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Working from home (with kids!) during the COVID-19 crisis

By Jamie Goland, PAR Senior Editor/Digital Content Manager

I have worked from home for the past 6 years. I’ve become very good at bridging the 1,000-mile gap between my home and the PAR office. But that was before my children were home from school. And before my husband, a psychologist, decided to move his entire practice to telehealth sessions, which are conveniently taking place in a corner of our bedroom. It’s certainly a new reality (and a lot of people in what used to be a quiet house!).

In these last three weeks, I’ve learned to slow down. I am used to rushing from one conference call to another, shooting emails and texts while online, always in a frenetic push to the next item on my to-do list. After one day of trying to make that work in this new reality (while getting two kids used to e-learning and being quiet enough so Daddy’s patients don’t overhear complaints about said e-learning), I realized that multitasking was overrated. It will all get done, but maybe not during the working hours I’m used to. I edited an upcoming project, then I helped my son learn math. I did some writing, then the entire family took the dog on a walk. My coworkers have gotten used to my son bursting into video calls to tell a joke or my daughter sitting on my lap during a meeting.

This is not easy, but there’s a lot of wonderful. When was the last time my kids Facetimed their grandparents in the middle of the day? Why has my family never taken an online yoga class together? How is it possible that until today I didn’t know my four-year-old has been dreaming of adopting a yellow cat and naming him Richard? I’ve been able to bond with my coworkers, sharing tips on the best online drawing classes, recipes that are easy to make with pantry staples, and the funniest quarantine-related memes.

This is not my carefully planned and overly scheduled life. But it’s too daunting to focus on the negative. The only way this works is if we offer a little grace to others. But mostly, we need to offer a little grace to ourselves.