It’s no secret that the nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns have drastically changed the lives of Australians who are now faced with many new challenges. One that hits particularly close to home is the need to juggle work with looking after the children at home.
New Mozo research found that 30% of Aussies are currently balancing working from home with caring for their kids and 71% of parents admitted to feeling stressed out about it.
On top of this, the majority of parents reported that their workplaces expected them to complete all of their work despite the circumstances. However, 80% of parents admitted to now getting less work done, with one in four saying they’re now working at less than half their capacity.
“Australian parents have been thrown into an unprecedented situation, as they juggle the commitments of childcare and school education alongside workplace obligations,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont.
“More than half of parents said that finances are a concern for them right now, so the pressure of meeting workplace deliverables and staying employed is immense.”
“60% of parents said their workplaces expected them to complete all of their work, meaning longer days as they squeeze childcare and work into one day.”
Balancing work & childcare straining relationships
The survey results also found that a higher percentage of women are adapting to the dual role situation of parenting and working from home better than men.
“Many parents are feeling the strain, and relationships are certainly being tested. More than half of the Australian parents said their relationship is more strained due to the weight of their responsibilities,” Lamont said.
When it came to caring for kids at home, Mozo’s research found that while most parents are taking it in turns, one in five parents are taking on the full load on their own - while working at the same time.
And in case you were wondering which parents are taking one for the team the most, 28% of women said they handled all childcare on top of their work, compared to a low 7% of men.
“Caring for your children and trying to maintain an adequate level of education, all the while attending meetings or submitting work is enough to make anyone feel stressed,” Lamont said.
“During this time, we urge parents to be kind to themselves and not place unrealistic expectations on what they’re capable of doing.”
Case study: Sydney couple Mark & Hannah Whitmore-Heffernan
Sydney-based parents of two, Mark and Hannah Whitmore-Heffernan, shared their experience with juggling work and caring for their two small children at home during the lockdown.
The couple were left with little choice but to pull their one and three-year-old daughters out of daycare after the daycare expressed concern about current health risks.
“It’s been a lot of pressure to care for our baby and child and meet our workplace commitments. Mark’s hours have been reduced as a result of Covid19 which has presented financial challenges, and we have felt quite stressed watching this pandemic unfold,” said Ms Heffernan-Whitmore.
“It doesn’t feel sustainable or good for our general wellbeing to balance work and childcare but we’re doing our best. We work longer days, and on the weekend. The added pressure has meant it’s been a roller coaster for our relationship.”
“I never imagined we’d be trying to fit full workdays and caring for our children into a day. We’re not sure how much longer we can do this. That said, it has been a special time for us to have all this incredible time with our girls and they love getting so much time together as a family.”
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