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Archive for the ‘work and family (im)balance’ Category

What we don’t realize is that this shift from partial to total is the outward sign of a more sinister change that occurred during the housing bubble leading up to the Great Recession: Average Americans began thinking of their homes as monetary objects to be bought, sold, invested in—consumed—rather than places to be experienced, places in which our complex lives as human beings unfold.

 

And

It’s time we reconsidered the house as a place instead of an object, to be lived in, rather than consumed; time we stopped thinking of a home as something that constantly has to be “improved”; time we enjoyed the historicity of our old houses, or the personality of our new houses.

From “Are home renovations necessary?” by Kate Wagner in Curbed.

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You say, Did you put your lunch in your bag? Unfortunately children are banned from putting their lunches in the first time you ask, so they haven’t. Your little kid says, We’re not allowed to take anything in packets anymore. You take all the lunch out of its packets and put it in an old McDonald’s bag and just shake it as hard as you can, being sure to quickly step in the cat shit. You type GET PAPER TOWEL into your brain calendar.

The children GET OUT THE FRONT DOOR after you yell it into their faces six or seven times. In the car, they argue about what radio station to listen to. They argue about what Spotify playlist to listen to. Your little kid kicks the back of your big kid’s chair. Your big kid looks at her funny. Your little kid hates him. Your big kid tells her she doesn’t have any friends. You play a funny prank which is to drive your car into oncoming traffic.

You’re halfway to school when your little kid tells you she forgot to bring the poster you made for her homework. You tell her she has to learn to take responsibility for her own things, while chucking a dangerous u-turn and going back into the house and finding the poster under every Shopkins toy ever made. When you get back in the car she’s crying because your big kid told her horses made of marshmallows don’t exist.

A man cuts you off and then gives you the finger. You think about following him to work and shouting at him about it and then hiding in the staff room to eat Arnott’s assorted cream biscuits while someone else worries about what your kids are doing.

This whole piece, “School Run: a horror story” by Anna Spargo-Ryan is terrific.

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In 1776, when Smith published “The Wealth of Nations,” he began his book by envisioning a “pin factory” with just eight workers; Smith and his contemporaries could never have imagined that, in 1913, the Ford Motor Company would hire fourteen thousand people to manufacture its Model T, or that it would police those employees with a quasi-governmental “Sociological Department” that performed unannounced inspections of their houses. (“Workers were eligible for Ford’s famous $5 daily wage only if they kept their homes clean, ate diets deemed healthy, abstained from drinking, used the bathtub appropriately, did not take in boarders, avoided spending too much on foreign relatives, and were assimilated to American cultural norms,” Anderson writes.) The rise of large factories and corporations created a new environment in which private government could thrive.

Contemplating the return of private government, Anderson asks, “Why do we not recognize such a pervasive part of our social landscape for what it is?” She argues that we no longer think carefully about the distinction between “public” and “private.” We seem to have forgotten that private government exists; we believe, incorrectly, that “the state is the only form of government.” Because corporate tyranny takes place in the so-called private sphere, it seems to us like a niche problem for the labor movement, not a civic problem with broad implications for our society, on par with gerrymandering or the rise of the surveillance state. At the same time, we see the corporate world through an eighteenth-century lens. To large corporations, we lend the liberatory aura that, in Smith’s day, surrounded small businesses. This allows C.E.O.s to “think of themselves as libertarian individualists,” even though they are more like “dictators of little communist governments.”

From Joshua Rothman’s “Are bosses dictators?” in The New Yorker. This is a great piece on the encroachment of work into our private lives.

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This fascinating article, “Why happy people cheat” in The Atlantic by Esther Perel confirms something I’ve long thoughts.. people often have affairs not because they desire a different lover, but a different self.

Priya’s affair is neither a symptom nor a pathology; it’s a crisis of identity, an internal rearrangement of her personality. In our sessions, we talk about duty and desire, about age and youth. Her daughters are becoming teenagers and enjoying a freedom she never knew. Priya is at once supportive and envious. As she nears the mid-century mark, she is having her own belated adolescent rebellion.

These explanations may seem superficial—petty First World problems, or rationalizations for immature, selfish, hurtful behavior. Priya has said as much herself. We both agree that her life is enviable. And yet, she is risking it all. That’s enough to convince me not to make light of her behavior. If I can help her make sense of her actions, maybe we can figure out how she can end the affair for good—since that’s the outcome she says she wants. It’s clear this is not a love story that was meant to become a life story (which some affairs truly are). This started as an affair and will end as such—hopefully without destroying Priya’s marriage in the process.

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croutons

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