Striking the balance as a work from home parent

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 notehere. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Book Review: Understanding Bullying on Religious Lines

Mothering a Muslim by Nazia Erum is an important book in our times. As the world embraces Islamophobia in daily rhetoric and our own nation walks a thin line of communal irrationality, Muslims are increasingly living threatened lives. The fear embeds in the minds and hearts of mothers, who face simple but difficult choices even in selecting a socially-acceptable name, when a child is born into a Muslim family.  Do all mothers face this diabolical question – would the child be bullied and socially ostracized if the child’s name connects it to a community? Not all but a Muslim mother, surely, be it in any part of the globe.

Continue reading “Book Review: Understanding Bullying on Religious Lines”

The Story of Control: My Musings on Netflix Series – The Crown

Like most people who were eagerly waiting for Season 4 of the Netflix series – The Crown, I devoured the season as soon as it arrived. This is not a review but a thought process that evolved as I watched the series. Many say that this season took many artistic liberties and was more sensitive to the cause of Princess Diana. I cannot comment on the accuracy of the storyline because ultimately this is the story of a family, a personal story, and there are so many things that we can only speculate in the absence of confirmed official statements.

From my perspective, The Crown series does not tell the story of Royalty or Power as much it reflects on the consequences of exerting too much Control. This is the story of every person carrying the burden of traditions and rules that have long lost their value, of young dominated by the family, unable to break free but choosing to lead dual lives. They learn to clandestinely pursue desires while maintaining a facade, getting lost in due course, depressed, confused but worst still ruining all who fell prey to their sneakiness and immaturity in not standing up for themselves.

For all their grandeur, the Royal Family has displayed the same flaws, failings, and follies that play out in households that do not evolve with the times, that believe children are to be controlled, burdened with hopes and aspirations. And as children scuttle to find their voice, make their stand, evolve an opinion, and attempt to get the family decision-makers see their point-of-view, they find ways to circumvent the system, to do what they want without the grand permission of the family head.

What is interesting is that when the superior forces in the family, see the children slipping away, they choose to embrace ignorance, surreptitiously enabling them to take their own course. It’s easier to look away than to accept flawed parenting, disastrous decisions, and unhealthy influences. If the weaker party in the game of pawns, adopts manipulative tactics and clandestine actions, who would blame them!

Is it hubris or true ignorance that makes parents turn a blind eye to how control parenting can damage the personality of an offspring? My viewpoint is that parents know where and how they failed but refuse to accept and remedy it. We see this theme in the screen adaptation of the story of the British monarchy. If there is any lesson to be learnt in The Crown, it may be history, may be politics, but it is definitely parenting and what not to do to mess up the life of people.

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