• Akosua Acheampong

Surprising positives of the lockdown

We are almost 4 months into a global pandemic that has created a space for truly flexible working, something the modern job market was somewhat lacking. Most of us have been translated from a world where the ability to work flexibly, consistently, involved tiresome HR forms and processes, impact assessments, managerial approval and finally, if you make it that far, a phase of negotiation where you reach a middle ground decision with your company. We are now in a stage where flexible working is not just an option, but a necessity. Companies have fallen over themselves to prepare and equip their employees to continue business operations when the occasion called for it. So far, statistics show that productivity overall has not decreased, the traditional thinking that having “bums on seats” in one office, under the glaring eye of a manager every time you open a Google tab, equate to more work being done by employees, is a thing of the past. This digital age has led to companies really assessing what meaningful work life balance is and the fact that perhaps employees really can have the best of both worlds.

I’ve assumed the role of a full-time worker and a full-time mum, by force. A natural homebody, after spending almost a year on maternity leave, I was not particular saddened by having to work from home for the foreseeable future. In fact, I was overjoyed, no daily commute? Yes please! The reality of my new role has been a mixture of stressful longer days, really experiencing what the term “juggling act” means and moments with my family I would not trade for anything. Our mornings have consisted of tag teaming to get things done, we have established a daily routine that works, and means at 9:15am, both my husband and I are seated at our laptops, with a happy, fed toddler roaming at our feet. As difficult as it sometimes can be, there are so many benefits that can be realised from this new normal.

When Huggable reached out to me to share some of their findings from a recent research on the impact of the lockdown on family dynamics, I was pleasantly surprised that the positives seem be shared across many families.

Studies have shown the positive effects of extended family time on the mental well-being of children, confidence levels and in turn, on parents. We no longer have to rely and wait on the weekends to get in that quality family time, everyday can hold meaningful family engagement that promotes a healthy environment for children to thrive. Something as simple as having lunches and dinners together may ring insignificant but it reinforces the importance of bonding and remaining connected.

Across the board, both working and stay-at-home mums have experienced improvements in their relationships with their kids. Being in lockdown means we can really connect with our families on a deeper level, talk more, laugh more, fight more (can’t get away from that one) get to know our kids in ways that being away from home for most of our waking hours did not allow. On the flip side, it also surfaces issues that may have been buried due to the busyness of life and enables families to address and work towards resolving. A wise man once told that our children are our legacies; it is up to us to mould them into the kind of people the world needs, not just rely on popular media, trends, their friends and school teachers to be their only educators. Yes, they will make up their own minds and choose their own paths in life but what is poured into them in those early years will help to shape their thoughts, actions, habits, and characters. I refer to my son as my little best friend because the quality time we have spent together has created an unspoken bond and mutual understanding of each other.

I thought I’d share some positives particular in this season where there are still so many challenges, job losses and much more. If you are a parent who is worn out, balancing what feels like a million things, having to hold it together and not lose your rag 24/7, here’s a little light to remind ourselves that it is all worth it.

In my next blog, I’ll be sharing how I keep my little one entertained while I work from home.

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