Erika Lovegreeen

Senior Director of Strategy & Insights

How many parents have said “sorry” over the past few months working remote with children at home?

🙋‍♀️ Me: “Sorry for the interruption, sorry for seeming distracted, sorry for them appearing in the background of our video call, sorry for going on mute to yell at them to be quiet... “

As a mom of three and an agency leader, I am the first to admit that it feels nearly impossible to have a work life balance during these strange and unprecedented times. Staying focused jumping from high-level client calls to turning on zoom for a six-year-old to learn a new math skill is the wild west of the pandemic era for a working parent.

While it’s extremely difficult to follow this advice, these powerful words shared recently by a friend cannot be truer right now: “don’t apologize for being a parent.”

Let that sink in for a moment. Why apologize? Can there be a sweet spot between remote work and family needs? I’m here to say, it is possible and perfectly okay to celebrate the crazy.

Embracing Chaos

So why do I feel so strongly you can strike this balance? At ICUC, we’ve always been remote. While the pandemic has added on an extreme layer of crisis management, I was fortunate to have chosen to work remote well before this. Yes, I left an in office Corporate Communications gig for all this (and for years I had many in my life question this decision who are now living it too based off necessity).

The outlook may feel different right now, and having kids at home was never my plan (believe it or not, I even had a baby in March as the world shut down), but some key principals of remote life remain the same even if the world is a little hairier:

1) Being yourself is awesome

    • Marketing is about being human and touching the human experience. Therefore, what is more perfect than being your total and complete self on calls with clients. Is my hair sometimes out of place? Yes. Do my kids interrupt sometimes, yes? Am I extremely passionate about what I do? Yes!

Our clients can benefit from us being ourselves because as we create, it’s coming from a very genuine experience. Confidence is key here. Own and embrace that things are perfectly imperfect. Remember you were hired because you are the best at what we do. You wouldn't be YOU without your behind the scenes crazy.

2) Plan your day, but prepare to be flexible and agile

    • Pre-COVID I always started working a little earlier, knowing there would be some daytime interruptions. Continuing that now has helped me keep flex for times I need to be there for my kids without the guilt. If you are a person who likes routine, you are going to have to acknowledge that it’s just not going to be possible. Find the happiness in variety and use any extra time you’ve bought to love on your babies as the reward.

3) Experiment

    • There is not a one size fits all solution. That said, being in the comfort of your home gives you the ability to try new things (and be humbled privately). Had a bad day? Push the restart button on the next. Consider the following:
      • Prepare meals ahead of time your kids can grab on their own
      • Depending on the ages of your children, plan some downtime or a movie time aligned with meetings
      • Make rules and boundaries for your office (aka no kids allowed if the door is closed unless there’s an emergency)
      • Adjust your calendar with “on” and “off” times to check in on kids and divert to new activities
      • If doing virtual school like I am, make it fun! My son has a workstation and pretends to be me some days. We reward each other for good calls with a high five.

4) Be results driven

    • At ICUC, a key principal we’ve always followed is to be results driven. Get the work done when you need to and can. This is a very empowering principal. Communicate what you are doing, be responsive and then power through your work as you can. I always keep my phone close by. If I am on a kid break and get messaged, out of respect for those around me, I respond with holding language and give a realistic idea of next steps. My peers and team can always get ahold of me and count on me. This simple but powerful tactic keeps lines of communication always open, keeps us in motion, and gives me the space to handle what I need to before sitting back down.  

5) Pro-tip: Closets work great for soundproof barriers

  • Let’s face it, you may just have a call where you need complete and utter silence to focus and pay attention. I have sat in my closet on a call. The clothes block out the noise and it might provide an extra barrier between you and loud kiddos in the background.

6) Give yourself grace

  • Despite misconceptions, while working remote, you are working! That laundry can wait, counters wiped later, and so on. Don’t try to be superhuman and do it all. Switching on and off from household to work takes practice. Full transparency I enlisted a sitter to help for a couple hours to give me some relief. It takes a village.

You’ve Got This

All this to say, the next time you open your mouth to form the words sorry when talking about your kids on remote calls, maybe think twice. Let your home life compliment work and make it fun. There will be days creativity is desperately needed (aka: closet example or going off camera to nurse a newborn), but you get to see your kids every day and somewhat on terms you can layout. Remote life is not all bad and dare I say, one day you may come to prefer it!

Author: Erika Lovegreeen is the Senior Director of Strategy and Insights at When not championing remote work or social media for her clients, she is raising her three kids Parker (6), Bennett (2) and Avery (5 months). Follow Erika on LinkedIn.