A poignant post on LinkedIn by a woman leader about work from home and personal life “imbalance” caught my eye yesterday. You can read Kim Crean’s post – She wrote me a note – here. It got me reassessing how it’s never been easy for working parents. The pandemic-driven work from the home situation has brought all our job stress, conversations, and reactions to the home.
Children hear everything; they imbibe our stress; they wonder about our problems. They are struggling with loneliness and online education. As a parent, I have had moments like these in the past 2 years. The workday begins early and goes on until you can convince yourself not to check the next email.
The lessons I learned was to:
- Keep the weekends free and for the home. Resist the temptation to check emails unless there is something really important going on. Every weekend cannot have something demanding urgent attention.
- Be aware of your child’s schoolwork and online interactions. Let them know you are there to guide them. Take interest in their day. I helped my son with some essays for his winter break homework this week and I enjoyed it. We learned things together.
- Take a break, sneak in a snack, indulge in a light banter in between work, just as you would do in the office. Don’t remain glued to your home office. Your child will also get a break from constant screen viewing.
- Even the youngest of kids can understand things explained to them. So, if you know there is an important meeting coming up, let them know. Talk about the importance of being quiet and disciplined for that half-an-hour. Thank them for adjusting. Reward appropriately, if needed. Acknowledge their contribution to your work life. It usually sets a trend and the children pick up cues for similar circumstances.
My 11-year old has held up post-it notes asking something when I am on a call. How different is it from diversions at the workplace – the message ping, a quick scribble of Lunch! on your desk whiteboard by a colleague, a gesture from across the hallway by a friend? It is not. Take it all in your stride.
We are humans navigating the strangest of times. Be gentle with yourself. A few years down the line you will recall. these days with your children. Your family 👪 is the best team you are working with right now.