drawing

A mom’s heartbreaking drawing from her son reveals the struggles of work-life balance

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Jun. 18 2024, Published 7:53 p.m. ET

When Priya Amin's 7-year-old son handed her a drawing, her initial reaction was to praise it with a simple, "Oh, that’s so cute!"

However, upon closer inspection, the sketch left her speechless. The drawing depicted a scene from just ten minutes earlier, showing Amin working on her laptop while her son stood nearby, asking, "Mommy, are you done?" In the drawing, she replied, "No," without even glancing up.

"I actually looked at it, and it broke my heart," Amin shared with Good Morning America. "Well, it sort of warmed and broke my heart at the same time."

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Sharing the image with her colleagues led to an outpouring of empathy, prompting Amin to write a blog post about the incident.

"I chose to share the blog originally via a LinkedIn post because I knew this was something universally felt by parents everywhere right now, and we’re all feeling like we’re shouldering this alone," she explained to Scary Mommy.

Just as Amin suspect, her post resonated deeply with many parents juggling personal and professional lives.

"Every time I leave the computer even to go to the bathroom, my kids jump on me shouting: 'Are you done for today?', 'can we play now?', etc... Every single time..." one parent wrote.

Another added, "Thank you for sharing. You are definitely not alone, I feel you sister. I also hear 'All you do is work Mommy.' hashtag#momguilt is at an all time high."

"All I wanted to do was close up my laptop and spend time with my kids, but I knew that if I didn't get a few important things done, I wouldn't be able to get my mind off of them," Amin reflected. "I think so many parents feel that way, (...), where work and life have collided, and it's really hard to step away from work. My son's drawing was a stark reminder of just how hard that is."

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Living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Amin is the founder and CEO of Flexable, a company offering innovative child care solutions, including virtual child care. When the pandemic hit, Amin found herself waking up at 4 a.m. to work, homeschooling her children during the day, and then working again at night.

"It was a nightmare and not sustainable at all," she recalled. "I realized that I couldn't work that way, and neither could my team. Flexibility has always been at the core of everything we do at our company, and I wanted to ensure that was a part of our culture so that all the folks, especially working parents on our team, felt supported and seen."

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Her son’s drawing served as a personal wake-up call for Amin. "It reminded me that I need to do a better job of modeling that behavior to my team. Now I work when my kids are in school but log off when they get home," she shared.

Amin advises other parents to be open and honest with their employers and lean on their teams and organizations for support. "Right now, we can’t lean on friends and family, or our daycares and schools, or other local support structures like we used to."

Amin also emphasizes the importance of collective action in seeking support from employers. "The more we all reach out to our organizations with a cohesive rallying cry that, ‘this is too hard to try to figure out alone — I need your help and support,’ the more organizations will be willing to listen," she explained.

As for achieving a good work-life balance, she believes it’s more of a myth than a reality. "It does feel really good to know that your kids miss you and want to spend time with you," she said. "It's more of a crazy juggling act, where all the balls are on fire."

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Priya Amin’s experience is a powerful reminder of the importance of flexibility and understanding in the workplace, especially for parents. Her story encourages all working parents to advocate for the support they need and highlights the universal struggle of balancing work and family life in these challenging times. It might not be an easy fight to win, but it is certainly something worth fighting for.

This article was written with assistance from artificial intelligence. Megaphone creates content primarily driven by people but aims for full transparency in how our storytelling is produced. To learn more about our policy on artificial intelligence, click here.

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