October 16, 2020
“My 5yo not wanting to brush her hair because her “hair is tired” is on another level of excuse that I think we can all learn from.”
weekly survival tip
Election anxiety getting the better of you? Not sure, but lately you’re definitely feeling off? Here’s how to know if stress about Nov. 3 is taking its toll on you and what to do about it.
We’ve brought Emily Oster to you in this newsletter before via her own newsletter, ParentData. She’s the top-selling author and data-driven economist from Brown University who provides numbers-based, hyper rational, answers and support to parents and pregnant women on everything from tongue ties to her recent major focus – how to safely open (and keep open) schools during the covid-19 pandemic. This profile of Oster in Bloomberg Businessweek is another way to get to know her and, it also happens to be a great read. We especially love Oster’s reminder about how to make decisions during this unpredictable time:
1. Frame the question. (Clearly define two or three options, instead of trying to evaluate infinite or indistinct possibilities.)
2. Mitigate risk. (What’s the safest way to execute those options?)
3. Evaluate risk.
4. Evaluate benefits. (Don’t overlook these.)
The goal, Oster explains, isn’t necessarily to be sure your decision is the right one. But to be sure that you feel good about the way you made it. That makes a lot of sense to us.
Do you get the New York Times Parenting newsletter? If not, you might consider signing up – it’s really a pretty great resource. This week, the editor ended with a note about Louise Glück, (whose last name rhymes with “click”) an American poet who was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature last week. She is the first female poet to win the prize since 1996. The newsletter’s editor, Jessica Grose, wrote that she wanted to end on a “hopeful” note. So she included this quote below from Glück. It comes from a 2014 interview in Poets & Writers magazine. We think she nailed it.
“I used to be approached in classes by women who felt they shouldn’t have children because children were too distracting, or would eat up the vital energies from which art comes. But you have to live your life if you’re going to do original work. Your work will come out of an authentic life, and if you suppress all of your most passionate impulses in the service of an art that has not yet declared itself, you’re making a terrible mistake.” — Louise Glück
For a rare take on climate change, and the raging California wildfires it causes, read Dave Eggers’s moving narrative for the New Yorker. After visiting friends who live north of San Francisco, he paints a vivid portrait of what it’s like to live with – and fight – the historic wildfires that have engulfed that part of the country this year. It’s an intimate view of the increasingly tenuous nature of life in fire country and a plea for action because, “it’s not right, any of this,” he writes. “We can’t keep living like this. More than anything, we can’t expect firefighters to live like this.”
In more environmental news, here’s a bit about how the issue of fracking is stacking up during this election. Want the cliff notes? Well, sounds like Joe Biden is finding a way to appease both climate activists who want to eliminate the use of natural gases and fossil fuels as well as the trade union leaders who want to protect the natural gas industry. Seems complicated. But, according to this NYT piece, Biden “vowed, after pressure from liberal activists, to bar fossil fuel leaders from his transition team should he be elected, while also repeatedly assuring unions that he won’t ban fracking.” And those promises seems to be sticking, so far…
That same article also has some great tips on how to have a more environmentally conscious Halloween this year. Think: pillow cases instead of plastic bags for candy and organic pumpkins you compost when you’re done with them, rather than tossing them out. Read the piece for more good tips.
This section is our place to give you tips about cool products we think might make life a bit better. But, this week, we wanted to focus a bit more on how to buy stuff, rather than only what to buy. So we’re exploring a key question: Can fast fashion really be eco-friendly? It’s tempting to think so. The prices are so good! But, sadly, it turns out, it’s pretty tricky to buy environmentally friendly AND super inexpensive clothes from H&M and other large retailers. This podcast will fill you in on a bit more, providing a lot of helpful context. But, sounds like our best bet is to buy secondhand items or pricier, higher quality ones, and fewer of them over all.
Still, here’s a purchase that caught our eye and that hopefully will not end up in a landfill…a book about boys who love to dance ballet. Often an underrepresented group in literature, male ballet dancers are also too often the subject of derision. This new book called “Boys Dance!” by the author John Robert Allman, aims to counter all that and to show boys that they can and should dance if they want to, no matter what others say about it. American Ballet Theatre principal dancer James B. Whiteside, one of eight male dancers to appear in the book, said that its message will “teach kids that their love of ballet has nothing to do with anything other than loving ballet.” Sounds about right to us.