Finding our new normal


By Anneri van Rooyen

Just over a month ago, Corona was only known to some as an alcoholic beverage that was enjoyed at many a social gathering and today, it strikes fear in every person’s heart across the globe. This has been a scary, uncertain time for many of us. As a mommy, I know first-hand the fear and concern to keep one’s family safe. This has also been a crazy haze of a month since lockdown was announced in South-Africa, as I have been trying to juggle family life, cleaning our house, working from home and keeping my sanity.

We have twins, two adorable little busy bodies that keep us grounded and on our toes at the same time. It has been such a special time to spend together as a family, as my husband normally works away during the week and we only get to see him on weekends. Never have we ever had the opportunity to spend such a long time together. This has also provided a window for both my husband and I, into each other’s professional lives, to see first-hand how we work in action.

There have been stressful times, trying to juggle all the responsibilities and trying to make time to spend together as a family. Guilt just seems never ending, doesn’t it? I constantly feel guilty if I have to work, as this is time away from my husband and children. I feel guilty if I take time to relax, as this is time that I could have spent being productive either with work or cleaning the house. Guilt will always be there, it is like a snobby know-it-all, constantly whispering lies in one’s ears. I have made the decision to ask myself, is what I am feeling conducive to creating the kind of life I envision for myself and my family or work life? Is this deserved? If not, I try not to let it get the best of me.

Days at home with two two-year olds running around can be tough, but I am forever grateful to Good Night for helping me on a sleep journey when they were eight months old to help them sleep better. It is for this reason that I do what I do! Now I am able to also help other mommies cope better and babies to sleep better so that everyone’s quality of life can be better. I am so thankful that they still nap for two hours a day and sleep from 19:30 until 07:00 the next day – this helps so much to be able to juggle my busy schedule. My heart truly does go out to parents who are sleep deprived and must juggle all their responsibilities and possible financial stress during this lockdown. There are so many mommies that I speak with who struggle with the same issues as me: the guilt, the workload. The only thing that helps me cope is a good night’s sleep and it feels so good if I am able to help parents to be restful so that they can focus all of their energy on their family or work life.

This time has also made me realize just how much I must be grateful for. We also faced pay cuts like most other South Africans, so we had to revise our budget and then, we had to revise some more, but at least we have a budget to work with, even if it means adjusting our lifestyle. Many South Africans have lost their income completely and it is a reality that many of us face. I have also realized that it is a privilege to be able to work from home in these times where many South Africans cannot make a living while staying at home. I am grateful for the roof over our head. So many other South Africans do not have a safe place to call home. Many people will not survive this pandemic and I am grateful today that my loved ones are all healthy and in good spirits.

Soon we will have to face a new normal, learn to navigate these unchartered waters and each of us must figure out how we are going to be able to do this. My husband has to start working soon, which we are incredibly thankful for, but this dynamic shift once again, has to become our new normal as well. He is going to say goodbye to our two sons, missing out on them growing up little by little during the week and drinking it all in again on weekends. I have to get used to balancing working life, looking after our twins as schools remain closed and maintaining a home. With all of this said, I still feel incredibly thankful for this unique time that we have had to spend together, and I pray for all the families that are going through a much tougher time than we are.