Adjusting to Working From Home, With Kids: For the Working Parent

by in Health and Wellness March 30, 2020

I will never forget that day, that moment. It was a Thursday afternoon. I was sitting in a 5th grade team planning meeting with my principal. By the second, he anxiously checked his phone.  Suddenly, a notification ping filled the room. It was the announcement he was waiting for. Due to the Chronavirus pandemic, school would be canceled tomorrow or for maybe even for weeks to come. 

On a week that already consisted of a full moon, Friday the 13th and a time change, this was the cherry on top. It felt like the Twilight Zone.  What now?  What does that mean? In a profession where daily communication and relationships are essential, how were we planning to teach from home? In addition to that, my own kids would be home! How’s that going to work?

Instantly, I felt out of sorts. I am a person who embraces routine.  As a mother of 4, my calendar is scheduled to the hour. What else would change? Anxiety bubbled up, but under it all, I tried to keep optimistic and calm. We can do this. It may look different, it may be messy, but we´ll find a way to make it work.  

It’s been two weeks since that meeting.  Is this stay-at home situation working? Yes and No. Daily, I try to figure out some sort of normalcy.  I struggle with guilt, the anxiety and balance of being a mom and a teacher, working from home. How strict should I be about routine and hours of daily instruction with my kids? Now that work is at home, where are the boundaries?  

One big challenge I have are the virtual meetings. How many of you have learned how to use a new meeting app? Google Meets, Skype, Facetime, Zoom, Flip Grid, and Marco Polo, which one is it today? What day is it today? 

Before each meetup starts, I work to make sure my kids are occupied with something, so that I can focus on the meeting. Guilty as charged, I often rely on electronic devices to do this, especially when it is raining outside. To be honest, my kids are on their screens way more than I would have ever let them on in the past. I wish they loved to read, or do art projects on their own, but that isn’t their style. They are active, love to experiment, and not to mention, loud! For the most part, they get along, but not always, and certainly not when I need to have a conference call meeting. Isn’t that how it goes. The moment I sign into a meeting all hell breaks loose!  

¨Hello everyone!  It’s so good to see you today.”, said my principal. “Finally! We are all signed on and the glitches are figured out.” 

Just then I hear it, ¨Mom!  Mom! He broke my Ipod.  Now I can’t talk to my friends!” my daughter screams from the living room.  

¨I did not!  She threw it at me!¨, says my son.  

This is followed by a lot of crying and yelling back and forth.

Dang it!  Now what?! I can mute the meeting, thank God, but what else should I do? Do I smile and pretend like all is calm in my world, or do I excuse myself? Those of you who have toddlers, I’m sure can relate!  It is difficult to find scheduled,  uninterrupted time when you are at home with kids. When my kids were little, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom in peace. What will happen if I can’t attend every minute of every meeting?¨ Is it ok?  I say, YES!

Here is why. Instead of feeling the guilt, I need to have grace and gratitude. Afterall, there has never been a time in my life where I can relate to so many people! If you have to go to your kids, go! You can come back, have them sit on your lap or sit next to you. It’s not ideal, but everyone gets it! They understand the situation we are in. 

As I see it, all of us are in an inventor phase. We are faced with the unknown, trying to create a new way to do our jobs. Many of us are gathering and learning a lot of new information in a very short timeframe. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but it’s ok.  

I still feel out of sorts most days, but as I tell my students,”If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I’m hoping this different way of home-work life will change our society for the better. Maybe these new experiences will lead to more patience, support and appreciation of each other. 

  1. Love it ❣️ Love you❣️

  2. I love this!!! I feel out of sorts too – filled with guilt one moment and enjoying the process the next moment. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that we’re all in this together.

  3. I love this piece. It’s so honest and- like you said-full of grace. You go, girl!!!!

  4. All words / thought are so true for so many. Great stuff. keep putting it out there.

  5. Can I simply just say what a comfort to find someone that genuinely understands what they are discussing on the web. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people have to read this and understand this side of your story. I cant believe you are not more popular since you certainly possess the gift.

  6. It is very comforting to see that others are suffering from the same problem as you, wow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *