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Work in the time of coronavirus: Riding the corona-coaster with loud music and a child

How are you doing in these strange and unprecedented times? That is the question we are asking our colleagues in this series. Rosalinde Spitters, for instance, skills lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

‘The past year has been quite a corona-coaster for me. The first weeks were very intense. We lived with the three of us in 57 square metres, and everything happened in our cosy living room. Luckily, the weather was very nice, so Kiyan spent hours with one of us outside every day, for example on the playground, at the petting zoo or on the beach. Then the other could do some work. But, of course, the cramped living space was not ideal.’

‘So we decided to move. Incidentally, we not only decided that because of coronavirus, but also because we had rather... vibrant neighbours. One minute you might hear loud music from drunken neighbours, the next someone doing odd jobs late into the night, and then the police regularly knocking on the door. In August, we found our current home, which is a lot more spacious than the first one. So the second lockdown has been very different for us. We’ve accepted that working from home is a long-term thing, we’ve created a nice office space and we’ve found a rhythm with a good balance between working life and family.’

Rosalinde Spitters

  • Skills lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.
  • Lives in The Hague with her husband Rama (who works at the University Library) and their son Kiyan (1.5 years old).
  • Works entirely from home, usually in the study on the second floor.
  • Essential: ‘My two men.’
  • Misses most: the informal interactions with colleagues and students.

‘Kiyan is helping us through the crisis. He brings so much joy and adventure to my life. Practically speaking, he’s a good reason to get up on time. He has to eat healthy meals, and so do we. He can run very fast and is really good at climbing, so we spend plenty of time outdoors. Kiyan can enjoy such little things: a raisin from yesterday that he finds on his chair, the snowflake stickers on the window, a bus that we see when we’re on the bike together... He helps me make something out of every day.’

‘We’re living in an abnormal, uncertain and unknown situation, and that remains a challenge in many ways. I think it’s important to create as much normality as possible within all the restrictions and with the uncertainty of what is to come. Healthy living habits, structure in your day and quality social interactions give you something to hold onto and, for me personally, they make it endurable. It also helps me to accept that the situation will continue to affect me despite this support. I don’t expect myself to always feel good about it. But I do actively devote time and attention to things that give me energy, and I surround myself more consciously with people I love. Within the limited possibilities, of course.’

Photos: Lotte van Uittert

Want to take part in this series? We’re still looking for new stories!

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