Working and Parenting while Covid-ing; A Mum Speaks

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“Mum, can I have your simu (Swahili for Mobile Phone)”.
“Mum (takes mouse) look at my new toy,”
“Mum, I want to talk to uncle…”

I quickly mute my mic because he believes Sammy is his uncle “ule uncle wa Friday”. The daily stand up meetings doesn’t help too. I’m sure he wonders who are all these unseen uncles and aunties that mum talks to behind the closed doors on the computer, during #Teams calls. Why do they never visit? Coming from an almost 4-month long leave right into the COVID quagmire and working from home, he didn’t know when the holiday ended and work began.

Only now instead of watching Nick Jr with him in the sitting room, mum locks herself in the spare room and does not allow him to hang out with her. And even more annoying is how little time he now gets to spend with me. I wake up early, lock myself in there and only come out to snack (has she added weight or what?!). That’s when he sneaks in and creates all the chaos he can to get the attention he believes he has lost to the invisible voices in the laptop.

I would like to know what his three-year-old mind thinks about COVID-19. Does he think his new sister is the reason he can’t play outside with the other children as he was used to? That’s the double edge of COVID-19. I get to live my dream of working from home, but then there’s this little tornado that doesn’t let me shine. His constant antics to maintain our previous status quo of hours watching telly aren’t allowing me to showcase how working from home brings out a productive me. And yet I can’t allow him to play outside with his peers or ship him off to the grandparents. I’m stuck with him.

Every “in the rast twendy four hours” I listen with bated breath, waiting for them to announce the end of this darkness. Not for any other reason, but to have him go to school. Don’t misunderstand me, I love him and all that he is. But I think the teacher is missing out on all this wonderful energy and this constant presence all should experience which. We cannot cover this candle, he needs to shine for all, in a place that isn’t at home, during the day, when I’m working.

In the meantime, I have learnt to share my space with him. To download various apps, Khan Academy, ABC mouse, Number blocks, subscribed to many YouTube channels and ceded control of my phone as he ‘works’ beside me. We are an impressive team. Maybe I was a kindergarten teacher in my previous life. I got this. I can’t wait for COVID to end though and he goes to school, and I get to conquer timelines from the comfort of my home. Dreams… dreams.

By: Faith Kamau - Senior Technical Support Consultant