By: Tina Fares, Feature Editor, The Pawprint
COVID-19. The virus that shut down schools, offices, countries and the world. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a health emergency, globally. However, it didn’t end there. March 11, 2020. On this date, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic. The first one since the H1N1 influenza in 2009. This virus affected everyone, no matter where in the world. Life changed. Schools went online, countries got shut down and parents were forced to work from home.
Along with everything going on, the stress became really tough on parents especially. With schools closing, parents had to take the role of teaching their little kids, all the while preparing and taking care of the house. Working parents were forced to work from home, make money for the family, and help out around the house. The stress doubled for everyone.
Working parents now had to go online. Staying at home improved their relationships with their partners and their kids since they were now all in one house and were spending a lot more time around each other. For many, the pandemic helped them realize all the time and work that is put into running the house and taking care of the family. Also, many parents stepped up and took some more responsibility and jobs when it came to housework. According to FP2P, a father in the UK has said,“It is quite challenging. I saw the stuff she goes through when I am at work. I seem to understand her better and she is reacting to me in a more positive manner”
Pew Research conducted a survey and stated that, “Pew Research Center surveys have highlighted some of the unique challenges facing moms during the pandemic. For example, a survey last October found that, among employed parents who were working from home all or most of the time, mothers were more likely than fathers to say they had a lot of child care responsibilities while working (36% vs. 16%). Working mothers with children younger than 12 at home were also more likely than fathers (57% vs. 47%) to say it had been at least somewhat difficult for them to handle child care responsibilities during the coronavirus outbreak.” Mothers not only had double the work at home, but they also had to step up and take charge. Many young kids were sent home to do online schooling. Younger kids needed guidance which they turned to their parents for. This meant that the parents had to play the role of the teacher all while parenting.
The New York Times published an article called “Pandemic Will Take Our Women 10 Years Back’ in the Workplace”. In this article they explained how women are very close and nearly equal with men when it comes to salary and promotions in jobs, however, they pay a huge penalty to their career. They explained that “Women tend to take on more of the burdens of caring for children and the family. To go to work, they need someone to help with that care. But fathers have been slow to change their behavior. And without subsidies, private child care can be prohibitively expensive.” They continued this by saying that “Workplaces already tend to penalize women who choose to work fewer hours or need more flexibility, and that, too, is proving to be exacerbated in the pandemic.”
Overall, although everyone was affected by the pandemic, parents were one of the main targets of this stress. On the other hand, the pandemic, while causing many issues to one’s life, brought people together, brought families closer and created deeper connections. Technology was enhanced, and ways of communication and learning intensified greatly. COVID-19 was the start and end of many different things, in many different aspects. Good or Bad? Well, that is something that still needs to be decided.