Insights 20/07/2020

Life in lockdown: Diary of a Designer Mum

Christy Davies

“We are living in unprecedented times”; a phrase we have been only too familiar with during lockdown. For most, Coronavirus has meant a lifestyle change of switching from the office to the home. Yet perhaps there is a slightly different story? I am having to raise my 4-year-old son, Ioan, while both my husband and I are in fulltime employment. Of course, we feel blessed that our jobs have been secure during lockdown, however, working whilst home-schooling my son has been challenging to say the least! In the design world, flexible working can prove to be problematic – few workplaces are willing, or indeed able, to allow it.

Little light has been shone on working parents in lockdown, so it is my hope that this snippet of my day will create an awareness of the hard work that has gone into maintaining this lifestyle, and hopefully others can relate!

5:30 am: The alarm goes off. It is just a vibration, so I don’t wake up the little one. I have a big stretch and build a mental checklist of what needs to be done today.

6:30am: I am at my desk and turning on my computer. Everything is quiet and peaceful. The early morning light streams into the room and is a precious part of the day that I really look forward to. Now I am ready for the day and I put a big green tick through checkbox one: Emails!!

9:15am: We have our morning design team meeting via Teams, where I align with the Project Managers. By this point, I need to kickstart my day with a big dose of caffeine – a big cup of coffee! I leave the call energised for the exciting tasks ahead.

10:00am – 12:00pm: My day becomes like the hokey cokey – I am in and out of meetings, flitting between reviewing work and chatting with clients. I spend time checking in with individuals, as limited face-to-face contact has meant that it is important to schedule regular calls and ensure my team feel connected and supported. Ioan will occasionally wander into my office to sit on my lap. Adorably, he thinks that my job is “choosing colours” and will ask if he can choose one for me – if only it were that simple hey (but actually – sometimes I do)!

13:00pm: I manage to tear myself away from the screen, so that I can prepare lunch for Ioan. Then I Facetime my mum in Korea. It’s nice to regularly hear her voice, and I am grateful that modern technology has helped us stay connected even though we are half a world apart.

13:45pm: I home school Ioan for a while. He is starting primary school in September, and I want to make sure he has the best possible start; I will count with him, or help him to “design” his Lego kingdoms, or perhaps read him his favourite book. If the weather is good, maybe I will take him for a walk or a bike ride – it is good for me to get some fresh air too! In fact, due to the extra practice in lockdown, a silver lining is that Ioan can now properly ride a bike! From here, I spend the rest of the day trying to keep him entertained.

17:00pm: The end of day design meeting seems to come around too quickly. Most of this time is spent reviewing the work completed during the day and planning ahead for tomorrow.

18:00pm: I take turns with my husband to deal with bath time and bedtime for Ioan – it can be a struggle to tear him away from his Lego! Then I have a quick shower before beginning my evening shift…

19:00pm: My evenings are spent catching up on anything I may have missed during the day whilst I have been with Ioan. I spend most of the time designing and ensuring I meet those all-important client deadlines.

20:00pm: Time for a little snack – a Cadbury Marvellous Creations bar is an excellent pick-me-up.

22:00pm: Final emails, final design adjustments – this could go on until midnight some days! I then go upstairs to check on Ioan before bed. Sometimes the cheeky monkey is still awake and will flash me a smile, as I say good night to him once again. I set my alarm, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Although lockdown has been tough, I am grateful for the quality time it has allowed me with my son and husband. I have been very fortunate that Echo has been so supportive. This lifestyle change has involved rigorous planning, and communication has been more important than ever, yet with the whole team on-board to help, whilst it is exhausting, I can definitely say that the flexibility has allowed us to be successful.