I am a working parent and I am in the boat with all the working parents trying to paddle upstream and navigate in this unforeseen time. I am imaginative and capable of worrying about things outside my control and even I could not have imagined this situation. But then, who could have when we looked ahead at what we hoped to accomplish in 2020?
Tunheim has been operating from our homes since the middle of March. We had the technology and the processes in place – it is a priority of our culture to allow our employees to work where they want – so fortunately that part of the transition was seamless. For me, and I know for many parents with school age kids at home, the biggest challenge has been navigating my roles as a parent and a high performing colleague.
There are parts of this year that I have appreciated – being home more, forcing a slowdown and increasing family time. I love these things! But navigating work and my child’s needs as we start the school year is no joke. I’m just going to be honest: Preparing for school felt like a mess. Our school and district communicated a lot and we prepared our family for whichever learning approach we would have (in-person, hybrid, distance). The problem was not communications, it was not being able to answer basic questions about the year ahead (sound familiar?).
I have realized as I have processed each day just how massive a lesson in change management this is. We are collectively and individually navigating without a compass, bombarded by a plethora of misinformation and opinions about going back to school, not to mention forced election propaganda about it. It is no wonder I feel stressed.
I have good days where I tell myself “I’ve got this!” but then there are an equal number of days where I feel like a mom who is not able to meet my child’s needs for engagement and a co-worker who isn’t able to contribute at my level of expectation. And that just feels bad. My child deserves to be engaged. My colleagues and clients need my time and attention. I lead growth efforts, so I need to drive that work, so we deliver for our whole team and business. That is a lot of expectations on one imperfect human.
Now that we are a few days into distance learning, I can say that our school did a wonderful job planning over the summer because the approach is keeping my child engaged through most of the school day and I am hoping to settle into a new normal (until hybrid starts in October and we will shift again). This school year will continue to bring twists and turns as we navigate this time individually and collectively.
At the end of the day, “this too shall pass.” We will be part of history when we look back and talk about how we managed through 2020. At Tunheim, we are working hard to deliver as a team, have each other’s backs and give grace when one of us needs time and space to figure things out. I feel supported to have good days and bad days and give the same to my colleagues. I am so very grateful right now to be a part of Team Tunheim and hope others feel a similar support from their own colleagues. How are you navigating this time? Please share in the comments.