OK

Early on Sunday mornings, my house is quiet. The kids are usually exhausted from their Saturday, having spent it playing, getting dirty, playing and getting dirty some more.  They sleep a little later than normal which gives me a chance to catch a few more winks as well.

But it is in these early hours of Sunday that I also take advantage of the quiet to prepare for the upcoming week.  More often than not, those precious hours on Sunday morning are when I can be found at the local grocery store. Most moms know that leaving the kids at home while going grocery shopping doesn’t only save you money (no extra little sets of hands placing items in the cart to deal with), it saves considerable amounts of time while in the store. So while they continue to check the back of their eyelids, I check boxes.

Before I pull out of the driveway however,  I am sure to have my iPhone, ear buds, a variety of podcasts loaded and ready to go, and of course the reusable grocery bags. While picking out the apples and baby carrots, I listen to the PBS News Hour and ensure that I am staying up to date on national and global affairs, as well as business and the economy. And while making sure I haven’t forgotten Camryn’s favorite yogurt or Donovan’s turkey for his lunch, I switch over to NPR Talk of the Nation podcast.

This is just one of the ways that I have found to make the best use of my time. Each day I learn something new or try a new tactic so I can be sure to as productive as possible with every hour of my day. As a mom, a businesswoman, and a candidate running for Congress, time management isn’t just about finding slots to fill up the calendar. You actually have to get things done and do them well.

I know members of Congress tell us they are busy in Washington, but you have to ask yourselves, what are they accomplishing? In a recent segment of the Cafferty File on CNN, Jack Cafferty was speaking about how this Republican led Congress has been the LEAST efficient Congress in modern history! Twenty percent of their time has been spent naming and renaming post offices. Remember, the salary for a Member of Congress is $174,000 per year and they receive top-notch healthcare and pension plans, all paid from our tax dollars.

It is not only up to us to hold our Representatives accountable; it is up to us to work to make Congress a better, more productive institution that serves us. They are charged with tackling some of the most critical issues facing our nation, yet Congressmen like Joe Pitts are continually proving to the American people that their priorities are misguided and that they are ill-equipped to handle the modern challenges facing the United States.

The approval rating of this Republican Congress hovers at around 17% and 20% of their time is spent on the names of post offices. My kids may sleep-in on Sundays, but Congress is asleep at the wheel.

Aryanna Strader is an Iraq War veteran, small business owner in the high tech industry and the mother of two; running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 16th district. This diary has been cross-posted at The Intersection.

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