Moving America Forward

Ask the Experts: 6 Ways to Help Support New Mothers

May 8, 2014
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Ask the Experts: 6 Ways to Help Support New Mothers
Mothers tend to struggle most in their small day-to-day moments with a new baby. That’s why connecting with a support group of other mothers is so important. Scott Olson/Getty Images
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which was introduced last December as an improvement on current family and medical leave benefits, would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income — 66 percent of wages, up to a capped amount — after the birth or adoption of a child. Ian Waldie/Getty Images
Forty percent of private-sector workers in the U.S. don’t get a single paid sick day. And many more than that aren’t allowed to use the sick leave they have to care for an ailing child. The proposed Healthy Families Act would change that, setting a national standard for paid sick days. John Moore/Getty Images
Being a mom is the toughest — and most important — job in the world. So how can we aid new mothers in their transition to parenthood? Our experts weigh in.

A hundred years ago this week, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May a national holiday. Since then, Mother’s Day has been commercialized into oblivion, but the original notion of the holiday was fairly revolutionary for its time, part of a broader movement toward women’s rights and equality.

We’re still struggling to get there. While almost 70 percent of American moms work, and are the primary breadwinners in nearly a quarter of households with children under 18, they’re still not earning as much as their childless counterparts. The problem of the working mom has been vigorously debated in recent years by the media — over women “having it all,” “leaning in” or opting to stay at home — but what we don’t often hear are the solutions, the ways in which we can make it easier for mothers to succeed either at home or work. Success for mothers can’t be underestimated: If we can improve their situation, we’ll improve outcomes for the entire family unit — and the country as a whole.

So, as part of NationSwell’s Ask the Experts series, we asked our panel how we can realistically advance support of new mothers in today’s society, whether by national policy, shifts in societal perceptions or nongovernmental programs. Read on for their thoughts, and then join the conversation by leaving your own ideas in the comments box below.

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