Written By: Kaitlin Parisi
Balancing motherhood and a full-time career is no easy task, especially during a pandemic. Dr. Christy Mesaros-Winckles and Dr. Michelle Beechler are two extraordinary strong women, each balancing their work life and home life during a pandemic. Dr. Christy recently had a boy, Harvey Andrew Winckles, and took maternity leave this past fall semester of 2020. She has a total of three children, Gold’Ann who is 16, William who is 14 and of course Harvey who is five months young.
Dr. Christy said that it is still a work in progress balancing home life and work life and that they “are still trying to find a groove now that the semester started.”
On the other hand, Dr. Beechler has four children, Halen who is 20, Avery who is 11, Rosie who is going to be 2 in the coming month and her newborn, Elanor who is 2.5 months old. She said, “balancing career and parenting is a bit chaotic. I’m on leave currently, so I don’t have to work, but even keeping things running without working has been a lot.”
As a mother, these two women have done their very best to provide not only for their family, but for their students as well. The pandemic has not helped Dr. Beechler as she said, “things have been more difficult during the pandemic, especially now that it’s so cold outside. Last semester I was pregnant with Elanor and had to be extremely careful. She really pushed up into my lungs and I was already short of breath. Sometimes I had to sit down while lecturing because my back would hurt or I’d be getting winded.”
Both Dr. Christy and Dr. Beechler have faced some challenging times since having their children. “The hardest part about work-life balance is that my work life bleeds into my home-life. I check email every day, in the morning, at night, on the weekend and sometimes I’ll be distracted from my kids to deal with work, on my own time; that’s frustrating. I know I’m missing out on making memories with them when I’m preoccupied with work, but of course my career is very important to me and so I put a lot of effort into it. I want to be good at my job, but I also know that my children are growing so fast and I’m missing out on spending time with them,” said Dr. Beechler.
Dr. Christy said, “It’s trying to let go and recognize that I can’t do everything, either at home or here at school. I am a perfectionist so on the school front I want to revise my lesson plans, even if I just did it the year before. At home I love to keep my house cleaner than what it is.”
Being a mother is harder than it may seem. In an article from Texas A&M, written by Dominic Hernandez, she states, “Out of 193 countries in the United Nations, only a small handful do not have a national paid parental leave law: New Guinea, Suriname, a few South Pacific island nations and the United States.”
The United States does offer 12-week unpaid maternity leave as well as 12-week job protection for moms and dads under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It is inexcusable that one of the only high income countries in the world, the United States of America, does not provide paid maternity leave.
Furthermore, Dr. Christy and Dr. Beechler are amazing mothers and extraordinary professors who love what they do, but also value their family. If you see them around campus make sure to thank them for the continued work and effort they do to balance their home and work life, it is much harder than it may seem.
If you would like to learn more about FMLA and maternity/paternity leave you can visit the U.S. Department of Labor at https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla and/or if you would like to read more of the article from Texas A&M you can visit https://vitalrecord.tamhsc.edu/fast-facts-maternity-leave-policies-across-globe/