Skip to main content

Things We Saw Today: Congress Finally Has to Figure Out How to Handle All These Newly Elected Moms

freshmen, congress, mothers, 2018

In April of this year, Tammy Duckworth became the first sitting senator to give birth while in office, an event that drew much-needed attention to just how unprepared the institution of the Senate was to accommodate motherhood among its members. Now, after a record number of women were just elected to office, both the Senate and the House have some essential growing pains ahead of them.

Recommended Videos

A new report from Politico makes it clear just how much needs to be done before these government institutions are fully accessible to mothers, especially single mothers. This isn’t asking for special treatment; it’s asking for an acknowledgement that these systems were designed for a certain type of person, and mothers, single mothers, or working class mothers definitely aren’t it. (Did you know that as late as 2011, there wasn’t even a women’s restroom off the House floor? That was not a building designed with women in mind.)

Renovations are currently underway to install nursing stations in Capitol Hill restrooms and just this year they finally put in changing tables in members-only bathrooms. Those are important first steps. But the process to fully embrace women and mothers as an equal part of Congress–to integrate childcare and other necessities–will be more difficult and complicated. For now, as newly elected Democrat and single mom Katie Porter puts it, “Congress wasn’t built for members like me.” She told Politico, “For those of us who have young children, which is a minority, there’s definitely the built-in assumption of a two-parent model… There is no template for how to do this in my situation as a single mom.” (via Politico)

  • Amazon made a smart move and signed a first-look deal with Viola Davis’ production company. (via Variety)
  • I need this game on my shelf ASAP! Who’s She? is basically Guess Who but with extraordinary, history-making women. (via Kickstarter)
  • Thanksgiving is a great time to fantasize about which fictional fantasy-genre family you’d like to join. (via Portalist)
  • And now that we’re officially post-Thanksgiving, here are 12 Christmas movies that would be better if Gritty were in them. (via Mashable)
  • As more and more prominent, powerful men are ousted from their jobs over their atrocious behavior, let’s look at the women who have replaced them. (via Elle)
  • This entire rage-fueled thread about the incongruities in measurements is highly relatable.

Does anyone else already need another vacation after being back in the news cycle for one whole day?

(image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: