It’s one week down, into what is probably going to be the new norm for the foreseeable future. Full time working mum, alone at home with two small children, digging into the depths of her patience capacity! A similar situation to so many around the world right now.
I went into last week confident I could make it work. I have managed the work from home (WFH) thing successfully for a while now, with considered planning and a robust support system. I may joke about success at home being keeping my kids fed and alive, but I do adore them completely and felt I had this waxed.
I had planned, researched, created lists, crafts, games, even some sneaky screen time that would definitely add value to their growing minds.
And, yes – I sound just like that pregnant first-time mum! The one who has done all the reading and research. The one who quietly (or openly) judges you for not being quite as well-organised or well-read. The one who will have her child on a routine by week two, sleeping through the night and eating all the right things at all the right times.
I have two kids (7 and 2 years old respectively) so I really should have known better!
By the middle of the week I realized my foolish ways when my two-year-old screamed her way through an impromptu call with a client. It was after five pm (you know that crazy time when your child appears to be possessed) and there was no saving the situation. By Friday I honestly felt the weight of the upcoming few of weeks (or could it be months??) very heavily set on my shoulders.
This quite simply changed through our shared connection as a team. ‘InTheFlow’ started as an experiment by our CEO, as a ritual to support mindfulness in the workplace, and which ultimately became a tool to connect with team-mates, and to really know about the people you work with. It is something that is ingrained in us now, a daily routine, providing a link when each and every one of us may be feeling a little isolated (even with the bickering kids in the background).
I had read enough articles, given the ‘resilience’ speech a couple of times during the week, already. ‘We’re Africans – crises are things we know how to deal with’. I do believe this – but my own story had gotten old, and it was reading a colleague’s IntheFlow note on how her son was looking at Corona-quarantining from a different perspective that helped me flick the switch: There is always something new to experience and to learn, so let’s be open to how this could make us think differently, experience life differently.
When I write, I am conscious of a point I want to make, some nugget of learning or an experience to share. This time, I don’t necessarily want this to be the case. I would like to share, in the spirit of kindness. To let even just one other parent know they are not alone, that it is going to sometimes be good enough to ensure the kids are fed and alive at the end of the day.
I would like for someone to feel in reading this, that this time will not be perfect, there is no perfect plan for this. That in this experience we can try to find some inspiration to look at things differently. That we can accept that we don’t know exactly what is to come, and we can figure a way to the other side of this challenge.
And most certainly collect some stories that we can look back on and laugh about at some point (*toddler screaming in client’s ear being a case in point).
Let’s celebrate our human-ness, and all of the perfect imperfection that surrounds us right now.