To The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

To The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your picket fence and I'll raise my protest sign.
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You can raise your picket fence, but that won't stop me from raising my protest sign.

I don't think you fully understand what your social media feeds are constantly filled with. The protests, the quotes, the "mobs" of women protesting, they aren't doing this because women should no longer be mothers or homemakers.

We are not doing this because we feel self-righteous or that we want the attention. We need the attention because our fight isn't over.

I'm glad that you know so many females with leadership roles and so many girls in a male-dominated field. But does that mean our fight is over?

No, not at all.

Don't get me wrong, we have made strides in the past few years, but we are definitely far from being equal. Just because we have begun to make cracks in that very thick glass ceiling does not mean the fight is over. I am glad that you recognize the struggles that have taken place, but the progress is far from where we'd like it to be. The gender gap still does exist, I promise you.

"Please stop."

Because it is insulting the women out there fighting for equality for not only women, but also, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and all others who are not the predominant majority in the world today.

I know you say that new roles today force you to be shamed for being a homemaker, but that's where I think you aren't seeing the big picture.

I understand the fact that you think not taking some powerful position in an office seems like taking the backseat and being shamed for not helping out the women in today's society; but, women today are still put in the gender-role of child bearers and nurturers.

I have a problem with that. I want a successful career. I have wanted to be a successful woman for as long as I can remember.

Shattering that glass ceiling is something I look forward to, but since entering college I have become stuck between a rock and a hard place.

"Why?"

Because when I think about it, getting married and having children falls in the "backseat" in my mind. People ask "Oh, have you found a boy at college, yet?" Or, "How many kids do you think you'd like to have?"

And I freeze. I can tell them how I'd love to study abroad or get an internship with a professional sports team in their marketing division, but I don't really know how many, let alone if, I want to have kids.

You see, at least right now, being a homemaker or having a family doesn't have a top priority to me. But, that doesn't mean you can't have that as your top priority.

I will have no problem working long hours, researching and battling it out with the "big boys."

Still today that will be a hard-earned place to get to for a woman, I am willing to work for it. This doesn't make me any less feminine, or nurturing, or caring, or kind.

But, when people realize I am not necessarily focused on finding a life partner, or figuring out what the names of my future kids will be, I am stereotyped as being a cold, ruthless woman who doesn't play well with others.

However, I am not. In no way does this define who I am. This also doesn't set in stone that I will never get married and never have kids. And coming from me, if you have the patience and power to raise multiple kids and run your household, all the power to ya girl. I don't think I could do that. I grew up with an amazing stay-at-home mother, but the whole idea just doesn't appeal to me. I totally understand the mindset, because being a homemaker was exactly what my mother wanted to be.

Being a homemaker does not make her weak and frail; she is one of the strongest women I know, and can definitely get shit done. The best part of feminism is that it gives you the power to do both, it is just that being a powerful woman in a workplace carries a lot more stigma than being a homemaker.

So let me look forward to my business blouse, afternoon meetings, and spreadsheets.

I'll support you in your endeavors through supporting the PTA and helping out the local community schools. Just like you said, "It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power."

Cover Image Credit: Nagel Photography

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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9 Goals To Set This Fall That Will Make Your Season Sweeter Than A Pumpkin Spice Latte

Don't "Fall" out of place with your life this season by using these goals to keep you grounded.

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The Fall season is a magical time of the year: the leaves are changing to beautiful colors, comfier sweaters are coming back into style, and it's the perfect time for apple-cider doughnuts and pumpkin picking. However, the changing of seasons also comes with many things that can stress people out, such as going back to school with endless amounts of work, and allergies coming back into play.

If you want to stay on top of things and make this season less stressful, here are a few goals that you can add to your planners or to do lists so Fall won't be as spooky:

Invest in a planner

Fall can be crazy, because it means getting back into the groove of things, whether it's school or a new job. Having a planner will help eliminate stress and will help you stay on top of things this season, as well as allow you to organize your thoughts and see everything you need to accomplish.

Become involved in something new that interests you

Go outside of your comfort zone and join clubs or organizations that speak to you and your passions. Not only is this a perfect opportunity to meet new people, but it helps you become more involved in your community, which is something essential.

Dedicate free time for yourself

Don't forget that we all need a break at some point, especially if we're working so hard now that summer vacation is over. Focusing on your mental health and treating yourself every once in awhile is imperative, because going on overdrive with a ton of things to do 24/7 will eventually break you down, which isn't healthy or something that you need.

Start a new show to binge-watch

Fall is the perfect time to cozy up into your bed and start a new show to binge-watch. All of the recurring shows on TV are back for a new season, so you can sit back and catch up on your own favorite, or you can select from the thousands available on Netflix or Hulu.

Turn over a new leaf with anything negative in your life

Pun intended. Entering into a new season means leaving a bunch of things from last season behind, including negativity. Plus, Fall means beginning a new school year, so it's always good to start on a fresh page with a positive attitude. Eliminate or forget about anything or anyone negative in your life that was constantly bringing you down. Having this mindset will make you enter the Fall season on a happier note, and will make your life a lot less stressful.

Buy scented candles as a way to de-stress

If you're feeling stressed with everything going on in your life, you can still get into the seasonal spirit by investing in scented candles that are perfect for this time of the year. Go for something classic like apple spice, or something funky like vanilla pumpkin marshmallow scented.

Try different recipes

There is nothing better than a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread. Get creative and explore your tastebuds by trying recipes that are perfect for this colder season. Plus, this is such a perfect season for baking different delicious fall-staples, such as pumpkin or apple pie, apple cider doughnuts, apple crisp, monkey bread, and the list goes on.

Participate in a bunch of Fall-related activities

This is the only time of the year where you can go apple or pumpkin picking, walk through corn mazes, go on hayrides, or even have a Halloween movie marathon, so take advantage of it. Plus, these are perfect activities for the weekends in the Fall where you need to take a break and destress.

Take it easy, and have fun

Don't push yourself too hard, take everything one day at a time, and enjoy yourself and the beautiful season of Fall.

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