The letter, crafted by founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, was published in The New York Times and has created quite a stir. This group of women wants a “Marshall Plan for Moms,” fashioned after the 1948 initiative that gave over $15 billion in aid to Western Europe following World War II.
“Dear President Biden,” the letter reads, “You know this well: moms are the bedrock of society. And we’re tired of working for free.” The letter goes on to lament the fact that COVID has decimated the careers of millions of mothers. This “national crisis,” as the authors have termed it, can be solved with action from the president, including the aforementioned monthly payments and the passage of “long overdue policies like paid family leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity.”
“Motherhood isn’t a favor and it’s not a luxury,” the letter concludes. “It’s a job.”
Distributing Taxpayer Dollars to Mothers Won’t Solve the Economic Crisis
It’s true that Americans have lost nearly 10 million jobs in the past year due to the pandemic. Across the nation, schools have shut down their physical campuses and gone virtual, which has both angered parents and harmed the well-being of children. Many mothers are now being tasked with both working from home and monitoring their children’s schooling. Many have left their jobs altogether in order to stay home. But is the answer to this upheaval to distribute taxpayer dollars to mothers?
The Marshall Plan of 1948, named after then Secretary of State George C. Marshall, was a four-year plan to rebuild the devastated economies of Western Europe. It also aimed at encouraging commerce between European countries and the United States and halting the spread of Communism. The plan worked to promote two decades of economic growth in those countries that were allies of the United States, both preserving the free world and benefiting the American economy.
Mothers should be demanding an end to COVID restrictions that have closed schools and workplaces.
A plan that doles out payments to women on the basis of being mothers will not achieve any such effects. Rather, it will perpetuate a suffering economy by encouraging women to remain out of the workforce and schools to remain closed. It will also send us into a further economic crisis, as the money for this program would, of course, come out of the pockets of taxpayers.
Instead of this quick fix (which will ultimately not fix anything), mothers — and all Americans — should be demanding an end to COVID restrictions that have shuttered businesses, resulting in unprecedented job losses and the current economic crisis. We should also be demanding that schools follow the science and reopen for in-person instruction. This would enable working mothers to return to work and prevent any need for financial aid from the government. Simply put, we need to fix the economy — not rely on handouts.
Motherhood Is Not Just a J-O-B
The other issue with this plan is the manner in which it reduces motherhood to an exhausting and unfulfilling job that needs repayment. The site MarshallPlanforMoms defines mother as an “unpaid female caregiver responsible for virtual schooling, cleaning, nursing, nannying, cooking, tech support. Likely forced to leave the workforce during Covid-19 pandemic.”
As a mother, I take issue with this definition. Though it’s directed at furthering their misguided mission, their summary of motherhood is both saddening and demeaning. No, mothers are not granted a salary, and, yes, we perform many tasks that go unseen and unpraised by the world. But motherhood is not a burden. It’s a blessing in which beauty abounds in those unseen moments of loving self-sacrifice. It’s a calling that enables women to become who they were created to be. It’s a gift in which the mother, in her giving, receives, not a paycheck, but the boundless love of her child and the fulfillment of fostering and witnessing the growth of a unique individual. So, please, do not reduce my vocation to an unpaid job that warrants government assistance.
So, please, do not reduce my vocation to an unpaid job that warrants government assistance.
And do not reduce children to a tiresome job. The mothers who signed this letter may regard their offspring as less than a gift, but that’s not how most mothers feel. Our children are our paychecks. Their existence alone is enough fulfillment for us. We do not need $2,400 from the government to make us feel as if our motherhood is worth it.
To quote fathers from every generation, life isn’t fair. Hardships abound, whether deserved or undeserved. American mothers are certainly experiencing great adversity during this pandemic (largely at the hands of politicians who have enacted harmful policies in the name of “stopping the spread”). That doesn’t mean that we should turn to the government for an end to our woes, though. Rather, we need to count our blessings, focus our energies on real solutions, and handle current difficulties with grace, perseverance, and ingenuity.