The Economic Pressure of Being a Pandemic Mom

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This has been a really hard pandemic, friends.

And I feel like it’s been particularly difficult for parents. Anyone with aging parents. And all others who are high-risk for other reasons.

As a mom, I often feel like all the responsibility — societal and familial — has been pushed onto my shoulders. It’s a crushing weight none of us mothers volunteered for. And while I keep hoping the burden will get lighter, over time it only seems to compound.

The first time we watched Encanto, I got chills when I heard this song.

Okay, fine, I got chills every subsequent time we watched Encanto, too.

I felt seen. I don’t often feel like I can talk to many people about this pressure, but here were all my emotions in animated form:

I mean, just look how she grabs Hercules’ sword midair without thinking. If that isn’t a metaphor for what mothers have been doing these past two years I dunno what is.

Talking Pandemic Motherhood on So Money

I’ve been toying with the idea of talking about this for a while. The truth is, it’s hard.

There are so many expectations on us as women. From the responsibilities we must shoulder to the degree to which we’re allowed to be angry and frustrated without social consequences. I mean, in some work environments I worry that even just talking about the fact that I’m a mother at all will negatively impact my opportunities.

Because these expectations are widespread, though, I know I’m not alone. So I decided to start talking about the past couple years, as scary as that may be.

I recently sat down with Farnoosh Torabi for an episode of her podcast, So Money. We got real  about the past two years, how that has impacted my career as a working mom, and solutions we could explore in an effort to make a better tomorrow for everyone.

Be sure to give it a listen.

Too Ambitious

Farnoosh and I initially got to talking because of an article I wrote for Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez’s Too Ambitious bulletin. You can check it out here.

Too Ambitious is a phenomenal, thought-provoking read each and every time. Here are some other features you should check out:


Latest Episode of Mom Autism Money

Okay, so this might not necessarily be related to motherhood for everyone.

But it is an important listen for just about everyone.

For the latest episode of Mom Autism Money, Joyce and I sat down with social work expert Dena Gassner to learn the best ways to successfully apply for SSI or SSDI.

One of the reasons you may apply for SSI or SSDI is when your disability impacts your ability to work a full-time job.

Having SSI or SSDI isn’t only a matter of cash payments. Sometimes receiving SSI or SSDI is a necessary step before you can get health insurance that will fully cover your needs, or other related programs you may need to get by.

The process of securing SSI/SSDI isn’t transparent and can take years. In fact, Dena thinks they do it that way on purpose.

But she has created a system that has helped countless families successfully work through the application process. And she shares it with us this week.

We obviously talk about it in context of Autism, but this overarching framework applies to all kinds of disabilities, including those who now find themselves with Long COVID.

Give it a listen. If you don’t need this information in the near future, there’s a high likelihood you’ll know someone who will. Whether that’s your aging parents or your bestie who ‘only’ had a ‘mild’ case of Omicron.

COVID Numbers

I want this pandemic to be over.




But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the course of my life, it’s that just because I want something to be true doesn’t mean it is. Optimism can be a good thing, but only when it’s buffered by some somber realism.

The CDC has been putting out some real surprising maps lately, showing the entire country is green or low-risk. But that’s incredibly misleading.

Less than two months ago, the CDC changed their metrics. This whole pandemic, we’ve been measuring risk by the amount of positive cases in our communities — or community transmission.

But less than two months ago, the CDC changed those metrics to something along the lines of ‘low-risk means we have enough beds for you to die in.’

That’s a problem. Because death and/or hospitalization is a lagging indicator. The people that are in those beds when we finally get to a ‘red’ zone under these metrics? They will have caught the virus weeks to a month ago ish.

I’m not an epidemiologist. Please do your own research and learn how to vet traditional or nontraditional media outlets for any biases they may hold. And for the love of Pete, do not listen to Leana Wen.

That means that for two weeks prior, when everything was supposedly ‘green’ and people were running around inside with no masks on, the virus was probably raging.

Spread of this thing works exponentially.

And by the time we arrive to the ‘red’ point, there would be a critical shortage of hospital beds for all those people who got infected when they  thought everything was ‘green.’

This is not a guaranteed outcome. I pray that’s not what happens.

But it is one very real possibility. Given our track record with mortality rates with this virus in our country, it’s one we should be preparing for.

The tiniest silver lining is, at least for the time being, the CDC does provide a map using the old metrics.

Reporting of positive cases is sorely lacking right now. But even so, you can see that there are parts of the country that are actually very, very red if we were to measure by the metrics we had been using from the beginning: Community transmission.

The metrics that they switched out on everyone two months ago.

Map of the US showing that small parts of the country in the midwest and Rocky mountain range may be lower risk, but New England, nearly all of the non-contiguous US, and parts of the Southwest may be very high-risk in terms of community transmission. Most of the rest of the country is a mixutre of county-to-county low, moderate or high risk. Case rates represented are for April 2-8, 2022.


Please be careful, everyone. Even if you’re up to date on boosters, there’s still a chance you could get Long COVID even after a ‘mild’ infection.

And there’s definitely the possibility that you could remain asymptomatic and spread this thing to someone who is immunocompromised or otherwise high-risk. Or to a parent of a kid under 5 who still can’t get vaccinated.

And their outcome might not be as good as yours.

So at the absolute least, please wear a mask. Even if you’re not ‘required’ to.

Because it’s not just about our own, individual personal risks. It’s about how our decisions affect the personal risk of others.


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