March 21, 2008

Your local Chicago school needs you!

Tn We all know that the Chicago Public Schools are in a state of um, flux. They are trying things that other school systems don't do or maybe even, don't need. One of the experiments that seem to work in some schools is the Local School Council:


Local School Councils (LSCs) are elected bodies at nearly every Chicago Public Schools (CPS) elementary, middle and high school. The LSC has 6 parents, 2 community members who are not parents of students at the school, 2 teachers, the principal, and, in high schools, a student member. The parents and community members are elected by the parents and community residents around the school. Teachers are selected by the school staff. These members serve for a two-year term. High school student members serve for one year. By law, the LSC chairperson must be a parent representative.

    The LSC's major responsibilities are to approve the school budget and annual strategic plan (called the school improvement plan), to evaluate the principal every year and to decide every four years if they want to renew the principal's contract or hire a new principal. This is the strongest site- based management system in the nation.

Continue reading "Your local Chicago school needs you!" »

March 04, 2008

March 4th for Child Care & Head Start

Child_careToday we March Forth for Child Care!

Get your lobbying fingers ready and let's fight hard for child care and Head Start. The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) has a campaign going on that we should all jump on.

Access to child care and Head Start is vital to women's economic well-being and the ability of their children to succeed in school. The Bush administration’s proposed FY 2009 budget would continue the administration’s long-standing pattern of freezes or cuts to child care and Head Start. Under its proposed budget, 200,000 low-income children and their families would lose child care assistance, and 14,000 children would lose Head Start.

Continue reading "March 4th for Child Care & Head Start " »

March 02, 2008

We Need YOUR Story

Women Employed is an Illinois organization that has been working on paid family leave for years and is now focusing in on paid sick days - FOR ALL. But they need our help. They need stories from YOU, every day women and men, who have struggled with either no sick days at all or maybe your child became very sick after you used up your paltry sick day allotment. Either way, please share your story.

The proposed Healthy Workplace Act (HB 5320) will:

  • Allow employees to earn up to 7 paid sick days per year, accrued hourly for every 30 hours worked.
  • Provide leave: 1) for an employee’s own illness; 2) to care for the illness of an employee’s family member; or 3) for medical appointments.
  • Require employers who do not already provide at least 7 paid sick days to pay for this standard employment benefit when needed by their workers.

Share your story about how paid leave would help your family or business.

Continue reading "We Need YOUR Story" »

February 15, 2008

I wanted to be Pat Benatar....I think she wants to be Natalie Maines

I'm a child of the '80s and thus grew up in the hey day of MTV. You know, when they actually showed music videos and the non-music shows were related to music (Remote Control 4EVER). So I logged more than my fair of time watching, acting out music videos and yes one of my favorites is "Love is a Battlefield."A few years ago I heard of a new summer camp for girls - Girls Rock! How freakin' kewl is that? One week learning the ins and outs of an instrument, writing music, and forming your own band?  Hell yes! Can I be 10 again?

So when I received an email about a Girls Rock! movie, I was so all over it. Watch it. I'll wait for ya...

Yeah, now you want to be 10 again too, eh?

I have to admit that I cried like a baby watching the trailer.

While I grew up post-Title IX, it was also pre-Girl Power. I hung out with the boys during recess because I liked playing sports, I liked getting dirty and honestly kicking their butt (seriously, no matter how many times I would tackle them, they still thought they could take me). I rejected all things pink, hated

Continue reading "I wanted to be Pat Benatar....I think she wants to be Natalie Maines" »

February 11, 2008

Raising a citizen

My husband & I like to joke that we are raising a candidate.

We take her with us to vote (this photo is from Super Tuesday), I've taken her to door knock for Congressional candidates, she knew the phone bank script for an Aldermanic campaign last year, and we talk to her about politicians we see on TV or in magazines. About a year and a half ago we were in a doctor's waiting room and I pointed to the cover to TIME magazine and said, "That's our next president."  I was only half joking, but more seriously explained that the smiling man was our Senator.

Continue reading "Raising a citizen " »

February 05, 2008

Super Fat Tuesday

I haven't gotten my paczki yet, but we did vote this morning. There is a blurry photo of my daughter holding up our "Thank you for voting" receipt. We all got up extra early because I feared that with the snow coming in the evening others might wake early to connect the arrow and vote. But nope, no wait when we got there and it was quick & mostly painless.

I told her last night that we'll come home, eat dinner, and watch the results come in on TV. She complained that she didn't want to watch it all night. I told her that of course, we can play games while we're watching the results. She's a happy future voter.

Continue reading "Super Fat Tuesday " »

February 03, 2008

Mommy Bloggers Chat with the Clinton Campaign

Thumbnail2The Chicago, NYC, DC Metro, and Silicon Valley Moms still have an open invitation to the Obama, Huckabee, McCain, Paul and Romney to meet with us in person or over the phone. Email us at info(at)chicagomomsblog(dot)com guys!

Just days before the biggest Super Tuesday in US history, writers from the Chicago, NYC, Silicon Valley, and DC Metro Moms Blog met with Judith Lichtman, a long-time friend and consultant on the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign. Here is a summary of what we discussed and why Ms. Lichtman thinks you should vote for Senator Clinton.

Continue reading "Mommy Bloggers Chat with the Clinton Campaign" »

January 27, 2008

Open Letter to the Presidential Candidates

PrezDear Hillary & Barack (and John & the guys in the other party),

I am writing this open letter to all of you to come and meet with thousands of mothers who live in three of the states who will be voting in 9 days - Illinois, California, and New York. Thousands of mothers and friends read the combined Silicon Valley, Chicago, New York, and DC Metro Moms Blogs which is written by over one hundred different bloggers. A sample of these bloggers shows that we are mostly in our 30s, are white, have at least two children, are married, are Democrats (we do have Republicans & Independents), and either work outside the home or work at home. When asked about what else the candidates should know, many said that they were moderates, that this election decision was wide open to them, and that despite being a registered Democrat, they were willing to look at the other side as well.

Continue reading "Open Letter to the Presidential Candidates" »

January 22, 2008

60% of women who have abortions have children: One fact to contemplate on the Roe V. Wade anniversary

Blog for Choice Day

Yes, you read that header correctly. According to a report out by the Guttmacher Institute, 60% of women who have had an abortion already have children.

The majority of U.S. women who have abortions (61%) have children. This exploratory study analyzes qualitative information from 38 women obtaining abortions to examine how issues of motherhood influenced their decisions to terminate their pregnancies. Women in the sample had abortions because of the material responsibilities of motherhood, such as the care for their existing children, as well as the more abstract expectations of parenting, such as the desire to provide children with a good home. The women believed that children were entitled to a stable and loving family, financial security, and a high level of care and attention. One fourth of the women had considered adoption but regarded it as being emotionally distressing. The findings demonstrate reasons why women have abortions throughout their reproductive life spans and that their decisions to terminate pregnancies are often influenced by the desire to be a good parent.

Continue reading "60% of women who have abortions have children: One fact to contemplate on the Roe V. Wade anniversary" »

January 14, 2008

No designs on being Julia Child

J0237684 Mommy guilt manifests itself in many ways. For me, one of the biggest is at dinner time.

Cooking has never been my cup of tea. It always seemed more of a chore than anything else. My mom often worked second shift, thus many a day she left work by the time we were getting out of school. My dad would be home soon after and by the time I was 12, cooking dinner was part of me pulling my weight. My younger sister throughly enjoyed seeing me struggle with cooking. Her perfect older sister couldn't make rice? Ha!

During the decade I spent child-free after leaving my parents home, I did some cooking, but rarely attempted to do more than easy pasta dishes occasionally adding chicken. When I got pregnant I thought that I'd be better. We'd eat balanced meals including more vegetables. I have to say that compared to our child-free days, I'm doing better. But not good enough.

Continue reading "No designs on being Julia Child" »

January 08, 2008

Women shouldn't have to choose

  It's days like this that I feel like I am officially too old to call myself a young  feminist. But then I calm down and realize that I'm just being a bit more careful with my assumptions than Feministing is. A headline on their blog yesterday screamed out:

        Breaking! Women prefer career to romance.

They were responding to a CNN story titled, "Young women choosing careers over love" that actually reports:

Men were more willing than women to sacrifice achievement for a romantic relationship, according to the study conducted by Catherine Mosher of Duke University Medical Center and Sharon Danoff-Burg at the University of Albany.

Researchers asked 237 undergraduates to rate the importance of goals such as financial success, career, education and contribution to society, as well as goals such as romantic relationships, marriage, children and friendship.

While 51 percent of the women prioritized romantic relationships over achievement goals, more than 61 percent of men did the same.

Continue reading "Women shouldn't have to choose " »

White House Stick Figures

My husband & I try our best to explain the world to our daughter without hiding behind "angels bowling" or "storks" so when she caught us watching the New Hampshire debate over the weekend, she turned into Helen Thomas. "What are they doing? Does she really, really, really want to be President? Do all six of them want to be President? Who do you think will win?" I'm 33 years old and still trying to get a grasp of the insane way we elect Presidents and now I have to explain it to an incredibly curious and observant 4-year-old? *sigh* Can we get a "where do babies come from" question instead?

The photo for this post was how I tried to show her what was going on. Yes, I explained the presidential campaign with stick figures & a flow chart.

Continue reading "White House Stick Figures " »

January 04, 2008

They're off! Iowa Open Thread

Vote02 Huckabee & Obama won last night in Iowa.

Does this change the way you think you might vote on February 8th (Yes, Chicagoans, we have just over a month to make up our minds!)? Were you surprised that Clinton ended up in 3rd place? What are your thoughts on the fact that an overwhelmingly white & conservative state came out in force for a "skinny black guy with a funny name"?

As for me, as I said on my blog, I still have no idea who I'm voting for.

January 03, 2008

Stereotype, er, Wife Swap

Tcd_rosiefem The season premiere of Wife Swap, that high brow reality TV show on ABC, returned tonight with a vengeance. Who are the lucky stereotypes? Feminism and beauty pageant contestants. But no, Mrs. South Carolina and Ms. Women’s Studies are not set for a show-down of mass proportions. Rather a strong feminist mom is taking over the household that appears to be ruled by a teen-aged beauty pageant queen. 

To take the stereotype to new heights (ABC must have let loose a load when they read her application) – the feminist mom is also a home schooler. Yes! Jackpot! Not only does the woman scoff at gendered society roles, but she has also lost all faith in public education that she has “opt-ed out” and stays home to teach the kids about evolution and sex ed. 

Continue reading "Stereotype, er, Wife Swap " »

December 06, 2007

Breast feeding is a fundamental right for both mother and child

1fI don't want to get into the politics of breastfeeding in public (I support it, I've done it) or whether you are a bad mom if you use formula (done that too). I do want to get into what I think is at the base of many of the arguments and that is not whether mothers should breastfeed, but the idea that breastfeeding is a fundamental right. If we saw it that way, we wouldn't have to fight to keep formula out of our goody bags at the hospital, stand tall after 20 hours of labor when the nurse insists on giving the baby a "little something", or to discreetly nurse while on an airplane.

Because if we were really a world of people who cared about children & cute lil babies, we wouldn't deny an infant their sole source of nourishment.

Continue reading "Breast feeding is a fundamental right for both mother and child" »

December 05, 2007

You can't light 'em if you got 'em!

Duke_logo_2 I have been looking forward to January 1, 2008 for a long time. How long? Since the smoking ban was announced a few years ago. Sure, Indiana is mocking us for passing it, but that's Indiana. I don't go out gambling very often anyway. BUT the times that I have gone, I've stuck with the non-smoking floor, which isn't as exciting as the smoking floor. So that blows a small hole in the theory that non-smoking floors are dead because you can't smoke. Um, no...why not put a craps table down there too?

But this isn't about gambling. This is about EATING OUT! I can NOT wait until one Wednesday night when we don't want to cook and think, "Oh, Duke of Perth would be perfect!" and we won't have to try to get in there early before the mob of smokers descend  on the place. 

Continue reading "You can't light 'em if you got 'em! " »

November 30, 2007

My bags are packed

Tonight is the Go Run training that I've mentioned before. I'm really excited about it and yes a bit worried about the weather. But I'm more excited about being surrounded by other women who have a passion for electoral politics. I've been told that there will be a blog for this weekend. I'll keep those interested up to date on my personal blog. So come by and check us out after 7 pm tonight. And wish me safe travels!

November 29, 2007

Do All Girls High Schools Create Stronger Women?

I_knowThis question is in the top 10 that I get asked when I tell someone I work in education equity. Some assume that I must support all girls high schools as the answer for increasing women in non-traditional fields for a variety of reasons including that girls won't be distracted by the boys, without boys there is no harassment (obviously stated by a man or a woman who forgot what high school was like!), or whipping out the old adage that girls just do better in math & science (my bread & butter) in an all girls classroom.

Simply put, no. I don't.

There are valid reasons to send your child to a single-sex school and I admit to daydreaming about having gone to Smith. But that is more about Smith not the all women thing. A few weeks ago on the DC Metro Moms Blog, KC mused about what she would be like if she had gone to an all-girls school and wonders if the only way her daughter will come out strong is to send her to an all-girls school. As fate would have it an email popped into my inbox a few days later about a new study out. On single sex schools! The Goddess does love me.

Continue reading "Do All Girls High Schools Create Stronger Women? " »

November 27, 2007

Strategic Holiday Giving

Community_3 As we near the end of the year our inboxes are becoming full with requests from the organizations we have supported in the past, currently support, or just happen to be on their mailing list. What's a loving & giving mama to do on a limited budget?

No matter where you decide to give your money, please keep these items in mind:

  • While giving via PayPal is easy for you, PayPal does take quite a chunk of money out from your donation. Want all of your money to go towards your charity of choice? Send a check. Even calling with your credit card may end up having the organization lose a few bucks from a transaction fee.
  • If possible, give to a few places with larger amounts than "spreading the wealth" by sending $10 to 10 different places. If you give, as you most surely know, you get on the mailing list. That $10 won't even cover the 5 mailings you will get next year. For your benefit, the environment, and the organization's, give to fewer places to reduce the amount of mail.

Continue reading "Strategic Holiday Giving " »

November 26, 2007

On being gracious

Big_prizeI have this problem. I don't accept compliments gracefully. I get as awkward as a 14-year-old asking out the cute boy in algebra class. Yes, I mumble, I get red, and I even say stupid things. Last month I was notified that I was selected for a pretty big honor at work and well, I was stunned. I didn't think it was possible that I would get such an honor at this point in my career. I think I can safely say I'm not even where people might consider mid-career. My husband is super proud, of course, and practically tells people at the store of my honor. He has started to ask before he does it, but I usually say yes. It makes him happy to boast about me.

The really weird thing is when someone who knows someone I know out of the blue says, "Congrats! She told me about your award and she's so proud!" Oy...what does one say? Well, I usually say my standard line after I laugh for a second and wave off the compliment, "Oh, thanks. Yeah...Thanks."  Also picture me nodding, shuffling my feet, and keeping my eyes off the other person. I ran into a co-worker today at the zoo and she was telling her husband. I said the dumbest thing ever! "It's just so silly!"

Continue reading "On being gracious " »

November 21, 2007

Remember to keep the lead out! And the PVC...roofies....

VeroI know, I know, we're approaching a dead horse with this lead toy issue, but as this is Thanksgiving Eve and thus Black Friday Eve Eve, here's another reminder to check out Pickle's list of lead-free toys.

There is also an article in the latest issue of The Nation on toxic toys. "But the uproar over banned substances and rogue Chinese toy manufacturers has overshadowed an even more troubling issue: the toxins in toys that are perfectly legal. The United States remains one of the few developed countries to permit the import of plastic toys made with polyvinyl chloride additives called phthalates (pronounced tha-lates), which help make toys soft and pliable enough to be twisted or sucked yet durable enough to survive a 1-year-old's grip. A mounting body of scientific evidence suggests that phthalates impede the production of testosterone and disrupt the sexual development of infant boys."

Continue reading "Remember to keep the lead out! And the PVC...roofies...." »

November 18, 2007

Missing Generations

Mmc The holiday season is settling in. Tonight the lights were lit on Michigan Avenue reminding us to shop til we drop. Thanksgiving is just days away. Christmas & the Solstice are just over a month away. The chill in the wind hits my heart hard.

My maternal grandmother died days before Christmas and not having my mom around hurts immensely around this time of year. Add to that the fact that neither ever saw my daughter and well, this time of year is a little iffy. I was reminded of how much I feared my grandmother's wrath while reading the current issue of Ms. magazine.

Continue reading "Missing Generations" »

November 13, 2007

Keep the lead out...Support Indie Crafters

Thanksgiving is next week people and we all know what that means. Holiday shopping officially begins. But what's a mama to do when it seems like every day that toy our lil ones have been begging for gets recalled? Even our BFF Dora was recalled over the summer!

This weekend is the DIY Trunkshow. Hit it. Hard.

Yes, yes, my BFF organizes it, but that doesn't diminish the awesomeness that is DIY. Imagine 2 rooms chock full of handmade goodies. Need a bag? Stationary?  Rings? Soaps? Yarn so you can get your DIY on? There won't be many toys, but come on, our kids have enough of them. But there will be dog sweaters!

So come on out on Saturday, shop til you drop and don't forget your tote bag to bring it all home. Or buy one while you're there! I figure that my arrival time will be around 10 am as we have a doggie event at 1 pm. Seriously thou, I look forward to this event every year because I can find handmade, quality, and unique things to buy my friends & family for the holiday season. I love my Target, but the trunk show is oh, so better.

November 12, 2007

Come run away with me! I double dog dare ya.

I blogged last week that I'll be attending the upcoming Wisconsin Go Run White House Project training. I spoke to an organizer on Saturday and she said that there is still some room left.

Here at Chicago Moms Blog and our sister sites, we have tackled political issues, IMO, every single day. And yes, I subscribe to the motto that the personal is the political, so many more issues are political to me than say Chris Matthews. We tackle education, health care, sexuality education (thanks Dumbledore), autism, race, immigration, on and on on our blogs. For those of us not schooled in the political process that others are, why don't you whip out that date book and see what you are doing the last weekend of this month? Whether you think you might run for school board or the Senate, I think this weekend will be awesome.

November 10, 2007

I'm running away to Wisconsin!

That's right, I got accepted to the Wisconsin Go Run training at the end of the month!

What's Go Run you ask?

Go Run is a two day training dedicated to demystify the political process and inspire a richly diverse group of women to join the leadership pipeline. Go Run provides the nuts and bolts of running for political office by focusing on areas like communications, fundraising, and campaigning - skills you can use in your work and in your community today and up to the day you decide to run!


Continue reading "I'm running away to Wisconsin!" »

November 08, 2007

Girls vs. Boys

VeroAre girls really out pacing boys in education?

I spend at least eight hours a day promoting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers to young women. My office puts on programs and workshops to help college students understand what they can do with their biology degree besides teach high school or go into medical school. Our office works with K-12 schools, Girl Scouts, and community organizations repeating the same mantra, "Do well in math and the world is yours."

Yet I can't get through a few weeks before someone calls me out on the so-called "boys crisis" and how women are now almost 60% of college students. Last week the Chicago Tribune presented me with quite the treat, a story headlined "Girls outpace boys on tests -Some cite gender gap; others point to revised exam." Reading the headline one might think, "A-ha! More proof that girls are fine, let's focus on the boys." Considering that most people merely skim the headlines (as I often do), I'm scared that more people think this way. If one were to read the article they would find that the story focuses more on whether the exam was gender-biased towards girls.

Continue reading "Girls vs. Boys" »

November 05, 2007

What would you do to keep your job?

Sickchild Would you:

  • Leave your child with the old lady next door that you really don't like?
  • Leave your child with a the guy you just met?
  • Take your child with you toting a box of crayons & coloring books?
  • Go back to work less than a week after giving birth?
  • Hide your pregnancy as long as possible?

My reaction is "hell no!" But I also know I'm one lucky chick. I work for an organization where I get a ton of sick and vacation days AND there has to be one hell of a good reason for me to NOT take a day when my girl needs me. The only time I ever felt like I needed to choose between my job & my daughter was a very short time I worked for a nonprofit and since I was less than six months didn't have ANY sick days.

Continue reading "What would you do to keep your job? " »

October 30, 2007

The Great CPS Adventure

School_buildingBy September 1, 2008, our daughter will be 5 years old + We live in Chicago = School Choice insanity!

For those of you not privileged to live in Chicago and go through school choice, I'm blogging about it over at my personal blog. Despite the media telling you that all Chicago public schools suck, they don't. But the trick is to find a way into the "better" schools. Then again, I'm not sure if there is a huge difference in our neighborhood school and "better" schools. Our research is not complete. But I invite you to join me in this journey.

Continue reading "The Great CPS Adventure" »

October 24, 2007

For Melanie

Melanie When Melanie Stokes become pregnant, she seemed to have everything in place. She was a successful pharmaceutical sales manager happily married to a physician. She had a supportive family and her share of brains and beauty. She was a radiant pregnant woman, eager to meet the child inside of her and to begin her new life as a mother.

On February 23, 2001, Sommer Skyy was born, beautiful and healthy. When Sommer was only a month old, Melanie's depression had grown so severe that she had stopped eating and drinking and could no longer swallow. She began to have paranoid thoughts about others--she thought that her neighbors across the street had all closed their blinds because they thought she was a bad mother. She became gaunt, hallow-eyed, a shell of her former self. Then, she began searching for a way to end her life.

Continue reading "For Melanie" »

October 19, 2007

Report Card Time...and women, we're not looking good

Report_card_2The National Women's Law Center has released their 4th edition of Making the Grade on Women’s Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card. I discussed it a bit on the Planned Parenthood Aurora site, but I want us to discuss it here. I know that our blogs have talked about health care a lot in recent weeks, but let's go down that road again (give the NYC moms some time, they'll hit it too). Why? Because as moms, I know we all care first and foremost about keeping our kids and partners happy, healthy, & safe. Far too often, and I am very guilty of this, we put off keeping ourselves healthy.

I know what goes on in your head...I can't find time to exercise. I need to clean, wash the kids, fold the laundry, do my homework, help with their homework, be a good partner, on and on. To take time for ME would be selfish. I am going to say something quite radical now: NOT CARING FOR YOURSELF IS SELFISH.

Continue reading "Report Card Time...and women, we're not looking good" »

October 15, 2007

Superwoman Returns

Superwoman_2 In 1997 working moms took a hit...a big hit. No, we didn't lose our tenuous rights (FMLA, paid sick time, vacation time). No, we took a hit even bigger than that - A high profile woman resigned her job to stay home with the kids.

I vaguely remember this incident. I was at the end of college or just out of it, recently engaged, and still recovering from failing to get into graduate school. How could the CEO of Pepsi step down to bake cookies? I think I was more mad at her because I was mad at myself for not only failing to get into graduate school, but also because I didn't fight hard enough for it. A lot of women were mad at Brenda Barnes.

Well she's back...with a vengeance.

Continue reading "Superwoman Returns" »

October 04, 2007

The Politics of Motherhood

Veronica_2Today was an amazing day.

I was witness to the opening of a new Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora. It wasn't so much that the clinic opened despite the desperate grasping of straws by the anti-choice community (they still are with two lawsuits that have no merit, in my eyes). It was the number of moms who showed up with their children.

The woman in the photo is a mom who brought her 5 1/2 year old daughter to the clinic. She explained it to her by saying that they were going to a party...with yelling. She's talking to a reporter about why she came out and why she brought her daughter. Bottomline, we were there for the same reason. We want to ensure a future where our daughters will have full control over their reproductive choices. Have a baby? Not have a baby? Wait? They will answer those questions. As the chant goes, not the church and not the state, they will decide their fate.

Continue reading "The Politics of Motherhood " »

September 29, 2007

Pro-choice mommy blogger

Aurorabutton2 That's what I am, but you know that. And as of Friday, I'm over at the Aurora Planned Parenthood blog. Stop by and support the clinic. This is not just a fight in Aurora. This is a national fight that happened to land in Aurora.

And while you're over there, grab yourself a banner for your blog!

September 19, 2007

TV Alert: Chicago Tonight & Balancing Motherhood

Headhome_2 If you aren't a member of ParentsWork, you really need to be, even you SAHMs because every mom is a working mom. Anywho, I got an email today from ParentsWork that they will be on Chicago Tonight TONIGHT!

Dear Veronica,

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, September 19, 2007, to WTTW's Chicago Tonight.  Rhonda Present, founder and director of ParentsWork, will be talking about our efforts to bring Illinois parents together to advocate for more family-friendly communities and workplaces.

We hope you'll watch the program and use the link below to forward this e-mail on to the parents in your network so they can learn more about how to get involved.

So set those TiVos, finish dinner up early, heck, be bad and watch TV during dinner! Rhonda is a great supporter of my work, so support her work. She's working for us!

Veronica also blogs at Chicago Parent and Viva La Feminista.

Continue reading "TV Alert: Chicago Tonight & Balancing Motherhood" »

September 15, 2007

Maternity Leave is Officially OVER

Trophy HT to Women Who Serve for announcing Lindsay Davenport's victory and move to the semi-finals in the Bali Open. I was lucky to see Lindsay a few years ago in a tourney and she was freakin' amazing. Her strength is just astounding. I don't follow tennis closely, but when she announced her retirement last year due to being pregnant, I was crushed.

I thought, "Lindsay, you can come back! Just take a leave. You're awesome." I also thought it was a poor example to set for young women and girls out there. Get pregnant, leave work. Yeah, yeah, stay-at-home moms are awesome, but seriously, we need more positive working mom stories out there. Thus I was overjoyed to read that Lindsay was back and even more happy to read she kicked major butt in her first tourney.

Continue reading "Maternity Leave is Officially OVER" »

September 10, 2007

Who Chooses for Aurora?

Abortion_postThe topic of abortion is a touchy subject no matter what side you sit on. That is why it is disturbing to me to see this debate being fought in the streets of suburban Aurora. Planned Parenthood Chicago Area (PPCA) assessed the needs of the Chicago area and decided to open a new full service health center in Aurora, one of the fastest growing areas in the country. The needs of Aurora are indisputable:

  •     Aurora, like the rest of the country, has a huge and growing need for     affordable health care.
  •    Illinois is ranked 46th in access to contraceptive services.
  •     It is the second-largest city in Illinois, after Chicago, with a population     of more than 157,000.   
  •     One-third of Aurora’s population is Latino, and many do not have access to     affordable health insurance.   
  •     But despite its large and growing population, Aurora has few resources for     reproductive health care.   
  •     NARAL     Pro-Choice America gives Illinois a C+ for reproductive health care 
  •     90% of Illinois counties have no abortion provider

Planned Parenthood is committed to serving low-income clients in Aurora and around the country. "Abortions make up a fraction of Planned Parenthood's work -- about 3%. More than a third of the group's services involve providing contraception.[cite ]" The photo is of me (in the curly hair) at a rally in 2006 supporting women's access to birth control in pharmacies. Sadly anti-abortion forces are filling the media with tales of fraud in an attempt to keep the clinic from opening.

Continue reading "Who Chooses for Aurora?" »

Update on our date with the Obamas

BarakLast week (my how time flies!) Kim posted an open invitation to the Obamas to meet with the Chicago Moms Blog & Co to discuss parenting issues. This weekend Pamela of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog attended the Oprah-Obama love fest. Oh and if you missed the post, we added DC Metro Moms to our fold. So yes, the SV/Chgo/DC/soon-NYC moms blogs are getting in election gear.

Sadly, I received the following email from my contact's contact in the Obama camp:

Good Afternoon Veronica,
Thank you for your invitation for Michelle Obama to join a discussion with the Chicago Moms Blog.  Issues of parenting are very important to Mrs. Obama; however, due to time constraints she will not be able to participate.  As you can imagine, we receive many invitations and unfortunately cannot accommodate them all.

We hope that you will remain engaged in this campaign process and continue to discuss these important issues of parenting, health care, education and child care.

Thanks again for your interest and understanding.
(I'm keeping the name off this post)
Director of Scheduling for Michelle Obama

Continue reading "Update on our date with the Obamas" »

September 07, 2007

Oh no they didn't!

Have you seen the latest cover to Glamour magazine? It has the fantabulous America Ferrera on the cover. Well, at least half of her. Thanks to Shakes for pointing out the difference in America's recent appearance at the Teen Choice Awards (right) to her magazine cover (left).

I first fell in love with America when I saw her in "Real Women Have Curves." And I love her as Ugly Betty. Each week she shows us that beauty is what is inside, in her heart. A friend sent an email to Glamour and they claim that they didn't airbrush the photo and if we look at the photos INSIDE the magazine, we'll see something different. Thankfully, there is one on their website and I looked. I'm not convinced.

Continue reading "Oh no they didn't!" »

August 30, 2007

Katrina's 2nd anniversary

Hurricane_katrinaToday is the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I think it is safe to say that the chaos a lot of us witnessed on TV was a mass F-up on the federal, state, and local levels. That we still have areas of the NOLA and Gulf Coast that look like the hurricane JUST hit is too upsetting for me. I saw some video this morning and I was crying.

Got your tissue ready? Read this wonderful op-ed from Literary Mama on Katrina. Here's a snippet:

The Huckabees' apartment complex was destroyed by Huricane Katrina in August, 2005. With nowhere else to go, they moved into a FEMA-provided trailer. Soon the couple's children became very sick. Mrs. Huckabee's daughter Lelah was hit hardest, hospitalized twice with pneumonia. A specialist tried a variety of treatments, but nothing stopped her symptoms. Finally the doctor suggested their trailer could be the problem. "He had many repeat patients with the same symptoms all living in FEMA trailers," Huckabee said.

Continue reading "Katrina's 2nd anniversary" »

August 26, 2007

The End of Your Summer Vacation

Thankfully my daughter doesn't start "real" school until Fall 2008. She is anticipating the move from her daycare/pre-school to "big girl" school. I'm looking forward to her making new friends, but I'm not anticipating the onset of "parental involvement." Over at Girl with Pen, guest scholar-blogger Rebecca London muses about one of my biggest fears:

Between my nearly full-time job and my hour-long commute that can only be done off-hours, how in the world am I going to manage this?

Continue reading "The End of Your Summer Vacation" »

August 22, 2007

Parenting while Politicking

When I was a kid, I put down "To be president" on my list of life goals. Yeah, like almost every other kid. But my love of politics never has died. As such, I on occasion have people tell me that I should run for office. People have told my partner that they'd vote for him - despite having major differences in ideology. So what's holding me back?

My daughter for one.

Chelsea_clintonI'm only a few years older than Chelsea Clinton and oh, I still recoil when I think of all the horrible things said about her when Bill was running and then all thru the 8 years. Not to mention the backhanded mention of her in "Legally Blonde." Is it fair to put kids thru the horrors of politics when they are 4? 10? 14? We all saw what that pressure did to the Bush twins.

There are plenty of organizations out there training & recruiting women to run for office. From EMILY's List, She Should Run, and the National Federation of Republican Women. So why aren't we running more? I still think it's our kids. And not just who would watch them while we change the world.

BarackLook at how this campaign has already affected the Obama girls:

"Sasha asked Mommy about [the Obama Girl YouTube video]," Obama said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press. "She said, 'Daddy already has a wife' or something like that."

"I guess it's too much to ask, but you do wish people would think about what impact their actions have on kids and families," Obama said during the interview, held in the den of a supporter who just had hosted a campaign stop on her front lawn attended by about 120 people.

"This is part of the process of politics that can be difficult, (that) is making sure that your kids and your wife and your family are insulated from both things like this and what I suspect will be at some point some negative campaigning," Obama said.

For us, my partner & I know what we'd be getting into, but not our daughter. At least not yet.

So given the state of politics today, would you run? If you had all the money of a Romney, would you run? Would you wait until the kids are grown like Speaker Pelosi? Or while the kids are still in school like Obama?

August 14, 2007

Birth Control Ninja

VeronicaThe last week was crazy at my house, but things worked out fine and I was able to meet a friend (who moved to the burbs, traitor) Saturday night for The Second City's Girls' Night Out: Touched Up at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights. First, I love Second City. I rarely see improv if my friend from Brooklyn, who is an improv junkie, isn't in town. Second, I met my friend while we were serving on the board of the Chicago chapter of NOW many moons ago. Thus, you have the expectations set. Funny and Feminist. Yes, we are too both!

The audience was 90-95% women, but letmetellya, it was not a man bashing show at all. In fact, I'd say that it was pretty harsh on us gals, so guys, feel free to join your partner at this show. BUT, women, this show was pretty funny and well, the title says "girls night out" and I do believe in following directions.

My favorite skits included a marriage therapy session where the wife tells a story, the husband recounts it, and well all know he isn't really "listening" to her. It goes on and on until a fairly good punch line. But honestly, the best punch line came 10 seconds after we stopped clapping when a woman in front of me asked, "Are we really like that?" Um, yes.

Claudia Michelle Wallace sings an outstanding love song to Barak Obama. Sorry, I didn't take notes, but I remember that I didn't stop laughing.

There was also the skit where the one man in the show talks to his fellow white hetero males aka Republicans (that's what he said, not me!) about voting for Hillary. Yes, Hillary. Why? Because if she wins, us chicks can stop whining about discrimination. Kinda like when people say the country is color-blind because Condi Rice is so powerful. Um, yeah...

The worst skit had to be the pseudo-lesbian aka really drunk hetero BFFs deciding to have sex. It winds its way to a breast cancer scare! Sorry to spoil it, but come on, breast cancer? So wrong on many levels, including having the audience sit far too long in silence before a really bad punchline.

Overall it was a good show and worth the drive out and back. I guess if the suburbanites can drive to North & Wells, I can drive to AH. And you'll have to see the show to figure out the title of this post. Or buy me a martini.

GNO runs  August 2 - September 1, 2007 and tickets are $25. Shows are on Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Fridays 8 p.m., Saturdays 7 p.m. Grab your tickets here.

X-posted at Viva La Feminista

August 10, 2007

Choo-Choo! All aboard the newest Whole Foods

Whole_foods_2August 8th ushered in a new Whole Foods in Chicago's South Loop. It's just a few minutes from my office and many of us were eagerly counting down the days. When I walked in, I was floored! The angels sang and my recyclable tote bag was hungry for new items. I went back today to get photos and more details, but alas, corporate rules prohibit such fan girl antics. I am hoping that their regional media folks will grant me a personal tour. But here are my thoughts from memory!

Continue reading "Choo-Choo! All aboard the newest Whole Foods" »

August 07, 2007

"passive screen sucking"

That's the best line from an article published on regarding 'educational' DVDs.

The claim always seemed too good to be true: park your infant in front of a video and, in no time, he or she will be talking and getting smarter than the neighbor's kid. In the latest study on the effects of popular videos such as the "Baby Einstein" and "Brainy Baby" series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good. And they may actually delay language development in toddlers.

Baby_einstein_2Am I bit glib about this? Yes. Why? Because of four years I've had to deal with odd stares from other moms and others when I'd say, "No, I don't buy Baby Einstein DVDs." YET...I'm not one of those moms who bans all TV viewing at home. Oh, no...I just never bought into those DVDs. If I'm gonna pop in a DVD for Elizabeth to watch, it's gonna be a movie that we can both enjoy, Dixie Chicks videos (sometimes you do gotta dance!), or an episode of her favorite cartoon. And I'd like to blame my aversion to Baby Einstein to me totally missing "Little Einsteins" on Disney. Oh, well...she watches enough cartoons.

All that said, I don't think anyone who bought them are idiots. Like I said, Elizabeth watches cartoons like the kid she is. So, if you were a Baby Einstein fan, what do you think of this article? Do you think that your baby is smarter for it? Or did you use them to keep them happy while you tended to that pot of boiling noodles? You can say it, I think we all do it when push comes to shove.  Elizabeth gets most of her Noggin watching  on weekend mornings when  her daddy & I are trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep. All Hail Dora, Diego, & the Wonder Pets!

July 31, 2007

Don't Pin Your Hopes on Katie Couric

Veronica_2 First - It was awesome meeting so many of you last week! I feel like I have a whole bunch of new girlfriends.

I'm inviting you all to join me at Women and Children First in Andersonville on Thursday, August 2, 2007 to continue some of the discussions started at Blogher. I'm on the board of a national media reform organization, Women In Media & News, and we're having a house party at the bookstore! Not only that, but Women and Children First chose us as their organization of the month! How cool is that?

You have two ways to support the work we do:

Continue reading "Don't Pin Your Hopes on Katie Couric" »

July 27, 2007

Live Blogging from Blogher 2007

I'm live blogging Blogher 2007 over at Viva La Feminista.

The swag is awesome, the bloggers are even better. I don't generally buy into the whole sisterhood thing, but this is one of the more diverse conferences I have ever attended. Young, old, progressive, conservative, and of all ethnicities. And you know what? The diversity makes me so comfortable. This is what we strive for when we talk about diversity, safety, and warming a chilly climate.

July 20, 2007

Do we owe it to each other to work outside the home?

The dreaded "Mommy Wars" usually pits working moms against stay at home moms. It took the genius of Sylvia Ann Hewitt and Linda Hirshman to top it off with a dollop of guilt. Hewitt began the baby panic with her 2002 book castigating us career gals with not having babies before we hit our ancient 30s. My all time favorite response was from Tina Fey during SNL's "Weekend Update" where she says, "And Sylvia's right; I definitely should have had a baby when I was 27, living in Chicago over a biker bar, pulling down a cool $12,000 a year. That would have worked out great," while her posse of Rachel, Amy, and Maya had her back. In the latest volley in this massive guilt-trip, Christine B. Larson, laments how she tried to be a good modern mother and work part-time, only to decide that it wasn't worth it.

Linda Hirshman added to this guilt trip that not only are you sacrificing your economic future by staying home (because you don't earn Social Security and most don't invest in a retirement fund), but you are ruining it for women in general. Here's her theory: When elite and highly educated (Ivy Leaguers) quick their awesome jobs at law firms, investment groups, and big business, that in turn teaches the HR departments that women can't be trusted to stay at the firm despite a high salary and all those hours they spend training you. What we get is the pay gap AND discrimination against women in general. Here's one more reason for the class wars to continue.

I was able to meet and hear Linda Hirshman at the National Women's Studies Association Conference in late June at Pheasant Run in St. Charles. I'm not a fan of hers, but hadn't read her book and wanted to hear what she really believed in person. People can always be misquoted, even in their own writing, so why not hear it from the horse's mouth? Here are my highlights of her presentation/performance (as a former trial lawyer, she does put on quite a show):

Continue reading "Do we owe it to each other to work outside the home?" »

July 11, 2007

Baseball, Fireworks, and Beatles

Kccballgame Perhaps it's time for a sports category since I seem to keep blogging about sports. lol! Also, this is under travel because for two Chicago families to make out to Kane County makes this a traveling story...haha! Ah, don't get too ticked suburbanites, I grew up only 30 minutes north of St. Charles. I'm a suburbanite at heart.Kccelizabeth

A classmate of Elizabeth's asked us to join them in taking in a Kane County Cougar's game on Saturday. J's dad also used the lure of fireworks and a Beatles tribute band as bait. Come on, he should know us better by now. Baseball is all the bait we need. We got lawn seats, which I *highly* recommend for the lil ones. J is a bit more than 4 and Elizabeth will be 4 in a few weeks and sitting still is not one of their finer abilities. They were able to sit and watch the game, get up and move around, and as evidenced by this photo, they were even able to play a little ball themselves. Other fab things about Elfstrom Stadium? There's a kids play area just over right field which includes a bounce house. What else could kids ask for? Oh yeah, fresh funnel cakes. OK, that's what this mom asked for.

Kccfireworks After the game we were treated to a fireworks show while a Beatles tribute band played. They were pretty good. AFTER that everyone was invited to run the bases. The dads took the kids and they had a great time. Elizabeth even commented that, "I've never done this before!"

It was a long day, but the kids had a great time. Whether or not you live down the street from the stadium or an hour away, you really should head out there for a great time. There are at least two other non-Major League parks within an hour of us and we keep going to Kane County. First because I use to go there with my folks and second, it really is family friendly. I do really want to catch a Flyers game soon thou. One interesting item on the Cougars promotional schedule is August 7 - PEANUT FREE NIGHT. I never would have imagined that someone allergic to peanuts could ever attend a baseball game. How freakin' cool is this idea!?

As for the game, the Cougars won with a walk-off walk. That's baseball for ya!

June 29, 2007

Get your game on!

Chicagoforce1_2 Last Saturday I found myself without my partner AND without my daughter for a few hours. What does a mommy do with a few spare hours to herself? First I ran some errands, but I quickly realized that I could attend a Chicago Force football game. The Force is Chicago's women's tackle football team. Oh, yeah...

Wanting some adult time, I headed over to Holmgren Athletic Complex (Located at North Park University to catch a game. The stands were packed with families! Kids here and kids there! It was awesome. I could tell that some of the adults there were rooting for sisters or daughters on the field,but clearly some families came out for the pure enjoyment of watching women play football.

The game itself was a test in one's gut. The Chicago Force outmatched the Detroit Predators from the onset. Detroit showed up with barely enough women to field one half of a team, so many players were on the field most of the game. By halftime we were up 41-0. OUCH. We won 69-0. Double OUCH!

This Saturday, June 30th, is the Force's last home game and they MUST win to head into the playoffs. So head on over and watch some football at a stadium where you can afford to eat nachos AND a hot dog. Parking is on the street, so come early to find a spot.

Don't forget to wear something comfy! At half-time they have a field goal kicking contest.


June 26, 2007

Can Mothers be Sisters?

When I look back on my relationship with my late-mother it had all the hallmarks of a typical mother-daughter relationship. The fighting, the arguing, and me bringing home the man she didn't like (whom I did marry and she grew to love). So why is it that intergenerational issues between women are framed with a mother-daughter dynamic? Within the feminist movement, this is exactly how issues get framed and well, like a mother-daughter argument, someone stomps off or they hit the local ice cream shop to talk it out.

Deborah Siegel's latest book (author of Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo, Harmony, Jan. 2007) Sisterhood Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild deals with just that issue and many more. It is far from a complete history of the feminist movement from 1970 to today, but it does cover a lot of the highlights. She does a great job at documenting the infighting that occurred in the 1970s between radical feminists and liberal-Betty Friedan- feminists as well as the current intergenerational conversations between second wave feminists and third wave feminists. Is wearing high heels and getting a Brazilian anti-feminist? If so, who made that decision? How can today's young women believe in the need for feminism when they are the majority on our nation's college campuses? I was lucky enough to pose a few questions to Deborah via email this weekend  about the book and why as mothers this book might be something we pick up. She is in town and details are after the jump:

Continue reading "Can Mothers be Sisters?" »

June 25, 2007

The TSA and breast milk do not mix

The TSA outraged yet another momma and this time she's our own. CBS 2 Chicago has a video on a Libertyville mom who was told to throw away 3 ounces of breast milk before going through security. She was upset and pointed out that it was only 3 ounces in line with the TSA rules for liquids.

That is where she is very wrong. The rule is not about the amount of liquid or gel, but the SIZE of the container. By having her breast milk in a standard size bag (both Medela and Evenflo storage bags are at least 6 oz.) she was in violation of the rules.

This issue has been an issue since last summer when the new liquid rule was enacted. Every few months a story will pop up in the blogosphere about a mom getting livid at a TSA employee.

First, the rules, at the TSA website it says: 

If you are traveling with a baby or toddler baby formula, breast milk, and juice are allowed in your carry-on baggage or personal items. You can take these through the security checkpoints and aboard your plane. If you're not traveling with a baby or toddler, any formula, breast milk, or juice you're carrying must meet the requirements for carrying liquids, gels and aerosols (3-1-1).

So pumping mamas, gather up all those 3 oz bottles from the Container Store and boil them. If you want to use the regular carrying cases, you can always CHECK your milk. Um, yeah, right. I never check my glasses in case my luggage gets lost, I doubt that I'd check my child's breast milk.

But back to those containers.

In an effort to be a better citizen to this world I've started to carry a refillable water bottle and a travel coffee mug. During my last flight I carried on an EMPTY 24 oz water bottle and went through security at O'Hare and Atlanta. I guess because it was empty it was ok. Which of course I like since it was my bottle and one I got from the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and would have thrown a fit if it was taken from me. BUT it makes no sense in the whole uber-security hyper-fear world we have to travel in.

I hope that this piece helps out even just one traveling & pumping mom. As sad as it sounds, it may be easier to pump and dump. At least until Medela & Co. start selling us 3 oz TSA-approved breast milk containers.

I really think that if this country truly honored mothers and children the way we think we do, the TSA would have teamed up with La Leche League to create a procedure for nursing moms to travel alone with breast milk. The mom in this story even mentioned handing the milk over to the flight attendant. There must be a solution that does not involve treating breast milk like our luggage and keeps our security as tight as we want it to be.

X-posted at Chicago Parent

June 13, 2007

Museum of Science & Industry Bookclub

First, thank you to Chicago Moms for inviting me to join this great new blog. I'm Veronica and you can read my bio over in the about us section. In a sentence, I'm a professional feminist and the mom of a smarty-sassy-pants almost 4-year-old girl. In another, I'm a die-hard Cubs fan, a bookworm and have been with my partner for over 14 years (we've been married for 8). Now to my first post:

Did you know that the Museum of Science & Industry has a book club? Neither did I until I received three emails in one day stating that MSI was looking for someone to moderate a discussion on a Marie Curie biography, Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie by Barbara Goldsmith.

The discussion took place Tuesday night and it was a lot of fun. Sixteen people registered, but as with any free event, only about half showed up. To those who did, THANK YOU! We not only discussed the tragedy that was Marie Curie's life (death, torrid affair, love, death, torrid affair, and two Nobel Prizes!), but we also had a great discussion about how and if we should be encouraging girls to go into science.

Curie was so obsessed with her science and the discovery of radioactivity that she pretty much ignored her two daughters and after her husband's tragic death retreated into her mind even more. Is that the price for genius? The price for discovering one of the best and worst things in human history?

How do we get girls who would rather hit the LIbby Lu than hear an astronaut talk about changing the lens on the Hubble telescope even consider a career in science? One mom asked just that. My answer? Meet them where they are. Science & technology is everywhere! Are they make-up obsessed? Try to find a cosmetic chemist. How do they get the lip gloss so glossy? Will they ever make one that won't stick to our hair?

The next book club is in August and will be discussing An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do about It by Al Gore. Yes, there's a book too! This leads to one more item on girls & science. More often then not, girls want to be helpers. Women want to make a difference, so we need to show them that science & technology make a world of difference. Want to help people in Africa who can't get fresh water? Design a machine that will clean the water they do have available. Want to make sure that New Orleans doesn't flood again during a hurricane? Engineer better levees. You can't talk a kid, girl or boy, into something they don't have any interest in, so figure out what they do like and take it from there.

If your child doesn't know a scientist from the postal carrier, introduce them to one. Here are a few links with women in science biographies:

dmoz: Excellent listing of women and men scientists. Links are labeled for age-appropriateness.

4000 Years of Women in Science: Biographies of many women scientists. A classic website for women in science in general.

San Diego Super Computer presents A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors.