My name is Jackie and I am the proud owner of Plan A Timmins and Peterborough! I am also a wife and the proud mother of 3 beautiful children. Now, I am sure I have captured the attention of all the parents out there and I’m sure you know exactly where this is going. While I am proud, these past few months have tested every part of my emotional and physical well-being.
I have changed a lot through this pandemic and have had to grow in ways I did not think I was ready for, such as being a full-time parent! When I say full-time parent, I do not mean having to care for my children daily like I did pre-pandemic — I mean 24/7 constant parenting with absolutely nothing else to do. Then tack on home schooling during isolation, the list goes on and on. Then add trying to run two businesses during all of this.
What I did learn was some mad, new skills. For example, waitressing! I have mastered how to take 3 children’s food orders by text message, while my sweet children (eye roll) lay in their beds waiting for their 15th meal of the day because they have decided eating is now their full-time job. My limit on electronic time literally lasted 2 days and when candy used to be a treat for them it is now how I bargain quiet time in the house to have a meeting. Routine? NOPE. Structure? GONE.
I like to think I run a tight ship in my house, but my ship has sunk more than a few times at this point. Oh, and I am currently failing grade 11, 2, and 3. Not my proudest moment because I considered myself to be a pretty intelligent person until I was faced with Grade 11 math. What is that stuff anyway?
Luckily, I am a Social Worker by trade and was able to manage the meltdowns, sibling arguments and all out hissy fits with most times a calm nature. BUT I cried a lot! Did you? I am not ashamed to admit that because I am human after all. It does not make me weak; it does not mean I cannot grow or work my businesses; it means I needed a minute to myself a lot of times to regroup and refocus. In one of our regular meetings it was my turn to tell how I was doing. When asked what was the one thing that was stressing me out my answer was my EYEBROWS! Yes, my ungroomed eyebrows are all I could see in Zoom meetings. Sounds irrelevant to everything else going on but it was me realizing that getting my hair and eyebrows done on a regular basis was my self care routine and it was gone. At the end of the day, it was not really about the eyebrows, it was about the time I had alone for myself pre-pandemic and I was really missing that. Self care became about making it through each day and keeping my family and businesses intact.
When the world opened little by little, I was like a jungle cat emerging from a rainforest. I was not irresponsible, but I booked my appointments and happily marched into every one with my mask on and underneath I had the biggest smile. My husband was considered essential so he went to his place of employment for every shift so he really could not understand my need and desire to go out into the world and get away from our home for even 30 minutes. I literally could not hear the word “MOM” one more time! He did comment, however, on the difference when I returned from my eyebrow appointment. Almost like an “aha” moment for him.
All that to say, our family is stronger, more tolerable and less impatient because of our time together. I learnt that I need to be more forgiving as a mother and lean on my husband more when my task pile gets too high. I am extremely grateful that I own a business that was not in jeopardy through this pandemic and I never lost sight of that. We have also stepped up as a family to ensure that we shop more locally to help excellent small businesses continue to stay open.
I am crossing my fingers for a safe integration into school and extra curricular activities so we can get back to our new “normal”.
~Jackie Noble-Chow, Owner/Operator, Plan A Timmins & Peterborough