Working mothers are more affected than fathers during the Pandemic. | archangels.com
The recent studies and reports suggested that working mothers are more affected than fathers during a pandemic. Additionally, there is a significant spike in the stress level of working mommies around the world. In this blog, I will share with the ways on how to reduce mental load during the Pandemic.
Effects of pandemic to working mothers
Pandemic suddenly changed the lives of people around the world. But working mothers are more affected than fathers during the pandemic according to the recent analysis of Understanding of America Study.
There is an increased number of job losses for women, especially the ones without college degrees. Women have a higher percentage of being laid off than men. The same study reported that mothers, especially working mothers, are more heavily burdened by childcare and household chores.
44% of women in early April 2020 reported being the only household member providing care, compared to 14% of men. One-third (1 of 3) of working mommies claim that they are the primary provider of care for their children.
Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggests that mothers are affected financially because of less working time due to disruptions for childcare.
Psychological distress to working mothers during Pandemic
The Study of Understanding of America Study reported that there was a significant increase in the levels of anxiety and depression of women with children compared to men and women without children. Mothers are burdened with homeschooling, the need to finish household chores, and the anxiety of maintaining their jobs. Working mothers are more affected than fathers during the pandemic in a way that they are the primary care provider for the family even if they are working. Only 14% of fathers say that they contribute to children’s care.
Working mothers try to balance life, family, and work. There is huge psychological distress for working mothers during the pandemic and it can have a long-lasting effect.
Mommy nurses suffered from psychological distress
Mothers in Qatar share the same sentiment, especially the ones in the Nursing field. With the spike of cases in Qatar, a lot of mommy nurses were deployed to COVID-19 Facilities.
“I didn’t know how to manage our lives with the sudden changes in duty hours, and I have to work for 12 hours a day plus the travel time of 3 hours.“
“I was not prepared during the deployment, and it was a terrible thing. I didn’t have anyone to take care of my children; my husband was in the Philippines during the lockdown.”
My personal experience as a working mommy
When the administration called me to be part of the first batch for deployment, I just couldn’t help myself but to breakdown and cry because I know that my children will be most affected. I didn’t have someone to take care of them. My mother-in-law, who was caring for my children, was trapped in lockdown in the Philippines. Thank goodness that my manager helped me and put me to another facility other than the very far COVID-19 Facilities. Even though this is the case, it did not exempt me from being affected by the Pandemic.
As a mommy, I need to think about my children’s homeschooling, the household chores, children’s care, my job, my parents and family in the Philippines, and all other extra precautions to be safe. I suffered extreme psychological distress, and I almost gave in just like many mommies out there.
Changes during the Pandemic: from mommy nurses point of view
In my conversation with my nurse educator colleagues and mommy nurses, they share the same sentiments, and these could contribute to psychological distress to working mothers. If you are a working mommy like us, you may have the same feelings too.
Your usual budget for groceries is already not enough. You have to buy a lot of disinfectants, alcohol wipes, masks, face shields, and gloves, which is not usually part of your grocery list. A lot of food items have changed with more expensive products. In my estimation, my budget increased to 40% of my usual cost.
Taking a bath.
Funny how it seems, but the prevailing sentiments of mommies is the time they spend for a full bath every-time they go out of the house, most especially if they come from work. “After a 12-hour shift, you just want to lay down for a while, but you can’t; you need to go straight ahead to the shower room.”
Cleaning every item from outside the house
“It takes time.” I have to allot one specific day for groceries. I will have to spend 2 hours in the supermarket and 3 hours cleaning all the items. Another hour to arrange them all in the right places.
Since the kids cannot go out, they feel bored, and you have to find ways to entertain them. At the same time, since you feel guilty about them locked down in the house, you have to do or buy something that really at least makes them happy.
Up to this moment, schools are still closed, and a lot of mommies do home-based learning. Mommies need to make sure that they continue their lessons despite the Pandemic. I decided to homeschool my children because I know that this is best for them in this situation.
Less time for self-care.
“24 hours is not enough”. Since you have a lot of tasks to finish after work, the least priority is self-care. The next thing you want to do is to rest after a full day of work and household chores.
Mommies are more mindful of the seriousness of COVID-19, and now more than ever, they are vigilant in cleaning the house. A more intensive cleaning every day takes a toll on mommies. They are making sure that the house is clean causes some psychological stress to working mothers. Since cleaning is the main task for mommies, working mothers are more affected than fathers during this pandemic in this area.
Cleaning is not the problem, but the thought that even if you have cleaned enough, you think that it’s not enough.
Avoid Psychological distress to working mothers and Reduce Mental load
Even before COVID-19, mommies suffer more significant workload and stress. But now, more than ever, mommies like you and I should be more aware on how to improve psychological well-being and reduce mental load. Working mothers are more affected than fathers during the pandemic in different areas, but our partners, the fathers, should be “with us” in this crisis. Additionally, we should be mindful of the strategies on how to become a happy mommy despite the pandemic.
Set in your mind- this too shall pass
The most crucial thing in this stressful world right now is “positivity.” We treat one-day-at a time and think that this too shall pass. Getting occupied with the negativity and worries will not help at this time and will contribute to psychological distress to working mothers. There is a silver lining as they say, and enjoy that whenever you see that.
Express yourself and your worries
You should find someone to tell your stories, your worries, and the challenges you are facing. It is always great to find a person to share how you feel and lighten up the load. Your partner in life will be the best person to listen to you and don’t be shy to express yourself. You should also have friends to back you up. In some cases, hearing affirmation and support will boost you.
An organized but a bit more flexible schedule
There are times that we cannot do the planned activities, “it’s okay.”Don’t have additional stress in your life at the moment. Let go of some things. However, the children must know the routine. Set the time for bedtime, waking time, and mealtime. You can postpone some grocery time and exchange time with the family if you feel exhausted. If the clothes are not pressed, its okay, you can press them tomorrow.
Find time to relax
Mommies will not have enough time; that is why it is essential that “you find the time.” I ask my husband for at least 30min nap after work. I need to reset myself and be able to finish the remaining tasks for the rest of the day. For some days, I take a very long shower to relax.
Yes, you can watch your favorite movie shows too.
Learn how to Stop
“If you feel tired, rest. If you feel sick, get sick leave.” You have to listen to your body because your body will talk to you. If you fail to attend, then your body will take a toll from you, and you may get sick. And getting sick is the last thing you want to be during these times.
The world is also adapting to the “new normal.” Thousands of phone applications can make your life easier. Use delivery services and use the time to rest. Use handheld vacuums that will make cleaning more comfortable and faster. Use instant pots to allow you to “drop and go.” Technology will make your life easier.
Asking help is essential for working mommies right now. You need to talk to your partner to share tasks at home. Yes, mommies are superheroes, but even superheroes need help sometimes. You can also ask for help from your older children. Delegate some tasks that they can do to lessen your functions.
On a more serious note, you can ask for professional help if you feel any signs of psychological distress or depression.
Mommies are superheroes, but even superheroes need help sometimes
The studies suggest that working mothers are more affected than fathers during the pandemic primarily because they get the bulk of work at home and child’s care. Additionally, there are more job losses for women and less working time due to child care interruptions. I can personally agree to that through my conversations with many working mothers I worked within the last 5 months and my experience as a working mother. There has been a great change and these changes contribute to psychological distress to working mothers. That is why it is important for working mothers to be mindful of ways on how to avoid psychological distress and reduce mental load.
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This content was originally published here.