Drop the kids off. Stealing kisses as they try to talk to their friends.
Run out of the playground. Weaving between… STOP!
See a parent you know.
Down the hill. Through the alley way. See another parent – one you have known since there were just bumps in bellies and classes that told you nothing of the reality.
Get home. Fire up the laptop. Turn on the videoconference. Put yourself on mute. Try to catch your breath. SHIT… kill the camera. KILL THE CAMERA.
“Can you hear me?”
Give update. Go round the room – the virtual room on your screen listening to the other updates.
Pump water through the coffee machine. NEVER, TURN OFF THE COFFEE MACHINE.
Though keep the heating off and the layers on. Stay in one room. Close to something warmish (the coffee machine) and do not move. Just you, the guinea pigs, the fish and the constant ping of the email/phone for company.
Try to use it productively; as an admin day. To catch up on the tasks you put off for something more exciting – lets out loud laugh at the thought of what is exciting.
Plan lunch. Something divine, delightful – delayed. See the clock on the kitchen shows that lunch was an hour ago. Find anything you can fit between two slices of cooked dough and eat it without thought.
Then fight the urge not to eat everything in the house.
A key in the door. Realise the kids are now home and the working day is technically done. Where the bloody hell have the last eight hours gone. In that time you were going to get dinner ready, put the washing on, have a nice lunch, get the inbox to zero and be on top of everything.
Instead you have – well, you know what you have done. Don’t measure it as a plus or a minus. You are on top of it. You haven’t left the same room for most of the day, you have eaten too much, drunk too much coffee and hypothermia is setting in. You are further forward than you were this morning.
Now turn the laptop off. Put it away. Don’t be absorbed by the work you “could” do because you are not commuting – don’t have to worry about what time the office shuts.
Pay attention to the other people in the house. Put the washing on. Cook the dinner (that’s if you remembered to go to the shop to buy something). The work will still be there tomorrow, even if you won’t be.
You will be in the office.