The Elections: Are you Hopeful? Or Discouraged?

Image of hands going up into the air

We’re discouraged and hopeful about many of the same things

Parents have been scrambling to keep their families safe, kids educated, households running and jobs secure. Over 1,200 parents, primarily Mothers (93%) have shared their stories in the pandemic study since March. The overwhelming majority are working, without childcare or full access to onsite schools. This has led most to abandon self-care while doing more of everything.

We’re Worried About the Big Picture

In the current wave of the survey (starting in August,) parents were asked what they feel the most hopeful about and discouraged by. In this season of change it’s not a surprise that we’re consumed with the big picture. When asked, what they’re the most discouraged about, 82% of respondents* said it’s how we discuss and address society’s greatest challenges.

Worries About Politics

 “The political landscape is a dumpster fire and the fact that people are so selfish that they can’t wear masks to protect others.”

 “The Supreme Court confirmation of somebody who wants to take us back to the time of slavery.”

“The election and knowing many people are vocal about supporting an individual who is actively working to eliminate the rights of many people.”

“The downright shameful way our current federal government has responded to literally everything lately, Covid, BLM (Black Lives Matter,) everything.”

 Are Followed by Frustration With the Great Divide

“I am most discouraged by seeing how divided our country has become. I am discouraged with selfish, childish people.”

“How cruel some humans can be.”

“The anger and hatred I see between those who think differently. Also, the continued closings make me nervous about the long-term damage to the economy.”

And for Some, Concern We’ve Lost America’s Ideals

 “Perhaps I was naïve, but I always figured our country would pull together in a crisis.  Watching people exhibit such hatred toward each other is so discouraging, I’m thinking about emigrating.  Spitting on people for wearing masks, shaming people who don’t wear masks, shooting rubber bullets at protesters, across the board, we hate each other. And have 1500 deaths per day and a descent into fascism to show for it.”

“The chance of losing America.”

“Failure of leadership in America. Loss of place in the world.”

 Covid and How to End it, Looms Large

“People trying to normalize this. Nothing about this is normal.”

“The increasing coronavirus caseload and our seeming inability to begin to get this public health crisis under control.”

“Politicizing wearing a mask.”

 We’re Discouraged About Racism

 “Racial justice–I feel like you have to 100% commit to activism in order to make a difference and there are so many other demands.  I feel like there is no option to be 10% or 20% on board– it feels very all or nothing when I listen or read things about how to take a stand.”

“…That police kill black people at a higher rate than any other group.”

But Encouraged by the Growing Action Against It

“People (like me) are waking up to racial injustice and I’m hopeful it will mean change.”

“The recognition and call to action to change systemic racism.”

Discouraged by the Pandemic’s Impact on Children’s Wellbeing

“Having to trust someone else to ensure my children are participating in virtual school.”

“There is no end in sight for COVID and I worry about my daughter being old enough to know what’s happening”

“My son’s loneliness and lack of stimulation.”

Feeling Financial Strain  

“The idea that there is no end in sight and the cost of childcare is so high I cannot send my kid back.”

“Outlook for my industry. Terrible.”

“All the social & economic upheaval. And feeling lack of supports in place for working families who may be forced to repetitively quarantine each time a child gets a sniffle.”

And Pressure from Systems Breaking

“Too much pressure being a Mom, worker, teacher, nurse and the people doing protests.”

“I spent last week working in a Covid clinic, caring for people who are sick from a preventable disease… if everyone would pull together.  My friend and colleague was harassed when she tried to pump gas, because she was wearing a mask.  She finally had to yell “I’m a Covid doctor!  Get away from me!  I could infect you.” I can’t find one thing I’m hopeful about today. I wish I could.”

But Hopeful For the Possibility of a Better Normal

Despite the pandemic difficulties the possibility of change, for many of the same issues that parents are the most discouraged by, is cause for optimism. Although less parents responded with something they feel hopeful about, many embrace the promise of what’s ahead from changing priorities, awareness, family ties and responses to the pandemic.

New Leadership

The elections are cited on both lists, a source of feeling discouraged AND something to be hopeful about. Although most of the respondents who commented specifically about their Presidential preferences, were in favor of a new administration (9%) others want to keep the current one (2%.)

“The hope we will soon get a different president.”

“…That the election and Trump victory might mean business as usual.”

Having Kids Back to School

Overall, this year’s unusual back-to-school has been both a source of both stress (7%) and hopefulness (3%.)

“Seeing my students adapting to change and learning new things. Seeing my children adapting to change and exploring their interests.”

“Teachers and kids are trying and really working hard, it’s getting better.”

Witnessing Children’s Magic

“The resiliency of children.”

“Seeing my child learning something new every day.”

“Seeing the joy in children’s faces as they play outside all day. Listening to my 6-year old daughter simply explain why we should treat everyone the same regardless of skin color.”

Reaching the Finish Line for Covid

“70% of Americans planning to get the Covid vaccination. That this pandemic will end. That many of us alive now may see to it that history is documented better than before.”

“A possible vaccine, peaceful protests…”

Tuning into Our Humanity

“That some people are finally listening.”

“The people who have heard the need for change and opened their hearts to new ideas.”

“…That this will help push society into a less dangerous, selfish phase as time goes on.”

Justice for All

“There is talk of social injustice publicly, more than there has been for as long as I’ve been alive.  These hardships and the friction could create good in the long run.”

“National awakening to social issues.”

“The breakdown of gender roles.”

And Better Ways to Live & Work

“We are rethinking our priorities in terms of racial injustices, relationships with each other and the understanding that productive work can look different depending on each person and that’s ok.”

“The company I work for is very accommodating and listening. We are getting comfortable with the situation which is good and bad at the same time.”

Deeper Family and Community Connections

“The strong familial bonds we’ve created through the pandemic.”

“Driving through town and seeing so many families outside, together.”

“New sense of community in my neighborhood.”

“My faith. And paying attention to those who are still choosing kindness and love.”

And Gratitude for the Blessings

“We have what we need and a lot to be grateful for.”

“Secure jobs, saved money, extra time with my little one.”

“My family is safe.”

The issues on the minds of parents, highlight how deeply connected to and reliant upon our infrastructure we are. If you are in the US and haven’t voted yet, there’s still time. Your experiences matter. So, please make your voice heard on election day.


What Do You Feel the Most Discouraged About? What Do You Feel the Most Hopeful About?

Pie chart with results from the pandemic study, what are you the most discouraged about?

Pie chart with results from the pandemic study, what are you the most discouraged about?

Pie chart with results from the pandemic study, what are you the most hopeful about?

Pie chart with results from the pandemic study, what are you the most hopeful about?

* This is a partial update with results from 170 responses to Question 18 between August 6 and October 29, 2020.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the pandemic study so far. We’ve had over 1,200 parents respond with their stories to date!

Share your experiences of how life has changed during social distance. It’s quick and the results from this study will be used to advocate better support for parents.

Your employer can use data to help you at work! Your HR, Diversity and Parent Group Leaders can set up a chat to learn more.


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