How to cope with the lockdown as a working parent, according to Vimeo’s SVP

How to cope with the lockdown as a working parent, according to Vimeo’s SVP

In the series “Staying inside with…,” we pick the brains of experts and interesting people in tech to find out their favorite books, courses, movies, and podcasts they’ve been enjoying during lockdown. Kathleen Barrett, Senior Vice President, Enterprise and Head of Creator Success at Vimeo, is the latest to share what’s been keeping her busy whilst staying at home.

Ever since the world went into lockdown, live video streaming has become more popular than ever. The most prestigious names in the music industry have been live streaming performances from their homes, fitness influencers have been offering daily home workout plans and mindfulness classes, and Amazon’s Twitch streaming platform for gamers even created a web app to help you discover and connect with random streamers.

This week, we talked to Kathleen Barrett, Senior Vice President, Enterprise and Head of Creator Success at Vimeo, the world’s leading professional video platform. Barrett told us about the live sessions she’s been enjoying during the lockdown, as well as the books, movies, and TV series that have been comforting her during these unprecedented times.

The sense of community of live sessions

“Live as a format really works right now because it creates a sense of community and connectedness,” Barrett explained. “I’ve been enjoying the live streams workouts from Taryn Toomey’s The Class, and the dance-oriented workouts offered by Megan Roup of the Sculpt Society. I’ve also been admiring the work of meditation leader Jesse Israel. My mind wanders during all hours of the day, even in the middle of the night, and his streams have provided me with some much-needed tools in managing this.”

Digital schedule of The Class. Credits: Taryn Toomey

The number of fitness channels on Vimeo is also dramatically increasing, as traditional brick-and-mortar fitness businesses have been finding new ways to adapt to the new lockdown regulations.

Read: [Canva’s co-founder shares what’s been keeping him busy during lockdown]

“It’s rewarding to experience the value of what our clients are offering, and to know that they’re making a difference in the days of so many right now.” Barrett said. “Regular workouts often fell off my priority list after having my daughter, but daily exercises are cathartic and necessary for me right now. My go-to is Melissa Wood Health. It’s perfect for working moms because some of her videos are as short as 10 minutes, which is ideal for the likely scenario that I need to work out while my daughter’s oatmeal is cooking.” 

Lockdown entertainment for full-time working parents

As a full-time working parent with no childcare support, every minute of Barrett’s life is scheduled. But even while it’s been challenging to find time to read, discover new series, train, and stay sane through it all, Barrett has found time to dedicate to some comforting and entertaining content.

“I try to keep my content consumption limited, but at the end of each day, I like to decompress with my daughter,” Barrett explained. “We’ve been making our way through the Harry Potter series, and she’s loving it. And then when she goes to bed, I’ve loved watching Some Good News, Stephen At Home, and the videos featured in Vimeo’s recent project Stories in Place. There’s one story about a Taiwanese restaurant that’s been making and donating bento boxes to hospitals and health care workers. It has reminded me how great New Yorkers are in times of struggle. And how you don’t have to be on the frontlines to make things a little bit better for someone out there. I try to harness that energy in my leadership approach these days.”

Barrett has been also trying to re-read books that have given her focus and strength in the past. One of her favorite readings was The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most experienced entrepreneurs. The book offers practical wisdom for building and running a startup, and gives advice on how to manage the toughest entrepreneurial problems that business school doesn’t cover.

Find time to watch something grow

Sometimes, there’s no book recommendation or catchy Netflix series that can make the lockdown feel right. In that case, keeping busy can’t be considered a challenge anymore. “I’m learning from my friends, family and team that everyone is facing different challenges right now: anxiety, loneliness, boredom, over-extension,” Barrett said. “Keeping busy isn’t my biggest challenge; I have lots of balls in the air and it seems like some might drop at any given moment.”

Barrett suggests to everyone who’s struggling to adjust to the lockdown to keep a schedule and stick to a routine that doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed. “We’ve all heard it works great for kids. Turns out it works great for adults, too,” Barrett said. “While it may seem impossible, a schedule will help you carve out time for everything: a breakfast with your kid, a walk outside, working hours, and some time to decompress. We’re living through a time of so much uncertainty, and it has been hugely helpful in knowing what me and my daughter can expect throughout each day”. 

It is important to keep in mind that also taking baby steps can contribute in a meaningful way to the greater good. “Do what you can,” Barrett suggests. “Build a website for a friend’s non-profit, make a mask for your neighbor, or donate five dollars to a local business. And lastly, watch something grow. It’s encouraging to watch something develop right now, to see progress in a time when you otherwise might feel stagnant.”

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