Her Recession: Pandemic forces EWU grad out of work, stays home with kids

SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. – Women are disproportionally affected by the pandemic, getting laid off or quitting jobs to stay home and take care of kids.

Eastern Washington University grad Emilee Mason is at least one victim of that.

“It was really frustrating because I love my work. I love my job. I love helping people,” Mason told 4 News Now.

Mason’s position at her job was eliminated earlier this year, before COVID-19 hit. A little later, she secured a new job as an addictions counselor.

Mason spent years at EWU learning how to help others, getting a degree in social work and a minor in addictions studies.

She was supposed to start helping people right before the pandemic hit, but she got laid off again. Before being able to find another job, the duty of being a mom called.

Her Recession: Economic downturn from COVID disproportionately hurting women

“I feel almost kind of desperate because I’m used to making money and I’m used to working outside the home,” she said.

It’s been nearly nine months since Mason has been able to help people work through addiction. It’s been more than half a year since she traded in that for helping her kids with school work.

“I know I make a difference being at home with my children, but it’s a different difference,” she said.

Mason even thought about being a nanny for a while, since she used to do that. She needed that extra income, but she ultimately was afraid to be exposed to COVID-19.

“For the foreseeable future, this is my future, and it’s terrifying because I’m not making a lot of money,” Mason said.

Child care was out of the question for her kids, since it’s too expensive.

It’s also tough for her three kids to focus on school at home, since one has autism and two have ADHD. Mason says her husband didn’t feel comfortable staying home either.

“Because I’m the mom, it comes to me by default, right? It doesn’t matter that I had a job that saved a lot of lives, it doesn’t matter I have job that helps people. It matters that I’m the woman and I, you know, by default, stay home and take care of the children,” she said.

Mason loved her job, though. She was happy to be helping people who needed it. Sometimes, though, a mother’s love means sacrifices.

“It’s not that I don’t want to take care of my children. Like, I don’t want a bunch of nasty comments about how I don’t want to take care of my kids, that’s not it,” Mason continued. “I love my kids, but I think you can do both, and right now I think I am robbed of the opportunity to do both work and take care of the kids.”

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