Between multiple online meetings, chasing after her 14-month old twin boys Jonathan and Daniel, and taking care of her family, Latoy Lawrence – Flow’s Regional Marketing Manager for the Northern Caribbean (Jamaica, Cayman, Bahamas), has her hands full.
Our routine now is very different. Before COVID-19, our nanny would be at work from 8 a.m. and we were out the house by 9 with occasional video calls during the day and baby camera monitoring from my desk until we get back home at 4:30 p.m. to relieve the nanny and give full attention to the boys until bedtime.”
With the cooing of babies in the background, Latoy took a quick break to share what life has been like since her life took a sharp turn when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed on the island.
Latoy and her husband, Dewayne, made the difficult decision of tackling quarantine without their nanny as they wanted to minimize exposure to the boys and also allow her [the nanny] the chance to stay home safely with her family.
“My husband and I have been working from home since March 13. Now, our typical day means getting up even earlier so we can take care of the boys before starting our workday at 9 a.m. The first half of the day is really a tag-team effort between us – balancing meetings and monitoring the children as they entertain each other until their snack and lunchtimes. During this time, we are deliberate about keeping them in a controlled space because they climb and move really quickly. After lunch, they go into nap time which starts at 1 p.m. and lasts for about 2 hours. We use this window to try and do all the things that require focused attention. For example, meetings, completing deliverables, one parent running a quick errand on the road. It’s usually when we have our first meal as well. By 3 p.m., the boys are up – and energised to go,” she shared as she keenly watched the boys at play.
Latoy gets a break in the afternoon to refocus on work while the boys sleep until 3 p.m. but after that, balancing work and family is almost an extreme sport until they go to bed at 9 p.m.
“Once they are asleep, we focus on having our dinner, cleaning up, preparing bottles or prepping meals for the next day. After that, we go back to our laptops and put in the work that we couldn’t do in the day. I am known for my 2 a.m. emails,” she smiled as she further describes her “typical day”.
“The most challenging thing about this new normal is finding the balance. I will never be able to give a full hundred each to work and family, so it forces me to be very deliberate about what gets my attention during the prime day time hours. Fortunately, I have a solid support system as I know I could not cope or survive working from home without the support of my husband. In our scenario, with twins, both parents must be fully engaged to make it manageable,” she continued.
Notwithstanding the challenges, Latoy is happy to be at home with her boys.
“I had an extended maternity leave as a result of Flow’s parental leave policy, but I still struggled with separation when it was time to return to work. I was afraid of missing key milestones in their development. So, working from home has also been a blessing. It’s during this time that they learnt to identify body parts and clearly say the words “car” and “ball”. I am delighted to have witnessed this,” she said proudly as she gazed at her sons.
“I am also able to identify their little quirks – like Daniel’s bottle needs to be a specific size nipple or he will not drink anything from it and Jonathan needs his porridge at a certain temperature before taking a spoonful,” she added.
Stating that these are the moments that matter for her family, Latoy expressed that she is fortunate to have a supportive employer and team.
“Once I share that I need to focus on the babies, or have a baby emergency, everyone generally understands and will even check-up and offer to help me navigate. I remember one day I needed some medication that wasn’t available at the nearest pharmacy, not only did my Marketing Director volunteer to source it – she also had it delivered to my home. The level of empathy displayed by the leadership at Flow is commendable. If I need a meeting rescheduled to accommodate my day, it’s done! We are also encouraged to be transparent about our needs to ensure that the right support in place,” she shared.
As she walked over to join Jonathan and Daniel, Latoy reflected on lessons learnt and what she would share with other mothers.
“Be gentle with yourself – this is not the norm, so don’t expect to deliver as you once did. Be transparent – with your family and your team. Ask for support when needed. Take breaks and be deliberate about engaging your children. It’s an opportunity for bonding and we should take full advantage of it. Lastly, always do overnight meal prep as it takes some of the anxiety away.”