It's the not knowing isn't it - balancing work and family life in these uncertain times

It's the not knowing isn't it - balancing work and family life in these uncertain times

Send help .... working from home is not going as planned

“It’s the not knowing, isn’t it?” that is the line I have heard from almost everyone over the past few days.

It doesn’t matter if you are 23 or 93, if you are a barrister or a cleaner, if you live alone or in a house full of people, if you are rich or poor - the fear of this virus affects us all. 

Even those of us in the media, who feel we are usually one step ahead of the news, who pride ourselves on predicting what will happen, how it will happen and more importantly when it will happen; are feeling a bit clueless these days.

But we are all in the one boat, while some are attending to emergencies, others are fixing the holes as they emerge and providing us with food and medicine. The rest of us have to keep spirits high and stay away from the edge of the boat. We must keep the ship sailing with one eye on the horizon for land, home and normality.

The staff of the Leitrim Observer are in the majority working from home this week and while technology is absolutely amazing, there are challenges for us all (but especially for Leonie McKiernan in Aughavas with very little broadband speed!)

This week’s paper is full of local Leitrim news and every day online we are striving to bring our readers relevant local news. It can all be a bit overwhelming, because while on one hand nothing is happening - sport/ courts/ meetings/ business is largely shut down, on the other hand there is so much going on between national news alerts and community efforts. People are still making an impact, there are stories out there, they are just a bit harder to reach.

Working from home with two young children is … tricky (I am being  really polite). Conference calls are different, meetings with kids screaming in the background are new and interviews are a little more rushed to try and avoid unprofessional melt downs from the children and me!

Luckily my husband and I are in a position to tag each other in and out as we try and get some work done, but my kids are being most uncooperative. Tv and screen time help - but of course if they spend too much time glued to it they turn into angry and emotional tasmanian devils.

Fights, hurt toes, hunger for snacks and in general mad demands are making sure I keep to my 10,000 steps going from room to room and up and down stairs. It is a little exhausting when there is no lunch break, no hot cup of tea in the canteen, no drive to Carrick-on-Shannon listening to music.

I have not been in a position to open my unique homeschool programme, or to even colour code a daily routine because our days are choppy and actually despite the void; quite busy.

We are trying to get some school work done with the five-year-old, but we must work in short segments as she finds it terribly unfair that she must do school work, while her two-year-old brother gets to watch cartoons or indeed wreck the playroom (and my head). I was speaking to some people today about a foster care feature for next week’s paper and they brought home the importance of stability and routine for children, but also for adults. While we spend most of the year yearning for a break away from the routine of school and work, we also thrive within a structured environment.

From tonight’s update we know the coronavirus is here in Leitrim. Hopefully that number stays small and people heed the advice of social distancing. We are all making sacrifices by not seeing our loved ones, it is hard but hopefully we can all benefit. I noticed in the comments on that story on Facebook, someone wished the patient a speedy recovery - it seemed to take a lot of others by surprise, the person or people who have tested positive for the virus are not just numbers, they are real people, with real families. 

Fresh air is really the saving grace, and hopefully we get some dry and sunny spells for all our sanity. At the weekend we climbed Sliabh an Iarainn - it was good for the soul to see that the trees are still growing, that the rivers are still flowing and that nature is there despite the madness. It was also great to see lots of people with the same idea of escaping the four walls.

We must be thankful for our stunning Leitrim landscape and that a quick walk outside can make us feel a world away from our harsh reality.

My advice this week is to try and give yourself some structure this week, plan out a few things to do every day. Get up early, get dressed and get outside. Be kind to yourself, go easy on your fragile emotions but strive for positivity.

Also take photos, videos, write a diary and stay in touch with loved ones, we need to remember these days, life will return to some sort of normal and we will look back on this time as a turning point in our history - or the year we all remembered to wash our hands twenty times a day! 

And seriously if you have some local news, gossip, rumour or even a joke send them onto us for next week’s paper.


P.S I am also Leitrim Mammy here.

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