How to Acknowledge You Need Help (with Liz Tenety)

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Gloria calls up Liz Tenety, co-founder of Motherly and host of the Motherly podcast, to compare notes on balancing work and child care with a COVID outbreak in the home. The two of them talk about prioritizing self-care, acknowledging when you need help, and giving yourself permission to not do all the things. Plus, Liz tells a rage-inducing story about how her husband had to battle his own HR department over who, exactly, was the “primary parent” in their household.

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Gloria Riviera, Liz Tenety

Gloria Riviera  00:00

Hi, No One is Coming To Save Us listeners. There is another Lemonada series we wanted to let you know about. It is called Burnout. Burnout is a new four-part series hosted by YouTube sensation and mental health advocate, Connor Franta. What do people mean when they say they are burned out? I’ve said it a lot. There are books about it and breaking news. You hear about burnout from your friends, and you have felt it in your own gut. But what exactly is this phenomenon that’s making us miserable, and wrecking our health? Burnett has recently become the internet’s favorite buzzword and diagnosis for why we hate our jobs. But it has a long, complex history that is rooted in our culture and systems. So let’s talk about the who, why, what, where and when of burnout, and how we as a culture can work to combat it. Search for burnout wherever you get your podcasts, make sure you subscribe so that you never miss an episode. This makes me think of how important community is when you have a partner that’s not able to be there with you to parent, I have heard from so many wonderful people last night, I got a note from the principal of my daughter’s school. And I was so touched that she thought of my daughter that she thought of me. And she was just offering to be supportive. I think that’s what’s missing in our overall society, the way we approach child care, this sense of the importance of community and support. You know, I’ve seen that in the research we’ve done on other cultures that there’s just this awareness that it can be challenging to be parenting, especially young children, especially when they don’t have any government program or a, you know, federally funded form of support. So that’s what I think of when people you know, text or call to say, how are you doing? Are you okay? Because they know my partner is not here, my husband’s not here. And I’m doing this on my own. And actually, it really warms my heart.

Gloria Riviera  02:27

Hi, guys, that was me reflecting on the importance of community when it comes to childcare. I was talking about my daughter’s absolutely amazing, beautiful principal, Liz, she’s a legend in our little community here. Sadly, this is her last year with us. But it made me think we should check in with our own childcare and parenting communities much more often. Just a quick text saying, hey, how’s it going today? That can do so much. This is No One Is Coming To Save Us and I’m your host Gloria Riviera. This week I speak with Liz Tenety. Liz is a mom of four she is the co-founder and chief digital officer of Motherly, sound familiar? A brand that wants to help create a world in which all mothers are thriving. She is also the host of the motherly podcast where she does her part to do just that by talking to as she told me, neuroscientists, and authors and experts on just about everything we need help with on this parenting path. And we do need help. I did my thing you’ll hear it and I asked her what logistical issue she triaged that morning in her head before she got out of bed. Her answer surprised me. First off her entire demeanor surprised me, Liz is chill. You would not think that this is a woman with four young kids running her own business. She told me she triaged her own self-care with a little meditation before she got out of bed. That is how she dealt with the […]. Now she doesn’t do it every day. She wanted to make that clear, but I am impressed. I needed that reminder that we all need to acknowledge. Liz uses that word a lot that we need help. Liz has a confounding story. But it is not uncommon about her husband who had to take on his own HR department in like a big company when they were expecting their first baby. The battle was over who exactly was the quotation marks here? Primarily parents. You know how this story goes. I’ll let Liz tell you the version she experienced. And this is cool too. She talks about giving ourselves permission to not do all the things I needed to hear that, right? She has this very funny story about skipping something her kids go to a regularly like it is a part of their family life. Because she didn’t really like it, you know what that is? That is putting yourself first. Wait till you hear. Liz is just filled to the brim with passion for figuring out improving, helping assisting rounding out our perceptions of what it means to be a mother. She believes wholeheartedly that our culture is ready for in her words, a new conversation around motherhood. I love that she says in her quietly yet very forceful manner. We cannot accept the status quo. We need to hear that again and again and again. Here’s my conversation with Liz Tenety. Liz, I am so excited to speak with you. Thank you for coming on. No one is coming to save us. It’s so good to see you. I wish everyone could see we both look sort of. Well, we both have COVID, our kids have COVID, it’s, not a pretty picture. But you do look great to me.

Liz Tenety 

I took a weekly shower this morning and time for this this recording. So yes.

Gloria Riviera  06:03

That is impressive. I’ll share that I showered for you too. It feels like having a newborn where I used to put things on my to do list that I could hope to accomplish but not always did accomplish. But showering was definitely on my list of to do items when I had tiny babies.

Liz Tenety 

I totally relate to that, on a on a deep level, so today was shower day podcast recording day. I’m happy to be here.

Gloria Riviera 

Oh, good. Well, let me ask you the question I like to start with, which is when you woke up this morning, you have this job jobs, you have these four children? Did you triage anything in your head? I find that I often do that I wake up and I think oh geez, like that, and that and that? How am I going to do that? Okay, that time and like as I’m getting ready for the day? Was there anything that you triage when you woke up?

Liz Tenety 

Well, I’m glad you’re asking me this today. Because I triage my anxiety in bed this morning. I my kids have been home, we’ve had a COVID outbreak for the last two weeks. So my kids have been home. That’s been very challenging, trying to work. And yet today I tested negative for COVID For the first time. So I’m thrilled to be getting out to the other side. And as I thought about how backlogged I am at work. And I thought about how am I going to get through another day of this family and this COVID situation, just life in general, I noticed that I was spiraling and I opened up my meditation app. And I’m I don’t do that every morning. But I did do it this morning. And lately for me, I am really focusing on the word flow. And I am trying to work and mother and human from a place of ease and moving with the flow. So I did a flow meditation didn’t solve all my problems. And again, I don’t do it every morning. I happened to do it this morning. So that’s how I dealt with the daily  that starts the moment my eyes open, and I wake up in the morning.

Gloria Riviera  08:08

I mean, that is so impressive to me because I know how busy you are. And the fact that self-care is on your radar screen. First thing in the morning is a huge thing for all mothers out there. And you speak to so many of them. And we’re well as we both have COVID Maybe we’re not just coming out of the pandemic but at least two years plus in what do mothers tell you about how they have managed all that you’re dealing with the job, the child care, the pandemic? What are they saying to you?

Liz Tenety 

Well, I mean, we’re I don’t know what wave of motherhood coping we’re in right now. Like you said, you and I both have COVID right now. So it sometimes feels like we’re not on the other side. I mean, mothers have, quote, managed it in the ways that we’ve seen in the headlines, right. I mean, they were pushed out of the workforce. They had mental health crises, from the burnout and drain of this responsibility not of being alone with our children and educating them, keeping them safe. Managing the health and well-being of our extended families. Our family had a death in the family from COVID. Like many other millions of families around the world, so sorry, I mean, it’s been really heavy. We have data with our state of motherhood survey and annual study, we deal with the largest study of Millennial Moms, the women who are having children right now in the world that we know of. This motherly state of motherhood survey, we had data especially last year, showing a significant increase in substance use or abuse. Fortunately, this year this study actually started to show that those same mothers began therapy. And began get getting help actually. 50% started therapy if they had reported an increase in substance use, right?

Gloria Riviera  10:04

That’s a big number.

Liz Tenety 

It is a big number. It’s also a big number of mothers who are not getting help. Right. So what I’m seeing and feeling is a sense that we’ve been broken, that we’ve been transformed and maybe a tepid, but real hope for something else, something to build beyond this. I think your podcast says it’s so well, like, no one’s coming to save us like it’s all, this generation, and sadly, this heavily burdened group is the one that has to figure this out. But maybe it’s a resignation of, I’m not playing by those old rules. I’m not accepting this as the normal. What do we do now? That’s what we’re seeing. That’s what we’re hearing.

Gloria Riviera 

I always say that, you know, you look at job numbers. And in most areas, those job numbers have come back to pre-pandemic levels, except in child care, and child care, we are still 100,000 Give or take jobs lost, and those people are not coming back. And I think what the pandemic did, is that it put the crises of childcare in technicolor, and you’re right, there’s this resignation, we’re not going to take it anymore, we’ve got to do something. And you know, here I am in DC, watching build back better, you know, wither away. And it’s, that’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable for mothers. And I hope this frustration is combined with an energy that doesn’t dissipate. And I think you and I are really lucky to be able to be talking about this. And I read something that you wrote, that was published on motherly, I’ll read you the quote, The truth is that American motherhood has the veneer of being modern, without any of the structures to support our actual lives. So it’s like, we have our education, we have gender equality, you know, et cetera, et cetera, sort of, but what does that mean to you? That, on the outside, it looks like we have something when you take a closer look. It’s like the house build of toothpicks.

Liz Tenety  12:17

Totally. You know, so to me, personally, what I observed that I can speak to the data, is this a generation living through generational change. And so there are signs of growth and improvement on many of these categories, and many of these categories. And then there’s such a lagging structure and culture around it. I mean, why does the -teacher at my kids school, email me when there’s a problem, right? And not my husband, he and I agree, we’re equal partners, we want to be equal partners, but I still get the emails, I still get the messages from the school nurse. So that’s the lagging culture, even though a new generation wants to parent differently. Then, of course, there’s the structures. And as you pointed out, you know, I think two years ago, the dominant conversation in the motherhood space was around the fact that the United States still does not have paid maternity leave, and parental leave, or any form of leave when you have a baby. And we’re, you know, this abysmal outlier in the world. But I think there’s also a recognition that, that’s for six months, maybe a year of your life, the crisis of childcare goes on for all of motherhood, it’s on affordability, it’s inaccessibility. And that is keeping women directly out of the workforce. So again, motherhood stated motherhood survey among those who are stay at home moms today. And we know there’s millions more now than there were at the beginning of the pandemic. 50% say childcare is why they’re not working. Right? So 50% want to be stay at home moms, and that’s awesome. It is a hard and meaningful job. But 50% actually, in theory, the data saying they’d actually want to work or would consider working if they can get there, right. So we live in a country that makes motherhood, you know, deeply a personal responsibility issue, instead of one that we look at as a part of our collective future. And we don’t invest in it, even though as your research or I was listening on one of your podcast episodes pointed out, there’s tons of evidence to believe that investing in childcare and paid leave actually would have a positive return on investment, you know, for your country, right, with more women in the workforce. So I think this generation of mothers actually just bearing the burden of what motherhood culture has been in this country, and fighting and dragging, you know, they’re part learners, their families, their communities, their schools, their employers, their politicians, dragging them into the future into 2022 where we really are. You know, I’m inspired by so many mothers who have had to get creative, collaborate, work together, I was reading an article last week about two single moms who bought a house together and how it afforded them the ability to afford their life. Those examples inspire me. But I do deeply believe that it will take structural revolutions at all levels, to bring our country into the modern lives that we all want to live.

Gloria Riviera

I talked about in my podcast, how I had my first two in England. And I had worked there long enough so that I was eligible for basically British EU maternity leave. And that was different in the US. In 2008, when I had my first I would have taken maternity leave, I’m putting up quotes here was actually disability. I was disabled from work. And I worked for Disney. And that has since changed, but I couldn’t believe that I was looking in my HR handbook, and calling HR to say I need to take disability.

Liz Tenety  16:21

On a similar note, my husband again, he is frankly the most equal partner that I know. I mean, he’s an epically awesome dad and partner. When we had our third child, he was working at a large well known consulting firm. I was working full time launching our startup Motherly. And he had to try and argue with HR about the term primary parent, who was the primary parent in our family, was he the primary parent? Was his wife the primary parent? That actually has since changed at that company. But this is what I mean, like we are living through generational change. I mean, the absurdity he was trying to make HR tell him, because he’s a dad, he’s a man, he wasn’t the primary parent. And he’s telling them, my wife works as hard as I do. And she owns a company, you know, she has to get back to work. And I think he got maybe two or four weeks off, because he wasn’t the primary parent. But if he had been considered the primary parent, in their vernacular, at that time, you would have gotten four months off. So that’s what I mean. Like, we’re building it as we’re living it, and that is hard. And then we had a pandemic.

Gloria Riviera

Right. I just spoke to somebody you know, in season one of no one is coming to save us. We talked to Patagonia. I love Patagonia. So it was very exciting for me to talk to them, because they’re such a leader in providing care. And it started because their founders, a married couple, the woman had a young child. And I just love thinking about how she saw it, which was, well, if you expect me to be part of this company, I need help caring for my children.

Liz Tenety  18:07

I think that’s where this is going. This childcare as infrastructure movement. There’s some really interesting startups in the childcare space. And, you know, rightly so you should think skeptically about startups to seize on a big opportunity. But the reality is, we need innovation here. And there aren’t startups that are looking at childcare as infrastructure, because it literally is in the lives of women. So that gets me excited about what could be possible and ways that we can incentivize more companies to provide childcare in person or a subsidy of some form. Right. But that’s, again, a changing and evolving conversation that’s happening in real time.

Gloria Riviera 

Coming up, Liz says that, according to Motherly’s 2022 survey, a full 50% of self-identified stay at home mothers struggle with childcare. I mean one thing that I think is so interesting is that when you talk about mothers, and I assume you’re also talking about fathers as well, but you’re really talking about the whole person, right? This idea of the whole person moving through motherhood, and I, first of all, I respect that it’s refreshing. It’s inspiring. I’m like, I need to like get back on my meditation app. Why is that so important to you? Why is that perspective of looking at the whole person, so critical to what you do?

Liz Tenety

That’s such a profound question for me. I mean, I lost two of my grandmother’s, you know, I lost my both my grandmother’s in the last decade. But I lost the nanny who raised us who became a surrogate grandmother. And my maternal grandmother, I lost both of them the month before I became a mother myself. So I was nine months pregnant at both of their funerals. And standing on this space of the past and the future living together. And I have felt so connected and called to like our deeper understanding of what is it mean to be a mother. And I think that’s part of the project for me at Motherly was when we started Motherly the parenting platforms that were out there, and certainly the dominant media paradigm and coverage. It was very negative. It was very scary. And it was very centered on babies and the baby experience. And I realized that I was a part of a new generation I’m now, how old am I? Now, I’m 37. So I’m part of, you know, the millennial generation having kids with women of this generation, by the way, are this first generation where we are more highly educated than men. Right? So there is just a fresh perspective that I was living and it felt serious and important to me, I think, in part because losing these women who meant so much to me. So some of the impetus to start motherly was that personal experience with like this matters, and it’s not one dimensional. But I think as I’ve built motherly over the years have realized that motherhood reshapes every aspect of our lives. And so on the podcast, I get to talk to like, neuroscientists, and financial experts, and work experts and artists. And wow, I think motherhood is this 360-degree transformation of self. And that is so rich from a media and journalism perspective. But then for as a human, just getting to experience all different facets of life, that lights me up personally, it makes me feel so alive. And then, frankly, for me over the last four years, so I went from when I started Motherly, I had two children, I now have four children, because like, it was easy for me like it was, I was so good at it, or I just loved

Gloria Riviera  22:32

Yeah, after your first year, like, I’m doing such a good, you know, I’m gonna do this again. And yeah, one more time.

Liz Tenety 

It’s not because it was great, like, or anything, I just, it felt like, This is what life is about. To me. That’s what it felt like it felt like the deepest form of meaning. And it’s always I also felt like I was getting like, the things that seemed scary and hard in the beginning of motherhood didn’t seem so scary and hard. So there’s almost, I felt that there was almost like economies of scale. Like, I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons. And now I can, you know, not struggle through those lessons. Again, I’ll struggle with different lessons this time. Right. So it’s always been that I personally didn’t, was not prepared for how motherhood would transform everything for me for the better and some cases for the worse. And yeah, I wanted to make sure that motherly could support women in all the ways that our lives change, not the obvious ones, not just the pregnancy, but the financial implications of motherhood, the relationship, the identity, the time. And I think the time has been right. We were just a little bit lucky on it as well. Right. Just the culture was ready for a new conversation around motherhood.

Gloria Riviera 

Yeah. I agree. I think the same thing can be said of no one is coming to save us that when no one is coming to save us the culture was ready for the conversation because it was so acute. The problems were so acute, how do you think childcare can change to better support mother’s mental health?

Liz Tenety  24:08

Okay, let me think.

Gloria Riviera 

really important. She’s taken a moment people she needs a moment for this one. This is a big question. I mean, I don’t know the answer to this. I don’t know where to start with this.

Liz Tenety

I think it starts with acknowledging that mothers need help so Motherly, just is coming out with our 2022 survey. And one of the data points in the state of motherhood is that 50% of stay-at-home mothers self-identified stay at home mothers right? Struggle with childcare, meaning they want help even as a stay-at-home mothers, but they can’t afford it or they can’t find it or they can’t access it. So just it I think it begins with acknowledging and the culture doesn’t want us to think this but it begins with acknowledging that no human can raise a child alone. There is eons of evidence that that is not how children that thrive. And that is not how mothers thrive. We need a village of support. We no longer live in tribal clans, but it is that kind of knitting together of identity and support and someone to cook dinner and your cousin to watch your toddler. That is how we got here. That’s how we survived. And there’s tons of anthropological evidence about that. But that we live in a sort of modern capitalism corporate world where we need different kinds of modern structures because that village doesn’t exist.

Gloria Riviera 

And that goes to the veneer, right? This fake, I don’t know what to call it. The veneer is fake news, right?

Liz Tenety 

It’s absolutely a veneer. So it’s acknowledging that everyone needs help. And I’m seeing it in the data that even say her mothers who some would look at and say, why do you need help? Because she’s raising a child, because nobody can do it alone. Nobody can thrive alone. So at first, it begins with acknowledging it. I mean, for me, personally, if I’m stepping into my own beliefs, I absolutely believe we need an aggressive form of subsidized childcare, we definitely need paid leave for the mental health of mothers, there’s, you know, there’s so much evidence that I mean, scientific studies around the world reams of it, about how access to paid leave, saves lives of mothers and babies has lifetime health outcomes for them. So it’s certainly structural, we need the government to provide these programs. Now, it is encouraging that there are states that are saying, oh, okay, well, we can’t do it at the federal level, we’re going to try it at the city level, we’re going to try it in our, you know, local government, we’re going to offer a better program. Or gonna do it at the state level. That is encouraging. I think we need more women in politics, we need more women elected in elected office, we need more women on the Supreme Court to just to bring the perspectives and values of half of the country that has never been fully represented by our government. So that needs to happen. And we need more women in corporate structures saying this isn’t a nice to have, this is a need to have, we need more innovation. And I don’t think it comes down to women believing that they deserve this. It’s not on the women themselves. But that that is a part of it is like, no, you shouldn’t have to do this alone, healthy societies. Don’t tell you that you should do this completely on your own. Healthy societies around the world, acknowledge. After this break, Liz shares some very good advice she got from Esther Perel, it may help you on your childcare journey, plus your real childcare moments, the voices of our no one is coming to save us community. Those are coming up right after this.

Gloria Riviera  28:38

What you just said made me think of two things. One is that we spoke to someone in Alabama who talked about some childcare providers not accepting kids who were on subsidies, because they wouldn’t make as much money, right? So if a kid on a subsidy in Alabama doesn’t show up that day childcare, the provider does not get paid. So that’s like the worst business plan you can create. Why is it like that? It’s just mind blowing to me. The second thing that is encouraging is that we’re in this moment in time in which childcare providers are starting to run for office. And I was not a childcare voter. Before my podcast. I did not inquire I wasn’t curious about how my representatives felt about childcare. Now, that’s my leading issue. Yeah. So I think when we look back, I mean, again, ever the optimist, you know, more women in Congress that we’re at this point where the needle is starting to slowly move, and we can’t let it go. That’s why I’m so grateful for the work that you do and, and trying to harness this energy.

Liz Tenety 

That’s it, but you know, we’re trying to harness the energy of like the most tired and exhausted and exactly

Gloria Riviera

Like the most we’re trying to harness the energy of a sleep deprived population. They’re like, come on, guys, just a few more, a few more hours of work.

Liz Tenety  30:05

But it’s true. I mean, we can’t relent. And we have to keep innovating. We can’t stop talking about this, we can accept the status quo. And I don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like. I mean, it’s certainly knocked the wind out of my sails to see childcare and paid leave up on the chopping block with the Build Back Better movement. And yet, when I talk to so many advocates and innovative businesses who are trying to find ways to make this happen, when I look at just the momentum that women have in politics, I do feel that it has to get better, because frankly, it can’t get worse.

Gloria Riviera 

Oh my gosh, such that idea is a good one to end on. It has to get better, it has to change, like we will not, we just, we can’t take it anymore. And our children can’t take it anymore. So something’s got to give, and we’re responsible for that. Liz, my last question, I’ll just say, You know what, I suppose you sort of almost already answered it. But I know it’s weighing on you. Can you think of something that gives you hope? Like, is there a mother you spoke to I love the story about the two single moms buying a house together.

Liz Tenety

I mean, I would say the entrepreneurs, and I don’t mean like that people, you know, starting venture backed companies, who, you know, probably already came from a place of privilege and are, you know, now racing ahead in childcare innovation, not just that I’m talking about, like a small business owner mom, who is launching her own business so that she can get paid, and she is swapping childcare with her friend on the block so that they can both make it work affordably. It’s women just deciding I’m going to do it. I’m just going to make this work; I’m going to demand more support. That is what inspires me and keeps me moving. And I think that we’re seeing that happened on a graph, in a grassroots way. I mean, at Motherly, some of our most popular content is around how do I do this without a village, it takes a village and I don’t have one. And those types of articles have done so well for us over the years, because I think they’ve inspired like a broken generation to say, we deserve this. And I’m going to build it from the ground up. And that is what inspires me because Mothers are so incredibly resourceful, and resilient. And I just want them to know that the same sort of 360 degree of support that they give their children, their emotional well-being that they sleep enough, that they have friends, all of what you hope for your child’s, I hope that you hope for yourself. And that will benefit your kid enormously down the line in a day-to-day way, it’s hard to believe that because the needs are so great when you’re raising a family, the acute needs. But I really believe that we need to learn to mother and value ourselves fundamentally. And that includes saying these structures aren’t working for mothers. And that matters, right?

Gloria Riviera 

I hear you say that, you know, it just made me think of something differently, which I always love when that happens, which is that actually working for childcare, working to change what we currently have. Of course, we do it for our children, but we’re really doing it for ourselves. Like it’s like, this is what I need.

Liz Tenety 

And what’s wrong with that. Right? Like why can’t we, we can have needs we do have needs. American culture tells us mothers don’t have needs or if they do, they’re at the very end of a very long list. You know, I probably the best thing I ever got to do at work was I had Esther Perel and she’s like, not that I know her well, but she’s my personal hero. I just absolutely love her work relationship expert. And in that episode, she talked about something that’s actually acute in my life. So she gave an example of how she really disliked when her sons were growing up. She really didn’t like going on their sports games on the weekends, it was taking all her time to go to their sports activities. It wasn’t giving her life. It wasn’t rejuvenating her. It was taking over time. And so she told her kids like, I’m super happy for you to do it. I’m not going to come doesn’t mean I don’t love you, but I’m not going to be there. And she said it was a little bit hard for them to hear. Certainly every other parent was at those sports games, but she used that time to do things that were nourishing to her, and how as adults, her sons have deeply come to appreciate and respect that that she set that example. That example is so uncomfortable for me. I like grew up in a sports family and certainly in suburban New Jersey where I live like, how could you believe that? You know, it’s like taboo.

Gloria Riviera 

What do you mean? I’ll be there with the waters and the Gatorade.

Liz Tenety 

Exactly. That’s what mom culture is like, oh, yeah, not only is my kid gonna be there, but I’m gonna be there with this extra supplies and making sure it’s cute and labeled and all of those.

Gloria Riviera

Cute and labeled. Don’t forget the label.

Liz Tenety 

But I don’t know, Esther has such a long-term historic perspective, European perspective on American culture. That gave me permission to say, okay, if this amazing expert that I deeply admire is saying it’s okay to put your needs first in your family. And it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad mother, it means you’re taking care of yourself. And in the long term, setting a really healthy example for your kids. If she’s saying it like I needed that permission to say that I matter too. And I guess, I’m guessing a lot of your listeners may need that permission as well.

Gloria Riviera  36:12

Yeah, I think I think you’re onto something there. So listeners listen to that. Liz, thank you so much. I’m so I’m so grateful to you for your time this morning. And I’m so grateful that you do this podcast and I look forward to listening more. I just listened to a fantastic episode about two moms who started a business during COVID. I sent it to my sister I said look at what these sisters have done. So that and many more. Now we’ll go listen to the Esther Perel episode.

Liz Tenety 

She’s amazing. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Gloria Riviera

American culture tells us mothers don’t have needs. Yeah, I tell myself that. Well, I act like that. There’s no loop in the bubble above my head repeating you don’t have needs; you don’t have needs. But I could take a page out of Liz’s book for sure. I don’t know why it is so hard for so many of us to throw our arms around self-care. I’m going to try. I appreciate how expansive her interests are from being an ardent supporter of subsidies to start up innovation in the childcare and early education field to this idea that it does take a village. By and large, our villages have been demolished. But we as parents, we are still standing. So what do we do? We shouted from the rooftops This is not sustainable. Thank you so much, Liz. Now it is time for my very favorite part of every show, you, I just want to say it is so cool, that you are all so open with me so vulnerable, and you’re taking your non-existent free time to share and connect with the show and our cause. We would be up you know which creek without a paddle if we didn’t hear from you, but we are hearing from you. And it makes us all feel less alone. Take a listen.

Speaker 3  38:07

Good morning, Gloria. Thank you for this podcast. I am on my way to work. It’s around 6:30am. I have a two-year-old and a four-month-old. So things are a little bit tough right now. We’re all just getting over being pretty sick. But I’m still headed to work because all my sick days went to my non-existent maternity leave. I work all day as a high school counselor. And then my husband works like evening at night. And then in between for about three hours. My mother-in-law takes the kids so that we don’t have to do full time childcare. So immediately I go straight to work to pick them up at 3PM on the dot. And then I go it alone until 9PM, when my husband gets off work. So by the time my day is over, and so completely exhausted. And I don’t know how everyone is doing this. It’s not. I’m just trying to make sure they survive, let alone print off Pinterest activities to do every day. Yeah, right.

Speaker 4

Hi, my name is Annie. I am a mother of four. I have four kids. Eight, six, very fresh eight and six and a set of twins who are three and a half one of which has down syndrome. My first parenting thought today was when I woke up at five is do I have time to wash my hair. Then I realized we didn’t have any yogurt. So I was at the grocery store at 6AM, after I had washed my hair and cuz my one son needs antibiotics and that’s only time he’ll take it and then we’re going to look at a preschool program. which is only half a day for my son who has down syndrome. My other children were lucky enough to send them to private school. And they go to a Montessori program all day until 5:45 if necessary. I just don’t know why my son who has down syndrome doesn’t, isn’t awarded the same opportunities when he needs them. Probably just as much. So we’re going to look at this program and we’ll make the best of it. But I’ve already been up since five and I already feel like I’ve worked a first shift.

Gloria Riviera  40:33

That first mom heading to work because all of her sick days when to or non-existent maternity leave, Jesus, and her go alone shift before her husband gets home. Six hours. Yeah, unacceptable. Keep going mama we feel you and no, you do not have to print out Pinterest activities. Good God. Annie, oh my god, I love you, four kids, three-and-a-half-year-old twins. That alone. You are at the grocery store at 6AM? You are a warrior, a mama warrior. And I want to tell you to take a nap or have five minutes with a cup of tea. I know I know. That means making the tea and that takes time but you understand. Just take a note from Liz and think of your own self-care because you deserve it. That is your armor. Everyone. We love these voice memos. It is so easy. When the spirit moves you be it up or down or head in your arms total depletion. Send us a message. Whip out your phone, record a voice memo and then send it to me at We will get it and we will share them with you. Coming up next week. Julie Kashen, she’s the director of women’s economic justice at the Century foundation. Julie will lay out the steps that we need to take for federal child care reform in our post Build Back Better reality. Then Karen Vermont from No Kid Hungry, this is such an interesting conversation. It is all about the toll that food insecurity has on children and the childcare industry. Thank you so much everybody. Remember we can do this; we can change childcare and early education. We’re doing it right now.


NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US is a Lemonada media original presented by and created with Neighborhood Villages. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Alex McOwen. Veronica Rodriguez is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me Gloria Riviera. If you like the show, and you believe what we’re doing is important. Please help others find us by leaving us a rating and writing us a review. Do you have your own experiences and frustrations with the childcare system? Do you have ideas for what we could do to make it better? Join the no one is coming to save us Facebook group where we can continue the conversation together. You can also follow us and other Lemonada podcasts at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms. Thank you so much for listening. We will be back next week. Until then hang in there. You can do it.

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