That Time I Met The President Of The United States

There are moments in life that you know you will never forget.

As they are happening, you find yourself really aware that you are living something that will (most likely) never happen again.

The once in a lifetime opportunities.

On Wednesday, April 15th, 2015, I found myself experiencing one of those “please don’t wake up and have this all have been a dream” moments thanks to Blog Her and She Knows Media.

This is the story of that time I met The President of the United States.

The day itself started off like any other, in that I rose before the sun and got ready for work. I will admit to spending a bit more time than usual on my hair, as I hoped that with enough mousse and curling iron action I would be able to distract The President from my multiplying by the second gray roots. There was, however, no hope of hiding my Bert from Sesame Street eyebrows, so I took that as a reminder from the universe that I should stop ignoring eyebrow care from here on out.

After spending the morning at my office, where I took a brief break from working to be interviewed for the news…yep, it was every bit as crazy as you would imagine, I headed off to the Obama Town Hall.

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My ticket

We all gathered in the library where the event was being held for about an hour and a half before President Obama arrived. It was the perfect amount of time to enjoy all of the music playing that instantly took me back to the campaign days of 2008. Think Signed, Sealed, Delivered and City of Blinding Lights, and you get the idea. I visited with other bloggers around me (Hi Jen, Towanda and Nichole!) and tried really hard not to cry.

See, I knew as I sat there in that space that there was no one, NO ONE, who would have loved this experience for me more than my mom. It is because of my mother that I am passionate about politics, as I accompanied her to vote for the first time when I was just 2 months old and never missed an election day with her until I went to college (and even then we would stay up late talking on the phone as we watched the election results come in). My mother absolutely loved political discussions, and she loved Barack Obama. I could pratically hear her as I sat there waiting telling me that when it was all over I better remember every minute because she would want to know every single detail, and she would absolutely mean EVERY.SINGLE.DETAIL.

And then I kind of had a peaceful calm come over me as the straining notes of another round of City of Blinding Lights began where I could almost just feel her there, reminding me that I had this. That imaginary tap on the shoulder to say “enjoy every second and use this opportunity to make your daughters proud of you”.

Soon after, there was an announcement that we needed to silence our cell phones and prepare for the program to begin.

And just like that, The President of the United States walked in, inches away from me.

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 Well, hello, there Mr. President!

The President spoke to all of us, completely candidly, without notes or a teleprompter for a little over an hour. It was quite obvious sitting there listening to him that he, like those of us in the room, feels passionately about women being paid the same as men for equal work. He has a personal stake in this cause, as he himself has daughters. I was extremely impressed both with his knowledge base and his ability to connect with our audience.

And the issues being discussed, especially those related to equal pay for equal work? Those issues aren’t political. They have nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat. They are about being just and being fair.

At the end of the event, there was time for one more question, and y’all, that question went to me.

I got a chance to ask The President of the United States the question I had prepared:

As the mother of two daughters, how do you suggest I best empower them if they will be paid less than a male counterpart with the same skill set and the same background?

This is what The President said to me:

“You’ve got to remind your daughters that things are not perfectly fair, but people who work hard can make it fair…The way things get better is by that next generation taking ownership and being inspired…We want them to feel like the world is wide open to you, you can remake this thing, ultimately at some point you guys are going to be in charge. And so we want to not send a message to them that somehow they’re limited. We want to tell them what I tell Melia and Sasha, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

And with that, the event was over. The President headed over to me first (probably because he had just finished answering my question) and shook my hand. I thanked him for coming and for the honor of getting a chance to speak with him. He told me to keep working hard as a nurse and that The White House loves nurses.

I stayed after it was over for a little while doing a few interviews, chatting with bloggers and thanking Lisa Stone for being an amazing moderator.

My only regret of the day (besides the lack of eyebrow waxing) was not somehow managing to tell The President that for the first 5 years of her life Abby called him “Barack Omama”, as I think he would have enjoyed that little anecdote.

It is honestly hard still as I sit here writing this to put into words what this experience meant to me, as a mom, as a woman and as an American.

I will say simply that I am forever grateful and beyond humbled to have been given this truly once in a lifetime opportunity.

Clt Blogger Ashley Taylor discusses Equal Pay for Women w/ ObamaAshley, you are amazing! What a great story. Proud to be represented by a woman like you!

Posted by Vicki Vogt-Smith on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Dose Girls Interrupt This Broadcast…

DOSE PEEPS!

It is us, for real, on your screens!

Gosh, we miss y’all! Seriously, guys, we really, really do.

It is definitely not you. It is us. Since we last posted to say we weren’t really posting, we have been trying each and every day to get back here to say hi, but stupid life keeps getting in our way!

This week brought that opportunity in a MAJOR way, and we had to share it with our favorite people…we tried our kids, but they were all, blah, blah, blah, dinner, where are my shoes, help me with my homework. We knew that the only people who would really appreciate it would be you guys!

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So, okay, here is the deal. As women and mothers of daughters, we take very seriously the fact that there is pay inequality in this country. Knowing that Ashley recently returned to the health care workforce and quickly found out that even in that female dominated industry, male nurses are still paid more brings the issue extra close to home. Something has to change, right?

Today we have been invited to use our voices to help effect change for working women everywhere. Unfortunately, due to a bum ankle and the lack of availability of a Rascal electric scooter, Lisa has to miss out on the fun (and a total double whammy is that it is also her birthday!!), but Ashley will try her best to bring full Dose Girl enthusiasm!

Thanks to BlogHer, Ashley is attending the Town Hall Meeting with President Barack Obama in Charlotte, NC this afternoon!

It is okay if you need to take a minute to process this.

After all, the closest we have ever gotten to an important person with celebrity status is that time that Arie let us email him some interview questions.

But, here we are.

This is a link that will give you all the scoop on what is happening and also let you watch online if you choose. Ashley promises not to embarrass herself too much, although she does not rule out asking President Obama to lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Lisa in her absence.

http://www.blogher.com/what-question-would-you-ask-president-obama-about-your-paycheck-your-job-andor-your-future

Here is the question we have for President Obama today: As mothers of daughters, how would he suggest we empower them to study and work hard if they know from the outset that they will be earning less than their male counterparts with the same education and skill set?

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3 Unusual Items To Donate To A Food Bank

Today is December 1st and that means that the holiday season is upon us in full swing. Those of you who chose to stay at home in your comfy jammies on Black Friday (like us!) may be busy this morning scouring the interwebs for Cyber Monday deals (like us!). Did you also know that tomorrow is Giving Tuesday? It is a movement designed to encourage people to give back during the holidays.

In honor of Giving Tuesday and in the spirit of wanting to really use the holidays to teach our children about the power of giving, we decided to see if we could find some suggestions of ways to help out that anyone can do.

We have talked about hunger on this blog before, so it is fitting to kick off the month of giving by talking about it again.

We are talking about food banks and pantries and the items they so desperately need, especially during the holiday season. We all instinctively reach for the canned goods at the grocery store when preparing a box to donate, but there are many items that are just as needed but often overlooked.

When we found a post listing the 10 things that food banks need but don’t really ask for, we knew we wanted to share it here. We are highlighting three of them here and will send you over to the post we found to read the full list.

FoodBankItemsPost

1. Spices: Seems so obvious, right? I mean, when we cook at home (yes, it does happen on occasion, we swear!), we would be lost without spices. We aren’t even talking crazy things like marjoram (what even is that?!) or fennel (sounds like the place you take your pet when you go out of town!). We mean basic things like salt and pepper. Or even spices like cinnamon and oregano. So, the next time you are in the grocery store, grab some extra spices to donate to a canned food drive.

2. Toiletries: So, grocery stores will often donate surplus food, but they really have no reason to donate unsold toiletries, which means they are often in limited supply at food banks and food pantries. Items like shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toilet paper can genuinely make a difference in the life of someone who is struggling.

3. Socks: Gut punch moment, right? Hard not to immediately picture yourself when your toes are cold and you slip on a nice pair of cozy socks and instantly feel better. We know. Seems like something so small and insignificant, but yet, it can mean a truly good night’s sleep for the recipient.

We have already decided that we are going to take our kids one day after school to the grocery store with the full list of all 10 things needed and let them fill up the cart. We will then deliver them together to the food bank, so that our kids can be a part of giving back. Go check out this post for all the suggestions and let us know in the comments what items surprised you most!

10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For 

 

 

Operation Christmas Child

As mothers, we feel especially called to teaching our children about philanthropy and giving back. We consider our children very fortunate to have more than they need and certainly plenty of what they want.

When we were presented with the opportunity to participate in a campaign to raise awareness for Operation Christmas Child, there was no question we were saying yes. Since 1993 over 100 million children worldwide have received boxes thanks to this amazing organization. We have actually packed boxes in both of our families for many years, so our kids were ready to dive right in and help to do their part!

OCCBlog2We decided to use shoebox sized plastic bins instead of actual shoeboxes for the gifts, because they last longer. Once we’d found the perfect size, we got to work filling them up. Each of our children painstakingly picked the items for the child in their age group. (Painstaking is the perfect word here. What we thought would be a 30 minute shopping trip because we already had an extensive list of items ready, turned into a 1 ½ hour shopping extravaganza. Never have you seen children debate the merits of different toothpastes or pencils like our crew. They were intense! You could see their pride as they found the perfect toothbrush or the coziest pair of socks.)

Once we finished shopping and felt certain that nothing good had been left out we let the kids pack their own bins. They were so excited and really had fun admiring their choices!

We talked a lot while we were watching them prepare their boxes about what we were doing and why we were doing it. We talked a lot about the children who would be receiving their gifts and how they might feel when they opened them. It seemed important to really point out the appreciation a child might have for owning a flashlight or wearing a shiny new watch. We decided which small toys might be their favorite and the many uses of a brand new tennis ball. All the kids really seemed to “get” the fact that what they were doing was truly going to make a difference in the life of a child. A child who is just like them.

From our youngest to our oldest, we saw the joy that giving can bring. We saw the pride they felt when there bin was full to the brim. We saw that they truly understand the mission of Operation Christmas Child and why they were lucky to be involved. As mothers, we felt grateful to have been able to share this moment with our children.

This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.

This is a sponsored conversation written by The Dose of Reality on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all ours.