The mother was left at a loss for words as she realized it was a heartbreaking depiction of their interaction from before.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 11, 2021. It has since been updated.
When Priya Amin's 7-year-old son handed her a drawing, her first instinct was to respond with a standard reply of "ohh, that’s so cute!" However, when she took a closer look at the sketch, she was left at a loss for words as she realized it was a heartbreaking depiction of their interaction 10 minutes earlier. It showed a parent at work and a child looking on and asking "Mommy are you done?" The mother, seated before a laptop, responds "No," without looking back. "I actually looked at it, and it broke my heart," Amin told Good Morning America. "Well, it sort of warmed and broke my heart at the same time."
Upon sharing the image with her colleagues, the mom-of-two was encouraged to write a blog post about the incident. "I chose to share the blog originally via a LinkedIn post because I knew this was something universally felt by parents everywhere right now, and we’re all feeling like we’re shouldering this alone," she explained to Scary Mommy. The picture hit close to home for thousands of parents who've been precariously juggling their personal and professional lives ever since the Coronavirus pandemic changed life as we knew it.
A cousin of mine talked about work-life balance recently. She said that it doesn’t exist...and I totally agree! We should view it as work-life acceptance!! Makes sense to me...and makes it easier as well!— Tabitha Griffin (@tabigriffin) January 7, 2021
Amin, whose post quickly went viral, said that although she hadn't anticipated that sort of reaction, she understands why her son's drawing resonated with so many. "All I wanted to do was close up my laptop and spend time with my kids, but I knew that if I didn't get a few important things done, I wouldn't be able to get my mind off of them," she said. "I think so many parents feel that way, especially during the pandemic, where work and life have collided with one another, and it's really hard to step away from work. My son's drawing was a stark reminder to me about just how hard that is."
Remote learning: What are the challenges presented by at-home learning? https://t.co/jY6ehNBioJ— Children in NI (@ChildreninNI) January 10, 2021
Amin, who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the founder and CEO of Flexable — a company that creates "innovative child care solutions, such as virtual child care, and partner with organizations around the country to provide our child care services as a benefit for working parents." Amin revealed that when the pandemic hit, she was initially waking up at 4 a.m. to work so she could homeschool her two children during the day and work again at night. "It was a nightmare and not sustainable at all," she said. "I realized that I couldn't work that way and neither could my team. Flexibility has always been at the core of everything we do at our company, and I wanted to make sure that was a part of our culture so that all the folks, especially working parents on our team, felt supported and seen."
It's impossible to have it if both parents aren't pulling the same weight.https://t.co/hDcjsVrJvL— Working Mother (@_workingmother_) January 9, 2021
"Getting this picture from my son, though, reminded me that I need to do a better job of modeling that behavior to my team. Now I work when my kids are in school, but log off when they get home," Amin added. "In terms of tips for other parents going through this right now, I’d say please be open and honest with your employer and lean on your team and your organization as much as you can to support you. Right now, we can’t lean on friends and family, or our daycares and schools or other local support structures like we used to."
Has your company been able to effectively adapt to the needs of parents working from home during the pandemic? If not, consider these 5 tips from Forbes for "How Employers Can Support Working Parents." Full article here: https://t.co/PKSdDqKItd pic.twitter.com/rGlNUDkBXy— Flexable (@FlexableCare) December 14, 2020
"The more we all reach out to our organizations with a cohesive rallying cry that, ‘this is too hard to try to figure out alone — I need your help and support,’ the more organizations will be willing to listen," Amin explained. As for achieving a good work-life balance, she believes it is a myth. "It does feel really good to know that your kids miss you and want to spend time with you," she said. "It's more of a crazy juggling act, where all the balls are on fire."