In the Parenthood
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Juggling work and home

New parents: Would you bring your baby to work with you?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse July 15, 2010 12:46 PM

When I went back to work after my first baby was born, I felt guilty and excited at the same time. Guilty because I'd fallen in love with my baby and wanted to spend more time with her. Excited because I'd be able to have conversations with actual adults again, and be productive in a pre-parenthood way. And guilty, of course, about feeling excited about being back in the office.

Being able to leave the baby at home with my husband made me feel better (here's how we managed that and how I dealt with the second-shift stress), but if my company had offered to allow me to bring her in to the office with me for those first few months, I would have turned them down. It was hard enough trying to concentrate on work once I was back in the office, I can't imagine trying to multitask with an infant at the same time.

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Does having kids really make you unhappy?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse July 7, 2010 10:58 PM

Scores of studies over the years have shown that having kids doesn't make people happier. Ask any parent, though, and many will say that they adore their children, even when they're frustrated by them -- it's the parenting part that's a chore.

In the most recent edition of New York Magazine, Jennifer Senior explores these studies in a piece called "All Joy and No Fun" and makes several key points, including:

1. There's a difference between feeling happy and feeling rewarded.
2. In countries with strong support systems, like Scandinavia, parents feel happier.
3. The gulf between our familial fantasies and reality is huge.

All of which makes sense, but you know what? I think being able to consider personal happiness so carefully is a privilege afforded to those for whom the basic necessities -- food, clothing, shelter -- aren't an issue. And I also think that happiness is relative.

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Jealous of the nanny?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse July 6, 2010 10:19 AM

One of the more difficult aspects about going back to work after having a baby is figuring out which childcare set-up will work for your family. Will you and your spouse work opposite shifts, so one of you is on kid-duty while the other is at the office? Find a small family daycare or go with a larger daycare center? Hire a babysitter or nanny?

And then there's the issue most parents don't want to discuss: What if you find yourself feeling jealous of your child care provider?

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Do dads get short shrift at home?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse June 23, 2010 08:20 AM

A newly released Boston College study called "The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood Within a Career Context" points to a sea change in the workplace: Fathers may be facing a bias similar to that which working mothers know all too well.

But there's a twist: It seems that their wives are also discounting the work these dads do at home.

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Are you using your kids to escape your marriage?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse June 14, 2010 05:22 AM

David Code.jpgIt runs counter to our instincts as parents, but a new book suggests that making your kids your top priority may be doing them more harm than good.

An Episcopal minister and family coach, David Code suggests that parents who focus first on maintaining a strong marriage end up having happier, better-adjusted children than those who make their kids their top priority.

"The truth is, we often find it easier to be with our kids than our partners," Code said in an interivew. "This seems child-friendly, but we don't realize we're using our kids as an escape from our spouses."

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Should a 14-year-old babysit her siblings overnight?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse April 26, 2010 01:29 PM

If you work during the day while your spouse works at night -- something my husband and I did for years -- what do you do for childcare if the parent on the day shift has to go out of town?

A reader wrote to me a few weeks ago, facing just that dilemma. The kids are 14, 12, 7, and 5. The mom, who works days, had to travel for a family emergency. She wanted the kids to stay with her mom, so her husband wouldn't have to take off from work. Her husband, who works nights, wanted the kids to be at home and had no problem with them being alone at night, since they'd be asleep.

What would you do?

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Welcome to the parenthood!

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse April 19, 2010 06:55 AM

Welcome to "In the Parenthood!" There's a lot of information out there and, no matter what's going on with the economy or the Red Sox, people still need to parent. So grab a cup of coffee and join in the discussion! Here's where we'll be keeping track of the latest parenting news, tips, and trends.

Looking for my posts from Child Caring? They're migrating over, but in the meantime you can find them -- and all of the insightful comments and discussions -- right here. And be sure to take a look at the new blog roll, at right... there are a lot of great parents in this neighborood!

Is there a parenting issue that's sparked your interest? Feel free to email me at LAlphonse@globe.com. Want to know what's on my radar? Follow me on Twitter: @WriteEditRepeat.

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

 

Breastfeeding and the law: How can we expect 90 percent of new moms to manage?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse April 5, 2010 09:41 AM

The importance of breastfeeding is underscored in the recent Health Care Reform law, which requires employers to provide "reasonable" unpaid breaks for breastfeeding mothers to pump. And a study published today in the journal Pediatrics make clear the benefits of breastfeeding: If 90 percent of new moms in the United States breastfed their babies exclusively for the first six months, researchers estimate that as many as 900 more infants would survive each year, and the country would save about $13 billion in health care costs annually.

Which is wonderful, but without paid maternity leave, consistent workplace accommodations, or a way to implement the new law, how are 90 percent of new moms supposed to pull that off?

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about the author

Lylah M. Alphonse
Lylah M. Alphonse is a member of the Globe Magazine staff and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling a full-time career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day, and about everything else at Write. Edit. Repeat. When she's not glued to the computer or solving a kid-related crisis, she's in the kitchen or, occasionally, asleep.

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