FV@W Mother’s Day Discussion Touches on All Things #MomLife
On May 3, the Family Values @ Work Network hosted a Livestream on #MomLife in the 21st century. Erica Clemmons Dean of FV@W, Sharmili Majmudar of Women Employed (Illinois), and Shanda Neal-Dean of 9to5 Georgia held a lively and informative discussion in honor of Mother’s Day and motherhood in general. The conversation was especially important given the recent leak of a document that indicates the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade, news that was on everyone’s mind — and made the Livestream even more important.
The goal of the chat was to discuss things that 21st-century mothers can’t live without, and at the top of that list was affordable quality child care. All three talked about how important their village has been in terms of helping them raise their children, especially given the rising costs of child care and how one of the effects of the pandemic has been that many childcare providers have shuttered their businesses. Although there’s been a shift in when, where, and how people work, Sharmili rightly noted that many childcare services still keep traditional hours, which means that parents must find other care for their children or choose to stay home, a decision that disproportionately impacts women.
Erica also reminded us that, despite the high cost of child care, much of that money isn’t going to childcare workers, which means that they have to work multiple jobs to take care of themselves, duties that often include caring for (their own) children. That reality not only shows the importance of having a village to provide support, but also that state and federal governments need to be pushed to provide the support and resources parents and childcare workers need.
The heart of the conversation was a discussion of what other things 21st-century mothers need to thrive. The ideas ranged from larger, structural support, such as quality healthcare, which includes abortion and other reproductive care, PTO, and sick days. The more personal suggestions were equally compelling. Shanda’s self-care recommendations included reminding mothers that a good planning system, whether kept on paper, digitally or some other way, can work wonders. Other awesome self-care ideas included:
- A good cry
- Saying no
- A good, affirming friend
- Getting outside
- Spacing out meetings
- Keeping a self-care journal
- Giving yourself permission to breathe and be joyful
Sharmili, Erica, and Shanda all reiterated that paid leave is essential to motherhood because it allows women to take care of their family — and themselves. As Erica put it, “It takes a village to support the mom.”