The juggle is real: Working mums share how they juggle legal career and kids in lockdown
For many of us, working from home can be a struggle. But for working mums who have children at home with them during lockdown, staying focused can be a constant battle.
To highlight the pressures working mum’s face amidst the coronavirus lockdown, three female leaders from the legal industry have shared their experiences of working from home with children – from interrupted Zoom calls to ignoring social media pressure – and how they hope the lockdown will impact flexible working for mums in the future.
The working mums are based across the North West and work for specialist medical law firm Patient Claim Line.
Law is traditionally viewed as a strict, formal and sometimes impersonal industry. So, how has the enforced lockdown changed this rigid industry’s approach to working and what does this mean for working parents in general? Three female leaders share their thoughts.
If the kids have a routine they’re easier to manage
Georgia Briscoe is Director of Medical Negligence at Patient Claim Line. The mum of two is based in Wirral.
“Each day is different,” Georgia comments, when explaining how she is coping with having the children at home during working hours. “They need structure and motivation in the current situation and so I plan with them the work they need to do and set goals. I also ensure they do physical activity. If they have routine they are pretty easy to manage but it has had its moments!”
For Georgia, like any parent, working from home with kids has had its mishaps.
“The children had a race through the house when I was on a conference call, so I locked them in the garden. It was a nice day though, which was lucky! Alexa often pipes up when I’m on conference calls too.”
But for Georgia, these conference call mishaps needn’t impact professionalism and she explains that honesty is the best policy when handling these scenarios.
“The person on the call found it funny and also told of similar recent experiences.”
The legal Director is confident that the current lockdown will change future working routines for families for the better.
“It shows we can do it. There will be lots of commercial benefits and also a happier, healthier workforce due to work life balance.”
It’s a little more distracting, but not unpleasantly so
Jennifer Cocoran is an Audit & Compliance Executive at Patient Claim Line and mum of three based in Southport.
Jennifer admits that juggling childcare for small children during lockdown can be tricky.
“My sixteen year old is self-sufficient, and my ten year old is pretty easy to manage. The 22 month old is another story. Her dad and I have been hot-desking whilst working from the same home to manage the childcare so far. It is certainly a little more distracting, but not unpleasantly so and my manager understands I may need to work non-standard hours to complete tasks.”
Whilst enforced working from home is likely to increase future work flexibility, Jennifer suspects it might also have the reverse effect.
“I suspect that there will be more of it as it offers a degree of flexibility. Conversely, maybe some people will be more grateful to get into the office.”
The nice weather has made a huge difference
Nicola Kenyon, PR Manager at Patient Claim Line, is a mother of three from Southport.
Nicola explains that families just have to do what they have to do to get through the challenge of lockdown at home.
“I started out with very little expectation of how much homeschooling I would be able to do. They have been doing the work that has been set, but there’s none of the wonderful creations and activities that I see others doing all over social media. But, I’m fine with that – everyone’s situation is different and we just have to get through it in our own way!”
“My husband is a teacher and is still working so it’s definitely a juggle! But, my children are 12, 9 and 6, so they are able to entertain themselves and we have a good sized garden so the nice weather has made a huge difference!”
“My work spills into the evenings and weekends as I do have to divert time during the day to entertain the children. There haven’t been any timetables or plans, we are just all doing what we need to so we can get through this time.”
For Nicola, the lockdown will change the ways of working for many people.
“The digital infrastructure is there to make it happen and this sudden need for it will act as a catalyst for change. I think there will be a lot of requests for working from home now that people have seen how it can work for them and their business.”
“But, I also think that a lot of people will be desperate to get back to the office and have face to face interaction.”
“So many people need flexible working for a whole host of reasons and hopefully now they will be able to have a more agile way of working to improve the work/life balance.”
Patient Claim Line is a medical negligence specialist brand owned and operated by leading UK law firm Fletchers Solicitors. The firm currently deals with 1 in 10 of all medical negligence claims in England and Wales.
Photo by Steven Abraham