Being a Professional with ChildrenSeptember 7, 2020
Burnout. That’s what so many working parents are feeling right now in the midst of this healthcare, socioeconomic, and racial equity crisis. Parents are finding themselves at a loss while searching for the “right” thing to do. They are experiencing unprecedented issues with childcare and their children’s education, are faced with enigmatic questions fueled by fear, uncertainty, and complex curiosity, and are often having to expect the unexpected when it comes to life in general because 2020 has been one extremely bizarre year. These parents are tired because of the drastic increase in workload stemming from an unclear divide in working from home and typical home life has many parents overwhelmed as they try to find some sort of balance. Parents that work away from home are finding themselves in an equally frustrating, yet distinctly different situation. A lack of childcare and a higher risk of exposure to a deadly, novel virus makes these parents wearier on top of everything else happening because they have an additional concern to consider. The logistical commitment to work and the emotional commitment to children has parents second-guessing themselves because under these emotionally heightened conditions, parents and caregivers are worried that they have to choose one or the other.
Finding balance at a time like this seems almost impossible. In this stressed economy, working parents are faced with tough decisions. Two-parent homes are torn between one parent staying home to care for the children while the other earns the living wages. Single or custodial parent homes must scramble to realign their childcare network with a socially distanced society as dropping off their children to the non-custodial parent or another family member isn’t as easy as it once was because now there is a risk factor involved. One awkward situation after another is putting working parents in unique predicaments and while there is no definitive or direct solution, there is action they can take to restore some peace of mind.
Check-in with your network
Nearly everyone in the country is experiencing something similar. There may be people in your network that know something that you don’t. If you’re looking for childcare or educational resources, they may have a connection. If you’re looking for ways to separate your home office from your home life, they may have a solution. You should also check social media networks for support groups that have been recently established as a result of the pandemic because they are out there.
Let go of the guilt
You’re a parent and a professional. You’re not neglecting your children because you have to make a video call and you’re not neglecting your profession because your youngest is having an irrational meltdown from not being able to eat the remote. We all have good and bad days. Don’t beat yourself up over things that may or may not be out of your control. The mental health of working parents around the world is being tested.
Retrain, reeducate, renew
If you feel that your current profession isn’t sustainable for the foreseeable future, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere to earn a living. Many companies are hiring for work-at-home positions so there are opportunities out there. Additionally, a great deal of workforce training is being moved online. Career changes are becoming more convenient because you can take online classes to move up or move on from your current job. This is definitely a sacrifice but what part of being a working parent isn’t?