Feature | by on one income. In addition, 75% of household management and child rearing still falls to mothers who also work outside the home.5 Further, families members often no longer live in proximity to one another because of job availability, choices in education, personal, or professional decisions or requirements. This means mothers can’t drop their children off with a relative to run important errands, go to work, go to a doctor’s appointment, or even to get a moment of silence to deal with existing problems or trauma. The FMLA may be in place in the US, but it is for a finite amount of unpaid leave and is reserved only for employees of large companies.
Where does that leave those women who own or work for small businesses? When will there be change in America to support mothers, parents, and all childcare givers? Change usually starts at a grassroots level with the persons who are being adversely affected by the situation. That would mean mothers organizing themselves to become active in policy by: 1. Joining together and supporting one another through communities of support like National Association of Mothers’ Centers, my blog here on, Fit and Fearless Birth, Modern Mom, and others. 2. Entering the political arena to create change. However, this is difficult to do if we cannot garner any support to re-enter (and remain) in the work force. I often say that the best I can do, failing aspiration to a political office where mothers’ rights was high on my agenda, is raise sensitive, intelligent sons who will fight for their mother and the rights of all mothers. (I currently have three sons who are already learning the ropes.) The bottom line is, we must find (and fight for) a way to be agents of change.
3. Getting involved with existing organizations who are already working for mothers’ rights. See the Resource List below for more information on depression, postpartum depression, and the movement to create what could be called a “Mothers’ Bill of Rights.”
What would be included in a “Mothers’ Bill of Rights?” There is not enough space in a blog forum to discuss discrimination against parents (both mothers and fathers) in our workplace and social forums today. However, a mothers’ bill of rights might just as well be named the “Parental Bill of Rights” because it would help eliminate workplace and social discrimination against American families. It would implement a paternal leave policy, breastfeeding rights, inclusion of caregiving (for both the young and elderly) social policies (such as Family Friendly Jury Duty Laws) and include caregiving in the GDP (gross domestic product) as put forth by Ann Crittenden in her book, The Price of Motherhood. It would implement policies suggested in Dr. Riane Eisler’s bestselling book, The Real Wealth of Nations, and in her Caring Economics Campaign. Lastly, it would set up social security credits or related policies to safeguard those who have sacrificed to spend a life in caregiving. As it stands now, women and their children are the poorest segment of society.4 They unfortunately have to depend on the handouts of others (usually their spouse’s retirement). In fact, just being a woman means you are most likely to be poor in your old age, based on the number of “zero income” years that women have on their social security statement compared to men.6
Sources 1. USA Today, July 26, 2005. 2. Regier DA, Narrow WE, Rae DS, et al. The de facto mental and addictive disorders service system. Epidemiologic Catchment Area prospective 1-year prevalence rates of disorders and services. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1993; 50(2): 85-94. 3. Narrow WE. One-year prevalence of mental disorders, excluding substance use disorders, in the U.S.: NIMH ECA prospective data. Population estimates based on U.S. Census estimated residential population age 18 and over on July 1, 1998. Unpublished. 4. Science Daily, 1999. 5. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD, Fifty-second session Geneva, 3-14 October 2005. 6. US Office of Social Security Administration: Office of Policy. 2000
It is time for change. Value must be given to parenting objectively instead of forcing us (parents) to be deafened by the continual din of empty lip service that rises from the streets of our hometowns and inside the political beltway of Washington D.C.
Resources Caring Economics Campaign (www.caringeconomy.org)
The Glass Hammer (www.theglasshammer.com)
National Association of Mothers’ Centers (www.motherscenter.org)
Your (Wo)man in Washington (http://wiw.motherscenter.org)
National Women’s Law Center (www.nwlc.org)
Published by American Mothers, Inc.®
Published on Sep 13, 2013
American Mothers, Inc. is an interfaith, non-political, non-profit organization for women and men who recognize the important role of mother...