Mother’s Day Flowers That Reflect the True Value of a Mother’s Work: $800 Billion

In the “Moms Deserve More Flower Store,” bouquets range from $800 billion for the Unpaid Work Bouquet to $3,500 for the Mental Stress Bouquet—representing the real value of mothers’ work.

The Marshall Plan for Moms
“If nobody can afford the cost of these bouquets, let’s ask ourselves why we are continuing to ask women to pay that price,” said Saujani. (Moms Deserve More Flower Store)

By now, your inbox is likely bombarded with never-ending alerts that Mother’s Day is just days away, reminding you “it’s not too late to treat Mom for Mother’s Day!” And you know, they’re right—it’s not too late to spoil the mother figure in your life. So, why not purchase another Mother’s Day bouquet for her to show that you really appreciate her? Bargain price: $800 billion.

If the sky-high price tag on the Unpaid Work Bouquet is a bit out of your budget range, the lovely Mental Stress Bouquet is on sale for just $3,500! It’s guaranteed Mom will appreciate it—and what better way to value her years and decades of unpaid labor?

The “Moms Deserve More Flower Store” Highlights What Moms Really Need This Mother’s Day

In the lead-up to Mother’s Day, over 30 organizations, advocates and celebrities—including Oxfam, Ai-jen Poo and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Paid Leave for All, PL+US, Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Amy Schumer and Scary Mommy—have joined forces with Marshall Plan for Moms and Girls Who Code founder, Reshma Saujani, to launch the “Moms Deserve More Flower Store,” an online flower shop highlighting the true value of mothers’ work.

The online “shop” applies a monetary value to the enormous amount of unpaid, unseen labor mothers are expected to complete each day—and which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Unlike other online floral displays or those at your local bodega, this shop features bouquets like The Unpaid Work Bouquet, The Lack of Childcare Bouquet and The Paid Leave Bouquet—each priced according to data highlighting the ways current national policies and COVID-19 relief efforts are failing to support mothers.

The largest bouquet in the shop is the Unpaid Work Bouquet, valued at $800 billion based on Oxfam data from April showing the global loss in income for women who lost jobs or left the workforce to care for family. “Economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is having a harsher impact on women, who are disproportionately represented in sectors offering low wages, few benefits and the least secure jobs. Instead of righting that wrong, governments treated women’s jobs as dispensable—and that has come at a cost of at least $800 billion in lost wages for those in formal employment,” said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International.

Other bouquets focus on long-standing issues that directly impact women’s finances, their ability to work and to have children as a result of our broken system. For example, The Lost Job Bouquet price of $36,000 reflects the median income of a working mom last year. The $13,000 price tag on The Lack of Childcare Bouquet represents the average cost of child care each year—and so on. (Check out all the bouquets and their descriptions here.)

“Mothers have had enough. They’re exhausted, and mental health is sharply declining,” Saujani told Ms. “This [online shop] came together around Mother’s Day to show the value of a mother’s work especially in a year where women did not have a choice to accept the job. There’s a notion that women and mothers will just handle the tasks … we weren’t asked to do this, we didn’t choose to, yet we were and are the backbone during this pandemic.”

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The Pandemic’s Harm on Women: Physical, Mental, Emotional and Financial

The pandemic has accelerated the negative impacts for women in the workforce and widened the gap for gender equality: A NWLC report from January measured women’s labor force participation at 57 percent—a startling low unseen since 1988. And since February of 2020, over 2.3 million women have left the U.S. workforce—nearly four times the rate of men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Saujani emphasizes that while the Moms Deserve More Flower Store activation is launched around Mother’s Day, “this effort goes beyond … and we are just getting started. The work won’t be completed until we are back—and better—than how we [women] were before the pandemic. Policy changes need to be made and the culture needs to shift across industries. … What moms really want—what they really need—is a national reckoning: one that reimagines our culture and rebuilds a system to actually value our work.”

The Marshall Plan for Moms

The Moms Deserve More Flower Store builds on previous demands for change on behalf of mothers: In January, 50 prominent women, led by Saujani, ran a full-page ad in The New York Times as a call to action for the Biden administration to implement a Marshall Plan for Moms. Their online petition, which they urge you to sign, reads:

“Moms are the bedrock of society. And we’re tired of working for free. It’s time to put a dollar figure on our labor.”

The petition demands a task force; they want short-term monthly payments to moms, depending on their needs and resources; but more importantly, they want Congress to pass “long overdue policies like paid family leave, affordable child care and pay equity.”

On Feb. 25, a parallel letter ran in the Washington Post calling on Congress to support the Marshall Plan—this time signed by 50 men, including basketball superstar Steph Curry, actors Colin Farrell and Don Cheadle, and philanthropist Craig Newmark. The plan also has support in Congress: Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced the Marshall Plan for Moms (H.Res.121) in the House of Representatives in February, and parallel legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

“In today’s society, motherhood is seen as a penalty and fatherhood is a premium,” Saujani said. “It’s time to shift society’s views and change the culture on how mothers are seen in the workforce. What will the [industries] do to support and accommodate women back into the labor force? What will the government do to support women who want to come back into the workforce? What will the education system do to ensure women are supported for children to go back to school full-time? Change nationally and locally needs to come through policy and a systemic shift.”

Saujani continued, “Women got us through this pandemic, and where’s the thank you? Roses, or a card, aren’t enough—especially after this year.”

These advocates and initiatives support the idea that true appreciation for a mother’s work isn’t through the usual Mother’s Day gifts—but rather systemic change that represents the true value of the often-thankless work they do every day.

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Sophia Michelen is a women and children's rights activist, writer, photojournalist, and global health and humanitarian professional. She has experience in international policy, advocacy, research and communication, working with nonprofits, NGOs and international governments. Currently committed to children’s rights, Sophia has worked in emergency relief in the Middle East, on health-system strengthening projects for girls in East Africa, and created advocacy and communication programs for women in Latin America.