Only a few minutes into our phone call, Victoria Snyder steps away to take care of her 4 year old son, Braxton. When she returns, we spend the next half hour discussing everything from pandemic burnout to her speech in front of a Congressional Panel in Washington, D.C. in 2022.
Talking with Snyder, 36, is refreshing. She’s animated as she speaks about what it means to be a single mother and how important childcare is, and shares bits and pieces of her experience as an entrepreneur and founder of her business, Self-Care Señorita.
The important thing about Snyder, though, is that she’s not just a single mother or a business owner. She’s a woman who knows what it’s like to experience burnout and to choose a 90 hour work week over a traditional 9 to 5 to best fit her son’s needs. When it comes to advocating for those around her, she brings all of that to the table.
It was through the grassroots organization MomsRising that Snyder originally got her start in advocacy and campaigning.
“With that organization in particular, I’ve been able to have some really amazing opportunities,” Snyder recalled of her start with MomsRising, “I’ve been able to be on a Zoom call and talk to Prince Harry and Megan Markle about Self Care Señorita and burnout and parenting.”
Now Snyder is taking on more roles and advocating for a new platform, paid leave for all. The platform promotes a sustainable way for parents, families, and spouses to step away from work without compromising their own financial stability.
“The paid leave for all concept is one of support, that you can step away and take care of your family because that’s what matters most,” Snyder said.
This concept often is most beneficial to women and mothers who fill the roles of caretakers for their families, but the paid leave for all platform advocates for equity across all forms of families, regardless of factors such as gender or socioeconomic standing.
MomsRising, who Snyder has now partnered with for nearly two years, reached out to see if she wanted to share her story and her advocacy for paid leave in D.C. Snyder, a self dubbed “research person”, agreed without hesitation.
By the time she and her son had made it to D.C. Snyder recalls the moment she realized that this trip might be more impactful than she originally thought. “The House and Ways committee is the most historic committee, and [after doing some research] I was like ‘oh my gosh, this is bigger than I thought’,” she said.
After sharing her story as a single mother for her son who is on the autism spectrum, and as an entrepreneur, Snyder recalled realizing just how big of a moment that it was for not only her, but for other mothers and individuals like her.
“My capability to be there and tell my story was more than just my story. It was being able to share so many other people’s stories, and that was really the most beautiful part of it all. My testimony lives in the national archives and now any bill or legislation that they want to move forward, they can go and pull my words. To me, when we talk about leaving a legacy for our kids, that was really amazing.”
Now, Snyder and the paid leave for all platform have been featured everywhere from the local Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page to HuffPost, Bloomberg Law, MarketWatch, and even the Service Employees International Union’s Instagram.
While Snyder has spent so much time in the spotlight, she still remains her refreshingly realistic self. She knows that there is some pushback on the paid leave for all platform, and that it can be hard for underserved communities to fully embrace the idea of paid leave without feeling there may be a “catch”.
Snyder, who is Latina herself, understands that having these kinds of conversations within Latino communities can sometimes be difficult, but the benefit of having them is worth it. “Even just having a conversation that [sounds] like ‘hey, how long was your maternity leave?’,” can be beneficial, she notes.
“I always tell people that you can advocate in a lot of different ways. It does not have to be knocking on a senator’s door if you don’t want to…education, conversation, storytelling, all of that is advocacy work,” she said.
Her hope for the future? That this kind of advocacy will become more and more frequent, in all communities. “It’s OK to ask questions, it’s OK to ask for clarification, it’s OK to say ‘I don’t know what information I need’, and not feel like someone’s going to think you’re stupid. That’s not the case at all.”
For resources on paid leave for all, support for caregivers, or to find a local organization supporting Latinx communities, check out MomsRising, Casa San Jose, and the Latino Community Center as springboards for advocacy and support.