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Being an essential worker during a pandemic

Community Member
I am grateful to still have a job, don't get me wrong but I just dont know how to be there for my kids while both my husband and I continue to work. How can I justify putting anything ahead of my children at a time like this? They need us now more than ever before but now, more than ever before, it is crucial to hang on to the employment we have. Can anyone relate? Can anyone tell me how they are doing it? I just don't know how I am going to cope. While my role is essential, I am new to it and therefore new to the workplace and not afforded any goodwill towards flexibility to care for my family.
3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Chester09,

Thank you for your post, it is a topic that is worrying our family too. Hubby has no choice but to go to work either and it is causing a lot of panic for us also.

Before all the chaos started he checked what the work instructions were for emergencies like this. His workplace is legally allowed to force employees to stay at work in certain circumstances.

That made me furious, upset, confused and guilty. I understand the whole 'greater good' issue and that certain roles are needed to maintain stability. But it is hard to accept it when it is your children that are affected.

It's just us and our kids (5 and 6). We don't have anyone who can come stay with our kids if I'm sick. His Mum works in aged care so she's stuck too.

I've got a cold already and feel like crap. I thought he was meant to stay home if family were unwell but his work doesn't care which makes me even more angry. What about the other staff!?

Our kids school has closed and I've got home school to try do. Can't pick up my daughter's pre primary activities because I can't go to the school. He phones to check on us and I bs that we're fine because he can't sleep already.

I remind myself I'm not being rational. anxiety and depression aren't in control at all. But it is hard to quiet the voice deep down that says I feel like our family is being considered "expendable".

So yeah. I sympathise with you.

We're lucky to have an income. Part of meeting our kids needs is keeping a roof over their heads. But the other side of that is the horrible feeling of being powerless to be with your loved ones when they need you emotionally.

I suppose our thought process for us coping as a couple and as individuals has been to seriously and brutally honestly consider the questions..

"what will I regret more?" And "what actions would I resent?".

If you lose your job by using leave but are there for your kids will you regret it? Will you be able to respect your employer if they show no regard to your family? If you work will either of you feel regret or resentment? What will you do as a family if you don't have work? So many questions to talk about.

Noone can tell you what to decide... Those are your choices to make as a family.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Chester09,

I’m in a similar boat to you unfortunately, my partner is also considered an essential worker. To further complicate things, I’m someone who has underlying autoimmune issues so am considered a vulnerable population at risk of serious illness if I get COVID-19. As I am able to work from home, we have made the difficult decision to isolate separately, which we are fortunately able to do. But it’s tough and who knows how long this is going to go on for 😞 like you, we are grateful to have jobs, but then does it matter if you lose your life over it? But if you don’t, will you feel regret for jeopardizing your job? This is a complicated situation and there’s no right or wrong answer. If it’s any consolation, I think there are a lot of people in a similar situation. I guess we just have to deal with what’s in front of us as best as we can.

Juliet x

Community Member
Yesterday I took a carers day as my husband had unavoidable overtime and I had to care for our kids, who are resilient but really scared and stressed right now. Like the rest of us. My employer was furious, asked all sorts of inappropriate questions and told me this went all the at to the top of our organization and hr had been involved. Today I am returning to work, I have no idea how I am gong to be treated by my employer or my colleagues. I don't know if I can weather this storm.