There is no question, it has always been tough being a mom. But being a mom today is a lot more difficult than in times past.
Today, moms are doing all the things they have always done and also being in charge of educating their kids, being responsible for having kids and babies at home, watching them throughout the day, looking after them, and making sure they are not exposed to COVID-19 … that is no small load.
The burden of the pandemic is usually felt mostly by moms because dads are trying to make enough money to make up for the fact that mom can’t work outside of the home because of her major responsibilities of having the kids at home. While this is not always the way mom or dad wants it, it is the reality of the pandemic.
This is setting mom’s goals for the future back in an important way. Women who drop out of the work force for a period of time do not go back in where they left off. They almost always go back to a lesser position for less money. They may never make up for taking time off, even for a good cause.
While mom used to look forward to having a bit of freedom when the children were old enough for childcare and preschool, that is not the case today. One of the major issues facing families today is the lack of enough preschool and childcare and also the very significant cost that is required. Not only are families today faced with these high costs but with moms being unable to hold a job, the family income has been vastly reduced.
Even if the pandemic was solved, this problem would not go away immediately; the cost factor will still be a problem. In addition to that will be the lack of personnel to offer childcare and preschool. It will take considerable number of years for this segment of our workforce to come back.
The growing cost of educating preschool age children has been an increasing problem in our society. It is a problem that has been receiving attention from many people. While we worry about how we can afford to send our children to college we are faced with this problem far earlier. The education of the young child is not free. The need to provide financial help to families with young children is being faced by more and more people.
One solution is to put preschool into the tax system that supports public schools today and make it available for all children free. Free always costs something which makes it more difficult to get people to support these kinds of solutions.
While moms are home there is an expectation that they will keep their kids up to date on learning. This is not easy either. Most moms are not trained to be teachers and most teachers are not trained to teach moms how to help their children learn the lessons. We are already finding parents feeling overwhelmed with their new teaching job but we are also finding many children having difficulties with this new system.
Educating our children needs to begin early in life to be most effective. Parents can do their part in this teaching but the educational system needs to provide for the academic portion of learning. It is a problem we need to begin to examine and to seek to find solutions.
Now that the election is over and we are closer hopefully to a vaccination for COVID-19, this gives you something else to think about.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. For more information, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-681-2250.