Moms In Quarantine Share Which "Help" From Employers & Coworkers Was Actually Helpful
Right now, we are all struggling with figuring out how to work from home, and those of us who have been deemed essential workers are dealing with an entirely new landscape. It's also a new landscape for bosses and managers, who may not be thinking about how hard it is to be a working mom in a global pandemic. To close that knowledge gap, Romper decided to ask working moms what their bosses and colleagues are doing to help during this difficult time that is actually helping. In partnership with the Clinton Foundation's early learning initiative Too Small to Fail, we surveyed 2000 moms across the country about what their lives have been like during the pandemic, including ways their their managers and coworkers have made them feel supported in this very challenging time for working parents. And you guys, it's a pretty great list.
Overall, moms' assessment of their employers during unprecedented hardship for businesses was positive. While 16% of essential workers still going to work said their employer hasn't acknowledged the challenges of working and parenting right now and 22% said their employer "has acknowledged the challenges but still expects too much," 49% said their employer is trying to be accommodating. Of moms working from home, 14% said their employer hasn't acknowledged what they're up against, 25% said their employer has but still expects too much, and 56% said their employer is trying to be flexible.
We asked for examples of ways employers and coworkers are showing their understanding and generosity because stories of empathy are helpful to everyone right now, but also in the hopes that this information will help managers lead more effectively through this time. As you'll see, working moms' answers range from financial support and schedule flexibility to a sincere thank you. While many workers feel as though they have been left in a lurch, others have seen their employers and colleagues step up in above-and-beyond ways that have made all the difference.
Here are 11 things bosses and colleagues have done — and if they haven't, can start doing! — that working moms have found helpful as we all navigate our current normal:
1. Hazard Pay
One mom tells Romper that “Both my partner and I are currently receiving hazard pay, and I feel that anyone who is required to still be working should receive it, too.”
You would think that everyone working on the front lines being exposed to this dangerous virus would be receiving hazard pay, but that's not the case. Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that hazard pay for front line workers should be a part of the new stimulus package.
2. Simple Encouragement
“My boss texts me an inspirational quote each day to help me feel less stress," says another mom.
I can tell you from my own experience that feeling heard and a little encouragement really helps. My boss here at Romper has been big on this, and sometimes that is all that gets you over the hump of a bad day.
3. Hard-To-Come-By Supplies
Addressing a problem that has become all-too common, one mom reports that her boss purchased diapers for her child when she was unable to find any.
Shortages are real and cause so much stress. Helping employees meet basic needs in their private lives isn't in any manager's job description, but the kindness of this act — and the diapers! — meant the world to the employee.
One woman's employer really hit it out of the park. “My boss has said to do what I need to do, and if I need help, all I need to do is ask.”
5. Subbing In
One mom noted that one of her very kind coworkers doesn't have kids and told her that if she ever needed a day off to be with her kids, she will work her shift.
This happens frequently around holidays and birthdays between workers who have and don't have children, and it is wonderful to see it during this crisis.
6. Logistical Troubleshooting
When this mom was in need, she says that her coworker has repeatedly helped her with car issues, like when she was in a rush to get to work and ruptured a tire, or at one point when she locked her keys inside her car. This is just kindness at the highest level.
One mom says that her boss opened a kid camp at her job for parents that don't have help with their kids, and that's huge, especially right now.
One of the reasons Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio gave early on for why they didn't shut down schools sooner is because workers need childcare.
8. Sick Time (That You Aren't Penalized For Taking)
One mom responded that her boss never made her feel guilty for taking and using her sick time. This is not only important for an employee's physical wellbeing, but their mental health, too. Now if we can just get paid sick leave for all.
9. Financial Help
One mom reported that her former coworkers and friends have helped her out with cash because they know she's not working right now. Not a loan, nothing with strings attached — just a little help. People can be really wonderful sometimes.
10. A Mental Health Day
One mom reported that her employer gave all of the employees a paid "mental health day" that they can use whenever they need it. When you're working from home, sometimes it's nice to take a day to watch Netflix documentaries about cults as you fold laundry. If only we all had bosses who understood that.
11. A Simple Thank You
Every kind gesture is another way of an employer or coworker saying thank you. And right now, as a parent during a pandemic, thank you is just one of the nicest things anyone can say.
Click through to see the full results of our survey, Motherhood in the Age of COVID-19.