My mother-in-law just sent me an article that claims kids getting a sugar high is all a myth. What?!?! Last week, Huddy had two pieces of cake for my birthday and he ran around the house like a wild man and finally fell asleep at 10pm. So my immediate reaction was… I have to send this to Emily Oster. Was it true? Ever since I was pregnant, I’ve turned to Emily’s books for her data driven answers to hundreds of questions… everything from can I drink coffee while pregnant to is baby led weaning safe and how worried should I be about ticks this summer. Unlike most parenting experts, she doesn’t tell you what you should do, she summarizes all of the data in plain English and empowers you to decide what’s best for you and your family.
Watch + Listen to the whole conversation:
As an economist and professor, Emily Oster is accustomed to using data to inform the decisions that she made in her own life. When Emily got pregnant with her daughter, Penelope, she was shocked by the lack of data provided by doctors to back up the common rules of pregnancy. Emily started to analyze the data behind many common pregnancy rules, and wrote a book, Expecting Better to improve decision-making for pregnant women. As her kids have grown up, her research has continued through 2 subsequent books, Crib Sheet, focusing on birth to preschool and Family Firm, which comes out today, focusing on the early school years.
How did you start writing about pregnancy and parenting?
I got pregnant with Penelope and I was doing a lot of research about my personal experience. I have always liked to write for a popular audience inspired by things that I’m doing at work. Putting those pieces together wasn’t a huge stretch for me. I was frustrated with my experience being pregnant in some ways and writing felt like an outlet to express that frustration.
How were your own pregnancies? And how was that experience of doing all of this research while you were pregnant?
I was very lucky because both of my pregnancies were pretty smooth. I had the regular kinds of things that people had like nausea during first trimester. It was interesting to do the research for the books while I was pregnant with Penelope because personally I really process information by writing about it. The books were not just me explaining a decision that I made, but more a narrative of what was going on in my head. Writing it down was part of the decision-making for me and definitely helped me process some of the natural anxieties with all these decisions and all the things that happen when you’re pregnant.
What’s been one of the toughest decisions that you’ve had to make as a parent?
Last year we made a decision that we couldn’t follow through on because of COVID but my daughter asked to go to sleep away camp last summer after she finished third grade. That was a moment where my initial instinct was- no effing way. Forget it. You’re never leaving my house. I think sometimes decisions are harder when your initial instinct is sort of extreme and then you have to step yourself back realize its not an irrational request like- Can I get a tiger? I think those moments where I have a really strong instinct in one direction and I need to rethink that instinct or realize that there’s something different about the way my kid is processing the same event are really hard for me. I always need to step back and realize that there are other factors I need to take into account.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.