Double Shift plans for the future, when planning feels impossible

Usually around dinner time, in the chaos of getting children fed or cleaning up I see the number flash from Durham Public Schools.

Double Shift plans for the future, when planning feels impossible
Photo by Kimberly Farmer / Unsplash

Double Shifters,

Usually around dinner time, in the chaos of getting children fed or cleaning up I see the number flash from Durham Public Schools. Frequently, it’s the same message, I can almost recite it from memory:

Please hold for an important message from Durham Public Schools:
Good Evening XXX Families, This is Principal xxx
We’ve been informed by the health department that 4 individuals in our school have tested positive for COVID-19. If you were not already contacted by the contact tracers, your student was not a close contact of these individuals. School will resume tomorrow for your student. Thank you and have a good night.

I’ve accepted that we may get COVID, but so far we haven’t. The state of limbo is numbing. Another day that we didn’t get COVID, I think to myself. How strange. I’m mildly pleased but mostly trepidatious. What the pandemic has robbed me and so many of us is an ability to visualize the future. It’s Wednesday. Is it too soon to think about the weekend? What if we have COVID by then? My husband would like to go on our first trip alone together without kids since the twins were born for our 10th wedding anniversary this summer. Hmm. I wonder what summer will be like?  Is scrolling hotels in Iceland indulging in a healthy fantasy life, or just leading myself to disappointment? 

Before the pandemic, being a parent required accepting a fair amount of daily precarity. But now, of course, for many of us it feels like one of the most powerful forces governing our lives. Since this summer, we’ve been following some moms to find out the impact the monthly Child Tax Credit had on their families. While the financial impact is very real, one thing we found in our reporting was how those monthly payments really helped buffer against precarity, and how the positive psychological impact of this brief public policy experiment gave families more than just a cushion in the bank. We made this episode in collaboration with the Better Life Lab at New America, and I can’t wait for you to hear these powerful stories, like that of Christina Darling, a single mom in New Hampshire, who’s CTC payments transformed her life, in good but also unexpected ways. Listen Now.

And now, some news from us: Despite all the uncertainty in the world, there are few things that are clear. Our next episode, out February 9th, will be our last before an indefinite pause. This is a bittersweet decision for me and Angela, but one I feel is best for me personally, financially, and in terms of what my goals are for the impact my work can have. We are going to get into all of the details and the reasons behind what we’re calling a reincarnation in our Feb 9th episode and newsletter. We have lots of great stuff planned for both members of The Double Shift and fans of me and Angela’s written work, so don’t worry, we’ll still be very much in your lives. The podcast may be taking an indefinite break, but I am not. And neither is this community and neither is this movement. I continue to believe this work is more important than ever and I’m excited about shifting my focus to other mediums to have a bigger impact with Double Shift thinking. Much more on all of this coming soon.

In the meantime, If the podcast has meant something to you or had an impact on your life, send us an email or an audio recording from the voice memo app in your phone and tell us about it at We may use it in our February 9th episode. We’d love to hear from you during this season of transition.

Til soon,


ICYMI: I wrote my first op-ed for TIME: “I’m going to suggest something radical. Let’s stop sharing the human stories about why paid leave is “the right thing to do” or making the case that it would be an important social-safety-net expansion and let’s start talking about money. American capitalism doesn’t have a heart, so let’s start speaking loudly, and perhaps exclusively, in the language of the bottom line.”

What I’m Reading: My Friend and Double Shift advisor Eve Rodsky has come out with a wonderful second book, Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim your Creative Life in a Too Busy World. This book has been VERY thought provoking for me, and has challenged me to think a lot more about non-work-related creativity and how much I’ve neglected it in recent years!

A Balm for our Troubled Times: I’ve been doing news blackouts on the weekends, and have done a lot of social media app deleting. It is wonderful for my mental health! Now, when I feel the urge to idly scroll for a few minutes, my go to is the NYTimes Cooking App. I was particularly enamored with this Vegan Tantanmen Ramen recipe. Turns out, in this cooking app, there’s no sign of COVID and no decline of Democracy!! Feel free to send me your favorite recipes. Reading recipes is my own weighted blanket of calm. 


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