'I'm not surviving': This mom shares how lockdown is changing her family

I hate what lockdown has done to us.
I hate what lockdown has done to us.

South Africa's 5 week lockdown is in full swing, but as the time drags on with no certainty of an end date, the stress is taking it's toll. 

This parent reached out to us, honestly sharing a candid look into her life in lockdown, and asking for advice from other parents in the same boat.

Read her story below, and let us know how you're coping by mailing us at chatback@parent24.com.

I am tired.

I am sick and tired of emails and Whatsapps on how to entertain your kids at home, what to bake, what to make, what exercises they must do, what games to play and then also now how to make your own face masks.

I am just simply tired because I feel guilty. 

I cannot do these things, I wish I had the time to do it, but due to being part of essential services (bleach and sanitation) as well as being a supply chain manager, I work with a system that is based on 'just in time' principles. 

On my average day at work I could barely cope as everything is extremely time conscious, now things are even worse, due to the fact that most of my suppliers also work from home, or are not available as they are working with skeleton staff, or deliveries being pulled over by the patrol police, which impacts my daily work tremendously. 

I am also extremely frustrated with work due to the inability to get quick responses from suppliers and also now staff.

Combined with this guilt and frustration I have to deal with a very busy 3 year old boy and a 7 year old girl who is in grade 2. 

Calm and sane? No

We received a massive amount of work that my grade 2 must complete, and I am grateful for the school being so attentive, however she cannot complete this on her own so she needs our help. 

We struggle tremendously to focus on her but with my phone ringing constantly and me typing a 100 emails a day, it is impossible to remain calm and sane.

I am focusing on trying to improve her handwriting skills, which results in a lot of tears (for both of us). 

Why on earth do I have to worry about handwriting in a time like this, surely doctors got away with it, can we not forget this bloody irritant for now. If I can read it, surely it is acceptable!  

Going to the dogs

I also have a pitbull at home, that barks at every cat or person that drives by. I think he feels the need to protect us due to the subconscious anxiety we display, however this is driving us up the walls.

I am not sleeping: the problem with working from home is that it never stops. 

When I was at work, I could physically and emotionally distance myself from my work once I got home.  Now, it is in the next room and I cannot stop thinking about what must still get done.  Work also contacts me from 7:30 till 7PM, being staff or suppliers, it doesn’t stop, so how can I stop!

No time for healthy habits

Now there is also the guilt of not exercising or eating healthy.  Since January I have lost 8kg, however it has started creeping up fast again since lockdown. 

I use to go to gym to relieve stress, unwind as well as get healthy again, and I would go to gym up to 4 times a week. 

This me-time and getting away to relax was such a stress reliever, now when I try to squeeze in 30min online workout, my son is on me every step of the way, I cannot do it without him hanging or climbing on me, so I pretty much don’t do it. 

Further to this my house is an a constant mess, which is a great irritant to my type A personality.  Yelling and crying is the norm of the day and if you don’t hear ‘what can we eat’ every 5 min then surely one of the kids went missing.

Guilt on guilt

Now my son. I left him for last because he is making our working lives at home impossible. 

He is a busybody and he is now a bored busybody. This is not a good combination because he has on countless times gotten in to the most spectacular messes and dangerous situations.   

If he is not getting up to mischief he is trying to climb onto my lap to give me hugs and kisses and wants me to read to him or play with him.  This is the biggest amount of guilt, because what parent wouldn’t love this attentive and caring little boy, however, doing homework, working, taking calls and trying to deal with a needy 3 year old is IMPOSSIBLE! 

His school also sent work to do every day, but I just haven’t had the time to do any of his things, great - add on some more guilt!

I am scared

I hate what lockdown has done to us, the way we talk to one another has changed, and it scares me and makes me very sad and tearful. 

I am scared what live is going to be like emotionally when we have to return to work, I am scared how the extended school terms will affect my kids but mostly I am scared what it is doing to our metal and physical health.

I try to be grateful that we are safe, healthy, warm, fed and most importantly still employed. 

I see the pain out there and it kills me, people are not only suffering, they are also dying from this virus that does not discriminate.   

I try to help, I give what I can but it will never be enough. So my gratefulness turns to more guilt!

I am tired, fearful and filled with guilt, how does one live a productive life like this every day? 

I am looking for the answer, maybe it lies with God because it surely does not lie in me!

- Anonymous mom of two

If you're really struggling to stay positive through this, you can find free resources to help here.

Chat back:

Share your story with Parent24. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

WhatsApp: Send messages and voicenotes to 066 010 0325

Email: Share your story with us via email at chatback @ parent24.com

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