I Think It’s Sad That Moms Are Crowdfunding For Family Leave

April 13, 2016  |  

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The Today Show recently reported that new parents in America are turning to crowdfunding platforms, i.e. gofundme.com, in order to finance their family leave for newborn care. Currently, there are over 1200 families with active fundraising campaigns. “GoFundMe campaigns that mention maternity leave or child care have raised over $8.8 million across 5,800 fundraisers” spokeswoman for the company, Kelsea Little, told The Today Show.

It is a testament to the intelligence and resourcefulness of this generation that young families are using 21st century technology, such as social media, to solve for decade old issues such as income inequality and the lack of adequate child care in America.  

But should these working families have to raise money to care for young children? Why is this necessary in the most educated, hardest working and wealthiest nation in the world? If hard-working men and women, cannot afford to care for the most innocent and vulnerable among us, whose life really matters in America?

The United States of America is the only developed country that does not mandate maternity or paternity leave for families. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees that new parents can take up to 12 weeks off without risk of losing their job, however, this is guaranteed unpaid leave. Only 12 percent of new parents in America have access to paid leave for the purpose of taking care of a newborn.

Over a million people have tuned into entrepreneur Jessica Shortall’s Ted Talk “The US Needs Paid Family Leave.” Shortall makes the case that leave is not just important for funding the love of young families, it is a vital component that ensures the economic well-being of American workers and their families, the people who actually fuel our economic progress as a whole.

After announcing to family and friends the great news of expectancy, most new parents are forced to put their celebrations on hold while they figure out how to finance parenthood.

Crowdfunding is normally associated with the need to source money for new companies, projects, and initiatives. These are ideas that individuals are developing to enhance society’s quality of living in addition to our basic needs. I.e. no one needs UBer, Facebook, Twitter, or an Iphone to live well, but they do make life easier.  People interested in creating organizations such as these use crowd-funding platforms for financing. The caveat, in addition to having a great idea, is that these ideas must be able to make money/profits down the line.

What does it mean when parents have to use these same platforms to raise money to validate the value of young children/babies? This is disgusting and shameful and not on behalf of the parents. Over and over again, be it wage inequality, failing public schools, wall street bailouts, student loan deficits, low quality high-priced healthcare, and the prison industrial complex, it is proven that GDP matters more than the wellbeing of human life in America.

According to US Social Security data, the average American worker makes $28,031 per year pre-tax. Now the reported average cost of living per person in America, including housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, and taxes, all the things a person needs to maintain life, equates to $28,474. This means that the average working person in America is operating at a deficit of -$433 per year. This does not include the cost of passions, education, vacation, relaxation, and other pleasures in addition to variances in lifestyle choices like location inflation costs and health status.

Please keep in mind that this number rises for married couples and families with children, who also operate at deficits just to afford the basic needs of life.

Life as an American is expensive. It not just requires us to work hard to maintain our living, but to work hard and still not be able to maintain living. Most working Americans are operating at a deficit and it has nothing to do with their education levels and/or their ambition to create a good life for themselves. Numbers show that even single working people in America are struggling. In light of this fact, what hope is there for the working adults caring for elders and/or children who cannot provide for their own wellbeing?

What kind of America do we live in where working parents are forced to raise money as a company or not-for-profit in order to care for their children? The American people are being robbed of their livelihoods and the most important aspect of life, love and family. If you work hard to contribute your human capital to the wellbeing of society, you should be able to afford a life worth living for. This is not the case in America, and it is sad.

Congratulations to these new families who are being resilient in the face of systematic oppression of the working American. These individuals deserve every dollar they raise time 100, because it the words of the great orator Eminem, “It’s a sick sad world we live in these days.”

Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience, a multi-media inspirational platform. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace.

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