1. Flexibility is always a good idea
I’m actually not talking about physical flexibility here, but if you’ve ever tried to follow a Joe Wicks PE class with three bendy kids and felt completely ancient then you might agree with me on that level!
No, I’m actually referring to flexibility in employment. For so many of us, one of the biggest challenges in lockdown has been work. I recognise that those frontline, key workers in the NHS, emergency services, retail and transport will have had a very different experience and I can’t speak for them. In my old life in banking, I suspect I would have either been furloughed or made the transition to full-time working from home. That would have been interesting with the kitchen table already in use as a: classroom desk; place to eat meals; home for the general accumulation of ‘stuff’ that doesn’t belong there but ends up there nonetheless; art studio; and everything else that hard-working piece of furniture endures!
I already had many reasons to be thankful for the flexibility offered by my business, but lockdown just confirmed them for me further. I am so grateful to be able to make my work fit around my parenting and, right now, home-schooling. If this is something that you’d like to know more about, then don’t hesitate to drop me a message.
2. Having time with your kids isn’t the same as ‘quality time’ with your kids
Pre-lockdown,we always had somewhere to be. We spent so much time driving the kids to various sports practices, clubs and playdates, and I still believe those things are really important. There’s no doubt that the kids missed, and are still missing, their friends and teams and independent clubs. We were a little worried to see how they would adapt to spending a lot more time… well, with us!
However, in lockdown, we had movie nights with popcorn and pyjamas and staying up a little late. We explored the magical places we had no idea existed a short walk from our doorstep. We made dens in the garden, filled up the paddling pool and lounged in the sun (thanks, Scotland!).
Of course, there’s been bickering and hard days too, but if you’d told me last summer that we’d be absolutely fine without jetting off somewhere abroad, stuffing every day full with football practice, homework, and all the ‘should do’s’ of this world? I don’t think I could have believed you!
Lockdown has taught me that the time we spend with our kids isn’t all the same: 15 minutes driving them to football just doesn’t result in the same connection as 15 minutes preparing an array of snacks for movie night together and gently ‘debating’ the title for the evening. Regular walks weren’t a particularly high priority pre-lockdown, but there is so much joy to be found even in just following the same old route, spotting the tiny changes that take place day in and day out. Supporting our kids by driving them to see friends and take part in their favourite sports are still essential parts of parenting, of course, but I definitely plan to keep our lockdown-inspired family time traditions going long after the restrictions have lifted.
3. Even when the world, and the people in it, slow down, we don’t stop achieving our dreams
The harder and faster I work and juggle things, the more I fear slowing down in case I drop the plates. Do you recognise that feeling? It’s like when you take a sick day to recover. You know slowing down is good for you, but you can’t shake the feeling that you ‘should’ be pushing yourself to keep going, after all, it seems like everybody else is, right?
One of the biggest things I realised in lockdown is that slowing down doesn’t have to mean stopping. My business has had its biggest months yet in lockdown, and I wasn’t working furiously. I was too busy trying to entertain the kids and navigate the new pressures of the weekly shop. Taking a break is always okay, and slowing down doesn’t mean you miss out. It actually helps you to focus on your priorities and keep things in perspective.
One day, I promise you, it will be just a memory. These are the things that lockdown taught me, and that I hope to carry with me. What’s on your list of lessons?