Friday, February 24, 2012

why you shouldn't trust sleep experts {featured read}

I've always been skeptical to the universally prescriptive measures of sleep experts, so this new survey of 300 sleep studies analyzing more than a century of sleep experts' research, stood out to me for at least a couple of reasons. 1) For more than a century, children have consistently gotten less sleep than recommended guidelines. 2) Recommended guidelines change over time and appear to be pretty subjective. 3) The hectic pace of modern life has been blamed as the culprit throughout all the surveyed studies, dating from the late 19th century.

So perhaps they do need more sleep. But in reality, there is almost no evidence about how much sleep kids truly need to function their best. “We think for no particularly good reason that kids need more sleep than they’re getting,” says [senior author Tim Olds, a professor of health sciences at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, who studies health and how we use our time]. “People are always recommending kids sleep more than they do.” “Every so often a group of blokes get together and say, What do you recommend, boys? Should we push it up to 9 hours, 15 minutes? It really is like that, honestly. It’s an arbitrary public-health line in the sand that people draw.”
The take-home message, according to Olds? “Never trust sleep experts.”

Read the whole article at Time Healthland: A History of Kids and Sleep: Why They Never Get Enough

Friday, February 17, 2012

i could be tilling the soil

I am a stay-at-home-mama-writer who struggles with guilt. How about you? If you're a stay-at-home-parent who's also pursuing your own work, do you feel guilt too?

I posed this question to a friend and fellow mama-writer in town at a book reading she had from her hot-off-the-press stay-at-home mom manual earlier this week (cover pictured). She answered no, not so much; your standards sort of slide, she explained (as a mother of two).

I know I probably worry too much because I dread so much being anything like my mom. I also know it's my responsibility, and certainly not my child's, to set the boundaries I need to ensure I get enough done of what's important for me to stay sane.

We live in a more child oriented time than ever. Many of us structure our lives around our new babies (unlike tiger moms and French parents who apparently expect a baby to smoothly fit into the life they already have). I've written that:

Friday, February 10, 2012

i'm pregnant, but not in the typical way

I Am Not a Goner
This post is about giving birth. To a book. The two things I've been hoping the most for lately are a baby and a book. So, we've been having more sex (not a bad thing), and I've been working longer hours at night (yes; yet again). Now, listen to this: I submitted a query for my now soon-to-be-published book to the publisher (that has since offered me a contract) on the day I had penned down in my planner that I was probably ovulating. When I early one morning after that received a response telling me they were interested, and I jumped into bed to wake Leighton to tell him, his response was that it was just like when I jumped into bed years back to tell him my pregnancy test was positive.

And it felt the same way.

I really would like to be pregnant with a baby again too. I really would like another child in our little family.

But I really also want to give birth to a book. Recently, I've found myself intensely missing more of my professional self. I miss conferences and giving talks. Teaching college students. Having more patient students to teach. Engaging in more complex conversations.

Friday, February 3, 2012

good arguing is good for the family

Research shows that arguing can be good for your marriage, but only if it's done right, reports the Star Tribune. "There's a difference between 'good fighting' and 'bad fighting,' and the latter can be as destructive as the former is beneficial."

I grew up in a house of anger and never knew there was such a thing as "good" or "constructive" arguing until I met the family of my first boyfriend. A raised voice still reduces my body to a pit of dread. In my head, I know that it can be totally fine and healthy to engage in a heated argument, but my body just doesn't trust it.

I really struggle with this one, because I want to be a good role model for Lilly. I want to be able to demonstrate constructive-issue-oriented arguing to her (as opposed to destructive-people-oriented, intentionally hurtful and abusive fighting) but I still haven't been able to have an argument with Leighton without feeling death, even if, when looking back on it, the argument was in fact quite "good," and with a sense of closure, resolution, at the end. Says William Doherty, a professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Family Social Science, about arguing in front of your children:
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