When our president announced the lockdown, a feeling of doom and claustrophobia overcame me. Everyone was in the same boat. We’ve never experienced anything like this before and so naturally, a bit of anxiety took over even the calmest of the lot. My focus was more on how to survive being imprisoned in my own home than thinking about contracting the virus. I expected the worst and went into it with that mindset.
To my surprise, I realised that being stuck at home with my entire family wasn’t as torturous as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I like them. But I also like routine. I like knowing what happens each day and I thrive on some alone time during each day. I often work from home so that was nothing new for me. But working from home with everyone else also at home, that was going to be a whole new circus.
To sum it all up, this is what my experience has been thus far:
Less running around
I’m so happy not to have to do school and extra mural rounds during lockdown. I would always have to revolve myself and the rest of my day around drop-offs and picks ups and the run-around.
I’ve been more organised about grocery shopping and have been out once a week so far. That saved me fuel, time and energy whereas I would normally just pop out when I needed a few things.
No school lunches
But then there’s been more cooking, baking, and definitely more eating. Fortunately, there are no time constraints in lockdown so I’m not under pressure to be ready at a certain time – we’re not going anywhere!
We’ve been baking together and my kids (the 2 uncool ones that still do stuff with their mum) really enjoy it. Measuring, whisking and not beating, folding and not mixing and then of course decorating, it’s been fun.
My kids always have some chores but I’ve given them more now. They’ve been pretty good at doing them. I mean, they get it done, not up to my standard but I’m just grateful for the help.
I can use my kids for tasks such as switching the kettle on, making me tea, fetching my slippers…
We’ve made time to re-organise and sort out our rooms, cupboards and spaces. Each one needs somewhere to learn online during lockdown so their spaces need to be neat and tidy. Making up boxes for charity themselves made them feel good.
Online learning takes some getting used to but so far so good. It’s not without some frustration, both for them and for me but the novelty of it helps to get through it.
And then, aside from what we’ve been doing, during this lockdown I’ve learned that: It’s okay to Slow Down
I can have amazing conversations with each of my kids. We always talk but I am always preoccupied and never really listen or see the expressions on their faces. Priceless.
I can allow them to be more independent and that doesn’t mean I’m slacking as a mum. It means they’ll be better adults because I taught them responsibility.
They’re enjoying listening to stories about their births, about our childhoods and our lives before they came along (they are so fascinated by that!) and I enjoy reminiscing.
We can be silly, playing games in the garden like when they were little and they actually still enjoy it (even the cool one)
That there’s never a shortage of things to clean.
That my husband really is on conference calls all day but that he watches fishing videos while on them. Sneaky.
That allowing life to take over means that it’s allowing life to pass me by. I’m not relishing all of it because of my perpetual busy-ness.
Blessings in disguise took on a new meaning for me. Not that this time isn’t without stress and worry but having been forced to slow down gave me time to reflect. To re-evaluate. To re-prioritise. And to be grateful knowing that many fellow South Africans don’t have life as easy as I do.
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Fatima Kazee in 2020.
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