Amid COVID-19, moms forced to choose between career and child care

At least one in four women have considered downsizing their careers because of the pandemic. Experts say it could set women’s progress back a generation and affect the economy at large.
8:11 | 12/01/20

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Transcript for Amid COVID-19, moms forced to choose between career and child care
taking a disproportionatetoll on working moms. Reporter: She tried to make it work, caring for her daughter while working full time in the pandemic. I had friends and family driving long distances to watch her if for a week or two weeks. Or a month at a type. Also, that I could keep doing this work that I loved. Reporter: Her job at an animal rescue farm. Not only a paycheck but a passion. Thanks, nat. Reporter: Soon it was too much for the 33-year-old single mother. I used up all my sick days basically in the first, I don't know, six weeks of schools closing and I think that if the choice is twenting -- is between taking care of animals or my daughter, I take care of my daughter. It was a sad day, because, again, I took what I was doing seriously. And I really wanted to be there. You could say it's a personal choice, but it doesn't feel like one. If I had my choice, I would still be working. Jimmy: Katie moved across country in to her grandmother's home in chino, cafe. Three generations of mothers now keeping the familyafloat. It's not just moms. It's my mom. And my grandmother, so, the -- it's generations back of women and mothers who end up being affected this. Because if I fall, who's going pick me up? Like the same way I would for my daughter. Jimmy: Katie is one of the nearly 2.2 million women who have left the workforce since the covid-19 pandemic began, with another 1 in 4 women considering quitting or downsizing their careers. Most economists are calling it the she-session if you will. Because women are taking the brunt of the labor market damage from covid-19. And this is for two reasons. One, is because a lot of the industries and occupations that had they had work in have been hard hit in the pandemic in the second reason is the lack of child care and the disruption daycare and school closures have caused. Reporter: Women 25-44 are more lyy to leave because of child care demands. This will cost upwards of $700 billion to the U.S. Economy in terms of lost productivity. That is 3.5 of gdp. Reporter: Experts say a short-term hiatus like Katie expects to do, can have a big impact. It can set women back a generation when it comes to progress in the workforce. Reporter: Even those women that kept their job and have the flexibility to work from home, are feeling the pressure. Good morning, just got up for the day. It's just after 5:30. Reporter: Holly oaks has been balancing her job in Portland, Oregon and, helping her two kids ages 10-12 with their remote learning. I usually get an hour or so of uninterrupted work time so -- There's also the fun fact that my son is in band and they do it virtually. Reporter: Holly's husband works from home too, but she said that she bares the brunt of the child care. Yes, sweetie pie. There's so many W that say they are failing everywhere. Work, there's no way to possibly keep up with it. Definitely, it's a great way of articulating it, we are doing so much, I liken it to we are trying to plug holes in a sinking boat and there's so many that you cannot plug all of them. And I definitely feel like I'm failing in all areas. Are you ready to go potty. Reporter: Her employer is supportive, but it's a challenge still. I am lucky tofrom home, I do not have too in a office every day or in the field every day. And I have a partner I'm working with. I can't imagine being what it would be like being a single parent having to go in the field. Reporter: A certified medical assistant in Detroit has no choice but to keep reporting to her job in the hospital. Even in this time, right now, with the covid-19, I can't afford not to work. Reporter: Experts say the economic impact and stress of the pandemic has hit women of color hardest. There's no working from home and shifting hours around. And they have less access to back-up child care. They are less likely to have a nanny or baby-sitter and some they can turn to do watch the kids so they can get to work. Reporter: How have you been managing it all? He on my goodness. Itn difficult since the pandemic began in March. I have a team, people I work with, my manager and supervisor, they are resourceful and they are trying to help me get through it. They understand that I'm not alone in this. They also need people to show up to work. So, it's been a challenge. Trying to keeping going to work and prevent not being furloughed or fired. Reporter: Even before the pandemic, finances were tight for her and her children, main their own hand sanitizers and masks. She never wan them to be homeless like she was when her in the spring, the hospital she works at was under siege. Angel was tested. Woried that a positive result would keep her out of work. Praying for good results. Reporter: The next day, relief, she was negative. Such a beautiful day. And it just makes you miss all the life that was usually out here. Reporter: But child care has been a harder problem to solve. In the spring, her children were in free daycare for essential workers a lifeline funded for a in the fall, her children entered an in person learning pod in school, and just last week, angel was informed it will be closing because of rising covid cases. December 4th will be the last day until further notice. I'm assuming until next year. From, you know, I'm going to have to really figure on out this week what I'm going to do. I don't have too much support. My mom dieden I was 2. My grandmother, her mother died of cancer two years ago. So, it's so hard to get the job and stuff, and get somewhere. And then you get it and then, your kids or the -- or being able to be there for your kids on or the choice of work and kids should not be a choice. Like, I should not have to -- I want to be the best I can be. The choices are impossible and you are carrying the world on your shoulders. Reporter: But angel has a hard one resilience. We can the do -- we can do it, I was born to this. Holding ourselves to do a prepandemic standard is ludicrous. It will be moms picking up the looseneds and tying it for them. Give yourself permission to leave some stuff untied. Reporter: Katie still out of work and her daughter taking the virtual classes by her side, hope this will teach her one of life's most valuable lessons. I hope she learned to be scrappy. I personally am not powerful enough to change the world operates around me, but I can show her how to operate within

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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