Motherhood. And The Demise of Friendships.

I’ve read so many articles, written by moms, where they profess massive apologetic outbursts for ‘losing themselves’ in the first year of their child’s life and for being ‘bad friends’ during that time. And every single time I read something like that I get more and more pissed off. Because I call bullshit. Because – and it took me a while to realise this – but the demise of a friendship after one of you becomes a parent is in fact (gasp) not always the new moms fault.

When Carter was born, and in fact during my pregnancy, I tried my hardest to prove that I hadn’t changed as a person. I became the martyr of “normal-dom” and insisted on being at all the dinners and events. I sipped my alcohol free beer and sparking water and made chit chat until the last guests had left, even though many times I as so dog tired I wanted to cry. I had dinners and arranged get togethers and had people visit my home and watched them get drunk and silly and had fun while doing it.

The night after my son was born I had (non mom) friends visit with fancy red wine and cheese and we giggled in my hospital room until the nurses kicked them out.

When he was a tiny week old infant we had friends for diner and we drank champagne and I burnt the food and it didn’t matter because we were doing this. We were being parents and friends and adults and functioning members of society.

When he was a few weeks old I went back to gym – with him in tow – and met people for lunch – with him in tow again – and enjoyed every last second of my maternity leave while I could.

When he was 3 months old I went on my annual girls trip – willingly – and loved every second of it – despite my overweight body and leaking breasts.

We’ve been to friends houses for lunch and ended up staying until early hours of the next morning – with our son sleeping on a duvet nest in the room next door. We’ve gone away and strapped his car to game vehicles using cable ties and a prayer. We’ve traveled overseas with him, rocked him to sleep in fancy restaurants and bathed him in sinks and basins and Jacuzzis at braais.

And now he’s almost two, and I’ve barely dropped the ball. I’ve yet to use him as an excuse for not participating, and on the few instances I’ve left a function early to put him to sleep or arrived a little bit late because he has a routine I’ve chosen to ignore the comments and eye rolls. In fact, the reason I sometimes do decline an invite is because I’m working too hard. Which when you are child-less is heroic, but when you’re a mom is an excuse.

But I’ve also come to a realisation that some friendships have changed – friendships that I thought were rock solid. And I have spent the better part of nearly two years trying harder and making more effort and saying ‘yes’ to girls nights. And the more I tried the more disconnected I’ve felt and it’s taken all of this time to realize that I have actually done nothing wrong. And that sometimes people with no kids do not want to spend time with people with kids. And that is actually OK.

I haven’t been invited to some friends houses since the day Carter was born. I haven’t cracked the nod for an after work glass of wine or a holiday or a movie or been called for advice. Because I think that some people think that we change, and they immediately assume we will have no time for them. And perhaps we don’t, all the time, but we do some of the time, and even though my life is more structured and more-often-than-not revolves around a school run, a bath time, a feeding or a nap, and I cant just do a lot of the things I used to do pre-baby, on a whim anymore, I’m still here, and available. Even if I’m sometimes I’m only available with a plus one. And I can promise you this much, if you need me, when you need me, I will always be there. Because I am still the good same person that you fell in friendship love with all those years ago.

So to the new friends with kids who just understand broken conversation, broken sleep and broken wine glasses at dinner parties, but who welcome us anyway, I say thank you. To the friends with no kids who totally get that sometimes I just cant get out, but who come to me with wine and pizza and who bath my child while I pour more booze, I say thank you. And to the friends with no kids who don’t come to me, or let me in, or invite me over please know that I haven’t changed. I still drink as much Merlot (if not more), I still talk shit and love being social, I have interests and careers and things to talk about that I can promise you are not even close to baby related, I still need your advice and and shoulder to lean on and to bitch about husbands and work and finances. I just now have a small human, who I call my son, who is now the best part of my life. And I hope one day you will see me not just as another mom, but also as Kate, your friend.

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Milestones Vs. MILESTONES.

Raising humans is all about milestones. From the second you conceive to the 12 week scan, from trimesters to hospital bags. From birth to burping and rolling to sitting. From standing to walking, to running. Teething and solids and sleeping and laughing. Every single thing out child does as they grow up is checked off against an invisible board. Carter hit his milestones beautifully, like a well oiled machine, and as proud as I am that he is the smiling owner of a full set of teeth, sleeps through the night (jinx that and I will cut a bitch) and has the hand eye co-ordination of a small genius, it’s the lesser known milestones that have truly blown me away.

One such giant leap of success happened this past weekend. Keep in mind that before he was an hour old he had been handed to a complete stranger in the recovery room to be ogled over and snuggled. Before he was a day old he had been passed around like a joint at a music festival and before we left the hospital after 4 days (also known as the one time I had 24 hour help) he had been met, kissed, cuddled and pawed by 51 different visitors. And I loved it. I wanted to raise my son to be outgoing, independent and attracted to strangers (nice strangers, not men in sweetie-van strangers). Alas, Nature had other plans, and despite my relaxed parenting style my son grew up wanting no one more than a select few teachers at school, grandparents and his mom and dad. Child friendly restaurants were wasted on us as friendly minders offered to watch him while we caught up over precious conversation wine, and instead he chose to sit on our laps and cling to our legs like an octopus monkey. He didn’t want to play alone and many an hour was spent literally sitting with him as he tentatively explored jungle gyms and swings. He is in no way strange, just slow to warm up, and most social events were spent coaxing him to interact with other adults and him only obliging as we were about to leave.

On Friday however, things changed. We went fora quick bite to eat at a kid friendly restaurant across the road and as we arrived my child spotted the sandpit. Excited squals of ‘san san san’ and he happily trotted off on his own to play. A few minutes later he voluntarily ran inside to watch a puppet show and actively chose to find a minder and sit on her lap. My heart grew and broke at the same time and like any sleep deprived irrational mom I then had to go in to check on him several times and take a all the photos. Barry and I stared at each other like dumb-wits from across the table and verbally declared our astonishment. Since then he has taken to independence like a duck to water and now treats the world slash garden as his oyster. Who knew that watching your child ramp his green push bike up a stair could make you feel like you’ve won gold at the Olympics.

So, thats it really. No major epiphany except the fact that I can marvel at him daily. People always say it gets better, and I never ever believed them. I thought they were just trying to make me feel better about the fact that they were always dirty and sticky and doing dumb things. But I can personally endorse this theory now – it gets so much better. Hell, these small humans are great hey?

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Let The Shopping Fun Begin With Toy Kingdom.

If you are anything like me – still stuck at the office until the 23rd and working frantically until Christmas, then you’re probably also really stressing about how you are going to get everything done in time.

Me. 2 days before Christmas.
Me. 2 days before Christmas.

We went shopping this weekend and fought the masses as we tried to check off a million to-do items from our list. Short of the actual kitchen sink we are almost up to speed on the shopping list. The only person left to buy for is my hubby, but I can throw a pair of running shoes at his head and he will be happy. Sometimes I also throw a pair of running shoes at his head because he’s being an arse, but that’s beside the point.

Unfortunately, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone else, 2 days before Christmas, looks a little bit like this:

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Luckily, shopping for the littlies will be the easiest thing you need to do this year. Because, let’s face it, they leave us fat, stretchmarked and poor, so splurging on gifts is as much for them as it is for us. If you are stuck with all the amazing choices this festive season, you can choose from the Festive Season gift guide in-store and on the Toy Kingdom website or get a Toy Kingdom gift card.

We headed off to Toy Kingdom in Sandton City a few weeks ago and my jaw literally hit the floor when I saw the goodies on display. When I was a kid my folks tied some ribbon to a stick and that was my entertainment. Growing up on a farm was tough, guys.

Carter, on the other hand, has no idea just how lucky he is. Going into Toy Kingdom to buy him a present brought back childhood memories of birthing sheep and said ribbon on sticks, and a definite lack of toy store visits, so I really had to hold myself back from buying everything I wanted (A Furby Connect and everything Barbie) and I had to rationalise (read: wrestle him away) with the husband that a Gold Hoverboard was probably a little bit too advanced for our clumsy 19 month old). Eventually we settled on something to keep help with his creativity and hand eye co-ord – so a mega-pack of ‘Bunchems’ it was, as well as something to bring out on special occasions – and something that will hopefully stop him stealing my iPad and lowering my street cred points on Youtube – a LeapPad Tablet. Then we got him something to wrap and open in a few years time – a Meccano 5 Model set car.

bunchems leappad-epic meccano

So basically, Carter is going to be living his best life come 25 December.

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It may sound like all fun and games but I have to be honest, choosing age appropriate, quality presents was actually very stressful. Barry at that stage was lost in a toy truck aisle and no amount of whistling for him could get his attention. Luckily I had the most awesome shop assistant helping me – he even went to far as to unpack several boxes of things for me to have a proper look.

I would highly recommend Toy Kingdom – there is something for everyone, and if they had top open up a wine bar next to the Build-A-Bear section I suspect I would never leave.

I can’t wait to share photos of Carter opening up his pressies on Christmas. For now they remain safely wrapped and tucked under the tree.

You can find Toy Kingdom in Jozi Town opposite Clicks in Sandton City or in Cape Town, Shop 407 in Canal Walk.

If you are really pressed/stressed for time then have a look at their ‘Top 50 gift guide‘. It helps to whittle down your choices and guarantees a great buy. It’s what we used – along with recommendation from in-store staff – to decide on what to buy. Pop in to their store and tell them I sent you – then share your purchases with me here or on their Facebook page.

PS – Next year I’m going back for a Furby. I don’t care what anyone says

PPS – I’m also going back for a Gold Hoverboard. Don’t tell my husband.

ABOUT TOY KINGDOM:

Toy Kingdom is Africa’s most loved toy store with 14 retail stores nationally, offering the latest and most recognised toy brands to families. Toy Kingdom brings together unrivalled quality toys, beautifully designed stores and friendly and knowledgeable staff who encourage children and parents to interact and play with the toys. Each store is designed not as a retail space but rather around the concept of play, creating a unique in-store experience of ‘toadally’ charming fun.

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The Magic Of Mom Groups

About a year ago I wrote this blog post on Mommy groups, and the absolute drama that generally accompanies them. Although I was referring 99% to Mommy groups on Facebook, I still alluded to WhatsApp groups. And I now need to retract a little bit of that article.

You see, for the past 8 months, I’ve been a part of a mommy Whatsapp group that has completely changed my previous perception.

At first, I was skeptical. The constant videos and posts chewed through my precious data and I confess – sometimes annoyed me. So I changed my download-over-wifi-settings and adjusted my mindset and watched as these ladies on this group turned into friends, confidantes and trusted advisors.

When you have a child, things shift. Friendships will alter. What you once had in common (last minute after work drinks, spontaneous Saturday braais and long lazy brunches) become less and less so. I often hear child-less friends talk about friends with kids and moan about how they’ve changed and how the friendship is different. And I totally get that. But there’s also a little bit of blame that needs to be placed on the friends without kids, because they – without realising it – do pull away. I have best friends who’s house I haven’t been invited to since Carter was born, friends who don’t even think of inviting us out because they assume we will say no, and friends who just don’t understand that I’m now a permanent +1. And that’s OK. I was that friend once too, and no matter how hard you try and try, the empathy can never be there until you are there.

So the slight shifting (albeit temporarily) of one friendship means there’s room for another – and I’ve found that in a group of moms who I tell my deepest darker secrets and fears to. Some of these ladies I’ve never met. Some are younger than me, older than me, some have 1 kid, some have 3. But the one thing we all have in common? Our children. We are a group of moms who – simply by having kids at the same school – have formed the most incredible bond. These are the people who check in daily about things, remember job interviews and dietician check ups. They were the first people to jump on board and support me when I took up photography as a serious hobby and who talked me off a ledge when I sent screenshot after screenshot of before and after photos. These are the ladies who are the first to offer help and food when your baby gets sick, who cheer on your child’s milestones and who have your back when you’re going through a rough time. These ladies know more about my son than friends of 25 years do. They share recipes and milestones charts, photos of cellulite and memes on motherhood. They smuggle Pick n Pay animal cards into your sons backpack and scour the shelves for swimming nappies for everyone an hour before the lesson is about to begin.

I’ve spent the last 2 days in hospital with a very sick baby, and the hourly messages of support and gestures from these ladies have meant the world. We laugh over post baby vaginas and cry over virtual glasses of wine whilst we share out lives through a smartphone screen. They have become an invaluable part of my life, and I’m forever grateful for the empathy and love they show not only me and my son, but each other as well.

So, whilst I treasure each and every friendship I have, it’s these ladies who have seen me through a few bumpy patches lately and I couldn’t be more grateful.

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On This Sickness Thing.

Everyone is a perfect parent when they don’t have kids. Then you have kids, and everything you thought and said pre-spawn files right out the window and hits some poor unsuspecting low flying duck in the face.

When I was a non-mom, one of the biggest ‘my child will never be like that’ thoughts I had was around sickly, snotty kids. Everywhere I looked there were babies and toddlers with runny noses, unwell children, coughing children and people bailing on social events due to said snotty coughing unwell children.

When Carter was born I handed him around to everyone within sight like a bad scene from the Lion King. “Touch him” I would screech, “hold him” I proclaimed “let him be exposed to all the germs” I yelled. And he did, and he was, and he was fine.

Even when I sent him to crèche at the tender age of 119 days I was met with disgust from most people, people horrified at just how many germs he would be exposed to. Steadfast in my belief that my child was a Kearney, and therefore healthier than a pot of organic yoghurt, I insisted that crèche would be the best thing for him. “immunity building” I think is what I said. And for the next three months it was great. I had a healthy, happy contented kid. Until one day – when he was seven months old – school phoned. Carter had a temperature. I was more panicked than Trump on a windy day, I raced to the crèche, fetched my utterly miserable child and spent the rest of the day wondering how he could have gone from farting and happy to 40-degreed and miserable in the space of a few hours. A few days later he was A-Okay, back at crèche and everything was just dandy. Except his immune system seemed to have been activated – like breaking that wee seal at a night club – and suddenly the crèche calls were more frequent. Not to say he was always sick (in-fact, he’s more healthy than not) but if there was a bug or virus doing the rounds, then my kid was bound to catch it.

We had our fair share of colds, eye infections and UFBD (Unidentified Filthy Baby Disease). In June he got gastro turned dysentery and in the past week he’s been off school with sinus infections and semi-bronchitis. Yes, that’s a thing.

He’s not alone, kids are foul creatures, and all the spitting, drooling, toy swopping and face touching means that germs will spread faster than a gossip session at ladies night. So, is my child more healthy or sickly than his peers? Absolutely not. Around 98.7% of my phone data is used up on mommy chats discussing our small humans bloody stools, projectile vomit and gunky eyes.

I already have game plans for illnesses that don’t exist. His medicine box is stocked for everything from a sore toe to a tsunami, Life hospital will be my destination of choice should he ever need to be admitted (they have beds and food for parents!) and bedtime vitamin administration is a mini assembly line.

Not that any of this will work, because they’re kids, man. And their small little bodies mean that they have much weaker immune systems. What might make us sneeze four times could cause them to need an antibiotic drip and a 5 hour nap. We have to remember that essentially they need to get exposed to everything at least once – so whereas you and I are revolting tainted grownups, our pink footed little munchkins still have a long way to go.

So, whilst Winter may be a hell pit of sickness and snot, at least I know his immune system is getting an excellent workout, and slowly building itself up to Kearney standards.

PS – If you are looking for a list of medications to stock up on for your little one, for those ‘just in case’ moments, may I suggest using this handy list I’ve complied, below.

Sally 6/5/9 126

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On This Sleep Thing.

I had a conversation with a friend last night who is keen to start trying for a baby. His wife is (naturally) very nervous. Amongst other things (gaining weight, finances and hormones) she’s worried about the lack of sleep a new baby will bring.

And I don’t blame her. Carter is perfect in many regards, but when it comes to sleeping, he’s a bit of an under achiever. And he’s over a year. So it’s not as if I haven’t given him a fair chance to prove me wrong.

Lack of sleep is 100% guaranteed when you have a child. Your newborn might sleep through from 6 weeks, but like any wild animal they can turn on you at any time. I know friends who smugly told anyone they met that their newborn slept through. And then said newborn turned one and never slept again. I know moms whose eleven-year-olds have sleep regressed, and I know my story – a baby who naps beautifully during the day, falls asleep on his own within minutes, but who sleeps through the night only 30% of the time. He’s 14 months. Which means that I haven’t slept through the night in 5475 days. That’s a lot of no napping, a massive rest respite, a sad RIP REM.

Now, before you dash off to your nearest Doctors office and swallow a box of birth control, I do have two pieces of good news: 1. You don’t actually need that much sleep and 2. It gets easier.

The only way I can liken coping on little to no sleep is to compare it with fitness. Have you ever trained for a race? Let’s say you have, and let’s say it was for a 10k. Let’s also assume that you were starting at a zero base – couch potato level. Your program starts you off gently, maybe a 2-kilometer run/walk the first day. Your heart rate spikes, you’re out of breath and you finish sweaty and exhausted. It’s possible that you may wake up the following day fucked. Your head foggy, your body swollen and battling to function for most of the day. You wondered how you could ever do more. But then the following week you have to run a solid 3 km’s, and it’s bloody hard, but you didn’t walk once, your body is a little less stiff, and you feel slightly happier. Within 4 weeks you are cruising a solid 5k’s and possibly beating your time. When race day approaches you’ve got this 10 k in the bag. You finish, tired but unbroken, and suddenly you start thinking about another race – perhaps a 21 k this time?

Lack of sleep is a bit like exercise fitness. If you happen to be a parent, think back to a time when you were kid free. If you are currently kid free then, well, damn you, you well rested bastard. Right, so thinking back to BC (Before Children) – you were used to long nights of unbroken sleep and a routine that was all yours. Now imagine you went out on a bender, got home late after a wine-fuelled dinner party or were babysitting a small human. All of these actions are guaranteed to result in less and broken sleep. Remember how you felt when you woke up the next morning? Fucked. Your head was foggy, your eyes swollen and you battled to function for most of the day.

But then you had a child of your own and that first night back from the hospital meant no more nurses or staff to help you. And then your baby had to wake up for a feed every 3 hours and – like a blind drunk – you stumbled from room to room, boobs exposed, bleary eyed and tried to do what you needed to do. You’d wake up in the morning, and how did you feel? Fucked. Your head was foggy, your eyes swollen and you battled to function for most of the day.

This goes on for a few days – you’re probably still so used to not having a kid that you’re sleeping through some cries, your 2-am alarm and the baby monitor beeping. You wonder how you will ever get used to the constant waking up. And then a few weeks pass and suddenly you wake up without needing an alarm, feed the kid with military skill and it all starts feeling easier. A few months in and your baby is going through a sleep regression, teething,

Fast forward a few months and your baby is going through a sleep regression, teething, colicky or in pain. You sleep less and less but function better and better. By now you might be back at work juggling deadlines, demands and clients. On 18 minutes of sleep you’ve put together proposals, dominated meetings and finished budget forecasts. You are acing this. You are running your 10k.

Turns out, the less you sleep the easier it becomes to not need sleep, and little rest no longer means you can’t function the next day. Our bodies are amazing things, and simply adjust to help us cope with this change in our lives.

That being said, combining the two can often be dangerous. I went out on a wine fueled bender last night, and also happened to be on baby duty. I am fucked today, eating McDonalds at my desk, my head throbbing, my eyes swollen, wondering how I’m ever going to function again.

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Babies, Bank Balances and Brain Failure.

There are so many things I love about having a baby. I’m not going to get into that now, but consider this my disclaimer:

I hereby declare my undying love and adoration for my son, and no children were hypothetically harmed in the making of this blog post.

Right, now that that’s off my chest, there are times when having a child makes life damn near impossible.

Yesterday, while driving to friends for champagne brunch, we realised that we had left Carter’s nappy bag at home. We were too far gone (read: lazy) to turnaround and go back to retrieve it, so I had to go into Pick n Pay and buy a whole tin of formula and a new bottle. Thank god the friend we were visiting has a baby of her own, so she didn’t actually die of gagging when Carter shat in his nappy, with such velocity, that the turd spilled out of his bum, into his clothes, then travelled out of said clothes, smeared onto their kid’s Bumbo seat and all the way up his body. Of course we had no cloths or towels on us, so I cleaned him up using spit, a wet wipe and a fleece blanket. Have you ever seen shit on a fleece blanket?

So yes, parental error and in no way my 5 month old child’s fault, but having a baby means remembering 40 hundred things all of the time. And when – 5 months prior – you could be as selfish as Eskom’s electricity supply, suddenly remembering all of these things comes as a massive lifestyle change.

This got me thinking – and silently applauding – every other parent out there, for there are things that become just plain impossible when you have a child.

Dating. Single parents OHMYGODHOWDOYOUDOIT? A friend was telling me about a lady she works with, single mom to an 8 year old, who has recently started dating again. Can you even imagine if I was single and had to go out and meet people? First of all, I would have to go out. As in willingly leave the house when the TV was mere meters away. What, do I leave my child alone with a bowl of water and bag of snacks? What would I wear? I still rely heavily on maternity leggings and nursing bras. Would I have to shave my legs? Now, imagine the conversations on this imaginary date:

Him: “So, read any good books lately?”

Me: “No. But I sometimes Google “Is this much wine bad for me” and “How to effectively drug your baby to sleep”

Him: “Er, Ok… what are your hobbies?”

Me: “I adore napping, but am generally too busy washing and sterilising items around the house. Sometimes I take long walks… with a screaming infant and 2 lazy bordering-on-obese-hounds”.

Then, there’s exercise. I posted a casual ‘Hey, I’m interested in yoga class’ on my Facebook page the other day, and berated myself almost immediately for doing so. What was I thinking? When on earth do I think I have time to Namaste when I should home pureeing butternut and bathing my baby. At this stage of my life I’m more ‘mama’ than ‘meditation’.

Then there’s money. Or lack thereof.  My savings account has had a life size nose Frida inserted into it, and been sucked dry. I’ve spent my money on fun things like crèche, working mom guilt gifts and high chairs. Don’t even get me started on the pool fence quote I got last week. *Signs up to sell an organ*.

Sleep. This is possibly the one I miss the most. Yes, laugh away, I realise that for the first 4 months of my babies life when I gushed about “how easy it was” and “how much he slept” that you sat there thinking “just wait”. Gloat away people, for I now have egg (and dried snot, tears and drool) on my face. For my baby who shall be named, no.longer.sleeps. I have narrowed the list down to a small 65 reasons as to why this could be happening.

This then means that at work I become the biggest fucking bumbling idiot. People walk in a wide berth around “Crazy Kate” in the corner. Some days I have such brain failure that I’m surprised I don’t wee in my skirt because I’ve forgotten to go to the loo. Just last week I tried to use my computer mouse for close to 10 minutes before realising that it was my makeup compact.

Lastly, and I think this is a universal biggie – is that having a baby means you love something more than anything, yet hate yourself. I avert my eyes when I see myself in the mirror, I moan about the bags under my eyes, I joke about my stretch marked limp boobs and I starve myself to the point of tears to try and lose a little bit of the flab. I would never talk to a friend the way I talk to myself, so why is it OK to talk to myself that way? I should high-five myself while yelling “Well done lady, you made a human!”

However, for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction (FYI – that really should be Newton’s first law, it totally trumps the others). Just as the tide comes in during the day, you can bet your broke fat ass that it will also go back out.

Carter will start sleeping again, I will lose the weight, single parents will meet someone so wonderful that they will want to introduce their kid to them and slowly but surely your bank balance will fill up.

But those bags under the eyes? Those will never go. Because, fuck you genetics.

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10 Reasons Working Mothers Make The Most Valuable Employees

There’s something quite terrifying about going back to work after maternity leave. Despite your hardest efforts, you change a lot as a person during your time off. I tried to keep my brain busy with online courses and adult stimulation, but the change goes deeper than that. It’s an internal shift that happens with or without your permission.

When I was pregnant, I would often carpool with my bestie, Amy, to work. Coming from Fourways, and traveling into Hyde Park, means traffic, always. A stresser by nature, I hated the fact that I was spending more than 3 hours a day sitting on a congested Jan Smuts, when I could be doing something productive with my time. Amy, mom to Ben (nearly 2) would always tell me that my anxiety for things that were out of my hands (read: traffic) would diminish, if not disappear entirely when I had the baby.

She was right. Something in me has shifted, and I’ve found a backbone and will that I never knew existed. My life is no longer just mine, and going back to work means adjusting to a new kind of normal. Do I strive to succeed in the work place any less? Absolutely not, but my priorities in terms of my timings have changed. I no longer have the luxury of dawdling over a task until 6 pm. 6pm is my child’s bedtime. I now steamroll through my work in order to leave at a decent hour and make the painful commute back home, to fetch my baby from crèche.

The past two weeks, of re-learning how to adjust to a full time job, being a mom, and not losing my sanity has taught me some very important lessons. And this is why I believe that working moms make the most valuable employees**. Here’s why:

  1. We are efficient. We keep humans alive, so running a team, managing a client and getting things done comes as second nature to us. Trust me, work is a hell of a lot easier than being a stay at home mom. For any mom who raises their baby on a routine, implementing a similar routine at the office becomes second nature. Timing is everything (just ask the parent who’s been shat on when they took too long to replace the nappy.)
  2. We have empathy. I used to have sympathy for moms when their sick child meant they worked from home, or when they left early to go attend little Johnny’s underwater basket weaving tournament, but now, I totally get it. Sadly, the world does not stop spinning after you have a child (the fucking thing doesn’t even slow down) so getting anything done is twice as time consuming. Just this morning, millions of parents woke up, bathed, changed, fed, burped and played with their kids, before packing their school bags, making their lunches, wiping their nose for the 18th time and shuttling them off to school. They did this all before bathing, feeding and getting themselves to work. I’m not asking for a medal, I’m asking humans to have some compassion towards other humans.
  3. We don’t fuck around. Yesterday a colleague mentioned to me that she’s hardly seen me since I’ve been back at work. That’s probably because I get in, sit down, work harder than hard, and make sure my shit is done before I have to leave for the day. I know that I get 45 minutes with my baby every day, and I need to be able to do that with a clear conscience, knowing that I have achieved my work goals for that day.
  4. We have a zero bullshit tolerance. I no longer have the energy, nor the time, to tolerate bad behaviour. Be it in a personal relationship or a working environment. I will never be rude, but you can bet your ass that your behaviour will no longer go down with me rolling onto my back.
  5. We are patient. Sure, we have a low tolerance for rudeness, but we are possibly the most patience specimens on earth. Any mom of a toddler will tell you that, compared with her child’s “but why” questions 1000 times a day, helping someone with a work related, laborious task, just ‘aint no thang.
  6. We will deliver. Listen up, I have sucked snot out of an infants nose, using little more than a plastic tube and a prayer. That means I am resourceful as hell, and can probably go the extra mile to ensure you get what you need.
  7. We are trustworthy. I’ve kept my child alive this long, right?
  8. We can work under pressure. Having a baby is like giving birth to a ticking time bomb. In the early days, one never knows how long the nap will last, how long the nappy will stay clean, and how long your bebe can go between hunger screams. We live our lives like brave explorers, fitting in hundreds of chores and activities between naps and poos. That means, the more you pile on us in a working environment, the more we can do, You’ve all heard the saying – if you want something done, give it to a busy person.
  9. We are resilient. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in almost half a year. If that’s not resilience, then I don’t know what is.
  10. When we are there, we are there 100%. Having a family means spontaneity disappears faster than your figure. So, when we do commit to something, it means we have lined up a plan in our absence in order to be there. That also means, we are going to take full advantage of the situation, and be present in the moment. Unless it’s a finance meeting, because I mean, snore.

** I’m not saying every single working mother is a win though. I have worked with a mother of 2 who proved more useless than Eskoms delivery promise. I’ve also worked with childless people who couldn’t arrange a piss up in a brewery. So, basically, some people are great, some people are dicks. You can’t win them all.

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10 Things That Happen When You Become A Mom

Today I went out in (fat) pants with the label still hanging out, flopping merrily against my bum for the better part of a morning. It’s not a thing anymore really, most days I look like I’ve been pulled off a People Of Walmart website. Looking like shit? Yep, you’re a mom. So, if you happen to be thinking about starting a family, then for the sake of full disclosure, it’s only fair that I share with you the 10 things that will definitely happen when you become a mom.

You will never look (that) good, ever again. Sure, makeup covers a multitude of sins, but there isn’t enough Clarins in the world for an exhausted sleep deprived face, toasted cheese sarmie thighs and “fuckit I’m having another glass of wine” bloat. I’m currently day 3 into a no sugar and no carb challenge, so whilst I may look less puffy, I’m about as happy as Donald Trumps campaign manager and about to cut the next carbohydrate eating person I see. So, mom in prison, or fat mom – pick your battle.

You will forget to how to English. This has been my worst. I used to be able to banter wittily until the cows came home. I could smash your funny retort with my own, and sarcasm spilled out of me like my 36D’s out my pre baby bra. Alas, with the expelling of the fetus, came the expelling of the use of the English language. Sure, I can ‘coochie coo’ my child into a smile, but ask me about anything related to the outside world and I begin to mimic a newborn: gummy grimaces and tears.

You will resent most people. That doos who parked too close to your car door, again. The lady dawdling in the mall when your child is mid-poonami and she’s blocking your way to the changing rooms. Childless people who tell you how busy they are. Childless people who look attractive. Even worse, mothers who look attractive. Anyone thin. Any baby proof cap, because which retarded medicine cap maker decided that it would be a good idea to make opening the lid the equivalent of getting in to Mensa, knowing full well a mother would have less than two and a half fingers and half the amount of living brain cells available when said medicine was needed. (Not pointing fingers here, but I’m talking to you, Calpol).

You will count down the seconds to nap time. So you can do the dishes, wash the bottles, prep the formula, shave your legs, play with the dogs, go to gym, eat some food, brush your hair, shave your pits, make some dinner, buy some groceries, catch-up on work, write a blog, clean the house, fold the washing and remove that bloody clothes tag from your fat pants. Then, to make matters worse, because we are so stupid from lack of sleep and too much wine, we choose rather to watch our darling baby sleep instead of actually doing anything on the above mentioned list.

You will mourn your life. And that’s OK. Because it’s fleeting and normal and you get over it. Plus, leaving the house without the baby is so much more rewarding when you’ve spent three weeks and a million bribes finding someone to babysit.

You will never be clean. Sure, you go through the motions of showering and brushing your teeth (the front visible ones, molars take too much time) but you are never really fresh. You will always be covered in something baby related. Poo, vomit, food. Did you ever watch The Walking Dead, when the characters had to cover themselves in dead zombie juice in order to mingle with the Walkers? I’m almost certain this is why babys stop crying when placed in their mothers arms – because they can’t smell the fear through the fecal matter covering moms frock.

You will have no money. Because babies are expensive, and apparently it’s not OK to water down their formula with Vodka. Just last week we did a reccie of Carters potential crèche. I left in tears. Partly due to the fact that I am in no way ready to leave him and go to work, and party because the cost of the school fees had me enquiring about egg donation and selling an organ.

You will feel guilty about everything. You will doubt yourself as a mom, as a wife, as a functioning member of society (although, to be fair, at times I am so mentally dumb that feel its better to put a bullet in my brain and call it a day). You will feel bad that you have to turn a lot of social outings down, that you cannot physically cook a gourmet meal every night and that your gym membership is on the cusp of extinction. It’s OK. There will come a time when the haze of baby-dom has cleared and you can make your way back in to the world, slightly battered ad bruised, but stronger because of it.

You will never stop worrying. Nope, not for another second. You can kiss that sleep goodbye friends – because not a day will pass when your child doesn’t consume your every thought. If you happen to be in a good not-worrying-about-baby-mood though, then once glimpse of your naked body in the mirror will quickly bring you back. Cellulite in my arms? Superb.

So yes, you may be fat, broke and smell like a turd. But you’re keeping a human alive, and that’s pretty much the greatest job on earth.

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The Little Story of Sprout

Several people have asked me to share my story, and although I always agreed to at the time, I have deliberated over writing this post for ages now (18 weeks to be exact) for fear of undermining, insulting or upsetting anyone going through fertility issues. This is my story, a happy and positive one, and I wrote it from my heart. I hope that it in some small way will help whoever may read it.

You see, babies – despite what they say in the movies – seldom come from a drunken one night stand or even a stork. Babies (often) come from heartbreak, tears and a whole lot of planning.

In June this year I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – a fairly common condition that affects every 1 in 20 woman. I went to get checked out because a good friend had recently been diagnosed, and as she told me I just knew, in my heart, that I had it too. Turns out, I did, and seeing my ovaries on the ultrasound resemble a bunch of grapes, was devastating. Ladies, I’m sure we can all agree that grapes, unless being fed to you by an Adonis or crushed in a wine bottle, have no place in a woman’s reproductive system.

My gynae, a crazy Croatian with a fondness for the word Fuck (to be referred to as ‘Dr D’ going forward) was brilliantly blasé and calm when he told me – and the only advise he handed out was to “Not Dr Google it, drink lots and have plenty of sex”.

Copious blood tests, medicine and a small fortune later, my diagnosis had been confirmed and we knew what the exact problem was, for me it was my Prolactin levels. (PCOS symptoms vary from woman to woman, and no case is ever the same). PCOS, like anything to do with making a human, is a messy revolting affair – some days I wished for a baby delivery by stork, much more charming than the weekly crotch invasions I was experiencing.

Dr D also advised that if we were serious about having children (we were) then we shouldn’t delay and get trying right away. In the back of my mind I was anticipating 2 to 3 years of trying (based on research and people who had the same condition) and was quite happy to go with his advice, thinking I would be pregnant in 2016 if I was lucky.

10 weeks into the new medication, and obsessively recording my cycles, basal body temperature and more I went back to the doctor for another batch of tests. I remember sitting in his office complaining that Aunt Flow hadn’t arrived in 2 months and that the meds weren’t working – he told me that based on the blood test results he would put me on fertility drugs to try help my system reboot and resume.

New blood work done I went out that week and drank my body weight in wine – as I had been doing for the weeks before then, You see, some people react to a PCOS diagnosis by cutting out sugar, wheat and alcohol. I embraced all the bad stuff and decided to try and not let my diagnosis bother me as much as I could. I found comfort at the bottom of a Boschendal bottle.

Around the same time, to try and distract myself even more from the barren womb, I took up an intense 12 week bikini body gym program. I was only 3 or 4 weeks into it, but battling – I couldn’t finish each 28 minute set without almost passing out, wanting to vomit or feeling dizzy – on top of that my heart rate was a staggeringly high at about 210 BPM during every session. Part of the program entailed taking daily pics to track ones progress – I still remember the frustration I felt at feeling so weak and looking at my pics wondering why my tummy wasn’t getting flatter, only more and more bloated.

All of this, combined with emotional outbursts at work (I cried when I was told an email was too nice for gods sake) should really have been a sign that there was something going on, but you believe a professional when they tell you that IT.WILL.TAKE.TIME so you blame the tears on the meds and you blame the bloat on the wine.

Little did I know that I had been merrily with child for 5 weeks already.

My darling husband, eventually convinced me to take a pregnancy test. I was beautifully hung-over on the day I did, and decided to stock up on all the necessities at Clicks when I bought my pee stick that would forever change my life. Necessities included a bulk purchase of tampons, ovulation kits and energy drinks (for the hangover, you see). Ha! How the fertility gods must have been LOL’ing.

So, kids, I won’t go into the shock I felt at seeing that big bold double line, or the silent treatment I gave Barry for 2 days afterwards, or event the heart-stopping bubbling over joy when I think about this little boy growing inside of me. I also won’t go into the OhMyGodWhatTheActualFuck moments I had for several weeks after finding out.

What I will tell you, is that when a Doctor tells you something is impossible, even they can be wrong. I will also tell you, that to keep a positive outlook is sometimes the best medicine, and that things happen when you least expect it.

Also, wine solves pretty much everything.

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