Design

How to Avoid Panty Lines, And Other Reader Questions

Sartorialist

A few weeks ago, we featured reader questions and answers. Here are four more, including how to avoid those dreaded Visible Panty Lines, and what to do with your life (big questions, guys!)…

Q. Aside from wearing thongs, how do women avoid panty lines? No matter what I do, my behind always looks frumpy and lined. Big undies. Small undies. Different pants. NOTHING helps.
A. I struggled for years with this! Have you tried Hanky Pankys? They use a special type of soft stretchy lace that lies flat, and even their thongs are miraculously comfortable. I wear them regularly and never feel them. My friends also swear by Commando Boy Shorts, which are completely flat, even under fitted dresses. Adds a reader named Sasha: “Have you tried none? I stopped wearing underwear 21 years ago. It was *very* exciting for my husband for a while. Plus, you could use all the money you save to buy books (or better yet, take a vacation).”

Q. My friend just had a baby, and I’m going to visit her. What should I bring?
A. During those hazy days of new parenthood, it’s such a gift when someone hands you food. Homemade lasagna would be delicious, of course, and I remember almost crying with gratitude when Toby was born and my friend Abbey brought us a bag full of sandwich fixings: sliced bread, sliced turkey, sliced cheese, fresh tomatoes and grainy mustard. Voila, easy lunches for a week!

Q. My fiancée and I are adulting about 90% of the time these days, and we’re trying to make our home reflect that. But transitioning from hand-me-down furniture and IKEA purchases to a unified look has been challenging. Where should our upgrades start, considering that we’re renters?
A. Congratulations on adulting! Says Lexi: “Here are a few things I’ve learned after eight apartments in three different cities: 1. Upgrading light fixtures makes all the difference, and you can take them with you when you move. Three inexpensive favorites: Ikea sconces, CB2 flushmounts and Etsy pendants. 2. A pretty shower curtain (splurge, steal) gives any bathroom an instant makeover. 3. You can transform a room with small touches, and Instagram has some awesome feeds with budget finds. My current favorite is Vintage Fine Objects (that orange chair!).”

Q. How do I figure out what I’m meant to do with my life? I know, big question, but I’m really struggling to figure out my next career.
A. Figuring out a career path is never easy. Here’s a great suggestion from a reader named Jennifer: “Have you ever heard of the podcast Hidden Brain? Episode 56 — ‘Getting Unstuck’ — talks about an interesting approach to the question of ‘what do I do with my life?'” Also, remember, it’s never too late to switch things up — life is long! My mom stayed home with three kids for decades, then went to college and grad school in her late forties to become a psychologist. We’re rooting for you. xoxoxo

Thoughts? Do you agree with these? Any different answers? And please leave any other pressing questions below…

P.S. More reader questions, and dinner table etiquette.

(Photo by the Sartorialist.)

  1. Back when all my friends were getting married right out of college and having babies I made them the monster cookies from “Baked”. I had no idea what lactation cookies were at the time but with the healthy fats, oats and lessened sugar this cookie fit the bill and my friends still have fond memories of those cookies. They are massive and can be eaten with one hand making them easy sustenance for moms nursing a newborn. Now I make family/kid friendly meals that can be frozen since drop off times and meal schedules can change so easily.

  2. Emily says...

    I gave birth 8 weeks ago and while we were lucky to receive lots of delicious meals, the things I keep thinking about are little things: a friend who gave me a giant tumbler with some natural fruit flavored powders, a bag of frozen homemade breakfast burritos from my sister, and some little energy/protein balls that were awesome to grab when I was up starving in the middle of the night, mother’s milk tea, a giant container of fresh fruit, etc. Even the smallest of things is so appreciated by a new mom! On a separate note, I was always grateful when people confirm on the day of a visit that the previously planned time still works. It’s so helpful for a new breastfeeding mom who is still getting used to her baby’s feeding schedule!

  3. Katie says...

    Is it too late to ask a question here?

    So, I’m sort of a closet introvert; I’m extroverted at work & well, in general, but the only thing I crave more than fun times with other people is being completely alone with a book & my dogs. But people wouldn’t naturally assume this based on my everyday demeanor. When I travel for work, I get a little anxious about how to find alone time, since it can feel like co-worker central from breakfast until dawn. Ugh (even though I really like my co-workers!). Any tips for graciously finding alone time when you’re in very group-centric situations?

    • Marissa says...

      Hey Katie! I have a similar personality type, and while I love to be surrounded almost all day, I prioritize having an hour to myself every day to get filled up. When I’ve gone on trips where I’m surrounded by friends all the time, I honestly have found the only way to get that alone time is to wake up an hour earlier than everyone else. I know, not glamorous and not ideal in terms of getting sleep, but it really is the key to finding some quiet/alone time!

  4. Nicolle says...

    no panty-lines: I love the nama-stay-put hipster underwear from Lululemon. Basic colours and fun patterns, stays put and never a panty line. I just cant do thongs anymore (Im 40 and giving them up ;) and this was the perfect solution.

  5. I think every age has its own responsibilities. But we do have our dreams. It’s not late to start your dream even you are forty.

  6. Katie says...

    RE: what to do with your life. Like a mothers intuition is real, so is yours (pre kids or no kids), it’s okay to pay attention to that. Imperative, even. I could never think of one thing I wanted to do for 30 years, but I could think of 3 things for 10 years a pop. And maybe I’ll change my mind? I don’t know. Getting comfy with ambiguity has been a source of contentment for me – and I find it’s helpful to name what I’m sure I don’t want to do, too. Somehow this thoughtful little dance has worked for me. Whatever you do, life is happening right now, so try to enjoy it as soon as humanly possible.

    • Sasha says...

      I really like your philosophy. Sounds like a recipe for happiness.

  7. Miranda says...

    I almost never see others recommending underwear options for plus-size ladies but I’ve had good luck lately with Lane Bryant panties. I tried Hanky Panky and really did not like them at all, but the LB ‘wide-side’ thongs are very, very comfortable for me. Although I should mention that I’ve worn thongs since high school and cannot get on board with any other kind of undies (feels like wearing a swimsuit under my jeans). They have tons of different styles that aren’t thongs and quite a few pretty patterns and colors. I’ve also tried some of their lingerie that wouldn’t really work for everyday wear but is fun for… other activities. Most of their stuff is pretty affordable and they have lots of buy-3, buy-5 deals and sales. Just a heads up for all my plus-size ladies who might be looking past Lane Bryant because they think it’s an “older” store.

  8. Beth says...

    I think one of the best gifts I received after my son was born was a subscription to a small handful of smart magazines. I had my son when I was 23 so for years basically nobody else I knew pre-baby had children, and I was truly starved for adult companionship until I started branching out from my long term circle of friends. I had my at the time boyfriend/now husband of course and my friends would drop by briefly but I just remember feeling so lonely (along with of course lots of joy too). The magazines allowed me to sit with a sleeping baby and not feel too disconnected from the rest of the world.

    • Ashley says...

      I so related to this comment as a young mom myself!

  9. Ib says...

    Hi! I’m also really interested in hearing about your mom’s career change in her forties. xx

  10. Nikki says...

    I can’t wear synthetic underwear. How I achieve a near-seamless look in cotton boy shorts: after pulling on pants, shove your hand down your backside between your unders and your bum and catch the bottom hem of the shorts with your fingertips to push them down. For most pants and skirts this is fine.

  11. C says...

    When I had my first baby we were new to town so it was rather lonely at times. This time around (10 years later!) we had much more community to celebrate with. Setting up a Meal Train is a wonderful thing to do for a friend. We had friends bring us food daily for a month (!!) and it not only nourished our bodies but all the visits were amazing and it was such fun to share our baby!

  12. Bea says...

    Why does anyone care so much about visible panty lines? Who cares? It seems to me like one of those unnecessary things that keep women distracted from far more important things in life. In the grand scheme of things, our days on this earth are numbered and I know I won’t be lying on my deathbed regretting the time I wasted worrying about getting frowned upon for having visible panty lines. But that’s just my opinion!

    • Liz says...

      I agree. When I was younger I felt like it was a symbol of being demure. Now I’m more fixated on when I can start wearing pjs to the store than v.p.l.

    • Karen says...

      I second that, Bea! Well articulated, thank you!

    • Angela says...

      Amen!

    • Susie says...

      I agree. I find it more distracting to notice obviously bare flesh under tight or light pants…makes me involuntarily think, ewww, is that person not wearing underwear, or are they wearing a thong, or what?! If I happen to notice a panty-line, I don’t give it another thought.

  13. MK says...

    When I had a baby, there were two things I especially loved:
    1) a bag of groceries from Trader Joe’s.
    2) chocolate covered strawberries from Sherri’s Berries.

    You can’t go wrong!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, a friend sent chocolate-covered strawberries right after toby was born. she said her friend had sent them to her when she’d had her baby, and she now gives them to all her new mom friends. heaven!!

  14. Justine A Clark says...

    Thank you to everyone here who has posted about changing careers later in life, or shared their concerns about not knowing what they “want to be when they grow up”. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone.

  15. Kay says...

    If you want a cheaper version of Hanky Pankies, , Victoria Secret makes a really comfortable lace thong and so does (did?) Old Navy. Basically any soft lace thong is much more comfortable than the average thong.

  16. Rachel says...

    As a new mom, I would have loved if somebody brought K-Cups with those countless sleepless nights and days with a colicky baby.

  17. Angela says...

    re: pantylines, I only wear uniqlo’s seamless underwear. They frequently go on sale for $3ish. They’re the best!

    • CA says...

      Cosigned

  18. kelly libby says...

    Adult apartment?

    Try Thrift stores like Goodwill or Flea Markets. I have found so many beautiful pieces that are the very opposite of IKEA an Target style generic pieces.

    Make it yours!!

    • Allison says...

      I also find that a room can have a lot of IKEA without feeling like an IKEA catalogue long as you have a couple large focuses that are more personal. It can be an eye catching piece of furniture or art or can be something soft like a carpet, bedding, or throw that distracts from the boring thing underneath.

  19. Anna says...

    Love the underwear suggestions. Since I’ve had a baby, I sometimes leak a little when running or working out. Any work-out undie reccos that can protect me?

    • Maybe Thinx would work for that? I wanted to recommend Fit2b, an awesome exercise program I’ve been doing online! It’s good for everyone but has gentle exercises geared to strengthen your pelvic floor (or separated abdominal muscles) and can help heal those issues!

    • Lily says...

      @Cait

      Great minds…! I came here to write the same exact comment. I did the 12-week program MuTu System (mutumamas.com) to help with pelvic floor strength/abdominal separation. It’s also great for just building core strength in general–something very much needed for toting around a baby!

  20. Claire P says...

    Re: adulting and apartment furnishing…. overstock.com has some really beautiful, affordable rugs! My fiance and I found a gorgeous 8×10 rug for about $200 that we love, and it just made our living room + old cheap furniture look so much more purposeful and pulled together!

    • Melissa rugg says...

      They seem to last a bit longer if you wash them in a mesh laundry bag. It’s hard to pass up that 5 for $25 price :)

  21. Ellie says...

    My mom taught me to bring food to new parents, but to make sure it’s as easy as possible. Don’t go to their house and create dishes! I always buy the disposable aluminum pans for baked pasta and then either bring disposable plates/utensils or stay and wash up.

  22. On the topic of what to do with your life, I’m currently reading this book: http://amzn.to/2pNy58Y

    It’s supposed to help you how to approach your life as designers do. I’m currently on the second chapter and I find it really useful.

    • Laura says...

      I LOVE this book – rereading it now

  23. My sister gave me a pair of really beautiful matching pajamas after I had my last baby. They were far nicer than anything I would ever have bought for myself, and SO wonderful to have when I was too exhausted to want to wear real clothes but needed to look somewhat decent for all the people who kept dropping by!

    • Alex says...

      That’s a really nice idea! I’m going to try to remember that.

  24. Lenie says...

    A great gift for new mums is an insulated travel mug for coffee or tea that can be opened with just one hand. I had countless cups of tea going cold before I thought of using my mug! When my friend gave birth 5 weeks after I did, I gave her a mug and some tea that is supppsed to help with nursing. She loved it and has already gifted a mug to another ecpecting mum!

    • Amber says...

      I love the mug idea! I was just about to mention food that can be eaten with one hand! I always try to bring new moms mini-muffins or something else that can be eaten as a grab and go. My go to is that and something fresh, like a bowl of fruit, and something decadent, like a favorite chocolate bar.

  25. Claire says...

    I love this type of post! Could you tackle a problem of mine for summer? What is a good sunscreen that I can use? I have pale skin, and I know I should be wearing it every day since my freckles are starting to turn into sun spots already. I have tried so many products, but all that I read says that it has to have zinc in it for it be really effective and to avoid mineral sunscreens since they don’t provide enough protection. Everything I try, though, creates a white, pasty face. I would love to find a product that I can wear all summer (and year-round) that would not further pale my face and could be warn under make-up. Thanks!

    • Ellie says...

      Oh this is my jam! For a moisturizer with sunscreen, I use the Origins White Tea with SPF 40 (they just upped it from 25!). It’s about $40-45 at Sephora or Origins which isn’t terrible and the jar lasts me quite awhile. I also recently tried the Dr Jart Sun Fluid and LOVED it! Super gel-like consistency that you can easily layer makeup over. When I’m in the sun like at the pool or beach, I swear by the Coola Sport SPF 50. I love the natural oils in it the are moisturizing too. They also make some nice face options that I’ve tested and liked. I hope that’s helpful! :)

    • Melanie Gehman says...

      BeautyCounter sunscreen stick. Free of gross chemicals and additives….

    • Jody says...

      Claire, I recently ordered a bottle of Goddess Garden Face the Day sunscreen and firming primer. It is all natural, 30 spf and the active ingredient is zinc. So far I am liking the results. It is a bit tacky and takes a few minutes to settle on my skin. I’m also not a fan of the smell but it is not super strong and fades quickly.

    • jaime jones says...

      I love the elta md products– they are all zinc based. I mostly use the uv clear untinted kind. Absorbs beautifully, feels slightly moisturizing but not at all oily.

    • La Roche Posay! Doesn’t weirdly roll off or give much of a white cast.

    • Abesha1 says...

      ThinkBaby rubs in well on milky to latte colored skin, and works really well. It’s all minerals and plant oils. Make sure you actually use enough of whichever you choose… often that’s the real culprit for most burns.

    • Hana Kim says...

      Josh Rosebrook has an awesome spf moisturizer and a tinted version as well that is really nourishing and hydrating for the skin as well as providing adequate sun protection. It’s spf 30 with only zinc oxide and organic ingredients.

  26. Upgrading your wall art is always a good way to kick start your adulting! Art is timeless, and colllections look better if they’ve grown over time :-)

  27. Rebecca G says...

    I have tried just about every style and brand of undies (was a Hanky Panky devotee for years) under the sun and none of them felt or fit quite right and no matter what, I still had lines! So a couple of years ago I gave up and went to good old fashioned “Granny Panties”. It was the best decision I ever made. They are incredibly comfy, provide appropriate coverage and the weird thing is I feel more attractive, sensual, secure and I guess “womanly” than ever before. I was worried about my bf being turned off, but it ended up being totally opposite! He felt the same way I did. Hooray! As long as I’m comfortable, secure and happy and he’s happy, then panty lines are really even an issue.

  28. Daynna Shannon says...

    Lexi: (or anyone else, too, if you’d happen to know)

    Do you know of other Insta feeds that sell straight to buyer like that VintageFine one? Love the concept!

  29. Eva says...

    love these q&a roundups. and omg thank you for the light fixture tips! just bought a home and ready to dump all the garish light sources currently in there haha.

    in that vein, i’d love more posts about design and decorating—with budget and mid-range options (who is buying $150 shower curtains??) from ethical and eco businesses. <3

    • Laura says...

      I second this!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your notes! the tricky thing seems to be (and i’d LOVE advice on this, if anyone has some) is that many eco/ethical businesses have higher price points because it tends to be more expensive to produce products that way. for example, quiettown shower curtains are produced ethically here in brooklyn, but they’re $148. but the budget options have great pricing, but they’re often more fast fashion, etc. — like the $19 target shower curtain we linked to. any advice for brands and companies that are both affordable AND eco-friendly/ethical? we will keep researching and scouting different options, too!

    • Eva says...

      agreed it’s a challenge, joanna! i always struggle with trying to avoid the mass market stuff (if it’s that cheap, it’s costing someone else in the supply chain), yet I can’t quite afford the ideal handmade-everything boutiques. hoping to mine your design-savvy network for business with a smart and thoughtful balance.

      i suppose this is why i like vintage/second-hand stuff so much—best of both worlds :)

  30. Samantha says...

    Bring new moms food you can eat with one hand! Pizza, muffins, warm pretzels, oatmeal cookies, fruit, etc. A friend brought over a baked blueberry/banana oatmeal and it was heavenly. Another friend bright fresh baked bread, made me a sandwich, and walked my dog.

  31. Emily says...

    Any chance you could aggregate some of the comments about all these topics into individual posts!? Especially panty lines…is it too much to ask for a reasonably priced, comfortable, non-thong that doesn’t show lines and works on a butt with a presence!? [insert praying hands emoji]

    CoJ readers comments are an absolute treasure trove of good advice but it’s hard to sift through them all!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, emily! i’ve read all the comments, and Cup of Jo readers’ favorite invisible panty seems to be the calvin klein invisible hipster: http://bit.ly/2pNDgpo people swear by it! :)

    • Laura says...

      I agree! There’s so much good stuff in the cup of jo comments, but there’s so many its tough to weed through. I don’t really know what the solution would be – another commenter suggested “liking” posts and having those show up higher, but that makes it feel a bit weird and competitive to me? Aggregating comments would be great, but seems like a lot of work for the COJ team.

    • Lily says...

      @joanna

      May I suggest an idea? For posts like these with multiple questions that will most likely spawn various comments, could you be the first to start the comment thread?

      For instance, “Comment here for suggestions for helpful ideas for new parents,” “Comment here for adulting apartment suggestions,” etc. and readers can hit reply to those comments to ensure a more cohesive thread. Just a suggestion!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, lily!

    • I second the swearing by the CK invisible hipsters Joanna linked to. As in: I bought the entire 9 pairs in stock in my size (and black) from Zappos when they had them, and then even bought a few more in brown (which is normally a blurg color to me, but I loved the fit and comfort and non-VPL that much!). I’d definitely recommend trying them! :)

  32. Kelli miller says...

    My go to for seamless panties is the Gilligan and O’Malley line that target carries. They are absolutely amazing and no show. Only cost $5 a piece and have pretty patterns!

  33. Best post ever!

    VPL – Similar to the commando pair you shared, but much cheaper are these from Urban Outfitters. I was a no underwear lady FOREVER, and now I swear by these! https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/out-from-under-no-lines-laser-cut-hipster-001?category=hipster-panties&color=805

    A dear friend (and neighbor) is about to have a baby, and I’ve been brainstorming what to do for them. I’m kidless, so thank you dear reader friends for all the dos and don’ts!

    I can’t really start on the whole life question. But let’s just say I just downloaded the Designing Your Life audiobook for long runs. :)

  34. Claire says...

    My mother lives nearby and brought a green smoothie for the first few days at home postpartum, and it was awesome and restorative.
    For transitioning to new furniture, I have had great success at second hand furniture shops, particularly for certain pieces like dining tables or wardrobes. Look for real wood and sturdy construction. One of my favorites is Miss Pixies in Washington, DC.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      a green smoothie sounds sooooo good for a new mother. love that idea!

  35. Parker says...

    I have two very close friends who are pregnant and due within two weeks of each other. Do any mamas out there have suggestions for gifts I can give them now, specifically for them and not the baby? Any favorite things that made pregnancy easier for you? Thanks in advance :)

    • Amber says...

      I’m pregnant with my second right now, and honestly, the biggest gift I could imagine right before baby is time! You’re so exhausted at the end, it doesn’t feel like you can get anything done. If you’re close enough, offer to clean part of their house, or help wash and fold those tiny baby clothes! Or maybe some of her favorite toiletries in travel size to throw in her hospital bag so she can feel pampered after delivery. I’m also a big reader, but am too tired to read novels right before/after baby, so a stash of magazines is a guilty pleasure!

    • Susanne says...

      we recently gave a friend a gift-certificate for a facial treatment and she loved it. (it was a postpartum gift including babysitter-service but any pregnant woman would love it as well)
      I’d say any pregnant woman would love some special “me-time” where she can take care for and focus on herself in contrast to the upcoming time where all the attention will be drawn to the baby.
      a “girls night out” would be a nice thing as well.

    • Polly Hitchcock Sage says...

      Massage or pedicure certificate. Make or bring dinner. Ask if you can do errands or go to the grocery store for her entire grocery list. If she has other kids, offer to babysit to give her 3 hours to herself.

    • Y says...

      A gift certificate for a pre-natal massage would be a huge treat. My friend gave me some really beautiful skin oil and bath oil when I was pregnant with my daughter and wrote specifically in the card they were for ME to indulge in and I really appreciated that.

  36. Thanks for the shoutout!
    Best Kevin
    VFO

  37. Carly says...

    All hail hanky panky!!!!

  38. Elizabeth Spence says...

    I loved this. Though did you know that in Australia a thong is a flop-flop? This post had me reading it a couple of times to get the meaning ?

    • Eva says...

      haha flop flop?? sounds unflattering. ;)

    • Eva, thong means flip flop sandals in some other countries like Australia :) not an unflattering word for what Americans call thong underwear! ;)

    • Eva says...

      ohhhhhh flip flop/thong. yes, that i knew. the mistype threw me off!

    • Min says...

      We call them flip flops in California as well. :)

  39. Robin says...

    Best gifts for new parents, definitely food, especially something healthy! I at least really craved veggies but had no chance to cook. A big salad, all the way. But nutrient dense snacks are also very welcome. My friend brought me a massive batch of healthy cookies with chia seeds and whatnot in them. So perfect.

    Also on the underwear front, I love commando cotton – they are stupidly expensive but they look nice and finally, no seams under my pencil skirts! Note that they fit fairly small – I’m maybe a size 6-8 and wear the m/l size panties.

  40. As a designer who works with younger clients, particularly renters, I get asked about where best to spend money and I recommend a good rug. I purchased a beautiful area rug 10 years ago that I still love–enough to ship it cross country. A good rug can be the foundation of an entire room design. You can move it to different spaces in the home, layer a larger sisal beneath it if you find yourself in a bigger space and roll it up when it’s time to go.

  41. Love that “life is long!” comment. I think we all get tied up with the notion that we have to have everything figured out RIGHT NOW and that it’s “too late” to change our minds and start over. I’m 27 and keep putting that same pressure on myself, so it’s nice to have the reminder. :)

    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  42. Mariana says...

    I love this post and love the comments! This is an amazing community! Regarding the panty lines: seamless undies, brazilian or boy shorts. I wear Intimissimi but don’t know if you have it in the US (I’m portuguese). Regarding the new mothers: food is hands down the best thing to bring! But also, a friend of mine gave me a bright pink Dior lipstick as a reminder to take care of myself too. I thought it was a lovely gift and it worked wonders in those first times when I looked like a zombie! Now I always do the same for my new mom friends.

  43. Em says...

    My solution is to not wear underwear! But more so not caring. I totally appreciate the loveliness of a smooth bum, and might worry about it for a very special outfit. But for day-to-day life, if someone looks at my butt and sees a line, that’s on them. :P

  44. To take to a friend with a new baby: fresh, delicious food (I had a friend bring me sushi since I couldn’t eat it while pregnant and now I am forever indebted to her), chocolate (for any occasion, really), a short visit (new parents are tired and want to stare at their baby without being stared at) and NO GERMS.

    Adulting an apartment: Houseplants make a house look like a home! Bonus points if you keep them alive :)

  45. Jill says...

    Commando! Comfort, relaxation and, yes, FREEDOM!

  46. Alli says...

    My husband and I have the conversation involving the same question daily. “Shall we stay or shall we move?” We currently live and love our lives in Chicago, but often think about relocating back the East Coast. We both happen to have grown up in the same town (high school sweethearts reconnected) outside of Philly. As we grow older, we think about our lives in two worlds: here and there. We talk about friendships we built here, the family that we’ve created with our friends, those that we vacation with and share holidays together, since moving for graduate school five years ago. We envision our careers developing within our current professional networks. And, of course, the dread of physically moving (how do we own so many books in one small apartment?) But, as our case builds in one direction, we think back to those we’ve left behind. We think about our aging parents and ailing family members – those that have their own concerns that we could never possibly solve. We think about their health problems and financial woes. We wonder selfishly: should face that stress armed with our own limited resources to give up what we have here? Philosophically we discuss, what is important in your life? Supporting family members while compromising your own happiness? Living your life freely by abandoning your kin? Should you enter an unhealthy, unhappy environment and become a martyr? Before reading your recent piece, “On Going Home,” I thought you might take such a direction so I’m curious if others wrestle with the similar questions.

    • Anna says...

      I certainly struggle with this! We moved from New York City when we had a baby and acquired 2 big dogs. We tried moving back to Michigan (where my family lives) and it just felt depressing and small. We now live in Atlanta which feels like a good mix between big and small – but are still so far from any family. I constantly wonder if I should choose to be closer to family or if we should just do our own thing and explore the places we want to. There doesn’t ever seem to be a perfect solution!

  47. Grey says...

    Soma has a “vanishing edge” line of underwear that have silicone around the leg openings to help them stay down. These are the best “no panty line” underwear I’ve EVER worn.

    • Amy says...

      I agree 100% about Soma vanishing edge bikinis. I was going to add this comment and so glad someone else beat me to it!
      Completely invisible under my tightest yoga pants, and everything else. LOVE them; they are all I wear. And fit perfectly around your butt. They DO NOT move because of the silicone.

    • Gretchen says...

      Agreed!!!

    • Marissa says...

      These are my every-day panties & have been for years. Love them & they’re convenient for every outfit!

  48. Allison says...

    Not sure if this was already mentioned but the book “Designing Your Life” is great a great resource when considering career/life changes or just planning life in general. :)

    • Agree! It’s a great book for chronic over-thinkers (like me!).

    • Laura says...

      This book has been tremendously helpful as I’m trying to figure out what next. Another commenter mentioned this as well – I’m thinking interviewing the authors would be a GREAT cup of jo post :)

  49. cs says...

    Could you do a master post on moving to and living in NYC? I’ll be moving at the end of summer and thinking about finding an apartment in NYC from across the country, and all the logistics involved with just moving to a big city in general, is daunting. I would love to hear NYC specific tips from you ladies and your readers!

    • Rose says...

      I second this! Moving there soon and it’s *so* intimidating planning from afar.

    • As someone who has lived in three boroughs (current Brooklyn resident) and who has lived in several states, here’s a few small tips!

      1: If you don’t know the city at all, I recommend putting your furniture in storage and doing furnished sublets for a couple of months to get a feel for different neighborhoods. If you can’t do that, at least make sure you see what neighborhoods look like at night! Nothings worse than getting locked into an apartment for a year and putting down all that money to just hate your neighborhood.

      2: I used padmapper to find my apartment, and gypsy housing on facebook to find sublets

      3: Craigslist can be your friend. They also have apartment and sublet listings, and it’s a great way to find furniture!

      4: NYC isn’t as scary as people make it out to be!!! You can totally hack it. Good luck with the move!!!

    • Laura says...

      I’ve lived in NYC for six years, not enough to really be a local but enough to have a few tips … first, finding an apartment while you’re not in the city is darn near impossible. Most apartments are only on the market like 1m before they become available, and in my experience you have to be able to move quickly once you see an apartment you like (ie within a few hours of seeing it).

      I would echo Katie, my advice would be to sublet for a few months. It’ll be a lot easier to get an apartment once you’re already here, and you’ll get to know the neighborhoods better, know what you’re signing up for.

      I’m moving back home to California at the end of this summer, a little jealous that you’re just beginning your adventure :)

  50. Nectar says...

    Would I be the odd one to say that I don’t care if someone sees my panty lines?

    It’s weird to think that I should give the illusion that I’m not wearing any underwear. My friends would grill me on it but I never cared.

    • Annabelle says...

      Nope, I don’t worry about this at all…

    • I’m with you. Not ashamed to be wearing panties.

    • Becca says...

      Yeah I’m a grown ass woman who wears underwear that is comfortable to me. Happens to be the kind from Aerie that cover my whole butt, lines and all. I will never apologize for it. The judgment of underwear lines always seemed bonkers to me. Nothing on a woman is ever left un-judged, even what we wear under our clothes. It’s exhausting.

  51. Susanne says...

    on the interior-adulting-thing: when my ‘now husband then boyfriend’ and I moved in together we didn’t have much money to spend on a sofa. so we thought “ok, lets go for IKEA KLIPPAN (because its cheap) and as soon as we can afford something else we’ll go for it!” 13 years later, we’re still happy with our KLIPPAN, we even bought a second one a few years ago. we changed covers twice, from blue (with bright yellow cushions, very juvenile) to a woolish white to “Isunda” now. (a greyish structured one). we’re really happy with them and don’t worry at all if the kids jump on them or so because they’re just our “cheap klippans” ;-)
    I wonder how many more years we’ll stick to them.

    as for new mothers: when we had our daughter, the best part of the day (besides uninterrupted sleep) was when our neighbors brought freshly squeezed juice every morning. (we got food later in the days well even with a little vase with a small flower in it, but the juice was the best!)
    they took turns in bringing it over to our apartment and took the chance to get a glimpse of the baby without disturbing for too long. it was heaven!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what amazing neighbors, susanne! and that’s awesome to know abut the Ikea sofa. their baby crib is also A+, too.

    • Kim says...

      Wow, what incredible generosity!

    • Lisa says...

      So incredibly sweet with the juice! Would love to see that turn into a custom of sorts.

  52. RLG says...

    We had two different friends bring us a complete day of meals after our son was born! Friend 1 brought roasted chicken and carrots with hasselback potatoes for dinner, as well as homemade applesauce and granola for breakfast and snacks. Friend 2 brought us all items from Whole Foods (convenient for her but nonetheless meaningful and appreciated by us): a loaf of banana bread for breakfast, a quart of soup for lunch, and fresh raviolis with pasta sauce for dinner. My standard go-to meal to take to families with new babies has been a pan of homemade enchiladas (easy to make vegetarian, if needed) and a large, green salad with dressing on the side, plus something sweet for dessert. Now that I am reflecting on the friends who brought the extras though…I might have to start throwing granola and yogurt in for easy snacks for the new mom!

  53. Abbey says...

    WHO IS SPENDING $28 PER PAIR OF UNDERWEAR? Whatever their job is, that’s what I need in my life – a salary that allows such fancy underwear!

    • Brianna says...

      Ditto. I bought 2 five packs at Costco the other day for a total of $8 and felt extravagant.

    • Sadie says...

      Aerie has similar undies 7 for 27 :) All lace thongs and boybriefs are my jam.

    • Carrie says...

      Agreed! I would feel so cheated spending $28 and walking away with a pair of panties in exchange.

    • Sarah says...

      Amen!! Target makes adorable and comfy thongs and panties!! I love Gilligan O’Malley (the brand).

    • KK says...

      Tip: the Victoria’s Secret Pink “no-show” panties are very similar – the only ones I’ve found that truly leave no lines. And you get 5 for the cost of one Commando pair!

  54. Melissa says...

    My Dutch friend introduced me to a very sweet tradition of spoiling a new mama here in the Netherlands during the “kraamtijd” or the first eight days postpartum. All women are entitled to the assistance of a maternity nurse (fairy godmother) at home during the kraamtijd and the Dutch celebrate this special time by gifting their friends with eight small presents, one for each day!
    I have the fondest memories of lounging on the sofa with my fairy godmother and my sleepy newborn, sharing a pot of tea and deliberating which little package we’d unwrap that day! Every little gift was so simple and thoughtful – a bag of aniseed tea, a mini bottle of prosecco, a great beer for my husband and even a new toy for our poor cat.
    I remember thinking to myself “Hey, I’ve only got one gift left and I’ve managed to keep this tiny human alive, I can do this!”

    • Susanne says...

      totally forgot about this…a friend told me about it a few years ago. thanks for the reminder, since my friend and neighbor is giving birth to her second child in a few weeks this is a very good gift-idea!
      thank you

    • amber says...

      These European tales of postpartum nurses at home make the US sound positively medieval…we need that here now. New parents simply need the help, especially the mother!

    • Erin W says...

      All of this is amazing! I love the idea of small gifts drawn out over a period of time.

  55. Cara says...

    I am really struggling with the “what do I do” question. Does it ever become clear? Are we always wondering? I’ve been a lawyer for about 5 years now (and still have heaps of law school debt!) but recently my friend and I started a part time florist business in Brooklyn after we got asked to do the flowers at a few different weddings. The florist business takes up so much time (both just practicing and promoting it through social media and meeting our neighbors and the actual selling flower arrangements), and free time is not something I have a lot of as a lawyer. But I love it! Being around plants is so soothing, and I’ve always been really focused on aesthetics throughout my life. So making something beautiful feeds my soul. But I don’t hate being a lawyer. Sometimes I file a brief with the court that we’ve turned into a great story in order to advocate for a client, and I’m so proud of how we’ve woven together the evidence to create a tale about greed. (It’s ALWAYS about greed in civil litigation.) But I hate the hours and having no control over my own schedule and sitting in an office with crappy overhead lights for hours on end. I don’t know what to do with my life, and I think about it all the time too! Questioner, you are not alone!

    • Amy says...

      I don’t know how easy this would be, but could you switch to a part-time role? Either at your firm or at another firm? Best of both worlds!

    • I was wondering the same thing. My closest friend in the Netherlands is a lawyer and worked three days a week (she recently went to four) and takes around 8 weeks of holiday each year (the Dutch really have a lot figured out!). Is this something that would be possible for you in the states? Maybe start your own practice with other like-minded lawyers who are focused on social justice, but also want better balance with other things in their lives (whether family or side-businesses).
      If your law office is filled with gorgeous flowers, it’ll brighten your colleagues’ and clients’ days, and may even get you more flower clients:) (is that ethical?)

    • Katie says...

      My dear, I would encourage you to follow what you love most. And if that’s being a florist, DO IT. I have been a lawyer for almost ten years at a giant multi-national law firm, and one of my biggest concerns is that the longer I wait, the harder it is to get out of the inertia of the law firm life. You’re already halfway there — if you really love what you’re doing with the florist business, then leap. The Law will be there m, one way or the other, if you ever want to come back. Hugs and luck to you.

    • L says...

      Switching to part time is a good suggestion, if it’s possible at your firm. I know some lawyers who did that when they had kids and it worked well for them. The only real drawback is that you can’t make partner in a part-time position so you are limiting your potential career growth a little if you stay in a part -time position for too many years. But if you’re happy in the part time positions it can be a great way to make time for what you love while still making a decent salary.

  56. Emmanuella says...

    I might be of help to those not knowing their life’s purpose or what to be/do:
    I come from a family of worriers and perfectionists (unfortunate combination, I know). So for a long time, pretty much age 13 to just last year (I’m 32), I felt immobilized by this fear of who I am and what I’m doing with my life. My best advice which I’m still learning is to do anything and everything that interests you. I got this advice from my brother a couple years ago and I’m only now taking it to heart: QUIT AND QUIT OFTEN. Try anything and everything that interests you and if it isn’t working, quit it and move on. Contrary to popular opinion, failure can only come from not trying.

    • Emilie W. says...

      This was so helpful Emmanuella, thank you!!

    • Justine A Clark says...

      I love this Emmanuella. Thank you.

  57. Best after baby gift = friend who will come to stay and who will talk, walk, cook and cuddle babies for about 3 days. Career advice = don’t get hung up on making THE choice but gather lots of skills. Underwear? No bloody idea and I am almost 60. Perhaps pantaloons?

    • Cle says...

      I love all this advice! Thanks for sharing your wisdom. :)

  58. Kristin says...

    Interview your mom on her experience changing paths later in life, please! I need help.

    • Yes! I love your mom, Joanna, and was so excited when you said she’d be doing a series a few years ago. Now I know she’s a psychologist, I’ve even more excited!

  59. Lo says...

    Light fittings and soft furnishings make ALL the difference!

    Lo

  60. Thanks for the note about your mom going to college and grad school after staying home with little kids. Super inspiring and great advice!

  61. Life’s purpose.

    We’ll search the ends of the Earth until we find this. I had help from a mentor some years ago (former strategist to the Dalai Lama) and it was so powerful.

    Here’s what I learned from the process in hopes that it will help:

    1. Commit to doing good in the world, whatever that looks like.
    Often we chase the next thing in hopes it will satiate the need to know who we are and why we’re here. Who you are and what you do are two very different things. Women (and men) can do good in the world whether you’re a barista, stay-at-home mom, doctor or politician. Purpose is all about intention- it’s about what contribution you want to make. What you do is then a simple expression of it. You can give your gift to the world regardless of what you do- you just had to decide.

    2. Instead of “purpose” try “project”.
    So what big project or mission do you want to give the world? Make it less nebulous by thinking how you want to help, who you want to help, how many people, why and by when.
    Example: I work with women on this exact subject- purpose. My life’s purpose is to inspire 1,000 women a year to finally become THE woman she’s searching for. Why? Because I’m committed to maximum positive impact. My example just answered all the points:
    How- helping them think about themselves/life/purpose differently.
    Who- women
    How many- 1,000
    Why- because women will help save the world
    When- 1,000 a year

    3. Plug into existing networks of people doing what you like and/or want to be doing. No one should do this alone, and we all need a hand.

    4. Find a mentor.
    Why? Because we’re SO skillful at getting in our own way. We’re masters at talking ourselves out of the things we know we need to do. Our brains our incredibly powerful and often work against us (science says so).

    5. After this, lay all the cards on the table in terms of career.
    Start with answering these questions:
    What do I like? What am I really good at? Where do I need to grow? What secret talent or superpower needs to be given that I’m hiding? What do I suck at? What growth is already available to me? Where am I not showing up where I could/need to be? What is so exciting I couldn’t imagine my life without it?

    6. Start the hunt for what you really want while focusing on how you want to feel.
    What you want and how you want to feel in this new career should line up. If they don’t, go back to the drawing board. The head and heart need to be congruent or you’ll just keep procrastination and waiting for x, y and z.

    7. Rinse and repeat

    :)

    • K says...

      This is so useful! Thanks for sharing, though I do have a question – what do you do when you struggle to figure out what you’re good at? Or what your project should be?

    • K –

      What you’re good at: ask those who love you and know you for constructive thoughts. We’re great at a lot of things, but can’t see it for ourselves.

      Your project: that should come after the above questions/ruminations. There are a billion things that need our help right now– children, the environment, equality rights, etc. Pick one and run in that direction. :)

    • KM says...

      Loved reading the above. No:1 Love it!
      Although, I wish people realize that many of us may not necessarily be great at anything ever. But it will be the repetition and practice and perseverance that will let us survive any job we take or skill we learn. While picking a career, give yourself a trial period. Do not judge immediately if you are good or bad but try and figure out if you seem to have natural analytical or perceptive capacity for it. If people around you bother you and make your every job tedious, figure out ways to improve your people skills. If it is work realted skill, work on it, or evaluate if have it in you to work hard for it.
      If you dont know where to start, make a list of things you think you can do and then assign a realistic order to them 1, 2, 3. Pick up trial courses or small jobs or internships on them and see if it works. There is no forumla to answer what to do with your life…. figure… learn… enjoy…fail… learn… fail… enjoy…fail…figure…
      Philosphically answering , everything that Ashley Paquin said.

  62. Jennie says...

    If you are “adulting” 90 percent of the time, stop saying adulting. When you do, all people focus on is the 10 percent of you that is not an adult. For the love of god, can we please retire the word “adulting” :-) ?

    And invest your money in a good couch, the biggest one you can afford and fit in your space.

    • Annie Green says...

      Yes. I find this word perplexing too. Nouns as verbs…

  63. Marisa says...

    The best meal of my LIFE was a take and bake pepperoni pizza my friend brought the day after we came home from the hospital. I can still remember that hot, cheesy, salty perfection 10 years later.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha YES marisa! sounds like an incredible meal/moment.

  64. I am harkening back to your last Big Questions post with the BIGGEST THANK YOU OF ALL TIME for telling me about Asos’ Wide Fit section. I could cry with happiness. I have had size 11 wide feet since HIGH SCHOOL and have never been able to find shoes that fit and were cute and girly. When I go to DSW I just look down; scanning the columns of boxes for the screaming yellow “11” stickers, and with hopes high, squeeze them onto the canoes I have at the end of my ankles and find their idea of an 11 laughable. (Like SERIOUSLY when did vanity sizing SHOES become a thing??) Years of going to shoe stores for my running shoes, hoping to get the cute pink pairs, only to have the salesperson come back with MENS shoes. My whole adult life, my feet have only seen the insides of Converse low-tops and crap from Payless and now I have PAGES of cute shoes to pick from. PICK! When have I ever had a CHOICE?? Never!!! Thank you thank thank you. You have no idea what it means to me to finally be able to get pretty shoes.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, kristina, i’m so glad!!!!!

    • M says...

      I am on the other side disappointed with the recommendation of Nisolos for wide feet. Those shoes are so narrow! my foot would not go in:)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      M, did you try the huaraches? those are the only ones i’ve tried, and they really are wide, i promise!

  65. Maggie says...

    The best gift I received after having my son in September was a friend who came over the day after my mom left and spent the day with me and the baby. She let me take a nap and a shower and just cuddled with my son. I was still there to do the things I needed to do but it also was a much needed opportunity to rest and recharge.

  66. Alice says...

    Best things I was given when I had newborns: a memory stick full of amazing documentaries and random programs for when nursing (hours and hours and hours…), three huge tubs of dal, flowers. A friend came round and said, “Ignore the laundry, let it double, nobody will judge you. Now go to bed, I’ll wash up.” It was the best.

    Best things I ever gave: marshmallows ALWAYS go down well. I don’t know why. An I Owe You Babysitting card, to remind them they will get to have a few hours to themselves again, though it may be a while off. And beautiful hand cream (I gave the unscented Shea one from l’occitane but I think it’s pricer over your way) because with all the poo and other bodily fluids, why not make the hand washing pleasant?

    • These are such lovely ideas!

  67. The best things people brought me when I had my babies were fresh foods like salads and fruit, and sweets. You end up eating a lot of frozen foods and takeout and fruits and veggies sound so good, and sometimes when you’re having a rough day you really want a cookie. Breakfast is also a great idea! People tend to bring dinner, but I would have loved some easy, healthy breakfast foods…muffins, fresh berries, etc. When one of my sisters came to visit after I had my first baby she would sneak into my room and leave coffee on my nightstand so it was there when I woke up. She’s now my favorite sister. Haha. It’s also a good idea to ask what people want. I’ll text my friends and say I’m making x, y, or z, which one do you want? The last thing you want to do is show up with food they don’t want to eat!

    Other tips: don’t stay more than 15 minutes, do wash dishes/bring in the mail/help with something, holding the baby doesn’t count as helping (unless the mom asks you to hold it), diapers are always welcome, bring a gift for siblings (like a dvd or book, not play-doh or something messy), boxed wine is genius (you can easily have one glass without wasting it like you would a bottle), and wash your hands before you touch the baby!

    • Lauren says...

      Our baby just hit two months yesterday and I could not agree with your suggestions more. Especially regarding helping, and holding the baby doesn’t count :)

  68. F. says...

    Check out the variety of “Vanishing Edge” panties by Soma! I invested in five pairs to get me through the work week and they are FABULOUS. No more panty lines when I wear my beloved form-fitting pants!

    • talia says...

      I agree! Soma vanishing edge undies are the best!

  69. I read Oprah Winfrey’s book What I Know for Sure, and it was so inspiring! I think most people know what they would like to do, to live out their passion but are afraid to take the steps to do it. Oprah addresses that in the book which is really an collection of essays from her magazine. That book has been instrumental is helping me get over the hump, persuing writing. I launched just a blog last week!

    • I totally agree 100%! Most people know what they want, we’re just too afraid to make the changes. Our nervous systems don’t like change!

  70. Lynn says...

    To upgrade any house or apartment, switch out old, smudged, nasty, yellowed light switch plates with fresh new modern ones (we used the brand Lutron, avail at Home Depot). Whether you rent or own, it makes such a difference.

    • Kimberly says...

      Agreed! I also change the shower head and lightbulbs to suit my preferences.

  71. Anna says...

    > How do I figure out what I’m meant to do with my life?

    I spent the better part of my youth trying to figure this one out. Perhaps it’s because I’m 43 and at a particular phase of life that the writings of Alan Watts really resonate with me:

    “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

    “…People get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words… As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”

    “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

    If my son, now 4, were to ask me, “What am I meant to do in this life?” this is what I would tell him. And this is what we should tell ourselves. Just. Be. (And keep wondering.)

    • Natalie says...

      Love this so much! Thank you.

    • Emmanuella says...

      Really, thanks for posting this.

    • Desiree says...

      This has just made me sob with gratitude. Thank you. I obviously needed to hear it.

    • Amanda says...

      I had to copy these down in my journal. Reading them was like an immense weight was lifted and I am so grateful that you shared.

    • Karine says...

      Thank you for taking time to post this.

    • Kim says...

      I just copied and pasted your comment for reference later. Thank you for sharing!

    • Anne says...

      Love this so much. Thanks for posting.

    • amber says...

      Half of me loves these suggestions and the other half is like, that is literally putting your head in the sand as the reason we are all in a panic about feeling the need to do something more than we are is because this era of humanity is on the brink of extinction and we all feel this! I think we all intuitively feel real stressed about that. I’m not sure it IS ok to “just be alive” at this point in time. That’s what I think about lately, how best to proceed for the sake of our species.

    • Mrun says...

      This is so beautiful and I basically knew this was true but we are really afraid of not having a meaning either, isn’t it?

    • C says...

      I too am 43 and have struggled w/ what to do w/my life even though I co-own a successful small business that I believe in. I love Alan Watts and often go back to the understanding that a meaningful life is about so much more then how you bring in money. It is difficult though as it is often what we adults do w/much of our life! That is all. I really wanted to say that everyone struggles w/this and more often then not what we really need are loving friends and family and the ability to keep perspective as well as wonder strong.

  72. Kate says...

    I usually make lactation cookies for new mamas–they can eat them as-is or stick them in the freezer for later–so they don’t feel burdened by figuring out how to fit a lasagna in the freezer. (http://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/02/lactation-cookies/ for a recipe)
    I’ve also had a snack subscription membership sent to their house, say, monthly for six months so they’ll always have nutritious, satisfying snacks around (and it’s fun to receive a package each month)! I’ve used NatureBox but know there are many different options.
    Also, an enthusiastic vote for Aerie underwear–they have both super comfy lace thongs and super smooth underwear (sort of like the Calvin Klein option mentioned below, but cheaper and modeled by women of all sizes!)

    • talia says...

      I made these very same cookies for my daughter – not only were they delicious but they worked!!

  73. aga says...

    I kind of a panty line! My bf thinks it’s sexy. It’s kind of like the post you had about the bra being part of the look. But a thong or g-string sticking out way above the pant line — tacky!

    And can I add that the comments on Cup of Jo are always so good! I love this community!

  74. Maiz Connolly says...

    Once, when we were getting ready to go out, I asked my husband if he could see my panty line, and he said, “Ohhhh, yeaaahhh….” in a deep, sexy voice. I haven’t worried about it since.

    Ask the people whose opinions you care about; this might just be another “problem” invented by ad agencies!

    • aga says...

      Exactly!

    • Kate says...

      I LOVE this, Maiz! What a great perspective :)

    • Amy says...

      I completely agree and will add that most human bodies are not taunt and smooth. You backside is likely “rumply” without a VPL and that is okay!

    • Andrea says...

      Amen! Like we’re not supposed to wear underwear, or keep it our secret!

    • Sarah says...

      THIS!!!!!!! I am one of those people who will never find a thong comfortable, and I just am not convinced VPL is the grave sin it’s made out to be. I think i’m about ready to join your reader who gave up on undies altogether…except for in yoga class. So many leggings aren’t thick enough to stand up to Downward Facing Dog, so I’d rather have my bikini bottoms showing there!

    • YES! Add “VPL” to the ever lengthening list of things men are not told to worry about.

    • Jessica R. says...

      Thank you! I really don’t understand why people worry about VPL. Yes, I wear underwear!

    • I totally agree for the most part, but if someone wants to wear something like a bodycon dress, it’s going to be a distinct outline, not just a vague awareness that it’s under there. I don’t care if something shows through my jeans, but I would want to feel smooth and put together if I was dressed up like that.

  75. Steph says...

    I’m changing careers at 35 and have gone back to grad school…my Nan (grandma) graduated college at 72 (oldest in her graduating class!) and retired the next year…I always think of her when I think I’m older than other people doing this. Always reminds me of the quote, “don’t give up on your dream bc of the time it will take to achieve it…time will pass anyway”.

    • Jessica says...

      Yay for you! I’m 32 and going to school to get my bachelor’s for the first time! I start in the fall, and I’m 90% super stoked to be doing this and 10% so nervous to be older and just starting out. I know I’m going to totally kick ass, but the doubt and nerves are still there. I feel you!

      Similarly, someone recently said to me “time is passing anyway, why not do something with it?” and that really, really stuck with me.

    • Steph!

      This is awesome! I am changing careers at 37. It’s a bit scary, but I am starting my program at the end of May and I am looking forward to it! It feels weird going back to school, but I am embracing it as a new beginning!? Taking the plunge because how will I know unless I try?

  76. Sophia F. says...

    After I had both my daughters, I would have been in heaven if someone had brought me some fresh, pre-cut fruit and veggies for snacking. I did a lot of freezer prep, so I had meals ready, but I wanted things that were crispy and crunchy and refreshing… without having to do anything for them.

    • Amy P says...

      Yes! This was all I wanted.

  77. I agree that a ready-to-eat meal is priceless to a family with a new baby. I had a friend (who does not have kids of her own) offer to bring over a meal and I was like, YES! She showed up with FIVE people and proceeded to take over my apartment and set up a buffet and then stayed for three hours!!!!! My twins were in the NICU and I was exhausted from recent childbirth and daily trips to the hospital and I sobbed when they left. I was so shocked that they stayed that I never really knew how to tell them to leave until my husband said, Yeah, it’s time to go. Good lord, it was awful. So! I would also recommend stopping by only for a brief time and then hitting the road : ) Oh, and I was gifted a fleece-lined robe which makes me look like an inflatable animal, but it is so insanely cozy and comfortable for middle-of-the-night feedings. It’s a great gift for a new mama.

    • di says...

      this is where it is tricky and perhaps best to ask what the person would appreciate. I was so lonely after my baby was born and in the NICU- everyone was at work daytime and I was just miserable and looking for distractions when I wasn’t at the hospital and i probably would have loved the company of your 5 person brigade :) Just ask if the person would like company or just a quick delivery.

    • I’m so sorry Kristina, that sounds awful :( I have a similar robe and that’s exactly how I feel in it!

  78. Emily says...

    on adulting:
    i’m an interior designer, which means i have lots of exposure to pretty things and a frustratingly teensy budget for myself. in trying to make our house look like grown ups live there, i find that saving for nice upholstery (or reupholstery) is worth the investment. in terms of unifying everything, rugs and pillows/throws go a long way to help tie mismatched furniture together in the here and now while you’re saving. scour ebay for rugs and etsy for handmade and vintage pillow options. ultimately, i’m a big believer that all the things you really, truly love will find a way to work together (and help you create your own unique style).

  79. Colleen S. says...

    In the apartment I currently live in, we’re not allowed to modify the apartment in any way (or forfeit our security deposit). So adding wall sconces or other items is a no-no. I also just upgraded my nearly twenty-year-old furniture with items from IKEA. I might be 34, but I’m not forking out an arm and a leg for new furniture.

  80. Meghan says...

    After stepping away from teaching after a decade I am also struggling with the whole “what to do with my life” question. I love the Hidden Brain podcast mentioned here. Two other resources that have been great are the book Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life (written by the design thinking gurus from Stanford) and Tim Ferris’s podcast episode with Debbie Millman titled “How to Design A Life.” The book
    is great as it gives you concrete exercises to do to help you figure things out, Debbie M. also gives great suggestions. I actually think it’s a great sign of progress that more and more people are really thinking about what they want to do and what makes them happy rather than just sticking with what’s comfortable and expected. Good luck to everyone!

  81. Kait says...

    So I’ve been struggling lately with finding the elusive mama friend. Everyone I work with has grown up children and busy lives..mom groups in my city seem to be exclusively aimed at stay at home moms (one even rejected me because I work! “We’re only thinking of you!” they said.)..I just don’t even know where to begin. I have a few of my friends that I love from before I had my one-year-old daughter, Marlowe but we are at such different points in our lives that I would really appreciate adding in some mama friends too. I just don’t know where to look!

    • What kind of childcare do you have? I made all of my mom friends through daycare! It is so helpful when you work (especially if you work full-time) to find other moms who work as well. I’ve found it a real struggle to be friends with SAHMs. Your schedule just operates so differently! If daycare isn’t an option and you have a nanny see if your nanny can find other nannies to form a play group and you can use your kids’ friendships to spark friendships with other moms. The best thing to remember is most moms feel the same way you do. We’re all desperate for friendship! If you meet a cool mom ask her out! (Also, LOVE the name Marlowe.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “If you meet a cool mom ask her out!” = YES! some of my closest friends are moms that i met at the playground. kids/playdates are a great excuse for asking someone out without feeling awkward :)

      in fact, with my friend michelle, whom i just adore beyond belief and whom is one of my best friends now — i picked her up at whole foods four years ago! we started talking because her son was wearing a big bird halloween costume and i worked up the nerve to ask her if she’d want to take the kids to the park sometime.

    • karla says...

      I so agree! moms who work need mom friends, too! It’s so hard.

    • Elizabeth Broderick says...

      I’m in this same boat. I’m in a very male-dominated professional field and about to have a baby, so finding mama friends at work is very difficult. I can already notice all of my current non-prego/unmarried friends backing away because I can’t drink or do a lot of the things I used to. I can’t imagine what it will be like once I have the baby and nobody is interested in coming to watch a movie and takeout at our house on a weekend instead of going out for dinner and drinks. I’m really worried about this…especially because it will be a while before the baby can go to the park or anything like that in order to “ask the cool mom out!”

    • Kali says...

      YES! I’ve accumulated my mom-friends, and closest friends actually, in our neighborhood. We have an amazing street and we’re probably a bit too friendly but we’re family now and it’s amazing.

      Also, I play volleyball once a week and my team is now a huge group of close mom friends.

      And I second the daycare route. Or school. I have a kindergartner and her playdates are how I break the ice with those moms.

      Coworkers? Church go-ers? Husbands friends wives? Family friends? Political gatherings (the women’s march has events all the time, pending that’s your thing). I agree with Joanna, it takes a little courage but totally worth it.

    • NM says...

      I totally agree re UNIQLO! Their seamless undies are very similar to Commando’s and way cheaper, HOWEVER, I find they run quite small, has anyone else had this problem?

    • Yes! They’re the best! I bought a few of the hiphugger style and they were so good that I went back for more. Now, whenever I reach into my drawer and there aren’t any clean ones left and I have to pick out another pair, I get a little bummed out!

    • Kate says...

      I love Uniqlo undies! I had to do an overhaul after I had my daughter and bought a ton of their undies. I do find they run smaller than other brands.

  82. Meggles says...

    Joanna, I so appreciate hearing about your mom’s path. I am literally sitting at the computer applying to grad school for mental health counseling at this very moment. I recently turned 40, and college feels like a looong time ago. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • meg says...

      I am late to this post but so glad I found it. I’m inspired to read about Jo’s mom and your comment!! I’m 38 and interested in going to grad school – finally. Most applications require recommendation letters from previous schools. It’s been ages since I was in college and I’m sure my living professors barely remember enough about me to write a compelling referral. How do people going back to school at a later date manage the recommendation requirement?

  83. Hannah says...

    I actually received way too much food after giving birth to my first. You know what was great? Gift cards to grocery stores or fresh direct and coming over and cleaning! Then we could get what food we wanted and needed and omg did we really need some extra hands cleaning!

    • Erin says...

      Yes!! A housecleaning service would have been amazing! Everybody tells you “not to worry about a dirty house” in the first few months but For someone who hates a dirty house thais can be an additional source of stress. If the house was clean then I could take the time to actually rest or nap while the baby is down.

  84. Bridget Ausman says...

    Figuring out what to do with your life is so hard! I went to law school when I had 4 young kids (after taking a 10 year break from my first degree). My youngest started kindergarten when I went back to school. It was so hard and the year I graduated was when the economy was the worst- It all worked out (slowly) and I am so glad I did it. I’ll have student loans forever but I really like what I do.

    • Terri says...

      I appreciate your comment. I am thinking about going to law school, but can’t decide if I should. Everything I read online is so negative. Everyone talks about how they regret going to law school, how much they hate being an attorney, and how everyone contemplating law school should reconsider. I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost 16 years, and I’m so nervous about how to re-enter the larger world. I got married right after college and became pregnant right away, so I never really started a career (though my degree was in Spanish, and I did complete one semester of a Linguistics MA). I am encouraged to hear that someone actually does love being an attorney.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      terri, my friend lucy is an entertainment lawyer and she LOVES her job. she sees plays all the time, and she represents the actors in them. it’s really cool. she’s always talking about how much satisfaction and stimulation she gets from her work.

  85. Love this post so much, what great answers (and questions). I’m downloading the podcast ‘Hidden Brain’ as we speak, very excited!

    Kaitlyn

  86. Colleen says...

    I have 5 kids, and while for each some of the favorite little gifts were unique and tailored towards the baby, I must admit it was so kind during each postpartum season when a friend or family member brought something for me that was a total splurge item (bath salts, a lip balm, flowers, chocolate covered strawberries were my favorites). What always spoke so deeply to my heart, though, was if someone had bought me a beautiful or extra cozy top I could nurse and snuggle in, in the size I was right then. And the comment that, “I don’t care if this only fits you for two weeks, and then you don’t need this size anymore, I just thought you’d be comfortable and feel beautiful in this and you and Baby are worth it.” The last thing I wanted to do while getting to know a new child was go to a store in search of clothes.

  87. Lisa says...

    The best present we got when my son was born was a big thing of Ferrerro Rocher. It made my husband an I SO happy. We also got all the leftovers from his bris mila (sandwiches, pastries, desserts) and that kept us fed for a few days.

    One of the best things that someone did (my sister in law) was to come over and take the baby and FORCE me to go to sleep. I protested at first because – how weird is it to have someone over to visit and then go nap? But I was so grateful to her (particularly for insisting! I wasn’t all there from tiredness and hormones in the first few days).

    So in summary – bring food that’s easy to eat (especially if the mom is home alone during the day – you need something you can prepare and eat one handed) and insist on taking the baby and letting the parents sleep

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      isn’t it fascinating how food tastes SO MUCH BETTER when you’re a new parent? it’s like all your senses are heightened. maybe from sleep deprivation!

      also, your sister in law sounds amazing :)

    • Lisa says...

      She is pretty great!

      I know – those chocolates tasted amazing and I think for my husband it was nice to get something. The baby got tons of presents, I got some things but he got nothing really (apart from noise cancelling headphones from me) so I think he enjoyed getting some recognition

      Another good present was from his work colleagues – I work with lots of woman so I got lovely presents for baby and I, all nicely wrapped. He works with mostly men and they just gave … a card full of cash. It was funny but also helpful

  88. Mullica says...

    Lol I feel like I’m always sharing Uniqlo things. I literally just buy packs of their seamless underwear. Not very exiting for my boyfriend but very practical for me. ALSO, how is it possible that he can wear boxers underneath his work chinos and never suffer from a panty line? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD.

  89. Meg says...

    If you’ve spent any time with men, you will KNOW that they love VPL!!! Visible Panty Lines, to a dude, are hot!! It’s like a teaser to them. (i can’t explain men, i’m just offering up what i know to be true.)

  90. Emily R says...

    I’m thong 100%. I don’t like to not wear underwear, and panties with a butt ALWAYS ride up. I have a big rear, but I’m thin, so medium is too small for my butt, but large is too big for my waist. Plus, with a big butt you can always see my panty lines, and it’s what I call a double butt – both my cheeks are sliced in half! It’s just not comfortable or attractive.

    • Kate says...

      Yep! I figure whatever I wear is going to crawl up my butt anyway–I might as well just wear a thong!

    • Pear says...

      Same here! This is the vpl that I can’t stand. It’s so uncomfortable . Due to the aforementioned anatomy I also find that the gusset is too far back as well. :( Anyone else?

      Thongs don’t cut it every day for me. There have to be undies that don’t do this (besides the Soma panties with silicone strips that are clever at first but end up with strings of silicone peeling off eventually). It’s not as if women with hips/a rear and smaller waist are that much of an anomoly. If not, perhaps designing underwear for like-shaped women is my life’s purpose!

  91. Emma says...

    I have a four month old and finding time to cook STILL feels impossible, but I’m still breast feeding so I still feel so, so hungry and thirsty all the time! I want to try to remember that when my friends have new babies. Often times all the help comes in a surge right at the beginning, but how nice would it be for someone to show up on your doorstep 3-6 months later with prepared, filling, healthy food?! I want to be that friend!

    • Heidi says...

      I agree! We had a meal train for the first week or so but it was month 2 when my husband was back to work and everyone thought all was under control (ha!) that I was wishing for meals and friends to stop by.

    • amber says...

      Oh no! If you can maybe hire someone to stock your fridge weekly with prepared meals and snacks – a lot of personal chef’s (or even a neighborhood teen, granny or food blogger) will do this for a pretty reasonable rate. Check craigslist or place your own ad with your budget.

  92. Sofia says...

    Another idea for adulting while renting, is some framed artwork. You can take it from place to place and frames make anything look better, plus your artwork won’t get damaged. I have a set of Georgia O’Keefe prints I cut out of a small book and framed them and they look fantastic.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love the idea of cutting prints out of a book! (if you’re willing to sacrifice a few pages) i did that with some edward weston prints in my first apartment and loved how it looked.

    • This is what I came here to say too!!! When I got through so many comments without seeing this I was beginning to wonder if it’s just because I’m a painter :) Well-placed, framed artwork goes a long way! Also the book trick is extra great with thrifted books! Least expensive prints possible. I also have a book of Vivien Maier photos that while I won’t chop it up, I may make a copy of my favorite photo in it to hang up. (I’d buy a print, but they don’t sell them, I think her work is still tied up in some copyright issues?)

      Ramblingsketcher.com

    • Laura says...

      Katie – I photocopied pages of one of my favorite photography books (Locals Only by Hugh Holland). Looking at the photos transports me back home to California, and I didn’t have to sacrifice the book itself!

  93. Beth says...

    For what to bring to a friend that has a baby: Call and ask her what she/they need! We got an awful lot of food we didn’t never ate, but would have killed for someone to run to the drug store or the like and get me a few things I needed so I didn’t have to go myself.

  94. Aleka says...

    Oh Joanna, I didn’t know that. I’m in my 40s, struggling to go back to school to become a psychologist as well and I’m having a difficult time finding people who are in the same boat and who have done this. Does your mum have a public contact that someone could pick her brain on how to navigate this? Or perhaps you can do a post on people who have made late life careers changes! I desperately want to hear stories and connect with people who are doing something similar, I feel alone (particularly in psychology, which is very academic focused) and often question myself as to whether I can do this.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, aleka! we will get working on the post!

    • kathy says...

      Hi Alexa! I am 38 and starting to look into becoming a psychologist. I just got an unpaid position as a RA in a research lab and am working with undergrads as peers. It raises a lot of questions for me like is this worth it? am i doing the right thing? what if after all this i’m not good at it or don’t like it?!? anyway, i wanted to reach out to let you know that you’re not alone.

    • Carrie says...

      My dad went back to school to become a doctor when he was (I wanna say..?) about 43-45 years old. Next month he will be graduating from his residency program. He will go on to do an ER fellowship for one more year, and after that will be completely done and free to work here he wants. It was a sacrifice on my mom’s part to go along with it though. It’s not been easy on her.

    • Terri says...

      I would love to read that post! I am in my late thirties. I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost 16 years, and I am seriously contemplating going to graduate school (either law school or psychology Ph.D. program). Sometimes I feel so alone, as well, trying to invent a career for myself at this age.

    • LJ says...

      Hi Aleka! I’m 34 and just finished my first year of a PhD program in psychology, after about 10 years away from school. It’s not exactly a late life career change, but I am older than all the other students and it felt like a big switch for me to return to school. One of the reasons I ended up going for it was that I know a woman (now in her 80s, I think?) who is a brilliant academic. I just assumed she had been on the intense-academia track forever, but then found out that she did grad school slowly, while raising kids in her thirties and forties, before graduating and eventually building an amazing career for herself. While I was talking to her about it, I had this realization that even if you graduate at 40 or 50 or 60 years old, you still have *decades* of a working life ahead of you. Life can be so long and so full! I figured I might as well switch paths and fill those decades with the work I wanted to do. It hasn’t been the easiest road – I hundred percent forgot how awful it is to take cumulative exams!! That being said though, I have really loved it and have developed strong friendships with my classmates (even those more than a decade younger than me). And I feel like my age and experience has definitely been an asset. In terms of prep, have you been able to connect with any psychologists in your area? I volunteered at a psychologist’s office for about 6 months before I applied, which not only confirmed that I wanted to be a psychologist but I think also helped me get accepted to my PhD program. I send you all kinds of good luck with the application process!!!

    • Rachel says...

      Hi Aleka, I too am in the process of going back to school with the goal of getting in to a PhD program for Psychology. I plan to continue working full time while finishing my undergrad in psych so it will be a long process and I’m 47. I think its all the ‘extras’ I know that are necessary that scare me & make me question if I’ll be able to do it: scoring strong GREs, presenting /publishing research, volunteering in research labs, building strong relationships with letters writers, doing a solid honors project, and finding a core faculty member that will supervise me, all while getting high grades and working full time. Ahhh hold me now! Please know you are not alone!

    • Tessa says...

      I would love that post as well! Starting over in your forties is terrifying! Especially in this youth obsessed culture of ours…it feels like my teenagers have a better idea of what I should be wearing than I do.

    • Natasja says...

      Hi there. Thank you for posting this comment! I’m where you are except a bit older maybe (49). Have completed the undergraduate requirements but still to finish the next 3 years before I can practice unsupervised (I’m in Australia). I started at 41 and it feels like it’s going to take forever to finish and maybe I should just give up now. And what if I don’t like it when I’m done anyway?? (Exactly the attitude that got me to this age without any career in the first place!). It is hard to be doing this at our age surrounded by much younger people (including the teachers very often). But don’t give up – my mum finished her PhD in Australian history at the age of 74 and love-hated every single minute of it. A post on this topic would be really great.

    • Aleka says...

      Thanks everyone for posting! I loved reading everyone’s comments! I’m 43 and Canadian and can commiserate with the struggle of working while going to school and having to jump through all the academic hoops, getting someone to supervise me and getting that research experience, after having been out of school for over twenty years! I have no guarantees that all of this will lead to where I want, and that part is a little scary (Rachel, I hear you!). I have sought some people out at my school and was able to meet up with someone in their early 30s who is doing their PhD, but they are much farther along than I am, and in quite a different situation. I almost feel like maybe we should connect somehow and start an online support group or something! Anyhow Joanna, looks like there’s a lot of interest, and it would be awesome to hear a post on your mum and how she did it all :)

    • Lizzie says...

      I would also love to read a career-changing post! I’m 34 and just started community college to switch from nonprofit fundraising to healthcare (so much for my totally unrelated undergrad and graduate degrees, for which I’m still paying student loans). In some ways I’m much better suited for this career path than I was in my 20s–more life experience, more patience, more realistic expectations–but having to do homework and take exams is still throwing me. Not to mention that it’s going to collide with buying a house and adopting kids in the next couple years. But as everyone says, the timing is never perfect. Solidarity with all of you in the same boat!

  95. Whitney says...

    Hanky Panky is the only brand I will wear. So comfy, no panty lines, and I wash them in a netted bag in the delicate cycle. I’ve been wearing them for a decade. My husband always picks out new colors for me as a Christmas gift.
    New mom gift- on your way over to visit, pick up her favorite beverage (coffee, smoothie, etc). While I was home nursing or napping with a newborn my mom would run errands and always pick up a (decaf) latte from my favorite coffee shop. It was such a treat and felt so luxiourious.

  96. Kat says...

    I second the recommendation of updating lighting, even in a rental. I installed those ikea sconces in my master bedroom recently and they are great find!

    My recommendation on a splurge piece if you can only update one thing would be your couch. I was so stressed out when I thought of updating everything in our living room at once, but a fun couch made everything we had look a little fresher. You can also bring in color, change the mood, and direct attention to the newest, brightest piece in the room with a new couch. Mine is the first thing I see when I come out of my bedroom in the morning, the place where I sit to enjoy coffee and read on weekends, and the focal point of the hang out space when hosting guests. It’s not the most budget friendly piece to replace, but in my opinion makes the biggest impact and brings the most immediate immediate feeling of being a little more “grown up.”

  97. I was listening to the podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” recently and the issue of figuring out what to do with your life came up. An amazing tip was shared.

    Think back to what you LOVED doing when you were about 10 years old. That probably is a good indicator of something you still love to do! – And remember, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. You can have as many careers as you want – no matter your age!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what great advice, amanda.

    • Maria says...

      Love this!

  98. Ellie says...

    In regards to figuring out your future (if we even can): Take the Myers-Briggs personality test and similar personality/aptitude tests. Combined with some job experience I hated and others that I loved, I eventually discovered that I should be a counselor – and that’s what I’m getting my masters in now! Also, career counselors work wonders. ;)

    • Amy P says...

      If you want a really, really good behavioural/personality test – I recommend the Birkman. It’s about $200-300 for the test and a consultant to go over it with you, but as a personality test junkie I can tell you I appreciated it more than any other test I’ve done. It focuses on your reactions to stress and to fulfilment and what things cause you stress/fulfilment, and shows you your strengths and weaknesses very clearly. If you are able to also have your SO take it, it’s even better! My husband and I realized things about each other that we hadn’t figured out on our own in the preceding 7 years, and it’s helped us have less stress in our relationship altogether. When it comes to a career change, I would consider it more than worth the cost.

  99. melissa says...

    Going on a limb: sometimes panty lines can look really hot. anyone with me?

    • Am says...

      Umm, I’m with you on not understanding what the big deal is. OH NO, PEOPLE KNOW YOU WEAR UNDERWEAR JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! Are there people who go around looking for panty lines? I don’t think I’ve ever done that in public in my life.

    • J says...

      I wouldn’t say I find them attractive, but I’m neutral on it. I really don’t care if my underwear line shows….I’m wearing underwear! Big whoop.

  100. Jenna says...

    I love this post!! It cracks me up because as much as we ring the bell of individualism and uniqueness, WE ARE ALL ALIKE!!!! Hahaha, so glad that others have these questions too (and that still others have some great answers!)!

  101. Cynthia says...

    Panty lines are the least of my worries. A ready-to-serve meal is the best thing you can bring a new mom and her family. After my first daughter was born, my aunt and uncle showed up with a bag of fresh butterbeans I had to shell!!!! They never had children, so they had no clue what it was like to have a newborn baby. I still love my hand-me-down pieces, and recently inherited some family pieces. A new area rug can spruce things up or taking up an existing rug can make a room look larger. I took up the dining room rug last summer because our dog ruined it, and the dining room looks so much larger without the rug. Decorate with your favorite things.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that butterbean line made me laugh out loud!

    • Lacey says...

      Hahaha. I can totally relate to the food story. After my daughter was born, an unmarried/childless guy friend of ours wanted to bring us food which was SO SO sweet of him. He’s a big foodie and an excellent cook… that said, he brought us a homemade salad dressing and various ingredients for a salad, with instructions for us to massage the kale before using. Needless to say, the kale was never massaged… or touched for that matter. :)

  102. Becca says...

    The panty line thing has always irked me. It always makes me feel like women have to acknowledge they are spectacles and have to dress as if always under surveillance as to avoid ridicule.

    Everyone wears underwear. Why do you have to hide that fact?

    • Summer says...

      omg I totally agree with you!!!

    • Em says...

      YES, Becca!! I am with you here. I’m wearing underwear, get over it!

    • J says...

      100% AGREE. Who the heck cares? Not me.

    • Rose says...

      I feel the exact same way. Like my secret bra for my secret breasts and my suuuuper secret bum. Underwear is hygenic, I’m not ashamed.

  103. Mallory says...

    The review of these are poor, but if I need no panty lines I always wear these. They are super light, do not feel like shapewear, and really hold up. http://bit.ly/2pLK8pf

  104. Kristen says...

    My favorite trick for the VPL question is to embrace it and not care. I try to apply the same attitude I have whenever I buy tampons – no need to feel awkward, because it’s not like it’s a shock that I’m a woman who has her period! Similarly, everyone should just get over the fact that I’m wearing underwear (as do most people, although more power to you if you don’t!), and if I don’t want to wear a thong, you should just deal with seeing the under-pants evidence!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg YES! love the tampon approach. after seeing this amazing story about a woman running a marathon without a tampon (http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/08/news/this-woman-ran-a-marathon-on-her-period-without-a-tampon_44852#rxEz2T52UIb2TxwH.97) and also this olympic swimmer talking so matter-of-factly about her period (http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/08/17/490121285/a-swimmers-period-comment-breaks-taboos-in-sports-and-in-china), i decided to get rid of all my own hiding around my period. not that it’s a big deal at all, haha, but i always feel proud when i grab a tampon from my desk drawer and hold it out in the open (without hiding it in a bag or my pocket) as i walk to our shared workspace’s bathroom. i’m like, i’m a woman, i have my period, get over it! :)

    • Sonya says...

      Agreed, I used to care, and now I do not. I want to wear comfortable undies that are still pretty – even if I’m the only one who will see them. Somewhere around 31 years old (5 years ago) I stopped caring about VPL. My butt looks pretty darn good and a line doesn’t change that.

    • Celia Rodriguez says...

      Wow Joanna, that is admirable! As you, I believe there should be no shame in holding a tampon; Yet, I am always trying to figure how to hide the tampon on the way to the bathroom at the office.

      When working as a junior consultant, we had a meeting with the VP of HR and a bunch of lawyers and when looking for my mouse/pen/computer charger, I accidentally pulled out a tampon on the table. Luckily no one saw, or if the did they looked away, but I was so mortified. WHY?!?! Ah!!!! One day, I’ll have your guts :)

    • Kirsten says...

      Amen to this. As someone who was never aware that she *needed* to be concerned about her panty lines until seeing articles addressing the topic of how to erase them, I am 100% on board. I hate thongs, I will never wear them. I like underwear, I find it comfortable. End of story.

      Who ARE all these theoretical people out there getting their undies in a bunch (sorry, had to) about seeing women’s panty lines? Like, do people actually see this on the street and register it as a faux pas? Asking for real, the concept baffles me.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      for the panty line thing, for me, it’s less about having people realize i’m wearing underwear (which is fine and actually preferable, haha) and more about just having a smooth silhouette for whatever i’m wearing, in a design sense. if i’m wearing a wrap dress, for example, i like it to be nice and smooth, aesthetically, for myself as anyone else. hope that makes sense!

    • Steph!

      This is awesome! I am changing careers at 37. It’s a bit scary, but I am starting my program at the end of May and I am looking forward to it! It feels weird going back to school, but I am embracing it as a new beginning!? Taking the plunge because how will I know unless I try?

  105. Re: what to bring a friend who had a baby…
    If she’s nursing, she’s thirsty ALL the time. Bring her a cool CamelBak (or similar) water bottle with a straw, or one of those cute tumblers with a straw from Starbucks, etc. that you’d put iced coffee in? That way she can always have water in reach, and not in a dumb water bottle where you have to unscrew the cap (impossible sometimes while holding a baby!).

    And, when I had a baby last winter, a friend of mine is in the film industry and dropped off some homemade soup along with a BOX FULL OF SCREENERS (DVDs of films up for awards). It was so awesome to have all those new movies at my fingertips when I was spending every evening on the couch nursing my babe!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      LOVE these ideas!!!!

    • Meghan says...

      Yes to the CamelBak! I have one and I always had it on the sofa next to me while nursing. It doesn’t spill or break (mine is plastic) if it falls over.

    • Amy P says...

      I third the camelbak! I carry one in my bag all the time because it’s easy for both me and my kids (even the 1yo) to drink from it without spilling, and it doesn’t leak. I was tired of managing four waterbottles so now we share and just refill more often. And it lives with me when I’m nursing!

  106. Trisha says...

    I second the no underwear! I just personally think it’s comfier :-)

    • bisbee says...

      But…you must do laundry constantly.

    • Carrie says...

      I never could pull that off, just feels too weird! To me, underwear are like a small hug for my bottom.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha love that carrie.

    • Trisha says...

      hmm, no, don’t do laundry any more than I guess I normally would?
      I do like the small hug for your bottom! ha :-p

    • Jodi says...

      I gave up underwear over 20 years ago. Now when I have to wear them (for a dr appt or something) I cannot wait to get them off! I have had no problems as far as concerns with things being “unhygeinic.” I use a menstrual cup that never leaks, and interestingly am one of the only women I know to have never had a bladder infection. I think bodies need to breathe. Still, it seems to be socially unacceptable, so I keep my easy breezy comfort to myself. I would encourage others to give it a try!

  107. Amanda says...

    Soma’s Vanishing Edge panties are super thin but still cotton and have this little line of rubber around the edge that prevents them from, ahem, going where they should not go. They’re just about the only panties I wear now. And they have some lace panel versions that are super cute!

    • Maia says...

      I just came here to second this. Only underwear I own now because I used to have the issue of undies riding up (funny butt shape?). Anyhow, these are your undies, ladies. Just wash them on gentle and in those mesh bags. Some of the lace on a couple of mine started to unravel.

  108. Kath says...

    What a coincidence! I’m also struggling with the “What should I do with my life” question and last night it felt particularly overwhelming/pressing. As I was walking to work this morning I accidentally pressed play on the Hidden Brain “Getting Unstuck” episode (I thought I chose a different episode completely) and it was JUST what I needed. Of course, it didn’t give me the answer to my question, but as the podcast says, searching for a concrete or “correct” answer is not the right enquiry, as there is no such thing. It helped me realise that small steps towards something (not necessarily even the right thing) is what we should strive for, as it will pay off in the long run. What a great framework for moving forward, and an excellent podcast recommendation! :)

    • Yes! I loved the “small steps” illustration in the podcast. It’s so easy to want the BIG ANSWER but it makes much more sense to experiment and realize that small steps are leading toward something even if it’s not what you may have thought originally.

  109. Jill says...

    Thank you!!! I seriously wonder all the time what I am meant to do and I worry I am the only adult who doesn’t have it figured out. I am a mom and a part time preschool teacher and I know I am not living up to my potential, I have a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Ed. When I was younger my passion was art history but my mom begged me not to major in that, so I majored in Psychology. My 12 year old says all the time it’s not to late to study Art History. So what if I listen to my 12 year old and I do, then besides more student loans what do I do with an Art History Degree? So fulfilled being a mom but so confused!

    • Fellow mom here who is struggling with the same feelings, and who has a degree in studio art with a minor in art history. If your passion is art history you should do it! There are jobs you can do with an art history degree, although it depends a bit on where you live. If you’re in a big city you can work for a museum or gallery. If you’re in a smaller city or town you could get your art history degree and use your current expertise and education teach art history. If you threw in a double major or minor in art (which is easy because there is some overlap) you might be able to use your psychology degree to work as an art therapist. A graduate degree in art history would definitely be helpful, and would open doors for work like curating or teaching at the college level, but and advanced degree is not absolutely necessary. Think about what you’ll be teaching your 12 year old! You will set such a good example! Your worst case scenario is regretting not trying! Also, I’m not an expert, but my sister has two little kids and is getting her Ph.D. right now and she told me that it’s easy for parents to get good financial aid. It’s worth looking into!

    • Sarah says...

      What amazing suggestions from Meltown! Art Therapy sounds so intriguing! I just wanted to throw my two cents in for what to do with a life, is that in my opinion, unless you are quite wealthy, I don’t think I’d go back to school until I found the job I knew I wanted. For myself, I imagined I’d go get my master’s degree, but before I did that, I took a short summer course on the field and that let to a job connection, which revealed I did not need the degree to have the job I wanted. Similarly, my best friend also thought she’d go for an advanced degree, but kept getting promoted at work…she also didn’t need a degree to rise in the ranks. However, another friend worked in the field she was interested in a few years and realized she did indeed need a master’s to grow into the job she desired. I guess my opinion is that education in our country is often so expensive and maybe not actually required. Which is not to say I don’t support education and study for the sake of it. But I’ll be paying off my undergrad loans forever so I tread with caution about jumping into more education debt. Just some food for thought.

  110. VP says...

    I think another wonderful gift for a new mom is helping her clean her house. I thank mu lucky stars that my mom was with me after my daughter was born. Only a mom would cook, clean the house, and get up to help with the baby at night. Knowing that the house was not a mess and not having to exert non-existent physical energy cleaning was a big help. Or, if the thought of cleaning someone’s home makes you grossed out, perhaps hire a maid service for her.

    • Moira says...

      Yes! About two days in to being home from the hospital with my infant, my sister brought over a healthy dinner (I’d been craving fresh veggies) and as I ate, she cleaned up the kitchen, and then I cried, because i was so grateful.

  111. Twyla says...

    Jockey No Panty Line Promise Hi-Cut Briefs will be my life-long favourite. They never show, they never ride up, they wash beautifully and aren’t sweaty-feeling. I love them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!!

    • Sigrid says...

      Agreed. I’ve been wearing Jockey for years, when these came out I never bought anything else. Jockeys also never ride up for me. I hope they never stop whatever it is they are doing!

      Also, loving the ‘why do we hide we are women’ comments! I am 46 and this is so true. Time to change mindsets. That said, bad vpl is still bad vpl, if you are going to show it, it should at least fit you.

  112. Rachel says...

    My favorite underwear are Calvin Klein Invisible Hipsters – they’re not thongs but the fabric is so thin its nearly invisible! And you can usually find a good price for a three-pack on Amazon!

    • jess says...

      Yes, I second Calvin Kleins invisible hipsters! They are the ONLY underwear I wear anymore because they’re no-show, comfy, and the black ones with a black bra are very sexy!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      can’t wait to check these out!!

    • Jody says...

      Yes! With you ladies on these! I wear them everywhere, from yoga to the office and they never let me down :)

    • Kathy says...

      I’ve been needing some new underwear recently and your these CK hipsters sound awesome, so I just ordered a pack on Amazon. Excited to try them out. And thanks for the recommendation!

    • I don’t have Calvin Klein’s, but I do have seamless undies that are basically the same thing, and I think I got them at Target. Plus they’re SO soft. They’re my favorite pair.