Flowers are great, but here’s what moms really want for Mother’s Day

Moms deserve Mother’s Day. But Mother’s Day is just the beginning, not the end, of supporting moms.  Moms also deserve support the other 364 days of the year. Just as moms are a dynamic force, we can utilize this holiday in a dynamic way to honor and celebrate the mothers in our lives while also calling to action the systemic issues that challenge us at work and home every single day. 

As a mom, there’s nothing sweeter than when your kiddo is old enough to make you the darling Mother’s Day card at preschool; a handprint to commemorate this fleeting moment, or the absolutely hysterical “Facts About My Mom” worksheets that come home in their backpacks (you know–my mom is 102, eats a lot of chocolate and is the best hugger). I personally love a new plant for my garden! One of my team members treats herself to a night away at a local hotel each year. More sleep is a frequent wish. These are moments as a mom that many of us look forward to, especially as we celebrate our milestone first Mother’s Day, or dream of being able to celebrate on Mother’s Day in the future. 

As an entrepreneur and author, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with thousands of moms over the last decade about what it is they really want and need. As organizations, bosses, government and community leaders and other persons with the power to honor mothers in a big, meaningful way consider their support, let it be known that this is what many moms really want for Mother’s Day. 

4 things moms really want for Mother’s Day

Paid leave

President Biden has a proposed national paid leave policy on the table. Federal paid leave is way past its due date, and we can hope there will be some progress toward this critical support in the near future. However, employers do not have to wait for an act of Congress to institute paid leave programs. Some states have already set a requirement as such, and many employers provide paid leave voluntarily. Whether these programs are funded through employee or employee payroll taxes, short-term disability plans or directly subsidized by the employer, there is a pathway to paid leave for every organization… right now.

Breastfeeding support

The PUMP Act, which requires nearly every U.S. employer to provide break time and space for pumping at work was a victory for parents. The lactation support forthcoming from the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which passed in 2023 and was just recently finalized in the regulatory rule-making process, significantly expands support for breastfeeding at work (in addition to accommodations for pregnancy and other pregnancy related conditions). Again, employers do not have to wait to be told what or how to do breastfeeding support; it’s clear that moms want and need a clean place to pump that has an outlet, fridge and access to a sink, and they need not only time to pump, but the support of their bosses and colleagues to do so.

Childcare access and affordability

Whether a family sits on a daycare waitlist for years, has to commute in the opposite direction for an extra hour to get to the only available childcare spot, or put their entire paycheck toward childcare, it’s clear that in every corner of this country, there is a childcare crisis of access and affordability. Many moms want to work. Women have reached monumental heights in educational attainment and career pathways. But childcare presents an untenable situation, which forces many moms or their partners to leave the workforce, take part-time jobs, or compromise on their career ladder to accommodate their limited childcare options. We need better childcare.

Mental health support

The rates of postpartum depression and anxiety skyrocketed during and after the pandemic. The postpartum period is far longer than the limited amount of time a mom might get off for leave, and mental health challenges are common. Moms need employers to develop and support robust mental health supports; therapy and psychiatric medication access should be a part of every employer benefits package, and saves not only lives, but strengthens the bottom line of organizations. Happier, healthier moms equal more productive teams.

The icing on the Mother’s Day cake of implementing robust support is that the outcomes are beneficial for more than just mothers. When moms are supported, families, children and partners benefit in significant ways—such as fewer days of missed work, more stable income and better health outcomes. Organizations benefit too; studies show that companies profit more when the moms on their team have the support mentioned here.

This Mother’s Day—and those in the years to come—bring us those flowers, the breakfast in bed; we adore the little gestures, the handmade cards, and we’d love a nap, but we also need broader support… all throughout the year. As we remember our mamas this month, make a commitment on an individual and organizational level to tackle one—or all—of the things moms really want and need.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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