Nothing about our current state of existence is normal.
Every morning, my kids head up to their rooms and I head down to the main floor where we each settle into our individual desks and laptops and we start our day. Each of us hiding away in our own makeshift office space in some corner of the house, coming out occasionally for food or company.
When we bought this house, this was not how I envisioned the space would be used.
As odd as it is, we’ve settled into a groove. The kids have their schedule; a mix of video calls with their class and independent work they complete on their own. I also have my own schedule of video meetings and independent work that I complete on my own.
It works. Sort of.
Having three out of four of us working remotely in the same space is not easy.
While we each have our own space it’s not perfectly private. We don’t live in a massive house which means at some point in time we are usually getting in each other’s way.
I’ve slowly had to become comfortable with my kids popping into my meetings. While I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that never makes me feel as though I have to hide the fact that I have a family, as a private person that takes some getting used to.
School used to be the space where my kids could navigate things without us, their parents, hovering. That space has been stolen from them and they have nowhere to test their independence.
Last week my son scolded me when the music that I turned on during our lunch break made its way up to his room where he was finishing up his zoom call. “My teacher had to mute me,” he said, mortified that everyone heard his mum’s questionable taste in music.
As an introvert, it is hard having my whole private life constantly on display. My own home no longer offers me the safety of turning off because I have a constant stream of colleagues and school kids being streamed into my personal space.
I worry about my kids' arguments traveling through my AirPods. I feel pressured to have my house neat and tidy at all times because it’s constantly on display.
For my entire working life, I have kept my work life and my family life pretty separate. The only crossing being the occasional holiday Christmas party. That has all been thrown out the window over the past year and I have no choice or say in the matter.
You would think that weekends would be a break from it all right? Wrong! Because now music lessons, Spanish classes, and soccer drills are all being done online too.
I feel like nowhere is sacred and I can never walk away from any of it.
Last Saturday, I finally hopped in the shower around noon after spending my morning cleaning up the house. I took a deep breath as I stood in the scalding water relishing in my first moment alone in days. I wasn’t in there a minute when my daughter came running into the room panicking. I opened the shower door trying to decipher what she was saying and before I even had the chance to realize what was in her hand she turned the laptop in my direction begging me to help her with her live ballet class. I can’t say how long the laptop was facing me but I gasped as I tried to cover up and yelled at her to go ask her Dad for help.
She had run upstairs past her father sitting on the couch to me in the shower. Because a naked mom in the shower was still the better option?
For a moment I almost fell apart.
This. Is. Hard.
I have no privacy.
I feel like I am floating from my desk to the kitchen and back to my desk all day every day. I am juggling work, school work, cooking, cleaning and I’m doing none of it well.
I’m not confident in the school work my kids are doing. I know I’m not giving everything I’m capable of at work. My house feels like it’s in a constant state of disarray and now an entire ballet class may have seen me naked in the shower.
For a moment I almost fell apart. But soon my tears turned to laughter. Because right now, all I can do is laugh. I have to laugh because I’m afraid of what might happen if I don’t.
I know I’m not at my best in anything I’m doing right now. But what I’m sure of is that I’m doing the best that I can right now and that might have to be good enough.