About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Yesterday was one of those moments, in which I felt my life come full circle. Almost 11 years ago, I left a reporting job in San Francisco to be home with my newborn son…and to be on the lookout for a job that I could do from home.

I freelanced for a while, then started a blog, and did contract work for non-profit organizations. It all led to my current full-time position at MomsRising — which I do from home. Every day, I log in at about 7:30 a.m., drop off the kids at school at 8 a.m., put in about six hours of work, including meetings over the phone and ginormous piles of e-mail, pick up the kids at 3 p.m., give them a snack, make dinner, and put in the last two hours in the evening.

I have my routine down pat, and it’s something that I shared with a packed room at the Office Optional Conference in San Francisco. While I was there to sing the praises of working from home, I also offered these lessons learned:

It is important to carve out at least two hours a day for uninterrupted work. When you don’t have face time, you tend to make up for it in e-mail. A lot of e-mail. When I first started at MomsRising, I felt the need to respond promptly to every single piece of e-mail that hit my inbox. I quickly learned that it is okay to let people wait a day so that I could actually finish the project that I had promised.

Balance is still important in virtual work. See example No. 1. Also, when there is no division between work and home space, it is very easy to go over 40 hours a week. Yes, I was the asshole that sent an e-mail on Easter Sunday. Oy!

I am lucky in that our organization is 100 percent virtual. But apparently there could be tension in a company between at-home workers or contractors and those who must commute every day. The at-home workers may feel left out or not taken as seriously for not going into the office very day.

Overall, I wouldn’t change my set-up at all. Yes, I am always in my pajamas, always on my computer and snack too much working out of my kitchen. But the time and money I have saved not having a commute — and most importantly, the flexibility to be with my children — I can’t imagine a better set-up.

What is your work set-up? For those of you who work from home, I am curious how you divide home and work life — and keep yourself honest about it!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

From the Liberals Unite website: I hope my kids turn out half as cool as 12-year-old Madison Kimrey, who wrote an open letter to conservative Phyllis Schlafly on equal pay for women.

Happy belated Easter all! Yesterday we had a very mellow day, participating in a block treasure hunt in the morning, hanging out with our friends Amy and Will, and then eating a quiet dinner at home. How was your Easter?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

It looks like former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg is investing heavily to take on the NRA regarding the U.S. gun violence rate, according to the New York Times. His group Mayors Against Illegal Guns has acquired Moms Demand Action to create a new umbrella group Everytown for Gun Safety.

I wish him well. It’s always been astounding to me how we regulate alcohol much more stringently than gun ownership. It’s crazy that a parent can give a child a gun as a gift, but could potentially be arrested for allowing that child a sip of alcohol.

Beautiful food: I pride myself in being a decent cook, but I am not a crafty person — although I admire the work of art that food can be. Check out these deviled eggs posted by PBS Kids on Twitter. Cute, huh?

From the Huffington Post: There is a sequel of Mrs. Doubtfire in the works. I loved the first movie and am surprised it took 20 years to come up with a sequel. What do you think — will you watch?

And last, but certainly not least, Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first baby later this year, according to the New York Times.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

A co-worker passed around this awesome Mother’s Day video the other day titled #WorldsToughtestJob. It’s a series of interviews for an all-encompassing, 365-day position called “Director of Operations.” Warning: have the hankies nearby!

Speaking of videos…MomsRising is holding a short video contest for Mother’s Day! Five winners will receive a swag bag of goodies. If you are an avid video-taker, submit your piece here.

And this is a must-read: the New York Times ran an op-ed by two university researchers (Duke and UT-Austin) on how parents volunteering in the classroom or helping with homework does not increase test scores or academic performance.

As it turns out, the list of what generally works is short: expecting your child to go to college, discussing activities children engage in at school (despite the complications we mentioned above), and requesting a particular teacher for your child.

Do our findings suggest that parents are not important for children’s academic success? Our answer is no. We believe that parents are critical for how well children perform in school, just not in the conventional ways that our society has been promoting. The essential ingredient is for parents to communicate the value of schooling, a message that parents should be sending early in their children’s lives and that needs to be reinforced over time. But this message does not need to be communicated through conventional behavior, like attending PTA meetings or checking in with teachers.

I found myself nodding throughout this piece. Our school actually told us not to help out with homework because then the teachers wouldn’t know what the kids needed to work on. In fact, my kids’ projects always look like they were made by…kids.

And when I think of the learning that happens in our home, it isn’t the conventional ways mentioned in the article. We’re the type to discuss whatever piques our interest and then google things as a family. I’m lucky as I’ve never taken music lessons of any kind, but my husband will work with the kids on the piano and even write music with them. I could see how this would instill a love of learning.

How do you instill a love of learning in your home? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The New York Times ran a heartfelt story about the survivor of Brooklyn’s “Palm Sunday Massacre” being adopted by the cop who was the first responder on the scene. It’s a must-read!

Update on my, er, incontinence: My doctor at Kaiser said that they were very conservative in regards to surgery. She suggested a class — which I am attending this week — and possibly medication to start with.

In the meantime, I am still grappling with a hacking cough — it’s been almost a month! — that I may get in touch with her regarding that instead. Ugh.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The MomsRising immigration campaign was in high gear the last couple of days as there was a fast for families in Washington, D.C.. I ended up not going so that I could be home for Eli’s birthday. But, I have not stopped!

Yesterday, we published a blog carnival on Daily Kos. Again, if you have an account there, pleeeassee hit the “recommend” button for me. :)

Thank you so much! What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I did it, MotherTalkers. After years of battling what I suspect is stress incontinence following pregnancy and birth, I e-mailed my doctor inquiring about surgery to correct it.

For the last two weeks, I’ve had a cough that won’t go away. While I am fatigued from the cold, what I am really sick and tired of is not being able to hold my urine every time I cough. That has meant multiple changes of clothes and having to sleep on towels in the middle of the night. Actually, I can’t remember going an entire night in the last 10 years, in which I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. I simply can’t. hold. my. urine.

And I am reminded of it every time I go to sleep, exercise, cough or sneeze. It’s getting in my way…it’s time to do something. Have any of you had experience with the surgery or non-surgical procedures to correct this?

In less disgusting and lighter news: My Eli is 7 today! We celebrated with a class party at the ice skating rink yesterday. Seeing her fall and get right back up with her toothless smile warms my heart each and every time. She’s a girl of many interests and words — a writer in the making? :)

What’s in the news? What’s up with you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Let’s talk misogyny among sports casters, shall we? Sports commentators Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason recently blasted Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy for missing opening day to take three days’ worth of paternity leave, following the emergency c-section of his wife.

The horror.

Carton and Esiason took to the air justifying why this was all kinds of wrong. Esiason went as far as to say, “Quite frankly, I would have said, ‘C-section before the season starts, I need to be at opening day.’”

Really? It must be lovely having you as a spouse and co-parent.

Yesterday I helped MomsRising put together a petition airing the true — and sad — facts about the state of paid family leave in our country, and demanded that Carton and Esiason apologize to Murphy. Here’s the link — I would love your signature!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you? Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I am waist-deep in blog posts for MomsRising’s immigration campaign. All of this week, we are publishing stories by women across the country who are fasting for immigration reform. The fast is part of a campaign by the We Belong Together women’s coalition, of which MomsRising is a member.

I just published the second installment of stories by women fasters for the Daily Kos. It would be phenomenal if you all could help a sister out and do any or all of the following:

1. Sign the MoveOn petition to Speaker John Boehner asking him to meet with the fasters.

2. Hit the “recommend” button on this diary at Daily Kos.

3. Hit any of the social media buttons at the top of the diary at Daily Kos.

Thank you so much! What’s up with you?

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