Your Mother’s Day Gift – May 10, 2024


Flowers are Nice, but Mothers Need More

Mother’s Day reminds us, in large part, of the dedication and caring of the phenomenal women who wiped our tears, packed our lunches, sent us off to school, cheered our accomplishments and inspired us to be the best of ourselves. 

All of that love while shielding us from the hardships of motherhood: the unnerving experiences tending to a newborn and having to go right back to work; keeping their cool during the terrible twos while work demands also tested their patience; and balancing household expenses as child care costs crowded out nearly everything else.  

Especially lucky young mothers can lean on the “village” to carry some of the parenting load, but most mothers, whether married or single, carry this heavy burden alone.  

Ask any mother and they will probably say that, instead of brunches and bouquets, they wished they could have paid leave to bond with their baby and could rely on great, convenient, and affordable child care for their children. 

Mothers like Caitlyn Householder, a mom from Ellwood City, PA, who learned she was pregnant soon after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s B-Cell Lymphoma. Her husband worked in the oilfields and was let go at the beginning of COVID. “As you can imagine, trying to take care of a wife disabled by cancer in this type of career was pretty hard,” she says. “I believe wholeheartedly that they laid him off because of our situation and it was hard for them to work around when he needed time off.”

Being pregnant with cancer isn’t a typical situation, but the intense financial squeeze from their predicament is all too common in Pennsylvania. Families just don’t have the resources to take care of themselves in times of medical crisis, or even in the joyful times of welcoming a new baby.

At least a quarter of all new mothers return to work within two weeks of giving birth, putting them and their baby at risk. Half of all pregnancy-related deaths happen in the first year after childbirth, and Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. 

Moms need their partners to get paid leave too to co-parent. Paid leave protects our babies because it permits both parents to  concentrate on bonding with their infant and avoid the stress of returning to work without enough support. Absent this support, families are overstressed, and their babies are more likely to fall victim to abuse or neglect.

Then there’s Megan Ross, a college-educated chemist and a Delco mom of two. “I would love to be working full-time but I can’t afford it,” she says. “I can only afford to put one of them, part-time, in child care and it’s frustrating.”

Child care tuition is as high as some college tuitions, which makes sense since child care programs are really building babies brain. Not surprisingly, most young families like Megan and her husband can’t afford a $13,000 bill per child so either one parent leaves the workforce, or families choose to delay motherhood, have fewer children, or have none at all

This Mother’s Day, when you take your mom out to brunch and give her flowers to show your appreciation, support all mothers by emailing your state lawmakers, telling them that the women who raised us deserve better. Because no one can argue that mothers don’t deserve policies that reflect the hard work they do every day to raise America’s future.

Tell your lawmakers to pass THE FAMILY CARE ACT and deliver paid family and medical leave to all PA workers!

Private schools can reject disabled applicants, expel pregnant or queer students, teach “biblical worldview education,” or require church attendance – even though they receive hundreds of millions of public dollars every year through the PA school voucher programs.

Let’s cross the finish line for school funding! 

We’re teaming up with our PA Schools Work coalition to hold virtual phone banks this spring. Sign up for a shift or two and, together, we’ll build a groundswell of support for our children’s education.

“Until our state legislators pass a law that
will add $5.4 billion to the basic education
budget over the next seven years to meet
adequacy…and put that money through a
fair funding formula to assure racial equity,
poor majority Black and brown schools
across the state will continue to
– Beth Logue, POWER Statewide Education
Justice Team