As a kid, I had a pretty clear vision of how the future looked. I mean, the Jetsons had it all mapped out for us didn’t they?
This week for instance, I took a yoga class, dropped the kids to school, did a week of work and met up with the girls, all without even leaving my house.
And whilst it feels far from normal, it’s starting to feel bizarrely typical to engage with friends, family and colleagues who we haven’t seen in person for the best part of a year, across a screen.
Even the kids, who we never would have encouraged to rely on digital communication at such a young age, now arrange play dates and gaming sessions over the medium of a video call.
Short of VR headsets where we create 3D holograms of each other, it all feels a bit futuristic, no?
I have to remind myself that in fact, we have been in lockdown before, and we bounced back (if anything too much) to a semi-normal life over the summer months, and we can do it again when the time comes.
Yet, whilst elements of life have gotten all ‘Back to the Future’ other parts seem to have reverted right back to Bridgerton.
I think I speak for many, when I sit back and observe the heavy weight of pandemic life on the women, and specifically mothers, trying to bear the load of carrying it all.
Despite many years of progress, of championing the right for women to be treated as equals in the workplace and be able to achieve career goals whilst balancing motherhood, there is a generation of mothers on their knees.
The sudden realisation that as perhaps not being the main breadwinner, the expectation to prioritise the needs of family life just got very real. Cramming work into less hours, cramming schooling into the remainder, and also keeping the cupboards stocked, the dinner on the table and the laundry pile at bay is enough to test anyone’s sanity; and the mothers of the nation will be fighting a silent battle to keep it together while the world falls apart.
Of course, it’s not all Mums. This isn’t an exclusively female issue, and for sure many Dads are in the same boat, but what I’m seeing all around me is women sharing their tears, their desperation and their struggles.
And while the stuff piles high, the one thing that provides a respite has disappeared out of sight; personal space. And it’s really, really bloody hard.
So whilst many campaign for employers to support working parents, and parents seek childcare support where they are eligible, and teachers are begged to be understanding, and words of comfort and support are shared, we all have to remember to be kind; to empathise and support each other.
The guilt of failing our kids, or our work commitments has never felt more agonising, and it takes the Mum guilt to a whole new level.
It may feel right now like a womans place is in the home, but hell, all of our place is in the home. And whilst I don’t want to become reliant on a world where friendships are built on a digital platform, I’m grateful for the ability to connect and continue in the best way we can.
But what I really would like, is to get right back to where we were supposed to be; to 2021, the present, the life we love.