86 thoughts on “Mothers and daughters

  1. But with day cares closed and babysitters unable to work, grade schools and colleges forced online, extracurriculars canceled and tests such as the SAT postponed, many mothers have been spending more high-quality time with their children — time, he said, that has led them to re-examine some personality traits they wanted to foster in their children: kindness and compassion over competition, and empathy for those who may be struggling.

    Ah, America’s favorite narrative — the deprivations and struggles made us finer people.

    McCracken noted that many of the mothers he spoke with faced career setbacks amid the pandemic and, as a result, were questioning the importance of their career success. “Now they were thinking, ‘maybe this means less for my daughters, too,’” he said.

    Because having your daughters even more dependent on men is always a good thing.

    Bian, however, has a different take: “I think this will probably perpetuate these gender stereotypes, and even make these gender stereotypes emerge a little earlier than what we currently find,” she said.

    Probably.

    Anyway, Flyover, that’s why it annoys me. I don’t know if my reasons are your reasons.

  2. So a few things:
    1. Why is it unkind to ask people to wear masks? I don’t find that “shocking”.
    2. Mothers spending more time with children- umm, no. I mean we’re in the same geographic location more but are definitely not spending more ‘quality time’ together. I’m working a ton these days. Plus my kids are pre-teens/ teens – they don’t want to spend more time with me.
    3. I’m constantly asking, telling, pleading with my boys to be kinder, especially to each other. We talk about perspective and empathy a lot.
    4. The interviewed parents are talking about their 5 and 6 year olds. Give it a few years and their perspective may change, yet again.
    5. It saddens me that the women interviewed seem a bit defeated by (fingers crossed) temporary work set-backs.

    I agree with this statement: “I think this will probably perpetuate these gender stereotypes, and even make these gender stereotypes emerge a little earlier than what we currently find.”

  3. You know what rubbed me the wrong way? It came across that I should have all this new found time to spend with my daughters and have deep conversations with them. I’m barely hanging on with my professional life, I’m barely keeping my emotions in check when I’m trying to get them to maintain status quo with school. Having thoughtful conversations about teaching them the golden rule is, unfortunately, not on my priority list.

  4. “This article totally rubbed me the wrong way, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.”

    Mothers, mothers, mothers. Where are the fathers?? Don’t fathers have some say and influence over how they parent their kids? Perhaps, on average, fathers have increased the time they’re spending with their kids even more than the mothers, but no – let’s just focus on the mothers and how they are either ruining their kids lives today or how they are saintly all-powerful molders of the future generation.

    Mothers are so often framed as either sinners or saints in these articles, with no in-between, and dads as an afterthought if they are mentioned at all. And I get this sense in this article. Instead of parents of both genders being shown as 3D people.

    Also the questionable anecdotes that feed the narrative.

    “It’s probably a giant relief to be able to have these conversations about: It doesn’t matter if you make the varsity soccer team and look cute while doing it. What matters is that you’re nice to your teammates and that you’re reaching out to people who are struggling.”

    Oh please. Show me there has been a sea change in people actually changing this attitude. Plenty of people were encouraging the second before, and the type of parents who were pushing the first probably haven’t had a mass awakening.

    This article annoys the crap out of me too.

    And it doesn’t even have the tongue-in-cheek, half-serious tone of the NY articles of a similar flavor.

  5. “I’m barely hanging on with my professional life, I’m barely keeping my emotions in check when I’m trying to get them to maintain status quo with school. ”

    First, hugs! Second – YES!

  6. “It’s definitely true that daughters tend to have a better line of communication with their mothers than sons do. It’s a stereotype. It’s not true universally.”

    Actually, IME, opposite gender parents sometimes can have these kinds of conversations more easily than the same-gender parents. I was always more able to open up to my dad about certain things because my mom & I had different conflicts – some of which stemmed from being the same gender, feeling more unconscious “competition”, etc. And I see the same with DS and with lots of my friends & their kids.

  7. This seems like another one of those “I have a vague notion that I’d like to turn into a paid piece and I’m going to find some like-minded people to interview who will fill in both the anecdotes and the “experts” parts” rather than a real story.

    There is probably a template for these pieces.

  8. The article keeps focusing on daughters, as if it isn’t as important for sons to be kind. Sigh, I guess girls now have to add kindness to their laundry list of expectations. Slender, high grades, beautiful makeup, athletic, leadership qualities, can program a computer and fix a toilet, and kind to boot.

  9. This is what parenting my daughter looks like today… (from a FB post to my mommy mailing list). I am organizing the assignment firehose.

    It is Firehose Wednesday for my kid. Wednesdays are remote only, with no scheduled classes (teachers do have remote office hours). Every teacher is required to post an assignment which must be done by the end of the school day. So for the first two hours of the morning, DD watches the class sites to see when assignments pop up. She then scurries to do them. It is a lot of quizzes and busy work and the due times are almost random – 1:30, noon, 2pm, 2:30, 3, and even one at 6:59. It is a firehose of busy work.
    She also has a major history essay that is due at 2:30. and she is a very slow writer, so she is frantically trying to finish. Explain, using specific examples as evidence, continuity and change from the Achaemanid Empire to the Selucid, Parthian and Sassanid Empires. Ugh. I don’t even know how to pronounce that first one!

  10. Lemon Tree, exactly! I am managing my kid’s Wednesday todo list, while learning all about those pesky Persians so I can be a sounding board for her essay ideas. I am holding office hours at the same time, just finished setting up a Git repo for one of my classes for their project, and will be heading into a 3 hour meeting where we review all the junior faculty. Not a lot of kindness chatter today.

  11. I’ll be honest, I’ve actively worked to have my kids be less “nice”. I come from a long line of nice people. It was the most important thing in my upbringing. I can remember my righteous indignation being met with “Becky, that kid has more problems than you’ll see in your lifetime. I’m asking you to let this go”. I was always expected to put others feelings first. What I learned is that the world will run over you. I think I was around 28 and working in public accounting when I finally realized that the whole world was not raised by Becky’s Mom. People who open with “you are so nice” before stating what they need you to do for them are the worst. My kids are nice. It’s their nature. I have pushed them not to be unkind, but to put their own needs and wants at the forefront much more than they do. I recognize that nice is different from kind, but I’m not sure those looking for a sucker do.

    So yeah, not a big fan of the article either. I agree with Kerri on the age thing – once the author’s kids hit middle school, her views may change.

  12. Mooshi – I just emailed the school about the volume of new assignments that pop-up all with different times of day deadlines. I get assignments arising as classes happen, but then don’t have same day due dates and why not make all assignments due either in the morning or in the evening, instead of at random times scattered throughout the day? It’s too much.

    An 11:59 pm deadline is also not helpful.

  13. I can’t get access to the article, but I will say that I have stopped trying to “mold” my 13-year-old DD. She is an incredibly strong-willed kid who is going to do what she wants to do. And she is the kind of kid who will respond to active efforts to mold her by doing the opposite. So, my approach has become to just try to support her, and love her, and be her soft place to fall when she screws up, and celebrate with her when things go well. No teaching, no lectures about life lessons, no judging. (And boy do I have to bite my tongue A LOT.) In my DD’s particular case, this approach to parenting has worked much better than back when I was trying to actively influence aspects of her life and her personality.

  14. I cant read the article can one of you copy it? The excerpts already posted sound pretty ghastly.

  15. Excellent points by Ivy (where are the fathers) and Becky. I work with a women who was raised by Becky’s mom. She is so overly nice and gets walked over all the time. She will always volunteer for the crap work when no one else will take it. She never wants to say no to someone’s ridiculous request and I also assume she is underpaid.

  16. Ugh – that article is terrible. “many mothers have been spending more high-quality time with their children” – I don’t know anyone who would agree with this. More low quality time figuring out how to connect to their online class? Sure. More high quality time? Are you kidding me?

    And “moms’ new focus might come as a relief to young women, who “tend to be under a lot more pressure than boys because they’re expected to be successful and beautiful and smart. It’s probably a giant relief to be able to have these conversations about: It doesn’t matter if you make the varsity soccer team and look cute while doing it. What matters is that you’re nice to your teammates and that you’re reaching out to people who are struggling.” No – this will just be one more expectation layered on – it won’t eliminate any of the other expecations.

    And the sexism – the underlying assumption that of course if there’s a focus on being kind, it’s only a focus for girls.

    And this one “It’s definitely true that daughters tend to have a better line of communication with their mothers than sons do.” Nope – DS is much easier to talk to and more open than DD.

    So many terrible bits – it’s hard to only mention a few. Thanks for helping me get fired up this morning Flyover :-)

  17. In terms of gender norms how about this:

    Guy nice = don’t be a dick. UD defines “being a dick” as, “Someone that is constantly acting like an asshole when unnecessary.” You could also say not “being a dick” is about avoiding being actively not nice – don’t mock, bully, belittle, sabotage, etc.

    Girl nice seems to be more about being actively nice. Doing for others, putting the needs of others before your own needs, etc.

  18. the article.

    Alice Anderson and her 12-year-old daughter, Claire, walked maskless along an empty public sidewalk, headed home from a playground in Cheektowaga, N.Y. Without others nearby, they were following the state’s mandate. But a passerby across the street yelled at them to put on their masks, breaking the silence of their otherwise quiet stroll and jarring Anderson’s daughter.

    The experience was “pretty shocking,” she said. But it also created a teachable moment for Anderson: She used the opportunity to explain to her daughter why it is important to be kind to others.

    While “raising kind children has always been a focus of mine,” said Anderson, who also has a 6-year-old son, it has been even more front-of-mind during the pandemic. “There is so much division and hate going on right now,” she said, “and we each have to do our part to make things better.”

    Anderson isn’t alone in her thinking. Grant McCracken, a cultural anthropologist, has been studying how the relationship between mothers and children is changing during the pandemic. He noticed a trend in his own research: Mothers told him that they have been focused on raising and launching successful children into the world. But with day cares closed and babysitters unable to work, grade schools and colleges forced online, extracurriculars canceled and tests such as the SAT postponed, many mothers have been spending more high-quality time with their children — time, he said, that has led them to re-examine some personality traits they wanted to foster in their children: kindness and compassion over competition, and empathy for those who may be struggling.

    Several mothers interviewed for this article said they’re more aware than ever that raising compassionate kids is important in the current climate, too.

    And while the mothers expressed a desire for all their kids to be kind, McCracken said, some mothers told him the urge is even stronger to raise kind daughters — a sentiment that experts say could stem from cultural beliefs and play into longstanding stereotypes that women should be more empathetic and compassionate than men.

    Christine Carter, a sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and author of “The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction,” said that it makes sense that many mothers might be more focused on raising kind, empathetic children during a pandemic that is giving people “a sense of what really matters.”

    With so much shut down, postponed or temporarily changed, “all our traditional measures of success have gone out the window,” Carter said, adding that, “it’s not even remotely surprising that we’re turning toward what else we value in a void of these traditional measures of success.”

    Carter said she thinks moms’ new focus might come as a relief to young women, who “tend to be under a lot more pressure than boys because they’re expected to be successful and beautiful and smart. It’s probably a giant relief to be able to have these conversations about: It doesn’t matter if you make the varsity soccer team and look cute while doing it. What matters is that you’re nice to your teammates and that you’re reaching out to people who are struggling.”

    Amelia Zamora said that shortly before the pandemic, she and her husband talked about how “cool” it would be if their 5-year-old daughter, who loves horses, grew up to be a riding instructor.

    But “after this whole thing, we were like, it would be even better if she learned a trade, so that no matter what the world throws at her, she’ll be okay,” said Zamora, who lives in Sacramento. And while education is still important, “now it’s more like, as long as she’s a decent person who cares for her family and the people around us, then maybe education isn’t everything,” she said.

    Renee Frojo, a single mother, said she and her ex-husband painstakingly chose the private school her 5-year-old daughter would attend not just for its academics but also to make sure its culture would help shape her daughter into a kind, compassionate person.

    But during pandemic restrictions, Frojo watched as her daughter was removed from her social networks, and she grew concerned that her lack of connection was leading her to be unkind to her younger sister, who is 2. “There was a lot of hair-pulling and scratching,” Frojo, of Sausalito, Calif., said.

    The experience put into sharper focus her desire to raise empathetic kids, Frojo said.

    “Our sense of community has been shattered by the pandemic,” she said. “We have to fight this thing together but apart. There’s some cognitive dissonance there. And not being able to interact with peers at such a critical age for social and emotional development could really impact how my daughters treat and react to others. It’s critical that we teach kindness and work from there.”

    McCracken noted that many of the mothers he spoke with faced career setbacks amid the pandemic and, as a result, were questioning the importance of their career success. “Now they were thinking, ‘maybe this means less for my daughters, too,’” he said.

    In his own interviews, McCracken said, he heard mothers say they were concerned with raising “good” people, which they defined as “someone capable of understanding others’ challenges and how they can help them meet those challenges — someone who is capable of being attentive, thoughtful, caring and compassionate.” But the mothers he spoke with seemed more concerned with making sure their daughters were “good.”

    McCracken said the mothers he spoke with also reported being concerned with rearing kind sons but that it wasn’t as easy to have heart-to-hearts with their boys. “In our culture, I think young men are not as good as young women at describing what’s happening in their emotional lives,” McCracken said. Carter added that, “It’s definitely true that daughters tend to have a better line of communication with their mothers than sons do. It’s a stereotype. It’s not true universally.”

    Anderson, who has a 6-year-old son and who did not participate in McCracken’s research, said she is concerned about raising both of her children to be kind — but that it’s easier to talk to her daughter not because of her gender, but simply because she’s older. She said her son is “a lot younger, and he doesn’t understand the way she does.”

    Lin Bian, a developmental psychologist at Cornell University whose research focuses on the consequences of stereotypes in social groups, said that people have different expectations for their daughters and sons, and they talk to their children in different ways. For example, they offer more explanations to their sons than daughters, which “may shape kids’ ideas about who is really smart and who is really nice,” Bian said. Parents also frequently introduce different activities to their sons and daughters, often encouraging girls to play with dolls, which can lead girls to believe they belong in caretaking, communal — in other words, kind — roles more than boys do.

    This may in part explain why mothers are more focused on raising kind daughters during the pandemic, Bian said. But this focus, she said, can have lasting and negative consequences for kids: In one of her studies, Bian presented 5-year-old children with images of males and females, and asked them to choose who was “really” smart. Both boys and girls chose their own gender. By age 6, however, girls chose the male images.

    Bian said she believes this shows that parents, and parents’ expectations, can play a role in how young women come to see themselves.

    Carter said she believes the shift could come as a relief to some children. “I think for a long time, kids have been struggling with undue pressure to succeed,” she said. “And I think some parents and kids feel relieved to be able to articulate that their priorities are things that really matter — the things that make life really worth living.”

    Bian, however, has a different take: “I think this will probably perpetuate these gender stereotypes, and even make these gender stereotypes emerge a little earlier than what we currently find,” she said.

  19. I would agree that learning a trade is probably a better career path than hoping to be a riding instructor :-)

  20. I brought up my girls to plan for 100 percent responsibility for their financial wellbeing and life position. Back in the day that had to be an active add on lesson from the family, in this case Mom. Same for the boys, but that was not anything special. . (When DD2 planned to major in Classics, the corollary was that she attend a university where her financial aid package and my contribution and her jobs would be sufficient to let graduate with no loans. What she did upon graduation was her business, but with the graduation cash gifts and existence of parental back up she would be unfettered in her next stage. ) I guess I was successful in that objective, but only the boys got married. My choice of guys may have something to do with that part for the girls. I think Rhett made a good point about what “nice” means. .

  21. Good points by Becky & Rhett. I would say that “not being a dick” (or as I prefer to say “no a-holes allowed”) is one of the values we have as a family that I hope DS will carry on. Do not actively screw people over, stand up for what’s right, don’t bully or mock people – especially those who are in a lower position than you (in whatever context). But also don’t put up with a-holes either – avoid or stand up for yourself depending on context. Being assertive and not letting people walk all over you is an important skill. In our family, I – the delicate female and saintly mom – am the person that models this behavior more than DH who tends to be non-confrontational to a fault in non-immediate-family situations.

    NONE of this has to do with the pandemic.

    I will say that in 2020 we have been spending way more time together as a family. Some of that is definitely low-quality, but some is higher quality. However, it is not about how to “mold” DS or imparting any grand wisdom, it is more like family game night or watching movies together and enjoying each other’s company more than we did when there were more options. Our general parenting standards have dropped. (It is OUR standards, not me – the mom’s – standards. DH is around 24/7 too.)

  22. I get so riled up about this “mom” stuff because I think it is insulting to women AND men, including the very involved and active fathers I have in my life – my own, my husband, my friend, my coworkers, and my brothers/BIL’s. And the Totebag dads!

  23. “I – the delicate female and saintly mom – am the person that models this behavior more than DH who tends to be non-confrontational to a fault in non-immediate-family situations.”

    Are you me and married to my husband?

  24. But also don’t put up with a-holes either – avoid or stand up for yourself depending on context. Which sort of goes along with UD’s definition, “acting like an asshole when unnecessary. It made me think of a few Ask a Manager posts from women that went something like this, (often preceded by, “I work at a non-profit.”) “I asked for a (raise, promotion, flexibility, etc.) and my manager told me it wasn’t possible. I found a new job that offers me what I wanted and I gave me boss my two weeks notice. She flipped out… I’ve started the new job but my old boss is constantly calling and asking me to work off the clock. Help!”

    I think almost ever guy would say without thinking, “I’ve helped you out with a few things but I’m sorry I can’t do any more for you without it impacting my new position.” Leaving unsaid. “If you were going to be in such a tight spot you should have thought of that before you said no.”

  25. Yes to everything said above!

    As someone who really values good journalism, seeing drivel like this get published in national outlets like the Washington Post just makes me sad. I mean, I know it was “only the Style section,” but sheesh.

  26. Most of my lessons on kindness are directed at my boys – mostly along the lines of, “you don’t need to randomly hit people as you walk by”. I noticed that when things were more locked down, and they weren’t interacting with anyone but each other, they all started holding grudges a lot more. Everyone had a detailed mental list of who hit who, and who had slacked off during chores, and a myriad of other petty grievances. I was emphasizing patience and gratitude then.

    DD, specifically, needs more lessons in asserting herself than in kindness. It seems completely foreign to her that she’s allowed to tell people with no authority over her (like her brothers), “no.”

  27. The comments to the article are well worth checking out. Echoes of what we’re expressing here.

    “I couldn’t even finish the article. I just wanted to bang my head on the wall.

    I would like to see an apology and a retraction of this sexist garbage. I don’t care if a woman wrote it.”

  28. Well, clearly, the problem is trying to find some sort of “deeper meaning” or “life lesson” from Covid that flies right on by the blindingly obvious. “High-quality time”? Bwahhahahahaha. More like “keep everyone from killing each other from 24/7 togetherness“ — which, IMO, completely and entirely explains the current focus on “niceness.” No larger social meaning required.

    Also, it’s sexist AF.

  29. I guess my expectation is that my kids are considerate of others. We haven’t had this particular conversation. One conversation I did have with my DD was the way DD’s friend was treating her own mother in public. I wouldn’t stand for that type of belittling and sass, I told DD that.

    These days both DH and I are around, kids come home from school and we are able to have a what went on at pandemic school conversation. There are conversations at dinner but these are teens and we have more of a coaching parental role now.

  30. Ahhh the 11.59 pm deadlines. Teachers put those out there are then wonder why kids are emailing them other completed homework at 2 am. I am guessing they are completing the 11.59 ones at 11.58 followed by others due by 7.35 am

  31. Louise -exactly. All the while bugging me and DH to turn the wifi back on so they can finish their homework and us yelling at them to hurry up and finish, and why did you wait so long and to go to bed. Evenings are so fun. Noting like trying to sleep after yelling at your kids and then having an early morning work call the next day.

  32. “An 11:59 pm deadline is also not helpful.”

    I disagree. A lot of people are confused about 12pm and 12am, and whether midnight (aka 12am) is the end of a day or the beginning of the next day.

    Using 11:59pm as a deadline avoids all that confusion.

  33. “my approach has become to just try to support her, and love her, and be her soft place to fall when she screws up, and celebrate with her when things go well.”

    You can also model the desired behavior.

  34. “Guy nice = don’t be a dick.”

    So does nice girl = don’t be a karen?

    BTW, I notice that most guys I know named Richard go by either Rich or Richard.

  35. @Meme – my mom’s biggest lesson to my sister and I was – you will be able to support yourself and your family. She was trapped in a bad, no, awful marriage because she didn’t feel she could support herself and her daughters, in a small town with no way out. (With my now older perspective, she still drives me crazy but she did get dealt a particularly bad hand. Married and a mother at 18, her adoptive mother – never a dad in the picture – died when she was 19, and her in-laws never liked her..and they too were a piece of work and a poor farm family.)

    Fast forward to today, my DH’s chronic illness means he hasn’t worked for nearly 15 years now, and my sister is divorced and raising her two sons without financial help from their dad. We are strong women, raised to be and thank god for that. Thanks Meme – for being the kind of woman who raised that kind of woman too.

  36. I mean, I know it was “only the Style section,” but sheesh.

    Hate reading is apparently a big driver of style section readership.

    But it’s certainly not the whole readership. I think where totebaggers might be mistaken is underestimating how many people aspire to this lifestyle.

    Amelia Zamora said that shortly before the pandemic, she and her husband talked about how “cool” it would be if their 5-year-old daughter, who loves horses, grew up to be a riding instructor.

    As they joke about House Hunters. Today on House Hunters. He’s carves duck decoys and she paints abstract images of vaginas. Their budget? $12 million. A lot of people really aspire to be that kind of rich bohemian.

    To be a single mother who would be in a position to, along with, “her ex-husband painstakingly chose the private school her 5-year-old daughter would attend not just for its academics but also to make sure its culture would help shape her daughter into a kind, compassionate person.

  37. So does nice girl = don’t be a karen?

    I think it would be more about being antikaren – used in the same sense as being antiracist. The ask isn’t that you stop doing negative things. The ask is that you do positive things.

  38. “I think it would be more about being antikaren – used in the same sense as being antiracist.”

    IOW, higher niceness expectations for females.

  39. DD#1 high school said anything submitted online was late if it was received after 8 am on the day it was due. In other words, you had to finish your homework for all classes before the start of school the following day. Given the assumptions professors make (IHE) about the students knowing WHEN on the due date they mean – before class begins, by close of business (and then don’t define that either) or 11:59 pm. She prefers the 11:59 pm due dates as (1) it gives her the most time and (2) there are all these random times to keep track of.

    DD#1 definitely needs more pushing to be assertive than kind; DD#2 has a bit better balance. I agree with Rhett that kind is different based on gender, which is why for females sometimes there is a very fine line between being kind and being taken advantage of. My SO is not unkind and will do most any “favor” if asked, but it never crosses his mind to offer assistance. For example, our neighbor’s dad was in the hospital, so he said I’m sorry to hear that. When he told me about it, I immediately asked if he asked if she needed anything and his response was how would he know? When I said what was her response when you asked and he looked at me like I had two heads and said why would he ask her that?

  40. I agree with Scarlett. Why does the Washington Post or New York Times write these types of articles? I wish they would stick to what they do best vs. writing articles like this one.

  41. which is why for females sometimes there is a very fine line between being kind and being taken advantage of.

    I was thinking about that when I read about Dolly Parton providing critical early stage funding for the development of the Moderna COVID vaccine. I thought, now there is a women who no one has ever said a bad word about and who no one has ever taken advantage of. In a business notorious for taking advantage of people.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/18/dolly-parton-moderna-vaccine-abumrad-covid/

  42. “All the while bugging me and DH to turn the wifi back on so they can finish their homework and us yelling at them to hurry up and finish, and why did you wait so long and to go to bed.”

    Yes, yes, yes. That describes our evenings very well.

    DD got the essay in by the 2:30 deadline, and the French quiz (2:30) and the algebra quiz (3pm) and the ELA check-in activity (2pm). She still needs to get the science assignment in, which is due either at 6:59 or 8:59, depending on whether you look at the writtten description in “Streams” or the actual due date on the posted assignment in “Your Classwork”. There is also another quiz due at 7am.

  43. The default submission deadline in Canvas (our LMS) is 11:59, which I think translates to “end of day”. The reality of course is that most of my students start sending emails asking for help around 10pm (even though the assignment was posted 10 days earlier) and submit around 2am

  44. Rhett, weird coincidence. I was reading your post and a Dolly Parton song (Here You Come Again) started to play on Sirius. She is also known as the book lady to many people in her state. One of my HS friends was fortunate to meet and interview her a couple of years ago from an article. I didn’t know much about Dolly before that article, but what an amazing person. Her talent and her philanthropy. Just an amazing, humble person that has done so much for literacy, the greater community in Tenn and now the vaccine.

  45. When I heard about Dolly and her funding for a COVID vaccine I admittedly thought of Milo and the group here. I really should listen to the podcast about her.

  46. Dolly Parton is a national treasure.

    I am distressed that articles like this are still published. Honestly, the takeaway from the collective covid experience is “maybe the bright side is we can make girls nicer?” Its like the author just stumbled upon an old copy of Reviving Ophelia and thought, wow, girls are really mean. Maybe moms can change that by having heart to heart lectures about kindness.

    I’ve appreciated reading your daughter stories. And the remote school stories make me shiver. I am so sorry you all have to deal with this.

  47. On an unrelated topic, I had a victory today. For those of you who are nonprofit officers, you will appreciate just how much this has been stressing me out. I am treasurer for a regional bridge organization. Our main job is to run F2F tournaments, which have been cancelled since April 1. However, the treasurers job never stops. Everyone elses did. Over the years managing relations with the tournament sites and has fallen to me as well, despite my best efforts to push back. So when site B at a public middle school on the Cape called about 6 weeks ago and said, we dont see you renting our space in the foreseeable future so we wont store your card tables anymore, it fell to me to herd the board of director cats to firm a plan. My plan was to just ask them to donate the tables to a local org. We have another playing site where we store another set of tables up in Boston metro. But noo. Even though we have 6 times the emergency fund we will ever need and can buy more tables if needed. So then we need a volunteer to rent a truck, drive down pick up the tables. I go over to the Boston site, an ethnic community hall, and talk them into doubling our storage. The volunteer, the org president, has to have his hand held repeatedly by me to get him to actually follow through on renting the truck . Plus the Cape school only wants us to pick up at 3 on a Wednesday, so I negotiate 11 am. And then when the bloated 15 member Board of Directors is asked for volunteers to help us unload locally, 2 women over 55 and a 75 year old man step up. All those other men on the board are NOT at work or a long drive away.

    But it all went smoothly today. I had a drink at three pm ( mulled cider sweetened with a stiff bourbon shot) when I got home. And after Covid clears , I will refuse to continue as Treasurer in 2022 or 2023 if it takes that long unless they establish a volunteer position with stipend of Tournament Site Manager.

  48. “I thought, now there is a women who no one has ever said a bad word about and who no one has ever taken advantage of. In a business notorious for taking advantage of people.”

    Absolute yes on the latter. I would limit the former, however, to the era in which she entered “national treasure” status. As often happens, she faced a tremendous amount of criticism and snarky commentary and nastiness when she was a young artist. Even “Dollywood” was greeted with a sort of amused disbelief that such a bubbleheaded country girl could think she could pull off something so ridiculous.

    Her tremendous gift was the combination of self-confidence and humility that allowed her to deal with all that giant pile o’ crap with grace and wit and without getting snarky or mean in return — and, of course, without letting stop her from knowing her worth and getting what she deserved. All of which is precisely why she is now a national treasure.

    tl;dr: no one took advantage of her because she didn’t let them, not because a huge number of people didn’t try and weren’t insulting and condescending for most of her career.

  49. “and who no one has ever taken advantage of.”

    Mmm – her first boss Porter Wagoner was a bit difficult – he wanted the limelight for himself and kept her as second fiddle but she found her way out of that relationship.

    (I watched 1 documentary so now I know EVERYTHING) jk

  50. This article totally rubbed me the wrong way, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.

    Because it’s stupid. I agree with what everyone else has already said.

    Meme, sounds like a blast. /s

  51. I haven’t gone past the paywall to read the article, think I’ve got the gist of the annoyances from other people’s comments. Absolutely parenting should not fall to moms, and guys should be teaching about empathy and kindness and being in touch with feelings. I agree with Ivy that opposite gender parents can be very good at the emotional stuff. My son has said things to me that would floor most people I know, and I was much closer to my dad than to my mom.

    I just came back from spending quality time with my son in the waiting room of a medical establishment for two hours because some equipment wasn’t working properly, and then 15 minutes with his feet while he was in the MRI machine. He has two herniated disks, and a third not doing so well.

    I will say there is something to quantity, not just quality, of time together being important. No touching, deep moment is going to happen during your scheduled “memories” project one afternoon if you’ve scarcely seen each other all week. We watched part of an episode of his favorite show while we waited, I went and got a pizza. On the way home we did Silly Walks meets Mr Bean, and he mentioned that one of his classmates, who has never met me, thinks I’m the coolest mom ever from what he’s overheard while they play Among Us.

  52. Laura said exactly what I wanted to about “no one ever said anything bad about Dolly Parton” except she left out the boobs and wigs. That’s how she was known when I was growing up. Watch her appearance on The Tonight Show where Carson drools and jokes about what he wants to do, and watch how she handles him. She didn’t let herself be messed with, but absolutely people tried and she stood up for herself constantly. Her philanthropy is amazing, particularly because it is so quiet, not showy.

  53. LfB,

    Oh yes, it’s not like they didn’t try to rob her blind every chance they got. Col. Tom Parker, who had already stolen 70% of Elvis’s money, tried to get the rights to I Will Always Love You. “Oh it’s such an honor to have Elvis cover your song. It will be great for your career as a song writer. But “we” can’t cover it unless we can get the rights.” And in her 5′ tall, big blond hair,. big… and twang said to Col. Tom, in the nicest sweetest way possible, “Go fuck yourself.” And that one call probably made her $100 million and she made a lot of other calls just like that.

  54. “weird coincidence. I was reading your post and a Dolly Parton song (Here You Come Again) started to play on Sirius.”

    Are you sure that’s a coincidence?

  55. I totally don’t get the song Jolene. I mean, the pathos is great, but seriously, work on your relationship, don’t blame the other woman! Is there anyone here who, if they knew their spouse was falling for someone else, would go ask that person to have pity on them? I don’t even understand when people are angry at whoever is “leading” their partner astray. If it was a good relationship, that wouldn’t happen.

  56. Come to think of it, I did that once. She laughed and said no, she wasn’t going to back off. I still didn’t get mad at her. The guy was the cheater. Not her fault.

  57. SM – I don’t think of it as pity, I think of it as a warning shot across the bow, in a deadly sweet way. I think her partner would have received the same warning shot for looking at another woman in an interested way. I think of her as not giving an inch.

  58. I don’t even understand when people are angry at whoever is “leading” their partner astray.

    I think you need to keep in mind some historical perspective. In a world where women had very few options, if your husband left you, and you weren’t rich, it could very well mean utter destitution. If he’s gone. You’re fucked.

  59. The being taken advantage of is the small things that maybe don’t happen so much in the workplace as they used to. Example, three interns in a room 2 male, 1 female. Every intern has in their job description to get coffee for managers when asked in a meeting.

    One of two things happen – (1) The female intern is always asked to do the task, but no one (except the female intern) notices that they never ask the males. But, its in her job description, so how does she step up to say its not fair? (2) A general request – Can we get some coffee here? – is made. The males stare at their shoes, so the female, who at first just thinks she is being kind goes to get it. This becomes a pattern that moved from being kind to being taken advantage of.

    Now you may say she needs to speak up, but when she does, she gets labeled as petty, etc. She can’t win. If she was prepared in the second scenario, she’d say “Hey Guys, I got the coffee last time its your turn.” The first scenario takes more tact and often a mentor to help change.

  60. Louise, maybe so. I think whatever tactics and strategy she’s going to use need to be directed at her partner. If she does succeed in getting rid of this playmate, there will be another. Did you ever wonder about this with your husband?

  61. I am grateful to this blog for recommending Dolly Parton’s America – such a great podcast. In one of the episodes, Dolly talked about how in interviews/tv appearances, she would crack a joke about her appearance so that she could get it out of the way and move on to what she wanted to discuss.

    I loved seeing that article today about Dolly Parton and Dr. Abumrad that Rhett linked to in the Washington Post.

  62. My mom sent this article to me and I just laughed because it was so dumb! I hate s*** like this. Ain’t nobody got time for more “quality time” with their kids (of only one sex and not the other!) during the pandemic!

  63. Finn, it was a real coincidence. It wasn’t a creepy device key stroke thing thing because I was listening to Today Show radio. It is a talk show with the producers of the fourth hour of Today. They closed out their radio show with the Dolly Parton song because Dolly was interviewed by Hoda earlier in the week.

  64. Lauren, but was it a coincidence that Parton was on Today just as she was in the news for the reason Rhett cited?

  65. Finn, not sure. I have become a regular viewer of the fourth hour due to the virus. Hoda and Jenna are always talking about Dolly. They have her on the show often, and they always want to interview her. They talk about her music, literacy projects, Christmas album, and donations. I would say they mention her name at least once a week, but of course they discussed the vaccine too.

  66. SM – like Rhett posted my observation is based not what I saw happen with other women not my own personal experience. It was/is brutal for women in the home country who have no means of supporting themselves and their kids if their husbands decide to not support them.

  67. “My plan was to just ask them to donate the tables to a local org. We have another playing site where we store another set of tables up in Boston metro.”

    Meme,
    Maybe you should just have done that without telling anyone.
    As the treasurer of a local nonprofit, I feel your pain.

  68. DS’s school went online prior to the holidays. It became difficult to teach and account for the number of self isolaters, quarantines and remote learners. I feel they should just do like the colleges and resume in person in mid January.
    The middle school chugs on. It seems like the keeping of records for attendance is stricter at the high school than at middle school and that causes headaches when they have kids learning in person and remote.

  69. I’m checking in and posting greetings from Sanibel Island, Florida, where we’ve been mostly relaxing since our Saturday night arrival that followed a 16-hour drive. I like it here — I like it a lot for a vacation, and I’m still undecided about whether I ever see DW and me as some sort of modified snowbirds. Sunday and Monday were warm and very humid, and that did not bolster the case for southwest Florida as a long-term destination. Then the winds shifted Tuesday morning and, from the Northeast, brought the kind of cooler, drier air that calls for wearing a pullover or sweatshirt with shorts and flip flops, which I consider the ideal beach conditions for November.

    The kids are mostly attending school. They skip some classes as they see fit. My eldest doesn’t want to miss anything, and certainly not Geometry. My youngest, whose education has been most affected, is so far ahead that the teacher told her to skip the whole week (and FIL is not doing any supplementary FaceTime readings and discussion lessons with her this week). On days that they’ve got something for school, DW and I slip out and can ride our bikes all over the island, sampling different restaurants for long lunches. That’s our plan in another hour or so. There are bike paths everywhere.

    They’ve collected a lot of shells from the beach and are making them into some Christmas gifts. I’ve read the actual paper version of The Great Alone (I brought DW’s copy from home) and am halfway through Camino Winds, which a previous guest must have donated to the condo.

    Our Wednesday boat reservation was canceled due to a small craft advisory from the National Weather Service, but we’ll try again tomorrow.

    We’ll start for home on Saturday, but plan to spend the evening in Savannah, since we don’t want to do another 1,000+ miles in a single day this time.

  70. “Sunday and Monday were warm and very humid, and that did not bolster the case for southwest Florida as a long-term destination.”

    Which is why we’re thinking more of the desert southwest. We have spent a lot of time there at different times of the year, especially AZ far enough north of Scottsdale to feel like we’re away from any hustle-bustle, that we feel like we could do that fairly easily.

    Thanks for posting.

  71. Fred – I had that thought, too. I’ve spent time in the Scottsdale area. During a June trip, my dad and I would mountain bike the many trails of the McDowell Mountain Range, very early in the morning. It’s nice that it’s cool then, and cool in the evenings. If I had a shaded verandah and a pool at my house, I’d be OK.

    But it’s not a great boating location, so not for us.

  72. “But it’s not a great boating location, so not for us.”

    Milo – Playing in my head right now is that great old country song by George Strait about “oceanfront property in Arizona.”

  73. Sanibel Island is beautiful (and I remember I don’t like sand). Visiting in November is completely different than February/March. During that time, it can take over an hour to cross the bridge, and then once on the island it is bumper to bumper traffic and finding a parking spot is the victory for the day. But once you get there, it is pretty perfect. Cape Coral is a pretty good spot for snowbirds. We have relatives there, on one of the canals, and the beach is less than a mile away. General car traffic is much less than the Fort Myers area.

  74. Milo,
    How was the interstate traffic?
    We are thinking of heading to the Naples area in January, but definitely taking two days down and back.

  75. “I feel they should just do like the colleges and resume in person in mid January.”

    As things stand right now, neither of my kids’ colleges will resume in person classes in January.

  76. “ How was the interstate traffic?”

    Unremarkable. I started to doze off in Brunswick, GA, after a big lunch and with the sun beating down on me. I caught myself, did a little swerve that DW noticed, then stopped at the next Starbucks. The audiobook I was listening to was also a contributor, I think. Same author as a A Man Called Ove, and the reader was so monotonous. So that one’s on hold for now.

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