When I first read the Women in the Workplace study in 2020, I felt seen. I had just returned from maternity leave after the birth of my second child, a “Covid baby,” and I was so personally overwhelmed that I considered writing my first book, which I would entitle “Colic in the Time of Covid.” I welcomed my return to work, even though it consisted of simply walking into a makeshift office off my kitchen and turning on my laptop. It brought a semblance of control and normalcy to my life. But I quickly remembered that, for a career mom (I prefer that terminology to working mother – all mothers work), there is no such thing as true work/life balance, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. My husband and I alternated childcare and working, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and we both worked during naps and after bedtime. There was no balance -- I was exhausted and, without daycare, it felt like I was failing in all areas of my life. Did you know that, since the pandemic, mothers that are part of a dual-career couple are twice as likely as fathers to spend five more hours a day on chores? I was swimming without getting anywhere. Eventually, my husband and I had to face some difficult decisions and, ultimately, we were lucky enough to secure a family rotation to provide childcare until daycare was an option again. We call that initial period of the pandemic The Dark Days.
What helped me survive The Dark Days? Grace! I am also fortunate enough to work for a company that provided essential flexibility when I needed it the most and also communicated often, and well, about the need to take care of ourselves and each other. Also, my Manager and other leadership trusted that I could do my job and perform well, even remotely. And they rewarded my work with a promotion.