This story is part of a weeklong series focusing on how life has changed – and will continue to – because of the pandemic.
Whitney Gaskins can’t find her phone.
She’s sitting on her couch under a blanket, and she just put socks on. It’s 11 a.m. Gaskins is an assistant dean at the University of Cincinnati. This is her office.
Her to-do list is covered in banana peel strands, and there is a tangle of extension cords by her feet. She searches for her phone on the couch, where there is a hair pick, a few toys and the children’s book, “The Three Ninja Pigs.”
“I can call you later,” Gaskins says during a virtual meeting. “If I can find my phone.”
Gaskins is the only Black female professor in UC’s engineering college, and she was the first Black person to receive a doctorate in biomedical engineering there. She was recently named a YWCA woman of the year and has been recognized by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chambermerce.
She is the type of woman, the type of engineer, the type of mom, the type of leader we should all aspire to be. And even she is struggling.
Because things have changed. Parenting has changed. Life as we know it has changed. The question is: Do we want it to go back to the way things were?
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It’s February now, and Gaskins’ husband is in the kitchen. He is drying a spatula when he looks down at the counter. There’s a cutting board, mixing…