EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The pandemic has affected how mothers juggle between work, child care and housework which is taking a toll on their mental health and employment.
According to the National Women’s Law Center analysis, women have been losing jobs four times the rate than men.
By September of 2020, the unemployment rate for women started increasing as another school year started with majorly virtual classes, forcing many working mothers to face challenges with child care.
El Pasoan Jordan Carreon, a mom of two small children, was seven months pregnant with her second child when the pandemic started back in March of 2020.
After giving birth in the summer and having three months of maternity leave, she was back at her full-time job at a local car dealership.
Having her 3-month-old baby and her preschool-aged son in day care, she was confronted with an obstacle once her infant’s teacher tested positive for COVID-19.
Both of her children were supposed to quarantine for two weeks because of the exposure, but she said, her workplace was uncooperative.
“I was terminated from my job,” said Carreon, adding “That was the one constant I could count on and having the rug just ripped out from under me it was a huge shock.”
She is now actively looking for a job in her career field, but fears if her next employer will be understanding of the circumstances she is facing.
“It has set me back tremendously,” said Carreon about her career explaining how her partner is currently working on starting up a new business which is their only income at the moment.
Many moms are feeling overwhelmed with the work at home, helping children doing online school and their work schedule.
One of those moms is Jeana Dozier, registered nurse and a mom of two.
“I feel mom guilt and then nurse guilt because I am on call to help and serve others but then again I have my children and it makes it extremely complicated,” said Dozier.
She said she was struggling with mental health, but she found a way to keep her spirits up.
“I had to stop and think, what am I doing this for?” said Dozier, explaining the overwhelming feeling made her proud of being a mom and a nurse who is able to show her children the strength that women carry.
During most of last year, she said her husband was deployed abroad, but now that he is back she said she is lucky to have him help. However, she recognizes that women often carry much more weight on their shoulders.
To get rid of the “mom guilt” she said remembering her mom working made her feel proud, so she hopes her children will grow up thinking the same way.
Another local mom that wanted to stay anonymous said this was the first time she had to put her motherhood on display in the workplace.
“You work twice as hard to make sure you are more productive,” she said, explaining how women, especially mothers and single moms like her, often feel they have to put in extra work to prove themselves as equally valuable.
“That is a hard and humbling moment for women.I feel that the pandemic set us back because we might be looked at again as less productive,” she affirmed.
The burden that falls on women is hard to manage without support of the partner, family or a therapist.
Life coach and author Emily Golden says asking for help takes courage but it’s ultimately the best way to preserve mother’s mental health and take the pressure off.
“Get real around yourself about what it is that you need and ask, advocate for what you need. Think about your children and think about how you would want them to advocate for themselves if they were in your situation,” advised Golden.
She said men can be an ally in a powerful way if they are open to listening and empathizing with women in their life.
“Find out what it’s like for [women], instead of defaulting into problem-solving, ask what it is that she needs, how can you be of support,” she encouraged.
When it comes to problem-solving, the duties that are expected of women are emotionally and physically draining and require support from the institutions as well.
Easily accessible and affordable childcare as well as free mental counseling for moms are just some basic solutions El Paso moms have suggested.
“They’ll say 2020 was the year of the woman because we definitely were the ones that were keeping this ship together,” said Jeana Dozier, one of the moms.