I have just been awarded my "Hey Duggee" Working from Home whilst Parenting Badge!

by Adam Goulding

Anyone who knows what the title of this article means, or alludes to at least, is a parent with a young child in the similar position to myself. Locked down, working from home with a toddler/child(ren)/plague of locusts charging around the house. “Hey Duggee” can lend a helping hand and not just by chucking your children on the sofa in front of the TV.

One of the best and worst things about lockdown is trying to juggle parenting and working from home. Being a recruiter my job is to speak to people and having spoken to a lot of candidates, clients and suppliers over the past few weeks this is certainly a common thread. It's an absolute blessing to be able to spend more time with my family but it doesn't mean I or any parents in this super fortunate position of having a job, a house with a garden and Sky TV find things easy.  

One thing we will have all undoubtedly learnt through these past few weeks is that like the kids, we all function best on some form of routine in order to maximise our daily output of both parenting and working. Hi five to Joe Wicks for the 9am slot by the way!

Being honest we struggled the first couple of days: one day a productive working day but with a child hooked on fish fingers, chips and beans, four carb based snacks an hour mesmerized by their 16th run through of Frozen. "Should we let her watch it again?" "Just let it go…she’s quiet". The next day the guilt drives powerful results yielding a super healthy child via freshly cooked meals; gardening, arts and crafts, home schooling and exercise all ticked off before bedtime with full hair wash, clean bedding, pjs and tucked in with a full story...only for you to be up until 3am catching up on all the work you sacrificed. 

Then, having had a few days of mixed experiences to review, my wife and I were spending what would normally be our morning commute time in bed watching “Hey Duggee” with our two year old. She was totally engrossed and fascinated by the dynamic of the cartoon (essentially a do some form of activity and get rewarded with a badge vibe) which lead me to purchase a "Hey Duggee” reward badge sticker book. I mean what kid doesn't love a sticker anyway? Win win.

So the book arrives and without spoiling it too much you have numerous tasks to complete; from gardening to football to hide and seek to arts and crafts etc and upon completion of said tasks we have all learned something, gained a sense of achievement, been rewarded with a sticker for the chart and had fun. This was the catalyst for us thinking up several other activities we could use to fill several other time slots so that my wife and I can tag in and out making each day more manageable and fun for us all. And we as parents have managed to keep on top of our work albeit across longer days but we don't have much else to do and don't have to spend time commuting. Keeping our businesses going and our children growing are two of the most important things at this time.

It sounds pretty damn obvious now but give me a break, I'm a relatively new parent with a super busy job and less time and energy than I need for a normal day let alone for this situation. And let's be honest none of us have experienced this situation before so we are all learning along the way and we, via the help of Duggee, have found a great way to manage.

And also, being even more honest I'm just as excited of the prospect of tomorrow's “Hey Duggee” badge as my daughter so I have created a Parenting Badge for when we finish the book. I'm just praying lockdown finishes before the book or else were back to square one…

Finally, I sincerely appreciate that this parenting and work juggle is a "first world problem" and as I said above I know I am in a super fortunate position but without going into the full detail of Covid-19's brutal impact on the economy and society in relative terms I know it's not a big deal at all, it's just a relative challenge for all us parents. I hope you find this useful if you are like me and please feel free to share any feedback and ideas  as in all serious I have 6 stickers left to get and 21 more days of lockdown minimum!