I am a mother of two boys (ages 9 and 11) as well as running my own business. With the lockdown, transitioning to remote working has come with its own challenges. My househelp left just before the lockdown which means I have cooking, cleaning, laundry and house chores to contend with, among other stuff.
Everyone’s situation is different, but the struggle is real. For parents with younger kids, I just can’t imagine what they are going through.
So far, I have managed to get some work done and retain my sanity. Here are a few things I did to achieve it:
- I decided to ensure my kids help around the house. So, I assigned house chores between both of them. Older son doing the sweeping, moping and taking out the trash. My younger son being responsible for washing the plates and putting the clothes in the washing machine. They both make their beds and keep their room tidy.
- I upgraded my older son’s cooking skills. The cooking was becoming overwhelming, so it was time to complete all our half-finished lessons. Till date, the key thing my kids could do was make their own noodles, I quickly changed that. I taught my older son to boil rice for four of us, fry plaintain and make spaghetti. We are currently learning how to make poundo yam. This has made a very notable difference.
- Food rationing: In the beginning, the kids were eating like it was going out of fashion. Our monthly food budget was rising. This wasn’t sustainable considering the rising cost of things in the market and the fact that future income is uncertain. I sat them down and told them the truth: “we need to ration because these are uncertain time. We can’t have chicken and sausage with our noodles for breakfast. Yes, we will treat ourselves now and again but we are generally more frugal with food stuff, snacks and other consumables.”
- We have a clear schedule for weekdays and weekends. The day starts with chores, then designated time slots for brain work (which includes educational games, reading books and doing work), slots for learning a skill and play time. A definite routine ensures that I have undisturbed periods for serious work.
- Have rules and discipline measures spelt out for non-compliance. My son wants to play video games but he can’t till the dishes are done. My older son temporarily forfeits his phone privileges if certain tasks are not completed.
- Technically, it’s the holiday season, so i ensure there is enough fun and games– it should not be a 100% schoolwork or brain work. And even the brain work is fun based (this is where 9ijakids and other apps come in). When the kids are having fun, they tend to give you some breathing space. So ensure there is free play and lots of fun play. Make sure to ensure they also get to do some play that.
How has it been on your end? What has helped during this COVID-19 lockdown? Share your survival tips, it would definitely help someone out there who is struggling too.
Let’s remember to #stayhome #staysafe.