3 moms share the moment they decided to quit their jobs: 'They wanted me back in the office, so I had no choice'

3 moms share the moment they decided to quit their jobs: 'They wanted me back in the office, so I had no choice'
L-R: Imani Jones, Alexandra Khoobani, Pita Brooks.Courtesy: Imani Jones/Maegen Christie, Alexandra Khoobani, Pita Brooks.
  • Insider spoke with three mothers who quit their jobs due to childcare needs.
  • Imani Jones, 28, a makeup artist, needed to be home to care for her son who has autism.

Roughly one million women in the US have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic. While the reasons for leaving can be varied and complex, key factors for many women are often insufficient pay and caregiving responsibilities.

Insider spoke with three working moms who left their jobs to learn why — and how they made the decision to quit.

The following stories are based on conversations with the sources. Their statements have been edited for length and clarity.

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Imani Jones, 28, was a makeup artist in New York, NY, before she left her job in October 2016

3 moms share the moment they decided to quit their jobs: 'They wanted me back in the office, so I had no choice'
Imani Jones.Courtesy: Maegen Christie

I was just breaking into the beauty industry as a makeup artist when I became a mother to my son, Jude, in May 2016. I was completely enamored by my baby, but was also itching to get back to work. My leave of absence initially was supposed to last for only six weeks, and I returned for a few shifts after he was born. But then Jude's dad and I broke up, and I had no one I could consistently rely on to watch the baby.


Then when my son was 22 months old, he was diagnosed with autism. I didn't feel comfortable leaving him in someone else's care, and so I relied solely on public assistance and social security from Jude's disability, as well as financial help from loved ones, so that I could stay at home. I stopped picking up shifts entirely by October 2016.

Some days I do grieve my past self before motherhood. I think of what I could have become professionally if only I'd had the right resources and financial support.

At the same time, I know that at least for now, my son needs my complete attention. I enjoy spending time with him, and I feel fulfilled by working on my blog,"The Hippy Mom," an unpaid, passion project where I pass along all I've learned about autism and the special education system to help other families with children with special needs.

Pita Brooks, 43, was a college administrator in Lakewood, Ohio, before she left her job in August 2021

3 moms share the moment they decided to quit their jobs: 'They wanted me back in the office, so I had no choice'
Pita Brooks.Courtesy: Pita Brooks

A week after her birth in February 2021, my daughter JJ started losing function of one of her legs and developing jaundice, which tipped us off that something was wrong. A couple of hospital stays later, doctors confirmed that she had neuroblastoma, a type of cancer. She underwent spinal surgery at 10 days old followed by chemotherapy for two months, which quickly exhausted my maternity leave.


JJ is immunocompromised and requires catheterization every four hours, so I reached out to HR to ask if I could continue working remotely, as we'd been doing throughout the pandemic. HR told me accommodations could only be made if the employee was disabled, not their child. They wanted me back in the office, so I had no choice but to quit in August 2021.

Thankfully, my husband works full-time with insurance benefits, but it's still been difficult without two incomes. We have a 17-year-old about to go to college and constant medical bills. I'm also sad that I lost my free tuition as a college employee as I'd been working toward a master's degree.

When I return to work, it'll have to be remote and flexible, and I want my job to be interesting, even if it means making less money. But there have been certain upsides of quitting my job: I've become a better budgeter, can prioritize my daughter, and no longer live for my work.

Alexandra Khoobani, 37, was a social worker for family and children's services in Montrose, New York, before she left her job in October 2017

3 moms share the moment they decided to quit their jobs: 'They wanted me back in the office, so I had no choice'
Alexandra Khoobani.Courtesy: Alexandra Khoobani

I quit my job as a licensed clinical social worker in October 2017 after having my child. I told my boss I was leaving because childcare would have cost me easily more than 50% of my take-home salary, and that the commute — one hour each way — was just too long. Working remotely was never an option in my line of work.


This was all true, but the more complicated reason for my leaving was that I wanted to embrace my role as mother. Working for 14 hours some days and responding to other families in crisis at all hours didn't feel right knowing that my own baby was at home, crying for her mom.

After I quit, we lived off my husband's salary and relied on his health insurance. We also moved back in with my parents for some time to save money. It wasn't ideal, but it was worth it.

I appreciate the intellectual stimulation that comes from working outside the home, but not if it's at the expense of my mental health and being present for my family. I hope I'll never have to return to full-time work.