The COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdowns and curfews has impacted the way children learn, the way their families earn a living, and how safe they feel in their homes.
In Oman, people are staying at home in a bid to stem the spread of the virus, similar to many other countries across the globe, but some of them are turning crisis into opportunity by sparing more time for their families and developing more intimate familial bonds.
While some may complain about being stuck at home, many parents are happy to be able to spend more time with their families, saying that this was something they had neglected until now due to their busy daily lives. “We are always preoccupied with our jobs and daily life and can not spare enough time for our beloved ones, but this is not the case nowadays. Due to the lockdowns and curfew, we get to see each other more often and spend more time with our children. My bond with my children has increased a lot as we get to do many things together,” Khalfan al Obaidani, father of six from Seeb, said.
While the lockdown offers a variety of opportunities for youths, too, to improve their relations with their parents, who often go out in the evenings to meet their friends, some say homes are now filled with joy in the evenings.
“I used to go out daily just to be with my friends after work. But now, we have a good excuse to be home and I have come to realise that being with my family is something precious. I have enough time to talk to my parents about current and future issues in a more relaxed manner. By doing so, I get to learn so many things from them. In fact, it is during this time that I have shared all my plans, including that about getting married. We get enough time to plan things out,” said Omar Abdullah, a youth who has planned to get married soon.
For couples too, the lockdown is a good time to enhance relationships. Although many had initially thought a full lockdown at home with the spouse could trigger some problems, many say relationships got better amid the outbreak as the couple now can put aside their daily responsibilities outside the home and focus on each other while at home.
“Just like the good old days when we had got married, we wake up as a family in the morning and enjoy our breakfast as a family. I get to see my wife very often and we have used this time to mend our differences. We also get to do all things together and, I think, by doing so, we get to have a stronger bond with each other. The time has been well received by both of us in a positive way,” Mohammed al Balushi, government employee, said.
Also, the ‘Stay at home’ mantra, which has become a war cry for many, has resulted in men revealing their hidden culinary talents. “Within the past weeks, I have learned that cooking doesn’t take all that much effort. I have learned a lot from my wife and now I can cook as well. I had always wanted to cook but I did not know where to start. However, within just few days, I became good at it,” Saeed al Tauqi, an Amerat resident, said.
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