Finding the Silver Linings of 2020

Woman playing with her son in the park

This has been an incredibly bumpy year for most of us. And for most people, the negative effects of COVID-19 have far outweighed the positive—including but not limited to managing new health concerns, loss of loved ones, loss of employment, childcare shortages, and constantly shifting home and work realities. 

Yet, even in these challenging times, many of us have found silver linings to hold on to.

WerkLabs, the research and insights division of The Mom Project, surveyed over 1200 professionals to learn more about the life experiences of moms since the onset of COVID-19, focusing on any positive growth moments they have experienced.

The "Growth & Life Experiences in 2020" report by WerkLabs finds that, despite it all, the majority of us have found silver linings in our work, home and personal lives.

Read on for highlights of the slivers of hope that have emerged, the joys we have embraced and the new paths we have explored in the face of adversity.

Silver linings at work

Of moms surveyed that had previously not been working from home, 90% report that the shift to remote work has been a positive experience. Since the onset of COVID-19, 55% of respondents have realized the ability to distance themselves from toxic work environments and a whopping 66% of moms surveyed feel more comfortable advocating for their needs at work.

Working from home has given many more moms the chance to experiment with flexible work schedules. Of the moms surveyed, 72% report being able to change their work hours throughout the day in a way that better supports their home life

“Flexibility has become even more of an important factor for me. I value my career but I also really prioritize time with my family.” — surveyed mom

Looking to the future, 90% of moms report that they are now more determined to work from home at least some of the time:

“I learned that I enjoy working from home even as an extreme extrovert. I would like it to always be an option because I am able to accomplish more in one day. But I definitely wish I could do 1-2 days a week or even a couple days a month in-person,” stated one respondent. 

Working through COVID-19 has also given many moms the space to reflect on future opportunities, with 88% reporting that the experience has provided more clarity with what they want from their next employer.

Silver linings at home

In 2020, many moms had the chance to watch their kids grow in ways they otherwise would not have been able to see. Of the surveyed moms, 91% reported spending more time with their kids at home as a positive change amidst COVID-19. 

“I got to see some of the ‘lightbulb’ learning moments I wouldn’t have otherwise seen, and that was magical. I was able to eat dinner with my kids every single night, and that was magical as well.” — surveyed mom

Moms also found silver linings in strengthening their connections with other important people in their lives, with two-thirds of moms reporting having positively grown their relationships with spouses, partners and friends

The experience also led some moms to focus on setting more defined boundaries between work and home as well as re-balance home responsibilities, with 60% of moms reporting that they have become better able to communicate their needs around the house.

Silver linings in our personal lives

Navigating through such a chaotic year pushed many moms to look inward and recognize the importance of prioritizing their own mental well-being. Two-thirds of moms reported that the onset of COVID-19 positively highlighted the value of learning self-care, with activities such as getting more outdoor time, (re)discovering new hobbies and exercise providing much needed relief. 

“I have time to take long walks in the woods and enjoy what nature has to offer me psychologically. It's really great for my soul and sanity.” — surveyed mom

During this time, 54% of moms report that they have become kinder towards themselves and 55% report that they have gotten more comfortable asking for help when they need it.

Moms that faced unemployment due to COVID-19 have also found silver linings throughout this experience—from getting extra sleep, spending more time with family and taking on personal projects, to making the leap to starting their own businesses, explore a career change and launch freelance careers.

Embracing our collective silver lining

For The Mom Project, the silver lining has been seeing companies rise to the occasion with a shift to remote work and radical respect for working parents. It's been seeing moms get the credit they deserve as the backbone of America and realization that all levels of our infrastructure must improve significantly to support them.

It may not feel like the progress is swift enough to meet us at this critical state of emergency, but trust this shift is an inflection point of significance. The workforce and its understanding of working parents is changed forever, and each of us has contributed to this. This is our collective silver lining. 

As we look forward to the new year, let's push for more solutions together.

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