In 1665, “social distancing” orders emptied campuses throughout England, as the bubonic plague raged for 18 months long.
A 24-year-old boy, Isaac Newton, was among those forced to leave Cambridge and return indefinitely to his childhood home, where he spent what became his enormously productive time, often referred as his Annus Mirabilis, the ‘Year of Wonders’. In this period of intellectual contemplation, Newton reached the peak of his creativity and production, and formulated his greatest ideas, such as the laws of motion and universal gravitation.
While for Newton the pandemic period was a year of wonders, for most of us parents-with-kids-at-home, the 2020 was the year of disorientation and disruption of our routines, struggling between keeping productive at work (in remote) and kids-demanding attention at home.
Personally, I always loved the old days of home-working, away from distractions and noisy environments. In the -former- silence and loneliness of my home, I could deeply focus on my outputs. I naively thought that being a remote worker and a mother could both coexist in synergy.
All of a sudden, though, the pandemic situation put in front of me a different reality: being a remote worker and a mother means dealing with strict deadlines, never-endings conference calls, computations to run AND taking care of a 4-years-old daughter requesting my attention – “Mommy look! Mommy do you want to play with me? Mommy I want to paint! Mommy I’m starving “–
I then realized the fact that for me separating the Business Role from the Mom one is very hard.
Nevertheless, I tried to make this a year of wonders for me, too, formulating great tricks to get the best out from my roles of focal point engineer, mum of a toddler, and mum of two to be.
Here some of my personal survival-tricks:
- I became early raiser. My alarm is ringing at 6 o´clock: while my sweetie is peacefully sleeping, I can peacefully get rid of some 10 minutes tasks, process emails, and outline my daily schedule.
- I plan some interruptions for entertainment during the morning so that I can play with my daughter, have some snacks together and set up some games that can entertain her without me (like print out some drawings to paint, cut, and assemble).
- Relax time for kids! Maybe your kids still do the nap time after lunch. Mine doesn’t anymore. As alternative I have found a nice TV program for kids available only during lunch-time, that keeps my daughter busy for a while and helps me to conclude some tasks still open from the morning.
- Afternoon with daddy. The afternoon is for my husband. He goes to work very early, too, so that he is available earlier in the afternoon to bring our daughter to play outside. This is actually the time during which I am more productive! By the time they are back, I am generally done with my daily work and I can go back to my mum role exclusively.
Dear Parents, if you cannot see the end of all this, don’t feel discourage, you are not the only ones. Just try to make the best out of it.