The term “superwoman” was coined by author Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz in The Superwoman Syndrome to denote a woman who copes successfully with the demands of career, marriage, and motherhood. Mother’s Day is a time to reflect on what this term means for moms who run businesses or hold paying jobs.
Pre-pandemic, this topic was explored in a blog several years ago. But times have changed. With COVID-19, many moms have stretched their super powers to the limit in working from home, helping children with virtual learning, and handling all the other challenges of the pandemic.
Where do working moms stand now?
According to Marketplace.org, the pandemic has been psychologically damaging to working moms. This is especially true for those with young children who require constant supervision. Even though both parents have been working from home, anecdotally moms reported continued struggles about who bears primary childcare responsibilities. These moms have experienced stress, depression, and anxiety above and beyond what they may normally feel as working moms. For single moms with no one to share child care responsibilities while working at home during the pandemic, it may even have been worse.
Participation in the workforce
The National Women’s Law Center reported that more than 2.3 million women left the labor market. Some from layoffs and furloughs, but others because they want or need to devote themselves to their families. Overall, women have lost more jobs than men as a result of the pandemic.
And another report found that one in four women are thinking about leaving the workplace or at least “downshifting” their careers. This latter report calls this “a crisis looming in corporate America.” It may be a few more years before the ranks of women in the workplace return to pre-pandemic levels.
There is a bright spot…women-owned business start-ups. Women who were laid off or unhappy with corporate jobs have begun to start their own businesses. Many of these women are mompreneurs (there are no separate statistics on mompreneur start-ups).
A survey by Gusto and the National Association of Women Owned Businesses (NAWOB) found that 47% of businesses started by women in the past year are women by color. Many did so out of financial need. The survey also found that 58% of this new business creation was driven by women wanting more control over their work schedules.
Everyone has his or her own pandemic story. Certainly Superwomen, especially those with children still in the home, have their tales of the ups and downs during this period.
An unknown person said “Motherhood: if you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.”
Happy Mother’s Day.