The Unspoken Victims of Covid-19: Working Mothers
Making the Grade
When the pandemic began, I, along with millions of other mothers, began working at home. I work in Finance with lots of deadlines, meetings and peer interaction; a typical corporate job. A week or so into our journey at home, we realized we were in this for the long-haul and started schooling from home. With four children ages 4, 6, 10 & 12, it was a struggle to say the least. We failed to meet school due dates on most assignments, tried our best to log on to as many class Zoom sessions as possible but honestly, it was an utter failure. Thank goodness their last semester was pass/fail because I fear what their letter grades would have been.
Making the Time
It wasn’t that the children didn’t want to work or that we didn’t have the time. The issue was that I had to monitor all four and assist at least three of my children during their work times. They were sharing devices, sharing space and sharing my attention; all while I was working my full-time job. It was near-impossible. Their meeting schedules rivaled my own and were a struggle not only to keep track of meeting times but also access codes and links. Fast forward to today: at least two of my children will be in virtual school through Christmas and the other two will be moved to the virtual/hybrid option in the event of exposure or if the situation in the community continues to worsen.
My employer has been understanding, flexible and gracious. I know just how lucky I am that I have a great job and continue to be employed throughout the pandemic. I strive to prove my value every day, so when I need grace I can ask for it. I work hard to meet or exceed deadlines and provide a quality product at every turn. It’s been a struggle working with the kids home for the summer, but manageable.
The questions for the fall and beyond stretch from managing myself with deadlines and expectations to now 4-6 people with simultaneous expectations and deadlines, all important and all with serious implications if not achieved. We know the children could lose out on education, fall behind and have the potential for low grades. The focus has been on children and their schooling, though has anyone stopped to ask how this will impact working mothers for the long-haul? How will I manage when some or all of my children are learning at home again, this time with grades? How long will my employer give me the grace to work from home? Will I be able to meet expectations in my role? Will I not be seen as a team player because I’m not going back into the office? Will my priorities or loyalty be in question? Will I be considered for promotions or opportunities while I’m not “visible” to leadership? Will I be able to take on any special projects that set me up for advancement? How much time will I be able to dedicate to my job while caring for and helping to educate my children? What implication does this have on my career? How long will the effects of this situation last with regard to my reputation?
I don’t have the answers and I can’t provide an ideal scenario; I’m not sure there is one. I just know that working mothers will have more pressure and more weight put on them than ever before and acknowledging this could go a long way in finding resolution.