If you are a woman in a heterosexual relationship, do yourself a favor and forward this article to your partner. The tone is nonthreatening, but the message is clear—if you’re asking your wife to help you in “helping out”, you’re not actually that helpful!
If your husband requires you to write a list, provide instructions, or delegate specific tasks, you are still holding the mental load—and that is (at least part of) why you feel so overwhelmed and stressed out all the time. True partnership means sharing the burden of the task from conceptualization through execution. I’ve recommended Fair Play previously, but I am linking it here again because I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful both in my personal life and in my client’s lives.
What happened to this Wisconsin day care should concern us all (Washington Post)
This is a must-read case study about the very real consequences—for daycares, for families, and for employers—of allowing the Child Care Stabilization Grant to expire. The truth is the free market cannot meet families’ childcare needs. As an earlier Washington Post article pointed out:
The economics of the [childcare] industry will never align. For one, parents tend to need childcare at the beginning of their careers, precisely when they can least afford it. Costs stay high because it’s labor intensive and hard to scale: One person can take care of only so many kids. Also, because quality care produces broader social benefits that aren’t reflected in the price, the market inevitably supplies too little.
Because parents are capped in what they can afford to pay, child care workers are limited in what they can make. As the corporate sector is able to raise wages for hourly workers to become more competitive, care work is becoming increasingly less attractive to quality employees (see graph below).
This is a real crisis, and though advocacy groups have been sounding the alarm for years now, we still aren’t seeing any real political action.
A group of researchers asked Canadian moms in STEM fields a series of questions about the support they needed—specifically as working mothers—to succeed and stay in the field. This report summarizes their findings, many of which are applicable to women in other male-dominated fields. Their major recommendations include:
Increased support to mid- and later-career women. Academia often provides leadership development resources to brand new faculty or those in senior leadership positions, leaving those “in the middle” without meaningful career development opportunities.
Increase allyship and advocacy.
Implement meaningful cultural changes like recognizing “untitled leaders”, providing greater support to dual-career families, and provide greater emphasis on work-life integration throughout the career lifecycle.
A new study compared brain scans of dads in Spain (who receive 16 weeks of fully paid paternity leave) and dads in California (who receive 8 weeks of partially-paid paternity leave). The research found that:
only the Spanish fathers’ brains were significantly different in the regions connected to sustained attention, the same ones that prepare the brain for parenting. The length of their leaves, the researchers said, is a potential explanation for the difference.
This finding is consistent with earlier research, and suggests that quality bonding time is not only beneficial to new mothers, but also to new fathers.
I returned from my first maternity leave a week before the new semester began. I was excited to return to the classroom, but since masters-level courses were taught in three-hour chunks once a week, I knew I would have to plan ahead because there wasn’t much margin for error if I wanted to pump. When I walked over to check out the “lactation room” in the brand-new building I was assigned to teach I was surprised to see two things: 1. The room was actually a large single-stall bathroom 😒 and 2. The sole outlet was positioned at least 8 feet away from the designated pumping chair. I made note to add an extension cord to my pumping bag.
The good news is that we have seen new legislation in this area through both the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act. The bad news is that there is often a large gulf between “compliance” and true support. I appreciate that this article outlines some tangible suggestions to move towards genuine support.
I thought play dates had reached an all-time low when my third grader had his bestie over to practice “Jingle Bells” on the recorder together 🙉 (seriously, can someone tell me why schools continue to teach this dreadful instrument?? Never once have I been asked to demonstrate my “Hot Cross Buns” skills in a real-life scenario.) But then I was chatting with a friend whose kids are in middle and high school, and she was telling me how they invite friends over but then each kid spends the whole time on their phone. Ugh.
Listen, I know smart phones are a part of daily life, but I think a lot about the role that technology will play in my kids life as they get older. Everyschool has a new campaign focused on making schools phone-free. If you’re interested in learning more about the impact of phone in schools, and how you can advocate for change within your district, I encourage you to check out their website. (You can also read more about Everyschool’s work in my interview with Deputy Director Amy Tyson).
Imagine that it’s 30 years from now and you’re looking back at this stage of your life.
What will you be most proud of?
Will you have any regrets?
What will matter most to you?
Now, consider whether there are changes you need to make so that your answers more fully align with your values.
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