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“No” Never Had So Much Power

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January 8, 2019 by Jan Stone

It’s a bittersweet moment for this baby-boomer who worked hard to build a legitimate career with an equitable paycheck in the 1980s.

Thrilled Nancy Pelosi is running the 116th. Elated at the number of reps of different ethnicities and sexes populating the halls of government, closer to representing our country…finally.

Saddened that Trump is going to be given media time tonight to disseminate lies and publicly display the sorry state of his mental health.

The most distressing part of all this is how some progress has devolved.

Why do the less-government folk still want to legislate my uterus? If you can’t trust me with a decision, how can you trust me with a baby? Don’t want to pay for my birth control, quit paying for McConnell’s ED meds.

The gratifying part: my daughters are improving lives today despite an era where many things we fought for 30-something years ago appear to be negotiable again. School days still start at 9 and end at 3, and have you checked out the cost of after-school care?

Nonetheless, our millennial daughters continue fighting the same inane issues we faced while, by the way, accomplishing in one afternoon things some members of government won’t complete in their lifetimes.

Is there no timetable on evolution?

The notion that a woman is of less value than a white man has got to stop.

As I prepare to listen to POTUS present a made-up crisis, here are the real issues he is clueless about, the ones that desperately need our attention because they are archaic, irrelevant and counter-productive.

My oldest daughter was born in 1984, and I went back to work in 1985 after receiving an offer I couldn’t refuse.

My first anxiety: “Will she hate me?” “How else am I going to earn this amount of money legally?“ And the sadly relevant, “How long can I stay out of the workforce and remain viable because I am a woman of a certain age?”

Leave it to a leading public relations agency to mount an effective public relations campaign to bring me on board, stirring my anxiety and confidence while assuring me my decision is best for everyone.

Maybe they were right. Just the other day Arianna Huffington published a study revealing how women in 24 countries growing up with working mothers are more likely to work, hold supervisory positions and even earn higher salaries than women whose mothers stay home full-time. Still, my decision felt no more justifiable.

Then there’s finding a qualified caregiver to stand in for you for the longest part of the day, which is financially, emotionally and physiologically PTSD-inducing.

You have to earn enough to make the expense worthwhile, and you realize whoever you choose deserves more than you’ll ever make. Still, someone you trust will agree for a ridiculously low amount of money compared to the minute-by-minute 40+ hours per week commitment they make, fueling your now bottomless ocean of guilt.

At the same time, there’s the struggle of not totally resenting your daycare provider as she shares with unbridled pleasure most of your daughter’s firsts. It’s not even just firsts. It’s every enthralling moment you’re not there. Seeing and hearing about the perfectly drawn ice cream cone with the little brown crayon mark drawn out of the lines because the ice cream’s melting. At 13 months old.

Next, there’s no physical, emotional, social, psychic, hormonal – any scientific-based appreciation – that prepares a mom to leave her baby and feel okay about it, even if she knows her daughter is in great hands.

The concept of sleep or even a nano-second of serenity ceases to exist. Supplanted by events like excessively over-preparing to present million-dollar new business proposals to a conference room filled with men and knowing you have to spend an equal amount of superfluous time focusing on wardrobe.

In the meantime, male colleagues organize weekly college basketball pools and up their attention in March – bracket madness as proof men are of a different species. But, be half an hour late from taking your daughter to the doctor and eyerolls and whispers are legit.

2020 is the 100th year anniversary of women’s right to vote. And that power has never felt so significant. Nancy Pelosi simply saying “no” to a wall may have triggered tonight’s spectacle, but I feel like it’s packing a punch our country will feel for the next 100 years.

That a successful, intelligent, savvy public servant can calmly create such a stir with one word creates an optimism I haven’t felt in the endless two years we’ve been patronized by an old white man’s government led by a treasonous, fraudulent man-child.

It’s not about the border. It’s about the smart, subtle and dignified way the Speaker of the House is bringing Putin’s president down. She’s showing us it’s not male/female, black/white/blue/brown/orange, Christian/Catholic/Jewish/Muslim – it’s about simple humanity and the once proud designation of being from the United States, where anything is possible.

Good luck boys. There are a bunch of us who have been gunning for some of you for decades because you have relentlessly judged us on a standard that most of you can’t come near achieving. It’s not about the border. It’s about a contrived pecking order that’s never been relevant.

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