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A Working Mom Shaping the Lives of Future Generations

Thank you to Mom-Mentum Editor Kate Fineske for graciously allowing me to cross-post this piece, which was originally published at Mom-Mentum.

Depending on the profession and individual circumstances, every mother has her own story about returning to work. Over the past several months we’ve begun highlighting our Mom-mentum members Return-to-work stories. Likewise, in her book Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, author and regular Mom-mentum blog contributor Shay Chan Hodges presents many diverse stories about the intersection of work and parenting.

This Memorial Day, tell Congress to support tax breaks for military families!

Happy Memorial Day!

This weekend doesn’t just mark the official start of summer, BBQ season, and sunny days. It’s also a weekend when we remember our nation’s families who that have sacrificed the most for our country.

It’s also the time of year when we see a lot of members of Congress wearing flag pins and expressing support of the troops.

But a flag pin alone isn’t enough.

Congress must stand up for the families of the brave women and men serving in the military, as well as for veteran families.

**Honor military families by signing on to our letter to Congress TODAY and ask them to support, protect, and strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax!

Latest on healthy school snacks in Ohio and Michigan

The Smart Snacks in School rule went into effect this past year, and ensures snacks foods and beverages sold in schools are healthy. Together with our partners, MomsRising submitted over  200,000 signatures from people like you who support these healthy changes to the school day. Now, snacks sold through vending machines, stores and a la carte lines need to be in kid-sized portions, and in general have fewer than 200 calories and be low in fat, sodium and sugar. Mom victory!
However, in response to concerns about limiting school fundraising options the USDA included a provision in the rule that allows states to decide the maximum number of school fundraisers which can be exempt from the standards per year. If a state does nothing, the number of exempt fundraisers defaults to zero. 
Many states are indeed doing nothing, opting to embrace healthy options for school fundraising activities (of which there are many - see below!). Michigan and Ohio are two of the small number of states whose legislatures have attempted to allow significant numbers of exempt fundraising days each year.

Let's Share Recipes and Safe Food Handling Tips! #FoodFri #Tweetchat

With Memorial Weekend ahead of us, I'm gearing up to visit family, enjoy a BBQ or two, and spend some time creating foods that scream warm weather and fun. It's the perfect time to introduce the kiddos and their friends to healthy foods. It's also a great time to swap recipes!

Join #FoodFri at 1pm Eastern, on May 22, 2015, to swap recipes and safety tips for the BBQ season, in both English and Spanish! Bring your favorite "virtual" plate to our table and browse others while you fill yourself with yummy, healthy goodness.

And, because a BBQ, just isn't a BBQ, without music,  we ask you to bring your favorite tunes as well! We're having a fiesta/party! So have fun, mingle and grab a few bites from our table. We're sure you'll find healthy can be tasty!

Click below and spread the word!


Tweet: Join me! Let's Share #Recipes + Safe Food Handling Tips TODAY @ 1pET. Use #FoodFri @MomsRising @MamasConPoder #Foodie




Salt, It's Time To Break Up

Break ups are hard.  But sometimes, it needs to happen in order to move on to a brighter future.  And according to the American Heart Association, it’s time to break up with our salt shaker. That’s right—it’s time to end our love affair with salt. 

Most Americans are consuming way too much sodium—and that excess can have a lasting impact on our health, including raising our risks for heart disease and stroke: our nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 health threats.  And don’t be fooled that only adults are falling victim to excess sodium. 

Our kids are also involved in this harmful relationship. 

In fact,  kids ages 2-19 eat more than 3,100 mg sodium per day, about double the amount the American Heart Association recommends. The older children get, the more calories and sodium they tend to eat.

Sugar Detox: I Thought I Would Die

During Lent, I gave up sugar, all forms of sugar: white sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave nectar, cookies, pastries, desserts, ice cream, EVERYTHING. I drank unsweetened coffee and tea and had no dessert after lunch or dinner. During my sugar detox, I thought I would die. Yet, it was an extremely enlightening experience that changed my life in ways I never would have expected.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to your sanity mind, body and soul, here’s my experience:

Day 3: You’re still pretty hyped and feeling all sorts of pride in your efforts. Bitter coffee? Totally a doable thing that you could quite possibly get used to. After lunch you have some strawberries. You’re feeling like a champ and you’re totally throwing shade at everyone eating garbage and mentally laugh at them for their weakness and lack of willpower (fools).

A Year in the Family Garden: May, and Some Basics

Here in Pennsylvania, we’ve jumped from cool spring to hot summer over night. But don’t worry - there’s plenty of time to get a garden started! In fact, you’re just in time. Some tips for starting your family garden this year:

1. Quick primer on the basics. 

Anyone can garden. You don’t need special tools, expensive ingredients or tons of experience. You do need soil, water, sun and seeds/plants. 

Fact of the Week: Nearly 1 in 4 Children in the U.S. is Served by the Federal Child Support Program

In Idaho, the proportion of children relying on Child Support Services is even higher – 28 percent. Many in the state learned that the hard way this week, as Idaho’s state legislature held an unusual special session to take up legislation to prevent the state from losing access to federal child support collection resources.

Why did Governor Otter have to call this special session? Because the legislature failed to pass child support legislation required by federal law before it ended its regular session in April. If the state did not reverse its decision, it would be out of compliance with requirements for participating in the federal child support system. That would mean the 102,100 custodial parents and 155,000 children in Idaho using the federal system to collect the support owed would lose that help. In 2014, participation in the federal child support program resulted in $193.5 million going to Idaho families with children.

Native American Youth Advocating for Their Own

The odds were stacked against Shilo Valle. Born into poverty with parents who struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, Shilo was placed in foster care. He changed foster care placements 9 times, including stays at treatment centers, group homes, and juvenile detention facilities because they were the only beds available for him.  At 17 and still in high school, he was “foster homeless,” living in a tent when he was kicked out of a placement. When he exited the foster care system at age 18, he had no support system, no permanent connections. While high school graduation rates for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth are only around 50% nationwide, and only 13% of Native Americans have undergraduate degrees, Shilo became the first person in his family to graduate from high school and then college. He now advocates for improvements to the foster care system in Alaska.

Brooklyn MomsRising MeetUp: Shower Me Community Baby Shower recently co sponsored Shower Me community baby shower celebrating expectant moms in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy. As part of this local meet up 25 beautiful moms-to-be were gifted essential nursery supplies; clothing and gear; information on prenatal and postpartum cares; and access to resources to support healthy parenting.

The event was hosted at the newly opened Greg Jackson Center in Brownsville Brooklyn, a community with multiple socio-economic challenges including prevalent infant mortality and premature births.

While the stark inequity in the health stats for maternal and infant health in Brownsville are a reinforcement for these importance of hosting this types of event, that was not the vision the event organizers sought to lift up. Instead, a celebration was held. 

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