Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Working Mom's COVID-19 Struggle is REAL. Here's How to Survive.

"The Pandemic Has Been Particularly Hard on Working Mothers”. 

That was the bulletin that popped on my New York Times app recently.

The other headlines are just as tough and real: 

No shit.

No matter how much I’ve tried to ignore the news and social dialogue focused on the negative effects the pandemic has had on women, women of color and working women, the truth is there. Staring, no SCREAMING at me at a pitch that’s almost as high as the voice in my head telling me to keep it together, for my daughter. For my colleagues. For myself. 

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Our county will start the 2020-2021 school year, like so many across the country, in a remote capacity. It will be a repeat of the spring: trying to teach, trying to work, trying to lead, again, trying to keep it together in the toughest of professional times for the sports industry.

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This pretty much sums up this #WFH Monday.

A post shared by Gina Miller (@theginamiller) on

My situation is one of the good ones: we have strong internet access (when it works), we have an iPad. I’m fortunate to be in a professional position to work remotely when I can. I can bring her to work with me, with a mask of course, and stick her in my office while I work. That has been our summer after so many of our camps were cancelled or pivoted in a way that we weren’t comfortable with.

My daughter’s attitude is amazing. She’s as eager, positive and sweet as a child can be. I've been busier than ever with professional challenges that have tested me in a ways I could have never imagined. True story - one day, after I got repeatedly kicked in the lady balls, she kept telling me mom “Don’t let a bad moment turn into a bad day. You’re a champion with championship behavior and you GOT THIS!”. 

I mean…more tears, right? Because that's still all I do.

But it is so much. So. F-ing. Much. 

I’m no expert but after being mom and hanging out with other moms for almost a decade, kids, in general, do go to their mother’s first. Knowing that and the strength it took to get to that point….to be the one….is one of the things that can keep us mothers fighting and plowing forward with the optimism our children, and we, need. 

This is hard. So hard. How can we make it better? By being there. Acknowledging that while this shit sucks, we can work together (socially distanced, of course) to support and help each other fight through. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for that core group of mothers who have offered to have her stay with them for the day while I work. It saves her from another day quarantined in my office. Little gestures like that mean the world. 

Maybe that’s it. In this era of world-turned-upside-down chaos, it’s the little things, the kind gestures that will save us.….as well as wearing a mask, social distancing, staying at home, being kind to each other.

I only share this because beneath so many of our friends’ beautifully curated Instagram feeds and Facebook posts, there’s the reality that we’re all just trying to make it through the day during this ridiculous time that has forever changed us. Don't let the façade of social media or the veneer of someone say she is "GREAT!" fool you. Many of us are fighting the good fight. And we need to fight together. We’re all going through it. Doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, divorced, separated, wealthy, poor or somewhere in the middle the challenge is so real. Real in a way we didn’t know it could be. 

What is also real is that we don’t know when this cycle of working/teaching/trying to keep it together will end. The one thing we know is that parenting never ends. If the pandemic isn’t going to disrupt our careers, we’ll need to keep fighting in lock step with the parents and moms who work, don’t work, work part-time, whatever. If we can do so as a team, though, perhaps it will make the battle a bit easier. 

I hope. 

Stay supportive. Stay safe. Be kind. #WearADamnMask.

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