New report sheds light on how a mother’s age affects the gender pay gap

In the United States, the gender pay gap has women earning approximately $0.80 for every dollar their male counterparts are taking home. When people become parents, the gap widens even more with moms earning $0.71 per fathers’ dollars.

Now, a recent report from the United States Census Bureau shines some light on how the pay gap and, particularly, the parental pay gap can be equalized.

“This shows that the birth of a child is really when the gender earnings gap really grows,” Danielle H. Sandler, a senior economist at the Census Bureau and an author of the paper, tells The New York Times.


And while the findings have something to do with the timing of when women have children, the takeaways can help us address the gender pay gap on a larger scale: According to the Census Bureau’s research using the Social Security Administration Detail Earnings Records, women who have their first baby before the age of 25 or after the age of 35 ultimately close the salary gap with fathers.

The theory as to why this is comes back to the disproportionate amount of time that mothers spend on housework and child care. (Even if both partners work full-time.) When it feels like something’s got to give, women’s careers often take the hit. Notably, the gap is widest among women who had higher earnings before becoming mothers, which the researchers suggest is because these women have more income to lose.

“A woman who takes off some time or slows down or shifts into a smaller firm will be losing out on a really high income, which her husband appears to be getting,” Harvard economist Claudia Goldin tells The New York Times, explaining this has been corroborated by her own research.

As for why women who have children before 25 or after 35 don’t feel as much of a hit, the researchers suggest it’s because they are either not yet established or are already established in their careers.

So, what can we do for those millions of women who have babies in their late twenties or early thirties? Provide better support in the form of paid family leave, workplace re-entry assistance and subsidized child care, researchers say.

Pointing to the paradoxical effects of family leave in Scandinavia—where there is still a sizable gender pay gap—Sandler says a moderate-length leave for both mothers and fathers appears to be the answer, based on findings from economists.

“It seems like there could be a middle ground where you’re given enough leave where you don’t have to quit your employment,” Sandler says. “But not so much time that you have the incentive to be out of the labor force for a long time.”

We’re seeing policies move in this direction around the country—from the grassroots efforts of independent business to the new laws that require employers offer paid leave.

Now, with more research from a level as high up as the Census Bureau showing what’s at stake when we don’t create policies that support families, hopefully the momentum will build even more. Because what’s good for moms is good for everyone.

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Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

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If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

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Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

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When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

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Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

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Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

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