Sunday, 29 March 2020

Lockdown diaries

Hi lovely readers,

As I pen my thoughts from my quiet and tranquil garden, I am starkly reminded of my privilege during this extremely trying time we find ourselves in as a global community. There have been so many reports of how people and countries have been responding to lockdown, and yet, it is a harsh reality that our country is not as equipped as most first world countries, to efficiently and seamlessly facilitate a lockdown of this magnitude. For this, we need each and every citizen to play their part. And that literally means to stay at home, and do the most you can from behind your four walls of safety. My family and I have been on lockdown since 16 March, we maintained social distancing to the point that the boys did not engage with anyone outside the home. Hubby and I just went to the office and home for that week, preparing for the inevitable and engaging with no one. During that first week, it became clear that not everyone understood the concept of social distancing nor the fact that even simple get togethers at home, joining your walking or running group, having a meal or coffee at a restaurant (despite hygiene methods or physical proximity measures) or small workshops pose a huge risk to the outbreak, and actually defied the concept of social distancing. It was therefore essential to implement the lockdown since our citizens didn't necessarily grasp the concept initially.

The other side of the coin is just as distressing, and that is the reality that the majority of our population is unable to go into lockdown as their basic living conditions are not conducive to social distancing. Apart from the fact that many of the impoverished have now lost their income, along with an escape from their daily grim realities, they are now forced into a tiny space inhabited by many bodies. Their very communities built in such close proximity, without sanitation and running water to be able to exercise the required hygiene controls. Imagine sharing a tap with over 300 households, imagine spending 21 days holed up in a one roomed home with an abusive and violent family member, who has now lost their job. Imagine that going to work or school every day was a respite from a life to which their was no way out... Imagine seeing images of queues of people preparing to stockpile while you're still waiting to get paid and praying that there would be something left on the shelves so that you can feed your family during lockdown... The bleak realisation that if our township and rural communities become infected is that our health infrastructure will be heavily overburdened. 

This is the reality of lockdown in South Africa, and the importance of why we need to isolate ourselves; to protect those who do not have access to the best medical facilities. To protect our communities which are overrun with TB and HIV affected individuals; in order to give those a fighting chance. Just by doing our bit and staying home we're giving our country a fighting chance, we're aiding in #flatteningthecurve and limiting the spread of the virus. Our country is not configured like Europe or the UK, countries who are crippled by the rapid spread of the virus. As a country we've taken early action to better prepare ourselves, as we do not have endless coffers from which to sustain a rapidly declining economy, or a furious spread of a virus which requires extensive medical infrastructures. It is also important to channel our charitable efforts via approved channels, we cannot have well meaning individuals distributing alms while placing our poorer communities at risk. Please, please, please support those charities which have been endorsed and have measures in place to assist our communities safely!

The world finds itself in unprecedented times, with governments scrambling to find solutions to keep their communities safe and healthy. Never before have airlines been grounded, businesses shut down, public parks been closed and citizens urged to stay home. Amongst the uncertainty, panic and fear, I am hopeful, I am determined to use this time to realign myself to whatever new reality will surface once this is over. And nobody can predict what that will look like, it therefor forces us to rely on our faith, our trust in the Divine and practise gratitude for those things which we take for granted. I have drastically reduced my time on social media and my engagement on watsapp, in an attempt to appreciate and make the most of the silence into which the world has been plunged. Our collective prayers for one outcome so eloquently highlights that we are all ONE human race, regardless of nationality, religion, race or culture.

I cannot presume to know what the world will be like post COVID-19, so I am taking this pause to focus on each day, do the inner work required to embrace where I find myself and how I show up in these trying times. I can only manage myself and my own contribution to this global pandemic,  and I can only hope that those around me do the same too.

21 days is really not a long time, so take this opportunity to do those things you never get around to.
Some of my tips for lockdown:

  • Maintain a routine, schedule work time, leisure time and family time, after all this time is a gift we will never get back.
  • If like our travel business, or many other business, your work has ground to a halt... strategise on when you do re-launch and go back to work. Most entrepreneurs work many hours IN the business, now you have some time to work ON the business.
  • Do not let the fear and constant barrage of fake news overwhelm you, instead keep updated with news at adhoc times during the day, or visit to ensure you're informed on actual updates.
  • I have older kids at home so I don't really need to entertain them, and thankfully the two older ones have universities which have kept them busy. However with younger kids, it's important to keep them occupied with constructive activities. Some suggestions:
    • Plan a daily schedule which includes school work, reading, TV time, game time, outdoor activity (if you have the space) such as a scavenger hunt, helping in the garden or enjoy a picnic.
    • Teach them a new skill: perhaps to make something in the kitchen, how to play chess or to sew or knit.
    • Play some boardgames, cards or build a puzzle.
    • Let them help plan the menu for the week, and if possible assist with preparation.
    • Allow them to plan their schedule for one day of the week (with some guidelines).
  • Read that book, have conversations with your family, pray together, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.
  • Learn a new skill or start that project you've been planning. 
Before you know it, the 21 days would have flown by, and we really have no idea what will happen then, so let's draw on our faith and stay strong. Concentrate on what we CAN do instead of what we cannot, and above all know that our responsibility is to stay safe and healthy. 

"Where focus goes energy flows"
Tony Robbins

I just couldn't bring myself to do an outfit post during this time, I don't have the inclination to plan a photoshoot, so this post doesn't include any fashion pics, just a few lockdown images 😊

This is what my lockdown looks like:


Caio for now,
RuBe xoxo

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Managing the Mommy Guilt

Hi beautiful readers!

As I sat down to pour some of my thoughts into my blog space I realised that this will be my first post of 2020 (or 20PLENTY as it's been dubbed). And it's taken me more than a week to finalise just this one post!
Indeed this year is just over a month old and it already feels like I have had several months of 2020 ☺️
Upon my return from our annual break, I was back in office the very next day (6 January) and it's literally been only a month and here I am, already feeling the need for another break. This past month I have been really busy with work and getting my Women's Tour sorted for next month. I was so focused that I completely forgot that my youngest still needed supplies for school. I found myself in a comfort zone, where my older sons still had an entire month before they started Uni. Until it hit me that Ihsaan needed school shoes, stationery (and because I travelled the last few weeks of school, I didn't organise it last year) and some uniform items. I was then one of those braving the shops on the last minute, two days before school getting things together.

I'm usually very organised and manage the home, work and kids relatively well; so you can imagine the self-berating that took place to find myself in this position. I had to accept the fact that sometimes things fall through the cracks and that it's actually ok, and whilst I've made huge strides in managing mommy guilt, it still creeps up occasionally. This was one of those times it snuck up on me; and because I've been so busy with work since our return from holiday, it was just amplified. To make it worse, two weeks into the school term, and still battling to get his textbooks sorted, Ihsaan met with an accident and suffered a really bad injury 😢Pile on the mommy guilt. And it just increased with other occurrences with my other two young men. More mommy guilt...

I eventually reached the point where I had to pull myself back, reflect and be realistic. And the reality of the 12 months, which involved extensive traveling, long workdays and work weeks that lasted months, hit me full force. My default mode is to power through, take care of everyone and the home, as if my work load had not quadrupled, with ease and a smile. I know this about myself, I usually know how to manage when I go into default mode... and somehow I missed the moment when automated mode kicked in this time around. It usually means that at some point I crash, my body sends me signals and I burn out... I managed to heed the warning signs along the way, and would take some time to nurture myself, but soon after I'd just fall back into default mode. 

Only this past week did it dawn on me that I was in my usual cycle, with mommy guilt as my fuel. I had to critically look at how I prioritise time, and make a conscious decision to get back on track on a sustainable basis. ie not only nurture when things get too much, but try and maintain it on a regular basis to avoid the signs of burnout. I realise my trigger is the mommy guilt, or the guilt when I'm too tired to cook, or when I cannot muster up the energy to have a conversation with my boys. I realised this when I finally found the presence of mind to excuse myself for a few hours from the busyness of my life;  and reset myself at the beach... Alone ... Listening to my music and watching the crashing waves... I sat there  and consciously disconnected from work, from the kids, from all the responsibilities and duties and just immersed myself in nature. Those few hours were sorely needed, and as I drove home, I felt lighter and more centred. 

I don't think I've found the magic formula for managing the mommy guilt, nor have I figured out how to avoid it; but I do know how to identify when I've gone way off track. This mommy guilt is a self induced punishment brought upon by my own impossibly high standards and expectations I have for myself ... ie I am very aware that these expectations have been set up by ME. I've also been reminded that when I decide to take a time out, the world goes on and the 'kids' manage themselves. And hubby understands, no explanations necessary. So in this year of plenty, I intend to make plenty of time for check outs. I used to schedule these in my diary, and see now that in my busyness this practice got lost along the way... So here's to taking charge of the mommy guilt and the diary!

How do you manage the mommy guilt?

This look is a typical mommy on check out, I was actually having a really hectic work day (on a weekend) when we shot this. I then decided to shelf the work, go for some coffee and then snap some pics... All pieces are old favourites, as I haven't even had the time to shop either.
I guess classics will have to do 😊
PS: the bag is the only new purchase from one of my trips last year.

Outfit Details:
Old Sequin Parka (Coast & Koi)
Old tired top
A Sense of Style Skirt
Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
Kate Spade slingbag
Black Pearl Earrings from Pleasures 

Caio for now,
RuBe xoxo

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