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‘Just make it work’: Juggling parenthood and a business in the lockdowns

Ms Del Medico says other parents have shared similar experiences and shifts in attitude, and believes a more relaxed approach has made her kids more motivated when they do sit down to learn.

Less easy to manage has been the impact on her business, Red Flair Photography and Imaging, which is having much the same experience in 2021 as it faced in 2020. With most children confined to their homes, her successful 15-year-old business taking photos in kindergartens and childcare centres was brought to a halt in the early days of COVID.

Three questions

What do you miss most about life before COVID?

Missing the simple things, like catching up with friends spontaneously. Trying to plan anything is hard, whether it is a dinner out, or a birthday party for the kids. Any plans have a giant question mark over them.

What is your best lockdown strategy?

We have learnt not to stress over the things we can’t control and embrace the time we do have together. Have found this makes for happier kids (and Mum).

Has there been a silver lining?

Having this time with my kids that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. My eldest said it was the best because he could tell me anything at any time!

“We get a couple of days heads up from the childcare places and kindergartens that we can’t work and that’s it, we’re out of work for the next few weeks.”

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Ms Del Medico employs 10 photographers who work across greater Melbourne. Some were eligible for JobKeeper last year, but some were not due to their length of employment.

“This time I’ve encouraged them to apply for their disaster payments … which has been great for them. The government grants have definitely been a help, but we still have rent to cover. The landlord’s being really generous … but at the same time, they’re struggling to manage it all for so long.”

As the end of the year approaches, Ms Del Medico and her team are hoping for a best-case-scenario finish to 2021, much as they had in 2020: when lockdown restrictions eased last November, she and her team crammed a year’s work into a few frantic weeks. Pandemic or not, parents still wanted those memories, and her work year ended on Christmas Eve.

“We could only work outdoors, which was fine. And we were restricted for time limits of how long we could be there. We could only be at a particular centre for two hours a day, whereas normally, we’d be there four or five hours. We just had to adapt the way we worked to make it all work.”

It’s the mantra of the times – just make it work – and that applies to careers as much as parenting. As a mother, Ms Del Medico is confident her children will take some positive memories from the two years of upheaval.

“If anything, this time will probably give them better memories of being with their mum and dad. We’re certainly never gonna forget it.”

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