In spite of the frenzy of back-to-school and end-of-summer, over 30 parents and community members came together in Chester County earlier this month to celebrate caregiving, and remind our members of Congress that essential programs like paid family and medical leave, early learning, and home and community-based services keep our families afloat!
MomsRising joined the Fund for Women and Girls, CASA in Action, and special guest Representative Chrissy Houlahan for a meet-up with crafts for kids, tasty boxed lunches from local cafe Arianna's, and the chance to input into an incredible graphic recording of our experiences as caregivers (above). Following the event, Representative Houlahan hosted a Town Hall to continue the converastion around caregiving, with speakers from MomsRising, the Chester County Intermediate Unit, and the YMCA.
Women and families have borne the brunt of COVID-19, and urgently need increased investments in our ability to both care for our loved ones (and ourselves) and work. In addition to the great conversations in the room, we also passed along powerful stories from local moms who couldn't join us in person, below:
It is vital that parents be able to care for their children without the threat of loss of wages: Parents make all sorts of sacrifices for their children. The cost of childcare can be as much as a mortgage payment. If a parent has to take time off to take their children to visit a doctor or to stay home with a sick youngster, that decision should not be overshadowed by how much money these parents will lose if that happens. Responsible parents should not be penalized for doing the right thing - keeping their own kids safe and healthy, keeping sick kids home so they don't infect other kids, and making sure that they can still pay their bills. Please support the paid leave and childcare initiatives. - A
I know so many couples who have to work (both) to get by, but the cost of childcare eats up the entire second income. As a mother myself, it's GOOD childcare that is illusive. I have experienced the trauma of having to take my young children to sitters who basically fed them and left them in front of a DVD player for hours. That's all I could picture all day long. We need to make childcare both affordable to the parent and incentivized to the caregiver. - J
My husband had colon cancer in 2010. Paid leave ...was a lifesaver!
My maternity leave was so short (and I had what most would consider a "good" leave in the U.S.) that I was using my sick days (of which my company only gives 3 for the whole year) for doctors appointments to address postapartum complications that I was still dealing with when I went back to work. So now if I or one my family members gets sick during the remainder of the year, I'll have to use my personal PTO or go unpaid. - K
It is long past time for the United States to have child care and paid leave policies that a just and productive society requires. The pandemic demonstrates the devastating consequences of not having that. - N
My daughter has autism and her school has been said to be closed for the rest of the school year and I would like to have some paid time because I don't get anything now and I’m a home health aid. I work all the time and I’m putting not only me but my family at risk. - R
When I was home recovering from my c-section, my husband got called back to work before our son was 10 days old. He was entitled to more vacation time but, of course, NO parental leave. Breastfeeding was still not established and I wasn't supposed to use the stairs. I had to ask my friend's mom to come, essentially, babysit me while I was trying to heal from major abdominal surgery. It all was fine in the end and some people have much more trouble, but, you know, it sucked. He was stuck at work instead of bonding with the new baby while I was high and dry trying to manage a tiny newborn who didn't get nursing (ok, neither did I). I had to call my neighbors to ask for an obscure medicine to make the milk turn on and, postpartum mess, I cried on the phone. My neighbors (husband was a pharmacist and wife is from Poland) were so horrified I was on my own they dropped everything and raced me the medicine from their store. I'm so lucky people helped me, but again, at the time it sucked. - B
I work at a large investment company, but I'm not a senior leader. I’m a support person. I am very lucky that I get paid leave, but if I didn't have that, I don't know what I would have done. I’m now a single mom with 3 kids. My ex dies not pay anything towards his children. If I ever got sick, or if one of my kids got very ill, without paid leave we would lose our rented home. I don't know what I would do. - J