Over casual phone conversations with friends and in conversations on online forums, many women are expressing increased caregiving responsibilities during this season of “stay at home” orders due to Covid-19. Caregiving can include anything from taking care of household members that are sick as well as “regular” tasks like cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, and more.
While we try to stay positive and focus on some of the benefits that being home brings--like more time with family and less rushing from place to place--the fact remains that there are also increased responsibilities to manage. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males.
Further, amidst our own remote working or #jobsearch some of us have young children at home for which to care. We may also have teenagers that need guidance with their own job searches or post-high school plans--not to mention our own parents who may need help with getting groceries or negotiating medical care.
In addition to their (unpaid) work on the domestic front, women also make up almost half of the paid American workforce. And just like their male counterparts, women are an essential part of that equation.
Due to the economic downturn with #Coronavirus, however, women are also losing jobs at a high rate. In April alone, women accounted for 55% of the 20.5 million jobs lost. According to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the number of women who lost employment last month is greater than the 11.1 million jobs women gained between the end of the last in July 2010 and the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in February 2020.
So now many women are actively looking for new work or get their paperwork in order to file for unemployment benefits even as they try to manage their duties on the homefront, and it isn’t easy.
If you have school age kids at home now, you may feel like you have suddenly become a homeschool teacher as you try to help them navigate their homework packets and online assignments. And even the most spacious of living spaces can feel cramped and less than ideal when you have adults and children trying to find a private space to participate in class video chats or remote work meetings. If you’re like many working women, you may also have partners or aging parents that need care and support. This can be enough to make us feel like we want to cry “Calgon, take me away!”
The good news is this: men want to help and be equal partners at home--they just don’t always know what we need unless we speak up. A silver lining of being home and feeling increased responsibilities can be more face time to be able to communicate what would make things run more smoothly.
Making a list of daily and weekly tasks that you can delegate is a good place to start. Next, have a house meeting where you share what needs to be done and work as a team--including all household members--to see how you can work together to make things run smoothly. After all, no one wins when one person is shouldering all the burdens. It really is true--teamwork makes the dream work! And right now, we need that support more than ever.
How are you making things work at home right now? Let us know in the comments.