9 Mothers On The Pains And Joys Of Emotional Labor

It may be difficult to quantify, but it’s definitely hard work

Emotional labor is a tricky beast, mostly because it’s difficult to quantify and because it doesn’t always look like traditional work. For mothers, it can range from remembering an entire family’s doctor’s appointments to making sure you’re getting along with the PTA parents to smiling as you make your toddler’s breakfast on four hours of sleep. It’s an intangible thing that, nonetheless, sucks up tangible time and energy. Actually buying the diapers is not emotional labor so much as remembering that the diapers must be bought—but the latter is still a form of work.

Much of what has been written about emotional labor concerns wives and women in the service industry. In 1975, feminist Silvia Federici published a slim tract called “Wages Against Housework” in which she wrote that “the unwaged condition of housework has been the most powerful weapon in reinforcing the common assumption that housework is not work, thus preventing women from struggling against it.” Though Federici’s work also touched on the invisible emotional labor of keeping a home and a husband, the phrase itself was coined later in 1983 by sociologist Arlie Hochschild in The Managed Heart. Federici would argue that the service workers studied in the book were not so different, workwise, than the housewives she sought to free.

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Your 100-Year Financial Plan

It’s quite possible that you’ll live past 100—you’re going to need to start saving now. Here, a retirement plan across five key milestones

The dated model of retirement is crumbling, yet there’s nothing concrete to replace it. Terrifying articles suggesting millennials save $2 million by retirement is laughable. But so is turning to a panel of financial advisors—whom don’t have an answer beyond, “I don’t know, dude, what do you want your retirement to look like?” Factor in the possibility that many of us may live to be 100, and it’s clear we need a fresh set of rules. Here, we plot a new retirement plan across five key milestones.

AGE: 25

Retirement relics say you should have the equivalent of a year’s salary saved by now, but that seems unlikely when there are student loans to pay down and a social life to be had. Don’t panic, but do start saving now—even as little as $25 a month can pay off handsomely in the long run. Stuart Scholten, investment adviser representative at NFP in the retirement division, recommends setting aside 12 to 15 percent of your gross annual pay starting now. If reading that figure makes you feel like hyperventilating, check out Digit, an app that analyzes your spending habits and tucks away extra money into your savings account without you ever missing it.

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Lucianne Walkowicz

Meet the astrophysicist spinning deep space data into a tangible sense of wonder

Once inside Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, summer museumgoers stroll down a backlit hallway that shifts between dreamy blues and purples while projected stars spiral across the carpeted floor. These splashes of light represent the gigantic first-generation stars that lived brightly, albeit briefly, before exploding into supernovas that spewed out the minerals and metals we use today—the calcium in our bodies, the gold on our wristwatches. Astrophysicist Lucianne Walkowicz, our cosmic guide for the day, is excitedly explaining this as a star swirls beneath her feet. After a moment, the projection explodes across the floor in a brilliant, colorful burst.

This is just one of the interactive digital elements woven throughout the planetarium in an effort to make the dark expanses of cosmology more tangible. Luckily for the inquisitive sort, Walkowicz is keen to share her passion for these celestial bodies. She studies how stars affect a planet’s habitability—whether the high-energy radiation beaming off a given star might allow its particular spinning planets to sustain life. Besides being a resident astronomer at Adler, Walkowicz, 36, is a former NASA Kepler Fellow for the study of planet-bearing stars at UC Berkeley and a current leader in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) mission, which will photograph the visible sky every few nights from a Chilean mountaintop, capturing, as LSST describes it, “the greatest movie ever made... the first motion picture of our universe.”

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