“We’re in this together!”
This phrase has become my mantra for the new normal me and my children have created for our family. I’m living the new reality many parents across the Indy community are facing—working from home while my children are also learning from home. To be exact, that’s three e-learners, one toddler and one me – Charles – trying hard to be the best employee, teacher and dad.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, there was never a playbook written for a moment like this so, I urge any parent struggling to take a moment to realize how truly difficult the situation they’re facing right now is. It’s not hard because you have difficult children, or you need to get up earlier or stay up later to get work done. It’s hard because, well, it’s just hard! Add in our own personal worries about the global pandemic and the daily tasks become even more difficult. I don’t have the answers – or that special playbook someone forgot to drop off at my door – by working together, my family and I have set out a few helpful strategies to get us through this difficult time.
Here are a few tips that have helped ease the stress and encouraged a productive environment for myself and my children:
- “Take a deep breath” – Ease up on yourself and your children, neither of you are used to this. Their world is upside down, as is yours. Give each other love and grace.
- “Let’s get realistic” – If you’re going from working kid-free to now sharing office space with new smaller co-workers,you’re going to have to adjust your expectations of productivity. List out work to be completed in order of priority and do the best you can.
- “Hands in, team on 3” – Delegate responsibilities! For those with multiple children of differing ages, make success a team effort. When I am in priority meetings or working on deadlines, my older children are essential in helping their young siblings complete their days successfully. The children can complete such activities as preparing simple lunches and assisting in each other’s school work.
- “Consider flexible working hours” – If you have the type of career where you are evaluated on the work you complete and not the time of day it’s completed, it may be a good idea to shift your working hours to allow more time to focus on work or assisting the children. I can get the bulk of my work completed when my kids are finished with the school day or in bed for the night.
- “Breaks to play and parent” – If you need to give your children a day off from school so that you can prepare for a big project or meeting, go for it. If you have an open morning or afternoon and want to hang out with your children during their scheduled coursework, do it. There’s no one right way to get through this.
Our new world is unprecedented and hard. You can and will get through this because like I say to my children at least three times a week, we’re in this together and you’re not alone.
Charles is a Promotions Manager for Eli Lilly and Company. A passionate Indy ambassador, Charles has served the community on several local committees and boards including NCAA Final Four Host Committee, IndyHub Corporate Collective, United Way of Central Indiana Emerging Leaders Steering Committee, City of Indianapolis Young Professionals Bicentennial Committee, The Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League, and the Irsay Family YMCA at CityWay. When not working in the Indy community, he can be found spending time with his family finding new places to visit and new adventures to conquer.