The announcement that working from home would be the new normal left our team divided. Those of us without children thought of the time we’d save on the commute – time we could use for a workout, a bit more reading or simply to enjoy a full cup of coffee rather than the usual gulp before rushing out the door.
For others, the question was: how can I be a parent, employee, chef, babysitter and PE teacher all at the same time?
And friends, family and clients are all in the same boat. So, in a bid to offer some tips and remind any stir-crazy parents that they’re not alone, I checked in with the Wardour parents to see how they’ve been getting on.
“The challenge is having to balance work and be a teacher for our six-year-old son, all in a small flat. We’ve found sticking to a routine works for us. Every morning my son watches cosmic yoga or follows Joe the PE teacher on YouTube, then me and my wife take turns to be with him. We’ve set up the dining table as our work desk, so he gets to sit with us when he does his work too.
“This whole experience can be quite stressful. My wife and I just have to work together so that we can get some work done without ignoring our son.”
“There have been big highs and lows. When I first heard that Addie wouldn’t be able to see her grandparents for three months, I cried for about a week. Happily, she has really taken to Skype and now demands to speak to a rollcall of family members every time she sets eyes on the laptop.
“On the plus side, she’s growing even closer to me and her dad, now that he gets to spend more time with her.”
“We did create a timetable at first, but that gradually slipped – although things are still getting done. Generally we have been ok, but there have been a few cabin fever moments.
“Having Evie at home, I’ve noticed how clever she is, and I didn’t expect her to be doing that level of school work. So I’ve been really interested in her development.
“We are going to the local forest a lot, which is great. I’m just trying to make the best of things and appreciate all our family time together.”
Jack, Production Manager
“My first shock was having to plan all the food. I’m not someone who cooks ahead and freezes meals, but now I try to make some extra portions. But we are having more family meals, which is great. I really recommend a slow cooker – you can pop all the ingredients into the cooker in the morning and you have a lovely meal by the afternoon. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I can manage this.
“Then there is the deluge of well-meaning information from every angle about entertaining and educating your kids, which I simply haven’t had time to read. It’s also ‘bad mother’ anxiety-inducing content. And somehow I have to work as well. But I’m talking with mum friends on various WhatsApp groups and we had two virtual drinks last week. Communicating is the thing.”
Charlotte, Senior Account Director
I set out to write this blog with the intention of offering advice and a bit of reassurance for the other parents out there – which I hope I’ve achieved. But as I started reading these responses from my colleagues, something hit me. Not one of them is under the impression that they’re doing anything out of the ordinary, or that they deserve any form of recognition for being a parent. Well, I’m afraid I disagree.
In our efforts to acknowledge the heroes keeping our country moving, we’ve forgotten someone. This hero is surviving on a few hours’ sleep, is having to re-learn Year 9 Maths and is on a client call with a questionable rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ in the background. And they all know that they’ll have to do it all again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that…
None of them are going to admit that they’re doing something truly amazing – but I happily will. So jolly well done, and thank you, to our very own Wardour Heroes.
And I love having a new member of the editorial team on our daily video calls. Addie’s vocabulary might be a few steps behind ours, but she’ll be leading the team by the time this is all over.
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