The Little One behind Super Mom
UNICEF staff shares WFH-turned special family experience
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned many things into a new normal and that includes working from home. It is not always easy for working parents to manage their work having to rearrange their lives to meet their children’s needs.
Over the past few months, the days for Napat Phisanbut, UNICEF Communication for Development Officer and Emergency Focal Point, have been exceptionally swamped with coordinating numerous COVID-19 crisis response to help vulnerable children and families. Still, for her little daughter, she also has to put on the important hat of a mother to ensure that Buatong does not feel that she has been missing out on anything.
Initially, Napat had thought that working from home for her would simply just be a change in the workspace. She had planned to work during her usual office hours with some extra ones if required. However, the plan has not always been possible with Buatong right by her side at her work hours at home.
“She has recently begun her days at the kindergarten, but like everyone else she has to adapt to online learning already,” Napat said. Yet, learning through a screen is not always feasible for very young children. “My husband or myself, or both of us have to sit with her when her kindergarten teacher calls, and work through each activity with her to make sure that she follows and responds to the teacher’s methods,” she continued.
Despite having critical roles to ensure that no vulnerable children and families are falling into the cracks amidst the pandemic, Napat also tries to allocate a daily timeslot for Buatong’s school session when the teacher calls to make sure that her dual role is well managed and no one is left behind, especially the closest one.
Indeed, there is an opportunity in every crisis. As Napat produces a UNICEF material to advocate on handwashing, the nearest and dearest one comes to her aid curiously asking to help. Napat finds that this might be a way to hit two birds with one stone – devising a way to work while having a family together-time and that is how Buatong becomes a model to raise the awareness and, enthusiastically, her husband also volunteers to put himself behind the lens to take his only daughter’s picture for the purpose.
From this, the family gets to spend an exclusive family time together. Not only does Buatong not get gloomy with the many pandemic restrictions, but she also learns about the virus while feeling proud that she gets to help her mommy’s important work.