Dear Daughter.

Daughter. Daughter. Daughter.

I can say it a hundred times and yet it doesn’t feel real. I am so used to being a boy mom. I buy shorts and dinosaur t-shirts and endless spades and diggers and trucks. We spend our time peeing in the garden and our bath time ritual consists of ‘bum and ball cleaning’. Boys are easy and laid back and get on with it. Girls? Well, they terrify me.

I’ve been referring to this baby as ‘Pip’ since conception and up until Wednesday as ‘it’. Even though doc has confirmed multiple times (Kate, see no penis) I’m still in denial that I will be bringing a female into this world, and just what that means.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this ‘Rules for my daughter’ post that has been circulating the Internet lately – it’s a list of 35 ‘instructions’ for girls, from their moms. I’ve read a few and whilst some are sweet (“Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are” and “Question everything except your own intuition.”) there are some that are just so bullshitty. Like ‘always wear good underwear’. Please, I’m not even wearing a bra today (sorry, colleagues) and I can promise you that doesn’t make me less smart or womanly than someone in a R1000 boulder holder from La Senza.

So, whilst you may not be nearly ready to enter the world, your turns and flops and kicks remind me that, ready or not, in 3.5 months you will be here and I need to chat to you about the kind of person I want you to be, and the kind of girl mom that I want to be.

My Rules Advice, For My Daughter. 

  1. Don’t let them take advantage of you. Ever. Take this from someone who, for 33 years, has been a people pleaser. It gets you nowhere
  2. That being said, be generous. Not with money alone, with time and character and kindness.
  3. Don’t let the sexist win. Again, from experience and something I am still dealing with daily. Do you know that I got this in an email last week:

Bad of him, right? Even worse of me. I have done nothing about it. Remember this when your turn comes, as it will. Do not let people bully you on account of you having a vagina, a pretty face or double x chromosomes. Do not accept discrimination, lesser pay or lesser respect. Only you, and your peers, can change inequality around.

4. Lunch with me, call me, Let’s hang out. Sure – I am and will always be your mom but I want us – at a reasonable age – to be friends as well. I want us to talk and laugh and do stuff together, not for any occasion, just because. I am going to love your company.

5. You are not a princess. Don’t let people treat you softer because you are a girl. If you start it, finish it. if you fall down, pick yourself up. I will treat you the same way I do your bother – with a fierce sternness and love. I vow to not go soft on you just because you are pink and he is blue. Don’t lessen yourself because of your gender.

6. Work really hard. Please don’t go by the ‘marry rich’ mantra that some may.

7. Learn how to manage money. I was never taught and at the tender age of 21 plus some I am now finindg myself drenched in sweat on sleeless nights as I worry about my financial future.

8. That being said – treat yourself and buy nice things. I will try to not berate these decisions, but will try respect and encourage your financial independence.

9. Be polite, always.

10. Be interested. Learn. Explore, Be inquisitive. Check your facts and do your research and don’t just let a question linger. be so hungry for information that you feel like you will never be satiated.

11. Eat healthily. Enjoy your food. Splurge on junk but long for balance. It’s all about the 80/20

12. Hug me. All the time

13. Never ever let yourself be in a position where you feel like you are being a bully or are amongst bullies. These people are not good for you, despite what you may think or feel at the time. Be fair to everyone. Support the underdog. Always take the position of empathy.

14. If you are ever being bullied, tell me. I want you to talk openly and freely with me without fear of feeling judged.

15. If you want to play with trucks and diggers and spades, I encourage that. If you want to dress in pink tutus for 8 days in a row, I also encourage that (slighly less ;)). Try not to be defined by gender – your brother has a doll that he adores and I am so proud of him.

16. Use your wit and brain and character to get ahead.

17. Enjoy being a kid. Dont rush to grow up too fast. Adulthood is a no return purchase that really isn’t as fun as they all make it out to be.

18. Look after yourself but don’t feel bad about your weight, your looks or your figure. There are much bigger things to worry about – like which country to explore, which book to read or which retirement village to put me in when I’m old and crazy.

19. You are amazing, And fiercely loved. And you always will be.

I get to see you every 4 weeks, and it is the romantic date of my life. I can’t wait to be able to see you daily, for the rest of our lives. You are going to be the perfect addition to this little triangle-turned-square.

 

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A Little Patience, Please.

I just left a shopping mall in tears. No, not because I’d just spent my life savings on formula and nappies (although that had something to do with it) but because of a very impatient man who – after quite a trying morning – hit the final nail in my Blue-Monday coffin.

I arrived back at my car after a morning of shopping. Baby was sleeping, his diaper bag and my handbag were draped over his pram and I was clutching several large bags of items. As I unlocked my car a man in a large SUV pulled up behind me and indicated he was waiting for my parking bay. I’m sure other moms can relate, but there is something stressful about packing a car after a shopping trip. It’s a real life game of tetris – each action requires precision movement and skill. My car, for instance, is quite small, which means I have to stack it in a certain way if I have any hopes of getting home with all 4 doors shut.

So there I was, trying to hold down the pram with one leg as I lifted bags and packets and piled them in the back seta. When it came to clipping in Carter I realized that the person next to me had parked about 1 cm away from my passenger door. The side that the baby chair goes in. (Do you know what’s ironic? After I had parked in the bay that morning I realized I was a tad too close to the line, and decided to do the right thing and move my car so it would be fair to whoever parked next to me).

I felt a prickly sweat under my arms as I realized I would now have to climb into the opposite side of my car with the baby in his chair in order to clip him in. This also meant leaving my pram, cellphone and car keys outside wile I did so. Feeling bad as I had already taken what felt like 8 hours to lave the parking bay I looked back at the waiting car and mouthed a big ‘I’m so sorry!’ with what I hope felt looked like ‘gosh, aren’t I a silly woman’ face. His response? To throw his hands up in irritation and edge his car even closer to mine. Because yes, that’s going to help matters.

Finally, baby clipped in, bags in boot and pram folded away I was ready to go. Unfortunately the man was now blocking my reverse exit so I had to attempt a 9 point turn in order to get out of the way.

Prickly sweat now a river I left the mall and burst in to tears.

I have no idea why today of all days the rudeness and intolerance of one person hit me so hard. Perhaps its because I had spent the better part of an hour trying to get 4 km up the road to take my child for his vaccinations. Or perhaps it’s because my car was nearly hit twice with people driving illegally up the emergency lane, you know, because they are the only people on our roads with somewhere to be. Perhaps it’s because several people watched me drop a 6 pack of milk on the floor and looked away as I scrambled to retrieve them all, while apologizing to everyone I happened to be inconveniencing as I crawled under shelves to retrieve them. Perhaps it’s because I’m so tired of trying to be that one good person who always abides by the rules, arrives on time and tries to do the right thing.

Perhaps it’s time we all just started treating other people a little better, started being a little kinder and started realising that people are humans too.

Let’s all just have a little patience. Please.

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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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