Parenting in the best of times means learning new skills and adapting to a new balance between work, family, and self care. Enter the pandemic, with your child learning remotely beside you and self care rituals like going to the gym or socializing with friends are no longer an option - it can get really overwhelming.
The constant interruptions, lack of separation between ‘work time’ and ‘parent time’, and added responsibility of ‘teacher time’ have been tough on most parents. Compounded with anxiety around health, safety, and uncertain timelines for what’s next, everyone could use a break.
Among the challenges there have also been a lot of benefits to slowing down, changing the usual routine, and spending time together as a family. The sudden change has also led to new shared experiences and creative solutions for parents looking to fill long hours and gaps in curriculum. “I got a chance to spend time with my son on more educational activities than usual. It was amazing to see his little brain in action,” a Whereby parent of two in France offered. “More importantly, we were safe and healthy - the pandemic put things into perspective.”
Beyond the parent-child relationship, the pandemic also had an impact on how parents are relating to each other. “It's helped people be more open and honest about parenting challenges they face. I like the sense of solidarity that came out of this whole mess,” one Wherebyrd explained.
The Whereby Team’s Top Pandemic Parenting Tips
We asked team members who are also parents for their tried and true strategies for juggling work and parenting under one roof during lockdown.
- Get Outside: If local regulations allow, some fresh air can do wonders for everyone. “A garden to play football in to burn off energy… and a trampoline,” were advised by one dad of two.
- Embrace flexible hours: Most parents found alternating shift work with their partners, whether in 3 hour increments or splitting days, was the most effective strategy for keeping things under control. Whereby’s flexible work policies let team members plan their days in ways that work for their (and their little ones’) schedules.
- Buildable Toys: Interactive, challenging, time-consuming, educational, and fun with endless potential… the perfect pandemic parenting activity.
- Netflix: ...so you can chill (or meet the deadline, depending on the day).
- Soundproofing: Noise cancelling headphones were recommended more than once. Whereby offers a home office stipend so team members can customize their home office set up to be as comfortable as possible.
- Ask for help: From whoever, however, whenever you need it! There’s no shame in reaching out for support. For those looking to support the parents in their lives, Wherebyrds recommend offering specific help to make it easier to say ‘yes.’
- Let go of expectations: A few parents shared that letting go of the need to be perfect - whether it’s screen time, nutrition, house chores, or nighttime routines - has been key to staying afloat this year. “Just know that you’re the right parent for your child,” one Wherebyrd assured all parents who may be struggling with their own high expectations.
It also helps to be part of a team that doesn’t mind welcoming a few young guests to the online meeting room. “It was cool because I was in several meetings where we all had our kids on our laps! There’s a shared understanding among the team,” one mom shared, explaining how her Whereby team is making the hard days a little less stressful.
“It’s reflective of the overall Whereby culture: assuming best intent and being encouraging and supportive of each other as humans - not just as coworkers.”
“When I started I noticed people posting about clocking off work to go and LIVE THEIR LIVES - and not just junior people,” a newer team member explained. “So there's a real sense that the company understands you're more than an employee and wants to help preserve the space in your life to do all the other things that matter to you.”
Work is a major part of most peoples’ lives but becoming a parent or caring for elderly parents are also life-changing, time-consuming jobs that require energy and attention. For most, the ‘parent’ role is the most important job title they’ll have in their lives.
At Whereby, we believe that bringing your whole self to work means policies that reflect all your needs. Our parental leave policy aims to reflect the needs of our team members through every phase of family planning.
We’re hiring and we’d love to hear from you!