Menu

It’s more important for moms to vote than ever this year—here’s why

On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, moms are gearing up to vote in 2020.

19th amendment 100th anniversary

As parents, we're changing the world through our children, but we can also change the world for them by showing up to vote on election day.

It's intense to think that women in the United States have only had the privilege of voting for 100 years. That's how long it's been since the 19th Amendment gave (some of) America's women the right to participate in democracy. There was a time when it was illegal for women to vote in the United States, something President Trump recognized this week when he pardoned Susan B. Anthony on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

FEATURED VIDEO

What is the 19th Amendment?

The 19th is often referred to as the amendment that gave women the right to vote, but that's not actually true.

As Vox reports, the 19th Amendment didn't expressly grant the vote to women. It actually says: "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

The amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920, and in 1920 about 10 million women turned out to vote. However, not all women got the chance to. While the 19th made it unconstitutional to deny voters based on gender, plenty of states were still denying the vote to Black Americans by implementing tolls and tests designed to keep Black voters from exercising their right to vote. Nevertheless, Black women showed up at the polls in 1920 and persisted in the years since.

These days, voter turnout rates are higher for women than men, and women kept coming out. In every presidential election since 1980, more eligible women voters have come to the polls than men. In the last presidential election, 63.3% of women voted compared to 59.3% of men.

It's important to note that history often credits white women as the driving force behind women's participation in voting, erasing the vital role Black and Indigenous women played in advancing women's rights in the United States.

As the New York Times' editorial board recently pointed out, celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the 19th must not erase "African-American women like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Mary Church Terrell, Sojourner Truth and Ida B. Wells—all of whom played heroic roles in the late 19th- and early 20th-century struggles for women's rights and universal human rights."

And as Stephanie Sellers, a Native American Studies scholar and English professor at Gettysburg College, recently explained to Vox, the white suffragettes were fighting for the same kind of respect and inclusion in society they saw in Indigenous nations, where women were leading.

"Americans often think settler women just pulled the concept of 'women's rights' out of the air without any cultural model when, in historic fact, Indigenous women in the East were living the very ideals these would-be suffragettes were philosophically fashioning and eventually legally fighting for," Sellers says.

Why it's so important for women to vote in 2020

Polls suggest women's votes could be crucial in this year's presidential election, and surveys show competency is now more important than political party affiliation to voting moms. In 2020, moms are looking to elect political leaders who are honest and surround themselves with competent advisors.

Women (and mothers in particular) have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout and, as The New York Times reports, many moms are planning to channel their rage at the polls in 2020.

In 2018, women and moms made history in the midterms. Time will tell if we make history again in 2020.

Here's how to check if you are registered to vote (and what to do if you're not)

If you've moved or changed your name recently, it's really important to check if you're registered to vote. And even if you haven't changed anything, you should still check.

The deadlines to register to vote vary by state. In some places, you can register right up until election day, but in many states, the deadlines are much sooner. (If you're in North Dakota, you don't need to register to vote—it's the one state that doesn't require it.)

You can check to see if you're registered using this tool from Vote.org.

If you're not registered, you can register online in most states (and DC) You can even do it right here, right now.

[A version of this post was originally published October 2, 2018. It has been updated.]

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


Keep reading Show less
Shop

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play