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Living At The Office: Moms On The Struggle To Balance Work And Family During The Pandemic

The pandemic induced a unique, immediate juggling act for working mothers of school-age children.
The pandemic induced a unique, immediate juggling act for working mothers of school-age children.

Since the pandemic began, working mothers have grappled with staying engaged at their jobs. That predictable outcome has big consequences for families, employers and the American economy.

A July survey of more than 500 working moms found that 81 percent of respondents said their ability to engage effectively at work has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. And according to one economist, the anxiety and pressure felt by these women isn’t just crippling on a personal level; it could also cost the U.S. economy $341.5 billion over the course of a year. That’s in large part because mothers, more often than fathers, have quit their jobs since the onset of the pandemic to stay home and take care of the children.

Find our conversation about child care during the pandemic here.

They [moms] are stepping back while others are not. And what that means is that they’re not able to volunteer for the assignments that could get them noticed during that time that they’re out, while others can,” said Misty Heggeness, principal economist and senior advisor at the U.S. Census Bureau. “So, it’s really putting moms on a totally different lifetime earnings trajectory than they would have had.”

Some women fear the pandemic is pushing them back into traditional roles and further behind in careers they’ve spent years building.

1A National Correspondent Sasha-Ann Simons spoke with some mothers about their recent experience juggling work and family.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Sasha-Ann Simons

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