The truth about working from home with my family during COVID-19

I’ve mostly worked from home for the last few years so that’s nothing new for me, but living in close quarters with my husband, homeschooling a 5-year-old, cooking up to three meals a day and keeping up with chores in addition to trying to squeeze in some much-needed exercise is killing me. Ok fine, I’ve not managed that last one, because somethings got to give!

I imagine for many of you it’s the same… Juggling a million things whilst worrying about older parents, about money, how to keep your businesses afloat, and how to find time to queue at the shops. It’s a huge amount to process and that alone is a total energy suck. Then there are all the daily to-dos that have been building up. Keeping the house clean, the laundry going, the dishes washed. It’s like we’re now doing all the jobs ourselves for a pay cut.

Personally, so I don’t kill anyone in my house or drink myself to death, I’ve been trying to implement some systems to help me master my new normal. Each day I get up and get dressed and get my family ready like I always have to keep some semblance of a routine. Then I make a list and approach things one to-do at a time because if I looked at the whole list at once I might just lay down and never get up again.

I’ve been in regular contact with friends and family, facetime chatting or running commentary while we watch Netflix simultaneously, in an effort to keep some semblance of normalcy. I’ve also limited the news and social info I absorb, so to not get totally overwhelmed.

I’m not going to lie, even with all that in place it’s still total chaos around here and I find it really hard to work in a home that now largely looks like a nursery, but I try to clean up one tiny space and get my head down when it’s my turn. My husband and I are splitting the days up around our meetings and we’re working hard to be respectful of each other’s schedules.

We spend the evenings romantically planning the next day, meals, homeschooling activities, facetime playdates and garden adventures and then we collapse in a heap.

It’s not the dream, but it’s what we can manage and I’m impressed with how we’ve all risen to the challenge as we can have a tendency to drive each other crazy at the best of times.

Thankfully none of us has had a low day on the same day, so we’re trying to keep each other cheery and focused on the good stuff – and there is loads of good stuff to be grateful for. Our son is hilarious, and when we’re not too exhausted to enjoy his high energy kitchen dance party antics and not funny, but because they aren’t funny they’re hysterical homemade jokes (mostly about farts) provide us with free entertainment.

In our normal life, we’re rarely home at the same time as my husband is generally abroad for months at a time making documentaries, so this time together (though initially trying) is really special, especially for him and our son. I couldn’t be more thankful to no longer live in London. Glasgow provides up with clean water, fresh air, shops with still stocked shelves and a home with a garden to get some outside time daily. Both our parents are healthy and keeping well. And for now, we both have work to keep us distracted, using our brains and in a position to be able to employ others.

That’s a huge amount to be grateful for. I realise it might be more than some of you have right now, and for that, I’m truly sorry. I’m not bragging, I’m counting my blessings and keeping them in focus.

Being in this position, though it may be temporary, for now, has allowed me and the rest of the team at CEC to be able to put our energy into pivoting our business to offer free services to our members.

We’ve been working like crazy, between child wrangling, to rebuild our website and our offer to provide you with quality free services for our members to help you get access to useful information, book in one to one advisor sessions, find jobs and attend online events and hone new skills that apply to this fast-moving new world. We hope this is making a difference in your lives and is helping you in a meaningful way.

We will continue to build on our offer and keep providing you with everything we can to help you survive and thrive in these challenging times. In the meantime, get up, get washed, get dressed and count your blessings. There may not be as many as last time you checked, but you might be surprised to find some new ones if you really think about it. This is a mad time, there is no doubt about that, but it could also be an opportunity if you make it one.

Lastly, remember not to be too hard on yourself. If everything doesn’t get done today, chances are it will get done tomorrow and quite frankly it doesn’t really matter as long as it gets done eventually.

So I wish you good luck and that you take good care. May you always keep your sense of humour with you and your rose coloured glasses on!

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