For parents who have the ability to work from home during this time of social distancing due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the new combination of parenting, working, and, for some, supervising their children's distance learning is proving to be a bit of a challenge.
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, 52, who is working from home alongside daughters Abigail, 5, and Maile, 1, illustrated that truth perfectly in one tweet.
"So today I didn't realize i was off mute and told the Democratic Caucus (including a couple recent presidential candidates) that '...Mommy is working honey, please go potty and wash your hands then Mommy will come downstairs.' How’s your working from home going?" Duckworth tweeted.
And remote working parents all over the country nodded, groaned, and chuckled in solidarity, even as they acknowledge their gratitude for being able to do their jobs.
For Nicolette Vilmos, continuing to work has become a juggling act.
"I've been carrying the mental load of working full time while trying to become a homeschool teacher and making lesson plans and making sure my kids don't kill each other or go stir-crazy," said Vilmos, a business litigation attorney and a mother of four boys ages 6, 8, 9, and 13 in Central Florida. Both she and her husband are working from home while taking social distancing precautions.
It has not been seamless.
Vilmos has found herself attending legal hearings by telephone while chaos swirls around her. "I'm on the call for the hearing, and the boys are staging a WWE wrestling match and screaming at each other while at the same time, our 80-pound dog spots another dog across the street through the window and starts howling and barking," she told TODAY Parents.
"I have set up four Zoom accounts, four distance learning app accounts and log-ins, and four separate daily schedules for the kids this week," she noted.
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Parents on Twitter are getting creative with their work-from-home survival tactics. Some have set up diversions for their kids:
Others took more drastic measures (just for laughs, we're sure!):
At least now, working parents have the option of changing their virtual backgrounds when they are on Zoom calls from home, so they shouldn't have the same experience as "BBC Dad" of 2017.
Robert Kelly, an associate professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea, was famously (infamously?) interrupted during his interview with the BBC first by his spunky 4-year-old daughter, then by her baby brother, and finally, by his frantic wife. The video of the "family blooper," as Kelly called it, went viral around the world.
"Many of the comments we received were from parents who had had similar experiences, such as locking themselves in the bathroom so their kids could not interrupt a radio interview,'' he wrote recently.
Hang in there, working from home parents! You are not alone. And yes, as Duckworth said, everybody, please wash your hands... and mute your mics.