Which means, it's sort of business as usual. No kid really has a choice to participate this year – they’ve been given a front row seat to their parents’ work life whether they like it or not. For my 1-year-old, all she knows about my work (and my husband’s) is that it takes attention away from her.
As soon as either of us open our laptops within her view, she’s scurrying over to crawl on our lap. She knows we’re absorbed in this thing that has lights and makes noise when you bang on it, and she wants in. It’s the coolest toy ever, made way more intriguing by the fact that she’s not allowed to touch it. So, my husband and I have to divide and conquer – as one us distracts her with a book (or probably a cracker), the other hurries upstairs to get some work done.
Despite the difficulties in balancing it all, I’m prioritizing, and savoring, quality time with my daughter. She doesn’t understand that mommy and daddy need to get this or that done on that cool toy, but she does understand when I’m not paying attention to her. So, when she wants to start her day off by reading the same book 1000 times, I have my coffee, enjoy the snuggles, and try to keep my phone out of reach. Because this is the best part of working from home with her – getting to actually have more of these moments. Taking her for morning walks, watching her first steps, having unrushed, cuddly morning nursing sessions (though now she only wants to awkwardly stand when nursing, but at least we’re in our pjs), and just enjoying all this extra bonus time.
I asked some of my co-workers what the best and worst parts of working from home with their children are, and it’s nice to know we’re all experiencing the same kind of pits and peaks during this crazy situation.
Amanda, mom of a 16-month old
Best thing about “working” with my son is getting to see all his new milestones and hear his vocabulary build every single day. I see him learning and growing every day, which I wouldn’t be able to if I was in the office with him at daycare. As great as that is, he hates napping, so there are very little breaks! My husband and I try to juggle who is watching him versus who is working. Both of us end up working evenings just to get everything done.
All in all, this time is great, and we will never have it again. We are trying to enjoy all parts of our new normal. My son, Jamie, is really into all of our Zoom meetings. He loves watching and usually waves at whoever is talking. He also has his own desk but will only sit still there for 5 minutes, if I’m lucky!
Kara, mom of a 13-year-old
The best thing about working at home right now is being able to take breaks throughout the day to help my daughter with homework, study sessions, school projects, and at the end of the day – crafts! My daughter knows how to cook for herself and is very self-sufficient in general, but since we’ve been home, she has conveniently “forgotten” how to prepare food (“MOM! Can you make me a bowl of cereal?”), and my daily mantra has become: “Brush your teeth! Brush your hair! Change your clothes!” I feel like I have a 4-year-old again!
Stacy, mom of a 5-year-old
There are tons of laughs, hugs, and snuggles throughout the day. And I can definitely use them these days, as it’s hard to explain our new normal to an almost 5-year-old. She told me and my husband the other day that she hates when we work because it makes her sad that we aren’t paying attention to her.
Katy, mom of a 5-year-old
Getting to see my son, Hunter, more often is the best. My Spiderman-obsessed son is the comical reprieve during the day – even just hearing his voice and laugh brings a smile to my face. These little things definitely make my day feel a little less chaotic in these crazy times. But separating these two worlds – home and work – is difficult. At least 10 times a day, I hear, “Mommy can you play with me? I just want you to play with me.” It breaks my heart, especially when I am in the midst of trying to get a project done and really can’t step away from my laptop. Luckily for me, I have a supportive husband who teaches and can get most of his work done before my day starts.
The “comical reprieve” is probably the thing keeping most of sane these days, even when our little one is getting into mischief, like my co-worker Sara’s son. After getting off a conference call with her boss, Sara thought it was all a little too quiet. She found her son Jack playing “pool” in the bathroom sink with toilet paper and his bat mobile. Flooded house.
Happy bring your kid to work day!