Read this excerpt detailing the pandemic of one of these mothers, Dekeda Brown, 41, who lives in Olney, Md. And is married to two daughters (11 and 15):

Dekeda sat at her dining table – her “war room,” as she calls it – with two laptops open, typing like a court stenographer. In her left ear she was listening to a conference call about work; To her right was the voice of her 15-year-old daughter’s special needs teacher giving a math class. Leilani, who suffers from severe inconsistent autism and sensory processing disorder – that is, cannot speak words, needs help with most daily tasks and finds everyday stimuli unbearable – communicates with the teacher via a touchscreen.

It was late afternoon and Dekeda’s husband Derrick, 46, had just walked in the door from work. He is a civil engineer in a doctor’s office. He waved hello, called the stairs to London, 11, and went straight to the refrigerator as usual.

Dekeda opened his mouth to remind him to wash his hands, but gestured at the computer. “The teacher called Leilani!” he said.

Dekeda quickly switched off the computer and apologized. Then she helped her daughter type her answer on the screen. Moments later she heard a pause in her other ear. It was from her boss. “What do you think, Dekeda?”

“It took an hour,” Dekeda said of switching back and forth, trying not to mix up the mute buttons, and apologizing to each party. “In the end, I retired to my bedroom and cried.”

How does this detailed profile of Dekeda’s life add to your understanding or change the perspective you gained from the rest of the series? Which lines, moments or quotes stand out, are the most effective or the most memorable? What connections can you make between Dekeda’s current life and the problems facing working mothers across the country?

If you have the time, you can read the entire article before answering the questions above about any of the profiled women.

Option 2: Research possible solutions.

In “Working Mothers Fight. Here’s what would help. Another piece in the series, Claire Cain Miller writes that now more than ever, mothers need support – in the form of government guidelines, employer support, or partners who get involved in more work. Here are some excerpts:

How employers could help

Offer part-time schedules or unpaid vacation days. In the US, it is unusual for employees to offer part-time jobs – and they pay disproportionately less in the process. But European countries with laws that mandate workers to work part-time were better able to keep women in the workforce.

Pay for child care. At this point in the pandemic, mothers don’t just need time. You need money. They could use it in any way that is best for their family – for childcare, tutoring, or to support themselves on unpaid vacation. But few companies have paid for childcare.

How the government could help

The United States is the only rich country without paid family vacations and one of the few without subsidized childcare. If these guidelines had been in place before the pandemic, parents’ lives would have been a lot easier during the lockdown.

For example, in Sweden new parents get 16 months of paid leave until their child is 8 years old. Some have resorted to it during the pandemic. Parents also have four months of paid leave to look after sick children up to the age of 12. The government allowed people to use these when schools were closed during the pandemic. In many European countries, daycare centers are publicly funded so there was no doubt that they would still be available if it was certain to reopen.

How individuals could help

Men, do your part. While mothers and fathers spent more time looking after children during the pandemic, the proportion they each have hasn’t changed too much. There are specific ways men can do more: work in the common area of ​​the house and give the woman the separate home office if you have one. Take on an entire child-related task, e.g. B. coordinating pediatric care, communicating with the school or planning a virtual birthday party. Get the kids out of the house.

Ms. Goldstein’s Advice to Women: “Whatever the biggest gender problem in your life, make it a man’s problem. If men experience these disorders and stressors as much as women do, we will see real systemic change for the better. “

Read the entire article and let us know what you think: how do you rate these solutions? Which do you think are the most urgent or practical? What other ideas do you have for tackling the current crisis?

For more ideas and solutions, see “Let’s listen to sabbaticals, subsidies, and nannies reimbursement”. There are eight examples of governments and companies around the world that have found effective ways to support working parents.

Option 3: Interview a mother in your life.

Imagine you have been tasked with creating a new article for this series. Who would you profile and why? What questions would you ask? How can you help peers and the public understand and appreciate the lives, hardships, and resilience of mothers navigating everyday life during the pandemic?

Use text, audio, photos and / or video to tell the story of a mother navigating the coronavirus pandemic. You can choose to put your own mother, someone in your extended family, or another mother in your school or community in the spotlight. Remember to ask for permission if you plan to record or share the person’s name publicly or with your class.

First, make a list of questions ahead of time that you can ask to learn more about their experience: What was your life like before the pandemic? How is your daily life now What are the special challenges of being a mother? How has the pandemic affected your mental, physical and emotional health? What would you like others to know they are mom during the pandemic? How could others – employers, governments, and fathers – help mothers through this crisis?


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