There’s a saying in show business: never work with children or animals. Well, that went out the window with our freedom of movement, didn’t it? Now, many of us are juggling work and sanity with home schooling and childcare, and the opportunities for both frustration and comedy gold are never-ending.
Even though we at CatalystOne are old hands at digital work, we’ve had our own share of teaching moments since we took to our homes to practice social distancing. We thought it would be fun to share a few of our personal best to let all the parents out there know, you are not alone!
Hope, mum to a four-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl
Our VP of Marketing had a panic moment during a recent live webinar:
“It was our most successful webinar to date, with almost 150 people in attendance. (Communication and Work Culture In the Time of Covid-19) It was also the first time we’ve done this kind of online event with our webcams on in the hope that it would lend a human touch to the presentation. I had told my husband and kids I’d be busy until 1pm, but of course we ran a few minutes over. But, at 1pm on the dot, bang went the door and in rushed my six-year-old daughter to loudly declare, ‘Mummy, my clothes are all wet from the rain!’ I was pretty quick on the mute button, but anyone who was watching me carefully would have seen me put my mum face on and ‘ask’ them to just give me a few more minutes.”
Janicke, mum to three- and six-year-old boys
In another webinar-related story, we asked our Sales Executive, Janicke, to help us out with a home-ergonomics video, since she’s also a physiotherapist. I asked her if she could take some video that I could record voiceovers for separately. The visuals I got back were perfect, with our calm, smiling Janicke showing a series of easy exercises to help prevent injuries and strain. How she kept so calm with her three-year-old son having a nuclear meltdown in the next room, I will never know, but she is my new work-from-home hero.
David, dad to a five-year-old boy
For another perspective, I talked to our Danish Marketing Manager, David:
“I used to need a break to relax before playing with my son after work. But these days, I’m constantly interrupted when he runs into my office to ask if I can play with him or to tell me something. I know I have no choice but to take short breaks and spend some time with him. While that means I get a bit less done, those small breaks actually end up as nice little recharging-sessions.”
But David has still had some less-than-fortunate situations.
“The other day I was running a workshop with two of my co-workers while my wife went to do a bit of grocery shopping. Normally my son would be able to entertain himself for a while but this time my workshop was interrupted when I heard from the bathroom: ‘DAAAAAD! I did a poop!’ That meant my workshop had to be paused for a moment, while I ‘took care of other business’. Overall, I think this time has brought me closer to my son, and I guess I have the Corona-virus to thank for it?”
Siri, mum to eleven- and fourteen-year-old boys
Meanwhile, one of our project managers, Siri, has been supervising homeschool for her eleven- and fourteen-year-old sons.
“Yesterday I was alone with the boys, and both needed my attention while I was on a Teams meeting. One needed to know how much he had to write in the facts section of a paper on the Netherlands, the other had to bake a cake for Food and Health class. The cake needed some ingredients, so I had to help with transferring money and working out what to buy. It was a challenge to be present in the meeting while fielding text messages about baking soda and how many apples to buy and so on. It’s nice to be together, but also a little challenging to set boundaries for when you can and can’t be disturbed. But being able to go for a walk with the dog and the children in the sun is luxury.”
Me, mum to an almost-ten-year-old girl
For my part, as a single mother with a 50/50 custody arrangement, I’ve had weeks where I can’t seem to get a single thing done because I need to supervise school work and provide companionship, and weeks where it’s quiet and I’m super productive, albeit a bit lonely. This week, my daughter dug out a hoop skirt I used for a Scarlet O’Hara costume several years ago and has been sashaying around our apartment in it, knocking over everything, dragging pet hair and dirt everywhere, and terrorising our two cats. She also insists on popping in to say hi on every single conference call I have because, “I think your team would like to see me, Mum. I’m very interesting.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed these stories from our work-from-home files. While we’re looking forward to the day things can return to a certain degree of normality, we’re also grateful for this extra time with our kids—especially with the Easter break allowing us to stop juggling and really enjoy family time. It won’t be long before we go back to complaining that we don't see them enough and they grow up too fast.
From all of us at CatalystOne, parents and non-parents alike, we wish you a safe, healthy and restful Easter.