Tag Archives: motherhood

The Soapbox: Trying to Make Sense Of The NYC Nanny Murders

Nanny Scam
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Originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.

Last week, two young children, Leo and Lulu Krim, were allegedly stabbed to death by their nanny in their home in Manhattan. The children’s mother discovered the bodies as Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny, began to hack at her own throat. Although the nanny survived, she is hospitalized and unable to speak.

The reports to date are that the Krim family was kind to the nanny — there were no bad feelings on either side of the relationship. A friend of the Krim family recommended Ms. Ortega, and she’d been their employee for approximately two years.

Parents are searching for an explanation that makes the incident understandable believing that if they can understand why it occurred, they can take precautions to avoid a similar catastrophe. These deaths happened at the hands of a nanny, but children may be harmed in daycare, in school, at Boy Scouts or … the list is long. Too long. Keep reading »

Awesome Mom’s Reaction When Her Black Son Wanted To Be A Princess

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Little Boy Princess
What Would You Do? Halloween
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Last week we watched an interesting social experiment on the TV show “What Would You Do?” where actors playing a mom and kids went to a Halloween costume store looking for non-gender-conforming costumes. A little boy begged to be a princess and a little girl begged to be Spiderman, while nosy shoppers (mostly) discouraged the kids and their mom from those costumes. So I was delighted to see an actual real-life mom write a piece for the New York Times this weekend about the time her three-year-old son wanted to be a princess. And interestingly, her concern wasn’t that he wanted to be girly — it was that all the princess junk out there didn’t take into account her son is black.

Doreen Oliver writes that her older son is autistic and struggles to communicate. So if her younger son wants to express himself in any way, even by dressing up like a princess on Halloween, she and her husband will support him. And, she adds, “[I]f it turns out Bug is gay, we’d embrace his identity.” The problem wasn’t that Bug wanted to be a princess, though — it was that “his idea of a princess had blond hair and peach-colored skin” and sure enough all the princess costumes had blonde wigs and pictures of “smiling white women.” Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On Disney’s First Latina Princess

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“Disney is releasing a Latina princess soon, mija,” I declared to my daughter as we drove away from her school and on our way to pick up her dad. “Good!” she said firmly. But of course, I rarely let that be the end of any conversation. “Why good?” I probed.

What followed was a discussion of how we both recognized that Latinas deserve a princess that looks like them — this is despite the fact that my husband and I worked hard to minimize “the princess effect” in our home. Princesses were far from banned. Rather we opted for a different approach: we emphasize strong princesses like Leia, Wonder Woman and Xena (not a real princess, but warrior princesses counted). I also would bring up real-life princesses who did good in the world whenever I could. Oh, the way I used to bring up Princess Diana and Queen Noor! Goodness. We also discussed the strong traits of the Disney princess kingdom: Ariel was adventurous, Belle loved to read and Rapunzel knew how to wield a cast-iron skillet. As you can see, we aren’t anti-Princess, but we are anti-”I’m a pretty-princess waiting for a prince to save me.” Keep reading »

Irish Politician To Swap Lives With Single Mother For A Week

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Like an episode of “Wife Swap” with feminist underpinnings and adorable accents,  an Irish politician plans to swap lives for a week with a single mother of three.

Senator John Gilroy from County Cork in Ireland will live trade lives with Andrea Gagley, an activist with Single Parents Acting For The Rights Of Kids. Gagley works a part-time job and takes a college course while raising her three sons on her own. She issued the challenge to politicians on the Facebook page for Ireland’s Labour Party and Gilroy, a married father of two, took her up on it.  He will live on her salary for a week while working at her part-time job and collecting her Lone Parent Allowance and Child Benefit Allowance (which I assume are Irish versions of welfare).  ”He is in for a very harsh landing. He may work long hours but he has back-up at home to facilitate that, whereas I have to do everything myself,” Gagley said. The Irish Herald reports that several production companies are seeking to make a documentary about Gilroy and Gagley’s “life swap.” Keep reading »

The Soapbox: No, Nickelodeon, Mothers Do Not Need Our Own TV Channel

Jessica Valenti Q&A
The author of "Why Have Kids" explores parenting and happiness. Read More »
Helicopter Parents
"Helicopter parents" versus "free range moms." Read More »
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Calling a ceasefire on the mommy wars, because it helps no one. Read More »

I’m a TV junkie. Once my kid finally falls asleep, you’ll find me splayed out on the couch, flipping through the over 800 channels we apparently subscribe to. And my tastes run rampant: I’m just as happy sitting through an hour of “Alphas” on the Syfy channel as I am watching Barry’s antics on “Storage Wars” or crossing my fingers for a “Charmed” marathon on TNT. I DVR “30 Rock” to watch each week as well as the latest episode of “Top Chef.” Truly, there is very little I won’t watch.

Oh, except Nickelodeon’s new channel for moms, NickMom. You probably won’t find me watching that anytime soon, despite being a mom. On October 1st, NickJr — a channel originally created to provide age-appropriate programming for preschool children — began airing a block of nighttime programming “just for moms.” When I heard the news, I started wondering what I, a self-professed TV fiend and mom, was lacking from my already jam-packed television watching schedule.  Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On “Helicopter Parents” And “Free Range Kids”

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Jessica Valenti Q&A
The author of "Why Have Kids" explores parenting and happiness. Read More »

I grew up in the ‘80s on a tree-lined neighborhood that skirted the edge of New Haven, Connecticut. Nobody really traveled down my short street unless they lived there or were visiting, and my family was friendly with all of our neighbors. With a backyard that was mostly brambling bushes and trees, I spent the majority of my childhood playing right out in front of my house, alternating between frolicking in the garden (much to my mother’s chagrin) or biking up and down the sidewalks with friends. A good portion of that outside time was spent with friends, by myself, or with my younger brother in tow, but mostly unsupervised by adults. Sure, my mom stuck her head out every now and again, and a neighbor was never far off. But the majority of my outside play was independent and unstructured. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: A Black Mom-in-Chief Is Revolutionary — What White Feminists Get Wrong About Michelle Obama

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It does my heart good to see women of all races embrace Michelle Obama. It is too rare indeed for a brown-skinned woman, a descendant of slaves, a product of Chicago’s South Side to be lauded on an international stage. Considering the heavy burden of stereotype still faced by black women, I cheer a little each time the First Lady gets some shine for her strength and smarts. But I note that in their eagerness to identify with Obama and make her emblematic of modern woman, some mainstream feminists unwittingly erase a key part of her identity–her blackness–and deny the experiences and histories of many African American women in the process. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: In Response To The Archetype Of The “Woman-Child”

Soapbox: Having It All
Enough with the "having it all" concept already. Read More »
Soapbox: No Kids
Women writers without kids understand human emotions, too. Read More »
Soapbox: Mommy Wars
Calling a ceasefire on the mommy wars, because it helps no one. Read More »

I’m sure you know a person like me. I’m one of the maybe five people in this country over the age of 16 who’s seen every episode of a teen gymnastics show called “Make it Or Break It.” At 29 years old, I do my own taxes, pay my own bills, put my own furniture together from Ikea, and generally exist as a functioning adult, without problem, complaint or repercussion. I wear nerdy glasses, have bangs and feel very strongly about nail art. I have a job, a career path and a vested interest in things other than J.Crew flats and kittens. I am a grown-ass woman, a one-woman miracle — not a “woman-child,” the latest, freshly hatched archetype from Deborah Schoenenman’s piece, Sparkly Nail Polish, Katy Perry and Frozen Eggs: Meet the Woman-Child, an excerpt from her ebook. What is a “woman-child,” you might ask?

According to Schoenenman, she’s a woman who’s “aging backwards,”a girl who likes nail art and kittens and cupcakes, a girl who has deep and long-lasting female friendships that she values, a girl who maybe isn’t afraid of a polka dot or two. You know the type. The bangs of Zooey Deschanel; that girl in high school who totally knit her own scarves and still gave out store-bought Valentines well into senior year. In Schoenenman’s words:

“She doesn’t have to go into a Tower Records (if they still existed) to buy a Taylor Swift album.She can just download it and blog about her favorite songs on HelloGiggles, a new popular website devoted to all things tween. A ‘woman-child’ is the type to prioritize her female friendships as if she were in a high school clique by posting pictures of her girls’ birthday dinners or boozy vacations on Facebook while her peers post wedding and baby pictures with similar zeal. She truly believes that women are in it together and is all about helping her friends start businesses, meet guys and pick out a cute outfit for a big event. Competiveness among females in the workplace is perceived as totally ’80s. ‘Women-children’ are increasingly looking back to create a new common ground and it’s a warm fuzzy ground.”

Keep reading »

Mom Trades In SUV For Family Bike; Makes The Rest Of Us Look Incredibly Lazy

This is Emily Finch, a mother of six who traded in her gas-guzzling Suburban for a thigh-burning family bike. Apparently a full load of kids, gear, and groceries can weigh up to 550 pounds, but Finch keeps pedaling away in her cute wedge sandals, making sure to “rotate kids into pumping position to keep them fresh.” Would anyone be surprised if I told you she lives in Portland? Anyone? Anyone? That’s what I thought. [Bike Portland]

The Invisible Bike Helmet
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Your Vagina And Your Bike
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Here are 10 reasons why. Read More »

Attorney General Lisa Madigan Fires Back Against Sexist Questions

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Michele Bachmann will totally have to deal with sexist BS on the campaign trail. Read More »
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This week at the National Democratic Convention, sexism seeped out of the mouths of three Chicago Sun-Times reporters when asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan about her potential run for governor.

The reporters, Dave McKinney, Fran Spielman, and Natasha Korecki, raised the question of “whether she could serve as governor and still raise her kids the way she wants to,” which continues to be a persistent topic discussed in regard to only female politicians. Keep reading »

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