If you haven’t heard of the powerhouse mama that is Nicole Capper, then you’ve certainly missed out. The Joburg beauty was Mrs South Africa in 2018 and a top-three finalist of Survivor South Africa in 2019. She’s also a proud Freedom Of Movement ambassador. Today, like the rest of South Africa, she’s staying home with her two children – Joshua, 8 and Tatum, 4.
Nicole says that having children changed her whole world. “My daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis shortly after birth and during the time I spent with her in ICU I had an earth-shifting realisation that my children need an enduring example of bravery and strength that they could follow and hopefully surpass.”
Nicole’s tips to survive lockdown:
1. Check your mom guilt
Nicole says that she believes that guilt is the most useless emotion as a mother and one that we’re given the moment our children arrive. In lockdown, mothers around the country are experiencing guilt at not dedicating enough time to school, not being patient enough, not doing enough crafting activities etc. Nicole says that time spent with our children should be about quality, not quantity.
“Children need to fill their own days and create their own adventures. The mistake a lot of parents make is to fill their child’s every need instead of being there for intense invested quality moments. Those are the moments that are remembered.”
2. Set achievable goals
The key to this lockdown period is to set the right expectations for each day. Start with small and achievable goals, especially at this time where everyone in the family is very distracted. The key is to try and find a balance between the safety of a schedule, the time for fun and relaxation for everyone, especially mom!
3. Remember your blessings
Nicole says that she’s grateful for the special moments they’ve had as a family, that they probably wouldn’t have had without lockdown and all the extra time together.
4. Be a mom first and a teacher second
“I am not my children’s teacher but rather a facilitator, a technology supervisor and I’m very grateful that we have a school system that is allowing my kids to learn,” says Nicole. She says that she has taken the pressure off herself to be everything to her kids right now. “I don’t have to teach them everything, I don’t have to know everything and their performance is not a reflection of my teaching. That in itself has freed me from a lot of pressure and expectation.”
5. Set boundaries
The hardest part of this lockdown situation is knowing where the boundaries are between work, school and quality time. The lines have blurred and we’re not necessarily making time for each one separately. School time is just as important as relaxation time, together as a family.
“My focus during this scary time is to pour love and kindness and good energy into my family in the hopes that we’ll be able to foster a sense of safety for our kids. These young minds need to be nurtured from a mental health perspective and not just an educational one, as do ours,” says Nicole.