Priya Amin, the CEO of Flexable, usually enjoys getting drawings from her 6-year-old son, Kirin. However, while she was working from home one night in December, he handed her a creation that many working parents can unfortunately relate to. In his picture, Kirin drew a little boy asking whether his mom is done working, to which she replies, "No." Understandably, the image rattled Priya.
"A few days ago, I was busy getting some last-minute things checked off my to do list, when my six year old snuck into my office and handed me a piece of paper," she explained in a post on LinkedIn. "At first, I glanced at it and said 'oh that's so good buddy!' but when I looked closer, I read four words that broke my heart — 'Mommy, are you done?' to which the 'mommy' in the picture answered 'No'. I looked at the clock — it was 6:05PM. Then I looked at my to-do list which seemed to be a mile long. My heart sank — although I don't like to admit it, this is the situation almost every night."
Priya is certainly not the first person to admit that she's been having trouble separating work from home life amid the pandemic. Between helping her kids with schoolwork, running errands, and checking the constant stream of notifications she gets on her phone, it's nearly impossible to balance it all. Often forced to choose between taking care of her kids and completing tasks for her job, Priya is often stressed about her productivity.
"The guilt associated with that is palpable," she explained. "Guilt for not doing enough work in the day. Guilt for not being at my best mentally or emotionally. Guilt for spending transactional time with my kids instead of intentional, meaningful time with them. That last type of guilt is what fell on me like a ton of bricks when this sweet drawing landed in my lap. My only solace (which isn't great) is that I'm not alone in this feeling. Working from home while having family obligations has taken a tremendous mental health toll on the American workforce, and trends show that remote work is here to stay."
She continued: "I guess the only good thing I can take from this experience is my kids love spending time with me. But it still doesn't make it easy, especially since my kids ask me almost on a daily basis when I'll be 'done', this was just the first time it was articulated in such a heartbreaking way. If you've ever gotten a drawing like this, or ever felt the guilt of feeling like you're 'failing' at balancing it all, please remember you aren't alone."
If, like Priya, you are struggling to work from home with your kids underfoot, check out these helpful tips that can help you balance your to-do list with parenting.