Sunday is Mother’s day in the U.S. Around the world, countries tend to honor Mom one day each spring. But the truth is: For millions, it’s just another day in poverty. This week, let’s look at how well we honor mothers and motherhood. Has this become a hollow holiday?
You have to raise that question when you consider facts like these:
- About one in four American children are raised in single-parent families, and most of these are headed by a single mother.
- Eight-five percent of single-parent families with children under 18 are headed by women, as are 92% of single-parent families with children under 3.
- Poverty rates are the highest for these single-parent families headed by women, compared to these families headed by men or a married couple, especially if they are African American or Latino families.
This situation doesn’t appear to be improving! If the Republican plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system becomes law, women and mothers will suffer more than others. Almost two of three recipients of Medicare are women. With the voucher system, they will end up paying more and more healthcare costs. Men will, too, but there’s a crucial difference, says Jeffrey Lewis, president of the Heinz Family Philanthropies.
Women who raise children or care for elderly parents are more likely than men to work part-time, take the “mommy track,” or take several years out of the workforce. Given the way Social Security is calculated, this means that they will get far less money when they retire—and far less money to pay for healthcare with the voucher system. Just how much money are we talking about? “Women who work as full-time, non-paid caregivers for aging parents, disabled children, etc., lose approximately $650,000 in lifetime wages and retirement benefits,” notes Lewis.
If they’re lucky, Mother’s Day means carnations, cards, and dinner out. But for many mothers in America, Mother’s Day is … Well, you tell us, please:
What kind of Mother’s Day will it be in your community?
Is Mother’s Day a hollow holiday?
How would you honor mothers this week?
(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)