My sister is a single parent.  In March, the switch to remote-learning and work-from-home rocked their routine.  When the school year finished in June, it was a huge relief to them both.

But then came the summer.  My sister’s job didn’t stop.  In fact, her responsibilities increased because she works on a college campus that needed to prepare for students’ return in the fall. But the camps and other kid-fun summer stuff she relied on?  They were cancelled. 

Sending my niece back to school in the middle of September meant a bit of work/life routine was supposed to return to their lives.  It didn’t at first.  School was on an every-other-week schedule.  It gave my sister some days she could work on-campus alone.  Other times, she dragged along her eight-year-old. 

Finally, a new program became an option. Her state set up a free childcare program for the days when kids can’t be in school.  (Better yet, my niece likes it!)

The complex task of balancing parenting and work challenges all of us, employers, parents and coworkers alike.  It’s not something talked about too often on a legislative level.  This summer and fall, the topic of parents in the work force—and the benefits of kids being together in school—has hit the news much more often. 

Looking at our societal values because the normal ways are no longer viable?  Perhaps this, too, can be a silver lining to come out of our crazy 2020.