'We're expected to work like we aren't mothers and mother like we don't work'

(Mladen Zivkovic/Getty Images)
(Mladen Zivkovic/Getty Images)

After reading the many letters Parent24 has received from stressed-out moms across South Africa since lockdown began, this mom of two has written in to share her own experience. 

She's speaks of "being torn between being a mother and being a good employee," and we're certain more than a few moms working from home while caring for their kids will relate. 

Read her letter below:


Today I came across your article on mothers working during this horrendous lockdown, and it touched me as a mother of two daughters. One of them is a 2-year-old and the other a baby just shy of 4 months

I was on maternity leave when we found out that coronavirus had hit our beloved country, and I was still on maternity leave when it stood still.

Mentally I was not prepared for the weeks that followed.

My husband being called to the frontline started a sense of overwhelming anxiety that I have never known before.

My innocent toddler didn't understand why our every day lives had changed so drastically or why her beloved grandparents no longer came for visits. Explaining this to a young mind so innocent to the world was tough and heartbreaking.

When my boss told me that he would need me back at work, but not back in the office, I couldn't help but mourn the loss of how life used to be. 

I couldn't help but wonder if things will ever be the same, even though I was thankful for my job and the opportunity to spend much needed time with my young children. 

Yet, I couldn't help but feel dread at the thought of being torn between being a mother and being a good employee. 

I mean, how can we be fully committed to either when we are split between the two?

My husband assists where possible, but I bear the brunt of the responsibility.

Like so many other women out there, I want to prove that I am able to run my household - even when I'm exhausted, not just physically but mentally too.

I have learned to take it one day at a time, to (mentally) know my limits as an individual and that its okay to have to say no every once in a while. 

Most of all, I want to be able to admit when help is needed. I hope that one day we can look back on this and remember how this time brought out the strength we didn't know we had, but till then I'm going to "just keep swimming."

- Working mom of two 

How are you coping with parenting and working from home? Dad, we want to hear from you too! 

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 only R75 per month, you 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.
Subscribe to News24