You have a busy life – a job, two young children and a dog to look after, a house to keep running, a social life (of sorts) to keep up. You think you have a lot going on and you find it a challenge at times but you always surprise yourself with what you can do. Then something major happens – a global pandemic.
The threat of schools and nurseries closing makes you so anxious as you wonder how on earth you will manage to do All The Things on top of looking after a very demanding two and a half year old and a very talkative six year old. Full time. With no breaks thanks to grandparents or playdates with friends. Just how are you supposed to manage working, and caring for children (dare I even say, home-schooling?) during lockdown?
My current mantra is that this isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever gone through, nor is it permanent. It is ironic that I was fretting about the Easter and summer holidays and how I was going to entertain both kids at home for the majority of the week. Fate has intervened to show me (and parents all over the world) that the holidays are a drop in the ocean compared to lockdown! Visits, attractions, playdates, kids clubs, grandparents are all available during the holidays, and of course, you’re not trying to work from home with a toddler hanging off you.
However, as frustrating and limiting as it is, lockdown is a chance to spend more time with the kids and for their sibling relationship to grow stronger as they play together (if they ever stop bickering). They can become used to the fact that their mum works (as they don’t usually see it happening before their very eyes) and my hope is that by the end of this, it might be a regular possibility to work an hour or two at home if I need to, without constant interruptions. That’s not to say that I don’t lose my mind several times a day… it’s inevitable, but I try to at least start by looking on the bright side!
My role at SAIC is primarily focused on events and of course, most have been postponed or cancelled. So, this changes things significantly for me (for the time being) but offers an interesting prospect in the form of online events. Whilst I certainly won’t be hosting any events from my home (due to the combined collective clamour of aforementioned kids and dog), I can do the preparatory work and coordination to offer our audience some interesting and helpful content.
This spell away from the office and the events management side of things (where I had previously been working at 100 miles an hour on multiple projects) provides me with the chance to focus more on the marketing side of my role. Social media, blogs, website and newsletter content are all things I regularly get involved in, but at this time I can put them at the top of the list while reducing the preparation for future physical events to a slightly slower pace! This isn’t to say that there isn’t still a lot to be getting on with and it will take a bit of a learning curve.
I’m very lucky as I’ve felt really supported by SAIC. We are a small team and everyone is really understanding of every member’s situation. Nobody is expecting me to work my usual hours or to be available for a call when I normally would be – and when I am on a video call, nobody bats an eyelid when I have to go and break up a fight or when a little person peeps into view. This is life as we know it right now and whilst not everyone is in this particular boat, most people are dealing with some sort of challenging situation, trying to juggle work and home life. I have faith that it will make all of us better at our jobs and more flexible.
To answer my initial question of how you survive lockdown… for now, I am just doing my best with this balancing act – some days are up and some are down. You literally can’t do everything, so planning a new social campaign and organising guest blogs for work, whilst getting my little girl out of nappies and my big boy riding his bike… I’ll chalk these up to a win.