When the COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest, many employees began working remotely, just as childcare centers closed and schools began remote learning. For many families, it was a difficult transition. New research suggests that transition never really ended and that parents are struggling now more than ever. According to the Pew Research Center, more working parents say it's difficult to balance childcare and their jobs now compared to last March. That means parents are now having a harder time getting their work done and raising their kids than when the pandemic first hit.
Over 2,000 Americans were polled for the survey, which was conducted last October. Overall, about half of working parents with kids younger than 12 at home (52%) say it's been difficult to handle childcare, as opposed to 38% who responded in March. Both working moms and dads are more likely to say it's been difficult balancing their kids and jobs. Moms are more likely to describe it as difficult, though (57% vs. 47%). Parents who work from home are also having a harder time getting their work done without interruptions. 63% say it's been difficult for them to get their work done without interruptions since the pandemic began. Moms and dads who telework all or most of the time are equally likely to say they have at least some childcare responsibilities while they work (66% vs. 65%). Moms are twice as likely as dads to say they have a lot of childcare duties (36% vs. 16%). Working moms are more likely than working dads to face certain professional challenges, too. About half of all parents said they felt like they couldn't give 100% at work while 30% said they need to reduce their work hours. Parents also admitted to turning down important work assignments (13%) and promotions (6%). 15% of parents said they've been treated as if they weren't committed to their jobs because they have children. 10% believe they've been passed over for an assignment because of their kids; 7% say they've been passed over for a promotion. In all of these cases, mothers are more likely than fathers to say they've experienced these professional situations since the pandemic began. One bright spot of the survey: most people seem to recognize that working parents are under an enormous amount of pressure right now. 83% of adults think it's fair for companies to give parents additional time off to deal with disruptions caused by childcare amid the pandemic. If you found yourself reflected in these statistics, know that you're not alone. We need childcare relief now more than ever. We need to demand affordable childcare in America and we need to make sure that our daycares and schools reopen safely amid the pandemic. Our jobs depend on it. Our livelihoods depend on it. Our children depend on it.