"Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do — and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess. About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five — spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares.... In other countries, such services are subsidized and well-regulated. In the United States, despite the fact that work and family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, we lack anything resembling an actual child care system. Excellent day cares are available, of course, if you have the money to pay for them and the luck to secure a spot. But the overall quality is wildly uneven and barely monitored, and at the lower end, it’s Dickensian."
I don’t like the feeling of disappointing my kids. But I refuse to give into this holiday overkill. I’m overwhelmed enough as it is. Today I gave all of my kids a bath. We read with each of them for the recommended 20 minutes. We reviewed our Math Facts. We practiced guitar. We sat together at the table and ate a meal that was NOT procured at a drive-thru. We played outside. Most days, I’m struggling to achieve all these things. I can’t have these haphazard, once-monthly overblown holidays take over my life.One mom talks about "bringing the holidays down a notch," 'cause ain't nobody got time for that.
Kelly calls herself “a flaming liberal” and a feminist, too. “I want my daughter to be able to do anything she wants,” she says. “But I also want to say, ‘Have a career that you can walk away from at the drop of a hat.’ ” And she is not alone. Via.
Yahoo's Blow to Work-Family Balance: Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, the first pregnant woman to ever become CEO of a corporation, has ordered all telecommuting employees back to the office. (Previously on MeFi)
Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father [single-link Atlantic]
About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy, Maria Bamford was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe Web site. [more inside]
"Hiring a nanny is nervewracking. You want someone who's great with kids, who can speak three languages, and who has impeccable virtue, yet you also want someone who will work for free. It's a delicate balance. One Queens, NY couple has a very specific idea of the kind of adult in whose care they will leave their children: a lost soul who's willing to tackle the epic quest of slogging through their 65-question survey."
"Older parenthood will upend American society." "Is waiting to have kids a big mistake?" "Why do women believe they can delay children for so long?" "Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age."
"Premature babies born at the edge of viability force us to debate the most difficult questions in medicine and in life. After just 23 weeks of pregnancy, Kelley Benham found herself in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a daughter born so early neonatologist doctors would call her a "micro preemie." New technologies can sometimes keep micro preemies alive, but many end up disabled, some catastrophically so. Whether to provide care to these infants is one of the fundamental controversies in neonatology. This is the story of how Benham and her husband, Tom French, made the difficult choice: Fight for the life of their micro preemie baby or let her go?" [more inside]
The Parent Rap. Two parents rap about their life. [slyt]
"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]
"I don't want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that's what women do. That's what mommy did." Some lovely Friday-morning encouragement for all the moms.
"Farmer's Dilemma" is a short, sad and beautiful comic about family and acceptance. From Sam Alden's art blog, GINGERLAND.
Blogging about parenting. Little Seal is about Emily Rapp's son Ronan, who is 2 1/2 and has Tay-Sachs disease. Count on Rapp for a jolt of humanity and perspective amid the mundane. Her Bad Mother is Catherine Conners, a working mom devoted to her husband and children, who chronicles the ups and downs of parenting, balancing it all with humor and poignancy. She is not afraid to speak out against mothers who believe that their way is the best way to raise kids. These blogs are among the 25 Best Blogs 2012 per Time magazine.
The Mom Stays in the Picture - When Allison Tate wrote about how "Too much of a mama's life goes undocumented and unseen... I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them", it resonated with many other women. "To read through the notes that came with the thousand-plus photos (and yes, we have read every single one) was to read the minds of today's mothers. Over and over you told us that you don't look the way you want to look, don't look the way you once did. Even when joining a movement created around the motto 'I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother,' you felt the need to apologize." (via middleclasstool's other half)
Over the past few weeks, I, along with ten of my closest friends, have taken turns saying our goodbyes to our college bound kids. For some of us, this was a virgin voyage; for others, it was the beginning of an empty nest. [more inside]
Science is Rewriting the Rules of Reproduction Aarathi Prasad's new book investigates taking sex out of the reproduction equation. [more inside]
"When the jubilant couple were wed in June, they exchanged personalized vows and titanium rings, cheered the heartfelt toasts and danced themselves breathless. Then, as the evening was winding down, unexpected questions started popping up. One after another, their guests began asking: Are you going to have kids? When are you going to have kids?" [more inside]
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City, "public health autocrat" Michael Bloomberg has attempted to regulate trans fats, smoking and sugar-filled sodas. Now, he has a fresh target: moms who don't breastfeed. Beginning September 3, NYC hospitals participating in a new, voluntary program: Latch-On NYC (press release / posters / FAQ -pdf-), will make formula less accessible, to encourage moms of newborns to breastfeed instead of using formula. [more inside]
A new piece for the Awl, by writer Amy Sohn "The 40-Year-Old Reversion" satirizing the group of parents she parties with in Brooklyn, has sparked some pretty harsh criticism around the web, from scenester blogs, mainstream sources, and parenting sites alike. But others see it as a very useful lesson about contraception.
The Mommy-Fight Site. What does it mean to raise a child in "America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area? D.C. Urban Moms and Dads might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis" [more inside]
"Look mom. I can tell from the way you haven’t looked me in the eye since fetching me from my crib well before dawn that you’re upset about last night. Waking up every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours isn’t easy for me either. In my defense, my blanket really did keep coming off, I was thirsty, and…I can’t remember the other reasons, but I’m sure they were equally valid." The Honest Toddler is blogging about his experiences as a child, from helping mommy get potty trained to his view of one-year-olds to organizing the 34th Annual Toddler Unification Conference. His "The Truth About Car Sleep" is particularly brilliant. He also dispenses his wisdom via twitter.
Snow White's Scary Adventures - A Retrospective [via mefi projects] The author can't post it here for obvious reasons, but I can. I think. Now to wipe these tears from my eyes...
Tomorrow, May 31st, will be the last day of operation for the ride Snow White's Scary Adventures at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. The ride has played a significant role in my family's life for the past decade (my son is autistic, and has ridden the ride more than 3,400 times), and I wrote a retrospective about the history of the ride. This is a subject that is too close for me to post on the Blue, but Matthowie and Jessamyn both suggested that I post about it here. The linked blog post itself contains links to a four part series about my son, and also a link in the footnotes to the single best reference site on the web for the ride in all its permutations. I know it's just a silly old fairy tale dark ride, and not on many people's "must-see" list when they come to Disney World, but I hope my article can help at least a few people understand why it really is an important piece of history.
The most recent cover of Time magazine is causing a lot of controversy. The issue explores attachment parenting and its rise in popularity. Some see attachment parents as selfish, while others swear by it. Either way, attachment parenting and extreme breastfeeding are now part of the national conversation.
"What appears as discipline or “tough love” from one perspective often appears as abuse from another."
On Tiger Moms: "What the controversy surrounding Chua demonstrates, however inadvertently, is that parenting techniques are always grounded in basic assumptions about the way things are and what matters to us. And they are always guided by some answer to the most fundamental of ethical questions—how to live?" [more inside]
With Season 2 of Game of Thrones to begin on Sunday, it's important to review the various life and parenting lessons we've learned from the show.
"Redshirting" is the practice of holding eligible children back from kindergarten, with supposed advantages for them academically. Though there are questions as to it's efficacy long term.
Given or Taken – an ABC television documentary by the usually excellent 4 Corners looks at a period in the nation’s history when unwed mothers were forced, coerced or tricked into giving up their babies- often without holding or even seeing their newborn. Writer Kim Berry describes a little of what it was like to be relinquished by her teen mum.
"My daughter thought it would be funny/rebellious/cool to post on her Facebook wall just how upset she was and how unfair her life here is; how we work her too hard with chores, never pay her for chores, and just in general make her life difficult. She chose to share this with the entire world on Facebook and block her parents from seeing it. Well, umm... she failed. As of the end of this video, she won't have to worry anymore about posting inappropriate things on Facebook..." (youtube video, contains cursing) Background. Original thread on Facebook.
"Four percent of respondents reported that a parent actually showed up for the candidate's job interview"
Last year it was Amy Chua, Tiger Mother (previously on mefi). This year, Paula Druckerman has written Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, inspired by a trip to a coastal town when her daughter had temper tantrums and French parents didn't. French kids eat the same food as their parents, and aren't constantly snacking. And "when French friends visited [...] the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves." It's about patience -- let the kids cry it out a bit, let them learn how to play alone instead of hovering. And perhaps obsess a little less -- the French don't even obsessively buy books about how to parent. Wall Street Journal article, and video interview by WSJ's Gary Rosen.
A woman wonders how she will teach her daughter about sex in an essay titled How I Learned About Sex.
My dad taught me cashflow with a soda machine After a brief, failed experiment paying me to do chores, my dad tried something really neat. It clearly took a bit of legwork, but maybe there are some transferrable lessons for parents who want to lay an entrepreneurial foundation. He gave me a vending machine.
H'ween parent filter Halloween is for little kids, but it's also for scares. I found this to be helpful in determining when it's appropriate for the twixt to meet.
The Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Paul Ford. When it comes to IVF, in-vitro fertilization, nothing is normal. Your world is upside-down. Your doctor compliments your wife on her monkeys. Then, when every dollar and exertion has gone toward a single hour of hope, it begins to snow.
Tips my Dad Says. Last week, MAKE Magazine asked their staff, contributors and readers to share some tips and words of wisdom from their dads and granddads. They received over 140 responses and have created a downloadable card of some of the best.
Parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker welcomed their third baby into the world this year, but they won't tell anyone whether Storm is a boy or a girl. “We thought that if we delayed sharing that information, in this case hopefully, we might knock off a couple million of those messages by the time that Storm decides Storm would like to share,” says Witterick Storm's brothers, Jazz and Kio are also encouraged to wear their hair however they wish, and pick out clothing they like. [more inside]
"We were wondering if you would petition to be emancipated," he said in his lawyer voice. "What does that mean?" I asked, picking at the mauve paint on my hands. I later discovered that for most kids, declaring emancipation is an extreme measure -- something you do if your parents are crack addicts or deadbeats. "You would need to become financially independent," he said. "You could work for me at my law firm and pay rent to live here." This was my moment of truth as an objectivist. If I believed in the glory of the individual, I would've signed the petition papers then and there. But as much as Rand's novels had taught me to believe in meritocracy, they had not prepared me to go it alone financially and emotionally. I began to cry and refused.
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
A growth chart for Star Wars fans.
Message With a Bottle is a pretty darned charming tumblr by a stay-at-home dad who writes post-it notes to himself about parenting and fatherhood.
The NYTimes profiles the "Queen of the Mommy Bloggers" Who is it? Why, Dooce, of course! The article also gives shoutouts to Nie Nie, Mama Pundit, Pioneer Woman, Selfish Mom, and Because I Said So, among others. [more inside]