The Unspoken Victims of Covid-19: Working Mothers

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.

virtual schooling

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.

working mother

Flexibility

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.

Long-Term Impact

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.

How has the pandemic affected your family’s work/school situation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Tara Rosenkranz
Tara is a mom of four and lives in Metairie with her husband, kids, dog, birds and turtle. When she's not at home with her circus, she's at work or taxiing children around the city. Her favorite holiday is Mardi Gras. Tara loves to read, drink KranzCoffee and eat Double Stuff Oreos.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m right there with you! I’m down to two children being at home doing hybrid learning (the oldest leaves to college next week). We both work full-time, my job has allowed me to be home while working but with phone calls, meetings and trainings competing with Zoom calls, an ADD child and a 3rd grader who would love to just not do school altogether it has been rough!
    We barely passed last year and I am afraid that will happen again this year if I can’t find something, someone, anything, to help.

  2. I am the single mom (by choice) to an infant who is now 7.5 months old. I have asthma, increasing my risk of COVID complications. My nearest relative is 1,100 miles away. I was classified as an essential worker. Prior to my son’s birth, I had secured care for him that would enable me to maintain the same work hours that I had for 13 years. On March 22, when day care announced its closure, I had been back from maternity leave (during which I exhausted my FMLA, vacation, and paid sick leave) for two days. My employer did not qualify for COVID EFMLA. Day care did not reopen until May 4. I was in an impossible situation. The last five months have been hell, but the silver linings for me have been a) Unanticipated time with my son, during which I have done my best (and sometimes failed) to shield him from my distress b) A new job in which I am no longer classified as essential, where I am no longer on call on the weekends, where my commute has reduced from an hour to 11 minutes, where remote work is possible (although still very difficult if he is not in day care), and where my boss could not BE more understanding of my situation.

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