Never in my life have I thought that a lockdown and a state of emergency will be declared in my lifetime…However, reality started when the schools closed earlier for holidays. Now, for a mom this is stressful as the President would not make a decision to close schools earlier just because. Then, the President addressed the nation that night…I had goose bumps all over my body and I knew this is not good.

We continued working until reality strikes during the week that the lockdown was going to start. Seeing employees leaving the building with their PC’s, desks being cleared and all of a sudden silence on that Thursday, 26 March 2020 afternoon. Greeting my colleagues (we are very close in the Collections Department – like one family), was sad – not knowing what to expect in the near future.

So…my mommy duties didn’t stay behind during lockdown. This was tough some mornings…getting breakfast ready, always having dishes and the washing….not as if we were going anywhere accept staying indoors…I don’t understand that. Explaining this to the children was very hard – no visitations to family, friends and the shops was hard on them. Taking time with each of them making sure that they are emotionally in a good state taught me life is not always that simple (especially if you get technical questions from a 10 year old). I learned that as a mommy I will not have all the answers, especially now.

My husband is an essential worker…we made an arrangement that when he comes home from work he goes straight to the shower and then put his clothes in the washing machine. This itself was an adjustment for the children not running to him when his car stopped.

As the lockdown went on, we eventually started getting into a smoother rhythm…we each have our chores in and around the house. We started working together as one team, which is awesome for a working mom.

Then, we started our budget and came to one conclusion: we can actually save money! How? you may ask. Only one of us got to go to the grocery store when the fridge is empty. We only bought what’s on the grocery list. By only buying what is on the list we started living healthier and put money away for the unknown.

So the day came before the extension of the lockdown that I went to fetch my PC at work. Walking into Head office and all you can hear is the aircon. Signing out my PC and packing my stuff into a box was so final…then the sports started at home. I actually had some IT skills (only a joke) – I could plug my PC in by myself…I underestimated myself! Wow, I did it. Then, reality strikes. I am so used to working in the office with a lot of files and papers – I needed to change my way of thinking and working.

Within a day or two I was working on my PC with limited paper! Now, this itself is such an amazing achievement if you look at my desk in the Office. The type of work I do at Optional Groups is paper folders that I still need to request from Strongroom (which is delivered at my office). All of a sudden me and two of my colleagues, Elsabe de Swardt and Margery Fourie had to try ways of getting my paper work through electronically in order for me to continue with my work. Guess what? It worked!!! So now, we are electronically savvy with Optional Groups! (see attached a photo of my paper work in a box)

What have I learned from this experience?

  • Life itself can change so quickly
  • It is up to yourself to adapt, or not – the decision is yours
  • Never ever underestimate yourself, you can do it
  • Turn a negative experience into a positive experience by changing your old habits
  • Last but not the least, spend time with your family – you need them and they need you

Thank you