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What I Learned: Women Working through the Pandemic

December 2, 2020Megan Klingbeil
Partner in Anchin's Consumer Products Group

What I Learned: Women Working through the Pandemic

Just as many others likely did, I left my office in March thinking I would not be back for a few weeks.  I had no clue that this would be the new normal for the foreseeable future.

I had a baby in October 2019, was promoted to partner in the same month and thought, “This is going to be a great year!”  In March, I had been back at work for one month after being on maternity leave and was finally getting adjusted to the new routine and role.  Suddenly, I went from being a working mom to being a stay at home mom while working at the same time in the height of tax season with a six-year old, three-year old and a four-month old.  I also took on additional roles such as teacher, housekeeper, and chef.  (At one point my husband asked me to cut his hair but I drew the line at hairdresser.)  My husband is an essential worker, so I was alone all day wearing all of these different hats. 

I quickly learned what it’s like to be simultaneously a full time stay-at-home parent and a full time working parent.  The baby has been a fixture on all of my video calls to the point where people ask her whereabouts when she is not there.  I have also learned to keep a straight face on video calls, even when I can detect chaos in the background, such as when I looked over to see my three year old, naked, getting herself a snack only to learn that there had been an accident which my six year old tried to clean up.

I was scheduling my meetings around my kindergartener’s Google Meets and working hours even in the middle of the night to ensure that I met my clients’ deadlines and stayed abreast of new legislation coming out.

Some lessons I have learned through all this:

  1. You can’t be great at everything at the same time.  At times, I am great at work, helping clients and staff while my children sit in front of Disney plus (the best 6.99/month I spent during the pandemic). Other times, I am a great mom where work has to wait until nontraditional hours.
  2. My house might be a mess for a couple of days with laundry piling up and that is okay.
  3. I was not meant to be a kindergarten teacher, but now I can teach you what a diagraph is and recite catchy kindergarten rhymes.
  4. You need a tribe of friends who you can vent to, laugh with, or empathize with on a zoom call with a glass of wine.
  5. I may not survive my three year old’s teenage years.
  6. Your children always pick the one time of the day where you ask them to be quiet to have tantrums.
  7. People are understanding (See point 6). If you have a call and they hear your kids in the background. They get it and are kind.
  8. I learned to appreciate the extra time I am spending with my children. I was able to see the firsts of the baby, whereas with my other two kids, I tell myself I saw the firsts, but in reality they could have happened at daycare.

I am fortunate that I am able to work remotely and safely. It is a great feeling to be a part of a leadership team that is sympathetic to the challenges of the current environment. Anchin’s executive team and my fellow partners at the firm created a virtual culture of acceptance, maintaining transparency and open lines of communication, and acceptance of working nontraditional hours. 

As we continue to navigate life as working parents in the COVID environment and juggle the various new school schedules, I strongly believe it’s important to focus on and lean upon our professional communities. I am excited to help drive the “Women Leaders in Consumer Products” initiatives at Anchin, and among other things, we are in the process of planning the next event in our series focusing on women leaders in consumer products. This series not only highlights inspiring women and provides updates on the industry, but is also a forum for discussions on ideas and tips for running a business, and juggling home life in this new world. 

We hope you’ll sign up for our “Women Leaders in Consumer Products” mailing list so that we can keep you posted on our upcoming events. We have a few exciting initiatives in the works that we can’t wait to share with you.

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