My Lockdown Experience – Guilt and Emotions….

By Angelique Dormehl – Good Night Sleep Consultant

The last few weeks has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs and a cocktail of emotions ranging from being thankful to guilt…..

Being a stay-at-home, working mom trying to run a business has not been an easy task…  And let’s not forget being the cook, cleaner and a teacher as well. The first few days of lockdown were exciting, and everything was new and fun. The cake tasted great, the dishes was done with an “oomph” and even though working with a 5-year old at home was challenging, I managed…. Or did I?

After a while, my emotions turned from being “Minion Happy” to what I like to describe as “Cape Town weather”: In the mornings I wake up all misty but eager to start the day, by lunch time the sun is shining which means I am working full steam, by mid-day my emotions are a storm because I am not getting done with what I planned to do and guilt starts setting in, and by late afternoon the wind is blowing and the storm is picking up and I feel like a guilty, ticking time-bomb…. But by the evening the storm is calmed, the sky is cleared and I am thankful for the crazy times I got to spend with my family at home. What a range of emotions to experience in a 24-hour period!

I have really wanted to complain about having to clean my own house, or wearing a mask when I go out to purchase essentials, or cleaning up after my 5-year old seven times a day, or being asked for food and snacks 10 times a day, or trying to manage the laundry…. But I have realized how privileged I am and this makes me feel guilty…  Yes, guilty.

I feel tremendously guilty that I have been complaining about cleaning the house, having to plan better because I can only get to go the shops once a week now, and even being lucky enough to work from home and at the same time be super busy helping mommies with sleep training, while there are mommies out there who provide an essential services who are unable to stay home with their kiddies. I have also felt guilty that I am blessed to be able to work from home, but then it seems that I am constantly telling my toddler “mommy needs to work now so we’ll play later”. I have experienced guilt because during this lockdown I have finally realized that it is a ton of fun to have your toddler at home with you, and yet I STILL am unable to spend 24/7 with her. Some days I have been so busy helping parents change their babies’ sleeping routines, and then I forgot to feel guilty and that made me sad….

This lockdown has left many people vulnerable, hungry and on the streets. Some people have not been able to go to work or earn an income. Some families have been separated and have been unable to see each other in weeks. Some expecting mommies have welcomed their babies into the world all by themselves as no other family members were allowed to be present when the baby was delivered, and some mommies were not able to visit their Covid-19 positive baby in hospital.

The last 6 weeks has taught me so many new things, but most the most important thing is that it has taught me is that it is OK to feel all 700 emotions in one day. The best we can do for ourselves at this point is to keep helping others, stay positive and not let the “guilty bug” bite.

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