Updated: Jul 23
This Sunday, May 10, the world will celebrate the mother's day in a very special way: In confinement.
So to honor our wives, mothers, sisters and friends, this article is dedicated to the stories of three women who share how they are managing their lives, families and, work during confinement.
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Image credit: Screenshot, nj.com
By Josiane Tchongouang, Teacher and awesome mom
H. Argro, Information Systems Specialist
Line T.K.,High school Foreign language teacher
1- From your view, why does confinement come with advantages for some parents while it’s very disastrous for other parents?
J.T. "I believe it is partially about social and economic status just as much as it is about the organization. It is also about what people value the most. Some parents are overwhelmed with children because they always relied on child care. Luckily, some people were able to telecommute but many people lost their positions or the advantages it provides to them especially those in the restaurant business who rely on tips. Because I am able to work remotely, I am also able to support my children with schoolwork in between my classes. Some people do not have that luxury and are very frustrated and anxious because they have to fulfill job expectations and “full time parenting”.
H. A. "The confinement is more difficult for other parents because of the following reasons.
First, it came suddenly. It affects their daily routine. Most parents work on weekdays, and usually spend time with their kids on weekends. Now that they don’t work they have to manage to stay with their kids 24/7. They lack preparation/adaptation to the new situation.
Another reason might be the space (if the parents live in an apartment building). It is not easy for the children to stay confined. They need space to run, and evacuate all the energy they have. Being restricted in a limited space causes them to get frustrated and mad."
L.T.K. "We are facing very challenging times and the impact of the confinement on jobs and parents’ schedule is really significant. For those who have a professional stability, staying home with the family can be really benefit. But for families where parents have lost their jobs and don’t have any income it can be desastrous. "
2- How do you manage your job, the kids, your husband, and the family responsibilities since March 16?
J.T. "I can humbly say that we have managed it quite well. I was not sure how the school would continue but before my employer even told us what was the plan for distance learning, I already had one. I made a schedule similar to the one kids have at school. We do assignments during and after class daily. My schedule also has an outdoor recess and this is a time that we all cherish. We play basketball or ride our bikes in the neighborhood. I believe those outdoor activities contribute to keeping us all sane. My husband is able to work remotely so he also contributes and helps with school work for my older one."
H. A. "I work on the weekend only, so my program does not change too much, except the children who go to school, now stay home all day with me. To manage the kids I tried to do school activities with them. They have school homework on paper in the morning and computer homework in the afternoon. We do family games and activities like riding bike, baking, and drawing."
L.T.K. "We have tried to set a fix schedule for our daughters to keep their daily routine as it was when their schools were opened. It minimizes the uncertainty and help them to have a good balance daily. My husband and I try as much as we can to navigate between our respective responsibilities at work and the girls’ virtual meetings with their classmates and teachers."
3-If you had the choice, would you prefer working from home after confinement? Why or why not?
J.T. "I found myself more productive during confinement. I have been able to perform better. I am even considering teaching online permanently if I have the opportunity. Telecommuting provides some types of flexibility that can not take place if I were working in an office. I also have my own schedule for independent work when my employer does not require me to be teaching online."
H. A. "I would prefer a hybrid job both on site and from home because I stay home all week and work on the weekend."
L.T.K. "No, I wouldn’t. It’s very challenging with young kids to work from home. Plus I am a foreign language teacher. I don’t believe virtual learning for foreign language classes is as effective as being in the classroom. Mostly in a Highschool level. I also liked to dedicate my time to my family after returning from work. I find it quite difficult now that we are working from home."
4-How can you explain some changes in your family eating habits and your finances since the beginning of the lockdown?
J.T. "Finances have definitely not been the same. The confinement came along with several threats. There is still some shortage of a lot of items or limited quantities to be purchased on some items (water, toilet paper, paper towel). I spent more money than usual to stock up at the beginning of the school closure. Whenever possible I order what I need but this also increases my monthly budget because I have to stock up many items. However, it has also affected how we eat. Now that I am home, I cook almost every day and I eat healthier. I have also become more strict about our consumption. Waste has decreased and I am trying to consume everything from the fridge before buying more."
H.A. "The change comes from the fact that the children are home all day. During school, they have lunch and snack at school. Now at home we have to provide all the meals, including lunch. This makes a big difference in the finance."
L.T.K. "We haven’t experienced major changes in our finances as we keep the same routines we had prior to the lockdown. As for eating habits, it is obviously different from what we used to do. We don’t pack lunch boxes anymore and we have to make sure there is a set time for meals and snacks to help mostly our daughters to know when and what to eat. It’s not perfect but it works most of the time."
5- What is the happiest time of the confinement, and what is the saddest moment also? What do you do to stay positive and productive?
J.T. "The happiest part of it all is being able to spend more time with my family. We only have lunch together at weekends and sometimes that is not even possible because of sports activities. Also, watching my children interact during virtual classes makes me understand their needs a bit more. I see them grow in front of my eyes and have that “aha moment” when they understand a new concept in the classroom.
However, I believe it all depends on what people value more. I value spending time with my little ones and I always have. Some parents are very overwhelmed because they are now replacing the teachers and they have several kids at home to take care of when they had relied on school and child care to perform that duty.
The saddest moment is watching them complain about not being able to spend more time with friends. However, we do have scheduled zoom meetings with some of them and it is always an enjoyable moment. It is also sad to hear about church members and friends who have passed due to the COVID. This makes me value my time with my family even more."
H. A. "The happiest time of confinement is the time we spend together as a family. The sad moment in this confinement is seeing or learning about people getting sick, and when I lost my uncle due to this pandemic last month.
L.T.K "Haha 😀For me, the happiest time is in the morning. I love not having to dress up everyday and drive to work. The saddest one is probably the challenge of finding a balance between my online classes and the time with my family.
I try to do things that I like to entertain myself. Things like baking with my daughters, going out for a walk or just watching a movie."
If you learned something valuable for you and your loved one from these interviews, and would like to receive more information on how to succeed in America as a Sub-Sahara Immigrant, subscribe HERE and leave a message on what specific area you need help.
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Africans4future Network Editorial