Viewing category ‘moms in the news’

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

Open letter to Michelle Obama: Mama to Mama

Categories: celebrities, feminism, moms in the news


First I have to say I agree that you should be upset that Ty is trying to use your daughters for a fast buck. The fact that they are trying to convince us that the dolls aren’t your daughters is laughable. The quotes in their press release pretty much says they are the girls. But know that I’m right there with you over the exploitation and the aging of the girls into teens for the dolls. And that changing the name of those dolls doesn’t diminish what they did.

BUT…I will selfishly ask you to not shelter the girls away too much during your stay in the White House. Our kids need your girls.

In the Fall 2008 issue of the Girl Scouts LEADER magazine, I was asked how we as loving parents deal with celebrity worship. One of my suggestions that did not get in print (the interview was done in the spring) was to focus on the positive celebrity starlets out there. I was thinking of any girl celeb who hadn’t been caught drinking, clubbing, or without panties on. If asked that question today, I would say that we should point to Malia and Sasha.

You and the President have done a remarkable job raising the girls. You can tell how happy they are just by looking at them and that tells me they come from a happy & loving home. I never felt that the girls were accessories to the campaign, but rather girls trying to spend time with their busy parents. And as a busy mama myself, I found great solace in that.

My 5-year-old daughter swoons over your daughters, as I suspect many other kids are doing. My husband, daughter & I have watched the “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration Concert at Lincoln Memorial” half a dozen times. Each time chills go up my husband & my spines as
we listen to U2 sing. I cry each time “This Land is Your Land” is sung. My daughter squeals “The girls!” each time one of your daughters is on screen. Yes, I’ve done a fairly good job shielding her from entertainment that I think is geared towards older children, but she knows the Hannah Montanas of the world. But none have elicited a squeal or the beam of pride & awe that my daughter gives your two.

I also agree that the release of dolls resembling the First Daughters is yet another progressive step in our country’s discussion about race. While my family is of Mexican descent, I am overjoyed to think that thousands of non-African American girls would be playing with dolls that aren’t blond and blue-eyed. I get teary-eyed when I think of all the African-American girls in this country who have what could be said the ultimate role models in your daughters. Then to have them in doll form? Oh my, what a moment! But of course, the dolls should be produced under the guidance of the family, especially the girls themselves. I do admit to hoping for a full First Family doll set for my squealing daughter.

Yet, as a mom of a young girl and the watcher of too many documentaries on the Drew Barrymores of the world, I know the pitfalls of early celebrity and can only imagine the weight of being role models to a nation. You have said that the girls will still make their own beds - a clear sign that you want to keep them grounded. But as I said earlier, I am being selfish.

I see the world around our daughters getting more and more toxic, pushing them to grow up far too fast, sexualizing them with music, movies, clothing and spa treatments and the demands of school. Then there are us parents having almost no control over what they are exposed to. I know where our girls are headed, they will soon have their school books and walls covered in Teen Beat posters of the latest Hollywood star just as Michael J. Fox covered my walls. The fact that my daughter took your family picture from Parade magazine and put it up on her wall, well, that moves me beyond words.

I know we are asking a lot of your family. We hope your husband cleans up eight years of mess domestically and internationally. We look to you as not just a fashion plate, but also a strong woman who is proud to be call herself a mom first. And yes, I have pointed to your daughters and told mine, “The girls have to keep their room clean too!”

I hope that you are able to find that crazy balance one needs to raise a child in today’s media spotlight. I know that you need to keep the girls from prying eyes. But I hope you also know that the world needs your girls too. Our sons & daughters who need to see two intelligent girls doing amazing things. Don’t think less of us when we cling to the glimpses you allow us to take into your family’s life. For me it’s not about celebrity, but rather about wanting to share in the beautiful love that I see when I see your family. Thanks.

If the position doesn’t pay, does it command respect?

Categories: career, feminism, moms in the news, politics


No, this isn’t another “don’t blog for free” treatise, but close. One of the electoral victories for women is that the New Hampshire Senate now has a women majority.

New Hampshire’s state Senate will carve history for the Granite State in January when the legislative body convenes with women in 13 of the 24 seats forming the country’s first female majority.

Women will also factor in key positions of leadership: the Senate is presided over by its president, Sylvia Larson, and president pro-tem, Maggie Hassan, while Martha Fuller Clark continues her role as majority whip.

This is certainly significant as New Hampshire would be the experiment we have been waiting for to see if you do put women in charge if things would end up any differently, specifically in a better place. But one thing has put this experiment in some doubt – pay.

States such as New Hampshire and New Mexico, whose elected officials receive no compensation, tend to have a higher percentage of female representatives, says Ziegler, because the sessions are less time-consuming and the expectations and compensation are such that the people who serve think of themselves as public servants rather than professional politicians.

Ziegler goes on to parallel the New Hampshire and New Mexico legislatures to PTAs because of the no pay and smaller time commitments.

The PTA? Is that a correct parallel? My daughter is in kindergarten and I haven’t been snagged by one of the many committees at her school and based on a very unpopular question I asked at a parent meeting, I doubt I will be. But I don’t see the PTA as something that is not time consuming. Yes, less time consuming than being State Senator, but still pretty darn tough when you’re working and raising a family.

But back to this no pay thing…Would you be an elected official if there wasn’t any pay associated? The debate in freelance circles are “exposure” writers versus “pay-only” writers and then a huge group of writers in the middle. Are there gigs that might “pay for itself” in exposure? Yeah, I think so. Can being a State Senator of New Hampshire pay for itself in exposure? Incoming U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen [video link] is evidence that it can.

The debate occurring on blogs and listservs is whether or not the fact that women are the majority of New Hampshire’s Senate is a direct result of the non-pay AND if this means that being a state senator is less respected than in other states. Of course in my woman-head, I think that it shows more character to be a state senator for no money than to see people wrestle over a seat that pays a lot of money – Not knowing if they are in it for the service or for the pay. Maybe New Hampshire has cultivated a culture that commands respect for service, especially volunteer service.

Loyal readers…Would you run for an office for no pay? Anyone from New Hampshire who can shed a light on this amazing piece of history?

Michelle Obama and the working mom struggle

Categories: career, feminism, mommy wars, moms in the news


When I was a kid my parents worked weekends. My dad at his second job and my mom worked nights in a hospital. They worked their schedules out so that every other weekend my two younger sisters and I spent the weekend with my grandma. This allowed my grandmother to have a lot of influence on me. She tried to convince my younger sister and I that our beloved cousins in San Antonio never fought; unlike us who held championship matches almost every day. But the one lesson that stuck with me, even if I didn’t live it, was this – Boys can wait, education first, get a job, and then find a boyfriend.

Michelle Obama certainly lead her life with this mantra, that is until she met Barack. “Michelle was full of plans that day, on the fast track, with no time, she told me, for distractions — especially men.” He has freely admitted that Michelle is the one who put her career on a mommy-track (not that her career looks anything like the typical mommy-track, mind you, just next to Barack’s career) for the kids sake, for his career sake. And now she is to be the next First Lady.

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She wore what? Campaign style

Categories: career, celebrities, media, moms in the news, politics


nullFact: My high school fashion sense made Ugly Betty look good.

Yes, that’s me circa 9th-10th grade. I was mugging with my BFF, thus the open mouth. I feel that it took me until my 30s to really find a comfortable style for myself. It’s a bit preppy, a bit vintage, and a bit whatever suits my fancy. Despite being such a fashion dork I’m enthralled by the fashion throw down that is occurring on the campaign trail. First we had Michelle Obama cause an uproar when she appeared on “The View” in a White/Black dress. I along with the rest of America went to their website and despite the fact that I had been in one of their stores just months earlier, I fell in love with their style. Recently she was spotted on the campaign trail in an H&M dress. For a woman who was tagged as the next Jackie Kennedy, she certainly is thrifty!

Next fashion uproar was about Cindy McCain’s dress at the convention. For a party that kept claiming to be fighting for the middle class, that price tag for one night’s outfit was quickly picked up by the liberal end of the political spectrum.

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Working Mother magazine names 100 Best Companies, but does it matter?

Categories: career, moms in the news


Leading up to a “big, big celebration” on October 30, Working Mother magazine recently published their list of 100 Best Companies for working mothers. The survey methodology seems rather straightforward - the magazine looked at qualities in companies such as workforce, compensation, child care, flexibility programs, leave policies and more. It also surveys the usage, availability and tracking of programs, as well as the accountability of managers who oversee them.

I’m glad to see that the magazine is taking into account the fact that peoples’ managers play a key role in shaping the environment in which mothers work. I’ve been saying for a long time, flexibility in work schedules isn’t possible without good managers.

But overall, my biggest issue with surveys like these is that they don’t dig deep enough into a workplace’s culture. While I’m glad to know that Bristol Myers Squibb “requires part-time employees to work only 14 hours per week to qualify for benefits, while the Moffitt Cancer Center requires only 10 hours,” I would rather know that BMS would let me leave at 3 p.m. to pick up my son from school if I was in a bind. Or that my boss wouldn’t bat an eyelash if I had to run out at lunch time for a much-needed teeth cleaning.

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Study shows one-third of dads cheat on their wives

Categories: moms in the news, raising baby


A new poll out by Cookie Magazine/ AOL Health reveals some surprising news about today’s dads: they aren’t getting enough sex, so they’re turning to other women and the internet for some cheap thrills. The startling stat for me was that 32 percent of dads in this poll admitted to having an affair. Additionally, 60 percent of dads turn to the internet for fun.

Moreover, 70 percent of those polled said they imagine having sex with Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba and Beyonce and 79 percent want more action in the bedroom. While baffled by the stat that a third of those surveyed have strayed from their wives at some point since having children, I’m less shocked that dads fantasize about celebrities or want more play between the sheets.

I’m not naming names or anything, but I know of a certain someone who crashes at 9:30 after running around a toddler all day not to mention that she’s four months pregnant so the last thing she feels like doing is engaging in a sort of physical activity that was more fun on her honeymoon. I’m just saying.

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Will Palin bashing keep women out of politics?

Categories: mommy wars, moms in the news, politics


Palin familyI received a review copy of “National Security Mom” by Gina M. Bennett and part of her thesis is that women and especially moms should be participating in politics. As a terrorism analyst and a mom, she parallels many issues from international affairs with what we deal with everyday as mothers. While I will fully review this book on my personal blog later this week, I was struck by her premise that our lives as mothers should be enough for us run for elected office.

Contrast Bennett’s message with the pounding that Sarah Palin has been taking since McCain announced her as his running mate. On one hand she’s presenting herself as just a hockey mom who happened into politics, on the other she keeps mentioning that she has executive experience. Then Charlie Gibson did many of us hoped he would do, pressed her on issues including her views of international affairs. Obama backers jumped on her inability to state what the Bush doctrine is while McCain backers including George Will on ABC’s This Week said that they didn’t get the memo about what the doctrine is exactly. Palin’s status as a mom plays as both her strength and a weakness.

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Why Sarah Palin is good for feminism

Categories: feminism, moms in the news, politics


It was the tweet heard around the world. Sarah Palin is John McCain’s pick for his running mate. Ah, sweet irony.

Palin is now the second woman to ever be chosen for the vice-presidential position on a major party ticket. This is a major milestone for women in this country. It was a generation ago, 1984, that Geraldine Ferraro was the running mate for Walter Mondale. The college students I work with on a daily basis weren’t even born then. Think about that.

That said, I think that Palin may be the best thing for feminism since Alice Paul went on a hunger strike. Stay with me…

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A conversation with Hannah Storm

Categories: celebrities, media, moms in the news


On her second day in the office and still unfamiliar with the layout that makes up ESPN’s compound in Connecticut, Hannah Storm took time to chat with me on the phone about being the anchor for ESPN’s new morning version of SportsCenter, being a mom in a competitive sports world, and of course, blogging.

Being a Sportscenter junkie myself, I was ecstatic to hear that ESPN was finally giving us new sports coverage in the morning instead of rerunning last night’s edition. I was amazed though to find out that ESPN had been running no new programming until around 3 pm in the afternoon each day. In the time of instant news, I found it shocking and that is precisely the reasoning behind launching morning and early afternoon editions. BUT…when I found out that Hannah Storm was going to anchor one of the new SportsCenters I couldn’t contain myself!

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Martha Burk is still right about Augusta and other sexist country clubs

Categories: career, feminism, media, moms in the news


Martha Burk In 2002 a woman named Martha Burk burst into our living rooms and challenged everyone to decide if private country/golf clubs that exclude women were discriminatory. Many responded with a quick no. They are private! was the largest chorus in the responses. Of course, our 15-second media didn’t allow for much discussion of why Burk thought that these clubs were discriminatory.

For her stance, Burk was harassed and threatened - The FBI were called out to ensure her safety when she protested outside the Augusta National Golf Club for not allowing women to be members during the 2003 Masters. Her suggestion that Tiger Woods should be taking a stand upset a lot of golf fans on top of criticizing one of golf’s most revered tournaments. I fielded a press call as a board member of a local NOW chapter with this quote:

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