Really. The crushing levels of stress so many parents endure is largely due to structural problems reinforced by our politicians, employers, and the entrenched systems governing everything from healthcare to education.
Your salary barely covers childcare, but your coworkers give you side-eye when you leave at five. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a partner who helps around the house, you’re still the one who knows when your kid needs new shoes – and remembers to buy birthday presents for other people’s kids. If you see one more photo of old white men signing a law about what women can do with their bodies, you’ll scream. And don’t get us started on maternity leave.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
“For some women, their best shot at receiving maternity care in America is incarceration: they’ve got better access to care in prison than outside of it.”
For starters, the US is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t have mandatory maternity leave, forcing a quarter of new mothers to return to work within two weeks of giving birth. The cost of full-time childcare is 85% of the median cost of rent in some regions, leading too many women to leave the workforce to look after their kids. And perhaps most alarming, the US has the worst maternal death rate in the developed world – and the rate of women dying from pregnancy-related complications is actually rising. (For some women, their best shot at receiving maternity care in America is incarceration: they’ve got better access to care in prison than outside of it.)
If the work of parenting in this country feels overwhelming, welcome to the club.