Commentary on the President’s Speech on Families and SAHMs

Backrground of me: I have a degree in Public Relations from the only accredited University in Indiana for Public Relations. I worked in the Corporate Communications department of a Forbes 200 company for four years. When my daughter was born I gave up the glamorous life of pant suits to raise a family and I am currently freelancing for small companies in the community, because I like to be my own boss (other than the toddler, I mean).

I don’t want anyone to draw a line in the sand here… or say it’s “us” vs “them.” I don’t want to start an online war or bash the President. I’m not trying to ignore the rest of his speech (which I have read) and I don’t want to overlook the amazing things he did say during that speech. New laws for family ARE needed! I know so many families right now that have no choice but to work though births and suffering because they can’t afford to take any time off to help their loved ones. This kind of stuff is great and awesome and NEEDED. It does not, however, negate some of the other things that were said.

I’m not trying to change minds here. I know you stand on your side of the fence and I stand on mine and so we’ll all immediately be defensive about our side. IF WE COULD JUST STOP DOING THAT FOR A MINUTE and maybe consider the way some of this stuff sounds so… and JUST FOR A SECOND consider the feelings (and yes rights) of a specific group of people (and to conservatives out there these sentiments sound really similar to those coming from the left on some matters)… and if you’re lucky I’ll address those thoughts at the end.

From where I stand there is a more subtle, secondary agenda here. To discourage the idea of stay at home motherhood. I have copied the speech as it read on Snopes and since the website thought it would be appropriate to interject their (obviously liberal) opinions, I thought I would do the same. (again, before you roll your eyes… just consider my side of the fence).

“I kept on hearing about my mom struggling to put herself through school, or my grandmother hitting that glass ceiling. And I thought about Michelle, and I told some stories about when Michelle and I were younger and getting starting, and we were struggling to balance two careers while raising a family. And my job forced me to travel a lot, which made it harder on Michelle, and we would feel some of the guilt that so many people feel — we’re working, we’re thinking about the kids, we’re wondering whether we’re bad parents, we’re wondering whether we were doing what we need to do on the job. And as the catch-22 of working parents, we wanted to spend time with our kids, but we also wanted to make sure that we gave them the opportunities that our hard work was providing.”

Sooo… this says to me that because I have chosen to stay home I’m not “making sure” my children have those opportunities or that somehow as parents we aren’t working as hard as a set of two parents that work outside of the home. That somehow their struggle starting out as two working parents and the choices they had to make shadow the incredibly hard decision it was for me to give up my career, adjust to a completely different level of income, and STILL provide all those needs and opportunities to my child. It’s not a harder struggle either way… they’re just different. I can’t imagine missing out on everything Emery does all day, I see that pain in my husband… and choosing to give up the pant suits, pay checks, and whatever feeling society tells us that as women we NEED to have because we’re women gosh darn it and we deserve to have a purpose outside of motherhood too! (BTW: I DO have a purpose outside of motherhood. I am a PERSON outside of being a mother. I realize some people get lost in it… but I don’t think we should and I haven’t. I’m awesome. I have an awesome life. I do awesome things with my life… Like ranting on a blog.)

“And then, of course, I think about my daughters. And the idea that my daughters wouldn’t have the same opportunities as somebody’s sons — well, that’s unacceptable. That’s not acceptable.”

It really isn’t acceptable. I fall more in the camp of loving my families traditional roles, but I realize that’s not for everyone… and it’s freaking ridiculous that women don’t make as much money as men for the same job. And that’s just the TIP of that proverbial iceberg.

“But here’s the challenge — that’s all good news — the challenge is, our economy and some of the laws and rules governing our workplaces haven’t caught up with that reality. A lot of workplaces haven’t caught up with that reality. So while many women are working hard to support themselves and their families, they’re still facing unfair choices, outdated workplace policies. That holds them back, but it also holds all of us back. We have to do better, because women deserve better. And, by the way, when women do well, everybody does well.

So women deserve a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship. And Rhode Island has got the right idea. You’re one of just three states where paid family leave is the law of the land. (Applause.) More states should choose to follow your lead.”

More true things. Especially for single parents.

“Without paid leave, when a baby arrives or an aging parent needs help, workers have to make painful decisions about whether they can afford to be there when their families need them most. Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth to their child. I mean, there are a lot of companies that still don’t provide maternity leave. Of course, dads should be there, too. So let’s make this happen for women and for men, and make our economy stronger. (Applause.) We’ve got to broaden our laws for family leave.”

Even more true and needed things. It’s AWESOME that he wants to address this and hopefully make a difference for parents and families.

“Moms and dads deserve a great place to drop their kids off every day that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg. We need better childcare, daycare, early childhood education policies. In many states, sending your child to daycare costs more than sending them to a public university.”

That is also true… but it feels less supportive of ALL parents… what about the rights or support for those that do choose to leave careers? What about work from home moms that can’t afford to do those things either? (Originally I began to spew into a different rant about insurance and women’s rights in general and about how if you need an abortion covered then I need my natural home birth covered too… but that’s a tangent and we won’t talk about that now ;))

AUDIENCE MEMBER: True!

“True. (Laughter.) And too often, parents have no choice but to put their kids in cheaper daycare that maybe doesn’t have the kinds of programming that makes a big difference in a child’s development. And sometimes there may just not be any slots, or the best programs may be too far away. And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

Wwwwaaaaiiiiittttt… it’s awesome that there is cheaper daycare… because then lower income families can afford it. Aaaand… we don’t need government programing EVERYWHERE. I don’t want kids getting neglected or abused (oh sweet goodness please don’t take that from the previous statement) but we just can’t all afford the same options. AND THAT’S OKAY. What we do need is to make sure if parents are working there are affordable SAFE and HEALTHY places for children to go. Maybe more strict policies or more care checks. I don’t know what that takes. But you don’t have to make lower income families feel like their daycares aren’t as wonderful as a high-cost baby boarding school.

AND DID YOU NOT SEE THE PART WHERE HE SAID MOTHERS LEAVING THEIR JOB IS NOT THE CHOICE WE WANT AMERICANS TO MAKE? Because he said that. It’s bolded for your convenience. He said it. He padded it with a lot of other encouraging words and nice ideas for working parents… but he suggested that staying home makes women worth less (specifically monetarily) for their WHOLE LIFE.

Maybe, for the rest of my whole life (yes that was redundant) I don’t care how much money I make. Maybe, my worth doesn’t come in the form of some numbers after a dollar sign (and yours shouldn’t either, man or woman). But our President most definitely suggested that women leaving their jobs is not a choice “we” want them to make… and that, dear online brethren, is a negative sentiment to the stay at home motherhood community.

Okay… that was a lot… so I’ll save my gay rights and marriage unfairness rant for another time.

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Pushing Out Babies and A Quick Rant

Since I’m getting close to the end of my pregnancy (8 months next week!), we’ve (well I have, I don’t know about the Gent) been getting asked a lot about how many kids we want to have.

I read this today and thought it was a really neat way of explaining that whole thing:

“We want to have kids as long as there is grace for it. When that runs out, then that’s when we’ll stop.”

I think it fully encompasses the idea that we want the LORD to plan our family, but that we are also aware of the resources he has/does/will provide us. Having 12 kids doesn’t mean the He blesses you “more” with resources… but the kids themselves are a blessing with the graceful means God has provided. Continue reading

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Dear Mother Nature

You are a menace to society and an ultimate Monday morning buzz kill. Not that Monday mornings carry much buzz… but I think that if you asked anyone, ruining a Monday morning is, most certainly, terrible etiquette.Anyway, I don’t get what your deal is, Mother… you’ve provided me with plenty a wonderful fall (even though some of the deliveries have been less than satisfactory as of late)… and I’ve always been a decent fan of summer… but I’m not sure what your problem is this year, lady. Continue reading

The Venting Machine

I don’t want to be a Debby downer… but recently things have sucked.

I’m trying to keep a positive outlook, because this is my life right now is my ultimate dream come true. (I didn’t know that for a long time but it seems obvious now.) And I know I am getting a chance to do and have something that not even woman gets the chance to. When I found out about my little Button I promised myself I would never let the negative thoughts, opinions, and ideas that surround motherhood and children in on this miracle.

This experience and sweet outcome are worth too much.

I want to feel honored and joyful that I get to go through these tough moments… I want to stay peaceful when things are hard… I want to have a thankful heart no matter what… because I don’t deserve this adventure. Continue reading

Learning to Love Life

Lately the Gent and I have been talking a lot about contentment and how we really feel like we’ve reached such a good place in our life together because we are just in love with where we are.

Being content in life is an amazing blessing, like everything just feels right. It’s nothing we strived after, or finally got something and felt fulfilled… it was a journey to just loving our life and not needing anything more.

We look forward to the future but don’t have to constantly seek out “the next thing” to be happy. And that is so freeing.

This has been an amazing arrival as we focus on things that matter and strive more for the LORD in our everyday. The natural progression of life is so much more rewarding than rushing… and it’s making experiences so much richer, appreciating them for what they are and when/how they happen.

In case I ever find myself chasing after more than the LORD, or coveting things I don’t need… I hope that I think back to those conversations with my sweet husband and this coming to know the warmth of contentment.

Wise as Athena, Beautiful as Aphrodite

Oh, hey guys… my future baby just wanted to fly by and tell you about her unquenchable thirst for justice.

We found out last week that Button is a GIRL!!! And it JUST hit me that this means I get to have a little Wonder Woman.

WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS MY EXCITEMENT.

Finding out that our baby is a little girl has changed my whole world. This feels so much more real… so warm and fuzzy.

I am so in love… with this little baby I’ve not even met yet… with this little person that makes me feel butterfly dance parties in my belly…with this wonderful little girl.

I know there is still a chance that button could be a boy… and I’m okay with that too… but for now I am just in love with the idea of having a little girl.

Even if that means tea parties and pink stuff… Bring it.

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The Big News

Word is out… I’ve got a bun in the oven… and now that I’m in my second trimester it’s pretty much baby fever all up in here.

I will be forever proud to say that the first thing the Gent and I bought our very first child was a pair of Chuck Taylor high-top shoes. Parenting win.

So, needless to say my entire thought space is almost always taken up by Button. We will be welcoming a boy or girl? What will the nursery look like? How will our life change? How will we continue to cultivate a strong marriage/friendship/love life while focusing our growing family on God?

There are so many questions… and I kinda just don’t even want to deal with them right now. I don’t know if it’s the lack of motivation feeling I’ve had lately (blame it on the pregnancy) … but I’m just happy to let things unfold on their own time right now… and that is totally out of character. I hope this is some kind of awesome personal growth I’m having… to be content with what his happening now. Living in the moment, and savoring this season. After all, I will never have my first baby again.

Luckily, this week has brought on new life for me! My energy is back and my evening morning sickness is gone. I can even say up until my usual bedtime now! (Whoa.) I’m so excited to start getting back into things starting this weekend. Actually going grocery shopping, making dinner, working out, and over all just being more active.

The poor Gent though, this whole pregnancy thing is throwing him for a loop. My emotions and body/energy change so fast he hardly has time to adjust… not to mention he’s a first time and a total dude… so, things have been pretty interesting at the Hall house. Luckily, we spend most of our time laughing at each other when we get a little ridiculous… and the Gent has been doing A LOT of laughing at me lately. Heh.

Oh, maybe you are wondering why I’m only referring to him as “the Gent” and not “the Bearded Gent”… well… dude shaved. Like, the week before the first beard competitions we were going to. (Yes, there REALLY are beard competitions.) I’m pretty darn bummed out about it, but my man is still handsome as all get out.  Take a look at the before and after below…

Okay, there’s a catch up and a warning that this place is about to become baby central.

But, it’s going to be an awesome adventure.

If This Post Doesn’t Make You Feel Better About Your Life, I Don’t Know What Will

Dear Blog,

I think we both knew going into this that my dedication was minimal if not entirely disheartening. I did specify what I lack in consistency and content I make up for with half-hearted sarcasm. I took a few pictures on a lazy schedule unenthusiastically tried to come up with ANYTHING to say. Well, blog, I don’t want to say things just for the sake of saying something. I’m not even overly concerned about documenting anything in particular. In my opinion there are probably enough blogs talking about what people do during the day, and posting instagram style photos about their daily adventures.

I think part of the problem stems from my entirely boring and lazy lifestyle. Eight to five I’m a cubicle dweller. The only bit of sky I can see is from a small slit of window over the office wall in the group of cubes in the area across the hall. (I think it’s partly cloudy right now, maybe?) So, after staring at a computer all day, the last thing I want to do when I go home is sit in front of a computer and think of some epic event or enthralling topic to write about. What I usually do is park myself on my sofa for hours on end and become absorbed in whatever is on the television. And I do mean hours. I peel myself away just long enough to make dinner and find my spot again with plate in hand. There were nights that the only sound I heard my husband make was laughing at the Big Bang Theory.

That is the most disgusting description of a life I have ever heard. Continue reading

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The Bearded Gent

Day Six: What Makes You Happy

This guy. Right here. Cheesy? Maybe.
But the Bearded Gent is pretty darn rad, and I just love the shenanigans out of him.

Home Away From Home

Day Five: Where You Work

I spend more time at the office than I do anywhere else. I’m pretty fortunate in that I work for a pretty awesome company and have some killer rad coworkers. I just really appreciate the opportunities I have, and this season in which God has placed me. So, here it is, my home away from home…

OH HEY STEVE. (That’s my buddy, Steve. He’s pretty okay.)

This is what I see all day, Monday through Friday. My cubicle. The epitome of Corporate America. So yeah, iMac, phone, to do lists, stuff I’m editing, lots of trinkets. That’s pretty much how my desk rolls.
I’ve surrounded myself with things that make me happy. A picture of me and the Bearded Gent, a ball jar for pretty flowers, a teeny tiny cactus, owls, more flowers, a wedding pic, Wonder Woman stuff, pic of my Daddy and that little orange frame has a oak tree in it.  (When my dad would get home from work I would run through the house and just smack right into him and hug him, trying to push him. He would just laugh at me, not even budge, and say, “You can’t move this old oak.” I just can’t wait until I can run into his arms again and hear his voice say those words. My little heart aches for it.)  ANYWAY… I have an apple and cadbury caramel egg handy, along with some tea. I almost always have tea with me… you know, for quenching thirst and stuff.

This is my wall, formerly known as the Loren shrine. I recently cleaned it off so I could actually use it, but mostly this space is best for more things that just lift me up and encourage me throughout the day. I feel so blessed to work in an environment that lets me spread my personality all over my walls. So, more Beard and Daddy. More happy things. Pirate owls and bacon. Russian dolls and Bible verses. Wonder Woman. All things good.

I’m not sure how necessary this one is… but it’s my back wall. Those are the calendars of the stuff I manage. It’s pretty sweet. I love media so much. It’s always moving and growing and changing. Never a dull moment.

So, that’s it. That’s where I work. I hope you enjoyed the tour. I’m off to eat some tasty Alfredo for a special Kristen’s birthday 😉

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