Category Archives: Administrative

Not retreating, just…regrouping

I’m acutely aware of the juxtaposition of writing this post immediately following my post about not retreating into the private sphere.

Maybe it’s just denial, but I really don’t think that’s what I’m doing.

I know that I’ll never turn totally inward.

But neither will I be embracing this particular public role.

Maybe it’s a cliche, but I have been mentally writing, and unwriting, this post in my mind for a long time.

I didn’t finally draft it in earnest until, honestly, there was no way I could not.

I have to take a break from blogging.

It’s not burnout or lack of inspiration or feeling that I don’t have anything to say.

I’m assuming those would be the reasons that some people might step away from public presences like this that they’ve built, but that’s just not where I am.

No, for me, it’s just math.

There are not enough hours in the day.

With my new full-time position at the university and my ongoing commitment to stay at least somewhat engaged in supporting nonprofit organizations through their advocacy integration efforts, I’m overly extended, to say the least, professionally.

That means that whatever time I spend here is time that is taken away from my Mommy responsibilities.

I am staying up way too late at night–far into the next morning, really–and that makes me too tired to even have a shot at being a great parent.

I’m spending too much time with my eyes on a screen instead of my kids on the swing.

It’s just a price I’m not willing to pay right now.

So, until I find a professional role that allows me the time to blog as part of my ‘work life’ instead of my ‘home life’, I just can’t. Or won’t, I guess.

As with any transition, there’s a lot that I’ll miss about this regular venue, especially the interaction with so many of you.

But I’m missing other things now, and, if something has to be missed, it’s not going to be these guys.

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I hope you’ll understand.

Anniversary Week: Your favorites!

The top-viewed Classroom to Capitol posts of the past five years (in order):

Lessons here?

You care about ethics. You are committed to social change. You are questioning the commonly-accepted truisms of our profession and our society, and you’re not afraid to challenge orthodoxy.

You want to make a respectable living while improving the world.

No wonder I like you so much.

Happy July!

Photo credit, Matteo Angelino, Flickr Creative Commons license

Photo credit, Matteo Angelino, Flickr Creative Commons license

It’s summer.

I’m an academic with four kids.

See you next month.

Blogging, then and now

This is going to be short, because it’s really at least as much for me as for you, and, so, brevity is only fair.

I started this blog four years ago, and I reflected this week on how much my life has changed in the interim and, therefore, how the role that this blog plays in my life has changed, too.

Then, blogging was about the discipline of reading and sort of reengaging with the academic world, especially since my days were so occupied with childcare. Now, blogging is about the space to step back from my advocacy practice (and, still, childcare) to think about connections.

Then, I blogged mostly for my current and former students, as an extension of my teaching. Now, my audience is fairly national, which gives me a chance to interact with social work students and faculty from other schools, and other political contexts.

Then, my blog posts were really long, both because I was still learning the medium, and because there was a lot bottled up that had to come out. Now, while I still write more than a lot of bloggers, I think I write more like I speak. Which is still, of course, a lot, but less pedantic. I hope.

Then, I blogged in spurts, but much more regularly, because I had quite a bit more time to focus on it. I really had no idea, four years ago, how much time it takes to consume and process and then produce content. Now, I need to plan out my posts, preparing ahead for times when I know I’ll be too busy to write, and then sometimes filling back in when something urgent happens that I want to write about.

Then, I wasn’t at all sure that there would be anyone to read this. Now, I worry that I won’t be able to keep it up for long. As the kids get older and bedtime is pushed later and my client list continues to grow, I am torn between the ‘get-out-and-advocate’ role and the ‘think-about-what-it-all-means’ role, here. There are only so many hours in the day.

This site also serves as a sort of repository, for me, of what I’ve thought about and how I’ve thought about it.

Thank you for sort of growing up alongside me, and for the journey, to this point in time.

Four Years in Retrospect

Today is the actual date when I started the blog, four years ago. As has become my sort-of custom, here are the most popular posts, based on page views, comment traffic, social media sharing, and your direct feedback to me.

Please, if I missed one that you particularly liked, let me know. There would be no blog without you (or, at least, I could never justify the time that I spend on it, without someone reading), and so you deserve to celebrate this four years milestone in the way you see fit.

Happy anniversary, to us!

Until August…

I’m not having another baby this summer, but I’m still taking a break from blogging. I’ll be back, at least for awhile (I’ve been reevaluating whether I can really keep this up, for months, but I keep deciding that I’ll keep writing, for at least a little longer), the first full week in August. Between now and then, we have a first birthday to celebrate, a family trip (and a work one) to Washington, DC (Sam has the National Park System map firmly in hand, to make sure we don’t miss any sites this time!), a family vacation to Lake Superior (complete with cabin on said lake), several exciting opportunities to engage social service agency clients in shaping their organizations’ advocacy agendas, some staff retreats to institute processes that integrate advocacy fully into organizations, a whole lot of door-knocking for progressive candidates (including some travel to other parts of the state, kids in tow), and, I hope, maybe some sleep.

I can’t wait to hear what your summer looks like. Please leave comments about what is restoring your soul, or feeding your passions, or just keeping you up at night (with anticipation or dread) during these hot days. You can still find me on email, Facebook, or Twitter, and I’ll see you when we’re all looking school-year-bound again!

Happy Week! Three years in retrospect

It’s really hard for me to believe that I started this blog three years ago. My life, in some ways, was quite different then–3 kids instead of 4, to start, not nearly as much consulting work–they were mostly the long days of a mom with very young children (longing for outside communication), not the very full days of a mom with 3 almost-school-aged kids (and, still, one baby).

In other ways, things have changed very little: I still am a full-time mom most days and a social worker, policy advocate, teacher, and thinker every evening. We have more regular childcare now, so I see sunshine in my work clothes every now and then, but I’m still engaged in many of the same ways, and, unfortunately, on many of the same fronts.

As I’ve alluded to a few times, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep blogging here. I absolutely cherish the conversations I have with fellow social workers, with advocates, and with students. I also cherish sleep and not having to multitask quite so ridiculously in order to have my children fed and clothed. So we’ll see. So far, every time I think of stopping, I read something on another blog that prompts my thinking, or I experience something in class or in my consulting that I long to process here.

In looking back, though, here are the 5 most-viewed and the 5 most-commented posts of the past three years, respectively. As you’ll see, there’s relatively overlap, largely because the blog serves different purposes for different people; some of you relish the dialogue, and others come in search of specific information. For all of you, and for us together, happy anniversary!

Most Viewed Posts
What Makes a Good Policy Brief?
Social Work Ethics and Social Media
Ethics and Advocacy
But our path can’t be that easy, or why advocates can’t be Amazon
Agency Advocacy

Most Commented Posts
Value differences and international policy analysis
Social workers as policymakers
The dark side of local government (not really)
Someone should sue!
The future of our female-dominated profession

Happy Birthday to Me!

So today’s my birthday.

Sam’s excited, because I’m an even number again.

And how are we celebrating?

Fighting famine.

I’m donating the $150 I get from my parents, in-laws, and grandfather-in-law–we call it “hobby money”, because it’s money that we can spend however we want, since the rest of our financial decisions are made jointly.

And, I guess, trying to keep kids from starving is my hobby.

It’s selfish, partly.

I cannot stand to see pictures of starving kids
. Or to think about mothers who have to listen to their children cry in hunger, without having any food to give them.

I can’t tolerate raising my kids in a world where we let this happen.

Famine is obscene, in a world as rich as ours.

Let’s do something about it.

Can you make saving kids your hobby today, too? Or at least your birthday present to me?

Thank you, for everything.

Two years and…

My sister has a cake business and let me use this picture in exchange for free advertising--email me if you're interested in ordering a cake!

I’m in a sort of reflective mood right now anyway–the end of the semester always prompts that in me, as I look back on what my students and I have accomplished together–and, with the new baby coming, I’m acutely aware of how much my life has changed in the past couple of years, and of how many new changes are coming, too.

So, on this, the second anniversary of when I started this blog at the urging of some of my many fabulous former students, I’m linking to the top 10 posts of the past year, according to comment and view volume (both here and in my Twitter and Facebook feeds). Later this year, I’m going to rerun some of my own, personal favorite posts, during the weeks following the arrivals of the fourth baby Lewis, when I’ll quite honestly be too sleep-deprived to do much else. In some cases, your favorites and mine overlap. But this day is fully yours. Without any further reminiscing on my part, here are your (collective) favorite posts from May 2010-April 2011.

Thank you for reading, which gives me so much: an excuse to read and write and think about all of this, the richness of an online community (and its nexus with my offline ones), challenges to my conclusions which often provoke new lines of inquiry, and the chance to bridge this transition time in my career with the luxury of some contemplation. I appreciate you, even more today than two years ago.

In no particular order, the Top 10 of the past year:

  • Kiss Me, I’m Mexican
  • Starting where people are: When Life Interrupts Activism
  • Going Public, and Being a Whole Mom
  • In Search of the Tipping Point: Why Groups Matter
  • Social Justice and the School Finance Formula
  • Resetting our Default: Making Change Reflexive
  • Dear Santa, Please Bring me Immigration Reform
  • The Morning After: what it means for social workers
  • The Future of our Female-Dominated Profession
  • Is a feminist uprising the traditional ninth anniversary gift, or the modern?

    Thank you again, and happy anniversary to us!

  • Happy Anniversary to Us!

    squared circles, Leo Reynolds via Flickr

    No, it’s not my wedding anniversary (that’s August 18th, for anyone so inclined!). It’s OUR anniversary, together–the anniversary of when I launched this blog and some of you began reading and commenting along with me. Yay!

    Apparently, the traditional first anniversary gift is paper, so feel free to print this out. The modern first anniversary gift is a clock. Please see above.

    And, as an extra present, here are the 10 most viewed/commented upon (on the blog and on Facebook) posts of the past year. Thank you, all of you, for making this whole endeavor so very, very much fun.

    10. Social Work Ethics and Social Media
    9. Top 10 Things we should be paying attention to in 2010
    8. I’m a social worker, too! Guest post by Heather Bradley-Geary
    7. How Organizing Made me a Better Parent
    6. Too Vulnerable for Empowerment?
    5. Wither the Nonprofit?
    4. So you want to have a marcha?
    3. Why isn’t popular education more, well, popular with social workers?
    2. I’ve found my people–Building Movement
    1. The Shame of a Nation, and this Mommy