Chelsea Clinton on motherhood, public health, and advice for families during coronavirus
Chelsea Clinton, the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, public health and international relations expert, and former first daughter opened up to Liz about her approach to motherhood, what she's learned from her mother, why she was drawn to public health, and how she's talking to her children about coronavirus. She also talked about how her organization, Too Small To Fail, is helping families get through this challenging—and often confusing—time.
You can access Chelsea's family staycation toolkit and print-out, which features dozens of fun educational ideas for families stuck at home during the coronavirus at https://talkingisteaching.org/Staycation.
I'm guessing in the last week your life has been somewhat like mine and all of our lives have become really similar in some ways. My kids are not in school right now. We canceled a family vacation that we've been planning and looking forward to for a really long time. We went and stocked up on groceries and found out that because we had fevers, we really shouldn't go to the store. And then when we tried to buy them online, there was like a four day wait to get groceries delivered. And I know for a lot of people it's really a scary time. We are all in this together and that's what are the really powerful things about the way that we can make a difference here is by kind of coming together as a community locally and globally to do what we can to keep one another safe. Dealing with the coronavirus and seeing it come into our communities. It has been a reminder for me of what really matters. And I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks probably like you at home, not leaving and really focused on getting through the days with our family. It's not going to be easy. It can be scary, and there's some families that it's going to affect in a really dramatic way.
But in reflecting on this moment, I'm just realizing how much I want to focus on what really matters, which is being together, being as safe as we can and not taking anything for granted.
Hey mama, welcome to the motherly podcast. Honest conversations about modern motherhood. This week our episode is a little bit different. We are covering a topic that is straight out of the news headlines and really affecting all of us in our homes, and that is the news about the global pandemic of Coronavirus.
I'm Liz Tenety, co- founder of Motherly, and today we're talking to Chelsea Clinton, author, public health expert, Vice Chair of the Clinton foundation and former first daughter. Today we had the opportunity to talk to Chelsea about her approach to motherhood, what she's learned from her mom and what her organization, too small to fail, is doing to help families during this challenging and often confusing global pandemic.
We've also uploaded Too Small to Fail's at home toolkit for families like mine who are at home the next few weeks and trying to keep our families healthy, happy, and safe. You can find that toolkit at mother.ly/podcast under the Chelsea Clinton episode.
And after Chelsea's interview, someone from the motherly community is going to share a personal story about how the coronavirus is impacting her family.
[00:00:00] Liz Tenety: Chelsea Clinton, welcome to The Motherly Podcast.
Chelsea Clinton: Thank you so much. I'm very happy to be here this morning.
Liz Tenety: So one of the things I always like to ask our guests is, what did you think motherhood was going to be like before you became a mom yourself?
Chelsea Clinton: Oh, wow. Um, well I should say my husband is one of 11.
And so, um, I know, I just saw your eyebrows go up at this.
Liz Tenety: That's a lot of children and you're an only child.
Chelsea Clinton: I'm an only child. Um, I start though with that because thankfully, um, I'm really close to my in-laws and because my husband's 10 of 11. There were already so many children kind of in my life, kind of in our family, kind of at every stage.
Our three kids are now my mother-in-law's kind of youngest grandchildren, but they, um. Kind of moved her into the twenties, in number of grandchildren. Um, so I know… So there's like [00:01:00] a wonderful community. So I saw my kind of sisters-in-law brothers-in-law kind of as, as parents, and really kind of intimate kind of moments are kind of under the hood or whatever the right metaphor is. So I, I don't know if I actually had any really preconceived notions, but I will say one of the things that surprised me the most is, as soon as my daughter was born, like in, in the hospital... I was overwhelmed with love, which is I think what I thought would happen, in this almost like cellular explosion level, but I also was overwhelmed with this feeling of protectiveness and, and she was 10 days late. So my husband, Mark and I had been watching like lots of shows, and we've been watching the Vikings on the history channel, and I just had this memory of being like, if the Vikings, like I'm marauding through this hospital, I'm going to get up and defend my [00:02:00] newborn child.
And granted, like I'd been in labor for a really long time, but Mark was like, what are you talking about? Like we're in Manhattan. So I think it rewired my brain a little bit in some very unsuspecting ways, the fierce instinctive -- like I will protect this person with every fiber and last breath in a way that kind of consumed me that I hadn't quite anticipated and I don't think dissipated and I felt the same way after Aiden and Jasper were born too.
Liz Tenety: Hearing you talk about these like almost irrational fears come in and the idea, even of the Vikings in Manhattan,
Chelsea Clinton: I mean,
Liz Tenety: all things
Chelsea Clinton: of all things.
Liz Tenety: It does make me wonder, did you experience baby blues or, I know I experienced postpartum anxiety. Did you experience any of that yourself?
Chelsea Clinton: I thankfully didn't, but I definitely, um, have really, and I'm still our son, Jasper, [00:03:00] uh, seven and a half months old and I'm still breastfeeding… and I think like, so, so many moms, you know, have really had to navigate any -- thankfully he's sleeping through the night. But I have to get up and pump cause otherwise I don't make enough milk during the day. Um, so the lack of sleep is real. And although I know, thankfully, we make all sorts of wonderful hormones to somewhat counterbalance that, I would say that's what I really had to learn how to navigate.
Like what does it mean for my, um, general like life? And then under that, like, you know, life as a mom, a professional and author, or like a teacher or a wife or friend citizen. Like how do I navigate all of that, um, and not as much sleep, as I think I probably otherwise need… um, and, and would want, um, so I, but I think if I, if I am thoughtful about [00:04:00] that, I hope at least like, I don't make myself, kind of overwhelmed because that's when I get overwhelmed, when I start to feel like, Oh my God, I am overwhelmed. And that becomes like a cycle. I mean as parents.
Liz Tenety: Yeah. I mean the lack of sleep…
Chelsea Clinton: is real.
Liz Tenety: It's real. And it just affects every moment of your being because it's, it's just so exhausting. And the thing that happens is you don't know when it will end. And, and in a way like parenthood is eternally demanding and exhausting. How have you learned how to cope with that?
Chelsea Clinton: Well, I'm really grateful, um, that my partner, my husband, Mark, is super committed to being an involved dad.
I mean, as we were talking about before, we kind of went live today… It's our kids' last day of school for who knows how long. And, um, Mark like, you know, we got them up, we got them ready. Mark took [00:05:00] them to school. Um. So that I could talk to you. And then, um, I kind of breastfeed Jasper – who is a seven and a half month old.
So, I, I think it would be impossible for me to know what my life would look like without full engagement. Like it's not just support and investment. He's fully engaged as a parent. We also are really grateful to have, um, wonderful people in our lives who support us in everything we do kind of outside of our home too.
Like whether it's my sister in law who's now an empty-nester and so she is really happy to be around or our wonderful nanny during the week, or my parents or my mother-in-law. I mean, I know, my mom, kind of did say, "it takes a village" and that is really our experience as parents -- it very much takes a lot of coordination and advanced scheduling and also just a lot of support from our family. And, [00:06:00] and thankfully, from the other people in our lives.
Liz Tenety: So I want to go back to the beginning a little bit. You had a very unique childhood growing up in the spotlight. How do you think your childhood was different than the rest of ours, and how do you think it was the same?
Chelsea Clinton: Well, I'm grateful, especially as I now am a parent for how hard my parents worked to ensure that I was always aware of how both blessed and privileged I was. And I think those, at least in our family, were somewhat distinct. So kind of blessed in a sense that I had all my grandparents in my life as a kid, and that wasn't true for all of my friends, you know, and privileged the sense that like I didn't have to worry about food on the table and I had a great public school to go to in Little Rock and I didn't have to worry about kind of a safe place to play in our backyard.
[00:07:00] Uh, and also then sort of this extra layer of extraordinary privilege of growing up in the governor's mansion in Little Rock, and then later in the White House and yet they also tried really hard to kind of counterbalance that awareness and that sense of, I think, responsibility for the extraordinary privilege, especially with just a sense of normalcy.
So, I always had chores to do and the governor's mansion in the White House, my friends were always really welcome to come over, whether it was to like, think about how we were going to sell our Girl Scout cookies together when I was little. Um, and the governor's mansion or for sleepovers later in the White House.
So, I think my parents were really thoughtful and, and deliberate, um, in ensuring that I was, uh, aware of how blessed I was and privileged I was, felt a responsibility, especially to the extraordinary amounts of [00:08:00] privilege in my life growing up. Um, and yet I also had as normal a childhood as possible kind of against the backdrop of all of that.
Liz Tenety: Yeah. I want, like what were your chores that you brought up, the chores that you did? Like what kind of things, where were they, those everyday activities that you're talking about?
Chelsea Clinton: So like when I was really little, I had to clear the table and help my mother wash the dishes or load the dishwasher. And I had to always make my bed as soon as I was old enough physically to make my bed, you know, tidy my room. Um, and then like, you know, my chores got like more, uh, I guess more just like, as I got older and I could, I could do more. Um, it often involved helping my grandparents do things, especially as they got older and I got and as I got older… I could physically do more to help them.
So, [00:09:00] um, I think that's probably the story of a lot of kids. What I did at 10 was different than what I did at five.
Liz Tenety: yeah. You brought up your, your mother. Um. Hillary Clinton and that she sort of popularized this idea in the U S at least she didn't invent the idea, but she popular the idea that it takes a village. So I'm curious, can you talk a little bit more about what you've learned about motherhood from your mother.
Chelsea Clinton: Oh my goodness. I've learned so much about motherhood from my mother. I mean, I, you know, perhaps most importantly that I always want my children to feel what I always thought growing up that I was a single, most important person to my mom and to my dad.
Um, and I want my kids to know that, that, you know, while their dad, and I.. you'll work hard in areas that feel really kind of important to us or kind of that we feel called to do, or [00:10:00] that we even want to do, um, that our children are the center of our lives. Um, and that they never, ever doubt that. Um, and so, you know, I want, I want my kids to feel and to know, kind of deep in their marrow every day that they are loved. Um, and I also, and I think this is, you know, these are not the words that my mom used when I was growing up, but one of the things that we talk about truly every, every night before it is time to go to bed, you talk about like, what's most important. And we always say what's most important is to be brave and to be kind.
And yes, I hope that they're, you know, hardworking and curious and smart and, you know, ambitious in whatever way they kind of want to be and all of that. But I do fundamentally believe that if they are, um, brave and kind, uh, they will be good people. And especially when they're small. Like those are [00:11:00] the lessons, the values that I want them to internalize and practice, like in preschool.
And then hopefully like through that practice, you know, live. Live for – god willing you -- many decades to come. So, I, you know, those aren't the words that my mom used when I was growing up, but those are certainly like what she modeled for me and kind of what she… what she taught me. And so I'm, I'm kind of in a, in my own way, continuing that with her grandchildren.
Liz Tenety: You talked about how your mom made you feel like you are the most important thing in the world. Um, how did she do that? And how do you think we can all like imbue that feeling of our children just being so precious and loved and you know, just having that, um, what's the word I'm looking for, Unconditional love, like what did she do and how, how can we do that in the small moments of our everyday lives?
Chelsea Clinton: So I, I, I think about this a lot right now as a parent of, [00:12:00] of three. Um, because that is what is so centrally important. To me, I mean, ensuring my children are safe, of course. Um, and hopefully, you know, feel responsibility to the world around them and kind of all the, all the things that I think also really matter and I'll, you know, but with that always is this kind of essential sense of I want them to know, like without a doubt, without a question that they are, that they are loved.
Um, and I think my mom, um, you know, to answer your question really… both, both told me and showed me, I mean, told me, she told me everyday that she loved me. It's like what I remember, you know, every day. Like before I went to school every day, um, like right before I went to bed. I mean, just this, it was a part of my day, this kind of affirmation of love and love, kind of being at the center of our, of our family. Um, and then very much kind of how [00:13:00] she, how she showed me. I mean, my Dad took me to school more in the mornings and my mom did. My mom often had to be at work earlier than my dad did. Um, we had dinner together every night as a family unless she was traveling and she would come home and have dinner, even though, I know she often had to go back to the office and she had to work on Saturdays cause you know, this was before kind of… (which I know is like so impossible for my kids to believe) but before there were computers, even in like the early and mid-eighties, in the kind of pervasive sense. So, I went to the office with her, a lot of Saturdays. I would sit in the corner and read or color build or all of the above. And yet, like, you know, she would look up periodically and just say, you know, like, I love you. Like, what are you doing over there?
And so just like these, these moments of daily [00:14:00] interaction, but also ensuring that like her days reflected as much as possible, that I was the most important person in the world to her.
So it was not only what she said, it was kind of how she said it when she said it and what what she did. And I'm so grateful she set the bar really high because, um, that's what I want my children to know too.
Liz Tenety: You could have gone in so many directions with your career, so I'm curious why you decided to go into public health.
Chelsea Clinton: I have always been interested in public health and I think. Like for a long time I understood what, what public health was, which maybe really can be traced to the early 1990s in my awareness of the HIV AIDS crisis in our country. Um, and I mean, I remember where I was when I watched magic Johnson's incredibly courageous speech.
Um, you know, [00:15:00] all close to 30 years ago, um, about being HIV positive and, uh, just understanding kind of… that this was so courageous and kind of against this almost kind of miasma of -- of stigma and shame that was so kind of painfully preventing people from kind of getting the post preventative, uh, and care and kind of healthcare that they needed.
And then also that kind of, even if people were living in a place absent of shame and stigma, they couldn't often get the sense of public health and sexual health, reproductive health information they needed or the healthcare that they needed. And so, you know, I think I felt this, um, kind of moral and, uh, kind of intellectual interest in public health before I even could have called it public health and then it kind of grew our of high school, [00:16:00]. I was kind of, you know, most drawn to kind of my science classes, my history classes, and also our like service club at school because I was just so kind of interested in understanding and in trying to be part of helping solve these challenges again in this kind of world of public health. The same kind of interest followed me at Stanford -- interests in like science, history, service. Um, and, and so kind of, I think it's hard for me to answer your question because I didn't have like one aha moment. Um, in a, in a classroom or like on a service trip or like reading a book. It was just this kind of recognition of, of my interests melding, um, over time and kind of having this connective tissue.
And then, you know, kind of still today [00:17:00] is where I am most passionate in trying to kind of understand inequities and also try to understand what the real solutions are to that and recognizing that we need ideally, especially in public health, arguably most of all… are real kind of coalescing of, um, different parts of society to be able to try to help protect and advance public health.
I think we are living in a moment where we see kind of the consequences of when… when that doesn't happen.
Liz Tenety: Absolutely. Yeah. So I want to talk about one of the solutions that you have developed, through too small to fail, which is this talk talking is teaching campaign. I know you've got amazing things in public spaces like pediatrician's offices, the playground, the laundry mat. Can you talk about the basic insight that has led to the talking is teaching campaign and the [00:18:00] work that you're doing there?
Chelsea Clinton: Absolutely. So, I guess if we've had an insight, it really is, um, kind of meeting parents and caregivers where they are. Um, and that, um. We all want to be, are our child or the children in our lives, the best and most effective, um, teacher.
And especially with our youngest kind of first teachers, and we know that we're, then 80% of our brains are built by the time we're three. Um, and yet I think a lot of parents or caregivers like don't, don't know that and don't know how profoundly important, even 15 minutes of reading, singing and talking to, um, kids… even babies from their kind of first moments of life… can be in helping to build their brains. In school [00:19:00] and as people, it's, it's a both about their kind of intellectual development and academic success as well as about their social emotional development and being able to kind of develop kind of a good and strong, healthy sense of self and good and strong kind of healthy relationships.
So, it, you know, those first few years or so… so crucial. And so if, if we've had an insight, it is, you know, that, we all want what's best for our kids and the kids in our lives. And, um, if we can help parents be, um, kind of be those first teachers and other caregivers, be this for teachers, they will be. So, you know, yes, we are in pediatrician's offices with prompts to like, read, sing and talk to your kids. And we're also in pediatrician's offices with books thanks to Scholastic and other partners. So that in, in those waiting rooms, that can be really brain productive time for kids. We are in supermarkets with prompts around like talking to your kids about the different [00:20:00] colors you're seeing or the different sizes you're seeing.
We're in laundromats, like talking to your kids about why you're doing laundry, or even like in new Orleans, like in some of our laundromat partners, talking about, you know, dozens if not more biographies of kind of famous musicians and artists from the city that you can read about with your kids.
We've also opened libraries in more than 600 laundromats. I, I just was in Milwaukee. We opened our first, reading space in a family court. So, a place where families are spending stressful time often, so that the even the youngest kids can have a safe and productive place to play.
So, we clearly think this is important. We're trying to kind of meet parents wherever they are, and that includes spending a lot of time at home probably over the days ahead. And so, trying, trying to figure out what are simple prompts [00:21:00] for parents to use with their kids. So, we, I think like so many, you know, are developing 20 second songs.
So that's how long you should wash your hands. Um, also, you know, working with partners to help parents understand it is both like washing your hands and drying your hands. So it's super important that you -- and it's really important – that you also dry your hands.
Liz Tenety: Why? Well, that, I haven't heard. Why is that important?
Chelsea Clinton: It is important to wash with soap and water, but you need soap because soap literally can like break down the coronavirus and thankfully lost some other viruses and bacteria and nasty things. Um, and you need 20 seconds because that's generally how long it takes us to kind of get all of the soap and the water, all over our hands.
And we talk in our family about how you like get into the valleys. I'm sure they have a proper name that my doctor friends could tell me, but the valleys between her fingers, like you got to go up and down all the valleys, which our kids think are pretty funny. Um, and you know, we talked about how you have like one, two, [00:22:00] three, only four valleys between five fingers.
I mean, really, when you spend a lot of time washing your hands, you can come up with all sorts of games and fun things that feel like revelations. It is important to really, um, dry your hands because you're far more likely to pick up germs from some services if you have wet hands. So you need to wash your hands and then dry your hands.
So you know, 20 seconds to wash your hands, however many seconds in your family need to dry your hands. But also like what other kind of fun games can you be doing? I think probably a lot of people, um, are going to be, uh, really relying on a lot of delivery services. So, what can you turn boxes into?
We found in our house you can turn boxes into all sorts of fun things like for race, cars and forts. So just as many different things from our own experiences across the two small to fail team to like our partners at Sesame street and elsewhere. I'm just trying to help parents make [00:23:00] this time, you know, as, as fun, but also as kind of, brain productive as possible.
Liz Tenety: Absolutely. So, too small to fail has developed a family staycation toolkit and it has dozens of like really fun educational ideas for all of us who are stuck at home for possibly a long time. We've uploaded that toolkit to the motherly website, so listeners can go to mother.ly/ podcast to get that tool kit and download it.
We also have a print-out you can put up with all kinds of ideas onto your refrigerator, so I wanted to share that with our listeners, but can you just share a few more of those ideas about this program within this program that you've developer?
Chelsea Clinton: Sure. I think, um, one of the things that's been really important to us is, um, we want both with this toolkit and, and just kind of anything we do with too small to fail, um, people to really be able to…and parents, caregivers, grandparents.. [00:24:00] to be able to use what they have, at home or in their daily lives. So, you know, you may not be getting like on the bus or the subway or kind of in your car. So, you may not be kind of seeing what's happening in your train car or outside the window.
But hopefully we can almost still like look out the windows and like, like count things out the windows. Like, think about what we're seeing kind of out the windows. Um, we may all be playing a lot more dress up, in the next days and weeks ahead than we normally would, except for, you know, on a Snowy Saturday, at least in our house.
But thinking about… so, you may hear my son, Jasper crying in the background, which hopefully is ok on the podcast…
Liz Tenety:. It's always ok! Like, Oh wow. I hear that in the background. So you will too.
Chelsea Clinton: [00:25:00] Oh, good. So, you know, like, can you play dress up activities at home? Like what are the fun, cooking activities. We're definitely doing a lot more baking over the last – well, we always do a lot of baking immediately in our house -- but a lot more baking, which is a great way to focus on like early math skills and also like help kids with their like hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Like my daughter who's five is so proud, admittedly and maybe not so generous way that she can crack an egg unlike like three and a half year old brother, who can't really successfully crack an egg yet. But we're now focused on her helping teach her a little brother how to crack an egg. Um, so I just think all of these things that, we may do at different points, kind of throughout our day or year, trying to figure out how to repurpose them so they can be staycation activities, how to think about the new things that may be coming into our lives, like more boxes, how to think about translating activities that we do like outside a car window, or from, you know, an apartment or home [00:26:00] window, you know, and I think what we're just trying to do is probably help parents who may think of these things over time, think of them more quickly in a less stressful, less anxious way. Um, and hopefully in ways so it just feels easy.
And to your point about having things you can print out and put on your refrigerator, or for those of us that don't have magnetic refrigerators -- kind of just leave out so that kids can also be like, Oh yeah, I know I want to do that now. Like today's the day I want to play, dress up. Today is the day that I want to like build something out of cardboard boxes.
Or today is the day maybe I want to kind of work on my, my measuring skills. So we hope it'll just be a helpful way for parents and even families and kids to think about fun activities.
Liz Tenety: It's also such a reminder of that you could, you know, often our kids, they'd prefer to play with a box over the toy, or like game inside…
Chelsea Clinton: the laundry basket is my son's favorite toy
Yes -- these open ended. [00:27:00] toys are these things around our houses. It's a reminder when I'm looking at this toolkit of ideas that you have, that it really is some of the simple things that are in our daily lives that provide the most creativity for our kids. And I appreciate that you put it together. It was a reminder that it's these simple things in our daily lives that have this open ended play for our kids. And I appreciate that because I know that this time, um, can feel super overwhelming to parents who it's clearly historically unprecedented.
It's scary. Um, and it's overwhelming to think that our kids are going to be at home. Many of us are. Myself, included, like going to try to be working while watching kids and having, having them in our homes. So I guess I'm also wondering from a public health perspective, from a mental health, [00:28:00] mental health perspective, um, what are you saying to your children about what is happening that helps them feel calm and what do you want other parents to know, um, to help them feel more empowered and less overwhelmed about this situation?
Chelsea Clinton: I think that's such an important, um, question. I would say a few things. I think, you know, you know, when you were, just reflecting and kind of on the too small to fail toolkit and saying, you know, it's sometimes about the things that we might do over a longer period of time, hopefully just organized in a way that can feel helpful and engaging and fun.
I think, you know, that's part of what's been so great about like all of these songs, including from Sesame street and others around like the 20 seconds of washing your hands. Like, that is what we should be doing anyway. And so, you know, I hope that kind of helping kids understand that washing their hands is, [00:29:00] is good for them, but also helps protect the people around them.
And that's really how we've been trying to talk to… especially our five-year-old. She's washing her hands. A lot. And sanitizing her hands. Like if she's out, like, you know, on the subway or on a bus a lot because it's both protecting her and it's protecting, um, everyone else. Like it's protecting her grandparents who are older.It's also protecting maybe the older people that she's like riding the subway with or that she's seeing in the grocery store or she's seeing at the farmer's market. And I think she really does understand that. Like she understands, okay, like this is about l me as me, Charlotte who is five and also a part of my -- I mean, I don't know if she would express it quite this way -- but you know, part of me is, uh, being a member of this community.
And I think she really understands that. And I think kids really do understand that. You know, it is about like looking out [00:30:00] for all of us and kind of, you know, helping them understand social solidarity at a young age, I think, it is a good thing. And yet also not devaluing their fears, you know, so, you know, she thankfully, like hasn't yet said that she's scared, but I know some of the kids in her class had been really talking about, that they are. And also the teachers are.
You're recognizing that fear and then talking about kind of what they can do about it. And, you know, we've, um, you know, acknowledged at home, like, we know some of your friends are afraid. We know you may be afraid. We want you to talk to us about that. Like, we're going to always be honest with you and kind of tell you kind of, um, what's happening.
Like, of course, like at an age appropriate level, but be about what's happening. And I just think that's like what we all have to do is as parents, you know, in that we have to listen to our children, acknowledge their fears or uncertainties and [00:31:00] yet also reassure them and try to help empower them in a sense.
Like, you know, washing, washing your hands may seem like a small thing, but it's actually a super important thing, for your health and for protecting public health.
Liz Tenety: I know you have to go in a few minutes. I have two and a half more questions. Is that okay?
Chelsea Clinton: Okay. Jasper's crying a lot, so I'll have to go like pretty soon. Okay.
Liz Tenety: Um, okay. Of course, I totally understand. I'm also breastfeeding my eight, eight month old, so I totally understand. Um, let me, I have a question about… families who are really in like economic crisis right now. I don't want to miss that one when I'm with you on, on the line. So let me do that one quickly and then we'll ask my final question. So, you know, one of the things that this public health crisis has revealed is just how many people in our country are like one paycheck away from a serious [00:32:00] crisis. And there's hourly workers now who are literally having to choose between, like risking exposing other people and not having a paycheck. And I'm wondering if there's anything that you'd want to say to them or to our leaders about what we, what they can do and what we can do for them.
Chelsea Clinton: Well, perhaps not surprisingly, I have been distraught at the multiple failures of leadership out of this administration. From a public health perspective. I mean, you know, China really, you know, bought the world time, effectively, and some countries use that time as we're seeing, and it's kind of Singapore and South Korea and Japan -- and some countries didn't, as we're seeing here in the United States. And yet there's still so much, even today that we could be doing and that the president, the white house [00:33:00] seem to be failing to do. And some of what we could be doing, I think is an indirect answer to your question. Um, whether that is, you know, moving to, paid sick leave for months, ideally forever, but at least kind of for months, kind of through this crisis to guarantee basic income to stopping evictions, to stopping ice raids, to ensuring that everyone in our prisons has, you know, access to soap and hand sanitizer and also like good ventilation and good food, things that also should be happening otherwise.
I mean, there's so much that we need to be doing to protect basic public health. Um, you know, in that we're not, we're not doing and we should be doing because we know that often it is. And in prisons and jails in shelters and places kind of where people are already [00:34:00] suffering kind of deeply inhumane conditions where viruses spread and, and even mutate and then become more dangerous.
And so we need a much more comprehensive approach to protect public health than we have Liz. And we also need to be doing everything we can to support the families who are at the crux of your question… and paid sick leave and kind of guaranteed income in this moment, is part of that. And the president has said he wants to cut the payroll tax, and if he wants to do that, that's also great, but that is not sufficient for people who then do not have a paycheck to receive it tax cut from.
Um, so I think there's so much we need to be doing in so many aspects of our country where the White House and Congress has real ability to make a real difference in people's lives and for public health. And they're not really doing any of it as best I can tell. So that is deeply painful to me.
But I would say to those of us [00:35:00] who are more privileged, you know, we, like in Seattle, we saw like people stopped, paying their dog walkers. Like, keep paying your dog walkers, like keep ordering your groceries, even if you've like stocked up, like you know as much as you can. Continue. For those of us who have discretionary income, continue to kind of spend money where you can so that you are helping to support the people around you, because there is a real responsibility for all of us to protect each other right now. And some of that is social distancing and washing our hands and demanding better for our government. And some of it is continuing to support people when we can.
But this is really why we need government because even if everyone in Seattle is paying their dog walkers, that is no substitute for the government providing paid sick leave and income support.
Liz Tenety: Chelsea Clinton, [00:36:00] thank you so much for all the insight and hope that you shared with us of what we can do in this challenging moment.
Thank you for joining us on the motherly podcast and we hope you get back to baby Jasper.
Chelsea Clinton: Thank you so much for all you're doing to kind of raise awareness right now and hopefully help empower parents to take care of her kids and her family, but also to take care of one another. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Liz: And now for a quick word from our sponsor, Kinder. Like many moms. I think chocolate is one of the simple pleasures in childhood. So I want to treat my kids from time to time. It's something delicious, but I don't want to go overboard. Kinder chocolate is a smooth milk chocolate with a creamy milk center that kids and their moms love.
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Liz: Can you tell me about the invention you're working on for the Coronavirus?
Grant: So I'm . Some kind of miniature 3D printer. That's the, that 3D prints, the weakness of the coronavirus, and then you put it in a pill, but it's only programmed to do that on an other bigger computer,
Liz Tenety: and then it attacks the coronavirus from the inside.
Grant: Blowes the Coronavirus up when it opens up inside your body, and then when it touches your stomach acids and explodes and kills a Coronavirus…
Jennifer: My name is Jennifer and I produced The Motherly Podcast. So, the Coronavirus has been particularly scary for me, just just as it has been for everyone else. But because I, am in that high risk group. I have severe asthma... so much so that I spent half of my sophomore year: in high school in intensive care. And every time I get sick, I get terrible bronchitis or pneumonia and have to go to the emergency room or urgent care, frequently because of the severe asthma attacks I experience. Additionally, the last couple of weeks have been kind of triggering for me because when I was six years old, the very same age of my daughter is now, my mother got Hepatitis C. She got it through a blood transfusion and at the time there was a lot of mystery around it. People didn't know how you got it. People thought you could just get it by touching other people. And she had to self-quarantine. Uh, she, I couldn't touch her for several months. And it really, you know, it had a dramatic impact on my life and changed a lot of things for me.And so, you know, I know that this is, this could be an event that really does have long-term impact on my daughter. And, you know, uh, we can only do what we can do, but, you know, I am trying my best to communicate to her, um, in the most honest and open way, while, while also making her feel really safe and loved. And, you know, so far it seems okay. She doesn't seem too scared. And, and for that, I'm super grateful.
Liz Tenety: So that's it for our show this week. Thank you so much for listening. If you have a story you'd like to share in our podcast, please email us at podcast at mother dot L Y. That's mother dot L Y. We'd love to hear from you, and if you like what you heard today, please spread the word about our podcast. We have a lot of amazing episodes coming soon and we're super excited about them.
I know you're going to enjoy this season, and if you can please leave us a review [00:40:00] on Apple podcasts. It really helps other people discover the show, and I love reading your feedback. The motherly podcast is produced by Jennifer Bassett with additional help from Jordan Gass-Poore and Renata Selletti. Our music is from the Blue Dot Sessions.
I'm your host Liz Tenety. Thank you so much for listening.
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Hosted by Liz Tenety
Liz is an award-winning journalist and editor, and the co-founder of Motherly. A former Washington Post editor, she thrives on all things digital community + social media strategy. She's passionate about helping to provide women with more support, (and way less judgment), on the journey through motherhood. This podcast is an extension of her commitment to hosting honest conversations about modern motherhood. Liz resides outside NYC with her husband, two sons, one daughter and one amazing au pair.