The pandemic that struck our world knocked everyone off their feet.
And when everyone but essential workers were sent back to their homes, we were told by the government to stay home, but keep our jobs. To educate our children, but not default on our bills. To do the right thing—but without any help.
There are 24 million working mothers in the United States, and every single one of them is struggling right now—with the burnout of raising kids alone, the economic hell of staying employed in a pandemic, the impossible task of educating kids while working to afford to stay in your house.
The federal government developed programs for airlines and the arts, small businesses and agribusiness. Yet aside from a plan to take temporary leave, American families got next to nothing.
And to a generation of mothers who were already experiencing epic burnout, 88% of whom reported—before COVID—that society doesn't understand or support them, the government said, in essence, "good luck."
No grant money for childcare.
No support for a vast network of underpaid childcare providers unable to withstand a pandemic.
No national plan for how a generation of parents could keep their jobs and keep their children at home.
No refund or reprieve from the property taxes that fund the schools their kids were no longer able to attend.
It's as if the government doesn't think working parents, or single mothers, or essential workers even exist.
Mothers are the silent majority. We are silent not because we don't care. We are silent not because this is okay. If you don't hear us, it's because mothers are drowning. And it's hard to scream when you are just trying to keep yourself and your family afloat.
Mothers were asked to do the impossible, so millions of them did the only logical thing: They left their jobs.
So while moms always have everyone else's back, they found out this year that nobody has theirs.
Moms volunteer their time and talent to make our communities run—but few local governments could find funds to help them with childcare.
The vast majority of American moms work to support their families—but most public schools expect parents to somehow become overnight educators while keeping their jobs.
Half of America's teachers are parents—and they were somehow expected to educate their in-person classes, and their remote classes, and coordinate their children's educations at the exact same time.
To add insult to injury, our president makes clear just how stuck mothers are in another century, frequently calling women by the outdated term "housewives." And just this week, he told supporters that he was eager to "get your husbands back to work."
Let's get real. The government, made up largely of privileged white men with outdated ideas about our modern lives, does not represent or understand us.
2020 is the year they stopped pretending they did.