We’re now in our 8th week of lockdown and for some of us that means we’ve spent the last 8 weeks working from home while trying to keep children alive, attempting to home school, tidy away toys 1 billion times a day, cook healthy meals to offset all the snacks, think about doing some sort of exercise, shower occasionally and keep some kind of social life through Zoom. We don’t know about you but we certainly feel like we’re winging it!
So what has working from home looked like for you? And how has it changed how you might work once we start to emerge from lockdown?
For Mum & You, supporting mums back into the workplace and offering flexible working is at the very core of how we’ve always operated. Happy employees make happy mums who make happy babies! And that means offering part time hours, being able to work from home and allowing us to manage our hours to suit us and our family’s needs.
But what about the parents who have never or rarely worked from home before?
As Carrie Bradshaw would say, we can’t help but wonder… will the sparkly silver lining of this gloomy pandemic be a new opportunity for working mums everywhere to work more flexibly? Will we now have the culture shift we desperately need that recognises a Monday to Friday office based 9-5 doesn’t fit with family life? And that mums have a lot of unique skills and experience to offer, so provide us with the support we need to work in a way that suits us all. Surely it benefits everyone (employers, partners, children, society) to help a mum feel less stretched between work and homelife, to remove the guilt and stress of missing school pick up or having to take a whole days annual leave just to attend a short class assembly. Mums all over the UK are proving right now that we can produce great work at home while keeping children alive. So once they’re back at nursery or school, won’t mums have even more headspace to think, plan, be creative, problem solve, work efficiently, breathe and yes, even have time to stick a load in the wash? And lets not forget about dads. How many friends have told you how much dads are enjoying spending more time at home with their children? Removing their daily commute could let them feel more connected with family life.
So how do you feel about it? Are you hoping your company continues to offer working from home? Or are you ready to run back to the office? We know everyone’s experience will be different and we’d love to hear your highs and lows and winging it moments over on Instagram.
This week our team will be sharing what it’s been like for us, beginning with Rachel, Digital Marketing Manager…
The set up
I recently started back to work after maternity leave when the UK was in its 3rd week of lockdown. It was strange at first commuting upstairs to my bedroom and not going into the office to say hello and get back up to speed. But actually it’s been a big blessing as I’m able to still see my baby boy and 3 year old twin girls whenever I want, so I’ve not had that awful lurch of waving bye bye baby when you first start back. And as I’m still breastfeeding, I don’t have to worry about expressing at the office. I do think I’m one of the lucky ones though. My husband has dropped to 4 days so I work one full day and spread the rest of my part time hours across the week. That day is a welcome breather from being full time mum and honestly, I enjoy the break!
So many! The smile and excited giggles my baby gives when my husband brings him for a feed. My twins sneaking up to see mummy working on her computer and put on a ‘show’ for me from inside my bedroom wardrobe. You don’t get that in the office! And just the extra time I’ve been given with the twins before they (hopefully) start school in September.
The sheer amount of Peppa Pig! And it can be stressful squeezing the rest of my hours in. I try and do some hours before 9 (which is hard when your baby doesn’t sleep through and you’re not a morning person!). Or I work while the kids are causing chaos around me and then I feel guilty I’m not giving them my full attention. 3 kids under 4 is tough but equally I’m not having to home school them too and that must be so hard for working mums.
Most winging-it moment
Breastfeeding my 10 month old while trying to write a blog and then taking a call from my boss while handing over snacks to my twins who are eating their way through my wage because they’re ALWAYS hunnnnnnngryyyyy!
Biggest lesson learnt
I can enjoy working and being a mum at the same time, its not one or the other. I feel proud of myself that I have still produced some great work while having my family around me and they’ve even been a source of inspiration.
What my friends are saying
Massive props to one friend who works full time, along with her husband, in intense jobs. They’ve developed a rota of 3 hours on, 3 hours off so they can manage their two under 3s but sometimes there are meeting clashes. She told our group WhatsApp that during an important conference call, she had to wipe her toddler’s bottom while also changing her 1 year old’s dirty nappy. Now that’s multitasking! But what’s great is she feels this lockdown has broken down some negative views at her company that if you’re working from home you’re slacking. And hopes that going forward both her and her husband can drop the commute (and the guilt) and gain back some much needed time and headspace on a weekly basis.
What does lockdown mean for working mums?
I love that before, during and after lockdown, Mum & You are, and will, continue to champion flexible working and support all of us mums and our families. I hope that other companies who have been reluctant to change can use this time as a real life test of how it can work for both them and their employees and make a permanent shift to how they operate post lockdown.
Check back in a few days when we’ll hear from other members of the team. And don’t forget to join the discussion on Instagram.
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