“What My Kids Have Taught Me About Working From Home”

“What My Kids Have Taught Me About Working From Home”

By Tricia O'Connor

We interrupt your morning influx of Election Day reminders with this very important NON-ELECTION blog post.

2020 has been rough. This week will likely continue the chaos we’ve all been forced to deal with.

It turns out though, many of our children are handling this tumultuous year better than we are. In fact, our kids have displayed downright inspiring behavior.

We chatted with some EBI employees about the life lessons they’ve learned from their kids while working from home.

“Take Care of Myself.”

Surprisingly during this pandemic my lovely children have taught me to take care of myself. Everyone has finally had a moment in time to actually slow down and see all that MOM does. They have actually said, “Mom, take some time for yourself, do something that makes you happy.”

I wondered when they would realize that this household runs off a well-oiled machine called MOM. These days I take long solo walks; I sit down and watch movies without folding a basket of clothes simultaneously; I have pampering time. Last, but not least, I pray more often.
– Patrice Montford-Mayes, Implementation Specialist  

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

I have a five- and eight-year-old, and by all accounts their lives have been turned upside down. They went from no school to hybrid school to 100% virtual school back to hybrid and are now supposed to go back full time in two weeks. Sports were canceled. They must wear masks all day, have limited recess and specials, and are not able to interact with the majority of their friends. Given these circumstances, they would have every right to be frustrated and to complain on a regular basis. However, they don’t.

They’ve never once complained about the schedule or limitations. They’ve never complained about wearing a mask. They seem to have a much better capability than most adults to put things in perspective and to not let uncontrollable circumstances ruin their day. It’s a valuable lesson for all of us to remember to not sweat the small stuff. In addition, it’s a good reminder that teachers in both the school and childcare systems are vastly undervalued and underpaid.
– Sean Kolarik, Vice President of Sales and Client Relations

“Multitasking is Easier Said Than Done.”

The pandemic was a shock to me like I can imagine it was for the rest of the world. With COVID-19 came working from home full time with an easily distracted seven-year-old who then had to turn to virtual learning. Working from home has made me realize that multitasking is easier said than done. However, after months of practice I believe I have mastered it. I get up to make sure my son has breakfast and get him logged in and ready for his Zoom live sessions every morning. Then I get myself clocked in and ready to start my workday.

It’s not easy staying focused when your child is asking when school is going to be over every five minutes and begging for a break. Juggling doing my own work and assisting my son with his assignments, and preparing lunch and snacks for the both of us, has made me realize that multitasking is what you need to master when working from home.
Sade Neal, Occupational Healthcare Specialist

“Cope With Honesty.”

Working from home with kids is always a challenge, but when you add a dose of quarantine and a sprinkle of virtual learning, it’s a cataclysmic event. I’ve worked from home for over 10 years. However, during this global pandemic, the pressures of running through the daily mental checklist of pending work projects, school lessons for the kids, feeding the dogs, making sure everyone is sanitizing, panicking over no toilet paper can make just about anyone lose it!

As parents sometimes we become accustomed to children being so resilient that we can sometimes underestimate how they are impacted by all this. A simple lesson my kids have taught me to help us all cope is honesty. Communicating to one other and not making assumptions. If one of us is having an off day we communicate our feelings openly and give that family member some space. We agree as a family when is the best time to do an activity together or watch a movie. We all, both parents and children, are feeling added pressure during this time, so trying to minimize any unnecessary stress has helped us create a great home and family vibe ❤.
– Olivia Gonzalez, Enterprise Account Manager

“It’s All a Learning Experience.”

I have two boys currently in school. Our parenting style hasn’t changed all that much, because we hold education in high regard, and we are used to adapting. Marcus (10) is very tech savvy. We have a schedule in place, and since I am also working at home, I’m able to see how he interacts with his classmates and teachers. I wouldn’t have this insight under “normal circumstances”. Maxwell (5) is also well versed in using the laptop (especially for his age!) and I provide a daily calendar with his class schedule that allows him and his daycare provider to be aware of his tasks for the day.

It’s all a learning experience. Not having that separation from your workspace and home space has been difficult at times and having to work, helping with school questions, and maintaining the household is exhausting at times. My fiancé is an essential worker in DC, so having to juggle all these things here at home gets crazy. Being a parent, you get used to it and do whatever you can for your kids. My kids are my motivation for everything!!!
Rachel Plater, Public Records Team Lead

“Patience and Planning.”

I have a daughter and her name is Elana. She is 6 years old and in first grade. Trying to juggle her schoolwork and my work has been a bumpy road throughout the days because she wants help from both myself and her teacher at the same time. There are CONSTANT questions all day throughout the day, which I’m not complaining about. Of course, I want to be involved in her schooling and do as much as possible, but it can make things complicated. What I have learned is a greater matter of patience and planning. When she has questions I tell her to try and write them down (which helps with her writing and spelling) and then when I have a moment I will read them and discuss it with her (unless immediate help is needed).

All in all, the pandemic hasn’t really affected us. We took advantage of it and bought a house. With the market the way it is, it was easy and cheaper! I hope that everyone stays safe and just makes the best out of what you have! Enjoy the moments you’re stuck in your house with your kids; one of these days they won’t be under your roof anymore and you’ll miss these days.
David Pack, Verifications Analyst

“My Little Beautiful Chaos.”

Since I’ve been working from home it’s definitely been the best of times and the worst of times. Some of the best times I’ve had are connecting with my family a lot more than usual since we’re not just going through the hustle and bustle of life. We’ve been made to slow down and learn and re-learn things about each other, since we’ve all been literally stuck in the house for weeks at a time.

With that being said, the worst of times comes from trying to have a controlled schedule in an environment that can seem uncontrollable. Everyone in my house can be on a Zoom call or Teams call all at the same time. Trying to find a corner in the house that doesn’t sound like we’re all at a concert is a challenge! Meanwhile, the youngest one in the house who’s not in any kind of school or work decides it’s always a great time to turn up Paw Patrol to the highest volume at random times of the day… and that’s just a snapshot into what I like to call “My little beautiful chaos.”
Eboni Lloyd, Verifications Team Lead

“Calendars For Days.”

“Is being a mommy hard?” My five-year-old asked me this yesterday with genuine interest and compassion, and to be honest, it caught me off guard!

If that question had been asked before the pandemic, I would have instantly laughed, given her a big, squeezy hug and told her being a mommy is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s not that I don’t still feel this way. COVID-19 has 100% taught me to slow down. Pace myself. Having children who are at home, while also working from home, has brought me to the humble realization that I can do it all, by not doing it all… or at least, not as quickly as I would have historically expected of myself. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel guilty now that careers and family have merged into one space, but now more than ever, it’s important to remember that it’s ok to just. slow. down.

“I’m not even sure what day it is” is probably the most common theme of 2020. The remedy for me? Calendars. Multiple calendars. Calendars for days. I have a calendar that hangs in the kitchen full of appointments, Zoom meetings, and anything else that pops up throughout the day/week/month. It has different colors and stickers to make sure certain appointments and events stand out.

Lastly, and yet the most difficult lesson I’ve personally had to learn since March of 2020, is to find time for yourself. Before the pandemic, I had the drive home to break up the day, decompress, listen (sing!) to loud music that I wanted to hear, replay a conversation or decision over and over in my head, or just drive for a while in blissful silence. By the time I got home, I was ready to shift into family mode. Today, there is no commute home. Work and home are the same place. It is critical that I/we/you turn off the computer at the end of the day and decompress. When you find that moment when the kids are settled, eating, watching a movie or asleep, take some time for yourself and read, exercise, sing, dance, laugh, call family or friends, connect with a partner, or just sit in blissful silence. Do whatever you like to do, for you. Even if it’s only in small increments, be nice to yourself. Self really needs it right now!
Michelle Nichols, Vice President of Operations and Delivery Systems

“FaceTime Can Actually Be Quite Fulfilling.”

I’ve always been an in-person type of guy. I like visiting my parents, hanging out with my friends at a favorite restaurant, summer BBQs in the back yard that last all day. Every few years, I meet up with my high school friends for a weekend. This year, we were supposed to meet in April. The pandemic put a sudden halt to all of the above.

My teenage daughter is also very social. Pre-pandemic, her typical week involved some kind of sport practice every weeknight and hanging out with her friends on Saturday. A few weeks into the lockdown, we talked about homeschooling, missing out on the team sports, and not being able to hang out with her friends. My concern was someone so social would begin to struggle emotionally pretty quickly. To my complete shock, she had adjusted quite nicely. Her soccer team had a Zoom “practice” every week. She would take her phone into the back yard and the coach would have them do individual drills as he watched and encouraged them.

I used to feel like the teenagers who were content with FaceTiming rather than in-person gatherings were really missing out. While FaceTime is not a total substitute to in-person interaction, once you get used to it, it actually can be quite fulfilling. My team at work video chats multiple times per day, helping me feel less isolated working from home. Regular FaceTimes with family have replaced visits. And my friends and I have started hanging out on Zoom. Who knows, we may end up seeing more of each other, as a Zoom meeting is much easier to arrange than trying to schedule a weekend trip with people coming from all over the country.
 Chris Fucci, Executive Creative Director

“Prioritize Your Work/Life Day.”

When asked what I have learned about work/life balance during COVID-19, my answer is a heck of a lot. Clients, colleagues, kids, and teachers are all very resilient and flexible, as long as you are honest about your challenges for the day. Having 25 devices on WiFi at the same time – and eating cereal for lunch because there’s no time to make anything else – are a couple of those challenges.

I’m learning to prioritize my work/life day based on the following: “Is anyone bleeding?”, “Will I lose my job if I don’t do this RIGHT NOW?”, “It’s quiet and I think they are still alive… time to finish those 15 e-mails I started and feel a major sense of accomplishment.”

Most importantly, the silver linings are abundant: I have learned more about how my unique and amazing children operate under pressure. Connections with remote colleagues and clients have become stronger and more real as we work through this pandemic together. Wanting to get up every morning and give it my best proves I’m working for a company I respect, in a job I love. Motherhood is a career in itself… and the job description calls for a daily dose of hugs, tears, frustration, faith, laughter, learning and compassion. And wine… always a nice glass of wine.
– Kristine Redko, Enterprise Account Manager

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About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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