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Work-from-home moms often strain to balance caregiving & employment, experts say

Read more at nbc-2.com

By NBC Anchor Kyla Galer

Being a mom never stops, and for some who have switched to working-from-home, that means they’ve been taking on double-duty.

“They’re very curious and energetic. So it’s a really fun age but we’re constantly on the go,” Kaley McKeithen said.

McKeithen is a busy mom keeping 4-year-old Patrick and 2-year-old Townes safe and happy during the pandemic.

She’s also a busy professional dealing with the responsibilities of working remote.

“As of this moment I am in the living room,” she said.

She’s busy balancing both.

“You feel guilty. Like you know you don’t want to neglect time with them, and you also don’t want to neglect time away from your job,” she said.

As her young boys’ fascination with keyboards grew, at one point McKeithen put up a playpen around her workspace. Not to keep them in — to keep them out.

“It’s very hectic,” she said.

McKeithen is not alone.

A recent survey from Urbansitter found 53 % of parents agree: mothers are the primary caregiver in their homes.

That means many moms are doing more than their fair share of childcare, schooling and housework — while maintaining a full time job.

“You feel guilty you know, spreading yourself so thin,” she said.

“There’s several layers to it,” Dr. Jenny Mangegold said.

That feeling of guilt is something Dr. Manegold knows well, too. Not only does the FGCU professor research working mothers and the issues facing them, she is one.

She encourages employers to get creative.

“When you have a zoom meeting, try not to do it during school times when they’re trying to help their children and other things. You don’t want to lose their voice,” she said.

Dr. Manegold manages to get out of the house a few days a week to go into her office, while her husband works from home with the kids.

She said that kind of balance is something you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about with your parenting partner. Nor should opening up a conversation about expectations with your boss.

“Is it possible to allow people to work 4 days a week and then have a day off? Or work in the mornings and then do more in the afternoon with their family?”

Because sharing the workload will help everyone in the long run and help moms like McKeithen do what they do best.

“If you think about the saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and that’s just as important now as it ever has been,” Dr. Manegold said.

“It gets a little crazy, but then you also have to look at it being thankful — I’m still working,” McKeithen said.

McKeithen said she’s had some of those conversations with her boyfriend, who’s a big help with her boys. She also wants other working moms to know, it’s okay to feel guilty or overwhelmed. It’s important to make time and care for yourself.

Read more at nbc-2.com

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