Released On 29th Nov 2020
Maggie's blog: And they’re back... but for how long?
Along with many parents around the country it was with a huge sigh of relief that we waved our 3 children back to school at the start of September. Our 12 year old twins went off loaded down with the huge pile of text books and sports kit that they had brought home 6 months ago. Our 6 year old practically ran into her primary school with no more than an empty book bag. My husband and I returned to the small pleasures of a silent(ish) house, much faster broadband and the welcome escape from the constant questions about what’s for <insert name of next meal>.
However the joy of resuming some kind of normality was short lived. Since my twins went back to school in September because of positive cases in their year they have had to isolate on 3 separate occasions for 14 days at a time. Fortunately they have never displayed any symptoms and their lessons all seamlessly moved online so no parental home schooling was required. However keeping tweenagers cooped up at home has been a challenge and the middle fortnight did result in some monumental FOMO tantrums.
I’m glad to report that so far we’ve had no cases in the 6 year old’s primary school. This is a huge relief as I really can’t face teaching phonics again or worse the parental guilt when she’s watching YouTube and I’m doing calls and feeling like I’m failing at work and as a parent.
I work for a large firm and I have to say they’ve done a good job at supporting and catering for the needs of a diverse workforce during the pandemic. Flexible hours and home working were already well established but we really pushed them to their limits trying to juggle home schooling and demanding jobs. Responding to the needs of many people craving company and a decent working space, from July our offices were open for those of us who wanted to come in but equally we were never under pressure to do so if we wanted to stay at home.
For me being in the office just that one day per week and seeing my colleagues in person became something to look forward to. My job involves being creative and I’ve found that brainstorming ideas on video calls with all the interruptions of wifi spikes and having to answer the door for parcel deliveries is less than ideal. The days we were in the office, we cleared our diaries of calls to make time for working together. A far cry from pre-pandemic, when we sat next to each other in the open plan office and bounced from call to call with virtual colleagues for 7 hours hardly speaking to the physical colleague sat next to us.
Whilst lockdown 2.0 has in many ways been easier (schools being open being the main sanity saviour), I have felt the loss of the little things that were once part of my daily life and which I’d resumed with pleasure over the summer. Having not done it for 6 months, my commute into London, a Pret sandwich, and ridiculous amounts of shop bought coffee became a treat and not something I resented spending money on.
Throughout this year my personal mantra has been to take one day at a time. Twelve years ago, it got me through the hell that was 10 weeks of special care when the twins were born very prematurely and were very tiny and fragile. It has worked relatively well during the lockdowns when things seem confusing and wont to change daily anyway. However, after so long it’s becoming hard not to look beyond today and into the future. I hadn’t realised how much I enjoyed having holidays to look forward to and dates in the diary to see my friends for dinner.
For now, with all 3 of them back in school, I’m trying not to think about the complexities of the tier system and instead trying to stick with my daily mantra and enjoying the simple pleasures of a quiet house, a reduced shopping bill and a quick soup for lunch.
Maggie is mother to 3 children aged 12 and 6 and wife to a fantastic husband who works full time and shares the parenting responsibilities equally. She works 4 days per week in marketing for a large firm in central London.