Just over a year ago, Sheryl Sandberg became a single mom when she suddenly lost her husband. On Friday, she posted a letter to all of her fellow single moms in honor of Mothers’ Day. The post was both a personal essay and a call to action, demanding that the government and corporations do more to support single moms, who are already leaning in as much as they can.
In the Mother’s Day Facebook post, Sandberg said that there were aspects of single parenthood that she never could have understood before she lost her husband Dave, and that raising kids alone was much more difficult than she possibly imagined:
After the release of her bestseller Lean In in 2013, Sandberg was criticized for not acknowledging that much of her advice for working mothers assumed the presence of a supportive husband or partner. On Friday, Sandberg wrote that she now agrees with those critics, and that the challenges facing single mothers in the workplace are much greater than she understood when she wrote the book:
Furthermore, she wrote, most single mothers are already leaning in—but government and workplace policies aren’t giving them the support they need, which is why so many households headed by single mothers are stuck in poverty. Single mothers, she writes, have “no safety net.” She says:
It’s a significant shift in rhetoric from Lean In, where Sandberg mostly focused on personal strategies, mentorship, and confidence rather than structural poverty and government policies. She ends her Facebook post—which is really more of a mini-essay—with a call to action: