A Mother in the United States

Illustration for article titled A Mother in the United States
Image: Mike Mozart (Flickr Creative Commons)

A mother in the United States is most likely to receive a greeting card as a gift on Mother’s Day (77 percent), followed closely by flowers (69 percent) and a meal outside the house (55 percent). Associated spending is expected to reach $23.1 billion in 2018, down from $23.6 billion in 2017.


A mother in the United States might be lying when she says she liked your Mother’s Day gift.

A mother in the United States is raising a child without a partner in 23 percent of households.

A mother in the United States is disproportionately likely to live in poverty if she is raising a child without a partner. In 2015, more than one in three single mother-headed households lived in poverty. For black women, that number was nearly two in five. For Latinas, it was more than two in five. For Native women, it was nearly half.

A mother in the United States working full-time at the current federal minimum wage earns $15,080 annually. A single mother of two earning a minimum wage salary would need to work 139 hours each week in order to bring home the equivalent of a living wage income, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator. There are 168 hours in a week.

A mother in the United States, if she is Ivanka Trump, spends $15,000 each month to rent a 7,000-square-foot home in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC.

A mother in the United States, if she lives in Washington, DC, pays more than $22,000 a year for full-time infant care, a cost that exceeds the costs of in-city public college tuition. “For the average single parent, the cost for this day care would consume more than 88 percent of income,” the Washington Post noted in 2015.


A mother in the United States can expect more phone calls to be made on Mother’s Day than on any other day of the year.

A mother in the United States feels under pressure.

A mother in the United States, if she has crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization, will be separated from her children and prosecuted, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. At least 700 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border since October 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Between 2016 and 2017, there has been a 41 percent increase in the number of undocumented immigrants arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


A mother in the United States experiences a pay gap because she is a mother.

A mother in the United States should consider supporting Every Mother Counts, an organization that works with community-led programs to make pregnancy and childbirth safer in this country and globally, according to a Mother’s Day gift guide posted by IvankaTrump.com. In March, the Trump administration blocked—for the second time—funding to the United Nations Population Fund, the agency that supports maternal health and newborn care in more than 150 countries.


A mother in the United States, on average, spends more time each week on house work and childcare than a father in the United States.

A mother in the United States is tired.

Senior editor, Jezebel



I went to a funeral for a family friend yesterday, and while talking to my parents and several other family friends, we somehow got onto the topic of daycare. (I think someone asked if my husband and I were thinking about having another kid, and I said we couldn’t afford it.) When I told them how much we pay for day care (not quite as bad as DC since we live in a lower COL city, but still 18 grand a year), they were gobsmacked. “But . . . I mean, it’s almost more financially viable for one of you to just quit working,” my dad said. And yet if you ask my dad if he believes in universal day care (or universal health care), he’ll mumble about boot straps and how In His Day, people worked for the things they needed. He (and a lot of people in his generation) seemingly have NO IDEA how expensive basic* needs are.

All I asked for for Mother’s Day is the same thing I’ve asked for for the last 14 years - a quiet house for five hours so I can work on a hobby, read a book, or take a nap. We’ll see.

*Not that day care itself is basic - ours is great and does so much with my toddler that I could or would never think to do. But childcare itself is a basic need for a nation that wants people to work.