Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekend Reading: The Just for Fun Edition

I survived the storm and then got unexpectedly flattened by the storm surge- all the things that had been postponed at work and home came rushing in this week and I struggled to keep my head above water.

So, once again, I'm light on links. Here are a couple of things I read that I just think are fun:

Apparently, someone has done a correlation between chocolate consumption per capita and Nobel prizes. Bad Mom, Good Mom has a summary and some thoughts.

Are you reading What If? from xkcd? You should be. It is great fun.

Ok, this one isn't fun. But it is about TV and movies! And they're fun, right? But I really liked Alyssa Rosenberg's take on what is missing from the story when a TV/movie mom just quits her job.

We have guests here this weekend, so there are four kids bouncing around our little house. It is chaos, but fun. I'll be scarce around here... Have a good weekend, everyone!


  1. Anonymous9:51 AM

    That third one is depressing. I miss Claire Huxtable. A lawyer with work-life balance married to a doctor with the same!

    1. Amen! It was also remarkable they had five well-adjusted children, too. They were so cool.

  2. I read the TV/movie mom link, and was inspired to come back and comment because of how often you complain that people don't write about successful and happy working moms. And because this is the internet, please know I mean that in the nicest way!

    It's entirely possible to quit a job you hate because you want to be with the kids and re-enter the workforce with one that makes you happier. And I did just up and quit a toxic boss. It was hard work every step of the way, but so is being a happy working mom. (Anecdotal data of one here.)

    For me, the key was keeping up my skills by very part-time freelancing and attending a single professional meeting a year.

    I recognize that every field is different. But I think that scaring women away from stepping off the track is limiting. In my ideal world, everyone should have the option to take years off, whether for kids or travel or to start a business.

    1. Do you think perhaps that your own tender spots are influencing how you read that article? I didn't get "mothers shouldn't quit their jobs!" from it- I got "hey, quitting your job doesn't magically make everything perfect, and will usually have a pretty big impact on family finances- TV and movies should show that side of things, too."

      I've written before about how I consider the hefty buffer we keep in our bank account as way to buy freedom, because it means that I could just up and quit if I found myself in a terrible work situation. But I don't think I'd do it the way the article described the TV shows depicting it- i.e., just deciding one day and quitting. I'd discuss it with my husband, make contingency plans, and then do it. But I've never done it, so I don't really know.

      I don't think I am "always complaining" about how working mothers are portrayed on TV and in the movies. That would be a strange thing for me to always complain about, since I almost never watch any TV or go to the movies. As far as I can remember, I've mentioned it once before, also in a weekend links post. I could be wrong, though.

      I fully support the idea that for some women, the right way to do motherhood is to step out of the workforce for awhile. I just can't write much about it- it is obviously not something I have chosen to do. And the women I know who have done it all work for me, which means that I can't blog about them in detail. I have one direct report contractor who came back in after about 3 years off and one contractor I project manage who came back in after 5 years off. Both are contractors because they want part time hours right now, and that is how we can make that happen. They are paid more per hour than they would be as full time employees, to compensate for the lack of benefits. We are actually probably going to hire in another mother returning to the workforce- and pay to train her to get her skills back current- also as a part time contractor. And we've been trying to recruit a fourth, but she is so far not interested in returning to work.

      So I not only believe that women should be able to take time off and get back in- I actively try to make that possible. But I can't blog the details.

      I think I've said before, but it is worth repeating: I am happy to host a guest post from anyone who wants to write about her career/motherhood path. So if you'd like to see this option discussed more, email me about a guest post!

  3. Becky7:33 PM

    Cloud -- I wasn't trying to imply that you are always complaining about how working mothers are portrayed on TV/movies. I didn't even use the words "always complaining" that you put in quotes in your comment. In fact, I enjoy reading your posts because of your positive outlook on combining work and motherhood.

    My comment wasn't meant to be offensive. That's why I added the disclaimer in the first paragraph. I was trying to agree with the general tone of your site, in that the media often negatively portrays work and motherhood.

    1. Sorry- I misread. It is barely contained chaos here right now! Anyway, I wasn't offended- I just thought that maybe you focused on something different in that TV post that I did.

      And I'm serious about the guest post offer. I think it would be great to read about the various paths different people take. I think people sometimes get to focused on the idea that there is one right way to do this and there really isn't.

  4. That last link was an interesting read. I think tv/movies portray quitting dramatically like that as part of the fantasy world they create for us to escape into.

    When my husband quit, it was after months of us discussing it, running the numbers, etc. Which wouldn't have made for interesting TV.

    And props to you/your company for hiring part-time contractors. I wish there were more options like that!


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