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  1. Blog
  2. Working Mom
  3. May 7, 2021

Tell Us Without Telling Us: What’s It Like to Be a Working Mom During the Pandemic?

Lol, things are kind of bad, no?

Toddler using a computer mouse
Photo courtesy of Charles Deluvio

This article is part of InHerSight's Working During Coronavirus series. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, find helpful advice here on working remotely, job hunting remotely, dealing with anxiety and stress, and staying safe at work if you have to be on-site.

The pandemic has been hard for many, but among the most affected have been working moms, who’ve juggled 40-plus hours of emails, Zoom meetings, and actual work (when?) with near-constant interruptions from kids. Tack on virtual schoolwork, the never-ending pile of dishes, and unequal distribution of labor at home, and it’s safe to say the mothers at your company are exhausted.

But while this charming period of human existence has been objectively bad, for organizations that have embraced the messy integration of work and life, it’s also been an opportunity to experience unexpected laughs...like your boss’ baby climbing on a windowsill during a meeting. Yes, that happened. 

InHerSight prompted working moms to share their most memorable moments with kids during the pandemic with, Tell us you’re a working mom during the pandemic without telling us you’re a working mom during the pandemic. If you’re looking for levity, these stories deliver. 

Read more: 15 Funny & Relatable Tweets from Parents Working from Home with Kids

Tell us you’re a working mom during the pandemic without telling us you’re a working mom during the pandemic.

“One day I had spent several hours drafting a document. I got up to get a snack and a cup of coffee and came back to find my 3-year-old sitting at my work desk. I asked her what she was doing, and she replied, ‘I’m working like mommy!’ She then proceeded to bang on my computer and exited out of the document I was editing. Unfortunately, I hadn’t saved the document before walking away.”

—Alana Sacerdote, Responsible Gaming Program Manager, Penn Interactive Ventures


“I don’t know if my 1-year-old daughter has learned how to pick locks, but my office door can’t seem to hold her. Not that I mind. My favorite part of any meeting is when I’m mid-sentence and feel those little hands on my leg. I look down to see the cheeky grin of a kid who found her mama.”

—Angie Sanders, Sr. iOS Developer, Penn Interactive Ventures


“One morning, as I was settling down to work, my daughter came running down the stairs in a panic telling me she needed one colored sharpie, four wooden blocks, a blacklight, and corn syrup. 

Me: Okay, when do you need them?

Her: Well, class started five minutes ago.

This led to me posting the following Facebook status that everyone seemed to relate to: 

nobody: 

my daughter's 4th grade remote science teacher: ok kids go gather the following materials from around your house - a blacklight, 4 wooden blocks, a blue sharpie, a cup of corn syrup, a moon rock, a fresh parrot skull, and one half ounce of plutonium.

—Ashley Hardin, Software Engineer, InHerSight


“Working remotely with children underfoot is the great normalizer. No matter who it is, what position they hold with the company, someone's kid is going to scream in the background. When I had to set an alarm to walk across the house to wake up a grumpy teenager who couldn't manage to roll over to the laptop and log on by a certain time, I knew someone else was going through that, too. While unmuted during a meeting and my other teenage son yells something very rude, embarrassing, and offensive to his brother, I cringe ‘Well, that went out.’ Or better yet, while unmuted in a meeting with my team and using my ‘mom voice’ on one or both of my boys to close the door or wash their hands, having my team quickly respond by also washing and closing theirs. It feels great to work for a company where that is not a weakness or something that takes away from your value as an employee, but adds to it.”

—Carolyn Love, Manager, Trust and Safety, Avail


“Most of the time, on Zoom meetings during pandemic, I’m hearing at least one of my kids through the walls in various ways. On one occasion, while giving a Zoom presentation to a group of >100 people, I was hearing all three of them, plus a delivery person, at once: my youngest crying as he started to wake up from his nap on the floor above me; my oldest practicing piano through the wall to my left; my daughter through the wall to my right singing at full volume the new song she learned in school; and then, through the window, a delivery person trying to get my attention. Noise cancellation, plus the blessing of an office with a door, meant no one else on the call could hear or see any of it—I think I just looked mildly distracted.”

—Gabriella Kellerman, Chief Product Officer, BetterUp


“She learned how to climb out of her crib at the height of the pandemic so I’ve spent many hours responding to emails or reviewing payroll or playing with spreadsheets all by the glow of my phone or laptop in her otherwise dark room. Then there are rough days that look somewhat like this...but I still wouldn’t trade any of the extra time with her for the world.”

—Jessica Garon, PHR, Global Compensation & Benefits Manager, Nitro


“Our daycare was closed due to COVID unexpectedly, and I had both kids home with a day full of meetings. I left the kids with breakfast and some cartoons while I went into the other room for a short call. My son decided to get out the art supplies, which my daughter proceeded to play with markers and thought her face would make a good canvas. Luckily the call ended before my daughter was able to test the marker on other surfaces.”

—Karen Donoghue, Senior HR Business Partner, Penn Interactive Ventures


“Everyday while the kids were remote, I would go into the kitchen around 1 p.m. and the kitchen looked as though a bomb had exploded. All the drawers, open. All the cabinets, open. Food everywhere. Sometimes the refrigerator door was left open as well. In this photo, my son, Bode, and I are getting ready for his first day of remote learning. Learning at the kitchen table lasted one day. We purchased him a desk for his bedroom the following day! The other photo is of my daughter, who made these Starbucks drinks during remote learning. 

—Kathy Dieringer, Project Manager Analyst, Avail


“My 3 year old ran into my office, banged on the keys of my computer, and sent my boss about six messages of just letters and symbols. OY VEY!”

—Megan Acierno, Communications Manager, Schaeffer’s Investment Research


“I thought it'd be okay. My 3-year-old is quarantined (again), and I was presenting to 20+ colleagues--without childcare. I set out his favorite snack (Hippeas) and his favorite video (about water slides--I don't get it either) and started the call. He sat down in my lap, immune to my coaxing to unseat him.

When I unmuted myself, he let out a burp. And then he made this incessant, sing-songy noise, all while I sped through slides about my team and their work. I imagine my wonderful colleague snapped this pic at the peak of my frustration and feeling so supremely unprofessional.

I finally got him to quiet down by having him repeat me. If it had been some other parent, I would've quite enjoyed listening to their child say, "The Talent Economy Podcast" and "Toptal Insights." But I wanted to go cry. 

My colleagues could not have been more understanding or supportive. My Slack blew up with offers to take over presenting and even kudos for multitasking. My fellow parents were extra empathetic and encouraging. I thought I had failed colossally; they thought (or at least told me) I had done a great job.”

—Meredith Bodgas, Lead Editor, Toptal


“I recently completed my one-year anniversary at Adobe and my manager sent me a gift card to celebrate with family as we can’t go out for team lunch during these times. This is probably the first time that my kids learnt about what team lunches are. After being fascinated to learn that we go out to restaurants during office hours sometimes, my younger one said, ‘Can we come to your team lunches next time, after COVID ends? Maybe, all kids should be allowed to go to the team lunches. Can you please check with your manager?’” 

—Nupur Gupta, Senior Engineering Program Manager, Adobe


“The first few days of the pandemic I had a schedule worked out for my toddler that involved online classes, outdoor time, lunch/snack time, and so forth. By day three I was happy to make it to noon with no Zoom call interruptions by my toddler sharing his toilet schedule or yelling we were out of toilet paper. I very quickly learned how to be resourceful at stocking up on food that would get consumed rapidly due to everyone being home, cleaning up quick due to every dish being used daily, and how no amount of kid activity can keep them engaged for a full day without constant interruptions.”

—Ronjiny Basu, Marketing Project Manager, Crossrope


“My 6 year old did something to the dog in the middle of a very important fundraising call. The dog is squealing, and she’s laughing. In the meeting, I’m trying to keep a straight face, like, ‘Um, yes, I hear what you’re saying.’ But finally, I paused and yelled, ‘What are you doing??’ And her voice comes back: ‘I’m not doing anything!!!!’”

—Shelly Bell, Founder/CEO, Black Girl Ventures


“I sent this message to my colleagues on Slack: 'n8bw9io8rdˆ˚¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ I ¬≥÷•ª•÷'”

—Ursula Mead, CEO, InHerSight

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Photo of Beth Castle

Beth Castle

Managing Editor, InHerSight

Beth Castle is on staff at InHerSight, where she writes about workplace rights, diversity and inclusion, allyship, and feminism. Her bylines include Fast Company, Charlotte magazine, The Charlotte Observer, SouthPark magazine, Southbound magazine, and Atlanta magazine. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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