by Rogers Corporation on Apr 29, 2022
In 2020, Rogers employees began Mental Wellness Monday, a series of stories on our intranet showing how colleagues around Rogers create positivity for themselves to help relieve stress and avoid burnout. It is a vulnerable series that exemplifies a significant amount of trust between our colleagues. This month, Human Resources Manager Beth Lamothe has chosen to share her story.
During my tenure at Rogers Corporation, I have never worked remotely, except for a day or two here and there. After I had each of my children, I always went right back to work after the allotted leave time as my impression was I could not stay home with children — I would not be happy or fulfilled if I didn’t continue to work full-time. I have always relied on others to help support my family so I could work, including resources like daycare, school, parents, etc.
It wasn’t until COVID-19 that my perspective completely changed and gave me a new appreciation for family time.
In the beginning, it was very stressful for the entire family, figuring out my daughter’s school schedule as she was full-time remote. This included the technical challenges of getting set up on Zoom, connecting with teachers, getting assignments and so forth. There were also mental challenges, as she couldn’t participate in any school activities or sports, or even see her friends. For a 13-year-old, this was devastating. For myself, navigating working from home had its own challenges, including finding a suitable workspace, working with family members, communicating to family that I was actually working (they couldn’t text me for a snack but had to get up to get their own) and figuring out how to stay connected. Work wise, this included continuing to move forward with our processes, but remotely, and even creating new ones to accommodate the new remote environment, such as onboarding and offboarding.
After some time, my family finally figured out how to live and work in the same house, working out our schedules. Now that we had our groove down, it was important to figure out how to keep everyone motivated and not to get down, so along came puzzles. We got into puzzles and always had one going at the dining room table. It had been so long since we had truly done something this simple as a family. It was fun, and someone was always working on it. This was a hobby for not just my immediate family, but my extended family, too. Everyone was working on puzzles, swapping them if we could and trying to order new ones (as they became such a commodity, they were hard to find and expensive). We also re-introduced games like Uno, Phase 10, Sequence and Yahtzee. Spending this time together opened my eyes to what I was missing, really being present in my kid’s lives. I was usually running on autopilot: getting up, making lunches, getting kids off to school, going to work, going home, running them to dance/sports, having dinner, baths, homework then bedtime. Now I was playing board games, racing matchbox cars and even helping my daughter re-decorate her room. We also used an app called Houseparty so we could get on video calls with our entire family to see each other, chat and even play games.
I don’t have a long commute to work anyway, but time and stress seemed to slow down and change our family dynamic. Not being able to really go anywhere reduced the time running around to stores, activities and other places on nights and weekends. This showed me that I could do both — work and be present for my family. It has been just as beneficial to them as it is to me, maybe even more.
What is important to recognize is that I am a bit of a homebody, and as an introvert, being home was great. However, it was important that I continued to stay connected to others, including my regular doctor check-ups every three months, even to just check on my health (mentally and physically) and talk about how my family was doing. These check-ups also include getting support and suggestions for staying active, motivated and eating healthy.
Now with the vaccine and things resuming to a new normal, my daughter has gone back to in-person school full time, sports have resumed and other activities are beginning to require our time. In a way, I will miss this time. I have read other articles of people feeling the same way, wishing that life could stay as it has been, not having to run around all the time and having an “excuse” for staying home and being connected.
It has been an eye-opening experience, one that I will not take for granted. I will continue to be present, slow down and participate when I can and just enjoy life and my family.