Showing up to feed the family during COVID -19

I have been  cooking and cooking just like all parents out there !!

This is how I show up for my family and after listening to Sarah Jakes about passion, I know I am very passionate about family because of the suffering I am willing to go through for them.

So a few weeks ago , I needed help . I was hoping that KG would give me a 40 and I would come up with another 60 just so we a 100 and get the feeding of the family happening. But I was too ambitious and learned some good lessons . 

Doers like me tend to think the way we show up for others , it’s the same way that others must show up for us . Instead of moaning and being sad , I saw this an opportunity and a practical lesson for me to apply some lessons I got from the books I have been reading.

I was reminded of Dr Brene Brown who uses the analogy I have just mentioned above. Marriage at times one has a 5 and the other has to make a plan to see where to find the 95. Ultimately family must function .

It’s all about showing up for one another. Whilst I got my ten from KG in the food preparation department, those moments that he was able to show up for us like that, meant a whole world to me . And so I am very grateful.

I am grateful for the thoughtfulness and time he took from his work to prepare us a meal. The thoughtfulness of serving me and the girls breakfast in bed. I know it’s not as many times as I wished for but he showed up and what’s what matters right now

And for that and to him I say thank you !!!!

What I am learning through surviving COVID-19 , is that it’s okay when we cannot show up the way that we are used to and it is absolutely okay to be considerate to others even when they cannot show up the way you needed them to do. We go through this differently and it affects us in so many ways .

Doers, workaholics and those of us who seem to be thriving in scheduling must have patience and grace for those that can’t. It’s not that I have it figured out , I am just a doer but I can feel it in my bones , it’s hard.

The amount of work I have gone through for the family , to keep the house clean , to cook, wash their clothes , is fulfilling and very exhausting . These to me are my acts of kindness , a language I use to show up and day to than I love and care for their well being. I also thrive in an environment with a sense of duty and this is what this means to me 

By understanding myself better and being open to others I am learning slowly to give myself permission to rest, because doing must not define who I am . I truly hope I come out a better quality person after al this .

 

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Body detox

After all the eating and dining the body’s needs to detox .

My garden has been my saving grace and I was able to pick up a few good harvests for this purpose. My go to detox solution is as follows :

– Lemon

– Parsley

– Ginger

– Cucumbers

– Mint

I usually blend all these together and then strain the juice out , put a bit of ice and some honey to taste and am good to go. Whilst we do emotional and spiritual detox , our body needs to clean up too !!!

I am still at Gethsemane

Like any other over doer I have my moments and today was one of those days . I am still in Gethsemane, haven’t even made my way to the cross yet , no death , neither resurrection and yes my soul is crushed .

Aaaah the uncertainty , the emotion , the fear , the idea of not being in control, the frustration of letting go , it is all within me . Whilst I am an optimist , today I had to sit and allow the floods to have their way. Had to sit and sob , I couldn’t bring my energy levels up.

It is so lonely 😭 on this street and I feel all alone , I accept that the journey is mine alone I suppose. The word that kept me company was Jesus experiencing the moment of crushing at Gethsemane, a moment of surrender to what was to come.

So today I am just taking this moment to sit with this feeling for a while – your will and not mine , dear Lord

I am an ambivert !!!!

Thanks to Adam Grant I now understand my personality better. Back in 2003 at the age of 19 I experienced what made me know I have two personalities in one. I was living with my best friend on campus at the time and I was a chairperson of a Christian organisation. I would come back to the residence exhausted from either worship or preaching and there’s nothing I’d want to do except to just eat and sleep.

Until one night my courageous friend said “ Nomusa you are a very moody person, one moment you are so energetic at the SCO and then you come here , you don’t want to talk and you look grumpy “ my jaw dropped 😳😳😳 , up until that point I had not paid attention at all towards my personality. All I knew was the fact that I was so tired. Worship used to break every single limb I had in my body , in fact I respect worshipers till today. I can preach any day but don’t call me to worship, that thing will break you and humble you. I just used to say to myself , you can’t lead people into His presence without first being humbled by Him. And humbled I was , each time I led the worship.

I also realized that I had been staying alone for over two years for the first time in my room and it’s only in my third year that I had to share. So I was accustomed to being by myself most of the time and I loved it.

Fast forward to Adam Grant’ podcast. I learned that I have a great flexibility with my personality. I have moments when I am a great extrovert and moments when I am excellent introvert . In fact KG and I agreed that I love outdoors which is why date night is one of my best all time favorite thing to do . In a restaurant full of people, people energies me and I feel alive. I will take that energy and use it to create something powerful and KG usually enjoys those experiences which I named them my “ high” moments

But I am such an introvert when I get home !!! Whilst KG then is a complete opposite.

Home is a place of rest for me and I just get home to rejuvenate and rest from all the talk and energy I would have engaged throughout the day. Come end of the day , I am so exhausted and I need some alone time by myself to rejuvenate !!

The name for this personality type is an “ ambivert” and I didn’t know that until recently !!!

I am excited about it 😊😊😊😍😍🥰🥰🥰

Here are some great resources from Healthline.com . Five signs that you are an ambivert :

1. You’re a good listener and communicator

• Extroverts prefer to talk more, and introverts like to observe and listen. But ambiverts know when to speak up and when to listen.

• An ambivert might open a meeting by giving a brief pep talk, then offer employees the chance to talk about their own challenges or concerns.

2. You have an ability to regulate behavior

• Adjusting to fit the person or situation seems to come naturally to ambiverts.

• Imagine you’re riding in an elevator with strangers. An extrovert might start making small talk, but an introvert might put in earbuds to avoid interaction. You might choose either option, depending on your fellow riders.

3. You feel comfortable in social settings, but also value your alone time

• Ambiverts can feel like they’re in their element in a crowd or when enjoying a quiet evening at home.

• Say a friend calls with a last-minute invite for an evening out. An extrovert will likely accept without hesitation, and an introvert is likely to decline in favor of staying in. The ambivert will probably consider the pros and cons of that particular outing. They could go either way.

4. Empathy comes naturally to you

• Ambiverts are able to listen and show they understand where a person is coming from.

• If a friend’s having an issue, an extrovert might try to offer a solution right away, and an introvert might be great at listening. An ambivert might listen and ask thoughtful questions to try and help.

5. You’re able to provide balance

• In the case of group settings, ambiverts can provide a much-needed balance to the social dynamic.

• An ambivert might be the one to help break an awkward silence, making others who are more introverted feel comfortable starting a conversation.

Am I the only one wondering where was this third personality type all along 🤣

Puzzle Monday

Yep that’s the name I gave my Monday this week. My kids were so exhausted and the struggle to wake up and get ready for the Monday class session was real. I immediately decided to name the day and walked to them and said “ ladies take as much time as you want in your bed , today is puzzle Monday after all “ My youngest had already suggested whilst covered in her blanket that she just wants to finish her puzzles 🤷🏿‍♀️

So what did I do ? I complied . One day off wouldn’t hurt even for a type A like me . Instead of taking the time to rest , I remembered that curtain that has been falling off for the past six months and no one dared to fix it, that backsplash that has been getting all the grease from the lockdown cooking and I was just ignoring it and I also put polish on the worn out wooden floors that had not been touched for the last 30 days …. whhhhheeeewww .

Whilst I was at it , I attended to 15 payments that had to be made , cleared 71 new emails and browsed through the 34 unattended and decided today is still not the day for them and continued to mark them as unread . By the time the clock hit 12:00 I still had not disinfected the kitchen nor had I mopped the floor – eeeeynaaa

Just like that , it was time for the girls to join the Zoom dance class at 13:45 and off we went !!!! They danced their hearts out and it was marvelous !!!

Then it was lunch time . Lucky for me yesterday’s dumpling and stew was enough for today . Munched they did and off I went to attend to KG who had backaches and tension on his body . By the time I was done with bath salts it was past 4pm . I had to take a shower from all the exhaustion then jumped back to work , phone calls and all. I got an hour in front of TV and watched the Penny Heins documentary and that was all.

After that I decided it was time to put my research work on paper and I went right back to work mode . By the time it was 23:00 I was still sober like a judge. Well that’s life during the lockdown .

Some people managed to do five puzzles , from 50 pieces to a 500 pieces – very impressive for a four and six year old !!! They got somethings done ✅

#lockdownsouthafrica

My daughter hated puzzles and the lockdown has built patience in her . So glad she’s enjoying the challenge
The six year old lives and loves indoors and puzzles are her second most comfortable hobby. She was doing 500 PCs for the first time
The zoom dance classes were fantastic!!!!

Joy of missing out (Jomo)

I first heard this expression from Oprah. The Joy of missing out and I listened to Adam Grants’ interview on World Economic Forum and I just love that he encouraged us to look at what are we grateful for , that we are missing during this lockdown?

So the approach says , I am so happy that during this lockdown I don’t have to go through this. It helps shift our attitude towards gratefulness and less complaining.

So I decided to write ten things that I have the absolute joy of missing them out ! It’s another way to say to my brain I am here now in this new way of doing things and I am just grateful that I don’t have to go through this . It’s just another way to maintain our sanity , isn’t it ? Here we go !!

Jomo

I have the joy of missing out on the following :

1. The morning rush of getting ready for work

2. The rush of preparing breakfast and getting the kids ready whilst avoiding an offense for being late

3. I have serious jomo on the morning fights between my kids , the tears and the stress that comes with it

4. I have absolute joy of missing out on the dropping off two kids at two different schools- on the clock

5. Nothing compared to the jomo on forgetting the “dress up” days or photo shoot days at school- laaawd the embarrassment and the feeling of letting my kid down – whheeewwww I don’t miss that

6. Jomo on my child remembering that it’s swimming day , she forgot her swimming pack and I have to drive back home to get the bag and I have to let my boss know that I will be late for work- aaaaah

7. I have the joy of missing out from driving an hour to work everyday and returning back for another hour – it is tense because I must pay attention at all times – we are all on fast pace

8. Jomo on arriving home between 6 pm and 7 pm every evening and not having time to breathe before cooking supper

9. Jomo on mom guilty and feeling I am not being there enough for my family because the pace is so fast . Say I get home at six , they eat by 7 and sleep by 8. I haven’t settled because I have just served supper and ate then off to bed 😭😭😭😭

10. Jomo on missing out the unnecessary spending and negative balance in my account – haaa amen 🙏🏾 my bank balance is happy saving on e-toll and petrol . Gave us a chance to contribute to the national fund 💯

As we say in SA – dark or blue

How I celebrated the end of the first 21 days

21 days was the initial cut off for the lockdown , then we learned that it will be extended by 14 days. I was all in for the first 21 days and I realized I did such a great job showing up and being consistent to my work and family . ….

Mentally I needed a break and my body was aching in all areas possible . So what did I do ? I took a nap 😴 . Four hours in the afternoon and my goodness that felt so good 😊 . Watched my favorite show Fixer Upper by Chip and Joanna Gaines, gosh they are so good at what they do . Plus that farm lifestyle is all me and that’s the main reason I love them 😍

I am a doer , an action person , disciplined all type A and some , I know now that I needed to prove to myself that I can. And I did for 21 days. But my focus in the next coming days are going to be resting, creating idle time and some more. So I will be letting go of a lot of stuff undone , in a healthy way . Good luck to me

Here’s to another 14 days , maybe I can finally give myself decent baths with salts , consistent exercise and maybe the girls can give me a good massage . You can never know right 😊

Not asking for much just to rest a little bit

🙏🏾

Great food for thought from @thrive. This will pass not as quickly as I want it to but it will surely pass.

Working from home during the lockdown

Working from home caught us off guard and I wasn’t surprised that my first week was horrible to say the least. None of my team members were fully abled to work and I happen to be the last person in the chain to release payments, which were due because it was month end of March after all.

Nonetheless I struggled along , managed the A-Z communication with our last batch of suppliers who needed the assurance that we will pull things off and I am glad that we succeeded at that.

Learning to be patient

I quickly learned that in order to succeed through the process I had to be patient , I normally have a gift of seeing things through , connecting the dots and having a clear path on what will be required by when . I also expected that everyone else would have figured this out and I was wrong.

This is where being caught of guard things come in . Nobody expects to one day be doing everything from home and communicating with team members . I had to accept that there is no manual on how to do things and I must be patient and open to learn new things. As a result we started off on some bad communication tip and I had to learn that I need to be very patient with both myself , my leaders and team.

So as soon as the necessary people were set up , I clarified expectations, I communicated what I was going to be able to do and I couldn’t be able to do. Most importantly every single task had a timeline assigned to it. I just believe that communication of expectations is the best way to get the team know what is needed from them. I also let them know that I too have never been in this situation before so if there’s any ideas , I am open to it. If I make mistakes they should let me know , if I am over communicating or under communicating they should let me know too.

Having two kids under age six and knowing that I had a full day teaching schedule plus cleaning and cooking , I did not want to assume that just because the team is at home this means everyone is logged in to their laptops the whole day . As I have come to learn , it has actually been a complete opposite for me.

Week 1 I was getting in about six working hours a day , schools were closed , I was one of two people able to work from home in my team and it worked. But lo and behold , week 2 things changed. At first I thought I would wake up early and do an hours work before starting with the teaching . But nope , that wasn’t to be. I got to bed so exhausted that an idea of a 6am was totally off the table.

So here is what I have managed to do consistently this far

After teaching my kids at 12:00 , I clean the house , prepare lunch , clean up some more . I am usually done by 2pm and this time is dedicated to logging in . I focus on the emails , tackle new tasks on my to do list , usually I am done by 4pm and then I am back to the kitchen to prepare supper. I got back to laptop on a need basis in between the kids eating and bath time.

What worked

What worked for me was getting my team fully resourced with data , airtime and laptops. I have no doubt that this will change how we do things going forward. Some of the team members have had to go to the office to process some work because they don’t have laptops. This has to change , technology is now our bread and butter issue.

I have been able to quickly leave the kids in class and attend to a Whatsup message from my boss , log in and send that report .

Knowing what was not a priority also helped . The due dates that could be let go such as the draft annual financial statements etc , accepting that we cannot access our ERP system from home wasn’t easy but getting to that acceptance helped to make my sanity work .

My overall reflection

Sources – @thrive

I came across this post from@thrive “ consider which parts of normal are worth rushing to”. And this has gotten my mind thinking 🤔

You know what , this lockdown reminded of the teaching they gave us in the pregnancy class. They said to mothers, most mommies resign after going back to work after maternity leave. Why?The joy and emotion of raising a child gives them so much purpose and direction and they start to question whether or not their jobs are worth their time.

And guess what , I am at this state of mind. Whilst I am grateful that the amount of pressure I have had is minimal and I was actually able to give time to my kids , especially with my husband working as an essential service , I am not sure if I want to go back to the same job and duties. And so there is a lot of thinking and praying awaiting me for the next 14 days .

For now we can just say – searching for a new place is not off the table . I want to spend more time with my kids and my husband. I want to drive less than 15 minutes to work and not an hour , I want to be home to see my kids by 3 or 4pm and not between 6-7pm as I currently do. I want to serve my family supper at 7 consistently and not 8or9pm. I want my freedom back and I want it now. I want to contribute in making a world a better place. I don’t want to sit and idle by.

I don’t know 🤷🏿‍♀️ right now, I am open to counseling after all this but I just need to add more quality into my life and right now my family is everything . My current job is more back end , last person , minimal input that gives me less drive and excitement, I am more a decision making person and financial reporting alone can remove that joy away from me at times. I don’t need any more confirmation. I just don’t know how to make the jump !

Anyone else going through what I am feeling out there ?

Homeschooling during the lockdown

31 March 2020 – this was the official date for the South African public schools to re-open . And open they did , from home that is , amidst the lockdown.

I say opened they did because our school was quite pro-active during this process. We received a full curriculum to teach our Grade-1 daughter from 31 March 2020 right through to the end of the lockdown( the initial lockdown). I am grateful for the school’s leadership and spontaneity on the matter . This has increased my faith in the public school system, the staff and principal have truly outdone themselves !!!

I took day -1 with extreme excitement, overdid stuff and quickly realized that there was no way I could sustain my schedule. So it was all human on deck after this , KG came on board and suddenly life felt manageable.

How does our average schooling schedule look like ?

Waking up time and tasks

I am up at 7h30 am on average , I wake the kids at 8am . They have their dedicated tasks to do

– Make the bed

– Tidy up the room

– Brush the teeth

– Wash their faces

– Change from sleepwear

– Breakfast at 8:30

– Clear the dishwasher whilst breakfast gets ready

– Place dirty dishes into the washer before going to class

Curriculum

We have so far managed to start classes on 09:15 , on average . We have had both good and bad days

09:15 – 10:30 – English

10:30- 10:50- Play , water and bathroom time

10:50- 11:30- Life Skills

11:30-12:00- Afrikaans

12:00 – they sneak out for bathroom time or snack whilst KG is getting ready

12:15 – 13:00 – Mathematics

I think if we were teaching one child there would be more play and idle time . So since we are teaching both kids at the same time , this drags the speed of the process.

Content for the 4 year old

We got the resources along the days from creche for the little one . But the English lessons and life skills are so basic so I would bring her along in the sisters lesson

Where required I created some good content for her . Shapes , colors , animals , transportation. The topics are endless . My go to resource for ideas is https://ourkindafamily.com/ and Worksheets on Facebook !

Things got better as we received resources from her school and it’s been a smooth bliss ever since

So basically I knock off at 12 daily and quickly rush to prepare lunch because at 13:00 they always get their lunch . One of the reason I like this schedule is because it’s closely similar to what they do at school on a daily basis.

Some days KG starts first with Mathematics and I use that time to prepare lunch , disinfect the house but the routine does not move far off. Basic rule is come 13:00ish we are done with the formal school work !!

Play time and creativity

The girls like to see me play with them and seeing that light in their eyes is everything for me 😁😁. I am not as flexible as they are and they get impressed with the little things. I actually hurt my neck in a trampoline 😭😭😭but I continued to play 🤷🏿‍♀️being mom .

I initially thought I would struggle with creativity for the games but I have since realized that they are the greatest source for the games. I sit back and ask them to introduce a game each day and it is honestly the best method.

I noticed that we haven’t done much artwork and this is something they love doing . I have been thinking of using leaves since they are falling to do creative stuff. I also have left over spray paint in the store room that I might just put into good use.

I did introduce some stuff like cutting from the newspaper to learn different letters of the alphabets and they got the lesson.

Exercising and stretching

I discovered that the girls are fantastic at coaching . Katlego used to do ballet and it’s something she loves and she has been coaching us on this. Kgaogelo is just an amazing freestyle dancer and she is a tough cookie , so we have been towing the line during her sessions. We do stretching and exercising as part of play time daily.

Extra murals

Katlego is enrolled for hockey , we have a few videos to go through and haven’t managed to get to them as yet. Kgaogelo is enrolled in a dance academy , we are on week two of her online dance classes. The nice thing about it is that the sister can join in and they have fun . They do this once a week in the afternoon.

Kgaogelo also does karate and we have just received videos that she can do from home.

And then there’s computer lessons that I don’t know where to begin and what to do 🤷🏿‍♀️🤷🏿‍♀️

Basically we can say the area of extra murals is an area of improvement and we will get through it seeing that the lockdown is now extended.

Book reading

This is another area of improvement and am not very proud to say I have never gotten this area right . Part of the English lesson is reading a book daily , kids need to learn to tell the story back to you and the six year old needs to learn how to formulate sentences and I am just failing at this dismally from the book reading context . Reading books are galore , dedication dololo. So I am very open to any tools in this area , amen .

Fear of Over scheduling

Why I try not to over schedule the kids is because I am hearing the voice of Dr Shefali in my head who encourages conscious parenting and I just want them to still be kids and right now honestly , I am not sure what a balanced picture looks like . So I figured they can play as much as they want and still keep to the schedule.

My don’t s

I have avoided over resourcing myself hence I only have two go to places, the lady who manages this blog https://ourkindafamily.com/ is fantastic and has 4 kids that are homeschooled on a permanent basis and has the same age group to my girls.

TV for kids remains to be from Friday until Sunday so nothing has changed there unless they watching it with us.

Do’s

I give myself permission to rest when I am tired and cannot do it on that day.

Connect the kids to their friends via video call. This has kept them excited to share with their friends and I can see they understand the COVID situation much better now and can explain it to the next person

The joys

I must confess , teaching our 4 year old writing her name from scratch and seeing her doing it without reference has been my proudest moment. The life skills lessons I give in class and then have them repeat them back to me as we interact in the house and seeing them taking ownership of those lessons , honestly it blows my mind . Teaching Afrikaans to the six year is also one of my proudest moments 😆

I don’t know about any other moms but not having the stress of the morning routine has brought about peace in my life . Does anyone relate to the morning rush ?

Getting myself ready

Getting the kids breakfast ready

Getting them ready , helping them eat because some days they just take forever

Forgetting the swimming bag and driving back to pick up after dropping the first one

Being on a lookout for the clock so that no ones gets an offense

Arriving at school and you forgot that it’s dress up day for the other

Dropping the kids at two different location before taking an hour drive to work

My old morning routine was stressful and to be able to do this without that stress has been aaaaaaaamaaazing and I am thankful for it . The pace in the morning is so so peaceful!!

I don’t miss my normal routine in this area🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

I am officially teacher mom and honestly I love it this way and very grateful to have witnessed it.

That being said , I salute the teachers and I would vote that they earn a decent salary any day !!

Using what we have to create a learning environment!!
I do put on some make up and lipstick ! Helps uplift my energy plus I just love taking things seriously 🤣 Papa teacher there

Hail storm – it excites the kids and mommy went to get some ice and the response 😁😁😁😁yeeeeey

Got them disinfecting their toys . This helped me through the process of identifying what’s available for use . Colors , shapes etc all those educational toys we buy but never used – mmhhnn they working now . Dusted them nicely and voila
Some resources we received from the school for the 4 year old !

Lockdown kitchen diaries

20 days later!!!!! Woooow we are making it , one day at a time !

Preparing three meals a day has never been so challenging 😛😛😛😛jeeeeeerrrrr . My family has different preferences and unfortunately there are a number of food items that we cannot all eat at the same time. Luckily for me I have been cooking since day one I met KG and I have figured how to unlock my food choices. Some days I still found myself cooking two or three dishes at the same time just so that everyone is accommodated….. and it has been rough to say the least !

Cooking is my way of showing up for my family . Look , at the end of the day we have to eat so my take is , let that ritual be exciting and at least memorable . The thing about food for me is that it creates memories . I remember how my mom used to bake for us and the smell of freshly baked buns gave me a sense of home and belonging. And that is what I am trying to create for my family .

Good food compliments my home making process 😋😋😋😋

So it has been rough and exciting , baking from fat cakes , pizza 🍕 , scones to red velvet muffins !!!! The girls had so much fun and it’s been our great fun time activity !!

Here are just few of pictures I got to take and I think we will always look back at this experience with a huge sense of gratitude for the meals we shared together as a family.

For the next 14 days I will be reducing my time spent in the kitchen to allow myself more studying time as KG will be showing off his culinary skills in the kitchen – he is the sandwich king in the family and I just can’t wait to dig in 😋😋😋. I will share some of those at the end of the lockdown🤗

Happy cooking 🥘 and enjoy the pictures . If you ever need a go to place for cooking inspiration @Chefnthabit also on @well.maid is my absolute favorite!!!!

Porridge and tinkies