Category Archives: Working moms

The Today Show Defines the Digital Mom, Part Two

todayshowIt should come as no surprise that I was glued to my television this morning. The Digital Moms series on the Today Show has me sucked in. After being somewhat disappointed by yesterday’s show and the impression it gave viewers, I was ready for something better today. In fact, I was excited because I knew some of the women featured this time. Well, ok, so I actually met Wendy aka eMom at Seaworld but only knew Melissa aka @Consumer Queen and Amber aka @JerseyMomma from twitter. Amber was actually backstage brainstorming with producers during the segment. But STILL. I was behind them, and I had a feeling they’d come through.

So I poured a really reeeeeally big bowl of Cheerios for my thrilled two year old, and saddled up in front of the TV with my laptop – a twitter window open and ready to go. While I waited, Amber and Wendy sent tweets from the green room and the Digital Moms responded with all sorts of support. Melissa’s portion of the show had been filmed from her her home so she anxiously waited for the piece to start right along with us. Trusting that these woman knew what they were doing, and having read Wendy’s tweets from the day before, I had a good feeling about this segment.

And then it came on. See for yourself.

Right away a cheer went up across twitter as Melissa (Consumer Queen) showed viewers that all of the products she reviews have come as a result of “a lot of hard work”. She reiterated the importance of her perspective to consumers and the narrator followed up by noting that Melissa is “influencing corporate America” and listed some of the big corporations that have asked for Melissa’s review.

Phew! Yes. Finally. Thank you. It seems this segment would be taking the impact of Digital Moms seriously.

Next the Today Show mentioned the example of the Motrin Ad. Someone on twitter posted “OMG they’re talking about the Motrin Ad!!!” Yes, any digital moms who were on twitter last fall will remember the Motrin Ad well. In November, Motrin released a new ad campaign with some pretty condescending phrasing about baby wearing – women everywhere were insulted. No, really, it was bad. Twitter and blogs alike exploded. Horrified. Outraged. What were they thinking? I am fairly sure it took about 48 hours of this sort of uproar from Digital Moms before Motrin pulled the entire ad campaign. For a summary, ready Crunchy Domestic Goddess’s post about it here. It’s only one example of many who blogged their opinion about the Motrin Ad campaign. And guess what? The company heard these women loud and clear. Why? Because these women are affecting the the success (or not) of a product simply by responding professionally with strong, heartfelt, honest writing.

Once the intro piece was over, Ann began her interview with Wendy and Terri Walter – an advertising Executive from Razorfish Media. They did a fabulous job. I appreciated that immediate focus was given to women as important influencers, not just as women looking for a bunch of free stuff. They underscored how much heart and soul goes into their work. Digital Moms care about what they are doing and take it very seriously. The relationships that bloggers build with readers was emphasized as extraordinarily valuable and full disclosure with readers was the only way to maintain such a relationship. I could not have agreed more when Terri stated that pressure is then put on the product to stand up to real consideration since these women will speak their minds in their review.

And finally Wendy made sure to say that digital moms are “making a difference and changing lives out there”. She disagreed when Ann asked her if this was all just a passing trend. “It’s just the beginning”, marketing has changed thanks to word of mouth and “consumers expect to have a voice, there’s no going back.”

And that’s exactly it. There is no going back. Products are finding success or not based on these women’s opinions. A fancy ad campaign with all the bells and whistles is just not enough anymore. Consumers are always skeptical. They want to hear real opinions from real people. They want to see someone kick the tires and tell them the honest to God truth. And that’s where we come in.

So I’ll say it again.

I am Digital Mom, here me post.

(Ok, no. That just sounds cheesy the second time around…)

Nevertheless, my panties are in less of a bunch today. I am feeling more optimistic about this series now. And I do realize that any focus on what digital moms do is a good thing. You women rocked out today. I’ll certainly be posting some more on this as the week goes on. Cheers.

**UPDATE**

I just DMed Amber aka @jerseymomma to ask if another segment was on this morning (3/11) since I never saw one. She let me know that it seems the series was only Monday (3/9) and Tuesday (3/10). But she did say that the producers were very excited about this topic and she is hopeful they will do more in the future.

So that’s it for now I guess. To sum it all up, digital moms seemed defined by the Today Show as very social mom bloggers who get free stuff and influence corporations if we work really really hard at what we do.

Hmmmm. I think there’s room for more on this topic, don’t you?

Until next time…

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Giving respect, Reccomendations, Reviews, Women, Working moms

The Today Show Defines the Digital Mom, Part One.

whale

So while changing a funky diaper this morning, I happened to have on the Today Show. I usually get about a half hour with Meredith and Matt before I am onto other things in my day. And it was probably going to be switched off right after that diaper change had I not heard the intro to a series about “Digital Moms”.

Wait a second. That’s me!

C’s “Pull Up” got pulled up right quick, I hastily ushered him over to his favorite chalk board and ran back to turn up the volume. And this is what I watched.

Initially I was excited. Yes, here’s focus being given to moms and all that they can do from home and online! So cool!

Um… hold on. Did the Today Show really portray what a “digital mom” is truly all about?

I know its only the first part of the series but so far, I am a little disappointed. Here are my thoughts.

First of all, every woman should in fact follow Laura Fortner’s advice. Yes, use the Internet anyway you need to. If that means finding support groups while you wrestle life as a parent, do it. By all means. Its WAY  cheaper than therapy. I’ve got great online friends who have supported me through good and bad. I get it. Women SHOULD connect this way.

And I most certainly use twitter and facebook socially (as well as to promote what I do). In this bloggy world, you have to make personal connections with people if anyone is to take you seriously. That’s the irony about blogging. While it seems rather anti-social to work alone at a computer – it is actually interactive, personal work. But twitter and facebook are certainly not the be all and end all for me. I take no issue if that’s all some moms use the Internet for, just as long as twitter and facebook aren’t what “digital moms” are defined by.

However, the Today Show seemed to portray the digital mom as a social Internet butterfly flitting from one social network to another, hardly offering anything of much value, prioritizing their iphones and laptops over time with their children.

From where I sit in with dirty diaper in hand, the Today Show doesn’t get it yet.  Seriously. They have only just scratched the deeply faceted surface of a very complex system. Women online today are kicking some virtual ass and taking names. While nursing babies on three hours of sleep or running children to little league, they are reaching out in ways that affect important change. They are standing up for what women deserve, interviewing future presidents and representing mothers at the Democratic National Convention. They write, they rally, they fight, they work hard, they make us laugh ( a lot ), they give, they think, they educate, they share, and they even make money doing it. All while being moms. From home. With a laptop in front of them and toys scattered at their feet.

And here’s the funny thing. Businesses and PR companies actually get what digital moms are all about. (Think back to that all expenses paid trip to NYC I just went on.) Why do they get it? Because mothers are the ones spending the money and digital moms are the ones writing about where they spend it. And digital moms are not some untrained variety of advertisers, happy to plug any product for free stuff. These moms tell it how it is, the good, the bad and the ugly. Consumers are drawn to these women’s perspectives because they write well, they write from the heart and lots of people follow what they have to say.

But I do have to say this. The Today Show isn’t the only one scrambling to get it. As my friend Mary pointed out to me today, you have to be in it, to get it. And that is so true. I can’t tell you how many times my friends eyes glaze over when I talk about blogging. And I take no offense at all. Because writing and connecting and working online isn’t everyone’s bag. We all do our own thing, its all good.

But if you are a news source, wouldn’t you try a little harder to get it and not just piece together a cute story about what seems to be a new cyber hobby for bored moms?

So anyway, its only the start of a series. Maybe I have my panties in a bunch way too soon. I could be jumping the gun, this could be really great for all digital moms. Still, I did send a message to @todayshow on Twitter today asking them to consider attending the Blogher conference in Chicago. If they still don’t get it by the end of this series, that conference will set them straight. BlogHer represents the diversity, the smarts and the know how of real digital moms today. And it’s something to be reckoned with.

Well, I’ve had my say. I promise to stay tuned into the series. (Wendy aka @eMom will be on tomorrow. I was lucky enough to meet her at Seaworld. Go Wendy!) I will certainly post later in the week with my perspective once again. “Oh great”, I hear you groan.

Ah well.

I am digital mom, hear me post.

Peace out.

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Communication, Mothers, Twitter, Women, Working moms

I Look Like Morningside Mom and I Smell Like One Too

1stbday1

I remember exactly where I was a year ago today. Brow sweaty and tense with insecurity, I was hunched over my old (now passed on) “shitty shitty bang bang ” PC. While I glared at that massive, yellowed monitor, my mind was overwhelmed with writing that simply needed out. I remember rethinking, questioning and toiling over that first blog post. (Groan.) Word by word, out it came. And then the transition moment arrived: I clicked publish. And it was done. My Morningside Mom weblog was born.

It was a girl, awkward and new. Posts stumbled over themselves, too long, too weird, falling flat on their face. She tried to grasp HTML and SEO concepts, but they slipped through her tiny fingers, infuriating her. But little by little, my girl got stronger. Every post became a little more confident. She even found her voice along the way and does a fairly decent job at using her words nicely. She is growing up.

And now look at her. Publishing posts without even a thought, actually entertaining folks in feed readers and jet-setting off to NYC with really nice people.

And one year old!

I am so proud. No I am. I never expected much from this whole thing. Simply a place to put my thoughts when all I did was “mommy” all day. Of course, I am more than a “mommy”. I love my children but a year ago today I felt it was high time I honored myself by speaking my mind a little more often. After all, before I was a mother I was a woman, a thinker, a leader, a wife, a sister, a kid, a women’s college grad, a political junkie, a hard worker, a talker and a friend. And this blog has allowed me to be all of these things once again while I “mommy” within the four walls of my home.

So Happy Birthday little one. You have so much more growing to do but what a change in one year.

Oh and both my blog and my readers should expect a birthday gift from me soon. An almost“grown up” blog deserves to actually look the part. I am working on updating and giving my girl a new look.

Stay posted – we’ll be able to tear the paper off this sucker and see what we got very soon.

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Filed under Birthdays, Blog love, Growing up, Parenting, Women, Working moms

Win Your Own Bit of Fabulous: a Vivienne Tam HP Wireless Mouse

vt-double-happiness

As I’ve mentioned before, my entire NYC Vivienne Tam experience with HP allowed this uber practical, coupon clipping, “never splurges on self” mommy to enjoy the luxury of a few beautiful things. It wasn’t something for my children or my family – it was just for me. Honestly folks, it’s unheard of around the parts. I am still so appreciative.

And now I want to share a small part of this experience with you. HP has graciously given me three Vivienne Tam HP Wireless mice to giveaway here on Morningside Mom. (Did you know they aren’t even available for purchase in the U.S.?) I am thrilled to be able to share a little bit of beautiful with you all.

vtmouse

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment below explaining how everyday working, parenting, budgeting women can take care of themselves when they so often forget to. I will pick three inspiring comments and announce the winners on Friday, March 6th.

And one last bit of trivia about Vivienne Tam before I sign off. The enter key on the VT HP mini has a chinese symbol on it. Do you know what it means? It means “Double Happiness”. And now doesn’t that just make so much sense? I hope this giveaway brings a small bit of happiness to three of you.

Good luck!

**UPDATE – WE HAVE THREE WINNERS!**

Congrats to our three winners: Cami, Chandra and Carol! They wrote inspiring comments and I encourage you all to read them. In fact, I would encourage you to take a moment to read every comment here – what fantastic advice for women to follow. Thank you to everyone who participated, it means so much that you took the time to share this wisdom.

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Filed under Blog love, Contests, Gifts, HP, Mothers, Parenting, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Women, Working moms

Will the Lilly Ledbetter Act Affect Equality in the Workplace?

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So I’m a woman. And many years ago, I was a working woman. I earned a nice-ish little income, I had a title, an office with a view, I wore suits and shared smart ideas about important stuff with other smart, important people around lacquered cherry wood conference tables. There were women and men in our office. And I assumed our pay was equitable. Or was it?

According to Women on Business, women nationally make 77c to every dollar men earn. That is not equitable. And let’s say a woman has proof that she does not make as much as a male counterpart, does she have the resources, the support – heck – even the laws in place so that she can file a lawsuit arguing inequity in her office place? Well sort of – and not until very recently.

So who is Lilly Ledbetter and what does she have to do with this issue? Last week, a new Fair Pay Act was named after her. Why? After working almost two decades for Alabama Goodyear Tire, Ms. Ledbetter filed a suit against the company with proof that she was being paid inequitably compared to her male counterparts. However, she could not win compensation due to some fine print found in the Civil Rights Act. That fine print stated that if 180 days had passed since an employee received a paycheck, a complaint regarding inequitable salaries could not be filed.

What? After working with Goodyear for almost two decades, how was she supposed to know if her pay was considered inequitable and thus know when her 180 days had expired? Why was this situation her fault?

Last week, President Obama signed a bill to change this, allowing workers to more time to file such types of law suits. It seems an obvious change and one that should never have been over-looked – and yet this bill was only signed days ago.

The reality remains, however. Inequity in the work place will not just go away now that companies have to watch their own backs more carefully.

So how do other bloggers feel about the new Fair Pay Act? Do they feel this Act enough? Martha Burk at the Huffington Post feels more is needed and that we should look to New Mexico as an example:

“Not only will the state as an employer have to study and report its own pay practices when it comes to gender and race, so will private sector companies that want state contracts. Richardson [Governor of New Mexico] has declared overcoming pay inequity and job segregation a priority, and established a high-powered task force to implement the needed changes.”

Emily Douglas at The American Prospect argues that this Fair Pay Act isn’t enough. In fact, it isn’t getting us that much further ahead. Rather,

“…the truth is that the Ledbetter Act simply restores employment-discrimination law to its pre-Ledbetter v. Goodyear standard. It doesn’t actually create new protections for workers, protections Ledbetter herself could have used — like a prohibition on employer retaliation if workers compare salaries.”

Punditmom agrees that this Fair Pay Act is a step in the right direction but questions whether the President is overlooking many other important issues in need of immediate attention for women such as increased health services. This apparent “tip of the iceberg” step towards fair pay seems to smack a bit of a quick fix, something to tide women’s rights activists over for the time being.

Sua Sponte is optimistic, however. She writes:

“This is not only an Act that will protect women like Lilly Ledbetter, but also countless other people paid less because of their race, national origin or religion. This Act clearly won’t be the remedy for all discriminatory pay decisions, but it’s a good start and sends a great symbolic message as Obama’s first law.”

Clearly, passing the Ledbetter Act alone will not solve discrimination issues in the work place. It seems simply the clarification of a detail. There is still so much more work to be done to truly establish equity amongst employees. But I suppose we all need to consider this a “glass is half full” moment. Thanks to this new Act, women can file a discrimination complaint and actually have a chance at compensation. Even if the Ledbetter Act is only considered one symbolic deckchair tossed impressively off the Titanic – it is still one step closer to a little something we all consider more American than apple pie: equal rights.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Equal Rights, Feminist tendancies, Government, Obama, Politics, Raising Awareness, Women, Working moms

Just Thought I’d Ask

8ball_0

As much as I try to deny it, my children are growing up. (Damn.) My sweet little two year old C.  is going to be three this summer. I have even begun the process of enrolling him in school part time this fall. Its hard to believe that in a mere nine months, I won’t have a child home with me full time.

How did that happen?

And where does that leave me?

In 2003, I quit my full time job to be home with my children. And soon, over five years later with two kids in school and a huge gap in my resume, I have to figure out how I am going to help earn more for this family. Times are tough everywhere. We are lucky my husband is even employed. I am an able bodied person, so back to work with me. If this all sounds familiar, it should because I have been stressed about this issue before. Its one I go round in circles about. I think we all do.

But here’s the thing. This past year, some amazing things have happened for me. I am beginning to feel that I need to pay careful attention to whats going on around me. The signs are there.  It seems that something real may waiting for me in my future. I know this sounds like I am buying into some new age hocus pocus… *Shrug* Well. I don’t know. Maybe I am. Because I almost feel like the universe – and all that is beyond me – is quietly trying to tell me something. You might remember I have noticed this before. And all of those crazy signs I was talking about then still just keep popping up everywhere.

This way, this way. Over here. Come this way…

So, if we are going to go there, and get all spiritual up on this blog, I think I am going to go ahead and practice a tried and true lesson from the heavens. I have heard that in order to get what you want, you must ask for it. So that’s what I am going to do. I am going push aside those feelings of “I shouldn’t ask for anything, I don’t deserve anything more, I have enough” and just simply ask the powers that be for a little favor.

To all that are listening, whether they be up at the pearly gates or right here next to me as I type this post (cue the inspirational Enya music, switch on the hallowed lights from the heavens) – this is what I hope I can do to earn my keep around here:

I want to write.

(Shocking, I know.)

But I want to be paid to write. And I adore blogging, really I do, and I plan to keep doing it. But am I the next Dooce? I don’t think so. My life is really not interesting enough to have a well paying blog about… err… little ol’ me.

But I would love to write articles, be paid to post on other blogs, write reviews, write editorials in magazines or online… shoot, whatever it is, I just want to write and make some extra scratch for groceries or (eeks, this seems like a lot to ask) maybe even a car payment.

Now if you are a parent blogger, writing from home like I am, I am betting you are having a good laugh right about now. Because this is probably exactly what you want too. You know how great writing is. You can work from home and then be there for your children when they get home from school. You set your own hours and you take on as much work as you can handle. Its kind of ideal, right? Yeah, that’s what I think too.

Well, even if every other parent blogger wants to do what I hope to do, so what. It still can’t hurt to ask, right?

So. To the powers that be. Whoever is out there, up there, over there, right here pushing mystical buttons and pulling heavenly levers… could you just make a note? Maybe tag me and set me aside for something that seems to fit my needs down the road a bit? I’m not asking to be Editor in Chief of Redbook or the next Jen Weiner, I just want to love what I do… and write. Then maybe I can help pay some bills around here and make sure T. is getting his homework done before he turns on the Wii. It’s not too much to ask, right? I hope not.

Anyway. Back I go to stumbling down this path, with no clue where it will take me, uncovering the tiny little signs that are pointing me this way.  I know I keep checking myself, questioning my faith in it all, saying “Well, I don’t know, I’ll try it for now but lets not get our hopes up.” But then, right at my feet, another sign will appear. And if I look very, very closely it says the same thing that they all do. It simply says “write, write, write”. So I am.

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Filed under Blog love, Deep thoughts, Destinies, Guilt and motherhood, Identity crisis, Panicking, Reality check, Self-analysis, Signs, Spirituality, Working moms

Morningside Mom’s 2009 Resolutions for Barack Obama

The December holidays are finally winding down. Decorations are to be packed up, our homes are being put back into order and left over holiday goodies are being cleaned out of refrigerators. So naturally, as we are fed up with our past week of excess, what comes to mind during the December wind down? Resolutions. And lots of them. But I am a realistic person and I know that my personal resolution lists rarely pan out. So this year, I am doing it a little differently. I would like to consider what sort of resolutions Obama might want to make for 2009. Perhaps you may have a few to add to his list as well.

On the eve of a hope-filled New Year and his first inauguration, Barack Obama’s resolution list has got to be about a mile long. Although, I’m not sure how he can discriminate his resolution list from the endlessly unfurling to-do list draped over his desk right now.

In the midst of all that is to be taken seriously in the New Year, The Red Stapler Chronicles had some resolutions for Obama that gave me a good laugh. For example:

  • Fix the leaking faucet in the Oval Office to immediately save tax payer’s money
  • Make sure new puppy gets along with Biden’s new dog to avoid dog fighting scandal.

Now it’s my turn. Here are a few suggested resolutions this liberal minded mom might add to President-elect Obama’s list:

  • Prepare that pedestal.

    With so much work ahead of him, folks may shove him right off that pedestal if he doesn’t change things on day one. Or, it could go the other way. Any difference he makes at all could officially establish his superhero status and permanence on that pedestal. Either way, he needs to ready his pedestal and be prepared for anything.

  • Keep that ego in check.

    With all the inauguration fanfare and Obama mania ringing in the streets, he needs to keep a grounded perspective. I am expecting Michelle to see right through it all and remind him who Barack really is.

  • Keep it real.

    President or not, he must remember his roots, his family, his heritage and the real reasons he got into politics in the first place.

  • Don’t forget the moms.

    With his wife and mother-in-law dropping everything to raise his children, he better recognize the kind of work mothers actually do and that women nationwide are expecting more focus on rights for working mothers during his presidency.

  • Keep a sense of humor.

    President-elect Obama is a funny guy. There is not much to laugh at right now but his sense of humor will serve him and this White House well in the midst of it all.

  • Stay squeaky clean.

    After our last democratic president, I shudder to think about what sort of damage one stupid, selfish decision could do right now.

  • Keep those promises.

    As any politician does during an election, Obama has made a lot of them. The difference is that this time if he doesn’t keep those promises and we don’t see change happen, a recession will be the least of our problems.

  • Play with your kids.

    There is no better way to keep perspective and maintain sanity than to play with your children after a long day at the office solving the world’s problems.

And finally, I would like to wish the President-elect, his family and this entire country a very happy and hopeful New Year indeed.

And here’s a hand, my trusty friend And gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne
-Robert Burns, 1788

 Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Equal Rights, Family, Fathers, Feminist tendancies, Holidays, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Mothers, Obama, Presidency, Reccomendations, Women, Working moms

Michelle Obama as First Lady, Feminist and Mom in Chief

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I can’t help but empathize with Michelle Obama right now. As a mother of two small children myself, I keep trying to imagine what she is going through as she prepares her family for life in the White House. I think about her little girls growing up in Washington DC as I did, attending a school right down the road from where I grew up. And as I empathise with our future first lady, my ears perk up when I read both about the support and criticism she is receiving as an accomplished woman who has decided to make her role in the White House “mom-in-chief”.

There can be no more daunting task than trying to raise the First Children. Can you imagine? Your daughters must live in a virtual museum with some of the tightest security world wide. There is no spontaneously running over to a neighbor’s house to play.  They will be isolated and protected from the world and yet they will have the most public lives of any child.

And so Michelle Obama has chosen to make parenting these children her priority. However, within days of learning about her future in the White House, Michelle had already received her fair share of advice. Hillary has jumped in to say her piece. Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, had a few things to say. And even FDR’s grandson offered some words of wisdom. While Michelle did not formally ask for Laura Bush’s advice, the current first lady did share her suggestions with the press later.

I wonder what comfort she has taken from all of this advice, if any. I wonder how much more advice is coming down the pike from other celebrity parents or those with political agendas or even advice from your average “Jane Parent” who always thinks she knows better anyway.

However, while Michelle prepares her girls and faces all of this advice, she must deal with those who already criticize her decision to put her girls first. Michelle is certainly an accomplished woman. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she continued on to work as an associate at a law firm and hold six board of director positions. She founded programs, she lead community outreach – she made “change” happen long before it was cool for an Obama to do so. But now, as her husband has been elected to be President, she has chosen to bring her career to a screeching halt and just be… well… a mom.

In a fascinating article written by Rebecca Traister at Salon.com, Michelle’s choices to focus on the traditional worries of a First Lady leave the author concerned. 

“…some of the most extraordinary [qualities of Michelle Obama] — the ones that set her apart from many of her predecessors in the East Wing — are already falling victim to a nostalgic complacency about familial roles, and to an apparent commitment to re-creating Camelot with an African-American cast, but little modern tweaking of the role of wife and mother.”

She argues Michelle could push the envelope and bring a more career minded feminist into the role of a first lady. She seems disappointed she has chosen to put her role as a mother and wife first and foremost, while leaving all the rest behind.

Ruth Marcus from the Washington Post discusses the ever present question that arises between married parents such as the Obamas: who will work and who will raise the children?

“The brutal reality is that, like our president-elect, most men do not wrestle quite so strenuously with these competing desires [to work or raise your family]. So when the needs of our families collide with the demands of our jobs, it is usually the woman’s career that yields.”

She implies that Michelle was not given much of a choice in this matter. When Obama was elected President, her career had to end. And there was no other choice but to make her children a priority.

But has Michelle truly failed as a feminist by focusing on her children? Is her career an utter failure because she is stepping aside from it for the meantime? Has she lost all credibility as a potentially new, modern, variety of First Lady?

According to Geraldine Brooks at The Daily Beast, she can make parenting her priority while still representing women as a powerful example.

“She is smart enough and subtle enough to have worked out that so-called Mom issues can make for meaty public policy.”

And then explains that her position as a mother in the White House will in fact bring much needed attention to women who struggle daily as they balance their careers and family.

“Work-family balance? What is that, really, but a polite way of putting the feminist agenda of equal pay and decent childcare back on the table after so many years of neglect?”

Meghan O’Rourke at Slate.com sympathises that, once again, no matter if a woman chooses either work or parenting as the priority, they will be criticized for their choice. And most of often a woman’s biggest critic is herself. She then goes on to make this final point.

“The best way Michelle Obama can act as a role model for women right now is not by making the decision any one of us would make (because we’d all make different decisions), but by reminding us that life is fleeting, and we ought to immerse ourselves in the opportunities and joys of our own life as it exists. Not as it might exist.”

And so my identification with Michelle Obama remains true. With two small children, and a mountain of advice, she must trust her instincts and raise her girls the best way she knows how.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will change the role and perceptions of the First Lady. And however she shakes things up, she has already made it unapologetically clear that she will make her girls her priority. In my mind’s eye, as a mother and brilliant leader able to remain fluid in her many roles as a woman, Michelle will make an excellent “First Feminist” indeed.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under daughters, Election, Equal Rights, Family, Fathers, Feminist tendancies, Guilt and motherhood, Hillary Clinton, Inspiring people, Marriage, Michelle Obama, Mothers, Obama, Parenting, Politics, Women, Working moms

Charities Entered in the HP Giveaway Contest

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During my HP Giveaway contest, I received some amazing entries. And I mean AMAZING. Choosing a winner seemed near impossible and I am about to show you why. But I did choose a winner and the Moms Without Moms Organization spent last weekend opening up all their computers and finding new homes for them at the Laura Walker Project. I am thrilled those computers will make a significant difference in the lives of the women they serve.

But back to my entrants. The stories. The heartache. The charities. And even once I had worked my list down, the remaining folks were honestly all equally deserving. Even since this contest has long passed, I think about their charities and the work so many of these folks do for others. So, I thought that the only small way I can give to these folks might be to introduce some of them to my readers. You see, there is amazing work happening out there, even during these very difficult times. Selfless giving happens daily, without any fanfare or fabulous HP giveaways hyping up the amazing work they do.

Please read along and learn a little something about some incredible charities that my entrants hoped to donate the the HP giveaway to.

But can ask one favor of you though? If you are able to, or if you know someone who can, please consider contributing to one of these charities. Or post this link on your blog encouraging folks to give. Or send this link to friends. Or Stumble it. Or tweet about it. Do what you can do to expose these charities to others. I believe in the power of word of mouth, blogging and community. Maybe some more good can come for these charities after all.

Also, forgive me. Rather than writing my own blurb about each place, I have copied quotes from most of their mission statements. They do a better job explaining themselves anyway. Ok, here we go…

Legacy Cultural Learning Community

“Muscogee-Seminole and Cherokee artist, Dana Tiger, founded Legacy Cultural Learning Community to offer “art making” as part of the daily lives of Native youth.  Since 2002, Legacy has provided art opportunities ranging from outdoor youth and elder camps where traditional foods are prepared on an open fire, to the production of film by 5th through 8th grade camera and technical directors.”

Arise for Social Justice

“Arise is a low-income rights, membership organization based in Springfield, MA. We were founded by welfare mothers who believe we have the right to speak for ourselves about the issues that affect our lives. Our membership is poor people, people who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness, working people and people who have been pushed to the side by society We organize around voting rights, housing, homelessness, access to health care, family rights and criminal injustice.”

Endependence Center

“ECI provides an array of independent living services to individuals with disabilities and to the community.  The purposes of ECI are two-fold; to prepare individuals, and to prepare the community for full integration of persons with disabilities into society.”

Lighthouse International

“Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to preserving vision and to providing critically needed vision and rehabilitation services to help people of all ages overcome the challenges of vision loss. Through clinical services, education, research, and advocacy, the Lighthouse enables people with low vision and blindness to enjoy safe, independent and productive lives.”

Wyoming Search and Rescue Association

The Wyoming Search and Rescue Association assists with “the employment, coordination and utilization of available resources and personnel in relieving distress, preserving life and removing survivors from the site of a disaster, emergency or hazard to safety in case of lost, stranded, entrapped or injured people.”

Vision Hope

“Presently Vision HOPE’s sole focus is on raising the necessary funds to operate Champions for Life Kids’ Camp. Foster children from the surrounding communities will participate in a variety of fun and educational activities in a non-competitive and non-threatening, loving environment. With a highly trained & devoted staff, these children will discover not only their inner strengths and abilities, but their self-worth as well.”

Peace for Kids

“Peace4Kids provides programs and services for foster and at-risk youth from ages 5-18, and after emancipation until age 24. Peace4Kids is truly on the front lines in addressing the needs of foster and at-risk youth in the South Los Angeles neighborhoods of Watts, Willowbrook and Compton.”

Schweinfurt’s SFAC (Soldier and Family Assistance Center)

“The SFAC is a one-stop location designed to provide support services regarding finances, child care, Family Advocacy, budgeting, Chaplain assistance, Legal Assistance, Military Personnel issues, logistics and transportation, installation access, benefits counseling, education and employment opportunities. The SFAC provides a warm, relaxed environment where Soldiers and their Families can gather to foster physical, spiritual and mental healing.”

Youth Power Center

Youth Power Center (YPC), located in Anacostia of Washington, DC, is a career training program that assists teenagers to empower them to reach their potential.

Zoe’s Heart

This blogger writes about her daughter’s dire need of a heart transplant. Visit her site to learn more.

Talking About Curing Autism

“Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides information, resources, and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACAhelps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help people with autism be the best they can be.”

Kennebec Valley Community Action Program

“KVCAP offers a range of services for men, women, and children. These include Family Planning; home ownership, repair and weatherization services, heating assistance; transportation; and a teen center. We also support families through home visitation programs for first time parents, parenting classes, childcare and Head Start. Many of these programs are available to people of all income levels.

Capitol News Connection

“Capitol News Connection is an independent and innovative multimedia news service that brings politics ‘home’ to citizens with localized and custom-crafted reporting from Congress. A bridge from the ‘Beltway’ to the ‘Heartland’, CNC connects the dots and ensures all Americans have access to locally relevant, trustworthy, engaging and unbiased information. By bringing new relevance, transparency and accountability to the political process, CNC reporting empowers citizens to shape their own destinies by being active and effective participants in our democracy.”

Sacramento Loaves and Fishes

“Without passing judgment, and in a spirit of love and hospitality, Loaves & Fishes feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless. We provide an oasis of welcome, safety, and cleanliness for homeless men, women and children seeking survival services.”

Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center

“Our mission is to provide opportunities and an environment for neighbors and families in southwest Indianapolis to improve lives, increase independence, and strengthen community through service and collaboration.”

Blogger Kate discussed their amazing adult re-entry computer education program and how it supports and assists “Baby Boomer” adults as they reinvent themselves at various points in their lives.

Ballet Tech

“Ballet Tech is dedicated to seeking out talented New York City public school students and provides a continuum of training from introductory through professional level training. Throughout the children’s instruction, dance classes, shoes and leotards are provided free of charge. During the first year of training, transportation is provided while students attend ballet classes on a school-time release program. Students who show the talent and passion required to study classical ballet are invited to attend The New York City Public School for Dance (NYCPSD) – a cooperative, tuition-free venture between the NYC Department of Education and Ballet Tech. The School offers a rigorous academic curriculum paired with intensive dance training for students in grades 4 through 12.”

Cathedral Square Cooperation

“South Burlington Community Housing offers affordable housing for people with mobility impairments aged 62 and younger…the community offers nine one-bedroom apartments [and] a non-institutional setting where residents can live independently in a group setting. All residents participate in a care-pooling plan, which allows them to pool their resources to direct the caregiver staff of the community in providing their care, which allows more freedom and independence than a traditional care giving arrangement.”

And finally, there were many entrants who were enthusiastic about donating to these very important charities: the Salvation Army, the Make A Wish Foundation and the Ronald McDonald Houses.

Thank you for reading and giving anyway that you can!

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Filed under Bloggers, Causes, Children, Contests, Education, HP, Inspiring people, Money, Mothers, Philanthropy, Raising Awareness, Women, Working moms

Morningside Mom Announces Her HP Giveaway Winner!

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Congratulations to Laura, the President and Founder of the Moms Without Moms organization!

(Cue the confetti, parade, acrobats and cheering crowds!)

Why this organization? Here is a portion of her submission:

“Moms Without Moms was formed in April of 2006.  The mission of the organization is to provide a caring, comfortable, and nurturing environment of support to females who have lost their mothers, by indiscriminately encouraging positive and personal growth through companionship, leadership, and education. 
 
Moms Without Moms opened a maternity group home, the Laura Walker Project (named after my mother), which serves the needs of teenagers who are either pregnant or parenting.  A teenager living at the Laura Walker Project home receives an array of support and guidance:  emotional, educational, life skills, parenting, job skills, etc.  It is the desire of the Laura Walker Project to ensure that the girls are in a position to effectively care for themselves and their baby when they leave.  We are working with them to break the dependence on the public welfare system.”

If you visit their site, you will learn more about this amazing cause started by a woman with an incredible vision. I can already imagine the computers being used by new mothers looking for jobs, the touchscreen being used for classroom or educational use and the printer printing out pictures of the brand new babies. It feels like a perfect match for all of this hardware that needs to be put to good use (rather than just sitting in boxes, crowding up my hallway).

Regarding this competition, choosing a winner was extraordinarily difficult. I received over 300 submissions, each listing amazing charities and organizations  which would benefit greatly from these computers. There were also endless stories about families who have nothing right now, who are suffering during a very difficult time in our country and are hoping desperately for a little holiday magic to come their way. And there were many entries from abroad – entrants discussed the endless benefits these computers could bring to an orphanage or village who had dated PCs, if any at all.

How could I pick? How can little ol’ me decide whose entry was more worthwhile? It was an impossible task. When I finally cut down entries to a “short list”, even that hardly seemed short. No entry was more worthy than another. But I had to make one choice and go with it. And this was my choice. A wonderful one indeed.

Again congratulations Laura! We’ll be following up with her in the near future. I can’t wait to see how her organization and project benefits from these computers.

Now, to those of you who did not win. Please keep a look out. I will be listing many of the sites and causes you submitted in a future post. I am hoping that perhaps someone reading my blog will consider donating to your causes. I know it’s not a bunch of computers, but its the best I can offer you. Also, do not forget: the other HP bloggers are running their contests through this month. Try and enter at any of their sites too!

Thanks again to every entrant, I was truly inspired by the charity in your hearts. Blessings for a wonderful Holiday Season.

For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

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Filed under Bloggers, Causes, Contests, Gifts, Holidays, HP, Inspiring people, Mothers, Philanthropy, Women, Working moms