If there is one thing that quarantine has shown us, it is not easy to reconcile teleworking with caring for young children. Let it be said Clare Wenham, professor of global health at the London School of Economics, who was being interviewed for the BBC, through a video call, when her daughter Scarlett appeared and started talking to her, showing the drawing she had made of a unicorn and meddling in the conversation that until then was being serious.
Unperturbed, BBC presenter Christian Fraser talked to the girl, asked her name and said, “Scarlett, I think the drawing looks better on the bottom shelf … and it’s a beautiful unicorn”. Afterwards, Scarlett wanted to know his name and ended up returning to his games. “It was the most informative interview I did today,” he concluded, jokingly.
By coincidence, Wenham recently published an article in the British Medical Journal in which it spoke precisely of the challenges of the covid-19 for reconciling work and family. Telecommuting – and its many meetings online – gave employers a greater sense of what their employees’ “double lives” are like: “We hope that this creates opportunities to increase job flexibility, recognize the balance that many make between paid and unpaid work and recognize who does this work at home,” he wrote.
The cases of children who interrupt their parents’ meetings and video interviews became more common during the pandemic but are not new. Everyone remembers how, in 2017, professor Robert Kelly’s daughter also interrupted her interview with the BBC, and how the mother later tried to get the child out of the room – all while the teacher continued to comment on South Korea’s political situation live on television.