Everyone is tired of talking about COVID-19 and its impacts. We all long for some return to normalcy and the memories of going out in public freely seem so distant that it sometimes makes me want to cry. This is especially true for working parents who must now face the challenges of working full time while playing teacher and support staff for their children. Perhaps, if you were like me, you are trying to get any work done that you can in between toddler naps and play sessions. Your toddler does not understand that your work hours are from 8 – 5. She just sees that she is home and so is mommy and that means it’s time to play.
Working parents are taking the brunt of the weight of this pandemic, and having to explain to their children this new world while trying to navigate it themselves. In a recently published article, the Pew Research Center and World Economic Forum released data that showed the top 5 ways that COVID-19 has impacted working parents and the data is a startling reminder of the burden of childcare, or a lack thereof, and the role it plays in the lives and livelihoods of families in the United States.
One of the most jarring facts that I read in this article was that initially, women were being worse hit by the impacts of this pandemic and were taking a hit to their career. However, in the past 6 months, men have felt the burden at equal levels having cut back their hours as well and taking on additional responsibilities. Also, the share of mothers and fathers who are working has fallen equivalently in 2020.
The five ways that COVID-19 has impacted working parents statistically in the past year are:
- The shares of mothers and fathers who were employed and at work in September 2020 were smaller than in September 2019.
- Among mothers, those with children ages 3 and older experienced a slightly greater decrease in the share employed and at work; among fathers, the decrease in this share was greater among those with children younger than 3.
- Black, Asian and Hispanic mothers experienced a greater decrease in the shares who were at work in the COVID-19 downturn than White mothers.
- Fathers who are employed and at work cut back on the hours they spent on the job by a little more than mothers did.
- Because of the COVID-19 downturn, the share of men overall who are working is at a record low and women at work is the lowest in 35 years.
These statistics are astounding to read but not at all unpredictable. As the winter begins to set in we must continue to hunker down and do what we can to protect our families from not only the COVID-19 virus which is seeing rising cases in 40 states but also the flu and normal everyday coughs and colds that come with cold weather.
I know that as a mother who has the luxury of continuing to send her child into a daycare where I feel she is safe, it has made me understand so much more the importance of having reliable childcare. I would be lying though if I said that the impending winter, the economic impact, and impact on the trajectory of working parents’ careers weren’t top of mind for me every day. I feel fortunate to have found a team of strong, working mothers like those at Flexable who understand these feelings and the unique set of issues that working parents are dealing with right now and into the unforeseeable future. We are here to help you through these tough times by giving you some time back in your day.