A follow on from my post yesterday.
I feel judged. All of a sudden, everyone has all the time in the world to be online and express their own opinions. I am the first person to value peoples opinions, especially those that are different to my own. But I am sad at how judgemental people are and have been online during this time. I haven’t found it constructive or respectful to question why someone is doing something different to you, and call them out on it, online.
If I want to make banana bread like everybody else in South Africa or bake a new recipe every day – let me do it. And maybe consider that I was given too many bananas as a gift or delivery and banana bread is the recipe for them, maybe I am trying a new recipe every day because this is the first time I haven’t burnt a recipe, or maybe this is the first time I have had the time and patience to bake with my children every day. Maybe I’m not very creative in choosing recipes so I got the idea online, and maybe one way to fight back my emotions and anxiety is to lose myself in the kitchen.
If I want to exercise, record it and post it online for everyone to see it – let me do it. Maybe I am sharing a friends small business or new way of recording their online workouts, maybe I have never been an exercise person but am now finding the time to move my body and start a regime. Maybe my dream of completing a running or cycling race has been shattered so I am keeping up my training by swimming against a rope in my pool or running laps around my small garden, maybe exercise is my way of lifting my mood and managing my anxiety or depression, or maybe I am using my online videos that I post to be my way of being held accountable because I can’t do it on my own.
If I want to pull back from group chats, , work forums, class chats, or family chats – let me do it. Maybe I don’t have the energy to engage in the non stop conversations and opinions because I am dealing with my own mood and feelings, maybe I don’t agree with what is being said and don’t find it necessary to add a conflicting view at this time, maybe I am overwhelmed with the constant string of messages that are packed with unreliable information, depressing statistics and endless conspiracy theories and I am protecting my heart and mind by not reading them all. Maybe I am finding hope and choosing joy in a very uncertain time and I cannot allow the continuous negativity to take over my heart and home for the dangerous effect it will have on my mind, my marriage and my family.
If I want to set up a homeschool schedule for my family – let me do it. Yes there were school holidays and yes our children are encouraged to play and imagine and have the freedom of not being in a school institution. But maybe my family thrive on routine and we need some sort of flow to keep us all sane, maybe I have deadlines and endless work so I need to allocate tasks to time frames so we can plan our day and childcare between spouses. Maybe I have an anxious child that needs structure and needs to set his/her expectations for the day. It is possible to have fun and be free with a daily routine.
If I want to stay in my pjs and in my bed all day – let me do it. Maybe I have worked overtime, late nights and weekends for months and this is finally my time to rest and recover, maybe I struggle with anxiety and depression and I need time to just do nothing. Maybe I was up all night with a sick child or working late after homeschooling all day or my very own anxiety-induced insomnia. Let me get under the covers and enjoy my space.
If I want to help the community and share it all on social media – let me do it. Maybe I was once one of those less fortunate or in need and this is my time to give back, maybe the organisation or project is not well known and they need all the free advertising and marketing on social media that they can get, maybe many people want to help and they don’t know how or where to start but my pictures or posts inspire them to join in, maybe the charity or group of people need something specific and a potential corporate company or small business owner sees it online and can step in to help and give generously, maybe my servant heart is a genuine love for giving and caring and I am raising awareness, not trying to show off my good doings and gain credit.
If I want to learn valuable lessons about my friendships through this all – let me do it. I understand that we are all juggling all the balls during this time, the days are flying by and we feel like we aren’t getting enough done. But just one text or one voice note to check in on a friend whilst you are on the loo or instead of scrolling social media, or whilst drinking your morning coffee or as you plug your phone into charge at night, that one text would mean the world to someone. Let’s consider the impact that one text would have on the friend who is feeling alone and anxious, or the friend who has only had children conversations for weeks and craves an adult chat, or the friend who has just learnt that their job is on the line or their salary has been cut, or the friend who just had a fight with their spouse or parents, or the friend just isn’t okay. It doesn’t take an hour long video call or an essay of a message to show your love, care and genuine consideration for the friends you haven’t seen in weeks.
If I want to not do any of the online homeschool work – let me do it. Each and every home looks very different during this lockdown period – there are homes that include one or more of the following: single parent or grandparent, two full time working parents, two parents on the frontline and a child carer at home, more than one or two children and all different ages, children with special needs or learning disabilities, no domestic help, no stationery or office supplies or no access to printers or wifi/data. All these factors make it increasingly difficult for parents to access school work, print worksheets, write in workbooks, submit completed work, find time to juggle different grades and different levels of school work, or find the hours to just be available for this school set up. Most families have an enormous amount of pressure, anxiety, panic and emotions filling their homes – the stress and frustration and screaming matches of trying to homeschool and get it all done is just impossible. Let them do the best that they can do or handle.
And in the same breath, if I do want to do it all and get it all done – let me do it. I am a teacher and I am a planner, homeschool is a notion that has never really scared me but we see more benefit in our girls being in their school environment. During any school holiday, I find joy in finding fun recipes, cute crafts and exploring new outings or classes around Durban for my girls to attend and enjoy. I am very blessed to not have a full time job, and this allows me the time to be with my girls in the afternoons, during the holidays and now giving them my uninterrupted time and attention during this lockdown. And as a teacher, I find educational activities and fun crafts exciting for myself and my girls. I am choosing to do any of the above for my girls and our family, not to make you feel any less of yourself.
We need to remember during this time – there are a lot of voices online creating and sharing a lot of content. You need to decide which voices you elevate because they are useful and beneficial, and which voices you silence because they aren’t for you.
Let’s be kind to one another,
even especially when we differ in our opinions or lockdown activities.
It will go a long way.
What have felt judged for this lockdown?
*Thank you Social Squares for the beautiful stock image*