Menu
Will paid parental leave get some air time during the third Democratic debate?

If you didn't catch the first couple rounds of Democratic debates it's understandable. The two-night format was a huge barrier for time-poor parents. The campaign coverage can feel both overwhelming and exhausting. There have been a ton of candidates vying for our attention and election day is still a year away. It's a lot, and as parents our time is precious.

But tonight, a whittled-down field of candidates are going to take the debate stage again so Motherly will be watching for you. And we hope that as we inch closer to November 2020 the candidates start talking about a critical issue that seemed to be nearly missing from earlier debates, namely, paid family leave.

FEATURED VIDEO

The lack of paid family leave in America is a huge issue for so many voters, but the phrase was only uttered twice in the first night of the first debate (by John Delany, who didn't make the cut for this debate) and was said once in the second night (by Kristen Gillibrand, who is also out of the race).

We were shocked when no one talked about the issue we know American parents are talking about all the time, and we're not the only ones who noticed this incredibly important issue was missing from these debates.

"It is stunning and disappointing that paid family and medical leave—a policy that would touch and help nearly every working person and their family members who need their care—has come up so infrequently in the Democrats' debates so far," Vicki Shabo , a senior fellow in Paid Leave Policy and Strategy at the think tank New America, said in a statement to Motherly.

Wendy Chun-Hoon,the co-director of Family Values @ Work agrees. She's disappointed that paid parental leave, equal pay and and minimum wage have not been discussed much in the debates.

"This has been a great year of momentum in the movement for paid leave with eight states and the District of Columbia implementing or newly adopting legislation to ensure paid leave for workers in their states. To have a candidate prioritize this progress validates the impact such legislation is having for millions of workers and families, and calls the question of how we make this a reality for everyone. Digging deeper on such issues can tell us a lot about the candidates, their values, their approach to policy change and their capacity to govern," Chun-Hoon shared in a statement to Motherly.

Healthcare was not a topic in earlier debates (but this week online parents swapped hospital birth bill horror stories on Twitter), and it should be because no one should be going into debt for giving birth.

Paid family leave deserves debate attention.

Ahead of tonight's debate the fifth annual American Family Survey (a collaborative effort by the Deseret News, the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University and YouGov) was released. It surveyed 3,000 citizens and found that men are significantly more likely to have access to paid family leave at work, and that men take home a larger percentage of their typical income compared to women while on leave (75% compared to 68%).

There is a gender pay gap even when it comes to parental leave and low-income parents receive the lowest percentage of their pay while on leave (from employers, government and all possible sources), leaving America's most vulnerable working parents with the least support.

The survey also found that "of four family leave proposals currently being considered by Congress, none were favored by a majority of Americans," but that the FAMILY Act was the most popular, winning over 57% of Democratic voters and 35% of Republicans. (The proposals were not labeled as being sponsored by Democrats or Republicans, the survey takers were judging just the plans themselves).

We know that the candidates taking the stage tonight have their own thoughts on paid leave, so it's interesting that they have not been speaking up about these ideas on the debate stage so far.

"It isn't for lack of policy options—most candidates agree and are on the record in support of the FAMILY Act, which would create a national paid leave program that covers all working people in an affordable and sustainable way. And it isn't for lack of the candidates' own personal connections to the issue. I hope tonight's debate will be a turning point, where each candidate articulates their ideas for ensuring no working person is forced to choose between seeing their baby's first smile or hearing their parent's last words and putting food on their family's table," Shabo says.

Candidates, you have our attention tonight. We hope we have yours.

The debate kicks off at 8 ET.

You might also like:

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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.

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less
News