What is being asked of most parents right now is super human. To work full time, parent, and homeschool is beyond the capabilities of mere mortals and yet, you are doing it! So for that, you are amazing! Take a moment to bask in that.
Our CEO was asked by a woman during a recent presentation on resilience: “How can I show value to my company when I am working with children at home”.
This broke our hearts but we knew exactly what she was talking about. For those career loving parents that have found themselves in a position that they cannot compete with the productivity of your peers, frustrated with the amount they can get done, feel guilt for their job performance, parenting performance or realizing you don’t possess the skill set required to be an elementary school teacher, this is a humbling experience and one that stretches us to our limits. We feel like we are not bringing our best to any aspect of life.
There is so much value in this experience if we shift our mindset. This is the most impactful, mandated professional development you will ever have, if you so choose.
This is probably the predominant skill for most parents during this time. What NEEDS to be done today? What can wait? What am I willing to give up? You can think of this in terms of work or home.
Your mentorship skills are being practiced daily when you are teaching your children. Particularly when they fail or are faced with a challenge. You are demonstrating and teaching resilience.
3. Team Player
This is a team sport. Whether you think about how you can divide tasks at home, or at work. The ability to get your partner and family figuratively all going in the same direction is probably more challenging than any team task thrown your way – particularly if you have toddlers or teenagers.
We have all had to alter our communication to a digital world but the skill it takes to be on a Zoom call discussing analytics, alter the tone and language to speak to your spouse about meal plans (if you have someone to share the cooking) then to a colleague about the latest budget concerns and back to a three-year-old is an invaluable skill.
Trying to constantly negotiate with family members to get them to agree to let you work, to agree on a movie or to agree on well… anything when you are confined with them 24/7 is negotiating in a pressure cooker of tension, emotion and stress. Negotiation skills are one of the most highly sought after job skills and you now have practical training.
In order to practice resilience you need to face challenges, or even fail. It is more than likely that as a working parent, you have no shortage of challenges and failures. This is the time to practice those skills and own them.
Being creative with how to get work done; how to attend virtual meetings; how to entertain the children; how to keep your sanity; how to keep date night; and how to break both the tension and the monotony of being stuck in the same small group of people. Remember that people watch the show ‘Survivor’ because it’s not easy!
These skills for many of us have never been tested as much as in the last couple of months. If you manage a team from home, how to adapt to management in the virtual world. Manage a household that has become a workplace, a school, a daycare, an entertainment space etc. Management of change required with social distancing.
While COVID19 has been challenging for all of us, the compassion required when dealing with how it impacted others is paramount for success at this time. There is no more rigorous practice than sitting next to a 3-year-old as he cries because he wants to see his friends or a teenager missing high school graduation.
Of course, these are only a few of the skills acquired by working parents during this time.
Parents, you are providing MORE value to your company because you were a parent during a pandemic. Feel free to share this article and our other article on supporting employees that are working parents with your company.
For downloadable PDFs that you can share around the office, get them on our page of resources to help parents while working from home.