Teleworking and Parenting

We’re living in a strange, scary time. Today, the weather is beautiful, and yet we are stuck at home. We are still navigating and juggling between working and taking care of our four kids. I don’t know how we will survive for a month or longer, but we have to.

Yesterday I took off work to give my wife the time she needed to put in her “Count Monday.” I did the best I could, but I was exhausted. When I had to take care of the kids by myself, I took them out. Time went by faster when we had fun places to go and good restaurants to eat for me to have a drink or two. As long as we could find those two activities, I could babysit them all day long.

Being trapped at home was a challenge, especially with no iPad allowed on weekdays. Luckily we had my mother-in-law helping us out. Without her, I don’t know how we could do it. With her tremendous help, we managed to get by. Đạo and Đán played with each other. I accompanied Xuân. Vương was naturally attached to his mother, but my mother-in-law tried to keep him away from her while she was working.

Today I set up my home office, which consisted of an iron board to place my MacBook Pro and a stool for me to sit, right inside my bedroom. I usually woke up at five in the morning to read or to write, but I started working this morning instead. I wanted to get as much work done as I could before the kids got up. Around eight, Xuân came over as usual when grandma woke up. I closed my laptop and snuggled with him. I held him in my arms and fell back to sleep. Around nine, everyone was up. I brushed my teeth as well as Xuân’s and Vương’s. I went downstairs and enjoyed eggs and bread prepared by my personal favorite chef Đán. I sipped some Trung Nguyên instant coffee and headed back to my fancy office.

My wife’s office is in the lounging room, which has a glass door to the deck. While working, she had to come up with fun, creative activities for the kids to do in the backyard. They took out recycle boxes and cans and whacked them with a baseball bat. Somehow they found the physical act satisfying. I took a break and kept an eye on them just to make sure they didn’t whack each other’s on the head by accident. I also made sure that they picked up everything and put them back into the recycle bin.

Around noon, I got hungry and grabbed something from the fridge to eat. My wife prepared lunch for the kids while I fed Vương. As the older boys were having their lunch, she put Vương down for a nap. Witnessing my wife working and taking care of the kids, I have greater respect and deeper appreciation for her role. Unlike my job, her job is based on performance and production; therefore, she can’t cheat her way out of it. Even though she changed to part-time after her last maternity leave, she had to put in the time in order to meet her production. Many late nights, she went downstairs to work while Vương was sleeping. Her love and sacrifice for our family are unmeasurable.

As for Đạo’s and Đán’s continuing home schooling, we haven’t figured out the routine yet. One of Đán’s teachers has been sending us like 20 emails a day. I simply could not keep up with them all. Xuân’s educators are sending us daily activities with videos, but we’re just going with the flow. My only encouragement is read, read, and read. Đạo and Đán have plenty of books I checked out from the libraries to keep them busy if they wanted to. We still have a whole month to figure things out.