Work life balance literally not just a metaphor


An image of a weather presenter is circulating on social media these days. A working mother broadcasts the weather while holding her child in her arms. An image that becomes iconic for the way the pandemic “swept” the boundaries between personal and professional life. Especially for women.

Millions of mothers juggle working from home, taking care of their children behind the scenes while surfing teleconferences, preparing meals, supervising online school classes and more. This kind of acrobatic show that happened before the pandemic, but not in the home. The pandemic limited or eliminated the aid – institutionalized or not – that mothers have benefited before through nurseries, kindergartens, grandparents, nannies, housekeepers. 

Time management has become even more difficult, and multi-tasking has reached unprecedented peaks. The challenge of keeping your job and family is more demanding than ever, so it’s no wonder that women get burnout more easily or become more anxious or depressed.

The image of this weather presenter gives a whole new meaning to the expression work-life balance. It’s a real balance, not just a figure of speech, a metaphor.

The pandemic years have forced many women to face the work-life imbalance of their own lives – and every child who sits on their lap at a Zoom meeting or stands out to show a unicorn has forced this recognition.

The effects of the pandemic will last for years. More women than men seem to suffer from “long Covid” – and we’re not talking about the symptoms of going through the disease and after it.

There are mothers who have had to take a break from their careers. Either to take care of the small children, much harder to manage as the nurseries and kindergartens either close or open, the grandparents are no longer available to help, too scared not to get infected. Working from home is an option, but what do you do with small, extremely demanding children, with a strict diet-play-sleep schedule, or sick and fussy? It’s not easy with school children learning online either. The ones in the primary school need the help of the adults, the ones in the gymnasium need the supervision so that they don’t stay on the games and so on. Plus shopping, cooking, cleaning and all the duties.

Under these conditions, complying with the schedule of other colleagues who work in the office is a performance in itself, and meeting deadlines requires many sleepless nights.

Those who have chosen career breaks to care for children are probably first on the redundancy list when companies cut staff.

In conclusion, economic recovery and resilience plans should be examined and designed from a fair perspective, taking into account the specific experiences of women and providing economic assistance measures. What could these be? Tax exemptions for vulnerable women and their families, support measures for their reintegration into the labor market, measures to assess unpaid domestic activities, several days off.

What would help you to better balance your work-life imbalance?


Foto: Pixabay

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