It seems that many of you are also in the team Winging it From Home camp, following feedback from our last blog. It’s nice to know we’re not alone! Some of you are even using this time to throw in potty training! Massive props to you. It’s got us thinking about the other possible benefits that being able to work from home post-lockdown may bring to working mums. The elusive ’me time’. Remember that? There’s probably not much of that going on at the moment. But imagine if in the hopefully not too distant future, the kids are in childcare, we drop the commute and gain a few hours a week to walk, breathe in fresh air, work out to Joe Wicks, dance in our kitchen. Or would we just fill it with more family stuff? What would you do with that time? And are you managing to get any downtime at the moment? Or are you staying up far too late just to hear the sound of a quiet house? Let us know over on Instagram.
Our HR manager Heather shares her highs and lows of WFH and how squeezing in time to exercise is helping her mindset.
The set up
As soon as the lockdown was announced two thoughts passed through my head very quickly; 1. I need to get some exercise equipment now! And 2. How on earth were my partner and I going to manage my very hyperactive 3-year-old and work at the same time without going crazy and calling off the wedding! (which luckily we haven’t booked yet but you get my point here).
My partner works full time managing a very demanding sales team, his workload is excessive on a good day. In my extremely organised way I decided that we would have to draw up a rota of working hours so we could ensure my daughter was given enough attention from both of us. I used all my best systematising skills to draw up this colour coded wonder schedule, which I stuck to the fridge door to ensure we both took note and kept to it. The partner took one look at it and said, “that will never happen”. He was right, it was in the recycling bin the next day.
I quickly realised that I was going to need to do more of the juggling due to my partner’s workload and the amount of calls he has to take each day. At first the pressure was too much and I found myself drinking more wine and eating A LOT of chocolate in the evening just to de-stress. Eventually we figured out a little routine and I found that exercise really helped my mental well-being and my ability to cope with the relentlessness of the situation.
I usually manage my day by looking after my daughter and working around my partner’s daily calls. I spend more focused time with Elsie when he is on these calls so I can keep her out of the way and happy. I have failed on this front a couple of times though, when Elsie could be heard shouting “DADDYYYYY can you wipe my bum”! during a team meeting. Head in hands moment!
Waking up early to get organised for the day, exercising, stretching and getting ready before my daughter wakes up. This is my time, where for an hour or two I have no demands on me.
We also love our daily walk as a family, discovering new places near to us which we never knew existed.
And the biggest high point for me has been getting to know my daughter again. She is usually in childcare four days a week and the three days we are together are always rushed and busy. So this time with her has been wonderful, difficult at times of course but also extremely rewarding for us all.
The constant Mum guilt that I am never doing enough, that she may be behind when she starts school in September, or I am not spending as much time with her as I should doing more important preschool related activities, like phonics.
I also have days where I can feel the pressure building and have to walk away from potential arguments with my partner over the most trivial things. For me, going for a run or doing a HITT workout really helps me to de-stress.
Most winging-it moment
Popping my daughter in front of the TV with ice cream at 10 in the morning to keep her quiet whilst we both try and work. To then walk back into the room to see her watching a very scary and age inappropriate King Kong movie at the part where he is killing dinosaurs. But she was in her element! Ice cream, dinosaurs and a massive monkey! She wasn’t happy when I quickly turned Hey Duggee back on.
What my friends are saying
The majority of my friends don’t have children so they are not feeling the pressure as much and fall in the camp of “having lots of extra time to learn a new skill” (need to try harder not to roll my eyes here). My friends with children are finding it challenging as most are working full time. But they’re making it work and enjoying the benefits of being at home and we’re all clinging onto the time when we get to see each other again (can’t believe I actually miss going to soft play!)
Biggest lesson learnt
To breathe and be kind to each other. I’ve realised how much I need my friends and family to keep me sane and that I can work, live and see my partner 24 hours a day for weeks and not want to run away (most of the time!)
What does lockdown mean for working mums?
Mum & You have always understood the need for flexibility for mums and recognise how we are juggling so much in life. Working in HR I’ve seen how helping employees to find a work/life balance makes a much happier workforce, who are willing to work hard for a company that supports and respects them. If lockdown hasn’t shown businesses that going forward, offering flexible working can help both them and their employees, they’re going to lose out on attracting experienced and talented women, who also happen to be mothers, to come and work for them.
We’d love to hear your stories and winging it moments, so join in the discussion below or on Instagram.