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Moms On Issues

with Sara and Veronica

We're two moms with different backgrounds, jobs and points of view, writing about our opinions on the political and social issues affecting working moms. We'll also keep our eye on the media and the celebrity mom world to highlight issues that are relevant to your life.

Check out our personal blogs: Veronica's Blog and Sara's Blog

Happy New Year!

Categories: career, caregiving, raising baby

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Ah, the Monday after New Year’s. The day when most kids are headed back to the classroom and parents head back to their offices (whether or not they are in their PJs). The holidays are past us, we’re scraping the bottom of the cookie tin, and wondering if we really are going to use that Wii Fit to lose weight (I wouldn’t know, we’re Wii-free). But let’s grab another cuppa coffee/tea/chai and head into the new year with gusto. Yes, let’s Work it, Moms!

Here are my hopes for all of us for 2009:

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To circus or not to circus?

Categories: caregiving

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The “Greatest Show on Earth” is heading to my town and instead of packing up the kid and heading to the big top, I’m running from the tent like an animal that’s been let out of its cage. That’s my problem with the circus - while I know my son would adore the leaping! the flying! the elephants! I can’t get past images of bullhooks, animals in cages aboard trains for hours being shuttled from city to city.

I hate to deprive my children of things because of my own ethical quandries, but I can’t seem to overcome my ill feelings towards a seemingly benign source of entertainment enough to purchase the tickets. What’s a mom to do? Dig for more information, of course.


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Happy Columbus Day and welcome to the world of school holidays

Categories: career, caregiving

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The high points of my childhood are now the bane of my existence – School holidays.

As a mom who works outside the home full-time, a day off is a fate worse than hell some days and I’m a lucky one. I work at a university in an office where I can bring the kid in and plop her down with crayons and homework. My partner’s office isn’t as fit for having a kindergartner hanging out for the day – It’s just too busy. When I do stop to grumble, like right now, I force myself to think about the moms and dads who work in factories, retail, restaurants, and other places that aren’t appropriate for kids.

Add to this my questioning of celebrating a day like Columbus Day where kids still learn about Christopher Columbus and the world he discovered. Thus the idea that the kids are off in celebration of a myth (Chris didn’t make it to North America) more than the history. I am moving towards the idea that we should keep kids in school for Columbus and MLK Jr. Day so that an entire day can be devoted to what they mean to us today and what their legacy really is.

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Does the chauvinist pig next to you make more because he’s sexist?

Categories: career, caregiving, feminism

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A shocking, to some, study [pdf] came out last month in the Journal of Applied Psychology concluding that men who hold sexist ideals make more money than anyone else. So what does this mean to us working girls and the good guys out there?

For one it says that the workforce is still rewarding men for outdated attitudes. It is an indicator that the outdated model our workforce operates under rewards those who play the game according to the rules. This report also proves that wage gaps are not just an outcome for women’s poor decisions. You know, taking time off to care for children or other such frivolous things that signal to supervisors that you aren’t serious about your job. It puts a nail in the coffin of meritocracy. Yes, we should all continue to work our hardest, but never again should we allow someone (paging Senator McCain) tell us that hard work and being the best is the way that people rise to the top.

But most importantly this report tells us that legislation like the Equal Pay Act will only take us so far in the quest for equality and fairness.

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Thank you Dads & Daughters

Categories: caregiving, feminism, raising baby

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I read the line about five times before it sunk in…Dads & Daughters, an innovative and I daresay feminist national organization that focuses on the Father-Daughter relationship was closing.

I’ve known of Dads & Daughters since my husband became a dad himself. I went to the bookstore for his first Christmas as a dad to find a good book on being a dad. I wanted to help prepare him for what I thought was one of the most fragile relationships to foster and maintain. I bought him Dads and Daughters by Joe Kelly. I of course was curious about who this man was, went to my computer and did a web search and obviously found Dads & Daughters the organization.

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What makes a working mom? Is every mom a working mom?

Categories: career, caregiving, mommy wars

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Every mom a working mom This site is called “Work it, Mom!” and the tag line says, “a place where working moms connect/de-stress/share advise/find support.” Does that mean that we are only a place for 40-hour working outside the home moms? I say no.

After joining this community, I’ve had a few conversations with other moms about whether or not they would be welcome here. Moms who use to work full-time in an office but are not staying home, but also working freelance. Moms who never worked after they had their children but sell something in the evenings (make-up, jewelry, kitchen ware, etc.). Women who aren’t moms, but feel a kinship to their mommy friends.

My verdict? Everyone is welcome to this site and I’ll tell you why.

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Fatherhood is necessary but not always required

Categories: caregiving, feminism, media, politics

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Obama - Photo by John J. Kim/Sun-TimesOn Father’s Day Illinois Sentor Barack Obama returned to church by attending the Apostolic Church of God and giving a sermon on fatherhood. Here in Chicago the local news outlets are reporting that it was similar to Bill Cosby’s fatherhood sermons/lectures that he’s been giving for years. In other words, the lectures are for African-American men only.

I am aunt to two beautiful, intelligent, and fabulous nephews who don’t have active fathers. Both of my parents were fatherless and not by the choice of my grandmothers. And I’m not African-American. While I know that Obama also used this sermon to reengage the Black church scene, I do wish he had given this in a non-church setting or a non-ethnic centric setting because I want his message of “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child. It’s the courage to raise one.” to resonate across race lines to Latinos, Caucasians, and everyone else. I’m sure each of us of a different hue and background can think of one missing father.

Then I consider Amy Richards’ life story. In her recent book Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, [buy at WCF, Powell's, Amazon] she mentions several times that she has never known her father. I recently saw her discussing her book and she talked about how her mother left her father and that he ended up being arrested a few times over the years for kidnapping young boys. She has made the leap from kidnapping to more nefarious activities and decided that she is actually better off not knowing him. Consider all the moms who leave their abusive husbands - The kids must be better off without their fathers.

Men’s Rights groups and their brother Father’s Rights groups would like to bundle all feminists as being anti-father. What else could we be when we demand that men pay child support that actually supports the child? What I think confuses them is the fact that feminists see both sides. We see the value of a dad in a heterosexual household - IF IT BENEFITS THE CHILD. We also know that, like Amy Richards, having dad kicked to the curb isn’t always something to cry about. Of course there are same-sex couples. Yeah, we support them too because well, we’d rather focus on having love in a home than different genders. And logically this means that if we support lesbian families we hate fathers. *eye roll* Not to mention our support of single women choosing to become mothers via sperm donation.

Here me now and believe me later…Feminists want loving families. That’s it.

This feminist has an awesome guy in her life who is “the bestest dad in the whole world!” as our daughter told him several times on Father’s Day. My wish is that every dad who is in the home be an active dad. The days of just bringing home the bacon are over. My wish is that every time a child is born that a great father is as well. I wish all the single moms, whether by chance or choice, a Happy Father’s Day for filling both roles. And to the lucky moms who also have “bestest fathers” as your partners in this crazy thing called parenting, I hope our luck keeps up!

Preparing for that on-ramp after years of staying at home

Categories: caregiving, feminism

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on-rampThe basis for tome’s like Linda Hirshmans Get To Work and Lisa Bennett’s Feminine Mistake may appear to be nothing more than telling women what to do but if you can ignore the horrible presentation, the real issue is that Hirshman, Bennett and others are seriously tired of seeing women make up the majority of those living in poverty. Not just making up a large percentage, but that women end up there because we take time out of work to care for our family members.

* Women comprise 56% of Americans over 18 who live in poverty. [cite]
* In 2004, 28.4 percent of households headed by single women were poor. [cite]
* Nearly two-thirds of white women who are poor in old age have not been poor in the earlier years. This demonstrates an increased risk or a newly emerging risk of poverty for many white women. [cite]
* Old age poverty for African-American women reflects economic disadvantages in their earlier years compared with white women. [cite]
* In the United States, the share of elderly women living in poverty is highest among divorced or separated women (37 percent), followed by widowed women (28 percent), never-married women (22 percent), and married women (10 percent). [cite]


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Navigating the nanny-employer relationship

Categories: caregiving, raising baby

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The controversy surrounding Rob Lowe and his nanny’s allegations that he abused her during her employment with his family raises eyebrows not only for the lewd allegations coming from both sides, but also for the complicated dynamics of employing caretakers in your household.

Allowing what amounts is a perfect stranger come into your home, take care of your kids is a daunting thought. Having a nanny or babysitter in your house for extended periods of time can certainly be awkward, even if your nanny is like Mary Poppins. I cannot think of another situation where an employee comes to work only to find her boss dressed in pajamas without any makeup. (If you work in such a place, don’t tell me; I’ll be jealous).

Letting someone else take care of your children, only if for defined periods of time, takes a measure of intestinal fortitude. Who else is going to see how much you spent at Target in one day?

Certainly not your husband. But the nanny knows all. I try not to get too personal with my sitter. If I’m all decked out in workout clothes and she asks if I’m going to the gym, I simply skirt the issue. It’s none of her business how I spend my time when she’s with my son. (However, I’m sure the wet nail polish when I arrive home at the end of the day is a dead giveaway.) There are boundaries to any employee/ employer relationship, and the nanny-mother/father one is no exception.


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Is there any way bringing a baby to work can work?

Categories: caregiving, raising baby

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0511-0703-0118-42351.jpgI’ve been keeping tabs on a new trend deemed to make the lives of working parents easier: some companies are providing parents the ability and opportunity to bring their babies to work. According to USA Today,

More than 80 companies across the nation allow babies in the workplace, according to Parenting in the Workplace Institute in Framingham, Mass., which says that number is likely to be low.

I know our country is seriously lacking in the flexible and affordable child care department, but I’m not sure bringing your baby to work is the answer to our needs.

There are some serious pros to the argument, as a study reported byTime suggests.

But even naysayers may be surprised by the results of research conducted by Mary Secret, a social-work professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her 2005 analysis of 55 businesses with baby-friendly policies found that people often anticipate disaster but there is rarely a negative effect on co-workers or productivity. What’s more, she learned that having babies around can boost morale among colleagues.

Having a baby around may make people feel all warm in fuzzy inside, but does warm and fuzzy really get the work done?

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