Quarantine Work Adventures – Week Four

We are now officially into our fourth week of shelter in place, a work from home reality we find ourselves in. While the handling of switching the sudden “office” location was flawless, it’s not lost on anyone that a whole new set of challenges were waiting for us.

I created a list of items for myself to try and do every day to keep up the routine and make my day as productive as possible. Things like still starting work on time, getting my typical morning coffee fix, not worrying about the occasional interruption from family members in the middle of a video chat with coworkers, etc.. were the main points. I still stick to this routine as much as I can, but I learned pretty quickly this may help, it’s not some magic list that will make everything run smoothly day in, day out. Every day is an entirely different struggle. The kids have taken the change for the most part pretty well. They are still adjusting to receiving their school assignments through e-mail, Canvas, Seesaw, Teams, and every video conference platform under the sun. Yet, they are resilient, and we’ve only had a couple of meltdowns so far.

My wife is a teacher, and she’s now working double for her students and our kids. She’s balancing uploading lessons online, talking to her students and parents, making sure they are up-to-date on assignments, and reviewing the student’s completed work. She’s also making sure our two kids are doing their school assignments, understanding their lessons, while still finding time to be Mom. I think she is exhausted while staying at home than when she was before all this happened. We don’t have a dedicated office in our house, so we have had to create some creative workspaces. I’ve taken up residence in the dining room, my wife has turned our bedroom into her virtual classroom, and the kids have turned our kitchen into multi-user technology space. Until it’s mealtime, then their area turns back into a working kitchen. Throughout the day, our devices are a non-stop buzzing, blinking, beeping symphony of alerts and distraction, telling us the following situation that needs our immediate attention.

Amid all of this, while trying to get some work accomplished, there is the inevitable “Mom, Dad, I need help with (fill in the blank here).” Every day I feel like I have forgotten to do something or respond to someone while at the same time if I focus too hard one a single task, I am neglecting someone or something else that needs my attention. I know that we will eventually get through this current situation and that I am lucky to have both the ability to keep working from home and to get the extra time with my family. Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the toll it is going to take on everyone and what consequences will come of all this. In the meantime, I get to enjoy daily beginner orchestra student concerts, morning movie sing-alongs, and all the hugs that we can squeeze into a day. One line from the multitude of Disney movies that we watch in our house keeps popping up in my mind…

“Just keep swimming”

Photo was taken by Brian Paletz