Angel's blog: Schools are open– work/life balance in action

My eldest started Reception at school this month and I promised myself I wasn’t going to cry. I had a small wobble when they sent me videos and photos from his nursery graduation, as parents weren’t allowed to attend, and again when I took his first photo in his uniform, but that was it, I wasn’t going to cry.

When he went through the door on his first day for him it was like going into the unknown. COVID meant our school had not been able to do showarounds for the children, they had a 10 minute meet the teacher session, they didn’t do a stay and play, no Zoom calls, nothing.  So, he had no clue what was inside but he trusted me, I told him he would enjoy it and with his head up high he literally skipped in.

As I walked back to the car, I felt so proud of him. I tried to think of a time in my life when I have just walked into anywhere new like that and I could not. I thought everyone got a little nervous on the first day anywhere. Apparently not. 

Then it was back to nursery for my youngest. Not a tear from him either.  In fact, he was more angry that he had to be in his buggy as they have to be dropped off that way now. They wipe the handles and wheel them in as they want as little contact with the parents as possible.

I got home and relaxed - I could work in peace without lots of interruptions and even work in one or two long blocks instead of lots of small ones over a very long day.  I will admit that I absolutely love this way of working. I get everything done; I do all my hours but I can be totally flexible. It means so much to me to be able to see my son into school and collect him each day.

Our office has said that no one is going back until January and I am glad of it. I know that not everyone’s situation is the same - I have a friend who feels quite the opposite, he hates it at home and he cannot wait to get back to the office. A colleague that said that they work longer hours and are even more productive than they ever were in the office. Another friend has a manager that needs to have video calls three times a day with them, to ensure they sitting there working – it’s suffocating.  So, I am glad to work with a manager that trusts me to do what I need to do.  I don’t miss the City; I don’t miss the commute, and now I don’t miss my kids bedtimes. I hope when the time comes and the new normal is here, companies will retain the flexible working as much as they can and let employees choose a work life balance that suits them.  If you could choose what would that look like for you?

I went to pick my boy up after his first day.  I had been told that you should have a snack ready and that you shouldn’t ask them anything as they need to decompress. That they may not respond to loads of questions or you may not get much out of them.  As I collected him I was bursting to ask him stuff when he ran out but I didn’t, I hugged and kissed him and handed him his snack. Then we started to walk and I didn’t have to wait long as he said with a huge smile “you were right mum it was brilliant! they even had good food and I made some new friends” when he started reeling off names then I finally cried, his joy was just infectious.

Executive Assistant Angel is married and lives in Hertfordshire with her two wonderful boys aged 2 and 4.
 

Category: A Citymother's Diary

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