Working moms are exhausted and called upon more than ever during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It's such a common theme that people can sometimes forget the reality of it, which is why this mom's viral out-of-office email penned amid COVID-19 is a vital wake up call for everyone who takes them for granted and doesn't acknowledge the immense pressure they're under right now
Khara Jabola-Carolus, a mother of two who works as the executive director of Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, recently shared a screenshot of her out-of-office automatic reply on Instagram that will resonate with so many working moms on a deeply personal level, especially right now. Stress levels are high, time is short, and Jabola-Carolus used her OOO message to really bring home exactly what working moms are going through. And, as she tells Romper, she wrote it "so the entire government ... would wake up."
"Aloha," her message begins. "Due to patriarchy, I am behind in emails. I hope to respond to your message soon but, like many women, I am working full-time while tending to an infant and toddler full-time."
Jabola-Carolus' message continued, "According to the Washington Post, the average length of an uninterrupted stretch of work time for parents during COVID-19 was three minutes, 24 seconds. If you have a time-sensitive need, please call [redacted] between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. HST. Very best, Khara Jabola-Carolus."
The Washington Post article Jabola-Carolus refers to points to data that found parents working from home get an average of three minutes and 24 seconds of time before one of their kids interrupts them. And the parent in question tends more often than not to be the mom, according to research shared by The New York Times, which has led to a gender gap in work of around 20 to 50% during the pandemic.
No wonder Jabola-Carolus' OOO reply has struck a nerve with so many working moms. One commented that she put up a similar message, but faced backlash for doing so. "I put up an email away message some time in March/April that stated I was watching my infant and toddler while working full time and I was asked to remove it," one mom wrote. "3 min 24 seconds is the sheer reality of what working parents with littles are facing right now." Another simply commented, "THANK YOU. this made me cry in relief."
The world needs to wake up to the reality working moms are facing right now. As Jabola-Carolus captioned her amazing post, "My auto response during COVID. Don’t suffer silently. Mothers over money!"