What you need to know:
- Patience is a virtue I often joke that I struggle with but in the last few months, this has been tested beyond limit.
- I have made great progress and learnt how to cope.
‘How do you do it?’ is a question that always lingers in the minds of people when faced with the multiple roles most mothers have to perform at home and at work. The question has become more urgent during the Covid-19 pandemic as families adjust to the realities of closed schools, strained income and disrupted working routines.
Four mothers narrate to Life&Style how the pandemic has changed their lives.
Pauleen Mburugu Mwalo – marketer, mother of two
The pandemic has given me more quality time with my children because of working from home. I have been able to foster better communication with them, especially with my 14-year-old.
On the negative side, my patience has been tested in regards to my personal, mental and emotional space. Coronavirus has brought about some levels of anxiety for all of us. I can take it if they are occasionally calling out for: "Where are my shoes or books?" but for months in a row? That's a lot to take.
I have come to value time more than anything. Time for my children, spouse, and friends. Time has taught me that it cannot be quantified. Even giving your loved ones an hour of your time to talk, laugh, and exercise is very valuable. It makes a world of difference.
Laorraine Kirigia- business consultant, mother of one
Being a single mother but also wearing many other hats has been challenging. There is the homeschooling and homework to check and send to school every day. There are work deadlines to meet and a business to run. Sometimes, it can be super overwhelming and mentally exhausting.
The biggest challenge I currently face is having my daughter at home full time. This means that she needs more attention from her mum. Balancing her school schedule, home routine and my work deadlines is not easy. At times I struggle to maintain an emotional balance for both of us.
Patience is a virtue I often joke that I struggle with but in the last few months, this has been tested beyond limit. I have made great progress and learnt how to cope.
Caroline Mwita- coiffeuse, mother of three
As a mother I’m suffering total burnout because the children are home 24-7 and I have to keep them preoccupied with activities. There is also non-stop feeding since they are bored and result to eating as a hobby. I’m also constantly worrying that the little time they go out to get some sunshine might result in them contracting Covid-19. So it’s a never ending cycle of worry of the unknown.
Sometimes I deal with the children being rebellious because they feel locked up and don't know how to vent their frustrations.
My biggest challenge is assuring the children that all this will come to an end. But they have learned to cope. Nowadays, they handle household chores and other things that would otherwise have been done by a nanny.
Esther Muli- law student and women rights campaigner, mother of one
The biggest challenge I am facing is having to balance my emotions and fear of not making any mistake and exposing my child to coronavirus. I can't prevent my child from playing and interacting with other children in the area I live and sometimes I’m so afraid that it might make her mind grow dormant.
Also, in the midst of uncertainties like at the moment, you just have to fake 'Being strong' for your baby whereas deep down you are battling anxiety. I am someone who gets destabilised emotionally when my plans fail to go through.
Since I can't risk my baby playing outside with other children, I have made a habit of playing with her whenever I sense she's getting bored. To distract my thoughts from all these uncertainties, I have also written a book on the life of a young mother and student that hopefully will be launched once the dust settles. I can't believe I did that within such a short period.
To all the mothers out there, just breathe.