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How Working Moms are Parenting through the “She-cession”

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How Working Moms are Parenting through the “She-cession”

By Jessica Larson, SolopreneurJournal.com

The child care crisis triggered by the pandemic created a domino effect for working moms. As daycare facilities across the country closed their doors, mothers were forced to care for their kids while staying on top of their careers.

This has been hard enough during the COVID crisis, when working from home has been an option for many moms. Mothers are (of course) skilled multitaskers, but focusing on working remotely with kids underfoot is a challenge for even the most accomplished. It’s probably no surprise that more than 1 million mothers have left their jobs since the start of the pandemic.

And now, with many companies poised to bring their employees back into the office, and many daycare centers saying they’ll stay closed permanently, moms face an even more difficult task.

The pandemic exposed what’s been described as a “flimsy (child) care infrastructure” that isn’t getting better right away. So now, more than ever, moms will be looking for creative ways to balance motherhood and their career goals. There are no magical solutions, but you can employ a few strategies to make things a little less stressful as you seek to strike a balance.

Tap into your family connections

You never want to take advantage of family members, but many grandparents love spending time with young kids.

Sound out family members to see whether they’d be willing to help with child care. If they are, determine whether they’d be willing to help for free, or whether they want compensation (at minimum, you’ll want to cover the costs of meals, snacks, diapers for infants, etc.).

Beyond that, you’ll have to trust the person(s) you’re leaving your kids with to be consistent with your routine and parenting style. Go over everything point by point, from discipline to any special needs, to emergency contacts.

Make sure you’re on the same page from the beginning. You don’t want any misunderstandings to cause resentment or drive a wedge between you and family members, so be sure you’re thorough about your expectations, and theirs, before you pursue this option.

Research government assistance options

Federal and state government agencies offer a variety of assistance programs for working mothers. There are state-funded pre-kindergarten programs for children ages 3 to 5 that emphasize school readiness and early education. There’s also assistance for military families, and child care subsidies, or vouchers, are available. A number of assistance programs are also available specifically for single, working moms.

In addition, a $1.8 trillion tax credit plan proposed by President Joe Biden could save the average American family with young children $14,800 on child care annually. Under that plan, low-income families would have all their child care expenses covered, and families with higher incomes could get relief, as well.

As new programs are proposed and adopted, it will be important to stay up to date on what opportunities are available to you.

Work with your employer

Let your employer know the challenges you’re facing and ask what assistance they can provide. Some employers let employees dedicate a portion of their paycheck to a special fund for child care that isn’t taxed and can only be used for child care. Sound out your human resources department to see if that’s an option.

Some companies provide in-house child care. Others, like Twitter and DropBox, are offering their workers the choice between returning to an office setting and continuing to work from home. If working remotely provides you with more flexibility, that might be an option worth pursuing.

Regardless, apprise your employer of your situation and explore what they might be able to do to help.

Shift your career path

If you determine that your current career path doesn’t fit well with being a mom and you want to explore other options, this may be a great time to do so.

Work on building your skill set and bolstering your resumé by going back to school, accessing online courses, or taking advantage of resources that allow you to teach yourself. Choose an area of interest to you, and dig into it. It could be anything from grant writing to computer coding; from reading blueprints if you’re interested in construction or architecture to creative writing if you want to become an author.

Get your finances in order

You’ll be in a stronger position to build a future for yourself and your kids if your finances are in order. To start, if you are financially secure, you will be able to make career choices based on what is best for your family, as opposed to what you need to survive. That may mean working fewer hours while your children are in school, or it may mean relying on your savings while you wait for a job that offers you better pay and benefits.

If you don’t already have a budget, work on creating one. Numerous apps can help you out, including many specifically geared toward families.

While you’re at it, be sure your credit’s on solid footing. If you’ve had trouble in the past, you can use a secured credit card account to rebuild your credit. While these accounts work like a traditional credit card, they require a deposit up front. As long as you pay the minimum balance (or more) each month, you’ll be building your credit as you use it.

Allocating funds for your kids’ current care and education is one thing. But if you want to help put your kids through college down the line, it’s important to make a plan and start setting aside money now, if possible.

Being a working mother is even more challenging during the current “she-cession,” but that doesn’t mean you’re without options. It may take a little more resolve and resourcefulness to find the resources you need, but they’re out there. And you’re more than up to the task.


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