The world can be a scary place right now for many reasons. We are certainly at a point in history that will have its story told for generations to come. While there are a lot of well-spoken and deep posts out there right now about the impact and psychological take on the COVID-19 pandemic (like this one from my girl, Bailey!), I want to take a moment to provide my serious, yet cheeky, perspective on working from home during this time.
I started back at work from maternity leave one week after my company started working from home full-time due to COVID-19. Honestly, while I would have preferred it to be due to different circumstances, I have enjoyed this transition back into work. Without getting too deep, I must say that I firmly believe there would have been a stigma (albeit unintentional) associated with my return if I had voluntarily chosen to work from home during this transition rather than jumping straight into the office. My company is amazing with parental leave and benefits, and my team and boss are the most supportive and flexible out there! It is hard, though, for others to understand that a mother completely working from home can be just as productive (if not more so) as someone working from the office, until now.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home and quarantine orders have forced our way-of-life and thinking into a more fluid, flexible, and balanced version of our old ways. Life, on the one hand, feels easier. We don’t have to worry about the packed calendar. We don’t have to force family time into the first hour and last three hours (if we’re lucky enough to even have that much time) of each day. We’re letting go of a lot, and, with that, we are gaining so much more. Without being too serious when I said I would keep this lighthearted, here are my newfound benefits of working from home during COVID-19:
NO PUMPING SESSIONS!
Before I even had my baby, I already booked my twice-daily sessions in the mother’s room at the office. Those nursing mamas out there can imagine my JOY when I get to cancel those appointments off my calendar!! Half of it is, of course, because I don’t have to bring the equipment and spend 30 minutes two times each day attached to a machine and then go home just to prep bottles and wash all the parts to do it over again the next day. The other half, of course, is because that means that I’m using that time actually to nurse my baby! She’s just over eight months old now, and I could count on two hands the number of times she’s had to have a bottle. This makes me happy.
Laundry (etc.) Between Calls
In the time that it used to take me to walk to the restroom, go down to the cafeteria to get coffee, or stop in the hallway to catch up with someone, I can now throw in a load of laundry while working from home. Or prep for dinner. Or tidy the living room floor. Whatever! We are all home ALL the time now, so it takes more to keep up with the daily chores, but it makes it so much easier when I can tackle it little by little throughout each day
Playtime in the Mornings
Since I don’t have to worry about commuting downtown each day, mornings are more relaxed. I can play with my kids while I drink my first cup of coffee. I can help make their breakfast (& actually eat something myself, too) before my first meeting. And, I can say “yes” to pushing my son on the swing set before I head upstairs to my office.
First Summer Break with My Son
This was my son’s first year at “real” school (year 1 of pre-k). Previously, he was in a daycare preschool that didn’t follow a school calendar (which was a perk on a whole other level!). So, this is his first real summer break. And I get to be here with him for it.
First Year Home with My Daughter
Like I mentioned earlier, I went back to work after maternity leave once my office was already working remotely. That means I not only got to spend almost six months at home with her on maternity leave, but I’m getting extra time working from home (presumably at least until she is one year old) with her now. I may not be spending every minute of each day with her, but I’m getting quality time with her and experiencing many of her firsts at home.
There is a lot that I, like everyone else, wish I could change in the world right now. But, I am not overlooking the blessings that a mandatory working from home order has brought.