When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring, Shannon, a 28-year-old single mom, says her life was thrown into chaos. Shannon is a psychiatric nurse who, prior to the pandemic, worked the night shift. She slept during the day while her second-grader went to school, and lived with a roommate who was around if her son woke up at night.
When the first cases of the virus surfaced in her home state of Wisconsin, Shannon was immediately transferred to her hospital’s COVID-19 wing, which terrified her. No one knew then how deadly the virus might be for children. She dreaded bringing it home and making her son sick.
(All of the moms interviewed for this piece asked to use their first names so they could candidly discuss personal details about work and family members’ health.)
And then schools closed for in-person learning. Shannon had to cut back her hours almost completely,