Parenting

Our 1 Thing: Remembering to Do 1 Thing, Oops

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?

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WWYD: Porn Star BF Asks Porn Star GF to Quit Work Because Love

We are all worse at managing our own romantic lives — and occasionally our professional choices — than Miley Cyrus is at getting dressed.

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Can Science Have It All?

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.

At the same time, lots of talented lab types are also leaving the field because of frustrations about how research is funded

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The Delicate Nature of Asking Your Parents for Financial Help

I have not asked my parents for very much, mostly because they’ve never had much, financially, to give. As a child, if you grow up with not that much, you don’t know what you’re missing. For so long, your worldview is only as big as the two-block radius you’re allowed to travel, and since you return home every night like a little boomerang, you only understand what it is that happens inside your house. You only understand the world within the context of what you’re living with, so when I was growing up, I understood on a very basic level that we had enough to get by.

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Can TV Women Have It All?

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.”

Not surprisingly, the results are mixed:

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: 

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The Poker-Player’s Wife

My older son is 4 and he knows that dad works at a casino and sometimes his work takes 2 hours (bad day) and sometimes it takes 14 hours (good, but long day).

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Give Your Kids Video Games to Teach Them About Money

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.

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Born in the USA — on a Commune in Tennessee

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.

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A Father-Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: Accepting Financial Assistance From Parents as an Adult

Yet as I near 30 and plan to move in with a partner who is similarly low-income to me, and we think about having a home, starting a family, etc, I become confused about where to draw the line of receiving help from my parents. Should we accept money for a home? A wedding ceremony? Our children’s college funds? The idea of continuing to accept money makes me feel as though I’m in a relationship with my parents, rather than building a life with my partner.

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A $455,000 Child Vs. A $145,000 Child

If you invested almost half a million dollars into raising one horse and only a fraction of that raising a second horse, you’d expect the first horse to do better in life, wouldn’t you? Be shinier, sleeker, more confident, faster. Maybe it would jump higher, eat more apples. Brush its own hair, I don’t know, whatever good horses do. Maybe you’d think of it as more valuable. But what about children?

High-income families who live in the urban Northeast, for example, are projected to spend nearly $455,000 to raise their child to the age of 18, while low-income rural families will spend much less, an estimated $145,500, according to the report.

Part of this can be chalked up to the astronomical cost of childcare, especially in certain regions:

In 2012, center-based care for one infant was greater than median rent payments in nearly half of the states, according to Child Care Aware of America’s most recent report. In Seattle, Britta Gidican and her boyfriend spend $1,380 each month on daycare for their 17-month-old son, just $20 less than they spend on their mortgage each month. “When I was pregnant I knew daycare would be expensive,” said Gidican, a public relations manager. “But I didn’t expect to pay two mortgages.”

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