Guest article provided by: Dr. Noor Ali, she has been a health insurance advisor for many years. She helps business owners in different stages achieve the peace of mind they need when it comes to health insurance. In this article, she shares how staying healthy isn’t just about the body but also about the mind – something she faced while being in lockdown as a first-time mother.
It wasn’t like I never worked from home before the COVID-19 pandemic. As someone who helps others with their health insurance plans, my job isn’t bound to an office setting or timing. In fact, I can work from anywhere in the world with just an internet connection.
But then I became a mother.
In early 2020, I gave birth to my son. I had my hands full, trying to be present for my newborn baby and run a business and help my clients. Then, before my birthing wounds healed, COVID-19 hit. We were all forced to work-from-home (WFH) full-time. No one else besides my husband was able to help me take care of my baby while I worked.
I had to do it all.
Parenting Struggles I Faced While Working From Home During Lockdown
Every moment I spend with my child is precious.
Was I grateful that I could be home with him all day? Yes.
Were there moments that drove me crazy? Oh, yes.
Was it difficult for me to juggle full time infant care, my work and my responsibilities at home? Absolutely.
I want to address the fact that WFH was tough and the struggles were real. And I want to encourage all WFH parents who went through this to share their challenges and stories. Let’s try to acknowledge, empathize and validate each other.
I managed to come out stronger and here’s how I did it (major props to coffee!).
#1 – Lack of sleep
The COVID-19 lockdown made me feel like I was literally sleep walking, at least until I had my coffee. In fact, sometimes I don’t even get to wash up and brush my teeth until my kid takes his nap in the afternoon.
I avoid video Zoom calls until after my kid’s bedtime in the evening. That’s when I feel “awake” and “refreshed” enough to turn on my video.
It was tough to juggle this schedule because not all clients are able to take on calls according to my schedule, but I tried to make it work.
#2 – Noise control
Both my husband and I have client-facing roles. We are always on calls. Living in an attached townhome, we have thin walls and an overexcited child. Even if we sit him down for a bout of nursery rhymes on repeat on TV until that important client call is done, that silly jingle of children’s cartoons is often caught on the phone call with a client.
Believe it or not, I have lost new business and clients because of the level of “unprofessionalism”. What am I supposed to do? It’s either a crying infant or children’s cartoons as the background noise.
Fortunately, I have amazing clients and compassionate team members who completely understand this challenge that WFH mothers are facing. I treasure all the times a client has heard my child wailing in the background and tell me to go and attend to him, making sure we can talk another time.
#3 – Lack of hands
Kid on one lap, mouse and index finger typing with the other. Ninja level: mastery.
All thanks to COVID-19.
The amount of things I’ve learned to juggle with just one hand while working from home and caring for my son has amazed me. In order to get everything done, it’s absolutely essential for mothers to know how to pick up their child with one arm and toss a bowl of salad with another. Doing things one at a time is an ideal situation but extremely unproductive.
It’s a matter of making the best out of the 24 hours we all have.
#4 – COVID-19 paranoia
I see COVID germs on every surface and I wish I could tie my son’s hands behind his back so he doesn’t touch anything.
Now that I’ve started to go to the office to work, I find myself scrubbing my hands vigorously so my son doesn’t catch anything by chance.
I’ve stocked up on a rather large number of hand sanitizers, wet wipes packs, disinfectants and every other healthy thing in my house since the advent of the coronavirus.
#5 – Lack of couple time
Normally, my husband travels for a larger part of the year. Naturally, that had to stop due to the pandemic.
You’d think with all the constant time we are home together, we would be spending more quality time together. Nope. In fact, our days are taking turns taking care of our son or working.
For a married couple who spends every single day together, at home, we spend less together now than we did when he was traveling every other week!
COVID-19 is an ongoing lesson. I’m a mother of one child, and when I hear stories about my friends and peers who have more than one kid, I breathe a sigh of relief.
Parenting struggles should be talked about more. It’s already not easy being a parent. Being in a situation where you’re unable to meet anyone or pry your eyes away from your child and let someone else take care of him or her is just overwhelming. I’m grateful for my husband but sometimes I wished we had set up some online playtime with other mummies and babies and thought about better solutions earlier.
The only solution I was aware of at that time, being a new mom and just trying to keep my head afloat was…. Caffeine.
Creating My Coffee Corner…
My coffee consumption definitely spiked during the lockdown. My husband and I tried to do everything at the same time and coffee was our only solace, aside from the occasional ranting sessions we had with our individual inner circle/besties.
To ensure that the coffee consumption wasn’t unhealthy, I drank quality coffee and controlled my sugar level. I tell my client this over and over again – as much as we need to keep our bodies fit, we need to keep our minds healthy too. Whenever I could get downtime from caring for my son and from work, I also alternated reading and listening to soothing music instead of gulping down another mug of warm coffee to lift my spirits.
Curious to know the items that I included in my coffee corner?
The coffee corner, keeping myself healthy, being there for my son, juggling everything – it’s the least any mum could do to stay sane and keep her family (and herself!) happy.
What was your go-to support system during the lockdown?
What was your solution? Any alternatives to caffeine?
If you feel like you need someone to ease one worry off your plate – and that’s your healthcare plan – let’s chat over a virtual coffee.
Schedule a call with me today. All consultations are FREE.