by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 16, 2021
Many or all of the products here are from our partners. We may earn a commission from offers on this page. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Many parents struggled to balance work and home life during the pandemic. Here's what to do if your career was impacted.
When the coronavirus pandemic first struck, I, like many of my fellow working parents, felt scared, anxious, and just plain lost. Not only did I have to navigate remote school for my three young children, but I also had to do it while working a full-time job.
Thankfully, my job has always been remote, so working from home wasn't an adjustment for me. But I do know some people who had to quit their jobs last year because their work couldn't be done remotely and they didn't have access to childcare. Now those people are dealing with resume gaps, which can make it more difficult to find another job.
If your career took a hit during the pandemic, you can take some comfort in the fact that you're in good company. A good 62% of parents said that childcare and virtual schooling responsibilities have hurt their careers, according to a recent survey by the American Staffing Association.
That said, childcare was an issue for many parents before the pandemic began. The cost of care has risen to the point where it doesn't make sense for some people to work.
Care.com analyzed data from the Center for American Progress and found that it costs $340 a week, on average, for one child to attend a daycare center. For a family with two children, that increases to $640. All told, a parent with two children needing full-time care 52 weeks a year is looking at spending a whopping $33,280 on daycare alone.
Ideally, the childcare issue will resolve itself somewhat once schools reopen for in-person learning this fall. But the Delta variant could force a lot of schools to go back to remote learning, leaving parents scrambling once again to find care or juggle their household responsibilities with their jobs.
Tips and tricks from the experts delivered straight to your inbox that could help you save thousands of dollars. Sign up now for free access to our Personal Finance Boot Camp.
By submitting your email address, you consent to us sending you money tips along with products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.
If your career lost steam during the pandemic, don't despair. If there's a gap on your resume because you had to take time off of work, own it during interviews. No reasonable employer will fault a parent for having to bow out of the workforce to care for their kids during a major health crisis when there were truly no other options.
That said, if you had to stop working during the pandemic due to childcare constraints, it'll help to present prospective employers with examples of productive things you did with your time while you were unemployed. If you made an effort to learn some new skills or keep tabs on happenings in your field, make that clear in your cover letters as well as during interviews.
Also, don't assume that you need to accept a lower salary just because you're coming off a year where your career didn't take top billing. Do some research before you apply for jobs so you know what salary you're able to command. There's nothing wrong with going after a wage that helps you cover your expenses, add to your savings, and meet your financial goals.
Finally, you may want to take the opportunity to make a career change if your current job makes it difficult to juggle work and parenting responsibilities. Even outside a pandemic, maintaining a strong work-life balance is important, so don't deny yourself the chance to better your work situation on a whole.
If you have credit card debt, transferring it to this top balance transfer card secures you a 0% intro APR into 2023! Plus, you’ll pay no annual fee. Those are just a few reasons why our experts rate this card as a top pick to help get control of your debt. Read The Ascent's full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.