Youli Lee is proud of the years she worked for the U.S. government, prosecuting cybercrime in some of the world’s darkest places. These days, she’s the one hiding out — mostly from her three children, ages 8, 11, and 13.
“I just actually locked my door so that nobody could come here,” she says, from her bedroom.
The constant interruptions from children are happening in households across the country. Nearly half of all school districts in the U.S. started the school year with remote learning, including Lee’s district in Fairfax County, Va. With the added complexities of managing multiple Zoom calls at work and online learning for the kids, parents – especially moms — are hitting a breaking point.
For Lee, the juggling act fell apart in the spring. Her husband, a doctor, was at the hospital seven days a week while she worked from home, struggling to maintain her own grueling schedule of nonstop work calls. That went on for weeks until she realized that her younger two children were routinely skipping lunch. Without the structure of the school day, the kids never quite knew when it was time to eat.
So, when news came that the kids’ schools would only partially reopen at best, she realized that was it. “I can’t keep this up,” she remembers thinking. “This is too much.”
— Andrea Hsu (@andrea_c_hsu) September 29, 2020