Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Bundle Guest Blogger, Employed at high growth tech company, and Mother of three.
On Monday, my company told us we’d all be working from home to protect us from this crazy COIVD-19 virus. I appreciated their thoughtfulness and respected my leadership’s values to put our safety first with this opportunity to telework. The first two days were pure bliss: working in my pajama pants with a blazer for virtual meetings, eating way too much M&Ms (do you know they come in a sharing size that make you feel less guilty about eating the whole bag?); and snickering at a co-worker’s flushing toilet in the background of a Skype session.
Well, that honeymoon phase was short lived with the announcement that the school my three precocious darlings attend was closing for the foreseeable future and shifting to an online learning platform. I almost dropped my phone. WHAT? For how long? My stress level went up from a slight concern about catching this virus to an exponential immense panic of how am I going to do all this $#!& and keep my sanity?! Did I mention I have three kids? Three kids that need a lot of attention, engagement, and supervision so they don't kill each other or destroy my house. How am I supposed to get any work done from home while schooling, supervising, feeding, and managing three rambunctious elementary school kids? My heart sunk...and I was filled with despair and growing anxiety about the immense feat ahead.
“Don’t worry”, the school administrator said , “the online learning portal we have is almost as good as the real thing.” Let’s just say the first day of online learning was not a success. My son kept playing legos while he watched a video of his math teacher reviewing addition and subtraction with fractions. I tried to supervise and get him to focus, but it was hard. I had a technical assessment to finish up for a client and a product review to prepare for in the next hour. Alas day one, failure. Day two was not much better, in fact, it was way worse. The kids, recognizing I was spread too thin to give them the order, structure and engagement they needed, took advantage of the situation. My daughter played with slime under the table as she listened to a lesson on the American Revolution. My other son sorted his Pokemon cards and battled them as he worked on his word work, and I sat there amidst the utter chaos thinking how am I ever going to get the break I need to just think, finish that email, or simply get a bite to eat?
This feeling, this failure, this exhaustion is what drove me to write this blog and share my story with other working parents to let them know: YOU ARE NOT ALONE and there is hope. While we all are figuring out how to attempt to juggle the near impossible task of telework and home-schooling children, there is light. I was referred by a friend to pilot this fabulous company’s virtual care experience, Bundle Breaks. And all I can say is that it was the best one hour of my week. All three of my kids were laser focused on the care provider who taught my kids--yes all of them--about how mirrors and reflection work, and ended the session reading a book with them. They had fun, learned some cool stuff, and I got to be alone to focus on work for an hour! YES, this is how it should be.
While I’ve accepted that this is our new reality and the best for our communities, I haven’t accepted that companies need to rethink the care options they provide working parents and modernize with the times to provide a care backup plan that’s available when care times get tough. Our companies can’t expect that we can be as equally as productive working from home while our children are “working” from home as well. In my opinion, once this crisis ends, industries need to reevaluate the benefits they provide working parents to help them thrive under any condition.