Are you a bad parent if…

(hint:  The answer is always no)

  • you take your kid to the playground and let them play while you sit on the bench and do your thing?
  • you take your kid to the playground and play with them?
  • you sign up your kids for tons of activities and lessons?
  • you don’t sign up your kids for any extracurriculars?
  • you skip baby food?  or buy it in little containers at the store?
  • you make baby food lovingly by hand?
  • you send your kid to a good preschool?
  • you skip preschool?
  • you start potty training before Brazelton’s signs of readiness?
  • you wait on potty training until Brazelton’s signs of readiness?

Just a little comment from blog posts I’ve read recently where someone makes a side note confirming the conventional wisdom or takes the conventional wisdom and says that no, only the opposite is what people should be doing.  Seriously, there is no “right,” just trade-offs.  If you play with your kid on the playground, ze doesn’t get solo time or just kids time.  If you do, the kid is getting more adult/parent interaction.  These are both good things.  Activities and lessons provide new and interesting ways to grow, but they also take time away from other activities and family time.  Which is better?  Neither, they’re just different.

What are some dichotomies you have encountered?

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Wasting food is a sin

or at least it was in my depression-baby father’s kitchen.*

Fortunately there are delicious ways to repurpose food after they’ve gone stale.

Tonight we had one of my favorites… Bruschetta.

Slice stale bread
Liberally drizzle olive oil on top
Cover with garlic (crushed, diced, sliced… you make the call)
Bake in oven until garlic is starting to brown. (I like 375 for 10 min, but you can do it for longer at lower temperatures or shorter at higher. Heck, you can even broil.)
Take out of oven.
Spoon diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, oregano, garlic, salt, or really whatever your heart desires over top.
Eat!

#2 wishes we could get away from food-as-morality, which I think contributes to lots of unhealthy attitudes in our society (fat-phobia, overeating, anorexia, bulimia, emphasis on weight instead of health, overemphasis on willpower and self-control over biology, etc.).  It makes eating into an anxious situation fraught with meaning and duty and power, when really it’s just all about fun!  Also, telling your kids, “Eat that!  Think of all the starving children in China!” will only make them hate you and whatever you are trying to feed them.  I always thought that the starving children in China were QUITE welcome to my lima beans, or whatever.  Let’s get away from a sickening combo of food-and-guilt, please, and just focus on having fun with food.

</rant>

#1 notes that her household never had a “Eat that!  Think of all the starving children in China!”  Instead we were encouraged to take small portions and go back for seconds.  Taking a large portion and not finishing resulted in eating leftovers from that meal the next meal.  In any case, the point about not wasting food in this post is not to throw out tons of wasted food from the fridge each week, instead to menu plan more carefully, and to use creativity when faced with things like stale bread.  (Because, of course, you only buy/make high quality bread.)  But we still should be careful about language.  Or else #2 gets grumpy.  And that rumbling isn’t her stomach, no matter how delicious bruschetta is.

What are your favorite ways of repurposing leftovers?  #2 likes to make “whatever’s in the house, over pasta.”  (#1 also likes the same as an omelette or stir-fry.)

*Caution: Don’t take eating old foods too far. Food poisoning is not frugal. “If in doubt, throw it out.”

postscript:  DH tried and failed at making mozarella this weekend.  Sadly, that resulted in a gallon of (organic, whole milk) buttermilk.  So we had pancakes for breakfast and buttermilk rolls at lunch.  Then DH made ricotta and a cheesecake.  Mozarella attempt #2 ended up with cream cheese.  Also, did you know that when maple syrup gets a skin, that’s mold, and you can take it off, reboil the syrup, and it should be ok to consume.  According to chow-hound anyway.

Quick quiz: Housework!

When one spouse is working full-time and the other spouse is getting education, how should the housework be divvied up?

Readers?

(Also, if your answer is, “It depends,” then what does it depend on?)

For the Love of Our Links

Find out some science about delicious delicious cheese:

Now I’m all hungry.

We here at Grumpy Rumblings continue to love Tenured Radical. Here she talks about whether girls rule the world (or whether, as we insist, we should keep on blaming the patriarchy).

Historiann talks about how even among the insane, actions from insanity are gendered.

The internets this week talked about mothers and work, and working mothers, and stuff.  Cloud has a synopsis of some of the good ones this week.  Also:  We don’t want to hear about your personal life on your cv.  As long as you weren’t in jail, we don’t care why you left the labor force.  We just care about the experience you have that is related to the job at hand.  Sure, mention in your cover letter that the gap was for family reasons or a business start-up unrelated to the work at hand, but please don’t go into detail.  We don’t care.  No more than part of a sentence, please, unless you have something to say that helps your case for our position.  Choices = consequences.   #2:  We already said this!  #1:  We did?  We said things related in that one post, but apparently readers of FSP didn’t get the memo.

This beautifully poignant post from Mutant Super Model made at least one of us  cry.   MSM should submit this to O magazine!

Never try to take First Gen American’s Babci in an alley.  She’s got a shiv. 

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.  Hosted by my personal finance journey.

I am strangely entranced with these short fictions about how China Miéville wins at life…

Favorite movies post

The Princess Bride:  I’m sure this one needs no description.  The book, of course, is even better.

Tales of Manhattan:  A wonderful b&w movie, sadly not on DVD.  It’s a bunch of little life-affirming mini-stories following a tailcoat as it changes of the life of everyone it touches.  You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel joyous.  My favorite is the Charles Laughton one.  Unfortunately the last one kind of sucks in its stereotypical 1940s Hollywood way; Paul Robeson is sorely used.

Captain Blood: A wonderful Errol Flynn piece, romance, sword fights, pirates, cunning, and a hilarious ending.  Ah, the book is better, but the movie is also wonderful.

When Harry Met Sally: Like flan.  (In a good way)

The Silence of the Lambs.  For someone who’s not into horror/suspense, I’ve watched this a surprising number of times.  Great movie.

Secretary: Amazing acting and psychological maneuvering from Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader.  I appreciate it even more now that I’ve watched the director’s commentary.

Say Anything’s pretty good, too.  Buckaroo Banzai.  Charade.  The Wedding Singer.  This is not a comprehensive list.

(Note:  #1 only likes the happy movies from the above, but does not include Say Anything which she found painfully boring, though she likes John Cusack more generally, especially when teamed up with John Hughes.)

What are your favorite movies?

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Grammatical (and spelling etc.) pet peeves

10.  Saying anymore when you mean “these days.”  As in, “Seems like everything is a race anymore.”  Ack.

9.  Its vs it’s (see also #1)

8. Learn to spell!

7. Subject-verb agreement.  Folks for whom English is not a native language get some leeway here, but it should be fixed by your second draft, and if English is your native language, you don’t have that excuse.

6.  The most effective, not the most affective.  Unless you’re like a psychologist and even then I’m not exactly sure what that phrase would mean.  (How can you be more affective?  Do you have more emotions?  Not clear.)

5.  Fortunately, The Alot has my back.

4.  Weird formatting.  People, your paper or your blog is not more artistic if you center the entire thing.

3.  People, you look ridiculous when you type rediculous in a comment.  Srsly.

2.  Less instead of fewer.  Less is continuous, fewer is countable.  (AGAIN.)

1.  Apostrophes.  Learn their proper use.

What are we missing?

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The “It is never the right time to have a baby (for a female academic who wants kids)” post

Yes, this is trite advice that you’ve probably read before, but hey, why not?

Choices:

1.  Before college graduation.  This option is not usually a choice.  Women academics who do this are generally highly selected so it is difficult to say whether this is a good option as a policy recommendation or that the women who decide to go into academia after having a child young are made up of stern stuff.

2.  During graduate school.  Some people look down on this, some people strongly recommend it.  The effect also seems to vary by discipline.  Men do this all the time without consequence.   Pros:  Flexible schedule, kids are older and potentially easier to deal with once you’re in a tt position.  Body is still young.  Cons:  Advisers may take you less seriously and relegate you mentally to a mommy track.  Money is often tight so it is difficult to pay for a full time nanny or high quality daycare etc.

3.  Before tenure: Pros:  Your body is still relatively young.  Your biological clock may be ticking loudly at this or any time.  You have more money than you had before and can funnel it into baby-related things.  Depending on where you are, you may actually get maternity leave which will help you continue research when you have a newborn (because of the break from teaching and service).  Cons:  Your colleagues may take you less seriously and relegate you mentally to a mommy track.  If you take an additional year to your clock you may be expected to produce more stuff (but you may not).  In my discipline women are just starting to have one baby before tenure.

4.  After tenure:  Pros:  You’ve already made a mark in the field… you can slow down (working on bigger projects, perhaps) and people will still respect you (so long as you continue quality work).  You have more money than before.  You can take a semester without pay if you’ve been saving up and you don’t get paid leave.  Cons:  You may not be able to have a baby at this point, which may be heart-breaking.  If you can, you may have to space them close together (or have multiples if you need medical assistance).   This is the choice one of my advisers made (and recommended for me).

So none of the options are perfect.  I long ago decided I would time my fertility based on what I wanted, and academia be damned.  I wasn’t ready in graduate school.  I was ready after it (with the biological clock alarm screaming), but turns out my body didn’t want to cooperate, but right when we gave up I unexpectedly got pregnant.  My colleagues were delighted– after all, why shouldn’t they be?   There’s no maternity leave at my school.

#2 notes that we wholeheartedly support everyone’s reproductive decisions while at the same time not endorsing compulsory motherhood, and noting that some of us are extremely happy not having children and will go to great lengths to avoid having them!  If this is you, don’t let today’s post put you off our awesome blog.  We support people of all stripes being in control of their own decisions on when, whether, and how to raise kids.  (Unless you do something like blanket training with a switch… then we’re calling CPS.)

#1 agrees– this is conditional on you wanting kids, which says nothing about your character nor is it obligatory.  Obviously if you don’t want kids it doesn’t matter when is the best time to not have them because you’re always going to not have them whether that’s the best time or not!

What are your thoughts?

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