My name is Mandy Hodson. I work as an Expert by Experience for NHS Lincolnshire CCG. I am employed as Bank Staff. This fits in perfectly with my role as a parent carer. Having a lived experience helps me to support families and people with a Learning Disability, Autism, and Mental Health. This is a job I absolutely love and feel very privileged to work with amazing people, who inspire me every day.
My covid-19 story started right there. My daughter is also an EBE and has worked for NHS LCCG for many years. I supported her in this role from a parent perspective during this time, chauffer, secretary, and personal assistant as well as being a mum. I am so proud of the work she does, and I am a huge supporter of the service this team provides.
When covid-19 struck and we all realised that our lives were about to change, I had the opportunity to support my daughter as staff and being able to give my experience within the job too. So, a working from home relationship began. I supported my daughter with her work and Care and treatment reviews and became an EBE in my own right. Something I am passionate about. So, from that perspective, covid-19 provided me with a job, to which I am incredibly grateful for.
We both enjoyed working from home together. It took longer for my daughter to settle into having mum as a colleague. I had its great advantages working from home and understanding our work but also its disadvantages in the fact that she missed her places of work and her work team. My independence escalated in the fact I had a new role but hers decreased as her world became smaller and the work independence she was used to was taken away.
We had to mix work and leisure which we did successfully. We both found lots of new crafts and pastimes. We became highly creative and made a lot of our own Christmas presents. Looking back our motivation was in abundance, more so than this year. It has taught me that when you are faced with a situation like lockdown you buckle down and get on with it. We made effective use of our time and found being occupied was the key to our wellbeing.
As we were a family living in the same space for over a year it also taught us the value of being together as a unit. I realised that our relationships became stronger, and it has had a positive effect on us. We have embraced the fact that life is short, and we need to take advantage of the things we take for granted. People lost their lives, families torn apart and unable to see each other. These are the fundamental things we soon treasured and now give more respect to.
I did not miss the hustle and bustle of life or the constant pressures, but I soon learnt not to take things for granted and rely on the materialistic world that we have all become accustomed to.
We were incredibly lucky not to be affected by covid-19 as an illness and were happy to lock ourselves away and conform to the measures that needed to be put in place for us all to come out of this pandemic healthily in mind and body.
On reflection the expected restraints of covid-19 took its toll. The loss of freedom and connection with loved ones, our working practices escalated and fears of losing jobs affected my family, but our health and togetherness won over the struggle, and I hope it has taught us to value the things that we treasure most. While I chose to tell my story from a positive angle, I feel incredibly grateful to be able to do that and I hope to help to carry that on.