Continuing a series inviting people to share some thoughts about Life during Lockdown:
My name is Mary and I am a wife, mother of 3, social worker and data analyst. I work as a financial aid analyst in the welfare space.
Question 1: What has your experience of lockdown been so far?
For our little family, the lockdown experience has been a real reminder of our privilege. We have a large house with uncapped internet where we can have space from each other, and we can spend time out in the garden for some sunshine and exercise. My husband and I are both still getting salaries and can do our jobs easily from home. The biggest challenge for us has been the juggling act of online schooling, working, and managing the household chores.
The one positive of not having our lovely domestic worker come into work is that the kids have had to step up and take much more responsibility for helping around the house. The kids have been extremely resilient, but It did take 3 weeks for them to accept this as the new normal and settle into a routine. The teenager has struggled the most as she is a huge extrovert and socialising fills her cup. I am constantly aware that others in the country are dealing with much bigger challenges and this sobers me up when I start to become melancholic.
Question 2: What are some of the ways that you have felt connected to people?
Working in essential services, I do get to leave the house a couple of mornings a week to interact with colleagues and clients. This has been a great way to keep connected with the outside world keep me abreast of what is happening in the community around us.
We also have a calling roster with our cell group, so every few days we have a call with a friend, and we can check in on each other. We have been having sporadic zoom calls with all our extended family and this always includes lots of laughs and craziness.
Question 3: What are you most anxious or fearful about right now?
I have experienced a lot of anxiety over this time. It mostly hits me at night, so sleep does not come easily. I worry most about my immediate and extended family getting sick, I worry that it will be me who will bring the virus into our home after meeting with clients. I also worry about the economy and how changes and downturns will affect us and those close to us and especially those who already live below the poverty line in our country.
Question 4: What is something that you have found inspiring or uplifting during lockdown?
Something that gets me through the tough days is staying off general social media and purposely seeking out the good news stories. The stories of creative ways that people express their love while maintaining social distance, the stories of resilience and strength as people navigate uncharted waters. These stories remind me how adaptable we are as humans and how we can cope with much more than we realise.
A bonus piece of advice to your fellow South Africans?
My advice for South Africans would be to take is easy on yourself and those around you. This is a traumatic time and for most it is a tough time to be productive. Just take it one task at a time, and one day at a time. It is okay to do just enough to get through today in one piece. Prioritise your personal resources and focus on the most important areas first and when you feel the need to, rest and do what fills your tank without guilt or self-deprecation.
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Thank you Mary-Louise for sharing some of your story with us.
[For a super vulnerable and honest reflection from Kerzia Chetty, click here]