Last year, Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani suggested that American mothers should be paid $2,400 a month, as part of a wider Marshall Plan for Moms. The idea was to offer some compensation for all the unpaid labor that mothers have been forced to take on, particularly during the pandemic, with halted careers, lost wages, and stifled career advancement.
Now, ahead of Mother’s Day, the Marshall Plan for Moms is aiming to raise awareness for this issue, as well as parental leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity, with the Moms Deserve More Flower Shop. The shop sells actual flowers, but the prices are jaw-dropping—and represent all the unpaid labor and unseen costs that American mothers take on.
This is the month moms are told they’re priceless—and they are! But women lost out on $800 BILLION from job cuts and stepping away from careers to care for loved ones, according to @Oxfam.
— reshmasaujani (@reshmasaujani) May 4, 2021
Created by agency SS+K, the Moms Deserve More Flower Shop offers bouquet packages such as an $800 billion Unpaid Work Bouquet (representing the amount of income that women have lost globally due to COVID-19). There’s also the Lack of Childcare bouquet ($13,000), the Paid Leave bouquet ($9,500), and the Lost Job bouquet ($36,000), among others. All of the prices represent a data point related to the costs of being a mother; the bouquets are curated by nonprofits, activists, and politicians.
The Marshall Plan for Moms started with an op-ed by Saujani and is now a national nonprofit aimed at raising funds and awareness for policies that support all mothers. Democratic congresswoman Grace Meng introduced Marshall Plan for Moms legislation in February, and in March a similar resolution was put before the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tammy Duckworth.
When creating the Moms Deserve More shop, SS+K creative director Margie Chidley says they started by thinking about typical Mother’s Day traditions, such as chocolates, cards, breakfast in bed, and, of course, flowers. The challenge was to use these familiar and expected gifts in an unexpected way that would force people to think about how society treats mothers. “It’s not enough to just send flowers and thank-you cards once a year,” says Chidley. “Moms need real support like paid leave, equal pay, and so much more. It’s a wake-up call. After the year moms just had, they deserve more than flowers!”
It may seem like an SNL spoof, but you can actually order flowers for mom from the flower shop, and it won’t cost you thousands—just a donation amount of your choice to Marshall Plan for Moms.
Chidley says Mother’s Day is full of so much sentimentality, using parody to puncture the notion of how we express our gratitude felt provocative. “There’s tension between how we currently thank moms and how we should be thanking moms,” she says. “The campaign plays with this tension.”
According to a survey done last year, there were about 35 million working moms in the U.S. at the end of 2019, with about 9.8 million suffering from workplace burnout. It also found that working mothers are 28% more likely to experience burnout than fathers. According to another study, 34% of fathers working remotely said they received a promotion, versus 9% of mothers. And an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center found women accounted for 100% of the jobs lost in December 2020.
Now that $36,000 Lost Job Bouquet doesn’t sound so ridiculous, does it?