Here are five hot topics that sparked lively conversation around the Savvy offices this past week.
1. Happy news about quality time
New research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family this week came as a relief to guilt-ridden working moms everywhere. Co-authored by a University of Toronto sociologist, it’s the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent time. Basically it refutes the long-held belief that more is more when it comes to the time parents—especially moms—spend with our kids. In fact, the study found that the sheer number of hours our kids spend with us has little impact on how they turn out—not in terms of academic achievement, emotional well-being or behaviour. Income and education level of parents were found to be the biggest success factors for kids. But that doesn’t mean time spent with parents isn’t incredibly important, or that staying at home with the kids isn’t a perfectly good choice. It’s just that how we spend time is far more impactful than the amount. For example, if a child stays at home with a parent full time but the TV is on for hours at a time, he will not fair as well as a child who spends the bulk of the daytime in an enriching, educational environment followed by a few quality hours with one or more parents sharing a family meal and lots of bedtime stories. This piece by the Washington Post provides some great context.
2. Enough with the talk about working vs. staying at home
And while we’re on the topic, we love this post on our sister site, UrbanMoms.ca. It nails exactly how little we care to hear people’s opinions on how moms should spend their days. Because it’s super tacky to try to spark a Mommy War in 2015.
3. Finnish schools will no longer teach subjects
The education system in Finland has long been held up as an example to the rest of the world. It has really progressive curriculum, and students there consistently rank among the highest globally in numeracy and literacy. So it was interesting to learn this week that the Nordic nation is scrapping subject-based teaching altogether for its senior students ages 16 and up. That’s right: No history class, no language and no MATH. Instead students will explore topics like the European Union from all kinds of perspectives, covering history, economics, languages and geography. Or in vocational streams, they’ll study topics like cafeteria services, learning core subjects like math by exploring the business aspects of the field, for example.
4. Swedish dads looking adorable while taking parental leave
And since we can’t get enough of all things Scandinavian this week, here’s a collection of photos depicting real(ly handsome) Swedish fathers in very ordinary moments during parental leave (which amounts to 480 days of leave for each family per child). We love the juxtaposition in many cases of the dads’ really macho professions with the soft skills on display in the photos. Like the probation officer bathing his infant in the sink or a construction engineer with two kids in his grocery cart. You’re welcome.
5. Marvel Universe Live!
Those of us with superhero-crazy kids were especially excited to learn that this live-action arena show is on tour again. Marvel Universe Live! is a unique entertainment experience that brings 25 favourite Marvel characters together in one ‘epic quest’ around an entirely new storyline. The tour starts in Victoria on June 11 and moves east from there over the summer, hitting up Vancouver, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Hamilton, Toronto, and Montreal. AND we’ve got a coupon code for 20% off the price of tickets that you can use if you book April 1–5. Just enter BLOGCA with your order of up to 15 tickets at any of the stops on the tour.
Here’s what’s getting us talking at Savvy HQ this week.
1. Dolce & Gabbana’s offensive remarks about families
The two fashion designers set the internet on fire earlier this week with their inflammatory comments about what makes a real family. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabanna were quoted as saying ‘The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow; there are things that should not be changed… I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog.’ The pair drew outrage from both the general public and celebrities like Elton John and Courtney Love Cobain and many lashed back on Twitter with the hashtag #boycottdolcegabbana. We’re peeved that the designers have attacked so publicly the families made possible through adoption and fertility treatments. It’s even more disappointing given these two are gay and surely have many peers who have benefited from access to IVF and adoption. Talk about letting down their public and their community!
2. Divisive article ‘Being a stay-at-home mother is not a job’
We spotted it when it was reposted on Time.com, but when Liz Pardue-Schultz originally wrote it for XOJane’s Unpopular Opinion column, the post prompted more than 1,400 comments, many of them fairly angry. The former stay-at-home-mom offers a unique perspective as someone who has been there but views the time she had to concentrate on parenting as a privilege. She writes: ‘Mothering is the hardest job in the world!’ is a phrase I’ve grown to loathe, but only because of the unemployed, self-righteous idiots who love to proclaim it after spending all their energy harping on their children or bitching about their spouse’s ineptitude. The mothers who don’t have time or interest in repeating that overused trope are the ones who recognize that the stay-at-home lifestyle is an incredible freedom they were in no way obligated to participate in…. The people out there who actually have jobs will appreciate you much more if you’re not going around whining about a way of life that is most parents’ dream.’ What do you think of her post?
3. A strong statement on gender equality
Speaking of the roles we play as parents, we love the stand taken by key government leaders from the Scandinavian countries, the part of the world whose social programs and vacation-time policies we covet. The ministers responsible for gender equity were gathered at UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York recently. They used the opportunity to press for men to play a greater role in advocating for equality between the sexes, including access for both sexes to progressive childcare policies. Iceland’s minister for social affairs and housing Eygló Harðardóttir said, ‘Everybody benefits from a labour market that is not based on gender stereotypes. Everybody benefits from a childcare policy that lets fathers play a role in childrearing.’ Swoon. Now we’re even more in love with all things Nordic.
4. Parenting buzzword: Grit
Move over self-esteem. It’s the era of resilience, and now, grit. Actually, as a quality that we want to cultivate in our children, grit is pretty much the same thing as resilience. But having this word in mind is a good way of reminding ourselves not to sweep every challenge out of our kid’s way. In an article in the Washington Post, grit is defined as ‘passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals.’ Caroline Adams Miller, a speaker and expert in positive psychology, told the Post that ‘More than anything, [grit] predicts who gets to the finish line of hard goals in life.’
5. Google’s new rating systems for app downloads
What the heck are they downloading to their mobile devices? Hopefully just Minecraft add-ons and Minion Rush. Google just announced that it’s rolling out a new rating system for apps available in the Google Play store, a move it says will give parents more control over what their kids are downloading. Reception to the announcement has been mixed, and Google could definitely be accused of simply using this new rating system to gain loyalty for Google Play apps in the face of stiff competition from Apple’s popular App Store, which has had a ratings system since 2008. However, the internet giant did agree to refund parents a cool $19 million for apps their kids purchased without permission. So there’s that. Anyway, if you have an Android phone, this new rating system could help you get the 411 on the apps your kids are using, even if they’re downloading them on another device entirely.
Welcome to our SavvyBlog where we bring you behind the scenes into the business of SavvyMom Media. It’s written by the two co-founders of SavvyMom—our Managing Editor, Minnow Hamilton and our Publisher, Sarah Morgenstern. There are other SavvyMoms who contribute as well. We hope you enjoy getting a bit of the scoop on everything Savvy, and that you’ll share your comments with us. We love to hear from you.
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