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I love Mother’s Day because it is a time to reflect on the priceless care moms provide for free. Well, perhaps not free, but without a documentable price tag. Think back to your best childhood memories. Most likely, they involve home and family, and someone there for you every step of the way. For many of us, the time we spend with our mothers/children is the most precious.

I salute the mothers of the USA for their courage. We are the richest nation on earth and yet the price our nation extracts from caregivers is amongst the highest in the world. Many mothers have no or insufficient healthcare or retirement plans in their own names. This is because usually both are tied to employment. Often those mothers who seek employment outside the home pursue a flexible work schedule to accommodate their role as caregiver. The price paid for this flexibility is immense. Those who work part time or flex time (often mothers) experience a sizeable wage gap compared to fulltime, salaried workers. This is in part because flex jobs tend to be more available at lower skill levels and a consequent skills gap develops and widens between those holding part-time versus fulltime positions. Additionally, the flex time worker often pays more for healthcare proportionately than a fulltime, salaried employee and has less ability to contribute to a retirement plan. However, given that fulltime employment in the U.S. often means 40+ hour weeks, few sick days or vacation days and an inability to telecommute, mothers opt for lower-paying, more flexible alternatives. Perhaps there is an instinctual calculator in their brains that adds up all the value they are giving to their family each and every day and knows that this sums to more than a wage differential.

I joined because I believe the price of motherhood in this country does not need to be so high. I believe that we are in a millennium that will increasingly seek balance including work/life balance. I’d like to think that one day mothers can spend time raising a family and still have healthcare and the ability to accumulate retirement savings. Mothers are renowned multi-taskers. Technology and the ability to telecommute could prove to one day become a woman’s best friend as we build a world in which moms can balance caregiving with paid work and achieve both at a high level.

Until then I celebrate the courage of mothers who innately know that although at times the price of motherhood may same unnecessarily high, it can also offer the most valuable rewards. After all, where would we all be without mothers?

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