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Working mother’s honest email signature sparks a discussion about affordable childcare

Frustrated by a snippy email she received regarding her delayed response, she decided to make a statement by adding a note about unaffordable childcare in her email signature.

Working mother’s honest email signature sparks a discussion about affordable childcare
Cover Image Source: Twitter | @MegStEsprit

Motherhood is a formidable journey, and its challenges become even more daunting when coupled with a professional career. Meg St Esprit, a working mother from Pittsburgh, is one of the many working mothers of America who is exhausted with having to hustle all the time.

St Esprit is a 39-year-old mother of four children and she works as a freelance journalist. Like many other working mothers, she tries to find a balance between work and her family, but sometimes she is unable to do so. In one such instance, she did something in the spur of the moment: changing her email signature. This seemingly insignificant act, however, went viral across social media platforms, reports TODAY.


She was searching for expensive camps and was interviewing babysitters to keep her children occupied during the summer when she came across an email, which she described as "snippy." In the email, the writer expressed frustration over the fact that St Esprit did not respond to their correspondence even after 24 hours of receiving the email.

St Esprit hit her breaking point upon reading the email and changed her email signature to: "Please note I may be slower to respond to email in the months of June, July and August due to the United States' inability to provide affordable childcare for working mothers."


She got quite a lot of responses from people who saw the email which led to her sharing it on Twitter and explaining why she chose to call out the American government in such a manner. “Some folks who saw my email signature commented on it, so I wanted to share. The US is the only developed nation w/o subsidized childcare. Adding it would increase our GDP by over 1 trillion dollars. Not a handout — it’s a smart decision when facing a recession and labor shortages,” she wrote on Twitter along with the screenshot of her email signature.


As what she said resonated with more and more working mothers from the US, she explained: “In the moment, I was like: 'This is how it's going to be — people are going to need to know that this is how it's going to be for the next couple months.' I'm still good at my job. I'm still a professional. I'm also a mom of four kids and this is reality in America."


St Esprit added that she was not expecting all the positive reactions that she received and was about to change the email signature as she thought she might lose out on work. “I work with a lot of clients, so I thought maybe I should delete it," she admitted. "Then people started to reply to it, writing: 'Side note: I love this.' 'Side note: Oh my gosh, this.' So, I decided to post it (on Twitter), and obviously, it has hit a chord with so many mothers."

"Everyone is feeling this. Everyone wants to be able to know that if you're at the pool with your kids and you're planning to work until 11 p.m. that night to catch up — which is what I do — that you don't have to respond to that email right away."


The US Congress has come to a tentative agreement on paid parental leaves for the nation’s federal employees, much to the delight of working mothers. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, the lack of paid parental leaves is harming the well-being of children as well as parents.

The survey which included 64 parents across the nation concluded that the parents, especially the mothers, are unhappy with the work culture in the US and are disappointed at the ignorance of the authorities in providing a flexible work schedule and paid childcare leaves.


According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the law enables US workers with new children or family members with serious medical conditions to take unpaid job-protected leave for about 12 weeks. But it covers only about half the workforce as the law is only applicable to companies that have 50 employees or more. The report also shows that same-sex parents were denied the unpaid leaves although this provision is available for heterosexual parents.

Considering all the working mothers in the US, like Meg St Esprit, the new agreement, when implemented would help bring more mothers into the workforce of the country without them having to choose between taking care of their children or going to work.

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