6 Uplifting Stories of Pandemic Parenting
Due to the pandemic, many mothers are being challenged by the dual pressures of managing their job and caregiving. Catalyst has written much about parenting demands as well as the actions employers can take to ensure workplaces are inclusive, especially during this crisis.
We know, though, that sharing genuine moments of joy and gratitude are also part of building an inclusive work culture. And we acknowledge that working from home is a privilege, as so many employees are on the frontlines. For Mother’s Day, we asked Catalyst employees to share moments of levity and inspiration they’ve experienced as caregivers.
Pandemic parenting has felt like an extreme sport. But I was recently reminded of how lucky I am. It was a quiet afternoon, and my 10-month-old baby got right up and walked across our living room into my husband’s arms. I even remembered to grab my phone to capture the moment. That amazing milestone happened with my entire family gathered together. I wasn’t at the office, and the other kids weren’t at school. It was a great moment to be reminded that in the midst of everything else happening, we are together, and we have a lot to be thankful for. I have not only the video evidence of my baby’s first steps, but also the sweetest memory of my family being together for that moment.
—Ayisha Gelin, Director, Legal Affairs
Mother of four, ages 10 (twins), 5, and 11 months
My son’s fourth birthday was a few weeks ago. For months, he had been planning his ideal party. But during the pandemic, it became clear that the party was not going to happen. So instead, I organized a birthday parade where party guests would drive past our home and yell, “Happy Birthday!” from a distance. My family and friends repurposed what they had to decorate their cars and put together small gifts. This year, my son did not receive new clothes or flashy toys, but instead he received second-hand gifts that his friends chose specially for him: an orange, a jug of cranberry juice, and a box of pasta. He was over the moon. I spent so much time leading up to his birthday worrying about how to make him feel special, but in the end it was the most simple gestures of love that did it.
—Jeannette Roy, Art Director
Mother of two, 7 and 4
My 16-month-old son and I have been taking a lot of walks around the neighborhood in the last six weeks. We’re in the suburbs right now, as opposed to our usual Manhattan apartment, which means the scenery is a bit different from what he’s used to. He is also starting to discover words and his ability to communicate through language, specifically the names of colors. The result makes for a magic mix, as our walks now consist of him pointing out that the grass is green, the sky is blue, and the flowers are yellow and pink and purple with such enthusiasm that I can’t help but be sucked into the way he is seeing the world with such child-like wonder and joy. It’s a beautiful reminder during the craziness of these times to stop and smell the roses…or at least notice that they’re red.
—Alix Pollack, Vice President, Men Advocating Real Change (MARC)
Mother of one, age 16 months
I love my new “co-workers.” They like to press themselves against the glass on my office door and try to make me laugh. They like to play loud games outside of my office, especially when I’m on video calls. And they’ve gifted me lots of special drawings and pictures to display around my desk. Working at home with my family around has been an interesting and fun adventure! Even when it’s hard and stressful, there are many silly moments, and I treasure being able to spend more time with my kids. I’ve learned to be more flexible and understanding, which makes me a more flexible and understanding manager at work, too.
—Julie Nugent, Senior Vice President, Learning and Advisory Services
Mother of two, 6 and 3
The turning point was April 3, when I was home with both kids by myself. I was trying to get everything accomplished that I would have been able to do pre-Covid-19 and trying to get my kids to complete every single school item on their list. They both have different learning styles and are in different grades. When I let myself have the grace to say “we’ll get done what we need to get done,” it all shifted. This photo is from a moment when I realized that a photo with smiles (in comfy clothes and my messy hair) is the best image of what this time has taught us–to find positivity in every day and slow down because we can.
—Erin Davis, Director, Corporate Engagement, Western Canada
Mother of two, 9 and 6
Working from home with a two-year-old is essentially an all-day game of hide-and-seek. My husband and I take turns hiding around the house to get our work done, and our son tries to seek us out. Recently I was on a video conference call, and he burst into the room demanding that I turn my laptop around because he thought I was secretly Skyping people he knows!
—Chloe Welbaum, Senior Associate, Graphic Designer
Mother of one, age 2