Brace Yourself. The Terrible Twos’ Are Coming.

I remember watching a friend of mine battling with being a mom. Her vacant haunted eyes terrified me and I never knew how to help her. She made parenting seem awful, and hard and I was terrified that one day I would find myself in a similar situation.

Then Carter was born, 2 years and 11 days ago, and he’s been a 99% wonderful human. All conscientious charm and manners. He slept well, ate well and basically made life pretty freaking easy for us.

Until 2 weeks ago when – true to the textbooks – he turned 2. Holy hell in a hand basket, it has been rough AF. Not only did he start potty training, he moved into a new bed and also decided that to get dressed in the morning was not for him. And not in a ‘no thanks mum, this isn’t for me’ way. In a “I will beat your motherly compassion out of you with a hockey stick until you want to strangle me” way.

Guys. I am at my wits end. I spent the majority of my 90-minute (because also, fuck you traffic) drive to work in guilt-ridden state. Never mind the 2 hours this morning just trying to actually get him dressed for school. Will I ever be on time again? When I dropped him at crèche this morning I was truly happy to palm him over to anyone who wasn’t me, and up until about 10 minutes ago I would have very happily left him there for a week. Because I actually don’t even know if I’m cut out for parenting, let alone parenting a 2 year old.

Newborns by comparison are possibly the easiest you will have it. I’m sorry to break this to you. It gets really hard, like really hard. Granted, it’s adorable when they start to talk and engage and participate in real-life activities – but the down side of their newfound abilities is the realisation that they have an opinion, limbs and a really, really strong will.

Keeping him in his bed at night (which entails 4 stories, strawberry milk, 75 pickups and bed put-back-ins and about a gallilitre of wine), getting him dressed every day, taking him home from a fun environment and trying to prevent volcanic meltdowns on a daily basis – along with juggling two demanding jobs and trying to also not look like a heroin addict have me absolutely farging exhausted at the end of every single day.

It also doesn’t help that t’s been a pretty rough year culminating in my Mothers Day ending with me leaving work (because yes, money doesn’t grow on spouses nor trees) and being hit by a taxi. Not only did he hit my car but he then proceeded to verbally assault and intimidate me, along with several of his charming taxi driver buddies. It was a horrific and terrifying situation and by the time I got home from the police station, shaken and drenched in rain, I was determined to emigrate and leave this ‘hell hole’ of a country.

I am so angry lately, and I suspect that my son is picking up on my emotions. But then he screams like a hadeda with a grammar phone and wrestles me with his 18 limbs and I can’t help but get more and more stressed out. I’m surprised I’m even able to make conversation at the moment. And I have only one human, only one. How are the moms of 2 or more actually coping?

I’d like to point out – one page into this rant – that I desperately love my son and that he has only been like this for 2 weeks. And he’s also only an asshole for a few hours a day. The other 22 he’s a delight, and then I forget about the asshole phase and go ‘let’s make another one!’. So no, I’m not really going to actually take him to school naked, or throw him out with Pickitup, but I do need to know, from other well oiled and experienced moms that this too shall pass. And before you come to me with your tricks, I’ve tried them. They don’t work

  • Bribery
  • Putting him to sleep with school clothes under his pyjamas
  • Naughty corner
  • beating Smacking
  • Ignoring
  • Hugging
  • Shouting
  • Wine
  • Distraction
  • Protein laden snacks
  • Mommy groups
  • Vodka
  • Rescue Remedy (for him)
  • Xanax (for me)

Help. Please.

 

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Readers, Lend Me Your Brains.

I have a lot on my mind – everything from finishing a rather massive race in 9 day’s time, to re-doing my entire house décor. So, seeing as you bunch are so freaking smart, I thought I’d try a new crowdsourcing exercise and get feedback from my readers – all of you! So, if you can help/answer any of the below queries, then I will send you a package of dolphin tears and glitter

  • I want to try do these concrete kitchen counter tops at home – does anyone know of a supplier or someone who does this? Also, because its concrete does it mean I will need to reinforce my existing cupboards and doors? (Look at me sounding all building savvy).

Concrete kitchen countertops

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  • I need to make a photobook – who are the best suppliers/website/template makers out there?

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  • I love this wood wall look for behind my TV in my lounge. Do I need a specific wood and does it have to be treated? (The husband is convinced it’s a breeding ground for termites). Then, is it easy enough to do as a DIY project, or should I rather go the trusty builder route?

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  • Under eye fillers. I can’t stop thinking about having this done ever since my GP gently encouraged me. I’m also convinced it will stop everyone from asking me if I’m tired. All.The.Time. Yay/nay? Have you had fillers done? Where?

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  • Weight loss. After 4 months of religiously training for Half Iron Man I’m still sitting with a lump ‘o lard around my tummy, and feeling very sorry for myself. (I was SO sorry for myself this morning and almost tripped a skinny bitch in the change rooms as she waltzed around in a G-string and non-mom boobs). I think after the race I’m going take up more Pilates and strength training. I also want to adjust my eating plan slightly – I can’t do banting as I don’t eat any meat. What’s worked for you? I know there’s a lot of talk around fermented foods and how much it aids your digestion – I think that’s definitely a route I’m going to explore.

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  • Shaving your face. Ok… so this has been met with much division, but I recently read this article on the benefits of (ladies) shaving their faces to aid skin renewal, exfoliate and slow the ageing process. Thoughts??

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So looking forward to your comments and feedback. Especially from my mother around the eye fillers.

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How To Travel With An (Almost) Toddler.

“Never again” is what I whispered to myself this weekend as I tried in vain to quieten my screaming child. Screaming so loud, might I add, that he woke up the dogs on the neighbouring farm. And the roosters and a handful of pigs.

We were away for a wedding, four hours out of Joburg, and the shit had hit the fan. I suppose it was unfair to uproot this little 10 month old, especially after having only been home for two nights post a beach/diving holiday in Sodwana for the week before.

When we first accepted the invite to the ‘child friendly’ wedding, I was pregnant, and the most issues my little cherub had given me was a bout of McDonalds induced diarrhea and some heartburn. Naturally we assumed – like all non-parents – that the fetus would be equally well behaved when he was a baby, and so we gleefully RSVP’d, for all 3 of us.

Fast forward to 10 months and a few days and said fetus turned baby turned satan had decided that no, he would not just sleep after a bottle, and no, he definitely would not scream unless held. And so we did what every sleep deprived, frantic parent did – we bought him into our marriage bed, looked each other in the eyes, and vowed to still love him, despite the raging tantrum currently happening under the duvet.

So whilst we may be to blame for dragging him all over the country, we have also learnt a serious lesson: Your baby will always act out at the most inopportune times. Your baby will also wake up at 5 am after a drunken wedding that ended at 2 am. But I digress.

So, if you are currently an owner of a small human, and are thinking about taking a ‘holiday’, then here is my advice:

Don’t.

If it’s too late, and baby is a certified plus one at your chosen destination, then here are a few more pearls of wisdom:

  1. Pack all the medicine. You will readily think of a valid reason why baby needs Stopane with codeine at 3 am.
  2. Don’t expect smooth sailing. Your child may be the poster kid for routine, but even a slight imbalance (read: camp cot, strange noises, parents having fun) can trigger the antichrist.
  3. Snacks will save your life. Every 5 minutes of silence was courtesy of Flings, Cheerios and biltong. Never underestimate the power of the coolerbag.
  4. When travelling long distances try leave over a nap time, and always pack several changes of clothes and a bottle of wine (I feel I should clarify that the wine drinker should probably be a passenger)
  5. Stay in a venue where you child can still have some sort of a routine – trying to get them to sleep in their pram in a loud restaurant is fun for no-one.
  6. Tag team. Even if it means walking to the edge of the bedroom and quietly banging your head against the door frame for 5 minutes – let your spouse take over when it’s getting too much.
  7. Enjoy the good bits – because I can promise you they far outweigh the bad bits. In the last 2 weeks my son has met the ocean with joy, gazed at silken cows, sat silently through a beautiful wedding ceremony, watched monkeys from the stoep and bathed in a shower. When at a loss, fill that memory bank!
  8. Lastly, have some empathy. I can’t imagine how overwhelming the last 2 weeks must have been for my kid. He was in the car for 30% of it, in strange rooms, around strange people, and yet most of the time he was perfectly behaved. A little tolerance works wonders when you are at your wits end.

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If all else fails, plan a holiday for immediately after the holiday with your kid. And plan it for just the 2 of you, where late nights can be blamed on too much wild monkey sex.

I jest, we all know that leads to more babies.

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The Problem With Mommy Groups.

Falling pregnant is (relatively) easy. Being pregnant, and then spawning a baby, is the hard part. It’s only until you have this tiny, helpless infant in your arms that you think to yourself “shit, now what?”. 

I think I spent my entire pregnancy in denial – under a false illusion that once baby was here I would know exactly what to do, and that everything would magically fall into place. Except, it didn’t. Suddenly, I had this brand new, pink, squeaking, frog-like human in my arms and panic set in. How will I know when to change its nappy. What size nappy? What brand of nappy? When does it eat? How does it eat? How much does it eat? OhMyGodWhenAmIEverGoingToEatAgain?!

And so, I sought advice from the experts. Other moms. 

Facebook, with all its faults, does offer us one great thing – groups. And if there’s one thing a mommy loves, it’s a mommy group on Facebook. Before my baby was barely more than some drying wee on a dipstick, I had been added to more Faceook groups than I could remember. Breastfeeding groups, gentle parent groups, Joburg groups, groups about groups, groups abut those groups who group together. You get the point. 

My newsfeed was filled daily with panic stricken moms asking for consultations on their baby’s rash, moms asking for reliable family photographers and moms looking to sell little Johnnys ‘barely used’ burp cloth.

At first, I loved it, I sucked in the information like an alcoholic on relapse. Everything fascinated me! No ‘is this poo even normal’ question was too much for my insatiable appetite, no requests for ‘it’s little Julie’s birthday in 7 minutes and I need one hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes’ could scare me away. Oh no, I was mommy group befok. 

Until I started asking my own questions.

They started off innocently enough. One day I asked if anyone could recommend a good book to read during maternity leave (and we laughed and laughed). I also posed on the group the day before my son was born, and the love poured in. Then, I had the absolute gall, the CHEEK, to post about something that required a point of view. Circumcision. Words like ‘baby massacre’ and ‘genital mutilation’ spring to mind. My post elicited hundreds of responses where women, who I have never met and who have never met me unleashed their verbal abuse. 

I’m not alone. I have seen hundreds of moms torn to shreds for even mentioning the word ‘bottle fed’ or (gasp!) ‘C Section’. Questions around how many ml’s a baby should be drinking were met with very angry women lambasting anything that didn’t come out of the boob. Cute pics of ‘baby’s nursery linen’ were followed with Internet links to cot deaths and SIDS stats.

Eventually, I started to unfollow most of the groups, and retreated into the corner like a scolded school child. From there, I observed, and watched more innocent ladies fall to the merciless hands of the know-it-all-parent.

I have chosen to remain on two Facebook groups, where abuse is met with a quick removal by the page admin, but having been burnt a few times I am hesitant to post anything more than an innocuous update about something that can’t offend anyone. (puppies running through tulips, and that sort of thing)

Motherhood is fucking tough. We all have our days where we have no idea what we’re doing. I’m still so grateful to the few groups I remain on and the 99% of moms out there who are genuine and helpful, and don’t mind a difference of opinion.

To those moms, the invisible personas behind the profile pictures, I thank you. We may have never met, but you have helped me in more ways than you know.mommy wars

PS – I still can’t help anyone with a hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes. Sorry. 

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8 Things I've Learnt As A New Mom

I have been a mom for 16 days. 16 amazing, exhausting overwhelming confusing, love-drunk days. So many people have asked me what motherhood is like, and what it is that I do all day with my ‘free time’.

Here are 8 things I have learn about being a new mom:

You have no idea what you are doing. Oh yes, I read the books, downloaded the apps, browsed the forums, joined the groups and asked fellow moms. I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and that I wanted a routine, but I never thought further than that until he was here. Suddenly, I had a million new questions – How often must he eat, how much does he eat, why are my boobs leaking everywhere, do I wake him to eat, why is he crying, am I a bad mother for leaving him in his cot while I brush my teeth, if I’m buying premium nappies then surely they can change themselves?!

Your time is no more. We have Carter down on a 3 hour routine – which sounds great in principle. 3 hours in between to do what I like – long walks in the park, afternoon naps and Box Office Movies. Ha! Having a baby is like running a small army. Sure, one has 3 hours between feeds, but if a feed lasts 30 minutes, a burping session lasts 15, a nappy change 5 (I’m getting faster, promise), putting him down to sleep takes 10 minutes (if that even happens) then that leaves me with 2 hours to get myself dressed and ‘presentable’, eat some food, express some milk, sterilize bottles and gear, wash a million tiny baby things and see actual human beings, then your time isn’t really yours, at all.

Babies cry quite a bit. Let it be known that my child (and long may it last) is heaven sent. He is a delightful baby who cries a regular amount. (I’m basing this on a little equation: Regular amount = not wanting to kill yourself from frustration. However, when he does cry it could be for a multitude of reasons. As I am now obviously an exert (being 16 days in and all) I have worked out the following reasons as to why your baby might be crying:

  • He is hungry
  • He is tired
  • He saw the speed of your ADSL line
  • He woke himself up and got a fright
  • He has a dirty nappy
  • He has a clean nappy and prefers the feel of a dirty nappy
  • He saw the price of nappies
  • He spat his dummy out
  • He saw you have that glass of red wine and is now laying a guilt trip on you
  • It is bath time
  • It is naked time
  • The dog farted
  • He sharted so loud that it woke him up
  • He saw his mom up close for the first time and realized she hasn’t tweezed her eyebrows since March.

They are a lot smaller than you anticipated. When Carter was born – at a sizeable 3.64 kilograms – he was still tiny. We had to rush out and buy newborn clothes for him, which he still drowns in. Note to self – always have a few tiny baby things for your newborn, they actually don’t come out ready to wear 3-6 month baby grows.

You leak milk. Everywhere. Breastfeeding is the messiest activity I have ever taken part in (and that includes the one time I vomited tequila on a friends shoes in the Billy The Bums parking lot.) I doubt there is one surface area in my house that has not been drenched in milk leaking from one of my oversized pendulous bosoms. My poor child is soaked through before he even gets close to my chest. This makes feeding in public a rather risky and messy affair. Praise the Lord the inventors of the breast ump came along before my child did.

Baby blues are a thing. Everything I read leading up to the birth of my child warned me about the ‘day 3 blues’. “Beware” they warned ominously “the 3rd day of having a baby shall be your darkest day yet”. I was terrified and put my husband on high alert (after hiding away all sharp objects in the house. Then day 3 came… with my milk…and went. As did day 4. On day 5, Mothers Day, after a lovely lunch out at a restaurant with my angelically behaved child, my hubby and I climbed in the car to go home and I burst in to tears.

“Why are you crying babe, what’s wrong”

 “I don’t know”

 “Are you feeling sick?

 “No”

 “Are you sad?”

 “Yes”

 “Why?”

 “I don’t know”

This went on for about 15 minutes while my poor husband tried in vain to gauge just what in hell was going on with me. Turns out I was sad for no apparent reason, and the more I cried the guiltier I felt, so the more I cried. Hormones are bastard things ladies, and if this ever happens to you, know that you are not alone (I know this because I Googled ‘Am I the only new mother alive sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason”)

I wasn’t.

You will mourn your former life. And that is OK. Everything I do now is with Breitling precision. Need to pop out to the shops? Do it between 1:15 and 1:45. (but get someone to drive you because you’ve still had major surgery and can’t drive yourself). Want a glass of wine? Make sure you’ve expressed some milk, or that you drink it with 2 hours to go before the next feed. Want to wear jeans? Haha, cute.

Having a baby means that your life gets turned upside down and hung out to dry. And that’s OK, because

You will love like you have never loved before. I battle to imagine a life BC (see what I did there?). This tiny, perfect creature has landed in our lives and turned what we thought we knew about patience, tolerance and love on its head. I battle to not stare at him for hours, or rub my hand over his tiny shoulder blades or crave my finger to be grasped in his fist. I miss him in my sleep and I cant stop kissing his tiny milk scented mouth.

I still even find his screams endearing.

Motherhood, you can stay.

I call this one ‘honest parenting’ 😉

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A Preggy Post For The Baby Daddy's

Search the Internet for anything pregnancy related, and you will be bombarded with information ranging from best bottles for a newborn to glycerine suppositories, and everything in between. Apps, books, newsletters and daily emails keep the mom-to-be informed about the size of her baby (Oh look, today he’s a paw paw!) her stretchmarks and how to best prepare your nipples for feeding. With so much info out there, its no wonder that pregnancy is very much a female thing, something for the ladies. It’s a big vagina’y focused book-club.

I’ve been fortunate to have had a relatively easy pregnancy, but it’s still been a tough 5 and a bit months and sometimes I just want to not do anything and have a little cry instead, because sometimes I just don’t want to. I don’t want to work, exercise, cook, clean, wash the dogs, walk the dogs, buy dog food, try find my feet to rub cream in, take the car for a service, stack the dishwasher, squeeze into a now way-too-small bra or find clothes that fit.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to write a blog post for all the dad-to be’s (dad’s-to-be?) husbands and partners of the pregnant ladies. Hopefully this will help keep harmony in the home when your time comes.

Here are a few things that I (and a random sampling of woman I interviewed) wish our hubbies knew in those long 40 weeks of human gestation*

  • Don’t ever blame anything on pregnant hormones. It’s unkind and thoughtless and extremely hurtful. Yes, we are absolutely going through some hormonal changes (apparently it happens when one is growing an actual human inside of them) but to call that out in a fight or argument is not fair.
  • Be a protector. I’m not talking about coming to our rescue all damsel in distressy, but we need to know that you are financially prepared for what’s about to happen. I speak for me (and maybe others) when I say I spend a few hours a night worrying about money and how we are going to clothe, feed, doctor, school, educate, entertain and take the best possible care of our child. 4 months of maternity leave, means 4 months of no salary and 4 months of wondering how we are going to buy groceries, pay the bills. 4 months of wondering how secure our job is on our return, how a baby is going to affect our career and how colleagues are going to treat us when we arrive back at the office. It’s at this extremely vulnerable time when you need to step in and tell us that EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK. Lie if you have to, rob a bank if you must, just let us breathe easy knowing that ‘you’ve got this’.
  • Step Up. Yes, in most households there are ‘wife’ duties and ‘husband’ duties. As an example, I don’t mow the lawn, but I’m in charge of groceries and cooking. That being said, it’s a rule that needs to be flexible, and we need you to pick up a little bit of the slack from time to time. Your woman would drop down on her knees (if she still had the ability to see her knees) in joy should you decided to come home with dinner or groceries one one night, without being asked.
  • Listen. When we ask you to do something we can only ask once. Yes, it’s a little bit of a test. If husband forgets to buy the toothpaste like I asked without having to remind him 4 times, how is he ever going to remember to fetch our child from school or buy nappies or formula?
  • Don’t beg us for praise. We appreciate everything you do, honestly (even if we don’t thank you every time for taking out the rubbish). We treat 10 months of pregnancy like a job interview – we watch to see that you can manage both your duties and some of ours (I’m about 1 week away from being able to wash the dogs on my own) so when you fail to do yours, we worry about how you are going to cope when there’s a tiny screaming needy infant on the way.
  • Nod and smile. I like things done my way, and I like them done yesterday. I’m a planner, I’m OCD and I’m who you married. You must be joking if you think that will change during pregnancy. Please tolerate our outbursts and panic attacks about pram wheels and wall paint and carpet colours. Nod and smile and ask what you can do.
  • Don’t take advantage of designated Dave. Just because you have someone to drive you around for 9 months, doesn’t mean you now need to become the worlds greatest boozer. Sometimes a bit of mutual matching sobriety would help our “ohmygodicantdrinkforalmostayear” sadness, just a little bit.
  • Get Involved. I don’t know why men get the raw end of the deal when it comes to babies. Perhaps it’s because they’re not carrying them that there’s this implied assumption that the dad isn’t as involved. My husband has come to every single scan and Doctors appointment since day dot. He knows more about what’s going to happen than I do, and he’s been involved every step of the way (except for the curtain shopping – there are some times when it really is better to leave dad behind). We love it when you get involved, and it sucks when you can’t experience everything we are – but we appreciate the interest you pay and the reading up you do and the way you actively plan for baby.
  • Make us feel special. Speak her love language (this is an important one guys). If she is into gestures or acts of service – bring her home a bag of nappies, make her a cup of tea or book her into preggy bellies or for a facial. If she’s a words of affirmation kinda gal, tell her how incredibly beautiful she is. Speak her language. Ladies – this applies to us as well (I can definitely learn from this one too!)
  • Help with the other kids. For those couples with an existing child – one of the biggest pleas for help from the mom is for hubby to get involved and bath, feed and look after the older child while she looks after growing a second one.
  • Don’t Complain. If we forget to take a our dirty glass to the sink, take it for us. if we don’t replace the mayo at our grocery shop, buy your own mayo. To err is human, to err alot is pregnancy. Pick your battles and rather step in and help out more. Nothing we do is malicious. We are just so bloody tired all the time that sometimes we do silly things without even knowing that we’re doing them.
  • Be patient. My husband has on several occasions remarked what a breeze I’ve been throughout pregnancy, and whilst I know that, I also know that a lot of woman have it a lot harder and give their men a harder time. Regardless of your situation, be a lot more patient with your scared, vulnerable and fragile wife.
  • Be like in the movies. I always anticipated pregnancy to be bouts of me yearning for ice cream and husband dutifully driving to the petrol station 24 hour shop at 2 am for my favourite vanilla Magnum. Alas, no shops have been driven to and no vanilla ice cream cravings have taken place. But when they do, be ready. We all want a little movie romance in our lives.

* Disclaimer: Not all these comments apply to all men, and no offence was intended in this blog post. In fact, ladies and gents I welcome all comments and bragging about your awesome spouse 🙂

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30 Things I've Learnt in my Thirties

Turning 30 for me was kind of a big deal – as it is, I guess, for most people. The day itself was average – with me typically expecting too much and receiving a wrapped bundle of disappointment in return, but I digress.

2014, the year of me being 30, has been an absolute roller-coaster. There have been ultimate highs, and ultimate lows and a bucket load of missed emoticons in between. 8 months in, and edging closer to the big 3-1, there are certain things I have learnt about my self, that not even my progressive chest wrinkles can dampen.

1. You will find the money to do something you really want, or buy something you really need. We bought a house at the beginning of the year, and with an older house on a large stand comes the hemorrhaging of money. But it is worth every cent. Truly.

2. You will end relationships, and be OK with it. There comes a time when you realise that the people who suck the life out of you, make you feel anything but good about yourself, or don’t see your value, are just not worth it, and most of the time walking away becomes the best feeling in the world.

3. You will entertain more and go out less.

4. Clothes become something of value – and your monthly budget may go towards one staple item, then 5 smaller ones. (This is me justifying my costs-the-same-as-my-bond boots I bought this winter)

5. You will want to spend as much time as possible with your mom and dad. And you will worry, knowing, that the older you get, the older they do too.

6. Your body will let you down. You will pay a fortune in meds for some or other ailment which needs addressing. Your medical aid savings will run out before Easter.

7. You will learn the art of negotiating. A month back I went and bought a new car because my current car was costing too much (see point 8).After the salesman had worked out my monthly installments I told him it was unfortunately too much and left the dealership. I was’t playing games, I simply didn’t have the extra money. 5 minutes later the same salesman phoned me and offered me a substantial discount on the car. I bought it.

8. You will become frugal. I now compare prices of long life milk before buying it and swipe my loyalty cards with enthusiastic vigour. Inflation sucks.

9. You will learn the value of work life balance. When I first started working I would graft for 12, 13 hours a day. I thought I was so clever, telling everyone how busy I was. The truth – I was doing it to prove a point, to be noticed in my job, and clearly not managing my time well at all. I now add ‘Gym’ into my calendar and treat me time as a meeting. There are many days when I work late or from home, but it is not the norm. Anyone who tells you they are so busy all.the.time is probably just looking for attention.

10. You will crave a baby. The beating of your ovarian drums will drown out most radio station playlists.

11. Your bullshit tolerance level will drop to a staggering low.

11. You will get better at confrontation. Yes, your heart may be racing at a million ticks a minute, and you may get that prickly underarm sweaty feeling – but the result of actually telling someone how you feel, is totally with it.

12. Furniture shopping, as does going to the nursery, becomes the highlight of your weekend.

13. Most people are in the same boat as you. I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to my peers, constantly wondering how they can afford the overseas holidays, fancy cars and seemingly better lifestyles. Turns out, they do the same with other people, and the result is everyone feeling incompetent, poor and hard done by. No-one’s life is perfect – everyone is fighting a battle.

14. You will become less ‘cool’. I don’t know when it happened, but I suddenly do not know the name and artist of every single song that gets played on the radio. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t worked in radio for many years, but man, I used to be the thesaurus of music. Not so much anymore.

15. You will look your age. Fuck.

16. You will drink a lot more than you did in your youth. Consistency is King, and in my Palace that means 2 reds a night.

17. You will find marriage to be one of the hardest, fun, exciting journeys – especially if you are recently married.

18. Your metabolism – if it hasn’t already – will take a nosedive off a very steep carb laden cliff.

19. The thought of going to a night club, on a Contiki tour or anywhere that involves fighting crowds for things is a terrifying and unpleasant thought.

20. You will become a lot more aware of people and their needs, and your empathy levels will grow in leaps and bounds.

21. You will embrace fibre.

22. You will do as much shopping online as you can, in order to find more time to do things that actually make you happy.

23. You will notice more lines, more hair and more cracks all over your body. Conversations with the salon include the terms ‘age spots’, ‘peel’ and ‘irreversible damage’.

24. When a male hits on you, you want to roll over onto your back – bulldog style – and thank him for seeing the value in an older woman.

25. Conversations with friends include words such as “If my child ever dared…” and “Can you believe they allow teenagers into this place”. Also, it turns out the teenagers you speak of are in their early twenties.

26. You will attend more babyshowers then weddings and birthdays combined.

27. You will start shopping for jeans that aren’t low rise.

28. Punctuality is a thing. It always has been for me – I can’t be late for anything. But god help the person who is late for me.

29. Your collection of friends will become the most valuable asset you own. Over the years you have cultivated an amazing bunch of people who share and care deeply – cherish them.

30. You will learn to enjoy yourself so much more. I’m still helluva insecure and care way too much what others think – but I love who I am, who I have become and how my life has turned out.

Here’s to the next 30!

Before and After

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On Finding Time.

Training for another Half Iron Man distance race (Tri Rock) has reminded me about the importance of time. We are each given 24 hours in a day. No amount of money in the world can buy you more than your allotted time – it is the great grounder. In those hours we (most of us anyway) have to work for at least 8 or 9 hours, fetch kids, fight traffic, feed dogs, children and husbands, buy groceries for said cooking, run errands, get enough sleep, do your hobby and make sure our lives are up to date with admin and to-do lists. This does not leave a lot of time to do anything else. Basically, being an adult sucks. 

I don’t know abut you, but I’m buggered by the time I get in to bed every night. Sadly for me, I require 8 hours of sleep a night as well, which means getting into bed at 9 pm – generally not more than an hour after getting home from gym or training.

I’m not the only one with a hectic schedule – there are people who do what I do, plus they have kids thrown into the mix. I feed a fussy husband – I cannot even imagine feeding a fussy child. 

The saying “you don’t have time, you find time” is so true. My pet peeve is people telling me they don’t have time to do anything. Bullshit. You can and will find the time to do something you love. With that in mind, here are some life hack time savers which have proved to be very valuable, for both my sanity and my sleep cycle.

1. PVR shit. If you don’t, you’re pretty much paying a small fortune for 1 TV show. 

2. Order groceries online. Have them delivered to your door. It is the best R50 you will EVER spend. Plus, No more less trawling Pick n Pay at 8 pm on a Monday night.

3. Find a gym close to your office. Training twice a day is a pain the ass, but if you can find a gym close to work you save on traffic stress, and get your workout in as well. (Side note, book your classes on line so you aren’t left scrambling for the last seat on a spinning bike)

4. Online banking- no brainer.

5. Dedicate 1 night to takeaways or ready-made meals. It’s OK, really, I promise Martha Stewart wont find you and beat you down with her wooden spoon. On a Monday Barry and I take part in a swim squad which means we only get home after 8 pm – that’s 14 hours away from the house, which leaves me with very little enthusiasm to muster up a meal. Hellooo convenient local restaurant. 

5. Say ‘no’ once in a while. Yes, training for a race is a selfish act, one that generates very little sympathy or interest from people. I’ve sadly realised that o-one really cares how my races went or training is going (apart from the people you train with – it hurts, I’m learning to get over it). The thing is, you are pretty much exhausted all the time. Learning to say ‘no’ to just 1 social event on a weekend can actually save your soul. This past weekend I was home for less than 1 hour at any given time until Sunday night. Result – I had 5 people ask if I was sick/tired/pregnant/dying on Monday morning. 

6. “Holi-races” – Barry and I love to go away. We also love to enter races. So, we combine the 2 and find fun events to take part in away from home. A win-win. 

Any time saving tips you can share with me? Let me know. (Unless it involves removing vowels and speaking lyk dis. Then you’re on your own)

PS – Yes, I find time to blog. I’m also eating my lunch at my desk as I do it. 

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A Blog A Day Challenge – Something For Your Kids To Know – Day 6

Husband and I have been talking about having kids (not now, calm down mom). It’s the next step, I’m helluva broody and I think we will make damn good parents.

I grew up right. More than right. My brother and I said please and thank you for everything. So much so, that when I moved to America in 2002 as an exchange student, I lived for a brief period of time with a lady from the local Rotary Club. On my 3rd morning there she took me grocery shopping. After about 5 minutes of cruising the aisles, seeking vegetarian food in a cluster of pop-tarts and Big Jim turkey dinners,  she turned to me and said ‘You really don’t need to say please after every thing I ask you – they’re just apples”. The thing is, I will still say please and thank you – and yes, for something as small as ‘dem apples’. 

I’m deliberately choosing to change the topic of today’s blog to ‘Something I want to teach my (future) children.’ After all, the more kids I see on television raping, pillaging, murdering and taking selfies, the more I feel the need to instill what my parents did in me. 

1. Be polite. 

2. Be kind.

3. Learn to love what you have and don’t rely on the superficial things. (We loved in the garden, my brother and I, except between 5 and 7 when MNET had ‘Open Time’ on for us po’ folk.)

4. Know the difference between right and wrong. I call ‘bullshit’ on anyone defending a child over the age of 5 for doing something morally wrong. Why? Because they are old enough to know better. 

5. Be kind to everyone you meet. That extends to animals.

6. Respect others and their property

7. Hidings will not kill you. I promise

8. Work for your money**. Appreciate anything that has been given to you free of charge.

9. Eat nutritious and healthy meals

10. Read a damn book. Learn. Knowledge is key. 

**So I was about 5 years old and my father asked me to clean the chicken coops and horse stables (I grew up on a plot). It took me several hours and was honestly back breaking work. Afterwards, he handed me a R2 coin (thanks, dad). I was absolutely gutted. So kids, work hard for your money but don’t let them old folk walk right over you.

 

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12 Things I’ve Learnt About Planning A Wedding

Yesterday marked 5 months until our wedding, which means we have officially been engaged longer than the amount of time left until we say ‘I Do’.

Planning this wedding has been relatively stress free, give or take a few hurdles, and I wanted to share the 12 things I have learnt.

1. Enjoy it – I got engaged and was immediately told by an ex-manager that there would be ‘no wedding planning or talk in the office’. That completely broke me and I found myself avoiding the topic and ignoring the experience all together.

2. Involve your grooms parents – I am very non-traditional when it comes to who wants to get involved and believe that both moms should play an equal part, after all it’s just as much her child’s day as it is mine.

3. Don’t mention the ‘W’ word – Suppliers have literally doubled a quote upon finding out it was for a wedding. That being said, some suppliers do need to know as they will be there setting up on the day. If you can avoid letting someone know (retinue outfits and gifts, non-traditional cake toppers and accommodation/honeymoon) then do so.

4. Don’t expect too much – Sadly, the first few months of wedding planning felt more like a business transaction. Venues treated us like a cash injection and suppliers were more interested in our money than our vision. 

That being said…

5. Work with suppliers you love – I bought my dress from a boutique who treated me like a princess from the second I walked in the door (even though I was hanging like a fruit bat and not wearing any makeup). My flower and decor ladies Carey-Anne and Donna from The White List have gone over and above, meeting me after hours (with wine!) and have used their resources to ensure my end vision is achieved. My photographer, Laura Jane, is a gem and every time I see a blog post with her latest images I get goosebumps. 

6. Don’t be bullied – at the end of the day it is your wedding. If you mom/gran/mom-in-law or friend insists on a sage green paper for the wedding invite because its just ‘soo dreamy’ you need to Learn.To.Say.No. Appreciate any monetary contributions towards your day, but remember that the decision in most cases should always come down to you and your hubby to be.

7. Accept help – I’m still battling with this one as I hate inconveniencing people, but if someone does offer assistance, grab it with both hands.

8. Shit is gonna hit the proverbial fan – We lost our venue a few months ago and I thought this wedding was never going to happen. Turns out the new venue is even better than the first and I cant wait to get marred there. Often, these things happen for a reason.

10. DIY is King –  What’s the biggest joke at a wedding? The Budget. Weddings, my friends, cost a fortune. If there is anything you can make by yourself, or get a friend to make, then do it. We are so blessed to have a friend Kim who has designed all our wedding stationery – she has saved us money, time and made the experience a more personal one. Plus she’s bloody talented and just ‘gets me’.(Blatant flattery and bribery, Kim ;))

11. You will change your mind – Growing up most people dream about their big day and envision the dress, the decor and the groom. I had a very set idea in mind. Then I started planning, and everything changed. Be open minded about trying on different dress styles, looking at different venues and opening your mind up to alternative ideas.

12. It’s too soon to panic – No, really. You can only control the controllable. When in panic mode I suggest a 3 step process:

– Pour a glass of wine

– Phone a friend

– Pour another glass of wine

Here’s to the next 5 months of planning and enjoying every minute!

I would love to hear your feedback on your own wedding planning too and any advice you have for me 🙂

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