It's time to take motherhood seriously.

For too long, the issues that women, children and families face have been treated as less important. The responsibilities of motherhood considered a departure from “real” work. The duties of family life the problem of those who chose to have children. The health of women, children and families less important than other government priorities.

These challenges are not new—as our Annual State of Motherhood Survey shows—and the pandemic is shining a brighter light as mothers struggle to pay bills, manage households, homeschool children and keep themselves and others healthy—all by themselves, all at the same time.MORE

The pandemic broke mothers. It shattered fragile mental health. It forced mothers out of the workforce in the millions. It laid bare centuries of racial and gender inequality.

It also showed us what the future could be. We have seen that there is a way to radically empower mothers in our post-pandemic world. We have seen a global movement to finally confront racial inequality. Today, mothers may feel broken, but their resilience is stronger than the struggle. And since moms are the ultimate innovators [hello, they invented people!], they won’t rest until they’ve left things better than they found it. Motherhood is transforming before our eyes. We have the power to make it better for ourselves, for our children and our children's children.

Mothers today are doing enough. It's time for everyone else—our communities, our corporations, our government, our partners—to finally do their share. We call on leaders at all levels—from the government to employers in our communities to take action to help mothers go from surviving motherhood to thriving in motherhood.

TeamMotherly

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We must change the State of Motherhood because:
It’s time for paid family leave in America.
Americans all over the political spectrum have recognized how important it is for the United States to shed this reputation. A 2017 study on the impact of paid parental leave policies on infant mortality notes: “The policy implications are clear for the United States: instituting job-protected paid parental leave will save infant lives. Here are 4 more crucial reasons why America must prioritize paid leave.”
Our country has a maternal health crisis that must be addressed.
The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world. Giving birth in America is shockingly dangerous, black mothers are three to four times more likely to die during or after pregnancy or birth and Native American and Native Alaskan mothers are also dying from complications in childbirth at a disproportionate rate. Systemic racism, socioeconomic disparities, heteronormative expectations and unequal access to healthcare are hurting mothers and babies.
Mothers should get support however they feed their babies.
Our society places an incredible amount of pressure on new mothers to exclusively breastfeed, something that feels crucial yet nearly impossible for the 1 in 4 American women who must return to work within two weeks of giving birth because as few as 12% of American workers have access to paid leave.
Families need affordable childcare solutions.
Returning to work means childcare is crucial, but quality child care remains out of reach for many as the cost of day care is as much as rent in many American cities. The high cost of childcare is keeping women from earning and contributing to the economy: Motherly’s second annual state of Motherhood survey found 50% of Millennial moms report making a change to their work status since becoming a mother. Some work fewer hours, some shift from full to part-time and some leave the workforce entirely.
Mothers deserve better maternal health support.
Our society needs to address the cultural expectations that contribute to mental stress.

Research suggests America’s mothers are the most stressed moms in the western world. We are parenting under intense and incompatible cultural pressures and doing way more than our fair share of unpaid work while increasingly serving as household breadwinners.

Today’s mothers are stressed out and burned out and deserve better. Today’s mothers are better educated than any generation before, working more than ever before, and our governmental policies, corporate governance, and culture have not adjusted to provide the support needed to ensure mamas and families thrive. We stand with and for America’s mothers, not a political party, and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families, and the country.

It’s time we take motherhood seriously—it’s time we take ourselves as mothers seriously and demand change, moving what has been treated as niche issues into the mainstream. Because when mamas thrive, families and the world thrive.
JILL KOZIOL
Motherly CEO + Co-founder, @jillkoziol
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State of Motherhood Survey Results

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