Here Is Your Open Thread

Here is your open thread.

WWYD: Judging Friends for Being Broke and Wanting to Have a Baby

A friend and co-worker of mine is on a mission to have a baby. She's always wanted to be a mom and finally at 34, she's in a fantastic, stable relationship with another co-worker who equally wants to be a dad. They're going to make fantastic parents. The problem is, they're broke. The bigger problem is that it isn't a problem for THEM and that strangely feels like a problem for ME.

How Long Should Paternity Leave Be?

When Theodore Ross's son was born, he received two weeks of paternity leave. Was it enough? In an editorial for Al Jazeera America, Ross says no.

My Last Hundred Bucks: There Is a Baby In My Apartment Edition

Audrey Ference lives in New York.

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. 

The Best Places to Raise a Family (Or Not)

If you have only yourself to consider, choosing where to live can be a walk in the park, or down the shore, or under an arch, or through some tar pits – whatever suits your fancy. If you shackle yourself, lovingly of course, to another human being, and the two of you with clear eyes and full hearts bring forth new life into the world, well, choosing where to live becomes more fraught. Values shift. Priorities adjust. Apartments that seemed cozy start to feel like “the hole” in The Shawshank Redemption.

Parents Are Unhappy? It’s the Economy, Stupid

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.

The Year I Left My Job

2013 was the year I had to decide how much it meant to me to be a writer. When the year began, I had a steady office job, a stressed-out husband, an apartment, and a baby, which meant that 26 hours out of every day were accounted for. How was I supposed to work on the novel that had been pacing back and forth inside my head, knocking occasionally on the floorboards, for years?

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.

Yakkin’ About Baby Showers

Mike: You will probably getting a package from Target from me today.

The Cost of Date Night (And the Morning After)

I had this date with a guy I was really excited about (he was a social justice law student!).