Moms struggle to create work-life balance during COVID-19

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Working from home with an infant often means Twila Liggitt, Founder of Acorn Digital Strategy, must hold her 7-month-old son on her lap while presenting to clients and fielding questions as he wriggles, spontaneously squeals, and attempts to mash his hands on the keyboard. Seattle, April 2020. Photo credit: Clayton R. Liggitt.

With COVID-19 keeping families inside, some women are discovering how unbalanced work and life are under quarantine. Jennifer Medina wrote about this for the New York Times. 

“[They’re] flying by the seat of their pants and trying to figure it out as they go along,” she says. “A couple of women I talked to have set up offices in their closets. One therapist I spoke with... has a lovely looking office that's actually a tiny bathroom.”

Medina reported on women with partners who can help with domestic duties. But what if you’re a single mom, such as Irvine Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter?

Porter has three children — ages 8, 11, 14 — at home with her now. 

She says her experience influences the way she thinks about what Congress needs to do to help working families. For example, she’s fighting for more federal stimulus money for single moms and dads.


Rep. Katie Porter left Washington D.C. and returned to her Orange County home in mid-March when social distancing became necessary and schools shifted to online classes. In this photo, she and her kids are making sack lunches for people experiencing homelessness. Photo courtesy of Rep. Katie Porter.

“Single heads of households, which by definition means that you're one worker caring for one or more dependents, need more help than families that have two earners.”

Porter says single parents are having a tougher time than married parents during the pandemic because many child care and community facilities that these families depend on are shut down. She’s raising these issues with the House’s Ways and Means Committee.

—Written by Kathryn Barnes and Amy Ta, produced by Rosalie Atkinson and Angie Perrin

Credits

Guests:
Jennifer Medina - LA-based National Political Correspondent reporter for the New York Times - @jennymedina, Katie Porter - Democratic Congresswoman representing the 45th District of California (Irvine)

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin