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Mom on lockdown: work e-time mixed with pancakes, playtime & schooling

21 April 2020 - 13:08 By Iavan Pijoos
The McKay family enjoying Easter lunch.
The McKay family enjoying Easter lunch.
Image: Briathrine McKay

With SA's 35-day Covid-19 lockdown in full force, thousands of South Africans are working from home while juggling parenting duties — learning patience along with home schooling.

The McKay family have two sons — one in grade 4 and one in grade R and both parents have been working from home during the lockdown.

Briathrine McKay told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that her sons’ schools send them weekly activities to do.

The school share videos of the work and “how to do it” instructions on WhatsApp and Facebook with the parents.  

“The school work is sufficient but our youngest son will only listen and do the work when he sees a video of the teacher explaining it. He only listens to her,” McKay jokingly said.  

“It gets a bit tough when you have to juggle work, home schooling, cleaning and cooking. I think it would have been better if one parent didn’t work, but now we both have to work.”

McKay said they would continue paying school fees during lockdown since the “teachers are still working and doing their best to help our children”.

When the two boys are not busy with homework or schooling, they watch YouTube videos, play games or jump on the trampoline while their parents work or attend virtual meetings.

“The important thing is to keep them quiet while we work and attend meetings.

“At the weekend or when we don’t work we play board games or watch movies with them. They are not bored at all,” McKay said.

She said family time did not change much because it “has always been a priority”.

“My son said he enjoys the nice food we eat, and we bake a little more. Every Saturday we make a big breakfast with all their favourites like pancakes, waffles and French toast.”

McKay said she and her husband, Brent, take turns to shop once a week for essential products.

“Before the lockdown we bought as much as possible of non-perishable goods, because we didn’t know if the lockdown was going to end soon or not. We go to the shop once a week to buy fresh fruit, bread and any other necessities.

“It’s a mission when you get back because we sanitise everything. I make all the meals so we don’t buy frozen ones.”

McKay said they continued to pay their helper her full salary during the lockdown.

“I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those who earn less or earn nothing at all.”