The political argument that babysitting moms shouldn’t have to make


Motherhood is broken and Congress can help fix it. With the public on their side, what’s holding lawmakers back?

Mothers across the political aisle agree that the US government has not provided enough support during the pandemic. And now? (Pixabay / Creative Commons)

For American moms, the past 18 months have been a crash course in the five stages of grieving.

Denial and negotiations as schools began to close and offices went virtual. The anger and sadness as the days have stretched into weeks, weeks into months and months into a year and a half without any real support from our government, our workplaces and sometimes even our communities. The reluctant acceptance born of sheer exhaustion.

As a mother of two young children, I have felt these emotions on a loop throughout the pandemic. And yet, I was unprepared for a new sixth stage of mourning that struck me this week, as Congress threatens to give up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help millions of American families.

It’s a heartbreak based on fury: that lawmakers – mostly men – scoff at truly transformative policies that ensure paid family leave, universal pre-K, higher salaries for caregivers, and so much more .

It’s terror-based grief: Without this infrastructure package, women – 1.8 million of whom have not returned to the workforce since the start of the pandemic – might never return, erasing generations progress in the workplace and at home.

And it’s a heartbreak based on utter disbelief: At a time when Democrats and Republicans can’t seem to agree on anything, politicians would miss a chance to pass proposals popular on both sides of the world. gone, bringing our hurt nation together in the deal.

We have the data to prove how unified the Americas are on this front. Recently, the Marshall Plan for moms moms interviewed across the political spectrum to understand how the pandemic has impacted their lives and what lawmakers can do to help.

More than two-thirds of those polled believe the government is not supporting moms in general enough, while a majority of 65% say the government hasn’t done enough to help moms get through the pandemic. Many of these moms, Democrats and Republican alike, have experienced underemployment or reduced income due to COVID-19. Today, they face considerable challenges in trying to re-enter the labor market, mainly the problem of inaccessible and unaffordable childcare services.

But even more striking than the universality of mothers’ experiences is the universality of their preferred solutions. Despite what many politicians would have you believe, more than three-quarters of all female voters, including 83% of mothers, support the policies of a Marshall Plan for mothers. That’s more than four out of five Liberals and almost three-quarters of Conservatives.

And while a lot has been said about the death of bipartisanship, our poll found that 73% of all female voters, including 77% of all mothers, would support a candidate who shares her point of view on fundamental issues related to parenthood, even if that candidate is from another political party.

If our failed system clarifies the moral arguments for funding full child care, this data proves the political case. All that’s missing, it seems, are politicians with the will to do what’s right for American families and their political future.

Enter: fury, terror, disbelief.

Yet, through grief, I refuse to give up hope. Because as moms we can’t afford it.

Instead, we need to do what we’ve been doing for the past 18 months: Fight like hell.

Channel our fury in phone calls, pressuring representatives to adopt bold policies with broad bipartisan support: programs that give millions of children the education, resources and care they need. deserve, and parents, the support and flexibility we need.

Let’s turn our terror into teamwork, bringing together the men in our lives to fight as hard as we do for these policies, because child care is an infrastructure, and it affects all of us.

For too long, Congress has taken the work of mothers for granted. Lawmakers must fund real and meaningful change in child care, or they will be the ones who will suffer.

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