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While the world is busily scrutinizing fashion choice and parity in designer ethnicity of the M.Obama brigade, M.Obama herself has made several public statements about what her first lady agenda will be. She has repeatedly disclosed her concerns about the choices, struggles and stressors that working women experience while also acknowledging the care and support she has and does recieve from her family and community. In her initial first lady interview, M.Obama defined the path she plans in her role as the ‘first mother’ in our democracy by taking a lead on issues relating to military families and work-life balance for women. These are no small topics of concern.
Military families are being stretched beyond reasonable limits with the rotations of active military servicepeople. Adding to the financial and emotional drains that are caused by long absences with little renumeration, is that the number of domestic violence cases on and off miliatry bases with active-duty military personell households is ballooning at an alarming rate. The legacy of this war has far reaching and unintended consequenses that have been kept under wraps and ignored by militaray support programs. Military families are often run as single-parent households while the active-duty partner is away from home, serving the needs of our country. Ignoring the trauma of warfare and the financial needs of the military-person’s community has done a grave disservice to morale and our country’s defense. While I am not a big supporter of military might, it is impossible to recognize the needs of our country to enlist an effective program to support the emotional and physical well-being of our soldiers and their families. It is a woefully alarming situation that we currently find the state of our military divisions and for M.Obama to take this cause to task and publicly address the concerns of the very community structures that are most in need, despite the Obama’s lack of support for the war itself is a powerful show of mature and responsible leadership. We shall see how the efforts of M.Obama play out in this regard.
And a seemingly easier issue to tackle with little effort and much return is the plight of the working mother, in general. Working women continue to struggle with the dynamics of the second-shift, the one at home – after the work-outside-of-the-home shift is over. Shedding light on the problems and then developing programs to support working women will provide a tremendous change to working women with small steps that make big differences. Supporting extended hours childcare and healthcare programs, sick child care and developing community efforts to help working moms with the support they need to keep families in-tact (however, whatever the family dynamic is) inorder to, in turn, also support the children that those working moms are raising is paramount to changing the future of families. Most women do not have the priviledge to stay at home and these econimic times make it worse than ever for women who are trying to maintain familial relationships in order to raise healthy and productive children. Effecting change here, as well as employment and pay parities for women will have lasting a positive impacts on the ways in which families operate from here going forward.
To this end, the Obama’s have been advocating volunteerism and community service. Given that the world is a frustrating stressball at the moment, it would seem that a little comunion with others might just be the perfect prescription for M.Obama’s success in her interests and endeavors. I have been a community activist my whole life and feel a great sense of pride and joy in supporting the needs of others… it is a positive step that is so easy to take. I say that we should follow the direction our first mama is giving, rather than the cut of the hem she wears at every turn.