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In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both.

Covid-19 Working Moms

The NY Times just released an article that sums up working moms’ pent up anxieties about going back to school in a Covid-19 economy. Women are bearing the brunt of the economic crash due to Covid-19, but working moms are also the ones who are most often having to consider if they are going to give up their careers to stay at home with the kids while daycares and schools are closed. They are especially now having to make these trade-offs as schools announce their plans on whether to open or not in the coming weeks.

Most school districts have yet to release any information on what their “return to school” options are going to be. You can bet that Facebook mom groups are HOT right now discussing this topic behind closed doors. I’m a member of several groups trying to piece together “PODS” as we call them, to hire nannies/teachers/caregivers for a small group of kids to facilitate school district remote education. Most of the women in these groups are moms who don’t feel comfortable about sending their kids back to school during a global pandemic. Many are working moms who are also worried that even if schools do open, they will continuously shut down throughout the year as coronavirus spreads, and therefore, they’ll have no childcare to keep their jobs.

I’m posting about this article publicly because the NY Times author is right. These conversations are going on in private mom Facebook groups and not in public. Moms are quietly handling things behind the scenes, just like we always do. We need to be shouting from the rooftops right now.

The consensus is that everyone agrees this is a catastrophe, but we are too bone-tired to raise our voices above a groan, let alone scream through a megaphone. Every single person confesses burnout, despair, feeling like they are losing their minds, knowing in their guts that this is untenable.

Deb Perelman for the New York Times

States were quick to open restaurants and bars, further spreading the virus over the summer and making it less likely that our schools will be able to open in the fall. Our economy depends on having schools open so that parents can work and we have solid education for our youth (which is best done in person), yet it’s proving over and over again that working parents and public childhood education are completely overlooked in a Covid-19 economy.

Imagine the impact of school closures and remote learning requirements on our economically disadvantaged kids whose families don’t have the resources to hire nannies or tutors to help them throughout the day. And what about kids who cannot learn remotely? What about kids who need services that are tied to schools? What about putting teachers’ lives in danger?

When learning plans for children with special needs could not be followed appropriately this year, academic gains for many students were quickly wiped out. Remote learning has already widened racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps because of disparities in access to technology tutors. As parents are crushed by the Covid economy, so are the children who need the most support. 

Deb Perelman for the New York Times

The long-term income losses for professional adults will be incalculable, but per usual, will disproportionately affect mothers. Working mothers feel that they’re being pushed out of the labor force or into part-time jobs as their responsibilities at home have increased tenfold.

Some employers are already starting to announce that employees CANNOT work at home and care for children. Florida State University is one of those examples:

I wish I had better news for us working moms, but I’m afraid that won’t come until we enter the post-covid world.

I encourage you to share this article as much as possible in public. Also feel free to join our Facebook Group to continue the discussion.

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