Bold and Diverse New Voices Join Slate’s Parenting Advice Column ‘Care and Feeding’

(Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by PeopleImages.)

There are two new voices behind Care and Feeding, Slate’s parenting advice column, who are going to offer a wide range of guidance to curious and concerned parents. Jamilah Lemieux and Rumaan Alam joined the Slate team as contributing writers for the column and the first column since their appointment was released today.

In Lemieux’s first piece, Should I Let My Bisexual Teenager Have Sleepovers With Friends?, she begins by affirming Proud Parent of Bi Teen’s (PPoBT) desire to support their child’s identity and their desire to be equitable in how their household rules are created and enforced. Like other questions on Care and Feeding, issues concerning identity, sexuality, family dynamics, and unlearning toxic behavior are often the primary concern. How advice columnists address and approach these and other complex topics depends heavily on countless factors including, but not limited to, background, worldview, and implicit biases.

For new contributors Lemieux and Alam, self-awareness and commitment to critical analysis fuel their work and ground their approach to tackling issues related to interpersonal relationships and overarching power structures. As a result, their work with Care and Feeding will certainly offer unique and much-needed perspective to the growing world of parenthood-related media.

Overall Slate’s audience has spent more than 123 million minutes on its advice columns including Care and Feeding, Dear Prudence, and How To Do It in 2019. This trend persists across platforms and media groups in the form of new sections of online publications devoted to parenthood content and related expansions. As narratives about parenthood continue to change, the importance of spaces for honest and transparent conversations about shifting cultures is readily apparent.

Alongside shifting cultures are questions and concerns about navigating parenthood. Rumaan Alam, a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Magazine, the New Republic, BuzzFeed, and more, joins the Care and Feeding team with years of experience writing about parenthood. In a 2018 interview, Alam unwittingly sheds light on the perspective, clarity, and transparency he’ll bring to Slate. When asked whether or not he thought race and privilege were inseparable or simply intertwined he responded with the following:

“I’m far too feeble minded to have a great answer to this question. But I try to pay attention to what’s happening in the culture, and many writers and thinkers have explored at length the ways in which issues we once considered discrete are in fact intimately interconnected. You can’t talk about feminism without talking about race, you can’t talk about race without talking about class; you must, in short, accept that complex issues are, in fact, complex. We frame discussions of race as black and white, often literally as well as figuratively. The reality is significantly more complicated.”

(Photo by Heather Weston)

Like Lemieux, Alam’s research- and experience-driven cultural criticism impacts his work. In Lemieux’s first column for Care and Feeding she reminds PPoBT that gender non-conforming kids deserve sleepover invites and encourages them to ensure that their child knows how to practice safe sex. As a self-proclaimed “millennial feminist thinker” and laments editors who lack cultural competency, Lemieux is sure to bring a refreshing and critical yet thoughtful voice to Slate.

“I’m really excited that Slate took a chance on an absurd millennial stereotype of a mother so that I may spread the gospel of co-parenting beyond the weekend, social media oversharing and family hooky days. I’m looking forward to providing a perspective that is rarely reflected in the advice space with Slate’s growing audience and putting “Expert MILF” on my business cards. Rejoice, America, you and your kids are in my care now,” commented Lemieux.

Lemieux and Alam will round out the Care and Feeding team with Nicole Cliffe provide guidance to a new, ever-evolving generation of parents. Look for new advice from Lemieux on Wednesdays and Alam on Thursdays and consider sending in your own questions! Lemieux, who happily co-parents a 6-year-old, Naima (affectionately known on social media as #MiniMilah) with her ex-partner and his wife, who have a 4-year-old son together, will offer Black feminist thought to the column; Alam, who raises two kids with his husband, will bring thoughtful, cultural criticism. Both, though, represent a wonderful development in the changing landscape of parenthood-centric media. Get your questions ready!

Have a question for Care and Feeding? Email or post it in the Slate Parenting Facebook group.

NYC-based philosophy graduate student whose work covers Genocide Studies, Repro + Enviro Justice, and Critical Race Theory. @moontwerk

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