It’s a Brave New World for Working Parents

My heart goes out to those working parents with young kids trying to keep their children engaged in distance learning while also working from home now. My own kids are teenagers, so they’re pretty self-sufficient.

At PeopleResults, we embraced the virtual workplace long ago. We’ve had the tools and enablers in place to make working from home work for us for many years.

But for literally tens of thousands of workers out there, one or more parents in the house are now working from home while the kids are also trying to complete their school work in the house at the same time… and possibly find ways to not kill each other in the process! It’s even harder with little ones who are not school aged yet, and who normally go to daycare.

Recently I’ve seen articles such as:

In my own conversations with friends and clients, I’ve heard people talk about the background sounds during their conference calls/video conferences when co-workers’ children are making a ruckus in the background (sometimes from upstairs!). Not that they’re complaining. Just acknowledging the “new normal” during “sheltering in place”.

My kids step into view on my screen occasionally and I see my co-workers’ / clients’ family members do the same. I personally find it refreshing. I’ve heard others acknowledge the same… They appreciate the opportunity to “meet” their co-workers’ kids, find out what’s on their bookshelves, and gain a peek into what another’s home looks like.

If this whole situation stresses you out, here is my encouragement to you:

You are not alone.

All working parents are in this same situation right now… and will be for months to come (heavy sigh!). The illusion that we were working professionals without responsibilities at home too was just that… an illusion, which no longer exists.

Talk about it.

Everyone’s situation is unique. It varies dramatically based on your circumstances. Discuss the options available to you (or not) and what your company or manager can offer as returning to the office starts up in the coming weeks/months.

Remember your kids are watching you.

What do you want them to remember from this pandemic experience in the future? That mom or dad was stressed and anxious? Or that you modeled calmness, confidence, and a willingness to find a way? They didn’t ask for this situation any more than you did. Work together to partner on solutions that work specifically for your family.

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1