TIME Parenting

Why Millennials Are Giving Their Kids Weird Names

And because Millennials love small brands

Every time the Social Security Administration releases the list of most popular baby names in the U.S. for the prior year, observers of the human species try to figure out what the significance of the most popular names are. This is not so surprising since we are the only species on the planet that gets to name its offspring (as far as we know.) Some of these explanations are more speculative than others, but none feels completely right.

Now that this year’s list is out, name-watchers have noted that J-names are getting unpopular while names starting with vowels are hot. Names that end in a plosive (Pete, Jack, Kate) are less popular than names that end in a fricative or a vowel. People seem to be losing interest in New Testament names (Mary is thin on the ground and Michael, who had a 45-year reign as male baby name No. 1, is trending down.) But Old Testament names (Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Abigail and Daniel) are enjoying a spike.

Now comes Goldman Sachs, pointing out in a study of Millennials, that even the most popular names these days aren’t anywhere near as popular as those of yore. Twenty five years ago, 3% of American babies were called Michael, and 2.3% were called Jessica. But Michael and Jessica, who are now of childbearing age, are giving their kids names that fewer kids share. The most popular names in 2014, Noah and Emma, accounted for only 1% of babies each. The report points out that you’d need to add all the Noahs, Jacobs, Liams and Masons together to get the percentage of Michaels there were in 1980.

“We turn to the history of baby names to possibly provide a window into evaluating parents’ expression towards brands,” says the Goldman Sachs report, which identifies two main reasons for the wider spread of baby-naming: “greater diversity among parents and … an appetite for more differentiated and unique brands (which we believe names are).”

That’s right: parents want to give their kids a different name not so they can call it out on the playground and not have five kids look at them, and not so that Olivia (second most popular girl’s name) will be the only Liv in her class, and not so that if she loses her towel at camp everybody will know whose it is, but because they want their kid to have a unique brand. Millennials are disruptive; they prefer small brands. And they don’t want their kid associated with any monolithic name that might dominate the cut-throat baby name market. (Tip: get in early and invest in Gannon and Aranza now.)

Goldman Sachs somewhat gingerly admits it doesn’t know everything about Millennial parents: “…their attitude towards parenthood strikes us as being more idealistic and aspirational,” than their forebears, the report notes. “Having said this, we acknowledge that we are still in the infancy of this theme and are likely to be introduced to changes in values, companies and business models as it develops.”

Just to prove disruption isn’t limited to Millennials, this Gen Xer has put both her kids names in this story. See if you can spot them (hint; they’re lower case.)

 

TIME Parenting

New Parents Spend Less Time Looking After Kids Than They Think

149355109
Miho Aikawa—Getty Images

And fathers overestimate how much housework they do

According to a new study, couples who have recently become parents believe they spend more hours in childcare than they actually do. And couples who intend to divide up childcare equally before their kid is born rarely achieve that balance once the baby arrives.

Researchers from Ohio State University interviewed 182 professional level couples before they had their kids and after. They also asked them to keep time diaries, which log how they spend their hours each day. The results might hold a clue as to why it’s harder for women to become business leaders, a subject that has been under much scrutiny in the last five years. But it also might provide ammunition in the so-called chore wars, because it suggests both men and women—but especially men—do less than they think do.

“Most modern couples want to share the duties and rewards of work and family equally,” says the study, which was prepared for an online symposium on housework, gender and parenthood (just in time for Mother’s Day!) hosted by the Council on Contemporary Families. And indeed before children enter the picture they divide up the labor pretty well. Men and women both report working about 45 hours a week and spending a further 15 hours a week each doing housework. This is borne out by their time-use diaries, which are a self-kept record of what activities took up their day. “Before the babies were born, most couples had achieved a balanced division of labor,” says the briefing paper.

When interviewed during their pregnancies, nearly all the couples had expected that balance to continue after their family grew by one member. “More than 95% of both men and women agreed that ‘men should share with child care such as bathing, feeding, and dressing the child’ and that ‘it is equally as important for a father to provide financial, physical, and emotional care to his children,’” the study says.

Nine months after the kids were born, which is about when schedules begin to settle in, the researchers interviewed the couples again, and each partner felt they had added about 50% to their overall work load. Instead of spending 60 hours a week on paid and unpaid labor, they reported spending about 90 hours a week. The moms estimated they were doing 27 hours of housework, 28 hours of child care, and 35 hours of paid work per week. The dads figured they were doing about 35 hours of housework, 15 hours of child care, and 41 hours of paid work per week.

So both men and women felt like they had reduced their time at the office. Dads felt as if they had picked up the slack around the house, more than doubling the time they spent doing chores, and then adding in 15 hours childcare as well. The women reported doing less housework than men, but a lot more childrearing.

Turns out, they were both wrong. According to the detailed time diaries that the participants kept, they women spent on average 12 hours less looking after the kids than they thought they did (15 hours). Even if playing and reading with baby—not strictly laborious—were included, women still spent six hours less with their kids than they had reported. Similarly, they were only doing about half as much housework as they guessed (13. 5 hours). Where did all the time go? The women spent 42 hours doing paid work— six hours more than they thought they spent in their jobs.

Dads’ estimates were even further off: they did about 10 hours of physical child care, about two thirds of what they had reported. They put in 46 hours of paid work —five hours more than they reported and more than they did before they had a child. But it was their estimate of housework that was the furthest off-base. “The time diaries revealed that on average the men did just nine hours of housework—only one-fourth as much as they thought they were doing,” says the report.

The authors, who were more interested in getting better access to reasonably priced and workable childcare than settling marital disputes about who’s not pulling their weight around the home, note that the eight extra hours a week could really add up. “Women’s total weekly workload increased from 56 to 77 hours across the transition to parenthood, while men’s increased from 59 to 69 hours,” says the study. “Thus, over the course of a year, our calculations indicate that parenthood increased women’s total workload by about 4 ½ weeks of 24-hour days, whereas parenthood increased men’s total workload by approximately 1 ½ weeks—a 3-week per year gender gap.”

The study is very small, and not nationally representative, but it does offer an intriguing perspective on the different impact being a parent has on men’s and women’s lives even in an era when equality is generally recognized as important. The danger is that if women feel overwhelmed they may decide to give up working outside the home.

Why is that a danger? “When a woman quits work, reduces hours, or takes a less-challenging job, she sacrifices earnings, raises, promotions, unemployment insurance, and pension accumulations, thereby undermining her future economic security,” writes Stephanie Coontz, Co-Chair and Director of Public Education at the CCF. “She is also less to likely to have the kind of work continuity that has been found to protect a woman’s mental and physical health better than part-time work, staying home, or experiencing frequent bouts of unemployment.”

Moreover, it further tips the balance of household labor away from the dads. Men feel even more pressure to work to make up for lost income, which leads to women taking over an increased share of the parenting and kids seeing less of their dads. Another paper prepared for the symposium shows that men’s contribution to the share of household work has increased markedly in every country studied, but clearly, the inequities remain.

Is there a solution? Perhaps, but it might involve some tense conversations. “We would argue that men and women should openly confront the workload inequities that develop in their child’s first nine months,” say the Ohio State authors, “because renegotiating the division of labor once routines are established is really difficult.” Alternatively, all new parents could keep a time-diary. Because they don’t have enough to do.

Sign up for TIME’s weekly parenting newsletter here. It’s free.

TIME Dave Goldberg

Dave Goldberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s Love Story

Goldberg and Sandberg in 2013
Kevork Djansezian— Getty Images

He won his wife over with a surprise trip to South America

Dave Goldberg, who died suddenly at the age of 47 on May 2, was captivated by his future wife the first time he met her in Los Angeles in the summer of 1996, when he was at a music startup and she was at the consulting firm McKinsey. But the feeling wasn’t completely mutual. They went to a diner in Westwood and a movie (Courage Under Fire) with a mutual friend. “We had this very special connection at dinner,” Goldberg said, and then Sandberg fell asleep on his shoulder during the film. “I was sort of smitten,” he said. “I’ve since learned that Sheryl falls asleep in many movies and on any near shoulder. So it didn’t mean as much to her as it did to me. But it did work on me.”

I talked at length with Goldberg in his office at Survey Monkey as part of my reporting for TIME’s 2013 cover story on Sandberg. He was, if less glamorous than she, a charming, warm, brainiac mensch. Theirs was clearly a very solid partnership. Sandberg praised her husband for his commitment to equal childcare in her book Lean In, which had a chapter devoted to finding the right partner. He was very supportive of her move to Facebook and her desire to try and effect some change. “[A desire for social change] runs deep in me and deep in my husband and deep in his family,” Sandberg told me in one of our interviews. After TIME’s story came out, she said that her favorite parts were about him.

But the couple had a pretty slow start. Sandberg had already been divorced and was dating someone else when she fell asleep on his shoulder that night and although Goldberg felt that they had made a “magical connection,” and friends told him he “goggle eyed” when he talked about her, Sandberg moved to Washington D.C., shortly after. Nothing more than friendship developed until 2001, when she arrived in San Francisco to work at Google, while Goldberg was still in Los Angeles.

They were both single in early 2002 when they decided to spend the winter break together. “As we got closer we both thought something might happen, but we didn’t really talk about it,” said Goldberg. He liked to plan travel (he later became the family’s travel planner, and even often helped plan Sandberg’s business trips), so he organized a trip to South America, and paid for it. Sandberg thought they were going to San Diego. “That was kind of our first date,” said Goldberg. “When you’re friends with someone, you can’t just go out to dinner and say ‘O.K., now this is a date.’ You’ve got to do something very different. It was either going to work out really well or it was going to be a disaster.”

It worked out pretty well, even though Sandberg, who was training for a marathon, made Goldberg join the first, most aggressive group to hike up a volcano in Chile. Goldberg started commuting to San Francisco and they rented a house. Six months later they got engaged. Goldberg had sold his company to Yahoo and couldn’t really leave Los Angeles so he commuted to San Francisco for four years, until they decided to have kids and Goldberg reluctantly left the business he had started and moved to San Francisco, eventually taking over Survey Monkey, the online polling firm.

“I had to give up on some of the music stuff I liked doing and this team I had built. That was hard,” he said. “I’d been working with these people for 13 years. I started my business with my best friend from high school. It felt like I was abandoning my team.” But he said that he knew one day his wife would do the same thing for him.

Goldberg, who was less inclined toward the public eye than Sandberg, acknowledged they were not very similar. “We are different,” he said. “She is organized and I am organized in a different way but not nearly as organized as she is. My desk is kind of messy. Sheryl’s is clean. I do my emails for the weekend on Sunday night. She does hers on Saturday morning. But I think that works well together. And I actually like it.” While Sandberg often touted Goldberg’s involvement at home as one of the secrets of her success, he said his wife wouldn’t be able to work with him: “She would be frustrated with me.”

Goldberg often gave his wife advice—he encouraged her to move to Facebook and to play hardball on her compensation discussions—but he told me that he probably got more out of their union. “One of the most talented, smartest people happens to be my wife so I can get great advice from her. She obviously knows me incredibly well and what I’m going through,” he said. “I don’t know that I’ve been as helpful to her as she has been to me.”

The couple had two kids, both now in their tween years. They wanted more, but her pregnancies were difficult. He was, by all reports, including his own, a very hands-on father. They tried to have dinner as a family most nights and after the kids went to bed, the two would get some more work done. On quiet nights they might play online games together. They were big fans of Scrabble on Facebook, which Goldberg usually won, and a German strategy game called Ticket to Ride. The only game they disagreed on was poker, because Sandberg didn’t much like to gamble. But, tragically, loss can strike even when you’re not playing.

TIME

Open Letter to the Woman Who Lost It on Her Son in Baltimore

We've all been there

Dear Toya Graham, aka the Mom who was videotaped losing it on her son in Baltimore,

You’re about to hear from the world. Everybody is going to want to weigh in on your parenting skills. It’s not every day that we see a woman really lay into her almost full grown son in public, whacking him on the head, chasing him down the street and shouting curses at him for his misdeeds.

I do not know exactly what set of circumstances led you to march down to the part of Baltimore where the unrest was erupting, possibly putting yourself in danger, and then popping open a can of maternal whupass on your child.

I know that you found him, wearing a mask, at protests which had turned ugly, with people burning shops and cars and throwing rocks at the cops. I know you told CBS that you “just lost it,” that you were “shocked” and “angry, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.” I know that you said you wanted to prevent him from becoming another Freddie Gray, whose unexplained death in police custody sparked these scenes in Baltimore.

But what nobody knows is what you had taught Michael in the 16 years you have spent raising him, whether he had been in trouble before, what other disciplinary methods you have tried or if people were relying on him to be somewhere else. We don’t know if other events that had nothing to do with him escalated your anger. And neither does anyone else, except you and him.

Many people are going to want to give you advice.

I am not in their number.

Anyone can recognize that you love your son, and you wanted him to be better than he was being at that moment. He never raised a hand to you in the video; so clearly he’s not someone whose go-to solution is violence. You must have taught him that. Reportedly, you are raising Michael and five daughters on your own. That’s enough to push anybody over the edge. I just want to go have a lie-down at the thought of it.

Mostly you reminded me of Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, where she marches into the alien’s den. And not just because she’s also wearing yellow and employing curses to make her point. It’s how ferociously she wants to protect the child in her care.

In all honesty, I think he’s going to hate the fact that he’s on a viral video getting the real life equivalent of a Hogwarts Howler more than the fact you slapped him. My wish is that this contretemps will not drive a wedge between you but that it will help you and he to understand each other a little better.

It’s true that most studies suggest that hitting your kid is not the most effective form of discipline. This is maybe not your finest parental hour. But many, many mothers are going to look at that video and see all the frustrations and anguish and fear they have about their sons reflected in your words and actions. Not all of them are going to agree with the way you handled it, but you are not the only mother to have been pushed to her wit’s end, I assure you. And nobody can claim that you don’t care about your son’s fate or what kind of human he grows up to be.

I said I wasn’t going to give you advice, but I have three tips. (1) Don’t read the comments. (2) You may want to retire that yellow shirt. It’s a great color, but way too recognizable now. And (3) Breathe. This too will pass.

TIME movies

Vin Diesel Spent His Childhood in an Artists’ Commune

Scott Garfield—Universal

But his old stomping ground of the West Village was a lot grittier back then

For a guy whose career has been built on the impressive circumference of his biceps, speed of his drawl and pack of his punch, Vin Diesel’s childhood was surprisingly artistic. He grew up surrounded by painters, writers and performers in the first ever federally supported housing complex specifically for artists.

Westbeth, located in New York City’s West Village, is a cluster of old industrial buildings that formerly housed Bell Laboratories. The building has a quite a history: it was where the first talking movie, TV broadcast, and binary computer were demonstrated. But Bell Labs moved out and in 1970, was replaced by 383 units of loft-style affordable housing and studio space for artists designed by a young Richard Meier.

To live in one of the apartments, potential residents had to prove they were both poor and working artists. (Their art was judged by a committee.) As a result, the place was crawling with creativity. The dance pioneer Merce Cunningham had studio space there, Miles Davis played at a friend’s apartment at Westbeth, and photographer Diane Arbus lived there—and, alas, died there, when she committed suicide in 1971.

Mark Vincent, as Diesel was then known, grew up there with his twin brother Paul, because his stepfather (he never knew his biological dad) was an avant-garde theater director, who later worked in TV and film education. His mom, Diesel says, was an astrologer. “It was an artist community, everyone was expressing themselves,” says Diesel, who is profiled in TIME this week. “Great painters, poets, sculptors, musicians and thespians all lived in this building. It was kind of a mecca for artists. What a magical place for a young artist to grow up in.”

Other kids who grew up in the building remember Diesel, or Mark Vincent as he was then known, being the kind of brotherly big dog that he plays in the Furious 7, the latest in The Fast and the Furious series. He would scurry around the former industrial complex with a gang of other little kids, getting into mischief. “He was definitely one of the ringleaders or alphas,” says Adam Davidson, a financial journalist who also grew up in the complex “I was younger and Mark would encourage us to go to parts of the building that were a little scary.”

Not surprisingly, the place was fantastically progressive. Davidson remember being shocked when he got to college in the ’80s to discover interracial marriage and homosexuality were frowned on in some circles. Equally unsurprisingly, families who moved into the complex rarely moved out. The once-gritty industrial neighborhood is now one of Manhattan’s swankiest. And yep, Diesel’s parents still live there.

TIME mating

Why Women Like War Heroes More than Any Other Kind of Guy

A stock image of a man in a military uniform lifting up a woman
Getty Images

And why men don't find brave women attractive

In a study that could explain so much about the Brian Williams thing, it has been found that women are more sexually attracted to men who have been deemed heroic during conflict than men who have merely served in the armed forces. And—sorry, humanitarians—men who were deemed heroic during a non-war-related crisis didn’t have nearly the same game.

Meanwhile, women who were considered heroic for any reason were found to be less attractive to men than regular women. (You read that right. Less attractive.)

The findings are the result of three studies done by researchers in England and the Netherlands. First, the researchers established from archives that World War II veterans who were Medal of Honor winners had more kids on average (3.18) than other returned servicemen (2.72).

The number of offspring is not completely correlated with the frequency of springing into bed, however. So the researchers asked 92 female British students to rate how attracted they were to various profiles and the war hero came out as the No. 1 most dateworthy type. Military service was attractive to women generally, but interestingly, if the guy had no war honors, whether he had served overseas or never left home base made no difference to his magnetism. In other words, men who see more action don’t necessarily see more action.

In the third study, 159 women and 181 men studying in Holland were given various profiles to rate and again the decorated war veteran was the female favorite. Soldiers who had been honored for their work in disaster zones or humanitarian crises got no spike in interest. And, depressingly, guys were less interested in women who had done something amazingly brave than women who hadn’t, even though the participants in the study were the supposedly gender equal Dutch.

The researchers were looking at the impact of medals not to enhance the dating resumes of veterans, but to examine the effect of conflict and bravery on evolution. (Those who attract the most mating partners have the highest chance of passing on their genes.)

So why are women drawn to guys who are demonstrably willing to engage in life threatening behavior? Because they’ve proved their genetic hardiness, suggest the researchers.

“Raids, battles, and ambushes in ancestral environments, and wars in modern environments, may provide an arena for men to signal their physical and psychological strengths,” says Joost Leunissen, a psychologist at the University of Southampton and co-author of the study. The thinking is that those who have the clarity of thought to try something life-saving and the physical prowess to pull it off must be built to survive, and are therefore a good evolutionary bet.

Leunissen also seems to offer, perhaps unintentionally, some eggheady advice on whether women should be on the front lines. “In light of the physical dangers and reproductive risks involved,” he says, “participating in intergroup aggression might not generally be a viable reproductive strategy for women.” Translation: not if they want to have kids.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com