Posts

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.

Tend Early Adopter Program

Tend Early Adopter Program

It’s been three weeks since Tend made its debut on the App Store and Google Play, and it has been an absolute dream to see women using the app in the way we envisioned. What’s even more exciting is to get feedback on new and different ways women are using the app and the incredible ideas they have to make it even better! Read more

TEND

It’s Here! Tend is Finally Here!

It’s been just over two years since Aileen and I sat in the cafe at the Getty Villa and fleshed out our concept for a mobile app that helps women to give value to the work they do each day for their loved ones. Today we are thrilled to announce that the first version of Tend: Task Manager and Journal is finally available for download on the App Store and Google Play. Read more

FedEx Small Business Grant Persistiny

FedEx Small Business Grant

We entered the FedEx Small Business Grant contest! What is that, you say? It’s a contest sponsored each year by FedEx. Qualifying companies can enter by filling out a short application starting February 1st through March 25th. Friends, family and fans of your business can vote once a day from February 27th through April 1st. The top 100 finalists are announced on April 5th. From those finalists, FedEx selects 10 winners, 1 gold who receives $50,000, 1 silver who receives $30,000 and 8 bronze winners who receive $15,000. Read more

Keeping Track of it All

Keeping Track of it All

We hear it all the time from our friends and see it on social media. Women are frazzled and overwhelmed by everything they are expected to do. Whether you stay home full time with your children, or work outside of the home, we know your days and nights are filled with endless tasks. The work you do to care for your families is important and valuable, but often times that work gets overlooked. Read more

Getting Out the Vote

Getting Out the Vote

This past weekend, Felicia, Christine, Emilia and I joined thousands of our fellow Americans canvassing neighborhoods in an effort to get voters to the polls. Our  GOTV, or get out the vote, kicked off on Friday night with a concert in Fresno. Cake played and I have to say that after all these years, I still love them. Before the show, the crowd was greeted by Andrew Janz, the Democrat standing up to Devil Nunes in CA-22. Although there is little hope of Janz defeating Nunes, the locals wanted to make sure Nunes knows they are deeply dissatisfied with how their Representative is behaving.  John McCrea, lead singer of Cake, talked to the Fresno Bee about how these political times have impacted his willingness to interact with politicians. “I’ve pretty much studiously avoided direct political association with candidates,” he says. And yet,  “That is a luxury I can’t afford anymore.” Read more

Lets talk about caregiving

Let’s Talk About Caregiving

Caregiving, unpaid labor, the motherhood penalty, the gender wage gap.  These are terms that get thrown around in academic journals, economic studies and angry online posts, but what do they mean and how do they affect the lives of modern women? Let’s talk about caregiving by defining what it means.   Read more

Unpaid Labor

Unpaid Labor

It has occurred to me, possibly too late, that maybe we should have made our blog about simple ideas.  Like how much we like frozen yogurt. Or how bad my knees hurt when I wear high heeled shoes.

See what I did there?  Stalling.  I want to talk about unpaid labor.  It’s so important we started a business that puts unpaid labor as its central concern.  And here I am having a very hard time figuring out how to talk about it.

The unpaid labor I have performed throughout my life has been a source of enduring pride and joy.  It has also had a severely negative impact on my marriage and my self-esteem.  It has given me hours of laughter and shenanigans with my two sons.  It has given me hours of arguments with my spouse.  It has made me wonder if I have wasted the past 23 years of my life.  It has given and it has taken away. Read more

Aileen and Felicia in matching shirts

Our First Conference: Part 2

This may seem weird, but one of the things I’ve been looking forward to most about starting a business with Aileen, is attending conferences.  I love conferences, at least small, relatively obscure ones. Not massive gatherings. I don’t like crowds, or lines. It’s an opportunity for a diverse group of people, with a common interest to come together and learn from one another.  When Aileen was writing romance a few years back, I would go to conferences with her. I don’t write and I don’t particularly like or read romance novels, but I LOVED going to those conferences. I would sit in on sessions that I knew nothing about and just listen. Read more

Persistiny ConnectHer Conference 2018

Conference!

We went to a conference! In Las Vegas! And we were in bed by 7:30PM but that is because fun places are generally wasted on us. That being said, we got a lot out of the conference. And when I say we got a lot out of it, I mean it because aside from a few goofy mom jokes and links to the post where I complained about my bras never fitting (I may have talked someone into starting a company that makes 3D printed bras) no one learned a thing from us. We are so new to this. But that is the great thing about conferences, people show up to share their knowledge and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Felicia and I split up so we could go to twice as many workshops. This was difficult for us since when we are with a mile of each other we want to be right next to each other but we adulted and went our separate ways.

I learned the basics of how to make videos using smartphones from the knowledgeable and very patient Cielo de la Paz. Cielo taught half a dozen adults with half a dozen different requirements how to feel confident enough to begin using their smartphones to make videos. And she did it in about 45 minutes. If you are interested in making videos with your smartphone, head on over to her webpage The Storyographist and get to learning.

I then sat down with AK and Diamond. What absolute dumb luck that I decided to attend their session. I learned more about blogging in that hour than I have learned in the past 6 months or so of floundering around on my own. After years of fashion blogging, AK and Diamond decided they had more to say. They wanted to continue talking about fashion but they were done being limited by that niche. Most blogging advice begins with “find your niche.” AK and Diamond knew enough and had enough faith in their abilities to ignore that and go their own way. They are the first to begin nicheless blogging. They talk about what they want, when they want. It is their page, they pay for it, they do all the work to keep it alive and thriving and they decide what they will talk about. Being over 40, there was something about their idea that rang a familiar bell. Nicheless blogging seemed to be a new take on a tired idea. AK and Diamond seem to have developed an online newspaper. No need to skip from blog to blog to get a variety of topics. Just  Bloggers: No Explanations is one page with many topics to choose from. And if that isn’t enough, they have an outstanding ecourse about nicheless blogging as well as many genuinely useful posts about getting starting and keeping going as a blogger. There’s a lot of useless crap out there about blogging. These women are not going to waste your time. If you have been thinking about blogging, this post is an excellent place to start.

Next week Felicia will talk about the people she met and then it will be like you were there! Except you didn’t drink as much as we did or go to bed at such an embarrassingly early hour.