Amourence Lee · LIKE IT IS with MAYOR LEE
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  • Writer's pictureCouncilwoman Lee

SF Chronicle Profile of Working Moms During the Pandemic

Pic of me barefoot in the kitchen! #irony

It is 9:15am, kids first day of school - got one kid dropped at King Center for distance learning hub, other one set up at home. I just finished 2 prep meetings for our council meeting (30 items on the agenda plus a study session tonight.)

Us working moms are struggling and many are reaching a breaking point feeling boxed into impossible choices. I'm saying it, "THIS IS HARD!" and I run the risk of it being used against me. There are still people who will say, I should put my work aside for the kids. But that’s exactly the point in telling this story is that no-one is asking dads to sacrifice their careers. It’s a double standard. Women's careers, our financial independence, our skills and leadership are being drained out of the workforce for lack of child care.

No child care. No recovery. Child care essential period. This isn’t a “mom only” problem, but us moms are definitely taking the brunt of it.


As schools start remotely across the Bay Area, working parents are under inordinate pressure. Although some dads have stepped up to care more for kids, mothers are disproportionately bearing the responsibility for child care, and their careers are more likely to suffer collateral damage in the pandemic economy, experts say. National data show more women than men lost jobs as the economy shut down, dropped out of the workforce voluntarily, and took on more child care responsibilities.
Amourence Lee, a San Mateo councilwoman and mother of two school-age kids, said some women are facing the “false choice” of supporting her family and pursuing her career with schools out.
“You literally can’t do both. It’s a mission impossible,” Lee said. “It’s exponentially worse because of the lack of child care.”
During the pandemic, Lee has sometimes put in 13-hour days while her husband also works full-time and the kids learn at home. She said she’s often the go-to parent. Once she tried attending a virtual council meeting at home, but after her son interrupted to ask for a scrap of paper, she started going to City Hall to tune in and putting her husband on full-time duty.
“All of us working parents are feeling the grind,” her husband, Rich Lin, said. “I’m also seeing the ways it’s always been harder on (my wife) and trying to rebalance our division of parenting responsibilities to support her work in the community. It means we eat a lot of takeout and the kids are doing more chores, too.”
Lin said there’s a double standard when some people say his wife should put aside work for her kids, while no one asks him to sacrifice his career.
“There’s too much at stake and we can’t allow ourselves to go backwards,” he said.

Read full article in the San Francisco Chronicle


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