Living (and working) at home
This is a post that’s been around my head for weeks, yet finding the motivation or even want to write it has been impossible.
I’ve wanted to record how I feel, how, as a family, we are handling this situation but not really wanting to face my own feelings.
I’m unsure why - those that know me I’m a very open book, happy to share my emotional state at a drop of a hat.
But, here we are - many weeks after being made to work from home and I’ve finally found the want to write.
From memory, it was a Wednesday that we found out we were to stop working from the office and start to do the 9 to 5 shift from home, from my office - well a room that is too small to be anything but an office.
It started out being incredibly exciting, working from home, right? I’ve done this before, in fact, I had almost 3 years of it – but this was totally different, it was remote working, not WFH.
It turned out to be the complete opposite of what I’d experienced – I didn’t have an adventurous 4-year-old daughter, we didn’t have “a family business” to run which has gone from strength to strength and before Covid, it was hitting heights we couldn’t dream of and, well people love the products so we can definitely say we have been busy.
Work has been tough to manage, it’s been meeting heavy – I’ve somehow morphed into a consultant for “how the design process should be done”, which is bloody amazing and something I’ve worked so hard on for the past 6 years, and noticed for this within a place like DWP is such a great thing, and to be noticed and recommended by other people is the best, but the challenge has been the meetings – video meetings have been a drain and quite a strain on sharing parental duties.
Whilst, we are here, let’s talk about my daughter – without her silliness, without her energy, without her innocence in all of this I think I would have been overwhelmed by all of this, I am incredibly lucky to have “locked-down” with my child, and even at her worst, she makes me my absolute best.
Also, it turns out she has my sense of humour, she is as a crazy as I am with her impressions, her random animal noises and ability to really find humour in the silliest of things and bring light to the room – but try telling that to my wife as a 37 year old man is chasing a 4 year old around the house shouting
“ARRR IMMA MAKE YOU WALK DA PLANK LADY/LAD CATTELL”
with her on a horse and me riding a broomstick.
Just imagine living with that for a moment.
I have had a lot of conversations, supportive conversations with colleagues, friends, and my wife to help handle this pressure of having “spare time” that doesn’t really exist, the guilt of “home-schooling” and the general panic that spreads through a different schedule. Most find it tough to handle, I’ve struggled in the last couple of days and some have a situation that is tough to relate too, but being there is the most I can do for them and I know they feel supported.
BUT: People telling me I should whip up another skill during this time, heck yeah let me learn to develop an app and read “the top 20 books all designers should read”, whilst teaching my child to spell her name using chalk, make dinner, walk the dog, shave my head and… oh shit yeah, do my day job.
Looking back at this phase in our lives, I am sure we shall see a time of change, a change of pace, a change of priorities, a time of panic, a time of valuing the importance of having good friends, a good family and the need to support others and ourselves through hurdles that appear out of no-where.
In all the darkness, I’ve found myself closer to friends, I’ve found a chance to refocus, I’ve found out I REALLY love helping and mentoring others, my family is as close as it’s ever been, I’ve been reminded that my wife is a fucking superstar - not only is she running a business but she’s also running the house and enabling my child to be an absolute rockstar.
It’s been rough, it’s been annoying, it’s been safe for us all, it’s also been insightful and I’m actually thankful that I can learn something from what is a sad, terrible experience for us all.
Stay safe, it’s ok to be overwhelmed and it’s also ok to struggle or thrive.