ARIZONA, USA — The pandemic is putting a strain on families more than ever.
When it comes to working moms, a new report shows a large trend happening.
80% of more than 1 million workers who dropped out of the workforce in September were women, and that number is likely to grow.
“I’m not being a very good mom, because I’m trying to work,” said Sarah, a Valley mom of two.
“I’m not being a good teacher, because I’m trying to work, and I’m also not being a very good employee, because I’m also trying to be a mom and a teacher.”
Sarah echoes the same words countless working moms across the globe are feeling.
“I have a lot of friends who actually are still in that situation, where they are working remotely and it’s nice when people have that option, but it is only a temporary option,” she said.
“You can’t do that long term, especially if you have small kids.”
The coronavirus child care crisis is only magnifying the anxiety families, and especially women, are experiencing.
“It is a crisis. One of my kids was transitioning into kindergarten at the beginning of COVID and her preschool is fantastic and their enrollment went from over 100 students to 30,” she said.
Sarah quit her nursing job in August to help her kids learn from home.
“Because of the nature of any virus, I’m clearly confident that they’re going to close again in flu season,” she said.
“The burdens that are being placed on families are not a realistic expectation today,” said Shanna Tingom, financial planner and co-owner of Heritage Financial Strategies.
Tingom said becoming an at-home economist is the best way for families to make ends meet.
“Meal planning, cooking from scratch and those types of things,” she said. “Canceling services and subscriptions that you don’t need now.”
Tingom also offed advice to any moms looking to start a work from home gig.
“Involve the kids,” she said. “Have them help you with the books and the marketing.”
Even though the future is uncertain, be sure to keep in touch with your colleagues and former colleagues. “Because you never know when they’re going to be able to help you, when you’re ready to re-enter that work force,” she said.
In Sarah’s case, her husband is able to continue working and they’re taking it one day at a time.
“We just had to adjust some things and just do the best we can,” she said.
Another tip for anyone who has left work to care for children or parents during the pandemic: keep contributing to some type of a retirement plan like a 401k or IRA so you’re not further behind financially down the road.
You can read the full report from Fidelity Investments here.