So we're knee deep into the second week of the UK's lock down. Husband has a table he rescued from the shed set up in the bedroom and is working from home. I've got my laptop at the kitchen table serving double-duty as home school hub and small business work station. The kids (who are 6 and 9) are adjusting to seeing their friends on video chat and having more screen time then ever before in their lives.
So, within all this adjustment and preparation for the storm that is coming, is there anything we can take away and be grateful for? I think so.
1. I'm grateful that Husband finishes work now at 3:30pm. With no commute time to factor in, we have more family time in the week. He normally gets home at 5:30pm - right in the middle of the 'feed the monsters quickly before they tear the house down then put them to bed STAT' chaos. So he's actually getting more quality time before the witching hour starts. We have time to go for a lovely afternoon walk. Could it be that we can truly embrace working from home now as a legitimate option to enable more balance in our future lives?
2. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help my children learn. The thought of Homeschooling made me cringe when they announced the closure of schools. How the heck am I going to teach MY OWN KIDS - they don't listen to me. So I geared up with all the online resources that the schools offered - for free -and I got prepared. I made a daily schedule that included much more 'free time' and 'creative play' then they normally get at school. And it worked. They loved it and I've discovered that they do and can be taught by me. I've also discovered some gaps in their knowledge that I can address now before they become big issues. So I'm seeing the homeschooling as the biggest golden opportunity of this whole pandemic.
3. I'm grateful for the PAUSE. We live very, very hectic lives. I am in awe of any working mum who commutes because I simply couldn't do it anymore. I used to do it. I used to have two kids in nursery with an hour's commute each way and get home at 6pm and heat up the bulk dinner I spent all day on Sunday cooking. It was the main motivation for starting the Bshirt with my friend. We needed more balance than traditional employment allowed us. So we went into business for ourselves and got our balance. But life is STILL hectic. Because as the kids get older they take up even more time. School finishes at 3pm. Nursery finished at 6pm. So now I've got a whole afternoon to organise five days a week....childcare one afternoon, clubs another, grandad pitches in, swimming, don't forget meeting up with friends.....hectic. So now, with the lock down in place, we are just us. No distractions. I've got time to do the laundry in between emails and literacy lessons. My house is clean! Dinners aren't stressful because there is no rush. There has been NO SHOUTING in this house for 2 weeks because we are not running late for something. I didn't realise how much we all needed this pause.
4. I'm grateful for the sense of community all this isolation has brought out in us! Did it really take a pandemic for us to draw together as a society and pitch in when we need help? To smile at strangers in the street? To get to know our neighbours? To realise that, before the lock down, we were living in isolation of our community?
5. It'd be obvious to say I'm grateful for my and my families' health, which I of course am. But what I'm really grateful for is the times we live in. We are, generally, very healthy as a population. This is of course because of advances in medical science. I recently read the Usborne Black Death book to my kids - they found it very fascinating because doctors in the middle ages and up until the Victorian times had very little understanding of how disease spread or how to treat it. We live in a very privileged period of history and I'm grateful that this pandemic is unusual for our modern times. I'm especially grateful for all the skill and compassion of the staff that make up our wonderful NHS.
Stay Well everyone. We'll get through this together.