This lockdown period has been a chance for us to focus our minds on what is important. Two months, for some it will be a lot more when this is over, to reevaluate our relationships and work/life balance.
The coronavirus crisis has certainly been a period of reflection for myself. There has been a lot of time for thinking and looking at what in a changed world really is or isn’t important.
Just a warning, there is a bit of mushy stuff coming up.
Making the most of time
I have been working from home for the past couple of months. For some, it’s a part of their normal routine. For others, like me, it was brand new. I had to get the second bedroom turned into some sort of office, which was abandoned halfway through doing it. I set up in the kitchen eventually as I had a bigger table, there was more like, I had access to the garden and I could be downstairs with my wife and (at the time) 8-month-old son.
It wasn’t perfect. Toddlers aren’t quiet. They go through a multitude of nappies and much of the lower floor of the house is in some level of disarray. Looking at that experience now, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I have loved being at home these past two months. Pre-COVID I would see Spencer for a couple of hours in a morning, leave for work, only seeing him sometimes for half an hour before it was time for him to go to bed. During the week I would hardly see him, and it was tough. I remember going back to work after I had four weeks off for paternity leave. That was hard enough and he didn’t really do much at four weeks old other than the obvious things babies do at that age! But we had bonded big time and as much as I needed the income at the time, going back to work was hard.
This time it’s going to be even harder. I have had two months to watch my baby boy grow into a toddler. I have been able to watch him achieve so many firsts that I otherwise would have missed with being in the office. I have watched him master crawling. I have helped him to learn how to throw a ball and pretend to answer a phone call with my phone. I have heard him speak his first words. I have watched him eat new foods for the first time. New faces, new noises, and just recently, edging towards taking his own independent first steps. For those of you who have had kids, you’ll know how special each of those things is. So to be able to have been at home and witness them myself has been an absolute gift.
We’re living through our biggest crisis since WW2 and there is so much sadness out there right now. But the time I have been given because of the lockdown to bond further with my son has been the biggest silver lining of it all. I’m not going to lie, leaving him in the morning to go to work is going to be very hard. There were periods today where I would sit and look at him and become a bit emotional about it all. I never thought you could love this hard.
If there is anything good to come out of all of this its that we relearn what is important in life. Yes, business is important. Yes, work is important. But if at the end of it all we don’t have our health, our friends and our family, then what’s the point? You work to live, not the other way around. That turn of phrase is perhaps more important now than it ever has been.
Lockdown has given me that time to tell myself that very same thing. Obviously, I have been working as hard as I can at home, trying to make sure ends meet and the businesses I am involved with keep afloat, as we all have. But I have made time during day to take Spencer for walks, sometimes on my own to give my better half some alone time. I do bath time with him. Feed him. Change his nappies. Enjoy his smiles and laughs. If work doesn’t get finished as quickly as it might have, so what. It can wait. It will get done, it just might take a bit longer. I don’t live to work, I live for him and my family. That’s how it’s going to remain.
For me and Soph, we’ve tried to maintain some of the things we used to do, just to give us something to look forward to at the end of the week. We get a takeaway once a week as a treat and to try and feel as though we’re going out to a restaurant. We have a few drinks and watch a film or catch up on a series on Netflix. It was her birthday on the 13th, I cooked and tried to make it feel as special as possible. I knew this anyway, but time at home only reinforced my view that she’s an absolute hero and doing such an amazing job of looking after our little boy.
If there is one thing that this crisis has thought us is that our family and friends are the most important things in our lives, as well as our health. Business is important. Money is important. Jobs are important. But its all a means to an end. It’s the people around us that give us the true life experience.
Leaving to go to the office tomorrow will be hard. I will of course get my teeth stuck into it when I get there, but I will also be looking forward to the end of the day, knowing I will be going home to see him and give him a big cuddle.
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