For our special live event on International Women’s Day, we asked TODAY viewers from all over the country to tell us about the challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic.
Some have lost work or left to care for children; others feel near a breaking point, dispensing lollipops or hiding from kids to get through work zooms.
Here’s what some of them had to say:
Life has been a big ole pendulum swing. I have journeyed from being fanatic “Zoomer” coordinating family and friend get- togethers every weekend to “can we please not go on camera for this one meeting.”
I am learning shame resilience and how to give myself more grace for when I don’t accomplish as much as I hoped to accomplish.
-Working mother, Maryland
I had to quit working at my last job due to the Pandemic. It did allow me the flexibility to take care of my two children of 9 and 6. My youngest son is on the spectrum and has ADHD. … My husband then had a mental health crisis last fall and was going to take his life. … He was sent away for therapy for ten long weeks and I was alone with two kiddos and school.
-Mother and job seeker, Washington
I lost my job (it came to a screeching halt) due to the pandemic and had to pivot to another pretty quickly.
-Educator and mother of four, Arizona
Work life balance is the reason I’ve only gone back to work part time. I’m terrified that things will be left undone or that I will have to stay awake even longer to get household chores done. … I’m hopeful that companies who have allowed their employees to work from home will recognize that at home work benefits both parties and that more positions for working moms opens up.
-Mother of three, Ohio
I am a very social person and as of March 16, I will be working from home for one year. Those who live with others think it’s difficult, but the grass is always greener on the other side!
-Architect, New York
After being furloughed from my job when the pandemic first hit, I was on food stamps and unable to pay any of my expenses for several months while I was getting my company up and running. … I now run a full size mask operation focused every day on getting the word out and saving lives!
-Kimberly Sky, Unicorn Breathing Masks
My work hours are from 10PM to 1AM, when the children finally go to sleep. … If I must take a call during the day I shove suckers in their mouths, turn on Netflix and hide on the porch.
-Owner of a real estate company, Louisiana
Work completely halted for me once the pandemic began. Already-book shows, as well as planned performances and productions in the works, were all cancelled. Without any celebrity status or connections, performing as a source of income was no longer an option. My husband’s industry also shut down. We understood we wouldn’t have sustainable viable work for a very long time.
-Performing artist and educator, Georgia
I’ve gone from the office to a desk in my bedroom, I take care of 5 people in 2 households, I’m trying to keep the business afloat and a teenager through high school, I’m up when they go to bed and already awake when they start the day. But I’m so happy to be here for my family that not knowing where the money is going to come from or how long I can pay my bills is something I take a day at a time. Sometimes time is the most valuable gift we have to give and you’re wasting life if you are not grateful for every moment.
The Doctors asked if my employer could give me time off. Unfortunately I could, but without pay. Before everything shut down the unemployment office informed me that I couldn’t get benefits unless I was actively seeking work. School closings really took a toll on my paycheck.
-School photographer and breast cancer survivor, Georgia
I had 3 gigs when the shut down happen, and 2 were not a good fit for me, but I was pushing myself too hard. I ended up going down to 1 gig that paid me what I was worth and finding more balance for my family and time for myself. The silver lining has been I found love myself, and released a lot of stress, pain and limiting beliefs. I finally figured out how to value myself and be in the moment.
-Working mother, California
Having a kindergartner at home, I find myself stressed while trying to work and stay on top of her assignments, coupled with all the increased house chores.
-Financial coach, Maryland
Two days after George Floyd's death, I was told that by the end of August I would be laid off. My daughter was distance learning during most of the pandemic and I was responsible for guiding her learning. At times my layoff was a blessing because I had more flexibility to look for a new job on my own schedule.
-Finance director, Minnesota
WFH, missing traveling, trying to stay positive and motivated but most of all just trying to figure out what the next meal I cook will be.
Work has been very rewarding while challenging. I worry every day about bringing home the coronavirus to my family, staying up to date on the latest findings and recommendation regarding testing, diagnosing and treating patients with coronavirus. Hoping I am spending enough time with my family especially my little girls.