I’m a UCR alumna (Class of 2011). After UCR I got my master. A few months later, I started working as a software developer, and soon I was giving trainings related to software development next to it. Right now, I’m running a training agency and doing a lot of trainings myself. I love the work I’m doing, and I’m super grateful for all the opportunities that I’m having in my career and that I get to combine it all with being a (single) parent to two kids (and being a part time law student).

Needless to say, all this requires a lot of planning and some creativity. Several things, like quitting nannies and au pairs, threatened the stability and continuity of my work before. However, this was nothing like our current situation. I felt very uncomfortable during the last day of my physical classroom training, March 13. That weekend (fortunately) it was decided for everyone in the Netherlands that schools would be closed and we had to stay indoors as much as possible. I felt relieved, but I was also shocked. My calendar was all of a sudden empty for the foreseeable future. A friend called and we brainstormed about what we could do. We decided to organize free online programming workshops for kids, since all parents would have issues entertaining their kids the upcoming few weeks. Learning kids some basics about programming is something we’re both passionate about anyways. This was a fun way to make ourselves useful during this period.

The programming workshops for kids are a great success. The kids love it, it is very fulfilling, and the kind thank you messages from the parents of the kids after the training are amazing energy and mood boosters. The online attention actually led to bookings of online courses for adults in the upcoming few weeks. All of a sudden, I was busy and working every night till late again. Teaching online is actually going very well. The content is conveyed well and the weird situation we’re all in together somehow has a positive influence on mindset and tolerance.

Even though it is going well, I am quite stressed. High quality of the trainings is crucial for me, and my company’s, reputation. And that feels hard to guarantee with a 5yo and 2yo at home running around and no one else to supervise them. So far, so good though. Sometimes, I can see a tantrum coming, and then I try to get my participants working on an exercise, so I can mute myself and have or avoid the explosion out of earshot of my participants. It’s going well, but it’s definitely not easy.

Unfortunately, being in quarantine is nothing compared to the disaster happening outside our safe bubble. Realizing this helps me to relativize and I try to worry less about work and be more appreciative of our health and bonus time together. I want to keep doing these free training sessions to brighten up the days of the kids and their parents, maybe I’ll end up going to actual schools to do these sessions when this is over. But until this is over, we’ll just take it day by day and embrace the lesson in resilience, staying calm and doing good, that comes with this crisis situation.

One response to “Creating new projects from home

  1. Dear Maaike, what an inspiring contribution! You strike me as an optimistic person and doing these online course with such young children in the house and in your constant care must take some resilience indeed. The online courses are a great contribution in this time. We all need something to do. My kids are older but I do have to say that the experience of being together in the house all the time is a bonus of our worrying situation. You get to know each other in new ways.

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