My daughter was born in mid-March—right on the brink of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. We were overjoyed to finally meet our little girl but terrified at the prospect of bringing her up in the current world. Since those early days, we’ve had our fair share of struggles, but it’s also taught us a thing or two about looking on the bright side.
As we adapted to both a new family life (hello, lack of sleep) and a new work-from-home situation, we learned a few key lessons.
Adapt, adapt, adapt.
We knew we wouldn’t be allowed to have visitors during our four-day hospital stay, but I was thankful I was able to be there to support my wife and witness the birth of our first child. Many birth partners were not afforded the same opportunity during this time. Since March, we’ve largely adapted to this new way of life at a slower pace and in safe social distance—taking time to really appreciate the small things and what we could control.
At work, it’s been a similar process of adapting to a constant stream of change. Learning to communicate in news ways, develop new processes and accommodate one another’s evolving home life needs has made me appreciate my colleagues in new ways. Being thrown into this new experience basically overnight has shown us that we can and will adapt.
Stay ahead of stress.
We knew we would be sleep deprived and frightened as new parents. What we did not know was just how much the stress of the quarantine situation would affect our day-to-day lives. We never believed we would be in a world where we feel the need to deny help with our infant, from grandparents nonetheless, for much of her early life. Balancing work-from-home schedules and a newborn schedule has, without a doubt, made this the most difficult time in our lives, as I am sure it has for countless others.
But, we got through it by getting ahead of the stress. When my wife or I felt overwhelmed, we let each other know, and when we felt great, we let each other know. At work, we communicated where we were mentally and discussed our overall well-being and how important it is to let each other know when we need flexibility. We’re all in this together and making sure no one is in over their head is important to keeping stress at bay.
Change your perspective.
If I have learned anything in this short amount of time, it’s that the things I may have complained about before, seem so small now. Adapting to remote work has had its share of challenges even now that we’re past crisis mode, but it’s also given us a lot. More flexibility, less environmental impact from commuting, enhanced virtual communication skills, and in many cases, even greater productivity. There are lessons to be learned from this pandemic, and we must embrace them.
We also love being able to spend extra time with our little girl and are focused on building resilience and maintaining hope for her future. We may have had to adjust our expectations and plans for her first year of life and beyond, but we’re choosing to see the positives that this situation has brought us. I hope everyone can find some light each day to help during these unprecedented times.