What if I told you this was a real news story on a local station…….
Hello and good evening, my name is Barbara Walterson broadcasting live. We are at the end of our second month of Sheltering at Home and tonight we’re bringing you a story from the front lines. I must warn you, this story is not for the faint of heart, viewer discretion is advised.
Everytown, USA – it started like any “normal” day. Mom was working remotely from home, with her 10-month old son, while dad went off to work. The morning was like most, juggling emails and conference calls between feedings, diaper changes and nap time. Her coworkers loved waving to her son as he played in the background, entertaining himself with his toys and eating his snacks.
“I knew I had an important thirty-minute meeting where I was the main presenter,” Mandy Mom Boss shared with our reporter.
“I gave my son a fresh bottle and set him up to watch his favorite show. Sixty seconds into the meeting I look over and he is sitting in a puddle of milk on our hardwood floors! My heart started racing. I quickly hit the mute button and stop video on the call, while my boss explained the project to the other attendees. I threw a blanket on the milk and tried to settle my son. He was not having it.”
“I scooped him up and rejoined the meeting. I tried to resume my presentation, as if all this were normal. My left hand struggled to advance the slides, while my right hand tried to contain my fidgeting son. I could barely hear myself over my heart, now pounding in my ears.”
“After what seemed like an eternity my boss said, ‘Would you like me to drive the slides?’. I’ve never felt such relief, frustration and sadness all in one moment. The meeting finally ended, I collapsed in my chair, shoulders slumped, feeling as if I ran an entire marathon in thirty minutes. My son just looked up at me with his big blue eyes and smiled, knowing he once again had my full attention.”
Our hearts go out to the mama in that story. It is a daily scenario for many working parents as they try to hold it together while sheltering at home with our kids.
We hear a lot about those on “the front lines” like the first responders, doctors, nurses and grocery store workers. But also, on the front lines are:
Earlier this week, I saw an article from a working mom in Canada who was asking their government for help for working parents. While I think that is a great idea, I don’t think this is a situation where a one-size fits all solution is going to work.
Parents are going to have to evaluate their situation based on their workload, the ages of their kids and the amount of support they have or don’t have. What do they need: more help around the house, more help at work, more time by themselves to decompress?
Clearly define and detail what you need. Tap into what is important and why it is a priority. Only you can evaluate and determine what you need Today.
Do not worry about sounding “selfish”.
Then ask for help, whether it’s from your boss or a neighbor or a teenager to watch the kids. It might be uncomfortable to ask. You might ask for a schedule that has never been asked for before – that’s ok.
Now is the time to redefine Work, Life and Family to align with what feels right for you.
Even though the end of this Shelter at Home appears to be near, we still have a long way to go. We know that things are not going to go “back to normal”. We have a chance to create a new normal, one that values and prioritizes people. Let’s make the most of our chance to make a change.
Don’t miss a post – sign up to receive the blog in your inbox every week. Scroll to the top of the page and you’ll see a box to enter your email in the upper right side of the page.
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.