We're continuing our series this week with Karen Enis (left) – graphic designer, mum and one half of Me & Amber. In an effort to help us all feel a little bit more connected, we asked Karen to share her experience and provide insight into how she's managing this time of isolation.
First of all, how are you doing?
Pretty well at the moment - although it seems to change all the time! I swing between being content with the ‘unbusy’ lifestyle, to having cabin fever being at home with the kids, to being grateful for all the family time, to feeling anxious about the implications of the pandemic personally and globally.
Tell us a little bit about your job and the work that you do.
I am a partner in Me & Amber. We are a small Sydney based business who make a range of screen printed stationery and tea towels. Amber and I both screenprint our range of greeting cards and notebooks by hand. My role is also more of the logistics/accounts/general running of the business, whereas Amber is the design whiz!
How old are your kid(s)?
Molly is turning 5 next week, and Harry is 15 months.
What’s one the challenges of “isolation parenting” you’re currently facing (if any)?
The biggest challenge is having very little downtime, and that every day seems to blend into the last, Groundhog Day style. Also not knowing how long this will last is hard to cope with mentally sometimes.
My partner is still working on-site 6 days a week, so it’s essentially just me and the kids, all day every day, trying to simultaneously keep a business afloat with Amber too. Being unable to visit my parents has been really hard too, as mum often looks after Harry for a few hours a week.
Being unable to visit my parents has been really hard too, as mum often looks after Harry for one day a week (maybe!)
What are you grateful for?
For being safe at home, still having a job, although the business has definitely slowed down enormously, and for technology! We are so lucky we can stay connected to friends and family online.
What does your morning routine look like these days?
It always involves a wake up earlier than I’d like (we seem to be in the 5.45 am rhythm at the moment). Put the kettle on as soon as possible for my first cup of tea. Molly is always starving, and so begins my first meal making in a day-long graze-fest. I feel like I’m constantly making snacks for the kids (and let’s face it, me too). Molly is pretty content drawing and doing craft for a while in the morning, Harry terrorises our dog Dozer (black labrador) and makes as much noise banging any objects together while drawing all over our timber floors. And for me, it’s checking emails between general household chores, and ensuring no-one is on fire or falls down the stairs!
What does self-care look like for you these days?
Drinking a hot cup of tea uninterrupted, and having a hot shower!! Sometimes a solo walk with Dozer down to the beach, or a little chat with one of our neighbours is enough to refuel and reset.
Three things that are keeping you uplifted or simply sane right now?
The car park near my house is closed, and like many has turned into a kid’s bike track. Both my kids adore it, and it gives me a little chance to sit back and enjoy the fresh sea air. Also grateful for the community we live in - they are so supportive and kind are really helping me through this isolation. Having more time together with my partner has been amazing too.
What's on your dream Mother's Day wish list?
A sleep in, tea in bed, and not one single whinge for the entire day! Bliss. I’d also love a beautiful big ceramic teapot. And maybe a Rebecca Stevens artwork or a beautiful pot and pot plant I can’t kill too!!