An unprecedented series of events that have shocked the world and changed the course of time as we know it, the recent pandemic has certainly altered the livelihood for all Malaysians. A precarious time, as we are slowly adjusting to moving past the Movement Control Order (MCO), to experiencing what the new normal will be. One of the groups that are being affected by this are modern parents as they must make the shift in juggling their career, managing the household, as well as their family, now more than ever. The current situation is almost prophetically designed to showcase the farce societal approach towards separating work and family.
The Ultimate Balancing Act
It is a great irony that modern parents who previously struggled to juggle between career and spending time with family, currently find themselves in a new space, balancing being stay-at-home parents and work-from-home employees. Both of which, require a significant amount of time, effort, and energy in multitasking while being confined at home. As pregnant mothers are excited to welcome the new addition to their lives and parents with young kids are thrilled to be present during their child’s developmental years, it is an onslaught of work tasks while trying to manage quality time with the young ones.
As 55% of Malaysian parents are required to work from home, the conducive workplace environment had to be replaced with a makeshift office place at home, and parents find themselves constantly switching roles between being an employee and a family figure. The line between work and family are getting blurred, parents are now provided with ample time in their hands to spend with their precious young ones.
This unique situation has created an emergence of various interesting strategies that are utilized to find support and solace for parents. Some of the key techniques include:
- The development of an online community, where parents can utilize technology to communicate and discuss ongoing situations at home. Finding suggestions from each other’s experience to resolve the needed matters .
- Based on a Malaysian consumer survey targeted to young parents, 75% of parents search on topics related to parental and kids. Putting together a library of activities and programs in hand, to keep kids occupied. There are many reliable resources available online, some of which can be taken from online to offline. Parents can find ways to keep their daily routine prepared, yet fluid enough to have activities on standby.
- Schedules are important. The workforce is now encouraged to be flexible when it comes to work-from-home, parents can take this opportunity to plan pockets of time in their daily workday to be off-limits and be focused on family time. i.e. lunchtime, tea breaks for nappy change, 6 pm yoga with the kids.
- Lastly, just remain calm and accept the fact that it is the best parents can do to get through this challenging time and that all this extra effort and time will be worth it as they see the development of their children right in front of their eyes.
Pregnancies and Newborns
Change is evident to all parents, particularly for new and expecting parents as they are facing a situation that is unique to their generation. Although the current state causes worries and growing concerns but these parents are taking this opportunity and extra time to focus on their babies.
With a bright horizon that is upon them as they are awaiting or celebrating the new addition to their lives, these new parents are taking advantage of the situation and putting a positive spin on it. The unprecedented order has given them time to fully embrace their pregnancies as well providing opportunities for those precious bonding moments with their newborns which would have otherwise be disrupted by working in the office. Through the joy of welcoming a newborn to the world, new parents still feel uneasy while facing the challenges that come with the new normal of parenting. Thankfully, there are key strategies that can put new parents at ease as they kickstart their journey into parenthood:
- Staying healthy while at home. Currently, there is a myriad of fitness programs designed for expecting and new mothers. A great example of this is a prenatal yoga that is designed for expecting moms as well as one that can be taken with babies as they have the potential to help them with their sleep and improved digestion.
- Creating a scrapbook that logs every milestone, from their first step to first word, and even medical records, it is a great time to witness each precious moment with the new bundle of joy. This logbook not only serves as a great way to track a newborn’s development but also a keepsake for those cherished memories that can be kept forever.
- Sleep training. Sleep is essential for newborns and young ones. Sleep is vital for development, whether physical or mentally. The extra opportunity during this new normal, can be put to good use by sleep training newborns.
Seeking Safety in Knowledge and the importance of Hygiene at home
Through technology, information regarding the pandemic are easily accessible, particularly on ways to protect those at home. During a time of crisis, information from a reliable source is vital in ensuring the doubts and worries are being addressed correctly. The Secret to My Modern Parenthood guidebook, is currently in its 5th edition, created by KAO Malaysia in partnership with educational content provider Positive Parenting. This guidebook contains specific parenting tips such as “Caring for My Newborn”, “Baby healthcare and emergencies”, “Bonding through senses”, “Home safe home”, “How to clean smart” and many more useful chapters, which are vital information for parents to equip themselves with, particularly new parents at the start of their parenting journey.
The greatest lesson that we have learned over this pandemic is the importance of hygiene and the fact that it has become a vital and unmissable part of living. Therefore, it should come to no surprise hygiene has become the main concern among parents whose biggest worry is the safety of their children. In line with this, KAO Malaysia is launching a campaign with the purpose to ‘Find Greater Peace of Mind’. KAO is committed to ensuring a home is clean and hygiene is a top priority which is evident from the line of innovative products. KAO is determined in helping families protect and keep their homes safe with one less worry in mind.
Hygiene has become an integral aspect of our lives in the new normal, especially for parents that are expecting a new child or those caring for younger kids, as their safety and well-being are top priority at this time. Through this campaign, KAO Malaysia is striving to support parents by ensuring hygiene safety at home and providing convenience towards pesky house chores. This is evident through the brand’s continuous commitment to providing consumers with the ease of keeping their home safe through product innovation. Consumers can find that house chores in the presence of KAO more effortless and timesaving in the process. Through the brands innovative home solutions, KAO helps parents put uncertainties aside, because a clean home is a safe home. In KAO, you find greater peace of mind.
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 theAsianparent, Covid19, The Digital consumption of Malaysian Mothers, 2020
 Coyne, S., Crockett, K., Parents, You Can Stop Feeling Guilty About Screen Time, 2020, Psychology Today