There's been a BBC video that's been doing the rounds on the internet, and it totally cracked me up. Robert Kelly, who is a professor and expert in international relations, was doing an interview with the BBC. He was looking the part in his smart suit, complete with an intense expression on his face as he spoke of recent events in South Korea. And then, bang! The kids entered the room.
He was seen trying to continue the interview as absolute chaos erupted behind him. He tried keeping it together, nudging the kids around, but nothing really worked.
This video went viral on the internet because anyone who has had kids has been there and done that. We've tried to maintain our composure as we go about our professional lives—trying to pretend we aren't parents while at work. But the lesson from Kelly's BBC interview is this—push them away as much as you will, the kids will turn up in the background at some point.
I've seen many people trying to prove to their bosses that being a parent doesn't come in the way of their professional life. The truth is, it does.
I once did an interview on the phone with my son hanging off my leg, repeatedly asking me to take him to the park to play. I have lost count of the number of times I had to cut short a conversation on the phone or a video call, to make sure my kids didn't kill each other.
While the internet was giving no-brainer solutions to poor Robert Kelly like "you should have locked the door dude", anyone with kids will tell you that wouldn't have worked; in fact, it may have made the situation worse. Kids know that if they try hard enough and do so relentlessly, they can knock a door down—if not by mere physical strength but by their constant nagging and repetitive pleas . The last thing you want to deal with while trying to concentrate on giving an interview are kids behind a closed door, yelling at the top of their lungs, "Open the door!"
The video featuring Robert Kelly went viral because of two reasons. One, it was so real and funny. Hilarious really is an understatement. And two, because any parent can relate to it. Regardless of how perfect your child is, you can relate to it. Children don't care if there is a camera or not, or if the whole world is watching or not. They are just going to be their unpredictable selves.
The incident with Robert Kelly raises an important point that employers need to acknowledge: that you can be a parent and a professional at the same time.
I've seen many people in the course of their daily lives trying to prove to their bosses and colleagues that being a parent doesn't come in the way of their professional life. The truth is, it does. And that doesn't necessarily mean it has to affect performance.
Work is not measureable by the number of hours you put it, but by the output and quality of what you do. A 2014 study found mothers make better employees. The study found that raising a child equips you with better multitasking skills and overall workplace skills.
Robert Kelly, you've shown the world, even if unintentionally, that you can truly be a professional and a father at the same time. Unapologetically so. Good on you!