Balancing work and family amid the pandemic
While the losses and challenges of the pandemic have been felt by everyone, the effect of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns have been particularly impactful on working parents.
Whether confronted with the challenge of transitioning to remote work, or continued essential work outside the home, the already difficult juggling act of parenting while working became significantly more difficult as a result of Covid-19.
Nasrin Akhter Rima, mother of a one-year-old girl, works at Standard Chartered Bank. "I never really got to differentiate between pandemic and non-pandemic life as a young mom. It was hard for me to cope at the beginning since the health and safety of my daughter was my first concern at any given time," she shared.
More recently, offices have cautiously opened on a roster basis, while many are following remote working hours completely.
Following her maternity leave, Rima could not work from home. "Your baby is constantly demanding your attention when you are at home, which can affect your work productivity," she asserted.
Ishrat Jahan, mother of an eight-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl, is an experienced freelancer. She is well-adapted to the work-from-home setting. However, she was concerned by the closure of schools for over a year, and how it might impact her children's confidence. "On the bright side, my relationship with my children are now stronger than ever, and I feel many families underwent such moments of bonding during the pandemic, which would not have been possible otherwise," she added.
For Needa Sohail, who works at BAT Bangladesh, letting go of the company of her friends and family was initially tough, but she had to make difficult choices. "Every article suggests that newborns should be surrounded by people, in a friendly atmosphere, but the pandemic has restricted social activities," she shared. Nonetheless, the new mother is grateful to her colleagues for their support under all circumstances.
Nowshin Nur Pial, a mother of two, works at NIH in the USA. "As working parents before the pandemic, I had to leave for office first and my husband would go to his former office after dropping our kids at the daycare centre. I picked them up on my way home from work. It was not only difficult, but expensive as well," she shared. Now, Nowshin has adapted to working remotely, while her partner has switched to a job that allows him to permanently work from home.
It is clear that with the arrival of Covid-19, and the subsequent shift to remote work that followed, working parents, especially mothers, were faced with even greater hurdles. Yet, as most of the mothers explained, they were able to find suitable ways to cope with the challenges.
The author is a freelance journalist and a final year Marketing & International Business student at North South University. Email: email@example.com