This ain’t no carnival ride!
You know those guys who jump on the back of a bumper car at a carnival and help the people who can’t get their car to move forward? Yes, the cars that just go backward or spin in circles and everyone bumps into them. I feel like I am that guy on the back of the bumper car.
Working from home with a family in iso is a challenge. We are all in a new space and we are all trying to do our best. My 15 yo and 13 yo sons are usually in a very tight routine during their school week. They are on the bus at 7am each morning and not back until 5pm in the evening. Most nights they have some sort of sports practice and a few hours of homework to complete. On the weekend they play sport both days and then we start all over again. Both my husband and I work, so we need order in the ‘normal world’. We are a well-oiled machine you might say but as we all know, the machine is broken. When we started iso a few weeks ago we were all quietly excited about being out of our routine, not having to leave the house and living in a structured environment - well, that was 6 weeks ago.
In our first week of all ‘functioning’ from home, it was a total sh*tfight. We were all in each other’s way and trying to navigate the new way of life. I desperately looked forward to that glass of rosé that was waiting for me at the end of the day. Sometimes I even managed to ‘enjoy’ 3 glasses of wine. My boys thought it was great to ‘sleep in’ and just slide into a class online at 9am in their pjs and my husband had a long list of war, shoot 'em up type movies to watch.
Having Mum around was great for them all! Every 2 minutes someone called “Mum!” - how do you spell photographer, the cat is on the bench eating all the food I left out, what is the GDP, what’s for lunch, who left the gas on when they cooked their breakfast, where are my favourite rugby shorts, what’s for dinner, there is no food in this house, you need to call the washing machine repairman... and on it went. All the while I am trying to work, do video conference calls, and be a proactive member of the team. Seriously, can ANYONE do anything by themselves in this house????
The final straw was when ‘someone’ left the full Ribena bottle on the bench with the lid off and the cat pushed it off. The kitchen looked like a massacre had taken place - a pool of Ribena-y blood on the floor and splashes and drips of Ribena up the walls and all over the cupboards. A blood-curdling scream of “Muuuuuuuuuuuuum help!” came from the kitchen and we all ran. I think that moment was our family’s implosion. One son stood there in shock and with no idea how to deal with this, the other son let out a “oh boy you are in deep doo doo mate”, turned and walked away, and the husband’s response (in a slightly raised voice) was “for goodness sake, stop calling Mum, look after your own stuff and everyone leave her alone!”
Fast forward 6 weeks and we now have a new groove. The bumper cars are still going around and around and sometimes it is fun to bump into each other but there are still moments when I need to jump on the back and get them out of their spin. The boys have now started back at online school and have a little more structure in their day. My husband, unfortunately, has not been well, so he has not left the sofa for the past few weeks and rests a lot (no more very loud shoot 'em up movies going on). I am still here doing my best to do the work I love and know that my team of co-workers are always there for a quick chat over hangouts or available to share a little laugh. We will all get through this and we will all be back to a life outside of our homes but for now, we just need to be kind to each other, give each other space, and hang in there.
My boys have realised that school is actually a pretty good place to be and whilst I love working in my tights and t-shirts I am super keen to be back together at our Studio starting off the day with our team coffee run and group check in and bouncing ideas off each other and doing what we do best!
WORDS | Fiona Keogh, TLSE