Guest column: wish list for Mother’s Day

Every year Mother’s Day is a reminder of who we are and where we are in our lives, thanks in large part to the phenomenal women who raised us and who inspire us to be better people. It makes sense to dedicate a day to them as individuals who wiped your nose when you were little, packed you lunch when you were in school, and cared for you when you graduated. As a mother, everything I do for my children, I do with pleasure, because my children are my greatest joy and pride.

However, I would have lied if I had not said that motherhood can be difficult; from physical work during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery to the challenges of finding affordable childcare to finding the right balance between the presence of my children during a successful career. Motherhood is impossible without proper support. While we may surround ourselves with a village to do parenting work, the public policies we define reflect our values.

On Mother’s Day I cherish the gifts that my children and husband receive from me, I also crave a society that supports motherhood and values ​​the precious contribution of mothers. Here is my list of things I want for Mother’s Day, not only for myself but for all moms.

– Family leave is paid. The increased likelihood that women will take leave compared to their male counterparts contributes to the “punishment for motherhood”. According to the National Women’s Legal Center (NWLC), the average mother is paid only 71 cents for every dollar paid to parents, a loss of $ 16,000 annually. According to a study by the Institute of Women’s Policy, 43% of workers have not been paid for at least one year, which is almost twice as much as men. While moms who take time off work need to be physically cured after giving birth and contacting their new baby, it is equally important that dads can also take leave.

In addition, paid leave also helps adults caring for elderly parents or family members with a serious illness. The Family Service Act has stalled in both the PA and the Senate. If this issue resonates with you, consider taking action in support of the Family Services Act.

– Child care is available. You’ve probably heard the statistics, but the cost of caring for babies can be as high as a year of study at a state college. Caring for children makes it difficult for middle-class families. Combined with high living costs, student loans, mortgages and stagnant wages, it is not surprising that families find it difficult to make progress. The current staffing crisis in childcare has exacerbated an already fragile sector, creating long waiting lists at children’s centers across the Commonwealth. These problems will continue and halt the economic recovery after the pandemic until the childcare crisis is resolved. Add your name to the Start Strong PA petition, which asks the Pennsylvania government to support a pay raise to help keep the childcare workforce.

– A fair maternal health care system. There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act significantly increases access to maternal health care for women, especially for low-income women. However, inequalities in maternal health continue to persist, especially for black women. The CDC reports that black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. These imbalances are caused by a combination of lack of access to high-quality health care, chronic disease, structural racism and implicit bias. If you care about supporting advocacy efforts to improve maternal health, join the advocacy work of the Maternity Care Coalition.

On Mother’s Day, when you take your mom to brunch and give her flowers to show your gratitude, pick up the phone and call your local lawmakers to tell them that the women who raised us deserve better. We deserve a policy that reflects the hard work we do every day to educate the next generation of Americans.

Mai Miksic is a child of Hmong refugees who began their early education at Head Start. She now serves as director of preschool education policy at Children First, a child protection organization that serves Philadelphia and surrounding counties. She lives in Havertown.

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