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Family & Relationships 62 Percent of Moms Question Whether Career Progress Is Worth the Effort in the COVID Era

14:15  30 october  2020
14:15  30 october  2020 Source:   workingmother.com

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We’re losing sleep and working harder than ever. No wonder many mothers are asking: Do I want to pay this price?

a person sitting at a table using a laptop computer: Mom Working Stressed © Provided by Working Mother Mom Working Stressed

Two new surveys prove the pandemic is taking an enormous toll on working moms.

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Diana Limongi is a freelance nonprofit consultant in New York City, but she isn’t actively pursuing new work right now. She’s still scarred from April, when she worked 40 hours a week while splitting care of her 3-year-old and 9-year-old with her husband.

“Earlier in the height of the pandemic in New York City, while we were both attempting to work from home, my 3-year-old put a lego up her nose! So that tells you how difficult it is to work from home and watch your child,” she says with a laugh. “I have always been very driven, but the pandemic has made me think that sometimes, we just have to slow down.”

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Diana isn’t the only working mom putting the brakes on her ambition this year—nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of working mothers question whether they want to progress in their careers at all when considering what it will take in this environment, according to a new study by Deloitte Global.

It’s one of the latest to examine the impact the pandemic has taken on working women, and, like many others, the results paint a dire picture. Nearly 82 percent of the approximately 400 women surveyed, from around the globe, said their lives have been adversely affected by the pandemic. No surprise, three quarters of working moms are tackling more childcare now: The number of women shouldering 75 percent or more of caregiving responsibilities almost tripled from 17 percent pre-pandemic to 48 percent at the time of the survey.

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This added burden is taking a toll on working moms. Another new survey by Fidelity shows just how much: 60 percent of women say they are feeling much more stressed; 49 percent have cut back on self-care, including connecting with friends, exercising, finding other ‘me time;’ and 41 percent are sleeping less. The results came from a survey of 951 working moms from August 25 to September 4.

Clearly, we’ve stopped taking care of ourselves and our relationships, and we’re still stretched thin. No wonder some moms have decided to stop tending to their careers.

That’s not to say it’s an easy decision. The Fidelity survey found that, of anxious moms, 59 percent were stressed about falling behind in their career if they needed to stop working. That’s likely because most women are well aware that it’s difficult for moms to reenter the workforce at the same title and salary—and that it’s likely to be even harder during what could be a prolonged recession.

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With many schools and daycare centers still shuttered, working mothers are left with few good options. Do we slow down a beloved career we’ve spent decades building—and risk never reaching the heights we deserve? Or do we continue down a path that’s destructive for our own health and mental wellbeing? If something’s gotta give, then what?

For too many moms, particularly those with a breadwinning spouse, the answer is paid work. Nearly 1 million women dropped out of the workforce in September, four times the number of men, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s also something that weighs on Diana’s mind these days, as she wrestles with how to balance her children’s needs with her own.

“Emotionally, I feel that this time the advocacy and work I do is more pressing than ever. Sometimes, I resent the pandemic and that I can't do more,” she says. “I also get angry when I see the statistics about how many women—professional, smart, talented women—are being pushed out of the workforce. It worries me that women are leaving, and that the movement for gender equity will lose momentum and will be set back decades. I worry about this a lot.”

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