During a Zoom ‘parenting therapy’ session with Mandy Wiener, mom and Womenomics Founder and blogger Olwethu Leshabane admitted that navigating the parenting scene during the COVID-19 pandemic is a tough gig. “I’m not coping at all – but I’m surviving,” she said.
“You have to make sure you’re on top of homeschooling, stay on top of work and meet deadlines – with a 2, 7 and 8-year-old it’s hard.”
Olwethu says she had a schedule worked out for everything in the beginning of lockdown – from screen time, school time and play time to work time for her. But we’ve been in lockdown for 4 months and that schedule just flew out the window (like most of our schedules and well-planned activities to keep kids stimulated and entertained). “There are moments when I have depressive dips about this – but my husband and I get through it. If my 2-year-old wants to take his spade and bucket and dig up my veggie patch – that’s okay – he can do that. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves the space to flow and realise that everything is not perfect,” she says.
“There are no boundaries or lines – I’m negotiating and bribing to get moments to have that relaxing bath. I literally have to bribe them to get out of my room to finish deadlines for work,” says Olwethu.
She says women don’t have that ability to compartmentalise like men – you can’t go to the office to work now – the kids are at the office and they’re all over the place. “My husband has got the compartmentalising technique down to a T. He says he’s closing the door to work now when he’s working from home, but I feel guilty for doing that. Surely the noises are everyday home noises – it should be fine if I work with the door open?” It’s not says Olwethu.
Her advice for parents navigating parenting during a pandemic
“It’s okay to take time out from your kids. It’s okay to feel frustrated – scream into your pillow. Take 10 – 15 minutes for yourself to process the feelings you are feeling. We’re human and we’ve never had to raise kids in a pandemic – so it’s okay to do what you need to do to survive,” she says.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.