Often, parents are unable to decide whether to raise their kids at home with the help of a nanny or to take the to a local daycare facility. While it is not easy to make such a decision, it is vital to understand that every method had its pros and cons. However, the benefits of taking a kid to a good daycare facility outweigh the advantages of raising a kid at home. The following are some of the reasons why parents take their kids to these facilities:

The kid will not get bored
A kid is likely to get bored in a familiar setting, and since the life at home can be monotonous, it is better to explore life at a child care facility. Boredom can be detrimental in the development of a child, and it is vital to exploit the play facilities at such a facility. In addition to having fun, the child learns to follow a strict schedule in such a facility, meaning that your kid will be prepared for the academic sojourn ahead. By interacting with different kids from all walks of life, a kid who goes to a childcare facility develops good interpersonal skills that come in handy in life. A child care facility provides a good foundation for a child to develop the mental strength and character that is instrumental in life, now and in the future.

Preparing the kid for academic life
Most of the games that kids play at the facility help the kids to prepare for the academic life. Children will learn to count as they play, preparing them for basic maths in the process. Also, these kids improve their spoken language, meaning that they learn how to communicate in a better way. Evidently, the kids who go to these facilities at an early are more prepared to begin their studies compared to those who stay at home. When you look at the bigger picture, you will realize that your kid will have to go to school one day and that a daycare facility will make the transition easier.

Daycare staffs are trained professionals
Contrary to popular belief, it is always important to understand that once you identify the right facility, you can rest easy since the child is always in good hands. The people who take care of the kids are trained professionals. Before opening childcare center, the government undertakes thorough scrutiny to ensure that these facilities meet the minimum standards in terms of safety, security, personnel, and equipment. By understanding that a daycare facility will take good care of the kids, you will concentrate on your job since you will have peace of mind. For more information, visit the Wee Watch Licensed Home Child Care website.

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Tips for Painting Your Hardwood Floors

by admin on November 16, 2016

If you want to make your hardwood floors look new without refinishing them or buying new hardwood flooring, you can paint them. This is a project you could do yourself, but make sure to do it correctly the first time or you might have to hire someone to redo the paint job. Here are several essential tips to help you beautifully paint your hardwood floors:

Scuff-Sand the Floor Before Painting

To prepare the hardwood flooring for painting, you must scuff-sand it with 150-grit sandpaper. The goal is to rough up the wood flooring enough for the primer to stick well to the wood. You’re not going for a smooth surface yet.

Thoroughly Clean the Floor

Before you paint wood flooring, you must thoroughly clean it. Dusting and mopping it isn’t good enough. You must vacuum the dust, then use a wood floor cleaner on the floors. Allow the wood floors to dry for two days before continuing. If the flooring is still moist, wait longer until they are completely dry. It’s important to let the hardwood floors dry because moisture can cause bubbles during painting.

Prime the Wood Floors

An oil-based primer is ideal for priming hardwood floors, but you could use a high quality latex primer too. If you use an oil-based primer, always buy oil-based paint as well. If you use a latex primer, then go for latex paint. For oil products, let the floor dry for at least 24 hours. A latex primer can dry overnight.

Sand the Floor After It’s Primed

To prevent imperfections from showing through the completed paint job, you should sand the wood floors after priming them. It might seem unnecessary because you sanded before priming, but it is a crucial step. This time, you must also sand with 220-grit sandpaper instead of 150-grit.

Use a Tack Cloth to Wipe the Dust from the Floor

After sanding, use a tack cloth to wipe the dust from the hardwood floors. Cotton rags and paper towels shouldn’t be used because they leave fibers behind on the floor that can ruin the paint job.

Paint Each Coat as Thinly as Possible

Be conservative with the paint as you brush or roll it onto the wood flooring. If you paint too thickly, it will take longer to dry and won’t look as good. When using a roller to paint the floor, take it slow to prevent bubbles from forming. A 1/4-nap microfiber roller works best as a roller for painting hardwood floors. When it comes to brushes, choose a natural bristle brush for best results.

Painting your hardwood floors is a fun painting project you can do yourself. Because it will span over several days to do it correctly, you definitely don’t want to make any mistakes and have to redo the project. While you may enjoy painting the floors, it still takes a bit of your time. Follow the tips above to ensure your painting project runs smoothly. You can find more resources available at the Relative Space website.

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If you’re expecting, you may be wondering whether or not a baby show will even be worth your time. You’re expecting designer displays with all sorts of equipment that you can’t afford. Maybe you’re bringing in plenty of hand-me-downs or relying on friends and family to share the latest parenting news with you. Attending a baby show, however, has a number of benefits for future parents.

You’ll get a look at gear no one in your family chose to use. Seeing it at the show doesn’t mean you have to buy it immediately. In fact, you may find yourself wondering what you would ever want with a device meant to help remove mucus from your baby’s nose or thinking that you’ll never use a swaddle for your little one when a blanket will do just as well. Knowing that they’re out there, however, will let you know what your options are once your little bundle of joy makes their arrival.

You’ll learn about new gear and advances. Did you know that babywearing is one of the newest trends in parenting? Have you ever touched a new cloth diaper and realized just how easy it can be? Checking out new gear now means that you aren’t left years down the road wishing that you’d known about “that” when your baby was little.

You’ll get to touch things. It’s amazing how much baby gear is only available online. At many baby shows, however, you’ll be able to walk through the booths and actually put your hands on plenty of items that can normally only be found online. Most vendors are also aware that many future parents–that is, the ones who don’t yet have a baby in arms–will be attending the event, so they’ll provide all the tools you need to try out the gear.

You’ll get your questions answered. Sure, you can always email a manufacturer or check out a Facebook group. Still, there’s something about hands-on interaction that can help make getting answers to your questions easier.

You’ll make connections. Baby shows are great places to learn about local mom groups, meet that midwife or doula you’ve heard all about in person, and make connections with other local moms. If you’re a first-time parent, you might not have many mommy friends, but that’s okay! There are plenty of people at these events for you to meet.

Attending a baby show is a great way to get your hands on the latest and greatest baby equipment, learn more about what other parents have done successfully, and check out other offerings in your area. If you’re still on the fence about attending, jump off and dive in! Baby shows are well worth the time. You can learn more information at The BabyTime Show.

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How To Plan Your Wedding

by admin on September 30, 2016

Engaged couples who are planning their wedding will quickly learn just how many details there are to creating the perfect event. From the flowers to the favors, there are many items to pick out to create a special day that is remembered for a lifetime. To ensure that you can plan your wedding successfully and allow it to be everything you’ve envisioned, there are a few important tips to follow.

Create a Budget

The budget of your wedding will determine each detail of the special day, making it important to calculate what you can afford before the planning begins. You’ll also need to have enough wiggle room in the budget for unexpected expenses that may arise, which includes the cost of extra wedding invitations or having the wedding dress hemmed.

Choose the Wedding Venue First

Although it can be easy to find a caterer or begin shopping for your wedding dress after becoming engaged, it’s important to first choose a wedding venue. The venue will work as a canvas for the decorations and the attire that you pick, making it important to find a space before deciding on the style of your wedding.

Find a Marriage Officiant

The wedding ceremony should run smoothly to ensure that you enjoy each moment of the event while saying, “I do.” It’s important to find wedding officiants who are certified and have experience marrying couples. Find an officiant that you feel comfortable with and pick someone who has a friendly personality. Set up a meeting to ensure that they have proper speech and are willing to make the ceremony modern or traditional.

Determine Your Color Scheme

You’ll need to choose your color scheme before picking out the flowers or bridesmaid dresses to ensure that everything looks professionally styled. Consider visiting a hardware store to pick out different color swatches that you can use as inspiration for your wedding day. You can also find color schemes online with inspiration boards that you can make on wedding websites, which will allow you to stick with a specific vision that you have in mind.

Hire a Planner

Although you may want to plan each detail of your wedding yourself, you’ll still need someone to direct everything on the day of the event. Hire a day-of coordinator who can work with your vendors and style the centerpieces as you get ready before the ceremony begins. This will allow you to avoid the stress of working through problems that may arise and will ensure that you truly enjoy the day from beginning to end.

Shop Around

When finding someone to cater the food or when looking for a photographer, you’ll need to shop around to find a good deal. Opt for vendors or professionals who are competitive with their prices to ensure that you can stay within your budget. You can also ask for discounts or promotions that may be available if you write a review on their website or recommend them to a friend. If you would like more information, Young, Hip & Married has additional resources available.

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I belong to one of the couple types that Hanna Rosin described in her recent piece on breadwinner wives in Slate magazine—the one where the “woman is a born workaholic and the man lives a slower pace”. Although it is more complex than those labels, I have nevertheless lived a version of that story for about twenty years.

I’m a professor, researcher and author; my husband is a naturopathic doctor / acupuncturist whose work schedule goes up and down depending on the economy. We have raised three children together (one is now 20, and the twins are 16 years old).

I have also spent twenty years researching and writing about the changing stories of breadwinning mothers and primary caregiving fathers.

Read the full story here.

*Image: “Mom and Dad (Flying a Kite)” courtesy of one of my daughters (at age 5)

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On March 31, 2011, I delivered the 42nd Annual Sorokin lecture at the University of Saskatchewan.

Pitrim Sorokin (1889-1968) was a Russian émigré who became a world-renowned sociologist and the founder of the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. He published over 30 books and attracted the attention of Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer, Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy as well as an eclectic mix of followers and critics, including political activists, military and peace proponents, and even ‘new age’ communities. According to the archive of his work that is lodged at the University of Saskatchewan, he is considered one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century.

It was an honor for me to share a poster that included both our names.

As I was speaking about breadwinning mothers and caregiving dads in my Sorokin lecture, I was interested to read in his memoir that after the death of his mother when he was three years old, Pitrim Sorokin and his two brothers were raised by his father. As he wrote in his memoir, this arrangement led to a life that alternated between happiness and despair.

“Of my father I had and still have two different images. In his sober stretch (lasting for weeks and even months) he was a wonderful man, loving and helping his sons in any way he could… Unfortunately the stretches of soberness alternated with those of drunkenness… In his drunken state he was a pitiful figure; he could not care for us nor help us; he was depressed, irritable, and, once in a while, somewhat violent in his treatment of us”.

His story moved me. Without saying it explicitly, Sorokin pointed to the challenges faced by his father, a single dad raising three boys at the beginning of the 19th century in Russia.

That story also brought me back to another story about a single father raising three; it was the story that initiated my research on primary caregiving fathers. I wrote about this in my book Do Men Mother and in a journal article in Qualitative Sociology.

This is a shortened version of that story. It is actually the long answer to the question: What instigated my interest in fathering?

*****************

When I began a study of primary caregiving fathers in 2000, the motivation for undertaking this research seemed clear to me. My interest was explicit and often articulated since many of the fathers that I interviewed asked me how it was that I—as a woman, as a mother—came to be interested in studying men’s lives.

I told a simple story. The initial impulse came out of my own first experiences of parenting and my observations of my husband as he took on the primary care of our eldest daughter at varied points in her early years. His recounting of the excruciatingly painful details of sitting sidelined in a ‘moms and tots’ group in Cambridge, England over several cold winter months awakened my curiosity in the lives of fathers who challenge conventional gender norms.

As my research progressed, however, I became increasingly aware of, what Avery Gordon calls, autobiographical ‘ghosts’ in my research.

Throughout the process of interviewing over 100 fathers and especially while deep into the process of analyzing those narratives, I entered the stage of physical and emotional exhaustion that most qualitative researchers come to know well.

It was here that the words of fathers filled my waking and sleeping hours and rolled through my conscious and unconscious mind. Their faces and their fathering stories mixed inextricably with the ghosts of fathers I had known throughout my life, particularly in the 17 years when I was growing up in a small town on the north shore of New Brunswick.

After months of analyzing interview transcripts, I awoke one night from a dream and suddenly remembered a long-forgotten memory.

I remembered my childhood home, a large wooden house on the Baie de Chaleur, a small bay that empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It was also the house in which both my grandfather and father grew up.

It sat on Main Street in the working-class, Catholic side of town, just down the street from the pulp and paper mill where my father worked long shifts as a laborer for most of his working life.

And then there was the house across the street.

As a child, I would often look out from the verandah of my house, and constantly observe what my mother called ‘the comings and goings’ of that other house. It was an up and down duplex and it belonged to Ozzie Aubie, a lobster fisherman*.

In the upstairs apartment of that duplex was a family of six: a single mother Penny Melanson, and her five daughters. The story was that her husband had just packed up and left one day, leaving Penny to scrape together a living for her daughters. The people in the town talked. More specifically, my grandmother, my mother, and my aunts talked. Penny was pitied for not having a man to provide a family wage.

Yet, as they sat on our front verandah drinking coffee, smoking Du Maurier cigarettes, and looking across the street to Penny’s house, this is what I remember them saying: “Penny was a good mother. Her children were lacking nothing”.

Meanwhile, in the downstairs apartment of this duplex was a family of four—Ozzie Aubie and his three sons, Billy, Johnny, and Harry. Other than the infamous story of Pierre Trudeau taking on custody of his three sons, we had never seen a family living in a house without a mother.

Again, my grandmother, my mother, and my aunts talked. “Where was their mother? How could she leave? Those poor Aubie boys. How would they ever turn out without a mother to raise them?”

Indeed, everything that went wrong with Billy, who was in my grade at school, was blamed on the stain of being a mother-less boy. In Grade Two when he called me names, in Grade Three when he chased me home from school lifting up my skirt, in Grade Four when he threw my newly knitted winter hat so high into our maple tree that it could never be recovered—each of these incidents was met with the same lamenting sigh and response from my mother and my aunts. “Well, what do you expect? He has no mother.”

I grew up with the mystery of Billy’s missing mother and the wonder of how it was that the town embraced Penny Melanson’s fatherless family living upstairs. And yet, they harshly judged the motherless family of Ozzie Aubie that lived downstairs.

From my nighttime dream of Ozzie Aubie and his three sons, I realized that these autobiographical ‘ghosts’ had partly led me to deep personal and academic curiosity in the lives of fathers who are primary caregivers.

And even more specifically, this story brought me into a long research journey focused partly on the relationship between a primary caregiving father and the community within which he lives, works, cares, and is judged.

*All names and identifying details of the two families in the “house across the street” have been changed.

*Image: “What is Guiding Me” courtesy of Christine Martell www.christinemartell.com

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Are you “still the mother”?

by admin on May 26, 2015

The following is an excerpt from a guest post I wrote for PhDinParenting.com. Click here to read the full post.

I’ve been interviewing mothers and fathers on changing motherhood and fatherhood for twenty years. Some of their voices remain lodged in the back of my mind.

One voice that I keep hearing is that of a British mother named Monica. I met her, and her husband Joshua, in 1993 in a small village outside Cambridge when I was writing my doctoral dissertation on (heterosexual) couples attempting to ‘equally share’ housework and childcare.

Monica and Joshua were both managers in the British government. Since she had the upper level job with a demanding travel schedule, Joshua took on the daily running of the household. Monica called home every night. But she was upset when she was unsure about what her two daughters were doing on any particular night:

“I hate it when I don’t actually know what they’re doing. Like I rang home yesterday evening and I’d got the nights wrong and I was thinking Emma would be going to guides and she wasn’t. It was choir. And I hate that feeling. Because I’m their mother! And I ought to know.”

Across two decades, four countries, and three generations, most of my scholarly work has focused on couples who challenge traditional gender norms. Most of these stories are from two-parent families where women are primary breadwinners while men are stay-at-home dads or (shared) primary caregivers.

My long-term research has, in turn, been inspired by the late feminist philosopher Sara Ruddick and her provocative statement that “men could mother.” I explored that statement in my book Do Men Mother?

I am still exploring this issue in my forthcoming book on breadwinning mothers (and caregiving fathers). I’ve also thought about this constantly over the past twenty years as a breadwinning mother (of three) with a fully involved husband.

Am I still the mother? Or am I part of an interchangeable parenting pair? Can parenting be gender-neutral? Should that be the goal of feminist research on families?

What I have heard from hundreds of couples across time is that even in households where traditional gender roles are challenged or reversed, there is a mixed set of answers.

To find out the answers, click here to visit PhDinParenting.com to read the full post.

Want another take on this topic? Read Tara Gentile’s response to my post: I’m Still the Mom: Birthing a Child & a Business

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Twenty-one years ago, my life was very focused on equally shared parenting.

I was a new doctoral student interviewing British couples who were trying to share housework and childcare (although such couples were notoriously difficult to find back then). And I was a new mother sharing parenting and housework with my husband. While we did not know it at the time, we were in fact practicing what Marc and Amy Vachon describe in their book as “Equally Shared Parenting” (ESP):

“Equally shared parenting is the purposeful practice of two parents sharing equally in the four domains of childrearing, breadwinning, housework and time for self.”

We were both students living in a small student apartment at Cambridge University. With our families back in Canada, we had no family support in England; with my scholarship as our only income, we had little money for extra childcare help. We had no car, no TV, no Internet access. We just split our days between work and childcare, housework (not much), and leisure. While breastfeeding introduced some differences in our days, my husband took on other routine domestic tasks. When our daughter started half-time daycare at the age of two, we alternated the dropping off and picking up, and we had mommy days and daddy days.
circa-1991-300x210

That was a long time ago.

In the last twenty one years, I have continued to research and write about the lives of couples who challenge traditional gender norms in paid work and care work (e.g. stay-at-home dads, single fathers, breadwinning mothers, fathers who take parental leave, and gay fathers). And my husband and I have raised three daughters (now 21 and 17-year-old twins) and have gone from equal breadwinners to me being the primary breadwinner. I would describe our journey as shared parenting but not equally shared parenting.

To learn more about my thoughts on the book Equally Shared Parenting by Marc and Amy Vachon, click here to read my recent guest post at PhDinparenting

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I was recently asked by the New York Times to participate in a debate about women and work in Europe, especially in Germany. In the end, the question that appeared  on their Opinion page is not the one I was asked to address (“How can we get men to do more at home?”), although I would have loved to address that more centrally. (Maybe next time!).

Nevertheless, I did address the larger question of gender equality and how men’s parental leave is a critical part of this issue.

Below is the first part of my response; for the full piece, click here.

The quest for greater gender equality in paid work and care work requires multiple strategies that involve both women and men. The International Herald Tribune article about women in the German work force dealt mainly with the issue of women and work. Yet, the challenges that men face, both as workers and as caregivers, must also be addressed.

One way of addressing this is to look to countries like Sweden, Norway and Canada for lessons on how parental leave policies have been used to encourage changing gender relations around paid work and care work. These are policies that recognize and build on the constant interplay between gender equality and gender differences.

In Sweden and Norway, there has been a significant shift away from the “male breadwinner/ female caregiver model” of work and family. This occurred partly through respecting a long-standing practice of long maternity leaves for women combined with affordable, accessible and high-quality child care; to this, they added parental leave policies designed to encourage men to be involved in early child care. One of the rationales for the latter was that getting fathers into the home would help to disrupt a deeply rooted pattern and social norm of women as primary care-giving experts and men as main breadwinners.

Click here to read more and to join in the debate!

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