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Millennial Moms Have Been Driven To Their Breaking Point

Catherine Pearson
·2-min read
Millennial moms have been under significant stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no clear end in sight.  (Yapanda via Getty Images)
Millennial moms have been under significant stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no clear end in sight. (Yapanda via Getty Images)

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring, Shannon, a 28-year-old single mom, says her life was thrown into chaos. Shannon is a psychiatric nurse who, prior to the pandemic, worked the night shift. She slept during the day while her second-grader went to school, and lived with a roommate who was around if her son woke up at night.

When the first cases of the virus surfaced in her home state of Wisconsin, Shannon was immediately transferred to her hospital’s COVID-19 wing, which terrified her. No one knew then how deadly the virus might be for children. She dreaded bringing it home and making her son sick.

(All of the moms interviewed for this piece asked to use their first names so they could candidly discuss personal details about work and family members’ health.)

And then schools closed for in-person learning. Shannon had to cut back her hours almost completely, from 40 to 60 hours per week to 16 per month. Her son is on the autism spectrum and requires constant, hands-on attention throughout his remote schoolwork. Once Shannon cut back her hours, she could no longer afford her $1,600 monthly rent. So she and her son moved back in with Shannon’s mother, where they have been living ever since.

“Before the pandemic, I was fully capable of taking care of my child. I was financially responsible. I had a 401K, I had investments. But when the pandemic hit, what were single parents supposed to do? With young children?!” Shannon asked. “I felt like I was screwed.”

No group or demographic has been spared the pain or stress of the pandemic, but millennial mothers (women born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s) have been hit particularly hard for a wide range of reasons, from the unique demands of caring for young children to the specific toll it has taken on their careers.

Month after month, the stress has piled on top of those women who have stoically endured the relentlessness of pandemic parenting — to the point where mental health experts...

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