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Keep talking to your kids about abortion — it's more important than ever (Romper)
Like many of you, I am enraged and devastated by the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe. There are several excellent pieces written on the topic (including this one about the final hours of an abortion clinic in Houston, this one about the Turnaway Study, an important research project examining the long-term impact of having—or not having—access to an abortion, and this one on the continued silence of corporate America regarding reproductive justice).
This piece provides quality information about talking to kids about abortion in developmentally-appropriate ways. Though it may be uncomfortable to discuss, it’s likely that your child has heard something about this topic, and it’s important to correct any misinformation they may have and to begin to provide open lines of communication around this topic.
When dads do what moms do (The Cut)
Paternity leave has been tied to increased maternal and fetal health, stronger father-child and marital bonds, and increased gender parity at home and work. And yet, most straight men don’t take prolonged parental leave—particularly once mom has returned to the office. This article argues that parental leave must be a shared responsibility, as it sets the stage for future caregiving expectations.
“Any solutions that address the modern parenting crisis have to shift the burden off women and lead with the understanding that care work is work and it’s universal. And it has to begin at the very beginning. Children are not a woman’s problem, but for too long, even the most progressive men have made it so. We’re in it together or we’re not in it at all.”
The case for lunch (Culture Study)
Back when I lived in St. Louis, it was not unusual for me to call my best-work-friend on her office phone in the nine o’clock hour and ask, “so, what do you wanna do for lunch?” 🙃 For me, lunch was a much-needed break from the emotionally taxing work I did, a venue to nurture relationships with friends and colleagues, and a way to maintain my identity as a brand-new working mom. There were still plenty of days I ate alone at my desk, but at least a couple times a week, I prioritized a real, sit-down meal with a friend.
This is a wonderful article by Anne Helen Petersen about the importance of a real lunch break. But, of course: “This isn’t really about lunch. It’s about the continued erosion of boundaries around the few things in our lives that were once sacrosanct. It’s about work becoming ever more slippery and our non-work lives becoming ever more porous.” We lose a lot when we lose our lunch break.
How to support a colleague who just lost a baby (Harvard Business Review)
I want to start by pointing out that this article was published on the HBR website, which represents a sign of tremendous progress. It’s hard to imagine this topic being covered in leading business journals even five years ago.
This article, written by a woman who lost her baby at three days old, provides practical advice for managers and co-workers in supporting a fellow colleague who experienced infant loss, stillbirth, or miscarriage. Her bottom line: “social support is one of the ways that humans get through grief, and how you respond to your colleague affects their experience of returning to work and overall well-being.”
We’re ignoring a major culprit behind the teen mental health crisis (Washington Post)
I won’t bury the lede: sleep deprivation is a major driver of the decline in teenage (and probably everyone else’s, too) mental health. The authors cite early school start times, an increase in homework and after-school activities, and smart phones as the primary drivers for sleep debt.
As anyone who has ever parented an infant knows, sleep deprivation is devastating to the human brain. According to the article: “One analysis found that underslept teens getting six to seven hours a night were 17 percent more likely to think about hurting themselves than those sleeping eight; and sleeping five hours a night made them 81 percent more likely to consider self-harm (emphasis added). It’s time to rethink the importance of sleep on both a family and societal level.
Need a break from the heat? When my family needs a few hours in the air conditioning, we love to bust out a game. We are a big board game family. Even before we had kids, my husband and I loved playing Trivial Pursuit over a glass of wine. Here’s a list of some of our favorite games—these are not affiliate links or sponsored in any way. They’re just games that my family loves that I hope yours will, too. ☺️
First board games
Friends & Neighbors: A great cooperative game that teaches a nice lesson about the importance of helping others.
Fairytale Spin to Play: A fun game that encourages creativity (the winner tells a story at the end) by a woman-owned company.
Orchard: Another fun cooperative game for young kids.
5+ year olds
Outfoxed: Oh man, if I had a dollar for every time I played this game in the early days of the pandemic, I could retire. We love this cooperative game that engages deductive reasoning, as you try to find which fox stole the pot pie.
Sleeping Queens: The directions to this fast-paced card game may seem a little complicated at first, but kids will pick it up pretty quickly. I particularly love that this game was invented by a 6-year-old girl.
Qwirkle: Think Scrabble but with patterns and colors.
The Magic Labyrinth: A fun, unique game in which game pieces have to navigate the hidden maze using magnets.
Kluster: This straight-forward, yet strategic magnetic game says it’s for kids 14 and older, but everyone in my family—including my 4-year-old—loves it. Obviously, older kids are able to come up with more sophisticated strategies.
Genius Squares: Roll the dice and place seven pegs on the 6x6 board. Fill in the gaps using the various tetris-shaped blocks—all arrangements have at least one potential solution. Kids can also play on their own, which is a huge plus!
Dixit: This is a lovely game that encourages creativity and storytelling. I sometimes liken it to a game version of a Rorschach test 😉
I was talking with a client earlier this week and she was really down on herself for not making progress on a new project at work. Instead of working on this new initiative, she had devoted her energy to her passion project—designing a new mentorship program for junior employees.
During our coaching call, she kept telling me, "There just isn't enough time in my day." I reflected back, "maybe it's not a matter of time, but a matter of priority.”💡That clicked for her. She had been putting off this new project because it just wasn't important to her—she felt that it was misguided and unimportant to the larger organizational goals. She was trying to suppress these concerns in an effort to be a "good team player".
The problem wasn't time management, it was lack of buy-in. With this new knowledge she was able to reframe her thinking and approach the conversation with her VP in a totally different way.
I invite you to ask yourself:
What do I keep putting off?
Why am I putting this off?
How can I express my concerns in a productive and straightforward way?
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We've talked to our 5 year old about abortion before, but because she's 5, she forgets. So we revisited it this week. Our exchange:
Me: Abortion means that if a mommy doesn't want to be pregnant before the baby is born or becomes a person, she doesn't have to be. A doctor can do surgery or give her medicine to end the pregnancy.
5YO: That's a great thing! I love that! Wow! That's just...that's really great!
Me: Well, the reason we're all upset right now is that some judges are saying some people won't be able to have abortions anymore.
5YO: I AM GOING TO SMASH EVERYTHING. WHERE IS MY BAT? I NEED A BAT. Can we build a catapult and catapult the judges into a fire?
So I'm feeling pretty good about the next generation, if we ignore a lot of the tantrums she threw this week.
To be totally honest, I am still way too angry to talk to my kids about abortion. I mean, I've definitely mentioned it over the years -- especially when I got my tubes tied and our cat got spayed in the same month, and we talked about the choice not to have any more babies, and why I was (so, so happily) undergoing permanent surgery to that end, and why we didn't want more kitties in the world -- but not in light of recent events.
Last Friday evening they overheard my husband and I talking about what we might do, in the future, if we ever need to help them get abortions (i.e., where and how, not any sort of moral quandary... I never thought I'd hear myself utter the words, "Thank God for Illinois" 🤪), and I could tell immediately that my 8yo's antennas had perked up, because my antennas went up at the same time (funny how that works). It was a short conversation, partially because we realized they were listening, and partially because the intensity of my feelings is still so high and so raw. I am in no shape, currently, to discuss it with them. Maybe in a few weeks, maybe months, I don't know -- I'm not going to hold myself to a timeline. When I am able, I'll do it. Until then, board games 😂