day starting as soon as I got signs, to well after the signs of fertility stopped. It took two months once I started this “method.”

      • Strategy mom says:

        I REALLY think the ovulation tests that have the regular smiley and the super smiley face are the best (clear blue advanced). Esp if you are only having sex twice

    • Cornellian says:

      I think your experience is totally normal, but maybe the gardenign isn’t as well-timed as you think. Have you considered using an ovulation tracker? we used kinvara on my phone, but there are other options (including at least one that automatically syncs with a thermometer you can buy). You can narrow down your days of ovulation more exactly that way, or, in the worst case, realize there may be something off about your schedule.

    • Anonymous says:

      According to my doctor, most women don’t really know when they ovulate, even if they’re using those test strips. Thus, if you’re only gardening around when you think you ovulate and you’re wrong about the date, you may have basically a 0% chance of getting pregnant. I would recommend gardening every few days (ideally every other day) from the end of one period to the beginning of the next period, so that you’re guaranteed to do it close to ovulation.
      I have heard recs to cut alcohol, caffeine, etc. but not sure those are very well-grounded in science. If it’s something you really won’t miss then maybe cut it out, but TTC is stressful enough as it without trying to give up your daily coffee or happy hour with your friends. Eating healthy and moderate exercise couldn’t hurt though.

    • AwayEmily says:

      The first time I used the cheap test strips and they were accurate (I think) at but kind of stressful because they only tell you the actual day of ovulation…but it’s best to have s*x before ovulation and my cycles were irregular, so they weren’t giving me quite enough information. They might be better for someone with regular cycles. It took me about 10 months to get pregnant. This last time we were TTC I decided to buy the “Clearblue Advanced” monitor since it measures both ovulation and estrogen, so you get more of a warning pre-ovulation. It’s expensive ($40 a month) but super easy to use. I got pregnant in two months. Oh, I also used the Ovia app, which I’d recommend.

      I also read TCOYF and Impatient Women’s Guide, both of which were great. I tried temping the first time around but it was just too much and the data were hard to interpret. Watching CM was easier.

      • Thank for the recommendation for Clearblue Advanced, I haven’t tried that one. Will be purchasing TCOYF tonight.

        • I’m 5 wks along with our second child at age 36 (after 4 cycles of TTC. The first 3 cycles were somewhat casual; the last cycle was intense bootcamp TTC and it worked). What worked for me was reading TCOYF, vigilantly monitoring cervical mucus and taking my basal body temperature (which doesn’t spike until after you ovulate, but is helpful to know that you did). I also used two ovulation trackers simultaneously (Clearblue Advanced and cheapie ones off Amazon called Easy at Home), which both seemed accurate. It turns out I ovulate later than average (like day 18), and we had s*x every day for a 5 day window up to, and including, the day of ovulation.

          In addition to a daily prenatal, I also cut caffeine, drank red raspberry leaf tea (allegedly helps with uterine health) and took a CoQ10 supplement (allegedly to help declining egg quality) — I don’t know if any of these actually helped, but doc said it couldn’t hurt so I tried it. Good luck!

      • Did anyone feel like TCOYF could have been distilled down to a one-page handout? I know that as a feminist I was supposed to love that book, but I found it both chock-full of anecdata and sooo repetitive

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes. And I have to say, we are thinking about TTC for #2, and I just want the handout. Ain’t nobody got time to read that book when there is a toddler running around. Show me the pictures of the CM with a description and what that means for fertility. Two sentences max. I have tried to google (b/c I can’t remember), and I seriously can’t find all the info in one concise page.

          • Anonymous says:

            It’s not that hard to G o o gle. Search for the words “CM” (but spell out the words, don’t use the initials) and the first result is from BabyCenter & has a recap with photos of all the different kinds and what they mean. I never read TCOYF, but I used that page and other online resources and got PG right away.

          • fertile CM is egg white-like – clear, thin and stretchy. It gets more opaque and less stretchy after ovulation.

        • AwayEmily says:

          yes totally. The Impatient Women’s guide was much more concise and well-organized.

        • AwayEmily says:

          Come to think of it, this is an issue for a lot of books around aspects of parenting. Happiest Baby on the Block could have been like three pages long.

        • EB0220 says:

          Haha, I thought so too. I read the first few chapters in a bookstore, bought the book and then soon realized I didn’t really need the rest of it!

      • I used the fertility friend app and read through their fertility awareness info – it was comprehensive enough. In hindsight I can tell exactly when my ovulation is done by cervical mucous (sorry, TMI) – that plus wondfo OPKs were plenty for me. Garden every other day until ovulation is past, and then take a break!

    • Get your husband tested! It’s easy, quick, and cheap to get him tested, and if all comes back clear you can at least rule that out. We TTC for a year, kept putting off the testing as I was convinced I just had to chart correctly, figure out when I was ovulating, stop drinking, eat better, etc. Finally my husband got tested and found out due to a medication he was on, his sperm essentially didn’t swim. Two months after he stopped the meds I was pregnant (and I had completely stopped tracking my own cycle by that point). I know it’s different for everyone, but I HATE how the emphasis is always on the woman, and it’s up to the woman to figure things out, when it is equally likely the guy is the problem. Good luck! This process can make you crazy very quickly and I really wish I had gone straight for some definite answers instead of just waiting and hoping.

    • I would definitely consider upping the baby-making attempts. We did every other day for the ten days around ovulation date (and I ovulate like clockwork). It took several months the first two times, which was super frustrating. (The third time we weren’t TTC, just off the pill while thinking about TTC, and of course it happened right away).

    • Thank you everyone who responded! I greatly appreciate you sharing your advice and experiences. Thank you,thank you, thank you!

  7. NewMomAnon says:

    I have a clothing fit issue and looking for help naming it and/or identifying brands that might work better. Here is the issue:

    I’m short and small of bust (34B). I have a long torso (shoulders to hips), so I tend to buy shirts long enough that they cover my stomach. Apparently that’s unreasonable, because lately more and more shirts have *way* too much fabric in the shoulders/chest area. It used to be a problem with Banana Republic and button-front shirts only, but now it’s every shirt at seemingly every store – sweaters, shells, t-shirts, cardigans, even lots of dresses. And they both look frumpy AND obscene; the extra fabric gapes in the neckline, but kind of puddles under my bust so it looks like I have a big tummy/no waist definition (which is actually not true). What fit issue is this? I don’t even know how to name it.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Is it just the sort of flowy style that’s popular these days? Or you’re wearing a size too large?

      • NewMomAnon says:

        No, it’s every type of shirt and now some dresses too – I put on a nubby tweedy boxy top today, and it was appropriately boxy toward my hips, and appropriately long (i.e., covered the waistband of my pants), and with shoulders that fit OK, but with so much extra fabric in the top that it just drooped over my bust.

        It seems like clothes that used to have darts no longer do? So instead of darts narrowing a shirt under the bust, they just build a whole bunch of extra volume into the top of the shirt and *hope* a woman’s bust fills it out. But if your bust doesn’t hit at the right spot or if it’s not big enough, the fabric just….hangs.

    • I don’t know, but I have the exact same issue, so I have resorted to buying vintage Vince Camuto faux wrap tops off eBay. (And then sewing an extra press stud at the neckline to keep things closed, because…small bust.) I am ready for the ‘swing’ top trend to die, but then I think it’ll swing (sorry) all the way back to the other extreme where other ladies who are not shaped as I am find it hard to dress for their figures. Sigh.

    • Cornellian says:

      I’m the same. I’m not super short (5’4″) but my height is all in my torso.

      I have had good luck with uniqlo for basic tops, but honestly have just moved towards fitted dresses that work for long torso-ed ladies. Adrianna Papell works well in dresses for me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I just went back into private practice after being a SAHM for several years. I’m of counsel, and it’s my first review period. I am reviewing a paralegal and several associates. I realize I’m a terrible grader (for much the same reason that I hated multiple choice tests), and I also don’t have much to go on. I have to score a series of qualities on a scale from 1 to 10, and then write a comment after each grade. I have only been here for six months, and have no real complaints about any of the attorneys. A few constructive comments — mostly paying attention to details — but nothing big. Do I just give high marks across the board? All 10s, with some 8s thrown in on the detail issues? I’m also sensitive because it is a small firm, and I know the associates are given the reviews. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous says:

      Employment lawyer here: no. I would suggest you speak with other attorneys you work with, who also supervise the people you’re reviewing. Chat about their experience with the various employees. Do not give them perfect scores if your feeling is “no complaints but nothing stellar.” If your feeling is, “wow these are stellar employees,” then yes, give them 10/10. If your feeling is “satisfactory,” ask your colleagues if that’s a 5 or an 8 on the scale.

  9. +1 to comments about timing and having s*x every other day leading up to ovulation.

    Honestly, I don’t think nutrition, vitamins, cutting alcohol helps in any measurable way, unless you’re under- or overweight. (Ive had several friends whose doctors have told them to exercise less and increase their body fat to get pregnant though.)

    If you have been timing well for 6 months, I would go ahead and talk to your doctor. S/he may be able to advise you going forward, and the fact that you’ve been trying will be documented in your chart and may make it easier to get a referral to a fertility specialist later if it becomes necessary. Also, I would ask for an order to have your husband’s sperm tested. It’s cheap and non-invasive, and some (not all) problems with low count can be resolved by changing small things and without medical intervention.

    • Ugh…this was for LH.

    • Thank you, SC.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I was stressing about this SO MUCH and asked my husband to go to his PCP and get a referral to a specialist after we’d been trying for 7 months. Once he had the referral, and I knew we could act on it, I was much less stressed/ high-strung about it.
      Also- I know it doesn’t feel this way (especially if you’re a planner) but it really hasn’t been that long. They say up to 12 months is normal (if you’re under 35) because it is.

      • Anonymous says:

        “I know it doesn’t feel this way (especially if you’re a planner) but it really hasn’t been that long. They say up to 12 months is normal (if you’re under 35) because it is.”

        Yes and no. 60% of all couples trying to get pregnant succeed within just three months, and 80% get pregnant within six months. So while trying for more than six months doesn’t mean there’s necessarily a problem, and there are plenty of couples who successfully conceive naturally after that time frame, it’s not really “normal” from a statistical perspective. Taking longer to conceive is actually more normal after 35, but they encourage you to see a doctor sooner because you have less time to wait it out.

      • I know 6 months can be normal. But I’ve had friends who tried for a year, then went to the doctor. The doctor gave them advice about timing and ovulation and sent them home to try for 6 more months before writing referrals. (I’m sure other doctors would treat this differently.) I think there’s no harm in going to the doctor at 6 months, getting the advice on timing and ovulation and testing (even if you don’t think you need it), and getting a referral for the PCP. Six months later, you’re either pregnant or you have, documented in your medical record, 12 months of TTC and 6 months of TTC after advice on the correct timing and a “good” sperm analysis. That should get you a referral to a fertility specialist.

  10. AnonMom says:

    What do you moms do on the weekends? Do you have your weekend planned ahead or just go with the flow? I often get asked at work what my plans are and my answer is often “no plans, just hang out with the baby, go to the park, sleep”. I am not sleep deprived or working long hours. I just like to stay at home, clean, cook, talk to family, all at a leisurely pace. I have the feeling I am the only one around the office “doing nothing” on the weekend. Do you look down on someone like me? :)) I am mean I can’t say my hobby is cooking and I am a chef on my free time, I just like to feed myself and my family healthy meals so that’s why I cook.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have no kids yet (pregnant with #1) but honestly my answer is basically the same – “sleep, spend time with husband, play with dog.” So I don’t judge you. And I don’t really care if others judge me. :)

    • Katala says:

      I love no-plans weekends. I wouldn’t judge, just feel maybe a little jealous. Since going back to work it seems like we have 1-3 events each weekend so haven’t had the luxury of going with the flow, which I prefer. I need that weekend time to catch up on laundry, prep meals for the week, see my kiddos for more than 30 minutes at a time… I wouldn’t worry about it. I think going to the park/zoo/etc. is a legit weekend plan too, if you want to have something to say besides “chores.”

    • Cornellian says:

      I’m like you (and honestly was before kids as well). I say something vague like “Just relaxing, trying to get in a run/park visit/etc”

      I feel like some of my coworkers jet around more, but they’re all junior to me so I’m not worried about the optics.

    • Sabba says:

      I used to have this problem. First, I think it makes the conversation awkward if you always say “We have no plans.” People usually want to hear something. What I did was practice coming with answers for the coming weekend. You don’t need much. Something like “DH and I are going to watch the Star Wars movie, we have been meaning to catch up on it” or “We’re headed to our local coffee shop on Sunday morning.” or “I’m trying a new gazpacho recipe” or “We usually work in the garden on Saturdays.” Or whatever. Just say one thing to contribute to the conversation, even if it isn’t a large event that you have planned. If you really aren’t a planner, you can always mention something you did last weekend like “We don’t plan much because we like to go with the flow on weekend since our weeks are so busy. Last weekend we ended up strolling around the lake on Saturday afternoon, and it was so lovely. My toddler spotted some baby ducks. We might go back this weekend.”

      I abhor busy weekend schedules, so I get where you are coming from. When people ask about plans, I think they are trying to connect with you and hear about some of the small things you have going on in your life. It is easy enough to come up with a few things to talk about, although it somehow seems like it is more work for me than “normal” people.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I agree. There’s a difference between “no plans” and “cleaning my house,” which are sort of conversation enders, and “low-key weekend.” I’d say something like, “we have a low-key weekend planned. We’re going to head to the park with kiddo and then we’re going to catch up on stuff around the house” or “I think we’re going to rent a movie and grill.”

    • I don’t look down on anyone for their weekend plans. If I ask about them, I’m just making conversation.

      We tend not to make too many plans and just go with the flow. We never know if Kiddo is going to take a long nap or wake up cranky or whatever. We try to make sure he gets to run around and play for at least an hour each morning and evening so he will be sufficiently tired for nap- or bedtime. We try to go on one outing a day–to the park, the zoo or aquarium, the children’s museum, a grandparent’s house, the grocery store or Costco, the indoor playground, or the pool or splash zone. That will take up anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours. At home, Kiddo helps (or “helps”) with chores, or one of us plays with Kiddo while the other does chores. DH likes to stay home and hang out, and I like excursions more, but we were the same way pre-Kiddo.

      We live near lots of DH’s family, so most weekends, we see some combination of grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. at least once. In the last few months, we’ve also started going to some birthday parties and on some play dates, but it’s not every weekend at this point.

    • Last year I was at a wedding out of state. I was chatting with a nice woman and she asked what my husband and I did for fun on the weekends. I said that I had (at the time) a 15 month old so that was pretty much it. She did not have children (just barely engaged herself) but totally understood. I think most people get that people with small children aren’t always going to have exciting fun filled weekends. And regardless, everyone is entitled to spend their time how they want. I really wouldn’t worry about it, especially since it sounds like you are enjoying your weekends.

    • Spirograph says:

      We definitely try to have one “plan” per day, even if it’s something simple like
      -go to the playground
      -go to the neighborhood pool
      -have some friends over for burgers/hotdogs
      -go to kid birthday party

      I get that those are not exciting or even “plans” by the standard of, say, DINKs, but that’s my life. If we try to do a lazy day at home, invariably the kids are totally underfoot and driving us crazy and we wish we’d just gotten out of the house for a few hours.

      And I agree that anyone who asks this is just trying to make conversation — that’s the only reason I ask anyone about their weekends. I’m definitely not judging, it’s just easy pre-meeting small talk. I love when there’s a holiday and I can use “have any plans for / did you do anything fun for the long weekend?” for two weeks!

      • Yes, this. My “plans” are just to get out of the house at some point each day. I have loose ideas on what that might involve and that’s what I usually say. Something like “oh we’re hoping to go to the zoo if the weather isn’t too hot” or “we were going to check out the farmers market on X street, we’ve never been” or “we’re getting together with some neighbors we’d like to get to know better”.

        It’s totally just a small talk conversation starter, so my loose answers give people something to respond to. “Oh we love farmers markets, have you tried the one in Y?” or “It’s so nice to have neighbors you get along with! How’d you get to know them?” or whatever.

    • As I wrote in my Christmas letter for the first few years after my son was born, we basically just congratulate ourselves for keeping everyone clothed and fed; anything more ambitious than that is gravy. We spend our weekends doing chores and errands, cooking, going to the park/playground (we have no yard), swim class, and attend birthday parties. I like to try to do one bigger outing or playdate or meetup with a friend each weekend, but we often don’t have time/energy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I did clear blue easy ovulation predictor and we got pregnant the 2nd month with it, after trying for 6 months. And we literally only a garden party on the 2 days that month it said I was ovulating because DH was traveling. I was trying the cheap strips before and there was too much guesswork involved

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is a timely post for me and my random question: do we only have to garden every other day during the fertile period, or would it help for us to garden every day? I’m doing the tracking thru an app and using the ClearBlue fertility monitor so I have somewhat of an idea when I will be ovulating – unfortunately my most fertile period is during the three days I’ll be at my parents cabin. So gardening will be, ahem, difficult but I’ll make it happen – but I’d prefer if we only have to do it every other day, rather than every day. Will doing it every day increas my chances at all?

    • IIRC it depends – if your husband has a low sperm count it might be better to do it every other day, if it is normal every day might be better, but I don’t think it is a big difference. This is based on vague recollections. We just aimed for every other day; we’re not THAT in love.

      • October says:

        Every other day is fine, and start before those three days if you can (like, every other day for a week before/during your fertile period). I believe sperm can survive 3-5 days in ideal conditions. Once you have ovulated it is often too late.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your chances are better with every other day. Even in healthy men without sperm count issues, every other day is recommended when TTC.

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