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Women Hit Harder by Recession, Loss of Childcare: How We’re Coping

Women and the Recession
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While the coronavirus recession has had a negative impact on just about everyone’s life, reporting shows it may be hitting women the hardest. Female-dominated industries like leisure and hospitality were among the job sectors hit earliest, causing so many women to lose their jobs that the phrase “she-cession” is now going around.

In fact, 13.9% of women are now unemployed nationwide, compared with 11.6% of men. This is a contrast to what we’ve seen in recent economic downturns like the Great Recession of 2008, where men were more severely affected by the drops in industries like construction and manufacturing.

And it isn’t just the unemployment numbers that are causing women in the workforce to struggle. Those lucky enough to be still employed and working safely at home are often coping with childcare responsibilities, demands of distance learning, and the usual household work — while also working a full day. And some employers are struggling to support the needs of these employees.

If you’re having trouble keeping your work, family, and finances together during this challenging new normal, we want to help. We interviewed a few female team members here at Freedom Financial Network to find out what their experience has been like, and what tips they can share on how to survive this pandemic and she-cession.

Even with a lot of help, I just juggle

Kim O.

– Kimberly Ocampo-Shah, Social Media Manager

I’m a full-time “virtually working” mom with two sons at home. My oldest just started 2nd grade with a structured remote-learning curriculum. My youngest is a rambunctious 1-year-old with never ending curiosity and energy. I’m extremely grateful that my husband has been highly involved in facilitating the distance learning schedule and required assignments.

Meanwhile, when I can step away from marathon Zoom meetings and the day-to-day responsibilities at work, I help prepare meals, maintain the household, and keep the toddler occupied. By late afternoon, I have to provide my full attention to both kids so that my husband has a chance to do more of his own work. Any additional work I need to catch up on gets done in the early mornings or after the kids go to sleep.

I don’t get much “me” time anymore — but I am trying to be more disciplined about blocking out time for self-care. Here are three things that have helped me to reclaim my sense of self in juggling our live/work/school from home reality:

  1. I try to get the kids to bed at a decent hour (before 9:00 p.m.) so I can bake or enjoy the latest binge-worthy series on Netflix.
  2. When possible, I call into meetings while walking around the neighborhood and taking in some fresh air.
  3. I’ve discovered Outschool, a marketplace of online classes for kids of all ages providing enrichment classes taught live, in small groups. I can keep my older son engaged and excited about learning while I get stuff done around the house.

For us, structure and communication is key

Courtney B.

-Courtney Buycks, Unit Manager, FDR Sales

As I continue to work my 8 hours++ each day from home, my son is starting 10th grade, also from home. Now about 3 1/2 weeks into our work from home/online schooling adventure together, juggling my work day with my son’s school day has been interesting, resulting in tears from me once or twice the first week.

In the beginning, we were stressed just trying to figure out just how to complete his assignments, much less getting them submitted correctly and on time. But now we have found two key ways we cope and communicate that help us get both work and school done.

First, we discovered we are both most successful if we have a set schedule. We make sure my son wakes up and starts his day at the same time every single day. Second, every morning I put a Post-it note on his desk with my meeting schedule for the day. That way he knows when I am free to help him with questions or anything else he needs, and also when I am in meetings and can’t take a break. The Post-it solution has really eliminated his frustration with feeling like I am too busy to help him and has eased my feelings that I might be letting him down. This means no more mom tears.

Our new way of communicating and working wasn’t an easy transition, but we are finally falling into a groove. Structure is the name of the game for us and is making me feel that we can navigate our “new norm” successfully!

We changed routines and found a new normal as a family

Sadiya O.

– Sadiya Omer, Director, Affiliate Marketing

March 2020 changed the lives of most, if not everyone, across the globe. For our family of four, there were no more early morning drills to make it school and work on time. Our pace slowed from 80 to 25 mph and gave us a newfound awareness of our surroundings, time, relationships, and reflection.

Although we no longer rush to be anywhere but the home office my husband and I set up for ourselves, work took over our lives the first few months as our companies tried to navigate through the uncertainty. Luckily our 11- and 14-year-olds were able to transition to the virtual schooling program fairly easily. To them it was a head start into an extended summer break.

The first challenge we faced was how to keep screen time from taking over our kid’s lives while both my husband and I blurred the lines of work-life balance. We found that enrolling our kids in online camps to socialize and get a head start on the academic year was our saving grace.

The next challenge came because with no more 6:00 a.m. alarms, bedtime tended to get a little extended. However, we found a way to make this work for us as well. While we wrapped up work, the kids played outdoors with the neighbors — something new for them! We also found a few activities that our kids love, to help keep them busy. Our daughter elevated her culinary skills with Joe Wicks’ nutrition-based recipes, and enrolled in a virtual cooking camp through Outschool. Our son picked up roller blading and challenges his sister to Ping Pong – a new sport for them.

Covid-19 still continues to shape our new normal. We have our days when we are grateful to be healthy and together, and we have moments when we desperately want to just go back to seeing our friends, co-workers, the movies, just even hanging out in the city. All in all, it is having a routine that has helped maintain some sanity as a family. We feel lucky to have the chance to do things together and bond in a way we did not before.

Take control of your financial future during the “she-cession” and beyond

Women are often in charge of not just the household, but the household finances as well, so if you’re trying to better manage your money and your debt while navigating the challenges of these times, our free guide can help. It’s full of the information and tools you can use to succeed in managing your money, especially when your attention is pulled in so many directions at once. Get started today by downloading our free How to Manage Debt Guide right here.

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Anna Baluch is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about all personal finance topics. She’s particularly interested in mortgages, retirement, insurance, and investing.