This Mother’s Day weekend, we want to extend an extra-special kudos to mothers — especially single moms — balancing their responsibilities at home and at work with their children’s care and education.
As the coronavirus has sent children home from school and sometimes daycare, area families have had to adapt, making room for their children’s constant presence even as they deal with other effects of the pandemic, including economic harm. Often, it’s Mom who takes on the bulk of that responsibility, ensuring class assignments are downloaded and completed or lining up alternative childcare. Women in two-parent households, generally speaking, also take care of the majority of the cleaning. That burden has only grown with the need to wash and disinfect surfaces as a precaution to eliminate possible coronavirus contamination.
The situation is most complex for mothers considered essential workers. In Texas, more than three-quarters of teachers are women; they’ve had to reinvent how they teach on the fly, dedicating extra hours to transforming their classes for remote delivery and finding creative accommodations for students without internet access. Health care practitioners and health care support staff are also among the most female-dominated professions — 74% and 86%, respectively, are women; they, too, have faced extra stress as the pandemic threatened their supply of personal protective equipment and they risked greater exposure to sickness. Many of these essential workers have had to do what seemed impossible in order to both ensure their children’s well-being and continue doing their jobs.
To the mothers who have made difficult decisions to find ad-hoc childcare so they can keep working: We thank you. No, really. Whatever you may be feeling, we are sure you’re making the best decisions you can for your kids. They will understand it someday, and will honor you for your herculean efforts even if they don’t feel or express that right now.
To the mothers who have begun to work from home with their kids underfoot: We thank you, too. Trying to stay focused and remain productive while your beloved little rascals are begging for your attention is no easy task.
To the mothers who have seen their work reduced or eliminated, or who have chosen to work fewer hours to care for their children: It’s incredibly stressful to forgo income, especially when unemployment benefits and other help is slow to come. But more than the visits to the food pantry or the delayed or skipped purchases, your kids will remember how much you loved them, and that you got to tell them so a little more often.
And to both men and women who serve as the primary caregivers for children they did not birth: Our thanks to you, as well, for ensuring the welfare of the children you call your own. You are counted among those crucial parental figures rearing our next generation to become healthy and civic-minded participants in society.