Virtual learning is straining parents, mostly mothers
Family obligations are pushing women to quit their jobs during pandemic
let us rejoice and be glad in it. For the Congregation of Bryn Mar United Methodist Church in Seattle, the virtual sermon on Sunday, November 1st began like most others throughout the pandemic. My name is pastor MEREDITH dot and I'm happy to join you for worship. Then the church's pastor of more than two years made this announcement. This is my last Sunday serving as the pastor of Bryn Mar. I'm taking some family leave from pastoring to spend more time with my kids. For months, she tried to balance work, you know, and remote learning for her three Children, each with special needs, until it just wasn't sustainable for a while. Then I was tryingto be available all day and do all the demands of ministry. Basically before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m. It was starting to have a huge demand on my body and my mental health. She and her husband, Mike, an engineer, spent hours crunching the numbers and doing a lot of soul searching. It was going to make economic sense, although it was still a struggle to decide. Like is this really the right thing for everyone is the right thing for the family before ultimately deciding she should step down from the pulpit. We just decided that the church could find another pastor in this moment, but my kids could not find another mother. MEREDITH is not alone. In addition to million's of US women ages 25 to 44 losing their jobs in 2020 there are also three times more likely than men to leave the labor force. Because of childcare demands during the pandemic, they're just disproportionately likely to hold the kinds of jobs we needed to send people home from. No, women do a lot of caring jobs in person job. And then we had the fact that all the kids got sent home months without playdates and socializing have also taken a toll on families. It's had a huge psychological impact. It's heartbreaking as a parent to say, there is nothing I can dio to make this better. This is how it is right now. I do think there's still gonna be a lot of adjustment, you know, we have a vaccine, the kids are going back to school, but kids have been kind of, uh had a hard time in this particular situation, returning Thio. Any form of normalcy for the DOD family means waiting for both school to reopen and a vaccine can't make commitments professionally right now, which is also challenging, a challenge MEREDITH says she intends to overcome. The call has not gone away. The job has, for the moment I fully anticipate returning. I love preaching. I left teaching.