Recently, the Topeka Capital-Journal interviewed a Topeka-resident who lost her position at Old Chicago and noted how COVID-19 has affected her life. There are three themes I hope readers and the powers-that-be take away from her story.

First, to provide balance in the article, a hiring manager at a local Dillons was contacted to discuss how their company is actively courting displaced workers. As the article referenced the fact that the main subject is a parent, I was deeply concerned that there were no references to connections of work-from-home or parent-flexible positions. Why?

Can she afford to send her child to someone while she is working? Is it even safe for her child to be cared for by others during this outbreak? We have no idea how quickly she had to return to work after having her child and how many milestones she has missed to be a “contributing member of society.”

Which leads to my second concern, why are we not extending grace to this parent for choosing to spend time caring for her child at a tumultuous point in our lifetimes?

Third, why has the deep-rooted, American psychosis of putting the opinion of others first made us so ashamed of admitting: “I want to be with family. I need flexibility in my employment.”

I hope more Shawnee County businesses will allow employees to put wellness and family first.

ShaMecha Simms, Topeka