Thirty Seven.

Life right now.

Soooo, we’ve gone a bit off-piste this week.

We sat down to record an episode as normal, but in reality just ended up talking about what’s been going on in our lives during the Coronavirus ‘Lockdown’. Clearly we needed to get some stuff off our chests! We hope us sharing our frustrations and observations from the past week will help you too. Enjoy.

• • • • •

This episode is supported by Nutmeg.

Nutmeg offers customers a high-quality investment service at a reduced cost, whether they have £500 or £5 million to invest. Nutmeg now manages over £2bn on behalf of over 80,000 customers, making Nutmeg one of the UK’s fastest growing wealth managers and the fifth largest wealth manager in the UK by customer numbers (Source: PAM Asset Management, January 2019).

[Risk warning: Capital at risk. JISA rules apply]

Take note dear listener! We might swear a bit. This one’s for the parents. To be enjoyed at your desk or once the kiddos are in bed.

Here’s what was said in this episode:

Full episode transcript

[00:00:46] – Steve
This episode is going to be different to normal because we went to record a normal episode and the bit where we talked about our week just never ended.

[00:00:57] – Frankie
Yeah, let’s just say… I mean, you did just say that!

[00:01:01] – Steve
I’m sitting in the car because the house is full. There shouldn’t be any noise from any traffic and there shouldn’t be anybody walking past. There is just that danger… like, what’s the signal that people give for d*gging?

[00:01:16] – Frankie
Don’t ask me, Steve. Tiny flag with a dog on it?

[00:01:21] – Steve
Somebody flashed their lights just now.

[00:01:23] – Frankie
Are you literally outside your own house?

[00:01:25] – Steve
Well, I’m on the country lane near our house.

[00:01:29] – Frankie
My God. Prime location.

*Frankie coughs*

[00:01:34] – Steve
As somebody signed off a text to me the other day — “May all your coughs be full of phlegm”. And I thought, what a beautiful greetings card that is.

[00:01:45] – Frankie
Hello, you’re listening to the Doing It For The Kids podcast, where we swear a bit too much and talk a bit too fast about freelance life with kids in the mix. I’m Frankie and this is Steve.

[00:01:55] – Steve
Hello. Yes, each week we take a question for the Doing It For The Kids community. Do our best to answer it, but of course, we also ask for your comments, your thoughts. So that means we start each episode by looking back at last week’s episode. Last week’s episode was about…

[00:02:09] – Frankie
Work stuff you can do from your phone, on the move.

[00:02:11] – Steve
And actually, do you know what? Can I write in with my comment?

[00:02:14] – Frankie
Yeah, go for it.

[00:02:15] – Steve
I should have mentioned Text Expander, which we’ve mentioned on a previous episode. Text Expander is the tool where you can create short code that your computer then expands. So, for example, I might write SF, but almost immediately after I’ve written it, it would expand to, say, “Steve Folland”. Well, you can set up the same thing on your phone and it’s so good.

[00:02:37] – Frankie
Steve Folland has no affiliation with

[00:02:41] – Steve
So, another week.

[00:02:42] – Frankie
Another week.

[00:02:43] – Steve
I don’t know about you, but I find it a real roller coaster.

[00:02:46] – Frankie
Yeah, I was just going to say, it’s been another week of just all the feels.

[00:02:50] – Steve
The very first day, I kind of decided not to work at all. And that day was fine because of course, I was just kind of looking out for everyone. But then I woke up the next day and was like, “everything’s gone to shit. How am I going to work?” Like, really tough.

[00:03:07] – Frankie

[00:03:08] – Steve
Anyway, I have ultimately decided that I just can’t work. But I will work at the weekends. I will do little bits of work in the afternoon or in the evening, but for the most part, I’m just surrendering to the joy of hanging out with my kids. And I think since doing that, I’ve been calmer, they’ve been calmer. We’re starting to find a bit of a routine.

[00:03:28] – Frankie
Yeah. Same.

[00:03:29] – Steve
Being able to step back and realise that in the afternoon they like to zone out a bit more, for example, and that’s a good time for me to do my email rather than when we’re trying to do homeschooly type stuff in the morning. We’ve been doing Zoom playdates, like you suggested. Started Zoom piano lessons!

[00:03:48] – Frankie
Oh, cool.

[00:03:48] – Steve
We did a Zoom art family art session with the illustrator Mel Chadwick.

[00:03:54] – Frankie
Oh, yeah.

[00:03:55] – Steve
Yeah, she does some for adults, but then on a Tuesday at 11am, she does a family one.

[00:04:00] – Frankie

[00:04:00] – Steve
Can’t tell you how nice it was to have somebody else lead the education, like, lead the activity. So, yes, I was there when I was taking part, but she was in charge. I wasn’t telling the kids what to do.

[00:04:14] – Frankie
Shifts the dynamic, doesn’t it?

[00:04:16] – Steve
Yeah, it really did. It was nice. I liked that.

[00:04:18] – Frankie
Yeah. My experience thus far is every day I ask him to do something and he’s like, “no”. Anything school related is a big no. I’m like, “right, we’re going to virtual school now, let’s sit down and do X!” And he’s like, “no”.

*Child walks in*

Please go to bed. Hula Hoops? Okay. Please go back to bed and I’ll get you something.

[00:04:46] – Steve
Sorry, did he just come in asking for Hula Hoops?

[00:04:49] – Frankie
Yeah, but that’s not what he meant.

[00:04:52] – Steve
And then you said, I’ll get you some. Wow. It’s got to that point where you’re like, “yeah, just have anything?”

[00:04:58] – Frankie
No. I’ve been bribing him with Cheerios, actually, which is even worse considering he’s just brushed his teeth.

My son has kind of organically started vlogging.

[00:05:06] – Steve

[00:05:07] – Frankie
We’re not putting it on the internet, obviously, but he just, like, films himself around the flat. It’s so funny. Literally, he takes the audience into his room and is like, “here’s my drum, here’s my bed”.

[00:05:22] – Steve
Oh my God, that’s going to be so cool in years to come. To look back on.

[00:05:27] – Frankie
But then the last video was like twelve minutes long! The last eight minutes of that was him filming himself playing a computer game. Except the angle was basically just like, up his nostril. You can’t even see the screen.

[00:05:41] – Steve
Part of our daughter’s homeschooling is to keep a diary.

[00:05:44] – Frankie
Okay. Interesting.

[00:05:45] – Steve
It’s quite funny seeing what they thought was the good thing about yesterday.

[00:05:49] – Frankie
Yeah, yeah, compare notes.

[00:05:52] – Steve
How about you? Are you managing to work?

[00:05:55] – Frankie
Yeah, it’s better this week. Like talking of the roller coaster. I feel like I’ve been through all of it this week and we’ve kind of come out the other side in a sort of working place. Basically, my husband has blocked out time in the day in his diary that is dedicated for me to work.

[00:06:14] – Steve
Oh, cool.

[00:06:15] – Frankie
And it’s in his work diary, so his colleagues know that he’s not at his desk for that hour and a half, 2 hours or whatever.

[00:06:22] – Steve

[00:06:22] – Frankie
And then he just makes up the hours at either end of the day. But there are little slots where Frankie’s working and we’re trying to coincide that with her nap time. So, like, Rob can do some homeschooly type stuff with just my son on his own while she’s asleep. And then I can do a bit of dedicated work. I’m working a bit of evenings as well, let’s be honest. But, yeah, it feels like I’m getting some actual work done. I also feel like I’m getting better at working in those little nuggets of time. Historically, I’ve really struggled to do that and always needed a longer stretch, but actually, in hindsight, I spent half of that stretch doing nothing!

[00:07:02] – Steve
It’s so true.

[00:07:03] – Frankie
Right! Like, at the moment, I’m not even taking my phone into the office when I’m doing that work. It’s just “no, just get on with it, no messing around”. So, yeah, I’ve actually done a couple of bits of work — like, actually signed off and invoiced for!

[00:07:19] – Steve
Get in.

[00:07:19] – Frankie
Right. Feels good.

[00:07:22] – Steve
I think this is the thing. As the weeks unfurl, we’re just going to figure out that new rhythm, aren’t we?

[00:07:28] – Frankie

[00:07:29] – Steve
It’s a bit like when your kid’s development changes and it takes a while to figure out how to deal with it.

[00:07:34] – Frankie
Yeah, yeah.

[00:07:34] – Steve
Our whole world has just kind of shifted. And even being aware of how, as adults, we’re talking to each other like the grown ups in the house. And I’m taking a lot less to heart, but also apologising maybe sooner rather than later. Like, “oh, do you know what…”

[00:07:53] – Frankie
“…I’m being a dick. Sorry?”

[00:07:55] – Steve
Yeah! Right now, yeah. “That thing got to me more than it should have done. Sorry”.

Almost by day two, though, I did have to nip something in the bud. It’s the sort of thing that could destroy humanity in itself. The way she was packing the dishwasher!

[00:08:13] – Frankie
Oh, God, don’t. Don’t even start me on the dishwasher etiquette.

[00:08:16] – Steve
Well, mate, you’ve got to bring it up. You’ve got to get over it. Dishwasher etiquette.

[00:08:21] – Frankie
Oh, my God. We haven’t talked about the actual highlight of our week, which was your pub quiz, Steve, no?

[00:08:27] – Steve
I really enjoyed that.

[00:08:30] – Frankie
Wasn’t it great?

[00:08:31] – Steve
We did a Zoom pub quiz in the Being Freelance community. The funny thing was, I put the invite out and somebody got back to me saying, “sorry, I can’t come. I’ve already got a pub quiz that night”.

[00:08:44] – Frankie
I know, our social lives are off the scale at the moment! By the time this episode goes out, I would have done three pub quizzes in a week.

[00:08:53] – Steve
I’ve had to broach all these silly things that I do with my family now. And like, last night we did the Being Freelance Book Club and I was like, “guys, I’m doing this book club, would you all mind going to bed a little bit early?”

But we mentioned this a couple of weeks ago. Like the importance of connecting with people. Yeah, I think it’s more important than ever.

[00:09:24] – Frankie

[00:09:24] – Steve
Maybe you don’t even realise it.

Our daughter has started doing… she calls it ‘Daddy School’. She gets loads of soft toys out and pretends they’re her classmates. And then I have to call the register. So I’m having to remember the names of about 30 soft toys and then call her name out as well. But it’s amazing because then we do guided reading and when she’s reading the book, like, she’s a good reader! I know she can read, so she’s reading it and it’s normal. And then she passes it to one of the toys and the toy starts to struggle on it.

[00:10:02] – Frankie
Wow, method acting.

[00:10:04] – Steve
Kylie Kangaroo is not as good at reading, but she also does voices for them all. Like, there’s Rufus, the dog. So it’s like an acting class.

[00:10:13] – Frankie

[00:10:13] – Steve
As well as a reading class. Actually. The first day I thought, “oh my God, this is going to drive me insane”. Day five and I’m really quite enjoying it now. I’m going to miss Rufus, Kylie, Elliot the Christmas bear and Ava the flamingo when this all ends.

[00:10:30] – Frankie
This is what Rob said the other day. He was like, “you know, I would have killed for this time when we had our daughter”. I mean, I know it’s not quite the same because you can’t go to the park or whatever, but he was like, “oh my God, I’ve never spent this much time with our children and it’s kind of nice”. It’s obviously hard as well!

[00:10:49] – Steve
Yeah, I think that’s the same for my wife as well, because whilst I’m sort of taking responsibility for them, there’s times when she’s on big conference calls and stuff. Equally, sometimes I’ll be working with our daughter because she’s more high maintenance, because she’s younger, but our son will just sit at the same table with his mum and will occasionally ask her things. I think that’s really nice because…

[00:11:12] – Frankie
That would never happen!

[00:11:12] – Steve
She never gets to go into school and do the school work sharing and stuff like that. And then each day, her and him (he’s ten) they go out for a walk.

[00:11:21] – Frankie
That’s time you just never would have got.

[00:11:22] – Steve
Pretty special, really.

[00:11:25] – Frankie
And also, I think our other halves are going to massively appreciate our day to day a lot more when this is over. I think those difficult conversations that we’ve talked about in previous episodes will be much easier to navigate once we’ve all been through this collectively.

[00:11:43] – Steve

[00:11:44] – Frankie
They’ll get what our existence looks like.

[00:11:47] – Steve
Let’s cling to that. I like that.

[00:11:52] – Frankie
I mean, particularly the week where this all kicked off. It was just really intense. We both, like, broke that first week I think. We lost our shit.

[00:12:04] – Steve
I could even see the tension in the kids the first week. Now they know what the new schedule is. I think maybe that was a bit of tension. They didn’t know what their schedule was? It had just all gone.

[00:12:16] – Frankie
A lack of routine is hard for everybody.

[00:12:19] – Steve
Yeah, whereas now I feel like we have found the routine.

[00:12:23] – Frankie
We really haven’t for the record!

[00:12:23] – Steve
The afternoons were a lot more freeform jazz but the mornings-,

[00:12:30] – Frankie
Like that episode of In the Night Garden.

[00:12:32] – Steve
But in the morning, I think they now know what to expect and I think that makes them feel better. Also, we’ve had the discussion about the fact that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. It’s not that you shouldn’t try at what you’re doing, and it’s great that you keep doing blah blah and blah, but ultimately they are never going to mark this. There is no way they can mark months and months of homework.

[00:12:56] – Frankie
There’s been a couple of days where my other half has, like, started making dinner. He would NEVER do that. Normally he’d do the, come home and sit on the sofa and decompress, thing. And we’re still… like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we’re still all eating our dinner together at 6 o clock. So good! And you know what I’ve noticed about that? My four year old eats his dinner now. Like, I don’t know, peer pressure? Social norms? Who knows. But there’s no drama at dinner time anymore.

[00:13:27] – Steve

[00:13:28] – Frankie
Now he’s eating really well despite doing no exercise.

[00:13:32] – Steve
I wonder what effect that will have on, like, conversation habits as well?

[00:13:38] – Frankie
Yeah, I’ve always wondered about that because I’m very much of a family where we would all sit down and eat, but it’s not really about the eating, it’s about the chat. But we’ve not really done that as a family yet because we never… well, sometimes at the weekend we’ll all sit down together, but because the kids are such weird ages and we work weird different hours and stuff, it’s quite rare to do that. So this is a very new, daily meals with my family, thing!

And I was also thinking about that today and I was thinking, “oh, we’re really getting into a nice experience here with our meals. How are we going to feel when this is over?” Because we’ll inevitably go back to Rob working ridiculous hours and coming home at 8 o clock at night and all the rest of it. Will I still eat with the kids at 6 o clock? I don’t know. Yeah, there’s going to be weird shifts the other way as well. We keep talking about grieving a normality that we no longer have. But then I’m already like, “oh, I’m not sure I want to go back to the way it was in that respect”, you know?

[00:14:40] – Steve
I wish we could sit around the dining table and eat. But it’s covered in computers.

[00:14:45] – Frankie
Right yeah, I bet that’s a reality for a lot of people.

[00:14:47] – Steve
Someday we will shift everything away and all sit around the table, but the rest of the time we all sit in the lounge. But actually, I’m okay with that because we all still chat about what we’re watching. And sometimes we’re watching the news.

[00:15:01] – Frankie
Oh, God. Don’t do that.

[00:15:03] – Steve
Do you know that’s another thing, we’ve got very good at not reading the news during the day. I don’t even think my wife is doing it the same way. She’s not talking about it in the same way. We’ve got over that.

[00:15:13] – Frankie
Yeah, same.

[00:15:13] – Steve
But equally, I do worry about myself because we were eating dinner whilst watching The One Show and it was Matt Baker’s last show, and I found myself getting emotional and I had to get up and leave the room to tidy up because I thought — “I am not going to cry at Matt Baker on a rickshaw leaving the One Show!” It looked like Alex Jones was going to cry. He was going to cry. I was going to cry. I thought — “I am not crying at this”.

[00:15:39] – Frankie
Talking a lot with other people about what to post on social media right now and how to manage that just feels like a whole ball of confusion as well. But the one thing I know or like, I need for myself, is humour. We all need a laugh right now, right?

Like, me and Steve and a couple of other people have got a little (not WhatsApp, but like a little group chat going on the internet) and a couple of people posting in there with stupid comments, or being silly was just… I could feel the weight just, like, lifted off my chest? Such an antidote. It’s great.

[00:16:21] – Steve
I found myself last night looking for 1000 piece puzzles on Amazon.

[00:16:28.970] – Frankie
250 is my max, though. Thousand is like… that’s proper. That’s proper adult puzzling.

[00:16:34] – Steve
So this week’s question… Okay, we’re sorry, we have accidentally not answered a question this week.

[00:16:41] – Frankie
Are we going to take a break for Easter or not?

[00:16:43] – Steve
Well, we were planning to have a break for Easter because we were going to have the kids home with us and it would be hard to record. And now I’m sitting in my fucking car because the kids are at home with us!

[00:16:55] – Frankie
Well, whether we break up for Easter or not, we need some questions that are relevant to what’s going on right now. Because a lot of the questions I was reading through were submitted before this kicked off and it suddenly feels like the context of those situations is very different!

[00:17:09] – Steve
I see.

[00:17:10] – Frankie
Yeah. So, it would be great to get some new questions from you. In terms of life right now.

[00:17:18] – Steve
Also, don’t forget you can leave your… even though we’ve not been answering a question, we would still love your comments. How are you dealing with all this?

[00:17:26] – Frankie
Yeah, more than ever.

[00:17:27] – Steve
What positives and negatives? Have you noticed?

Oh my, the windows of this car are now all steamed up.

[00:17:37] – Frankie
Oh, hello. It’s like that moment in Titanic.

[00:17:41] – Steve
There’s another film I’ve not seen.

[00:17:43] – Frankie
Oh, what? Come on. They have raunchy sex, it’s not even raunchy sex… They have sex in a car.

[00:17:49] – Steve
In a car?

[00:17:50] – Frankie
Yeah, I think so.

[00:17:51] – Steve
In Titanic. Isn’t the whole thing on a boat?

[00:17:55] – Frankie
Pretty sure it’s in a car.

[00:17:56] – Steve
I didn’t realise the Titanic was a cross channel ferry.

[00:18:00] – Frankie
It’s definitely a car, in the car. But anyway, the windows all steam up, and then there’s this shot of, like, this hand hitting the window, and then it pulls down into the sweaty, steamy car-iness.

[00:18:13] – Steve
Maybe I’ve just spent too long indoors with sunshine coming through the windows, but that makes me go, “oh, God. Somebody’s going to have to clean that window”.

Oh, my God. The people.

Can you hear that car starting? The car in front of me without me knowing has started.

[00:18:36] – Frankie
Don’t put your lights on, Steve.

[00:18:39] – Steve
Oh, my God. I opened the door so that you could hear it for the recording, and now he can see me looking in his mirror, he’s looking right at me talking into the microphone. Turn the light off, make it stop!

[00:18:57] – Frankie
His reverse lights, the red lights were, like, lighting up your face.

Yeah, he definitely thinks you’re a weirdo now!

What would your advice be?

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