How to Make Mother’s Day 2023 One for the Ages - Early Learning Nation

How to Make Mother’s Day 2023 One for the Ages

Illustration: Art Hondros

Early Learning Nation magazine asked some of our favorite people, What’s one thing our readers can do to make the world better for mothers? Here’s what they said.

“There are, of course, many things one can do for the individual mothers in their life, but I’d like to encourage you to take action on behalf of all mothers. Because let’s face it, mothers in this country face many systemic challenges, and those challenges demand systemic solutions. I know this seems daunting, but a good place to start is to simply choose one issue that affects moms in this country (and matters to you) and engage in one advocacy activity related to that issue, such as placing a call to your elected official, writing an op-ed or even posting on social media.”

—Dr. Dana L. Suskind, founder and codirector, TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, and author, Parent Nation (read “Extreme Situations Can Be Clarifying”)

“Mothers and caregivers are rarely recognized—much less compensated for our various forms of motherwork (including education, othermothering, community care work and other forms of social activism). The way to make the world better is to protect us and our children from oppressive systems that limit access to equitable education, child care, health care, housing and paid leave to support our children and our own sense of well-being.”

—Crystasany Turner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (read “the Crucial Role of Black Family Child Care Providers”)

“The one thing we can all do to make the world better for mothers is to encourage them to show up as their Authentically Dope selves. By this I mean supporting them as they are being true to themselves, stimulating their spirit of confidence, plus honoring and respecting their beliefs and practices. This is how we can not only make it better for them but build a commUNITY of belonging!”

—Margo Ford Crosby, director of Pre-K and Before/After School for the Alamance-Burlington (N.C.) School System’s Early Learning Community (read “Bank Street’s New Policy Fellowship Aims for Equity and Quality”)

Illustration: Art Hondros

“One thing we can do to make the world better for mothers is to expect of fathers what we expect of mothers. I know a few primary caregiver dads, and many partners, including my own, striving for more equity; but until fair play is the norm, our mothers and daughters won’t reach their full potential in terms of worldly success, and our fathers and sons are missing out on the gifts of connection and nurturing.”

—Anya Kamenetz, senior advisor, This Is Planet Ed (read “Chronicling a Social Catastrophe, So We Can Prepare Better for the Next One”)

“The world will be a better place for mothers when the voices of all mothers are heard and honored. Birthing and parenting experiences should not be wrought with societally imposed barriers.”

—Dawn Shanafelt, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Division of Maternal & Infant Health (read “Michigan Offers Medicaid Enrollees a Powerful Boost for Better Childbirth Outcomes”)

“I would encourage everyone to welcome asylum seekers and refugees into their community. The first few years of motherhood are challenging for everyone, but they are especially difficult for mothers who have had to flee their communities and build new lives in the United States. As a child of immigrants and a mother of two kids under four, I know how important it is to have access to child care and other early childhood resources. Part of welcoming refugee mothers is making sure that they have access to critical resources so their children can thrive.”

—Swapna Reddy, co-executive director of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (read “FUEL for Asylum Seekers and Their Children”)

Illustration: Art Hondros

“Universal child care. Imagine how nice it would be if the U.S. joined the other industrialized nations in caring for our moms, dads and their children. Relieves financial stress, supports moms who want to work enter the workforce, helps all children thrive and makes financial sense. A win win win win.”

—Kathy Hirsh Pasek, professor of psychology, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and coauthor, Making Schools Work (read our 7 Top Takeaways her talk on “Reimagining Education”)

“One thing you can do to make the world better for mothers and their children is to become an advocate for a swift transition from fossil fuel, which is the root cause of climate change and air pollution that are seriously affecting the health of pregnant women, their babies and children. By speaking out to others, urging policymakers to implement climate and clean air legislation and by voting for representatives who take the threats to children’s health and future seriously, you can make a huge difference.”

—Frederica Perera, founder, Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, and author, Children’s Health and the Perils of Climate Change (read “An Environmental Health Scientist’s Recipe for Giving the Next Generation a Safe Future”)

Illustration: Art Hondros

“One thing the world can do for mothers is to remind them that they’re an inspiration. A mother’s job truly never stops! They do the cooking, cleaning and bill paying. They’re raising babies, wiping tears, worrying and praying for their children, even when they’re adults. So many never make time for themselves. They truly are an inspiration.”

—Rachel Campbell-Dotson, executive director, East Kentucky Dream Center (read “Groceries, Diapers and Love”)

“This Mother’s Day, join an organization that advocates for care programs that support mothers and families, including the care they need for their children, themselves, and older or disabled loved ones.”

—Anna Shireen Wadia, executive director, Care for All with Respect and Equity Fund (read “Overcoming Occupational Segregation and the Systemic Devaluing of Women’s Work”)

“We can make our world a better place by committing to support all mothers—not just the ones who have historically and traditionally been uplifted and resourced. If we create a world where young Black and single mothers, who are disproportionately impacted by systemic oppression and racism in this country, are fully supported and thriving, then all mothers will benefit.”

—Nicole Lynn Lewis, founder and executive director, Generation Hope

“Please encourage more mothers to run for elected office. It’s no coincidence that the U.S. trails much of the world in women’s representation in policymaking bodies—from school boards to Congress—and lags in enactment of family-friendly policies, from paid parental leave and affordable child care to sensible gun laws. Studies show that women in office are more likely than their male counterparts to shape policies that support the health and wellbeing of everyone—especially children, women and families. Your vote matters in putting families first.”

—Atiya Weiss, executive director, the Burke Foundation (read “A Necessary and Natural Focus”)

“All mothers wish for a world where their children’s dreams can be realized and even exceeded. The best gift we can give on Mother’s Day is to create and sustain a community that champions all children. No more inequities, no more barriers and no more excuses preventing each child from reaching their full potential.”

—Jennifer Headley-Nordman, president, First Steps Kent (read “The Next Steps for First Steps Kent”)

“One thing you can do to make the world better for mothers is to actively work towards creating a more equitable and just society that recognizes and values the unpaid and often invisible labor of motherhood. This can include advocating for policies that address the gender wage gap, promote affordable health care and education and support working families. Another way you can make the world better for mothers is to engage in acts of kindness and support towards the mothers in their own lives, whether it’s offering to help with child care, providing emotional support or simply expressing gratitude for all they do. These small actions can go a long way in making mothers feel valued and appreciated.”

—Stephanie Spencer, executive director, Urban Baby Beginnings (read our 5 Top Takeaways from “Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Health”)

“We make the world better for moms by making sure they have the time and support they need to take care of themselves and those they care for. Paid leave, affordable and quality child care options and access to mental health supports would make a big difference. Use your voice to advocate for the change mothers need.”

—Justine Davenport, Director of Advocacy, ZERO TO THREE

“Advocate for things that would support moms and people giving birth, including accessible and affordable care pre- and postpartum, affordable child care and universal health care.”

—Marchel Marcos, political director, APANO (read “Voices and Visions for Transformative Change”)

Early Learning Nation columnist Mark Swartz writes for and about nonprofit organizations. Author of the children's books Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, Lost Flamingo, Magpie Bridge and The Giant of the Flood as well as a few novels, he lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his wife and two children.

Illustrator Art Hondros received wrist-slappings for his cartooning activity in both high school and the US Navy. His sequential features have appeared in the Washington Post Sunday Magazine and Packingtown Review in Chicago. He produced a graphic novel based on a lost 1920s silent film in 2018. He is a member of the collective known as DC Conspiracy that publishes the free comics newspaper, Magic Bullet.

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