Motherhood

Reshma Saujani’s Mother’s Day Goal Is To End The “Chronic Mom Guilt”

Reshma Saujani, an activist, author, and founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms is working to secure paid leave, affordable childcare, and other workplace support for mothers.

A new campaign from the Marshall Plan for moms aims to end chronic mom guilt.

Reshma, a mother of two, celebrates her first Mother’s Day in 2020

Over the past two months, she has tried and failed to balance taking care of my small children and her small business.

Reshma spent her days cooking, cleaning, Zoom-schooling, and her nights emailing and scheduling, and she prayed her newborn son would sleep long enough to let her cross one more thing off her list.

Reshma says that her prevailing emotion wasn’t precisely gratitude for the gift of motherhood but rather exhaustion. What she wanted most that Mother’s Day wasn’t a scented candle or time with her children. Instead, she needed time to herself, to spend time being anything other than a mother.

A survey of moms last year showed that two-thirds of us wanted to sleep, a day off, or a night or weekend alone at a hotel for Mother’s Day; only 25% wanted jewelry.

How does it reflect on the state of American motherhood that the ultimate gift for moms is a day where they don’t have to feel like one?

Even with the flood of enterprise emails around Mother’s Day, only 40 percent of companies offer paid parental leave to their employees.

The business world doesn’t only fail to support us—two-thirds of the women who left the workforce before the pandemic has not returned. Women spend an average of 28 hours a week doing unpaid caregiving.

Also, there is the mom guilt: the fear we’re not achieving the right balance, that we’re portraying women as less intelligent, less ambitious, or less feminist if we have a paid job, that if we’re burned out, it’s our fault.

Reshma’s greatest wish is to work in an environment where moms can grow their careers along with their families.

Earlier this year, she wrote about how women should be paid for the $1,5 trillion worth of caretaker work each year, and I still believe that is true.

It is time to end mom guilt and create a world where moms are no longer defined by how much or how little they work.

Instead, we must raise compassionate, generous, and thoughtful children – the kind that proudly shows their parents pictures made of popsicle sticks and burnt toast.