Kate. Polina Soyref, portrait photographer

Kate, 29, food photographer, podcaster

interviewed on 4 May 2020

My plan for March had been to take some time off work and be at home and spend more time with my child, so I thought: “Wow, what a lucky coincidence this is for me!” I was motivated and energetic for the first week, and I thought, “Finally it’s time to get fit, I’ll do sports now, I’ll become the way I always wanted to be.” I trained twice per day, resumed my French lessons, ordered clay, and worked on my ceramics—I was super-productive. It was really great, but a week later, I was drained, and after a few more days, I became apathetic. I guess it was when I understood that something is changing in the world, and it’s not going to end soon. And to get my energy back, I needed some time alone, to do my own things, and it wasn’t happening.

It’s hard for me to pace myself when I’m passionate about something. For example, I can invest lots of energy into parenting until I can’t get up from the bed anymore. And I was really looking forward to the start of the cycling season, went for a 30km ride, and it went horribly: I felt I should’ve just stayed and slept, but I forced myself to go when I didn’t have any spirit in me. I thought I wanted this so bad, “I have to go now no matter what.” It’s like you make up your mind without listening to your body. I think it happens to me often: I decide “It would be nice to do something” when I don’t really want it.

This is something I try to do now: to listen to myself above anything else. We have some sort of routine now, a daily schedule for the whole family. I recorded a podcast with a food photographer I am inspired by, and we talked about attitude to life and parenting. I figured I frequently invent problems for myself, and I should take things easier. For example, I often think that in order to focus on my personal affairs, I have to find such a captivating activity for my daughter Olivia that she wouldn’t distract me at all. But first of all, it’s impossible. Second, I can try to combine these situations instead of panicking: there’s nothing wrong if during a recording Olivia were to interrupt me—I can give her a bit of my attention, and she’ll go on doing her things. I used to think: “That’s it, the recording is ruined, ” but it seemed to bother me more than anyone else involved.

After I realized and accepted this, everything became easier, but, of course, I still want to have some time alone. Sometimes my husband Roman goes out with Olivia, and it’s amazing to be home alone even if for a little bit.

I cook a lot, Roman bakes bread, I’m fermenting pickles, we’re trying recipes we wanted to try a lot of time ago. I like that we’re spending more time together; we don’t have any conflicts, unlike many other couples. We’re getting along really well, but at the same time, we miss each other because we don’t spend time as a couple. It’s like you’re in the same apartment, but it’s not the same as when it’s just the two of us.

I miss adult conversations, for example, with my friends. I don’t enjoy video calls: it’s not my thing; I need a person next to me. All these awkward moments when everyone starts talking simultaneously, then stay silent, then talk again. We tried calls with friends, it was okay, but whenever it’s more than one person at a time, I’m sneaking out of the call. I really miss normal gatherings.

“Tell me your story”