An open letter to working parents from Kate Pollard

Working parents the world over are feeling the stress, exhaustion and guilt that comes with having too many balls in the air. In this open letter, Circle In co-founder Kate Pollard wants you to know we’ve got your back. No matter how tough life seems right now, you are not alone. 

To every working parent

Six months ago, the lives of working families were turned upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t just throw a spanner in our world, it threw a whole toolbox!

While many of us are familiar with the normal balancing act of a career and parenting, no one could have predicted the emotional roller coaster that 2020 has brought to so many people, particularly to working parents. 

As a mother of two and managing full-time work, I know all too well what a lot of working parents are currently experiencing.

These days, we’re not only parents, but employees, teachers, carers, sports coaches, and a host of other roles that might need our attention at any given time.

Some might say we’re parenting around work; others might say we are working around parenting. Whatever the situation, it has been one of the hardest periods many of us have had to deal with, and one that many parents cannot wait to put behind them.

The juggle and struggle have never been more real.

Highlighting just how tricky the juggle can be, my friend and fellow Circle In co-founder Jodi Geddes recently shared a time-lapse video of what working at home with a child looks like, capturing just one hour, with one child (with the other child coming in and out). Since the video went live, it has received over 80,000 views and countless comments, with many working parents sharing their own similar experiences, while for others, it was an opportunity to get an insight into what a day in the life of being a working parent is all about.  

To business leaders, organisations and managers reading this… please know that your parents are doing everything they can right now (and more). 

Every family’s situation is different, and every parent’s situation is different. In fact, it’s different on a daily basis. The mental and physical toll this period is taking on us is real. So, please be patient with us. My personal ask is that you take a moment to pause and reflect on the wellbeing of your parent employees and simply #askaparentiftheyareok. A simple conversation with a remote working parent won’t cost you a thing and can have a significant impact on their day.

To the parents reading this… I see you, I hear you and I feel you.

We are all doing the best job we can. On most days, it’s tiring, and we experience a constant feeling of guilt for what we’re not providing our children, insecure for what we’re accomplishing at work and emotionally exhausted after splitting our time between Zoom meetings, phone calls, parenting and home-schooling. 

COVID-19 has certainly brought out the human side of the workforce, merging our professional lives with our personal ones. But regardless of how we are navigating this ‘new normal’, it’s important that we too take a moment to remind ourselves that we are only human.  

So whilst there may be laundry piling up that needs attending, emails that need to be answered and a never ending to-do list that needs your attention, remember this: You are doing a great job. Be proud of yourself for getting through another day and know that you’re not alone. 

Fellow working parent
Kate Pollard 

Written by Kate Pollard, co-founder of Circle In. Kate’s letter is also featured at Women’s Agenda.

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