The Parents Are Not Alright, Or Are They?
In an article “The Parents are Not Alright”, Chloe Coony shares her perspective that even in the most privileged households, the pandemic is exposing the farce of how society treats families. This got us thinking here at Integrated Work. As a woman owned and operated business, many of us on the team are moms, and we thought it would be interesting to hear how some of us are handling the new world order of work and parenting from home. Here’s what two of our Senior Consultants shared about their evolving roles in the COVID-19 paradigm: work from home while also caring their your kids.
As a full-time single mom to a 6-year-old boy, Cooney’s April 5th article really resonates with me. The thoughts and feelings described in The Parents Are Not All Right are ones I’ve frequently had myself over the past several weeks. My feelings have ranged from one end of the continuum to the other. Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve felt…
- Grateful that I work for an innovative, forward-thinking firm that has been able to navigate this challenging time in a way that has kept us not only surviving but thriving
- Blessed to have flexibility to take breaks and shift my hours now that my 6-year-old is home full-time
- Excited to provide guidance and watch my son learn as he completes work sent from his school
- Pulled away from important work because I need to help him with his schoolwork
- Frustrated that screen time has become the default when I need him to do something independently
- Worried that my son’s brain will turn to mush if he continues to get so much screen time every day
- Longing to engage him in creative activities, games, and time outside
- Exhausted from getting up early to get some work done before he wakes up, juggling the roles of Senior Consultant and Mama all day, and spending some dedicated time with him once the workday ends.
Now that we are several weeks into this with no near-term end in sight, I’ve begun reflecting on the opportunity we have to define the future of work. Is there a way to truly achieve work-life balance? With everyone in the same boat, we can now have this conversation. I’ve begun thinking about:
- What does that balance look like?
- What strategies and resources are needed to achieve it?
- How do continue to have an honest dialogue about our human needs along with our desire to strive for accomplishment and success at work?
- Can we work smarter through the use of technology?
At Integrated Work, we take our ideal of “Human First” seriously and that has helped me tremendously as I navigate this challenging situation. While I certainly do not have all the answers, I am excited to explore the possibilities with my team and happy to feel supported by them.
Parenting and working during COVID-19 feel like playing a slot machine. Some days are golden, but most involve putting in lots of energy for a lackluster result. Our family’s best efforts look exceptionally different depending on the day. And our best today looks different than it did six weeks ago.
For parents and kids, the struggles are real. The rollercoaster is real. Happy moments can pivot in an instant to sadness and frustration as we try to carry on life as normally as possible. Pressures from work and kids needing us puts parents in the position of constantly assessing and making choices on, “What is it time for now?” For their part, school-age kiddos are faced with trying to stay engaged, missing their friends, and searching out alternatives to some of their most beloved activities. I sense grief on the part of both of my children at times.
There are beautiful things too… COVID-19 has encouraged creativity and greater tolerance for us, like my 11-year old giving me (and the dog) a haircut and painting her door and outlet covers in whatever way she wishes. There is a willingness to try new activities liking hatching quail eggs. There is connectedness in walks with my son, and conversations that contemplate what’s ahead. And still, as Cooney points out, many parents are not “alright”. Even those of us who have the extreme privilege of plenty of food, a roof over our heads, healthy bodies, space, technology, and a good internet connection maybe find ourselves in a dark spot.
Grace for ourselves and others is the best we can do during COVID-19, when our “best” is ever changing. Beyond being healthy, my wish for parents around the world during these strange, uncertain times is fortitude that models resilience to our children; radical acceptance for limitations during this present time; workplaces that recognize and allow us to be human first; direct and kind communicate so we can negotiate as needed; and leadership to set a course and direction for our families.
And should all this fail, there’s always tomorrow. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it like this, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Hang in there, Parents!