Working 9-5?! Hardly. A working parent in pandemic
If you’re anything like me, after Christmas (which was very different in comparison to other years) you probably felt slightly unsettled. No real change and a thousand questions from little colleagues (no longer my children - they’re my work colleagues now) such as “When will things return?”, “When can we have a play date?” and “Can we all go to the zoo?”. But my personal favourite is: “when will Boris stop this and allow us to do things again?”.
Having to stay at home again with another national lockdown and schools closed, the dread appears at the thought of home-school; this time home-schooling two kids rather than just one. Managing and balancing work life, home life and now school life is an act in itself! I want to take a moment and shine a spotlight on working parents, as they get a rough ride. Maybe before I became a parent, I was a little judgemental too. But I understand now that my opinion was down to not previously knowing what that experience was like.
I now find myself in the same situation again, yet this time with two to contend with. I decided to take control of the situation and empower myself to say, “I will struggle with this”, but I knew I needed to do something to change. In my mind, I was personally seeing this as a weakness and it quite frankly isn’t. I was saying I won’t be able to work the way I did last time and focus on the kids. I communicated this, I had valid reasons, it was too hard last time. I struggled mentally. But I had solutions to how I would try to make it work for me.
Some may say mental health is a fashion statement, a trend or a buzz word. A simple ‘get out clause’ for when you’re overwhelmed with your workload or are just being lazy. Unfortunately, even friends of mine have experienced this treatment. But in these extraordinary circumstances, why have we not considered that actually, this is all a little too much for us all to consume in our minds?
I guess what I’m saying is, don’t struggle in silence - communicate with someone. Speak to your manager or a colleague. Be open as to why you need further support or why you may not be so available.
Most importantly, let’s remember that for a working parent, they’ve already begun work before the business day has even started. They’re currently doing the role of three people: the teacher, the worker and the parent. So, if they’re late for a meeting or you can see they’re stressed or looking hassled, think about asking one simple question: “how are you doing?”
If we are to learn anything from this whole situation, it’s that kindness and support win every time. And just to clarify - this doesn’t take away from the challenges of any other groups of people. The key to it all is a little empathy!
If you are struggling with teaching from home, we would love to offer some support. Our parent company DRP has produced a free home-schooling programme DRPG SPARKS that offers free lesson plans, worksheets, videos and presentations to bring to life the exciting world of the creative agency through curriculum-aligned, educational content. To register for access to these great home-schooling assets head to https://sparks.drpgroup.com/login