Thursday, April 09, 2020

What day is it? How far into the national lockdown are we? The days are all merging into one hazy mess of emotion.

I have been negative on social media lately. It’s been hard to separate the way I feel from the things I say and there have been moments in the past week where I have felt profoundly unhinged. What is it about staying at home that tests my sanity like this? I have never been a social creature. I don’t thrive in loud and noisy groups, I don’t seek out opportunities to leave my house. I shouldn’t be struggling with this, and yet, here we are.

This morning I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing, it was a sergeant from Claremont police station calling about a case of child abuse I reported the night before. After I got off the phone, I sat on the couch and had a small cry. The wheels turn and the world goes on, abusers continue to abuse, the world has ground to a halt, but some things remain constant (I wish violence wasn’t one of them).

To get my mind off it, I thought I would sit down and write a blog post. It’s been a while. But as I sit here at my kitchen table, watching my children paint and play outside, I can’t seem to shake this feeling.

Reporting Child Abuse In South Africa

I have never considered myself to be a whistleblower. 99% of the time I usually judge from afar with a deep sense of disgust. But recently, having listened to the screams from our neighbours 3-year old, I have changed. While we are all home our frustration is running high, we are stressed and anxious and exhausted and none of that can be blamed on our children. They are little, seeking love and happiness and approaching life with the unique curiosity that children have. If you find yourself in a rage-filled moment where your child’s behaviour is frustrating you, consider that perhaps you are the problem and not your child. If you smack your child, you are a criminal. There is no grey area.

If you witness abuse, I would urge you to go to your nearest police station and make an official complaint. Don’t call, nothing will come from a call. You will need to go there, they need to understand the urgency of the situation and often the people who sit in the charge office and answer the phone are not the people who will champion your complaint, it matters and it is worth taking a few minutes from your life to get it on the police’s radar.

Other things about lockdown

It hasn’t all been bad, we’ve been on lockdown since the 16th of March. At first, we were excited, spending time at home, doing crafts, baking, it all felt like Martha Stewart's wet dream. Things have calmed significantly. We have run out of craft supplies and there is no yeast to be found in the stores. This has been a challenging time for my girls. Their age gap is significant enough that they play differently and this has led to frustration and arguments, but it’s also pushed them to try harder to be friends, to share, to be supportive of each other. And that makes my heart so happy.

Housewife, employee, teacher and chef

One of the biggest challenges I have faced is how to manage our lives. Working full time and from next week, teaching my kids from 9 am to 1 pm and then also cooking every meal and making sure everyone is getting the right amount of attention is keeping me up at night. Of course, we are educated enough to know that it is not possible to do it all. And trying will only lead to tears, so my advice to myself has been: pick one thing to do well and then be happy that you do the remaining things in an average way and then switch it up daily.

Working out when you hate working out

I had hoped to use this lockdown to perfect my home workout routine but it’s been impossible to find the energy and the will to do anything other than work and parent. So I headed to Twitter to ask for advice and an amazing thread emerged. One of the constant suggestions was to just force yourself into it, I tried this morning and it worked out well for me because I told myself that I would just do 6 rounds of my usual routine and by the end, I ended up repeating my routine twice. But I would caution against this for everyone because we also need to find a balance between listening to ourselves and our bodies and pushing ourselves. I know that exercise helps me feel better but if you’re really not into it, just take some time to regroup.

I think we’re all struggling right now. It’s hard and it is riddled with fear and anxiety and it feels like the world has been flipped on its head. At the end of the day, as cheesy as it sounds, this is the perfect time for kindness, kindness for ourselves, our children, our friends and family and the strangers on the internet we interact with daily.

I am going to do my best to pull myself together, start being a little more positive and embracing this weird and turbulent season of our lives. One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is how fragile life is. The reality that existed 2 months ago is gone, we are in unchartered waters and we’re all doing the best we can. Who knows where the country or the world will be tomorrow or next week? All we have is now and in many ways, that is humbling.


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