Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Hybrid Mom magazine wrote an interesting review of the book The War On Moms. Who, but a privileged few, can’t relate to this:

(Sharon) Lerner’s stories have convinced us there really is a war on moms—or at least a disregard for them. The mom to a special needs baby whose supervisor wouldn’t give her three weeks off, so she was forced to quit; the mother who cannot cover the cost of daycare and scrambles every morning for family members or friends who can watch her daughter; the daycare administrators who cannot keep skilled providers at their centers—which are filled with 20 children to every employee—because it doesn’t pay enough.

It’s these stories, woven with facts and stats, that tell us that the system is clearly broken. When we hear about Sweden’s drool-worthy maternal program and the fact that a Croatian immigrant would rather return to her country for its more-substantial mother and infant care—we know something’s wrong.

It sounds like Lerner’s book offers suggestions, too, like a program in New Mexico that offers some mothers financial assistance to stay home with their children. Hillary Clinton proposed a similar program on the national level. But that hasn’t gone anywhere, and childcare subsidies are actually being cut in the current recession.

It does sometimes feel like this country is setting up mothers to fail, huh? The comments in the Hybrid Mom thread were thoughtful, too.

My friend, Peggy Reskin, wrote about empty-nest syndrome now that her 26-year-old daughter and boyfriend moved out of the house. ran videos of members of Congress answering commonly asked questions about healthcare reform such as the provision allowing young people to remain on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, coverage for moms with postpartum depression and other mental health issues, and coverage for special needs children.

The post office, which is barely holding on in the recession, plans to increase postage stamps to 46 cents in January, according to the Associated Press.

My apologies for not being active in the threads this weekend. I am in Tahoe with DH and the kids, as Markos is doing death ride this weekend.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Thursday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I have the date of the Netroots Nation Parents Caucus, which will be co-hosted by moi. It is on Friday, July 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. I will be co-hosting with Momocrats’s Sarah Granger and we will be cooking up ideas in the next week to make it the biggest and baddest caucus ever. Please mark your calendars if you will be in Las Vegas that day. It will be at the Rio.

Mamapedia ran a thoughtful and funny column on the home study, which understandably makes many adoptive parents nervous. (You must subscribe to read the story.)

Hybrid Mom magazine covered the pitfalls of working from home. I found myself nodding in agreement. I, too, rely on the virtual babysitter (TV) and “multi-tasking madness.”

I love our president. The Obama Administration has filed a lawsuit challenging Arizona’s anti-Latino anti-illegal immigrant law on the grounds that, “The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”

This story gave me the willies. To achieve the wide-eyed anime look in a Lady Gaga video, young people are purchasing these contacts imported from Asia. These contact lenses have not been approved by the FDA.

Young women are addicted to Facebook as evident by the fact that as many as one-third of ladies between the ages of 18 and 34 check for updates before they use the bathroom in the morning, according to a study covered by Mashable. For the record, this 33-year-old doesn’t check Facebook until later in the day. And I only have two accounts. What about you? Are you addicted to Facebook?

In other health news reported by Parents magazine: A glass or two of red wine a day increases lubrication and makes women more interested in sex, according to a study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. But more than one glass a day can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

A new study in the Journal of Food Science says dark leafy greens like spinach and kale can help reduce discomfort caused by the glare of a computer monitor. Good to know!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

A group of us in the Bay Area and Sacramento plan to meet up for a River Cats game in Raley Field in Sacramento on Friday, July 2. The game starts at 7:05 p.m.. Children and partners are welcome! If you are interested in going, please purchase the $7 “lawn” seats here. The seating isn’t great, but it will allow for all of us to sit together and the kids to run around and have fun. Thanks pat of butter in a sea of salt for the idea!

Once again, Newsweek came out with its top U.S. high schools list, based on advanced placement college-level courses and tests.

I would be mortified if this happened to me. A fourth-grade teacher at a Christian school in Florida was fired for having premarital sex, according to the TODAY Show. But that’s not all. The principal actually told the staff and called up all the families of her classroom to tell them the reason for her firing.

Latinos, both documented and undocumented, are leaving Arizona in anticipation of SB 1070, according to USA Today. This quote by a school superintendent captured my feelings exactly: “They’re leaving to another state where they feel more welcome.”

In a comprehensive health study of the gay community, Boston researchers found that gay men were 50 percent less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be obese, according to Among lesbians, it was the opposite, making them more vulnerable to heart disease.

In belated celebrity gossip break: first Kristin split from her husband, then Al and Tipper announced a separation. Now oldest daughter Karenna is the latest Gore to separate from her hubby. According to the Huffington Post, Karenna Gore and husband Andrew Schiff have agreed to separate for two months while they go through with counseling. The couple has three children.

Actress-model Jenny McCarthy is poised to get her own TV show, according to MSN. Let’s hope she stays away from the vaccine wars.

I loved this quote by Barbara Walters, which I also found in the Hybrid Mom magazine newsletter: “Most of us have trouble juggling. The woman who says she doesn’t is someone whom I admire but have never met.”

Ha! So true.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Saturday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

This upcoming week is our last week of school. My friend Amy and I got together and planned our boys’ summers together. For the most part, they will be with our nanny and Eli going to the park and hanging out at home. But they will also go a few weeks to Berkeley day camp and a science camp for another week. At the end of the summer, my kids and I will go see my folks in New Hampshire. What do you have planned this summer?

Momologie ran a timely story on what to give teachers as going away presents.

McDonald’s recalled about 12 million Shrek drinking glasses because federal regulators found that they contained the toxic metal cadmium, according to the Chicago Breaking News Center.

The Associated Press had a worrisome story on how more teenagers are using the rhythm method for birth control than in 2002, and about three-quarters of teens think it is okay for unmarried girls to have babies.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about the nightmare that is tackling the “system,” er the insurance companies, when you have cancer.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced a program in which its workers can receive college credit for their in-store training and get a tuition discount toward a college degree at American Public University, an online school, according to the Associated Press.

Hybrid Mom ran good food for thought in “Working Moms Share 25 Hard-Earned Lessons.”

The National Spelling Bee competition is underway, according to USA Today.

As I mentioned last week, we have fish, and I feel like I am reading fish stories everywhere I turn. The most recent one? As it turns out, less attractive male fish have better sperm quality, according to a study covered by BBC News.

The New York Times ran a trend story about people refusing to pay their mortgages, and the banks are unable to kick them out due to lawsuits and a backlog of foreclosures.

Men with average bodies are just as appealing to women as men with six-packs, according to an Australian study covered by The Times of India.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The bottom fifth of Texas earners pay just over 12 percent of their income to state and local governments, which is more than three times the share of income that the state’s richest taxpayers pay, according to a story in the Dallas Morning News.

The University of California Board of Regents approved a plan to raise undergraduate fees 32 percent by next fall to make up for steep cuts in state funding, according to the New York Times.

A mom over at Hybrid Mom wrote an essay about becoming a “preschool dropout.” It just wasn’t the right fit for her family.

In celebrity gossip break: The Associated Press just released a photo and video of Chastity Bono who has undergone gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy to become a man named Chaz Bono.

In other celebrity gossip: A California judge granted a restraining order for Jennifer Lopez to keep her first husband, model Ojani Noa, from distributing hours of home video that allegedly includes her in “sexual situations,” according to AP. I had to laugh and agree with Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary who wrote, “What is it with these sex tapes? I’ve been married 18 years and I’ve never had the desire to leave any audio or visual evidence of my physical affection for my husband.” Seriously.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Bring Baby To Work?

Hybrid Mom magazine had an article about companies that allow mothers to bring their babies to work.

Considering how colicky my son was, I was astounded — and envious — of the women who were able to work while their babies napped.

And what about the other employees, those who don’t have babies at work? How happy are they about seeing and hearing infants all day? “I think there’s a myth that babies are really fussy,“ Belenky says. “We’ve had five babies at one time out of an office of 20 people, and you just would not have known it. Occasionally, you hear a little fuss, but for the most part it’s pretty quiet.“

There’s a reason babies are pretty content at work, explains Moquin, who’s also the author of Babies at Work: Bringing New Life to the Workplace. “Babies are incredibly social from birth,“ she says. “Their favorite thing to do is look at human faces. And being in the workplace—within the context of these structured programs—the babies thrive. They become very comfortable with lots of different people and they love it.“

Don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled these programs work. I am all for a more family-friendly workforce. I just couldn’t get any work done unless someone minded my baby. How about you? Have you brought your baby to work?

The magazine, by the way, offered helpful tips on how to create a baby-at-work program in your office.  


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Don’t forget to recommend us! :)

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Did you have a curfew growing up? What about your kids? We swapped stories and as it turns out many of you were responsible teens who did not have curfews. I was a responsible teen but my parents were convinced every mass murderer in the state of New Hampshire — as if! — were out to get me. So there was no staying out past 10 p.m. until I went away to college.

In somewhat related news, we discussed the controversy surrounding Gov. Sarah Palin’s allowing now ex-son-in-law-to-be Levi Johnston to spend the night with her daughter Bristol. Johnston recently told Tyra Banks that the governor allowed him to spend the night at their home and that he was pretty sure she knew he and Bristol were having sex. We discussed whether we would allow our own children to have co-ed sleepovers.

A disturbing study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that almost 1 in 5 preschool-aged children are obese, a disproportionate number of them American Indian children, according to the Associated Press. Here is a breakdown of the  8,550 kids included in the study, according to AP: “Almost 13 percent of Asian children were obese, along with 16 percent of whites, almost 21 percent of blacks, 22 percent of Hispanics, and 31 percent of American Indians.” We had a lengthy discussion on how poverty and government policies play a role in this disparity.

It is the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings and I have spotted all kinds of articles on it. The ones that most stuck with me were by the mother of victim Daniel Mauser who wrote about the tragedy at Open Salon.

And before I forget, here are some pictures from Eli’s birthday party last week. She turned 2. We celebrated with 50 other people at home, eating Salvadoran pupusas and busting a couple of piñatas. It was fun.

How are you? What else is on your minds?


Late-Night Liberty: Misconceptions About Motherhood

Hybrid Mom writer Dena Blizzard wrote a funny and brutally honest piece on common misconceptions about motherhood.

I found nuggets of truth in them, especially the one about only people who love children have them — something I am constantly dispelling among my child-free friends.

Anyways, here is her list. You can check out the article for the detailed explanations:

1.) We like to hold things.
2.) We like kids.
3.) We are not bothered by throw up.
4.) Moms know things.
5.) Moms prefer homemade presents.

I do have to take issue with points #3 and #5. While I used to be the type to throw up at the sight of throw up, that just doesn’t bother me anymore. It is what it is. Also, I happen to like my macaroni necklace, thank you very much.

But, in total agreement on all other points. What other misconceptions about motherhood have you encountered?


Job Searching Tips for Moms

I should check these out myself, but thought I would share. Hybrid Mom recently unveiled a list of websites to help mothers find work. They were:

Ohio-based, national board focused on helping moms find flexible jobs.

New Hampshire-based, jobs nationwide

New Jersey-based, global

California-based, flexible jobs in San Francisco, virtual opportunities anywhere.

Connecticut-based, nationwide

Georgia-based, offices in a number of cities.

Places professionals in Orange County, California. Nationwide job board.

What other tips do you have for part-time work?


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

I just discovered a new mommy magazine I recently ate up: Hybrid Mom. I would put it up there with Brain, Child and Working Mother. The articles were well-written and definitely spoke to me as a mom trying to balance a career with children. It is a quarterly, by the way.

In case you missed it, Levi Johnston is feuding with Gov. Sarah Palin’s family over an interview he gave to Tyra Banks, in which he said he slept over the Palins’ house and that he was pretty sure the governor knew he was having sex with her daughter. Check out the story on CNN.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?