I wrote this article a few months ago, and I was clearly burned out. May is Mental Health Month. Working moms aren’t the only ones who get burned out and the pandemic makes these effects more pronounced. If you are facing difficult times, please reach out and talk to someone. My door, inbox, and phone are always open. There are also great virtual counseling or therapy options available and many are covered by insurance. If you don’t care for yourself, you can not take care of anyone else. Thank you for reading.
The pandemic life of working moms
Picture this: I was on a very important video call with senior executives that would determine the future of my organization when my little one yelled from the bathroom, “MOM, I POOPED!” In an instant, I gained real perspective on the impact the pandemic is having on working moms. At that moment, I had to decide what my real priorities were: stay on the call with my high-level bosses, or request a break to ensure I could go wipe my kid’s butt? Really, who would have thought this is how my days would shape up? I could have been on a video call with the President of the United States and my kid’s bowel movement would be the highest priority.
Virtual learning is hard on everyone
I have a rambunctious kindergartener who struggles with virtual learning. Six hours on Zoom is too much for anyone, let alone for that age. My second grader is on the autism spectrum and cannot navigate through virtual learning by herself. Both kiddos need constant attention to make it through each virtual learning day.
Best laid plans
Every morning starts with my husband and I comparing schedules and working out which parent will work with which kid. It starts with good intentions and usually devolves into me bouncing back and forth between each kid saying, “What are you supposed to be doing?” and “Pay attention to your teacher.” This happens about a million times a day. I hop on and off video calls for work and try to squeeze in projects and meet deadlines between the chaos.
A mom’s work never ends
I am the breadwinner of the family, and my role at work is demanding. Yet somehow, the school tasks fall back on me. I’m sure many of you can relate! For example, today started with my husband saying his meeting was cancelled so he was open all day to help. However, it ended with him being on the phone all day long and me taking both kids upstairs to work in my bedroom. I had to cancel a call with my boss and place co-workers on hold several times to assist the children. Looks like that massive looming deadline will need an extension!
There is a saying, “A mom’s work never ends.” Yet this does not even come close to describing the daily wear on working moms during this time.
Everyone gets a haircut except mom
The best way I can describe the pandemic for me is through a story. Over the weekend, I gave everyone in my family a haircut (a skill I never wanted to pick up), and everyone in my family got a haircut except me. It is often said that moms put everyone else’s needs before their own. Now the needs of moms, particularly working moms, are not getting met at all. Pre-pandemic, I would take care of everyone and then myself. It is frustrating to feel like there is no time for self care.
Every day feels like Groundhog Day. Although the COVID numbers are decreasing and there are now vaccines, many working moms, such as myself, just don’t see an end in sight.