Guest blog number two.
Working from Home as a Single Mum in Israel – by Paula Drakes-Cohen
In the beginning, I thought that news about the coronavirus was being hyped up. Even though I am considered high risk (I have asthma), I really wasn’t worried. It only affects old people and the extremely vulnerable, right? About five weeks ago, many of my work colleagues started to request to work from home. I felt comfortable and unconcerned so I kept going into the office. That was until the decision (by the government) to close many offices meant that I too became a work from home (WFH) statistic.
Subsequently, I have come to understand the seriousness of what we are all dealing with and the naive heroine inside me is happy to be home, weathering the storm.
My new WFH reality instantly gifted me six extra hours a week, around 25 more hours a month (aka my daily commute). Just like that. Time for me (as for many) is this elusive precious thing that I never have enough of, so this was a huge bonus from day one.
I am spending this precious time well. Every day I walk. My usual ‘never ending washing pile’ has gone. We eat freshly cooked food everyday. My children are loving me being around and present. And it has given me time to start my new blog, something I just kept shelving due to a lack of time.
As I write this, I am going into my sixth week working from home and I have found a healthy vibe to get through my days. I start early (whilst my children are still sleeping) and finish working pretty much as they get out of bed (they’re teenagers, what can I say…). So the day is silent and work-friendly. I sit at my kitchen table positioned next to large patio doors so I have lots of light. The patio doors are to my right: to my left is my Nespresso machine, so I really have all I need.
Each morning, before I start working, I make sure the room is tidy, open the windows (nothing like fresh air) and prepare myself tea. I light my oil burner and diffuse lavender or lemongrass aromatherapy oils depending on my preference. The atmosphere I create is conducive to working well.
And somehow I work harder. Perhaps trying to prove a point to my boss that I am worth my salary, or perhaps just really grateful in the knowledge that I am able to work from home. Whatever the motivator, I am productive and thorough and have to say the WFH situation suits me.
As a single mum, I am the sole provider in my household so not working would cause me serious financial issues. Like huge. I very quickly realised that the option to WFH is a huge blessing so no matter what, I was always going to make this work for me. My heart goes out to every single person affected economically by this and I can’t imagine the anxiety and concern they are experiencing. So every morning, I say my grateful meditation and thank my lucky stars. I am definitely calmer. I feel that the pause button has been pressed and given me a chance to catch my breath.
Perhaps the most poignant way I have felt the benefit has been sleeping well at night knowing that my children are home safe. I have four teenage children so ‘half sleeping’ is a common occurrence as I am often left waiting for them to arrive home after a night out with friends. Right now, I sleep well and I am very grateful for this.
This is undoubtedly an incredibly thought provoking, existential questioning time and for me, it makes me miss my family back in the UK. I have wonderful friends here but what I wouldn’t give to sit and drink tea and have a chat with my mum and sister! I have no idea when I will be able to travel to see them next but hope it is soon. Zoom just isn’t the same.
I am not sure when we will return to work or indeed how it will be when we do. Right now, the future is a little shaky without a doubt but I am trusting the universe and know it will come good eventually. In the meantime, I am present in the moment and enjoying my WFH option, grateful in the knowledge that I am one of the lucky ones.
Paula Drakes-Cohen was born in England, and is now living in Israel with her four beautiful children. She works full-time as a digital content manager. She recently started a lifestyle blog called Flawsome & Fifty to connect and share with other awesome women about the challenges of midlife, being single and turning fifty. She loves pink champagne, sunrises and sunsets, drinking tea and watching James Bond movies.
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Stay safe. Stay sane. It’s not forever. We can do this.
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