Double Duty- Parenting during COVID

Last week I met (via video conference of course) with a financial planner who began the meeting apologizing in advance for the fact that her first grader might be making an occasional appearance as he was at home in remote school. Remembering having also met with her the day after her son was born, I was eager to meet him, perhaps contrary to her expectation. 

The fact that he was home, and she was conducting her work with him just a few feet away, prompted our having a further conversation about the challenges of working remotely during Covid. Amongst the things she told me was that her mom, a retired schoolteacher, having recognized the inherent difficulties of balancing the responsibilities of her professional life with those of being a mom, had told her that she should make it very clear to her children that during the work day they should only interrupt her for an urgent matter; otherwise they should learn to entertain themselves. She went on to tell me that about a week after having had this conversation with her mom a package arrived in the mail. Her mom had made and sent to her the doll you see (above and below) so that she could easily hold it up to use as a visual reminder for her sons letting them know if she was available or not. She has found the system works well, her sons have become more independent, and she has been able to work effectively.

Not all people are as creative, resourceful or resourced as our doll-making grandmother, but many are and still miss opportunities to turn proverbial lemons into lemonade. So, from where I sit (with now grown kids and without the challenges of doing “double duty”) I celebrate people who are creatively problem solving during this unprecedented time… and I am hopeful that collectively we can gather together the best of these lessons learned and carry them forward.

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