Elizabeth Warren Just Nailed the Real Problem With Mother's Day in America

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Mother's Day is ostensibly a holiday intended to honor the sacrifices mothers make for their children. Yet during the other 364 days a year, we neglect to honor moms in quite the same way — and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) isn't shy about pointing that out. 

In a Facebook post honoring Mother's Day on Sunday, the senator outlined three major changes the United States could make to better support women with children, including instituting paid work leave for new parents, time off to recuperate from an illness or care for a sick child and the ability to arrange work schedules around child care options, rather than the other way around. 

Such changes, Warren wrote in the post, would prove beneficial not just for women who are moms, but for all parents and families. 

"I love all the Mother's Day traditions — flowers, good-smelling things, a handmade card. We've built a whole national holiday around doing something for Mom," Warren wrote. "But if Mother's Day is about doing something for all moms, then I think it's time to focus on the things that would make a real difference." 

As Warren notes, the United States is one of just a handful of countries that doesn't offer mandatory paid parental leave or scheduling that accommodates parents, even though such policies could dramatically improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of Americans. 

While a few states have started enforcing paid family leavecurrent national policies (or lack thereof) fail to provide the sort of support parents need. They also happen to place a particular burden on women and mothers, who do a disproportionate amount of household and caretaker work despite our ever-evolving gender roles, and whose jobs and careers are likely to be harmed by having kids.

That means the question of whether or not to stay home with a sick child can become a question of making ends meet — the sort of question that doesn't get answered with a Hallmark card and a bouquet of flowers one Sunday in May.

Platitudes and pancakes aren't all bad, but they're not all we should be pushing for on Mother's Day — or any day, according to Warren. Policies that help parents and families might be a better way to show we care the rest of the time, even if they can't be enforced by next Mother's Day.

"We can raise these issues in line at the grocery store and sitting with other parents at the park. We can post about it," Warren wrote. "Every time we force this issue into the open, we honor the women in our lives." 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jenny Kutner

Jenny Kutner is a senior reporter at Mic, covering feminism, reproductive justice and sexual violence. She is a native Texan based in New York. Send tips or friendly messages to jenny@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman was catcalled on stage and it didn't go well

Hall of fame hockey player Marcel Dionne yelled "Look at those legs!" while onstage with Raisman at the 2017 NHL Awards.

How the Senate's draft health care plan could affect reproductive services

It is very close to the House's version of the bill, and would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year.

Jury in Bill Cosby case voted 10-2 in favor of conviction, according to juror report

2 jurors prevented the unanimous vote prosecutors needed to convict Bill Cosby of criminal charges, according to an account given to ABC News.

Florida higher-ed official says "women's genetics" cause the wage gap, apologizes

Ed Morton, a Florida university system board member, suggested women's genetics could be preventing them from negotiating higher pay.

Australian Sen. Larissa Waters gives speech to Parliament while breastfeeding like it's NBD

When you have to address the resurgence of black lung within the coal mining industry, but your daughter is also hungry...

Girl Scouts to offer badges in cybersecurity, hacking

Because girls need cyber skills, too.

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman was catcalled on stage and it didn't go well

Hall of fame hockey player Marcel Dionne yelled "Look at those legs!" while onstage with Raisman at the 2017 NHL Awards.

How the Senate's draft health care plan could affect reproductive services

It is very close to the House's version of the bill, and would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year.

Jury in Bill Cosby case voted 10-2 in favor of conviction, according to juror report

2 jurors prevented the unanimous vote prosecutors needed to convict Bill Cosby of criminal charges, according to an account given to ABC News.

Florida higher-ed official says "women's genetics" cause the wage gap, apologizes

Ed Morton, a Florida university system board member, suggested women's genetics could be preventing them from negotiating higher pay.

Australian Sen. Larissa Waters gives speech to Parliament while breastfeeding like it's NBD

When you have to address the resurgence of black lung within the coal mining industry, but your daughter is also hungry...

Girl Scouts to offer badges in cybersecurity, hacking

Because girls need cyber skills, too.