How I coped as a mother and student during the Level 5 lockdown restrictions

Parenting while studying from home during lockdown level 5 restrictions.
Parenting while studying from home during lockdown level 5 restrictions.

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown affected every South African family. This mom shares how she managed to stay on top of her studies with the help of her family. 

'Doing it all' is what we are believed to be capable of as mothers. Working from 9:00 to 17:00 to provide for your family then coming home to cook and clean after your husband and children, is a reality to many moms.

Other mothers are raising children while they are pursuing their qualifications. All those identities such as being a mother, daughter, student, wife and many more others are very important.

My story is no different from that of others

I am a mother who has graduated twice, but wants an even brighter future. I am pursuing a Master's degree in Linguistics, and I am raising a young man.

When I am at school, my son stays with my mother and a nanny. During the holidays I stay with him full-time, because I enjoy spending time with him as he is growing so fast.

Under level 5 lockdown restrictions

I had the pleasure of going home to see my son during the Level 5 lockdown restrictions.

I had so much fun with him. He had just turned 1 at the time. Raising a toddler has its perks, but you have to be extra vigilant as a parent.

I had to make sure that there were no uncovered electrical plugs, that the water tanks are closed, and there were no buckets full of water around the house or outside.

If your toddler is playing outside, you have to check if the gate is open or closed so that their safety is guaranteed when you are alone with your child in the house.

As much as their safety is paramount, their health is too. Should something threaten that, it scares you as a mother.

As we know, under the strict Level 5 restrictions one had to get a permit to go to the hospital or anywhere and go at a designated time.

I had an issue that the hospitals were closing and my boy needed to go to two check-ups, one for weight and the other one for immunisation.

Both these regular check-ups are vital for his health and I could not afford to take him to a doctor instead. Doctors are costly, especially when you are not working and your child is not on medical aid.

More challenges 

With the lockdown extension things kept getting worse, as my supervisor wanted me to submit at least twice a week because he wanted to go on sabbatical.

A sabbatical is a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.

My challenge was that I could not study when my son is awake. When he was sleeping, I was tired because we have been chasing each other around the house the whole day.

My mother and sisters tried to help with him sometimes, but he refused to sleep with them, which means I had to be up for feeding and nappy change. Besides, taking care of my son's needs and my university work I also needed to function as a human being.

Here is how I coped

During the day when my siblings were around, and I was well-rested, I would lock myself in my room while they are playing and watching television with my son in the sitting room area.

I would utilise the times he is sleeping to assist in the house and cook for my family. And sometimes, take a nap if I am tired to do my research.

Doing something that makes me happy once a day kept me going. If you love to binge-watch 90 Day Fiance like me, do that, but track the amount of time you spent on each activity you do so that you don't end up wasting too much of your time.

At night, on days when I am tired, I would sleep when he sleeps and the by the time I am feeding him for the second time, I would wake up and do my school work.

When I am doing my research, I had to avoid starting by downloading to many articles, because I would end up not reading those articles and just waste that time.

Knowing that I was not alone and not the only one going through a tough time during lockdown also calmed me down, and gave me that sense of comfort, and hope that this will not last forever.


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