Friday Links: The no room for DIY parenting in the office of the future edition

DIY Parenting

1. DIY parenting is the opposite of feminism

The Atlantic takes up one of my favourite topics – the crazy effort required of DIY parenting. You know the kind, where parents (read: mothers) make their own baby food (ok, I did that, it’s called a blender and it’s closer than the grocery store), grow their own food, do all their own research on everything that crosses the threshold of one’s home, and even homeschooling.

WHY is this happening? How, when and why did parenting become the ultimate DIY project for progressive, educated Americans?

Some people (women) are able to embrace this quite naturally and the lifestyle works for them. But for most people (women), it’s a source of constant anxiety and busy-ness, which is the antithesis of feminism, though we like to call it being enlightened, educated and involved parents (mothers). Mostly it’s exhausting and doesn’t leave much room in the brain for thinking about anything else.

As we moved away from “doctor knows best” and “one-size-fits-all,” there were more and more choices for parents to make… It is expected that parents will educate themselves about every aspect of child-rearing and decide what’s right for their particular family… This growing anxiety has dovetailed with another anxiety-based phenomenon: the DIY food and homemaking movement of the past decade or so. Amid fears of food contamination, concern for the environment, and general anti-corporate sentiment, progressive middle-class Americans had begun taking an earnest interest in where their food and consumer products came from. Shopping at the farmer’s market and canning your own jam became marks of distinction among the educated and affluent, and making your own baby food or concocting “green” cleaning supplies out of white vinegar became commonplace among concerned moms and dads. The rise of things like home birth and homeschooling have certainly been influenced by this DIY ethos as well: If you don’t trust institutions, you do things yourself.

2. The future: It came and then it went

Here’s a tour of the home office of the 20th century, brought to you by Walter Cronkite and 1967 (via

3. A brief history of useful idiots

A great piece by Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, on the endless stream of cheerleaders for every dictator out there:

But even more of a reason for puzzlement and despair is the enthusiastic applause for Stalin by influential American liberals when he was at the height of his bloody reign — and the willingness of similar propagandists, naifs, and true believers today to sing the praises of other thugs and dictators.

4. Free book alert

Read Russia 2012 is an anthology of Russian lit from, you guessed it, 2012. And it’s free. All 448 pages.

5. The biggest secret at Grand Central Station…

… Is that its clocks are wrong. Permanently. On purpose. In other words, every other station everywhere is doing it wrong.

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  1. Alex on March 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm
    • Lea Zeltserman on March 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Hi Alex, thanks for the link. I was at a conference this weekend and there was quite a bit of discussion in one of my sessions about Russian writers and their keen sense of what not to write. It seems that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

  2. Alex on March 25, 2013 at 10:18 am

    You mean at Limmud? Interesting.. I attended the Limmud FSU once two years ago.

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