No Childcare And Looming Lay-Offs: Black Moms Discuss The Challenges Brought On By The Coronavirus Pandemic And What They’re Doing To Cope

As the nation continues to reel from the uncertainty of the rapidly spreading new coronavirus, parents are facing complex challenges that are leaving them feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and mentally exhausted. We had the opportunity to catch up with three Black moms who shared some of the obstacles they’re facing as a result of the pandemic and what they’re doing to cope.

School and daycare closures

Over the span of one week, hundreds of school districts and childcare centers across the country have closed in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus. However, these closings present a unique set of challenges for moms who are still required to attend work.

Tiffany, a New York healthcare worker, learned on Sunday night that her daughter’s daycare center would be closing and had very little time to react.

“I first found out that my daughter’s daycare would be closed at 8 pm Sunday night. The head of her daycare notified me immediately after receiving notice from her network,” Tiffany said. “Monday, my mom stayed home with my daughter and I spent the day reaching out to family and friends that are going to be home with their children and who have the option to work from home.”

Unfortunately, Tiffany was not able to find a loved one who could watch her daughter while she worked and had to take time off as a result.

“As of right now, I’m home for the week and her daycare will resume normal hours next week until further notice,” Tiffany explains. “Emotionally, this is all stressful especially because I work in healthcare and I’m worried about bringing something home to my daughter, but my support system has really stepped up we’ve been able to cope with these trying times. One day at a time is all we can really do but with prayer and the friends and family I have behind me, I’ve worried less.”

While the news of the daycare closing put her in a complicated predicament, Tiffany said she understands her daughter’s daycare director is doing the best that she can, considering the circumstances.

“Although it was short notice, it didn’t make me upset because the current state we’re in everything is unpredictable,” she shared. “Her daycare instructor has also been working with the health department so that she can reopen and provide care to parents that need it. She’s a really good provider and has been an essential person in mine and my daughter’s life and has become more like a family. It worries me that she won’t be able to provide for her family if she isn’t able to continue to run her daycare.”

Formula and diaper shortages

Due to panic buying, many mothers have reported diaper and formula shortages. While it’s a good idea to stock up in preparation for potential quarantine and shelter-in-place orders, going overboard and hoarding these essential items places other parents in stressful predicaments and makes them vulnerable to greedy retailers who are looking to capitalize on the crisis.

“I have been in the stores for three days and the shelves are clear,” said Lisa, who is mom to a one-year-old daughter. “It’s crazy, they are jacking up the prices. When I finally found diapers, they were way overpriced. I had to just buy them.”

Reduced hours and lay-offs

Many parents are also faced with the prospect of lay-offs and reduced hours, which could present significant blows to their income and ability to provide for their children. Carol, a pregnant nurse working in New York, has already witnessed half of her team being laid off.

“It’s depressing,” she said. “As a result of the pandemic, all elective procedures have been canceled. Half of our staff has been let go. The future seems uncertain, but all we can do is hope for the best.”

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered? What are you doing to cope?

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