If you’re a mom or there’s a mother in your life who you love, then you need to know about The Chamber of Mothers…that is, unless you’re one of the 3 million who already does.
Join us in conversation here with two of the co-founders of the organization, Erin Erenberg and Raena Boston.
Kibou: Let’s start at square one. What and who is The Chamber of Mothers?
Erin: The Chamber of Mothers is a nonprofit that focuses America's priorities on mothers' rights. With a reach of over 3 million monthly, the Chamber educates mothers about the personal impact of politics. We unite mothers as advocates to create the kind of country they want to live in and bestow upon future generations. We are a team of mothers and professionals, most of whom run motherhood service platforms of our own.
In November of 2021, we joined up with preexisting advocacy groups to fight for paid family and medical leave as part of Build Back Better. We quickly realized that we'd have much more influence if we were to come together. Through our motherhood platforms, which reached a combined 1 million mothers, we were helping individual mothers feel less exhausted and powerless. But as we personally struggled while helping other mothers, it became clear that the real work is toppling the systems holding American mothers down. The problem is not the American mother. No, the problem lies in the culture, law, and policies that are ignoring mothers and expecting women to shoulder an unthinkable amount of unacknowledged work, overwhelm, even suffer -- without providing social support.
The Chamber champions the work of existing advocacy groups and encourages women to use their voices, dollars, and power to hold lawmakers accountable for the nexus of failed or nonexistent support systems for mothers, including including paid family and medical leave; accessible childcare; and maternal health protections.
Why as women in 2023 do we still need to advocate for our rights?
Raena: The more I do this work with Chamber of Mothers the clearer it is to me that advocacy is the answer. Women are told to do it all, but that it is impolite to advocate for what we need. In the "doing it all", we don't have time to do what really matters and/or we feel like if we cannot do it perfectly then we shouldn't do it all. The institutions are banking on us feeling powerless and being exhausted so that the status quo is maintained. What would happen if women felt powerful and prepared to take on systemic failure. My guess is that everything would change.
What can we do? What tips do you have for making advocacy a meaningful and manageable part of our lives as moms?
- Start small. Advocate for your own needs in your household by modeling taking time for yourself. Expose your children to diverse experiences through books and media. Think of ways to live out your values as a family. Whether it's attending the MLK Day Parade annually as a family or marching on Washington, find the kind of advocacy that feels edgy but available to you, and commit to it.
- Make time to research issues that matter to you and know where your elected officials land on those issues. Congressional staffers tally the issues that people are calling, emailing, and/or tweeting about, and reporting that information. Make your voice heard.
- Don't do it all, and don't go it alone. Pick the areas that you feel most passionately about and direct your energy to those spaces, places, and causes.
- Join us at Chamber of Mothers! We are building a community of mothers who feel confident, competent, and connected while doing this work. Doing this sometimes heavy work feels much more manageable and sustainable with others working towards the same goals.
(Chamber of Mothers at one of their White House visits above)
What has Chamber of Mothers accomplished in the last year and a half?
We were invited to the White House 4 times in the last 6 months including as part of a select group of thought leaders at the Biden-Harris Maternal Health Consortium in December.
We've kicked off local chapters so that moms have a community with which to do advocacy work.
We worked with our coalition partners to get the stories of real moms to their elected reps.
How can people help support the work you are doing?
Erin: Right now, by donating (click here to donate). We're currently a nonprofit powered by mothers doing unpaid work in between school pickups, diaper changes, and full-time jobs. Donations for our national and local programming are imperative to our work. We believe in paying mothers. Also, join us! Our goal is to enlist one million mothers in our fight. Sign up here to officially become a member and receive our newsletter for Chamber updates (including the roll-out of local chapters), follow us on Instagram, and tell your friends about us.
Tell us more about both of you!
By day, Raena Boston is a working mother to 3 children, co-founder of the nonprofit Chamber of Mothers, and human resources professional.
By night (and wherever there is margin), she is a writer and founder of an online community for mothers called the Working Momtras. The Working Momtras is a community designed to help empower moms to resign from doing it all and instead lean into their inherent worth.
Raena currently lives in Florida with her husband and family.
Erin Spahn Erenberg is a mom of three, attorney, serial business builder, fund advisor, and the founder and CEO of Totum. She is also a co-founder and the executive director of the nonprofit the Chamber of Mothers. Erin maintains a part-time legal practice at Belzer, PC, where she assists women with business and intellectual property matters. Before launching Totum, Erin practiced as an IP attorney for Moore & VanAllen and SESAC, served as the executive director of ACM Lifting Lives, ran business development and legal affairs for social impact-driven tech firms Indiegogo and Omaze, and worked as an agent for William Morris Endeavor (WME).
Erin co-founded the Chamber of Mothers while standing in her laundry room, on the phone with Daphne Delvaux, founder of @themamattorney, DM'ing Lauren Smith Brody @thefifthtrimester, and texting Alexis Barad-Cutler of @notsafeformomgroup.
In Erin's words, “We were furious thinking that paid family and medical leave might fail, especially after all that mothers had gone through during the pandemic, after journalists and researchers had laid bare the mental and physical effects of mothers defaulting to the lion's share of unpaid and exhausting household labor and childcare, being pushed out of the workforce at alarming rates. Daphne shared that the Chamber of Commerce is the biggest blocker of paid leave, with the policy on its "job killer" list. She suggested we needed a union for mothers, something like the AARP of Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Mothers was born at that moment. I've never looked back from thinking this is the most important work of my life.”
Want to learn even more?
Born the night that paid family leave was reduced in the Build Back Better legislation, the Chamber of Mothers has been featured in major media outlets such as Parents, Bloomberg, SELF magazine, and others; partnered with influential maternal health and rights advocacy groups, including Paid Leave for All, Postpartum Support International, and Caring Across Generations and gained the attention of the Biden administration, engaging in meetings with the White House.
Sign up here and join us as members of the Chamber of Mothers.