Rebecca shares her experiences of juggling work and family life
The schools are closed. The kids are home. For working parents, juggling work and childcare just got that little bit harder.
Every family is different, so there's no simple solution that will work for everyone. We're doing everything we can to help our people caring for children and dependants during these unprecedented times. And many of our parents are sharing tips and resources to help colleagues in a similar situation too.
One of them was Rebecca Williams, who offered a helpful spreadsheet full of ideas to keep the kids entertained. Rebecca joined the Attraction Marketing team at the start of 2020, and has two young boys – 7 year-old Gethin and 4-year-old Iestyn, both karate kids and Welsh rugby fans just like their dad.
We chatted one morning while the boys played in the background, to hear how they’re dealing with the new normal as a family.
Waking up in a new world
“Our usual life came to a halt early March, when we were quarantined as a family after my son and I got unwell. We’re all well now thankfully, but as for everyone the worries and unknowns continue. When the schools closed, I had a bit of a meltdown – I didn’t know where to start. Then I decided to focus on what I could control – developing family routines and finding different ways to help others.
First, I came up with a schedule to help the kids feel safe and secure, giving them structure and plenty of free time. I wanted to help them stay on top of school activities while also keeping them entertained and burning off energy.
Next, to help me focus on work, I created a spreadsheet with lots of fun ideas for the kids – from virtual museum tours and aquarium live streams to Cosmic Kids Yoga and storytime links. I was so glad to see it’s helping other parents after sharing it through the intranet and on LinkedIn – if you’ve not had a look yet please do and make it your own!”
A day in our life
“We’ve landed on a morning routine that works for us as a family. Most mornings, I exercise on the rowing machine first thing. Then the boys have breakfast while I check my emails and tidy the kitchen. Our day formally kicks off the kids doing PE with Joe at 9am – school uniform included – and my daily team video call.
There have been lots of phone calls on the stairs while the children play in the kitchen. Sometimes I’ll listen to a webinar while we build a trainset. Other times the boys are running around naked while I’m on conference calls. I’m sure I’m not the only one here – the kids are part of the package!
My manager has been really supportive and we’ve had honest conversations about the situation. It helps to be really open about what I can deliver and if any timelines will be delayed.”
Finding the silver lining
“The hardest thing is helping the kids adapt to the new reality. They’re confused and emotional, and can’t quite understand why we’re at home but can’t play with them all the time. We take some time during weekends to re-evaluate where we are. It helps to think about it as an iterative process, with weekly pauses built in to look at what’s working and what needs fixing.
There are so many positives to focus on. We’re lucky in lots of ways – we’re well, we have food, a garden, lots of nature around us, and we get to spend more time together as a family. In the mornings, I’m usually rushing to catch my train. Now I can stay in bed longer for cuddles with the little one.
We’re often told we should be loving parenthood, especially when the kids are small. Don’t feel guilty for not loving it right now. Be kind to yourself – no one is nailing this. If the worst thing that comes out of all this is that the kids watch too much telly then I’m okay with that!”