Q & A For Women’s International Day

We recently asked Easterseals staff, volunteers and family about their experience with the pandemic and their thoughts on how it has affected women in particular.

Name: Jeanine Johnson
Title:
Administrative Assistant, Easterseals of SEPA Philadelphia Division
Children: 
Autumn Williams (Easterseals Nurse)
Pets: Dog –
Aurora, Cats – Me-Mo and Fieval, Turtle – Ursula

In what ways do you think the pandemic has been harder on women?

While family dynamics have evolved, the truth of the matter is that women still carry the bulk of the parenting responsibilities.  The pandemic in a lot of ways has amplified this.  The juggling of family and work has always been a fine balance, add to that, a scenario where there is no separation from the two and increased responsibilities of monitoring homeschooling.

What is your favorite Pandemic TV Binge?

I caught up on “This Is Us” and made my husband binge watch the complete 12 seasons of “Bones” with me.

What is the best part of working from home? What is the worst part of working from home?

The best part of working from home is the time you save not commuting.  My daily commute is 1 ½ hours each way every day.  The absolute worst part is not having the face to face interaction with the children and my co-workers!

What have you learned about yourself because of the pandemic?

I have learned that although I like my solitude, I am not a solitary person.  More than ever, I treasure my connections.  We always stress steady routines for our children.  I’ve learned that the same is kind of important for adults too!

Name: Linda McDevitt

Career/Job Title: Owner Tax Advisors, LLC.  I am a tax and financial planner, Easterseals Board Member
Children: 2 sons, ages 19 and 16
Pets:  none

In what ways do you think the pandemic has been harder on women?

This pandemic has created even more pressure on women with families as not only does everything that used to get accomplished get completed, but there are added burdens of protecting the family and providing for the family during the pandemic.  My husband is a bit older than me and that meant that for the first 3 months of the pandemic, he did not go out of the house as we didn’t think it was safe.  In addition to doing anything that required being outside, I had to be sure the boys were doing their school work and logged into the school properly and that their assignments were submitted and accepted while trying to keep life as normal as possible for the family.  In our particular situation my firm, Tax Advisors, is the main source of income for our family.  While the workload was consistent so we did not have a financial concern, some of our employees could not continue to work as they had to be home to watch over their own children.  Tax season 2019 never seemed to end and just ran directly into tax season 2020.  It will continue to be a challenge to get all the tasks completed in a safe, efficient manner.  It is automatically expected that the woman would take on the schooling issues of the family. 

What advice would you give to your pre-pandemic self? 

Life was busy and hectic but we managed to make it work well pre-pandemic.  Being the leader and organizer of our family is something that I was good at and probably didn’t give myself enough credit for keeping it all together.

What is a silver lining of the pandemic/staying at home? 

My workload only increased with the pandemic so while actors and others had the benefit of being home with their families and catching up on movies and family time, I had to take on the work of 4 people to be sure my business remained efficient and productive.  There has been no down time for me so it is difficult to find a silver lining.  The glimmer of hope that I hold onto is that at some point in time we can meet with people again, see our families and friends and travel again.  Vacations will be even more appreciated going forward for sure.  We have an official office and a home office so I am so tired of the home office and look forward to using the official office again soon.  We were fortunate that other than the mail being an issue, we were well set up for work at home.

What is one new thing you did during 2020/stay at home? 

I enjoyed going to get gas in the car just to get out of the house!  In 20 years of marriage, I never got gas in my own car no less enjoyed the experience of just being in my car!

What is your favorite Pandemic TV Binge? 

 The Bradshaw Bunch

What strength did you discover about yourself that you didn’t know you had? 

I’m good at putting fear aside and doing what needs to be done for the sake of the family.  Also there is always more in the tank than one thinks there is.  When you think you have given your all, there is always more to give.

What does your work from home situation look like?

We are fortunate that years ago we converted our 2 car garage to an office so I have a formal office to work from each day.  The hardest part was not kicking the kids off their school work or zoom meetings when I had zoom and teams meetings.  The problem with a home office is that work and home can blend.  I am cleaning out non-work items that found their way into the office. 

What is the best part of working from home? What is the worst part of working from home? 

The best part of working from home that there is more time in the day and family and work can blend together.  The worst part of working form home is nothing is ever complete.  It is groundhogs day every day.  Not enough work gets done, not enough chores get done, not any me time.  The drive home after a client meeting is often relaxing and down time.  There is no such thing as down time with this pandemic.  I do enjoy being able to have time with my son that is a sophomore in high school during the day.  It is nice that he can still do activities like baseball and swimming so at least our lives a little normal.  We are able to adjust our schedule as needed so working from home certainly provides that benefit.  Our son that is a freshman in college can call at his convenience and we can make it work rather than worrying about work time/home time.  The problem with working form home is that it does not turn off.  I got a text from a client this morning, Saturday morning at 6:45.  It was not a great way to start my weekend.  Unfortunately the pandemic has blurred the lines between work and homelife and some clients act as if I should be available 24/7.  I have to be careful not to get caught up in their schedule.  We provide great tax and financial planning but it is not life threating so there is no emergency that has to be resolved the moment they think of the issue.  It will be nice post pandemic when people have more regulated schedules and there is a separate of home and work time.

Name: Tameka Love

Career/Job Title: Accountant/Accounting/Administrative Manager

Children: 3 – Including Easterseals Amabassador Timmy

Pets: none

In what ways do you think the pandemic has been harder on women? 

Typically, as women we’re expected to be keep moving because someone is always relying on us in both our professional and personal lives. The pandemic has caused a strain on our work/life balance. As a working mom, I’m now at home balancing a full-time job while taking care of my two young children which includes being their mother, their teacher and their therapist. Plus, you know trying to find time for myself somewhere in between. 

What advice would you give to your pre-pandemic self?

Enjoy life and don’t take things for granted. 

What is a silver lining of the pandemic/staying at home?

Spending time with my family and being a part of my children’s educational development. 

What is one new thing you did during 2020/stay at home?

I’ve dedicated myself to working on my professional development by taking classes towards my Bachelors’ degree. 

What is your favorite Pandemic TV Binge? 

I’m not a big TV watcher but I will admit that I did indulge in Tiger King! 

What strength did you discover about yourself that you didn’t know you had? 

Multitasking. Who knew I could balance it all without missing a beat?

What does your work from home situation look like?

I have two workstations. I switch between the dining room table and the kitchen counter near the Keurig (I need my caffeine throughout the day). Wherever I am, my kiddos are right there next to me. Best coworkers I’ve ever had! 

What is the best part of working from home? What is the worst part of working from home? 

The best part is being present to watch my children learn new things. The worst part of working from home is that the kids don’t understand that Mommy can’t play all day.  

Name:  Dr. Kimberley Brown-Flint          

Career/Job Title: Director of Programs for Easterseals of Southeastern PA

Children: A daughter and a son

Pets:  3- Giant Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd/Husky mix and a fat grey cat.

In what ways do you think the pandemic has been harder on women?

Well, unfortunately we still have many people who feel a woman’s place is in the home.  I see mother’s home schooling, working from home and caring for elderly parents or infants.  This makes thing really hard for women.

What advice would you give to your pre-pandemic self?

Get in better shape. The covid 15 is real and I was lucky to kick it to the curb.

What is a silver lining of the pandemic/staying at home?

I got to spend a lot more time with my family. 

What is one new thing you did during 2020/stay at home?

I went to a mostly plant based diet and I can’t believe how much better my lab work is and how much better I feel

What is your favorite Pandemic TV Binge?  

The last Kingdom and anything Viking.

What strength did you discover about yourself that you didn’t know you had?  

The strength to stick to a plant-based diet and the ability to directly impact my health with the foods I put in my body.

What does your work from home situation look like?

I work wherever I can find quiet. 

What is the best part of working from home?

The best part of working from home is being able to wear my pajamas all morning and all the together time we have had as a family.

What is the worst part of working from home?  

We keep our house cold and find that I am cold all the time. 

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