Rufi Thorpe writes about being an artist and a mother in Vela.
UC Berkeley psychology professor Tania Lombrozo tried an unusual tactic when organizing the Misconceptions of the Mind Conference: invite the babies as well as their parents. She wrote: [more inside]
Feminist economics deserves recognition - "In 2014 only 12% of American economics professors were female, and only one woman (Elinor Ostrom) has won the Nobel prize for economics.[1,2,3] But in terms of focus, economists have embraced some feminist causes. Papers abound on the 'pay gap' (American women earned 21% less than men for full-time work in 2014), and the extra growth that could be unlocked if only women worked and earned more. A recent paper, for instance, claimed that eliminating gender discrimination in Saudi Arabia could bring its GDP per person almost level with America's. (Feminists, of course, consider gender equality a worthy goal irrespective of its impact on GDP.) That raises a question. Does 'Feminist economics', which has its own journal, really bring anything distinctive?" [more inside]
Almost a quarter of the votes in the last US presidential election were cast by women without spouses, up three points from just four years earlier. They are almost 40% of the African-American population, close to 30% of the Latino population, and about a third of all young voters. The most powerful voter this year is The Single American Woman.
Childcare costs on par or higher than rent is not a new story, it is well established that childcare costs have been skyrocketing in recent years. [more inside]
In the garden of Dee’s Tots Childcare, amid the sunflowers, cornstalks, and plastic cars, a three-year-old girl with beads in her braids and a two-year-old blond boy are shimmying. These are Deloris Hogan’s 6:45 p.m. pick-ups. Nearby, also dancing, are four kids who won’t be picked up until late at night, as well as two “overnight babies,” as Deloris calls them. Dee’s Tots stays open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; the children’s parents work unconventional hours, producing an unexpected cycle of drop-offs and reunions. One afternoon in August, the kids bounce on the center’s inflatable castles, rustle around at the sand tables, and eat a watermelon snack. Then it gets dark.
"Childcare providers’ wage growth was lower than the growth in wages paid to fast food workers. They were consistently in the bottom second or third percentile in salary rankings, sharing that status with parking lot attendants, laundry workers, fast food employees, and bartenders. Perhaps most strikingly, the people who care for our youngest children earn less than those who care for animals in zoos or homes."
Will having kids soon be out of reach economically for many American families? 'Parenthood should be affordable in this country, but the cost of raising a child from birth to adulthood is now a quarter of a million dollars and projected to double by the time today's toddlers reach their teens.' 'For evidence to suggest that middle-class parents might already be getting priced out of parenthood, look to the national birthrate. It fell sharply in the recession but, unlike in previous economic rebounds, has continued to drop. This makes sense in financial context, given that most families haven't seen their incomes grow since the recovery began and the median net worth of households has actually fallen below what it was 15 years ago. Most families today don't have enough saved to meet basic needs for three months, let alone save for college or retirement.' [more inside]
Michel Martin, in her last week as host of NPR's "Tell Me More," responds to conversations about work/life balance such as Anne-Marie Slaughter's much-commented 2012 "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", (previously) where "the discussion too often ends where it began: with privileged, mostly white women at the forefront." [more inside]
Division of labor in child care: A game-theoretic approach The analysis shows that it is difficult to achieve the equilibrium of equal sharing of child care, even when this is the preference of the parents. This leads to a discussion of alterations and meta-strategies for couples who want to share care equally. Gender differences between parents are also modeled, including the impact these have on outcomes and equilibria.Full text PDF
"We hate being told we must be saints or angels, because we’re doing something really ordinary and normal – that is, taking care of kids in need. If some children showed up dirty and hungry and needing a safe place on your doorstep, you’d care for them too – we just signed up to be the doorstep they arrive at. The idea of sainthood makes it impossible for ordinary people to do this – and the truth is the world needs more ordinary, human foster parents. This also stinks because if we’re saints and angels, we can’t ever be jerks or human or need help, and that’s bad, because sometimes this is hard." -- What foster parents wish other people knew.
" Initially it was thought to be something to house firewood, though it didn’t seem capable of holding much, and the slat that sits perpendicular to the box on the inside wall made little sense. It took observers a while to realize that this contraption was a device for holding children—a “baby tender.”" (via)
'News of impending fatherhood affects men in different ways. Some guys pump their fists. Others light cigars. A few flee. When 33-year-old Colin Furze learned that his girlfriend was pregnant, he channeled his paternal excitement into building the world’s fastest baby stroller.' The twin-exhaust, 10-horsepower, gasoline-fueled pram has four gears. And cupholders. And it can accelerate to 50mph in less than 30 seconds. [more inside]
Feminism's Uneven Success: "Class and racial and ethnic differences among women have intensified over time. The higher earnings of college-educated mothers make it possible for them to purchase child care and help with housework (typically performed by low-wage women workers)... the number of low-skill immigrants living in a large city reduces the tradeoff between employment and fertility for women college graduates. Outsourcing of care responsibilities can have many positive effects, but it reduces the potential for cross-class gender coalitions. Emphasis on changes in women’s average or median earnings relative to men often conceals growing inequality among women." (via)
Nigerian Boy Raised by Chimps. I swear I'm not making this up. A disabled two-year-old Fulani boy was abandoned by his nomadic family because he was mentally and physically disabled, and was raised by a chimpanzee family in Nigeria's Falgore forest for a year and a half. He was found by hunters several years ago, and now lives in a children's home, where he walks and vocalizes like a chimpanzee, unable to communicate with humans normally. So the obvious question: Is it better to have taken this child away from his chimp family to live in an orphanage, or should they have let him continue to live in the forest?
Manny Poppins? Would you hire a male nanny? I don't see any problems with it as long as there is a good back-ground check.