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Survey Says: Want to be Happy? Have Kids! Less Stressed? Stay at Home With Them!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Yahoo Parenting and Care.com partnered on a survey of couples with and without children to determine who was happier. The non-kid couples proved happier by a 10% margin. That margin shifted drastically, however, when the couples were asked what they thought would make them even happier: 54% of those supposedly already happier couples agreed that having children would make them even happier.

In other words, “Yes, we’re happy now,” ticked one box while the following “..but…” ticked another.

When asked about their own pursuit of happiness, couples with children agreed by a solid majority that their life is better now that they have children.

“Kids are parents’ No.1 source of happiness,” Katie Bugbee, senior managing editor at Care.com, tells Yahoo Parenting about the research. However, once a person becomes a mother or a father, what constitutes happiness changes, 81 percent of survey takers admit. “They’re looking at happiness in a different way,” explains Bugbee,

Parents experience work in a different way, too, post-kids. Working parents, for example, are less likely to say they’re “very” motivated in their career compared to employees without children — 36 percent vs. 50 percent respectively.

The Stay at Home crowd (female and male) are overwhelmingly happy with their decision. Mothers who stay at home, but work part time, survey as the happiest in the bunch, leading Bugbee to advise, ”Talk with your employer about going part-time, perhaps, or work with your partner to lighten your load if you’re stressed.”

Stress plays a key factor in contemporary parenting, often due to economic pressures. The rise in ADHD and Autism among children has been directly linked to both stressful experiences and the child’s inability to form relationships with parents beginning at an early age. The survey says spending more time with your kids makes you happier. The science agrees it is good for your kids, too. So, what’s the solution? How can we, as a culture, generate more time with our kids?

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No Need to Read Anything Else Because Here’s What Will Happen with the Duggars

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Michael T. Hamilton
Photo via Duggar Family Blog

Photo via Duggar Family Blog

Here’s what will happen with the Duggars:

19. Within a month, Josh and dad Jim Bob will issue fuller statements clarifying apparently contradictory narratives among the family’s joint Facebook message, the police report filed by Jim Bob, and other details disclosed by family members and inferred by bloggers and journalists.

18. Within six months, Josh and wife Anna, who will stand by him for many reasons, one of which is that Josh confessed everything to her years ago, will give interviews on Sixty Minutes or Oprah or something, reinforcing the tragedy’s redemptive themes.

17. Within a year, TLC will resume airing 19 Kids and Counting, possibly changing the show’s title (again) to signify a new, wiser chapter in the Duggar family’s very public history.

16. Within two years, Josh will write a book that contextualizes his teenage sins within the dark-hearted rebellious period of a confused, pubescent male in a mildly but increasingly famous, and oddly populous, family led by two parents whose marriage silently screams “SEX,” despite their modesty and monogamy.

15. The book, which will be titled something like What Really Counts, or Counting What Counts, will sell big and prove a key step toward rehabilitating Josh’s image, which for the next 20 years will be even more overtly Christian as he accepts countless invitations from evangelicals to speak on themes such as the gospel of Christ, slavery to sin, secret sin, God’s redemptive plan, and leadership.

14. Concurrently with releasing his book, Josh will found a not-for-profit ministry dedicated to (i) exhorting young men and women to expose hidden sins that are holding them captive by turning to Christ and counseling, and (ii) urging parents, pastors, and friends to be as supportive, firm, and forgiving as Josh’s were.

See next page to find out “Why These Things Will Happen.”

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5 Spiritual Lessons I Learned From My Pregnancy

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Whether this is your first time out or you’ve already been around the bend, take a moment to congratulate yourself, Ms. Mom. You are a miracle maker. You, hovering over the toilet in the midst of all-day sickness, are in the midst of accomplishing what no one else on this earth but you can do. What pregnancy has taught me thus far is that motherhood, whether it is via pregnancy, foster care, or adoption, is a spiritual calling. Keep these five key lessons in your back pocket when you’re worn out and need a reminder of how divine you truly are.

5. Parenting is a calling, not a career, a chore, or the result of a shopping trip.

“I want a child” is an all-too common phrase in today’s world. If you’ve ever said it, listen very carefully to discern if the emphasis is on “a child” or simply “I want.” Having a child is not the answer to a mid-life crisis or a vision board checklist. Nor should motherhood ever be defined as a chore. If I hear one more person tell me how tired I’m going to be once my child is born I’m going to start wearing a spit up-covered t-shirt that says, “Duh! Who cares?” My child is already my life, not a task on my to-do list that takes away from “me-time,” nor a person who exists to make me feel special. Child rearing is a devout work. Unless you are accepting of the idea that you will, in some way, be on the same level as Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and an ascetic from time to time, just buy a dog and be done with it.

4. Childbirth is a spiritual experience.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth should be required reading for every expecting mother. Regardless of how you choose to give birth, you should be aware of the fact that we have been acculturated to treat birth as an illness worthy of hospitalization. A baby is not a tumor in need of removal for the mother’s survival. Giving birth is not only a life-affirming experience, it is the primary connection we have with God and the source of our continued existence. By ignoring this fact and forcing patients to focus on pain, the medical community has done a huge disservice to women. Instead of believing that our bodies are doing exactly what they are meant to do, women focus on the struggles of pregnancy and the pain of labor, psyching themselves up for an experience worthy of a horror film. As a result their fear diminishes their faith in themselves and the very natural spiritual process of bringing new life into this world.

3. As with any spiritual experience, there are great moments of hope and of doubt.

Episode after episode of Call the Midwife has been running on my DVD player for months. Each baby that is born brings a tear to my eye. Finally, the other day I heard myself saying, “I get to do this. Me. This is for me.” Then it hit me that a part of me had doubted all along that I could have this incredible joy for myself. Sometimes we put up walls of doubt to protect our most fragile emotions. The hope that engulfs you every time you have a good ultrasound, a good doctor’s visit, can easily be consumed the following day when you’re sure you haven’t felt your baby move enough. For me, one nosebleed sent me flying into a state of panic. Doubt creates a tough barrier for faith to crack through. But it must, not only for the sake of our relationship with our child, but so that we may fully partake in this incredible blessing.

Continue Reading…

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7 Things I Want to Say to That Guy Watching Porn at the Library

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - by Megan Fox
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For the past year and a half I’ve been fighting the Orland Park Public Library, trying to get them to stop allowing men to access porn — and even child porn — on library computers (they even permit public masturbation!). To date, not one man has come forward at a board meeting or in the press to say, “I want porn in the library! Don’t take my favorite pastime from me!” The reason is clear. No one thinks it’s okay to watch porn in the library, including the guys who do it. Still, libraries across the country continue to allow it and men continue to watch porn at public libraries. Since I’ve never been afforded the opportunity to talk to one of these creeps, I thought maybe I could get some of them to respond to an open letter of sorts. Here are 7 questions I have for guys who watch porn at the library:

1. What do you think this is? An adult bookstore?

One of my all time favorite Cleveland reporters, Carl Monday, loves to sneak up on guys watching porn in the public library and shout at them, “Where do you think you are? An adult bookstore?”  Honestly, the question needs to be asked. There are places designated for guys to go and watch porn — and even to masturbate. They’re called porn shops and adult theaters. (Actually, I think they arrest guys caught masturbating there…so what does it say when porn shops call the cops on fondlers but a library refuses to do so?) On what planet is it okay to watch X- rated material — out in the open — in a public area where children are present and then to take your penis out and play with it? Seriously, I ask you … WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Have you no sense of shame?

2. Does your mother know you do this?

Everyone has a mother, even the library pervert. Does she know you do this? Better yet, what’s her name because I want to look her up and have a conversation with her about what you are doing. Do you know you are shaming your mother? Do you care?

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Three Words You Should Never Say to a Young Mom

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Tricia Lott Williford
Photo Credit: Bridget Colla via Flickr

Photo Credit: Bridget Colla via Flickr

I held my friend’s brand new baby, and I almost heard myself dole out that verbal adage that evokes serious maternal guilt.  I bit my tongue just before I told her, “Enjoy every minute.”

Last night I met Cayden, a long-awaited newborn who is fifteen days old.  He was wide awake and snuggly, and I was as smitten as I’ve always been with those perfect little newborn eyelashes and impossibly tiny fingernails.  I swayed gently as we moms do, because putting a baby in our arms is like turning the crank on a wind-up toy.  When he started to cry, I pulled out all my best newborn tricks, and I assured his mom that as long as she felt comfortable, I wasn’t really at all afraid of fussing baby boys.  I’m highly familiar.

But then I remembered that sometimes the only thing the baby boy wants is his momma, not any fancy tricks from some lady who thinks she knows the drill.  I waved the white flag, handed all ten pounds of him back to his mom, and he quieted as soon as he heard the voice he had been listening to for nine months.

I listened as Cayden’s parents talked about his midnight routines, as my friend described the tears pouring down her face from utter exhaustion at 2 AM.  I remembered those earliest days when my husband and I were new parents, when we were staying up all night at the best slumber party ever, floating on the euphoric fact that we had together created a person.

And that’s when I almost said, “Enjoy it.  Enjoy every minute of this sacred season.”  Even now, recalling that sentiment makes me want to kick myself in the shins.

Thankfully, just before the words came spilling out of my mouth with the weight of a cliche that’s a million years old, I remembered the truth: the season is sacred and fleeting, but it’s not every-moment-enjoyable.  That giddy stage I mentioned lasted roughly four nights, and then the sleepless hours caught up to us.  We were unspeakably tired for a good many years, and that’s when I was lucky enough to have my husband with me to partner in parenting.

But the thing is, just when we were starting to find our groove, Robb died.  He was sick for twelve hours, he died quickly and tragically from a misdiagnosed infection, and I suddenly became a widowed, single mom of two boys who weren’t yet in kindergarten.  Some days I’m still reeling from the truth of that statement, even four years later.  I’m still on my own, and the sleepless nights of my children are awfully reminiscent of those newborn stages, but without a partner to commiserate with.

I was listening to a country station on Pandora the other day in the car when Trace Adkins began to sing the song “You’re Gonna Miss This.”  It’s a whole song about the same sentiment—how fast these years are, how we parents are supposed to take it all in and love it so much, even when the toilet is clogged again with little pairs of Superman underwear, someone is home from school yet again because we can’t seem to make it 24-hours-fever-free, and there’s a melted crayon bleeding all over the clothes in the dryer.

You’re gonna miss this, he sang.  Doubt it, I said aloud as I turned off the radio.

So, when I listened to Cayden’s parents talk about how tired they are as they’re learning the likes and dislikes, needs and wants of this baby boy who is forever theirs, I stopped just short of those words I hate.  The truth is, they will have some really great moments, but those moments might be scattered between some long stretches of really, really hard.

Sometimes she’ll be just so utterly exhausted that she can’t see straight or think clearly.  She’ll have spit-up spots on her shirts for the next eight months.  She’s going to get peed on and pooped on.  She’ll add “go to the bathroom” to her list of things to do today, just so she can feel a measure of productivity.  She’ll cry a lot, she won’t know why, and Cayden’s dad will have to learn to take the unspoken cues from a walking roller coaster of hormones.

She will learn how tough she really is, how little sleep she really needs, and the subtle differences between his hungry cry, his angry cry, and his scared cry.  She will hear him learn his voice and her name.  She will love him with a ferocity that could very well break her in half.  She will wear her heart outside her body, from this day forward.

Instead of empty words that mean very little to one in the trenches, I said, “I bet you’re so tired.  But you’ll find your stride and you’ll get some sleep again someday. It’s okay if you don’t love being awake at 2 AM.  That doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby, it just means you don’t like being awake at ungodly hours.  You know what?  You’re winning at this.  Congratulations, new mom.  You look like a total pro.”

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Did You Receive Your ‘Wife Bonus’ This Year?

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

In Lifestyles of the Rich and Non-Famous news, Manhattan bankers’ wives have negotiated bonuses for good “work” performance at home:

A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting.

These real housewives aren’t the only ones measuring their net worth as moms in terms of career metrics, including potential financial gain. There are a slew of professional development experiences out there for women who have turned mothering into a career:

MamaCon, a mothers’ convention, proffers “…top-notch parenting development and education, self-care tips that really work, relationship support, amazing vendors, wine tasting, great food and outstanding entertainment.”

For Mom Bloggers (yes, it’s a title) there’s the Mom 2.0 Summit, “…the premier professional conference for influential mom bloggers and female entrepreneurs who create online content. Every year, women leaders in media and business converge at the Summit to compare notes, discuss ideas, and forecast what’s next for women online and in the marketplace.”

Minority and alternative parents who identify as “blogger or on-line influencers interested in connecting with brands and monetizing your blog” can attend the Niche Parent Network and Conference, a “diverse and multicultural network connecting digital parents with brands that want to reach them.”

There’s also a slew of BabyCons out there, including the New York Baby Show, “the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country.” Self-described as the “loving lollapalooza of Baby Shows,” it’s a 2-day product and information convention. Combine Buy Buy Baby with your local hospital’s first-time parenting class, load it with steroids, and you have the mother of all information-laden “how to be the perfect parent” events.

Has American culture crafted motherhood into a career choice? Is that necessarily a good thing? Or are we seeking to redefine motherhood in contemporary feminist terms, as a choice that doesn’t threaten or conflict with cultural expectations that a woman seek professional fulfillment beyond raising the next generation? Whether it is clever marketing or cultural conformity, does this put more pressure, not less, on today’s mothers?

 

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The Real #WarOnWomen in One Easy Tweet

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

This is what happens when you lump in pregnancy with chlamydia and refuse to include any real discussions on family planning and career in sex education classes. Is it any wonder women believe the best way to self-advocate is to demand free access to drugs and surgical procedures so they can contain, control and abort?

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NYT Buries Research Revealing That Kids Need More Time With Mom, Less Dependence on Government

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
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The Old Gray Lady has decided there is “mounting evidence of advantages for children of working mothers.” It’s a politically correct headline that follows the newspaper’s classically liberal slant. But, like one of those extensive designer-drug warning labels, to find out what constitutes “advantages” you have to read the small print.

The “silver bullet” factoids boil down to daughters of working mothers who are 3% more likely to work than the daughters of stay-at-home mothers. The daughters of working moms are earning an average of 23% more and are 4% more likely to hold supervisory positions. And if those whopping statistics aren’t silvery enough, “sons of working mothers in those countries spent an additional hour a week caring for family members and 17 minutes more per week on housework.”

That’s it, myths about working mothers be damned. We’ve got a 4% increase in supervisory positions among their daughters and their sons are spending an extra 17 minutes a week cleaning house. Talk about numbers that change the culture. At this rate, if “working moms” were a TV show they’d be cancelled before their pilot even aired.

The Times brushes by a 2010 meta-analysis of 5 decades’ worth of data on the impact of working mothers on children, mumbling something about how working moms were defended by those statistics as well. However, the numbers beg to differ. According to that meta-analysis:

The positive effects were particularly strong for children from low-income or single-parent families; some studies showed negative effects in middle-class or two-income families.

Bottom line: If you’re a single parent, it’s better to work independently than to rely on or continuously demand more government subsidies. But if you’re part of a two-parent household, one of you should plan to be at home for the sake of your child’s long term well being, especially during those baby and toddler years.

In other words, the data still defends the limited government, pro-family position the Times is unwilling to take.

Nice try, New York Times. But once again you’ve only managed to prove that the hot air you blow is all “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

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Of Course America Is Giving Up on Christianity — We Gave Up on God Ages Ago

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

If Ben Shapiro’s simply stated point isn’t enough to drive home the idea that the latest Pew survey on religious life in America reported absolutely nothing new, just check out one of the latest episodes of the Kardashians in which Kim Kardashian has to Google who baptized Jesus before concluding that she wanted to “find a guy named John” to baptize her daughter, North West. What’s worse, the “guy named John” concept, the fact that she had to Google it, or the reality that my Jewish friends took more offense to this absurdity than did a supposed Christian?

Jewish Americans had their panic attack over Pew two years ago when it was revealed that a full 66% of Jews agree you don’t need to believe in God in order to be Jewish. Sure, we’re the people who exist because God called us out and made a covenant with us, but really, we’re in it for the 6-figure salary potential. Now the Christians, genetically always two steps behind, have finally gotten their own slap in the face and panic over the moral integrity of America sets in, as if we’ve always believed our presidents and political leaders are really good Christians on the inside. You know, in that Sally Langston sort of way.

Here’s the positive side: There is something to be learned from the Jewish world when it comes to faith. It just means looking towards Israel, a nation that is statistically happier than we are, statistically less religious than we are, and statistically holds a higher rate of faith in God than we do. This past week, Israeli professors became overnight media sensations simply by supporting family values in their classrooms in the most practical way possible: By literally becoming the caretakers of their students’ babies while continuing to teach. When one American professor proceeded to breastfeed her sick baby while teaching in 2012, a national controversy ensued. Because you know how it goes with boobs and the Internet on this side of the ocean. So much for the efficacy of state-mandated sex ed.

Forget panicking over the fact that fewer Americans attend church. Churches (and synagogues, for that matter) have rendered themselves relatively meaningless in this day and age. If you wanted to panic over church attendance you should have done it 40 years ago when the pews began emptying out in favor of drug-laden music festivals and yuppie pursuits of McMansions and “having it all.” My colleague Michael van der Galien is right, we need to counter the secularization of America with biblical values. The answer, however, first requires countering secularization in our religious institutions instead of using them as a mere litmus test for the value and power of our belief.

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[EXPLOSIVE VIDEO] Gavin McInnes: Women Happier at Home With the Kids

Friday, May 15th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

What started out as a discussion of the (so-called) gender wage gap evolved into the verbal equivalent of a cage match on Hannity on Thursday when Gavin McInnes, author of The Death of Cool, told Fox News contributor Tamara Holder that part of the reason for the wage gap is that women are less ambitious than men.

“Women do earn less in America because they choose to,” McInnes said. “They would rather go to their daughter’s piano recital than stay all night at work working on a proposal. So they end up — they’re less ambitious. This is God’s way of saying women should be at home with the kids. They’re happier there.”

Holder looked like she had never been exposed to such a radial idea — a view that’s anathema to modern feminists. When McInnes doubled down and said that women often choose to prioritize their families over work, Holder spat, “Having a choice does not mean you’re less ambitious! Your comments are deplorable!”

McInnes’ words should have come with a trigger warning because at that point, Holder lapsed into incoherent mumbling, appealing to host Sean Hannity to stop McInnes’ vile words. “Sean…boy…like…you to — you’re a father with a daughter…”

“If you’re a real feminist, you would support housewives and see those as the heros — and women who work wasting their time,” McInnes continued.

As he often does, McInnes crossed that fine line. He went from provocative opining — making a perfectly valid point — to unhelpful hyperbole.

Seeing that he had activated Holder’s launch sequence — or trigger sequence — McInnes kept going, enjoying her inability to do much more than cover her ears and say, “Stop it!”

“You’d be happier at home with a husband and children.”

“Oh, boy…oh, boy…I’m literally…” the apoplectic Holder said.

“You don’t have a boyfriend,” McInnes said to her. “Look, you’re miserable. You would be so much happier with kids around you tonight. Imagine coming home. Mommy’s home!”

Too much, Gavin, too much.

But he did make an important point — which was probably lost in the drama about Holder’s lack of a husband — about women making different life choices than men. They work fewer hours, choose to stay home with their kids much more often than men, and choose professions that give them more flexibility because their hearts are drawn naturally — biologically and instinctively — to their homes and their families. Of course, there are exceptions, like Holder — women who choose to prioritize their careers over their families. But wouldn’t it be nice if, as McInnes suggested, stay-at-home mothers enjoyed the same respect and support (and tax benefits) in our culture that career women like Holder receive?

For more on this subject, check out the new PJTV series, The War on Men: The Gender Wage Gap Myth and Anti-Male Sexism At Work, where I weigh in on the wage gap myth and the so-called ‘War on Women.’

Also: I Spent 17 Years as a Stay-at-Home Mom and Have Zero Regrets

 

 

 

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The Muppet Show Reboot Takes a Jab at Reality TV

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

There will forever be one timeless classic following Gen-X and their Millennial crossover counterparts to the grave: The Muppets.

The new ABC prime time series promises to be a satirical take on reality television. It didn’t take long for ABC to green light the show revived by Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady. Granted, the original Muppet Show played off the era’s popular vaudeville variety format, so the reality TV style is a plus when it comes to packaging. And we’re still guaranteed all those awesome guest star moments. What will be new? Getting into the backstories of our favorite Muppet characters. Apparently this audience is finally old enough to get the juicy details behind all those Kermit/Miss Piggy double-entendres.

Still, the show appears to target former kid fans, not current ones. So, are ABC and The Muppets cashing in on the rejuvenile trend? Will the show, like most children’s entertainment, be geared towards young and old alike? Or is it a smart way to attract a prime time audience that already houses their core fan base?

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It’s Not Even Funny How Wrong John Oliver Is About Paid Family Leave

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

John Oliver, HBO’s version of Jon Stewart, decided to celebrate Mother’s Day by using his late night platform to argue for federal paid family leave in America. It was a compelling, heavy-handed report loaded with half-truths meant to support an ideologically beautiful, yet economically unfeasible concept. Based on my years administering FMLA in New Jersey, here is the list of Oliver’s myths that need to be debunked if we’re going to take the argument for paid family leave seriously.

1. Selena Allen, whose baby was born 6 weeks premature. Oliver presents her as only being able to take a total of 4 weeks off of work, which indicates that Oliver is oblivious to the disability period associated with giving birth. According to the Department of Labor, pregnancy is viewed as a temporary disability the 30 days prior and 30 days after birth. That post-birth time frame automatically increases for women who deliver via C-section. The disability period can always be extended in either direction with a doctor’s note. While this may be considered an unpaid leave by your employer, you are entitled to run your sick time concurrent to the leave, and you may also pursue temporary disability payments from your state or private disability insurer. Allen should never have returned to work the week following giving birth. Whether or not she was correctly informed of the law is not included in Oliver’s story.

2. Oliver argues for paternity leave by pointing out that Major League Baseball fans didn’t appreciate one player taking off 3 games to attend the birth of his child. What Oliver doesn’t mention is that fathers are just as eligible to take advantage of FMLA to bond with their newly born, foster or adoptive children. You do not need to physically give birth to be entitled to FMLA.

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Sure, the Black Widow Action Figures Are Sexy, But Little Girls Still Want the Princess Fantasy

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

As if Joss Whedon weren’t in enough hot water along with the rest of the Marvel folks for not producing a Black Widow movie series, Disney adds the icing onto the sexist cake by rewriting Avengers: Age of Ultron to promote a new Captain America toy. That heroic motorcycle ride Black Widow took to save the day in the film? Captain America is the spokesman of choice to sell the Cycle Blast Quinjet. So much for the Widow’s most heroic on-screen moment yet.

At least I’m not the only one wondering where the Black Widow action figure is amidst all the Ultron marketing. Thanks to Disney/Marvel’s woeful lack of attention to a major on-screen character, entire websites have been created to “follow the symbolic annihilation of women through merchandise.” The main assertion is that Disney has “never” been good at marketing “non-Princess” or warrior-Princess (think: Leia) female characters through the toy market.

Which begs the question, why doesn’t Disney think female action figures will sell? Let’s not fool ourselves (like the ideologues do) into thinking this is about being anti-feminist. This is about money. If a toy company thinks a product will earn money, they’ll sell it. According to a 2005 MIT study on toys and gender, children prefer stereotyped masculine or feminine toys, a trait that extends to “young nonhuman primates.” An examination of the packaging and marketing of these toys determined that boys preferred aggressive, competitive toys like action figures, while girls aimed towards attractive, nurturing toys like Barbie or baby dolls. In other words, the historical biological roles of hunter/gatherer and birthing/nesting, by and large, still manifest as the preferred respective fantasies of children of both genders.

If contemporary feminists want to market a Black Widow action figure to girls, they’d better quit grumbling and follow Marvel’s suit in characterizing her as the nurturer and “mother” of the Avengers. They’d also be wise to take a cue from Time Warner’s DC Entertainment and Warner Brother’s Studio, who have paired up with toy makers Mattel and Lego to create a colorful line of attractive teen female superheroes to market to today’s young female toy buyers. Let’s face it: Black Widow’s black jumpsuit is sexy, but hardly appealing to a five year-old girl.

Forget about textbook ideologies. When it comes to sales, the customer is the only one who is always right.

 

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Andy Murray Wrote Something Amazing on the Camera After Winning the Madrid Open

Monday, May 11th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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From Yahoo Sports:

Andy Murray has continued his incredible run of form since marrying Kim Sears in Dunblane last month, taking his unbeaten streak to nine matches while beating Rafael Nadal to win the Madrid Open in spectacular fashion.

Murray has now secured two consecutive titles on the red dirt since the wedding, having never previously won on the surface, and his comprehensive 6-3 6-2 win over Nadal was as unexpected as it was stunning.

Murray, who punched the air in delight after beating the ‘King of Clay’, proceeded to mark his improbable triumph in Madrid by signing the on-court TV camera, accompanied by the message ‘marriage works’.

“It (marriage) has been nice and a lot of people have spoken about the honeymoon period,” Murray told Sky Sports after the match.

“But we’ve been together a very long time and getting married was the next step,” he said. “I’ve always said if the personal stuff is happy and under control that helps your performance on the court.”

Murray’s fans on Twitter agreed:

 

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Is Motherhood a Blessing, or a Curse?

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Women have innate superpowers. Thanks to a century-old patriarchal system of doctors, politicians and insurance companies, women have been fooled into believing they have no power. What’s worse, thanks to a cadre of covert female agents, women today willingly hand over their unique powers to the hands of government agents who control the “threat,” either through a strict drug regimen, surgical procedure or both.

Women who refuse to relinquish their power face fear and intimidation tactics: You will be in pain; you will lose your figure; your partners will leave you; no one will employ you; you will be alone. Who ever thought the power to bring forth new life would be so damned scary?

Despite our overwhelming biological urge to reproduce, young women today are told to push off pregnancy or avoid it entirely. The women who don’t fall for this charade, the ones who take the leap into pregnancy and motherhood, are punished with promises of horrific labor pain and traumatic birthing experiences. Think about it: When is the last time you saw a peaceful birth recounted on television? Walk into a new-parents-to-be class at your local hospital and you’ll find out the number one reason young women are attending: “I want to know how not to be afraid of the pain.”

Mother of modern American midwifery Ina May Gaskin has made natural birth a feminist crusade, and rightly so. The myth that women need to be strapped to a table and drugged in order to give birth (a common practice from the 1920s through the 1960s) has led to generations of women entering birthing classes out of sheer fear that their bodies will fail at exactly what they are designed to do best. Pregnancy fear is the culmination of a cultural obsession with obtaining the perfect female body. Gaskin explains:

Remember this, for it is as true as true gets:  Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine.  The Creator is not a careless mechanic.  Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo.  Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.

And yet, we live in a culture that correlates birth to illness, babies to growths that must be removed, and childbearing to disease. When is the last time a sex-ed curriculum didn’t lump in pregnancy with chlamydia as an unwanted, avoidable side effect? Is it any wonder, then, that the reproductive power of women is treated as a threat to the State to be feared and controlled?

This Mother’s Day it’s time to rethink the way we view mothers and motherhood in America. Fostering healthy pregnancies should be one of the top priorities of the feminist movement, as should supporting all mothers, whether they have given birth or given their hearts to an adoptive or foster child. Mothers are the providers and caretakers of life, the sustainers of a great nation. As Gaskin observes, “When we as a society begin to value mothers as the givers and supporters of life, then we will see social change in ways that matter.”

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This Is Amazing: Blind Pregnant Mom ‘Sees’ Her Unborn Baby for the First Time with 3D Printing

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
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Tatiana Guerra, who lost her sight at age 17, was able to “see” her 20-week unborn baby through the miracle of 3D printing. The 30-year-old mother asked, “What does his face look like, doctor?” during a 3D ultrasound and she listened carefully as the doctor described her baby’s features. But then he surprised her by “printing” a 3D image of her baby and handing it to her, wrapped in a tiny blanket.

The video (actually an ad for Huggies diapers) captures her precious, emotional reaction to “seeing” her unborn baby for the first time — with her hands.

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The Avengers Pose the Greatest Argument Against Government Control: Motherhood

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Spoiler alert!

Don’t let the contemporary feminists fool you with their whining about Black Widow’s lack of star power. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow had the most powerful dialogue in the new release, Avengers: Age of Ultron. For the first time, movie audiences learn of her past as a Soviet agent trained from childhood. They also learn the most devastating aspect of being raised to kill: forced sterilization framed as a graduation rite of passage.

“It’s supposed to make it easier for you to kill,” she explains wistfully. The psychology behind training a school full of girls to become Soviet agents? Their biological mothering instincts must be destroyed if they are to be efficient and effective servants of the State. Now, Natasha the Black Widow can only celebrate vicariously as friends give birth to children and name them in her honor. The State may have marred her biology, but the permanent scars are in her mind and her heart.

Contemporary feminists complain that Black Widow is the mother of the group, but never bother asking why, because their politics force them to be completely out of touch with statistical reality. Despite the vociferous demands for increased access to birth control methods ranging from condoms to abortions, 96% of women ages 18-40 still express a desire to have a child. Why, then, do they demand the State have greater control over their reproductive rights? As the case of the Black Widow illustrates, a demand for control is a contradiction in terms with potentially deadly results.

Also read: 

Avengers: Age of Ultron Spoilers Review

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Stop Blaming Women for America’s Marriage Dilemma

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Anti-feminist Suzanne Venker went on a tirade about millennials who don’t marry. The problem, of course, are those women who give the milk away for free or let the man pick up the check at dinner. Seriously. If her rage isn’t stereotypical enough, check out the rom-com reasoning she quotes from Dr. Helen:

Men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family…They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.Men aren’t wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. They’re being smart.

Smart? Smart is noting that 70% of men ages 18-24 visit porn sites in a typical month. (Thirty percent of those monthly viewers are women.) Men don’t need to pay for dinner when they can pay for the milk (or get it for free!) with no consequences, STDs, pregnancy, or relationships.

The stat that sparked Venker’s rant is the one showing the number of never-married adults age 25 has doubled since 1960. What else has doubled since then? The percentage of college graduates. Whine all you want about women in the workforce, the economic reality (thanks to those obnoxious hippie Boomers) is that women today have to work, married or not. The fact that the unemployment rate nearly doubled from 1960 – 2010 didn’t seem to cross Venker’s mind, either. Unless you can swing a reality TV show in your youth, get “loaned” a house from mom and dad upon marriage, and cash in on those photo shoots and residuals when you start popping out babies, you’re at a loss for a serious, reliable income without some kind of post-high school education.

Severnty-five percent of millennials still want to get married and the majority still want to have children, statistics that effectively blow Venker’s claim out of the water. Want to beat the ethos of contemporary feminism? Your chief complaint needs to be a lot better than “Waaa, it’s not the 1950s any more!”

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Where’s my Village? The Growing Concern about Elder Care

Monday, May 4th, 2015 - by Leslie Loftis

From The Atlantic on how the elderly want to continue to stay in their homes as they age:

But shifting seniors to aging at home is going to require a much bigger commitment on the part of everyday Americans—like the Domino’s woman—to pitch in and help their aging neighbors thrive. It’s going to require neighbors to check in on one another all the time; it’s going to require college students to provide care to the aged and infirm; it’s going to require that everyone thinks more about the elderly people around them, and volunteer to take them grocery shopping or shuttle them to a doctor’s appointment. (Yes, including you.)

“Are there strategies that could be used in order for people to stay in their communities for as long as they can and not break the bank? The answer is yes,” said Lawrence Force, the director of the Center on Aging and Policy at Mount Saint Mary College and a proponent of this strategy, told me. “The only thing you have to change is the attitudinal perspective of what kind of supports are out there naturally already.”

The “attitudinal perspective” that needs to change isn’t about support, but about domesticity.

Once upon a time we did have multi-generational households and a strong sense of community. And I admit, then we also had a smaller proportion of the long-lived infirm as elderly medicine prior to World War II was more palliative than pro-active. But while I often see laments about the loss of the family and community village, modern life counsels against actually participating ourselves. Elderly care, like childrearing and homemaking, is domestic drudgery, work beneath anyone with an education. In fact, society often encourages universal higher education so that people don’t have to engage in domestic drudgery. Worse, elder care is domestic drudgery that doesn’t even have the sugar coating of cute kids or Pinterest perfect home decor. But as we eventually learn, we cannot put off the care of our elders indefinitely.

To some the “obvious” solution is to seek government support. Personally, I’m not a fan of the idea of seeking government money so that we can pretend the situation is all in hand. The elderly still end up in group care, only with the false comfort that the powers-that-be are taking care, allowing we, the young to go on about our merry lives. Care of elderly relatives requires advance planning and the willingness to think beyond any given moment, for both aging Boomers and their children.

But as a culture we focus on what works best for us right now. The Boomers did it and many flatly refuse to consider their changing needs. They taught Gen X to do it and we are too busy with our lives to take time out to care for the infirm. Eventually, Time has his way with our moment to moment decisions.

Hopefully The Atlantic‘s “Living and Dying at Home” article will inspire some community thought. At every stage of life we need the Burkean villages, not the Clintonian imposters.

 

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Forget Mom & Kid Time, It’s All About Me-Time

Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

My PJ colleague Rhonda Robinson recently covered a study that concluded the quantity of a mother’s time with her children doesn’t have any real impact on their “academic and developmental outcome.” Quality time, not quantity time, is what matters. How much quality time is needed? The researchers only concluded that when the kids interfered with mom’s work schedule, causing her to stress out, the situation was bad for everyone.

The one area where science agrees that mother-child bonding on a 24/7/365 level is important is during fetal development. What a mother eats, breathes, hears, says, and feels directly impacts her child’s chances for living a successful, long life. And in the era of self-centered late in life parenting by-the-book, what’s more important than birthing a scientifically perfect child?

 

 

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If Only Al Sharpton’s Mother Gave Him a Good Smack Upside the Head

Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

My colleagues Paula Boylard and Michael Walsh have declared Baltimore’s Mother of the Year, Toya Graham, a “bad parent” for slapping her rioting teenager upside the head. The essence of their argument: had she raised him better from the beginning, with good, solid biblical values, he wouldn’t have been there in the first place. That’s taking Bible-thumping to a new, bizarre level.

Scripture instructs, “Raise a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.” Notice the stage missing in the middle: young adulthood. At some point the child takes the values you raised them with and tests them against what the rest of the world is saying. Some do it the way the young man in Baltimore did, by throwing on a mask, joining a violent mob and wreaking havoc on a city, threatening lives in the process. Others, perhaps raised in a more religious environment, develop covert addictions to Internet pornography or drugs. Most just paint their nails black for a semester and go goth. In any case, these young adults are all in the same boat of questioning and testing the values they were raised with in order to determine if they are true. Hence, the Bible instructs they will return to the truth “when they are old”er and wiser, thanks to all the mistakes they’ve made.

The Mother of the Year’s son was in the process of committing violent acts that could have caused bodily harm to innocent people. Why doesn’t that justify a slap to the head? Experts from a wide range of fields have concluded that what this mother did potentially spared her son from a life of crime.

This is especially ironic given Paula’s opinion regarding the unfair prosecution of free-range parents by social services. Most of the teens participating in the Baltimore riots are the product of free-range parenting. So if we’re going to argue over 10 year olds being unsupervised in parks, this situation leads to the question: Should this mother not have allowed her 16 year old to ever leave her sight? Or is the difference simply that the 10 year old is growing up in a white suburb, far away from the threatening influence of ghetto culture?

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A Selfless Parent Is a Bad Parent

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

My colleague Michael van der Galien directed our attention to a story out of Germany not so long ago about a 65-year-old woman pregnant with quadruplets. Her condition sparked controversy, posing the question: is getting pregnant at that age “amazingly beautiful or extremely egotistical“?

That’s a provocative question. But perhaps we should back up a bit and ask a more fundamental one. Why can’t it be both? From where does this dichotomy between beauty and ego emerge?

The conventional notion of ego suggests an irrational self-worship or whim-fulfillment. However, an alternative school of thought exists wherein ego proceeds from rationality. From this point of view, getting pregnant at 25 proves no less egotistical than getting pregnant at 65. The choice to procreate, by its nature as a choice, fulfills an egoistic desire. In that context, the question becomes not whether pregnancy is egoistic, but whether it proves rationally egoistic beyond a certain age.

Calling this German mother “extremely egotistical” suggests that she places her desire to have children above the wellbeing of those children. If that’s the case, if she wants children in the way that children want toys, then her decision to procreate proves irrational. In that case, she doesn’t want children as such, but a kind of maternal fantasy-fulfillment wherein the children become victims of her irrational pursuit.

However, if her decision to have children has been well-considered in the context of reality, if she has made arrangements by which her children will be cared for in her absence, or if she has good reason to believe she will remain healthy and capable enough to care for them, then her decision may be entirely rational. It all depends on context and intention.

The story provides a launching point for a consideration of the role ego plays in parenting.

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Am I the Only One Who Thinks Smacking Your Kid Upside the Head Is Bad Parenting?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
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In a video that went viral this week, we saw Baltimore mom Toya Graham smacking her 16-year-old son upside the head when she caught him participating in the mayhem and rioting. She’s been almost universally hailed as a paragon of great parenting — even Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts praised Graham, saying: “I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight. Take control of your kids.” There’s a Twitter hashtag calling her #MomOfTheYear.

In the video we see the single mother of six grabbing her teenage son by the neck and smacking him several times in the head. He escapes her grasp momentarily, but she comes right back at him, collars him again and hits him. He shakes her loose and tries to walk away, but Toya follows him, screaming, “Get the f*** over here! Did you hear what I said?”

Folks, this is not #MomOfTheYear material.

I’m a huge fan of disciplining your kids — and even an advocate of spanking younger children if it’s not done in anger. In fact, the Bible teaches that if you don’t discipline your kids, you don’t really love them. The biblical concept of the word involves teaching and instruction, and while it certainly can involve punishment or chastisement, it should always be expressed in a calm, loving manner. One of the goals of discipline is to model for the child — or young adult — how to appropriately express feelings like anger, disappointment, or frustration. Screaming and wildly flailing your hands at your child’s head accomplishes none of these goals. Rather than teaching self-control and discipline, it teaches reactionary and impulsive behavior which will not serve children well later in life.

Don’t get me wrong. Children need discipline — and my children will attest to the fact that we were no slackers in this area. And they’ll also tell you that there were times that we failed miserably. I’m ashamed to say that there were times I totally lost it and looked way too much like Baltimore Mom. Good gravy, I’m thankful there were no cameras on me at the time! I’m ashamed of those moments and I’d be horrified if someone called me “Mom of the Year” for the times I lost my cool. Those were my worst parenting moments, the times I failed my kids and had to apologize to them and ask their forgiveness — certainly not anything I’m proud of.

When children are consistently disciplined in a compassionate, controlled manner and given consistent boundaries and appropriate consequences, those qualities spill over into their lives and as adults, they’ll find they’ve been given the tools to be self-disciplined, self-controlled, and compassionate to their own children and others around them. Moreover, they’ll get a glimpse of  God’s compassion for us:

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

I realize that families are under siege in cities like Baltimore and there are few things harder than being a single mother raising a teenage boy in the inner city. Good parenting doesn’t come naturally and parents who didn’t have good role models growing up have few tools at their disposal. I suspect Toya Graham is doing the best she can in a really tough situation and she was probably terrified to see her son out in the street, knowing all too well what might happen to him. Her reaction is perfectly understandable. I’m not passing judgment on her — I haven’t walked in her shoes and I don’t know anything about her life save for a minute-long YouTube video. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be celebrating a parent losing her cool with her kid and the incident most certainly shouldn’t be propped up as the model of great parenting.

More from Michael Walsh:

Smacking Your Kids Around in Public Does Not Make You a Hero

 

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How Long Can You Shelter Your Children from LGBT?

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

In the above clip, Fox News’ Todd Starnes laments an incident in Maine where a primary school teacher taught five-year-olds about transgenderism. The kids were read a book called I Am Jazz about a boy who believes himself to be a girl.

Starnes properly rails against the school district’s disregard for parental rights. The nature of most public education is such that parents retain little control over offensive curriculum, certainly relative to a private model where business could be taken elsewhere.

That said, let’s take the public/private debate out of it and just consider the question of transgenderism itself. Surely, children are going to learn about such things at some point. We may prefer they be exposed at a point later than five-years-old, and that’s fair. But is it possible in this day and age to shelter our children completely from topics like homosexuality and transgenderism?

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