TIME Opinion

This Photo of Kim Kardashian Shows Why Women Can’t Have It All

Kim Kardashian and sister Kourtney leave apartment building with baby North in the stroller, NYC
Kim Kardashian with her baby North in the stroller on June 16, 2014 in New York City. Splash News/Corbis

This picture is worth a thousand words

Nobody would argue that Kim Kardashian is an everywoman, but this picture proves she’s certainly trying to be every type of woman at the same time.

The stroller says “I’m a mommy,” but her boobs say “I’m a sex goddess.” Her silver eyeliner says “I’m a party animal,” while her nude lipstick says “I’m a natural beauty.” Her retro blowout says “I’m pulled together” while her blazer, well, isn’t. But above all, her shoulder pads say “I’m a professional,” which she most certainly is. (Kardashian’s estimated worth is $45 million.)

Baby + boobs + beauty + blowout + blazer = BOOM. Kim Kardashian is having it all, at one time, in one picture.

Three cheers for Kim Kardashian, the Mrs. Potato Head of modern womanhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME Marriage

More Millennial Mothers Are Single Than Married

Despite the anxiety society still feels about single mothers, most American mothers aged 26 to 31 had at least one child when they were not married. And the number of these millennial single mothers is increasing. In fact, in a study just released by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, only about a third of all mothers in their late twenties were married when all their kids were born. And two thirds of them were single when at least one of their kids were born.

The less education the young women have the higher the probability that they became a mom before they got married. Conversely, the married moms of that generation probably have a college degree. “It is now unusual for non-college graduates who have children in their teens and 20s to have all of them within marriage,” says Andrew Cherlin, one of the authors of the study “Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort.”

Sociologists such as Cherlin have been tracking the decline of marriage as one of the milestones or goals of an individual’s life—the whole “first comes love, the comes marriage, then comes the baby with the baby carriage” paradigm. And it’s clear that an increasing number of young people are just not putting a ring on it. “The lofty place that marriage once held among the markers of adulthood is in serious question,” says Cherlin.

Motherhood is beginning to show the fissures along income and education lines that have already appeared in other aspects of U.S. society, with a small cluster of wealthy well educated people at one end (married with kids), a large cluster of struggling people at the other (kids, not married) and a thinning middle. While many children raised by single parents are fine, the advantages of a two parent family have been quite exhaustively documented. Some of these advantages can be tied to financial resources, but not all.

Among people with kids between the ages of 26 to 31 who didn’t graduate from college, 74% of the moms and 70% of the dads had at least one of those kids while single, Cherlin found. A full 81% of the births reported by women and 87 % of the births reported by guys were from people who didn’t finish college, so some of these single, lower education parents had more than one kid.

The chart below, using data from the National Longitude Study of Youth 1997, which looks at people born 1981 to 1984, shows all the births reported by women who didn’t get through high school, how old they were when their kids were born and whether they were married. Only a quarter of these young moms were married, slightly more than a third were living with someone, not necessarily the child’s father, and almost 40% had no partner at all.

 

unmarried mothers high school
Johns Hopkins University

 

Among college graduates, the picture is a little different. These young women account for fewer births—college graduates delay having kids generally—and as the number of births goes up, so does the number of marriages. “If marriage retains its place anywhere, it would be among the college graduates,” said Cherlin, “The difference between them and the non-college-educated with regard to the percentage of births within marriage is so striking as to suggest a very different experience of early adulthood.”

Johns Hopkins University

 

The study points out that unmarried couples have a high break up rate in the first few stressful years after the birth of a child and that this often leads to what’s called “multi-partner fertility” in the academy and “a lot of different baby mamas” in the rest of the world. This kind of family instability, with step-siblings and half siblings and a lot of fleeting parental figures can be tough on both finances and on kids and leads to the calcification of social inequality “The sharp differentiation by education in the transition to adulthood,” says the study, “is another indicator that American society is moving toward two different patterns of family formation and two diverging destinies for children.”

TIME motherhood

Jason Biggs ‘Upset He Can’t Breastfeed,’ says Wife Jenny Mollen

"Orange Is The New Black" New York Premiere
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Actors Jenny Mollen (L) and Jason Biggs attend 'Orange Is The New Black' New York Premiere at The New York Botanical Garden on June 25, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage) Gary Gershoff—WireImage

Orange is the New Black Star goes all out for new son, says wife

Jason Biggs wishes he had milk ducts.

Bigg’s wife Jenny Mollen said the Orange Is the New Black star is so into being a dad, he even wishes he could breastfeed their son, Sid. “Jason is a total mom. He was upset that he can’t breastfeed,” she told ABC News. “For a while he was like, ‘Wait, can’t you pump so that I can give him the bottle?’ He’s all about it.” The actress and author isn’t shy about her embrace of breastfeeding — she regularly posts nursing images on her Instagram account.

Despite Bigg’s attachment, Mollen explained that since the pair currently conflicting schedules as she promotes her new book of funny essays, “I Like You Just the Way I Am,” and he continues working on Orange is the New Black, she’ll be taking their son along with her. “I’m trying to make peace for the fact that I don’t have a nanny so it’s going to be a lot of one-on-one time with my mom,” she said. “That’s what I’m dealing with!”

Is it because she can breastfeed and he can’t? Probably.

At least he doesn’t want to drink it.

TIME Parenting

Do Fathers Love Their Children Less Than Mothers Do?

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Sam Edwards—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

Moms report getting more happiness from their children whereas fathers ranked kids no higher than their career.

Women in relationships got a happiness boost after having children. Men only seemed to derive well-being from the relationship.

For example, a 1997 Pew Survey found that “ninty-three percent of mothers think their children are a source of happiness all or most of the time. Eighty-six percent of mothers of children under age eighteen say their relationship to their children is crucial to their personal happiness (10 on a 10-point scale).” On the other hand, for men, children often rank no higher than career as a source of happiness.

And:

…Additionally, Kohler, Behrman and Skytthe identify a substantial and significant male-female difference in the effect of children on well-being—after controlling for the effect of a current partnership. “Females derive happiness gains from children even after controlling for current partnership status. The happiness of males, however, depends primarily on partnership status; once current partnership is controlled, men’s happiness does not vary systematically with fertility.”

Source: “The New Battle of the Sexes: Understanding the Reversal of the Happiness Gender Gap” from Ave Maria University, Department of Economics, Working Papers, number 1004.

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

TIME Family

Having a Second Baby Makes Moms Less Happy Than Dads

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Smiling family of four sitting in bed together Monashee Frantz—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

Dads, however, are pretty happy after the birth of baby number two

The birth of a first child usually brings both parents great joy, but new analysis shows that a mother’s happiness begins to wane after the second.

According to the FiveThirtyEight blog, 60% of men and women say they feel an increase or decrease in happiness after the first child is born. For baby number two, however, the numbers shift. About 65% of women report being less happy after their second child enters the world, compared to 40% of men.

But a second baby doesn’t just significantly impact a couple’s happiness, the little bundle of joy can be a burden (or blessing) for couples’ relationships too.

According to the data, derived from the annual General Social Survey, a National Opinion Research Center survey that examines societal change, women are less likely to be dissatisfied in their relationships after the second child than men. About 85% of men reportedly feel less satisfied in their relationship as their family expands, compared to 51% of women.

So while mom is overwhelmed by the stress of raising kids, dad is growing less satisfied in the relationship. Great news to kick off Father’s Day weekend, huh?

[FiveThirtyEight]

TIME motherhood

Why All the Controversy About a Black Woman Breastfeeding?

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Mother nursing son SelectStock—Getty Images/Vetta

A photo of a woman breastfeeding at her graduation stirred up lots of debate-- but why?

When Karlesha Thurman posted a photo of herself breastfeeding during her college graduation ceremony, she never expected to stir up a national controversy about breastfeeding and race. She was met with a flurry of negative comments about her decision to nurse her daughter in public.

“I honestly thought that as a society, people were more understanding of breast-feeding,” Thurman, 25, told the Today Show. “It’s not disgusting, it’s not a bad thing, it’s not a negative thing.”

So why has the image of Thurman breastfeeding caused such a kerfuffle? The photo put a spotlight on the African American community’s complicated relationship with breastfeeding. After some of the more negative comments were tweeted, the photo was picked up by Black Women Do Breastfeed, a page devoted to celebrating black women who nurse. Data from the Center for Disease Control clearly shows that in some states black mothers are 20% less likely to breastfeed than white mothers, a possible indication that black women are more comfortable with formula feeding.

One of the major problems is that we don’t see it, so it’s not a normal behavior for women,” said Dalvery Blackwell, co-founder and project director of the African American Breastfeeding Network in Milwaukee. “In our community, when we walk outside, we don’t see women breastfeeding. Among Caucasian women, breastfeeding and lactation is part of a normal conversation. We’re not having those conversations in our homes, churches, schools, etc, and we need to change that.”

Whatever the reason, breastfeeding is now on the rise among African-American women; 59% of black mothers said they breastfed in 2008, compared to 47% in 2000. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants breastfeed for at least the first six months, and ideally continue until they’re at least one year old. But whether a mother chooses to breastfeed depends on a host of factors, like whether her peers are nursing and whether she has paid maternity leave.

In order to change behavior and truly start integrating this form of nutrition, we have to see it,” Blackwell said. “Someone once said to me ‘thank you for breastfeeding in public,’ so now when I see a mom breastfeeding I stop my car and go up to her and say ‘thank you.’

But it’s not just social conventions that are keeping African American mothers from breastfeeding; as with women of every race, there are serious professional obstacles. “The system has made it difficult in terms of maternity leave, family policy, and lactation spaces,” Blackwell said. “How does it feel to say to your boss ‘I need to take a break so I can pump.’ How is that going to work at McDonalds?”

Another CDC report on breastfeeding confirms that “low-income women, among whom African-American and Hispanic women are over-represented, are more likely than their higher-income counterparts to return to work earlier,” and often to jobs that make it challenging to breastfeed during the day.

Despite some of the negative comments, Thurman has also received an outpouring of support, and the controversy over her photo has caused other African-American women to speak openly about breastfeeding. One message on Black Women Do Breastfeed said, “I have found that Black Americans seem to have more of an issue with the topic then our counterparts around the world.
Thank you for spreading the word. Because yes, black women breastfeed.”

 

 

TIME Parenting

Dads Claim They’re Pulling Their Weight at Home

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Proud father and his son in nature Maartje Van Caspel—Getty Images

Study finds that 45% of dads say they share childcare tasks equally, but only 27% of moms say the same

A new survey of dads conducted by NBC’s TODAY Show reveals that fathers are really good at pretending to do chores.

The survey found that 54% of dads say they change diapers. But hold your applause, because that means 46% of dads never change diapers. Which is funny, because 45% of dads say they share childcare tasks equally with moms. And only 27% of moms agree.

But if they’re not changing diapers it’s probably the moms’ fault, because 21% of dads say they feel criticized for not doing childcare tasks the way their wives do.

Three out of ten dads say they do the majority of the grocery shopping, and 26% of dads say making meals is their job. Which means that 70% of women do the majority of the grocery shopping, and 74% of moms do the cooking.

Three cheers for the illusion of progress!

 

TIME motherhood

Angelina Jolie Knows How Lucky She Is and Isn’t Embarrassed to Talk About It

"The Normal Heart" New York Screening - Arrivals
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the New York premiere of "The Normal Heart" at Ziegfeld Theater on May 12, 2014 in New York City. Ben Gabbe—Getty Images

Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow, ahem

BREAKING NEWS: A celebrity said something about motherhood and nobody is upset about it.

When Angelina Jolie was asked what she thought of New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray’s comments about guilt and motherhood, she used it as an opportunity to acknowledge how lucky she is to be a rich movie star mom.

“I’m not a single mom with two jobs trying to get by every day,” she told the New York Daily News. “I have much more support than most people, most women in this world. And I have the financial means to have a home and health care and food.”

When I feel I’m doing too much, I do less, if I can,” she said. “And that’s why I’m in a rare position where I don’t have to do job after job. I can take time when my family needs it.” Jolie stars in the upcoming Disney movie Maleficent, in which her daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt makes her acting debut.

Jolie was directly responding to the backlash to Chirlane McCray’s comments in New York Magazine this week about how it was difficult for her to adjust to motherhood:

“Especially with Chiara—will we feel guilt forever more? Of course, yes. But the truth is, I could not spend every day with her. I didn’t want to do that. I looked for all kinds of reason not to do it. I love her. I have thousands of photos of her—every 1-month birthday, 2-month birthday. But I’ve been working since I was 14, and that part of me is me. It took a long time for me to get into ‘I’m taking care of kids,’ and what that means.”

McCray’s insight doesn’t seem so crazy — it seems pretty understandable, actually — and the rest of the piece detailed how she had stopped working for several years after she had her second child to care for him and her mother and her mother-in-law both of whom moved in with the de Blasio family. But that didn’t stop the New York Post from taking advantage of that moment of candor to put a screaming “I was a bad mom” headline next to McCray’s face on their cover.

Jolie may have been asked about McCray, but in her answer she’s offering a direct contrast to statements by Gwyneth Paltrow, who got slammed for telling E! movie stars have it harder than moms who work office jobs.

“I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

Paltrow’s tone-deaf comments sparked even more outrage than McCray’s, and caused working moms everywhere to ridicule her ridiculous notion that filming one movie a year is harder than working a steady job.

MORE: Gwyneth’s Mom Problem

TIME motherhood

‘My Husband Wants to Breastfeed:’ The Phenomenon Nobody Talks About But Everyone Googles

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Mother nursing baby son (9-12 months) father leaning on sofa John Howard—Getty Images

Some men are turned on, some are curious, and some are just trying to help out their wives

It’s the suckle that dare not speak its name. In worldwide Google searches, “my husband wants me to breastfeed him” is a more popular search term than “my husband wants to separate” and “my husband wants a baby” combined.

Um, what? Seth Stephens-Davidowitz originally reported these numbers in the New York Times, and most of that breastfeeding search traffic is coming from India. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that breastmilk is becoming a delicacy in India, it does suggest a lot of interest. And it begs the question: is this really a thing?

Absolutely, says Dr. Wendy Walsh, a relationship expert and self-described “dairy queen” who nursed each of her children until they were 3. “Every breastfeeding mother I ever knew said their husband asked to drink it,” she says adding that the father of her child also asked to nurse once in a while.

Drinking human breast milk is enough of a niche fetish that there’s even a whole bar in Japan dedicated to it, where men can either buy shots of milk or get it straight from the nipple. Corky Harvey, who co-founded the Pump Station and Nurtery in Santa Monica, CA, said that when she asked nursing mothers whether their husbands ever tried to breastfeed, two women said they had heard of friends getting this request from their husbands. And one woman said she had been at a party where a man came up and asked if her husband like to “suckle on those breasts.”

“I think with a lot of men, there’s just a curiosity of what it tastes like, and what it would be like to nurse,” said Wendy Haldeman, who co-founded the Pump Station with Harvey. “Certainly men suck on nipples during sex, so they’re gonna get milk.”

But husband breastfeeding can be as much about utility as curiosity. “If the milk is backed up in the breast, and it’s very painful, and sometimes the baby can’t get it out and the pump can’t get it out,” she says. “And there have been times when the dads have been successful at clearing the blockage.” She added that the fathers’ teeth sometimes make this a bit complicated.

None of the lactation experts or OB-GYNs we spoke to said they had noticed a real adult breastfeeding trend in the United States, but they also weren’t particularly surprised to hear that it was a common search query.

“If you put women who are nursing together with partners who are having sex, then it’s bound to happen,” said Felina Rakowski-Gallagher, founder and president of the Upper Breast Side lactation center in New York City. “And if it’s bound to happen and there are no negative consequences, maybe it’s something that Mother Nature intended.”

But if asked, most American men say they’re definitely not into drinking milk directly from their wife’s breast. George Silva, a 42-year old banker from Caracas, Venezuela told me he “never considered” tasting his wife’s milk while she was nursing their two children, now 8 and 5. “I never heard of a man who wanted to try it,” his wife Lisa said.

“I had no urge whatsoever,” said Anthony, a 43-year-old New York wine salesman who asked that his last name not be used. “And there was tons of it.”

Perhaps husband breastfeeding is a global phenomenon that hasn’t caught on in the United States yet. “It’s happening around the world, not just in India, but in China and Europe” said Dr. Diane Spatz, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing who also works at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Men think, ‘oh there are all these health benefits of human milk, so if I’m a man, and I want to make myself healthier, then this is what I’m gonna do,’” she said, adding that the effects of breast milk on adults have not been extensively studied.

And obviously there’s a difference between an occasional sip and regular feeding. “My concern about it is that if this is happening, then the baby might not be getting access to the mom’s own milk,” says Spatz.

But even if this is happening in India, as the search numbers suggest, Indian women are hardly nursing their husbands in the streets. “This is completely new to me, I don’t see that as a common phenomenon in India” said Effath Yasmin, a Lactation Consultant who runs Nourish & Nurture Lactation Care & Parenting Education in Mumbai, India. “But we’re from a very conservative culture and women perhaps would not approach professionals to discuss about this. That could be why they’re maybe looking for it on the internet.”

Some experts say that adult breastfeeding might also have an element of jealousy to it, and that the breastmilk fetish might come from the fact that the breast’s sexual and nutritional functions are getting confused. “The breast has a day job and a night job,” Dr. Walsh says. “The breast used to be the man’s play-toy, and suddenly the baby is coming in and playing with daddy’s favorite play-toy.”

“Is it bad?” she asked. “Who cares?”

 

 

 

TIME Parenting

A Case for Parenting the Dolphin–Not Tiger–Mom Way

Today
Amy Chua appears on NBC News' "Today" show. NBC NewsWire—NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

Today’s disturbing trend of over-parenting is interfering with kids' self-motivation and ability to adapt.

I just accomplished my childhood dream of becoming an author, but my mom won’t be able to read my book. She never went to school, so she can’t read. Because of this, she never hovered over my homework and didn’t even know I applied to medical school when I was 19. She didn’t read any parenting books or blogs either. My mom parented me (and my four siblings) simply with what she felt in her gut was right for her kids and family. Like most parents of her generation and those that came before her, my mom raised her children by looking and listening to her parental intuition.

My mom was a Dolphin Mom, which means she was a collaborative (authoritative) parent. She was not a controlling (authoritarian) Tiger Mom, or a indulging (permissive) Jellyfish Mom. In addition to this parenting style, my Dolphin Mom prioritized long-term goals of living a healthy, balanced life with connection and purpose over short-term goals of medals and test scores.

As a psychiatrist and medical director, I have seen firsthand how modern-day parents are fast losing that knowledge gifted to us by nature. I believe this disconnect from our parental intuition partly explains the great paradox of our time: that we are the most involved group of parents in human history, yet our children have the highest rates of anxiety, depression, obesity and addiction than ever before. Today’s disturbing trend of over-parenting is under-preparing our children for a rapidly changing and ultra-competitive 21st Century by interfering with their self-motivation and ability to adapt.

This Mother’s Day, I will thank my mom for being a Dolphin Mom, for not over-parenting and for nurturing my nature and self-motivation. And for those who want to follow her example, this is how she parented:

Dolphin Moms are balanced and collaborative.

My mom was not an over-controlling, overbearing Tiger Mom. Nor was she a permissive, directionless Jellyfish Mom. My mom was the balance of these extremes, firm yet flexible. She had rules and expectations, including expecting us to do well in academics and be disciplined. But she also valued our autonomy, individual passions and independent choices.

Dolphin Moms do not overschedule.

I was never in a single scheduled activity. My parents didn’t have the time, money or interest to sign me up. My mom believed that the smartest people were not the busiest, but the most peaceful. Like many of today’s grandparents, she is horrified at our hurried lifestyles – and I agree. I’ve seen far too many kids who are sleep deprived, stressed out and burnt out simply because of the schedules imposed on them by their parents.

Dolphin Moms do not over instruct.

My mom believed in classroom learning, but also real-world learning. I learned math by counting change for passengers in my dad’s taxi. I learned spelling by translating documents to English. I learned that living in the real world is what ultimately prepares you for the real world. And without schedules and constant instruction, I learned to play freely and vigorously. It was not until I became an expert on the science of self-motivation did I realize the power of play. Play is directly linked to the development of our prefrontal cortex and helps a child develop vital social, intellectual and emotional skills that cannot be acquired any other way.

Dolphin Moms don’t over protect.

Of course, my mom protected me from serious harm, but she didn’t shelter me from life’s ups and downs. She let me make my own mistakes – plenty of them! And as long as I was okay, she didn’t rescue me when I fell down. My mom was known for saying, “It’s your choice, but it’s also your mess to clean up if it doesn’t work out.”

Dolphin Moms create a pod of support.

Social connection and bonding are the centerpieces of our culture. Dolphin Moms encourage their children to connect and contribute to others in a meaningful way. This forms essential social skills, character, values and a sense of community for mom and their children. My mom expected me to be fully independent yet fully connected to my family and community. She expected me to live a healthy life of balance, meaning and purpose.

Dolphin Moms adapt.

My mom did not parent all five of her kids the exact same way, nor did she stick to the same methods as her kids grew up. She constantly adapted to her changing kids and their changing environment.

As a mom of three, I have learned more about parenting from my mom than from my 15 years of academic training, my 12 years of clinical practice and all the books and blogs that I read. So although my mom will wait for the audiobook version of my book, The Dolphin Way: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids Without Turning Into a Tiger, she doesn’t really need to. She has lived The Dolphin Way her whole life.

Dr. Shimi Kang is a Harvard-trained physician and an expert in the neuroscience, psychology and day-to-day reality of human motivation. She is currently the Medical Director for Child and Youth Mental Health for the city of Vancouver and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia.

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