No other year has done what 2020 has. What once was a vibrant calendar of engagements, travel, and social interaction in different places was replaced by being at home almost 24/7. In a flash, we had to cope with the challenge that a limited social life imposed on our children and us. Even Oxford Dictionary, which typically picks one word to describe each year, couldn't select a single term to characterize this year.
As we begin 2021, let’s take a final look (and never look back again!) at the challenges and opportunities that came with the year lockdowns and pandemic response.
As childcare centers and schools shut down over an extended time, many working mothers are now doing full-time stay-at-home parent work and online schooling responsibilities. According to a poll by Morning Consult, mothers are the ones who are primarily involved in the homeschooling needs of their children. All these hang on a precarious balance, alongside the demands of a full-time job. Some women also face the added vulnerability of losing their livelihood or sacrificing careers as the world economy shrinks, all while unpaid domestic work increases.
With routines wrecked and less options to decompress, we sometimes feel like we are in a never-ending cycle of housework, homework, school work, and work-work. The added mental and physical strain of fulfilling a myriad of responsibilities at home makes it a challenge to be present and keep our patience fully stocked.
In these uncertain times, we also worry about our extended family's well-being. It is agonizing to imagine those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic and cannot be there to see them off.
As we tread this uncharted water together and figure out a new system of doing things, we discovered small joys and opportunities in this situation. No such joy could compare to hearing the children squeal in delight while jumping on the bed or crawling through rearranged pieces of furniture. There is also pride in seeing them focused on a task at hand; may it be solving a jigsaw puzzle or creating miniature cities with Lego blocks. Although still with room for improvement, fathers' participation in childcare responsibility has doubled since the pandemic. This involvement led to an increase in women's job satisfaction and productivity. If we continue with this progress, we are looking at a better future of work.
2020 shifted fashion's focus to emphasize quality, not quantity. We want to invest our time and resources in relationships and products that last. Following the outbreak, almost three-quarters of European consumers surveyed are shifting towards investments in quality clothes, and 67% consider the use of sustainable materials an important purchasing factor, a McKinsey survey revealed. The fashion industry is responding to the shift in consumer interest. Zara and H&M expressed post-pandemic commitments to roll-out products focused on sustainable materials. Here at Alise Design, we believe that the only way to have a world we'll be proud to pass on to our children is to produce things that are always genuine. We use only the most eco-friendly leather material in our leather diaper bags. The vegetable-tanned leather utilized in our purses is produced in Italy, where they practice the world's most environmentally friendly leather tanning process.
This global pandemic forced us to reevaluate what matters. It gave us all this rare chance to slow down, refocus, and adjust our lenses. We bring lessons learned from this experience and questions waiting to be answered as we actively reshape and reimagine what a post-pandemic future looks like. How about you? What was the biggest lesson you learned this year?
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