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The New Normal

By Amanda Watson, Business Account Manager at Enterprise IT, Single Working Mum of a daughter and needy cat.

Well, I’m not going to lie to you, the first week of lockdown was very weird! Listening to our PM’s speech was an emotional experience shared by my other friends who had been working from home that day. Bit of a shock to most of us. A day to go down in history like the Christchurch Earthquake. An event was taking place that was reshaping our definition and understanding of “normal”.

Like most of the people requested to work from home that day during the shift from Level 2 to Level 3 Covid-19 alert, I went to pick up my daughter from school, and then thought I would be very clever and go to Liqourland to grab some lemonade, chippies and wine as I knew most of the town would be panic buying toilet rolls at the supermarket. Seems most of the town also had the same brilliant idea and Liqourland was packed, along with the supermarkets, petrol stations (why? Where are you going??) and the Vet’s for pet food. Our town also experienced record take-away sales for the following two nights before Level 4 was activated. Quite brilliantly, our Indian Taka Away suggested buying more than just one of our favourite dishes and freeze it. Great idea, and now I’m very excited to have real Indian food at some point in the lockdown!

I am sure most of you had similar thoughts cross your mind the first week:

  • Is it Ok to wear PJ bottoms and slippers if the top half is dolled up to work?
  • Why does Wednesday midday feel like Friday night?
  • How does Zoom work and why can’t anyone hear me?
  • Argh! I’m going to need to wear make-up now I’ve managed to get my camera working.
  • Is 5pm too early for wine? (I lied – is 2pm too early for wine???!)
  • How will my daughter survive 4 weeks without pizza or McDonalds on a Friday night?
  • How will I survive 4 weeks without seeing my friends?
  • Thank goodness for Netflix.
  • What day is it again….?

As we head into week 2, my brain shifted into the beginning of normal mode:

  • I’ve learned that routine is essential. I set the alarm this week. An hour and a half later than when I used to commute to work but still! Good intentions.
  • Enabled my laptop camera so that I have true incentive to get ready each day.
  • It’s school holidays apparently – my daughter seems happy with that!
  • I now look ridiculous when I go grocery shopping but so does everyone else.
  • It’s legitimately OK now to spend 80% of our time and our children’s time on-line! There is on-line daily Zumba or Body Balance on TV and on demand, audible reading, virtual world tours, videos of cute zoo animals, acting classes, singing lessons, meditation – you name it.
  • I’ve learned that I need to do any exercise before 5pm as that seems to be the time I need to switch off.
  • Video chatting is essential connection for adults and kids. Encourage it as much as possible for social interaction. Especially if your friends or family are introverts. They appreciate the nudge ?
  • Living room windows are now works of art; packed with teddy bears, paintings of rainbows and sunshine, some have decorated shoes (I missed that trend) or letters of joy and happiness for people passing.

Our world has changed. Not just nationally but globally. This impacts all of us. It’s my daughter’s birthday during the lockdown. Lots of video calls of family and friends wearing hats singing “Happy Birthday” as we eat a chocolate cup cake each. Corona-birthday. One that will be remembered!

Stay Safe, stay local and I hope you are finding your new normal too in this weird new world of global pandemic lock down.

TechWomen TechWomen is a group of passionate New Zealand tech, digital and ICT focused individuals from leading organisations that work together, with the support of NZTech, to help address the shortage of women in tech roles.