Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season. I am taking a blogging break, and will start up again in the New Year.
Meantime, the beauty of the blog is that you can peruse the archives at your leisure...and feel free to comment anytime.
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season. I am taking a blogging break, and will start up again in the New Year.
Meantime, the beauty of the blog is that you can peruse the archives at your leisure...and feel free to comment anytime.
Unless you're digging out in Colorado or The Plains states, there's a darn good chance you've either already hit the mall today, or intend to later.
It turns out I am far from alone in my seasonal shopping procrastination. A survey conducted by CNBC has found that, with the Christimas deadline looming, 19 percent of shoppers still have not completed their "to do" lists. And the people at the stores this weekend will be a distinct group: the under-40 crowd.
The good thing (economically speaking) about this late shopping surge, is that people are plunking down more money. CNBC's Holiday Central survey found that the average amount consumers plan to spend has jumped to $935, up $200 from two weeks ago. And contrary to popular belief, men are outspending women...with "married men among the highest spending of any group in the survey, averaging $1,213 a piece" according to CNBC.
What the survey doesn't tell you - is how much of that $1,213 they are spending on themselves. I don't know about you, but my husband always seems to come home with a few toys for himself. I guess it beats me getting him the wrong gift.
Which brings us to the increasingly popular method of holiday giving, known as "regifting," a term which WordSpy has been traced back to a 1995 episode of Seinfeld. CBNC's survey found that 1 in 10 of us admits to regifting this holiday season. As CNBC's Erin Burnett told NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams last night, regifters tend to fall in three catagories:
-they earn more than $75,000 annually
-they live in the west
-they are democrats
Whoa - they've got me nailed!
However, researchers at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) found some slightly different trends among regifters: that people who prefer to shop in their closets rather than a store tend to be young professionals looking to cut both costs and time spent shopping.
But regardless of exactly who is regifting, there's no doubt it's a growing phenomenon. In fact, a whole regifting industry has popped up - where else - on the web.
The WSJ reports that "NoRegifting.com links to gifts, such as personalized iPods, that merchants claim 'will never be regifted.' Swapgift.com allows customers to buy, sell or swap unwanted gift cards from more than 800 merchants. FrugalVillage.net offers advice on setting up a 'gift closet' of presents you intend to give to others." And that isn't even taking eBay into consideration!
Tips to keep your regifting from crossing the line into Tackyville can be found at Regiftable.com, where you are invited to share your favorite regifting story as part of a contest. Top stories get high "ribbon ratings." It seems alot of people already have their holiday shopping finished, because there are 56 pages of regifting stories posted!
ABC's World News Tonight did a story this week about regifting. The New York Times has done three regifting stories since Thanksgiving (all of which you can only read if you're a member of Times Select), as has The WaPost and probably every other daily in the country. Which means if the mainstream media is all over it...it's bonifide "old news."
But I'd better get a move on now - and go brave the wet streets and crowded stores to finish running my errands. And here's a hint to my holiday-addled husband: Skip Best Buy, honey...and head for a nice jewelry store.
Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jinga-linga
Baubles, bangles, bright shiny beads
Sparkles, spangles, your heart will sing, singa-linga
Wearin' baubles, bangles and beads.
Whether it be a shopping horror story - or a hilarious regifting tale, click on "Comments" below and share it with us before you scury off on your next errand.
While you and I were out shopping, baking, wrapping, driving, cooking, and partying - mild mannered billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates were out giving again...and again...and again.
I was reading my NYTimes yesterday when I learned that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $47 million in grants for the control of neglected tropical diseases. "The grants are unusual in that they do not single out individual diseases," reports The Times. "Instead, they aim to test the idea that diseases such as trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and hookworm, which largely afflict the rural poor, can be tackled together more effectively and cheaply than one at a time."
When I googled "Bill and Melinda Gates" to read more about the tropical disease grants, I discovered that for the past few days, the Gates Foundation has been giving away money faster than Santa travels the globe.
KMBC-TV Kansas City: "Two of the nation's largest charitable foundations announced plans Monday to work together to improve education in developing countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $40 million grant to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which in turn would add another $20 million toward their collaboration."
KNDO/KNDU-TV Seattle: "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced nearly six (m) million dollars in new grants to help homeless families and those at risk of becoming homeless in Washington State."
The WaPost: "D.C. School Superintendent Clifford B. Janey said yesterday a $4.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help fund school system improvements in low-performing schools, including an expansion of reading and math remedial programs and conversion of several senior highs into career academies."
Save the Children: "Save the Children announced today that it has received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a water and sanitation project in West Darfur, Sudan."
The Sydney Morning Herald: "Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientists have received $5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create bananas with more vitamins and iron, The Australian reports."
I could go on, and on, and on...because there are another 1,466 Google News results under "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation." Suffice it to say that this power couple is writing checks a lot faster than you're writing holiday cards.
On The Newshour with Jim Lehrer this week, correspondent Judy Woodruff sat down with Bill and Melinda to talk about the impact they are having on worldwide issues, how they decide who to give to, and how they are influencing other wealthy people to give. Take a moment to read it, listen to it or download it. It's a good reminder of the need we all are surrounded by.
This time of year it's easy to get so wrapped up in our own family traditions of gift-giving, that we often forget about the bigger picture.
Wouldn't it be great if, instead of piling up those presents under our trees to keep up with the Joneses...what we really did was give as much as we could away to keep up with the Gateses?
Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit
I'll give a little bit of my love to you
There's so much that we need to share
Send a smile and show you care.
I've got to keep this short today - because I'm expecting Oprah, Leno, Letterman, Stewart, Colbert and all the morning shows to call today in a rush to book me for their shows. That's because I've been selected as Time Magazine's Person of the Year.
I really wasn't expecting this. Who would have thunk it? Me, of all people, beating out such influential forces as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jon Il, President Bush, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Iraqi insurgents, American voters, heck - even Paris Hilton.
I wasn't selected for my visionary intellect, my winning personality, my sparkling wit or my questionable parenting skills. I was picked because I use the Internet for more than e-mail and shopping. Because I am taking part in the national conversation, and because I recognize that the power lies with the people. And by the way, just by reading this blog, you were picked as Time's Person of the Year, too.
That's right. According to Time Magazine Managing Editor Rick Stengel, "individuals are changing the nature of the information age, that the creators and consumers of user-generated content are transforming art and politics and commerce, that they are the engaged citizens of a new digital democracy."
My reaction? It's about time, Time. It seems the last "people" on earth to finally come to this realization, are the people who feel most threatened by this "new digital democracy": the mainstream media and other "power" brokers. As I've written many times before -- they no longer control the conversation. And for anyone who still wonders what it's all about and why, just take the time to read this issue of Time.
The article titled "It's All About Us" explains why amateurs like myself are adding our voices to "the Web's great evolving conversation." Because people are listening - and the media can't do it all.
NBC News anchor Brian Williams has a thoughtful essay called "Enough About You" which explains that "while the mainstream media were having lunch, members of the audience made other plans."
I'm not prescient. I'm just a middle aged mom who, over the past 20 years, has watched the country and its conversation be controlled by a small number of powerful people in the media and business and politics. And people like me, in our kitchens, talked about it, but didn't have the tools to change it.
But now we do. And while the "powers that be" have been doing "business as usual"...the rest of us have taken back control of the conversation and are enjoying each other's company.
So congratulations to you and to me....it's about time!
Every year is getting shorter
Never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to nought
Or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desparation is the English way
The time is gone
The song is over
Thought I'd something more to say.
The exciting part about taking part in the national conversation - is actually getting your voice out there! You can do so just by clicking below on "Comments" and adding your opinion.
My kids - heck, all kids nowadays - have no idea what it's like to wait all week long for Saturday morning cartoons. To experience the delayed gratification of waking up just that one morning a week and, for a few hours while still in your jammies, get your fill of Fred and Wilma, George and Jane and the kids, Tom and Jerry, and my favorite, Jonny Quest.
The joy an entire generation of children felt on Saturday morning has been erased by a 24/7 cable caravan of cartoons for kids: Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, even PBS's on demand Sprout Network. My kids will never have an appreciation for SpongeBob, they way I appreciate Yogi Bear.
One of the people who created cartoon excitement for my generation - and who set the bar so high for today's cartoon creators - passed away yesterday. Joseph Barbera, half of the famed Hanna-Barbera team, died at age 95 at his home in Los Angeles.
As The NYTimes wrote in today's obituary, Hanna and Babera created TV's first animated comedy programs by developing "a cartoon style that combined colorful, simply drawn characters (often based on other recognizable pop-culture personalities) with the narrative structures and joke-telling techniques of traditional live-action sitcoms."
In his book "Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons," critic Leonard Maltin wrote that while Hanna had a good sense of comic timing and gave the characters warmth, Barbera's strength was gag writing and "the ability to capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I’ve ever known.”
The death of Mr. Barbera isn't the only loss in the cartoon world this week. We are just getting word that Chris Hayward, a writer who provided Rocky and Bullwinkle with their sharp sense of satire, and who also created the character Dudley Do-right, died at age 81 at his home in Beverly Hills. As Hayward's writing partner, Allan Burns said to The LATimes, Hayward's "philosophy was: 'Just write sharp stuff for yourself and the audience will get it.' It was very freeing.'"
I'm sure Chris Hayward and Joseph Barbera were the inspiration for the countless cartoon creators, writers, and animators that crowd the airwaves nowadays. But its hard to separate the good stuff from the mediocre and bad stuff today...because there's just so much of it.
Cartoons used to be special. Saturday mornings used to be special. I miss that.
The biggest show in town is Huckleberry Hound
For all you guys and gals.
The biggest clown in town is Huckleberry Hound
With all his cartoon pals.
It's Huckleberry fun, it's for everyone,
So come on, gather 'round.
Get yourself all set,
Turn on your TV set
For Huckleberry Hound.
What were your favorite cartoon memories as a kid? Join in the reminiscing by clicking below on "Comments."
We had a few families over last night for a little holiday cheer. We all met each other through our children's preschool, so we all have kids around the same age and we've known each other for about five years (more or less).
That in and of itself is not unusual. What is interesting though, is that each family has a parent whose commute to work is 30 seconds or less.
It's not news that Internet access and in particular, the availability of broadband, has made working from home more feasible for millions of American employees and employers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of 2004, at least 20.7 million Americans do some work at home as part of their job. One in 4 of those people work for an employer and have a formal arrangement regarding working from home. But the vast majority of people working from home are self-employed. And, according to the BLS, half are men and half are women.
Our group last night pretty much mirrored those statistics. However, the two men/dads now working from home are fairly new to this trend, whereas the two women/moms had been at it awhile. And the two men/dads were still adjusting to the fact that working while kids are in the house is not only a challenge, but darn near impossible.
Most of the mainstream media's (MSM) coverage of work-at-home lifestyles makes it sound so easy. ABC's "Good Morning America" has gotten a huge response among its viewers on a series of reports it calls "Take Control of Your Life." Correspondent Tory Johnson says she's personally responded to some 5,000 e-mails on this topic, "which is proof positive that flexibility — and specifically the ability to work from home — is the biggest workplace trend, given its tremendous interest to a wide range of people."
And there's lots of tips to be found on line for working at home...like this list from GooGoBits which include no-brainers like "Set an Agenda," and "Avoid Distractions." But for people new to the work-at-home life, what no one ever tells you is that you will often find yourself working late at night or before dawn. That is -- when everyone else in the house is asleep.
Yes - people who work at home do have the flexibility to drop off/pick up the kids at school, and drive them around to various events and activities. But this also means that their work time is chopped up into an hour here and a few hours there....limiting their time to actually concentrate continuously on something. And that means that "office hours" are just as likely to be 3am as 3pm
People, particularly parents, who work outside the home - often think how great it would be to work from home and see their kids more often. But before anyone goes trading in their office gig for a home gig...they need to know it isn't as "flexible" as it sounds.
But then again, that's why they call it "work."
I'm takin' what they're givin'
cuz I'm workin' for a livin'.
Do you work from home and have some real tips on how to get your job done with kids in the house? Do you have a story to tell about working from home? Just want to commiserate with other work from homers? Click below on "Comments" and join in the conversation.
"Whatever IT is, you can buy IT at eBay" is the tag line to the eBay ads this holiday season. I found out first hand that the reason you can find "whatever it is" at eBay, is because resellers have beaten you to the stores and have bought up all their stock...so you HAVE to go on eBay to find things.
My "A-Ha!" moment occurred yesterday, when I got into a tiff with a reseller at Target over a toy. A similar incident happened to me last Christmas too, but not in such a brazenly blatant manner.
This year's incident involved a woman who was roaming the toy aisles at Target steering not one, but two shopping carts overflowing with toys. At first, I thought she was a Target employee, there to restock the empty shelves. But I quickly discovered that she was the reason the shelves were empty.
Like a pink down vest wearing Grinch looting Whoville, she had taken every single Bionicle Inika and Transformer Cybertron Deluxe figure, and every Bratz Kidz doll, and put them in her carts...leaving nothing for the dozens of shoppers who had actually come to Target IN PERSON to buy ONE of the above toys for their kid for Christmas.
I was standing, staring at the Bratz Kidz shelf trying to figure out which hideous doll "Santa" had promised to get my daughter, when the reseller woman reached over me and started taking all the dolls off the shelf and stuffing them into her carts. A grandmother, looking for the same hideous doll for her granddaughter, was standing next to me, stunned.
Having experienced this shopping indignity last year with a man legally looting the Star Wars action figure section -- I wasn't about to let this woman hoard toys so I could leave the store empty-handed.
"What charity or church are you buying these for?" I sarcastically asked the woman as she continued clearing the shelves. She heard me but she didn't answer. She just kept on grabbing and stuffing dolls into her carts. "Look," I continued calmly, "I don't care if you're reselling these on eBay or at the flea market...but we actually took the time to come here and buy these toys for our kids, so the least you could do is leave SOME on the shelves for the rest of us."
She still didn't say anything, but quickly finished grabbing all the dolls and hurriedly pulling her carts out of that aisle. "Excuse me," I said a little louder. Then I pulled two Bratz Kidz dolls out of her cart - handing one to the still-stunned grandma and putting one in my own cart. She rolled off - fast - with her head down and dolls and action figures spilling out of her carts. Pity the poor person at the register who had to check HER out.
We've all heard about similar hoarding incidents before...when a must-have limited stock item like PS3, Wii or even TMX Elmo, instantly disappears off store shelves, only to pop up on eBay hours later at double - even triple the price.
But this was different. The items this woman was stashing away were only worth between $8.89 and $12.99 a apiece. And although I'm sure Target has a lot more in stock - the shelves of that particular store probably remained empty the rest of the day, inconveniencing hundreds of frantic holiday shoppers. Plus, I can't imagine that Target appreciates being treated like a wholesale outlet for countless eBay resellers.
Most stores have a "3 per person" limit on hot items like PS3s or Wiis. But that's not the case with inexpensive dolls and action figures - yet. After what happened to me today though, I imagine that day isn't too far off. And there's also the very real possiblity that creating false demand on these smaller, inexpensive consumer items will ultimately lead to higher list prices for everyone, including resellers.
"It's just the economics of a free marketplace," some might argue. Maybe. But they won't be saying that for long, especially if they have to pay anywhere over $15 for a hideous Bratz Kidz doll that their daughter expects to see under the tree.
First comes the stocking of little Nell
Oh, dear Santa fill it well
Give her a dolly that laughs and cries
One that will open and shut her eyes
Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't go?
Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't go?
Up on the housetop, click, click, click
Down thru the chimney with good Saint Nick
Rant about your latest holiday shopping nightmare by clicking below on "comments" and getting it off your chest! Have a good weekend. And Happy Hanukkah!
It's cold and flu season...meaning that millions of parents are just one phone call away from having to ditch work and go pick up a sick kid.
It happened this week to my friend, a city attorney who was in mid-email when she wrote "Oh no, Aidan just called and I have to go get him." It also happened to Washington Post "White House Briefing" blogger Dan Froomkin, who ended a column about President Bush and his Iraq strategy with this note: "Sorry about not writing yesterday -- I had an unexpected child care responsibility."
Believe me, they weren't the only two people in the country this week who got the emergency call from school to come pick up their vomiting child from the care of the long-suffering secretary. But Froomkin and my friend are just two examples of professional or white collar workers who enjoy enough flexibility in their jobs to be able to respond to the dreaded emergency call.
For millions of parents in blue collar or low wage jobs, a child care emergency can likely result in the loss of their job. Last spring, a study conducted by The Center for Worklife Law, a research and advocacy group at the University of California's Hastings School of Law, found that "the working class suffers severe punishments when choosing family over work."
The study is called "One Sick Child Away From Being Fired: When Opting Out is Not an Option." It very validly points out that in recent years, professional women with children have gotten a lot of media attention regarding their struggle to balance work and family. Books are dedicated to this issue, as are blogs, columns, articles and countless TV news stories. But lower wage workers of both sexes face the same struggle - often with graver consequences.
"One Sick Child Away..." features 99 accounts of work/life conflict that were taken to arbitration. Among them, "a bus driver who was fired when she arrived three minutes late because her severely asthmatic son had suffered an attack," and the story of "a packer who was fired when she left work to pick up her child from the emergency room."
Amazingly, many of the firings in the study sound just as outrageous at those two examples. Yet, according to the study, "employers won the arbitrations more often than employees (43% vs 21%), with the remaining cases being split decisions."
I must admit, I didn't realize how bad things still were in the American workplace until I read the study. Now I understand why the administrative assistants at my kid's school complain about the number of parents who send their kids to school sick. It's not that those parents can't afford to take a day off work. It's that many of them can't afford to lose their jobs - period!
And as all parents well know - one sick kid can quickly become a whole school full of sick kids. Which hurts EVERYONE.
I don't pretend to know how to solve this work-family issue. But The Mayo Clinic provides a report on its website about how to plan ahead for a sick child. "Plan ahead?" you laugh. "How am I supposed to know that Timmy is going to barf in class today?"
You're not. Unless, that is, your child has been showing signs of illness, and then you should immediately start reviewing your options. All working parents with children should have a "sick plan" to fall back on. As the Mayo Clinic mentions, it may include leaning on a spouse, or trading shifts with a co-worker, locating a sick child day care center or alerting a friend who may be available in times of emergency.
But employers - both blue and white collar - need to recognize their role in this issue as well. Firing workers and harming low income and working poor families in particular isn't the answer. American business needs to wake up to the fact that putting families first isn't just common sense...it makes good business sense, too.
Voters here in San Francisco made some movement on this front last month, when they approved a ballot measure requiring all small businesses to give their full and part-time employees paid sick leave to either care for themselves, or a sick child or relative. Other cities may follow, and according to The Washington Post, Senator Ted Kennedy plans to reintroduce the Healthy Families Act in Congress next year. It would require businesses with at least 15 workers to provide them with paid sick leave. Current law only requires employers of 50 or more workers to provide paid sick leave.
"This is the kind of legislation that is really supportive of working families and begins to move us toward putting actions where our words are," Debra Ness of the National Partnership of Women & Families told The Post.
But as I said, it's cold and flu season now. And your kids aren't going to wait for pending legislation to pass before they catch the next bug. Here's to your health.
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
No, I aint gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Well, I wake up in the morning
Fold my hands and pray for rain
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin' me insane
It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.
Do you have a nightmare story about leaving work to attend to a sick child? Do you have any advice for parents caught between an unsympathetic boss and a child care emergency? Click below on "Comments" and join the conversation.
I am a child of TV. Born at the end of the Baby Boom era, and raised on My Three Sons, Dragnet, Ed Sullivan, Saturday afternoon Creature Feature and the local 1960's version of American Idol, known to those within the Spokane, Washington cable TV viewing area as Starlight Stairway.
I am the audience TV relies on, since the two generations below me have already jumped ship. And that is exactly why TV, as we know it, is in its final throes (boy, using that term has sure lost it's zing since Dick Cheney said it 19 months ago).
I am at the tail-end of a generation of TV viewers who actually sit down on any given evening to watch what the major networks and the thousands of cable channels are offering at that hour. Sure, I've been "time shifting" TV for years...first with VHS and then with TiVo. But even I have moved on from this antiquated method of viewing and joined the on-demand under-the-radar generation.
I knew this was coming. But I'm no Kreskin (who had his own TV show, BTW) or Carnac. Everyone else has been predicting this, too. We just didn't know who or what was going to deliver the fatal blow. And it turns out that what's hastening the demise of "TV as we know it" is YouTube, everyone's favorite Internet time drain.
I've been hooked on YouTube since it launched more than a year ago now. But it didn't really hit me that my viewing habits had radically changed until the other night. My husband and I sat at the tiny kitchen table in the hard wooden chairs, staring at my tiny laptop screen and laughing hysterically for over an hour at an amateur comedy series called "Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager" ("I sense a disturbance in the store...."). Our big screen TV, in the room with the comfortable sofa, sat abandoned.
A recent study conducted by the BBC found that 43 percent of Britons surveyed are watching TV less, and instead spending more time viewing video on line or on a mobile device. That percentage is likely much higher here in the States, according to the BBC, but no such survey has been conducted here - yet. The U.K. study is part of a special report you can find on BBC on line called The Future of TV, which will scare the pants off any network executive brave enough to take the time to read it.
Still, online viewers like me remain a minority. But how long do you think that's going to last? Odds are that a year ago, you'd never heard of YouTube. Now, Time Magazine has named it Invention of the Year ... a must-read article for anyone who doesn't "get" the site's influence on the media world.
Meantime, traditional TV is falling all over itself to upload clips of their shows on YouTube in order to sneak into the viral revolution and save their business model (a trend which many a blogger says is ruining YouTube). CBS is even crediting YouTube with increasing its ratings. As the BBC reports, "in the month since CBS signed a deal with the video website, it has uploaded over 300 clips which have been viewed a total of 29.2 million times."
That's why Fox, Viacom, CBS and NBC have quietly been in talks for months about creating their own viral video website to compete with YouTube, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required for link, but you can also read about this at Red Herring).
But media analysts doubt this desperate marriage will work. RBC Capital Market's Jordan Rohan told The Houston Chronicle that traditional media has tried banding together to fight a common enemy before, but that "imitations rarely resonate with Internet thought leaders and consumers." In other words: Sorry guys - that bus already left the station. And guess what, it's the users who are driving it!
This is all part of what the business/techie world calls media convergence, which you'll be hearing and reading alot more about in the months to come. Meantime, I'm going to watch more "Chad Vader" episodes, and catch up on what The NYTimes this week called "Indie Sit-coms." That is, until House comes on.
See, I haven't totally abandoned the TV - at least not yet.
And now we meet in an abandoned studio.
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago.
And you remember the jingles used to go.
You were the first one.
You were the last one.
Video killed the radio star...
What have you been watching on line? Have your TV viewing habits changed in the past year? What are your favorite clips to watch on YouTube? Take part in the conversation and click below on "Comments."
An increasing number of new moms are opting out of the workforce and staying at home with their babies, according to new data soon to be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Wall Street Journal's Work & Family columnist Sue Shellenbarger got a sneak peak at the statistics. She says they show that "the seven-year trend has been broader than previously believed, with women at all income levels taking job breaks, not just the highly educated, prosperous moms examined in many recent studies."
However, Shellenbarger also found that these SAHMs are choosing to go back to work sooner than in the past, with only a one to three year hiatus. Shellenbarger says this suggests that "parents are particularly intent on shepherding babies' crucial first year of growth -- a trend no doubt accelerated by research on infant development."
While I'm sure being there during the infant-to-toddler phase plays a huge role in these Stay-at-Home Mom's decision to return to the workplace within three years...I'm venturing to guess there are other factors at play here, including household economics, the possibility of "losing ground" in their careers, and for some, even boredom brought on by endless days of baby talk and playground politics.
But I'm going to go out on a limb here, and propose another reason moms want to get back into the workplace quickly. The holiday office party.
SAHMs don't get an office party. There's no "company" to invite a SAHM out during the holiday season to get dolled up and loaded with other SAHMs, dance like an idiot, flirt with the interns and generally make a fool of herself. Sure - we get dressed up and go to the spouse's office get-together, but it just isn't the same. We are in the "spouse" group...not the "in" crowd.
In fact, I'd like to launch a campaign promoting the creation of a National Stay-at-Home Parent (more PC) Office Party Night during the holiday season - perhaps the second Friday in December. These parties should be planned and hosted NOT by the SAH, but by their spouses, and perhaps even their kids.
And it doesn't have to be limited to just SAHMs. National SAHPOPN would also include another group that doesn't get an annual chance to let off steam with co-workers: moms and dads who work from home. This includes freelancers, contractors, and those with home-based businesses who juggle kids, laundry and clients all at the same time! If anyone could use a big drunk at someone else's expense, it's these parents!
So while the BLS completes its look at who's opting out of the labor force and why (look for it soon in the Monthly Labor Review's "Trends in Labor Force Participation in the United States"), I can feel a grassroots office party movement swelling up from the suburbs and beyond. Perhaps it will even become an issue in the '08 race for President.
The nation's moms need to party...and soon. Who's with me?
I was dreamin when I wrote this
So sue me if I go 2 fast
But life is just a party, and parties weren't meant 2 last
War is all around us, my mind says prepare 2 fight
So if I gotta die Im gonna listen 2 my body tonight
They say two thousand zero zero party over,
Oops out of time
So tonight Im gonna party like its 1999