This article is inspired by the working parents in the #BacktoSchoolCareForParents program that was kick-started this summer. Writing this article stems from a recent article entitled, “A Working Parent’s Survival Guide” by Daisy Wademan Dowling, for the Harvard Business Review. Understanding the stressful state of working parents calls for measures that can support a work/family balance during the COVID-19 crisis. There is no doubt that the call for schools to reopen puts working parents in a position where they need to support their children in a way that is very different from the status quo, but also the change in working parents’ circumstances (as a result of the COVID-19 crisis) calls for a need to support the parents as well.
Today’s change in the workplace structure is having a huge impact on women, who are more likely than men to adjust their careers for family, in order for their kids to return to school. According to a 2019 FlexJobs survey of more than 2,000 women with children 18 and younger living at home, roughly 31% of women who took a career break after having kids said they had to take this break because of a lack of flexibility with their workplace. There is currently an ongoing conversation on long-term flexible work options, which may be a game-changer for women. With remote work becoming a reality for many parents, the idea of remote work and managing children returning to school is now becoming a concern for mothers. The reality of working remotely every single day alongside meeting the needs of their children requires getting used to – with many still seeking a balance, returning to school now poses a new reality for women.