Mother's Day @ Elastic | Parenting in a pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the way we travel, engage with the economy, and live our lives, we are all finding ways to adapt to what some are calling the “new normal.”

Over the last few weeks we’ve been sharing tips and tricks on social media from Elasticians about parenting during a pandemic. In celebration of Mother’s Day and as a resource for all those parents out there adjusting to the new normal, we thought we’d compile some of our work from home tips into an easy-to-browse blog post.

Kristine Boccio — Recruiting Operations Manager

With two young kids at home, it seems impossible to get anything done or feel accomplished. What helps me navigate my 'new norm' is finding time to step away from work to just be a mom. Sometimes this means playing a board game for the 100th time or watching the same movie on repeat. Or, it means having an impromptu dance party.

We have to remember that as much as this is an adjustment for us in our work routine it impacts the children more. They don't understand why they can't go over to their friend's house or visit with grandma. No matter what my day looks like or how busy I am, there is always time for some good old fashioned fun :) Making that effort allows me to feel less guilty when I need to throw on the headphones, put my head down, and just focus.

Cami Lewis — Security Community Advocate

Nap time (or quiet time) is your new BFF.

I'm gonna be honest — nap time is my happy hour. It's not easy to work from home and actually get things done but in the last 14 years that I've been working exclusively from home the words "I miss working in an office" have never once left my mouth. Ditching the cubicle life was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

While I usually find that I'm far more productive in my job working from home with two small children at home with me full-time, I'm finding it beyond difficult to get things done. Getting both of my children to their rooms, or a "quiet space" to sleep or read (hello Mr. ABC Mouse!) has become my saving grace. And if you find yourself taking a 20 minute power nap yourself — because frankly #parentinginapandemic is exhausting — well, you do what you gotta do.

Nooi van Maarsen — Training Ops & Venue Lead EMEA

I have two kids and occasionally we have three kids at home. My oldest (Ma'ayan) just recently turned five. In this crazy period we are trying to keep things structured for them. Still, it is very hard. Kids are very dynamic and so is work. Things change, moods change, and sometimes giving structure is not always possible.

When my oldest has school assignments I try to make it interactive and also modify it so that my two and a half year old (Elinor) can work with her. My kids love the play together, get dressed and undressed together, color, bike, paint my face, play games, dance, so finding ways to make the hard stuff collaborative helps.

My most important tip is that whatever you do, let them feel loved and be patient. I try to let the mess be the mess and clean up after when possible.

Inbar Shimshon — Support Engineer

For two year old twins we have managed to do some activities that have lasted longer than five minutes (they lasted seven minutes, which is a minor miracle)!

Here are the activities that worked for us:

  • Making a fresh pizza is definitely my kids’ favourite.
  • Building pillow fort (quickly followed by destroying that pillow fort).
  • Tricking them into "folding" laundry by making it a game.
  • Finally, we also reconstructed our living room into a gym.

After so many days in lockdown, I feel confident enough in my abilities to open up a private kindergarten!

Alexis Florian — Recruiting Coordinator

My daughter Penelope is only 18 months old. As I'm sure many know, this age is a high needs one. While independence is growing and something she works on daily, the girl can't do much without our help! My one tip I give to friends and family experiencing the WFH+kids life for the first time is to have patience and be flexible because no two days are going to look the same. Even at 18 months, our kids know how to communicate what they need and having the patience to listen, understand, and respond accordingly will make rough days a lot smoother.

Penelope's favorite time of the day is the "family time" break around lunch time. We go on a walk, cook lunch, and she even helps me unload the dishwasher or switch the laundry. We also do crafts or run around in the backyard. It's amazing how completely disconnecting for an hour or so and focusing completely on your kiddo can reset any prior feelings of stress that might overwhelm us. Oh, and that post-family time midday nap she takes is also a win too!

Susan Herchenbach — Sales Director

Here are my tips for #parentinginapandemic:

  • I have everyone go on a morning walk with the dogs to get Vitamin D and prevent cabin fever.
  • We try to stick to somewhat of a loose schedule with meals and bedtimes to keep us feeling "normal".
  • Still, each morning my husband and I share meetings for the day so we know when the other will need help. We try to think of things in "shifts" when we know we can't be interrupted.
  • We have signs on our door to say when we're in a meeting or not. I leave a piece of paper and pencil out in case kids need to tell me something important while I'm on the phone.
  • We create a sign outlining the house rules to help us live together happily.
  • We have a bowl set out where everyone can put ideas for things to do when they're bored.
  • I have temporarily suspended some 1:1's to make my workload lighter, or moved them to quicker 10 minute meetings to take out the chit-chat. It's helped me re-evaluate what's productive.
  • I used to work out alone but now I have workout partners. I do like working out alone but it's been fun to see the kids get into fitness. My step-daughter has been completing a cycle class every day and did her first pull up at age seven. My son loves the treadmill.
  • I don't feel bad if they have extra screen time as long as it doesn't change their mood. Too much time playing computer games makes it difficult to keep my son entertained when he's not on a computer.
  • I try to be easy on myself & my kids knowing that this is a difficult time.
  • Each night we try to do something as a family like play a game or color instead of watching TV. It brings us together.
  • Wine. Lots of wine.

    Rebecca Sanda — Global Partner Marketing

    My son, Michael, is a high school freshman. While he doesn’t distract me much during my workday, parenting a teen during these times presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities which I would categorize under 1) Preserving mental health and 2) Increasing responsibilities.

    My family is facing this virus from a position of privilege, mostly thanks to my job at Elastic. This presents a mental-health balancing act. I want Michael to feel supported as he mourns what he has lost, which ranges from not seeing his friends to missing a summer program in Spain, to losing Grandpa to the virus and not being able to give hugs to Grandma. But I also steer him towards gratitude and graciousness as we weather this storm. I ensure he reads news articles about the unemployed, as well as hungry and scared people in our country and around the world. We donate food to families who rely on school lunch programs. We spent two days cleaning up trash at a local recreation area. We shop for our elderly neighbors. Most importantly, at dinner we discuss three things we are grateful for from that day. We do this every night as a family to help us keep a healthy perspective.

    Regarding privilege ... As two, working professionals with a busy life, we’ve always paid someone to clean our house. We’re still paying, but no one comes anymore! This is actually a blessing in disguise as one of my goals as a mom is to put a good man into the world. My future daughter-in-law will be thrilled that Michael now knows how to run a household, from laundry to mopping and everything in between. I encourage him to do these chores to the best of his ability and with a positive attitude — he should always be happy to pitch in and help the family. (He’s a great kid but we’re still perfecting that last bit! :-) )

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