There’s obviously a lot of advice out there directed at mothers who are struggling to manage working from home, keeping kids busy so they don’t disturb during Zoom meetings. Kids are probably frustrated because they can’t play with their friends and do all things normal to them. Truth is we are all learning as we go.
I personally think sifting through all this advice can be very overwhelming. I have seen schedules with activities for the children to do by the hour. I bet it works for some and I am not here to judge. I am not following any schedule right now with my children. We are all just taking it as it comes. Yesterday there was a bit of soccer in the garden. Then a tea party on the lounge floor, some Zumba to exercise and of course the train tracks which are now a permanent feature in our lounge. You know why not putting my children on a schedule is working for me right now? Firstly because this week they would have been on holiday anyway so I am not going to give them any extra work but allow them to actually have the break they need. Secondly this simplifies my life.
Here is my advice, find your own version of parenting that works for you. In uncertain times where we don’t really have our “normal” anymore, decide what are the non negotiables. It might be screen time, it might be bedtime. Don’t feel pressured into following schedules that might leave your children frustrated. And don’t take my word for it either. If your kids prefer structure then by all means have them follow a schedule. In simple words “just do your own parenting version”
Hoping you are enjoying spending more quality and uninterrupted time with your loved ones as we continue in lockdown.
No doubt the last few weeks have not been easy on a lot of us. For me working from home, home schooling and trying to keep a positive mindset in a foreign land has been challenging. Even though this is the second country we have lived in with my hubby and children away from our home country Zimbabwe, being away from family during a global crisis like this is taxing.
One of the things that has helped me remain positive is music. Music has an amazing way of lifting the mood and completely changing my atmosphere. I have been listening to a number of songs but there is one song that I has been a constant encouragement. It’s called Way Maker and it was originally done by Sinach, an amazing Nigerian gospel singer. A number of other musicians have gone on to do their own version of the same song and I even heard a Brazilian version a few days back.
You can listen to the song here. Hope it encourages you as it is encouraging me.
The last few weeks have made all of us appreciate the various professions that we always knew were important but didn’t really appreciate the extent of their importance. Kinda reminds me of the statement “you don’t know what you have got until it’s gone”. Below is a list of my real heroes. Feel free to add more in the comments section. By the way this isn’t in any particular order. I am just writing these as they come to mind.
1. Teachers – there is a video that went viral last week. In this video, an Israeli mum of four complains about teachers sending too much work for each of her four children to work on because of the early closure schools as a way to social distance. She rants that she only has two computers in her house and how the children are fighting. She complains about one teacher wanting to have a zoom call at 8 in the morning and how the work she is expected to help with is exposing her ignorance to her children. If you didn’t get a chance to watch this video, have a look at it here.
I am sure the video was meant to be humorous but it also made me wonder if there is real understanding of the real work that teachers have in educating our children. I come from a family of teachers. Three of my sisters are teachers, my husband is a former teacher and so were his two sisters. Even I had a three months teaching stint during one of my varsity breaks. I remember accompanying my sister to her class after church on Sunday to prepare for the following week. I remember spending some Saturday mornings with her as she went through the students work. And I also remember my sisters being busy preparing lesson plans for the term during the last two weeks of the school holiday. I think she called it “scheming ” and “planning “. The fact that our governments underpay teachers doesn’t make their work less important. It simply means their priorities are misplaced. I hope the lockdowns and closure of schools actually help highlight the importance of the teaching profession and bring the much needed reforms starting with teacher remuneration especially those in public schools.
2. Maids/Nannies/House helpers – I was following a discussion on one Facebook group as people discussed how the social distancing and eventually lockdown was going to impact on the ability of their maids to come to work. Some were getting their maids to move in with them during the lockdown. For others the maids needed to also be with their families during the lockdown. All of a sudden there was a realisation of the importance of the maid’s role. Not only are people working from home, children are also at home and the helpers are also with their own families so there is a whole lot of work to do. Just because a job doesn’t require four years of training to do it doesn’t make it any less important. I hope this makes everyone realise the important role helpers play in their employers families and give them the respect they deserve.
3. Healthcare workers (nurses,doctorsetc.) – this one almost seems like a no brainer but its worth mentioning that these guys are already at the forefront of fighting this epidemic. Leaving their families especially during this crisis is a risk as they might be infected. Even though some governments are not treating health care professionals properly (I shall not mention any names), citizens are fully aware that if we are going to fight and win against this pandemic, we will need to have healthcare professionals who are fully equipped with to do their jobs. With that said, I am inviting you to contribute to the GoFundMe initiative that is is raising funds to fight the pandemic in Zimbabwe. Please follow the link here and give generously.
4. Finally for me, mothers in general are heroes right now. They are working their usual jobs from homes, those who are entrepreneurs are trying to keep their businesses afloat with potentially no income for the next three weeks, they are trying to keep children who are out of school busy and entertained within four walls and all this sometimes without any help. There are definitely some fathers out there who are stepping up to the challenge. They are heroes and i celebrate them too.
Who are your real heroes since this crisis began? Let me know in the comments section. Stay safe, stay at home and remember to wash your hands
As humans, being in control and wanting to be certain of what is coming next is natural. It helps us feel secure when we think we know what will happen next. Having said this, our tolerance and ability to handle uncertainty differs from one person to another.
Before this lockdown, we were going for daily walks with the children as a way to exercise and get them out of the house for some fresh air. One of the days we reversed the route. Our 8 year old was completely disoriented by this and clearly expressed her anxiety and asked that we never do that again. There was a route she was used to and she preferred that we only used that route.
The events of the past few weeks seem to have left the whole world disoriented. It’s only the first quarter of the year but it seems all the plans for 2020 are now at risk of being unfulfilled. This isn’t the route we are used to. It is not the normal we know. We are no longer in control. We don’t really know what is going to happen at the end of the 21 day lockdowns that many countries have implemented.
So how do you maintain your peace in the middle of the storm when there is so much uncertainty? I am not a mental health expert so I am sharing what I have been doing in order to try and maintain my peace and sanity inspite of all the uncertainties.
1. My faith has been an anchor. I am reading my Bible and claiming all the promises for times such as these. Psalms 91, Psalms 23 and so many other scriptures are a few examples. These scriptures are building faith in me and replacing the fear.
2. I am intentionally looking for positive news. Not the new infections or deaths but the recoveries, the potential vaccines that companies are working on and all testimonies from doctors and nurses of how they witnessed recoveries they didn’t think were possible.
3. I am physically distanced from others except my hubby and children but I am definitely connecting daily with my parents, my siblings and friends. Video calls ,voice calls and even normal WhatsApp chats are helping me stay connected.
4. I am planning for the future, restrategizing and seeing what needs to change on my vision board. I am keeping hope alive. Hope makes the present bearable and having something to look forward to is also making me take the steps towards the future I want.
5. I am worshipping using my favourite songs. My song of the moment that I have on repeat is Way Maker originally done by Sinach. I love this version here which was done by Steffeny Gretzinger and John Wilds. Like my nephew Tatenda says it ” ine mafuta” ( meaning he feels the anointing in the song). The verse below is definitely giving me peace in this storm.
Even when I don’t feel it you are working
Even when I don’t see it you are working
You never stop ,you never stop working.
In conclusion I will share with you Matthew 8 vs 23-27 (New International Version)
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Jesus is in this boat with us. Winds, waves and viruses obey him.
How are you keeping your peace in this storm? How are you maintaining your sanity? Let me know in the comments section. Follow me on this page and on my social media pages below. If this has been helpful also share with your friends.
For the past two or so weeks, it seems the coverage on the corona virus on every news outlet has reached a whole new level. I totally get why it’s this way. I have also written about it on my social media pages. I however really just want to take a break and write about something different. I am sure there are others like me who just want to read something different.
My life has been hectic lately. Not in a bad way though. It’s been all good. I actually wrote this post in January and had planned to post it on IWD. Like I said, life has been happening and I never got to do that on Sunday the 8th of March. Anyway, I am glad I am finally able to share it with you and have you read something that’s not corona virus related.
It is always said behind every woman is a tribe of other women who are cheering her on. This is very true. Every woman needs a tribe of women who are there for her to do life with, celebrate the victories, be a shoulder to cry on, push her when she feels like giving up and tell it to her straight when she isn’t getting her act together.
I consider myself truly blessed to come from a big family. There are nine of us, seven girls and two boys. I guess God knew I would need this particular tribe of girls because they play different roles which are all important in me being me.
I have the sisters who are always checking on my children no matter what, especially the older sisters. I have another who looks after all my three children plus her own, allowing my husband and me to have a bit of life aside from being parents. I have another who will drop everything she’s doing to stay behind with my children when I have business trips. And all of them are my prayer support group. Oh did I forget to mention that all these women tell it to me like it is without sugar coating. We sometimes fight and might not speak for weeks afterwards but we always find our way back to each other. After all they say blood is thicker than water. My tribe helps me in carrying the heavy load that life sometimes brings. When I think I cannot handle something they remind me whose I am. When I set goals and make the mistake of sharing with them, they hold me accountable and keep me honest. This is the tribe I didn’t choose for myself but that God himself chose for me.
I also have my tribe of girls that I met in the course of life. At work these are the girls who urged me to put my hand up even when I didn’t think I qualified, the girls who supported my idea and stood with me to convince everyone around the table that it would work. The girls who defended me behind closed doors when I wasn’t there to do it for myself. The girls who pushed me and asked me to try one last time.
Early this year I met another tribe, the blogging girls. I have been blogging for years now, just as a creative outlet and to share my world as I navigate pursuing my career and raising my children. It was great to finally meet like minded people all blogging about different topics dear to their hearts. One day soon, I will get some of them to be guest bloggers here.
Last but not least, I cannot forget the girls who help me fulfill my desire of being a working mum as they help look after my “bundles of joy” when I am at work, keep my house clean and help me seem like I have it all together. I personally wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not had this tribe’s help since i became a mother.
Here are a few things I have learnt about keeping your tribe:
Relationships don’t just happen on their own. You have to work on them. Make time for the catch up, make that phone call, send that WhatsApp, be there when needed and just put in the work to make it work.
Make sure you can be yourself. If you have to pretend to be who you are not just to fit in, then maybe that’s not the right tribe for you.
No spending money you don’t have to impress them.
Keep the confidential stuff shared confidential. Nothing worse than hearing what was shared confidentially being repeated elsewhere by people who were not even present.
Forgive when wronged.
Ask for forgiveness when you are in the wrong.
So who is in your tribe? Celebrate them today and let them know how much they mean to you. And please do tell your tribe to follow my blog and like my page on both Facebook and Instagram. They might just end up being in my tribe as well 😊😊.
For the past week I have been working from home. Following the address by President Ramaphosa, my employer encouraged us to social distance and start working from home. I think this is a good move if we are going to flatten the curve and reduce the number to infections.
I am not new to working from home. I worked from home from March to August 2019 as I was getting my work Visa processed. Difference is home was Harare Zimbabwe and work was in Johannesburg. I joined all meetings virtually via Zoom. This wasn’t without it’s own challenges. I already had a generator as back up power, something that was needed given the load shedding that was happening in Harare at that time. This solution worked for a while until fuel for the generator became an issue and I ended up missing important meetings because I was in a fuel queue. I then moved to option B and installed solar so the power issues would not disrupt my connectivity. This obviously came at a cost but still had to be done.
From this experience I have a few tips to share with you if you are a beginner in this space.
1. In the context of the countries that I have lived in ( Zimbabwe, Kenya and now South Africa) where power cuts happen, in some countries more often than others, the most important thing to work from home effectively is connectivity to a good WiFi and a good power backup in case of power interruptions that impact on the WiFi connection. If living in your own place, its worth investing in backup power and if rented, negotiate with the owner for an alternative power source outside of relying on the local power supplier. Some employers are equipping their staff who are working from home by giving them dongles (3G/4G) to at least ensure they remain connected even when there are power cuts.
2. With your connectivity sorted, the next step is to have your workspace sorted. This might be your dinning room table, kitchen island or your home office if you have one, your veranda or even balcony. What works for me when working from home is to vary my workstation. Sometimes it’s the kitchen island and other times the garden bench.
3. When you wake up, prepare as if you are going to the office. You might not need the heels in this case but make sure you are in appropriate clothes especially if you are going to be having video conferencing. I find the way I am dressed helps me mentally shift into work mode.
4. Remember to take breaks in between all your virtual meetings which I find have increased because anything I need done has to be virtually.
5. During your breaks as you work from home, avoid distractions like trying to sneak in an episode of your favourite Netflix during your lunch break. It could go downhill very fast from there. Get some air, walk around the block but avoid crowded areas. The whole idea of working from home during this period is social distancing so going to the mall or any other place where there are many people defeats the purpose.
6. Keep in touch with your work colleagues even outside of work related matters. Find out how people are holding up. It’s a challenging time for most and it helps to check on each other.
7. Finally even when you can’t see people face to face remain civil and human during virtual interactions. I find face to face meetings are always easier because you can see body language and reactions as you engage. This is not possible when you work from home so its important to remember to still be “human”.
I think when we get through this phase, and trust me we will, the world of work will definitely be different. This might be the thing that disrupts work as we know it. I mean this whole phase has me asking if companies really need to invest in all the office space desks etc.
Please stay safe. Practice good hygiene. I am washing my hands as often as I can and disinfecting door knobs etc. I am still struggling with not touching my face but I will get there. Enjoy your weekend.
Today is our daughter’s birthday. Her birthday is special in many ways. Her name is Minana a Shona name that means miracles. Here is the story behind her name.
Sometime towards the end of 2009 we discovered we were expecting. Like all soon-to-be parents we were excited discussing name options. I wanted a girl and hubby wanted a boy. I craved peaches and nectarines…luckily they were in season. My sister in law referred us to a gynaecologist whom we would visit monthly for the usual prenatal checks.
On one particular visit in February 2010, after looking at the baby on his very low resolution scan, he asked us to have an urgent scan at the nearest imaging centre. He scribbled something on a paper, sealed it in an envelope and stamped it URGENT in red. He said he would wait for us to return with the results no matter the time😳😳. I was beginning to get nervous.
At the imaging centre there was a bit of a queue. We waited for over an hour and eventually got served. The elderly gentleman who did the scans sat us down and explained that there wasn’t any heartbeat they could pick from the baby. It’s called a ‘silent miscarriage” and happens when the fetus is no longer alive but the body does not recognize the pregnancy loss or expel the pregnancy tissue. So the usual miscarriage signs such as bleeding would not occur.
I have a vague recollection of the next few hours. I remember crying uncontrollably, getting back to the Gynaecologist’s rooms and being asked to immediately go to hospital so he could perform the procedure to clean my uterus. Because we were in the 11th week of the pregnancy our families didn’t know yet and neither did my employer.😥😥😥😥. In all this i remember insisting on spending the night at home and only returning in the morning for the procedure to which the gynae agreed.
Over a year later we discovered we were expecting again. I remember I craved sadza and funny meats I would not usually eat like chicken gizzards, matumbu etc. My work colleagues were convinced we were having a boy! Two years later, on exactly the same day that the silent miscarriage was cleaned out, at the same hospital, our daughter was born. We called her Minana! For us it was a miracle that the day we had cried two years before was now a day we were celebrating.
A friend asked why we hadn’t called her Munana (one miracle) and called her Minana ( many miracles), I told her I was still expecting more miracles. And you know what, twenty eight months after Minana’s birth, the twins Isaiah and Joanna were born.
Today I celebrate the girl who birthed a mother in me, the girl who as a baby taught me things about myself that I never knew e.g that I can live on a lot less sleep (😂😂😂😂 #thischild) she believes everything is possible, she wants to be a ballerina ( I had hoped she would outgrow this but she hasn’t), she wants to be a fashion designer, a world champion swimmer, an artist ( think Leonardo Da Vinci) and a world renown chef. I asked her why she would want to do all this and her answer – why not? Oh and this is the girl who inspired this blog!
Happy birthday baby girl.
May the leadership anointing on your life manifest.
May your gifts make room for you and bring you before great men (Proverbs 18 vs 16)
You are a blessing to us your family, you are a blessing to your nation and to the world.
If you see me acting extra today, bear with me….its Mimi’s birthday and she’s our miracle, a true testimony. If God can do it for us, surely He can and He will do it for you.