Photographs featured on The New York Times
Text by Christina Caron
When it came to child care, Young Choi and his wife, Samantha DuFlo, had fallen into a predictable routine.
Choi, 47, a barber, would drop off their 18-month-old daughter, River, at day care around 9 a.m. before heading into work. At the end of the day, DuFlo, 36, who owns a physical therapy practice in Baltimore, would pick up their daughter, feed and bathe her, and put her to bed. Her husband usually didn’t get home until after 7 p.m., when River was already asleep. Like many heterosexual couples, they relied on traditional gender roles when dividing their caretaking responsibilities, and most of the tasks, like potty training, meals and laundry, fell to DuFlo.
But that was before the pandemic.
In March, Maryland started shutting down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and everything changed. DuFlo had to quickly figure out how to move her business to a virtual platform and stay afloat for the duration of the closure. Their day care closed, and they were left without child care.
So, in less than 24 hours, DuFlo and her husband redefined their roles. Choi, who wasn’t cutting hair anymore, became River’s primary caretaker, teacher and “boo-boo healer.”