LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For working moms across Las Vegas, the past seven months have not been easy.
“I’m in mommy mode and work mode at the same time,” said Tiffany Ward, an entrepreneur and mother of four in North Las Vegas.
The nearly constant push and pull of taking care of children and handling work responsibilities have taken a toll.
“At first I thought, ‘oh I can do this.’ It’ll be fine,” said Brittany Kriese, a single mother of four who lives in the south valley.
But for most, this period has been far from fine. When the virtual school year started, it took Kriese all of two weeks to realize she could no longer work 9-5 as a property manager.
“I gave them a two-week notice, said I could only work half days,” she said. “So, it was a struggle.”
Kriese said she’s dipping heavily into her savings, but at this time, her children need her.
“If I have a doctors appointment to run away to, I’m getting a teacher text that’s saying, ‘she’s away from her computer right now, she won’t stay on,'” she said.
In North Las Vegas, Tiffany and her husband Brandon are facing the same challenge with their four kids.
“We’re teachers. We’re counselors. We’re their buddies,” Ward said, with a laugh. “We’re their lunch providers.”
Tiffany had been working from home for a mental health facility until two weeks before school started. That’s when she said it just got too overwhelming.
“I got to a point with my job that I was running late with information, turning things in. I was working until two in the morning. I shouldn’t have to because I was taking care of my children during the day. I wasn’t giving them all of me and I knew that.”
So, Tiffany – like Brittany – joined hundreds of thousands of women across the country in leaving the workforce.
According to recent labor statistics, around 1.1 million Americans left the workforce last month. About 80 percent were women.
Women are leaving the workforce in record numbers – largely because of mounting and colliding responsibilities. And when it comes to two-parent households, traditional gender roles and the persisting wage gap— factor into why this statistic is lopsided.
Despite the challenges, many families are all hands on deck in support of each other and getting creative in ways to make money.
Makisha and Kei Childress are both special education teachers in the Clark County School District, their children are in virtual learning.
Months ago, the entire family got COVID-19 and just after leaving the hospital, Makisha began a new role as a financial planner.
“I can do it anywhere I go,” she said. “I can do it from home. It’s made that business take off even more because of being able to do it through Zoom.”
Makisha said she is happy to pay her success forward and willing to help other women get into similar roles with flexible scheduling.
It’s this burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit that Leanna Jenkins, with the Nevada Women’s Business Center says is the silver lining of a truly difficult time.
“In the next five to ten years, some of these people that are just looking at side gigs now are going to have these huge Amazon-like businesses,” said Jenkins.
So, while hundreds of thousands of American women are leaving the traditional workforce, it’s possible they’re establishing a new way of doing business that works for everyone in the family.