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An Open Letter From Chelsea Clinton: We Have To Do Better For Moms

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Every Mother’s Day, moms who are serving on the front lines — our hospital and healthcare workers, our first responders, our truck drivers, our grocery store clerks, our mail carriers and more — are having to do so while managing their households, caring for children at home, and proctoring their children’s virtual education. And while it’s tempting, and certainly accurate, to refer to these women as heroes in this COVID-19 crisis, the harsher truth is that we weren’t doing enough to support them before COVID-19 and still aren’t doing enough today. In the U.S., this public health crisis has served as a grim reminder of the ways in which we have failed women for decades, including our lack of family leave and universal affordable child care, an inadequate and inequitable health care system, a deeply insufficient minimum wage, and so much more. We have to do better — for moms, for families, and for our shared public health.

We have to do better — for moms, for families, and for our shared public health.

The Clinton Foundation’s early learning initiative Too Small to Fail partnered with Romper this Mother’s Day to conduct a survey to better understand what moms are experiencing through this crisis. What Romper readers shared is a snapshot of how precarious this moment feels and how precious time has become. (See the full survey results here.)

Many moms were managing the lion’s share of household responsibilities before COVID-19, and for many, the pandemic has only increased that work and the stress of balancing it with parenting and worries about an uncertain future.

But another thing is clear: even with the increased pressure and demands on their time and attention, the majority of moms surveyed are thankful for the time they are able to spend with their children. Parents — especially parents of young children — are spending considerably more time talking, reading, singing, and playing together with their kids. And, as we know through our work through Too Small to Fail, routine interactions during everyday moments such as cooking, baking, doing laundry, and other household activities can boost children’s brain development and have a significant impact on their success in school and in life. (You can view a few suggestions on how to make the most of these moments at TalkingIsTeaching.org/Indoors).

We need each other as much as ever, arguably more than ever.

We need each other as much as ever, arguably more than ever. Romper readers also reported finding incredible support from their communities, even from a distance. From conducting virtual story times, music and art classes to sending meals to a neighbor, sharing a fun activity with a friend from afar, texting or posting a supportive message, there is no act too small to make a difference in this moment.

I wish all the mothers in your life a very happy, healthy, and safe Mother’s Day and hope those of us who can stay home, stay home, and that we all wear masks in public and practice social distancing whenever we’re outside. Next year on Mother’s Day, I hope we can say that we’re doing more as a country and world to support moms and families.

See the full results of our survey, Motherhood in the Age of COVID-19.