We've all been there, the moment when we have to set our out-of-office message and let the world know that you won't be checking your email for a certain period of time. I've done it multiple times for vacations (remember those?) and for both of my births (coming back to work from those left me drowning in email).
But what about setting one up during these unprecedented times when all of us mamas are constantly behind on email?
Well, Khara Jabola-Carolus, the executive director of Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, has the most perfect OOO message for COVID-19 times. After she posted it on her personal Instagram last week with the caption, "My auto-response during COVID. Don't suffer silently. Mothers over money!" it has since gone viral both for her and for other accounts that picked it up.
Her viral email auto-reply reads:
Due to patriarchy, I am behind in emails. I hope to respond to your message soon but, like many women, I am working full-time while tending to an infant and toddler full-time. According to the Washington Post, the average length of an uninterrupted stretch of work time for parents during COVID-19 was three minutes, 24 seconds."
Working moms are so spread thin during these unprecedented times so it feels so refreshing to see someone call it as it is. This pandemic has, among many other things, shown the amount of work stay-at-home moms do day in and day out, the amount of juggling working parents have to do and just how broken the childcare system currently is.
That is why we love how this mama is not apologizing for being slow to respond. She doesn't need to. The apology should come from society. Mothers have been warning that this day would come because lawmakers and employers (and even some partners) did not take proactive steps to support moms. We cannot do it all alone. We need to prioritize. Khara Jabola-Carolus doesn't owe anyone her time or energy when she's running low on both.
The comments share the same sentiment: "The best auto response I've ever seen," reads one. "Thank you for putting it into words and encouraging us to stop hiding the cost," says another. Others chime in to say they tried doing the same and they were quickly shut down by their employer: "I put up an email away message some time in March/April that stated I was watching my infant and toddler while working full time and I was asked to remove it. 3 min 24 seconds is the sheer reality of what working parents with littles are facing right now."
This story was originally published on August 04, 2020.