What I’ve learnt from balancing work and parenting in lockdown

Insight, Team

 

mother with toddler working

There are stay-at-home mums, working mums, but now we have stay-at-home working mums! 

This is my new life!

Everyone I have spoken to has had their own personal ‘coronacoaster’ journey.

The sense of community has been wonderful to see, with neighbours pulling together and supporting the vulnerable in their communities, as well as their local key workers, but I also think it has made us look deeper into our lives and ourselves. 

Suddenly having all this spare time, especially within a confined space, can feel overwhelming at times. Even if you live in a house full of people, loneliness and the sense of being stuck in an ongoing cycle can easily creep in.

But we should never give up on hope. Now, as we are slowly coming out of lockdown, with restrictions easing and shops opening, we can look forward to the day we can finally hug our loved ones again.

So, I thought I would share a snippet of how I have adapted during lockdown with two kids.

The ‘new normal’

I was fairly used to working from home before the lockdown, doing the accounts for We Are Web has been very flexible for me and I already spent most of the school holidays working from home/remotely. As our immediate family don’t live nearby, childcare has always been an issue, but I have always felt supported in balancing both roles.

Being part of the marketing industry, a lot of our work can be done online, maybe even all of it as we have had to learn over the past few months!

Maintaining good communication with your team members and working out a good work/home life balance has been key to help keep things running smoothly. I have found our morning meet up calls give me more structure and some sanity before tackling the day.

 

Finding the right schedule

 

Everybody’s lockdown schedule will look a different from each other, but I have re jigged my weeks to find the ideal structure for myself and my kids:

Previously I would work 10am – 2.30pm for three days per week, working in the office, with the kids in school from 9am-3pm from Monday to Friday.

Now, I work from 9.15am – anytime I can get my work done! This is in between homeschooling, cleaning, washing and cooking. The kids are homeschooled from 10am – 2pm (with a break for lunch) three days per week and they are very strict on this. 

Homeschooling was not something I was prepared for; I was naïve and thought it’d be easy. I was one of these mums that had a timetable and behaviour chart all ready to go; how wrong I was. 

Meeting different needs

I have a 9 and 12 year old with very different curriculums and completely different attitudes towards work. My 9 year old daughter, an angel in the classroom for her teacher, now hates homeschooling with a passion; we have a battle most days getting through one piece of work!

Usually I cave in and let her draw some pictures (creative time!) just to get some of my work done, or to give me the time to help my eldest with the endless tasks he is sent from high school. He has taken all this on the chin and has mostly been cracking on with his school work, though he struggles with some subjects. I am not the best teacher on every topic, so Google has been a great friend of ours! It’s helped immensely.

Add in even more cooking, cleaning and washing than usual with being at home longer, not to mention the constant drone of ‘I’m hungry!’ ‘is it break time?’ ‘this is boring!’ and ‘I don’t know what I’m doing!’ even after explaining it five times, and it can all get a bit stressful! I certainly take my hat off to all teachers.

We’ve done all the lockdown clichés; made salt dough handprints, baked multiple banana breads, camped in the garden, built dens. Any ideas I saw, we did! But at the end of the day, I am just truly grateful for the very little bits of time I can drag them away from their screens; Fortnite and Roblox have a lot to answer for! 

The rest of the time I suffer the mum guilt for everything; too much screen time, being a terrible teacher and a lack of decent snacks. In reality, as long as they are happy, healthy and I have a glass of wine (or two!) at the end of the week, then we’re all winning.
 

Taking the positives

 

I think, after all this is over, we will all come out stronger and have changed a little in some way. One of the key things I have learnt, is that as long as there is an infinite supply of ‘good’ snacks, and the WIFI works, everyone will be happy.

In that sense, it’s not that different from being in the office!

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