Another Mother's Day
With all eyes on the high drama of the Democratic primary race, Mother's Day has taken a back seat in the news cycle this spring. And that's just fine with me, since I've truly come to dread the mainstream media's perverse fascination with reviving the mommy wars every year. In any case, I'm here to liberate motherhood, not to celebrate it -- and while touching human interest stories about mothers heroically overcoming overwhelming setbacks are, well, incredibly touching, the profiles in maternal courage that predictably surface in the month of May do more to idealize the magical power of maternal stamina than to highlight the reality that every mother in the United States needs and deserves more support from our society than she's getting -- and far too many of us are falling through the cracks.
Mother's Day 2008 may be remembered as the first year out of many in which no big fat controversial motherhood books were published. The book drawing the most attention and criticism, Meg Wolitzer's novel, The Ten-Year Nap, seems fairly benign compared to recent non-fiction treatments of high-achieving-career-women-turned-stay-at-home-moms (see: Leslie Bennetts and Linda Hirshman). Amy Richards' new book, Opting In, looks interesting (cool cover art!) and is likely to appeal to MMO fans -- I'm looking forward to reading it when time allows. There are a number of well-intentioned books written by and for moms about how to reconcile work and family (yes! It can be done!) hitting the shelves, plus a few well-crafted motherhood memoirs, if that's your cup of tea.
The next full edition of the
Mothers Movement Online -- which covers the progress of the mothers' movement
The Save the Children
Foundation released its annual report on the State of the World's Mothers.
The 2008 study focuses on
children's access to basic health care services and reducing mortality
children under 5. Among developing countries -- which account for 83
child deaths -- more than 30 percent of children do not get basic
when they need it, resulting in high death rates from treatable
particularly diarrhea and pneumonia. The report includes a must-read
inequalities in infant survival in the industrialized world, including
disproportionate rates of infant and maternal mortality among African
America-Indian and Alaska-Native populations in the United States (don't miss the shocking graph illustrating the survival gap between
African American and white
infants in most of the 50 states). As in past years, the
No newsflash here for regular MMO
readers: the Economic Policy Institute posted a an online fact sheet comparing
paid and unpaid maternity leave benefits in wealthy countries -- and guess who
comes up short? (Paid maternity leave still on the wishlist for many U.S.
mothers, 7 May 08) "The
From the your-tax-dollars-at-work department, the U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 "Facts for Features" series offers bullet points on selected trends related to motherhood and Mother's Day in America. Mostly for entertainment value -- such as the factoid that 12,473 Americans are employed in the greeting card industry.
The Council on Contemporary Families has a new Mother's Day Fact Sheet on Day Care -- but if you've seen recent MMO summaries of the Census Bureau analysis of employment patterns of first-time mothers and the rising cost of child care, there are no big surprises here, either.
The crew over at MomsRising is recycling
last year's Mother's
Day eCard with the trademark Infant Aerial Stunt Team animation. It's cute
and funny (if you're into cute-and-funny stuff). But given the
prevalence of mother-unfriendly policies and employer practices in the