In 1958, African American choreographer Alvin Ailey first performed with a group of young modern dancers at New York’s 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association. His work as a dancer and an activist popularized modern dance and transformed the way the African American population participated […]
As you navigate middle school, I have a few things I’d like you to know: 1. Not everyone will get you. Be patient. You will continue to find your people. 2. Even if you aren’t a natural athlete, grit will be the characteristic that separates you. 3. When […]
For some moms, decisions about when and how much to work while our children are young are among the hardest we will make. For other moms, like those who act as primary or sole breadwinners in about 40 percent of American households, those decisions don’t feel like a choice at all – their families depend on their income.
The American family and work force has changed rapidly in the last generation: Today about 70 percent of mothers (with children under 18) work, compared to 47 percent in 1975. During this time, there’s been a red-hot cultural debate about women’s roles, what it means to be a “feminist,” and what public policies we should put into place to ease some of the pressures on working moms.
One important public policy debate is about paid family leave. Should our laws do more to guarantee working moms (and dads) time off after the birth of a new baby? This issue is not just political, but personal.
I would know; I’m expecting my second baby to arrive in just a couple of months.
But there’s a lot at stake in this complex debate, especially considering how diverse American families have become. I can’t presume every family is like mine, or that every mom wants the same kind of maternity leave arrangement I want. To me, being a feminist means supporting other women in their choices, even if they differ from mine.
Two commonly discussed solutions for the paid leave dilemma are new entitlements and new mandates on employers. But stay-at-home parents and childless workers don’t need paid family leave, so it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to fund a government program to pay workers during this time off. Mandates on employers come with costs, too, ultimately making it less likely employers will hire and promote women of child-bearing age.
Clearly, we need a paid leave policy that treats all families and workers fairly, and minimizes the unintended consequences that backfire on women in the workplace.
Finally, there’s a plan that does just that.
Several Members of Congress are championing a new paid family leave proposal originally advanced by Independent Women’s Forum that would increase access to paid parental leave for those who need it most, but without penalizing those families that choose not to have children, or families with children who keep a parent at home, or those who have access to paid leave benefits already.
Instead of raising taxes on all workers, this plan would reform the existing Social Security program to offer working parents a choice to take “parental benefits” early (after the addition of a new child) in exchange for delaying retirement benefits later. Parental benefits would be calculated according to the disability formula, meaning lower-income families would see a greater portion of their pay replaced during a family leave period.
The beauty of this plan is that the choice lies with the individual worker. It’s completely voluntary. Workers who do not opt in would see no changes to their compensation, benefits, or Social Security. What better way to honor the variety of choices that women (and men) make about work and family life?
As the American workforce continues to evolve (with more workers seeking greater flexibility in the gig economy and non-traditional jobs) and our family structures continue to become more diverse, we should focus on policies that give all workers the greatest freedom and choice. Our plan does this with respect for the myriad different ways modern American women choose to direct their own lives. That’s worth celebrating.
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When I was growing up, my father was in and out of jail, so my mother was struggling to manage being a single mother of three kids. It seemed like, back then, all we did was fight. Every day my mom and I fought. And […]
Folks. Let’s have a little chat, shall we?
Since we’re all living in this massive web known as the Internet, I think it’s time we set some things straight. Because let’s be honest, the Internet has become a toxic cesspool bubbling over with nastiness, humblebrags, and nonsense. And a girl can only take so much before she wants to throw her computer out the window or move to a secluded island because people so clearly suck beyond repair.
Look, the Internet has a way of bringing out the worst in people. Yes, sometimes the best, but mostly the worst.
I try to be tolerant and polite. So I looked the other way when I noticed that you liked the Facebook page of that evangelical Christian who thinks progressives are going to rot in hell. I didn’t comment on your post with a link to Breitbart or Fox News. And I swallowed the vomit in my mouth when you humblebragged about your “sweet hubby” for the gajillionth time.
But we’ve all got limits. And I’m at mine.
Chances are, you might be too.
So before we all start hating everybody – and for the sake of our expensive Macs and PCs at the risk of being tossed from a second story window – let’s set a few ground rules.
If you’re gonna leave, just leave. No. Announcement. Necessary.
Newsflash: if you don’t like a page or a friend’s Internet fuckery is driving you up the wall, there’s this handy little button called “unlike” or “unfriend.” It works like a charm and here’s the real special thing — you don’t need to do anything other the click it. You don’t need to comment with a grand announcement of your departure. JUST LEAVE.
Before you share, beware.
I hate to break it to you, but most of what’s on the Internet is a load of crap. So before you share that post from www.democratsaresatan.com or www.republicansarethedevil.com or www.theapocylpseishappeningontuesday.com, maybe check with a credible news source. And no, Fox News and Breitbart don’t count as “credible.”
Enough with the shady MLM scams.
I’m not going to buy your leggings, your face cream, your weight loss shake, or your unnamed tooth whitening paste. So please stop asking. Enough with the FB sales pitches disguised as messages “to catch up” even though we haven’t actually exchanged words in 15 years and you spent most of high school giving me side-eye. I’m not buying your shit, Nancy. But thanks for asking.
Don’t tag me in photos where you look like a runway model and I look like Rip Van Winkle in stained yoga pants.
This shouldn’t need further explanation. Yet here we are.
Knock it off with the hashtagged humblebrags.
We all know your kid is #cuteasabutton and you’re #lovingmomlife, but you aren’t fooling anyone when you post a photo from the front row of the CMAs or on the 50-yard line of the Super Bowl and hashtag that shit with #SoBlessed or #GodIsGreat. Because last time I checked, God didn’t give a shit about award ceremonies or football games. And you just sound obnoxious.
On a related note, keep your Sunday morning evangelism to yourself.
Ain’t no one got time for your Facebook sermons, Cindy Jo.
Unfriending is always in season for assholes.
I suppose this should go without saying, but if you’re an asshole or think it’s okay to tell sexist, racist, or homophobic “jokes,” let me introduce you to my friend Unfriend and my even more badass friend Block. Because life’s too short for this dumbfuckery and nastiness. Bye Felicia!
Sanctimommies and Judgy McJudgersons need not apply.
Pro-tip: If you start a comment with “I’m sorry, but…” or “I don’t mean to judge…,” you aren’t fooling anyone.
Tell us. Or don’t tell us. But don’t maybe hint at something that might happen but it’s so important/great/sad/upsetting that you just can’t talk about it yet.
Look. Interneting isn’t all that hard. Basically, it all boils down to one simple rule: Don’t be a dick. If we can all do that, then we’ll be able to keep scrolling to our hearts’ content without wearing a Haz-Mat suit or wanting to stab a fork in our eye.
I remember being at a play date eight years ago. My first born was a toddler, and I was pregnant with his sister. I’d already faced a few parenting struggles. The wind got knocked out of me when I failed epically at breastfeeding. I wondered […]
Walking into my daughter’s room this morning, I caught glimpse of her school project lying on the floor — there were colored pencils, scissors, and glue stick strewn about. Half-empty bottles of perfume and body lotion were scattered on her desk next to Tupperware containers […]
Imagine you’re out at the park with your child who is on the spectrum. Or what about if you’ve mustered up the energy to pack up your car with your child’s wheelchair and you’re out and about enjoying the beautiful weather. But in your peripheral vision, you see someone looking at you — staring.
Or how about being approached by someone you haven’t seen in a while, and the conversation gets really awkward. That, my friend, is something we parents of kids with special needs encounter on a daily basis.
Here are a few of my pet peeves along with some tips to help turn an awkward encounter into a memorable one.
Pet Peeve #1: Trying to Relate
It’s so great when we run into people we haven’t seen in a long time. The conversation may start out like this:
The Friend: “Hi!! Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen you in so long! Your kids are so beautiful!!”
But then, the conversation goes south and things get pretty awkward.
The Friend, again: “I just wanted you to know that my co-workers-daughter’s-best friend’s-brother’s-nieces-nephew… has Down syndrome.”
Special Needs Parent: “Ummmm….Okay?….?”
What are we supposed to say to that? How about leaving the history line alone and just be happy to see us. Trust me, we want to have as much of a normal conversation as possible.
Pet Peeve #2: Sympathizing When We’re Out
We know that what we go through is different and tough, but do us all a favor: If you see us out, don’t feel sorry for us. Be happy that we’re out. All we’re doing is trying to give our child the best life we can. Trust me, if we’ve managed to gather our child’s wheelchair, oxygen tank, heart monitor, feeding pump, and whatever else — be happy for us! Don’t remind us of our situation by feeling sorry or bad for us.
Pet Peeve #3: Staring
Let’s say you happen to see a family who has a child in a wheelchair. Or it’s a family who has a child with autism and that child is having an episode. And then BOOM! You start staring at them, without even realizing you’re doing it.
Thanks to a magical thing called peripheral vision, we definitely see you looking at us. Now, if you happen to get caught staring, DO NOT QUICKLY LOOK THE OTHER WAY! Or even worse, DON’T WALK AWAY! Instead, acknowledge your stare. What do I mean by acknowledging? Smile at us. Or even just a quick head nod and a wave is fine.
Oh, you want to do more than just smiling. Sure! How about taking action on your stare? We parents won’t bite. If you see us, and our child on the spectrum is having an episode, politely ask that parent if they need help with anything. Or if you see a parent with their hands full and also a wheelchair that they have to disassemble to get it into their car, ask if they need any help.
A simple offer of assistance can go a long way. Try it one day.
These pet peeves are things that I have personally gone through, but I’m sure my other special needs parent comrades can relate. To see more on this topic, check out my latest vlog right here: Pet Peeves | Special Needs Parent Edition 2018.