Landisa: I am a single mother during the national lockdown - and why I am scared

Estrelita with her son Luca. (supplied)
Estrelita with her son Luca. (supplied)

For now, I am guessing it’s an one day at a time situation. We still laugh. I still scream like a banshee – quite often. I have TikTok videos shoved in front of my face regularly, writes EstrelitaMoses.

I have been watching the Covid-19 pandemic since Wuhan last year. It was, of course, only a matter of time before it hit our shores – and as we enter Lockdown 2.0, my nerves are starting to fray a bit.

I was shaken when my son had his last playdate in March in what I reckon may possibly extend well beyond the end of April, when the lockdown is meant to start lifting. With infection rates as they are, we just don't know at this point.

He is a very social child, and being an only child at that, his interaction with his friends is such a huge part of his life.

The weekend after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the shutdown of schools, and the national state of disaster was a weekend of playdate heaven. He saw his bestie from school, his 'big brother' whom he hadn't seen in a long time. We had friends over on the Sunday for a big lunch. And at the back of my mind, there was this niggling thought: it's good we are doing this now my boy, as it is going to be a long time before we can do this again.

I'd already explained to him when I pulled him out of school on Monday 16 March that we needed to be careful. We watched kiddies explainer videos about the novel coronavirus – I promise I watched a lot of handwashing videos with terrible earworms with him.

But once everyone had left the following Sunday night, the reality set in and became all too real. There were a few tears when I explained again what was coming. And so many questions. What if we get sick? What if my friends get sick? Can we hug? Can I do a high five if I wash my hands? Can we order pizza? Are we going to have food? Will I ever go back to school again? Ok, the last question was a question he asked with a bit of gleeful anticipation, I will admit.

I'm trying to keep things as normal as possible during these uncertain times, but it has been quite a stretch. For starters usually, when I do work remotely, he is at school. It has been quite tough juggling both. And working in the media sector at this time has been relentless.

I started doing school work with him using his department of basic education books and revision sheets his school sent home based on his first term report. Google classroom assignments have become a given right now. It is trying to say the least. A teacher, I certainly am not, but I am doing the best I can. In our Grade 2 parent group, the collective angst is palpable.

He has taken well to using his red pilates exercise ball, so that is a plus, and I will keep going with that. His soccer coach sends drills weekly. One thing Covid-19 has given me is the power to make veggies and salads a staple. You have to stay healthy my boy and to do that your body needs healthy foods. And I am shameless about it. I will never get that chance again.

We have our weekly street braais: we all sat behind our gates, or in driveways on our respective properties, fires all lit at the same time. Watching the kids communicating over walls is a humbling experience. The excitement of hearing voices in the street is palpable. But come 9pm or so, everyone goes inside, and the silence is once again deafening.

I am terrified of Luca contracting this virus, he has respiratory issues as a result of previous bouts of swine flu. I don't even want to consider that as a possibility. But it could well happen. He is high risk.

But my son aside, I am worried about so many other things. I worry for my eldest sister who has underlying respiratory issues. I worry for my sister and brother-in-law who are in the UK. At this point, she still has to travel to school on rotation, with minimal safety precautions in place. I worry for friends and family who are in Turkey and in London under lockdown. My friends who are here.

I am also so concerned for my fellow media colleagues, who are working themselves to a standstill. Mentally and physically. How long can we sustain the pace? Is this our new normal for now?

And I am also worried about myself. Can I maintain my pragmatic stance? What if I get sick, what do I do with my family?

But for now, I am guessing it's an one day at a time situation. We still laugh. I still scream like a banshee – quite often. I have TikTok videos shoved in front of my face regularly.

We work, we eat, we drink wine (while we still have some, and it's dwindling fast) … and we wait. At home. The operative word being at home. It is all we can do. All of us!

- Estrelita is a single-mother, production editor at Business Insider South Africa, and lives in Cape Town.

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