Advice Column, Cosmetix, Experts, Parenting

How to manage your work, home and kids during Covid -19 while still taking care of yourself

  • Cosmetix
  • Category Advice Column, Cosmetix, Experts, Parenting

For many mothers, the lockdown has been an extremely challenging time. Trying to balance work, running a household and maintaining your relationship whilst having the kids at home 24 hours a day is nothing short of overwhelming. Most moms end up putting themselves last, taking no time to relax and take some time out, or to spoil themselves with a bit of pampering. 

Taking the time to apply a face mask, shave your legs, lie in a bubble bath or apply your makeup in the morning is absolutely essential to lift your spirits and maintain your confidence. Cosmetix makeup artist and mom, L’aeeqa Yunus, gave us the lowdown on how she’s been managing to upkeep her daily grooming rituals during lockdown, and shared some of her best tips for other moms:

When South Africa’s president declared a national state of disaster and schools were closed due to Covid-19, we all agreed that that was the best decision to help flatten the curve and prevent loss of life.

The announcement hit me like a ton of bricks.

On one hand I was relieved about the kids not having to go to school because that meant they were safe at home and as a parent that was one less thing to worry about. On the other hand, that meant I will now have to take on multiple roles at home and still find time to get to my own work.

I think for many of us it was like something out of a movie because it all seemed so surreal. Was this our new normal?

For me as a mom, it was also important to remain calm and not to let my stress and uncertainty affect the household and my kids. Kids often feed off the tension in a household and their parents’ stress, and this may lead to them reacting in the same way.

I had to explain to my kids what was happening around us and the reason why mum and dad were suddenly working from home, why we had to remain in our home, and why we were not allowed outside.

This was not meant to stress them out but rather to keep them in the loop. Because of all the information available on the internet and the news, I didn’t want them to make their own assumptions and stress themselves out even more.

It also meant reiterating the hygiene procedure and making sure it was being followed. Having a son on immune suppressants, hygiene has always been top priority in our home. 

During the first week of lockdown I was like a growling bear on her period. It was bad. I was anxious to juggle work, the kids, my husband, cooking and cleaning. It was just too much, and I realised we needed to find a routine for both their sanity and mine. So, here is what we put in place:

Assign them tasks:

We gave them chores to do around the house. This meant they were responsible for cleaning their own rooms, making their beds, picking up their toys and keeping things tidy.

Stick to routines:

Set aside a time for schoolwork and exercise. We have started doing family yoga which has been good for us all.

Playing with the dogs outside also meant they get some exercise and so do the dogs.

Schoolwork was given on the class chat groups and they set aside time to complete those as well. Time was on our side so there was no rush to try to complete it. We allowed them to take breaks, which took the pressure off both us.

Stay Social:

Screen time was negotiated. If they did an hour of reading, they got an hour of screen time. We also arranged for them to have video calls and chats with friends and family. They also attended their cousin’s virtual birthday party which was a first for all of us 😊

Sharing responsibility:

The children helped with cooking and baking. They love this! They to ask questions and love to taste everything in the process. They feel very proud of the result and the fact that have cooked a dish. It is family bonding time for us, and new skills developed for them.

Teaching them Life skills:

They help me hang out the washing and fold the laundry. My 8-year-old is very impressed with his folding skills. I always say to them that not everything can be learnt on the internet and they also need to learn to be street smart as well. 

Family time:

We have started having family game nights. We put away the devices. We play UNO or put on a family movie that we all can enjoy. We make hot chocolate and popcorn and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes with the hustle and bustle of life we forget to take time for the more important things in life, and this time together has reminded us of the importance of spending quality time together.

I know we cannot help but worry about the kids falling behind with school work and the security of our jobs, but we need to remember we are all in this together. Kids are resilient and adapt to change so well. If we keep them engaged, they will catch up. I see this as a blessing in disguise. We get to know our kids better and build a stronger bond with them.

Trying to keep myself together:

As parents we need to remember that we also need to take time for ourselves. We are not failures if we don’t complete the to-do list every day. We are doing the best we can under these circumstances, which are completely new to us all. We need to stay healthy and positive to best take care of our families. 

I have decided that instead of being negative about our current situation, I will encourage myself to see the good. Yes, my eyelash extensions have fallen out and I have had to remove my Gelish nails, but I see this as a much-needed break for my nails and eyelashes.

I have also decided that selfcare during this time is very important. For my sanity, I take time for myself and indulge in pampering beauty rituals. I love exfoliating my skin because it reminds of being at a spa. I use the Caribbeantan Cinnamon & Coconut Skin Smoothing Exfolia because it removes all the dead skin cells whilst moisturising my skin. 

I also take time to focus on my skincare, as I am makeup-free the entire day. I have recently introduced the CATRICE Hydro Plumping Serum into my skincare regime which has been working wonders for my skin. As we get older our skin loses moisture and this has been amazing in restoring moisture levels.

I have also started doing DIY face masks with items from my pantry. Turmeric, yoghurt and honey give an amazing glow to the skin. If you run out of your lip scrub or body exfoliator, you can make your own with sugar and honey (for lips) or sugar and coconut oil (for the body).

It’s not always easy to take time out for yourself. These are the tips I follow myself, to ensure I don’t neglect self-care:

It’s all about routine – maintaining your self-care, skincare and grooming routines during lockdown is absolutely essential. Not only does it add structure to your days, but it also makes you feel better. Continue with your regular skincare routine twice a day, shave your legs, wash your hair, apply body lotion and paint your nails as if things are normal. You will be amazed at what this does for your self-esteem during this emotionally-taxing time.

Wear makeup, even if you don’t have a Zoom meeting – you may have seen a few makeup challenges on social media recently. My favourite is the lipstick challenge, where women accept the challenge of wearing lipstick at home every day, alternating all the colours they own. Did you know that lipstick sales skyrocketed during World War 2? That’s because of this simple product’s amazing ability to uplift the spirit. I apply my makeup in the morning before I start my work, school and housekeeping. It makes me feel ready to face the day.

Get dressed – the temptation to stay in pyjamas all day is real, but do not fall into this trap! To have a productive day you need to get in the right mind-set, and you won’t be able to do that if you don’t get yourself dressed and set for the day. That doesn’t mean you need to walk around in a blazer and high heels though! Comfy dresses, sweaters and gym pants are completely acceptable. Make sure you are dressed comfortably.

Wear perfume – why is this important during lockdown, you may ask. A lot of people wear perfume for others, but I believe in wearing perfume for myself. Scent has the ability to alter your mood. Light, fresh and fruity scents are uplifting. Warm, spicy scents can make you feel snug and cosy. Choose a fragrance suitable for the mood you’re in, or want to be in. If you’re having an at-home date night with your partner, spritz your sexy fragrance. If you’re in need of a day on the couch with hot chocolate and your book, opt for a warm and creamy fragrance.

Allow yourself to indulge – how do you normally indulge or treat yourself? For many of us, it’s a trip to the nail salon, a meal at our favourite restaurant or a little retail therapy. With those simple pleasures not so simple anymore, it’s important to find alternative things that make us feel special and spoiled. Maybe it’s reading your book in a bubble bath, or burning a new scented candle, or enjoying the wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Treat yourself in whichever way possible. 

Out with the old – now is the perfect time to do some major spring-cleaning! Face it, we all hang on to things for too long, and most of us have way more than we need. With so many people and charities in desperate need after this lockdown, now is the time to declutter your home and put together a pile of items to donate to your local charity shop. That dress you haven’t worn in three years, the books you’re not going to read a second time, and they toys your kids have outgrown are perfect examples. Doing your part to help others is not only absolutely necessary, but it is so satisfying and has such a feel-good factor. 

Now is also the time to deep-clean your cosmetics drawer. Wash your makeup brushes and sponges. Be ruthless with your makeup – if you know the lip colour doesn’t suit you, don’t keep it. Throw out old makeup that is no longer safe to use. Go through your skincare and body care products and check the expiration dates. Start using the products you’re saving for a rainy day – today is that rainy day! 

Rules are there to be broken – this is a tough time for everybody, so allow yourself to make mistakes and to take a day off from your routine if you need it. We’re human and we all handle stressful situations differently. Reach out to loved ones, phone your friends, listen to motivating podcasts and read uplifting articles. Be there for each other. 

Have fun:

This is an interesting and new scenario for us all.

Do not feel guilty if your family is watching a little too much TV and spends a little longer playing video games and watching YouTube. My kids have been enjoying tiktok and they have been teaching me how to use it. We try to learn the dances and they find it hilarious when their mum tries to be cool. They love the fact that they are teaching me something new and that they get to boss me around for a change. 

Keep strong moms, we’re in this together!

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