Angela Garbes and Genevieve Villamora for ESSENTIAL LABOR

Loyalty and Bad Saint are so incredibly thrilled to host Angela Garbes and Genevieve Villamora in conversation for Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change. This event will be held digitally via Crowdcast. Click here to register for the event with a donation of any amount of your choice. You can also order the book below to be added to the event's registration list. Donations will go to the Greater DC Diaper Bank. There will also be an option to snag the book during the event. 

Bad Saint and Loyalty are also hosting a "Caregiver's Night Out" dinner at Bad Saint on Thurs 5/12 @ 6 PM ET in celebration of Essential Laborclick here for more details!


From the acclaimed author of Like a Mother comes a reflection on the state of caregiving in America, and an exploration of mothering as a means of social change.

The Covid-19 pandemic shed fresh light on a long-overlooked truth: mothering is among the only essential work humans do. In response to the increasing weight placed on mothers and caregivers—and the lack of a social safety net to support them—writer Angela Garbes found herself pondering a vital question: How, under our current circumstances that leave us lonely, exhausted, and financially strained, might we demand more from American family life? 

In Essential Labor, Garbes explores assumptions about care, work, and deservedness, offering a deeply personal and rigorously reported look at what mothering is, and can be. A first-generation Filipino-American, Garbes shares the perspective of her family's complicated relationship to care work, placing mothering in a global context—the invisible economic engine that has been historically demanded of women of color. 

Garbes contends that while the labor of raising children is devalued in America, the act of mothering offers the radical potential to create a more equitable society. In Essential Labor, Garbes reframes the physically and mentally draining work of meeting a child's bodily and emotional needs as opportunities to find meaning, to nurture a deeper sense of self, pleasure, and belonging. This is highly skilled labor, work that impacts society at its most foundational level.

Part galvanizing manifesto, part poignant narrative, Essential Labor is a beautifully rendered reflection on care that reminds us of the irrefutable power and beauty of mothering.


Angela Garbes is the author of Like a Mother, an NPR Best Book of the Year and finalist for the Washington State Book Award in Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Cut, New York, Bon Appétit, and featured on NPR's Fresh Air. She lives with her family in Seattle. 


Genevieve Villamora is co-owner of Bad Saint, a small Filipino restaurant in the city’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. In 2016, Bad Saint was named the 2nd best new restaurant in the U.S. by Bon Appétit and received a 3-star review in The New York Times. In 2019, the restaurant was named one of the most influential restaurants of the decade by Esquire and Food & Wine. Genevieve has spent more than 15 years working in DC’s dynamic and diverse restaurant scene, including time at local favorites like Komi, Little Serow, Crane & Turtle, and Room 11. Before starting a second career in the restaurant industry, Genevieve worked at local nonprofit organizations in DC for a decade, focusing on anti-violence work, community development, progressive philanthropy, and nonprofit arts organizations. She has served on the boards of the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project, the Georgetown University Women’s Center, and Common Good City Farm. She was born and raised in the Filipino American community on the North Side of Chicago. She currently lives in Columbia Heights with her husband and 10-year-old son.

Please note Loyalty has a zero tolerance policy for harassment or intimidation of any kind during this virtual event. 

Event date: 
Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 8:00pm
Event address: 
Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062937360
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - May 10th, 2022

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062662958
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - May 7th, 2019