Advice column: I’m struggling to keep up work along with homeschooling
Dear Ash

I felt just about able to cope with the stresses of working from home during lockdown, but I am really struggling with homeschooling my young children too. The constant interruptions are making it difficult to focus on my work. I am falling behind on some of my work deadlines and this is causing me added stress. I’m concerned that if I raise this with my line manager, I will be seen as weak and unreliable.

Ash replies

Juggling parenting duties with a full-time job is something we are all finding challenging to varying degrees: please be assured that you are not alone.

These are surreal times, as we are expected to juggle numerous obligations within a confined environment without any external support. Every good employer will recognise the present challenges, and it is really important that you address the issue with your manager in order to avoid burnout.

Some employers have offered more flexibility for employees. For example, you could look to see if you could work more flexible hours by working at times when the children have finished their schoolwork or gone to sleep, or you could consider working across a shorter week? Just think about what would help you to fit around your current obligations and set out an outline plan to explore with your employer.

Times are hard just now, but you will not be alone. Consider talking to colleagues who have children of similar ages to find out what techniques they are using. There are also organisations which offer help and advice if you need to talk about parenting challenges, such as the Children 1st Parentline.

Make sure you reach out and get the support you need, as there is no shame in seeking help, and you will be no use to either your employer or your children if you do not look out for yourself too.

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and other legal professionals, which can be put to them via the editor. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Education, Training & Qualifications team. Email or phone 0131 226 7411 (select option 3).

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