So, who is now working from home? Who is trying to balance childcare and work schedules? Who feels like they have been locked inside their four walls where work, life and family have become one big messy conflict of priorities that feels like it will never end?
Flexibility is one of those things we aspire towards. I’ve had people tell me, you must love the flexibility of being home with your son and being able to work around him. The thing is, there is no such thing as working around your children or your family. They become a part of the entire day’s schedule. It’s no longer a balancing act; I’m literally juggling several balls and hoping at least two of them will stay in the air for just a little while, while the rest tumble onto the ground scattering in all different directions.
I feel at times I’m neglecting my son, and then other times I feel like I’m neglecting my husband or my job. There is no perfect solution here. No one has ever said that working from home full time and balancing household and children was ever viable, and now the proof is in the pudding.
Hands up if you’ve had to resort to more screen time than you would like to with your kids?
Hands up if you’ve had to quickly heat up some frozen food at the end of the day (maybe throwing in some frozen peas for greens)?
Hands up if you’ve been on a work call on mute while trying to entertain, educate or placate your children?
The guilt is real, and there is always something every day where I feel like I’m getting it all wrong as a parent, as a colleague and as a friend.
Forget about standard work hours anymore. It is not just your own work demands plus personal home commitments dictating your hours, but also others. What I’m quickly realising is that every other person has different demands and so the workday really doesn’t seem to end, as others are also navigating what hours, times work best for them in delivering their roles.
With all the above going on, my mind is literally spinning at the end of each day. Yet each day almost feels the same, and so I don’t have a clear calendar of events I can work towards, and weekends no longer feel like the end of my working week. So sleep also has become an issue. It eludes me as I think about how I’m going to balance tomorrow whilst also keeping my almost four year old entertained and away from the screen. I also can’t stop the worries and anxieties that surround me as I think about this virus, the impact it is having globally, and what our future looks like for our lifestyle, our economy and our community.
If anything comes out of this, I’ve learned that we are not ‘superheroes’ and that whilst we can still deliver our jobs remotely, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, and set our own boundaries to ensure that we do not push ourselves to the brink. I’ve also learned to lean on family, friends and colleagues (virtually of course) and many people will recognize similar feelings and potentially feel grateful that they are not alone.
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