By WMM Guest Contributor: Kanoe Ridel
Let’s state the obvious: The past year has been tough. The pandemic is impacting us all in countless ways and the world will be dealing with its lasting effects for years to come. And as for working moms? It’s knocked the wind out of us.
The reality is, the pandemic is setting working moms back in many ways. But we know we’ll get through this. Working moms are kind of unstoppable if you haven’t heard. Beyond the challenges COVID-19 is presenting us, this period is opening doors for working moms to find and create new ways to grow.
This pandemic is also shining a light on the incredible load working moms carry even during “normal” times, and families, employers, and colleagues are discovering a new appreciation for it all. After a year of navigating changes and finding ways for themselves and their families to thrive, working moms deserve some recognition – in fact, they deserve an entire day celebrating them!
The Impact of COVID-19
You may have heard that the massive departure of 2.4 million women from the workforce since the beginning of the pandemic has been coined the “She-cession.” It’s frustrating reference to the fact that women are disproportionately suffering losses and setbacks in their careers due to COVID-19. The number of men who left the workforce in that time? 1.8 million.
For working moms, life in a pandemic has taken a distinct toll. Between February and April of 2020, moms with young children reduced their work hours by 4-5x more than working fathers.
Working moms of color have suffered even more so, with a larger percentage of black and Hispanic women holding service industry jobs that have been compromised by the pandemic.
Mental Loads and Burnout
One of the most challenging aspects of pandemic life for moms is that the mental load they carry has grown exponentially, essentially putting the normal weight of their many responsibilities on steroids. With the loss of in-person school and childcare, financial hardships, and the stress of life during a health crisis, it should come as no surprise that 74% of surveyed moms said they have felt mentally worse since the pandemic began.
“Burnout” was a thing long before COVID-19, but the pandemic is maxing out working moms’ ability to manage professional and home life, and women are feeling it. As of December 2020, 9.8 million working moms reported they’re suffering from burnout, or the mental and physical exhaustion felt by long and excessive periods of stress.
Show Working Moms Some Love
We can’t undo the effects of the pandemic on working moms. Still, you can certainly show your appreciation and gratitude for the responsibilities they’ve carried and will continue to carry as life eventually returns to “normal.”
Working Moms Day, March 12, is a fantastic opportunity to show the moms in your life just how much you value everything they do! It’s a day Working Moms of MKE and Wisconsin Mom Force created to recognize and cheer on moms everywhere. Check out the toolkit and resources for celebrating Working Moms Day, and visit the FAQ page to learn more about how you can join this year’s events.
Turning Tough Times Into Opportunities
With all the challenges working moms have experienced in the past year have also come opportunities to learn, grow, and push for better working environments. While moms have shown they’re up for the challenge of navigating the curveballs this pandemic has thrown their way, businesses can do their part to make sure moms feel seen and supported.
Any business can recognize and encourage the moms they employ and serve by observing Working Moms Day on March 12. Whether you host an event, launch a celebratory promotion, or simply say thank you to the working moms in your business, however you show your support will be appreciated.
Working Moms Building Opportunities For Themselves
With more time at home and, for many, a need for additional income streams, many moms are exploring passion projects and side hustles. Beyond the financial aspects of starting new businesses, many parents report they’ve created a side hustle to explore business ideas, develop skills, and gain new experiences.
Working moms interested in starting a new business can sign up for “Turning an Idea Into a Business,” one of the events taking place on Working Moms Day.
Working Moms of Milwaukee is bringing together amazing MOM business owners for a panel discussion of how they’ve taken ideas and turned them into businesses. If finally starting that business you’ve dreamt about is a goal for 2021, you won’t want to miss it!
Moms Supporting Each Other
Working Moms of MKE and the Wisconsin Mom Force provide a supportive space for working moms to connect. And during this crazy season of work and life, a network of moms who experience similar challenges, wins, and the ins and outs of being a working parent is invaluable.
On Working Moms Day, you can support and praise working moms for all the work they do. Whether they work full-time or part-time, are paid or not, one of the best ways you can encourage moms and spread hope and encouragement for better days ahead is by acknowledging the fantastic work they’re doing.
And if you’re a working mom yourself, let this be your reminder to stop and pat yourself on the back. You’re making it work during some of the craziest times we’ve ever seen. Take a minute, an hour, or even the day on Working Moms Day to appreciate yourself for the amazing things you do – at home, in your job, and in life.
COVID-19 has been tough on working moms and parents everywhere, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We can take this opportunity to recognize the challenges working moms have endured, the possibilities at our fingertips, and the reality of just how much we count on and appreciate the moms in our lives.
Be sure to join Working Moms of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Mom Force on March 12 for Working Moms Day, and celebrate the moms in your life!