Want to truly make every day Mother's Day? Give her a clean house and some time alone.

Instead of thinking about what to give a mom in your life, think about what you could take away.

Pssst. I've got a Mother's Day secret. Moms don't really need a brunch or flowers, as lovely as those things are. What most moms I know really want are the things she rarely gets—a clean house, and time that belongs to her and her alone.

Don't get me wrong. Moms enjoy spending quality time with their kids. But I know few moms who would say they don't get enough time with their children. Our kid cups are full to overflowing most days. It's quality time with ourselves that we crave, but rarely get.


This is why we lock ourselves in the bathroom on occasion. This is why we sit for a few extra minutes in the car after we park in the driveway. This is why we slowly walk every aisle of Target when we're out for a "quick errand."

We want time to read a book uninterrupted. We want time to slowly drink a cup of coffee and stare out the window. We want time to sit in silence of an empty house and just be without having to think about someone else's needs for a while.

We love our families, but the constant flow of our energy to our loved ones takes its toll.

Moms nurture. We teach. We comfort. We worry. We give ourselves to our children and partners, and most of the time we are happy to do so. It's a role we chose to take on (most of us, anyway) and we wouldn't trade being a mom for anything in the world.

But that doesn't mean we don't need breaks sometimes.

A poll conducted by TVBed.com and reported by the Daily Mail found that out of 2000 moms surveyed, three quarters felt like they live their lives entirely for other people. Many moms reported that they go weeks at a time without any "me time," and on average, mothers get a mere 17 minutes a day to themselves. That's not healthy for anyone.

One of the best things someone can do for a mom who's in the thick of motherhood is take her kids for a while. Make sure she knows they are safe and cared for and having a good time, and tell her to go take a few hours for herself. It doesn't matter what she chooses to do with that time—it's hers.

I guarantee she'll think it's one of the best gifts she's ever gotten.

Studies show that women still take on the lion's share of housework. That takes its toll too.

While gender roles aren't nearly as defined as they used to be, much of the work of childrearing and housekeeping still falls on women. Some of that is natural—babies and toddlers in particular tend to gravitate towards their first source of nourishment and nurturing—but some is leftover from days past when a woman's place was in the home.

And the housework bit gets really old after a few years. When you live with children, there is constant picking up, constant wiping up, constant sweeping up. It never ends. Just to have a decently tidy house requires a consistent, diligent effort to stay on top of the perpetual messiness of it all.

And that's just living with children. One might assume that living with a partner would make housework easier, as you can split the duties. But research shows that women with husbands actually do more housework than single moms do. Unless you live with a man who truly pulls his weight, having a partner actually makes housework worse.

I fortunately married a man who is awesome about splitting household duties, but even at that, our house is rarely clean for longer than a few hours. If someone gifted me few hours of professional house cleaning, I'd be thrilled. Heck, if someone just offered to fold my laundry for a few days, I'd be eternally grateful. Taking away the burden of constant housework, even just for a little while, is a wonderful gift.

I'm telling you, a clean house and time alone. That's what most moms really want anyway.

In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price had a life-changing epiphany.

Price, who founded Gravity with his brother in 2004, was out hiking in the Cascade Mountains with his friend, Valerie. She told him her landlord had raised her rent by $200 and she was struggling to get by on her $40,000 a year income. Price, who was making $1.1 million a year as CEO of Gravity, was struck by her story. Not only did he feel for Valerie—a military veteran working two jobs and barely making ends meet—realized that some of his own employees might be facing similar struggles.

And they were. One employee frankly told him his entry-level salary was a rip-off. Another employee had secretly been working at McDonald's outside of work hours to make ends meet. So Price decided to make a drastic change by investing in his employees.

He researched how much money the average person would need in order to live comfortably and settled on $70,000 a year. In one fell swoop, he dropped his own salary to that amount, while also making it the minimum salary for anyone who worked at Gravity.

The move drew media coverage—and dire predictions from pundits. On Fox News and other conservative outlets he was called "foolish," a "socialist" and a "lunatic of lunatics." Rush Limbaugh called the company policy "pure unadulterated socialism" that was "going to fail" and should be a case study in MBA programs on how socialism doesn't work. Talking heads predicted that his employees would end up in the welfare line.

Six years later, Price has proved the haters wrong—by a lot.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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