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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Celebrating Choice

Yesterday my Facebook page was filled with concerned women commenting on a speech President Obama gave in Rhode Island.  His thesis was to expand pre-schools because he firmly believes all children should be attending mandated preschools.  But what was very surprising is the reason he gave.

"Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result.  And that's not a choice we want Americans to make."

The women on my Facebook page took exception to his assertion that staying home and raising children was not a choice he wants Americans to make.  I didn't focus on that but on the fact he feels women will make a lower wage for the rest of their lives if they stay home with their children.  That is patently untrue.  If he could visit me for a few days I would show him the women in my part of the world who could and do prove that wrong.  While raising children they finished college or other training and when they decided it was good for the family went to work teaching school, family counseling, nursing, personal trainer, selling insurance, politics and fund raising.  I am sure I am leaving some of their occupations out.  Four women I know started their own businesses.  Three women went into a new business with their husband.  I know three women who own pre-schools and have run them for years.  One woman sells make-up so successfully that she has a car!  Another has devoted a tremendous amount of time learning everything she could about healing, well being and essential oils.  She teaches classes in four states and is starting a personal life coaching business from that.  These are all amazing women, but I don't see them as particularly unusual. They spent their time raising children doing productive things and learning skills they could use later on.  Or they kept up the skills they had previous to having children.  Hairdressers to attorneys they did all kinds of things.   From my experience of moving a beltway that threatened to take my home and 45 others I was asked to sit on a town board which I did for ten years.  After that I was appointed to Planning Commissioner which I have done the last 6 years.  During my stay at home with children I put in the first residential constructed wetlands in Nevada, which led to a place on the Springs Preserve Board, an absolutely amazing project.  I also encouraged my children to finish college, the youngest is a senior this year.  All of them paid for college themselves, we helped when we could but they worked, got pell grants, a few scholarships and loans.

When the recession in Las Vegas took all of our investments and savings my husband and I started a catering business.  I can safely say it is the hardest work I have ever done, but we will not give up.  We are too old to start an entry level job and too young and poor to retire.  We had to start a business and many of my catering clients are people I have simply met along the way.

I thought President Obama was selling women short.......none I described are accepting a lower wage for the rest of their lives.  They are working hard and creating work.  Many of their businesses are creating jobs for other women.

I won't debate women who work and women who stay at home with children, that isn't what caught my attention.  When I had children I made a choice that was right for my family.....I chose.  And I am happy I did.  But staying home does not necessarily mean women will make a lower wage the rest of their lives......