Heather Marcoux also contributed to this story.
Another week has come and gone—and while there's still a chill in the air and (quite possibly), January is finally coming to an end. How did your first month of the new decade go, Mama?
It's OK if 2020 hasn't been your year so far, because there are still 11 months left to go to make 2020 the #yearofthemother in your own life. If your New Year's resolution is already old news, set a new goal for yourself
and catch up on some of the new stories taking over the internet.
See all the viral pics of this Starbucks + Target-themed playroom
If you're in the process of decorating or revamping your kids' playroom and need some inspiration, look no further.
Photos of the most amazing, creative playroom are going viral because this setup is just flat-out iconic. And the best part? It pays homage to some of our mama favorites! The playroom boasts mini Starbucks and Target locations (mind blown!) as well as some goal-worthy toy organization. Three-year-old Ariah is the lucky little lady who gets to enjoy this sweet setup, and it's all thanks to her mama, Renee Doby-Becht.
"There were so many comments and likes and all these positive comments," the mama told Good Morning America of reactions to the playroom. "It was mainly moms that were commenting...they were just blown away."
And so are we!
This mom's post about marriage is so raw and relatable
As mothers, we are constantly worrying. Our worrying is viral. Worrying about our children and their safety, their happiness and their health. Worrying about our homes. Worrying about our other family members and friends. And sometimes, we're also worrying about something we're afraid to admit: The way our mental and emotional load affects our partners and how they view us.
One mother put this feeling into perfect words.
"I cried last night as I asked my husband if he was tired of me. Because I'm tired of me some days. Pregnancy and birth are hard. Raising babies is hard. But I think the hardest is losing yourself. After each babe, postpartum has gotten worse," Cheyenne Moore writes in a Facebook post. "I don't know if it's being in the trenches of raising multiple children, taking care of a home, working while trying to juggle all of these, or just the pressures of being a mom in today's world."
This is so real: Being a mother can make you feel like you've lost touch with who you were when your partner fell in love with you.
"Some days you look around and it hits you that you have no clue who you are outside of those things," Cheyenne adds. "That life is flying by, and you feel lost in the middle of it. Some days you get a glimpse of your old carefree self. Other days you're navigating the high emotions, the doubt, and the wondering when you will feel like yourself again."
Mama, if you're dealing with these feelings, know you're not alone. And to Cheyenne Moore: Thank you for putting these feelings into words. We know so many mamas feel seen when they read them. We know you'll also feel seen and validated in our collection of essays, This Is Motherhood.
CEO mama's job listing goes viral, proving how much society undervalues care work
Recently a CEO mama in Menlo Park, California posted a very detailed job ad seeking a "household manager/cook/nanny." She was hoping to find someone who could love and support her 10-year-old twins and herself, but instead, she got a lot of pushback online.
The criticism was instant and intense. The 1,000-word job description was mocked, the woman who wrote it was mom-shamed and many suggested that her requirements (which included "can eat duck eggs" and "likes river swimming") were roasted as unrealistically specific and demanding.
A Guardian columnist concluded their critique of the posting by acknowledging the double standards inherent in the backlash but also suggesting that any nanny working for this woman should be pitied.
"Now, I know what you're all thinking: when a man outsources his childcare, nobody bats an eyelid—and here we are laughing at a single mom who made it and just wants to lean in. That's a fair point—but it shouldn't make us feel any less bad for the nanny," Poppy Noor wrote for The Guardian.
While there is no denying that this CEO's job description is super specific, the person who gets the gig may actually feel lucky. This mom's job post was incredibly detailed but she's also willing to pay incredibly well for a person who fits her household's exact needs, and in a country where most nannies are making less than Amazon delivery drivers, that's a good thing.
In an interview with Slate's Ruth Graham, the anonymous CEO explained she planned to pay $35 to $40 an hour, along with time and a half for overtime. Even without overtime that's a yearly salary of $72,800 to $83,200—with free rent and a car to use.
"And if the person wanted, they could live in our pool cottage, and the rental value for that is about $3,000 a month. They'd get a car that they could use exclusively for themselves; that's valued at about $800 a month. There'd be paid days off, paid holidays, vacation pay, health benefits and the person would get to travel with us. We do some pretty cool vacations. We go to Europe a lot. We always stay in really nice places and have a lot of fun. And we travel to Hawaii, Central America. And when that person would be traveling, that person would only be working eight to nine hours a day," she tells Graham.
The single CEO explained that what she's looking for is a "wife type" nanny, someone who can essentially act as her family's second parent. The ability to eat duck eggs or whatever isn't as important this person's ability to do "to do research, to make good decisions."
She rejects the idea that she's seeking some kind of imaginary unicorn of a nanny and insists the qualities she's describing are common in women in caring roles but undervalued by society.
"It's intelligence, education, analytical skills, thoughtfulness. That's not like a superwoman or super nanny. Most of the moms you know probably have all of that," she tells Graham.
This checks out. Most of the parents at the CEO level are men who have a partner at home, and according to Salary.com, if a stay-at-home mom were paid for all their unpaid labor they would earn upwards of $162,581 per year.
Most households already have what this mama is looking for, but the household manager is not paid.
According to Oxfam, the unpaid care work done by women has an economic value of $10.8 trillion per year, it benefits the global economy drastically and is helping billionaires get richer. "Women are supporting the market economy with cheap and free labor and they are also supporting the state by providing care that should be provided by the public sector," the report notes.
So instead of mom-shaming this woman for looking for help we should be learning from this listing.
According to Jim Moran, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Florida State University, "only about 5% of Standard & Poor's 500 companies have female CEOs." Writing for The Conversation, Moran notes that "there simply are fewer women at these senior levels because of social factors. For example, women perform more family duties than men do. And the need for maternity leave and absences to care for sick children hurts women's careers."
The problem with this viral posting isn't that the female CEO in Menlo Park is too demanding, it's that care work is so undervalued by our society that it's not even seen as work. There's this expectation that mothers can do everything (while still working in paid jobs and contributing to the economy), but we can't. Not without help.
For a CEO, help looks like an $80,000 earning, duck egg-eating, river swimming nanny. For the rest of us, it looks like affordable childcare, paid leave, and addressing the cultural expectations that contribute to mental stress.
This CEO mama in Menlo Park is clearly in the 1% who earns the kind of income that allows someone to travel internationally and employ household staff, but she's making a point that 85% of moms in America agree with: Our society doesn't understand or support mothers and it is time for a change.