Most mothers Many mothers encountered a overwhelming shift in their lives — well beyond the mere loss of their daily routines, when the world began to tackle Covid-19.
Many Working moms were lucky enough to have escaped the virus or recovered from it are juggling jobs and child care with intensity that was never experience. They are home-schooling while working. They’re preparing lunches while working. They’re policing screen time while working — and dealing with the waves of guilt, stress or resignation that come with not doing any of those things particularly well.
Role that had been outsourced to schools, grandparents, nannies and sitters are now falling squarely on parents and disproportionately on mothers. It is surreal for some of the women, who often found themselves feeling that their busy jobs kept them away from their children. Now, they are spending more time than ever with their kids — but this isn’t what they had in mind.
Even before school closures and stay-at-home orders were implemented, balance could feel tenuous for single moms and women married to men, who have traditionally spent less time caring for their children.
Although men have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend on child care since 1965 and the number of men who are stay-at-home fathers has doubled in the past 20 years, imbalances persist in what has been called the “invisible work” of parenting.
Women shoulder the planning, the organizing and the remembering of everything that needs to be remembered. The mental load that comes with that work has grown exponentially in recent months.
“We’ve been socialized for 200 years for women to take this load on without even talking about it,” said Stephanie Coontz, a historian of family studies. The pandemic “is really going to bring this to the fore more starkly than in the past because now there is so much more planning that has to be done.”
“You can’t not worry as a mom. ‘Are the kids okay? What’s going on? Let me check in on them” says Tamara, who lives in Arabian Ranches. “But you’ve got to be able to check in on them and still be able to do your job. It’s a lot.” – Tamara Fray, Branch Manager
Sitting at her kitchen table surrounded by nursery school workbooks, Zeynab recalls having grand plans at the start of the quarantine. “I thought: ‘Okay, we’re going to do worksheets, and then we’re going to do science experiments or baking. She’ll learn measures and all of that. And then we’re going to do some art, and then we’ll go out and do gardening.” Weeks later? “I’ve had to adjust my expectations,” says Zeynab, who wore a Zoom-ready Abayaa over a kid-stained T-shirt. “I’m lucky if I get her to do the worksheets.”
And she’s grappling with the guilt of what’s slipping. “I continue to feel very inadequate. Is she not going to be ready for kindergarten? Is that going to be my fault? All of those same self-doubts that we all have.” – Zeynab Rashid, Government Employee
“When I get home, my kids have just woken up, and they’re ready for the day,” Rosevelyn says, “but I’m not exactly ready for their day.” Before she greets her family, she heads to the bathroom, where she puts her scrubs, hair covering and shoes into the washing machine, then takes a shower. She stays awake long enough to help the kids with breakfast and set up her son with his online class materials before she goes to bed at 10 or 11 a.m. – Rosevelyn Espinoza, Healthcare Frontliner
“There are no days of the week anymore. It’s yesterday, today and tomorrow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given them their iPads because I don’t care. For me, it’s about their mental health,” explains Merrie. She has watched “Frozen” four times in one day. “I’m not about to argue with a 3-year-old.” – Merrie Elchab, Insta Influencer.
“I’m really only worrying about two things: whether we get sick and if my husband and I still have our jobs,” she says. “But at the same time, I’m much more grateful for everything around me. … I’m not religious, but I have to think maybe there’s a message God sends us that everyone should stop and slow down.” – Sarah Johnston, Teacher
These are stressors for regular office worker and DIFC suits, for entrepreneurs and health-care workers and for moms on MOHAP & DHA alike. All working mothers said they are looking for silver linings — a quick hug from a child before a conference call or the pride that comes with keeping a business afloat against tough odds.
But most concede that thriving is out of reach. Surviving is enough.
Credits: Our team, built by strong moms who are working thorough this pandemic phase, bolder & stronger.
Article by a working mom 🙂