Pay Moms A Living Wage For Building, Feeding And Raising America's Work Force

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I believe moms should get paid *just* to be moms. There are 168 hours in a week and many moms are on the clock for almost all of them. I have calculated that I personally work about 98 hours per week providing mother services. Some moms work more than that.

I didn't realize what an intense ordeal it is to become a mother until I became one myself. I experienced an unplanned c-section, starting motherhood off with a bang for me. Afterwards, I suffered from postpartum depression. In addition to those challenges, I had to choose between working and caring for my child. As a self-employed person, I had no paid leave net or support. (As a self-employed person, I also have to pay a higher tax bracket than a traditionally employed person.) 

Read more about my experience becoming a mother in an essay I wrote for Huffington Post that went viral.

Thankfully, I have been able to rely on my husband to support us, though it hasn't been easy for him. Still, I often care for my child alone, and for months when he was an infant, I struggled emotionally and worked to make sense of my new identity as a mother, on top of trying to figure out how to care for a small baby. It has been beautiful, exciting and wonderful, yet also petrifying, emotional and trying at times.

Many moms come into motherhood under the guise that it's going to be a flowery life change but the truth is, there are many layers to it and though it's a miraculous experience, it's also harrowing and ALL moms, regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, need more support. This is the first generation of mothers who have really been outspoken and through blogs and the internet are able to share information about the changes and hardships involved in becoming a mother. It's not just a big, happy, baby shower or yellow and blue onesies.

If I were a paid employee getting $20 / hour as my sitter does, I’d make $2540/week for the duties of motherhood with overtime, or $10,160/month. That’s $121,920/year I’d make, annually. But I've had to choose between working at a job and being a mom, because otherwise, almost all of my income would go to paying a sitter and I would rather spend the time with my baby than work full-time outside of the home to make money to pay someone else to care for my baby. Many other mothers are faced with the same dilemma.

Click here to see a recent photo documentary on Slate.com by my husband, Alex M. Smith, about the invisible and unpaid care that mothers provide for their children, and that I provide for my son.

Sure, I chose to have a baby, no one asked me to have one. And I'm truly honored to be his mother and provide care for him. I feel extremely thankful for the responsibility. However, a baby is more than just a bundle of joy. Each baby grows up to provide labor for the American work force. Babies grow up to become the teachers, soldiers, musicians, inventors, artists, engineers, doctors, lawyers and other members of society that keep our country operating. And whatever my child chooses to do with his life, he will get paid to do it. Yet, the mothers do not get paid to help the babies get there, which, considering the huge amount of time, work and effort it takes to raise a workforce one person at a time, seems like a major misstep.

To pay mothers even a portion of the amout of money they would make if motherhood were a paid position would do huge things for the economy, the country and every community and family. It’d put millions of dollars directly back into the economy. It would mean that moms wouldn’t have to choose between working and caring for their children. It would improve the world's quality of living and decrease crime. It would mean that moms would get to maintain and even build morale while mothering. It would help decrease the struggling of families and relieve suffering. It would be humanizing to a huge population of women in our country.

Payment could come in the form of instant insurance, free medical care, therapy, food, resources, education, tax credits, diapers (the way free maxi pads and tampons are distributed in many work place bathrooms) and more and made available for all mothers and their children, regardless of income or background. If a mother doesn't want to receive help, she can have the option to waive it.

This is not welfare or charity--this is an earned salary for a hard, important and necessary job. 

All mothers need and deserve support, and this support would change the world in profound ways.

Think about it, and if you agree , sign and share my petition and let’s get the ball rolling. Each signature on the petition will help bring this idea to light, help families thrive and truly make the world a better place.

Read the full essay and break down of my motherly tasks and hours at my popular parenting blog, Medium.com/@OneAndDoneMom.



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