Jenny Teall, Solicitor in our Wills and Probate team gives us an insight into how she has been balancing work and family life during the lockdown.
“All school and nurseries will be closed from Monday 16th March.”
My immediate thoughts were, “Right, let’s pack up my work. My husband Howard and I will need to work ‘shifts’. It will be alright.” Between us, we worked out a shift pattern quickly: H: 8-11am J: 11-1pm H: 1-3pm J: 3-6pm. I also made an exciting hand drawn activities chart for my 3-year-old boy Milo, so we would have a nice new routine in no time!
The first month was a real blur, Milo did not like my chart and our shift working pattern. He didn’t understand why mummy and daddy had to keep leaving him in the middle of playing – “No, I want daddy to stay!”
The line between home and work life became very blurred, Howard and I found ourselves catching up with work most evenings and weekends. Everyone else seems to have more free time but we are having less? I always want to give my all in my roles as mummy and solicitor but this was becoming a lot harder to achieve. Keeping control is a challenge but as the weeks go by, I have learnt to accept and embrace this.
Our Private Client department has been in very high demand. My colleagues and I try to provide the best service we can whilst working remotely – to meet our clients’ urgent need for new Wills and provide probate support for those who have sadly lost their loved ones. Fortunately, our clients have been very understanding and considerate with our new way of working.
For example, it was my husband’s ‘shift’ and Milo ran away from his watch. I was conducting a video call meeting with a client and could see my door opening slowly by Milo. I then tried to wave him away subtly below my waist, so my client couldn’t see. Milo then screamed, “Mummy, I want you! Wahhh!” Howard thankfully came to the rescue. I apologised to my client, who told me it was absolutely fine and she didn’t mind at all.
Other professionals have been understanding, too. One morning, I thought I was on hold with an accountant. Milo wanted another crumpet, so I asked, “Do you want another crumpet?” To which the accountant replied, “Ah that’s nice, I’ve never had that kind of greeting before!” We had a good chuckle! Sadly, he declined as I couldn’t deliver.
I am extremely grateful to be surrounded by wonderful and supportive colleagues, family and friends who keep me going. Office banter is greatly missed but our team has tried to lift our spirits by meeting via virtual quizzes, which have been very fun and keeping us connected. Our firm also has a delightful weekly bulletin to keep us up to date and entertained and spread positivity.
Milo now understands more about what is going on and a routine is emerging, which really helps. It has been a pleasure to notice his growth and how his imagination has become a lot more vivid. As a family, we are grateful for the reduced worldly distractions to enable us to be unplugged and have time to reflect.
Lastly, I am thankful for encouraging messages from our clients. A simple email of, “I hope you are staying safe and healthy” really means a lot.
It’s true what they say, “Every little helps.”