Diversity Insight

Working Moms Excel in Massachusetts, But New Challenges Abound

Back in August 2015, WalletHub analyzed state dynamics across key metrics to determine the best states for working mothers and ranked Massachusetts fifth on the list. In 2019, we moved up to the first spot. So, what happened in 2020?

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Massachusetts Remains Best State for Working Mothers

According to WalletHub, Massachusetts continues to be the best state for working mothers in 2020. The study examined 20 key metrics, including daycare quality and costs (adjusted for the median salary of women), access to pediatric services, quality of the school system, gender pay gap information, ratio of female to male executives, percentage of women working with economic security, parental leave policies, average commute times, and the unemployment rate among women.

The data were organized into three broad categories:

Child care. Despite having some of the highest daycare costs in the country, our state still ranked second overall in this broad category in the 2020 study.

Professional opportunities. Our state ranked seventh.

Work/life balance. For the second year in a row, we came in first in this category.

What Will Pandemic’s Impact Be?

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect future WalletHub survey results significantly. Unemployment rates are soaring in Massachusetts. When nonessential businesses were ordered to close in March 2020, employers were forced to shut their doors for the time being, and many people were laid off. Many of the workers are mothers now facing questions about their future employment.

As I write this, I am working from home, too, while my husband conducts his business in an adjacent room. Our two kids, aged 5 and 2, are playing nearby and occasionally arguing. With nonemergency day cares and schools closed throughout the state, mothers working remotely have the task of caring for children throughout the day, and the challenges don’t end there. Parents also have to take on a new role as teachers and help their children stay on top of their schoolwork.

Other mothers continue to work at essential businesses, including hospitals. In addition to being tasked with finding child care and helping children keep up with their studies, those moms have the stress of worrying about bringing COVID-19 home to their families.

Bottom Line

Working parents across Massachusetts have to juggle a lot of responsibilities in normal circumstances. Now that our nation is in the midst of a pandemic, they’re facing new responsibilities and additional stressors as they try to maintain balance.

Only time will tell how the outbreak will affect the future of child care, professional opportunities, and work/life balance in the state. For now, cut yourself some slack, hang in there, and happy Mother’s Day.

Amelia Holstrom is a partner at the law firm Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the mother of 5-year-old Carter and 2-year-old Reid. You can reach her at aholstrom@skoler-abbott.com.