About 18 months ago, shortly after we gave up our car, I started to get some weird nerve sensations–tingling and a little numbness–along the inside of my legs and pelvic floor. Since I’d been riding my bike a lot more, I guessed that was probably the source of the issue. I got a fitted, more ergonomic bike seat, and fatter tires. That helped, but I was still experiencing some symptoms. I’d been playing a lot of racquetball, so I thought maybe the high-impact running around the court might be part of the problem. But taking a few weeks off from racquetball didn’t make any difference.
I’ve been thinking about why I love to watch people fight. Especially if both combatants are skilled and each has a good chance of winning. A big part of it is the vicarious thrill–imagining myself in the ring. But sometimes I wonder…am I just bloodthirsty?
Our daughter is a fighter, a fierce advocate for her own needs and preferences, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But of course this means that when Kia and I impose screen time limits, we get pushback. Sometimes the battles are epic.
A few weeks ago we got so tired of the constant debating and arguing that we took away all her screen time privileges for a full week. She was pretty grumpy about it, but Kia and I thought the week went great. Was this the solution? It didn’t seem fair to just eliminate screen time altogether, permanently.
So we had a family meeting and hashed out a set of guidelines that we all felt reasonably happy with. And the week after that went pretty well. But inevitably, the arguments started up again. How much had she already watched? Had she finished her homework first, as agreed?
Ultimately the nine-year-old came up with a good solution herself. She suggested we use the ScreenTime app (for Android and iOS), which a friend of hers uses. The app automatically tracks usage time and shuts down some or all apps after that time is done.
It took me about twenty minutes to sign up and configure. You can black out bed/sleep time, as well as school hours. I found the interface to be simple and intuitive, even though the options are as detailed (different rules for weekdays vs. weekends, for example).
I’m still in the trial period, but I’m happy to pay what they’re asking ($4/month or $40/year).
What I like best about this solution is that my daughter suggested it. She still complains a little when she gets shut off, but it doesn’t feel arbitrary or unfair. As a parent, I’ve realized she wasn’t spending as much time on her device as I thought she was (she’s pretty busy, with school, activities, playdates, and regular visits from family members).
So, two thumbs up for ScreenTime.
I recently read Gemma Hartley’s piece Stop Calling Women Nags–We’re Just Fed Up in Bazaar. Hartley’s article about emotional labor and the unacknowledged work many women do in terms of managing household relationships, logistics, and schedules has been widely read and shared in recent weeks, with many couples reporting breakthrough conversations with their partners regarding the division of labor and responsibilities.
In short, many women end up managing a household by default, and are frustrated when men offer to “help” because why is it their job to manage the household in the first place? While some couples consciously choose to divide labor into “earner” and “household manager,” in many cases women end up getting stuck with both earning and primary household management roles, and that can lead to a great deal of resentment.
Recently I listened to an episode of This American Life entitled “White Haze” about various Alt-Right and Alt-Lite movements, and the Venn diagrams of belief systems that may or may not include men’s rights, reclaiming traditional masculinity, abstaining from masturbation, anti-PC/SJW, keeping women out of the workforce, opposing non-white immigration, drinking beer together, anti-Semitism, white nationalism, casual racism, and full-blown white supremacy.
My impression was that for many members of these white male conservative groups, the main emotional issue was a sense of entitlement, manifesting as resentment and finger-pointing if such things as girlfriend, job, wealth, and status didn’t easily materialize. That, and an imagined sense of cultural oppression by liberals and feminists (though specific examples of how exactly white men are oppressed are elusive).