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Courage, Career, and Community: The Great Resignation from the Perspective of Black New Orleans Moms

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

My entrance into motherhood was at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. My only reference point as a working mom has been the flexibility that comes with working remotely. As I reflect on my workplace values, I often ask myself “what are my non-negotiables” now that I am a working mom? Like many mothers, I have come to value the ability to have some form of remote or hybrid work model. I find that this gives me the balance I need to show up as my best self for my family.

About one-third of all mothers in the workforce have scaled back or left their jobs since March 2020. This interesting moment in time has become known as The Great Resignation due to the high number of Americans who have chosen to leave the workforce.

The mothers of the Raising Brilliance Homeschooling Pod - Stacy, Sommer, and Nia- are among the mothers who have exited their traditional jobs during the pandemic to be more fully present for the needs of their young children and personal passion pursuits. I had the opportunity to sit down with them to learn more about their perspectives and experiences as Black New Orleans moms who transitioned careers during the pandemic. Here is a snippet of our conversation.

What are your thoughts on The Great Resignation and how your personal story fits into this moment in time?

  • Sommer: "I was in a place where I was realizing that the way I was pursuing having a job was disruptive to my mental health - the way I was able to balance my time and what my needs were."

  • Nia: "Working remotely gave me the space to see the environment and feel the environment and to understand my life’s purpose better. I feel like I’m swimming in the right direction. I think a lot of great things are going to come especially for Black women during this time because we are coming together."

  • Stacy: "I started to feel that I was giving more to others than I was to myself."

As a mom, has the pandemic changed any of your “non-negotiables” in the workplace?

  • Sommer: "A non-negotiable for me is having creative control of my life. I’m not looking to rejoin the workforce, but I am always looking for ways to maximize my family’s income. Those {two} things are not mutually exclusive. I think that’s something COVID has illuminated and by being in the generation that I’m in."

  • Nia: "Setting boundaries for what’s important. Being able to choose this moment. I can’t ever buy this time back. The non-negotiable is this right here {my child} and I won’t feel guilty for it."

  • Stacy: "I need to make sure that my work environment is fulfilling. I want people to trust me. If I'm feeling drained when I go to work I'm going to bring that home to my family and I've been there before and I don't ever plan to return to a lifestyle where work is controlling me and I'm not controlling it."

What advice would you give to other moms who may be experiencing a shift in priorities as a result of the pandemic and The Great Resignation?

  • Sommer: "Don’t underestimate the power of stillness and breathing. It allows me to make my decisions with a different kind of firmness and confidence than when I make decisions that are based on my emotions or overly seeking input from others, which you can be tempted to do as a first-time mom."

  • Nia: "Be around people and be in spaces where you are celebrated and not tolerated. In your family group, your friend group, your school group, your workgroup - if you just feel like you’re being tolerated maybe that’s not the space for you. Your feelings are valid. Embrace your inner power and beauty as black women to know that you have the power within. Being vulnerable does not mean weakness, it means you are opening your heart, mind, and spirit for what’s for you."

  • Stacy: "You got this. Trust your instincts. That’s why you have your maternal instincts and they are very real. Go easy on yourself."

This conversation with the Raising Brilliance Homeschooling Pod was so refreshing. As a mom of a toddler, I still have much to learn about balancing my profession and my motherhood. I am grateful to be surrounded by women who are challenging and disrupting work norms that have for so long ostracized working moms. Cheers to having the courage to define our lives on our terms. Happy Women’s History Month!


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