The Struggles of the Working Mom in 2021

Podcast Transcript

I am offering a $10 Starbucks gift card if you are willing to jump on a 20-minute call with me because right now, I’m trying to make sure that I create content that you want. And I think that, for me to do that, I need to really understand what you want to have. So if you’re willing to jump on a call with me, please reach out. I will put my email in the show notes. I would love to hear from at least five people, please; I really would love to hear from you. Okay, well, that’s all I wanted to say is, please.

Shevonne Polastre
Happy Halloween, everybody. Hopefully, everybody’s having a wonderful week and getting ready to start the Halloween festivities. Hopefully, you get lots of candy. Hopefully, the kids dress up super cute. And you watch a lot of horror films and shows. Today I wanted to talk about the struggles that working moms are dealing with. In 2020, things really were very stressful for a lot of working parents. And this also includes working dads, the kids were home, there was no childcare, everybody was in their home.
And on top of that, work did not stop; people still were juggling work. One of the things that has happened the workforce for working moms has really changed and not for the better. So I have some stats here that I want to read. So you can get a feel of what working moms are dealing with.

Shevonne Polastre
About 900,000 to a million working moms stopped working to support their families. And in the end, this was in a dual-income family household. So this is a mom and a dad; the mom stopped working. But in single-parent families and families that needed the two incomes, mothers returned to work. But daycare options were very scarce. Very hard to find. Right now, there’s an infrastructure bill that’s going around Congress. And part of it has the American families plan, which Biden announced. Some of the things in that plan are that there will be subsidized childcare for low-income families to reach an estimated 20 million kids. There’s also another part of the plan that supposedly, they’re saying that most families will not have to pay more than 7% of their incomes for child care. And then as well as preschool, or pre K for three and four-year-olds. And from what I gathered the first three years, the federal government will pay for that. But then states would have to provide a 10% match to those federal funds. One of the things that did get cut for the bill that people were very pissed about was that leave is really dependent on the companies in the US. If you work for a company that does not provide parental leave, especially if you’re giving birth to a child. And there is no leave for the mom and dad to take off. They have to go back to work, or they have to take unpaid leave, which if you’re not someone who can afford it or your household, you’re both living paycheck to paycheck, it can be very stressful. So that is one thing that was cut from the plan. And I have been seeing around the internet, people are pissed about that. But I do think that it is a good start that they’re trying to hopefully offer child care for low and middle-income families and have pre-K. Because depending on where you are around the country, I live in the DC area and daycare is damn expensive. It’s like paying a mortgage. And so I think that this is good that they will be able to help alleviate some of the stress that working families have to deal with. But those are things happening to working moms, and I’m part of some Facebook groups. And I’ve been seeing just how tired, stressed, and overwhelmed working moms are. They’re not just working one job. They’re working two-three jobs. So that is What I wanted to discuss today, so let’s go ahead and get started. I also talked with my best friends because they are exactly who I am making content for. So podcasts episodes, YouTube videos, they’re the ones that I am making those videos for. They’re working mothers, very demanding jobs. They’re trying to rise up in their career and continue reaching more higher positions and be present with their families. The first issue is childcare. And this comes in different ways. If you have small kids trying to find a daycare for them, that isn’t going to be over 2000 a month. That’s the first thing that in itself is stressful because you have to figure out how to juggle every other budget category. I remember one financial book that upset me because they categorize childcare as a frivolous expense as something nice to have. And I remember I even wrote to the author, and I said it was actually a woman, which I was pretty surprised about. And I told her, I said, this is not nice to have, if you’re a working mother, and your kids depend on your paycheck, you have to put them in daycare, or you’re not going to be able to work. And this is at a time when remote working wasn’t really much of a possibility. People were just starting to delve into working from home. So people were going into the office, so I don’t know how she thought that childcare was a nice-to-have. But it sure is for us working parents. Kids have gone back to school. This has happened to a few people on my teams, as well as my friend. If there is a case of COVID in the classroom, all the kids have to stay home for 10 days. So what are parents supposed to do? You can’t send them to daycare; that would be irresponsible. And on top of that, the daycare wouldn’t take them; you have them home for 10 days. And then also, if you don’t have enough PTO to take that time off, you’re going to have to work with your kids there. And one thing that my other friends said that actually stuck with me is that people think that the pandemic is over. They think that everything is back to normal. And so employers are basically resorting back to not being very understanding, not understanding that working parents are still in really complicated situations. Either it’s hard to find daycare. In one of my Facebook groups, one of the moms said that in her area, the only daycare that is actually open is an hour away from her. And so, in her area, it is tough to find an open daycare. You have that you also have the expense. I keep saying that, but it seems like employers are probably not listening pandemic is not over. Okay, it has gotten better. But people are still not in that normal that we were back in 2019. So we have to be a little bit more understanding when it comes to working moms. I shared last week that for almost two weeks, I was taking care of an 18-month-old toddler while working because he had hand Foot Mouth Disease and an ear infection on top of that. So one thing that I will recommend is talking to your boss. See if you can work in an alternate work schedule that worked for me. I actually was shocked at how easy it was compared to what I thought it was going to be when I found out that he had to be home for almost two weeks. So see if you can, we can alternate work schedules. Can you work when the baby goes down to take a nap? Can you work when the baby goes to bed because usually, kids go to bed around 6:30 – 8:30 PM? Can you work then? When you’re in meetings, can people understand that they’ll probably be hearing a screaming toddler or child in the back? That is one thing that has been great at my job. There were so many times that you heard kids screaming in the background, and even now, it happens, and people just ignore it because people understand and sympathize with what working parents are dealing with. So that is one thing that you can do is a talk to your boss, see if you can work an alternate work schedule, be

Shevonne Polastre
Before a meeting, just give everybody the heads up, hey, I have my toddler here, I have my kid here, just FYI, you might be hearing some background noise. And more than likely, people will understand that they’re not. That’s their problem. The other thing, too, is that if you have school-aged kids, start talking with them and making them understand. They need to learn how to independently play while they’re working. I taught my kids that because I started working from home, probably about 10 years ago. My daughter was around seven or eight, and my son was like nine or 10. I told them from there, I was like, hey, like, when I’m working, you have to learn how to do things on your own course, I’m not saying that I was in my room, and they were in another side of the house. No, we were all in the same room. But they just understood, especially if they knew that I was in a meeting, that it was quiet time, I could not have them screaming in the background while I was working. Again, things have changed because people are a little bit more understanding about that. But if you do have school-aged kids, start just teaching them how to independently play, have quiet time when you’re in meetings. It will help tremendously. I always tell people that these kids are smarter and more aware than adults give them credit. I even sometimes think that kids are more are smarter than adults and more understanding. So yeah, try to do that. If you do have your kids at home with you. If you do have a job that isn’t understanding, and they’re still trying to act like they were back in 2019, then it’s time to start looking for a new job. Companies need to get it together because people are quitting left and right companies are desperately looking for people, and they’re not finding people actually. They need to understand that right now. The power is with the employee. So just understand that if you have a job that isn’t understanding it, then start getting your resume together and looking for a new job. Elderly parents are another thing that working moms are dealing with. I heard it from multiple women. Every time I think about what working moms are stressed about, I think about daycare and kids. But on the flip side is elderly parents. If you’re in your 30s, 40s 50s, your parents are getting older and older. And now people are living longer. You have your aging parents who need to go to doctor’s appointments and you to take them; they have no idea how to deal with all this tech. It’s a lot. And this is just if you have an aging parent who is healthy. If you have a parent who has a medical issue, let’s say like Alzheimer’s, or they had to have like back surgery, something medical, you’re dealing with that as well. One thing to think about is maybe trying to have other family members, if you have family members who live by help with that if there’s a way that you can find a caregiver, even if it’s for a couple or a few hours during the day, to help with your parents. But a lot of us are dealing with that. So that was surprising because I didn’t really think about it until I heard from a few women, and then I thought about my parents and even though my parents are pretty self-sufficient. It sometimes does not feel that way because they’re asking me a lot. Sometimes they ask me to help them with this. Can you call this person for me? Can you go to this doctor’s appointment with me? Can you help me with this issue I’m having with my computer? Oh my God, I don’t know where all my emails went. So that’s the thing that we are also dealing with. I have to commend the working moms out there who are also dealing with an elderly parent who has a health-related issue. Props to you. A few hours to three hours, or even more, or see if there are family members who can help, even if it’s a teenager or a young adult that can sit with the parent for an hour, and take that off your plate. That is a lot of help.

Shevonne Polastre
And last thing I want to cover is don’t self sabotage yourself. And what I mean by that is working moms and not just working moms, just moms in general, we tend to suffer from mom guilt. Don’t feel guilty for taking five minutes for yourself, leaving the laundry stacked up to do later, leaving the dishes in the sink a little longer. getting takeout, frying some eggs. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The only person who is judging you is yourself. If you feel like others are judging you, it could be sometimes family can be toxic. Sometimes friends can as well, then you need to learn how to just ignore them. Because they’re not living your life. They don’t know what is happening in your day to day, I bet you they couldn’t even deal with what you’re dealing with in your day to day. So learn to just brush away the judgment, even from yourself. It will make you feel a whole lot better. Because all of us are going through our own things. All of us have different ways of handling parenting situations, and there is no right or wrong way of doing anything. At the end of the day, no book will teach you how to be a perfect parent. So let go of the mom guilt. The pandemic has made us realize that we want to have the flexibility to work at home, whether full-time part-time; we just want to have that there. It helped a lot of us with our work-life balance, spending more time focusing on our families and other hobbies. And so we want to continue that.

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