The math doesn’t work

Dear Parents,

I don’t know how you are doing it!

I was listening to an interview today with a human resources consultant. She was saying that managers were trying to figure out how to manage parents who were homeschooling kids at home while trying to work full time. Her suggestion to managers was to suggest to parents to be flexible by putting the kids to bed and then putting in two hours of work between 8 pm and 10 pm.

Yep. Work for hours after the kids go to bed. All I could shout at the radio was: “THIS IS UNREASONABLE!” During a pandemic. Somehow, this would solve a problem. I’m thinking: “This is going to create problems!!”

Here’s the deal: this pandemic is stressful.

It’s stressful on parents–are more irritable, have less ability to focus and concentrate effectively, need more down time and more sleep. Parents have less to give–and yet are required to give more than ever. Zoom meetings, being interrupted at home, alternate work strategies because of home meetings.

Kids are stressed–they need more cuddles, more books read, more support to do any kind of school work out of the classroom for the first time, more room for stress tantrums and short tempers. Their difficult behavior is a form of communication: “This is hard and scary and I need some help to feel safe!”

And we are all feeling the stress of the virus. Wash your hands. Stay 6 feet away. Pull the kids away. Explain to the kids. Remind the kids. Remind them again. Worry about the family member who is a front line worker. And remind the kids to wash their hands again–no, longer–you haven’t washed them long enough.

There was hardly enough of most parents of young children to go around before COVID-19. And now–the demands just increased, exponentially.

How is a person supposed to be a full time employee while having no childcare, and now teaching your child full time–while the child and you are both in a newly stressful situation?

The math does not work. 

Some of you might be at snapping point. This was something you took a deep breath and were going to ride out for 2 weeks. Now that it looks like this will go on for months yet–this must be beyond overwhelming.

We see you. Speak up. Don’t try to be a superhero. Don’t let yourself get run into the ground.

If you find:

  • something is too much, let the boss know.
  • the children are watching too much screens, know that it might be better than the alternative.
  • you feel yourself getting so tired and so frustrated, you don’t trust yourself to parent safely, call someone and say so.

Give the kids ice cream for supper–it won’t kill them. Crawl under the kitchen table and read books to them for hours if that’s all you folks can manage.

I’m sorry this is so hard. This isn’t fair to you. Take care.

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