A famous person once said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
That would be Abraham Lincoln, who certainly qualifies in the famous department, and who did, indeed, become all he could ever hope to be.
Today is Mother’s Day, and of all the thousands of special “days” each year, this one ranks right up near the top.
Mother’s Day originated in this country in the early 1900s. There was legislation in Congress in 1908 to make this a federal holiday, but the effort failed after a congressman suggested if Mother’s Day was so honored, they’d also have to proclaim a national Mother-in-Law’s Day. So?
But this is the special day to honor your mom for her duty and service to humanity, and especially to you. Mothers teach children to be themselves, and the best mothers do so leading by example. And no matter how hard you try, you and your mother are an inextricable mixture of personalities and values.
Or, as one modern-day mom puts it, “Motherhood is a lifetime hike to an undetermined destination requiring the sturdiest boots and an endless supply of age-appropriate gear.”
Amen to that, because without exception, motherhood can be one of the toughest jobs on the planet — if you intend to do it with maximum good results, because society and cultural norms don’t always cooperate with a diligent mom.
That is the case these days, because nearly three-quarters of moms with young children are also in the work force. The personal-finance website WalletHub has pieced together a snapshot of working moms, and we’ll warn you right up front, the picture of California is not very flattering.
Of all 50 states, California ranks 49th in the quality of day care facilities and availability, 44th in the cost of child care when adjusted for the median women’s salary in this state, 46th in the women’s overall jobless rate, and a dismal last place when it comes to women’s median pay in the work place.
In fact, the very best California can do in the Mother’s Day survey is 15th nationwide in women’s earnings vs. men’s earnings. The gender gap is there, it’s just not as wide as it is in the majority of other states.
As you may also have guessed, California’s overall standing in the Mother’s Day survey is a bleak 40th.
That is an unfortunate fact, given that women make up nearly half the adult working population, but earn just 85 percent of what men earn nationally, Maybe that has something to do with the fact that the majority of working moms also have a job with young kids at home. Moms tend not to get the big jobs. A quick look at the CEOs of Standard & Poor 500 companies shows less than 5 percent are women.
That inequality could be a subject of conversation today, and how gender roles are shifting, like much of modern-day life. The workplace disparities bleed over into our social structure, in which young moms must choose between jobs and their families. There has to be a better way.
Many companies are adopting more family-friendly policies, and that helps. But there could be more discussion and consideration of women’s and mothers’ issues at the federal level. Perhaps an increase in the number of women being elected to Congress will help start such a movement. And the day will come when Americans elect a woman president.
We’re pretty sure Abe Lincoln would say amen to that.