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day in the life

One Woman, Many Responsibilities

Being a woman in the 21st century often means wearing many hats.

Nichola Cox with her grandniece, Khloe. | Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Nichola Cox has a full-time career as a business managing consultant for a global technology and services company. She is also a caregiver for several members of her family—a full-time job in itself. With the help of her 70ish-year-old mother, Nichola cares for her 7-year-old grandniece, Khloe, and her 101-year-old grandmother, Josephine. Like most women in America, Nichola struggles to find enough time in the day to manage all of her responsibilities. But her love for her family and deep spiritual roots keep Nichola grounded and focused on what needs to be done.

This is what it looks like to be a woman in 2018.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Nichola Cox’s day begins at 6:30am. Monday through Friday, she cares for Khloe, so feeding the energetic 7-year-old and getting her off to school is the top priority. Nichola and her mother, Colleen, have been Khloe’s primary weekday caregivers for three years now. When Nichola’s niece Christina had Khloe at a young age, Nichola told her, “You can still be who you want to be, and we will support you. Your dreams aren’t over. Whatever you need, we are here for you.”

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Nichola walks Khloe to the car and drives her to school. Khloe sleeps at Nichola’s mother’s house, but the two women share the responsibility of caring for Khloe, as well as Nichola’s grandmother, Josephine.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Nichola checks email from her mother’s dining room table today. Depending on the work project she is involved with, Nichola might find herself traveling a lot for business. But lately, she has been able to arrange her schedule so that most of her work is done remotely, making it easier to manage the rest of her life. “The work environment is changing. It used to be that clients wanted you in the office—that face-to-face time was important to them. Now, most clients realize that we can be just as effective working remotely,” she says.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

While Nichola checks email, Colleen prepares Josephine’s medication and sorts out today’s pills.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Colleen helps Josephine down the stairs and to Nichola’s waiting car. Then they’re off to Josephine’s doctor appointment.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

At 101 years young, Josephine credits her longevity to holistic medicine and regular acupuncture treatments, which she receives once a month. She also undergoes cupping, which helps to open her lungs—an issue since last year’s bout of pneumonia. Josephine believes the keys to living to 101 are staying out of the sun, keeping your body clean, and not holding grudges.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

“She’s getting more forgetful,” Nichola says of her grandmother. Nichola feels lucky that her job is flexible enough to allow time to help care for Josephine, with whom she is very close. Nichola takes her grandmother with her whenever she can to keep her active. They shop, take car trips and often take vacations together.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Later, Nichola picks her grandniece up from school. Most days, Khloe goes to an aftercare program, since picking her up at dismissal time is challenging.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

As Khloe plays in her room at Colleen's house after school, Nichola helps prepare dinner for the family.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

A family prayer before dinner. Despite busy lives, the Cox Family makes it a priority to carve out quality time together. “It’s important that all of us stay connected,” she explains. They get together as often as possible to share a meal and talk about what’s happening in their lives.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

After dinner, Nichola’s niece Christina comes by to visit with Khloe and the rest of the family.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Christina brings her younger daughter, Chelsea, to the family gathering, too. The sisters don’t live in the same house, so the family makes sure to get them together as often as they can. “Khloe is the product of a large, extended, modern family,” Nichola explains. “So it’s important that she, and we all, stay connected.”

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

Nichola plays a card game with Chelsea.

Photo credit: Jackie Molloy/The Well

“It’s a lot to juggle, but it’s so important,” Nichola says. “That’s just the way our family has always operated. My parents were very close to their aunts and uncles. My grandmother was the same way. We’ve always had an inclusive perspective on what is a family. We step in for one another when we need to. It’s worth the extra effort.”

Next Steps and Useful Resources

Published May 8th, 2018