Season 3 | Episode 10
Dec 10, 2020

Pandemic motherhood

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In September alone, women left the workplace at four times the rate that men did. The numbers are shocking, but behind them are real, human experiences. This week, we hear some of those stories.

When you’re a mom trying to work from home during the pandemic, the mute button is invaluable.

Tiarra Noblin was in a Zoom training for her new job a month into the pandemic when her 5-year-old, Na’el, launched into a tantrum. She wanted to go back to school, the change in routine was hard, and none of Noblin’s normal calming strategies were working. Then she heard her boss calling out from her laptop speakers.

“She’s like, ‘Hey, I’m here. Um, just to let you know, I hear everything. I’m so sorry. Don’t worry about it,'” Noblin said. “Honestly, with everything that I’ve been through, I didn’t really care. Just like, ‘Hey, this is my life.'”

The pandemic has been brutal on working moms. In September alone, nearly 900,000 women left the workforce, four times more than men. A third of working women age 25 to 44 who aren’t working said it was because of child care demands. The numbers are shocking, but behind them are real, human experiences. This week, we hear some of those stories. 

We’ll follow Noblin’s summer and fall, trying to balance her job as a single mom of two daughters and proving herself at a new dream job. Later, we’ll hear from other moms about their experiences parenting and working in the pandemic.

Finally, we’ll talk with Amy Knopf, an academic who’s researching how the pandemic is affecting mothers’ mental health and retrenching gender roles — all while trying to manage the school and home life of her own first grader.

If you liked this episode, share it with a parent in your life. For even more “This Is Uncomfortable,” don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. This week is Hanukkah, so we have some tips for taking your latkes to the next level, plus our team’s favorite podcasts of the year. Here’s the latest issue, in case you missed it.

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The team

Megan Detrie Senior Producer
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