I sit myself at the table, strong cup of coffee in hand, gaze at my ancient resumé, and wonder who that person was… Who have I become?
I thought the fresh spring air, carrying a hint of jasmine, and the calm morning twitter of small birds in the shady trees against the backdrop of a deep and brilliant blue sky, might help to clarify my mind and reveal the person I thought might be me.
For once, I am lost for words. Having a partner with a specialised long-term career has given me the opportunity to choose to be a full-time parent to young children, but over the course of those years, many of my interests and pursuits have been put on the shelf in favour of (happily) supporting my partner and family. It is only now, as they move through primary (or elementary) school toward high school, in this ‘year of COVID-19’ that I find the time has come for me to once again move back into the workforce.
And, as I stare at that gaping black hole in my employment history, I feel that into it has disappeared much of who I was before.
Perhaps those skills I once boasted of are a little rusty. Perhaps I may not be able to list my interests as “current”… but if I stare long enough and deeply enough, I hope I might find someone with a whole new set of enhanced skills…Someone ready to find new interests. And, as my partner says, I need to give credit to what that new person may be capable of.
It is Monday morning, the beginning of a new working- and learning-from-home week. As I make our coffee and note the coincidental combination of coffee cups that came from the cupboard this morning, it dawned on me how important and far-reaching the concept of teamwork has become. Our lives, more than ever, are a series of interlinking teams, much like a chain driving a series of mechanisms that need to work together smoothly in order for the machine – for life – to move forward.
In our household, our lives before COVID-19 were much more independent of each other. My partner would leave early each morning to deal with the chaos of traffic enroute to the office, and I would deal with the chaos of getting the children to school and organising the household. Then between after-school activities and my partner arriving home later in the evening, we were all so tired and frazzled that we remained relatively independent of each other through until bedtime.
Now we often enjoy a morning cup of coffee together, and sometimes a snack during the children’s break times. My partner is helping our highschooler with her work, as I supervise our primary school boys. The children also have to be mindful of their father in his office, so as not to disturb his work either.
We have all become members of each other’s teams without even realising it, and we are all working together surprisingly well – the machine is running smoothly and our life is moving forward.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented cooperation, and a deeper level of communication has been the key. I will miss this special team we’ve become when life gets back to “normal“.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week… I also know it has always been staring me in the face.
As we know, removing a family member from the mix changes the dynamic, and this week I have worked hard to keep our hectic morning rush to school as calm and light-hearted as possible. The results have been great – we’ve arrived on or before time, and the kids have enjoyed a chat with their friends or a game of handball before class.
This morning, one of the children asked me if we could do this every day? I laughed and said “that is entirely up to you!”
Just now, as I muse over my morning coffee, I realise and admit that it is also very much up to me. We are all a team and we all play a part. My part is the trigger for all that follows…
My advice to myself – don’t hit that snooze button, get up and get organised straight away. Make sure I get myself a coffee (or whatever it is that gets you going). Take a moment to draw breath and know where you are at.
I’ve always thought I needed to get the kids up earlier, and that they were always the ones dragging their feet as I madly tried to get them to school on time – but that’s not the case. I have been getting them up later than usual (but not too late) and we have made it to school early every day. The key – as all those amazing parents who are already organised well know – is being prepared.
Not necessarily physically prepared with lunches already done and breakfast laid out. As my friends who know me well enough, will chuckle to themselves because they know that I am never that well prepared, I am simply talking about being mentally prepared for the day. I am talking about being calm and light-hearted within.
With all that being said, let’s hope I can practise what I preach into next week, when I have all the team back together! Stay tuned…