It started with panic.
Are we going to get groceries? Do we have enough toilet paper? How are we going to get medication? What do we do if one of us gets sick? What do we do if one of the kids get sick?
Time passed. School went online. People stayed home. We watched. We waited.
But while the world closed down — things we didn’t anticipate happening became our new normal.
With 3 little kids at home and 2 working parents our workdays lengthened. I have been drafting emails at 11:30 at night.
My work which was more flexible because I was self employed was slotted into parts of the day that I could fit them. My days involved watching kids from 7am to 6pm, running to do a call, working in the evening, typing while my youngest napped and setting up calls Saturday morning.
I would get texts from friends with young kids at 1am crying. This is unsustainable. That was in April. It is June — nothing has changed. But everything has.
Employers once seemingly understanding and supportive are sending emails to parents to “figure it out.” Requests for shortened workdays are being denied. Those who have been using vacation days to help bridge the gap have run out of time. Mothers are quitting. Those who stay — have had things said and done to them that they can not forget. As soon as they can they will leave.
These are your managers. Your Vice Presidents. These are your front line workers, healthcare providers. Not one of us will get out of this unscathed.
This is not going to be just another month, maybe not even just another year.
There are lots of things we can do to support working parents. LOTS. And I will be working with companies to make that happen.
But from one parent to another I thought it important to just start by saying. I see you. And hope that by sharing this as a start — it helps in some small way.