By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Juggling a full-time job and being a mom is already a lot of work, but add a pandemic and life can become even more overwhelming.

The responsibilities women bear have only increased since COVID-19 came into the picture. These struggles are felt right within the CBS13 newsroom.

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Each day when her kids log on to distance learn, CBS13 Assistant News Director Mary Baynes is around the corner with work herself. Her office is next to the kitchen.

“I don’t know if I’m balancing it very well,” Baynes said, but she said she, like many other moms, is doing her best. It’s a delicate balance, even with help, managing kids and school plus employees. She said it can sometimes feel chaotic.

“You’re constantly asking if you’re doing it right or if you’re putting your attention in the right places,” Baynes said.

For CBS13 Investigative Reporter Julie Watts, the working mom struggle is also real.

“The alarm goes off at 4:30 so I can try to get some work done before the kids wake up,” Watts said, but her son often comes in to be in the same room half-asleep, blanket and all at 5 a.m., choosing to lay in the dog bed.

“Then, he insisted on sitting on my lap as I edited my Super Bowl Sunday investigation,” she said.

Watts is thankful for her office, even if her kids use it, too — and a helpful husband. She said for working moms, not just in news, there’s a lot of newfound “mom guilt.”

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“When you’re home and they’re (the kids) home,” Watts said. “They don’t understand why you’re not with them or focused on them.”

Psychologist Dr. Diane Powell says this isn’t necessarily new.

“The burden falls disproportionately on the backs of women – and in a time like this, during a pandemic,” Dr. Powell said.

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But she says the pandemic has exploited these skills in many ways.

“Multi-tasking, multi-managing, multi-coordinating everyone else in the family,” Dr. Powell said.

Dr. Powell says women have always been overworked and underpaid, which costs more than just money – but a mother’s mental health. The solution isn’t simple, but Baynes offers this advice.

“It’s just being there in the present moment and not feeling guilty for not being enough,” Baynes said.

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Dr. Powell said to have a national conversation about the wage gap, as well as looking at modernizing childcare – could be among some of the ways to alleviate the pressure.

Heather Janssen