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Tagged with parenting

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The cleaner plate club: Making sustainable food realistic for parents

Photo by Marco Bernardini.

About a month ago, I heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about a study on working mothers and multi-tasking. Moms, the study said, are on overdrive during the hours they’re with kids. Many described the hours between 5 and 8 p.m. as the "arsenic hours." The result? Their pre-frontal cortex was overloaded, their brains frazzled, and their decision-making impaired.

“Yup,” I thought to myself. “Exactly.”

With that study in mind, I’d like to propose a change to how we think about parents and food: that rather than seeing parents’ constant reaching for convenience food as some sort of moral failing, let’s view it instead as a call for help -- a form of crying “uncle” amidst a staggering number of stressors in our not-very-family-friendly society.

Read more: Food

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Will my baby be the 7 billionth?

Will she save the world, or at least help make it a better place?Photo: Andrew Albertson This post is written by Laura Wright Treadway, a contributing editor at OnEarth. Elon Musk is something of an eco-superhero: He founded and invested his personal fortune in the electric car company Tesla Motors, intent on changing the way we consume natural resources by remaking the way we get around. He also has five sons, which seems rather at odds with his planet-saving personal and professional mission. And in 2009, the South African-born multi-millionaire told The New Yorker's Tad Friend that he isn't finished …

Read more: Living, Population

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Mom could be arrested for letting her kid bike to school

There are a few factors that make it tricky for kids to bike or walk alone: Bad drivers who face insufficient consequences, lack of sidewalks and protected bike lanes, too few crosswalks. We COULD improve biking and walking infrastructure, and have cops actually crack down on illegal driving maneuvers. But that's hard! Instead, let's just arrest everybody who doesn't drive their kids to school. That appears to be the approach in Elizabethton, Tenn., where Teresa Tryon has been threatened with arrest if she keeps letting her daughter bike to school on her own. Tryon lives only a mile from her 5th-grader's …

Read more: Biking, Cities, Family

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Singapore aims to become a city in a garden

Singapore.Photo: Avinash AnandI really, really dig what Singapore is trying to do. Currently it's about half covered in green and wants to go farther: In Singapore's next "green road map," its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being "a garden city" to "a city in a garden." "The difference might sound very small," says Poon Hong Yuen, the chief executive of the country's National Parks Board, "but it's a bit like saying my house has a garden and my house is in the middle of a garden. What it means is having pervasive greenery, as well as …

Read more: Cities, Urbanism

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Poison, poop, and trash: spring in the park

Yesterday, I was at the park with my kids after dinner, a "night session" as we call it. The dandelions, ubiquitous this time of year, had a distinctly sinister curve to their stems that meant they'd been sprayed recently with 2-4-D, the world's most widely used herbicide. You can smell it vaguely in the air, too, the sweet smell that wafts from outside a nursery. The health effects of 2-4-D are unclear -- it's a synthetic plant hormone -- and there's some concern it can be linked to cancer and Lou Gerhig's disease. Or, others say, there is no concern. …

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Worried about radiation in breast milk? Still best to keep breast-feeding

How can we best protect the wee ones?For survivors of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, there have been so many concerns: access to clean water and food, the need for shelter, the threat of disease. It's the same awful list that accompanies natural disasters around the world -- but with one big difference. In Japan, survivors also face the ongoing threat of radiation released by six reactors at the Fukushima Daiishi nuclear power plant. Under circumstances still not fully understood, the cooling systems at Fukushima lost power after the earthquake and tsunami. Large amounts of radioactive materials were blown hundreds …

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TRIX AREN’T FOR KIDS

Bad food makes kids dumber, study says

Look, ma! No nutrients!Photo: Amanda WestmontA new study says 3-year-olds who mostly eat processed foods have lower IQs five years later. (So Pop-Tarts and Sunny-D are why we're "falling behind" China in math and science?) The study, cited in The Guardian, examined the diets of 14,000 wee Britlets, based on what their parents reported feeding them. Three is the magic number: Your brain grows the fastest from birth to age 3, says The Guardian, and what kids eat at 3 affects intelligence later -- even if the kid's diet improves afterwards. Dumb and dumber: "Every one-point increase in the study's …

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Pop culture

8 things you can do about population

As we zoom toward 7 billion, population growth is looking ever more hairy and daunting. The big-picture solution is empowering women everywhere and making sure they have the tools, knowledge, and support to control the size of their families, but that's not something an average person can tackle on a lunch break. Of course you can (and you should) badger your congresspeople to fund family planning, both abroad and at home, and donate to nonprofits that work on these issues. But what can we do ourselves, in our own lives and communities? Here are a few ideas. Add your own …

Read more: Childfree, Living, Population

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The GINK Chronicles

How the childfree can be parents too

Deciding to be childfree doesn't have to mean forgoing all the joys and oys of parenting. In a new piece in YES! magazine, Wendy Call describes her life as a co-parent -- "not some new alternative but an old tradition," she writes. Call and her partner Aram are confirmed GINKs (green inclinations, no kids). But they've rejected the "stark" choice to either "become parents for every minute of every day, or not at all." She and Aram are co-parents a few hours at a time, a few times a week, to the 3-year-old daughter of close friends and neighbors.   …

Read more: Childfree, Living

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The GINK videos, video

Do the childfree get the shaft at work?

This is the latest in a series of Saturday GINK videos about population and reproduction (or a lack thereof). Just in time to stir up angst for the holiday season, CNN and The Fiscal Times look at how childfree people can get stuck working longer hours and less desirable days and shifts. "[I]t's often the childfree employees who pick up the slack because of a coworker's flexible schedule, holiday plans, or maternity leave," writes Katherine Reynolds Lewis in The Fiscal Times. She quotes Two Is Enough author Laura S. Scott (whom I interviewed earlier this year): "There's an assumption that …

Read more: Childfree, Living