Karabo Mokoena
3 minute read
23 Mar 2020
9:30 am

COLUMN: Raising children during a time of fear

Karabo Mokoena

The declaration of the coronavirus being a global pandemic made me shake in my boots, mostly for my daughter.

Instagram (Blackmomchronicles_sa)

I have never really been a fearful parent (except all those times I checked if the baby is still breathing every 5 minutes). I have somehow allowed my little one to explore as much as she can. I have also acknowledged that some things are out of my control.

Like my daughter’s school transport getting hijacked with a kid still inside. I felt my heart drop to my knees when I heard the news. She was in the same transport a day later.

Am I an ignorant mother who does not care about the safety of her child?


I am one that is honest enough to acknowledge that we could get hijacked in our car at any moment.

The school could have put in place the safest tracking measures for transport, but ‘anti-hijacking’ isn’t a little item we can buy.

But, right now, for the first time, I am scared.

Living in a country whose latest number of covid-19 cases sit on 240 is making me very nervous. Like that last time my heart sank due to fear, I feel the very same every time the numbers go up. The uncertainty of this global pandemic leaves me feeling like I am not in control.

And yes, there is a lot we can do to avoid contracting the virus. And I and my family are doing our best. But is our best good enough?

And that’s the thing; It seems like nobody knows.

I watched from the sidelines as families rushed to different retailers to stock some supplies. I did not understand what the panic was about. It seemed unnecessary how anxious people have become.

Looking at that, however, started making me wonder if I am not being as proactive as I should. I should maybe be making sure that I stock up.

And here is another thing; It seems like nobody bloody knows.

Is 60-70% of the population really at risk of contracting this thing?
What happens if we all can’t work anymore?
Are stores gonna run out of food?
Are we gonna die of starvation?

I have no answers to these (possibly dramatic) questions that I know a lot of parents are asking themselves. We are more afraid about our children having a secure tomorrow than anything else.

Parents had to alter their lifestyles for the sake of the children. They have become our “colleagues” as we work from home, or some of us are carrying them on our backs to the office. We are trying to maintain some normalcy to a very abnormal reality.

Some parents had to cancel party plans and school trips in the midst of the excitement, explaining why they are canceling them without instilling panic. I, for one, am glad that my daughter is too young to understand what the heck is happening in our world.

But on her behalf as her parents, we are somewhat aware of what is happening, but have no idea what tomorrow may bring at this point.

All I know is this; I cannot allow myself to be ruled, or my parenting be led by fear of an unknown tomorrow. I am here right now and this is the moment I choose to bask in.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.