‘Unprecedented’… one of the most used words on the internet after the coronavirus pandemic hit the world .
The Covid-19 pandemic has shook us like no other event in our lifetimes. People born after 1950s have hardly seen anything like this which has uprooted all possible notions that we held. In these 70 years , across the globe , women have tried to come to an equal status as men . Our fight for equality, maternity and child care benefits has been long and nearly nowhere complete.
This natural disaster has once again exposed the deep rooted truth which divides men from women. A mother working outside of home cannot step out of her house unless she secures a safe, reliable, dependable child care option for her children.
For all the working mothers, the shutting down of Schools and Day-cares …a paramount system of child care during office hours was a crucial setback. A working couple / single working parent walk on a tightrope even in non-covid scenario. Their precarious situation has received a massive blow with dwindling child care options . Even sourcing nannies / babysitter is a health risk due to the highly contagious nature of Covid -19 virus. There is no reservation that this step was essential in managing this pandemic but it also cripples a vital chunk of working population.
It is no less than a Catch-22 situation. You can’t get economy back on track without bringing safe child care in picture.
Now to this vicious circle, add the situations of essential workers. The doctors , paramedics, other healthcare workers, law enforcement , food supply chain workers and many more. They are parents too.
Healthcare workers , especially doctors are often married to doctors. So with households where both partners are essential workers, where do the kids go ??
No one wants to address THIS elephant in the room. No one wants to be in a spot to answer this onerous question.
As a healthcare worker married to another healthcare worker , I DEMAND an answer to this question.
In this unprecedented scenario, where elderly and children are being asked to self isolate, where grandparents are being asked not to come in contact with grandchildren who could be carriers , who will provide childcare to the highly and regularly exposed essential workers?
As lockdown relaxes, this question is going to haunt not just the essential workers , but every working parent as schools and day-cares will not open unless situation is largely under control and even the optimists have become mute on when that is possible.
When the lockdown and work-from-home is over , it will come down to each working couple to sit and decide which one of them will quit and care for the children .
Till now many temporary solutions have been used but when the government & WHO itself is asking you to ‘ learn to live with the virus’ , what would you sacrifice: safety of your family or your work.
There are no easy answers to this , specially not any which can assure safety without challenging your mental well being.
But for once, atleast acknowledge the concern at hand , the crisis that is looming so that people who are actually distressed due to this conundrum feel a sense of solidarity . By raising us to a holy pedestal and sticking a cape behind our backs,you cannot undo the dilemma some of us are experiencing and we are not alone is this .