Creating a new normal: Parents across ASU find their “remote rhythm”
The term “working parent” has always been colorfully diverse. With it comes feelings of triumph, balance and competence coexisting with exhaustion, frustration and self-doubt. Marked by COVID-19, these past 18 months have amplified the experience of the working parent, molding it into uniquely challenging shapes. Parents find themselves pivoting swifter than ever before to meet the simultaneous demands of both the office and the household.
The proud parents among the UTO family are no exception, having experienced first-hand the joys and tribulations of working, parenting and developing a new rhythm to live by during a pandemic. This remote modality and all its intricacies have shined a lens on every family on a deeply personal level; some tragic, some glorious. Despite the veritable whirlwind of adjustments to their daily routines, many parents have observed overarching themes that rise above the chaos: gratitude, empathy, growth and resilience.
As we take a look and check-in with our colleagues and friends, let’s see this modality through their own perspective.
Navigating emotional highs + lows
When battling the trials of unprecedented change, flashes of joy and triumph coexist with moments of fatigue and stress. Learning to cope with the emotional toll of the pandemic has been an arduous process, but many parents find themselves growing, adjusting and becoming more resilient as they manage the ups and downs.
“During the pandemic, my daughter turned three, so I observed her own resilience increase as we brainstormed alternative learning and play activities. It was like we grew up together during this challenging time.” - Samantha Becker
"I can honestly say I have grown in so many ways these past twelve months. Another big win that I achieved within the corona-verse was letting go of that mom guilt. Overall, I’m really grateful for the newfound reliance I’ve found in myself and in my family." - Jenn Greenberg
“Reflecting on the wins of the week and finding ways to come to terms with things that didn’t go my way were important. Those losses hit harder because of our current remote modality.” - Corinna Busciglio Kamilli
Working to develop a balanced “rhythm”
The back-and-forth sway between professional and parental duties can be dizzying. Though disorienting at first, many parents have been able to pivot and adapt to a “new normal,” in which novel routines allow for remote success.
“After the initial jolt last March, my family of three has found itself in a rhythm. We have adapted past the days of rearranging meetings so one person could take lead parent and found ways around the child Zoombombing during leadership meetings.” - Corinna Busciglio Kamilli
“Figuring out how to thrive while learning, teaching, working and parenting simultaneously came with the hopes to not drop the ball on any one of these tasks. As time went on we figured out a rhythm that mostly worked and we adjusted. I was lucky that our ability to adjust wasn’t a complete and utter disaster.” - Erin Morrow
“My husband and I made adjustments and accommodations to support [our children’s] success, while maintaining our own professional and personal priorities. This was tough.” - Marissa Akins
“Having your energetic kid on lockdown 24/7 for months at a time and being forced to stare at a computer screen six hours a day, while you stare at your computer screen for eight hours a day, was all kinds of crazy. But overtime, we found ways to fit in fun time, reflection time and jump time.” - Jenn Greenberg
“What I really learned to lean into is the spurts of bonding time with her, even if it came at the expense of missing a meeting or two. Juggling jobs means reprioritizing both ways.” - Samantha Becker
“As a single parent, balancing between work and parenting teenagers has been super stressful. One thing we have done to ensure less stress is peaceful meditation mornings. From 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., before school and work, those who want to participate can join me in the garden out back for mental relaxation before we start the day.” - Art Hernandez
Heightened empathy & gratitude
Despite the setbacks inherent to the pandemic’s upheaval of old routines, there are precious moments of gratitude that emerge from parental "wins." However, these positive sentiments often arrive with an undercurrent of guilt as we keep perspective; acknowledging the privileges afforded to some working parents, but not all.
“After the first quarter [of the school year], we decided to go back to in-person schooling, only for in-person schooling to go to remote learning a few weeks later. Again, we pivoted and appreciated where we were at in the grand scheme of things.Our boat looks a lot better than others’ in this storm and I never take that for granted; perspective helps!” - Marissa Akins
“I recognize my many privileges, some of the biggest being able to employ someone else to care for my children while being able to perform my work duties from the comfort of my own home. One of the biggest lessons that I’m learning this year is that cultivating self-compassion (as a parent, as a partner, as an employee -- as a human!) bears more fruit than I ever imagined. I am better able to empathize, extend trust to others and live my values.” - Danielle Steele
"Being new to parenthood during the pandemic is one of the most intimidating challenges I have been faced with. With the help and support of my ASU family, they have carved the pathway to my success with balancing a healthy work/life balance. I am very grateful to work with such a great community that treats you as a family member." - Aaron Downey
“My children are extremely resilient and cooperative, and I am especially indebted to my wife Michelle for finding ways to not just survive this time, but continually look to improve and better the lives of our children. I am so grateful to her as we both find ways to "share" the normal duties of parents.” - TJ Witucky
“I am grateful for simple moments of laughter, afternoon walks instead of commuting, lunch time moments together and rocking him to sleep every day I can. I will never forget the lessons the last year has taught me but I will hold on to those specific moments with gratitude.” - Corinna Busciglio Kamilli
Special thanks to our contributors [pictured above left to right]: Marissa Akins, Project Manager Associate | Erin Morrow, Events Manager | Art Hernandez, UTO Service Delivery Supervisor - Experience Center | Jennifer Greenberg, Executive Administration Support | Samantha Becker, Executive Director Creative + Communications | Aaron Downey, WorkForce Management - Experience Center | Danielle B. Steele, Agile Iteration Manager | TJ Witucky - Director, Security Operations Center | Corinna Busciglio Kamilli, Strategic Communications Manager