Mother’s Day: How working mothers are balancing household and office work
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways. More than a year into the global crisis, a return to normal seems like a distant possibility.
While much of the retail sector and brick and mortar businesses were shut down, several others shifted the work online. As a result, the pandemic pushed many inequalities to the forefront. Several countries reported a rise in domestic violence and crime against women.
Loss of livelihood and lack of reproductive care are some of the consequences of the pandemic. The double burden of professional and familial responsibilities, which women have carried for so many years, became evident more than ever during the pandemic. It is no coincidence that stress, burnout, and deteriorating mental health are common in women.
In the recently concluded report on ‘Demysstifying Her Pre versus Post-COVID-19 Behaviour’ — a collaborative study conducted across women in India — found that one of the major contributing factors to the increase in women's workload post-COVID-19 was their occupational status.
Compared to homemakers, working women had to balance work and home simultaneously, adding to their overall workload. Nearly 56 percent of women claimed that their overall household work had increased.
However, the silver lining was more men stepping up to assist women. About 19 percent of women stated their husband’s contribution to household chores increased post-COVID-19.
As the primary gatekeepers, women tend to take more of the central role in household decisions and finances, redefining, adapting and influencing the pre-existing dynamics and shifting priorities in the wake of the pandemic.
The current scenario delves deeper into these changing and evolving behavioural shifts across key categories and various consumption patterns.
A current survey showed women having claimed an increase in domestic dependence on overall household work. As global conglomerates adapt to a new reality, brands and companies must take into account the differentiated needs of their workforce — especially working mothers — who shoulder a higher burden of care.
How are women straddling the two fronts?
Given the pandemic, the tussle of managing the health of the family and work, can be a challenge. In such a scenario, planning always works.
Here are a few things working women are doing at home:
- Planning the days and setting aside some time for self-care
- Communicating needs and asking their partner or any other family members for help
- Equal parenting, sharing the load and care for the kids
- Dividing the chores and prioritising the well-being of all, including themselves
- Taking regular breaks
- Having a dedicated workspace within the home and having a “mobile/ laptop” free zone
- Managing expectations and reassessing them regularly to prevent burnout or emotional exhaustion
- Taking frequent breaks and moving around
- Taking care of their emotional well-being and their colleagues’
Women are also advised to plan their day, which can help them organise things better and keep a backup plan ready if things go wrong in a busy schedule.
The other most important thing is to try and create a balance between professional and personal life, which thereby helps in keeping a check on mental and physical well-being.
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has weighed heavily on women, and with India expected to witness a possible third wave, the impact would be even more severe.
It’s even more important now for women to firstly never hesitate to ask for help, it’s ok to not be ok, and manage expectations — of themselves and those around them, and keep a check on their emotional and mental well-being regularly to prevent physical and mental exhaustion.
Edited by Suman Singh
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)