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Working moms: 2020 wasn't great, but it wasn't all bad

Posted at 8:11 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-04 19:13:50-05

Working moms shared some surprisingly positive insight into 2020, as part of the "Silver Linings Study." While a lot went horribly wrong, some parents say there was a lot of good, too.

There's no doubt about it, "challenging" puts 2020 mildly.

For Katie Moore, mom of 2.5-year-old Cooper, it was tough, and still is, a tough year.

“I’m on the phone all day long,” says Moore.

She and her husband both work. This past summer and fall, COVID-19 crept into their home, making her husband sick.

“I was like a single working mom for about 10 days before I ended up getting sick,” Moore said. “It was a struggle, we ended up swapping places.”

Ironically, she says, it was a blessing that they didn't get sick at the same time.

“We were able to man our 2.5-year-old while the other one was down for the count but it was a struggle and my husband is still dealing with after effects, a lot of fatigue, exhaustion,” Moore said. “So, this year has been a lot for our family.”

And yet, after all of that, she still found a silver lining.

“I think for me, I’ve always struggled with anxiety and being a perfectionist,” Moore said. “Throughout this time, I’ve realized I need to ask for help, that it’s okay not to be okay, I can’t do it all and this opportunity, while it's been hard, has allowed me to become my best self.”

She, and other respondents participating in the Silver Linings Study, shared quite a few things. For instance, the laundry can wait. Self-care matters.

“83% of moms reflected that they were able to watch their kids grow in ways they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see,” says Dr. Pamela Cohen, who wears a lot of hats as a social psychologist, behavioral economist and head of WerkLabs.

WerkLabs is the research arm of The Mom Project, which prides itself on helping businesses attract and retain female talent.

“There was a lot of heartbreaking comments, but there were also comments about how fortunate people felt for certain opportunities they had so we decided to do a silver linings study,” Cohen said.

And she says while not in any way diminishing the horrific devastation of the pandemic, there are quite a few positive things.

“We don’t have a commute anymore, we can fill that up with other things,” Cohen said. “People are getting to know each other better, where they were basically high-giving and going off with the kids somewhere or going to the next thing and driving to the next thing and now they don’t have to.”

Some moms cited more efficiency, more clarity in their professions or even a career change. More than half said it was nice to separate from a toxic workplace. As we head into a new year, some takeaways are that work/life balance does exist, nontraditional work days are trendy, and for Moore, she's no longer a robot living in a Groundhog Day.

“I think as a family, we hit some low points, but we really came together in the end,” Moore said. “We’re definitely closer. We get on each other’s nerves but we’ve definitely learned how to get through the tough times because I don’t think anything tougher than that can happen."