"Like something out of a horror movie": This parent says lockdown life is not for the faint-hearted

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

If there's anything we can all agree on, it's that life in lockdown is no walk in the park.

One Parent24 reader shared what her life has come to since we all heard those (now) dreaded words: "My fellow South Africans…"

Here's what a day in the life looks like for a remote worker who is also mom to three boys.

'Like something out of a horror movie'

My experience of the lockdown started like something out of a horror movie.

One minute the kids were off from school a week earlier, the next minute I'm standing in the living room, wide-eyed watching the president utter the words "21-day lockdown starting from Thursday 23:59," arms around my beloved partner.

I work for a very well-known international company, and spend my days meeting deadlines, constantly trying to be the best. At my job, I keep proving myself to get to the next level.

I started as Junior PA many many years ago, and today I am an Assistant Financial Manager. I'm not a novice to pressure, my work life involves pressure, sometimes so much pressure that when I get home my brain's fried.

Then I start what I call 'My second Shift': dealing with my three boys.

Fast-forward to the lockdown 

I started off feeling anxious, and my anxiety has soared every day.

I had 1000 things running through my mind:

Could I get it? Would my family get it? Is it safe to walk outside? What if we run out of food? What if I run out of money for food? So many questions...I couldn't sleep. My brain was constantly battered.

So now I work remotely. 

In the lounge, kids screaming at the top of their lungs, fighting and arguing. My partner's with me, but he can't do much. His work requires him to provide remote support constantly.

So now it's my folks and me, but dad isn't too well. Mom...maybe she can lessen the burden so I can work?

But that doesn't happen…

"Gran, we are hungry", and that just goes on and on and on. Every day, all day.

"Keep your surfaces constantly clean," they say so we need to follow this all the time to rid our homes of any possible exposure to the virus.

So I clean and clean, OCD's my name. Every time I seem to clean, a wave of dirt comes over as I turn my back. It's the boys again.

Many times I scream "wash your hands wash your… "goes through one ear, out the next.

I start baking and cooking everything my eyes can possibly come into contact with on Facebook and WhatsApp and trying to keep the boys happy.

I think about my office work that still needs to be attended to, everyone's waiting for me. But I'm still trying to find another recipe that could keep the boys interested for a little longer.

Open the cupboards, great! Groceries are literally flying, nothing much left.

Need to get to the store, jump in my car; gloves check, mask check, sanitizer check, and cards check.

On my way to shops

Here goes the queue, standing there for ages, doesn't seem like anyone's moved.

In the back of my head I'm thinking: "I wonder if my boss is waiting for me and what emails have come through?"

Eventually, I get into the store and buy as if the stock isn't going to be replenished in another 4 hours. Then, I get home.Get back upstairs (we live in a duplex by the way) kids haven't done much.

Still running around still playing. The flats in a state. Where do I start? Everything's on repeat.Day after day, tons of Covid messages followed by tons of anxiety attacks.

I never wake up normally anymore.No personal space that doesn't exist anymore either.I read up on tons of crafts and fun activities for the kids to do.

How much can we do, though?

My work awaits me, and my WhatsApp workgroup keeps beeping. I'm stressed. I look at my partner and think about how lucky he is.

Barely had to move from his laptop for the day, the problem is he couldn't, not with the nature of his job but to my eyes and mind it's unforgivable.

The Minister of Education sounds the alarm bell: "Invest in your kids' education during this time."

I have three, along with no printer, no ink, and no teaching experience. How do I do this? Be a teacher to three kids and still run a full-time remote job.

Phase 2:Lockdown Extension...wow

Completely mentally exhausted, I can't think not even about what we should have for supper. I sit and look at my laptop, trying to get a line of work in while listening to all three kids question me at once.

I stare completely blank, thinking the worst thoughts in my mind: What happens with our salaries if this lockdown continues? How do I prove that I am working when the boys won't give me a chance?

I'm depleted

I'm not mentally fit enough to deal with this at the moment.I post a few pictures on Facebook to get some moral support with people saying, "Well done mom, great job."

I look at it almost guiltily that I feel that I'm a horrible mother. I keep thinking how do I change? I'm so angry all the time. I

just want a nice clean flat, food on the table, children to do everything I say and my office work to be up to date but I'm nowhere close.

People think that living with many people makes life easier, especially additional hands in lockdown, but the truth is, different people have different strengths and different levels of ability.

Not for the faint-hearted

I will continue to wake up the same way I do every morning, but I don't know how much more I can endure.

This is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

You either survive physically by sacrificing your sanity, or you die from a virus that you have been hiding from.I don't know what's coming our way, but one thing's for sure it's definitely a survival of the mentality fittest.

One saying that I'll never forget: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

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

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 118 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 1691 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
11% - 233 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.