Tiffany Barbuzano with her two boys, Jamie and Jesse, who also star alongside their mom in M-Net's "Still Breathing".
Picture: Courtesy of M-Net
Tiffany Barbuzano with her two boys, Jamie and Jesse, who also star alongside their mom in M-Net's "Still Breathing". Picture: Courtesy of M-Net

Celeb mom Tiffany Barbuzano entertains and inspires with her 'Corona Diaries'

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Mar 25, 2020

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With self-isolation the new norm for South Africans and most citizens around the globe, everyone has found their own way of dealing with the covid-19 crisis.

Tiffany and Johnny Barbuzano, the dynamic husband and wife team behind M-Net’s hit local show, "Still Breathing", made under their production company, BBZEE Films, are making the most of more family time.

On bringing a smile to the faces of all who follow her, Barbuzano says, “I love documenting things.- I think it's one of my strengths (and perhaps a weakness - I always need to get a picture of what we're doing). Memories have such huge relevance for us as a family. Sometimes they are all you have. And I think in a bid to document this unprecedented turn of events in the world, we've discovered that in the darkest times, there is always a silver lining. 

"You just have to look for it. So the ‘Corona Diaries’ was born. Everyday, while we try to be as ‘normal’ as possible, we know these aren't "normal" times so keeping the kids entertained and engaged is huge for us. They know something is ‘wrong’.

“We talk about the situation all the time (in age appropriate detail) - but it doesn't mean they should feel afraid. Fear spreads like wildfire and we know that stress can be a contributing factor to any illness.  I also want them to look back, when they're older and know that we were doing everything we possibly could to make sure they were okay. That's my job as their mom. To keep them safe, loved, fed and inquisitive.”

Tiffany Barbuzano having fun with her two boys, Jamie and Jesse. Picture: Tiffany Barbuzano

As for how she plans her days with Jamie and Jesse, she shares: “So far, we've made it a mission to not be too rigid about when we do things but try and structure our day around experiences rather than a routine. Baking cookies, painting, hide and seek, playing with our puppies while still getting the kids to do some "school work". Jesse, our youngest decided now would be a great time for him and his brother to become roommates. They're both in Jamie's room now. So they've turned Jesse's room into the ‘homeschool room’. 

"To be fair, we've played a LOT of cars, Bakugan, sticker books and Spiderman in the room, not much "school". I think kids learn more easily through play, so what they don't know is that they've been learning the whole time. We're also trying our best to keep them stimulated without suddenly turning into an uber teacher mom.”

How are they feeling about this "break"?

She reveals, “Like everyone, the uncertainty is what is worrying them most. When will they be allowed to leave the house, when will they see their friends etc. So we try to let them FaceTime/ Zoom/ WhatsApp their friends and family. Connection is key. So they don't suddenly feel like we are all alone. Jamie had his first virtual cubs meeting last Friday. He said it was ‘epic’. 

"First Victory View Sea cubs is his pack of choice and I have to tell you, Debbie Harvey and Allan Kruger (his Akela and her second in command, Hathi) were amazing. The kids all discussed the situation and Jamie felt so much better after seeing he was not alone at all. I mean, I'm sure the undivided attention from mom and dad is not unwelcome at all and is helping immensely with how they're feeling.” 

As for balancing playtime with screen time, Barbuzano shares, “I have to admit it is a bit out of balance. This is an extraordinary turn of events. We try to make the week less about screen time and more about fun but even mama needs a break sometimes. 

"We let them watch TV to relax but can totally gauge when they've had enough (usually it's the moment after the first bust up) and then we get them up and outside. But I'm also very aware that as much as we need to keep our minds off of the ‘bad stuff’, they do, too. And a movie or some Xbox time is hardly the biggest thing we need to worry about now. 

"I do however think that this is just the beginning... We're going to have to reassess as we get over the Easter break. Structure is important - they still go to bed at the same time, they don't stay in their armies the whole day, they need to get dressed and brush teeth, etc. We make sure that their usual structure of a day isn't too different. 

"But routine is a killer of creativity so we have to change the things we do everyday while still showing them that it's not the apocalypse but rather a change in how the world works, for now. As a side note - we do have a plan should we all be attacked by zombies (we've worked on this quite extensively, we have drawings and everything (smiles).

Jamie and Jesse Barbuzano having a blast at home with mom. Picture: Tiffany Barbuzano

Barbuzano also reflects on one of the positives to come out of this situation.

She says, “I know that in the back of our minds, we have worries - especially in our line of work - no shooting, no pay. We know the probability of this being our new normal for a longer time than we think. But we also have time now to work out a game plan. To make plans for the future. The one thing we have is time. 

"And that is priceless and rare. And the relationship between our boys has strengthened more with each passing day. It's beautiful and a very special thing to watch. They are (currently, at least) the very best brother friends, ever.”

Jamie and Jesse Barbuzano's bedroom. Picture: Tiffany Barbuzano

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