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.
Perhaps, after trying my whole life to get straight A’s and excel and do everything perfectly, I don’t want to feel like there’s a “right” way to do my fertility.
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.
Thursdays are a great day to do that 1 thing you need to do but don’t want to do but need to do.
We forgot about 1 thing! So now my 1 thing is to post “Do 1 Thing” before day’s end. Oops. No, okay, that doesn’t count. My 1 thing is child-related: Babygirl turned two and we’re throwing her a hopefully casual, low-key party this weekend in the park. Can any party really be casual and low-key when people travel to get to it, though? Probably not. My mom is coming, and various in-laws, and other family members, and they will want food to chomp on even though the party was planned strategically for a non-meal time. I said no gifts on the evite but people will bring gifts (we’ve received some in the mail already) so there will be thank you notes and clean up afterwards, as well as stress and prep work in advance, some of which is to be done today. So yeah! There it is.
What’s your 1 thing?
According to two recent articles, science as a field is male-dominated and old-fashioned in a patriarchy way, and, if that weren’t enough, suffering from funding problems. The Washington Post reports that science isn’t simply unfriendly to women but also to dudes who want to be good dads:
The majority of tenured full professors at some of the most prestigious universities in the country, who have the most power to hire and fire and set the workplace expectation of long hours, are men who have either a full-time spouse at home who handles all caregiving and home duties, or a spouse with a part-time or secondary career who takes primary responsibility for the home. And it’s not just women who are being squeezed out of academic science, the study concludes. It’s also men who want to be more active at home. … “Academic science doesn’t just have a gender problem, but a family problem,” said Sarah Damaske, a sociology professor at Penn State and one of the report’s authors. “We came to see that men or women, if they want to have families, are likely to face significant challenges.” …
Damaske said age didn’t play a role in their findings. Some men in egalitarian partnerships were well into their 60s. And some graduate students in their 20s had traditional marriages or planned not to have children in order to dedicate their lives to their careers.
An in-depth Flavorwire investigation into the fall TV schedule shows that we are indeed obsessed with the question of whether American women can “have it all” — lacking, as we do here, any kind of real social safety net or infrastructure for working moms. Basically it’s like a reality show everyday for many of us: Can we achieve reasonable success in our personal *and* professional lives without paid maternity leave, subsidized quality child care, or guaranteed health insurance?? And can we remain attractive while we’re at it? TUNE IN TONIGHT, AFTER “JERSEY SHORE.”
This year, we are blessed with so many different women: a detective who struggles to balance her work and personal life, a Secretary of State who struggles to balance her work and personal life, a CIA analyst who struggles to balance her work and personal life, and so on. Once again, TV wants to know: Can women have it all? …
The best plot description is of the fictionalized sitcom version of The Life of Hillary Clinton, which is an actual real thing that’s happening whether we like it or not, starring Tea Leoni:
When I was a kid, I got an allowance. It was a perfectly servicable allowance, but it didn’t offer a lot of purchasing power; every four weeks or so I’d have enough money to go down to the Sam Goody and buy a new Original Broadway Cast recording on cassette. (They were more expensive than pop albums because they were often two cassettes in one package.)
And that’s what the allowance is supposed to do: teach kids that if you buy an ice cream today you might not have enough money to buy Les Miserables tomorrow. That’s an important lesson, but it’s pretty small-scale.
I mean, it wasn’t like the lesson I was simultaneously learning in Final Fantasies IV through VII, where I had enormous amounts of cash and was using it to buy property, speculate on the Chocobo market, dip my toes into gambling, figure out how to save enough money to buy the armor I needed, etc. etc. etc.
I have a secret theory that if you give a child a video game like the ones in the Final Fantasy series, where earning, spending, gambling, and even investing money is part of the gameplay mechanic, and then maybe you watch your kid play occasionally while you do emails on the iPad, you’re going to learn a lot about how your kid handles money.
Erika Anderson writes about being born on The Farm, the commune in Tennessee made famous by midwife Ina May Gaskin – and led, in “counter-cultural” but still patriarchal fashion, by Ina May’s husband. (#BanMen) What is a personal reflection about the pros and cons intentional living in the rural south doing in Vanity Fair? Who cares? If you’ve ever been curious about small-scale socialism, this is an essay for you:
Life on the inside had its charms and quirks. A Farm store operated like community-supported agriculture; I remember each house getting a box of cooking oil, Ajax, a bar of soap, margarine, salt, and seasonal vegetables, except most couldn’t supplement these with trips to a grocery store. Noodles and peanut butter were forbidden treasures for us, things my dad might buy with his weekly allowance to feed his masonry crew, since anyone who worked off The Farm had additional, necessary privileges.
While we were growing up, there was no refrigeration, but there were telephones and a laundromat. To get in line, you placed a call first thing in the morning so you could wash clothes for your entire house, which might hold a single family or 50 people. “It was a lot like calling in to win a prize at a radio station,” my mom told me, laughing. ““You are caller number four!’” Within minutes, all 15 spots would be full.
While men worked in the fields, or off The Farm to earn money, women had weekly or biweekly “house days.” One or two women would look after the kids in their home, make meals and do the laundry if they could. Then they would spend the other days of the week working in the community, outside the home. “I got to have a varied life,” my mom has said. “That was one of the things you missed when you moved away. But it was the only thing you missed.” That and friends, who had all but become family.
There’s also Lauren Groff’s novel Arcadia, about communal New York State living in the ’60s, if you want more.