COVID-19: Catastrophe for Working Moms?

photo-of-bare-tree-under-cloudy-sky-1126375_Photo by Photo by Johannes Plenio
Photo by Johannes Plenio

The COVID-19 crisis hits women harder.

The United Nations has recently warned us against the risk that the Covid-19 will wipe out the (limited) progress in reducing gender inequalities made in recent decades. It marks a turnaround in the very year of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action: a crucial moment in the affirmation of women’s rights, which has given a strong impetus to the public debate on gender equality.

Crises are not all the same; they affect people, social spheres, productive sectors with different intensity. This pandemic has so far hit women harder, making the gender imbalance dramatic, and it is a terrible blow to the rights and opportunities of children and mothers.

The closure of nurseries, kindergartens and schools deprived not only children of their rights, but also underlined the stereotype about the family’s structure: all took for granted that families would make do, regardless of the circumstances and resources available. For many women, the work overload has become almost intolerable with continuous stress over 24 hours. Many women have quit their jobs.

The Reasons

Among the reasons for resignation, the most recurrent is the difficulty of reconciling employment with childcare needs. This challenge may be due to the absence of support relatives, the high incidence of newborn care costs and the closure of public schools. Another reason is the difficulty of reconciling work with child care for needs related to the company in which they are employed: working conditions which are particularly burdensome or not compatible with the responsibility of children; or the failure to get a part-time.

The Non-Choice

The inadequate number of nurseries, the lack of support in the care of children by grandparents and the high fees for the nurseries cause women to lose their freedom of choice. Especially with the COVID-19 crisis, when families consider what to cut, they decide that it is up to the woman, who earns less, to give up work, because in economic terms it is convenient. A justified decision, but it is no longer a choice.

Discouraged women don’t look for work

Lockdowns have reinforced a process in which women have not only lost or quit their jobs but are also discouraged and do not even try to find another job. Women work in those sectors where the lockdown has hit hardest; for example, carers and babysitters, beauty salons, hairdressers, gyms or the shops, where the number of female employees is high. These sectors are in deep crisis and will continue to be so for two years, as several economists claim. For this reason, women have stopped looking for work, with the consequent increase in gender inequality.

Pay Gap

The fight against gender inequalities has been almost non-existent in government agendas during the COVID-19 crisis management. This topic must end up on the tables of all parliaments around the world. Fighting wage and salary inequality also mean preventing women from leaving the labour market. First and foremost, we need to promote the transparency of companies about wage data, and tackle gender stereotypes at source, starting with the criteria that companies use to employ resources and, before that, starting with the education system, which at the moment still pushes only boys into management careers. Just think about the number of women in politics and economics. Very few.

Good News

woman-holding-black-flag-1571734_Photo by Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels
Photo by Engin Akyurt

For the long term, however, some economists have hypothesised positive effects for women’s welfare and gender equality, through two streams (source: Alon et al., 2020).

  • The first is the reorganisation of work in favour of flexible modalities; employers must invest in this new model, and it involves an unprecedented number of workers due to the pandemic. If such schemes were to become ordinary, women would benefit relatively more than men, in terms of better work-life balance, but also because their widespread adoption would weaken one of the causes of the pay gap.
  • The second is the change in social norms underlying family roles. Increased awareness of the unpaid workloads acquired by men during the COVID-19 period of domestic isolation would induce a process of empowerment. An equal gender model would follow.

The Solutions

While it is true that there may be an improvement for women in the long term, it is also true that the situation is not at all in favour of working women right now; unless women dare to break free from the pre-established models and invest in themselves.

Our greatest asset is us, and therefore reinventing ourselves in this new scenario, taking advantage of the drive for global change, is undoubtedly an ace up our sleeve.

More and more women are looking for a realistic way to start an online business, to reinvent themselves and escape the job-family trap set up by society. And the number one thing people want to know is — if it’s realistic to replace their income before leaving their job and finally focus on their online business, without getting mad or feeling alone.

I can tell you that it is realistic and achievable and more so than ever in today’s digital economy. The most important key here is to start small and then, grow and scale.

Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

So, what business models can work as a start? Affiliate marketing is a great option. This is where you sell other businesses products and get a commission – without having to do any delivery or store products. As an affiliate, the amount of products you can sell is unlimited; you just need to choose what you like the most or what you are passionate about. And the beauty of it is that you can sell those products many times over, 24/7, 365 days a year. So even when you’re with your kids or sleeping (hopefully!), you are growing your income as you grow your sales. It’s less risky because it requires a low or 0 investment.

Sell with E-commerce

Another option is to sell physical products with an E-commerce business. With physical products, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can order existing products in bulk at a fraction of the cost and then set up a sales system.

Opportunities like Amazon FBA will do the heavy lifting for you. They will process the payments from customers and deal with the packaging, distributing, and customer service. In the meantime, you’ll get busy selling the products and setting up marketing and ad campaigns to make those sales happen – which you can do around your job in just one or two hours a day.

Something to consider as you go into this

Whatever you’re selling, the first ten sales are going to be the hardest. But once you’ve made your first double figures in sales, you’ll gain the confidence that you can rinse and repeat – and grow. You’ll learn exactly how many sales you need to be making each week and each month to have a steady business that’s going to replace your income eventually.

People always want the ultimate answer to the question “how long is it going to take?” But I’ve seen so much diversity – from 2 days to 12 months to make the first ten sales. It comes down to your commitment to learning the digital skills you need to succeed.

If you are serious about changing your life, act now and check out this free video series that’s been responsible for helping thousands of people just like you (and me) to start an online business from scratch. No experience needed. No-tecky are welcome! Our vast community will support you anytime, and you never feel lost or alone in the cyberspace.

It’s totally free to register and receive the training, this is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme, and it’s void of all the usual hype and false promises you see online, so please don’t be sceptical or concerned. We are serious about your privacy and data rights. We will not share your mail with anyone else. We will not spam you or spy on you. Our program is 100% money-back guarantee.

SEND ME THE FREE TRAINING

When you know better, you DO BETTER. – Maya Angelou

When you do the work on yourself, consistently, you become better and can improve this planet.

Resilient Kids? Let Them Play Outdoor

woman-and-child-playing-in-snow_Photo by Victoria Borodinova
Photo by Victoria Borodinova

Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them. – Jim Carrey

Why do schools keep children indoors during recreation when the temperature gets too cold? Why do we avoid going out with our children if it rains or a strong wind blows? It seems an obvious statement, but children today no longer play outdoors as they used to, especially when the weather conditions are harsh.

What kind of adult will create this kind of childhood experience? What kind of adult are we today?

We all, and perhaps mothers, in particular, tend to remove most of the challenges, risks and obstacles from our children’s lives in an attempt to prevent something terrible and painful from happening.

Let’s think about the time our children spend playing at home and the time they spend playing outside: as little kids, depending on our work needs, we take them to the park to play more often, but as soon as they get older we let them play at home, where the children find the fun in TV, computer or video games.

Children who play outdoors, especially in adverse weather conditions, are more optimistic, more active and more adaptable. Why? Because they face challenges and find ways to overcome them; it’s nothing special for them. That’s normal.

It used to be normal for children to be outdoors

Adverse weather creates risks, both real and perceived, and risk creates challenges and opportunities for growth. Risks have indeed real consequences that require us to be aware of ourselves, the others and the environment. However, this kind of risk is a rare opportunity for children nowadays.

We probably received this kind of education ourselves, I certainly did. I remember well that I couldn’t go out if it were raining and cold, but I loved to walk in the rain with an umbrella and jump over puddles. Today I realize that I carry the burden of these conditioning believes, but I also learned to play with my kids, and to explore, to make every manifestation of nature fun. I took them, when they were just babies, to the beach even though it was windy, I dressed them well and took them outside in the snow, and today I take them to see the stormy sea. I do it despite everyone telling me not to do it because it’s dangerous.

Amazing Things Happen Outside

cute-little-girl-playing-with-stones-on-log-on-shore_Photo by Tatiana Syrikova
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

We cannot pass on our fears and anxieties to our children. All we have to do is dress appropriately and then go out, to play or to walk around exploring a new place. In this way, we can help our children grow adaptable, creative, positive, aware, and above all, resilient; elements they will need to face their future positively.

What Is Resilience?

The term resilience comes from the Latin resiliens and means “jump back, bounce”. In physics, it means the ability of a material to absorb a shock without breaking. This term is used in psychology and indicates an individual’s ability to face and overcome a traumatic event or period of difficulty.

A great way to raise resilient children is to tell them fairy tales. Fairy tales are all about resilience; all fairy tale characters find themselves going through dramatic situations and face, albeit with fear and weakness, what they have in front of them.

This is what we must do: strengthen our resistance, our courage, our humanity and pass them on to our children.

Resilience Fairy Tale

I have chosen to tell you this fairytale by Guido Gozzano because it is about the love for life. Sometimes love for the other requires a separation, like us from our children, and this distance, even if painful, makes us grow as a person. It also speaks of snow and cold, and so we can venture out with our children even in lousy weather to discover the magic of nature. I have simplified and freely translated the fairytale from the original version (which you can find here https://mammaoca.com/2019/04/17/nevina-e-fiordaprile-di-guido-gozzano/)

Nevina and Fiordaprile by Guido Gozzano

young-woman-in-snow_Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

A princess called Nevina (= Little Snowie) lived with her father January.

Up there on the highest mountains, far from men, King January would prepare the snow; Nevina would model it and put it in a cornucopia, then, when the cornucopia was full, she would empty it according to her father’s command at the four points on the horizon. And the snow would spread over the world.

Nevina was as beautiful as a goddess, her hair was as bright as the North Star, her face and hands were brightening white, and her eyes were blue like glaciers.

Nevina was sad.

During the break, when Father January was asleep, Nevina leaned against the ice balustrades and stared at the distant horizon, dreaming.

One day, a wounded swallow, crossing the mountains to the Lands of the Sun, had fallen into her hands. Nevina had tried in vain to comfort it; in the shivers of agony, the swallow had deliriously sighed the sea, the flowers, the palm trees, the endless spring. And from that day on, Nevina dreamt of lands never seen before.

One night, while January was sleeping, she decided to leave. She passed cautiously over the flowing beard of January, left the ice and snow, and began to descend the mountain. She moved among the fir trees and the gnomes, who saw her passing, interrupted the dances, and asked her:

– Nevina! Where are you going?

– Nevina, dance with us!

– Nevina, do not leave us!

Even the Good Spirits tried to hold her, hugging her ankles, trying to imprison her light feet in ivy and fern branches.

Nevina smiled, deaf to the loving calls; took a little snow from the silver cornucopia, spread it around, and continued on the path, feeling bright, light and cheerful.

She came to the valley, on the main road.

The air was getting milder. A sense of breathlessness overwhelmed Nevina’s heart; to breathe, she removed some snow from the cornucopia, spread it around so that she could find strength and breath in the icy air.

She continued fast, travelled a long way, and at a crossroads she stopped, her eyes dazzled. An unknown space opened before her, a blue and endless space, like another sky lying on the ground, and waved at the edges by invisible hands. Nevina continued in amazement. The earth around her changed. Anemones, carnations, mimosas, violets, daffodils, hyacinths, jasmine were endless among the houses and trees.

Nevina turned her ecstatic eyes on things she had never seen before, and forgot to spread the snow; then the wheezing took her back, so she took the snow and formed a zone of white flakes and icy air around her that gave her breath back. The flowers, the olive trees, the palms looked with wonder at the diaphanous young girl who flew in a snow whirlwind and shivered at her passing.

A beautiful young man appeared before Nevina, staring at her with restless eyes, forbidding her to step:

– Who are you?

– I am Nevina. Daughter of January.

– Don’t you know, then, that this is not your father’s kingdom? I am Fiordaprile (=April Flower), and you are not allowed to advance on my lands. Go back to your glacier, for your sake and mine!

Nevina stared at the prince with such pleading and sweet eyes that Fiordaprile felt moved.

– Fiordaprile, let me advance! I’ll stay only a little while. I want to touch the flowers, I want to dip my fingers in that upside-down sky that you call the sea!

Fiordaprile looked at her smiling; and said yes:

– Let’s go, then. I’ll show you my kingdom.

They went on together, holding hands, staring each other in the eyes, and fell in love. But as Nevina was advancing, a grey area blurred the blue of the sky, a whirlwind of white flakes covered the beautiful gardens. They passed into a festive village; peasants danced under the blossoming almond trees. Nevina wanted Fiordaprile to make her dance: so they did, but people dispersed with a shudder, the music stopped, the air became frosty, and from the sky began to descend the icy petals of the snow that Nevina spread as she passed. The two of them had to flee among the peasants’ grievances. When they arrived not far away, they saw the village rejoicing again under the clear sky.

– Nevina, I want to marry you!

– Your subjects won’t want a frosty queen.

– It doesn’t matter. I will do it.

They advanced further, but suddenly Nevina stopped, covering herself with a more translucent pallor.

– Fiordaprile! Fiordaprile! …I’m out of snow!

And she tried with her fingers – in vain – the bottom of the cornucopia.

– Fiordaprile! …I feel like I’m dying! .. . Take me to the border…

Nevina would bend over; she’d fall apart. Fiordaprile tried to support her, took her in his arms, carried her running towards the valley.

– Nevina! Nevina!

Nevina did not answer. She became more and more diaphanous, and her face was as transparent as a bubble about to disappear.

– Nevina! Answer me!

Fiordaprile covered it with a silk cloak to defend her from the burning sun, continued running, arrived in the valley, to entrust her to the North Wind.

But when he lifted the cloak, Nevina was no longer there. Fiordaprile looked around, lost and trembling. Where was she? He raised his hands to his face in despair; then his gaze lit up. He saw Nevina on the other side of the valley, waving her hand outstretched in a smiling and sad farewell.

An old tutor of hers, the North Wind, pushed her along the snowy paths, towards the eternal ice, towards the inaccessible kingdom of her father January.

Everything you do is for the kids. Mothers do everything for their children.

Being afraid is a natural feeling, but the protagonists of fairy tales are always ready to start over. Why? Because they live following an unconditional love; because they consider existence itself magical and divine. The unexpected happens all the time, but it’s up to us to overcome it, and maybe we will find a sudden and unforeseen help where we wouldn’t have received it if we had been frightened and stuck in complaining and commiserating ourselves.

Then, let us overcome our fears, and accompany our children on the journey of life without depriving them of the dangers and risks, which teach us so much.

Now it’s your turn: abandon your fears, live life with a little magic and think about changing your existence, perhaps you could explore the digital landscape and launch your new career. Why not? There are plenty of opportunities to reinvent yourself so that you can finally have that time for adventures with your children while you still work and make your career in the background. Sign up HERE to get the Free Training and my motivational newsletters, which aim to unleash the positive energy and superpowers you already have inside you.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
https://mammaoca.com/2019/04/17/nevina-e-fiordaprile-di-guido-gozzano/
https://mammaoca.com/casa/