My sister shared this article yesterday and I had to share here. Maybe the topic is close to my thought as I listen to what my sister and friends have to go through to ensure their newborn, infants, or toddlers receive quality, educational, and appropriate care while they work to support (or share in the support) their families. Depending on what city you live in, for some cities (especially larger ones) that requires both parents to work in order to pay their bills. And, that can even be before having children. Once you add children into the mix, costs only increase exponentially.
The article she shared: “What Stalled the Gender Revolution? Child Care That Costs More Than College Tuition” discusses the cost of child care. It can range anywhere from $1200 a month to $2100 a month. Childcare can be similar or twice as much of some families mortgages, and that can be for one child. If you have two or more young children it can increase even more. How do these families make it work? How about families that are lower-income and do not make enough to cover their bills and childcare?
It reminds me of my recent blog post: “We are in last place” that discusses maternity benefits in the United States compared to other countries. Do we at all value women, mothers, and the place of families? We give little to no “time off” to bring the little one into the world, and then when a woman decides to go back to work, or has no choice, the costs can be mind-boggling.
Please read the above article. It is well written on the conversation that needs to happen on affordable childcare. I know I was in the dark on the topic, and only when it impacted people close to me did I better understand the depth of the need.
I miss Shanghai. There are definitely parts of it I would never miss, but of the cities I have been to in the past few years, there was something very endearing about it. Last night Chris flew back from Memphis, Tennessee and due to his late night return I decided to be the horrible wife and not make the drive out to the airport to pick him up. While I am always exuberant to see him after he is gone (regardless of how long he is away), I am exhausted that late at night, and it is best to keep me in my pajamas on the couch then driving in the rain. So — he took a cab. Which reminded me of taxi’s in Shanghai.
There is one thing that is the complete opposite in Shanghai than Portland (and many cities in the United States). Pedestrians do not come first. Cars do, and taxis can be aggressive. If you are on foot, beware. Even if you have the right of way at a cross walk, do not trust that it is truly your turn. It was something that I had to constantly remember, as it is so different from the United States. Taxi’s can range from chill and quiet, to loud and maniac drivers. I guess the same could be said for cabbies in New York City. In Shanghai they honk all the time and especially if a pedestrian or cyclist is in their way, and often yell at everyone and everything in their vicinity. (Not that I could understand what they are saying, but you can tell by the tone). The exact moment the stoplight changes from red to green the horn is blaring, not giving anyone a second to be distracted.
While I never saw a single accident, there were quite a few times when I saw near misses. Somehow though they glide through the streets and dodge people and cyclists left and right without any harm done. They have a poise and agility about them. In some ways they make cabbies in New York City look like they are little league in comparison. There must be some unwritten rules for how people drive because somehow (and I could never explain it) it all works out.
Since some foreigners cannot rent cars while visiting China (probably a good thing) they are reliant on public transportation, car services, or taxis to be transported to each destination. Or, as we often did, walk. I cannot imagine if you added drivers from the rest of the world into the mix. What chaos that would be. Now, what it does make me ponder is why the United States lets almost anyone with a driver’s license in the rest of the world rent a car and navigate our roads. Does that make sense? It makes you think. I will say one more thing:
It has been on my mind for quite a while. I have not been able to formulate the words I feel, yet I know there are articles and blogs out there that state the facts, opinions, and emotions of countless mothers, soon-to-be mothers, and of course fathers out there that have experienced or will soon experience what it is like to bring a child into this world. I think about it in relation to when my sister had my niece, when my friends have had their babies, and when my colleagues (both men and women) have had to come back to work so quickly, either because of financial or work related reasons. What am I ranting about?
Parental leave in the United States.
A few days ago I read an article on The Huffington Post titled: “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President” that brought tears to my eyes for its authenticity, rawness, and the poignant reality to parents and families in the United States. Over time I for some reason have collected articles and personal blogs about parental leave because I am stunned and aghast that a country that is as progressive, modern, and futuristic as the US that we treat our mothers and babies as though it is 1770. How can we have pride for a country that keeps its eyes closed about this issue?
A Wikipedia search for “Parental Leave” shares a chart of all the countries in the world. Only two countries list “0” days. Papua New Guinea and the United States. How is that possible? How is it that every other country in the world has some type of paid parental leave policy and all we have is a law that means we will not lose our job (FMLA of course). What does that say about our countries support for families and the bonding that is necessary at the beginning of a child’s life? Some of the countries on the list not only give you time off before you have the baby, but an extensive amount of time after the child is born. Note: the District of Columbia does require employers to give paid time off. So does that mean that all of our politicians are covered, but regular American citizens are not? Can you believe Sweden gets 16 months off for maternity leave? What does this mean for parents and families that cannot afford to take any time off? Who is taking care of those babies in the immediate days after birth?
A search on Change.org resulted in many petitions all of which are closed. This is an issue that deserves our attention. How can we be in LAST PLACE? Read “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President.” It is time to speak up.
I had to wait a day or two to formulate my thoughts about the shooting in a local Troutdale, Oregon school. Social media sites are being bombarded with statistics about the number of school shootings all across the United States, and comparing them to other countries. Maybe I am thinking about it more because it happened less than 30 minutes away from me, or maybe I am sick and tired of watching innocent children be injured or die.
Bulletproof blankets for schools at the low price of $1000 a blanket, metal detectors in all school entrances. What has it come to? I do not really care about your politics or your personal opinions on gun control. I want to talk about the real issue, which is whether our children are safe or not in schools. Children go to school to learn, to trust, to push our boundaries. How can children learn when they are afraid of their fellow students? When they might fear that those that bully them might kill them to? It scares the crap out of me to think about sending my future kids to school. Will all parents have to start home schooling because we do not have the proper security and safety in our schools? Gun control, gun rights, politics, bearing arms aside, what are we going to do to protect our children?
I am angry.
What are we doing as a country to handle and resolve this issue? There was a visual icon on a friend’s Facebook page that said: “NOT ONE MORE” in support of finding a solution to school shootings. We all remember Columbine. We remember Virginia Tech where it was a massacre of lives. We remember Newtown. Are the shootings where one or two kids are shot not as important, or does the large volume of schools where incidents have occurred (fatalities or not) matter? They all add up do they not? There is a real issue, and we need to resolve it.
What are we going to do? What are you going to do? What am I going to do to step up and be apart of the change that needs to happen? How long are we going to continue to watch the news each day, and continue to be desensitized to the issues with guns? This Bill Moyers article lists the actual gun deaths or injuries in schools by date since Newtown – a shocking 79 in the last 18 months.
I am shocked. I am disappointed. I want answers. I want solutions.
It was about two years ago that I was sitting on a beach in Maui talking to a family member about how I wanted to start a blog. When they asked me: “Well what would you write about each day?” I said: “I think it will be random every day. There are a variety of topics I can see writing about based on my many interests.” I had no idea I would still be writing this blog 500 posts later. Yes, today is my 500th blog post. It is just a few weeks shy of a 2 year anniversary for random olio.
There are days that I cannot imagine how I will have the time or inspiration to write another blog post, and there are other days that I have so many ideas that I often cannot decide what I want to write about for that day. Just to shed light on how often the ideas flow, I currently have 108 “blog drafts.” For those of you reading this that might not be WordPress bloggers, that would be like having 108 draft messages in your email client. Every once in a while I will go to the oldest drafts and see if I can resurrect the inspiration from my original idea.
random olio has been visited from 141 different countries, a shocking statistic for me. The top three are: United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, which makes sense. While I do not know how long I will continue to write blog posts, as long as random ideas continue to pour out of my fingertips, I will continue to share random olios! With appreciation to all who stop by and read a few, and especially to those of you who may have actually read all 500 blog posts. You probably know way too much about me, and potentially think I am insane.