One of the best pieces of advice on being a working parent that I ever got came from Ben Horowitz, believe it or not. He had young kids during the insanely stressful years of building Loudcloud/Opsware that he writes so vividly about in his book The Hard Thing about Hard Things.
“Just don’t try to be the CEO at home,” he advised me.
And it’s true. Being a working parent can inform how you act as a manager, but not the other way around. Your kids don’t work for you, and you can’t fire them. You aren’t there to get maximum productivity out of them. Success isn’t turning them into an economic unit. There’s no scenario under which you can shrug and say, “Sorry, kid, it’s just business…”
This is what’s so intense about parenthood, isn’t it? You have to love them through it, hug them through it, breathe with them through it, and teachable moment them through it, no matter what is thrown at you.
And I figured that out. I am a different person at home and at work. I am especially different as a mom than I was as a journalist. Eli once said to me, “You are so nice, mom! I don’t know why everyone is so terrified of you!”
But here’s the problem with the current work-from-home/school-from-home situation: I literally have to be a CEO at home, and my kids are right up in my corner office.
I am having an incredibly hard time having to act decisively and quickly to get through my work day—especially in a time of crisis—and having to have more patience than I ever have had to before with my children at the exact same moment in time every day.
It’s the constant—not just gear-switching—but PERSONALITY switching that is destroying my sanity.
It’s like living in a horrible stress dream where you can’t get to the airport no matter what you do or you’ve got an exam and you just realized that you never went to class or you’re at work and someone filled the office with alligators or you’re driving a car at high speed down the freeway but you’re in the backseat and you can’t reach the steering wheel.
Only we’re not waking up. On the days that it all works, I should get a medal. On those other days…Well, I get why liquor sales are up more than 40% in the Bay Area.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- The art of the WFH “to do” list
- How to break the pandemic daily rut (days blending together)?
- Anyone else thinking of moving based on what’s come up for you during the COVID crisis?