Ross Douthat (“When I became a father, I expected to change in all the predictable ways … What I didn’t expect is that parenthood would make me such a whiner”) or Slate’s Ruth Graham (“My Facebook feed is an endless stream of blog posts and status updates depicting the messy, tedious, nightmarishly life-destroying aspects of parenting”). Raising kids in our contemporary world is, as Jennifer Senior’s new book puts it, All Joy and No Fun — and, as Lori Gottleib recently told us, no sex.
I started reading these daily routines of different mothers around the world yesterday (via Jessica Stanley’s lovely blog) and now I CANNOT STOP READING THEM
Janet Yellen was finally confirmed as the Federal Reserve Chair, which means she and her flawless bob will be gracing the cover of this week’s TIME.
Roseanne Cash’s essay about growing up in Tennessee, and leaving, and coming back, and leaving again is really lovely.
In The Morning News archives Mike Deri Smith introduces us to KidZania, an international theme park where the theme is seemingly “capitalism” and kids get to play-work at having a job and earning a living:
Each child receives a bank account, an ATM card, a wallet, and a check for 50 KidZos (the park’s currency). At the park’s bank, which is staffed by adult tellers, kids can withdraw or deposit money they’ve earned through completing activities—and the account remains even when they go home at the end of the day.
The kids go work at pretend gas stations, factories, construction sites, and factories. But these aren’t just any workplaces. They’re corporate-sponsored:
Do you enjoy crying? Or reading really strong women reflect on the most painful moments of their lives? Here are some things to read: Ariel Levy on miscarrying in Mongolia in the New Yorker; Kate Suddes on grieving her stillborn baby at Cup of Jo; women on the stories of their abortions in New York—some women regret it; some women are thankful for it; some women were unfazed by it; many women faced incredible obstacles and incredible costs. (“The public university where we teach offers insurance affiliated with a Catholic hospital. We had to submit our case before an ethics committee of priests who would decide if insurance would pay. Otherwise, the procedure would cost us $25,000. The priests decided I had to deliver the baby. I was so upset I couldn’t talk. Later it turned out the state would cover it.”)
Now if this sounds a little too much like starting a Pinterest board for you wedding before you meet someone you want to spend your life with (not that I don’t support that), let me explain. Or try!
A 529 account, for the uninitiated, is kind of like an IRA but instead of investing money for retirement, you’re putting money in a mutual fund for college expenses. Like 401k’s and IRA’s, the earnings you make are tax-deferred. That shit can just grow and grow (or yes, shrink, but sssh, it’ll be in there for 20+ years and we aren’t going to think about that) and you don’t even have to report it on your taxes.
Mark Oppenheimer has a lovely piece up on Medium called “Forty Thoughts on a Fourth Daughter,” about how and why he and his wife decided to have four entire children (all lady children, too). He mentions that if you have more than a couple of kids people assume you are either very religious or not very intelligent, which, yes. But apparently they just love kids a lot.
Working parents are increasingly finding the cost of child care too much to handle (as we’ve seen from stories reporting the idea that parents may take out subsidized loans to pay for private preschooling). The costs often generate discussions with couples on whether or not it’s worth it for both parents to work, and if not, which parent should stay home with the children. Usually, it’s the mother, and sociologist Joya Misra calls this “the motherhood penalty.” It’s also a penalty against the working poor. According to the Times, childcare is the single greatest expense among low-income families in NYC—greater than food and housing costs.
In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Berkeley professor Mary Ann Mason discusses why so many women don’t make it to the “top of the Ivory Tower as tenured professors, deans, and presidents,” and points to research showing how having babies penalizes women in academia.