By Jueseppi B.
May 19, 2014
11:40 AM EDT
This was originally posted on the Huffington Post, and is part of a series of essays about the issues facing working families, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.
You can learn more about the Summit and how you can get involved at www.workingfamiliessummit.org.
I told a friend recently that I thought that I was failing at everything — my kids weren’t getting enough of me, I wasn’t doing everything that I wanted to at work, and I wasn’t spending enough time with my partner. Her response was to congratulate me for getting my work-life balance just right.
As an economist, I’ve spent my career thinking about trade-offs and how to make good decisions given all of the constraints — like money, time, and opportunities — that we face. And I know it is hard. When kids are young, their demands on parents’ time is enormous, and the same thing is true when partners or parents or children are sick. We all have periods in our life where our home needs are greater than at other times.
Most people I know address these challenges by eliminating everything outside of work and family. Getting together with childless friends becomes a luxury, exercise becomes impossible –unless you count lifting a heavy load of laundry with one arm, while holding an infant with the other, “exercise” — and a good night’s sleep becomes a distant memory. A friend recently complained to me that the grocery store she placed online orders with was no longer taking orders between 2 and 5 a.m. “But that’s my only window for grocery shopping,” she wailed.
And yet, my friends and I are among the lucky ones. I’ve spent most of my career as an academic. I work hard on research, teaching, and writing, but I set my own hours and I control my own pace of work. When I had each of my children, I had months during which I was able to work from home, doing only as much as I could handle. My partner, a fellow academic, had the same luxury.
May 19, 2014
10:27 AM EDT
Next week – on Tuesday, May 27 – the White House is going to be filled with robots, science projects, and more. Students from around the country are headed to the 2014 White House Science Fair hosted by President Obama, and we couldn’t be more excited. With students from a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions, this year’s Fair will include a specific focus on girls and women who are excelling in STEM and inspiring the next generation with their work.
Stay tuned, because this week, we’ll be previewing some of the amazing girls who will be presenting their projects at the White House Science Fair. Since day one, the President has been committed to getting more underrepresented groups, including women and girls, excited to excel at STEM subjects. For example, in the Administration’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition, President Obama granted states competitive preference if they demonstrated efforts to close the STEM gap for girls and other groups that are underrepresented.
The President began the tradition of hosting White House Science Fairs in 2009 when he launched his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire more girls and boys to excel in STEM subjects. As the President has noted, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”
In the run up to the Science Fair, we also want you to share your stories, and we want to highlight YOUR First Science Fair project. So for this Thursday’s Throw Back Thursday, tweet us a photo of your science fair projects and other STEM work from when you were a kid using #TBTsciencefair! Follow us here@WhiteHouse and @whitehouseostp as we plan to join in the fun as well.
To get us in the Science Fair frenzy, we’ve been reviewing the amazing videos, vines, and gifs from past years. You should too.
Raw Video: Marshmallow Launch at the White House Science Fair
The President meets an 8th grader named Joey from Phoenix, AZ at the White House Science Fair and the two launch a marshmallow across the State Dining Room of the White House with Joey’s science project – an air cannon.
GreenGov Workshop on Renewable Energy Purchasing and Deployment
The White House hosts a workshop about the purchase and deployment of renewable energy, May 14, 2014.
‘Bring back our girls’: Dozens rally in downtown Portland for Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram
#BringBackOurGirls: U.S. Vows To Help Nigeria In The Search For Kidnapped Girls. #BringBackOurDaughters.
#BringBackOurGirls – Part 1
#BringBackOurGirls – Part 2
#BringBackOurGirls – Part 3