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Nice Girls Don't Watch the Bachelor
Nice Girls Don't Watch the Bachelor

Episode 9 · 1 year ago

Episode 9: interview with Melissa Merrick, CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On Episode 9 of NGDWTB, we talk to Dr. Melissa Merrick, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children. We not only learn how she manages to juggle the huge responsibilities of work and home life, we also go deep into the Covid-19 pandemic and how it's affecting women and children from working class families.

Hey guys, it's Marissa or leadership speaker and author of Lean Out, the truth about women, power and the workplace, and welcome to episode nine of Nice Girls Don't watch the bachelor, where we discuss all things women and all things work. Today we have Dr Melissa Merik on the show, who is the president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation's children. She also just happens to be a very dear friend of mine who I've known since Middle School, and she's a woman I truly admire. I mean she is fiercely smart. She has her bea and psychology and graduated MAGNA CUM lab from University of Pennsylvania and has her master's and doctoral PhD degrees in clinical psychology from San Diego State University University of California. Before taking over as CEO of prevent child abut she spent almost a decade at the CDC where, among many other things, she was a senior, a senior appear epidemiologist. I knew I was going to mess that word up, and lead scientists for the adverse childhood experiences study known as ace she now lives in Chicago with her husband and two adorable children. As a side note, she's just an amazing person, someone who has a rare combination of strength and warmth with both as a leader and a friend and perhaps most importantly, she is always my number one go to dance partner for any old school hiphop or Miami Base Dance Parties. We've been known to pull over on the side of the road a time or two and go full Wayne's world, to ODB, to live crew all that stuff. But we'll save those stories for another day and on this episode we'll talk to Melissa about not only how she manages to juggles to huge responsibilities at work with the craziness at home, but we get into some really deep and interesting points about how the pandemic is affecting women and children from working class families. So with that, let's get right into it. Dr Melissa Merrick, thanks for being on the show today. Very excited for our conversation all. Thanks for having me, Marissa. Yeah, of course. So a recent topic not only on nice girls don't watch the bachelor, but on every news outlet and social media conversation practically everywhere, is the stress of managing it all in the wake of covid nineteen. So today we're first going to talk about you as a person, as a mom, as a CEO and president and and as a friend and all the roles that you play, and then later on we'll move into the incredibly important work that your organization is doing to help children and families. So we'll start with the fact that you have two young kids, a huge job, a husband, then friends. You move to a brand new city not so long ago. At the risk of sounding Cliche, I do have to ask how have you been managing it all and what did that look like pre and post pandemic? Because you weren't. You're now in Chicago, but you weren't. They're very, very long before this whole thing started. So tell us about that home or so big questions managing it all. I don't even know that I can say that I'm doing that right. I'm doing the best that I can and I think that's what we are all doing in this crazy time. You know, I'm really struck by the fact that parenting is hard any day of the week, in any time in our country or in her history, but particularly now, parenting during the global pandemic during the time of acute civil and racial unrest, in this time of physical distancing and you know, it's more important than ever that we stay emotionally and socially connected. These are powerful protective factors for parents and for kids. And recognizing all the extra...

...that you mentioned, you know, having moved to Chicago just about fourteen months ago from Atlanta, so really don't have any, you know, real social support here in Chicago. It the stress is real. So, you know, pats off to every mom and family and dad, everyone trying to do this unprecedented thing and unprecedented times. And you know what I've learned, for just for me and my own mental health, is like even the premise of managing it all or having it all, I kind of think that's a farce. I kind of think it's like doing the very best we can do and it is about you know, someone like me, I tend to be type A. I probably know what they're type a women, maybe on this call to today, like but not like you, molest, but you know that that you're used to being a high achiever, you're used to being able to do everything at like a really exceptional level and in this time I'm just struck by the humility that it really bears right in this time like that. Actually, I don't think any of us can bring our best selves to parenting and to our work and to the endemic and navigating, you know, like is it's safe for me to go to the firstry store? Or you know, oh my gosh, that partitisant of a mask, and you know, it's just it's insane. I remember a story. I don't remember how long ago this was, but maybe it was in Chicago last year. Maybe it wasn't when we were together and Montak a couple summers ago, but you we're talking about the fact that you were like class mom or you were Z yeah, the room mom, and I just looked at you. I'm like why? Because you have such a big job. I mean you're traveling normally, you are managing a million things. And then, Oh, I know it was when I saw you in Atlanta and we are talking about the stress and I was like that's an easy one to cut off from the top, moless, and but there's it's hard. It's hard because of the guilt. I think it seems easy to take those things off of your plate right, especially when your plate is so full. But yes, I've always talked about this as my own kind of working mom guilt, and I think all mom's, all parents, all women, we have our own things that just, you know, build guilt or whatever, and we give other people Greece and we don't always give them our series to ourselves, you know. And so true for me. It was always like the purauing organic baby food and freezing it in between nursing and like, oh, there's a medical benefit up to a year. I have to achieve it for a year and I miss my baby's first steps because it's, you know, so I think that I I was at whole foods is out vegetable story. Yeah, well, my husband doesn't let me forget that one. You know, every time I do sign up to be room mom or do some extra thing that really I do because it brings me, you know, for fulfillment, right, yeah, me, like, you know, it seems like something I can control, so I might as well do it. So I think it fills other buckets for me, but he always reminds ends me, Oh this is why you miss lily's first steps. Were about the organic baby food. That really doesn't matter, you know, we're whatever. So I think it's hard. It's really hard. And I think again, if it's not room mom, it's something else that we're always oh yeah, adding mine was lunch mom. So I volunteer for being lunch mom, which takes up about three hours on the day. You volunteer because you're not only serving lunch to your kids class or serving into the whole school. So I would spend about fifteen minutes seeing my kids while they ate lunch and then two hours and forty five minute and I would be so resentful the entire time. And those are one of the things. Like I...

...just had to force myself to let it go. And but it took a few years and might have might say I just got the you know request, you know, can you be virtual room mom, you know, and wanting people to sign up, and I will say that I had an intervention with myself. I did not it good fun. Good for you. We I wish we had like a snap's like something on the podcast is like a clap. I'm very, very happy to hear that. The other you can always call me, by the way, if you need an intervention. Yeah, but the other story, I remember. This is from Chicago last year, when we were joking about I was like admitting to you one of my sins. It was I spent all this money at the grocery store, CBS, and I don't have like one of those discount cards or points, and and I was saying to you every time they asked me, I feel like I just want to be like, I don't have time to fill out the form and I don't know. And you interjected. You're like, I don't even have time to have this conversation with you at the cash register right now, and we were that was like one little like it was like our confession. Oh my God, you know, we I don't have my CVS card, and I know Eric always gives me a hard time about that. He's like you could have saved a dollar. I'm like you know. Well, I know, Marissa, and that same visit, I think you know, we were talking just about being moms and working and just being so busy and so crazy and being so happy that work kind of you know, it coincided that you were in Chicago and I was in Chapago so we could actually need and, you know, talk and like have a drink and not feel this guilt for one moment. But I remember US talking. You know, I am a child psychologist by dreaming, and you were asking me, I don't know, some kind of tips or something as like I don't have any tips for you. But you gave me such powerful tips in that conversation. You said, Melissa, get a weeded blanket and get and get some noise canceling headphones and you said that those noise canceling headphones, of course you could still hear your kids if they were in like some kind of, you know, real pain or trouble, but it really just helped to take the edge off. Yeah, it really just helped to take the EDJOB. And I have to tell you so. You know my Christmas list last year. I think my my fatherinlaw bought it for me, and I will tell you confessional is that I still have not opened that box. It's been a wholest year of which one the way to blanket, no, the weighted blank and I use every single day any time I have a moment. But the noise canceling headphones I have not even taken with them out of the box yet. The struggle and I know that they're probably going to be so what I need to take a little bit of the edge off. But anyway, we're always learning and growing and trying to do better. So the noise canceling headphones I want to talk about for a second, and that's if you heard wrestling in the background, it was because I was reaching into my drawer because I have them next to me at all times, and showing them to Melissa. This is my biggest parenting tip in the world because, first of all, I am extremely sensitive to noise. It's like painful when they're when I can't control the noise in my environment, which is the definition of what it's like to have three kids at home. It's uncontrollable and there's constant, constant noise and fighting and all this. So I bought and the brand, I think, is very important. So maybe this is a good time for you to check this if you got the right kind, because I did a lot of research in this area, and the VIC firth, the icee firth, their drummer headphones, so they protect your ear, they suction around, they protect it for the sound of loud drums and it is changed my life. It makes me a better mom and a better person because you can still hear your kids, but it just takes the edge off their whining and their voices and ter fighting and all...

...the random noise they make. I mean, especially with Homeschool, I cannot survive without them. So I'm so happy you brought you brought that up so tall. It's all the listeners out there, all seven of you listening to this right now. Vic Firth, noise canceling headphones are life changing and if you do one thing as a mom. They're expensive, but they're worth every penny and they last forever and I think that also, you bringing that up really shows how important I think it is too, and this is pre pandemic again, but do those girls trips, because that is the first thing, I think that goes by the wayside and I think it's so healing. I you know, we reconnect it. So Melissa and I know each other from middle school, but there was about fifteen years will we really didn't see or really catch up much, and then we were originally going to go on a cruise. It was a pit bull crews. Yes, pit pull the are from Miami. We are from it right, three hundred and five, and pit bull has this probably like a power and I need six crews. Yeah, and we were going to do that and then I remember I couldn't do it last minute, but you went with debby. So yeah, and Dj last from power and music was there's so you're right, president, and CEO prevenial of East America getting down and the pit bull cruised Dj Las. It's a great visual. But anyway, we did sort of resume seeing each other by going on these trips and they're so restorative and they I don't know, they heal my soul and it's one of the first things that goes offfull list with all the things we have to do. So a hundred percent it's the it's the connections that that we let slip, but it's also even just the self care for ourselves, which is part of personal of the girl's trips or whatever, whatever brings you peace and joy and whatever. As mom I mean, it's so important that we take time for that. But it's the mommy guilt. It's also figuring like you're so many other things on your plate that you have to do. That's like taking a moment for yourself seems like something that that is not important, but it's so important because we know that our kids. They learn how to cope from US, number one. Number two, it helps with our relationships with with everybody, but even, you know, with our own children. So sometimes, you know, we won't, you know, take those thirty minutes to watch to show or take a deep breath or take a run outside or whatever it is thinking that, oh, why you have such limited time with my kids. But the truth is that will actually help our attachment and our relationship for our kids if we're doing that. It for so I couldn't agree on off with whatever. You know, the girls trips. I missed them so much. But you know, in this virtual space it's like, well, how we need to stay most only and socially connected, whether it is via platforms like this or zoom or phone or whatever, but it's so easy to let that slip, you know. Yeah, and one thing that I try and use. I talk about this in Le Now, but I find it very useful when I'm making decisions about whether I'm going to spend my time on something like a girl's trip. I imagine myself at eighty years old and I think about at eighty and I'm looking back on my life, what's going to be the stuff of my life that I remember and then I'm so happy I did well, a pit bull cruise. I'm sorry, but it's one of those things that you and Wie are now going to be able to talk about forever and you'll never regret, at eighty, doing that stuff. And you know you're the stress of everything right now, from that perspective seems less overwhelming. So, like I was watching a video at the kids last night of them. They were like four and six or whatever, and it started out this cute thing that erupted into an...

...enormous fight with screaming, all on video and the three of us are cracking up watching it and I thought to myself in that moment I was so defeated I wanted to cry and scream. Only a few years later we're watching it and it's funny. So when things like that happened now, when I'm at my wits end, I kind of think, Oh, in a few years, I really put myself there. So I think that helps when I'm debating between spending my time on something that feels urgent but isn't really so. Anyway, I remember, I remember that perspective from Your Book and conversations we've had and I think it's so helpful because it really is like, you know, sometimes you're in the moment and you just can't see past that moment. Ra so much going on, especially now right I mean our country is just heavy every day. Everything you hear on the news or on TV or even in social media, things that used to be your release for like fun and nonsense, even those things are heavy. So it's really hard to like be hopeful and to know that we're going to get past whatever this is right and, yeah, come out better for it, hopefully. But when you really can shift that and think, what would my eating your own self, you know, think about this moment, they would crack up or they would, you know, be like I can't believe you were strussed about that, you know. So right, it's very well that. Yeah, it is one thing that I'm struggling with his virtual school, and very, very much so, because my son, who is twelve, really needs the structure and accountability of in person school and that has fallen to me and I wasn't good about that when I was in school. So it's it's like the blind leading the blind and and I find that stress l how are you managing with virtual are your kids doing virtual for yeah, first of all, they're doing virtual and it is total chaos, just like you're describing. I mean, I wish more than anything that my kids could be in school and that I could feel like my kids were safe from school. Right, and this is the struggle. There's no one hundred percent certainty ever, but certainly now right. So it's kind of like as a mom, and I will just share like for me, you know, our school district was going to return in person and up until it maybe a week before school was going to start, they said, well, parents can choose. Oh my goodness, the excruciating stress of having to choose. Yeah, and I will say like every day I was making a different decision. You know, my son, like your your son, you know, it sounds like you know, would really thrive with structure. Structure I cannot provide at home while I'm working, my husband's working, my daughter's also schooling for from home, but he's also asthmatic. So I feel like this like extrong with Oh my Gosh, how can I take this risk and how do I minimize risk? And the best thing that happened for me and my family, and I know that not everyone feels the same. But the best thing was that they just made the decision. Know, the whole school district is going virtual and it really took I'm so thankful that someone else made the decision. And that's not to say that we shouldn't have our own choices and and everybody's choice. You make the best choice for your family. But for me it was so difficult to feel like I was making the right choice, and I think this is again the pressure that's upon us, like thinking you have to do you have to make the perfect choice, or the truth is we can just do the best that we can do. We can make the best choice for our family, for our circumstance at that moment. Right and my choice may change when given the choice in the future. But yeah, and recognizing that you can't control everything by making a good choice, like if you make a there's no choice that's going to make everything perfect in...

...the end. There's no such thing. So, speaking of choices, you made a big choice about a year and a half ago, I suppose, maybe longer, to leave the CDC and take this huge role as CEO and president of Prevent Child Abuse America. How has that transition been for you? What what has has been the biggest delight, surprise challenge? Just talk to us about that. Well, you know, even that question makes me thinks maybe I have difficulty making choices, because I I was, you know, it was so excruciatingly difficult to make the choice. You know, any time I thought, okay, I had a great job, a great role, I understood my sphere of influence and government and this was a little bit of an unknown. But you know, being that it's nonprofit and national organization such, you know, a presence and ability to do things differently and more comprehensibly, that also came with such great, you know, promise and opportunity, and so I really, on the front end, lost a lot of sleep over it. Really had it like that pit in my stomach that I think I'm having again now when I think about virtual school and that kind of thing. But the truth is, once I made the decision, I have just been so at peace and so thankful for this tremendous opportunity. I feel like I'm right where you need to be. I'm able to do things that, frankly, you just can't really do or call for in government. Right I can call for the kinds of policy solutions like economic supports for families that would help take the Ed job, take a little of the stress off, help families be more present for their kids and really engage in child abuse sent a box for men in a way that, like, I just really couldn't before. So it's been just delightful the people that I've met, the pioneers and this network. You know, we have a nationwide state chapter network. They also have an evidence based home visiting model called Healthy Families America. We help about seventyzero families a year and that kind of direct service, in addition to policy and norms change efforts, it's just all very exciting and I'm just so thankful and and you know, a funny thing, but a true thing that I that I often say, is that it's just not warring, it's just I always have something to do, a new challenge and new opportunity to grow, different kinds of partners, help people be committed to this work like I have spent my entire career committed to this work. So it's just really a really joyful time for me, even especially now, where the work and child abuse in about prevention, is about supporting families before they find themselves in crisis, so that when, Oh, let's say they're in a global pandemic and their parenting, they have more of the skills, more of the resources, more of the supports to really help them do that in a really positive way for the kids. Well, that's a great segue into my questions about the work itself, because with people being home with their kids all day and the threats to employment, and I mean I so much of the public discourse right now when it comes to women is on professional women in the corporate world. One, as an entrepreneur starting my own business, I have a little envy, I have to tell you, because in that world, most people like you know in my sort of network, I suppose, if you have a job like that, you're getting a paycheck every two weeks regardless, but so many aren't, and so many working class or lower working class women I think about, like, how do they go to work if they have little kids...

...and they're already in a position that makes them vulnerable? This just has, I mean the heartbreak I can have. What what is this been like in so far as the ability to intervene, versus, prevent and all that stuff when it comes to child's abuse. I feel like this is not as much in the headlines as it should be, and maybe maybe I'm maybe I'm just not on the new I don't read the news that much, but what are your thoughts on that? Yeah, I know it's really not as public as it should be, because the truth is right now we are seeing an unprecedented number of stressors for families, and you've named some of them. You know, income difficulties and challenges, lost job, housing, instability, no access to childcare, let alone affordable childcare. All of these things, even in a normal time, without a global pandemic and all the you know, stress and fear that that also brings. Even in a normal time, any one of these things can put kids at risk, and it doesn't mean that it's a bad mom or a bad family, it's definite are stressed out. And so sometimes it does. It's difficult in the moment of you know, fighting siblings or virtual school navigation or whatever, you're trying to also work where you're trying to, you know, figure out what's next, to really be level headed and to be calm and, you know, bring your best self to your kids. I mean that's you know, back to the joke of the noise canceling have not no, that's real. It's like it just takes a little bit of the edge off. And this is what our policies can do year round. Because you're right, we have the tremendous fortune of you know, I'm mostly working from home. I come in now to the Office for a mental health day. You know, that used to be when I would stay home. Now I come to my office. So I'm here in my office now because I knew we had to talk. I needed some kind of peace and some kind of quiet, you know, and my kids are off a school today. Oh my gosh, I didn't even know that today was a holliday. You know this kind of thing. But you're right, this is the time that stress is so high. So we we have to also have our protective factors for kids and four families be high. To those are things like emotional and social support. This is about economics supports for families, whether it's like tax credits or childcare subsidies. These things have evidence of helping prevent child to be CINNEGLEC. So what I see in the headlines when I if child abuse is even in the headlines, but I see is, oh my gosh, those kids are home with parents and teachers and school and doctors are not seeing these kids. Oh my gosh, they are being maltreated. And that I just really for the seven or ten listeners today and hopefully many anymore. I think this is where we need a narrative shift. Most families, even when they're stressed out, even when they're overwhelmed, they are not hurting their children. Okay, but we need to be in the business of helping support families before they find themselves in crisis, not the current system that we have that once you know a kid is identified and you know they have risk factors, then you know they get involved in child well there and then we either remove kids or then we provide services, you know, in those families. Why can't we help families before right find themselves in crisis? It's kind of like the pandemic exposed how broken, how broken things are. That's right. Yeah, and a lot of kids go to like we talk about us as parents, finding relief from the county. A lot of kids in this country, I'm sure, go to school every day to get relief from their own parents too. That's their escape. You know, you hear these horrible stories about kids growing up in really toxic, abusive homes and there one...

...respite is the ability to leave and go to school. So I think, you know, that's another perspective shift I rarely, rarely hear about. It's similar. I'm going to go off on a side note here, but it kind of reminds me of how I feel about health care in this country. So people think about healthcare and I as starting my own business right, I now understand the enormous cost of health care for me and my kids and thank God my ex husband had, you know, works for a company where the kids are on his insurance. But I have to pay for my insurance if I had to pay for theirs as well, even just covering mine. While I'm starting my own business. This isn't just this is an economic issue if we want this country to be healthy and have businesses start. Any people, I feel like, are held hostage to their corporation for healthcare and I think that's bad for people, it's bad for the economy, it's bad for new business, it's bad for everybody. In a way, it reminds me of what you're talking about with childcare. Right. Childcare isn't just about some charitable gesture for mom's it's also an economic and mental health issue. And you know, women cannot participate in the economy to the same degree as men when they are constrained by childcare. And again, that's why I take issue when our current public discourse on women just focuses on, you know, upper middle class professional women. Yes, there's issues there, but they're they're more profound ones. Are these underlying systemic childcare issues that affect probably the larger portion of women in society and I and therefore you know, would affect sort of, I would imagine, have a an impact on child abuse as well. Is that kind of parfect or? No? No, no, I'm so thankful that you brought them up, because it is it's these systemic these policy solutions that are the roots to many of the problems that we observe. So I would say from a public health perspective, and really public health is what we as a society do collectivity to assure the conditions in which all people can be healthy. Right. So it's if we could, as kids and families, have healthcare, have affordable childcare, have high quality early education, have economic exploits have all of this strong foundational stuff, they will go on to be healthier. What does that mean? That means we will have less downstream costs. Right, we will have more prosperity, we will have less crime, less crime, we will have I mean this is the premise of a public health approach to a problem. Is, how do you prevent it in the first place? Right, and it's the same policy solutions that, frankly, would have helped people early in this pandemic to shelter in place. Right, if they had economic supports, if they didn't have to worry about, you know, healthcare and housing and all of these, if these were just basic, these people would have been all of us, not these people. All of us would have been able to stay at home, we would have been able to do the true public health work and probably we could have been past this, you know, current crisis. Right. Yeah. Also, when we did that, if we had economic supports with families, we to have kids that don't experience child abuse and neglect and the same proportion. So it's like the same solutions can give us a myriad of positive health and wellbeing outcomes. And I write and I think that one of the challenges with that is that...

...people in that don't face any of the issues that were born into some, you know, a a more a family and an economic status that they have an experienced the kind of things that you know, women and families do in the the lower strata of the economy. I think when you're born with I hate to use the word privilege, it's so loaded today, but what I mean is I think people view these as like, oh, we don't want a welfare state, or like give so much money the government, the government can handle. I understand why that's the perspective, but I I heard the other day of video. It was listening to a youtube video about some philosopher and Gosh, I really wish I remember who it was, but he offered this mental exercises, thought exercise where you imagine that you're just about to be born right and you have absolutely no idea into what circumstance. You have an equal chance of being born into to an unwedded single mother in the projects or into you know, Bill Gates as your Father Right now, and your chances are equal that it could be any of those. So it's like a lottery. Okay, think about that. No, what you would want that right, because you have no control over what circumstances you're born into. So doesn't that mean that some circumstances are inherently better than others? To be born into and of true equitable society where everybody has the same chance? Doesn't mean everyone has the same outcome, but at least they have the starting point right, that it's hard to be against the same for all of us to start out the same starting point right, and in order to start out with the opportunities regardless of where you're born. I mean, that's what we're talking about here. It's giving people the fighting chance to become the person, the bet, you know, the potential that they have to be fulfilled in this world. So I guess I just think about that thought exercise when I hear the opposing viewpoints in my head about the welfare, say of the government. You know, you know, we don't want to pay more taxes, all that stuff. It's it's just more about giving people a fair chance when they start out in life. And putting yourself in a totally different circumstance and from an imagination standpoint, being born into poverty, being you know, you suddenly realize it's not it is not. It's really not fair. And these are children and they depend on us, as this is society, to give them the opportunities in our country is certainly wealthy enough that we should be able to do that. It was a little bit of our side Rant, but actually don't think it's a side notomers. I think it's like so integral into the narrative ship that we need in this country because, yes, it's a mental exercise, but that is what happens, right. It makes me think of this wonderful book. It's also an exhibit. It was a photographer and he wanted to set out to take pictures around the world of children's bedrooms and of course he learned quickly and with a lot of humility, that many kids don't have bedrooms right. I mean it just depends on where they live, where they were born. So the name of the book, and I encourage people to look at I find a very profound and I took my very young kids, probably a little too young, but I took them to an exhibit at the CDC Museum had on this topic, but it was called where children sleep. And...

...what was really incredible was the only payment for, you know, taking these pictures was for so many of the kids, it was what they got was a portrait of themselves, which many of them did not have, you know, the ability to afford. They didn't, you know, know, photographers that could comment take a picture of them and they could put whatever they wanted with them in their photograph. And then they asked every kid, like you know, what they want to be when they grow up in such all I know is that even this is probably five or six years ago now. So my eleven year old currently a nine year old. They still talk about it and they were very young when they saw it. They said, cash remember that kid who he he lived on a mine field but he wanted to be a doctor. And do you remember that kid who you know? And they just remember and we taught we use that and this mental exercise kind of as a frame to really understand that we are no better than anyone else. Right. We are lucky to have been born in the zip code that we were born into, in the family that we were born into. And this is not minimizing parents rules in raising, you know, well adjusted children. This is just about if pretive. Yeah, it's perspective. It's important perspective and that's why I think part of what we need to do to your first point about, you know, where we in a child welfare state or, you know, we don't want to just move the hand outs and this kind of, you know, concern is really for people that don't maybe have the experience that they struggled or that, you know, the odds were stacked against them, to help them understand the science in something that does speak to them, right, like you have on site high quality childcare, you will have moms and dads who returned to work after maternity or parental leaves. I mean, it's just science. Right. If you you will, you know, decrease your attrition by fifty percent. You will make more money if you have families that are better supported. Right. So, yeah, sometimes people ask me like but Alissa, you're so committed to this work, like don't you get mad that you have to like make it about money or are a lie or whatever, because that's how the world were wrapped you and if you appeal to people with what they are interested in. So I think that's how you make yeah, it's how you make win win situations that move like that's what trade is, right. Like when t went trade was the beginning of civilization because you could figure out a way to satisfy two people self interest. So it's very basic economics. A lot of people, I guess you know, see it as some sort of moral issue, but it's really not. I love the story where children sleep. I wrote that down. I'm going to get the book because my kids know I sometimes shove it down their throats too much. Is Turn in terms of perspective. I try, you know, we live in a very rich town, not that I'm rich, but everyone else's, and I always like try and show them things on TV that expose it totally different or in real life too. And my younger son is taken to he's like very into and this is really all on his own. You know, it's just the kind of person he is. This is just kind of a funny anecdote. The other day he took a box and he created aided. He told me it's called a charity box and he wanted to collect money for the homeless. So he looks online. He says, Oh, you know, I want to find a homeless shelter. So he finds friend and he goes. But mom, that one only had three stars. I thought that was like so I writ unintentionally. I at like, Oh, it only had three stars in the Google surgersils over the homeless shelter, like it just shows. So it's like, so he had the the heart to do that, but they're so disconnected from what they're truly even, you know, yeah, colecting money for so it's also it's such a different time than when...

...you and I grew grew up. Right, we didn't have Internet, so that, you know, no, no, Mar things was so public and you know, all of these kinds of additional challenges. But it's this access to information, right, and so he's growing up in a time where everything is reading and we have to read reviews and we have to cover it over that. And you know, it's the same thing about choice, like school choice or whatever. It's like, I know, I grew up, I lived there, so I went to that school. You know, it's not my mom research schools and thought. You know. But there's all this added pressure with more information, and I mean you know this well, given your you know, background and stuff, that it comes with a lot of grade a sandages, but it also has some unintended consequences to you know, about this disconnection or having to maybe not even be able to formula your own opinion because it has to be informed by all of these other, you know things. Well, one thing I see that here is with schools. So Melissa and I went to Public School and day county public schools, which is not known for being the most desirable in the nation. I think at one year recently it was like the lowest, I'm not sure, and so we had a very different I mean to me, the public schools my kids go to our like private, are like academy, Private School, Boarding School level compared to what we had. And I am fascinated by the constant talk in the neighborhoods about the schools and the schools have to be better. And this is and it's like when you go to a school like we did, you realize, you know, we did well in life. There's so many people that we graduated with that went on to be amazing, you know people in the world. But when, like you said, you have the opportunity, it's almost like too much information and too much competition and you start to worry about all these little things about a school that you know, I know doesn't matter because you know our school. I mean I loved, I love an MB and IMB also had metal detectors for this. We had to get randomly searched for weapons. In the middle of class. The police would come in and they'd search your backpack and wand everyone down. You know, there was a daycare at our school for the students who would babies. You know, there was just like you know, I barely even went, but it's aured out. Okay, so you have a so it gives me. It doesn't mean school doesn't matter. I'm obviously I live in a school. I live in a school district that's one of the best in New Jersey beyond, because you know, the schools are important to me. So I'm not down playing it. What I'm saying is the perspective is very helpful and important. So with that we've gone way over, which I'm happy about because it meant we had such a good conversation. Is So appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and you know, really admire and respect all the amazing work you're doing. You're truly one of the women I know who I look up to, admire and love as a person and a friend. So thank you, or as I feel the exact same way about you. I'm just so thankful to have reconnected with you and just all the important work that you're doing for all women and for all people. It's just really it's exciting and it's just a time that we women have to be loud and be together and and have these conversations. Yeah, and have the difficult conversation. So thank you for having me. Thank you, Melissa. A bye. Hi,.

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