At first, this looks like a normal drawing done by a six-year-old. Stick figures, bubble quotes, misspelled words.
But look closely, and you see this teeny picture symbolises a heartbreaking struggle that most of us mums know all too well, regardless of whether you work from home or not.
You see, this picture is of a little boy and his mother. While mum is working on the computer, the little boy is behind her, asking her “Mommy, are you done?” The mum in the picture says, “No.”
And there it is. Four little words.
‘Mummy, are you done?’
Something I’ve heard a trillion times from my own kids. Something I’ve replied to countless times with a quick remark, barely even turning my head to them.
Just one more minute.
Be done in a sec.
Be there in five.
These four words signify one of the hardest things about parenting – getting the balance between work and family right.
The six-year old’s drawing was recently shared by the CEO and founder of Flexable, Priya Amin. She’s a mum of two boys and for the past 10 months has been trying her best to juggle remote learning and working from home.
Just like most parents, she’s barely hanging on.
As she writes on the Love What Matters Facebook page,
A few days ago, I was busy getting some last minute things checked off my to do list, when my six-year-old snuck into my office and handed me a piece of paper.
At first, I glanced at it and said, ‘Oh, that’s so good buddy!’ But, when I looked closer, I read four words that broke my heart – ‘Mommy, are you done?’ – to which the ‘mommy’ in the picture answered ‘No.’
I looked at the clock; it was 6:05 p.m. Then, I looked at my to-do list which seemed to be a mile long. My heart sank. Although I don’t like to admit it, this is the situation almost every night.”
The impossible juggle
Priya lives in America where Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives every day. She’s one of the many who continues to work from home and home-school the kids.
But even for us mums who do have some semblance of the normal back, it’s still flippin’ hard! I still find myself telling my kids, I’m nearly done, several times a week, whether working, doing chores, etc. There’s always something, you know?
As Priya writes,
My ability to separate work from home life has become more and more challenging as the pandemic has worn on.
Technology does not help, with notifications streaming in on an almost constant basis.
Compound that with the responsibilities of parenting, homeschooling, and home obligations in general, and it feels overwhelming.
The guilt associated with that is palpable. Guilt for not doing enough work in the day. Guilt for not being at my best mentally or emotionally. For spending transactional time with my kids instead of intentional, meaningful time with them.
That last type of guilt is what fell on me like a ton of bricks when this sweet drawing landed in my lap.”
We feel ya, Priya!
Priya’s honest post made our hearts ache.
Not only for a mum who is overworked and riddled with guilt but for her little boy who just wants to spend time with his mummy.
Our heart aches for a world where everything is uncertain and even when we are trying our best, we still feel like we’re failing.
It’s so bloody hard to get it right.
I guess the only good thing I can take from this experience is my kids love spending time with me.But, it still doesn’t make it easy, especially since my kids ask me almost on a daily basis when I’ll be ‘done’. This was just the first time it was articulated in such a heartbreaking way.If you’ve ever gotten a drawing like this, or ever felt the guilt of feeling like you’re ‘failing’ at balancing it all, please remember you aren’t alone. This burden we are carrying through the pandemic will hopefully lift sooner rather than later, and we can emerge with better support systems and tools to balance all the things life throws at us.”