Keeping your sanity as a working mom in lockdown

Wow, it has been a while since I have been able to think creatively. The combination of having to work from home, run a clean household, and be the best…

Wow, it has been a while since I have been able to think creatively. The combination of having to work from home, run a clean household, and be the best mom and wife I can be has been mentally, physically and emotionally draining.

I have seen on multiple social media platforms moms asking for advice on how to cope? The general responses have been, we are not coping. To me, this is a 100% fair response, and I don’t think we should be 100% coping. This lockdown is a lot for us moms to take on. We cannot feel guilty for dropping the ball in one area or another. Our lives have been turned upside down, and adjusting to this new way of living, is exactly that, an adjustment.

I do however know that we as moms are resilient, powerful and determined, which makes me believe that we will get through this. We just need to pick ourselves up and make the decision to make the adjustments and give ourselves room for error and take short cuts if need be.

The first week of social distancing for me was a nightmare, I did not know if I was coming or going, mostly because I have always been a crèche mom (with Baby Steps only having one, week-long mid-year break), I was so not prepared for having my pudding at home with me. I have never had a backup plan or a nanny to help me in situations like this. I knew that I was going to burn out if I did not make some serious adjustments.

Putting a routine in place was the best thing I could have done. I know that every mommy is different, and I am definitely at the far end of OCD with the need for a plan to be in place before I proceed, but even the smallest amount of planning can make you feel like you are in charge of this new life.

A routine not only helps us with our sanity but it also creates a sense of security for our children. If we are less anxious, they will be less anxious.

As much as I want to be there with my pudding every second of the day, guiding him and teaching him, it is physically impossible. This is not a bad thing, because independent play develops creativity and imagination in a child.

During the week, I try to set up an area with a chosen activity and let my pudding explore on his own, where possible. This gives me the time to get some work done or even get some much-needed downtime.

Here are 5 tips for putting a schedule in place to help you cope with the load of work in this new world:

  • Make a weekly dinner list: 

This can be done for lunch-time meals too. This list will also assist you in compiling your shopping list.

Involve your little ones in the cooking, this will keep them occupied and will teach them essential life skills at the same time.

    • Monday: Beef (Savoury mince, cottage pie, meatballs, burgers, steak, etc…)
    • Tuesday: Chicken (strips, roast, soup, kebabs, wraps, curry, etc…)
    • Wednesday: Pasta (Napoletana, alfredo, bolognese, ravioli, etc…) Don’t be shy to buy ready-made sauces to save you time, and if you have the time, try giving a homemade pasta recipe a go.
    • Thursday: Fish (Crumbed, battered or in a pie; hake, haddock, kingklip etc…)
    • Friday: Lamb or Pork (Chops, frikkadel’s, sausages, etc…)
    • Saturday & Sunday: Grilled cheese, family roast, or have a braai.
  • Make a list of activities that will keep your kids busy:

List activities that you can do with your sugar beans, and a list of activities that they can do on their own. Start by coming up with categories, and then list relevant activities under each category. Try to incorporate one activity from each category into their daily schedule.

    • Outside play: Put some music on and let them explore, ride bikes, swing ball, soccer, gardening, dancing, etc…
    • Creative play: Painting, drawing, baking, crafting, cooking, etc…
    • Sensory play: Water, sand, play dough, flour, slime, spaghetti, etc…
    • Quiet time: Reading, puzzles, building blocks, etc…
    • Free play: Playing with their toys
    • Household chores: Making the bed, feeding the animals, help with washing, sweeping, etc…
  • Create a daily schedule for the whole family:

I am lucky enough to be in lockdown with my husband. We have set time aside where we can both get stuff done. If it is my time to work, everyone in the household knows that mommy is working and there are no distractions. With this schedule, everyone knows when it’s time to:

    • Work 
    • Parent
    • Clean
    • Cook
    • Eat
    • Shop
    • Exercise
    • Nap
  • Have a morning ring with your child:

Talk to your child for 10 minutes each morning and decide on a theme for the day together. This will help give you direction on what activities to do.

  • Set aside days and times for cleaning:

List what duties will be done on those days. Split the chores up with your partner, and get your child involved. My pudding pushes the buttons on the washing machine and hands me the pegs (naming each colour and counting each peg) while we hang the washing.

    • Monday & Thursday: Washing (Ironing is not essential, because “ain’t nobody got time for that”, lol. It’s not like we are going to see anyone anyway, creased is the new black.)
    • Wednesday & Saturday: Bathrooms & Floors

As much as I know that this routine helps to keep my sanity in check, there are days that the TV has to be the baby sitter, or grilled cheese must do for dinner. We are in this as much as our children are and we also need the time to crack.

I know that every mom wants to be a super mom, but under these drastic conditions, I just don’t think it’s possible to do everything. Do what you can! Before we know it, things will slowly get back to a new type of normal, and we will all be skilled with a whole lot more organised at the end of it!

Keep safe, and don’t forget to give yourselves some love now and again.

Much Love

Daniella Diederiks

Planner, Seeker of happiness, Cat & Human mom (proud Baby Steps mom), Creative, OCD maybe, baby blogger


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