Babies

Why I Had Kids

Following on Meaghan’s meditation on childrearing and work and the putting-together of grown-up puzzle pieces, commenter Vanderlyn asked the following not-crazy question: “Why do people still yearn to have biological children? Especially when doing so will render one’s life (more) financially tenuous, when there are so many unwanted children already out there, and when the world is already straining under the load of 7 billion of us?”

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Our Vanilla-and-Guilt-Flavored Real Estate Fantasies

Fantasies and gratitude for reality aren’t mutually exclusive! Or maybe fantasies distract from gratitude. I don’t know! It’s not greedy! Or is it?

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Who’s Taking Care of Your Baby?

As I passed by him he shouted something else that I didn’t quite hear. I turned around, said, “What?” “Who’s watching your BABY?!” he repeated, laughing a little.

I spun around to make eye contact with him. “My HUSBAND!” I said and spun back around and crossed the street.

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DOL Leading the Charge on Paid Leave

At last, at last, the US Department of Labor (and Delivery? ba-dum-ching) has started a push on the subject of paid leave:

The most important family value of all is time together. With the changing nature of our 21st-century workforce, it’s getting harder and harder to balance the demands of the family you love and the job you need. Change has yet to come to Washington, but momentum is growing in the states: So far, California, Rhode Island and New Jersey have passed paid leave laws. It’s time to update workplace policies that are stuck in the past and give more Americans paid family leave – to take care of sick loved ones and newborn children. It’s time for us to #LeadOnLeave.

You have to chuckle at the idea of us “leading on leave” at this point, when we have lagged so far behind for so long. But I understand the hashtag as a framing device: Americans don’t want to do anything unless we can be bravely at the vanguard, waving the sword way out front as others fall in line behind, so, okay, sure, let’s “#LeadOnLeave.” Anything to help us stop pouting on the ground with our arms crossed.

What are these new state laws? Here’s some info about the situation in Rhode Island for example (“an employee can have up to four weeks of paid time off from work without fear of losing their job to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child through birth, adoption or foster care”). Gee, that sounds idyllic. Maybe we’ll move to Provincetown Providence after all. 

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The Cost of Things: One Year of Breastfeeding

Ever since I read Meaghan’s comment, “I will say that part of me is convinced that there can be no feminism with breastfeeding,” I have been discussing it with everyone from my mom friends to my dental hygienist. I feel the truth of this statement everyday when I think of the work events I can’t attend, the trips I cannot take, and the sleep I am not getting. I know it is a choice, but I don’t think anyone understands what that choice really entails until, as Meaghan said, we are too “in it.” Breastfeeding is not free. It takes its toll on your marriage, your job, your other children (if you have them), and sometimes your sanity.

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The Cost of Bringing a Person Into The World Via C-Section

TOTAL HOSPITAL BILLS: $43,871.25

TOTAL CO-PAYS: $1,000.00

TOTAL UNRESOLVED BILLS WHICH I BETTER NOT HAVE TO PAY BUT I MIGHT HAVE TO PAY AND I STILL HAVEN’T CALLED ABOUT AND THEY’RE THREATENING TO SEND TO COLLECTIONS BUT EVERY TIME I GO TO CALL THE BABY WAKES UP: $1422.00

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What Does Success Look Like?

Vulture compiled a list of the most successful graduates of Tyra Banks’s televised charm school, America’s Next Top Model. None has come close to dethroning Tyra herself; though most are, as you’d expect, tall and skinny and photogenic, they continue to do better on TV — the medium in which they broke through — than on the runway. First place finishers don’t seem to do better in life, ultimately, than their also-rans. Witness the top two, according to Vulture:

2. YaYa DaCosta (2nd Place, Cycle 3) Post-ANTMSmall roles in Ugly Betty and All My ChildrenTRON: Legacy, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and The Kids Are Alright; Garnier Fructis campaign; playing Whitney Houston in the upcoming Lifetime biopic I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story Power Points: YaYa’s photo critiques usually boiled down to her looking too much like a dancer. Opinionated but not a mean girl, she finished second behind Eva Pigford (the mean girl). YaYa won the war, though, spinning her silver medal into respectable acting gigs, including a potential breakthrough part playing Whitney Houston in a TV biopic. Tyra approvesBobbi Kristina does not.

1. Analeigh Tipton (3rd Place, Cycle 11) Post-ANTMRecurring role on Hung; roles in The Green Hornet, Crazy Stupid Love, Warm Bodies, and Lucy; starring in ABC’s Manhattan Love Story this fall Power Points: Analeigh — an adorable, figure-skating fan favorite — had a part in a Ryan Gosling movie. We repeat: She had a part in a Ryan Gosling movie, playing Steve Carrell’s kid’s babysitter. Her upcoming lead role in the primetime rom-com, Manhattan Love Story, secures her spot in the Top Model Hall of Fame.

It’s a good reminder that success doesn’t always look like the way we expect it to. So, btw, is this piece in Slate about an overachieving mom who freaks out about her developmentally-delayed daughter — both abstractly and sometimes at her daughter herself. If the essay weren’t candidly introspective about the mom’s faults, it would be a total hate-read. (Frankly, though I am also sympathetic, it still kind of is.)

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Can Feminism and Breastfeeding Coexist, Take 2

Babygirl is four months old. I buy my first can of formula from a small pharmacy in Guatemala and bottled water to mix it with.

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Baby Purchases, Reevaluated


There is something about reproducing that makes you an expert in buying shit you never cared or thought about before. Our child is eight weeks old and we are no exception.

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What’s in a Name? Oh, Only Your Success in Life

Having a white-sounding name is worth about eight years of work experience. “Jamal” would have to work in an industry for eight years longer than “Greg” for them to have equal chances of being hired, even if Jamal came from a privileged background and Greg from an underprivileged one.

– the Atlantic, again. They’re killing it this week.

When I met my college roommate she said, “Oh!” I said, “Yes?” She said, “No, it’s fine, I just — Ester from Washington, DC? I assumed you were black.” Others have assumed I’m Korean. Largely though I have benefited from having an “easy” name: easy to pronounce, easy to understand, easy enough to spell if you can remember to toss the unnecessary “H.” Easy to read as Jewish/white.

Have you had to battle your own name for legitimacy? Have you changed your name to give yourself a smoother time of it? Does knowing that Greg opens doors makes you more likely to opt for Greg for your own kid, or do you say “FU White Supremacy” and do what you want, knowing progress has to come eventually and will only come if we fight for it?

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Our Attempt at a $20-a-Day Budget

I am a 29-year-old woman, married for four years. I am a playwright, actor, blogger, screenwriter, tutor, and babysitter. My husband is a software engineer. My money-making schedule is varied and inconsistent and sometimes I will just freak out about it—especially now, because I’m pregnant.

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