Lifestyle Parenting

How Load Shedding Can Actually Light Up Your Life (Pun Intended)

Eskom Se Push Right? Or maybe not…

Are you frustrated with all the Load Shedding and constantly complaining about how you never get anything done? Or maybe you are the person who constantly complains about how we pay so much tax – yet there’s no electricity, no water, and that our economy is down the drain. I am also guilty of constantly complaining whenever Eskom decides to cut our power, until I thought about it from a different perspective.

How is this complaining influencing our children? Is this constant negativity healthy in a household where we are raising our children to be the change of the future? By constantly complaining about it, we are showing them that when things don’t work out the way we planned, we will just use the time to shift the blame and be negative about it. This creates a feeling of depression, which makes us irritable.

Photo by Omar Prestwich on Unsplash

By complaining about how we are falling behind at work, or maybe how we won’t get to write that presentation tonight – we are teaching them that we are nothing without technology. We are teaching them that it’s okay to sit back, complain and get nothing done when things don’t work out the way we planned it. Instead, maybe we could show them that it could be fun to use a pen and paper by candlelight! I know it’s tough to be without our beloved electronic devices for 2-3 hours at a time. We have not known anything else for such a long time, so when the power cuts out, we feel completely lost.

With this article, I hope to reach at least one parent/husband/wife. I hope to inspire you to see load shedding from a different perspective. Load Shedding is here to stay for an indefinite period of time. We are wasting precious, valuable time not only in our businesses and households – but in our inter-personal relationships as well. I want you to try and use Load Shedding as a tool that works in your favour, rather than viewing it as an obstacle. If this still sounds absurd to you, please read until the end.

Because we’ve become so dependant on technology, we feel completely lost without it. We don’t know how to bond with our children or how to connect with people without our nifty little devices. We’ve gotten so used to having a fridge, a microwave, a kettle and a stove that it feels impossible to cook without the necessary equipment. You can only braai so many times a week, right? Let’s start seeing Load Shedding as a blessing in disguise. Fathers have no choice but to sit on the couch and hear about their children’s day. Mothers have no choice but to settle for making a quick meal for supper and spend her time doing nothing, waiting for the electricity to go on. Children have no choice but to look for something else to do, rather than watching TV, gaming or being on their mobile phones. This is the perfect time to spend time with your loved ones and strengthen the bond with your family – because you have nothing else to do! Let’s use this time to try and make up for all the lost moments with our children and spouses. Use this time to sit on the couch with your spouse and just talk about something different than work. What else you gonna do?

Here are some tips on how to strengthen the bond with your family during load shedding. Remember, time flies when you’re having fun!

Having Fun With Supper

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash
  • Have a family fondue by candlelight – You can buy a cheap fondue kit at any Checkers, Makro or Pick and Pay. You can use sausage, chicken, mushrooms, cheese, potato bites or anything that your family likes. The children will enjoy making their own food, and it calls for a great family evening.
  • Braai with a twist – Instead of braaiing the usual tjoppie, do something different and fun. Put two ready-made pizzas on top of one another (like a sandwich) and braai until crispy. Your kids will love this and you’ll be the coolest parents ever! You can braai Marshmellow’s for desert and even play games around the fire.
  • Ready-Made Meals – Although Woolworths has been the leading brand in ready-made meals thus far, Checkers has really caught up. I would even go as far as to say that Checkers has a bigger variety than Woolworths – and they are about R10 cheaper. Whatever your preference might be, you’re sure to find something ready-made at one of these two stores. From single-serving meals to delicious par-cooked dishes, you can have supper ready in as little as 2 minutes with these delicious options! You’ll have more time to spend on other things, such as relaxing in a hot, candle lit bath or reading your favourite magazine.

Planning is key when it comes to Load Shedding. It might not always be possible, but keep it in mind when you do grocery shopping. Maybe you can cook a few things and keep them in the fridge. It will be so easy just heating something before the power goes out in the evenings!

Fun Family Activities For When You’re Left in The Dark

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash
  • Boardgames – Boardgames are a great way of having fun and bonding with your family. Light a few candles and play a game or two! It would do the adults just as good to forget about their working day and just have some fun. With so many board- and card-games available, you won’t get bored!
  • I Spy – My daughter is 10-years old and still love the “I Spy” game. It’s great for problem-solving and it teaches them new words as well!
  • Hide and Seek – I know this is a bit dangerous when it’s dark, but it’s such a thrill for the kids! Sometimes it’s good for the adults to play like children as well – as long as no one gets hurt!
  • Conversations – Sometimes you won’t feel like playing games. How about boiling the water before the power cuts out and making hot-chocolate for the whole family? You can talk about anything that comes to mind over a hot drink – and it will make the whole family feel warm and fuzzy on the inside!
  • Storytime – Imagine how much children would enjoy just laying in the dark, listening to their parents’ voice! Light a candle, and read a story to your children. This will instil a feeling of content and safety in them, and will create memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
  • Music – Music brings people together. Maybe sing your favourite songs, or sing songs your children know. You could even sing them to sleep. Again, this will be a moment they remember for the rest of their lives!

Put The “Spark” Back Into Your Relationship

Use this time to spend some quality time with your partner. If you don’t have children or if the children have gone to bed, this is a great opportunity to get to know your partner better and restore the romance!

  • Bathtime: This is a good time to take a nice bath or shower together. There are many ways to be intimate, it’s not just about having sex. Taking the time out to shower or bath with your partner will bring you closer together and will strengthen your bond with them.
  • Massage: You don’t have to be a qualified masseuse to do this. Just rub your partners’ feet or back a bit. Show your partner that you are happy to have this time to spend with him/her without any other disturbances.
  • Have a nice picnic in the living room: Buy some ready-made snacks and surprise your loved-one with a picnic and wine on your living room floor! This can be both relaxing and refreshing for both of you.

Are you and your partner failing to connect? If you’ve been struggling to communicate due to stress, work and busy lifestyles, this is the perfect opportunity to just sit and talk. It won’t come naturally at first. Perhaps you can take turns to ask each other questions like: Have you read any interesting articles lately? Or… Has anything interesting happened at work this week? Assure your partner that you are truly interested in what he/she has to say. By the time the lights come back on, you’ll wish it stayed off for longer! Having thoughtful conversations with your partner can also help you understand his/her love-language better.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to see Load Shedding as an OPPORTUNITY rather than an obstacle. When negativity gets the better of you, just try and think of ways how you can use this to improve your lifestyle and relationships! Also check out my article on Great Outdoor Activities For You And Your Kids!

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South African Lifestyle Blogger. Blogging in the fields of Lifestyle, Relationships, Parenting, Health and Psychology.

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