As the publisher of a respectably large community of mothers I am usually hit this time a year by a barrage of e-mail pitches telling me what I want for Mother’s Day: books, flowers, a trip to the spa, serums and snacks to make me look younger or give me more energy – okay, I’d like some samples of those, thank you – trips to exotic locales, you name it.
It all reminds me of a funny Facebook message I received from a co-worker with a series of photos of what marketers think moms want – like a Lexus with a red ribbon on it– and what moms really want, which is more time to sleep. Or eat dinner without any fights at the table. Yesss!
I’d add some respect, too. And not lip service of family values and how much we love moms in this country, but a country that actually values moms and families.
This week Save the Children released its 13th annual State of the Mothers report, which ranks countries based on maternal health and well-being. The United States, an industrialized nation, ranked an abysmal 25 of 165 countries.
The good news is we were up six slots from last year because we, thankfully, educate our girls. But we were still dinged on the following: our child mortality rates are still too high with 8 deaths per 1,000 children 5 and under. We also lag in paid family leave and support for breastfeeding mothers – we came in dead last of 36 industrialized nations on that front. We have low preschool attendance rates, I am assuming because it is expensive and as a rule we don’t offer any childcare subsidies to families. And women are woefully underrepresented among our elected leaders.
Mothers make 77 cents to the man’s dollar, single mothers 60 cents to a man’s dollar and single mothers of color just over 50 cents. Moms with the exact same experience, working hours and even identical resumes of men – yes, there was an actual study on that! -- are dinged for being…moms. It’s no surprise that we have such few women leaders, as Save the Children noted, with so many underpaid, no-benefits mothers stretched to the max!
I admit, I knew nothing of this until I became a mom 8.5 years ago. I always assumed that my job and position would be waiting for me post-baby, and sadly, that wasn’t true. Since then I’ve been busy at work, first as a blogger and volunteer and now as a paid staff member at a non-profit organization that promotes family-friendly policies in the country.
As a country, we haven’t moved as quickly as I’d like, but we have seen incremental victories along the way in terms of paid leave in certain states, health care reform and keeping childcare subsidies in certain states from being slashed.
So, here is what I want this Mother’s Day: Will you join me? Will you join us, a truly inclusive and progressive family-friendly movement? And we aren’t just fighting for moms, but dads, too, and caregivers and anyone interested in making sure that we all have what we need to live and thrive as a country. Here is a video for you and for your favorite moms to pass along:
Thank you all for what you do here! Happy Mother’s Day!
More about me: I am a campaign specialist at the non-profit organization MomsRising.org and I publish a progressive blog for moms and everyone who has a mom called MotherTalkers.com. Thanks for reading!