UAE parenting lessons from lockdown
UAE parenting lessons from lockdown Image Credit: Supplied

“The kids eventually stopped asking to go out – it broke my heart”

Katy Rice is a mum of three (6, 4 and 1) and owner of online retail business

Katy Rice and family
Katy Rice and family Image Credit: Supplied

“We have always been a busy house - with three children aged 6, 4 and 1 and both parents working full time, that's a given.

"Routine has always been a key for us to manage everything. Feeling guilty played a massive part of us being busy too - trying to make up for the things we missed all time…

“There were certainly times when lockdown was a little tense and it certainly went through stages - as did my emotions.

"When emotions ran high I found it was important to just stop. Take a break, get a check on things - remind ourselves, it's impossible to do it all, and start over fresh with a shorter and more manageable list of things that were for that moment a priority.

“My hardest moment was explaining to the children why we couldn't go anywhere, see their friends, attend school and why their whole world was flipped on its head very suddenly. But what was even sadder was how quickly they stopped asking to see their friends and leave the house - as though staying home was normal. It then became hard to get them to leave the house - this broke my heart.

Lockdown has taught me to take things slowly

- Katy Rice, mum of three and founder of UAE online store

“I had a few dark moments myself emotionally - not being able to escape the house and feeling like I was never up to date with anything - work, house, school work - absolutely nothing was organised and, as I am usually led by routine, this hit me hard. But an early night, a book to distract my mind made all the difference.

“The silver lining was that I got to spend extra time with my bigger kids that I wouldn't have otherwise. In the beginning the weather was lovely and we spent most days outside and trying to make the best of it. After all, we always complain that the time spent with our children goes by so fast!

“We were healthy and well - things were tough but it made us grateful and appreciative of things we usually take for granted.

“Life slowed down a bit too – it made me realise that life doesn't need to be so instant. We don’t need to be so busy, we don’t need so much stuff and there are ways of working equally as efficiently without the usual stresses of being in places, battling traffic. Lockdown has taught me to take it slow. Be grateful. The little things are the biggest things - the rest is a bonus.”

“It felt like something that would only happen in a movie”

Nazaakat Tharani Suleman is mum to a one-year-old baby girl and a management consulting manager at Accenture Middle East

Nazaakat Tharani Suleman
Nazaakat Tharani Suleman Image Credit: Supplied

“The darkest point for me was when we thought our daughter Nuwairah was having an allergic reaction and we had to take her to the doctor; realising that we were almost too afraid to take our child to a doctor because of ‘something in the air’ - it’s the sort of stuff we would have only ever thought would happen in movies!

"However, on the flip side the pandemic has meant that Nuwairah has had loads of quality time with both her parents. Although I went back to work in February, because of the pandemic I've spent most of my time at home with her, whereas I would have only got seven months. I'm really grateful to have got the best of both worlds.”

“It felt like the end of the world, it was very dystopian”

Bedriya Al Saeed is the mum of a four-year-old and nine-month-old and an HR professional

Bedriya Al Saeed
Bedriya Al Saeed Image Credit: Supplied

“At the beginning of the lockdown I had a four-month-old baby going through sleep regression, a toddler who constantly wanted me to play with her, and I wasn’t allowed to step out of my home for fresh air. I couldn’t see my friends or travel to be with family. It felt like the end of the world, it was very dystopian. I definitely suffered a mild depression.

“But, as contradictory as it might sound, the silver lining was the time spent with my two girls. Since I wasn’t rushing off to work in the morning, I started to notice and appreciate little things, like how every single day they woke up cheerful, no matter how happy/sad or boring/exciting the day before was. The day always started with smiles and cheerfulness. I also ended up enjoying home schooling, and loved being able to watch my newborn grow and achieve her milestones like crawling or standing. It was also nice to spend more time with my husband because he used to normally come home from work around 8pm.”

“Lockdown gave me so much respect for teachers”

Tracy Preston is mum to seven and four year old girls and CEO and founder of maternity and nursing wear online retailer

Tracy Preston and family
Tracy Preston and family Image Credit: Supplied

“Pre-Covid life was pretty hectic with school and nursery drop off and pickups, managing a business around school hours and extracurricular activities, and trying to fit fitness and ‘life’ in at the same time.

“But surprisingly lockdown was not as hard as we thought it would be. The kids were amazing and didn’t complain, although the remote learning with my eldest resulted in a few heated moments in the house. It was a bit of a novelty and my husband and I enjoyed the balcony more and we had meals as a family which was something we only did once a week before. Work was possible as the technology was available to make it so. I think it was good for us.

“The uncertainty around work was the hardest thing but luckily so far things seem to have stayed afloat. I also found remote learning difficult at times as I didn’t want my relationship with my daughter to be a constant battle- I have so much respect for teachers.

It made me appreciate the UAE's sense of community

- Tracy Preston, mum of two and founder of UAE maternity e-tailer

“There was some good to come out of all being locked down together. My daughters became really close – they are seven and four years old and they kept each other entertained. I think they will miss each other when they go back to school.

"I think the pandemic has made me realise what matters and that's people not the other 'stuff'. We get hung up on the 'stuff' too often, missing out on real life.

"I also was made to appreciate the UAE’s sense of community - even though we were in lockdown, people care about others and want to support each other and ‘we are in this together’ actually means something.

“It's great to have more family time and I hope we don’t lose that when things go back to normal. I hope the girls continue to enjoy each other's company.”

“My kids have spent more quality time with their dad in the past three months than they had in the last three years”

Sadaf M Khan is the mum of a four-year-old, two-year-old, and fitness and nutrition coach

Sadaf M Khan
Sadaf M Khan Image Credit: Supplied

“Both my children were in nursery, which were the first places to close when the pandemic hit the UAE. Online classes didn't really work with our young kids so to keep them afloat and not lose their newly learnt basic reading and writing skills was one of the hardest things to manage at home.

“However, one of the biggest positives I noticed during the lockdown was the amount of time we got as family to bond. My husband travels a lot due to the nature of his job but this pandemic brought a halt to his travel. The last three months my kids were able to spend such wonderful quality time with their dad, of the sort that they hadn't enjoyed in the last three years of their existence.”