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mothering in the time of covid-19

Mothering in the Time of COVID-19

With the deep concern currently circling the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought we would talk about it. Being a health care provider and a new mother definitely has me feeling conflicted. On one end of the spectrum, my health care side is telling me to relax, continue to wash your hands (something I constantly preached way before any of this came about!), and to remain cautious yet calm. After all, I have seen a lot of sickness, trauma, and chronic health issues in my career. Then I have the mom side of me, wanting to disinfect everything, stay away from all the people, and look deeper into the issue. Welcome to mothering in the time of COVID-19.

It is easy to start to panic if you’ve been watching any type of media. It’s all the news is talking about. It’s all over social media with highlights about celebrities and major athletes testing positive, cancellations of any major or minor gatherings, and travel restrictions. While it’s great that we’re taking things so seriously, frankly, it’s scaring the crap out of everyone. The grocery stores are empty, pictures of shelves completely bare, even Amazon is out of stock. I saw a 12-roll pack of toilet paper being sold on Amazon for $78! 

I have so many questions swirling around in my head. What is the right way to go about doing things? Stay inside and ride it out until this all passes? Continue living your life in hopes that the people around you are healthy? I think the fear of the unknown is the scariest part. As a health care provider I want to see statistics, facts, and what’s happening in the other cases. As a mom I want to frantically Google everything I can to see how to best avoid this for my family. Keeping my daughter safe is my number one goal, but with a husband also in the healthcare field, keeping him safe is also important. He’s out there every day caring for people, sick or not, and doing his part for the health of others. Selflessly risking his health for others. All the health care workers are, and I hope everyone is thinking about them.

The moral of my story is this is a scary time. I know we will get through this, and hopefully fairly quickly. I tell myself to remain calm, do what you can to keep your immune system up, sanitize, wash your hands, stay away from crowds, etc. As a new mom, part of me totally understands the panic people are feeling. You just want to protect your babies, no matter what that takes. I too am feeling that panic inside of preparing for the “what if ” situations.

Just know that no matter where you are in this, whether you think it’s all ridiculous and are living your life per usual, or you are prepared to sit at home for the next month with your 10 packs of toilet paper, you aren’t alone. We’re all in this together, and we will get through this!

child care

The Child Care Challenge

According to a Pew Research Center report, “Child care is a major concern for parents with children who are not yet school age. A majority of parents with one or more children younger than 6 say it’s hard to find high-quality, affordable child care in their community.” This concern traversed all socio-economic, race and gender delineations. Single parents and low-income parents, who are sometimes one and the same, had even higher levels of concern and frustration regarding affordable, high-quality child care for children under the age of 6.

None of this is news to anyone who has ever tried to find child care for a child under 6. And if you’ve ever tried to find care for a baby or a child that is not potty trained, the level of frustration and cost of care skyrockets. With wages what they are, stagnant for most and shockingly unfair for many (Latinx women earn 53 cents for every dollar a white man makes), child care costs can push women out of the workforce. Especially if a second child comes along.

Why are women the ones often pushed out of the workforce? When women perform the same jobs as men, they tend to be paid less than men. Women are also pointed toward and hired into fields that traditionally pay less than fields that employ men (construction vs cashier). If in a heterosexual couple the man makes 53k a year and the woman makes 28k, guess who’s staying home? And for every month and year she stays out of the paid workforce, the gap in her resume grows and grows, making it harder and harder for her to find a good quality job when the last of the kids finally go to elementary school. And if like many of the schools around here kindergarten is only 4 hours, she has to wait until the last child goes to 1st grade. And even then there is the gap between when a child’s day ends and when the traditional workday ends.

With all the hand wringing around the falling birthrate in America, one would think someone in government might realize that the stress, frustration, and heartache around quality childcare might be a pretty big contributing factor.

And then, if one finds childcare there can be all kinds of problems. I found childcare for my younger son that was affordable, had extended hours and FED THEM BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND SNACK! Anyone who has ever pleaded, nagged and cried their way through a time-constrained breakfast with a toddler and cleaned out a grotty lunch box five days a week for years knows why I was so thrilled.

There was only one pretty big snag. The childcare was through a local church and there were many religious components to the program. My family is without religion. I was concerned that there would be friction between what was taught at school and what he heard at home, but needs must. I had gotten a promotion at work that changed my schedule to weekdays from weekends and we really needed the money. So we enrolled him in the school and luckily he really didn’t understand what was happening. For awhile my younger son thought Jesus lived in New York City and when you died you went there and lived with him. My older son quickly adopted this theology, saying he hoped Jesus would provide him with a snug third floor walk-up with quiet neighbors and a reasonably chill co-op board.

We were very, very lucky. When I explained the theology swirling around my house, the director nearly hurt herself laughing. But what to do when the only quality, affordable child care teach ideals that clash with what’s taught at home? Many of my friends have had this problem. Some child cares include service requirements where parents must volunteer a certain number of hours per week in the class. Some of those parents have been a nightmare to deal with.

Anti-vaxx parents chiding children for the bandaids proclaiming they’d gotten a flu shot. Judgmental comments about the contents of a hastily packed lunchbox. Endless fundraisers, lists of required ‘donation’ items, and the general melee of drop-off.

It’s enough to send any sane woman screaming from the workforce. Hell isn’t always other people, sometimes it’s other parents.

New rule: keep your highly researched opinions to yourself. Nobody has time for it. Unless someone says the words, “What do you think,” keep all comments to the weather and how adorable everyone’s kids are, even if they are sniveling little bridge trolls. I can say this because I was a sniveling little bridge troll when I was a little kid.

No one has an easy, controversy free answer to the child care crunch in this country. For example, the second you start talking about extending local, state and federally funded schooling to every child from birth to college, everyone on either extreme of the political divide loses their minds. You know who you are so don’t even try to deny it.

But that leaves the millions of parents in the middle struggling with no end in sight. Maybe it’s time to stop thinking of only our children and begin to think of all the kids. They deserve better than the patchwork of care on offer in this country. This is just a staggering breakdown of 10 places in the country where childcare bills for center-based infant and four-year-old care will cost you the most.

I don’t want to end on a hopeless note. Here are two different ideas about how we can provide high-quality, affordable child care for all Americans who want it. Each is from a controversial figure from either end of the political spectrum.

President Trump’s 2020 budget has a request for a one time 1 billion investment in childcare programs that mostly push deregulating the business of childcare. The proposal is tied to border wall funding, which is in turn tied to the entire Trump border policy which is inhumane to say the least.

Senator Warren has a more comprehensive plan for childcare. Here is her Medium article explaining it. Basically any family that makes less than 200% of the federal poverty line would qualify for high quality child care at no cost to the family. And our nation reaps the benefits of having more children in high quality early childhood educational programs.

Instead of Resolutions Try Recognition

Instead of Resolutions Try Recognition

Welcome to the new year, that special time when we’re reminded that we’re simply not good enough as we are. We should sleep more, but also get up before the sun to work out. We should have more adventures, but also make sure you save your money. Read more books, but also spend more time with your kids. Focus on your relationship, but also on yourself. More self-care, more discipline, more, more, more. This year we’d like to suggest something different. Instead of resolutions, try recognition. Read more

55 great christmas gift ideas

55 Great Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas shopping can be fun. But sometimes it is a desperate, long, lonely slog through crowded stores full of items you can’t imagine anyone wanting. We are here to help with a list of 55 Great Christmas Gift Ideas, with Helpful Categories.

Our categories include: Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them, books for people you want to annoy, books for people you want to impress, annoying toys for kids of parents you can’t stand, necessities for outdoorsy people, necessities for indoorsy people, supplies for glamorous tweens and teens, picture books for kids, toys for kids of parents you like.

Let the Shopping Begin! Amazon said I had to put this where you could see it and that seems totally fair. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them

55 great christmas gift ideasDo not laugh! This little weather radio has all the bells and whistles to keep anyone feeling secure during the outset of any disaster.

55 great christmas gift ideasIf anyone bought me a thing that taught me how to make knots I would love it! And it’s under 10 bucks!

55 great christmas gift ideasEveryone should have one of these multitools on their keyring! I would get one for my older son but he habitually loses his keys.

55 great christmas gift ideasJapanese Origami for Beginners Kit: 20 Classic Origami Models: Kit with 96-page Origami Book, 72 High-Quality Origami Papers and Instructional DVD. Includes a DVD? Awesome. And if you no longer have a DVD player, use the DVD as a coaster. Or frisbee. 

55 great christmas gift ideasThe Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. Most everyone loves Lincoln. And the book is 3 bucks, get one for everyone!

Books for people you want to annoy

55 great christmas gift ideas So People Say You’re an Asshole seems the perfect gift for that hard to handle friend or relative who might be able to take a joke. Also, maybe it’ll help. Give them the Lincoln book as well.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the racist.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the fat shamer.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the climate change denier.

55 great christmas gift ideasFor the white supremacist.

Books for people you want to impress

55 great christmas gift ideasKindred by Octavia Butler: Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. This is the novel you have been looking for, waiting for.

55 great christmas gift ideasWe are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby is the book everyone did not know they needed. Buy a copy for everyone you love and become the person everyone comes to for author recommendations.

55 great christmas gift ideasThe Library Book by Susan Orlean details the Los Angeles City Library fire that consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Was it arson?

55 great christmas gift ideasData is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives

55 great christmas gift ideasWomen in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!

Picture books for kids

55 great christmas gift ideasBeast has been robbed! And so has the whole village. Without tools the villagers can’t put on their legendary Winter Party, so Beast sets off to solve the mystery. Discovering that a stranded Snow Beast is behind the robbery, Beast has to decide whether to help this odd-looking stranger.

This is the absolute best children’s book out there. Jabari is brave, his father is endlessly patient and waiting, always waiting, is the call to climb and leap and succeed!

55 great christmas gift ideasWilma’s parents don’t know quite what to do when their daughter wakes up green and requests bugs for breakfast. At school, Wilma’s teachers are appalled by her unusually colorful antics. Wherever Wilma goes, surprises await her and readers of this irresistibly funny fable. Absurd and action-packed.

55 great christmas gift ideasOnce upon a time there was a Princess . . . who made a pit stop. While the Birds and Beasts changed her tires, her Fairy Godmother told her she was in last place! With just one lap left! She might as well give up! Give up? Not THIS princess! Instead, she hits the gas!

55 great christmas gift ideasHave you seen Oliver K. Woodman? You’d know if you had–he’s made of wood. And he’s on a spectacular cross-country journey. Folks of all sorts guide Oliver along the way and report back in letters and postcards to his friend Uncle Ray. After all, there’s a lot of road–and adventure!–between South Carolina and California.

55 great christmas gift ideasA bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale.

 

Necessities for the outdoorsy

(it occurs to me that these gifts illustrate the fact I know nothing about what people do outdoors and that I think it is incredibly dangerous, which it most certainly is)

An axe seems important. There is much hostile flora and fauna out there and this little baby is capable of handling anything that comes your way. Except bears, which is why I suggest…

BEAR SPRAY! Do not go into the woods without it. You know what, don’t take out the trash without it. I used to live on the side of a mountain in La Crescenta and there was a bear that used to wander around the neighborhood. He had a cute name, I can’t remember it. Porkchop? Marshmallow? Rip-You-To-Shreds-And-Eat-Your-Spleen? Something like that… Meatball! It was Meatball.

Always have binoculars so you can see the bears or the murderers coming to kill you. I really thing you should stay inside but if you just can’t help yourself, bring all the above stuff and…

Don’t Die In The Woods: World’s Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent to huddle and shiver in while clutching your bear spray and axe. Help will arrive in a timely manner if you also bring…

55 great christmas gift ideasWhatever the hell this thing is. It’s 500 bucks so you might as well save your money and your life and stay home! Our next set of gifts might help convince you of how wonderful it is to be indoorsy.

Necessities for the indoorsy

55 great christmas gift ideasLet’s begin with the basics. A good robe. This one is unisex so the sizing might be a bit of a challenge, read the comments and answered questions and you should be fine. There are 10 colors to choose from.

crocs makes slippers, they are unisex, they are wide in the toe box which I love and yes, I am wearing a pair as I write this. 11 colors to choose from and unisex sizing. So much better than a hatchet and some bear spray, am I right?

55 great christmas gift ideasThrow blankets are the life blood of the indoorsy. One can never have too many. This one is 20 bucks and comes in 15 colors and 2 sizes. That’s such a wide range of options, you could probably find one an outdoorsy person likes.

55 great christmas gift ideasIf you are new to the indoorsy lifestyle, you won’t have a backlog of books, magazines, movies and TV shows you are determined to consume before you die. The New York Times Book of Movies is a great place to start. And it smells better than bear spray.

55 great christmas gift ideasYou’ll need a warm beverage to consume while agonizing over what order to watch the movies you decided you want to watch. Loose leaf tea is a bit fussy but it is fun.

This pretty teapot is only 30 dollars!
55 great christmas gift ideas
You can fuss around with a teapot if you want but if you are going solo on your indoorsy, this tea cup with a built in infuser does the trick. There are many different colors and patterns, I just liked this one. I might buy it. Also, when you run out of tea you can just put booze in it. Or water. Whatever your doctor recommends.

Treat yourself to this beautiful 3 volume set of illustrated Harry Potter novels.

55 great christmas ideasThese noise cancelling headphones are so expensive ($349) they make my spine itch but I still really, really, really want a pair.55 great christmas ideasI also want one of these! It’s a Breville Convection oven with an air fryer and it will make toast! It’s also super expensive at $350! But it does so much…

Let’s be honest, I am going to buy all of the indoorsy products, except the slippers because I already own a pair of those. Let’s move on to the kids and whether or not we like their parents.

Annoying toys for the kids of parents you can’t stand

55 great christmas gift ideasAn actual review from a horrified customer, “It’s gift able only if you don’t like the parents. The noise is awful, you can’t turn it down or off when you’re playing with it. I sent it back.” The most common complaint about this toy is that there is no way to turn the sound off or down.

55 great christmas gift ideasI love glitter glue and my house is coated in it but I don’t care. My ex-husband once said our house looked like an embarrassing romper room. There are people who will loose their minds at the idea of glitter stuck all over their house and/or car.

55 great christmas gift ideasIt sings the Baby Shark song. You can buy a baby shark for 7 bucks, a mommy shark for 7 bucks or a daddy shark for just over 8 bucks. Buy one for every member of the family.

55 great christmas gift ideas6 cans of slime ground into the carpet, 6 cans of slime ground into the carpet, rent the steam-cleaner from Home Depot…6 cans of slime ground into the carpet!

55 great christmas gift ideasThese little toys get tangled in absolutely everything. It’s as if someone with a hatred of children invented a toy. I hate them. My kids hate them. You should have a wee bit of a grudge against the kid as well as the parents because no one is safe from having to have one of these things cut out of their hair.

Toys for kids you like

55 great christmas gift ideasEvery adult and kid I know loves tinker toys. It was one of the few toys I play with when my kids ask my to. The other one is…

55 great christmas gift ideasLEGOS! Yes, it hurts beyond bearing when you step on them but some joys are worth suffering for. The absolute best gift and if you have kids on your list below the age of 4, there are always…

55 great christmas gift ideasDUPLO!

55 great christmas gift ideasMy family has had many Connect 4 tournaments and I have lost every single one of them. No matter, this is still a fun game and people of a certain age love to repeat the best advertising line ever, “Pretty sneaky, sis,” when they lose.55 great christmas gift ideasCrayons are like Lego and books, you can never have too many. Get a shoebox to store them in if your collection is getting out of hand.55 great christmas gift ideasI loved coloring books but my kids never liked them. If you end up with someone who draws a lot, get a ream of cheap printer paper. For all others, this is a good quality drawing pad and it’s only 3 bucks.

For glamorous tweens and teens

55 great christmas gift ideasMaleficent, Cruella and Ursula are here to help you feel beautiful as you engage in mischief. Get a set for yourself, I did.

55 great christmas gift ideasThere is a lot here to love. It’s a small, plastic banana. It has hand lotion in it. And there are mangos and red apple versions if you want to make someone a little fruit bowl.55 great christmas gift ideasImitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, envy is.

55 great christmas gift ideasA little pouch to store their dreams of world domination in. And a lipgloss and some cash.

Weird dishtowels to buy for people you know will love a weird dishtowel

I want a burrito to tuck me gently into its warm beans and say ‘Rest here, my child be at peace now’ 55 great christmas ideasFuck, I love cheeseGet the Hell out of my Kitchen
Hot Sauces GONE WILD

And finally, this!

It’s a bag for snacks! Or lunch or a paperback romance and a can of diet coke…the possibilities are limitless!

And there you have it. Happy Shopping! If you have a category you’d like me to source gifts for, email me at info@persistiny.com and I will see what I can do!

Alone on Thanksgiving

Alone on Thanksgiving

I am divorced. Sort of. I am in divorce limbo. Part of my new divorce limbo life is being alone on days of the year when it used to be guaranteed I would be with my spouse as well as my kids. My birthday. Easter. Thanksgiving. This year, I will be alone on Thanksgiving. Read more

Family Portraits

Family Portraits

You know how people have framed, posed family portraits on their living room walls? I have never had one of those, not with my family of origin or with my married family or with me and Six and Older Son. 

These portraits fascinate me. I try not to stare rudely at them when I see them. There is a difference between making a polite comment regarding the image of another person’s gene pool and staring at the image like an investigator studying some wing-nut’s murder board. 

How do people manage this herculean task?  Read more

Grocery Shopping is a Complex Balance of Hard Facts and Wishful Thinking

Think about the last time you made a grocery list. Did you stick to it, buying only what was on it? If you did, you are my new hero and I salute you. If you didn’t, I feel your pain. Grocery shopping is a complex balance of hard facts and wishful thinking. The true victims of my grocery lists gone awry are the wee Persian cucumbers that molder away into a pile of slime and seeds in the back of my fridge. I always buy them and then the week doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would and who pays the price? Innocent cucumbers, that’s who. Read more

Laundry in 5 Easy Steps

Laundry in 5 Easy Steps

Laundry in 5 easy steps? Yes. Laundry is actually 5 separate jobs: Sorting, Washing, Drying, Folding, Putting away.  Read more

Helping of Happiness

Helping of Happiness

If you have been a regular reader of these notes from the home office you are well aware that I am a talker. Well, my dear fellow humans, you haven’t seen nothing yet. In person, I talk even more (if you can believe it). Hillary Hess invited Felicia and I to talk about our app Tend on her excellent podcast, Helping of Happiness Podcast Read more

Share the Meal

Share the Meal

Share The Meal is an app from the World Food Programme that enables people to donate small amounts of money that provide meals to children in need. With a tap on your smartphone you can ‘share the meal’ with a child in need. Read more