How to Manage a Team While Work-Parenting During the Omicron Surge

by Melissa Nix

Brandon Blache Cohen at AmizadeThis post is written by Amizade’s Executive Director, Brandon Blache-Cohen, who is letting us in behind the scenes. While Amizade has thankfully been able to weather the pandemic and even seen a lot of success with our virtual service-learning platform, it definitely hasn’t been easy. And we’re lucky to work from home, but as we all know by now, working from home also has its challenges. Today, Brandon shares a dispatch from the front lines of a battle that may sound familiar to many exhausted working parents around the world. 

January 6, 2022: Lord Omicron has arrived and closed our kid’s school again. If you’re like me, then right now you find yourself hiding in fear from the monstrosity that is unfolding downstairs. The dog and cat are for the first time bonded, fighting the same war, against a common enemy. They are plotting together at my feet, but like me, terrified of the situation that has evolved in which the children once again rule. Even though we outnumber them, there is no winning this battle. 

My partner is in the room next door and I am in a newly carved out corner of our bedroom. I see her only when we hear screams that are accompanied also by the sound of things possibly breaking. It’s the combination — both screaming and property damage — that is enough to have us mute and turn off our videos. We briefly meet on the steps and give each other the “this is hell” eyes. Welcome to 2022. 

The last step of the peace process from 18 months of virtual school was for me to remove the computer desks out of our dining room. The kids had yielded that territory back to us in August, and the plan was that we would once again eat meals there. It was on my to-do list to burn those desks in the fire pit. Unfortunately, Lord Omicron appeared in the darkness of winter, and empowered my children to break the peace accords, and reclaim the dining room for their virtual school. It would be tragic if we were alone, but we are but a statistic now, representing just one of millions of families all over the United States. 

In the last few hours, I’ve left important zoom meetings for the following reasons: 

  • Kids not in school when they are supposed to be (multiple offenses)
  • To confiscate a Nintendo Switch 
  • Fake injuries to the arms, knees, and head
  • Spilled “Elf Cereal” (the only food my six year old has eaten in the last 30 days)
  • Fake issues logging into virtual school (they know what they are doing, but like to remind me who’s winning the war)
  • To feed the children (because of the Geneva Conventions)
  • To make sure my kids weren’t abducted by the Amazon delivery guy who rang the doorbell and caused my children to scream at the top of their lungs “STRANGER DANGER” or as it turns out, they didn’t scream that, but that’s what I heard because of my profound and enduring guilt that they manage themselves for 8 hours a day during virtual school. 
  • To take a rapid Covid test, because please just take me Lord Omicron

So, how does one manage a team in the fog of war? 

Poorly. Very, very poorly. 

Good luck, America.

Thank you, Brandon, for shedding some light on a very difficult situation and sharing a little humor as well. The Amizade staff is all trying our best to get through this pandemic, and we hope that this piece makes you feel seen, brings a smile to your face, or both. And, if you need them right about now, keep reading our blog for a few ways to stay grounded and find joy


header photo credit: Ferenc Horvath @designhorf via Unsplash