Sheryl Sandberg suddenly lost her husband in 2015, and has been a single mother ever since. On Mother’s Day, Sandberg took the time to recognize single mothers, particularly those who are less fortunate.

Sheryl Sandberg On Mother’s Day

Sandberg wrote at length about work-motherhood balance in her 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. After more than a year of effectively being a single mother, she recognized that there was a gap in her arguments, as she insufficiently covered the unique demands facing single mothers.

“In Lean In, I emphasized how critical a loving and supportive partner can be for women both professionally and personally—and how important Dave was to my career and to our children’s development,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post. “I still believe this. Some people felt that I did not spend enough time writing about the difficulties women face when they have an unsupportive partner or no partner at all. They were right.”

Following Dave Sandberg’s death in May 2015, Sandberg became a single mom to a daughter and a son. While Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has the benefit of having more than enough means to support her children, she’s become more attuned to what the everyday experience is like raising kids without their father.

“I will never experience and understand all of the challenges most single moms face, but I understand a lot more than I did a year ago,” Sandberg wrote. “Our widespread cultural assumption that every child lives with a two-parent heterosexual married couple is out of date. Since the early 1970s, the number of single mothers in the United States has nearly doubled.”

“Today, almost 30 percent of families with children are headed by a single parent, and 84 percent of those are led by a single mother. And yet our attitudes and our policies do not reflect this shift,” she added. “Single moms have been leaning in for a long time—out of necessity and a desire to provide the best possible opportunities for their children.”

Sandberg went on in her post to discuss how the United States is behind on the global stage in terms of providing paid maternity leave. She also points out that the majority of working mothers do not get paid leave to care for a child who is sick.

“We need to understand that it takes a community to raise children and that so many of our single mothers need and deserve a much more supportive community than we give them. We owe it to them and to their children to do better. We must do more as leaders, as coworkers, as neighbors, and as friends,” Sandberg wrote. “Being a mother is the most important—and most humbling—job I’ve ever had. As we rightly celebrate motherhood, we should give special thanks to the women who are raising children on their own. And let’s vow to do more to support them, every day.”

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