The memes posted on social media, the staggering number of women who left the workforce and a venting-hotline set up for moms by The New York Times showed just some of the unique problems that moms faced during the pandemic. As schools and businesses shut down, working moms were pushed to add another role to their workload: that of a homeschool mom. Though the problems with working moms existed prior to quarantine, the pandemic pulled off the covers of the working moms’ crisis.
The Portrait of the Distressed Mother
Moving stories of suffering moms have been passed along through history. There’s the story of the mother who gave up her food for her child during war or the mother who held her child so tight to keep him from crying as the Nazis raided that the child suffocated, leaving the mother stricken and empty. These stories are often passed from mother to mother as a way to empathize with one another. While they can make everyone feel sorrow and respect for the wide-ranging role of motherhood, little is ever done to change the burdens placed upon women.
Women Still Bear the Majority of the Childbearing and Housekeeping
As far as the world has come in equal rights for women, the fact remains that women are still seen as the primary caregivers and homemakers. This is in addition to working a full-time job, volunteering for schools and other civic organizations and caring for others in their extended family.
What Needs to be Done to Help
Experts agree that changes need to be made to help women. Enacting government policies such as paid maternity leave, less-expensive childcare options, larger tax credits to help with raising children or better work-from-home arrangements can help. What needs to happen, however, is that society needs to band together to help. This means changing the idea of only caring for oneself and reaching out in neighborhoods to help. It means fathers need to take on a larger role in caring for the home and their families. It also means that society must stop looking at the crisis of mothers as a women’s issue and must realize the importance of raising the next generation as a responsibility of everyone.