Plus, the NBA star and his mom |


Helloooooo, parents and those who like to read about them,

A colleague came to me with a panicked look recently because she realized how incredibly tough summer is going to be with a kid who is too young for camp but too old for toddler day care. It brought it all back to me in a flash, the crazy quilt of arrangements that parents of young kids have to organize to make sure they can be at work during at least some summer weeks. According to an expert I interviewed recently, the number of homes with a full-time stay-at-home parent has been hovering about 25% for the last couple of decades. The rest of us are throwing everything at the wall every summer and seeing what sticks. I'm of the opinion that this is one of the reasons American married couples are more unhappy after they have children than those in Europe; because European parents have more family-friendly-but-expensive-to-the-taxpayer childcare initiatives. Despite these many stresses, I hope you and your families find time to have some quality, carefree, languid, long stretches of time just hanging out together in the next few months. As a mom of older kids, I want you to know that you will treasure them later. Also, don't forget you can do a little dividing and conquering with your spouse's vacation too, if you need to! Speaking of whom, thank you so much for the suggestions for Father's Day gifts last week. In case you're wondering I went with scent. It was a hit.

I'm at or @luscombeland on twitter. Thanks to all the parents who emailed me with their stories of having left paid employment to look after their kids! Still looking for others, particularly if you did it recently.

P.S. If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to a friend. And if you got it from a friend, sign up here for email delivery each Friday. You know, more or less.

Hot off the presses from the Department of Things Parents Really Don't Need to Worry About! Teenagers, phones and devil horns. Cross it off your list. You're welcome!   TIME

This week saw us celebrating World Refugee day.  Sometimes that subject can be a little abstract or scary for kids, but if you want a way to talk about refugees with your children, Time For Kids has some excellent resources. Here are its top five stories on the subject:
1) Refugee Report
2) 8 Questions for Halima Aden
3) Safe in Schools
4) Muppet Helpers
5) Heart of a Champion

By the way, if ever you felt the desire to donate a Time For Kids subscription to a struggling school, there's a very easy way. Donors Choose.

When I first read that Patrick Shanahan was taking his name out of consideration for the role of Defense Secretary, "for family reasons," I was puzzled, since nobody usually believes that excuse any more. But when I read further, and found out that his family had endured some difficult times, I got it. No family is perfect, and outsiders can never really know why a family hits a low point as far down as the Shanahans' low point. Before judging anyone,  I think it is worth remembering that people who seek a life in public office often do so at personal cost, or cost to those around them, or both. TIME

Don't tell your kids about this just yet, but there's a rumor that Toys R Us might reopen a few stores in time for holiday gift giving season so you can have the opportunity to either (a) take your kid to a magical wonderland of games and fun and watch their stares of delight or (b) drag your wailing kid from the store because you declined to buy him or her yet another plush animal. (I may or may not have done both of these.) Here's hoping for (a)! TIME

Cue this story up for the next time you're in despair at the work that parenting requires. Or if you just like a good weep. The No. 1 pick at the NBA’s draft on Thursday night, Zion Williamson, wanted to share his spotlight with someone else—his mom, who coached him until he was 14. (He's only 18 now. ) TIME

One really great thing about school vacation is that your kids can have a good long sleep. We tend to worry about sleep no matter which way it goes. Sometimes, when the children are up late doing homework or getting up too early, we worry that they're not getting enough rest. And then when they sleep in, we can find ourselves thinking, Is this kid never going to get out of bed? Here's a handy primer on how to help your kid get just the right mount of sleep this summer. Also, you should get some too.  TIME 

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Chip Gaines, TV personality and parent of five,

"I made every mistake in the book with Drake and Ella both. There's lots of stories of me leaving kids places I shouldn't have left them. I've forgotten birthdays. After you're like 'I'm the worst person.' But I'm a firm believer that it's the mistake that make us who we are."

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