The Power of ONEsies marshals maternal forces for political battle

| November-December 2008

  • Moms Rising

    Image by Kyle T. Webster

  • Moms Rising

Contemporary mothers are chron­ically overburdened, sleep-deprived, and usually busy organizing something or other. And that’s made these working women notoriously difficult to organize for political action and social change.

A cyber-savvy bootstrap organization called is up for the challenge. Recruiting thousands of mothers (and anyone who has a mother) to join via its website, may have found the formula to engage, educate, and amplify the voices of America’s millions of mothers.

Most women in America become mothers (82 percent by the age of 44), and most mothers with kids under 18 (71 percent) work in the paid labor force.

While many mothers manage to juggle work and family commitments relatively successfully, millions of others find themselves crushed.

First, there are the wage hits: On average, women earn 25 percent less than their male counterparts. Mothers, in comparison to their childless female peers, take an additional estimated pay cut of 5 percent to 10 percent. There’s also the lack of flexibility to work reduced or flexible hours or to take time off when a child is sick or has a school emergency. And the realization that they must tolerate substandard child care because good alternatives are unaffordable. And the fact that taking a leave, even an unpaid leave, following childbirth might lead to a pink slip.

Facts like these led Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner to write The Motherhood Manifesto and—when their research revealed that U.S. policies to support mothers and families lag well behind those of other industrial nations—to found in May 2006.