Mother’s Day can be a time of celebration for a lot of families, but as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg proved, it can also be a time of great reflection, too. Sandberg lost her husband Dave Goldberg in an accident in Mexico last year, and she took to Facebook to reflect on her life as a single mother.
“I did not really get how hard it is to succeed at work when you are overwhelmed at home,” Sandberg wrote. “I did not understand how often I would look at my son’s or daughter’s crying face and not know how to stop the tears. How often situations would come up that Dave and I had never talked about and that I did not know how to handle on my own.”
Sandberg also addressed the criticism she faced after some felt that her book Lean In did not adequately address the plight of single mothers, especially those from low-income families.
“In Lean In, I emphasized how critical a loving and supportive partner can be for women both professionally and personally—and how important Dave was to my career and to our children’s development,” Sandberg explained. “I still believe this. Some people felt that I did not spend enough time writing about the difficulties women face when they have an unsupportive partner or no partner at all. They were right.”
Sandberg, who has continued to raise her two children while maintaining her duties at Facebook, pointed out that while she enjoys the benefits of a high salary and a team of people that help manage her busy schedule, 40% of single mother families live in poverty.
She went on to call for federal paid maternity leave and paid sick live. "Instead of providing support, we all too often leave the families who are struggling the most to fend for themselves. The odds are stacked against single mothers in this country. Yet so many give everything they have and go on to raise incredible children."
Read the rest of Sandberg's powerful essay here.
Learn more about Sheryl Sandberg's journey with a copy of Lean In, and let us know if you think federal paid maternity leave should come to pass.