Yearning for the summer

Yearning for the summer

June is crazy in Sweden because everyone is in a mad rush to finish all their work before Midsummer (though this is shifting for some to mid-July). This makes it hard to stay inside during the most glorious June I’ve seen here.

But then you think that you’re headed for this for 8 weeks (I’ve got paternity leave days left).

Giving men the chance for parenting joy

I am insisting that if we women truly want equal partners in the home, then we can’t ask our husbands to be “equal” on our terms. They get equal say, even if we disagree. And indeed, if we can discover the joys and satisfactions of professional success, why shouldn’t men be able to enjoy the rewards and satisfactions of parenting and homemaking? For years, mothers have gotten that special rush when a child reaches for his mommy and says no one else will do; do we really think a father doesn’t get the same wonderful sense of being needed and valued when a child insists on his daddy?

via The Immense Value of Giving Men More Control of Household Tasks – Anne-Marie Slaughter – The Atlantic.

This article focused on a now widely discredited New York Magazine story on feminists giving up on work to enjoy the bliss of being a housewife.  I won’t get into that, but the story led to some nice articles surrounding it, with this included.  Things have definitely changed just since I started this blog three years ago.  Men get included in the conversation, even if near the bottom and still not totally in the mainstream.

Needless to say, after all my paternity leave, and my shorter working hours, I do get that rush from being equally bonded with my kids.  And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, even if it comes with all the grind as well.

Sweden turning to 24-7 child care

Preschool is a route out of poverty, it gets women in the workforce, and it reduces financial burdens on the working poor.  It also can help mitigate developmental differences that come from growing up in poverty, which means better qualified workers in the long run.

Norfors summed this up when she wrote: “Without preschools, we would not have among the highest female and maternal employment rates in the European Union, or the lowest levels of child poverty.”

This is absolutely true, and it is a huge improvement on the American system, which makes families—especially those less well off—scramble at best and dump their kids in dangerous child care at worst. But the Swedish policies also shine a bright, pragmatic light on the price that young children and their parents are paying all over the globe as work speeds up, even in the midst of a global slowdown.

via Mom’s at work? Sweden’s solution is round-the-clock preschools – Quartz.

This is from a post I wrote recently for Quartz.  It’s based on a USD 16 million grant the Swedish government has for expanding childcare hours.  I’m all for it, of course, especially compared to the Hell of American Daycare, as the New Republican recently put it.  But I still stand by my ambivalence that all these kids need to be mainstreamed into child care so early.

I still want three years of parental leave.  But what Sweden’s got is still the best around.

A Glimpse of Daddyland at the Eurovision Song Contest

We missed this at first go, as my kids got bored about mediocre song number 20. But this musical number from the show pretty much sums up Sweden … and you have to love the men with strollers (about 3 minutes in).

I also wrote a post for Quartz about Eurovision, calling the competition to pick the Swedish winner the Swedish equivalent to March Madness.

Photography: my daughter takes portraits of tigers

More work from my five-year-old daughter, this time … portraiture.

Of Tigger.  Notice the thoughtful composition and contrast with a princess purse and a Swiss book about flowers.

And then a different kind of animal shot:  dragon with little brother.

More photography from the eyes of my five year old

More photos from my daughter, who goes on these picture-taking sprees with her beat up Fisher Price camera with the worst lens ever.

I gotta get her a real camera.  These are not necessarily the best, just the clearest.  But they still have a certain preschool je ne sais quois …

There has been a self-portrait phase.  Notice the dress from when she was two years old, plus the one glove, a la Michael Jackson.  Very funky.

In the laundry room.

We still like hearts, though less than before.

She also likes to photograph details from books and her own drawings.  These are usually beyond her high-powered Fisher Price, but this flower detail came out beautifully.