On Thursday, April 9th 2020, Rung got together virtually with local St. Louis women from different industries to talk about motherhood and working from home during this pandemic. Altogether, we had close to 90 people in our virtual panel discussion and learned so much about how we can cope with the transition of working from home all day with kids. Below are some highlights from what was discussed:


RUNG:
Dr. Tina Hamilton: What advice do you have for parents who are trying to do their best to keep up with school and balance work? What resources are out there for us?

Dr. Tina Hamilton:
Right now what I am seeing is you have to give yourself grace. You know everything came so fast, we didn’t know students weren’t coming back from spring break and we had to act quickly and acting quickly puts a lot of stress on everyone. Right now I’m asking my families to be patient with us. We’re all in this together. Just breathe and give yourself grace and that’s what I recommend to everyone.

Just breathe and give yourself grace.”

Dr. Tina Hamilton

RUNG:
Thank you. We all needed to hear that.

Dr. Tina Hamilton:
Some of my favorites [resources]: ABC Mouse, I love BrainPop, and I love Kahn Academy. Those are free right now.

RESOURCES:

  • ReadingIQ.com – Over 7,000 titles for kids of all reading levels.
  • Abcmouse.com – Tons of learning activities in a game format for children in reading, math, spelling, science and more.
  • Splashlearn.com – Interactive learning in math.
  • Gamestolearnenglish.com – Interactive games for children in math, reading and writing while learning English.
  • Khanacademy.org – Tutorials highlighting various skills and concepts in math and science.
  • Brainpop.com – Animated movie for students K-12 in all content areas on a variety of topics plus much more.
  • IXL.com – Learning in math, science, English and social studies.
  • GoNoodle.com – Movement and mindfulness videos.

RUNG:
Desiree Coleman: Your work is all about making St. Louis a more inclusive and equitable place to live and we know that women are being disproportionately affected by this pandemic because of gender norms and equities and division of household labor. Can you provide some insight on this? How can women support and uplift other women right now?

Desiree Coleman:
The stark reality is that racial and gender inequalities have existed since the dawn of our nation, unfortunately, COVID is just magnifying those. When you look at it from an economic, employment, health perspective, women are disproportionately impacted and women of color are impacted the most. I think just acknowledging that the first 2 deaths in our region were black women sort of speaks to that.

“This idea of taking care of yourself I think is so critical.”

Desiree Coleman

Desiree Coleman:
But I think this idea of taking care of yourself I think is so critical. I don’t care if you have to go hide in the bathroom. I do it. I hide from my children sometimes. Get a little bit of “you” time because if you aren’t well you can’t give anything to anyone else. 

Below is a list of ideas Desiree recommended for creating space for “you” time:

  • Host a “happy hour” with your friends over Zoom or over FaceTime
  • Negotiate nights “off” between you and your partner
  • Get creative with how you spend your time
  • Go outside and apply “teachable moments” with your children

RESOURCES:


RUNG:
Leslie Gill: As president of RUNG and a mother yourself, what advice would you give to women right now who are trying to climb the career ladder? This (crisis) is another bump in the road and we’re presented with new challenges every day because of this crisis. Thousands of women have lost their jobs at this point so what would you say women should be doing right now to help position themselves in life after COVID19 and how can they do their best to stay on track in their career development?

Leslie Gill:
I am super sensitive to putting the pressure of productivity on people during this traumatic time. I would say find time to journal, find time to exercise, find time to stay connected to friends and family. I think those are the things that are most important right now. 

“Find time to journal, find time to exercise, find time to stay connected to friends and family.”

Leslie Gill

Leslie Gill:
I’m finding real solace in knowing that God (if you’re spiritual) picked this time of year to be in the midst of this pandemic because we can still get outside and we can enjoy the beauty of nature. So my advice would be to focus on the things that are in front of you. You know, friends, family, nature, and know that when we’re beyond all of this there will be plenty of opportunities for people to re-skill. So I see the real beauty in knowing that there will be tons of women and people in the workforce now that will be looking for new career paths and hopefully, RUNG can aid in that process. 

Below is a list of ways to focus on your mental wellbeing from Leslie: 

  • Focus on friends, family, and nature
  • Pick a hobby and work towards learning something new
  • Go outside and walk
  • Take quiet time for yourself

RUNG:
Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia: You’re doing so much work right now to try to keep our businesses stable and supported during this time. I’d love to hear from you what you’re doing to help support those small businesses, many of which are owned by women and really are the backbones of our communities.

Alderwoman Ingrassia: 
I think that women-owned businesses, immigrant and refugee-owned businesses and then businesses that are owned by people of color have been disproportionately, negatively impacted by having to close with such short notice, especially restaurants [who] basically had a day or 2 notice before they were told they had to go to curbside or delivery. I worked quickly with a couple of friends to start the Gateway Resilience Fund and we gave $640,000 in two weeks through the St. Louis Community Foundation.

“If you know somebody who is a small business owner or independent contractor please have them look up Gateway Resilience Fund through the St. Louis Community Foundation.”

Alderwoman Ingrassia

Alderwoman Ingrassia: 
We had a bit of a pause because we ran out of the money so quickly but we’re making calls and so if you know somebody who is a small business owner or independent contractor please have them look up Gateway Resilience Fund through the St. Louis Community Foundation.

Below are relief efforts and accomplishments that are supported by Alderwoman Ingrassia:

  • The Gateway Resilience Fund and St. Louis Community Foundation has provided either $500 checks in direct relief or $1000 worth of bills paid directly to vendors on the behalf of small business owners and independent contractors
  • The recent passage of the CARES Act means folks who are not typically able to apply for unemployment will now be able to.

RUNG:
Ali Hogan: I know you’re probably thinking about what the world is going to look like after this, so what are your hopes and dreams and wishes for a post COVID-19 world?

Ali Hogan:
Well, I’ve definitely learned that whatever your situation was before going into COVID, everybody is affected, and everybody is affected in different ways. And while I understand that St. Louis has a lot of work to do with racial equality, gender equality, age, I mean there are just so many issues that we have, I do feel like it has bridged some of those gaps. Because for the first time in forever we are all affected by something that we can’t control.

My hope after this, which by the way I have to say that it is more clear now than ever, is that what we’re doing at RUNG is going to be necessary and impactful.”

Ali Hogan

Ali Hogan:
My hope after this, which by the way I have to say that it is more clear now than ever, is that what we’re doing at RUNG is going to be necessary and impactful. I just think we are going to come out of this hopeful and better educated and more empathetic, and more patient because we’ve all been tested. And if we can get to the other side of this (which of course we will) we will be able to come together easier and with less conflict I hope.


We hope you have gained some great resources through all the insightful discussion we had with our panelists. If you’re looking for more support during this time, head over to our resources page and explore a wide range of tools and resources that can help.