Katherine Charalambous, Executive Director, Head of Marketing and Business Development
It feels like I’ve been living in my North London bubble forever yet it doesn’t feel that long at all – is that possible? It’s been one hell of an emotional rollercoaster! I’ve gone from being in lockdown with my hubby and two boys (Thomas and Harry) to being in lockdown with my parents to help with childcare when my husband had to move out in June so he could return to work. That’s been tough, although there have been upsides with my mum feeding me (clearly this is a Charalambous trait!).
I am grateful for my work; it’s given me much needed structure in these strange times. Getting involved in OPEN has been really rewarding and re-energising. However, my focus on work has meant I’ve not always had the right balance at home which has led to some low moments.
There is a constant feeling of being tired, of not being able to switch off and an ongoing feeling of guilt – especially seeing posts of other family activities. When I have those moments, I find my boys and pull them close, take them for a walk in the garden and just breathe. That’s when this set-up has benefits because I can pop downstairs for a cuddle before getting back to work. I can be my own worst critic, read into everything – this time has made me more sensitive, but then I remember I must be kind to myself. I am doing my best, at home and at work, I’m not doing a bad job at either.
I make time for those extra-long lovely morning cuddles with my boys because I don’t have the commute, I have elevenses with a cuddle and we have ‘tuckshop time’ on Tuesdays. So perhaps I’m not doing too badly after all! I make sure I always ‘dress for work’ and on those tired days I wear make-up and spritz my perfume, if I have a more formal meeting, I even wear heels! I always feel better, it separates my home and ‘work day’. As I prepare to spend the summer with my boys by taking parental leave, I reflect that balance is not the same for everyone. I don’t need to feel guilty, I do it my way. So, be kind to yourself, do what works for you.