Juliet caught up with Charlotte, our Digital Marketing and Content Manager - mother to a 4-year-old son, married to Rob, a demi-domestic god, and owner of a very needy Italian Greyhound - to find out how she is really getting on navigating the new norm.
Institutionalised into the new norm!
Woah! It’s week six of lockdown and I feel absolutely shattered but I’m sleeping so well – go figure? We’ve definitely established a lockdown rhythm which feels weirdly normal now. My day - and EVERY day - starts bright and early at 5:30am as my gorgeous four-year-old tears into our bedroom demanding that we crack on with the day. We ease ourselves in with a daily dose of stories – The Magic Faraway Tree is our current book and it’s strangely comforting to escape to a magical world at this time. But, oh the joys of four year olds! Today he was quick to point out that, as he is technically four-and-a-HALF, wearing an age four T-shirt is simply not ok! The only acceptable solution was to wear a dirty one from the laundry basket – the clock hadn’t yet struck 6am so that was fine by me. We are definitely ‘going with the flow’! He is also a boy with high standards, as having breakfast in his PJs, even on a weekend, is not acceptable. So, fully suited and booted, breakfast is duly served by 6:30am and the day is in full swing!
Grabbing the working moments…
It largely feels very similar to BC19 as I have been working from home, and for myself, for the past 2 ½ years since I joined 2to3days. The wonderful thing about my role is that my colleagues measure my contribution on output. I am able to do a lot of what I need to do in the evenings and weekends but COVID-19 has brought a new dynamic which is at times seriously messing with my head. I am really missing my big chunks of time when my son was at nursery and I could plough through my work uninterrupted in wonderful silence, and feel totally absorbed with what I needed to do. That’s gone…
But thank goodness for all the technology we have available literally at our fingertips. It’s amazing how I can be hunting for dinosaurs in the garden, or throwing homemade parachutes out of a bedroom window with my son, and whilst he is totally absorbed in his new world, I can fire off an email or two and everyone is a winner!
The simmering of low-level anxiety
2to3days’ focus during lockdown is to support, connect and inspire our community by providing relevant webinars. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes which relies on Juliet and me working closely together, and to some pretty tight deadlines. My challenge is that I simply don’t know when I am going to get my next decent chunk of ‘quiet’ work time to do all the set up work that needs to happen. I’m finding this really hard as I don’t want to let my team or our community down. I want to ensure I pull everything together on time and to a high standard, but grumbling away is my fear that I have missed something – touch wood I haven’t yet but I do worry.
In comes Daddy…
That said, I am really lucky to have Rob around a lot more to keep our small boy busy and amused. His hours have been reduced so I can still grab some time to do my work whilst they go for a bike ride, play dinosaurs, or wrestle in the garden.
Lights out at 7pm prompt!
Whilst we are all up with the larks, which does make for a painfully early start, we are lucky that our son loves his evening routine: bath – story – lights out by 7pm. And Rob’s domestic super power is that he loves to tidy up. I frequently come down from doing bedtime and the house is, as Mary Poppins would say, ‘spick and span’. If I’m lucky a lovely hot cup of tea is waiting for me too!
What I am really missing
My friends. Usually we are super busy all week seeing friends – at nursery, or on play dates, or at forest school, and that of course has all stopped and I find it really hard. We have tried to create virtual ‘playdates’ on video calls with the children playing a game, or showing their latest Lego build, which has been hilarious because of course they want you to video the inner sanctum of a Lego digger truck which it turns out is incredibly hard to do! But whilst this is highly amusing and fills the time, plus helps the children stay in touch, us mums don’t get a chance to catch up and I miss that.
Small moments bubble to the surface
Rather than having had one big ‘moment’, for me it is the pervasive, low-level anxiety that we are all handling that is tough. None of us know how long lockdown is going to go on for, or how long it is going to take for us to get back to ‘business as usual’ – or even what the new ‘usual’ will be. This uncertainty gnaws away and it’s scary. Rob and I tend to be pragmatic, so as best we can we are just getting on with each day as it comes, and trusting that all will be ok.
Mountain pose and downward facing dog!
Yoga is my salvation. Prior to retraining in digital marketing - I trained as a yoga teacher and taught yoga classes alongside my full-time job as a civil servant. So, it’s an absolute essential for me to disappear off to my bedroom and lose myself in a regular yoga routine – heaven! And without the morning rush to nursery, I am loving fitting in more regular runs - either along the Thames or the quiet, leafy streets – a gift of COVID-19.
One of our pre-COVID weekly activities was meeting up with friends – often ending up in a café for a treat. Now that we can’t, we have created our own café in the garden. I bought some frozen patisseries and created a menu, which has been a great success as what 4-year-old doesn’t love choosing a treat or two? And we take a moment together and reflect that compared to so many we are OK, and we just need to take each day as it comes.