WFH warriors: From diaper changes during Zoom meetings to investor calls in the car, 18 VCs and startup founders open up about how they survived the pandemic year

Business Insider

July 19, 2021

Business Insider: It goes without saying, working parents have had a tough year.

Between school closures, online learning, and preparing endless meals — while trying to maintain Zoom calls and meet work deadlines — it's no wonder parents are leaving the workforce in record droves.

According to the Pew Research Center, fewer parents in the US are working due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and those who are still at work have cut their hours.

To get a sense of how they survived the pandemic year, Insider asked 18 investors, CEOs, and startup founders what tricks and tactics they used to get through the work day. We also asked parents to relive the best or worse moments that happened while working at home with their children.

Lastly, we asked each parent what their childcare plans will be as more companies open up their offices.

Here are the responses from the 18 CEOs, founders, and investors, otherwise known as Mom or Dad:

Mom: Sarah Kallile, Lunnie
Sarah Kallile is the founder and CEO of Lunnie, a nursing bra startup.

How has the pandemic changed your daily routine as a working parent?

"The pandemic actually inspired me to start Lunnie. I gave birth to my second daughter during the quarantine and was frustrated with my nursing bra. It made me feel frumpy, on top of my postpartum hormones and fluctuating body. That's when I had a lightbulb moment to reinvent the nursing bra to help moms feel beautiful and powerful — because they absolutely are!"

Best story of something that happened during the year of working from home involving your kids.

"My 'office' is a desk housed in a small corner of my daughters' playroom. During important Zoom calls, I get creative where I sit so my background appears clutter-free of toys. The most memorable moment was pitching Lunnie to hundreds of female entrepreneurs including Rebecca Minkoff and the Female Founder Collective while sitting next to my daughters' ball pit and princess tent, just slightly out of camera view. It was one of the highlights of my career pitching my startup to business icons and yet the setting couldn't have been less professional."

What is your childcare plan for return to work?

"Since I founded Lunnie during the pandemic, I don't have a 'normal' routine to return to. I've been the primary caregiver to my toddler and baby while building my business. However, I'm excited to have regular part-time childcare help with my girls as the vaccine rolls out. For the first six months, Lunnie was built during nap times, late nights, and weekends. Initially, my excitement to build could sustain working at odd hours. Now half a year in and feeling pandemic burnout, I'm looking forward to working more 'normal' hours."

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