Working moms were already working their butts off before the pandemic and now they’re being crushed by their workload and parenting responsibilities. With kids at home, it’s nearly impossible for most moms. They return to their inboxes after solving the latest child-crisis to find themselves drowning in a sea of emails. One mom had something to say about it.
Khara Jabola-Carolus, the executive director of Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, composed the most brilliant out-of-office response ever. In the auto-reply, she called out the unfair circumstances many working moms find themselves in now that we live in the COVID times. She posted the OOO to her Instagram. It quickly went viral for all the right reasons.
“My auto response during COVID. Don’t suffer silently. Mothers over money!”
Jabola-Carolus, a mother of two, shared an image of the response with the caption, “My auto response during COVID. Don’t suffer silently. Mothers over money!”
The message reads:
Due to patriarchy, I am behind in emails. I hope to respond to your message soon but, like many women, I am working full-time while tending to an infant and toddler full-time. According to the Washington Post, the average length of an uninterrupted stretch of work time for parents during COVID-19 was three minutes, 24 seconds.”
Moms everywhere feel seen.
Comments thanking Jabola-Carolus for putting their frustrations into words poured in. “The best auto response I’ve ever seen,” reads one. “Thank you for putting it into words and encouraging us to stop hiding the cost,” says another. One mom even admitted that the message made them cry because it hit so close to home for her.
“I put up an email away message some time in March/April that stated I was watching my infant and toddler while working full time and I was asked to remove it,” another comment says. “3 min 24 seconds is the sheer reality of what working parents with littles are facing right now.”
The OOO reply that crystalized this moment for working moms.
During these unprecedented times, moms are spread so incredibly thin that the OOO reply was a breath of fresh air for many. The pandemic has thrown into stark relief the sheer amount of responsibilities that working moms shoulder. Juggling the duties of caring for children (which, of course, is its own full-time gig) while also staying on top of emails, conference calls, and more is harder than ever before.
The email doesn’t contain a single apology for any potential delays. Instead, it urges society to apologize to moms for consistently asking them to carry the weight of childcare in its entirety. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is the truest and lawmakers and employers have long-neglected moms and their integral roles.
It’s hard out there for working moms, especially right now. Employers, lawmakers, dads, and society, please cut them some slack. Give them a raise while you’re at it. Create affordable childcare solutions that work right now and then extend beyond the pandemic.
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