Parenting, Primary 1

Sorry Boss, I cannot Zoom because my child has HBL…

By Big C

Couple years back, I wrote a post about how I always have to text my boss sorry because I need to miss work due to Small E falling sick. That post was received high number of reads over the years, so I can imagine, how many other parents out there face the same dilemma as me.

Now, fast forward, my kids are older and less prone to sickness. I have also changed team since the last round and there, we are hit by this COVID-19. So, earlier in Feb, I was still pretty much enjoying the WFH arrangement as we started early and the kids go to school as usual. As much as I was a little worried about them being out there, the situation felt under controlled then.

Then, came the Circuit Breaker. I was glad to have it since it felt really risky for the kids to continue attending schools. I was also glad that I suddenly could spend time with my kids 24/7 and not having to rush. I was MOST glad that I no longer need to wake up at 6am!

But of course, all these come with a price!! Now it means I have to WFH + HBL! Home based learning is the other bad word after Circuit breaker!!

“Dear Boss, sorry I cannot zoom because my child has HBL…” became my top line on whatsapp to my boss and even colleagues.

Every morning, I have to ensure Big E logs on to SLS by 9am to start her HBL. Thankfully her teachers are not so anal about having to follow the timetable strictly and to complete each segment within the stipulated 2hours or so.

I have to help her quite abit on reading the instructions or questions in full as her ability at P1 has proven to be limited. But thankfully she is pretty good with the navigation!

Back in April, it was a daily affair which means I am pretty tied up every morning where I will sit next to her with my laptop so she gets on with her SLS and I will be checking emails etc on my laptop. Extreme multitasking that is as I would need to also attend to Small E’s little needs though Daddy is around to help most of the time.

Multitasking behind the screen is fine! But definitely it is no condition to conduct any Zoom meetings. I have to schedule all Zoom meetings at around 3pm or so, when at least Small E would be napping and I can have an hour of silence for the meeting.

But you see, even as we complete the SLS by noon or 1pm as we should. There are offline work that needs to be completed as well. We usually take longer to complete each day’s work because firstly we dont wake up at 7am and start the HBL at 745am, and in between there is always interruptions where I need to attend to urgent tasks and she will be left alone to complete. Sometimes she goes through everything smoothly but other times, she will need my guidance on what to do.

Then we started having strategies of our own! Big E suggests that she will complete all SLS based stuff and mark out the offline work to be completed later. And I will usually reserve English or other miscellaneous subjects for times where I need to attend to work. Those are usually less complicated and more of learning through the videos and what nots.

Then we went into the school holiday phase which was quite a relief though I was wondering if it was a good idea to let her go on the whole month just playing. Would she forget everything that she has learnt? Shrugs.. haha

Then I worry about all the worksheets, filing and outstanding work that we might have missed out.

Then Circuit breaker got lifted and school is reopening, but with alternate weeks of HBL.
Now, this is the tricky part! Everyone including my boss would think then the parents are now relieved!

Alright, it is indeed easier now that Small E can go to school full day, leaving only Big E with me but now, Daddy also has to go to work! Which means, I will be solo juggling WFH responsibilities and HBL responsibilities PLUS the usual child caring responsibilities like making sure there is food.

It didn’t help that my team does not have anyone else in the same situation as me! They are either single or married with a baby or their kids are much much older aka independent too.

So far, it has been 2 weeks, 1 week of HBL and 1 week of physical school. Guess what? I thought it would be great and easier when she goes to school physically because she will then be going to after school care which leaves me alone for work the whole day!

It ends up being horrible too! Why? Because now I have to wake up at 6am and I got zombified through the rest of the day! Haha.. pampered after 2 months of sleeping in later!!

Enough of the whining! Actually I am very appreciative of what I have and how things are for me…

As much as the above are happening and I do have my rants, I know and I feel very blessed to be able to go through all these as well!

I am busy and have to juggle between work and kids because I have a job! That is great news because there are people losing their jobs or not being able to work from home hence suffer from major pay cuts or asked to take unpaid leave.

I have access to multiple devices such that my child and I are able both work at the same time! I know there are families who do not have this luxury and trust me, this is so important. Plus the internet I have!

We are able to stay home and stay safe, unlike the front liners who have no choice but to be out there every single day. I have seen parents who had to bring their little ones along for delivery. So I know I am blessed..

Everyday, I wish with all my heart that COVID-19 would go away soon so we can all get our lives back! Meanwhile, we will just have to soldier on and embrace this new norm!

Share with us the challenges you face for WFH and HBL! PM us on our Facebook or email us at

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