“When you work from home there is no such thing as a holiday.”
As the world comes to know Covid-19, and the pandemic reaches new regions and new heights, industries globally have come to adapt to a new norm: a work-from-home, quarantined situation.
Ours started when the President announced a lockdown at the capital starting March 17th, and it has extended until April 30th. I thought then, with relief, this is the break that I was waiting for! A chance to be with my daughter and husband, and still do work. A way to destress from everyday traffic and dragging whole-day meetings. This could work!
Management advised us general guidelines: work-from-home means we are to be online and reached, at most times. We adapted the Microsoft Teams program for conference calls, and used Viber app for important announcements.
When the days progressed, we found a new routine at home to follow, as a family adjusting to this new schedule:
0600: My wake-up time. This was a much later hour than we used to wake up (before it was an hour or two earlier, to get ready for work and school). I would check my messages, reply to emails from my mobile, and have a quick visit to my social media accounts. This is usually my quiet time, when I can also prepare mentally for the day ahead.
0700: Prep Time. Family wakes up. By this time, me and the hubby have already cooked breakfast, given my daughter a bath, and did a general cleaning of the house. (yes, we tagged team and delineated chores!) Lunch and dinner menus are also prepped, in time for cooking time later.
0900: WORK FROM HOME *juggling* begins. As part of the marketing group, we are mostly invited to small district meetings of operations, cascading new program directions and tackling their issues and concerns. This can last from about an hour or two, and I usually attend two to three meetings in a day
As the day progresses, I take in about 4 calls in an hour, from medreps to their supervisors, also addressing questions and approving online budget requests.
In between, I feed my daughter and fix lunch for the family (meetings can be muted and even be on invisible mode), so while listening I can multitask on chores for the house.
Husband also does conference calls around this time, so we just swap work and home responsibilities when we’re not currently on calls. Very thankful that the spouse is supportive and understanding.
1500: Marketing Meeting. Our core group huddles in the afternoon to give feedback on the daily meetings we attended. We also submit reports, and present to higher management for items needing (mostly budget) approval. The agreements are then discussed back to operations the following day.
1700: Finish training module and exam. Training has required us to catch up on professional development, through online modules (video and PDF formats) with an exam to be taken daily for comprehension check. This is stressful for me, as my position dictates the pressure to score high!
1800: Dinner and Family Time. Finally done with most work, we sit down together at the table to have family conversation and have dinner. I have playtime with my daughter, and my husband and I either catch up on our Kdrama or a new Netflix movie we haven’t seen in the cinemas.
2000: Sleep and Me Time to unwind. After the family rosary, I catch up on my kindle to read the latest romcom (friends to lovers tropes are my recent favorite), or to have e-drinking sessions with my friends.
Then cycle repeats again the next day.
I don’t have much semblance anymore of the dates, even the days of the week. All I’m aware of is today, and tomorrow. Most of the time, it’s exhausting to work from home because we have to be resourceful on how we still conduct business while giving my family the quality time that they are starving for. The usual work hours is extended catering to internal and external customer needs, because we have to be more accessible in our time. The premise that “we are not busy” does not hold true for work at home moms, because we now have to multitask both work and home responsibilities, as we are in both zones at the same time, everyday.
But I’m thankful for the gift of extra time from the absence of daily commute and dressing up to work. I am thankful for the extra time to do Marie Kondo, to pick up on Masterclass sessions, and to read on those Bid Bad Wolf books I picked up a couple of years back. I am thankful and inspired to write an entry again in this WordPress. I am thankful to catch up on doing things that I wanted to do, but wasn’t able to before, because I was too busy with office or field work.
I’m more grateful for our health, and I pray that the health and safety of everyone improves soon. Because as much as I am thankful for these blessings, I can appreciate now the beauty of compartmentalizing our time, and therefore our responsibilities, to the different functions working moms have: time for work, time for family, time for ourselves.
I still wish for the “normalcy” of our lives to return. Hopefully sooner, than later.