I’ve spent the last six and a bit years working for myself at home. After 15 years with the banter of a busy office, I wasn’t sure how I would cope with the isolation, but I’ve loved it. I do get the odd bout of loneliness and I’m always ready to see the kids at the end of the day, but I enjoy my solitude.
I’ve got myself a good routine of mainly work, a few chores and a bit of the ‘me time’ we’re always told is so important for our mental health. For me, ‘me time’ is running, walking, reading and blogging. There’s not a long bath or candle in sight. I need that time to recharge my batteries, so I’m ready to be a parent (and taxi driver) again when the kids come through the door after school and work.
Of course, my isolation came to an abrupt end nearly three months ago. I’ve always struggled with juggling work and school holidays. It’s surprising how much attention teenagers who don’t get up until mid-morning or later seem to need, so I wondered how I would cope with lockdown.
Strangely, it wasn’t a problem. We have enough space that everyone can have a room to themselves during the day, whether they are working, doing schoolwork or just watching videos and gaming. Yes, there was more mess in the kitchen, but there were less interruptions than I would usually get in the school holidays. (I’ve realised that the interruptions are mainly people asking for lifts – if three kids all want a life in two directions every day, that is a lot interruptions!)
I spent nearly three months enjoying having my whole family at home. I even found plenty of time to read, because my kids were busy with schoolwork or gaming. But then something changed. I probably got more work. My husband went back to the office (so nobody was around to help clear up the kitchen).
Lockdown easing hasn’t really changed things here. I only have one child who should be at school, and year 9s haven’t gone back. There’s been a handful of lifts for the kids since in the last few weeks. I’m still juggling all the household chores I was doing when I had an empty house. But the house isn’t empty and nobody would ever consider hanging out the washing (or even putting their own stuff in the dishwasher to be honest).
I keep thinking ‘I’ll just finish this bit of work, then I’ll be able to read’. But I’ll finish the work and have to bring the washing in, put the guinea pigs out, put the recycling away and clear up the kitchen. My reading time seems to have disappeared.
And I need it back.
I’m missing my isolation and my ‘me time’. But I’ve still got another two months without it.
Who else is missing their old life of peace and quiet?