Managing the closures of schools, offices and care facilities can be overwhelming for working parents.
• Flexibility is key during this challenging period; perfectionism the enemy.
• Self-isolation need not lead to emotional disconnection.
Across the world, schools and daycare centres are rapidly closing their doors in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While this is incredibly important for the health of our communities, working parents face complex decisions about how to manage work and family demands.
Here are some tips on how to find perspective and a sense of balance as you prepare to work and parent within the confines of coronavirus self-isolation.
1. Talk about values
These unprecedented times provide an opportunity to strengthen and express our values as individuals and as families. At both work and at home, we can engage in deeper conversation about what matters most to us. At work, this may mean speaking up to connect your organization’s values to decisions about social distancing or homeworking practices. You may use this as an opportunity to be more emotionally honest – to talk about an immune-compromised member of your family, or the shifting childcare demands you are facing.
By thinking and talking about these in terms of values (rather than just how the organization needs to accommodate you), you are growing as a leader. In the same way, you can lead your family in conversations about values, as well. You can invite your children to help you identify those values that are important to your family and how this provides you with an opportunity to express them. For example, if your family values helping those in need, talk about how maintaining a physical distance from people allows you to live that.
And this is an opportunity to show your children how values translate into actions. They may have some good ideas, too. For example, [author] Alyssa’s kids came up with the idea of offering to clean the cages of the class pets who were staying at the house of a friend.