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American Parents Now Have the World’s Most Distracting Co-Workers

During the best of times, working moms and dads have to manage an imperfect child-care system. Now, they’re in crisis mode.

Children with Down syndrome

Photographer: Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images

On Monday, Amanda Goetz found herself stuck alone inside her 1,000-square-foot Manhattan apartment with three kids under 7. The coronavirus had canceled school for her 2-, 4- and 6-year-old and left her without her nanny to fill the gap. Meanwhile, Goetz, a VP in marketing at The Knot Worldwide, had her workday ahead of her.

One of her first tasks was a 90-minute conference call. An hour in, she was amazed with how well it was going, one child playing an iPad game and another doing an art project. Then, in a scene any parent of young children can relate to, a fight broke out between two of her kids over a Dr. Seuss book. “It was like the world was ending,” she said. Thankfully, she’d been on mute, but it didn’t make it any easier to focus on her meeting.