TIME Family

Michelle Obama: I Love ‘Splurging’

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U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama speaks alongside President Barack Obama and the Easter Bunny during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 21, 2014 SAUL LOEB—AFP/Getty Images

The First Lady said that pigging out on favorite foods was fine from time to time, just so long as kids maintain a balanced diet and do plenty of regular exercise

Michelle Obama said Monday that “splurging is the key to life,” as long as it’s a small part of a healthy lifestyle.

“How would you appreciate vegetables if you never had chocolate?” the First Lady said during the White House Easter Egg Roll. “You couldn’t live without a little chocolate, a little French fries.”

The First Lady took questions from kid reporters during a question-and-answer session at the annual White House Easter event, and emphasized that occasionally splurging was O.K. as part of a balanced diet, alongside regular exercise, the Associated Press reports. “I still splurge when I can, but that’s why I try to exercise almost every day,” she told the young journalists, ages 6 to 13 years old.

Obama also said that her favorite sport is tennis, and she plays with her daughter Malia about once a week. She added that Malia also likes track and Sasha likes basketball and dance.

[AP]

TIME

5 Amazing Runaway Kid Stories

Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) American statesman, printer and scientist. Anonymous portrait.
A portrait of Benjamin Franklin Universal ImagesGroup/Getty Images

From Ben Franklin to Harry Houdini, sometimes running away is a good call

A 16-year old runaway survived over 5 hours hidden in the wheel well of a flight from California to Hawaii, despite lack of oxygen and temperatures as cold as 80 below. We don’t yet know why the teen ran away from home, but he’s clearly got some gumption. While many runaway kids end up trafficked or worse, there are some gutsy runaways that end up famous, or at least have a really good story.

1) Ben Franklin: Ben Franklin only came to Philadelphia because he ran away from his family Boston. He worked as an apprentice in his half-brother James’s print shop, but the brothers butted heads when James wouldn’t publish Franklin’s writing. Ben got tricky and started writing well-received letters under the world’s greatest pseudonym, “Mrs. Silence Dogood,” but when James found out he was furious. So Ben Franklin ran away and ended up in Philadelphia, where he founded the University of Pennsylvania and did some other stuff (discovered electricity, signed the Declaration of Independence, etc etc.)

2) Harry Houdini: The master showman pulled his first disappearing act when he ran away from home at the age of 12. He left his family, who had immigrated to Milwaukee from Hungary, and jumped on a freight car. Little is known about the year Houdini spent away from home, but he may have spent time in Kansas City. He later re-joined his family in New York and helped support them by working as a necktie cutter and photographer’s assistant. He later became the world’s most famous magician/showman.

3) Frank Abagnale Jr.: The real-life teenage trickster played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can got his start in crime when he ran away from home at 16. He forged checks, played doctor, posed as a lawyer, and even pretended to be an airplane pilot to get free flights. When he was finally caught, he served time in French and Swiss prisons before he was handed over to American authorities, but escaped out of the airplane used to transport him. After he was captured again, he served 5 year of his 12 year prison sentence and then started working with the FBI to help them fight check fraud. He’s now a millionaire security consultant.

4) Barbara McVay: 17-year old Barbara McVay really wanted to go to England in 1966. Her dad was stationed with the Air Force in the U.K, and, as she told the the Sarasota Journal later, “I like English boys.” One problem: Barbara lived in Baltimore. So she did what any teen would do, and stowed away on a Britain-bound submarine that was visiting Baltimore. The 1,600 ton submarine (called the Walrus) had been at sea for four hours when Barbara left her hiding place, feeling groggy from carbon monoxide. Crew members say it’s good she left when she did, because she would have drowned when that compartment filled with water. The Walrus turned around and brought Barbara straight back to Baltimore. “We certainly can’t have that sort of thing going on in the British Navy,” Captain Douglas Scobie told the Sarasota Journal. “Taking away one of Baltimore’s citizens is rather overextending our appreciation of their hospitality.”

5) Semaj Booker: In 2007, Washington 9-year old Semaj Booker really really wanted to see his grandfather in Texas. So he stole a car (which he learned how to do from playing video games) and led police on a high-speed chase. Police caught up with him and brought him home, but the next day he hopped a bus to the airport and snagged a plane ticket to Phoenix by using a fake name. Police picked him up when he tried to get to Dallas. In 2010, the 13-year old Booker had another run-in with the police when he allegedly stole a yo-yo from a store.

TIME Parenting

Dads Get Way More Leisure Time Than Moms on Weekends

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Cultura/Flynn Larsen—Getty Images

A new Pew analysis shows that while fathers and mothers have about the same amount of leisure time on weekdays, dads get an hour more of it than moms on Saturdays and Sundays (5.5 hours, compared to a mother's 4.5)

We’ve known for a long time that mothers spend more time on childcare and housework than fathers in general, but on the weekends, mom and dad should get an equal amount of leisure time, right?

Sadly—though perhaps unsurprisingly—for moms, that’s not how things usually go.

New analysis of Pew research shows that the “leisure gap” between fathers and mothers only gets bigger on the weekends. Though fathers and mothers have about the same amount of leisure time on weekdays (3.3 and 3.2 hours, respectively), dads get an hour more leisure time than moms on Saturdays and Sundays (5.5 hours, compared to a mother’s 4.5).

And that’s despite the fact that dads are spending more time on housework and childcare than they do during the week: dads spend an average 1.1 hours on chores on weekdays (compared to moms’ 2.4 hours) but 2.0 hours on weekends (compared to moms’ 2.8). They also spend 1.0 hours on childcare on weekdays (compared to moms’ 2.1), but 1.1 on weekends (compared to moms’ 1.5).

The moral of the story? Whether it’s the weekday or the weekend, dads need to spend less time on the golf course or watching TV and more time helping their wives take out the trash and play with the kids.

TIME Parenting

Here’s What’s Wrong With That Viral “World’s Toughest Job” Ad

Schmaltzy ads like the "Worlds Toughest Job" video don't help moms as much as dads do. Let's end the Mommy fetish.

The Internet got collectively teary-eyed over Tuesday’s viral video about the “World’s Toughest Job,” which is—surprise!—motherhood. The video, which turns out is actually an advertisement for Cardstore.com, comes from that Dove Beauty model of feel-good videos that you don’t know are ads until it’s too late and you’ve already shared it on Facebook. And with almost 8 million views in less than two days, it’s safe to say that millions have emailed the link to their moms with some XOXOs and a laundry question or two.

But the cutesy ode to motherhood doesn’t do the “profession” justice. And even worse, the video makes it sound like being a dad consists of an occasional game of catch and an awkward sex talk in comparison. By fetishizing all the things moms do for their kids, we’re forgetting that both parents are responsible for their children, and we’ve put the burden of care solely on the women. This ad shouldn’t be about motherhood, it should be about parenthood.

MORE: What Stay-at-Home-Moms Need: Dad to Do the Dishes

The idea that the 135-plus hour work week, the lack of breaks and holidays, the sleepless nights and the constant vigilance is just for moms and not for dads is part of the reason moms have it so rough. Maybe if this was an ad for fathers, moms could take a lunch break once in a while. But don’t keep your fingers crossed for a Father’s Day version.

The “World’s Toughest Job” ad is a token of appreciation, which is nice, but you’d think those 8 million views could have gone toward something that could actually help moms in a tangible way, like the Paycheck Fairness Act or more affordable childcare or workplace flexibility. But even if Cardstore.com wants to stay in the neutral warm-and-fuzzy area popular with greeting card companies, they could have at least expanded it to include the 189,000 stay-at-home dads who were their kids’ primary caregivers in 2012, or celebrated the millions of other dads who do just as much for their kids as moms do.

Not to mention that the whole idea of motherhood as a “job” is a touchy subject. That was a major weapon in the Mommy Wars, when stay-at-home mothers argued that their “jobs” were much more important than any workplace career, which was a backhanded jab at women who chose to work in an office. Since a recent Pew Study shows that the number of stay-at-home moms has increased to 29% after decades of decline (although mostly among women who can’t find jobs,) we might be seeing a resurgence of this idea.

MORE: More Mothers Are Staying Home

We already have a serious motherhood fetish, we don’t need schmaltzy ads making it worse. Let’s spread some of this mom-love towards the dads who do just as much.

TIME Tourism

Ski Resorts Want You to Pay for Next Season’s Skiing Right Now

Resorts are trying to get skiers locked in as loyal guests next season—and simultaneously keep them away from competitor mountains—with major deals for early-bird purchases.

America’s biggest ski resorts are at it again. For a variety of reasons, starting with recent seasons of less-than-stellar snow and ending with increasingly aggressive tactics in the pursuit of customer loyalty throughout the industry, resort companies are upping their game to convince skiers and boarders that they should pay for next season’s skiing mere days after the current season has ended.

And how do they get customers to commit so far in advance? By waving special offers that are often so good customers can’t refuse.

Two of the industry’s biggest players, Vail Resorts and Intrawest, make it easy even for those who are currently struggling to pay off credit card bills related to the ski season just in the rear-view mirror, by allowing customers to lock in pass prices now with only a $49 down payment. Once that’s been paid, the company has your credit card information—and before next ski season begins, your card will automatically be charged for the balance.

Vail, which owns and operates ten major ski resorts, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Heavenly, and Kirkwood, offers a wide variety of passes. The unrestricted Epic Pass is at the top price-wise, running $729 (up $40 from special prices available last summer), with a range of cheaper options for special buyer categories (kids, seniors, college students) and for skiers who can live with more restrictions (blackout dates, fewer resorts, etc.). Considering that a single-day walkup ticket can run well over $100 at a place like Vail, it’s easy to see how these season passes are well worth the money for even a moderate skier who figures to log in, say, 10 or 12 days of making turns each winter.

For diehards putting in a few dozen days per season on the mountain, these passes are no-brainers. They’re probably even underpriced. Why, then, do ski companies keep prices so low?

The big reason is that they want skiers to commit their money—and their loyalty—early, long before anyone can tell if the season’s snow will be good or bad (and potentially not worth the trip at all). They also want customers to commit because doing so largely eliminates the possibility that these skiers will wind up spending a day, let alone an entire week’s vacation, at a competitor resort. After you’ve already coughed up a few hundred bucks for a pass, after all, you’ll want to use it rather than paying more money out of pocket.

The ski companies are also well aware of the powerful trickle-down effect of selling one pass. The likely result is that the passholder will wind up spending money in resort-area restaurants, bars, and hotels, perhaps over the course of seven, ten, or many more days. And pass purchases beget pass purchases, as skiers and boarders tend to buy passes at the same places as their skier and boarder family and friends.

In fact, the Intrawest Passport pushes group sales by directly incentivizing family and friends to buy their passes together. One adult pass, which grants six days of mountain access at each of the company’s six North American resorts (including Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Stratton in Vermont, and Tremblant in Quebec), costs $589. But up to five additional adult passes purchased at the same time cost $449 each, and up to five kids ages 12 and under are totally free. The deal gets more appealing when you add more people to the mix—and bringing more customers to Intrawest’s resorts is exactly what the company wants.

Each of the many ski pass programs in North America features different price points and inclusions, but they all have one thing in common: They want your money asap. Intrawest is only guaranteeing current pricing through April 30. The Mountain Collective, which provides two days apiece at resorts like Whistler-Blackcomb and Aspen-Snowmass and 50% off the regular rate thereafter, is throwing in an extra free day at your choice of mountains for a vague “while supplies last” period. The Mountain Collective pass is now $359, up from $349 last season, and runs $99 for kids 12 and under.

Another pass partnership, the Powder Alliance, hasn’t announced its policies for the upcoming season yet. If they remained unchanged from 2013-2014, all season passholders from a dozen resorts will automatically get three free days each at all of the other participating resorts, including Stevens Pass in Washington, Crested Butte in Colorado, Snowbasin in Utah, and Schweitzer in Idaho. And yes, you can expect discounts for buying passes early. The pricing at Schweitzer, for instance, generally calls for 2014-2015 passes to rise by $100 as of June 1. The takeaway is pretty obvious: Smart skiers will want to lock in a lower price now.

TIME society

No Salary, No Benefits, No Sleep: This Is The World’s Toughest Job

Only the strong survive

A company placed this classified ad looking to fill a Director of Operations position.

The job had a mandatory 135+ hours a week of work and required the job holder to be on call at all times, day or night. Qualified candidates should have a knowledge of psychology, medicine, personal finance, culinary arts and basic technology skills. The job also had physical requirements: the ability to stand for hours, lift up to 75 pounds, be constantly moving and operate on little to no sleep.

While the nation’s jobless claims may have dropped to the lowest levels since 2007, 24 people responded to the job posting at Rehtom, Inc., even though the position offered no medical or dental benefits, no pension and no paid holidays, but did offer “infinite opportunities for personal growth and rewards.”

The 24 applicants were interviewed via webcam. That’s when they got the surprise of their life. The video is worth watching all the way to the end.

[Via Adweek]

MORE: It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go to College

MORE: Here Are the Absolute Best (and Worst) Jobs of the Future

TIME Internet

The Facebook Baby Invasion Is Probably Just a Figment of Your Imagination

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Children and tablet computer Getty Images

It seems like baby pics are everywhere, but your mind might be playing tricks on you

Last year, I experienced a Facebook trauma that made me question if I could ever trust my News Feed again. There I was, scrolling away and minding my own business, when the photo of a sonogram popped up: “The arrow is pointing at baby’s scrotum/peepee!!” the caption exalted. “That’s our boy!!! Mommy and Daddy love you soooo much!!!!” For some reason, I hadn’t registered that this would be my News Feed’s natural progression after all of those engagement ring, “OMG I SAID YES, NOW CHECK OUT THIS ROCK!,” photo shoots. And like that, I started seeing baby Facebook photos everywhere.

Or maybe, like many other Internety 20-somethings, I was just being melodramatic. Because according to a piece on Wired, which enlisted the help of Microsoft Research computer scientist Meredith Ringel Morris, there really aren’t that many baby photos out there.

After a child is born, Morris discovered, new mothers post less than half as often. When they do post, fewer than 30 percent of the updates mention the baby by name early on, plummeting to not quite 10 percent by the end of the first year. Photos grow as a chunk of all postings, sure—but since new moms are so much less active on Facebook, it hardly matters.

New moms undershare. I’m probably more likely to see someone taking a selfie with Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict than their progeny. But I am probably less prone to be shocked by bacon and eggs than I am by a peer entering the parenthood stage of life.

Morris said that another reason why baby photos might seem to show up more frequently could be because they get a disproportionate amount of likes and, thus, get promoted on feeds. I’ll admit, I panicked and liked the “Peepee” shot… I’m part of the problem!

So what it all comes down to is, we all need to chill out and stop whining about the baby pictures. Even though some people definitely do overshare—a Twitter employee recently live tweeted her own labor—it’s not that big of a deal.

[Wired]

TIME feminism

What Stay-at-Home Moms Need: Dad to Do the Dishes

The economy is pushing more women than ever to stay home — and, sadly, having a husband doesn't ease the burden

Stay-at-home mothers — those allegedly latte-drinking ladies who spend their days playing tennis and getting their nails done; who are never late for school pickup because they’re already in the building dropping off teacher appreciation treats or reorganizing recycled toilet paper tubes — have long been the women we’ve all loved to hate.

But now we might just have to reconsider.

The Pew Research Center just came out with a report that turns the stay-at-home mother stereotype on its head in favor of a couple of much more thought-provoking truths. Namely:

1. Stay-at-home mothers aren’t “elite” women.

2. They aren’t really having a whole lot of fun.

The Pew report shows that stay-at-home mothers tend to be younger and less educated than mothers who work; almost half have a high school diploma or less, compared to 30 percent of working mothers.

It also indicates that they are less likely than working mothers to be white, and more likely to be immigrants. More striking still: Fully a third of stay-at-home mothers are living in poverty, compared to 12 percent of working mothers.

Many, as has long been true, aren’t home out of choice, but because circumstances (read: no work, or poorly paid work and no child care) have chosen for them. Interestingly, in the wake of the Great Recession, they’ve become more willing to share this sorry truth. According to Pew, the percentage of stay-at-home mothers who will openly admit that they are home with their children because they can’t find a job has increased from 1 percent to 6 percent since 2000.

There is one way that stay-at-home mothers have it easier than working moms: They have more leisure time, and get more sleep. But the Pew research suggests they’re a whole lot more likely to be watching Real Housewives sagas (while folding laundry and/or feeding babies) than living them. Married or not, well-off or not, they’re largely on their own when it comes to things like cleaning up and taking care of the kids. In fact, the Pew report shows, being married actually makes their work load heavier; stay-at-home mothers with husbands spend more time on child care and housework and have less leisure time (six full hours per week less) than do their single at-home counterparts.

How could that be?

For Wendy Wang, the Pew Research Associate who wrote the report’s chapter on time use, the greater number of total hours spent on child care by married stay-at-home mothers points to socioeconomic factors. Married stay-at-home mothers tend to be better educated, she told me this week, and as a result are better versed in the imperatives of time-intensive child-rearing: the singing, reading, talking, and playing games that in-the-know mothers understand they must do. As to housework: The latest Pew data don’t provide any interpretation, though a layperson’s answer might quite simply be that husbands make messes, and don’t necessarily clean them up. And as for leisure, well, just because a man is present, doesn’t mean his home-laboring wife gets a break.

“You only have 24 hours in the day,” Wang speculated to me about what goes through fathers’ heads when they walk through the door and don’t lend a hand. “And if you’re working full-time, you only have limited hours available.”

Those available hours for helping out with bath time and bedtime and vegetable chopping are made even shorter if a man has a schedule heavy in television-watching. (On average, fathers enjoy about three hours more personal leisure time per week than do mothers, Pew reported last fall, and most of that time is spent watching TV. For reasons not entirely known, Moms are also six times more likely than dads to report they feel “stressed” while relaxing.)

In sum: Stay-at-home mothers don’t need to be objects of our collective, envious projected fantasies about lifestyles of the rich and unsalaried — but a lot of them do need our help. They need ESL classes and job training; access to work that pays a livable wage, and, among other forms of parenting support, access to affordable, high-quality child care.

They also, quite frankly, if married, need their husbands to step up to the plate and give them a break. Full-time child rearing and care of a home is work — unpaid, undervalued, often overwhelming and emotionally draining work. It’s work that, while revered by Mother’s Day cards, comes with none of the financial empowerment of paid labor, and brings much less personal empowerment, too.

The proof: At the end of a long day, just look at who’s watching TV, and who’s doing the dishes.

Warner, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, is the author, most recently, of We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication.

TIME Family

Here’s the First Word to Be Added to the Scrabble Dictionary in 9 Years

Fans voted for this first new word update in nearly a decade.

The people have spoken: Scrabble fans have voted to add “geocache” to the players dictionary — the first new addition in nine years.

Hasbro revealed the word, “a verb meaning to seek items by means of a GPS device as part of a game,” on ABC’s Good Morning America today. “Geocache” beat out other finalists “zen” , “ew”, and “booyah” as part of a call for nominations on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page.

“We’ve been watching geocache for some time,” Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large at Merriam-Webster, said in a statement.

According to a 2010 New York Times article, this high-tech treasure hunt has been popular “only since May 2000, when President Bill Clinton announced that intentional degrading of signals received by civilians end, making their GPS devices more accurate.” It has become a family pastime, a budget-friendly hobby among parents and their children because they only need their smartphones to play. They find coordinates on websites like geocaching.com and head out to suburban malls and amusement parks together to find a “cache” or trinket hidden somewhere.

In fact, some might say it will be easier to find “caches” than to find a place to put down “geocache” on the Scrabble board because it’s an eight-letter word. On the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page, players are complaining in the comments section, arguing “Most bingos are 7-letter words that are connected to other words with an S or by a two-letter joiner (such as EW)” and “When will we ever need to use that one- always try to use ZEN and EW- many more opportunities for that to happen.”

TIME Humor

WATCH: Babies Pay Tribute To Their Leader, Prince George

"Don't Cry for Me, New Zealand"

Babies of New Zealand paid homage to their overlord when Prince George visited a playgroup during his first official public engagement Wednesday.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Australia And New Zealand - Day 3
Prince George of Cambridge during his first official engagement at Government House on April 9, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Getty Images

The King of Babes shook hands with the commonfolk, and assured them that he would do everything in his power to maintain good relations between the babies of New Zealand and the babies of the U.K.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Australia And New Zealand - Day 3
The Prince greeted well-wishers Getty Images

In his speech, he said it was his duty to “look out for the little people” and promised “a bottle in every crib.”

Prince George
The Prince raised a hand first official visit in New Zealand Marty Melville—AFP/Getty Images

Some angry protesters were upset at the Prince’s remarks, but they were quickly escorted away.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Australia And New Zealand - Day 3
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George attend an event at Government House in Wellington, New Zealand, on the 9th April 2014. Pool—Getty Images

Others presented the visiting dignitary with precious gifts to maintain good relations between babies of the two nations.

Prince George
Eight month old Prince George at his first official engagement at Government House, Wellington,New Zealand. Alan Wolf—NZ Govt/Getty Images

The Prince plans to continue his official tour of Australia and New Zealand with his parents and nanny in the coming weeks.

Watch here:

 

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