My kids have two moms, but only one of us gets gifts on Mother's Day. My wife, Ann-Elise, laid claim to that holiday after giving birth to our son, Graham, 15 years ago. He and his sister, Ivy, call me Aimo, pronounced "eye-mo." I chose that kind-of-random Scandinavian moniker, along with the date of Aimo's Day: March 4th, the only day of the year that's a command.
On Sunday, May 9, our household will celebrate Ann-Elise. I'm fine with that. I think parents, whatever their gender, deserve a special day all to themselves, especially this year. Parenting through a pandemic has had its own special challenges.
As a group, mothers arguably have had the toughest time this past year. The Center for American Progress reported that in September 2020, when kids returned to school — many of them remotely — four times as many women as men left the workforce. Both Seven Days and our monthly parenting publication, Kids VT, have documented the consequences of this gender imbalance, most recently in the March 10 Seven Days cover story, "Mother Load: A Year in the Life of Three Single Moms in Vermont."
The annual Mom & Baby Issue of Kids VT, which you'll find inside this week's Seven Days, has a more hopeful tone. It's filled with advice, tips and reflections from local parents who've made it through turbulent times — starting with Eliana Castro, pictured on the cover with daughter Adelaide Galloway.
Castro, now an associate professor of secondary education at the University of Vermont, found out she was pregnant while finishing her PhD program at Michigan State University. She and her fiancé, James Galloway, moved to Vermont last July and got married in August; Adelaide arrived days later.
"I went from Ms. to Mrs. to Dr. to Mom in literally four days," Castro told Kids VT contributor Cat Cutillo. "Saturday we got married. Monday I defended my dissertation. And then Tuesday she was born. Those were the wildest four days of our lives."
Also in Kids VT, managing editor Alison Novak — who covers K-12 education for Seven Days — recalls coming down with swine flu while pregnant with her now-11-year-old son. In "Vermont Visionaries," Cutillo profiles 91-year-old Theresa Tomasi of Williston, a former social worker and director of Lund, who, as a single mom, adopted 27 children over the years. She might deserve her very own holiday.
And Corey Grenier, marketing and events director for Kids VT and Seven Days, shares her experience as a type A mom-to-be feeling utterly overwhelmed by baby gear recommendations. Spoiler alert: She made a spreadsheet.
Grenier, an event planner extraordinaire whose job has been completely disrupted by COVID-19, articulates one of this era's most important lessons in her essay: "This past year has taught me that there will always be things that are out of your control and you just have to deal with them the best you can."
You don't have to be a mom to empathize with that sentiment.