Mundwiller was forced to call up and cancel job interviews on multiple occasions because of the lack of child care.
Maggie Mundwiller was gutted when she couldn't find child-care in time for her 1-year-old son as she had a job interview scheduled. Mundwiller called up to let them know she wouldn't be able to make it but she was in for a surprise - they asked her to bring her baby in for the interview as well. "We are child-friendly," they told her. Mundwiller shared the story of the incident on TikTok, thankful for a child-friendly work environment. While the video was wholesome, it also pointed to a bigger problem — that of parents having to balance child care and their work, especially over the last year because of the pandemic.
Mundwiller was laid off last year in April due to the pandemic as she returned from her six weeks of maternity. She had been trying for many jobs but child care was a problem. Her husband was working, and that combined with their fear of their child catching the virus meant that they canceled interviews if they couldn't find child care for the day. Entrusting the baby with someone else was a harder choice, given the pandemic. That was when she got a call from this company that was child-friendly.
After learning the company was child-friendly, Mundwiller wanted the job even more. "How cool is that — that a company would be so welcoming?" she said, reported Good Morning America. "It's awesome to know that there are companies out there that are willing to work with parents and understand the struggles that parents are going through and just accommodate." In the video posted, she can be seen getting ready for her interview. She puts on formal business attire and can be seen washing the wheels of his stroller. She even has a resume for her one-year-old Mylo, listing his skills as spotting a dog to destroying a clean space in 30 seconds.
Caregivers are forced to choose between jobs and taking care of their babies due to the child care crisis. Women, who are primary caregivers in many families, have suffered because of the pandemic and also find it hard to find jobs because of the lack of child care. More than 2 million women have left the workforce in 2020, according to the National Women's Law Center. "It's really disappointing because I've had to miss opportunities throughout COVID," said Mundwiller, before adding that the doctor recommended the baby be isolated at home to prevent the baby from catching the virus. "It was really just our family unit in our home so I didn't have any additional support to help with Mylo while my husband would go to work and I was at home to even do a Zoom interview," said Mundwiller.
Mundwiller said she was forced to forgo even at-home online interviews because it was scheduled around her son's nap time. "I was hoping that it would work out and it just didn't," she added. Earlier this year, in April, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said women, who take on caregiver roles in many families, are unable to return to work. "Caregiving responsibilities and the absence of child care are still important reasons why people are unable to return to work," said Yellen.
The Biden administration has also announced measures to address the child-care crisis. The "American Families Plan" will offer universal pre-K to 3- and 4-year-olds, up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, and a cap on how much low- and middle-income families would have to pay for child care. Mundwiller believes employers can go a long way in helping caregivers return to work by providing them an environment that's supportive of parents. She adds that employment has always attempted to separate caregivers' work and home life. "I've started coming to this realization that it's so much more important to be authentic and be my real self than trying to meet this idea of what it means to be a working woman," said Mundwiller.
She added that caregivers are faced with situations that are way beyond their control, and employers need to be more empathetic towards them. "There are things that are out of your control. So rather than firing someone because they're late because their child was sick or whatever it may be, there are so many ways companies could partner better with their employees." She believes the past year has taught companies and people to be more flexible. "We've seen worldwide that we can be successful outside of a traditional workspace so it doesn't have to be so rigid. It doesn't have to be that clear-cut 9-to-5."