Mothers don't want to just go back to 'normal'—they want better

85% of mothers do not believe that our society does a good job supporting them—and that statistic is from when we were just living normal life.

Mothers don't want to just go back to 'normal'—they want better

As the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on life as we know it, many are feeling desperate for a return to normalcy—but the problem is that normal is not good enough.

This pandemic has exacerbated everything that is wrong in our society. It has brought to the surface the very real problems that people live with on a daily basis—and now that we have seen them, there is no going back. Mothers, in particular, are finding that many of the struggles they contend with daily are beginning to be recognized by those who previously turned a blind eye, intentionally or otherwise.

So yes, of course, we want this pandemic to end—but we refuse to return to a normal that has never been okay.

We will no longer act like we do not have children when we go to work.

Amy Westervelt said it best: "We still ask women to work like they don't have kids and parent like they don't work." We feel guilty when we have to say no to late meetings in order to pick our kids up from daycare. We feel guilty when we can't make it to every school function because we have to go to work. Our culture has made the blending of career and parenthood incredibly difficult.

But the overnight disappearance of daycares, schools, nannies and family members who can help take care of children has forced us to acknowledge that both aspects of our lives happen simultaneously—and we don't have to feel guilty about it.

While we're on the subject, can we please stop saying that flexible work schedules or working from home aren't options? We've proven that they are options—and good ones. Allowing employees to have all facets of their lives matter should not just be a pandemic thing—it should be a way of life.

We will no longer pretend that caregiving doesn't matter.

Whether it's taking care of children, elderly parents or the sick, we are experiencing first hand how time-consuming and important that act of taking care of people is. We will never again say, "I am just a stay-at-home mom."

Caregiving is an incredibly needed role in our society—we all need to do a better job of recognizing its importance and taking care of the people that take care of people.

We will no longer accept that a person's right to healthcare is dependent on their type of employment.

Facing a pandemic is scary. Facing it without health insurance is a nightmare. There are roughly 27 million people in the United States who do not have health insurance. What happens when they get coronavirus? The economic repercussions of this shortcoming will be felt for generations.

More importantly, people will die because they cannot afford care—in one of the richest countries in the world. It's embarrassing and unacceptable.

We will no longer ignore the plight of suffering women.

In the United States, approximately 24 people per minute are the victims of rape, stalking or physical violence by an intimate partner; four out of five of them are female.

And most of them are trapped at home with the aggressor right now.

We failed to protect them, and now we can't do anything about it.

We will no longer tolerate the assumption that some jobs are more important than others.

We seem to have accepted that some jobs are seen as more valuable than others—we show this by offering people in those jobs things like consistent salaries and access to severance pay, health insurance and paid time off.

But what really makes the people in those jobs more deserving than people in other jobs?

As this pandemic has helped us see, every job out there is essential—especially the ones that are not even recognized as jobs (like caretaking—review the third item on this list again).

And this impacts women more than men. According to António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, "Nearly 60% of women around the world work in the informal economy, earning less, saving less, and at greater risk of falling into poverty. As markets fall and businesses close, millions of women's jobs have disappeared."

How one devotes their occupational energy should not determine how well we take care of them during a crisis.

We will no longer ignore that systemic racism impacts people in every possible corner of existence.

Racial disparities are woven into the fabric of our society—the pandemic is making it so much worse.

Black women, who are already disproportionately impacted by maternal morbidity and mortality, are now facing the possibility that they will have to give birth alone—without an advocate or support person.

People of color need to choose which fear they are most willing to take on: The fear of not wearing a face mask in public and getting COVID-19, or the fear of wearing a face mask in public and being treated as a threat.

Reports are also starting to come in that black people are dying at higher rates from the virus.

Racism in this country has always been deadly. The pandemic means it's happening even faster.

We will no longer dismiss the importance of caring for mothers.

We started this pandemic at a deficit. I'd argue that this is true for most people in the world, but since moms are my specialty, I'll focus there: 85% of mothers do not believe that our society does a good job supporting them—and that statistic is from when we were just living normal life.

Mothers entered this pandemic burnt out, and now we are asking them to give even more. We will see the repercussions of this for years to come. Perhaps moving forward, we can do (a lot) more to support mothers so that they can be healthy enough to do the work we ask of them.

We will no longer take for granted the helpers.

The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of so many people and job roles that are taken for granted regularly. Of course, we are incredibly grateful to the medical and hospital workers right now. And we also realize how many other helpers there are in our day-to-day lives: sanitation workers, retailer and restaurant employees, mail and package deliverers, and so many others.

We owe them our appreciation always, not just during a pandemic.

We will no longer disregard the vulnerable.

When the pandemic started, how many times did we attempt to comfort ourselves by saying, "It's just going to affect the old and immunocompromised—the rest of us will be just fine"?

Well, first of all, that is not the case; young and healthy people are impacted by the virus, too. We see that vulnerability is a commonality we share, not something that separates us into tiers of societal importance. We are all in this together, and that prevailing "us vs. them" mentality is over.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." We did a bad job of this when the pandemic started—and that ends now.

So no, we will not return to normal.

When this ends—and it will—we will move forward, not backward.

We will remember.

We will help.

We will respect.

And we will love.

We are better than this. Let's fix it, before it's too late.

In This Article

    These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

    It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

    When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

    But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

    I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

    So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

    It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

    But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

    Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

    Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

    Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

    Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

    Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

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