'Marquette Moms' find comfort in support group during pandemic

Posted at 3:39 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 19:12:26-04

MILWAUKEE -- — A group of working moms at Marquette University formed a support group ten years ago. During COVID-19, having that connection with the community, even if it's virtual, is getting them through the ups and downs.

"Knowing that I was able to connect with my co-workers here just made it a lot more manageable because you didn't feel so alone," said Brigid Kinsella-Alba, a member of the group "Marquette Moms."

147 mothers made up of faculty and staff at the college rely on each other for support as they balance working and parenting during the pandemic.

"It's hard as a mother working and having your child there learning as well," said Eliza Gomez, a member of the group called "Marquette Moms."

"Being in a good mental state. It does take a toll on not only you but on your children," Gomez continued.

During COVID-19, the women admit their professional and home lives can feel intertwined.

"I don't necessarily want to be sending you emails at 10 o'clock at night. It's not because I expect a response, but this is when I'm able to get back to the work that needs to get done," said Renee Dowdy with the group.

Another mom in the group, Michelle Burton, said her husband works with the national guard, so she recently moved in with her parents to help her with childcare for her three-year-old child.

"He had to be gone a lot more, and I was having a lot of difficulties trying to get my work done and trying to take care of my child," Burton said.

"I'm anticipating this fall having to work a lot on the weekend," she said.

"It's very reassuring to have connections with coworkers and other moms in the area that you can have conversations with and feel like you're not the only one going crazy," Burton told TMJ4 News.

In the past few months, the group's email check-ins and video chats have been a lifeline, especially since the back to school subject can be stressful.

"Looking at will my child be going to school virtually? Or in person? And of all spaces for moms to have to be able to go, whatever your decision is, you're honored in that and we're here with you through it," said Dowdy.

Not everyone has found a network of support during COVID-19. Milwaukee therapist, Nicole Jackson, encourages parents struggling with anxiety to schedule a session with a therapist by visiting

"Unfortunately, I have not had a lot of parents reach out for support. I wish they would, but they haven't," Jackson said.

"I can only imagine the stress of having an accommodating employer and also needing to be a support to my child who has to continue school," she said.

If therapy isn't for you, Jackson suggests you start looking online.

"They can just type into the Facebook search engine, "support for parents" or "parenting support group,"' Jackson said.

Giving back has also helped the "Marquette Moms" focus on the positive. Recently some made masks for essential workers on campus.

"How to really create community together to be able to figure out as we go along, how to get through it," said member Brigid Kinsella-Alba.

"We're trying to make the most out of it," she said.

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