Katy Moms Brave New Normal to Deliver Essential Services


May 19, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark and Jennifer Miko

Many working moms are juggling a new kind of ”normal” as they care for their children during the pandemic. Some Katy moms provide the community with vital services while balancing homeschooling, childcare, and managing a household.

Jennifer Tondera

Deputy, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Kids and Cops Unit

While everyone adjusts to life in a pandemic, for the Tondera family things aren’t that different. Both Jennifer and her husband are deputies with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. They have two daughters, ages four and seven. Jennifer is a deputy with the Kids and Cops unit and her position requires she serve and protect the community even with the added concerns of coronavirus.

Community Outreach

My role at work has been altered somewhat from the pandemic, but not drastically,” says Jennifer. “I work in the Community Services division at the Sheriff's Office, and we participate in multiple community outreach events all over the county. While this pandemic has altered how we come in contact with citizens, we are still able to provide the services that are needed during this difficult time.”

Having both parents working in law enforcement has always been a concern even before a pandemic. Jennifer admits they struggle to "leave work behind."

“With my husband and I both being in this line of work, sometimes I feel that can make it twice as difficult," says Jennifer. "We have learned over the years how to separate the two, and have also learned to set aside a specific time at the end of everyday to talk about work one on one with each other.”

Like many Katy families, the Tondra children are learning virtually these days. Their older daughter loves using the computer to see and chat with her classmates and teachers.

“She enjoys watching the educational videos the teachers have created to help them with their assignments,” says Jennifer.

Their childcare facility has been open to essential working parents during this time.

Focus on Safety Precautions

Children may find it difficult to cope in this unusual environment. Parents who are also first responders experience extra concern.

“As first responders, we accepted long ago that we will sometimes be faced with situations that might affect our family,” says Jennifer. “As always we do our best to use as many safety precautions as possible, but there is always that risk and concern we could bring these types of things around our loved ones.”

But with the worry and stress, Jennifer, like many Katy, is finding joy in this time.

“I know personally, I can get wrapped up in so many other things going on around me and allow those thing to consume so much of my time and energy,” says Jennifer. “It's easy to forget to stop and focus on what's really important.”

Like many, family time for the Tondera family includes their dogs. Both of their dogs are from the K9 unit. Kaja is retired now but Gaz goes to work each day with his Daddy/handler.