Catherine Hingston, Managing Consultant of HR & Corporate Services talks about the challenge of balancing her career whilst home-schooling four children.
"Like many I'm sure you will agree home-schooling this time around seems to be that bit more of a challenge. Could it be down to the cold weather and not being able to get the children out in the garden? Is it the fear it will last as long as the first lockdown? Or is it the pressure we put on ourselves to be fabulous parents? And the best we can be in our job?
As a mum of four young boys, my husband and I have had to quickly adapt to juggling our work commitments and home-schooling. It has been an uphill challenge. We have found that being organised is key with a structured routine and a visible timetable for us all to see. Rewards are always gratefully received - even if it is just a gold star. And that goes for me too!"
Get rid of the guilt
"I am lucky to be able to share the responsibilities of home-schooling with my husband. We try to split our time fairly between tasks. We share our personal workload with each other, and the times we need to be at the computer. If we need to work at the same time, we no longer feel guilty about letting the children entertain themselves with anything that will keep them busy!
We explain to our children the importance of our work, and that we need to continue to do so to provide all of the nice things we enjoy. Being open helps them understand that when we are working, we are working. We ask that if they have any questions, they write them down and save them for when either of us are finished. It's almost a competition to see who can have the most questions for us! We have snacks ready for the children to be able to help themselves and they know what times to expect them. This can help with the constant Mum can I have..."
It's ok to not be ok
"Not every day will be productive, and this is ok. No matter how much you plan and get organised, there will always be some days that just don’t go as planned. So expect the unexpected. Try to be realistic. And don’t be too hard on yourself.
If you are really struggling speak up. Be open and honest with your manager. Let's face it, they may be facing their own challenges, whether it be home-schooling, or caring for elderly or shielding relatives. Your employer should support and arm you with the right tools and resources to achieve a healthy balance.
Most importantly, not everything will be perfect. Whilst some days may be tougher than others, don't blame yourself if things don’t go to plan. Remember the positives (including your gold stars!) So, enjoy this time with your family. Cherish moments you usually miss whilst they are at school. We will never get this time back."