Eating Local: Farmers' Markets for Philly Mamas

According to this week’s #WCW, Registered Dietitian Dalina Soto, buying local produce is the healthiest choice for mamas and their families because the food has to travel less and can be picked at peak ripeness, resulting in more nutrients and better tasting fruits and veggies! In keeping with Dalina’s advice, we decided to research Philadelphia’s best places to shop local produce and more! Thanks to Uwishunu, The Food Trust and philadelphiarunner.com, here is what we found:

        Photo courtesy of The Food Trust on Instagram

        Photo courtesy of The Food Trust on Instagram

Reading Terminal Market: located at 1201 Arch Street, Reading terminal is open seven days a week and has more local options than one could imagine, including produce, meats and baked goods. Given that it is open daily and that it is so easy to get to—just a short walk through Jefferson station off the train lines—we think it’s worth the stop.

Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market: Open Tuesdays and year-round on Saturdays and located at 18th and Walnut, the Rittenhouse farmers' market may not be open every day, but is worth the wait! With fresh, often organic, produce, locally made hummus and other artisanal food offerings, the Rittenhouse farmers' market is not one to miss!

Clark Park Farmers’ Market: Located at 43rd and Baltimore Avenue, and open Thursdays and year-round on Saturdays, the Clark Park farmers’ market is a great West Philly stop for local produce for your family! Even better, different vendors are present for the Thursday and Saturday markets, so shoppers get twice the variety of vendors at one location!

Just some of the local foods available at these Philadelphia farmers' markets!  Photos courtesy of The Food Trust on Instagram

Just some of the local foods available at these Philadelphia farmers' markets!  Photos courtesy of The Food Trust on Instagram

Headhouse Farmers' Market: Located at 2nd and Lombard, the Headhouse Farmers’ Market is located in Society Hill and is one of The Food Trust’s largest markets in Philadelphia. Visit this farmers’ market not only for fresh produce, but also for prepared foods and to grab a bite at one of the food trucks in attendance!

Dilworth Park: Conveniently taking place during Wednesday lunch hours (10-2), this farmer’s market is located at Broad and Market and is the ideal lunch break detour to stock up on local produce mid-week! This summer is the Dilworth Farmers’ market’s first season, so be sure to check it out!

Fitler Square Farmer’s Market: Located at 23rd and Pine and taking place year-round on Saturdays, the Fitler Square Market sells not only local produce, but other locally-made goods including Philly Fair Trade Roasters Coffee, PB & Jams nut butters and meat and dairy from Apple Tree Goat Dairy. Some of their produce offerings are even grown hydroponically at Brogue Hydroponics!

Have any other favorite Philadelphia-area farmers' markets?
Tell us about them in the comments below!

 

Motherhood at the DNC: Our Favorite Mama Moments

Motherhood is always on our minds at Mama Said, so we were so excited to hear so much about our favorite topic at the DNC last week! Check out some of our favorite motherhood-related highlights below!

First Lady Michelle Obama:

First Lady Michelle Obama: "You see, Hillary understands that the President is about one thing and one thing only-- it's about leaving something better for our kids. That's how we've always moved this country forward-- by all of us coming together on behalf of our children-- folks who volunteer to coach that team, to teach that Sunday school class because they know it takes a village."

To read a full transcript of the First Lady's speech, click here

The Mothers of the Movement:

Geneva Reed-Veal: "I'm here with Hillary Clinton because she is a leader and a mother who will say our children's names."

Lucia McBath: "She isn't afraid to sit at a table with grieving mothers and bear the full force of our anguish. She doesn't build walls around her heart. Not only did she listen to our problems, she invited us to become part of the solution."

Sybrina Fulton: "This isn't about being politically correct. It's about protecting our children... Hillary is the one mother who can ensure our movement will succeed."

To read a full transcript of the Mothers of the Movement speech, click here

Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton: "I’ve seen her holding the hands of mothers, worried about how they’ll feed their kids, worried about how they’ll get them the healthcare they need. I’ve seen my mother promising to do everything she could to help. I’ve seen her right after those conversations getting straight to work, figuring out what she could do, who she could call, how fast she could get results. She always feels, like there isn’t a moment to lose, because she knows that for that mother, for that family there isn’t."

To read a full transcript of Chelsea Clinton's DNC speech, click here.

Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton: "Standing here as my mother's daughter, and my daughter's mother, I'm so happy this day has come. Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. Happy for boys and men, too-- because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit."

To read a full transcript of Hillary Clinton's DNC speech, click here

Were you also inspired by all of the motherhood talk at the DNC? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

 

 

One Healthy Mama: An Interview With Registered Dietitian Dalina Soto

Dalina Soto is a bilingual registered dietitian and the founder of Nutritiously Yours, LLC. Because Spanish is her first language and because she is a mama herself, Dalina offers a unique perspective on nutrition, focusing on what is both realistic and healthiest for each of her clients. Check out our interview with Dalina below!

 Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

 Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

E: Why did you decide to become a registered dietitian?

D: I actually started off at Penn State as pre-med and because I am lazy I decided that I didn’t want to really do a gym class, so another way to get that credit for an elective is to take nutrition. So, I took the class and I fell in love and I was like, this is want to do. I figured, going into medicine, I’m going to be on the other spectrum, I’m going to be working with people when they are already too sick. With nutrition, I can actually help prevent the sickness and help them to get healthier without having to go into a doctor’s office all the time. So I decided to switch my career because I wanted to be on more of the preventative side.

E: When your typical client comes in, what are they looking for from you, what kind of help?

D: When a client comes in, they are usually, for the most part looking for either weight loss help, or if they get a referral from a doctor it is usually because they are diabetic or have high blood pressure or there’s some sort of chronic disease going on that can be helped with nutrition[…] Because we are on the preventative care side, we can definitely help you deal with anything and everything. Almost every disease state has nutrition implications, so we can definitely help you fight a disease and help you get better. I have a lot of clients that have lupus or have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or other diseases that you would never think are [connected to] nutrition, but they are. Nutrition can definitely help you get on a better track, get healthier, it can help you get off some of your medications. We can help a lot.

A balanced breakfast that Dalina shared with Mama Said at Bluestone Lane Coffee! Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

A balanced breakfast that Dalina shared with Mama Said at Bluestone Lane Coffee! Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

E: Sounds like it! I see on your website that you accept insurance for up to six free visits with a registered dietitian, can you tell me a little bit about that, how you learned that option and if many of your clients take advantage of this?

D: So I became a provider due to the new Affordable Care Act. Because the health care industry spent so much money on E.R. visits and doctors visits, they decided, why don’t we start focusing on preventative care, and they realized that registered dietitians would be the best way to help their patients and clients. […] The problem is, I don’t think it’s very well advertised. [… ] We can help with picky eating if you’re a mom, we can help with breast feeding, we can help with meal planning, food shopping, anything. We can help a lot.

E: I also see on your website that you are a Spanish speaking dietitian. Do you see a lot of Spanish speaking clients?

D: Right now, no, because I’m trying to get the word out that I do speak Spanish […] Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of Spanish-speaking dietitians so I want to get the word out there, I really want people knowing that I’m here and that they’re able to come and utilize the fact that I speak their language, that I eat the same foods that they eat, that I can help them get on a healthier path.

Photo courtesy of @Nutritiouslyyours

Photo courtesy of @Nutritiouslyyours

I think it’s really starting early and having them eat with you and having them see you eat and letting them know that what you’re putting in front of them is basically what they’re going to get.

E: I can imagine that if you’re seeing both English and Spanish-speaking clients they come from a variety of cultural background, so how does a client’s background influence what kind of advice you give them for nutrition?

D: I always want to focus on being culturally competent, so if someone comes in here and one of the things that I ask is, what do you like eating, and we’ll go through their food journal and go through what they’re eating on a daily basis. I ask them, “what are you not willing to give up?” because I want to make sure that they’re able to keep the foods that they love and still be healthy. One of my main things is that I want people to love food again, I want people to eat foods that they grew up eating and I want them to love their culture and eat its food, it’s just, how can we make it healthier for you and how can we get you on a better path while still enjoying those foods?

E: Given that Philadelphia is such a diverse city, I also imagine that you see clients with a lot of different economic backgrounds. How does a client’s financial standing influence the advice that you give them?

D: It influences a lot. […] There are people that live in communities where there aren’t any super markets what they have is corner stores and fast food places. I’m going to help them make a healthy choice with what they’ve got. I’m not going to sit there and say, “you need to go to the super market and you need to buy fresh fruits and they need to be organic,” I would never say something like that. I try to find out where they live, find out what resources they have around them and teach them how to make the healthier choice with the resources they have. If McDonald’s is the only thing that they have available to them and they have to feed their kids, then what can we get on that menu that’s going to help them get on a healthier path? There’s plenty of things that you can get on that menu that are going to be better than others.

E: As a mom that works outside of the home yourself, what are some of the things that you do to make sure you and your family stay healthy when you don’t have a lot of time to plan and prepare healthy meals?

D: I try at least once a week to get to a super market and buy a ton of fruits and vegetables and try to think ahead, if I can, to what I can buy to cook fast and easy when I get home. So fruits and vegetables, my fridge is always full of them and then I try to buy lean meat, so I have a lot of chicken cutlets, I‘ll have a lot of lean pork chops […] You don’t have to make an elaborate meal, you don’t have to go in the kitchen and cook for two, three hours.

Dalina and her daughter rocking one of Mama Said's favorite trends: Mama-daughter matching!

Dalina and her daughter rocking one of Mama Said's favorite trends: Mama-daughter matching!

 

E: Also as a mom, what do you think are the main things to focus on when it comes to nutrition for kids?

D: I think picky eating is one of the biggest things moms face, and so a lot of the time we think that we have to cater to our children and give them exactly what they are asking for or else they are not going to eat. I think it’s really starting early and having them eat with you and having them see you eat and letting them know that what you’re putting in front of them is basically what they’re going to get [...] I think we also have a portion distortion when it comes to children, which is that they should be eating a lot more than what they actually physically can eat, so a lot of the time it’s explaining to moms what a correct portion size is for a child that’s one or two so that they understand that [their] child is actually eating enough, you don’t have to worry.

E: What are your thoughts on eating locally grown food, organic food, and things like that?

D: I prefer locally grown just because they’re fresher, they’re traveling less and you can always wash them very well and eat them. There’s a fine line to walk when it comes to organic and non-organic and I think that you have to do what’s best for you and your family. I don’t think that everybody can afford organic, so if they can’t, I don’t want them to feel like they’re any less than anyone else because they can’t afford it, so I try not to focus on organic or non-organic. I try to focus more on locally grown because you’re going to get more nutrition out of it because they’re fresher and they’re traveling less, so you’re going to be able to get them at more peak ripeness.

E: What is the main takeaway that you think moms should know about nutrition for themselves and for their families?

D: So I think the main thing is, we shouldn’t be afraid of feeding our children. There’s sort of a stigma out there when it comes to our kids like, I can’t give them frozen chicken nuggets or I can’t go get them McDonald’s one day. I think it’s more about educating the parents to not have that guilt if they aren’t able to cook and they have to go to a fast food place. It’s more of, let’s just take the stress out of eating and just enjoy eating. Let’s learn to love food again and have your child have a healthy relationship with food. I think that’s the biggest thing for moms to learn. I think there’s a lot of info in the media and there’s a lot of expectations of these picture perfect families that you see and you want to be them, but let’s be honest, we’re not going to be them. I’m not going to be them and I have the knowledge. So let’s just learn to love food again and try to do our best with what we have.

E: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

D: I just think we need to learn how to relax and not be so hard on ourselves as moms, whether we’re working or staying at home, I think we have these expectations of what we should be and where we should be but it’s so hard to meet those expectations and we’re usually so hard on ourselves. We just need to learn to do what’s best for our families because no two families are the same, and we need to learn how to be a little bit less judgmental on ourselves.

photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours

photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours

There’s a lot of expectations of these picture perfect families that you see and you want to be them, but let’s be honest, we’re not going to be them. I’m not going to be them and I have the knowledge. So let’s just learn to love food again and try to do our best with what we have.

Interested in becoming a partner provider, in Dalina's services or the services of any other partner providers? Fill out a free consultation form here

Babies and Boudoir: An Interview with Photographer Cheyenne Gil

Cheyenne Gil is a Philadelphia-based photographer specializing in boudoir and maternity photography, and is the founder of the Body Love Tribe. Aside from being an incredibly talented photographer, Cheyenne is also a pro at loving her body, and helps her clients to do the same! Check out our interview with Cheyenne below!

                                                                Photo courtesy of cheyenne gil

                                                                Photo courtesy of cheyenne gil

E: How did you get started with photography?

C: I’ve actually had my business since I was 15. I’ve always been a drawer and a painter, and one day my mom got a really fancy digital camera when they first came out, and I took it when I was thirteen and started shooting all the time. I was photographing my little cousins, my parents, my brother, my friends and then I actually shot a wedding when I was fifteen. I got paid 300 bucks, my mom went with me and I shot the wedding. It was horrible and hilarious. I’ve been doing photography for about eleven or twelve years now, and I started specializing just working with women about six years ago.

E: Your specializations in boudoir and maternity photography don’t seem like they would necessarily go together. How did you decide on this combination?

C: I have always been interested in the female figure. Even in all my paintings and all my drawings, I’m always drawing women, and my focus has always been on body image. A lot of my work is about the relationships between mothers and daughters, specifically me and my own mom, and how the way she views herself affected how I view myself, even if it was an unintentional kind of thing. That’s how I got into boudoir, actually, my mom was my first client. I photographed her and she had so much fun and felt so beautiful and that’s when I realized I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to make everyone feel that way, knowing how she usually feels about her body, which is not good. I knew I wanted to do boudoir, and that moment I decided to just start creating this niche and stop advertising for all of the other stuff that I was doing. With that, I was getting inquiries for maternity, and I took it on because it’s really important to me to show women how strong our bodies are, […] that our bodies are so incredible and we so have to celebrate that and appreciate them. We’re trained to kind of think after we have a baby and while we’re pregnant that our bodies aren’t good enough, or worthy, or we can’t wait to get our bodies back. So to me, [maternity photography and boudoir] kind of go hand in hand.

E: Another focus of your photography is your Body Love Tribe. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

C: Anyone that I’ve ever photographed is part of the Body Love Tribe. I wanted to create some kind of community for women because all of us, no matter what we look like, have felt not good enough or focused on the little things on our bodies. I wanted women to know that we’re all in this together, whether you’re three hundred pounds or a hundred pounds, we all have our own thing, and I wanted to create a sisterhood that could be more open to sharing our concerns. I’m open on my instagram, I have my bad days. Although I love my body, there are days that I want to change it. I think that really kind of makes other women feel like its okay to have bad days and to feel bad sometimes, but it’s also okay to be really content or happy with the way they feel.

Photos by Cheyenne Gil

E: You touched on this earlier with your relationship with your mom, but how do you think a woman’s body image plays into her role as a mother?

C: I think that a lot of times moms don’t even realize how much [their perception of themselves] affects their children, whether they have a son or a daughter. I can only speak from the perspective of a daughter because I don’t have kids, but first of all my mom is a babe. She’s beautiful, she’s 47, she looks like she’s my sister. But when she was pregnant with me, she had gestational diabetes, so she gained 80 pounds with me. She had stretch marks all the way down from her boobs to her knees. […]Never has she called me fat or ugly, but growing up and watching her hate herself, I didn’t understand how she could possibly think that she was fat or gross or ugly, because first of all, our mothers are the most beautiful thing to us in the world, but not only that, my mom is actually the most beautiful thing in the world. I just couldn’t comprehend it. Also, I take after my dad, so I’m thicker, I’m taller, I have hips, I have boobs, my mom is flat chested, she has more of a boyish figure, so I have always weighed more than my mom as a scientific fact. So in my mind, all I kept thinking was, if she thinks she’s fat, then she has to think I’m fat because I weigh more than she does, that’s just the bottom line. So in those ways it affected me so much, and I never brought it up because I was a kid, but I think that body image affects how you parent because it’s a cycle, it’s a vicious cycle.

E: Who are your favorite clients to work with?

C: I can honestly say that I just love working with women. I love the mommy-and-me stuff one hundred percent, and maternity is absolutely incredible. The idea of maternity, a lot of people scoff at and say “oh that’s so tacky,” but every single maternity client that comes in here, after they have the baby, they email me and say “you don’t know what it means to me to have these images of the baby in my belly.” I personally would kill to have those pictures of my mom pregnant with me or my brother, they’re so awesome. I’ve never experienced giving birth, but it’s just such an incredible thing and I am so happy when people decide to document it. Mommy-and-me is awesome for the same reason, because having those pictures is so important. Fifty years from now, your kids are going to have these amazing images of you and them, that’s so cool. I also love boudoir because it’s freakin’ fun as hell. You get to roll around in your underwear! It’s just a good feeling to photograph women and really focus on the woman and womanhood and loving ourselves.

E: What are your general thoughts about working with mothers? Do you think that the best way to support moms is by helping them with their body confidence?

C: I think it’s really important to support mothers through body confidence! We do focus a lot on the body confidence thing, but with that, you’re focusing on bettering yourself. Aside from the image part of everything, you’re working on acceptance, and I think it’s so important for women in general to do this, because once you start accepting yourself, you can very easily start accepting other people. I’m sure there are other great ways we can help support moms, but [that's] my train of thought, because of my experience with my own mom, who is my best friend. That being said, she has also affected me in a lot of ways that she didn’t even know she was doing. I think it’s really important to stress that for moms, whether they have sons or daughters or both, it’s so important to support educating them on how to go about feeling about yourself so your kids can learn the same things.

Interested in becoming a partner provider, in Cheyenne's services or any of our other partner providers? Fill out a free consultation form here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Creative Bonus: Researchers Find No "Motherhood Penalty" in the Arts

               Photo courtesy of @ChristyBeasely 

               Photo courtesy of @ChristyBeasely 

In a recent article for The Atlantic, Bourree Lam reported on the motherhood penalty, but this time with more encouraging results—for some mamas. Lam detailed the recently published results of a study performed by Danielle Lindeman, Carly Rush and Steven Tepper “to assess the gendered earnings gap for artists.” Though the team found that, overall, “the gendered earnings gap is comparable for artists and nonartists,” in an encouraging turn of events“the wage penalty to motherhood that has been documented in virtually every other field” was not found.

As we already know, the gender pay gap does not only have to do with men’s salaries when compared to women’s, but also “with the well-documented disparity experienced by women with children.” Aside from the average 4% loss of wages that new mothers experience compared to the 6% increase in wages that new dads are rewarded, the “motherhood penalty,” rather than fading away with society’s awareness, has been a growing phenomenon, as recent surveys “suggest that mothers are less likely to be hired and, if hired, more likely to be held to higher standards.”

      Photo Courtesy of @Openhousecreative

      Photo Courtesy of @Openhousecreative

                          photo courtesy of @bergelands 

                          photo courtesy of @bergelands 

However, Lindeman, Rush and Tepper's study suggests that this “motherhood penalty” does not exist for mothers working in the arts. In this study, “the arts” referred to “jobs in the performing arts, design, art history, writing, film, the visual arts, and music.” And while the reason for why the “motherhood penalty” skipped over this sector is officially unknown, Danielle Lindeman believes that the reasoning lies in the flexible and “more project-based” nature of art-based careers. Lindeman also believes that artists might be “more likely to challenge gendered traditions,” resulting in more equally divided unpaid work (like cleaning, cooking and childcare) between artist mothers and fathers. Lindeman also believes that “artists maybe have more egalitarian ideas about child-rearing, so they’re sharing more equally in that sphere.”

The results from this study point to the benefits of flexible career schedules for parent employees, an argument also furthered by Economist Claudia Goldin’s research on the gender gap. While no field other than the arts was completely without the motherhood penalty, Goldin, “found smaller pay gaps in the technology, science, and health sectors—fields that tend to offer more flexibility,” and larger wage gaps between mothers and fathers in fields with more traditional schedules, including “corporate, financial and legal professions.”

While Lindemann suggest that partial reasoning for the absence of a motherhood penalty in the arts could be because "artists may be more liberal than the general population," Goldin's additional research solidifies that at least some part of this phenomenon is the result of the artist's flexible schedule. So maybe it's time to encourage our daughters to put down their Economics textbooks and pick up a paint brush-- at least until a non-existent "motherhood penalty" is the reality for women in all occupations.

Women to Watch at the 2016 DNC

With Hillary Clinton as the first female presumptive Democratic nominee, this year’s DNC is an exciting occasion for women! However, Hillary will not be the only notable lady speaking next week! Check out our list of women to watch at the DNC below!


First Lady Michelle Obama: The First Lady will be speaking the first night of the convention, with the theme of “United Together.” According to NPR, the convention’s opening night “will focus on putting the future of American families front and center and how we’re stronger together when we build an economy that works for everyone […] and when everyone has a chance to live up to their God-given potential.”

Astrid Silva: Silva, a DREAMer and immigration reform activist whose story was highlighted in an address by president Obama in November of 2014, will share the first night of festivities with First Lady Michelle Obama. According to NPR, “Silva will share her story and her fight to keep families together.”

 

Mothers of the Movement: Tuesday, the second night of the convention, is titled “A lifetime of fighting for children and families,” and will feature “Mothers of the Movement” as some of the key speakers. These mothers, including the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Sandra Bland, “have children who’ve died from gun violence, at the hands of the police, or both. The women have served as powerful surrogates for Clinton in recent months, telling their stories in primary states and campaign stops all across the country,” according to The Atlantic.

Chelsea Clinton: On Thursday night, titled “Stronger Together” (a mantra you may remember from Hillary’s campaign stop with Elizabeth Warren), Chelsea will speak alongside her mother, Hillary, the presumptive Democratic nominee. 

 

Hillary Clinton: On the final night of the convention, Hillary will finally take the stage with her daughter, Chelsea, and “will speak about her vision for the country—her belief that we are stronger together and that America is at its best when we work together to solve our problems," according to NPR.

Though the official schedule has not yet been released on the DNC website, four “Philadelphians who work in some form of child advocacy" are also set to speak at the convention next week, according to Philly.com. Two of of the Philadelphian speakers will be women: Kate Burdick, an attorney for the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, a “non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of children in Pennsylvania, [primarily in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems,” and Dynah Haubert, “a lawyer with the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania.”

Notably missing from this list of female speakers at the DNC is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is currently in the running for Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential nomination. Does her absence mean an all-female ticket is coming our way? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

Mamas at the DNC: Issues Related to Motherhood and Families Up for Discussion

           Photo courtesy of @pr3ttygirl41 on Instagram

           Photo courtesy of @pr3ttygirl41 on Instagram

With only one week until the Democratic National Convention begins right here in Philadelphia, we believe it’s important that Mamas are educated on the issues that will be discussed at the DNC, particularly those related to women, mothers and families! While the DNC takes place largely to confirm the Democratic candidate for this year’s election, the party will also adopt their official platform for the 2016 election next week. The platform will not be official until the convention’s close, but the Democratic Party has released a final draft of their platform, and there are some topics up for discussion that we think mamas should know about!


On “Equal Pay, Paid Leave, and Caregiving”

In their platform, the party pledges to pass the Equal Rights Amendments, marking the legal end of the gender wage gap. In addition, the elected Democratic candidate will pass a “family and medical leave act,” guaranteeing new parents “at least 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or address a personal or family member’s serious health issue.” The party also pledges to“ease the burden on family caregivers” in part by increasing childcare worker wages, investing in childcare and supporting those who care for aging or disabled loved ones.

 On “Early Childhood, Pre-K, and K-12 Education”

The new platform states that Democrats, if elected, will “invest in early childhood programs,” and make sure that all American families have access to “high-quality childcare and high-quality pre-K programs.” The platform states that “Democrats believe that a strong public eduation system is the anchor of our democracy, a propeller of the economy, and the vehicle through which we help all children achieve their dreams.” The party believes that all schools “should receive adequate resources and support,” and will “hold schools, districts, communities and states accountable for raising achievement levels for all students—particularly low-income students, students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.” The party will encourage mentoring programs, particularly “low-cost, high-yield” group mentoring, to close the “opportunity gap.” If elected, Democrats will also launch a campaign to “recruit and retain high-quality teachers.” Democrats will invest in STEM, computer science and arts education, and are committed to expanding “high-quality public school options” for low-income youth.

On “Productive health, rights, and justice”

The Democratic party believes “unequivocally that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.” Democrats pledge to continue opposing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and will repeal the Hyde Amendment, which currently allows for impeded access to abortions. The party pledges to “address the barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive healthcare services, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, and other factors.”

On “Violence Against Women and Sexual Assault”

Democrats are committed to ending violence against women by supporting the “Violence Against Women Act”, by supporting survivors and by increasing “prevention efforts in our communities and on our campuses.” The party pledgesto “provide comprehensive support to survivors, and ensure a fair process for all on-campus disciplinary proceedings and in the criminal justice system.” They will increase “sexual violence prevention education programs” in both colleges and high schools.

On “Women and Girls”

In their platform, Democrats pledge to “encourage [girls’] economic, political, and educational opportunities, and protect them from violence at home and abroad.” In addition to the previously mentioned statements on reproductive health in America, Democrats believe that safe abortions should be included in women’s health care, and should also be “part of America’s global health programming.” The Democratic party supports repealing the Helms Amendment so that the U.S. can “provide safe, legal abortion throughout the developing world."


Now that you know some of the major topics that will be talked about at DNC, how can you keep up with the conversations that take place once the convention starts? Twitter has teamed up with CBS to live-stream the DNC. You can also follow @DemConvention and @DWSTweets on twitter, and @demconvention on instagram to keep informed! For updates particularly relevant to women voters, follow @DNCwomen on twitter. Also follow the hashtags #DNC and #DemsinPhilly for live, crowdsourced updates on the convention!

Beating the Heat: Kid-friendly, indoor activities to stay healthy this summer

When its just too hot to go outside, it can seem difficult to keep up your healthy summer routines, especially when you have cooped-up kids to worry about! While it can be tempting to take a trip to the ice cream parlor or turn to TV, we have some healthier, kid-friendly ways to beat the heat!


Photo Credit babypost.com

Photo Credit babypost.com

Get Moving: Indoors Edition

With summer heat advisories that take trips to the park or playing in the backyard out of the picture, kids need a way to use up some of their pent-up energy indoors! Use these too-hot summer days to introduce your kids to some of your own favorite form of indoor fitness! Whether it be teaching your kids how to go through a basic sun salutation or how to incorporate a love of dance parties into a Zumba class, days stuck indoors can be an opportunity for kids to try out a new way to stay active! And don’t worry if you’re no pro yourself! Fitness videos can be rented from your local library or found online, and there are plenty of online resources detailing the best yoga poses for kids! 

 

Photo credit happyhealthymama.com

Photo credit happyhealthymama.com

Healthy Ways to Cool Down from
the Inside Out

Even if you’re staying inside on these too-hot days, it is important to stay hydrated and cool when the temperatures are climbing outside! And while ice cream and sugary slurpees will likely be what your kids' cool treats of choice, we’ve come up with some healthier, but just as tasty, alternatives. Set a build-your-own smoothie bar with different frozen fruits and flavors of yogurt! Your kids will love getting to decide what goes into their cold treat so much that they will forget all about the ice cream that they were begging you for earlier! Bonus points for sneaking in healthy greens when they aren't looking! Frozen bananas also serve as a great substitute for those summer ice cream cravings, and dipping them in chocolate will convince your kids that they're getting a treat! Just as important as staying cool is staying hydrated, and this also can be done in the form of frozen snacks! Frozen grapes and watermelon popsicles are some great alternative ways to stay hydrated. But, especially on the hottest summer days, it is important to make sure you and your kids are drinking plenty of water, too!

 

Photo Credit parentmap.com

Photo Credit parentmap.com

Relax and Give Back

Looking for an alternative to TV time that you can enjoy along with your kids? Have an indoor spa day! There are so many of easy to make, kid-friendly spa treatments like cucumber masks  and brown sugar-and-honey body scrubs that you can make together with your kids, and then enjoy! And no spa day is complete without manis and pedis! Be brave and give your kids a try painting your nails, but remember to keep the nail polish remover close by! If you're itching for a way to get out of the house, you could also visit a family spa like Philadelphia's own,  Primp and Play, which welcomes kids for treatments, too!

Days stuck inside are also a great time to talk to your kids about the importance of giving back, and brainstorm ways that they can help others! Alanna Wall is the 16-year-old found of the non-profit Polished Girlz, an organization that “hosts manicure parties for hospitalized children and children with special needs.” Alanna is currently raising money for the Polished Girlz Ball that she is hosting for over 100 girls and their families. While your manis and pedis are drying, take the time to talk to your kids about how they could help support kid-related causes like this one, whether it be by having a lemonade stand to raise money to donate or by holding a nail-polish drive! 

Like our ideas for how to beat the summer heat? Check out our Beat the Heat Pinterest board for even more kid-friendly ways to stay healthy when it's hot outside!

 

Woman Crush Wednesday: SERENA WILLIAMS

Following her 2016 Wimbledon win, Serena Williams has entered the spotlight as the latest and greatest advocate for women everywhere! Whether it be her recitation of Maya Angelou's powerful poem, "Still I Rise," or her empowering (and hilarious) video in which she pelts a sexist critic with tennis balls, Serena is showcasing how strong women are, on and off the tennis court.

Serena's Recitation of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise":

Serena Takes on a Critic:

Have any examples of a time when Serena empowered you?
Share them with us in the comments below!

FreeQuency's "The Joys of Motherhood": A Powerful Look at Black Motherhood in America

In the wake of the heartbreaking violence that occurred in the U.S. last week, spoken-word poet Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa's poem, "The Joys of Motherhood," provides a look at what it's like to be a black mother in America amidst the violence that threatens her community today. Through her poem, Katwiwa shares the underrepresented experience of black motherhood in America as she describes what it is like to doubt her dreams of becoming a mother in response to the treatment of the black community in our country. Though this poem was performed at the Women of the World Poetry Slam over a year ago, her sentiments undoubtedly remain true today.

Police violence and oppression of the black community are nationwide phenomena, but there are Philadelphia-specific ways to become involved in the movement for racial equality. Protestors aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement staged protests for five nights (From Wednesday, July 6 to Sunday, July 10) across the city of Philadelphia, and will be resuming their protests this Wednesday, June 13, when they gather at city hall for hopefully their largest protest yet. Another organization, Philly Showing Up for Racial Justice, also staged a protest in front of city hall this morning, "calling for police accountability and an end to racist police violence."  The group has been organizing their protests through their Facebook page. 

Mama Said is dedicated to listening and responding to the voices of all mothers.
We stand in solidarity with mamas of color. 

Mini Mamas: Mother-Daughter Fashion on the Runway

As a little girl, what's more fun than dressing up like your mama? 

This time, we're not talking about tripping in mom's too-big high heels, dragging her skirts on the floor and rolling up too-long sweater sleeves two or three or four times (see Molly Guy aka Stonefox Bride's adorable daughter, Sunny, below). Recently, some of the world's most influential fashion houses have been creating mother-daughter collections, featuring everyday dresses and ball gowns alike, and we're a little bit in love!

Molly Guy's daughter, Sunny, sports her mama's accidentally-shruken favorite sweater.

Molly Guy's daughter, Sunny, sports her mama's accidentally-shruken favorite sweater.

The trend started with Victoria Beckham's mother-daughter line for shop bop.com in 2014. In an effort to raise money for the Born Free initiative, Beckham (along with 21 other top designers) designed a line for the cause. Featuring a collection of mother-daughter dresses, Beckham gave mamas and their daughters the chance to support the cause. 

 

Less charitably, but no less fashionably, Dolce and Gabbana followed suit with their Summer 2016 collection, this time featuring mother-daughter sets on the runway, sporting gowns for days and for nights.

 

Most recently, designer Elie Saab has caught on to the mini-me trend, featuring mother-daughter pairs in the label's Autumn-Winter 2016-17 runway show. 

 

Are you also loving the mother-daughter trend? Check out our Mama and Me board on Pinterest to see more stylish mother-daughter duos!

Postpartum Rest: Historically, Globally and in America Today

A History of Postpartum Rest in America

The book Lying In: A History of Childbirth in America, written by Richard and Dorothy Wertz, describes how the closing of the American frontier coincided with the end of a “lying in” period for new American mothers. The “lying in” period served as a time of postpartum rest for new moms, an offshoot of “social childbirth, with its volunteer woman-to-woman help.” Lee Mcclenon, a trained doula, notes that “birth used to be much more of a communal experience and women [in their twenties] would have witnessed many births and the childcare experience.” In an article written for thedailybeast.com, author Hillary Brenhouse qualifies that as private births became the new norm, “the “lie-in” wasn’t adapted or modified. And it certainly wasn’t replaced with anything.”

The end of a culturally accepted postpartum rest period was essentially became a refusal to acknowledge “that the woman needs relief more at this time than at any other—especially if she has a career to return to—and that it takes weeks, sometimes months, to properly heal from childbirth.” The absence of a postpartum period of rest has had far-reaching negative affects on American mothers today. Failing to provide American women with an adequate period of postpartum rest is failing to acknowledge “that overexertion after labor could lead to depression, infection, increased uterine bleeding, or prolapse.” In her article, Brenhouse also draws attention to the commonplace attitude of American mothers immediately following childbirth today, that “if they’re not up and functioning, they feel like there’s something wrong with them.”

Global Postpartum Traditions

Many countries and cultures still implement a period of postpartum rest for new mothers today. From the Latin American “cuarentena” to the Chinese tradition of “doing the month,” many cultures take advantage of a period of around 40 days where women rest, heal and abstain from activities that may prevent them from healing completely. According to an article written for slate.com, the Latin American “cuarentena” even has biblical roots (a passage in Leviticus requires a woman to have a 40-day purification period following childbirth), though today the practice “has been widely seen as a sign of motherhood's high status in Latin American countries.” The Chinese tradition of “doing a month” also has spiritual roots, as childbirth is traditionally seen as disruptive to the yin-yang balance in the body, which can be restored by eating specific foods in this postpartum period. Many cultures’ postpartum practices also focus on keeping mothers warm through food and drink, and also emotionally warm (by avoiding anger, for example), as described in an interview with Claudia Kolker, author of The Immigrant Advantage.

According to Brenhouse, other western nations require longer hospital stays, like in France, or regular postpartum visits from nurses, like in the Netherlands. While some of the rituals of different cultures’ postpartum periods are based more in tradition than in health benefits, Brenhouse notes in her article that the mere existence of a “culturally accepted postpartum period sends a powerful message that’s not being sent in this country.” Similarly, in the article written for slate.com by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, “Americans who hear about the customs seem to be most envious of the support women receive.”

 

Postpartum Rest in America Today

While America no longer maintains a tradition of women taking a period of official postpartum rest, there are resources available to American women that can help make up for their deficit of postpartum support. Care providers including baby nurses, postpartum doulas, lactation consultants and sleep consultants can help educate new mothers and ease the everyday tasks of new motherhood that may be overwhelming, taking on roles similar to those of extended family in other cultures. And while many of these services still focus heavily on the well-being of the baby, certified postpartum doula, Lee Mcclenon, defines a postpartum doula as “primarily focused on the woman who just gave birth and looking out for her experience.” Mcclenon also notes, “We’re of a generation where a lot of women move away from their family and career-oriented women are jet-setting all over the county. Relying on a postpartum doula for some of the support that family may usually provide can be really beneficial.”

Mama Said believes in the importance of supporting mothers, especially in the postpartum period. Visit the Partner Providers page on our website to get connected with service providers for new and expecting mothers, including doulas, nurses, sleep and lactation consultants.

 

 

 

 

Monday's Supreme Court Ruling: A Win for All Women, Including Hillary!

Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren campaigned together in Ohio this week, Using the slogan "Stronger Together."

Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren campaigned together in Ohio this week, Using the slogan "Stronger Together."

On Monday, June 27, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on a restrictive Texas abortion law that has led to a domino effect of wins in the name of women’s health this week, and a platform for Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton to share her women's health ideology.

The Texas Omnibus Abortion Bill mandated that any abortion procedures would have to take place in “ambulatory surgical centers” and that physicians performing the procedures also needed to have “admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic,” as described in an article written for forbes.com. Had it been upheld, this bill would have effectively shut down 32 of the 42 existing abortion clinics in Texas. Thankfully for the women of the Lone Star State, the Supreme Court shot down the bill, and Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority, “The surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an "undue burden" on their constitutional right to do so."

Anticipation followed the ruling, as many hoped that “Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (or TRAP laws) may now be easier to challenge in court,” according to cosmopolitan.com. And in the two days since the court’s decision, these anticipations have been realized. In a Tuesday ruling regarding a Louisiana bill that would effectively close the state’s only abortion clinic, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by Judge E. Grady Jolly, that proclaimed the bill Unconstitutional as “Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state.” In Wisconsin (quite similarly to the Texas ruling) Judge Richard A. Posner ruled that “courts must balance the supposed health benefits of abortion restrictions against the burdens they impose on access to abortion.” Finally, the state of Alabama dropped an appeal that blocked the state from restricting abortions. Alabama’s attorney general, Luther Strange, justified the decision by saying, “There is no good faith argument that Alabama’s law remains constitutional in light of the Supreme Court ruling.”

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been able to use these recent women's health victories as a platform to raise awareness about her own women’s health ideologies. Clinton, who has referred to Monday’s Texas ruling as “a critical victory,” laid out her plan for the women’s health sector, should she be elected this November, in an article that she wrote for the Concord Monitor. Though the article described her beliefs in greater detail, Clintons three main points were: 1) “I will always stand with Planned Parenthood” 2) “I’ll fight to protect access to fair and legal abortion” and 3) “I will support comprehensive, inclusive sex education.” When compared to Trump’s recent proclamation that women who get abortions, no, wait, doctors who perform abortions, should be punished, Clinton clearly presides as the choice candidate when it comes to issues of women’s health. Further evidenced by her "Stronger Together" campaigning with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Clinton has proved herself to be a woman focused on supporting other women, and that's a candidate we can get behind!

 

 

Summertime Wellness for Mamas and Mamas-to-be!

After scanning the web for the best summer health and wellness advice, we've compiled a list of the most popular and user-friendly tips to keep mamas and their families healthy and happy this summer! Check out what we have to say and tell us about your favorite wellness tips and tricks in the comments below!


Keep the Sun’s Rays at Bay

While sunscreen is always a summer must-have, this season take advantage of some additional, natural ways to protect yourself from the sun!  According to Wellnessmama.com, different foods and vitamins can help increase your sun tolerance from the inside out! While some suggestions are a little more of a commitment (for example,  taking vitamin D3 and Fermented Cod Liver Oil), simply eating foods high in Omega 3s, like fish, leafy greens and highly saturated fats (like coconut oil and dairy fats) can also serve as a natural base of sun protection.

While sun protection is key for all mamas and their families, Mamas-to-be should take extra precautions when it comes to sun exposure according to Zliving.com. Studies have suggested that overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can result in “folic acid degradation," which can be harmful to a developing baby.

 

Sunglasses aren't just for mamas! Wearing shades from a young age can reduce eye problems in the future.

Sunglasses aren't just for mamas! Wearing shades from a young age can reduce eye problems in the future.

Embrace the Shades

In addition to the built-in cool factor, sunglasses also protect your eyes from a myriad of potential problems. According to Oprah.com, sunglasses protect not only your eyes themselves, but also the skin around them, which has been found to contain up to 10% of all skin cancer cases. As for your actual eyes, wearing sunglasses that block UV rays can help prevent cataracts and other eye disorders including macular degeneration. And while most people don’t know this, failure to wear sunglasses can also cause Photokeratitis, or sunburn of the eye.

Sunglasses are most commonly a must-have for mamas, but they should be for kids, too! Wearing sunglasses early in life can help stave off eye problems later on, according to Babycenter.com.

 

Seasonal fruits like watermelons, berries and leafy greens contain many of the building blocks for a healthy summer diet, and they're oh so pretty!

Seasonal fruits like watermelons, berries and leafy greens contain many of the building blocks for a healthy summer diet, and they're oh so pretty!

Eat for the Season

The summer brings with it so many fresh fruits and veggies that add color and important vitamins to your diets, especially for mamas to be! According to Zliving.com, in the summer, seasonal fruits and vegetables including watermelon, strawberries, peas, broccoli and dark leafy greens like kale and spinach contain many of the right nutrients and protein essential for a healthy diet and healthy pregnancy.  Webmd.com also notes that summer berries “prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related illnesses." And while juicing together all of these fresh summer favorites can be equally delicious, pregnant women and young kids should be cautious about consuming raw juices unless they are pasteurized.

Mix Up Your Routine Trips to the Gym

The summer offers so many opportunities to vary your everyday gym workouts with swimming, hiking, biking and more! As mentioned by Webmd.com, changing up your workouts not only gives you the benefit of breaking out of your gym routine, but also creates opportunities to get your kids moving, and also to bond as a family!

And as great as outdoor activities are, it is equally important for mamas to keep themselves and their kids hydrated in the face of summer heat! For mamas-to-be, staying hydrated is especially important as it can prevent cramps, edema and headaches. According to Zliving.com, staying well-hydrated can also help stave off morning sickness, heartburn and UTIs.

Love Yourself!

This summer, embrace your body and, as Justin Bieber said it best, "you should go and love yourself!" Don’t let bathing-suit worries keep you from enjoying beach and family time this summer!  If you need some extra reminders for how summer-ready you are, check out what some of the “Raging Feminists” of Sheknows.com have to say about bikini bods!

                                               Enough said.

                                               Enough said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia's Climb Out of the Darkness 2016: More than just a fundraiser

On June 18th at 10a.m., a group of stroller-toting families met in FDR park to participate in the annual Climb out of the Darkness event to benefit Postpartum Progress. The families were of different backgrounds and their kids were different ages, but they were all united by the fact that a mother that they loved had been affected by a postpartum mood disorder.

Climb out of the Darkness is an annual event held in numerous locations across the U.S. (and some other countries including Germany, Brazil and Israel) to benefit Postpartum Progress and raise awareness for postpartum and pregnancy mood disorders. Groups in different cities all meet on the same day to walk together, raise money, and, most importantly, to offer support to other mothers that have experienced postpartum mood disorders. Philadelphia’ Climb is led each year by Heidi Lengel, founder of Fullheart Family Support and Vice President of the Philadelphia Maternity Network.

Philadelphia Climb leader Heidi Lengel welcomed participants to the event and gave mamas opportunities to talk about their positive and negative postpartum treatment experiences.

Philadelphia Climb leader Heidi Lengel welcomed participants to the event and gave mamas opportunities to talk about their positive and negative postpartum treatment experiences.

Going into the event, I knew that I would not be able to understand the pain that these disorders had caused, but I did know the statistics—that one in seven mothers experience a postpartum or pregnancy mood disorder—and the fact that while seeking treatment can be a difficult thing to do, there are effective treatment options for postpartum mood disorders. What I was not prepared for, though, were the harsh and unhelpful responses that these mothers received from healthcare providers and therapists when they did seek help.

From being told to “calm down” to receiving recommendations for meditation tapes from Target, many of the moms’ complaints were not taken seriously, or their mood changes were being chalked up to the “baby blues.” One particularly striking story was that of a mother with a social working background, who was familiar with postpartum mood disorders and knew that something was not right as soon as her son was born. After going to the emergency room for help, she was placed in in-patient psychiatric care, and was told that this was her only treatment option. As her disorder progressed, she was told that she could not be prescribed any medication for her mood disorder since she was breastfeeding, another false statement.

While it would be easy to dwell on the unsupportive responses that these struggling mothers received, the real focus of the event was the support that these mothers did receive in their times of need, and the continued support they were offering each other by participating in Climb out of the Darkness. From family members that offered shoulder to cry on to husbands that took over childcare while their spouses got the help that they needed, these families were far more focused on what helped them to heal than what prevented them from doing so. And while the Philadelphia Climb alone raised almost $3,000, it was clear that for these mamas, the morning of support and recognition of what they had overcome was worth even more.

                       Mama Said green for Climb out of the Darkness!

                       Mama Said green for Climb out of the Darkness!

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Has Room to Improve for Working Parents

The Rankings

Wallethub.com recently released studies ranking the best and worst states for both working moms and working dads. Pennsylvania's rankings were nothing to brag about, with PA coming in overall as the 38th best state for working moms and 32nd for working dads. While there are still a handful of states falling below Pennsylvania’s rank, it is evident that the PA has some work to do when it comes to opportunities and support for working parents.

Behind the Rankings

For working mothers, Wallethub.com’s ranking was based on the comparison of three components: child-care, professional opportunities and work-life balance. To further break down these categories, "child-care" rankings were based on costs of child-care, school system ranks and the level of pediatric service availability. "Professional opportunities" was a more working-woman-specific category, focusing on topics including the gender pay gap, the “ratio of female executives to male executives” and the “gender-representation gap in different economic sectors.” "Work-life balance" ranks included average hours worked per week, average commute time and parental leave policies. For working moms, the rankings were fairly consistent (between 33rd and 36th) for each category. 

The state rankings for working dads were determined similarly, though with four categories for comparison: economic and social well-being, work-life balance, child-care and health. The category of "economic and social well-being" focused on median incomes, unemployment rates, the percentage of families living in poverty and graduation rates. The health category focused on rates of insured working dads, mental health rankings, cancer rates and reported exercise. "Child-care" and "work-life balance" were evaluated in the same way as they were for working moms. While Pennsylvania was fairly consistent in rankings (placing in the mid-30s) for most categories, in the Economic and Social Well-being category, the state ranked 14th for working dads.

How can PA improve?

PA's mostly mediocre rankings bring into question: what changes can Pennsylvania make to improve the lives of working moms and dads? As reported by the Philly Voice, following major U.S. companies' improvement of their parental leave policies, some Philadelphia companies and universities, as well as the City Government, have worked to do the same in recent months. However, there is clearly more that can be done. Implementing policy to decrease the gender-wage gap and mandating paid parental leave are just a few of the changes that could raise PA in the working-parent ranks.

At Mama Said, we support working parents, and believe workplaces should do the same. Check out our Services page to learn how Mama Said can help your business create a better environment for your parent employees!

What about Dad?: How Parental Leave Benefits the Whole Family

                                photo courtesy of @nategunn_ via instagram  

                                photo courtesy of @nategunn_ via instagram

 

With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, at Mama Said we are paying extra attention to fatherhood this week. Recently, we’ve been inspired by some newsmaking dads who have decided to take advantage of parental leave policies or career flexibility in order to spend time at home with their new childen. Even better, the choices made by these dads are proving to be beneficial for mamas and babies, too.

Tomer London: Founder, Gusto

 Tomer London decided to take two months of paid parental leave following the birth of his daughter. London believes that both parents should have the ability to adjust to life as a new parents and bond with their infant, and is (rightfully) unhappy with the fact that the U.S. is “the only developed country where parents aren’t guaranteed to stay on payroll when they have a child.” London also  hopes that his choice to take time off will serve as an example for his employees. In an article written for the Huffington Post, London said, “One of the biggest reasons I’m going on paternity leave is to signal to my team that this is normal, expected behavior. It shouldn’t make you feel guilty, or as if you’re not as committed to your work.” London’s startup company, Gusto, has gone even further than offering two months of paid paternal leave for employees, also offering four months of paid maternity leave and services including food delivery, house cleaning and sleep coaching for parents employees.

Ryan Park: Former Clerk, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s former clerk, Ryan Park, is another example of a father making the choice to take time off following his entrance into fatherhood. In an article that he wrote for The Atlantic, Park recounts his decision to take a period of leave following his clerkship for RBG while his wife completed her pediatric residency.  Park believed his time spent with his daughter was far more meaningful than that spent at the office, even citing the statistic that “nearly half of fathers report dissatisfaction with the amount of time they are able to spend with their children.” In his piece, Park points out the that the “gender-equality debate” typically fails to account for fathers that feel as if they are missing out on time with their children due to societal pressure to work. Park channeled the gender-equality beliefs of his former superior (RBG has spoken out against “gender lines in the law” in the past) as he noted, “when home is mentioned at all,  the emphasis is usually on equalizing burdens—not on equalizing the opportunity for men, as well as women, to be there.”

                       photo courtesy of ryan park via time.com  

                       photo courtesy of ryan park via time.com

 

Park believed his time spent with his daughter was far more meaningful than that spent at the office, citing the statistic that ‘nearly half of father report dissatisfaction with the amount of time they are able to spend with their children.’

Crunching the Numbers

As noted by Park, the number of stay at home dads in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, with 1.1 million fathers staying home in 1989 and 2 million doing the same in 2012. With this increase, there have been instances (much like the example of London’s company) of improved parental leave policies that grant paid paternal leave. Even in the past few years, great changes have taken place in regards to parental leave, particularly when it comes to tech companies. According fastcompany.com, “In 2015, nearly half of Fatherly’s 50 Best Places To Work For New Dads offered between one and two weeks of paid leave to fathers. This year’s survey finds that the average is up to 7.5 weeks.” Though Pennsylavania law does not require employers (of 50 or more employees) to offer more than 12 weeks of unpaid leave to new parents, some employers in Philadelphia have also developed policies to offer better parental leave options for their employees. According to The Philly Voice, employees of the City Government of Philadelphia receive four weeks of paid leave within a year of having or adopting a new child, and Pricewaterhousecoopers grants employees six weeks of paid parental leave, and two additional weeks if their new children are multiples.

While the improvements are great for dads wanting to take time off to be with their children, there is still room for improvement in regards to these policies, particularly in regards to flexibility in when to take their leave. Fatherly.com found that 75% of fathers would like leave schedule flexibility in order to better share new-baby responsibilities with their spouse.

As for spouses, it should be noted that paternal leave has been found to be beneficial to all new mamas, not just those looking to complete a residency like Park’s wife. Park cites a statistic  that says, “mothers’ incomes rise about 7 percent for each month that a father spends at home with the children.” Research has also confirmed that children benefit from having present and engaged fathers (made possible in part by having flexible work schedules) in regards to emotional balance and socialization.

At Mama Said, we are proponents of paid parental leave, particularly as it benefits new parents and babies while allowing new moms and dads the opportunity to feel fulfilled in work and at home. This father’s day week, we hope for the continued improvement of parental leave policies in Philadelphia and beyond.

Woman Crush Wednesday: ANTHONIA AKITUNDE

                       Photo courtesy of matermea.com

                       Photo courtesy of matermea.com

WHO: Anthonia Akitunde is the founder and editor-in-chief of Mater Mea, a website "that tells the stories of women of color at the intersection of motherhood and career." With the help of her team, Anthonia provides readers with articles on topics ranging from parenting to wellness to culture, as well as with interviews from inspiring mamas of color. Anthonia also has her own podcast in which "she talks to guests about the topics that matter most to black professional women and mothers." 

WHY WE LOVE HER: After our last Mama Moments blog post and with the Climb Out of the Darkness walk coming up June 18, here at Mama Said, we have maternal mental illness on our minds. Anthonia and her staff also had mental illness on their collective mind last month as they devoted a week of posts to talking about mental illness, particularly in the community of black mothers. The week’s posts touched on topics including postpartum depression, the practice of self-care and the importance of seeking help for mental illness as members of the black community.

ON POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: “If you have postpartum depression, you have to know it’s not your fault. I didn’t and still don’t understand why people don’t talk about the challenges so many women face after giving birth, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are real illnesses. You can’t just snap out of it. There’s no shame in getting help, don’t suffer through it in silence.”                                                                                                                                                       -Mater Mea contributer Satya Nelms recounting the postpartum experience of Mandisa Lee.

Furthering the Conversation: Postpartum Mood Disorders in the Media

A recent piece by Libby Hill for the L.A. Times examined portrayals of postpartum depression on popular TV shows, and how these shows have facilitated the conversation about the illness that affects at least 600,000 new mamas each year. From Juliette’s struggle with a postpartum mood disorder on Nashville to Caroline’s abandonment of her family on Girls to Petra’s postpartum feelings of inadequacy on Jane the Virgin, the breadth of experiences of these TV moms is representative of the real-life range of symptoms experienced by new mothers with postpartum mood disorders.

According to Postpartum Progress, approximately 14% of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. Many women who suffer from postpartum mood disorders have no history of depression or anxiety, and many do. Women of all backgrounds and marital status suffer from postpartum mood disorders, though Postpartum Progress notes that “in low-income areas, the percentage of women with PPD (postpartum depression) rises as high as 25%.” Just because a woman does not experience a postpartum mood disorder with her first pregnancy does not mean she will not with subsequent pregnancies.

Merion mama Rebecca Fox Starr is one such example, having spoken about her struggle with postpartum depression following her second pregnanct on her blog, Mommy, Ever After. In her post, “The hardest post I’ve ever written,” Fox Starr details her painful post-partum experience with hopes that her honest storytelling would help others who are suffering like she did. Like the writers of NashvilleJane the Virgin and Girls, with her blog, Fox Starr is helping to facilitate the conversation about postpartum mood disorders today. 

Despite the staggering number of women who suffer from these postpartum disorders, and despite the increased conversation about the reality of postpartum mood disorders, the Postpartum Stress Center reports that women today still struggle to get the help that they need due to “misinformation, uncertainty, shame, finances, embarrassment or denial.”

Located in Rosemont, PA, the Postpartum Stress Center provides treatment and counseling services to mothers and families seeking help with postpartum mood disorders, as wells as training for professionals who deal with pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders. The Postpartum Stress Center also offers online tools for mothers who think that they might be struggling with a postpartum mood disorder, including tips for how to talk to your healthcare provider, where to find therapists for postpartum depression as well as recommendations for how to best help the mamas in your life that may be struggling with these disorders.

At Mama Said, we believe that postpartum mood disorders are not a subject to be swept under the rug. With local mamas like Rebecca Fox Starr and local resources like the Postpartum Stress Center, we want mamas to know that they can talk about their experiences and that they have resources available to them if they do need help. We are also excited to attend Postpartum Progress’ Climb Out of the Darkness Walk to increase awareness about pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders on June 18th at FDR Park at 1500 Pattinson Avenue. 

To join us at the Climb Out of the Darkness Walk, register here.

 

"Momstrology": The Astrotwins and Elle Magazine look to the stars for parenting-style predictions

Image designed by katja cho for elle

Image designed by katja cho for elle

 

Elle Magazine reports that the Astrotwins, Ophira and Tali Edut, have released a new book, Momstrology, which predicts what type of mom a woman will be based on her zodiac sign. From the stable and hard-working Taurus mom to the resilient and intuitive Scorpio mother, Elle offers up a snippet for mamas-to-be of each astrological sign!

A Gemini mama (the zodiac sign for May 15 to June 15), is predicted to be a creative and open-minded mother who has a tendency to to be contradictory at times.

Find out what your sign predicts here.