$800 Billion Mother's Day Bouquets Highlight How Moms Act as America's Safety Net

As we head towards a holiday where we deliver flowers to moms everywhere, let's think about what mothers really need. Enter the Moms Deserve More Flower Store, which is putting the value mothers bring into perspective.

An image of a woman holding a bouquet.
Photo: Getty Images.

Every year, we take a day to honor our moms with a fancy brunch, a bouquet of flowers, maybe a cup of coffee delivered to her in bed. But pretty much any mother will tell you: It's. Just. Not. Enough.

This year, the traditional trappings of Mother's Day feel especially trivial, at least in relation to the 15-month ordeal we've been through—you know, the one that has moms everywhere occupying multiple roles for which they have no training, no time, and no support. In light of all mothers are doing right now, it seems painfully clear that we don't need a floral arrangement. We need something to change.

That's why the Moms Deserve More Flower Shop, which is tied to Reshma Saujani's Marshall Plan for Moms,is hitting such a chord. According to its website, this is "the first-ever flower shop that sells Mother's Day bouquets at prices that represent what moms are truly worth."

Here's what you'll find at the digital shop: The "lack of childcare" bouquet, which is appropriately valued at $13,000 (the staggeringly high number represents the average portion of a paycheck parents spend on care for their kids).

The "lost job" bouquet goes for $36,000—the median income of a working mom, which makes this a pretty solid representation of what the many moms who lost their jobs have had to part with this year. "Working moms lost millions of jobs this year, in part because the responsibility to keep our kids healthy and homes running rests overwhelmingly on our shoulders—whether we're single parents or in two-parent households," the description for this item reads. "The 'invisible load' of motherhood has never been more visible. Parents are the backbone of the American economy, and we simply can't ignore the support we need to make working and parenting feasible—via flexible working arrangements, access to child care, and financial resources."

And then there's the big-ticket item: The "unpaid work" bouquet, an $800 billion floral arrangement. It sounds like an absurd number, but the bouquet is valued so high because, well, that's the value of wages moms have left on the table by giving up or losing their jobs in order to do the unpaid labor of supporting others this year. Let that sink in.

And yes, you actually can shop these bouquets (or you can donate an amount of your choosing, which will go towards the plan's advocacy of programs to support families).

It's eye-opening and a pretty clear indicator that when it comes to supporting mothers and giving them the things they really need—flowers and waffles don't quite get us there. That's not to say you shouldn't expect breakfast in bed or a thoughtful card or, yes, even a pretty floral arrangement this year. Enjoy the holiday and use it as a chance to request something for yourself for a change. But let this be a reminder: What moms need, above all else, is support: financial support, emotional support, physical support, support from employers, from communities, from the government, the list goes on.

And sleep. Some sleep would be great too.

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