By now we’ve all seen (and perhaps like me, watched on repeat) the viral video of work-from-home dad Professor Kelly being interrupted by his young kids and harried wife while he tries to carry on with a possibly professionally defining moment with the BBC.
Upon first viewing my reaction was that of mortification as I sympathized with the embarrassment of the situation. I am lucky to shoot on location and do my desk work from my home office while my young children are in school and nursery school. But inevitably there are times once the kids are home that I will answer the phone and confirm calvalierly that yes, of course it’s a good time to talk, while I hurriedly turn on the tv and set some snacks out. These diversionary tactics are almost always successful… for three minutes. At this point the snack will be consumed and the two-year-old will get right in my face to kiss me full on the lips with a breathy “I yub you mama”. The seven-year-old will, in a polite stage-whisper, ask if she should put out more snacks for her sister, and at least one of the dogs will vocally express their displeasure of me speaking out loud to no one in particular.
My cup runneth over and I recognize that, which is why upon repeat viewing of the video I find myself laughing more and more WITH them. And I certainly hope, 24 hours after their viral Internet sensation, that this family realizes that most of us, especially the work from home set, are wiping away tears of laughter because we see ourselves reflected in every frantic moment of the 47 second video.
This blog post joins the growing list of reactions already online: helpful listicles on how to effectively teleconference from home; play by play analysis of why it’s funny; looping gifs and memes of the children swaggering into the room and of mom sliding in heroically (presumably from a bathroom break with her pants undone), to wrangle the children and shut the door in a epic one handed reach. I could go on.
In another 24 hours we will have moved on to the next piece of Internet news but I’ll forever remember this cautionary tale and never agree to a video conference call if my children are anywhere on the premises. Work from home parents, how do you (or do you?!) manage to sound professional while a toddler is clinging to you? I’d love to hear from you!
The video, in its full glory : mobile.twitter.com/BBCWorld
Here’s a link to my favourite reaction article from The Medium: medium.com/@benthompson
and interview with the family in the New York Times: https://nyti.ms/2nmygtD