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Might as well take the rest of the year off, ladies. You’re working for free anyway.


Women, on average, earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. With 260 working days in a year, that’s the equivalent of women not getting paid for the last 55 days. Which means that, after November 6th, women are, figuratively speaking, off the payroll but definitely not off the clock.

I’m pretty sure that America’s economy would suddenly grind to a halt if women decided that we could put our feet up and take the rest of the year off. In fact, women in Iceland did exactly that in 1975 – over 90% took October 24th off, refused to go to work, cook, clean, and left the childcare to the fathers.

The move was no doubt effective. After a day of businesses shutting their doors, children running amok in the streets with dads who, at that point in time, had relatively little experience trying to control them, Iceland now has one of the most equal economies for men and women.

The gender pay gap not only hurts women, but for working mothers, it hurts entire families. Even though we’re more than 50 years beyond the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women still face an uneven playing field. Yet there are critics who claim the difference in pay is explainable by factors other than discrimination. So first, let’s look at the two main ways people try to defend the wage gap.

The pay gap is due to women’s career choices

This is true. Women and men have traditionally made different choices when it comes to a career path. Women are overrepresented in occupations such education and health care, and it’s more common to see men working in construction or in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

But this doesn’t make a wage gap any more acceptable. We have long undervalued people who do incredibly important work, such as caring for and teaching our children – work that has historically been deemed “women’s work” in our culture. Therefore, we have to ask: Are these careers paid less because they’re less difficult and less important, or because we’re still discriminating against women? Although women might be entering careers that pay less due to their choices (or possibly due to social pressures), this does not excuse the wage gap.

At the same time, much more should be done to increase the number of women in traditionally male-dominated fields. Currently, female employees account for less than a quarter of STEM jobs, due in part to factors such as a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and workplaces geared toward traditional gender roles with less flexibility for family.

Although women still earn less than their male counterparts in these fields, they earn more than women in non-STEM positions. It’s unfair to completely attribute the gap to women’s career choices when women are often discouraged and face greater difficulties than men when trying to break into higher paying fields.

Mothers work less than fathers

Any parent knows that once you have kids, you’re working from sun up to sun down, and throughout the night. But again, yes, it’s true that women work fewer hours in paid employment than men do.

The biggest reason for this disparity is that it’s typically women who spend more time caring for children, and sick or elderly family members. With childcare costing more than college in most states, the lower-earning partner (usually the mother) is often squeezed out of the workforce. This not only hurts families in the short run, but the loss of retirement contributions and decrease in potential wage growth is something women pay for over a lifetime.

Mothers also face a biological hurdle: the need to recover from giving birth and to care for a dependent newborn. Paid maternity leave is not guaranteed in the United States – the only industrialized country that fails to support women workers in this way.

Once stay-at-home moms are ready, or can afford to return to work, they face additional hurdles that men do not have in their way. Mothers are less likely to be hired than men or childless women, and are paid less than other women when they return. But this form of discrimination has no justification – mothers with two children are actually more productive than their childless peers. They just aren’t compensated for it. Fathers, however, do tend to receive a bump up in pay after having children.

So let’s recap: Women are overrepresented in occupations that are traditionally underpaid, yet vitally important. They’re also penalized for taking time off to care for children, even though their childcare options are limited, or simply paid less when they return to the workforce. Can it get worse?

Yes. Much.

These quantifiable factors – occupational choices and parenthood – still don’t account for the entirety of the pay gap between men and women. Good old-fashioned gender bias plays a significant role, too.

A study that compared men and women with the same quality of undergraduate education, academic major, career choice, experience, marital status, etc. found that women were earning 12 percent less than men 10 years after college graduation. This disparity can best be attributed to gender discrimination still rampant in our workplaces.

Think we’ve hit bottom? Nope. There’s still room for things to go downhill from here.

While white women are earning less than four-fifths what their male counterparts earn, women of color fare much worse. African American women are earning less than two-thirds, and Latina women and Native American women are earning just over half. This means women of color have already been working for free for weeks, even months, this late in the calendar year.

What can women do about the gender pay gap?

1 | Ask for annual reviews

If your business or organization does not already conduct annual reviews, ask your employer to periodically meet with you to discuss your performance. A meeting of this sort will give you an opportunity to reassert your strengths and contributions, as well as identify any areas that may be holding you back. There is some evidence to suggest that women are less likely to ask for raises than men, so it’s essential to create the time and space to discuss your compensation periodically.

2 | Discuss salaries with coworkers

It’s considered impolite to discuss money in public, but this social norm also has the unfortunate consequence of leaving women in the dark as to whether or not they’re earning less than their male colleagues. Remember – a salary is not a reflection of your true worth, and money does not need to be the taboo subject it currently is.

While potentially uncomfortable, this move isn’t completely unprecedented – the salaries for government positions are typically public, and even private sector companies like Whole Foods have begun to publish compensation data, as well.

3 | Negotiate better

You might have heard the myth that women are bad at negotiating, preferring to demure rather than assert themselves. But one study showed that while women asked for less money for themselves in a negotiation, they negotiated just as aggressively as the men in the study when negotiating on behalf of someone else.

So if you need a little extra shot of courage before heading into a meeting with your boss to ask for the salary you deserve, remember that you aren’t asking just for yourself (even though you deserve it) – you’re negotiating on behalf of your entire family, including your children.

The gender pay gap hurts women and the families that depend on their salary. When we pay workers less than they deserve, the effects are serious. We have a long way to go to ensure that women are receiving equal pay for equal work, including integrating traditionally male or female dominated fields, strengthening our support of working parents through affordable childcare and paid leave, and addressing the discrimination that still exists in our workforce. In the meantime, women can keep asserting themselves at work knowing the facts are on their side.

Or we could just take the rest of the year off.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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If you use U by Kotex tampons, you should check your box before your next period, mama.

Regular absorbency U by Kotex Sleek Tampons are being recalled throughout the U.S. and Canada. According to the FDA, defective tampons have been coming apart when people tried to remove them, "in some cases causing users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body."

The FDA notes that there have also been a "small number of reports of infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury, and other symptoms."

In a statement on its website, U by Kotex explains that the recall is specific to the U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, Regular Absorbency only. The Super Absorbency or Super Plus Absorbency tampons are not part of the recall.

The recall is for specific lots of the Regular Absorbency tampons manufactured between October 7, 2016 and October 16, 2018.

The lot numbers start with NN (or XM, for small, 3 count packages) and can be found near the barcode on the bottom of the box.

To check if your tampons are part of the recall, type your lot number into this form on the U by Kotex site.


The FDA says if you've used the tampons and are experiencing the following you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • vaginal injury (pain, bleeding, or discomfort)
  • vaginal irritation (itching or swelling)
  • urogenital infections (bladder and/or vaginal bacterial and/or yeast infections)
  • hot flashes
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea or vomiting

If you have a package of the recalled tampons you should not use them and should call Kotex's parent company, Kimberly-Clark at 1-888-255-3499. On its website U by Kotex asks consumers not to return the tampons to stores.

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I grew up watching the Fresh Prince of Bel Air so pretty much anytime Will Smith pops up on my Facebook feed, I click. (Also, I happen to live near West Philadelphia, so you know, there's a lot of theme song singing. My husband finds me hysterical.)

Anyway...

The last time I clicked on a Will Smith video, he was telling a story about when he went skydiving. He had made the decision to go with his friends, and then spent the whole night and morning leading up to it terrified, envisioning all the things that could go wrong.

When he was finally up in the plane, the guide explained that they would jump on the count of three. "One… two…" except they push you out on "two" because everyone throws their arms out and stops themselves at "three." So before he knew it, he was flying.

And he found it to be absolutely amazing.

He said, "The point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear. It's bliss. The lesson for me was, why were you scared in your bed the night before? What do you need that fear for? You're nowhere even near the airplane. Everything up to the stepping out, there's actually no reason to be scared. It only just ruins your day… the best things in life [are] on the other side of [fear]."

Motherhood is skydiving.

If someone came up to you one day and said, "Hey. I have this job for you. You are going to grow a human in your body, kind of like it's an alien. And then that human is going to come out of your body—and that process is really intense. And then the human will be really helpless and you will have to turn it into a fully functioning adult with an important place in this world. Okay… go!"

You'd smile politely and walk run away as fast as you could.

Because if you think about it, the idea of doing all of that—motherhoodis pretty terrifying. The amount of responsibility and work is sort of incomprehensible.

The grand scheme of motherhood is scary.

The thing is, though, that the grand scheme of motherhood is actually made up of millions of tiny moments in which you will be a total boss.

Whether it's a jump-out-of-the-plane moment, or a get-the-toddler-out-of-the-car-seat moment, you will face it with bravery.

Remember, being brave isn't the absence of fear, it's being afraid and doing it anyway.

Being brave is taking a pregnancy test—and seeing that it's positive. Or seeing that it's negative, again.

Being brave is waiting for the adoption agency to call you and tell you that she's here.

Being brave is watching your body change in a hundred ways, and lovingly rubbing your belly as it does.

Being brave is giving your body over to the process of bringing your baby into the world—yes, even if you cry, or complain, or cry and complain. You're still brave. Promise.

Being brave is bringing that baby home for the first time. Oh, so much bravery needed for that one.

Being brave is giving that first bath, going to that first pediatrician visit, spending that first full day at home, alone, with the baby,

Being brave is your first day back at work—or making the phone call to tell them you won't actually be coming back at all.

Being brave is ignoring all the noise around you, and parenting your child the way you know is best for your family.

Being brave is letting go of her hands when she takes her first steps.

Being brave is sitting next to her and smiling when you're in the emergency room for croup—and then sobbing when you get home.

Being brave is bringing her to her first day of school—and going home without her.

Being brave is saying "yes" to her first sleepover and "no" to her first car.

Being brave is hugging her the first time her heart breaks, when your heart might possibly hurt even more than hers does.

Being brave is listening quietly when she tells you she plans to "travel the world."

Being brave is bringing her to her first day of college—and going home without her.

Being brave is watching her commit her life to another person, who is not you.

Being brave is watching her become a mother.

And one day, sweet, brave mama, you'll look back and realize that you just jumped out of an airplane—you raised a child.

All of the things that seemed terrifyingly impossible—you just…do them. One at a time. You will wake up every day a little bit braver than the day before. And before you know it, you can look back on any aspect of motherhood and realize that little by little, you just increased your flying altitude.

Things that was seemed daunting are handled with ease. Ideas that once seemed impossible have become your reality one thousand times over.

So yes, motherhood is incredibly scary. But you are incredibly brave.

One... two... jump!

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There's so much noise.

All. The. Time.

It feels like it's 24 hours, 7 days a week.

There's whining, crying, chatting, banging, tapping, scratching, singing, buzzing, yelling, snoring, crunching, schlopping, chewing, slurping, stomping, clapping, singing, laughing.

There's sound machines with crashing waves coming at me around every corner. There's a baby (doll) crying, and then my real baby crying. There's toys going off even when no one is playing with them.

There's requests, questions, demands, negotiations, plans, adventures, stories, performances—at all times.

There's ringing phones, alarms going off, voicemails, television theme songs (Daniel Tiger, I'm looking at you), Moana and Sing soundtracks playing. There's random loud videos playing when you're scrolling through Facebook and think you have your phone on silent.

I even hear things when there's nothing to be heard. Like the baby crying when I'm in the shower and she's sleeping. Like a bang from someone falling when everyone is fine. Like Imagine Dragon's 'Thunder' when it's not even on but it's stuck in my head because my daughter has requested to play it over and over and over.

At times, it makes me feel like I am going crazy. Like my brain doesn't work because I can't think clearly because the noise is all-encompassing.

This noise, paired with the never-ending, running-forever list of things to do in my head is one of the areas of motherhood that is hard for me. Really, really hard. It triggers my anxiety more than anything else does.

Sometimes, I just want to sit in silence. Alone. Not listening to anything or anyone.

Sometimes, I just want to hear myself think.

Sometimes, I just want the whining to stop.

Sometimes, I just want the brain fog to go away and never come back.

But what I've realized is that this is part of motherhood. Of my journey. Because, I have three children and it's never going to be quiet.

I need to get used to the noise, embrace the noise and know when I need to step back and take a break from the noise.

And I am used to the noise on some level.

I function fairly well on a daily basis getting work done and to-do lists checked off and taking care of my (loud, but wonderful) children. When all of the noise is overwhelming me, I've gotten into the habit of taking deep breaths and focusing on my task at hand.

It's not perfect, but it's something.

And I can definitely embrace the noise—especially the lovely noises of childhood.

Because when I think about it—is there anything better than hearing my 4-year-old belt out 'Thunder'?

Is there anything better than hearing my 2-year-old giggle uncontrollably?

Is there anything better than hearing the coos of my 3-month-old?

Is there anything better than hearing one of my daughters say "I love you, Mama"? Or "See you later, alligator"?

Is there anything better than hearing cheers from my kids to celebrate their siblings' accomplishment? ("Lucy went potty! Yay!")

Is there anything better than hearing your preschooler say "sh-sh-shhhhh" over and over to soothe her newborn sister like she sees her parents doing?

No, nothing is better. Not even silence.

But there will be days when it feels like it's too much. And I just want to say—

It's okay.

It's okay to want to sit in silence.

It's okay to look forward to the quiet that nighttime offers.

It's okay to admit to ourselves that sometimes the noise is too much.

And it's normal.

Our brains can only handle so much at one time. So, be gentle on yourself, mama. I know I'm trying.

I am learning to recognize when I need to step back and take a break from the noise.

I stay up late sometimes to enjoy the quiet—to listen to my thoughts.

I wake up early sometimes—to meditate and look inward.

I plan "me time" outside of the house—to spend time with myself and decide on choosing noise or not.

I hop in the shower when my husband gets home—to hand over the noise for a while and enjoy only the sound of rushing water.

There are moments of motherhood that challenge me—mind, body and soul. The constant noise is one of them. But these challenges will never beat me. I love being my children's mother too much.

So on the days when the noise is taking over, know that you're not alone. And know that peace and quiet is potentially just a shower away.


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This past year, I was diagnosed with depression. I was fighting what I believed to be a stubborn case of PPD. I thought things would get better as my baby grew, when I wasn't postpartum anymore. I was in denial, not receiving any kind of help, and definitely not getting any better.

Finally, I sought out help from a doctor and was diagnosed with clinical depression and am now receiving treatment. Part of this treatment involved visiting with a therapist for the first time in my life in hopes of combating the powerful force of negativity that has insidiously planted itself inside my mind.

I learned something significant in that meeting: that my thoughts were caused by something that was physically going wrong inside of my brain. Deep down, I believed I had been allowing the darkness—that it, too, was my fault. I found hope in that meeting, the hope of rewiring my brain.

I now know there are steps I can take to change how I think, to find the true me again. That is why I am going to take better care of myself this year. In fact, that's the only resolution I care to make.

My therapist advised me to do an exercise that's proven difficult for me. I literally have positive affirmations about myself taped to my bathroom mirror. My sarcastic side really fights this. I envision that I'm wearing a colorful collared shirt or sweater combination (a la Stuart Smalley) as I repeat these mantras to myself. The truth is they're a powerful counterbalance to the way I normally think about who I am.

Most people struggle with this at one time or another. I think we could all benefit from practicing a little self-love.

So for this year, I resolve not to make any resolutions about losing weight. I am at a healthy weight, and although I would love to re-lose the 10 pounds I lost when I began depression medication, I will instead resolve to replace the negative thoughts I have about my body with healthy ones.

My critical observations regarding my body began very early for me, as they do for most women. It may take some time, but I'm going to work on appreciating my body for what it can do, instead of worrying about how it appears to others.

I resolve to be the best mom I can be. And that is only possible when I work on taking better care of myself. For many years, I've devoted myself completely to my children, believing it was best for them. But you can't pull water from an empty well, and this past year my well went dry.

I resolve to take more breaks, indulge in some mental health days, and spend more quality time with my family.

Society is hard on mothers, so I'm going to pull a Taylor Swift, and "shake it off." I will ignore the negative commentators who feel compelled to troll my writings. I will look to the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.

I will support and seek to uplift other mothers. We should be each other's biggest fans, not harshest critics. I will stand up for those who are belittled, judged, or misunderstood.

I resolve to let go of past mistakes and less than perfect parenting moments. I will seek to learn from the past instead of dwelling on it. I will work on treating myself with more kindness, moving forward in hopes that my three boys will learn from my example and speak kindly toward themselves.

I will continue my treatment—even the daily affirmations—and be patient with my progress.

So here's to a new year and a new way of thinking, to not giving up, and to practicing kindness that begins from within.

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