Bundle Guest Blogger, Director of Research at Top 100 Financial Firm, and Mother of 7.5 year old
I never realized how easy it is to focus when you are in an office environment. Sure, I squandered time listening to others water cooler banter, but the work got done and being around people who were hard-working energized me. I’m in the finance world and have loved its fast, exhilarating pace. So, you won’t be surprised that WFH has been, well, an adjustment as it has for others. I’m lucky as a single mom that I have an easy-going 7.5 year old son who often has his nose buried in a book but like all kids, he still needs attention and has a lot of pent up energy living in a city apartment. I try really hard to be thoughtful and on days when I know I'll be super busy, I rigorously outline a spreadsheet with activities my son can do. First few weeks of WFH/SFH had its bumps, but overall it was good and I felt like we were hitting a stride. At night, I would print off handouts and exercises to keep him engaged so I’d be covered if I had any market update calls or check-ins with clients.
Then week 4 hit like a ton of bricks. Long, never-ending days. But the breaking point was on a Thursday. My son was all set up with an activity and I got myself situated to kick off a morning brief on macroeconomic trends. Ten minutes in, all hell broke loose. My son decided he "wasn't into the reading activity" and wanted me to play with him NOW...and everyone on the call was aware of it. In horror, I quickly turned off the mic and told my son firmly not NOW! Then came...THE LOOK and the waterworks. Parents, you know what I’m talking about...my heart sunk. I wanted to hold him and comfort him, but I had a job to do. So I begrudgingly let him use his tablet to play Pokemon Shield. Yes, the shame...bad mommy with the tablet babysitter. But at least I was able to get through my call without interruptions. Go me.
That night, I was just exhausted from it all. The painstaking preparation I did for these activities that may or may not work with my son was weighing on me. As I scrolled through my mom groups on Facebook, I looked for advice, solutions, anything to help. Then I found two things I hadn't tried before. One parent recommended crafting activities for kids on YouTube and another used this online babysitting club where a live instructor directed a group of 20+ kids for $20 a session. I was desperate and willing to try anything.
For my first meeting the next day, I set my son up with a YouTuber who was teaching kids how to make a volcano out of Baking Soda and Vinegar. I figured he could learn about science while I worked and then I wouldn’t feel as guilty that he was in front of a screen. So...this worked great. He didn’t interrupt me at all but he didn’t watch the Volcano video either. I came over to find him watching videos of a kid playing Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild video game. Yeah, not exactly the learning I had in mind. So that night I signed him up for a live online group class. Something had to work, right? Well, when I peeked in to see how it was going, I saw the instructor on the computer reading a book from the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series and my son sitting in his beanbag chair playing with his Star Wars Legos. What the $#@! I thought. I just paid $20 for you to sit and play with Legos?! I took some deep breaths and asked my son, "What are you doing?" He said the class started off good, but several of the kids kept talking over each other and he got bored of the instructor. AHAHAHAH! I screamed in my head as I felt defeated once again.
I was half-assing it. My job, my kid, everything. My house looked like an explosion had happened. I was sick of cooking, tired of cleaning. I couldn’t keep living like this. That night I called a friend to get advice and a dose of sanity. It felt good to know I wasn't alone. Not the only failure out there. But the best thing from the call is now my go to solution for peace-of-mind and my saving grace for when I have to focus while WFH: The Bundle Break. Let me tell you more about this because parents, this will save your sanity and make you feel like you nailed it. Well, as least some of the time. But, hey in this day and state, I'll take some of the time.
I checked out Bundle Breaks and right away liked that their sessions seemed much more interactive than the virtual babysitting group I had put my son in before where the instructor hadn’t even noticed he had left. I really liked how the Breaks were structured and focused on learning with a trained provider through one-on-one engagement, which I knew my son would like. And, since the first session was free what did I have to lose? So honestly, I had low expectations given my last two virtual adventures. I signed my son up for an engineering lesson called Catapult Craziness but decided to sit with him, figuring I’d have to help him do the lesson. Well, I was wrong again. The instructor quickly developed rapport with my son and 5 minutes in, my son was laughing, chatting back and forth with Arielle as she engaged him with questions about his knowledge of catapults and taught him scientific terminology. Best part was that even after the hour ended, he played with the catapult they had built together for over an hour. JACKPOT!!!! My son even asked when his next Bundle Break would be and if next time I could do my own thing as "I was distracting." It was perfect timing too because earnings kicked off this week and now I can feel good about leaving him in such caring and engaging hands. He’s done a Break every day this week and the experience has just been so consistently high-quality. When Bundle promises you can take a break, they actually mean it! Hope you too find the breaks you need and if you or your child needs a break, seriously suggest trying Bundle Breaks out.