Writing comes naturally to me, but every time I’m published is still nerve-wracking. Did I get the facts right? Did I represent the situation accurately? Even after I publish on this personal blog, there are a lot of entries for which I’ll tweak the wording after a post initially goes live.
I’ve been wanting to write an op-ed ever since Lynn Hicks spoke at the YNPN Non-Con in January, with tips for crafting an opinion piece. The whole idea felt a little bit intimidating, though. I’ve felt passionately enough about bike safety legislation and funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust to write to my legislators, but they weren’t the right topic for me to tackle (yet) for the paper.
When I got an e-mail alert from Save the Children Action Network about The Working Families Relief Act, I felt like my story would resonate with a lot of people. I’ve been talking about childcare as a YP retention issue for awhile, and this felt timely and personal. Actually writing this piece took about an hour and a half on Wednesday night. I was feeling pretty confident about it, and then Lynn told me it was going to run in this Sunday’s paper and I kind of wanted to hide under a rock. Turns out writing an op-ed is one thing, but having it published is terrifying.
I haven’t read the online comments – and I don’t think I will – but thankfully there have been some really positive tweets and facebook posts about it. And, it prompted Joe to take a decent photo of me and the kiddos, which only took about 27 tries as we were leaving.
I hope nobody thinks that my writing this means I don’t highly value the work that caregivers provide. We have lucked out majorly, but I’m constantly surprised that a family-centric metro like Des Moines has such a shortage of options, and I really do see it leave my friends scrambling. So many YPs move back to their hometowns as they start growing a family, and as an Iowa transplant, I’d really hate to see the young professionals leave at such a critical point.