Two full weeks has passed since the “shelter in place” mandate was passed in the San Francisco/Bay Area. And we are all learning. My partner and I are working from home and have full-time work expectations that we must carry out while we juggle the care and learning of our 5 and 3 year old children. Some days are/were smooth and some days were not.
I’m 100% sure that many working parents and families relate to this. (Hit me in the comments about your smooth and rocky days!)
And many parents who are at home and doing this juggling trick. Ali Wong’s famous words about motherhood never rang truer:
Yes, it’s very unlikable and unpopular to broadcast that because not everybody can afford a nanny, it’s super-expensive. Both me and my husband have to hustle. We have to work very hard to not take care of our child ourselves.
Ok, no, but for real.
Many of us work really hard to pay our daycare providers and teachers to educate our children. And now we find ourselves in the position to, not only ensure that our children our dressed, fed and rested, but that we are meeting some type of educational marks while they are with us for god knows how long. Skills that we are not necessarily trained on. Even the high-powered creative and executive producer of everything, Shonda Rhimes, weighed in.
My point is that we all should consider how the care that we are so lacking right now, is the domestic work that makes all other work possible as the National Domestic Workers Alliance has argued for years.
When we are frustrated with a child that is itching to go outside, may we thank the preschool teachers that build open play time for our kids daily.
When our children ask us to draw yet another monster, may we value the early childhood educator, nannies, home day care providers that have drawn countless of imaginary creatures to assist our children’s stories.
When we are cooking up meals wishing we could just go to a restaurant, may we tip more generously the next time we are able to go out and eat, may we choose a local restaurant owned by families who are maybe temporarily closing down.
When we are staring down the mountain of dirty clothes from a week of staying in (how did it grow so big??), may we thank the dry cleaning service workers and laundry workers that take care of our dirty laundry.
When we are picking up the many toys and sweeping up the floor of chips, may we thank housecleaners and janitors that clean up after us.
When we get the next package of essential food and home goods, may we think of the important work of farmworkers, food packagers, food production, food retail workers, and delivery workers who are still working so we can cook up our meals for our children.
When we are cleaning up the next scratch on a child’s scraped knee in the driveway, may we think of the amazing healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, all of those in the frontline of this pandemic.
Bottomline: care and domestic work has and will continue to be an essential part of our lives beyond COVID-19.
I hope that we can all revisit how we view and value this work, today and all days in the future.
Sign this petition by Hand in Hand, an organization of domestic worker employers that push legislation to:
will extend protections like minimum wage, safety and health, anti-discrimination and the right to organize to over 2 million domestic workers across the country, who work in individual homes serving millions as caretakers for seniors, people with disabilities, children, and our homes.