I don’t have kids.
Let me rephrase that. I do have kids. I just don’t have kids at home right now (they’re grown).
So, every day, when my husband and I sit down at our home-office desks, here’s what we do:
Here’s what I don’t have to do.
I’m not bouncing a baby while making a deadline.
I don’t have a toddler underfoot – and in my Zoom meetings.
I’ve never had to camouflage my world to make people think it looks like this, when really it looks like this.
I’m not up nights recalculating the metrics of safety versus well-being versus sanity that make up the impossible choice between school in classrooms or at home.
I’m not policing a high schooler’s online academics.
I’m not worrying about what a pandemic means for the college plans we’ve had for my senior…since forever.
I’m not asking myself if I should have sent my sophomore back to campus, or debating whether online college is really worth the financial stretch if I didn’t.
I’m not trying to figure out what a learning pod is, where to find one, and whether other parents will be mad at me if I join one.
I’m not managing a sleepless newborn, a tantrumming toddler, a restless grade schooler, and/or a surly teenager who just wants to get out of the house and do what normal kids used to do.
I’m not worrying all the time that the pandemic is going to make me choose family or career and that I’m going to have to give up all the momentum (not to mention the income) I’ve worked so hard for.
I’m not overseeing home schooling as a second job while also trying to do…this one.
I’m not trying to be a parent, teacher, employee…all at the same time.
This is not to say life is easy for the rest of us. It’s a pandemic and an election year and heaven knows what else 2020 has thrown at us (RBG!!!). It’s hard to be a human; it’s hard for people like this to talk about the sadness of being solitary because they know parents are overwhelmed by being in a constant crowd. I hope people living alone know it’s not a competition, and they can speak up – and they should. Because the only thing as hard as feeling besieged by people all the time, is not being around people at all.
But I remember what it was like raising kids. I remember playdates and babysitters and school – and all the things that used to provide air between work and parenting, and all the things that evaporated with COVID.
I remember all of it. And I can’t imagine doing any of it right now.
So if there are tangible things my company can do to make the easier, I’m all in.
To all my working parent colleagues and friends: truly, I don’t know how you’re doing it. Hang in there.
Resources for Working Parents
- For fun, at-home learning activities, check out World at Home.
- With everyone at home together, learn how to squash those inevitable sibling squabbles.