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Why More U.S. Moms are Staying at Home

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Stay-at-Home MomThe number of mothers in the United States who stay at home is rising after decades of declining, according to a study released on Tuesday. In 2012, 29% of moms did not work outside the home, compared to 23% who did so in 1999. This news might seem surprising considering the can’t-miss-it “Lean In” campaign from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and the fact that women made up 46.9% of the workforce in 2012. Are more working moms deciding to take a step back? Not so fast.

This upward trend is not necessarily the result of society reverting back to the old-fashioned view of traditional parental roles, but rather it’s the result of the current economy and growing minority populations in the U.S. As NYTimes.com reports:

The report found that, in 2012, 6 percent of stay-at-home mothers said they stayed at home because they could not find a job, compared with just 1 percent who gave that answer in 2000. And it found that a third of stay-at-home mothers live in poverty, while 12 percent of working mothers live in poverty.

America’s changing demographics might also play a role in the study’s results. Asian and Latino mothers, two rapidly growing populations in the U.S., were more likely to stay at home with their children than white and black mothers.

Education level is also a factor, says the NYTimes:

The report found that less educated women were more likely to be stay-at-home mothers; 51 percent of mothers who had not completed high school did not work outside the home, while 21 percent of mothers who are college graduates stayed at home with their children. Just 5 percent of married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands have at least master’s degrees and family incomes exceeding $75,000.

Whether choosing to stay home with your children is based on your financial situation, parenting philosophy, employment status, or heritage traditions, it’s a personal decision. Ultimately, you know what’s the best choice for you, your family, and your career path.

Are you thinking of staying at home? Use Parents.com’s Stay At Home Calculator to find out if you can afford not to work. You could also find a happy medium and work part-time. Know that whatever decision you make will be the best choice for your family; and don’t forget to consult your partner before making the final verdict.

Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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How My Dad Used March Madness to Bond With His Daugthers

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Syracuse GameMy parents split the summer before I started 5th grade – a time when kids start trying to prioritize friends over family. I imagine it was difficult for my suddenly-single father to try to connect to my sister and me, two tween girls obsessed with *NSYNC and Lip Smackers — things he didn’t quite understand. Despite our differences, my dad managed to create a close bond with us through his ultimate obsessions: the Syracuse University basketball team and the NCAA college basketball tournament.

I believe that I’m close with my dad because my parents are divorced. College basketball is a common interest I share with just him (my mom is a fan, but less extreme) which guarantees I’ll turn to him first to chat about games. I encourage all single parents to find an activity that they share with a child as a way to bond.

One thing’s for sure – my dad didn’t strategically plan any of this out; but what he did worked! Here’s how my father used March Madness to bond with my sister and me:

Start ‘em young: The Syracuse Basketball obsession has been passed down through generations of the Assimon family (who live in Syracuse, NY; I’m from Rochester, NY), so it’s no surprise that I received a stuffed version of Otto the Orange, SU’s mascot, from my extended family when I was born. Six weeks later, I was already “watching” games with my Dad.

Get Them in on the Fun: Game time is “Dad Time.” My dad has always had four basketball season tickets to games at the Carrier Dome so neither of us were left out. If the game was away, we’d go to our Dad’s house to watch them on TV. Aside from games, our family donated to the team, so we’d attend events like team practices and special dinners with the players. My sister even joined the ‘Cuse Kids Club (I was too old) and went to fun events thrown by the team with my dad.

Force Them to Get in on the Fun: By the time middle school came around, going to an event with either parent just wasn’t appealing. In order to spend time with his tweens, my dad always let one of us use our extra season ticket to bring a friend. Win-win.

Immerse Them in March Madness: My earliest memory of March Madness was in 1996 when Syracuse made it to the Final Four. I’ve never seen my dad act that happy about a basketball game before (the team can always do better in his eyes) and I realized that the NCAA tournament was special. It was an exciting time for our entire family and I’ve never looked at March the same way.

He started hosting tournament viewing parties at his home, and whenever Buffalo or Syracuse hosted early rounds of the tournament, he’d take us for the thrill of the experience. My dad and sister went to New Orleans in 2003 when the Orange won the National Championship, and to Atlanta last year when SU made it to the finals.

We’ve also participated in his office pool for as long as I can remember.

Get Them to Go to That School: It’s no surprise that I went to Syracuse University for college. This was a dream come true for the both of us: I LOVED everything about the school and my dad LOVED that I had proximity to the players. I’d get many calls from him asking me to see if injured players looked like they were limping when I passed them on campus or if I would I ask my friends at the radio station if they’d heard anything about a rumor he saw on message boards. Sure, it was annoying, but at least it got us talking!

Continue the Fandom Into Adulthood: When I moved to New York City after college, my dad would take me to the Big East Tournament (back when Syracuse was in the Big East). It was great father-daughter bonding time, plus he got to experience a bit of my adult life. In a few weeks we’ll embark on the ultimate March Madness experience – we’re going to the Final Four (my first time) in Dallas! (Aside from basketball, another reason we’re going is to meet up with my sister who works for the NCAA and will be working at the tournament!)

March Madness is especially important to me now that I usually only travel home for holidays. It’s wonderful that we have a common love of college basketball to bring us together; I’m very lucky and so thankful to have such a loving father who so successfully passed one of his hobbies on to my sister and me.

Photo: Me, my dad, and my sister at the Carrier Dome for the Syracuse vs. Duke game in February 2014.

Bond with your kids over craft time with these cool ideas.

Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy
Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy
Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy

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TMI! Actress Tweets Photo of Her Placenta

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Jenny Mollen and Jason BiggsThis weekend, actress and author Jenny Mollen tweeted a photo of her placenta after giving birth to Sidd, her son with her husband, actor Jason Biggs.

How does one tweet about their placenta, you ask? Here’s Mollen’s take: “Hope I’m not ‘over sharing’(sic) but this placenta looks super hot and thin in the pic. #babybiggs” Well, that’s one way to do it.

>>Sign up for the Parents Pregnancy Daily email to receive advice on pregnancy and birth.

The first-time mom obviously knows she’s most definitely oversharing; it’s kind of her thing. Mollen is known to be rather candid when tweeting. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially because it’s the reason why more than 120,000 followers love her. But now that a baby is involved, Mollen needs to start thinking about the digital identity she’s creating for Sidd — one that will be searchable for the rest of his life.

>>Find adorable baby bedding at Shop Parents.

Luckily for her, we’ve written about new parents and their digital TMI many times. The most recent story, “5 Things New Moms Should Never Post Online” is in the March 2014 issue of American Baby. I ask — no, urge — Mollen and everyone reading this post to read that article.

It’s too bad the issue just started hitting mailboxes; I would’ve lobbied to add a sixth thing to the list. Can you guess what it is?

6. Post pictures of your placenta online.

Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital

Image of Jenny Mollen and Jason Biggs courtesy of s_bukley / Shutterstock.com.

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School Throws Kids’ Lunches Away Because of Parents’ Overdue Bills

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Cafeteria lunchAn elementary school in Salt Lake City threw away the lunches of up to 40 students before they could even eat them this week. Why? Their parents had outstanding balances on their accounts.

In this situation, the cafeteria workers weren’t able to see if an account was overdue until the child bought the lunch. If their parent owed money, the student’s food went in the garbage and they were given milk and fruit instead. How humiliating!

It’s unclear why some of the parents with overdue bills didn’t pay them. Erika Lukes, the mother of one 11-year-old who had her cafeteria lunch taken away, told The Salt Lake Tribune that she thought she had paid her bill. For other families, money might be tight. The school district had notified those who owed money beforehand.

But here’s the thing – when people don’t pay bills, they should be charged a late fee. If they still don’t pay, tack on another late fee. There are many other ways to get people to pay their bills and depriving children of lunch should not be one of them.

Child hunger is an epidemic in America and we need schools to help our hungry children get nourished. In fact, 20 million kids get a free or reduced-price lunch on an average school day because I’d like to believe that the school administrators in this country believe that all children deserve to eat lunch, regardless of their family’s financial situation. Unfortunately, as I’ve learned today, that’s not always the case.

I’m disappointed in the child-nutrition manager who made this decision at the Salt Lake City elementary school. He or she should be passionate about making sure all children received the nutrition they need to grow and focus throughout the school day. If someone in this role won’t stand up for the hungry students, who will?

The Hungry Home
The Hungry Home
The Hungry Home

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Image of girl eating lunch courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Millennials Aren’t Planning on Having Children. Should We Worry?

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Millennial Planning PregnancyAnother year, another study about Millennials doing something differently than the generation before them. It may come as a shock for some people that the number of young women planning to have children dropped from 78 percent to 42 percent in just 20 years, according to Stewart Friedman, author of the study and professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. But as a Millennial, these results don’t surprise me.

A few months ago, I wrote a post on this blog about Millennials questioning whether or not they can afford to have children. For a student debt-ridden generation who entered the job market during a rececession, providing for a family is a stressful idea. Dr. Friedman echoed this sentiment on the nytimes.com Motherlode blog (and in his book Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family):

Millennial students were steeling themselves to enter jobs where a full-time commitment means working 72 hours a week. A majority of Millennials in the study said they wanted to have children someday; they simply didn’t see how they could make it work.

The median age of marriage is at a historic high (27 for women, 29 for men). Even though most Americans without a college degree have kids before marriage, those with a degree still put childbearing after marriage, according to the National Marriage Project’s 2013 “Not Yet” report. Dr. Friedman surveyed graduating students for his study, so we need to take these facts into consideration. For what it’s worth, I can tell you that when my friends and I graduated college four years ago, planning a family definitely wasn’t in the “five-year plan.”

But before we get all anxious about the potential population decline ruining the economy (and decreasing our readership), let’s take a step back and think about what these results tell us — not much. Just because you don’t plan on something, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I didn’t plan on getting a stain on my new white blouse today, but it happened anyway. You probably didn’t plan on reading this post either (gotcha!).

In fact, according to a study published in 2011, 49 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. UNPLANNED! Plus, people change and evolve, especially during their twenties. So please, digest these statistics and remember that we Millennials are just debt-ridden singles who will get there (don’t worry, Mom!). We just need a little time.

If you are trying to get pregnant, check out this video of ways to get pregnant faster:

Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster

Also, check out our large selection of pregnancy books on Shop Parents.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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