Lisa Oldroyd: Mother, Wife, PhD Candidate and Practitioner.

The lockdown and the random waffling’s of a multitasking mother; 

I think that like most life-changing events, you always remember where you were. For me I was sat watching a live bulletin on BBC on the days leading up to lockdown making sure I was up to speed on what to expect! Well, so I thought. That night we went into lockdown as a nation together “we were all in this together”. The school was shut, the university was closed, and we had to stay home.

Like so many others, I hopped straight on the internet and started finding ways of planning our lockdown together. Making a timetable of home-schooling and what we were supposed to be doing, even down to walking the dog. However, ‘the best-laid plans and all’ I think my own personal plan lasted the equivalent of two hours. The pressure that I had put on myself to be a teacher, PhD student, mother and wife were unachievable, and it made everyone in the house miserable.

This is where my creativity came in a while trying to give my son some kind of home-schooling education and I did it the only way I could by being creative. Letting my son and I just go out for walks and giving him a camera to document his lockdown. This turned into a really lovely project, using only his images we decided to frame each image like a instagram grid. He also had to experiance his 5th Birthday in lockdown, like millions of people we took to going over the top and hosted a zoom party, you can imagine the fun of a class of 30 plus, five years old on zoom!

While doing this, I also started as a PhD student full time. This began in April, in hindsight this may not have been the best way forward during a global pandemic. My research topic is predominately working with my local communities, especially the older generations and this coupled with the worldwide situation severely scuppered my plans. I must be honest my motivation and confidence therefore, took a considerable hit. Like many others, I was logging on daily try to complete tasks that in the long run, didn’t work. This was a turning point in my mental wellbeing and looking at how I work with my family.

Working on the Two Forty Four Network over lockdown helped me focus on other things like my personal practice. Having network meetings, talking about photography, creativity, projects and even just seeing and talking to others was a big help for my own emotional wellbeing.

As a PhD student, I found that I wasn’t running at the capacity expected of me and with the approch to my first significant deadline, I got a fear of not making my upcomingdeadlines. This, for me, was a defeat I never wanted to come across, especially at the begging of my PhD journey. I have now had to change to Part-time studies and push back my deadlines until December. This has though it felt like a defeat in my progression but it has been a blessing. I have now accepted that I was holding myself to unachievable standards. I think we all do this at some point in our lives and this only came to the forefront of my my mind during the lockdown.

This post, as you can probably tell by now, is not about a particular project but more a personal account of my lockdown. I have worked with my newest addiction, a Mamyia RB67 and Cyanotypes processes. This kept me enjoying my photography practice and be more creative rather than working solely academically. Learning how to use cyanotypes on fabrics, making connections and sharing a lot more of my work and method. So, the point of this post (no it’s, not just the waffling’s of a multitasking mother) is that the lockdow,n as terrible as it has been for people’s livelihoods, families and health, I’d like to think that we have all learnt something about ourselves. Whether it be that we put too much pressure on ourselves, don’t spend enough time with family or even just the need to be kind to ourselves. We should use this reflection time that we have been given to learn these things and progress through them productively.

At Two Forty Four we have tried to be there for our members not only professionally but personally. Please remember that Alistair and I are here. As we are looking at more lockdowns and a confusing and insecure future our doors are always open with the kettle already brewing.

From me and my crazy family I hope this little read makes you feel a bit more human and helps you realise whatever you are doing you are doing a cracking job!

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