Why So Many Moms Dread Returning To Pre-Covid Times — And How We Can Support Them

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Dreading going back to your "old" life before the pandemic? You're not alone.

The University of Notre Dame investigated how working parents were managing the dueling work-family demands of Covid-19.

Society, moms, and even human resource departments are beginning to articulate how transformational this time has been due to feeling liberated from traditional commuting 40-hour workweeks.

Some articles even resist believing women are happier at home and present reality as women being angry at men for having jobs or getting promoted while they're home!

Do you wish to support the women in your life, including yourself?

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Let’s get real: Women aren’t angry at men for working or being promoted.

Women simply want to make equal pay for equal time working and have an opportunity to earn retirement and benefits without having to work 40 hours a week. Women’s contributions to society and at home need to be promoted.

This is your time to create your best life, rather than return to a mediocre one.

Many successful employees, women, and mothers work part-time. And here’s the shocker: Stay-at-home-moms are actually working at keeping up a home and raising children.

What if success was redefined as having your core needs met, living life according to your values, respecting others' values, and having healthy habits?

Would it be easier or more difficult to feel happy? If you define success as a job title or full-time employment or salary, how pressured do you feel?

What if you accept employment based on how it fits into your budget and lifestyle, versus forcing yourself to give too much time away?

Working full-time doesn't always equal success for moms.

Many of the most unsuccessful employees, women, and mothers work full time and balance the caretaking needs of the home, parents, spouses, and children.

By unsuccessful, I mean unhealthy — anxious, irritable, depressed, frustrated, rushed, prickly, self-neglecting, and unhappy.

If you live with one of these amazingly hardworking women, you know it’s tough to witness seeing them pushing themselves to exhaustion.

If you’re one of these women, you know you’re sacrificing too much of yourself but feel helpless and stuck.

Covid has been an eye-opener for many working mothers.

The University of Notre Dame reports that parents appreciate the slower pace of pandemic life and having more time to enjoy their spouse and kids.

This slower pace of life is important because while you've been isolated too much during Covid-19, you've grown and learned a lot about yourself.

Some of you have realized you can’t return to pre-COVID lifestyles because you were miserable.

Maintaining quality family time is something that fewer women will be willing to sacrifice in order to have a dual-family income.

You are realizing it’s more possible than ever to balance home and work life when employers are flexible with the commute and physical presence. It’s also allowed you to realize you worked a lot but wasted a lot, so now manage your finances better.

RELATED: I'll Never Parent The Same Way After This Pandemic Is Over

Many women don't want to return to pre-Covid "normalcy."

Where exactly are the moms who can’t wait to return to pre-Covid-19 life? Have you seen these unicorns?

How many moms want to go back to waking up at 5:30 a.m., rushing kids to daycare or school, rushing to work, rushing to pick up kids, possibly working out during lunch, and rushing home to make dinner if they remembered to buy enough groceries the weekend before?

You hope to have enough time to find out about your child’s day or not be too tired to enjoy their bedtime routines. You wish to remain connected more to your children having work and social obligations, too.

You yearn to work less doing a job you love — one that's respectable and pays well. You feel guilty if you're busy providing and there’s not enough time for more playfulness with your children.

Your constant struggle to take care of yourself, your partner, your children, and your home, while working full time leaves you feeling you’re not enough in some way.

Your frustration because of lack of professional, alternate options requiring less than 40 hours a week is real.

Most Americans, parents, and mothers yearn for society to re-open and feel a sense of liberation from Covid, masks, technology, and government.

I’ve heard your need to once again embrace your God-given freedom to simply "be" both inside and outside the home.

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Returning to life after Covid while honoring your authentic self.

The question is: How can you return authentically and energetically to post-Covid life in a way that works for you?

You have permission to quit pretending the "emperor is wearing clothes" because the truth is that a 40-hour commuting workweek doesn’t work for most moms — and certainly not single parents.

You’re not alone. You’re not weak. You’re not lazy. You’re not old-fashioned.

You are a modern-day woman who has been giving too much for too long.

As schools are setting dates for children to return, many of you feel pressured to return to pre-Covid employment routines.

While you yearn for more financial independence and definitely more social connection outside of the home, you feel repelled returning to pre-Covid working conditions. You’re not alone.

Revolutionizing the workplace for women and parents. 

Many employers need help and are hiring. Many employers are flexible and many jobs negotiable. Pre-Covid unemployment rates were very low and as society rebounds, I suspect it will return.

In order for employers to meet their bottom lines, they must revolutionize the workforce to accommodate the new woman and especially the post-Covid mother.

Embrace thoughtful discussions with employers before accepting a job offer so it includes meeting your salary, benefit, and time needs as well as theirs.

You absolutely can negotiate win/win scenarios as you accept your contributions are enough and you can have a balanced life that doesn’t involve giving all your time away for money.

Be the mom you want your daughter or son to be and support women as you’d want others to support the women you love.

Your lifework is to make your life work. You are enough and someone is waiting for you to show up and be an integral part of their team. Just make sure you want to be on theirs!

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Laila Daniel is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) in Fayetteville, NC. For more information, visit her website.