Over the past 13+ years of being a parent, there have been days here and there in which my wife or I had to work from home—usually due to something child-related. We’d have to take them to the doctor for a checkup, stay at home when one was sick or go see a show they put on at school—the list goes on. We managed those days, even though they were stressful, pretty successfully. However, the situation that began in March and continues today has made those one-off days look like a walk in the park.
Our days are stretched incredibly thin now, and it’s still summer break. Very soon, say, mid-September, we’ll need to make sure our children are actually learning while also trying to get work done for our clients and employers. Can we depend on the kids to learn algebra on their own or understand the difference between an atom and a molecule without our help? Do we need to hawk over them to make sure they study and pay attention to a teacher on Zoom? If we do, who will help get OUR work done? Someone has got to pay the bills! Does one parent watch the kids while the other works, and then switch places halfway through the day? It doesn’t work if one of us has to be in meetings all day. ARGH! Not that this makes me feel better, but the stress is being shared by many parents out there.
I hope employers empathize with their employees and consultants who are also parents. We must provide time to adjust to the new school year, whether kids are learning remotely, splitting time in and out of school, or face-to-face. And we need to be flexible as everyone continues to adjust to the ever-changing environment.
We are all in this together and we will only survive this period if we stick together. Being the CEO at FATFREE and a parent, I know how it feels on both sides. We have been, and will continue to be, as flexible and understanding as possible for all of our employees and consultants, including parents, during this crazy time. It is simply the right thing to do.