If I was writing a Yelp review on what it’s like to be an American Millennial Mom we’d be getting 1 star and I’d be calling the manager:
“Rude receptionist. When you deliver in America you’re more likely to die here than in any other developed country.
Bad store policy. Bad legislation that won’t guarantee paid leave. American mothers recovering from giving birth and needing to produce milk for their babies have to rush back to work sooner than any of their peers in other developed nations. For those of you who have not experienced matrescence giving birth requires physical recovery. I had a therapist compare it to the equivalent of surviving a car accident in terms of how long it takes your body to recover.
Overpriced. American parents shell out the most money for childcare than any other country. Childcare is so expensive that many households opt to have one parent stay home to perform the unpaid care labor because it can be cheaper. In most households the mother is the one performing this unpaid labor. This often hinders them when they attempt to reenter the workforce.
Bad Results. Once again compared to other countries for overall quality of experience the US is beaten by 37 other countries. I can’t even name 37 countries off the top of my head and yet there are 37 of them with better results than us. And that research was PRE pandemic. Now American moms have the honor of sending their kids back into mask-optional schools despite American children not being eligible for preventative vaccines. American mothers are more likely than any other mother in the developed world to bury a child due to gun violence. If they survive childhood they will incur crippling debt in the pursuit of higher education.”
That legit would be my review. The above issues affect some dads so I don’t want to exclude dads but the reality is the brunt of this is falling on moms. Last year was career genocide for American mothers with the widespread school closures record numbers of women were forced out of their jobs in order to provide unpaid labor in the form of childcare and online learning. I could’ve been part of that statistic as it was my first chance at free childcare (kindergarten) but the tumultuous year kept me in childcare limbo and I couldn’t realistically even apply for any job knowing at any moment my childcare scenario would change. So there are people not included in those numbers like me who wanted to stage a comeback and are further delayed. Anecdotally when I am on the phone with my friends who do not have children all of them are saying they’re not so sure they want American parenthood. Add the climate crisis into the mix and the conversation turns to the ethics of bringing a kid into this dumpster fire. Factor in political tribalism that is gripping our entire nation. Masks and vaccines becoming pawns in what should be a UNITED effort to protect ourselves. Children populating ICU’s because adults won’t do what they need to. I was a New Yorker on 9/11 and when I tell you the collective energy was collaborative and patriotic that is an understatement. We are losing more people a day in this country than in the 9/11 attacks and we’re more divided than ever. Grown men screaming about masks and their right to infect others is the climate my kid is navigating.
I promised you all from the beginning I would always report back on what it’s like to be a mom. Well today I’m coloring in the global comparison to help you arrive at the conclusion that American moms are not ok, not compared to most other countries. And if you’re not a parent consider some empathy for those of us who are. I am shedding a light on some very real issues American moms face in 2021.
Often times when I post a bummer I’m flooded by well meaning friends with messages of encouragement and “what can I do to help” requests. I am ok, I’m doing better than most of my peers thanks to family privilege. Check in on your other mom friends though, I guarantee you they’re in need of support. Be the village. Step up, mask up, vote up and be our village. Hire moms. Trust me we are great in a crisis as demonstrated throughout this pandemic.