Friday, July 13, 2007

Four for Friday: Summer of Potter, Anti-Princess Reading List, Part-Time Working Moms and Signed Books

Item #1: It’s the Summer of Potter (Continued)

The Harry Potter mania in my house continues unabated. Now that my nearly 9-year-old twins

have been sucked into the vortex that is Harry Potter, they are unstoppable reading machines.

Now, ordinarily, I’d be cheering this development. But, given that it’s summer and I want them playing outside – ACTIVELY PLAYING (so that they tire themselves out) – all of this reading is complicating things. Actually, it’s complicating one thing: Their nearly 6-year-old brother who can’t yet read. So while his siblings are engrossed in Harry, the little one gets frustrated and either picks fights with them or hounds me in my office. Thus, all-Potter-all-the-time doesn’t exactly bring a smile to my face. (I think I’m going to have to hide the books and extort their return in exchange for some whiffle ball games with their brother outside.)

Item #2: Anti-Princess Reading List

My editor Amy Keroes over at the Mommy Track’d web site – it features news, columns (including mine on TV, movies and media), tips, interviews and products aimed at working moms – has hit upon a genius idea. Tired of reading simply princess-oriented material to her young daughter, she decided to come up with a list of books with strong girl protagonists.
Currently the list contains 35 titles including: Harriet the Spy, Olive’s Pirate Party, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees? and Winners Never Quit (by Mia Hamm).

Item #3: Part-Time Working Moms?

A new survey by the Pew Research Center of women’s attitudes toward work and parenthood has found that 60 percent of those polled would prefer to work part-time. This is a marked increase, according to news reports, from 10 years ago when only 48 percent of women found part-time work appealing.

Media coverage of the poll has varied in quality, with some highlighting the fact that 45 percent of men and 38 percent of women think that mothers are better off staying home and not working, while 35 percent of men and 46 percent of women think that moms working part-time is a better arrangement. “It turns out dads are more comfortable with those longer hours, with 72 percent saying full-time work for them is ideal,” reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

What did not get as much emphasis was the fact that many work-life analysts say that as work hours creep into what had previously been private, family time, the tension between home and work has grown so intense, that some mothers feel as though they have no choice but to either leave work or work part-time, in positions with little or no benefits, security and pay mere percentages of full-time employment. (Read some material from economist Heather Boushey for more on the media’s coverage of working moms and work.)

Item #4: Signed Copies of ‘Suburban Mom’ at Bellingham Barnes & Noble

Thanks to those who showed up at the book signing for The Book – A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum – including my editor Heather Kempskie, from Parents and Kids, and my longtime buddies Kerry and Tim and their crew. There are still copies for sale at the Bellingham (MA) Barnes & Noble.

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