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Dear Reader: Calling On All Papas

Who doesn’t love to say “Papua New Guinea?”

Alayne Sulkin

Published on: May 22, 2015

ParentMap June 2015 Issue

Be you Mama or Papa, the juggle of family and work is one of the biggest challenges we all face as parents. ParentMap’s mission-driven content through 2016, “Making it Work,” is determined by what we’ve heard you crave most: finding healthier work-life balance.   

Many of you gathered with us late May for the premiere screening of the honest and powerful film Having It All by former Microsoft manager and now filmmaker Vlada Knowlton. Like so many in the room watching the film, I was thrust back to my early days of joy, elation and exhaustion as a first-time parent. Our most important life role (for which we receive no formal training!) takes us from “me to we” in an instant. While we navigate this new landscape of parenthood and the intersection of professional life and intimate relationships, the changes can be emotionally jarring and jubilating at the same time.

Papas, we want your help to effect change.

It may not feel like a Father’s Day gift to be asked for something, but who among us has not delivered the often quoted ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'? 

It is long past the time that U.S. parents should unite in support of paid family leave. In our progressive and beloved Washington state, we can be change agents. In fact, a growing number of you are the chief home officers (2 million in 2012, up from 1.1 million in 1989, according to Pew Research).

Who doesn’t love to say “Papua New Guinea?”


It may have a fun way of rolling off your tongue but it’s usually tied to an unnerving statement such as: “The U.S is one of only four countries that doesn’t offer paid leave to new mothers — the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and Lesotho.” 


Families in droves, about 3 million and rising, follow locally launched MomsRising. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner (a ParentMap 2008 Superhero) and Joan Blades (founder MoveOn) joined forces to bring moms, and those who support moms, together to fight for a “world that is fair and just and safe for mothers and families.” This dynamic duo co-authored The Motherhood Manifesto and are dedicated to “bringing millions of people, who all share a common concern about the need to build a more family-friendly America, together as a non-partisan force.”

In our progressive state, we should all be leaders in progressing our nation’s family leave policies. This Father’s Day, consider giving back to your family and increase the “MOMentum” by reaching out to U.S. senators to kick it up a notch to co-sponsor the Family Act now.

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