What is the biggest societal challenge you face as a mom? What would you like to see changed? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 03-18-2013, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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We're putting together an article on the challenges US moms face every day. 

 

What is the biggest societal challenge you face as a mom?

 

Tell us what YOU think needs to change to make the US a more mom/family friendly country? 

 

Examples would be better access to childcare assistance, more laws that protect breastfeeding, better schools or homeschool support, more options for affordable healthcare, more family-friendly business practices etc. 

 

Tell us what you think and we'll share your feedback (anonymously) in an article!

 

Thanks

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#2 of 13 Old 03-18-2013, 03:28 PM
 
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I am expecting my first child so I haven't experienced motherhood firsthand yet, but these are the issues on my mind now.  It seems that our society/government pays a lot of lip service to family values and how important moms are, but they are not putting their money where their mouths are, so to speak.  FMLA gives us 12 weeks that we can take off of work after having a baby.  We can't be fired, but there is no guarantee that we will be paid anything during that time.  I'm sure FMLA is an improvement over what we had before, but it is not nearly enough.  It is disgraceful that some women do not get any paid maternity leave.  I get 6 weeks but one week of that comes out of my vacation time.  I can also cash in my accrued vacation time to use during maternity leave.  The rest of the time I have to use my savings.  Luckily, my wife will get some paid family leave as well, but not everyone qualifies for this. 

I would also like to see more support for child care.  It can be very expensive.  So expensive that sometimes you are better off financially not working and staying home.  But if you stay home, you don't add to your retirement savings, you would probably have to pay for your healthcare if you can get on your spouse or partner's, you get no paid sick time or vacation time, etc.  I work for a large corporation.  I would love it if we had a company day care center in or near my office.  Many women in my office have left after having a child.  If we had day care, maybe they would have stayed, and turnover would be lower.

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#3 of 13 Old 03-18-2013, 03:40 PM
 
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I really had to stretch to even bring my son into this world, as my husband's full time job does not offer any healthcare at all. Its not like they offer it and its too expensive or not what we'd like. Its not even a choice, and he works on contract for a school district! We cannot purchase private insurance with any sort of maternity care. We make too much for Medicaid, but not enough to pay out of pocket for care. We ended up having to pay thousands of dollars for a midwife on our own, and then we actually had to legally separate to get Medicaid to cover the rest of the cost for our son's birth. Instead of getting to enjoy my pregnancy together, I had to move away for the last 3 months of my pregnancy. That's time we will *never* get back. I absolutely resent being backed into a corner, tied up in red tape, and left with nowhere to turn by several different organizations. The healthcare structure in this country is just awful. I wouldn't wish my situation on my worst enemy!
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#4 of 13 Old 03-18-2013, 08:00 PM
 
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Too much to even try &explain!
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#5 of 13 Old 03-18-2013, 09:22 PM
 
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The biggest problems I've faced are probably isolation and loneliness. But I'm not really sure how those problems could be solved. I certainly don't think government intervention would do any good. I am lucky to live in a community where there are various free groups for moms that give me a chance to interact with someone besides my baby, but the reality is still that I spend a lot of time with just me and my baby.


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#6 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 06:13 AM
 
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Family-friendly business practices without a doubt! You can luck out (as I have) and be at a company that is run by someone interested in having family-friendly practices, but even here I don't get paid maternity leave which is standard in a lot of other countries. I'm at least able to set the length of my maternity leave and be flexible about it too if I decide to come back earlier or extend it, my boss does keep my benefits active (which is huge!) and as far as having flexibility when I have a sick child or to pump breastmilk and all that, he is awesome. My DH gets 2 weeks of paid paternity leave, which is way more than most companies offer here too, but it not nearly enough. They would be somewhat flexible if he needed to take unpaid leave, but I'm not sure how flexible. Companies here have gotten a tiny bit better, but there are still many companies/bosses with the expectation that Dad works and Mom stays home so there is no need for them to be very flexible, but that just isn't the reality for a lot of families.

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#7 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 06:57 AM
 
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Education! My oldest is 5, time to start kindergarten. Cannot fathom him sitting inside in a classroom for SIX HOURS! We live in Florida, not exactly the best public education in the US. I am "test driving" homeschooling this year. But can't seem to get into the swing of it. I have a hard time socializing, my kids seem to need more than I can provide. And wow, routine, out the door. I have a new respect for teachers that's for sure.
I am truly scared of our public education options! Very limited homeschool network here in South Florida and I cannot find anything "home schooling" other than standardized testing on our school district website (palm beach county).
I would love to see flex-time at the public schools, ie two or three days at school and two or three days at home. Or possibly public education with more emphasis in outdoors, arts, music. And I would like to see an end to teaching just to pass standardized testing.

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#8 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 07:54 AM
 
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Our FMLA system is a joke, so many limitations and requirements and no guarantee of any type of pay.  For most families, it is more of a punishment for having children than anything else.  And don't even get me started on trying to pump milk at work.  Exempt employees are yet another example of discrimination, not given the same limited rights as other employees, are you kidding?  But in a country whose primary motivation is to support the health and rights of corporations, what more can you expect?


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#9 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 10:03 AM
 
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I have a lot of gripes but they basically boil down to the same thing: in this country we do not value families, we value individuals. The main thing we need is an attitude shift. We do not value homemaking. I’m not saying all moms should stay home. I am saying we need to allow families to make choices about work-life balance based on their family’s preferences rather than our current system which forces most families to be 2 income households. The list of requirements for this to happen is long and arduous but I think the greatest institutional barrier is healthcare. FREE quality healthcare for all would allow families more choices when it comes to work-life balance. People cannot start their own business, work part-time, or do contract work from home because at least one parent (and some families only have one parent) must stay full-time to keep health benefits.


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#10 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 10:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyscience View Post

The biggest problems I've faced are probably isolation and loneliness. But I'm not really sure how those problems could be solved. I certainly don't think government intervention would do any good. I am lucky to live in a community where there are various free groups for moms that give me a chance to interact with someone besides my baby, but the reality is still that I spend a lot of time with just me and my baby.

yeahthat.gif  Humans weren't meant to live in isolation like we do in modern society.  Moms (& dads) aren't supposed to do it all by themselves.   Until recently, I parented alone most days with dh gone at work.  He now works from home full time & just having another adult in the house, even if they are busy doing other things usually, has made a world of difference for our family.  

 

I do not believe in government intervention.  I believe the best way to enact real, sustainable change, is for people to come together for a common purpose.

 

Sus


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#11 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 10:51 AM
 
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A lot of good points have been touched on here.  I agree with isolation being the hardest part of mothering. We are isolated generationally from our parents and siblings, and physically from our friends and family due to the structure of our cities and neighborhoods.  

At-home mothers sacrifice so much of their own security to be home with their young children in terms of pay, health care and retirement.  And it is worth it.  But imagine if health care was secure and free?  And if jobs could be held for years upon maternity leave like in other countries?  Or if there were safe and local child care centers you could drop your kids at?  Or if preschool were subsidized and affordable?  Or if your neighborhood public school were safe and high quality, paying attention to the whole child?

Over all the concept of family and caregiving is completely degraded.  Caring for others feels to be looked upon as lazy or unimportant.  

Work is valued too highly.  The pace of life is too hectic.  There is so much emphasis on making a killing, that few are making a living.  I want to see flexibility, true use of family medical leave, job shares and maternity and paternity leave times that actually are in line with children's developmental needs (a 6 week old does need it's mother) and simply overall a sense of respect for raising the next generation.  

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#12 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 11:22 AM
 
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I am not in the States, but I've been around MDC long enough and have participated in two DDCs now so I'm aware of the disrepancies between our maternity leave here in Canada and in the States.  I am outraged!!!  I cannot believe it!!! 

Here, we get ONE year of parental leave protected and covered by EI.  Many employers will also cover your salary, or part of your salary, for a portion of that leave.  The parental leave is also sharable between partners (and partners here can mean either different-sex or same-sex couples).  This has impact on so many aspects: daycare is not an issue for most families for the first 12 months, financial strain is reduced by alot, and breastfeeding is much easier when you don't have to go to work!

 

I truly feel that this is one of the reasons why there is a much higher rate of breastfeeding (no stats to prove this, I'm just going by what I see here on MDC) and that breastfeeding is essentially socially accepted anywhere.    The closest I've ever been to a "bad" experience was when I was nursing DD on a bench at the art museum. r A security gard watched me for a few minutes before approaching me.  I was sure I'd get in trouble for being so "public".  But when he came up to me, he smiled and  said: "I can't imagine that bench being very confortable....we have sofas around the corner, why don't you go there!"

 

Anyway.... I'm a bit off topic, but, if I was in the States, I'd be totally angry at the mat leave situation!
 

 

ETA:  I hope I don't sound too preachy  or  give the impression that things here are perfect...they are not and we have issues here too.  It's just that I can't wrap my head around why the US cannot have a sustainable country wide parental leave program! I do feel it's not the end-all solution but that it is a viable solution to many issues brought up here!

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#13 of 13 Old 03-20-2013, 11:34 AM
 
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The biggest societal challenge that I see as a mom is that our whole society is heading almost straight down the two-holer.

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