November 8th, 2016

Thankful for my therapy dog who faithfully stayed by my side while through out this election cycle.
Thankful for my dog who faithfully stayed by my side through out this election cycle.

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote.

Will we get our lives back?  Will the anxiety go away? Will “America be great again”? Wait, we aren’t great?

This years election cycle has been really ugly. What it has done is make me even more conscientious of my voting rights and choices as a woman.  I have always read initiatives and propositions but this year I went through them at least three times and read for myself the actual text of the initiatives.  None of this reading the arguments for and against or allowing myself to be swayed by the media.  I decide for myself.  I reflected on my personnel values and ethics and thought hard about the choices I was making.

The final work of filling out my ballot spanned 7 days.  That gave me time to really mull things over.  I like to think things through without being pressured.

It was nice when the first door to door canvasser came by yesterday I could say, “I’ve already voted.”  Yep, the ballot is in the envelop, sealed and ready to be dropped of this morning downtown. Almost a week early.

I am worried though, will the elected candidate for president be able to unify this divided nation?  The ugliness and marginalizing of fellow humans has me really frightened.  I’m concerned that some American’s are living with so much fear of their fellow humans just because they practice a different religion, have a different sexual orientation or are the opposite sex, their skin is a different shade or they are poor, a refugee or from another country. I also want a leader that leads by example with a high standard of morals and compassion demonstrated by their personal life and behaviors. And for God’s sake can speak above a fourth grade level.

Well, the waiting is almost over. I pray that the people of this nation will accept the results of the election.  I fear that there may be violence and unrest after the election.

I know how much thought and education it took for me to make my informed decisions on the 17  state initiates this year on the California ballot. California has the longest ballot in the nation this year.  I’m worried that the average American (a “C” student) doesn’t have the education to comprehend what they are voting for or why. Many are just doing as they are told and voting on emotions based on false ideals. By visiting rural areas of states like Pennsylvania this fall and speaking with locals, I get their frustrations.  It was good to understand better where they are coming from.

Now, back to that 19th amendment thing.  My mom was born in June of 1919.  She told me stories that she obviously was told about how her mother (my grandmother) marched and fought for this right of women to vote.  I wonder if she shared these stories with my brothers.  She always took voting seriously and all women must take voting seriously.

The time is right for a woman, mother and grandmother to heal this nation. This nation is in need of some serious mothering.

Thankful for my therapy dog who faithfully stayed by my side while through out this election cycle.

Earning income and providing care is equally necessary and should be equally valued.

I believe in the goodness, kindness and general integrity of all people. But why has it come to the point where we don’t value or respect caregivers? Especially those in the professions that raise and educate our future generation. The very ones who will be responsible for our care and well being when we are old.

Often those who provide care are not paid a living wage, sometimes they are not paid at all, they receive no benefits and have no retirement coverage. Low pay, underpaid, under valued, over worked conditions are happening in all fields of business but especially with those who are our care providers.  And on top of that, our care givers are treated without respect. Who will raise our children and take care of our sick and elderly if we can not improve the circumstances of our care providers?

Recently, I spoke with a nurse who explained how she’d be responsible for 7 patients, 5 might be non-ambulatory and if one needed mobility assistance (say with getting to the bathroom) and could not be left unattended, what happens when one of the other 6 patients need mobility assistance at the same time? There was no “back up” support on staff.

I know a teacher that has Special Needs children who don’t even belong in their Special Education classroom. These children’s developmental needs are so low on the scale they belong in county programs or in day care until they are ready for a classroom setting. This teacher isn’t even credentialed or licensed to provide the services they are being asked to provide. And, on top of that, they are asked to take on more children then is recommended by the state with no support staff, with children that they are not licensed to provide bathroom care or seizure care for. I feel for these children, their parents and the teacher.

Teachers and nurses should NOT be in tears every day at the end of their shift. Nurses and teachers are so exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally that they not only put their own lives at risk but that of those they care for.

Why do we hear that there is a huge nursing and teaching shortage? I see literally thousands of postings for qualified teachers, para-educators and nurses, nursing aide’s etc. in the Bay Area.

Yet I know many, many teachers and nurses and experienced middle aged women who chose parenting over careers who wish to reenter the work force, not being able to get these jobs. The school districts and health profession make the qualifications ridiculous for applicants. If they do get hired they are asked the impossible, not given the tools and staff support they need to perform their job and at the slightest slip up are let go. I recall that 30 years ago (before I myself chose to have children) companies provided training to new employees.

Today’s situation is only hurting the children and the patients. The longer these positions go unfilled, then what is happening with those wages that should be going to employees? By not hiring enough staff, by not hiring aid’s for enough hours such that benefits must be paid are these business’s just making their bottom line look good?

We are led to believe that if we are admitted as a patient to a hospital that it is fully staffed. It is not!

We are led to believe that our children’s educators have the support and resources they need for our children. They do not!

I know that many teachers are trained well, mean well, and have the knowledge to ask for what’s best for our children. Because of the bureaucracy of the corporate entity that runs our schools, the work a teacher wants to accomplished is sometimes brought to a complete halt.

Why is it that school kitchen staff and janitorial staff (who get benefits) are paid more then a para-educator who these days barely makes minimum wage, is not allowed to work more then 25-29 hours so that a districts doesn’t have to pay benefits but at times maybe left responsible for a full class of children? This leaves teachers without assistance for hours each day. Children that should be in Special Education classes are mainstreamed. Disrupting those classes and put into a situation where the teacher is not qualified to meet that child’s needs. Mild to moderate Special Education children are not getting the services they need. Moderate to severe learning disability children are put into classroom setting where there are too many children to have their needs met. The diagnosis are removed from the reports or hidden from the very teachers who are to be teaching them. And children that belong in county programs are put into classrooms where they are lost and confused. Again making it nearly impossible, if not completely impossible, for the teacher to teach those they are trained to teach.

I am deeply saddened for these children and their families. Only those that are financially well off can afford to hire private tutoring, therapy and interventions to help their children reach their full potential.

It is a wonder that children learn anything in schools these days because teachers are so overwhelmed dealing with emotionally disturbed (ED), ADHD and behavior/learning disability children that distract the classroom so much that there is little ability for the teacher to actually teach.

I wonder if the “no child left behind” is actually LEAVING ALL CHILDREN BEHIND.

Why have we forsaken our caregivers?

What are some of the solutions?

Stop paying ridiculous salaries to those who add no value. (The top management) Hire more support where it is needed. Let teachers and nurses do their jobs and hire enough staff for the student and patient needs.

Put trust and respect back where it belongs, with those who serve. Make teaching, nursing and care taking respected careers. Begin by paying an equitable salary based on the amount of education required for the job.

Start supporting families again and get back to the 8 hour work day. I recently read a study that an office worker becomes ineffective after about 6 hours of work and all other workers performance declines after 8 hours.

Why are we still one of only two countries that doesn’t have paid maternity leave? How can hourly workers afford to take time off for a sick child or family member if they have no paid leave time?

The following thoughts are either inspired by, a direct quote or rewording of text from the inspiring and well written book Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter. I think you will get the idea of where I’m headed with these thoughts and why I’m perplexed and/or frustrated by the state of care in this nation. As this book also points out, feminism has done much to advance our awareness of the need for equality but now the issue of care is as much a men’s issue as a women’s issue and as much of an issue for our nation as a whole. I hope this blog post has got you questioning they way things are in a different light then you may have previously thought of these issues.

*The problem of care, or more precisely, of not valuing care is what’s at issue here. We need teachers, child care providers, elder care providers and people who will raise our children of the future

*Is it no more justifiable to value the production of income over the provision of care?

*Care produces people.

*Countless women have described the ways they become invisible the minute they left paid work to take care of their children or other family members.

*How come when a women is doing paid work she is called a “working mother” but a father is never called a “working father”?

* Regarding when a woman becomes the lead parent: “it’s like all of sudden we don’t exist when we leave paid work to become care givers. Now we are “Nobody”. In other words, if all you do is care for other people, an activity just as if not more essential to the survival of the human race as earning an income, you lose your very identity as a person of value.”

*There is a devaluing of and discrimination against caregivers.

*“if a woman takes time out completely, her time spent caregiving is a black mark on her resume going forward, a hole that she will try to cover over or explain away when and if she tries to reenter the job market.”  And I’ve noted that volunteer work to fill those gaps is just about as disrespected and devalued as caregiving.

*Motherhood penalty – have a baby and a woman loses just about any chance of promotion, decreased long term financial stability and will be much worse off when she is elderly then a man. The amount a man will earn greater then a woman will earn over a life time just based on wage inequality is staggering and those greater earnings will earn greater wealth overtime then a woman’s.

* The nation and business’s are losing out on a vast amount of talent.

Also from the book:  caregivers are “the custodians of human capital.  In a richer and more sensitive rhetoric, they are the nurturers of humanity itself.”