I never thought I would miss being in my office at work as much as I currently do.
Its been almost a year since I was last there, and then it was only a flying visit to rescue my beloved plants and a few essential text books before the building was locked up due to Covid.
As a working parents I’m often asked how I manage to fit everything in – childcare, hospital appointments, work and so on.
Mostly, I can do it because Sam’s Dad is incredibly supportive and is Sam’s main carer… but there is also crippling guilt that I’m not doing everything a ‘mum’ should do for her child.
I’m not always there.
I regularly miss hospital appointments and it’s common that I’ll be working at weekends and in the evenings, now more so than ever – anyone who thinks teaching online is somehow less work than teaching in person is seriously mistaken!
But people often miss a very important aspect of being a working parent – and that is the sense of identity it brings.
I’m not just Sam’s Mum.
I’m an intelligent professional in my own right, and having that space to focus on work makes a huge difference not only to productivity but to mental health too.
Y’see, going to work is my respite.
Its where I don’t have to worry about how my boy is doing, when his next meds or feed is due, whether he’s doing enough therapy.
I’m just too busy at work to worry about it – plus I know he’s usually at school and is perfectly safe and happy.
Now in lockdown, I’m struggling to balance being Sam’s mummy and doing all the things I want/need to do with him, alongside working fulltime and having a laptop constantly open.
Plus there’s no chance of a snow day when home school is in session.
Covid and lockdown has taken that away, not only from me but from thousands of others too.
Its much more difficult to be disciplined about stopping work at your usual time when you’re at home, so many are working far longer hours than normal.
Loneliness and burn out are becoming an epidemic in their own right.
Kindness costs nothing, and in 2021 more than ever we need to look out for each other.
Video and phone calls are no substitute for actual human contact, but they are certainly better than nothing.