Elder Care Law Is Not Designed for Working Mothers in the Sandwich Generation

Being a working mom of children doing virtual school during the pandemic, also in the middle of a graduate degree, and suddenly caring for a delusional and aggressive senior parent, while being forced to educate every single business on what guardianship legally appointed me to do was overwhelming.

Why do businesses expect a senior citizen diagnosed with an irreversible disease of the mind to make financial or health decisions? Why wasn’t the court order enough? Because a woman with legal power isn’t enough. 

Working mothers and adult daughters who make up the majority of the sandwich generation need the ability to also care for their own mental and physical well-being to avoid burnout. 

The Tradwife’s Catch-22

How is it that an independent business executive goes from a full-time position in the C-suite to a full-time position in the kitchen, out of submissive devotion to her husband? If you’ve recently spent time on TikTok or Instagram, you may have wrestled with this question.

Tradwife influencers are right to point out the emptiness, precarity and dissatisfaction of neoliberal life, and the appeal of the alternative they offer is clear. But much of the rosy picture they paint exists only on our iPhones and not in reality. Domestic labor is neither slow nor peaceful.

The Best and Worst States for Family Care Policies

In 2021, the Century Foundation published its first care policy report card, “Care Matters,” which graded each state on a number of supportive family policies and worker rights and protections, such as paid sick and paid family leave, pregnant worker fairness, and the domestic worker bill of rights. The 2021 report card revealed the tremendous gaps in state care policies and a fragmented and insufficient system of care workers and families in most states.

This year’s update, co-authored with Caring Across Generations, takes another look at how states are doing.

Front and Center: ‘I’m Providing Childcare for Other People’s Kids, but I Don’t Have the Childcare I Need’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT) is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“I want to get back to school so I can level up in early childhood education. The challenge is being a single mom and needing to have someone there for my child when I’m not. … I’m providing childcare for other people’s kids, and at the same time, I don’t have the childcare I need to be able to do the stuff that I want to do.”

So Who Gets the Kids? Divorce in the Age of Equal Parenting

The Alice Hector–Robert Young divorce case epitomizes the impact of gendered parenting stereotypes held in custody cases. Is there a side feminists should take?

(For more ground-breaking stories like this, order 50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION, Alfred A. Knopf—a collection of the most audacious, norm-breaking coverage Ms. has published.)

Keeping Score: Kamala Harris Is First VP to Visit Abortion Provider; Fani Willis Can Pursue Racketeering Case Against Trump; Birth Control Access Is Key Election Issue

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Alabama ruling endangers IVF; childcare costs are a significant barrier to parents having more children; Beyoncé and Olivia Rodrigo launch new charities; more than 9,000 women have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza; Biden addresses abortion access in the SOTU; new research on gender discrimination in the workplace; Kamala Harris’ visit to Minnesota abortion clinic is the first time a sitting U.S. president or vice president has visited an abortion provider; a judge ruled Fani Willis should not be disqualified from prosecuting the racketeering case against former President Donald Trump; and more.

Our Abortion Stories: ‘Kate Cox’s Story Is One of Millions That Must Be Shared, and This Is Mine.’

“My husband and I chose the safety and stability of our family over the risks of another pregnancy. We wanted to ensure that my daughter had a mother, and I wanted my husband to have a wife. … As we brace and prepare for potential shifts this year, the power of telling our personal reproductive stories can be a catalyst for change and a beacon of solidarity. I hope that by telling my full story, others will be encouraged to do the same by knowing that they are not alone. ”

Share your abortion story by emailing myabortionstory@msmagazine.com.

Charting the Future of Equal Pay

Today, women workers make 78 cents when compared to men, and 66 cents for Black women, 52 cents for Latinas and 55 cents for Native women. The earnings gap is even larger when the value of benefits, including health and life insurance and performance bonuses, is included in the equation.

Disclosure of pay data by gender and race to the EEOC may pave the way for transparency to the public at large—and much-needed action to close gender and racial pay gaps once and for all. It’s been 60 years. Isn’t that long enough?

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

Lost Women: Harriet H. Robinson, An American Mill Girl 

Reclaiming the forgotten histories of women was the driving force behind Ms.‘ monthly column “Lost Women.” This Women’s History Month, we’re reviving the iconic series—diving into the archives to make these histories more accessible to our new age of Ms. readers.

This week: Harriet Robinson captured and preserved the fleeting golden age for female factory laborers—a unique period when the daughters of New England led the way in the transformation of America … and of themselves.