Decision 2012: Why Social Issues Matter

Denver Post, all rights reserved- courtesy of http://www.newseum.org/

They said it couldn’t be done.  History indicates America has never re-elected a President in a bad economy or with the unemployment rate so high.

But despite the plan put forth by Gov Mitt Romney and running mate, Paul Ryan, Americans chose the team of Barack Obama and Joe Biden for four more years; for FORWARD. Camelot is here to stay another term.

I heard repeatedly from my GOP husband, independents, and tea party friends that nothing matters but the economy. And while Romney was not as strong of a candidate as Reagan, or Clinton (both beat incumbents in office to prevent a second term), he touted his record in Mass., the Olympics in Utah, and his corporate experience as claims to fame for economic growth.  They looked promising to many.  The platform by Romney/Ryan touted “Change” – platform that Obama won with in 2008.   In the end, when the states turned beautiful shades of red or blue, Obama carried Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin which was telling.  Paul Ryan is a Congressman in Wisconsin yet could not carry the state for VP; Michigan is where Mitt Romney grew up and touted as his home; and Massachusetts where his “victory” party was held and where he was once Governor went quite easily…blue.

How is this possible?  Everyone seemed shocked.  Well, everyone except for brilliant math/stat guru Nate Silver and his cohorts at the NY Times Blog, Five Thirty Eight.  He predicted it very well.  How can this have happened?  The economy is in the tank, I am paying upwards of $3.00 per gallon for gasoline, and I did not get 100% of the change promised in 2008?  Well, it’s simple really.  It all comes down to those issues we all discounted during the entire campaign: Social Issues – they matter!  If 2008 wasn’t a wake up call for the GOP, 2012 should be a slap in the face to wake the #^&! up, GOP.  I can say that. I used to be a proud GOP member until the 2nd GW Bush term.  There are some important issues defining this nation and it is no longer the country of our parents or grandparents.  For first generation Americans like myself, it is no longer the nation of bigotry, discrimination, nor are we a “Christian” nation.  We are a nation of different faces, beliefs, orientations, and we are here to stay! If anything, it will evolve even further from what your grandparents’ and parent’s generation believed in.  And guess what? That’s okay people.  If you feel you don’t belong, or your values are a thing of the past, my advice to you is: Evolve, join the new face, or honestly, get left behind.  Again, if 2008 wasn’t a wake up call, last night should have been.

Here are some hot issues which defined this election:

(1) Equality for All- whether you are gay, straight, woman, man, Christian, non-Christian, black, white, Asian, or Hispanic, we are all a fabric of American society.  Obama said in 2009 that marriage was 1 man 1 woman, but then since taking office, his administration never enforced the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defines marriage as 1 man, 1 woman, and therefore, DOJ never prosecuted or enforced it.  That means, it is essentially a dead law/a dead act and now, the final steps are in motion for its repeal.  Mr. Obama changed his views and said marriage and benefits should insure to same-sex partners too in 2011-2012.  Mr. Romney and Ryan from day 1 said no way – no how.  No gay marriage, no gay rights, and that DOMA would remain. The military is better off with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy repealed and thankfully Paul Ryan finally did acknowledge that they would not have re-implemented that but still, Romney started off saying he would re-instate it.  That is not FORWARD, that is backwards thinking.

(2) Equal Pay- another hot issue is equal pay for women.  Can’t believe it’s 2012 and we are still talking about this but alas, the disparity still exists and during the debates while it came out a couple of times, there was no promise of equal pay for women by the GOP.  Instead, women were objectified and put into “binders”.  Gov Romney, in the second debate, stated, “I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said: ‘I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school.’ So we said fine. Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.”  Frankly, Romney and Ryan did not connect nor appeal to the majority of women in this country.  Their platform actually stated that women should not be in combat roles or in combat.  It’s 2012 and women are in the military.

(3) Healthcare– Healthcare actually influenced this election – there are those who are denied insurance and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) actually helps them.  These people have jobs but their kids could have pre-existing conditions or women under plans are denied coverage due to such conditions as well.  ACA has some success stories for middle income families too, and it mattered.  Most were against ACA because while some health reform was necessary, I guess not this one.  Maybe Massachusetts was better? Wait!  Didn’t Romney assist with that plan with bi-partisan effort?  Why didn’t he win then?  Here is why:  He vowed from day 1 to repeal it instead of vowing to reform it.  Everyone wants health care reform and presidents since Reagan have grappled with the issue.  This one did something with it so don’t repeal it- reform it to make it work. That is why he lost on this issue.  Granted, he would not have been able to repeal it without support from the Senate or Congress anyway, but when you say you will take away something that affects millions, it has a negative impact on your chances of winning.  Good leaders assess what is working or not working, and they make change based on what the people want.  The people voted.

(4) Immigration & minority issues- this issue had an impact on the election too.  Immigration was not addressed as thoroughly but Romney’s answer for immigration was “self-deportation” but allowing the kids of those that self-deport to stay here.  Clearly, that did not go over well clearly as Hispanics overwhelmingly voted for Obama or other candidates.

(5) Women’s issues– listen, people, it’s not about ABORTION.  It is not about baby killing- it is about CHOICE.  It is about women’s health.  Planned Parenthood is not an abortion machine.  It is there to help women.  We can’t have it both ways, folks.  We can’t complain about young women on welfare with tons of kids if we don’t do something to help her prevent unplanned/unwanted pregnancies, or help them learn about women’s health to begin with.  Education is the best tool we have and Planned Parenthood does more than offer birth control.  Planned Parenthood helps teens, and women who need it for so much more than aborting a pregnancy.  It is family planning too and ultimately, we should be empowering women with choice that makes sense – it is not the 1800s anymore.  When you come out against birth control, against choice, against helping women with health and wellness (those who need it), then you are saying you don’t care.  Oh and by the way, this issue was tied into healthcare a bit as well.

Bottom line- If you don’t think social issues matter, think again.  They matter because they affect people on a more fundamental level than the economy.  Social issues matter because they define who we are as a nation in principle.  So, here are lessons learned from this for both sides:

FIRST, to both sides, did we really spend upwards of $2 billion in negative ads?  People got it from the debates and all the blah blah blah talking- listen candidates, people are smarter than you think and that $2 billion could have been used to reduce our deficit instead of attacking each other and putting the nation through this.  Negative campaigning is hurtful for the nation and there can be no recovery from it.  So, we need legislation to stop and limit the campaign spending.  This was beyond ridiculous!

SECOND, to the GOP, whom I want to see become a seemingly “normal” moderate party again.  WAKE UP!  Stop letting one religion spill over into social issues that people care about.  Religious freedom means ALL religions are able to practice freely and without being persecuted not just Christians.  It also means that Christians are not attacked either.  More importantly, it means ALL religion stays separate from governance and is not wrapped up in it and therefore, no shoving your religious values and will onto others’ when it come to the law.  There are a lot of atheists too who have rights too.  So, if your Church is against gay marriage, that is fine- don’t let your preacher marry my two girlfriends, but for Pete’s sake, don’t discriminate against them under the law.  They should be able to get married and enter into the same contracts heterosexuals do under state and federal law for benefits, health insurance, tax breaks, and other privileges that spouses get.  A military same-sex partner should be able to get the same benefits when her same sex partner dies fighting in Afghanistan that a heterosexual military spouse gets. Also, another tip: Stop trying to govern women’s health issues and their right to choose what is good for them and seriously, old, white men, stop talking about reproduction and uteri like you know what you are talking about including rape.  You really don’t know or understand.  If you don’t evolve with the times, you will be a dinosaur party because if the last two elections have not sent the message, I do not know what will.  And yes, Mourdock and Aiken lost!

In the end, a decision has been made and we must all unite and move on.  The bickering, the ugliness, the spewing of hate and talk about revolution (yeah, I am looking at you toupe Trump) just brings our country further down and brings our way of life into question.  The people have spoken (not overwhelmingly) but let’s not even talk about close elections -remember 2000?  If you think GW Bush was popular, think again but we salute smartly, we respect the man in the office and move on!  If you can’t, I got some real estate in the Ukraine you can use for four years.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are mine- only mine.  They do not reflect upon my employers nor are the views of my employer and not sponsored by said employer.  This is a personal blog, and is not associated in any way with my employment in the United States Government.

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Denver’s Summer Fun – the options are endless!

Judging from the brown patches of grass and the 90 degree plus weather, yeah … IT’S SUMMER! Water fun, indoor fun, rides, summer camps, bowling, and so much to do.  Of course, only 12 weeks of summer vacation left and in the time it took me to write this, we are probably down to 10 weeks left.  Where does the time go?

Well, if you have kids at home or kids over the long weekends, fret not.  There are lots of activities to do right here in your own backyard – no need to travel to far off lands or worlds (yes I am referring to Disney) when you can have it all right here in the Denver metro area.*

1. Children’s Museum – NEW! Just Add Water Exhibit   June 15-August 22

This new exhibit at the Children’s Museum combines the water fun of summer with the imagination that only the Children’s Museum can bring to life with your kids.  What fun.  It opens on June 15 and it is sure to be a hit.  Bring your kids’ bathing suits and towels and expect to get wet.  Check out their videos on the exhibit and join in on the fun.  And remember that every Wednesday Night is 2 for 1 admission, Check out their coupon here and don’t miss this fantastic deal http://www.coloradokids.com/coupon.php?id=10010204&referralcode=true  And the first Tuesday of every month is Target Night out, 4-8pm is free admission to the museum courtesy of Target.

f you are not a member at the Museum, their membership rates are some of the most reasonable in the city at just $90 for a family.  We are members and we have already gotten our money’s worth and the Children’s Museum allows you to host some pretty cool birthday parties on-site as well.  Their grand opening event for the new “just add water” exhibit is on Friday, June 14, 9am-4pm with live music, food and fun.  If you can make it, have fun… otherwise, the exhibit will be around til August 22 for the kids to enjoy.  Bring a towel, bring some shoes and have fun!

https://i2.wp.com/www.usfamilyguide.com/_emailgraphics/heritagesquare.gif?resize=160%2C632. Heritage Square Amusement Park in Golden, Colorado   Is open all summer long and you do not need to go to Disneyland to get a ride. Heritage Square Amusement park has 22 attractions and rides!  And with Easy access from anywhere in the Denver Metro area, it is a closer trip for sure.  There are 22 Rides & Attractions, FREE Entry, FREE Parking, FREE Family Picnic Area and places to eat too:

Garden Grill – There is a courtyard eating area adjoining the Grill with plenty of sun and shade depending on your preference.

Python Pit Grill – A great place to grab a quick hot dog or frozen drink on the go

On their $12 Tuesdays, for the pass, you can get Unlimited rides (excluding mini golf, go karts and boats)  and if you want to beat the heat you can play indoors at an arcade and get tickets to redeem for prizes for the little ones.  There is a Mini Golf course, magic shows, and boats you can go out on too (foot propelled or canoes)

My kids’ favorite is the little banana ride.  I am not kidding.  It is perfect for little ones.  Heritage Square has some height restrictions on some of the rides so please check and make sure you are ready for some waiting at the popular rides.  Bring a hat, and don’t forget your sunblock this summer.  And if you like to ride unlimited, check out this great coupon from Colorado Kids to get $4 off an unlimited ride pass:

AMF logo3. Bowling Anyone? I know, some days it is too hot or it rains so hit the lanes instead!  AMF Bowling Lanes in the Denver area has a great deal for you and your family this summer.  It’s called Summer UnPlugged and includes FREE Bowling for Kids ALL SUMMER LONG!  At AMF, kids 15 and under can bowl for free all summer. Simply register here and you’ll get a weekly voucher for two free games per child per day through September 3.  *Shoe rental is not included.

OR Save as a Family – Only $8.99 for 2 Hours of Bowling for up to 6 People!  Make sure to click on this deal and print out the coupon.  What fun!  And remember, even if you go outside of summer time, no matter your budget, bowling is one of the best entertainment values available. You can check out AMF’s page for specials or join the eClub at amf.com, for our best deals! Then just grab the gang and head over for a great time, any time! For fun or for competition, when it comes to bowling, AMF has everybody else beat.

4. Denver Nature & Science Museum – Lizards and Snakes & so much more

This place rocks no matter how you slice it.  The opportunities to do things here are endless and while it is indoors, the park outside is amazing.  The educational opportunities, the different exhibits and even a play area for little ones (Discovery Zone), you can spend three or four whole days here and still not be done.  We absolutely love this place and if you are military, you get in free to the main museum all the time.

IMAX is spectacular and if you have not seen the Arctic 3D yet, you simply must!  I have not visited the planetarium yet but I think my older one is ready for it – I hear it is spectacular.  All in all, a must – do place in Denver if you are visiting or a resident. The prices are reasonable all the time and the memberships are absolutely worth it!  The T-rex cafe here is awesome and the food prices are so reasonable, how could you not order a healthy salad?

5. Denver Zoo–  NEW Elephant Passage

The Denver Zoo is another fun place and very close to the venue above, Denver Nature and Science.  In fact, when parking is bad all of it flows together 🙂   The Denver Zoo is great but pricey even with discounts so get a membership if you can for the year.  For a family, it is so worth it.  The new exhibit is the Elephant Passage and you have to make reservations so go to the website and do that before you head out.  The Zoo is a fun place and you can pack a lunch and bring it in to avoid the high concession prices as well.

So much to do, see and visit in Denver – some free and some not.  Waterworld, and others I have not even touched on yet because there is just isn’t enough time but make sure you get out and get those kids out of the house.  Happy Summer to you all!

*Disclaimer: For some of the activities above, I am being compensated for my time with a free pass or free day or just discounted family fun.  For others that are listed, I am only sharing because I think these are fun worthwhile activities that you should know about and will keep your kiddos busy and you … SANE! 🙂  For more on Get Clued In’s disclaimer, please read my general disclaimer.

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The Plague of 2012 Hit Our Home- Oy!

Recently, we experienced an illness in our home that left us quite literally: gasping for air – for weeks!  It is probably one of the longest illnesses in our home and appears to be lingering into week #3 which starts today.  I honestly do not remember the last time I could not get out of bed for days.  It is uncharacteristic and honestly, with all that is going around it sure caught us off-guard.  We thought we caught something from our trip and it is likely we did but then once we returned to dry, windy Colorado, it got even worse.

For fourteen years I have received the flu vaccine and until last week, I never got the flu.  Well, there’s a first for everything.  Oddly, my daughter also got the flu and I could not even move- I felt like doing nothing!  In any case, after about 9 days of this, and my flu symptoms were gone, I still could not stand up straight without getting winded or throwing up from coughing so hard.  It was horrible.  My low-grade fevers returned and I was immobilized yet again.  Of course, with the CDC warnings and the latest trend of all doctors running scared of prescribing antibiotics for anything, I was having a tough time with my doctor’s visits.  So, here is the timeline of what happened:

Tuesday February 21 nighttime- it hits – first the coughing started and on…

Wednesday February 22- our plane ride home, I had a fever and so did my daughter.  We were all running on empty by the time we arrived home.  It was a long plane ride and lord knows how many people we infected on that ride.  I thought, hey it’s probably just my body needing rest, I should be good to go in two days which is normal for us- two days and usually we are fine with anything – viral or not.  My husband was also feeling ill by the time we landed and feverish too.  But he still went to work the next day and my younger daughter was fine so we made sure to separate her from the sick people- ie. me and older daughter.

Friday, February 24- older daughter and I were both diagnosed with the flu.  Because it was almost day 3, TamiFlu is less effective but my doc prescribed it anyway.  This probably was a bad idea in retrospect because I was already on day three and Tami Flu has tons of side effects- the worst of which is nausea and vomiting so while I felt better by Sunday, February 26, on Monday February 27, I stopped taking it due to a horrendous vomiting episode in which I basically lost all the food I took-in for the day.

Also, on Sunday February 26-Monday February 27, our little one who had managed to escape the illness ended up getting an infection called pink eye.  This was our first pink eye in our family.  She probably got it from gymnastics class or her bday party (held at a gym).  In any case, another day of productivity lost.  Anyway, she needed drops and after 24 hours of the first dose, would be safe to go to school.

On Monday, I was well enough to work from home while nursing the sick younger kid but then hubby was fine.  My older daughter was recovered too although I regressed and slowly and surely by.. Wednesday, February 29, (yes leap day – an extra day of sickness), I was laying on my office floor by mid-afternoon praying for death.  It felt horrible and to top things off, the doctor I saw would prescribe nothing but rest and some cough suppressant with codeine.  Well, codeine is not good for me- it stays in my system for a long time and I was continuously drowsy.  I took the cough suppressant stuff but was still up nights hallucinating from the codeine, vomiting, or praying I would just get better.  In any case, I managed to get myself up the next day and take myself to a practice near my home and they took chest x-rays.  My cough sounded horrible and I looked like a walking zombie.  They ruled out pneumonia but the doc was still concerned that my flu had morphed into a secondary bacterial infection and prescribed azithromycin and thank God!  By Friday, March 2,  I was able to work from home again, and had the strength to make food… just 24 hours after the first dose and by Sunday, March 4,  I was feeling well enough to walk to the park with my kiddos.  Granted, I was not ready to run yet.

Poor hubby though, right around the time I started feeling better, he was getting worse and today we start week #3 of all of us being sick and it is back for him with a vengeance.  He has never had anything this long and he finally went to see the doc’s today but alas, they recommended rest and an inhaler.  Yeah, here’s a little secret for you all: Inhalers are useless for me and I can hardly use one- how can you breathe in at the same time you are pumping something in your mouth- seems unnatural.  In any case, I always laugh when the docs now recommend a worthless inhaler in lieu of the unpopular antibiotics- yeah, that is not the CDC “do not prescribe” list… YET!  But soon… soon it will be.

As of today my older one now has pink eye too and hubby is taking a sick day after years of never taking one unless it was for the care of the sick kiddos.  Man!

Update 1 – it is now well into week #4 after our return home, THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2012 and my sore throat is getting worse. Of course, we had a backyard/nearby fire in the meantime which irritated things even more.  Hubby is feeling better and hoping to do the half-marathon this weekend but me, I am feeling horrible.  On March 16, my birthday, they ruled out strep but said there is fluid behind my ear and the sore throat is viral. Praying we all get well soon to enjoy a wonderful Spring and Summer!

Update 2- it is now week #5 of our illness starting, and March 21 and it looks like my older daughter is running low-grade fevers but just at night or late in the afternoon.  The school thought they were over 105 but they are really only about 100-101 so nothing to worry about but nonetheless, it is exhausting to have a sick household for this long.  I hope this weekend goes better and we can all be recovered to celebrate… April Fool’s Day! 🙂

Lessons Learned and Why I wrote this article: I am not writing this just for my health (ha- pun intended) but rather to tell you that you have to be your biggest advocate.  Health care in this country is not kind even to those with good insurance.  I can’t even imagine not having health care.  What I learned from a friend or two, you have to call (ie. “bug”)  your docs often and talk with the nurse line as things are progressing.  If they can call-in something great but here is a secret: they will never Rx antibiotics over the phone now especially since the new scare is “some super disease is going to take over the world and all yea who have taken antibiotics will die instantly.”

I doubt that is true and all I really care about is getting better.   And let me assure you I am not the one who runs to the docs the instant she is sick – granted,  I will run my kiddos to the doc the instant they are.  I am not the one who the docs need to be worried about abusing the system but as time as gone on I am losing my patience with the medical community.  I am a mother of two, a wife of one, and have two full-time jobs outside the home – being sick for 12 days (instead of just 2-3) is not something I care for nor will tolerate, and if it means my immunity will be lower or my resistance lower to whatever massive disease is brewing, so be it.  I will cross that medical bridge when it is time but for now…. I have a home and family to take care of and most importantly, to get well so I can take care of myself too so I can do all of the above.  So, if that means I take an antibiotic to reduce the time it takes me to get well, so be it.  I do not take antibiotics willy nilly and certainly have not been this sick for a stretch more than once every three years.

I am almost 40 and I figure if some horrible outbreak was supposed to happen, it may have happened by now anyway.  I certainly do not believe everything the big bad government tells me nor am I susceptible to giving into fears.  All I know is that I paid $5.00 co-pay for a drug that made me, ME again and I paid over $15.00 in co-pays and lord knows what for lab tests and x-rays that did nothing for me.  But it gave me peace of mind and ruled out something more serious.  When I go to the doctor, it is because I have tried everything else first and I want to get well not to get a lecture in what I already know – drink fluids, rest and here, use this frigging inhaler.  I go to the doctor because I do not have access to drugs to treat myself and trust me, I know what is wrong with me on more occasions than a random doctor knows.  I know my body, am quite in-tune with it and I tend to take decent care of myself albeit not excellent care.

All I am saying is that you have to advocate for your child and for you.  If you know you need something, ask for it.  As a friend said, build a rapport with your doc enough to say … “I get it – you do not want to give antibiotics but I need you to do this or I will find someone who will understand my health needs and my personal needs better than you – I want to allay your fears.  I will not abuse drugs but after 9 days, I am coming to see you because I have accepted defeat and ultimately, need them so I can take care of things that others cannot- ie. My small children.  Please understand me as a patient and I am wiling to keep you as my doctor – my most trusted adviser in health matters that I choose to discuss with you.”

If that doesn’t work, and the games do not work either (ie… yes blood is literally shooting up through my lungs), I know a Canadian pharmacy on line that I can recommend.  Ha! In any case, you must advocate for yourself and your children in health care especially in a time when doctors are a dime a dozen, insurance and health industry are so corrupt, and when the cost is just too high to wait another a few days to go see the doctor again.  Don’t take no for an answer and if you must, find a new doctor, or make sure your kids go to medical school and become the best damn doctor out there!

Happy Spring all and here’s praying that we are in our final week of the pandemic outbreak of viral/bacterial HELL!

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The Gender Gap – What Working Dads are NOT talking about

One typical day at work, Kate asked Renee, “Hey, so what do you do with your kids for the three-week winter break this year?”  Renee responds, “well, I have to fly in my parents or last year my in-laws. And now we are considering hiring someone to help out like a nanny.” Francine chimes in, “what?!  I can’t afford a nanny and have no family that can help… what am I gonna do when little sweet pea starts kindergarten next year?”  Kate responds, “is there an after or before school program? Do you think the school your kids will go to has a winter break daycare option? Or, did you consider….”  Oh my, Francine thinks, how am I going to find time to visit schools, look into all of this, and the money to hire a nanny? I work 830am to 530pm and then have to rush to pick the kids up, then go home and with my wonderful husband, help feed them, bathe them, try to read to them, and enrich them, all the while trying to stay healthy and fit myself.  Francine works two jobs (outside the home), not to mention a mom of two, a wife of one, and yet still manages to balance it all… or does she?  And if you think that the only women having this conversation at work are Kate, Renee, and Francine- well think again!  And our women in this story all have terrific husbands who do more than their share.  Imagine, how it would be without that support and without the support of friends.

It’s a nationwide phenomena and has been since the 70s and 80s – moms working full-time or multiple jobs, whether single,  or married, moms are in the workplace and what you do not know about Kate, Renee, Francine and the other moms like them is that they secretly think, almost on a daily basis, “what the hell am I doing?  THIS IS SO STINKING HARD!”

Each day, thousands upon thousands of women who are in the same boat or even in worse situations than our working moms mentioned above deal with the same questions.  Is this worth it? Can I break that glass ceiling and still raise a family?  The answer is quite simple and may sound pessimistic but the the answer is MAYBE… and if YES, with a whole heck of a lot of guilt.   And yes, I am one of the moms mentioned above.  I am the mom who thought I could do it all but here I am, wondering daily if I made the right choices- the right decisions for my career and my family and each time feeling like I am failing at all of it – not doing any one thing right but trying my best to keep it together each day.  And you are probably thinking, “well, why do you choose to work then? why not just quit and stay at home?”  It’s just not that easy. Some choose to work because of financial reasons, some for personal and professional reasons, and whatever the case may be it is a choice that is true but that does not mean that the working mom is a victim or that she is a bad person. All this article is intended to address is the blatant gender gap that nonetheless still exists in the American workplace and may likely persist for sometime.

Now, let’s look at the husbands of Renee, Kate, and Francine – it is most likely the case that none of the husbands think about this.  Very few men if any at all, would have the same conversations at work or talk with each other about how they feel like a failure or ask themselves and their friends, “what am I doing here? I should be with my kid.”  Not to generalize for all dads out there, but I am sure very few men worry about the same things that the working moms do.  And very few dads at work feel guilt almost on a daily basis – that sheer plain guilt day in and day out because they chose to have it all or because they chose to shatter the glass ceiling over caring for their kids full-time.  But wait! There is no ceiling for men, for working dads …. it is just assumed even in present day society that they will pick their career and travelling for work in lieu of their kids because that is what is expected.  In other households, the mother will “choose” to give up her career maybe because the husband’s career paid more or traditionally paid more- after all, women are still not paid the same as men in most career fields for the same work!  Or, because women chose traditional fields like nursing, teaching, or administrative support, they simply earn less than their husbands who could be in IT, Engineering, Medicine, legal profession, or the military. So, the cost-benefit analysis does not favor the woman working in those fields to pay $20K+ in daycare costs per year.

But, these days, as women try to break the glass ceiling, they are assuming less traditional roles, and bringing home more of the bacon, some working even two jobs, and thus the question becomes, what price is she paying for continuing to work?  Well, we hope none and we hope the kids will be alright but nonetheless it is hard to ignore the “gender gap” which is alive and well, and yes, I am willing to take the heat on this article but, I am confident that men are not having the same conversation that our friends, Renee, Kate, and Francine were having in the workplace, sometimes weekly or daily.  I am willing to bet that men are not sitting around at work worrying whether they made the right choice- career over stay at home dad; and I am confident they are not feeling that unavoidable guilty day-in and day-out on not being home with the kids.    The Gender Gap, in this humble working mom’s opinion is still alive and well and while we may not shatter that glass ceiling completely, I think women have made a significant difference at home, through writing, volunteering, in the workplace and the business world.  In America, this is a great time to be a woman and who knows? Very soon we may even get to elect the first female President of the United States.

I need your opinion: Do you think the gender gap is alive and well in the workplace? Have you experienced discrimination in the workplace or just sheer guilt as our characters feel above?  I would love your feedback, whether stay at home, work at home, or working outside the home mom, married or single, I would love to hear your feedback and input. 

*Please note: the characters in the above story are based on real people the author works with but the names were changed to protect the working moms.

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New School, New Start & Learning how to pack lunches

Tiny Prints makes Back to School easy

Since about 6 months old, each of our daughters has attended home care, day care, or school of some sort. I am a working mom of two little girls and of course, with that comes the delicate balance of many things and back to school carries a different meaning for us. Everyday is school even in the summer so I suppose we view back to school with milestones and of course, increased traffic on the roadways (sigh). This year marks such a milestone for my eldest- she is starting Pre-K! Recently, a reputable day care opened up near our home so, we are uprooting my eldest from the daycare/school she has known for 2 years, and bringing her closer to home. Of course, next fall she will really hit a huge milestone of attending Kindergarten so, this outta give her the adjustment she needs.

20110815-091017.jpg But, this year, it is an even bigger adjustment for my husband and I as we pack lunches for both kiddos. So, our adventure begins…and will officially kick off on Monday, August 22.  Wish us luck! For two years, my kiddos have attended a day care that serves all meals and snacks and we got a little spoiled even though it probably was not the best thing for them to have some of the food they were eating. In any case, it was easy. Now, we are buying lunch/bento boxes, thermos, lunch sacks to put all that stuff in, and personalized labels to make sure it all comes home daily. I hope it is not as exhausting as it feels right now, and yes, we are doing test runs the week before school starts, but I am excited to know I will be able to see what they eat and don’t eat daily. In a way, this is a good lesson for us since the older one starts real school next year and the little one is not too far behind. Yes, change is in the air this back to school year, and not just for the kiddos- new teachers, curriculum, new school, new equipment, and toys and of course, different lunch methods. But I think kids adapt to change easily- it is the parents who will need a little hand holding. We are excited and anxious as our kiddos make new beginnings and certainly, milestones and all, will make this back to school year the most memorable… well, at least until next year.

Back to school woes? Check out Tiny Prints at http://www.tinyprints.com/back-to-school.htm and see all the neat things they offer from gift tags, cards, teacher’s notes, allergy notes (essential if your kids are eating lunch or snacks at school) and my favorite–labels.  I have already purchased some and I have a feeling, I will need plenty more.

*Note: this is a sponsored post and written as part of Global Influence’s back to school campaign sponsored by http://www.tinyprints.com.  Please read Get Clued In’s disclaimer here and please note that the writer is not responsible for content at Tiny Prints or the quality of products therein.
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