The Foreign Service Journal, April 2021

44 APRIL 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL S ince the early months of 2020, when the world shut down in the face of COVID-19, the impact on families has been unprec- edented—especially on moms. Moms who were fortunate enough to have access to paid child care or nearby relatives lost that support when the world went on lockdown, and they left the workforce in droves, either because they were laid off or because they had to oversee their kids’ online schooling and the rest of the details that go into managing a household—no easy task even without a pandemic outside your door. Most parents in the Foreign Service have stayed on the job, many remotely, but they haven’t been immune to the stresses of raising a family and managing a career while trying to avoid getting sick. It’s hard for Foreign Service families. We’re far from home, often in countries without quality health care. Our ability to access medevac flights if we get critically ill disappeared when borders closed. We can’t visit sick or dying relatives back in the States. Many of us moved to new countries midpandemic and have no nearby friends to lean on. And through it all, we’re jug- gling online school with spotty internet access, grocery shopping in foreign languages and near-impossible work deadlines. FS parents—in particular, FS moms—are stretched to the FS parents—in particular, FS moms— are stretched to the breaking point, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. BY DONNA SCARAMASTRA GORMAN Donna Scaramastra Gorman’s articles have appeared in Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor and the FSJ . A Foreign Service spouse, she has lived in Amman, Moscow, Yerevan, Almaty, Beijing and Northern Virginia. Formerly an associate editor for the Journal , she is currently posted in Moscow with her husband and four children. FOCUS DIPLOMACY IN AN AGE OF DISRUPTION PANDEMICPARENTING HOWFOREIGN SERVICEMOMS ARE (NOT) MAKING ITWORK