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Work-from-home parents take kids’ homecoming with a sigh and smile

Following the closure of all educational institutions in the State, working parents are now faced with an interesting conundrum – balancing their work-life and taking care of their children. Many of them had opted to work from home in the wake of coronavirus upsurge, but never did they imagine that their children too would be joining them at home on a two-week-long vacation.

Work-from-home parents take kids’ homecoming with a sigh and smile
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Illustration: Saai

Chennai

It was on February 29 that Abhishek Bharatkumar, a resident of Nandanam, began working from home. His wife, who switched to a new company recently, also joined him. “Things were going on smoothly. My son, who is in UKG, went to school and then for his tennis and piano classes. But now, since Monday, everything has changed,” said the pre-sales head at a local company. Adapting quickly to the new situation by juggling the responsibilities between the two of them, Bharatkumar and his wife are ensuring that they attend to their work even while keeping their son engaged throughout the day.


“However, this can be a daunting task when work responsibilities increase,” said Akshaya Shankar (35), a parent with a six-year-old daughter. “It has been only four days since my daughter’s school closed, and my husband and I finding working from home difficult. My daughter came to me the other day asking how to operate one of her toys, and I told her I was busy. So, she went to her father, who was on an important call at the time, and he was disturbed. We want to treat both our child and work with equal importance, but it’s becoming difficult,” said the 35-year-old.


Technology is proving to be a boon, said Bharatkumar, and coming in handy to keep children occupied. “Our son usually gets a stipulated amount of supervised time daily to play on the iPad, but we have been making some concessions now because of the new circumstances. He is kept occupied with games or videos,” he said.


For Akshaya, reconstructing a sense of order has helped maintain some peace at home. “In the mornings, we try to replicate something she would be doing in school. So we ask her to write a story or some song lyrics. That helps her writing and spelling skills. In the afternoon, we let her play with some activity-based toys. In the evenings, the residents of our street have come to a decision to let the kids cycle together on the road. This sense of order will help us deal with the situation,” she said.


However, despite the stress and planning, the social distancing offers a rare chance of bonding. “I was telling my friend that this is nature’s way of reminding us to spend more time with our kids. We also get a chance to recharge a little before we go to work,” said Bharatkumar.


For Akshaya, the decreased commute time has added another valuable 30 minutes to her life. “Never did I enjoy this morning time like this, cuddling with my daughter and taking a small snooze,” she said.

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