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Anne Michaud: Think bigger about Mother’s Day wishes

  • Newsday
  • Published Sunday, May 12, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Mother’s Day stirs mixed emotions in people. My family has always treated me to a nice, low-key Mother’s Day – a homemade card, some extra help around the house, a special meal at home.

But my mother was, sadly, never satisfied with her Mother’s Day celebrations. Maybe one day a year couldn’t sufficiently thank her for the hard, loving work she was doing raising seven children, or the things she went without so that we could all attend college.

So this year, on behalf of my late mom and mothers everywhere, I’m going to think bigger about our wishes for Mother’s Day.

I wish for an end to the stories about pervy teachers, coaches and school administrators having sex with students. The schools aren’t a singles bar. Hands off.

I wish for better employment prospects for teenagers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than three in 10 American teenagers find summer jobs. This isn’t just about earning money. Jobs teach young people about responsibility, cooperation, time management, handling conflict and choosing a career.

I wish child care subsidies for working people would be restored. People shouldn’t have to quit jobs because there’s no one to watch their children. Nor should they be forced to leave their kids in dangerous situations because they have to work.

I wish for a new federal policy that would make it easier for workers to take time off when their child or parent needs care. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides for 12 unpaid weeks of leave with a guarantee that a job will be waiting afterward. But it’s not enough. Some people can’t afford unpaid time. We need new thinking on how work and family responsibilities can coexist.

I wish schools that have dropped late buses would bring them back, so more kids could participate in sports, extra-help sessions and clubs.

Oh, and one more. I wish for “Princesses: Long Island” to be painfully accurate. The coming Bravo reality series has the potential to make my life as a mom easier – if it’s realistic about the excesses of Long Island girl life. Being driven around in limousines, discovering new must-have spa treatments, dropping hundreds of dollars weekly on clothes – if my daughters see that only “princesses” get this treatment, maybe they won’t think they have to have it, too.

Wishing won’t make it so, of course, just as appreciating Mom one day a year isn’t enough. But sometimes change begins with a wish.

Anne Michaud is a member of the Newsday editorial board.

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