Released On 16th Apr 2020
Katie's blog: Embracing it
I started writing this blog a few weeks ago and it was originally about the amazing #MotherWorks photography exhibition (www.wearemoi.net), created by Fiona Freund. #MotherWorks compares the powerful relationships between mums and their children with the importance of their professional identities. It illustrates the brilliant and bizarre duality of the life of working mums.
The phrase ‘the bizarre duality of the life of working mums’ particularly resonated with me. The bizarre duality of spending a morning negotiating teeth cleaning with a small person then coming in to the office to negotiate fees with a client for example (I know which is harder)!
Wind the clock forward a couple of weeks and the bizarre duality of the life of working parents (not just mums) takes on a whole new meaning! I’m sure I am not the only person slightly daunted by the prospect of working at home full time and keeping a five year old entertained (on my own, as I am a single parent). I’ve worked at home before when he’s been around, but only for the odd hour here and there, not for WEEKS.
But….. I have decided to embrace it. Why? Because we are all in the same boat! So far my son has joined in almost every video call I have been on and I have met (virtually) the partners, children, dogs and rabbits of my colleagues and clients. My company are being incredibly supportive and have made it clear that they understand and we should all just try to do the best we can.
I like to think about things logically, so my plan for the next few weeks is to have a routine, a flexible routine but a routine nonetheless. I have made a list of things we should do every day, like exercise, fresh air, reading, writing and maths. Then I have a list of ‘extra’ things my son can do while I am working or on calls, like puzzles, crafts and LEGO. I have also thought about when it will be easiest for me to do video calls (when he is eating!) and will try to schedule the important calls then.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the social interaction these past couple of weeks. Someone in the insurance industry started something called the 'Women's Exchange'. It's like the chain letters we sent at school, where you send a message to twenty people and you receive twenty positive or uplifting quotes or pictures in return. My favourite so far is this story, which was read at a colleague’s wedding:
The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.
Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.
“I like this Dinosaur,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. “Although he is fierce, he is also tender and he is funny. He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.”
“I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur,” thought the Dinosaur. “She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice. She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.”
“But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. “He is also overly fond of things. Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?”
“But her mind skips from here to there so quickly,” thought the Dinosaur. “She is also uncommonly keen on shopping. Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?”
“I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur, “for they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.”
“I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping,” thought the Dinosaur, “for she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.”
Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old. Look at them. Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together. For the sun is warm. And the world is a beautiful place
So remember, the sun is warm and the world is a beautiful place. We’ve got this parents, we already juggle careers and childcare, we can do this!