Parental leave and other workplace benefits for new moms and dads aren't abstract policy points for state Sen. Mallory McMorrow.
The first-term legislator became a first-time parent three weeks ago today, delivering Noa Riley Wert at Beaumont Royal Oak.
McMorrow, a Democrat who lives in Royal Oak with husband Ray Wert, tweets the serene scene above with blunt reflections on "the lack of support for women and families."
Friday's steam-of-consciousness thread starts with new-mom acknowledgments of an "exhausting, eye-opening, wonderful" experience that "can be both isolating and incredible at once." She adds: "I struggled in the early days and still have moments. ... So many women and new moms struggle and are expected to suck it up and not talk about it."
The 34-year-old, whose career began as a corporate designer and creative strategist, also applies her perspective as a state lawmaker balancing family duties with public service. The 19-tweet thread is part-journaling, part-policy floating and part-TED Talk.
"Other countries see and support families" more than ours does, McMorrow says near the start of her riff. Here's a sampling of other tweets:
I know I have support that many others don't, and I'm grateful for it. It's still hard...and I'm going to talk about it. I hope it helps shine a light and allow us to have real policy conversations about how we build back from these losses. We have to.— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) February 19, 2021
She cites "an unspoken expectation that women will work through" maternity leave, and gives a fresh example: Three days after her Jan. 29 delivery, "a lobbyist reached out to my office and said, 'I know Mallory's on leave but can we get 1:1 time this week?' I had JUST given birth. I was still very much in early recovery. I was still bleeding, raw, exhausted and barely able to move."
But I'm going to take the full 12 weeks. Especially for those of us who advocate and push for family leave, we can't say one thing and do another. We have to normalize work that supports working families...or things will never change.— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) February 19, 2021
One last thought...in 2018 I knocked on a door in Troy and spoke to a woman in her 50s. I told her I was running to be her state Senator. She asked me if I had any kids and when I planned to have them and how many...— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) February 19, 2021
I think about this conversation every day. It eats at me. And another woman executive I know who said, "Women can have it all... Just not all at once."— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) February 19, 2021
Are they right? I hope not. But I know for so many women, the current system makes it unsustainable.
McMorrow, a senator since January 2019, is up for re-election next year. Her district includes Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Clawson, Rochester Hills and Troy.
She married Wert, now a 41-year-old automotive industry communications strategist, at Detroit's Eastern Market in June 2017. Her tweets end with gratitude that he's "an equal partner as her Dad. Noa's already made multiple appearances on Dad's work Zoom calls."