Yeah. That’s me now. You’ll find me perched at a swivel chair in the bedroom which also works hard as a photocopying room, a two-person office, a baby’s room, a junk depository on Mark’s side (golf clubs and amplifiers and a laminating machine, anyone?), dressing room and dressing table featuring many pairs of earrings, chandelier storage solution and a place for daytime weekend snoring naps (not so much for me, that bit).
The office desk is really for one person and Mark pops in and out all day and he has a bad back so he gets the ugly cream fake leather office chair. It is a big chair and it won’t slide under the desk when not in use because of its big chrome arms that are meant to look mid century but just look like a big ugly chrome arms, so it sits in the narrow bit that requires sideways walking between the desk and the bed and always features in the background of my Microsoft Teams calls. Because it is so big, my swivel chair and me are shoved hard up against the wooden drawers underneath the desk and my thigh gets softly crushed from 8:30am until 12:30 when I race out for a quick lunch (all the way into the kitchen) and then at 1pm I start work at the kitchen table while the baby goes to sleep in my multitasking office. These three weeks have been overlapping Easter school holidays so my kitchen table office has been shared with at least six, seven or eight kids shouting a lot and pulling shredded paper from the shredded paper machine and making hamster nests on the living room floor.
Then the baby wakes up from the shouting and I think AHA! Time to be reunited with my tiny compromised fake office space and I go back and slip my thigh hard up against the wooden drawers again and start work again. There’s also a little hook that Mark stuck onto the corner of the drawers to keep the baby out from touching his things (batteries, old broken watches, a box of sharpened pencils that we aren’t allowed to use) and sometimes my thigh gets nicked by the sharp metal and I think AT LEAST I KNOW I’M ALIVE.
Skills I now have:
Can use Teams, can invite people to meetings and join them
Can navigate Excel sheets without becoming overwhelmed by anxiety and prickly crying feelings in my eyes
Have learned to brief a video editor in India and only go back and forth over pixelation and pantone about 17 times
Have written a House Style Guide which may well be wrong in parts, particularly concerning capitalisation
Might know how to use AI for transcribing but I suspect when it comes down to it I do not
Got back on LinkedIn and am starting to think of it like Facebook but without the memes and passive-aggressive fighting. Contributing to the LinkedIn community by saying ‘Congrats’ to people for work anniversaries and suchlike
Skills yet to conquer:
Making an email signature stay on my emails
Using Excel beyond very simple lists
Navigating the delicate balance between using my initiative and making a tit of myself
SEO implementation and key words. I mean…minefield
Having any original thoughts about Diversity & Inclusion
On the plus side:
I do like getting paid and I do like it when I say something which sounds convincing, but there are days that I feel it would be best for everyone if I just resigned and hid under my bed. Which I couldn’t, because it is actually a junk depository under there too. There is no where for me to go to run away from my new life of working and being squashed in my thigh and not seeing the baby all that much.
Because ladies with full-time jobs need proper childcare. I’ve spent years trying to work around small boys – when they sleep, when they are lost in TV and their stupid devices and when making dens with all the sheets and linens from all the cupboards and drawers. But now I have a beloved lady who comes and takes the domestic load away from me. From 8am-2pm Ms V comes and takes care of the baby, the mess, the shopping, one dinner a week, the laundry and the bins. For the rest of the week dinner is now this loose fluid concept where I will probably do it but I also might not. Now come evening, we all just look at each other at 5ish a bit wistfully and sigh and then do another round of wistful sighing and look in the direction of the kitchen but no one will be in there doing anything. They tend to hold their nerve until I crack and rustle up something even though I keep saying to Mark that we must make a roster. I’ve asked him to name two days a week where it falls on him but he just pretends he cannot hear me and I am too squashed-of-thigh fatigues from the new full time job to bother remaking my arguments about division of labour.
Here’s a photo I found on my phone of some party tricks tomfoolery. Note the rather excellent glass milk bottle we get delivered twice a week from an actual milkman:
And here is casper, enjoying his second lockdown birthday. He asked for a banana cake and a load of cash:
Casper looking very elegant in my coat:
Fuzzy but typical photo of the baby. A curly-headed, stick-wielding, smiley-faced joy:
And this is the baby who stuck a piece of label-making plastic tape on his head and called himself ‘Cobra Kai’. All his own work, I promise:
What else? My phone has broken so I am using Casper’s old one which is my old one and the battery lasts for about four hours and it has nothing of mine on it so paying for things and buying things and doing things has become more difficult, especially now I am a lady who works and has no time any more. This morning my laptop with the manuscript on it has also given up – refusing to charge – so perhaps I will have to fully retire my sad little dream of actually finishing the book. There is no toilet paper, laundry tablets or cheese in the flat because I am not around to ensure we don’t run out and I think my swivel chair is giving me a bad back. Apparently I also owe huge amounts of tax which will be taken out every week alongside the childcare bills which means I am going to be sitting in this tiny chair in the squeezy space been Mark and the hard wooden drawers to earn precisely nothing for about a year. HEY HO THIS IS THE LIFE!
*I sound complaining and, well, I am a bit, but then, having a job and thighs and children and various earrings to choose from – these are all firmly marvellous and good things and really, to have gotten a job in the quagmire of economic despair out there….well, I am a lucky lady indeed. Just a bit busy right now.
Well done on your new job!! Sounds like you are smashing it. Very much enjoyed the first part of this post sounding like Bridget Jones.
My son goes to the childminder twice a week now and it’s so much better than trying to cover the time with grandparents etc. So much more efficient, no guilt and she gives him tea!! Xx
SO IMPRESSIVE to have gotten a job to be done at home during this covid time! Sounds squishy tight in many ways but also like you are making it happen. VERY PROUD FOR YOU. Hope you will somehow be able to continue to make writing here happen. You always make me feel so encouraged and spirit lifted. Thank you for sharing the joy of your children. PS: A year to clear the underbrush of costs while establishing your current employ-ability and brilliance is actually grand achievement. Worthwhile investment in honoring you! You are amazing.