{Guest Post}: Why I Homeschool

South African mom blogger Lucia shares with us her reasons why she has decided to homeschool.

 

I got into a debate with a close relative recently about my choice to Home-school my children. She thought it an interesting subject, mentioned concern for the children, and we had a relatively unheated debate about my choice. I took no offence, I don’t anymore because I’d live in constant offence if I had to take offense every time someone questioned this choice of my parenting.

I don’t have to defend many parenting choices because for the most part people seem to agree that as a parent I have the best interest of my kids at heart – just not so convinced that choosing home schooling as my kid’s primary education method that I could be thinking with my kid’s best interest at heart. I find it fascinating and disturbing that this is a perception.

My relative pointed out to me that most home schooling parents she knows are doing it for their own sake, to have time to go to the hairdresser or beauty salon. Apparently, they do it so their kids could fit into their schedule. Gasp. I can’t remember her exact words, but she felt that most home school parents don’t do it for the benefit of their children, but more for their own benefit.

I sure must have hung out with a different set of home schoolers because I’ve yet to meet a home school parent that are doing it for their benefit. It’s a sacrifice as a mother to take time out of your dreams and career to bring up your young ones. To be at home so they can learn and play at home. It’s a sacrifice we’re not allowed to talk about because then what about the working mothers’ sacrifice. Let me just be clear here. I think working mothers are great mothers and women and wives. I don’t take away from their sacrifice of time without their kids so that they can provide food and housing and whatever else they deem necessary for their families. I respect that they have their reasons for making the choices they have made, all I ask in return is a mutual respect in trusting my reasons are as valid as the reasons you use to make your choice.

I listen to most working moms and they all feel they don’t have much choice in the matter, needing to support finances in the house, and at the same time they don’t feel that they would be able to live a fulfilled and busy life as a mother at home. They say they won’t have the patience or the ability to teach their children what they need to learn. Every mother that has asked me about my choice to home school has told me that it is not for them because they’re just not ‘made’ for it. I always wonder what exactly that means? You’re not ‘made’ to teach your child the things in life you’d wish for them to learn? You’re not ‘made’ to face the fact that you’re not as patient as you’ve imagined yourself to be, or your kid is not as clever as you’ve told yourself they are, or your idea of what’s important to learn is not what your kid deems as important? You’re not made for spending your days at home with the little people you’ve created?

I believe that if you’re a mother you should accept that you were made for more than just your own dreams and aspirations. I guess I can say that I wasn’t ‘made’ to be a working mom. I shiver when I think that if I was in someone else’s shoes I’d have to be up by 5am to get my kids ready to get to school on time, as well as get myself ready to get to work, be separated from my kids 5 days a week for at least 8hrs a day. I wouldn’t know if they were getting hurt, playing with friends, getting bullied, being a bully, learning new things, getting into trouble. I would only hear about it at night, hopefully. I would have to come home tired from working all day and must help each child with homework, should make dinner, bath kids and get them to bed – hopefully having had an hour or so of meaningful family time, but more than likely it would be spend looking at a screen.

Mother Helping Daughter With Homework In Kitchen

You really get to know your kids when you spend 24/7 with them. And they get to know you, and you discover new things about yourself and that little army you created. They outnumber you and they are growing up into little people full of their own ideas and wishlists. I want to be in the know of their ideas and wishes. Not so that I can grant them their wishes and ideas like a fairy godmother, but because I want to be there to help them try their best to fulfil their dreams, as best I can. I want my kids to achieve the most they can – but I really want them to just enjoy each day and each moment as it happens. I want them to chase after moments and not after money. I want them to chase after family and friends and spending time with people that make you laugh, people that make you think, people that make you angry and people that you can just be all you are without judgement. Because all those groups of people create an emotion in you for a reason. It makes you question yourself, your ideas or ways of thinking. It makes you put yourself in someone elses’ shoes, or if you’re a narcissist it only validates your own way of thinking.

I am fortunate enough to be able to choose to work or not to work. And in that I mean that if I had to work I would have time to my career and myself but any money I make would have to pay for my kids to go to school. And do I want my kids to go to formal standardised schooling? No. I choose to work from home, using my skills and passion as a photographer. I am currently pursuing writing as another option as a source of income. Having chosen Home schooling as our way of living has also given me the opportunity to explore areas of myself that I haven’t previously considered as a means to earn and contribute to our life as a family. It has also allowed me to show my daughters that the boxes the world wants to put you in doesn’t have to define you. If you don’t fit into the box someone is forcing you into, break out and shape your own box.

Strangely enough, formal schooling is not that old. In fact it only became popular between the 17th and 19th centuries.

If you have the time for an interesting read go check out this article about a brief history of education. It’ll give you a better insight into one of the reasons I believe home schooling to be a better option than formal standard schooling. Kids, especially young kids, learn through play. I can see by the interests that my kids portray what they would enjoy doing as a career. I don’t think that they can’t have careers if they choose to be mothers, but I hope they will know that balancing your passions in life is what brings happiness, not earning more money, or living in bigger houses or driving fancy cars. I am happy. I am fulfilled and when I’m not fulfilled I do something about it. We make time for ourselves as much as we make time for our kids. I didn’t become a home school parent overnight, but I always knew that if possible I want to spend the first 4 years of my kids’ lives at home with them. It’s become a bit of an extension in time as we’ve grown as a family and I’ve come to realize the time we have with our kids are so little. If we live to be 70 years we live with our kids less than 20% of our lives! Women often use their career as an excuse for not being at home with their kids, and in the unfair world we live in it’s a valid excuse. Most women won’t be able to get back into their careers at the exact point they left it to become a mother. Someone younger and probably male would’ve come along and taken her position. She’d have to start over again.

I know that choosing to stay at home with my kids until they are ready to head into the world as confident human beings doesn’t mean I must sacrifice my career. I can do what I love while being at home, study further myself, improve my skills or take a break if I feel I need to recharge and refocus. I know that by the time my kids are no longer at home to occupy my time I will be able to focus on my career and build it up to where I want it to be. I know I am good at what I do and can only get better with the time I get to practise. I might not have enough time to build a career right now, but I have enough time to build my skills. Having had this debate with my relative made me think…what would a parent who chooses to send their children to formal schooling do or say if I had to ask in the same tone about why they chose to send their kids to school? Are they really doing it for their children or for themselves? Using my concern for their children to pass my judgement on their choices? Would they walk away unoffended? It’s not only because of this recent debate that this thought came up, but being constantly asked in a way that makes you feel you are ill-equipped to make that choice – as if you just decided this on a whim, as if you don’t know what you’re doing and how could you?

I do hope this clarifies the choice of home schooling a bit. It’s a much longer and deeper discussion really than what is captured here or what was said during our ‘debate’. I can go back to my own schooling history, or mention the fact that people like Beethoven and Mozart was taught by their Fathers. In fact, just about any person born before the 17th century was more than likely home schooled. We are not all religious, we are not all hippies, we are not all weird. But most importantly of all, if we are any or all those things, we don’t really care that you see us that way, because we are, most importantly WHO WE ARE. Not who the world, or the system, or the government, or anybody else wants us to be. We are comfortable with the morals and standards that we live by, we are comfortable with the people our children are, we are encouraging individualism above reforming, we are encouraging our kids to use their special set of skills and knowledge and character to make the world a better place. To connect as families. To expand their horizons and think differently than everyone else. A kid’s intelligence does not rely on whether they go to school or not. Or in the speed at which they grasp a concept. Mozart was not interested in learning geography, and Michelangelo couldn’t care less about his grammar. We nurture the things that drives our children to want to learn, that make our children enjoy learning and we do it whilst allowing them room to play and be children. My relative agreed by the end of the discussion that she can see the benefit of home schooling during the foundation stages of a child’s life. And if that’s only a start to opening one person’s eyes to the benefits of home-schooling, I’ll take it. I believe there are equally beneficial reasons to home school high school children, but it’s a whole different ball game then, and one I’ve yet had to tackle. It’s one I’m scared of and excited by. It’s one I will face when we get there. Right now, we’re just learning to read and write and be kind and honest and confident and cook and bake and build stuff and grow stuff and care for each other and show respect and use our imaginations and design clothes and houses and care for animals and babies and clean our rooms and occasionally water some plants, sweep the house and dust every now and then. We learn to count by counting our blessings and we learn to divide by sharing our blessings. We multiply by baking and subtract by eating. We enjoy life with the people we love. And we love a big variety of people. People who home school, and people who don’t. People who go to church, and people that stay at home. People who have kids, and people who don’t. People with the same colour skin as us, and people with a variety of different colours of skin.

My kids will be fine, in fact they may even be great! And so will be all the working mommies’ kids. If we do what we do out of love, they will all be fine, or even great.

 

Lucia blogs at Fairies and Rock . You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

{Guest Post} Minecraft – a stay at home mom’s view.

minecraft mom's view

This week we have a post from SA mom blogger Lucia who has some opinions on the game Minecraft.

Minecraft is a sandbox video game which enables players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D generated world. 

 

I’ve read and heard various opinions about the video game, Minecraft, and it’s varied from good to bad to downright horrendous. There’s been instances of sexual abuse within the gaming platform as well as a report of a kid going into a comatose state from playing Minecraft. It’s scary stuff. The comatose kid had to go for therapy to get him off his addiction to this game, and the sexually abused kid had to also receive some kind of treatment as the gaming reality seemed so real and she physically felt abused. Some truly horrible stuff yes, and as a mother of four daughters it scares me to even contemplate either one of those possibilities. But can I voice my opinion…my humble no doctorate or phd or fancy degree, just staying at home 24/7 with my kids opinion? Because boy I really hate having to listen to everyone else bashing something that I truly find useful and helpful. Firstly, my kids are 5, soon to be 7 and 9, and the youngest too young to care. They NEVER play any online games, so the risk for sexual predators on these gaming platforms are null. And they NEVER play alone. They are not allowed to play games by themselves, because yes, inherently video games are anti-social. So, if they want to play, one of their sisters must want to play with them. And most of the time they’re only allowed to play an hour at a time, take a break, switch partners, play for another hour and then go play outside, draw, colour or do something other than stare at a screen. I’ve watched my kids play more often than not as well and if they do play unsupervised it’s while I’m around in the house busy with well, all those fun SAHM stuff we do….(yeah that’s right, we actually have other stuff to do besides entertain our kids) If they argue or fight over anything within the game it gets turned off. If they react negatively after being told it’s time to turn it off, they get banned from playing it for a couple of days. If they nag to play, they don’t get to play at all. They’re mostly, excluding weekends and some holidays, only allowed to play after 3pm. And they have to make turns. It might sound like a lot of co-ordinating, but they’re pretty good at keeping each other in check and balancing their times. We also give them tasks to do within Minecraft. Me and my husband plays as well, as I’m a firm believer that you should know what you’re allowing into your kids lives and minds. We started a “Dream house” world, where everyone had to design and build their dream house. Then we create tasks for them or create ‘treasures’ for them. A task might be something like having to build their dream playpark/restaurant etc within this world. My BH is busy building an underground railway to each house and we tell the kids there’s a secret within the world to go and discover…so we make it interactive and a family activity.

minecraft and kidsBesides playing Minecraft they also play various Kinect games. We opted for the Xbox 360 with Kinect because of the physicality of the games and I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised at the variety of games available for this. We’re busy trying out a couple of demo’s and there’s dancing games, Star Wars fighting games, Boxing and of course all the athletics and adventure sports games – and it’s fun to watch them play, as well as joining in with them. I walked into the house yesterday after telling them they can try out one of the dance demos and they were just bouncing and laughing and getting a good work out to boot.

So yes. My humble SAHM opinion is that if you’re going to leave your kid to their own devices and not monitor their activity then you’re going to find trouble – or rather they more than likely are. Do I use the gaming console as a babysitter? No – if it was a babysitter I could leave my house. I don’t do that. I think irresponsible parenting is causing more issues than games and screens, but instead of monitoring and being present with children while they are using these devices, it’s easier to point the finger at the games or videos or whatever and say how bad they are for kids. Do we really need to read about the fact that there might be sexual predators in these online games to not allow our very young kids to play online games? Surely it’s naive to think your kid is safe online, in any game…or that letting your kid play games or stare at a screen minecraft and childrenfor more than 20% of their awake time won’t have an influence, especially if you’re giving them free reign on where and what and when they’re playing.

Be more involved with your kids screen time, interact with them, play the same games as them or play the games with them. Don’t let it be something that creates a barrier, use it to create a stronger bond…yes to some people playing video games might seem silly and a waste of time, but if this is the technology our kids are growing up with, then I see it more as an investment of time into my kids than a waste of time.

 

Lucia blogs at Fairies and Rock . You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

{Guest Post}: Things I want my daughters to know

Guest poster Lucia this week shares with us what she would like her daughters to take with them in life…

To my four daughters.

I spend many hours watching you play and listening to your chatter and as much as I want to protect you from the harms in this world, I also want to teach you how to deal with the hurt each of us are guaranteed in this world. Some lessons we learn from others, other lessons only through our own experiences. This is what I’d want for you…because I love you and I want you to be kind and caring human beings….
girl blowing bubblesI want you to appreciate the possessions you have in life, not because I want you to be materialistic, but because I want you to realize that you have no right to any of it. It’s a blessing to have what you want and one that can last for a lifetime or be taken away in an instant. True happiness surpasses all you could ever own and so does loneliness and sadness…it might make life easier, but it does not necessarily make life happier. To appreciate the beauty of a sunset or the love of your true love, you do not need a fat bank account, and those are often the happiest moments you’ll remember. No one denies having money is nice, but if all you’re doing is working to earn money and never actually living life with simple acts of life you will never know happiness.

I want you to respect your elders, not because someone deserves respect because they’ve been alive for longer than you have, but because they deserve respect through having survived the experiences they’ve had, the hurt and the joys they shared. Experience is worth more than years, but you can never catch up with the life experience of a 90 year old person…respect the things they’ve seen that you will never see, respect the lessons they’ve learnt and forgotten that you still have to learn.

I want you to be kind. Not so that you can be used as a stepping stone, but so that you can learn the value of a smile, of a kind word and realize kindness has more power than anger. That when you act towards someone with anger they close down but when you act with kindness they open up.

I want you to be impulsive. Not because it’s a romantic notion to throw caution to the wind, but because it teaches you to not worry about the little things that over time can become a huge burden and cause anxiety and no amount of time and planning can conquer it. The best things in life is realised within an instant. Planning gives you time and opportunity to consider possible negatives and changes your focus onto ‘planning’ everything to perfection, instead of enjoying the perfection of that moment.

mom and daughterI want you to be strong. Not because I want you to fight for feminism or stand up for women’s rights, but because I want you to stand up for what you believe is right and what makes you happy, without the fear of being judged for not wanting what you are told you should be wanting. I want you to stick to your convictions in the face of being told you’re uncool or weird or not normal. I want you to strive to never be the same as everyone else around you. Be you!

I want you to have faith. Not because faith will save you, but because faith is stronger than hope. Faith is believing because you know, not because you feel. Know that and hold onto knowing. Feelings come and go like the wind, knowledge lasts forever.

I want you to experience the love of a man and loose it. Not because I think it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all…but because when you loose the wrong one you are better prepared to fight for the right one. You learn when to give and when to take, what to compromise and what to stand up for. You learn to love regardless.

I want you to love Jesus. Not only because I believe He will unite us in heaven when this world has passed, but because when you know Him, you will be all you ever need to be to draw others to Him. And you will be the best you you could ever be.

Lucia blogs at Fairies and Rock . You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

My Blogging Tips

My most valuable blogging tip? Just be yourself.

I’ve been blogging informally since I was 16 years old. Back when blogs weren’t much more than an online diary and all I used to write about was boy troubles. Since I started Tyranny of Pink almost 2 years ago, I’ve discovered that blogging is about so much these days.Tyranny of Pink|SA Mom Blogs

You’ve got to have a niche and write about specific things and follow certain rules. No not those rules, these rules, no my rules, no your rules. Just when you get the hang of it, that changes. Everyone on the internet has their own idea about what they want and what they think you should be doing. I’ve come to realise that you can’t make everyone happy.

Instead, I’ve learnt that you’ve got to do what works for you and what gives you peace of mind.

I’ve learnt over the last year and a half to write my blog for the reasons I started writing. I wanted to write because I needed a creative outlet. I needed a space to call my own and if I made money doing that, then that was a bonus. Everyone likes to be rewarded for something that they work hard on. What I did not set out to do however was to work with brands and get paid to advertise products on my blog.

It’s tough sometimes, when you see other people doing what you do but getting paid a lot of money for it but the bottom line is, my blog is just not geared towards doing what they do. My blog isn’t the type of space where I can write reviews about brands and I’m okay with that because I have other goals with my blog.

My blog is about showing others the power of living intentionally and with purpose. I love to write about life from a positive perspective and show people, that even when life kicks you in the teeth, it’s okay to get back up and try again. I love showing others that there is always a silver lining but that sometimes, you’ve got to look a little harder to figure out what it is.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself

My long-term goal is to become a life coach. I realised that through my blog. I want to help others put plans into place to achieve goals, overcome obstacles and reach their targets in life, what ever they may be. I think my blog reflects that because the type of articles I write take a personal development approach to life. They aim to offer alternate ways of looking at life instead of just feeling overwhelmed by the things that happen. Without my blog, I may never have realised this about myself.

I’ve learnt a lot more from blogging.

I’ve learnt that being a blogger is like being a jack of all trades. You’ve got to understand people, your audience, social media, website maintenance and jargon and you’ve got to juggle all of that while still living your life outside of blogging too. You’ve got to be a time management boss!

I’ve also learnt that it takes a lot of patience to get to the point where you can figure things out and don’t freak out when someone asks you for your rate card or media kit. It was a little overwhelming for the first few months when I had no idea.

I’ve learnt that you can form deep and true friendships with people you have only known on the internet and through the words that they put out there. I’ve learnt that at the end of the day, we’re all fighting some sort of battle and need to get through our own struggles. I’ve learnt that it’s better to be kind and support our fellow bloggers than try to compete with them. I’ve learnt that not every one in the industry feels that way but it doesn’t matter as long as you know what matters and what works for you. There are people who are willing to help you and hold your hand as you learn, ask those people.

I’ve learnt that blogging is my passion but it can start feeling a little overwhelming when you start treating it as something that should be more successful, should make more money, should be this or that. It can be difficult to realise that someone else has been doing this for a lot longer than you and to measure yourself by their success. Instead, I’ve learnt to take one day at a time and see where things go.

All that matters in the end, is that you’re true to yourself and your own personal goals, instead of trying to keep up with what others are doing – Be yourself and do what makes you happy.

This post was written by Jonelle from Tyranny of Pink

Tyranny of Pink|SA Mom Blogs

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{Guest Post} Parenting through depression

parenting through depression

This week, instead of our normal “Meet the Blogger”, we’re reading a bit more about SA mom blogger Lucia’s struggles to parent through depression

The intent of this article has got to do with how I mother through my depression and in some instances using it to be a better parent than I think I could be without it…a bit of a weird statement I know – how can a disease make me a better parent right? Well, maybe it’s part of accepting the disease as a part of who I am. I’ve always tried to distance myself from the disease, as I believe that I’ve been cured…but I understand that it’s not really something you get cured of – you learn to live with it and recognize your symptoms so you can start preempting your emotions and reactions and warn those around you, if they care enough to stick around through your ups and downs.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression by some Dr when I was 19…I was put on Antidepressants and anxiety meds. I was told that I’m bi-polar….when I’m up, I’m UP and when I’m down, I’m DOWN. No in between, which isn’t necessarily true, because most of the time when I’m neither up nor down, I’m neutral – which is by the way the worst state to be in.

I used the antidepressants for about 6 months and then took myself off it. Whether I was on it long enough to actually do what it was supposed to, I don’t know, but it made all my emotions feel ‘fake’. Like I knew not whether I was happy because I was really happy or because I was on pills. I stayed on my anxiety meds for a bit longer and always had a back-up stash for those emergency situations. During an argument with my boyfriend I got so worked up that I just couldn’t handle it anymore and ran to get some meds. I could feel an anxiety attack coming on. 15 minutes later I couldn’t care less what we were arguing about. He still cared though and wanted some kind of closure to the argument. He asked me to stop taking my anxiety meds every time we had an argument and just work through it together. I told him I don’t know if I could handle it. He didn’t back off…he assured me that whatever I do or say we’ll work through it together. I’ve never let anyone see my full self until then. He saw me, he handled me throwing grocery bags at him in a parking lot in front of a mall, he knows the darkest me and he stuck around. We’ve been married for 12 years and are still going strong. We have 4 beautiful kids together. And because he’s seen all my ugly and stuck around I believe it gives me the guts to teach my kids to love all of themselves – and all of others.

Until the age of 16 I believed my parents to just be that. My parents. I didn’t see them as emotional human beings – especially my father. I knew he was a recovering alcoholic but I didn’t really comprehend the addiction or the emotions of this man. I guess I saw my mom a little more as an emotional being because I saw her cry once or twice by the age of 16…The turning point came when I wanted to go to a party and my dad said no. I asked him why and he said the standard “Because I said so.”  It wasn’t a good enough reason for me. I said that I’m going unless he can give me valid reason to stay. He looked at me and told me because he needs me at home. I asked him what for? My chores were done and he was just watching TV so how could he possibly need me. He explained to me that he’s depressed and just needed his family to be around him…not necessarily doing anything with him, but just be around. I gaped at him…what? I sat down on the couch and asked him why he’s depressed and we had a conversation around depression etc. I suddenly understood some of my own feelings but didn’t say anything to him about it. I then asked him to please let me know whenever he just needs his family and be honest with me about what he’s going through. We watched movies together for the whole day and since then had a more honest relationship. I still often feel that he was the only person in my family that truly knew and understood me. He passed away almost 9 years ago. Lucky for me I have a husband that are fully invested in knowing and understanding me, otherwise I don’t know how I would’ve coped with his death and absence in my life.

I’ve been a very emotional mother. Having 4 kids is no joke. I decided to be me to my kids and not some made-up version of a mother that society crams down their throats. They know I’m not perfect and they love me anyway. They’ve  seen me cry, shout, laugh and uncontrollably giggle. We’re mostly doing it together…my husband have chosen to call me passionate instead of bi-polar…which helps to de-stigmatize the disease. I explain my emotions to my kids. If I can. Sometimes I just tell them I don’t know why I feel the way I do. I especially try to explain anger to them as it’s a symptom of depression. I try to back off them a bit more when I can feel anger building up, but sometimes the wall breaks and a shouting match ensues – for which I always apologize after. I know shouting is one of the worst things that can happen to a little kid, and believe me it’s not the best thing for a mother either, but it happens. Not that much that it’s damaging our relationships, but enough for me to want to do it less…because ideally I wouldn’t want to shout at my kids at all…at least I’m not throwing grocery bags at them. They know my limits…they stretch my limits, which is good. We go for longer and longer periods without incident. I don’t use traditional depression or anxiety meds, but what I use works for me. It makes me calmer and increases my patience. I don’t see myself cured, but I’ve learned how to live with my depression and anxiety without the use of antidepressants. I get judged either way by people – depressed and on antidepressants have a stigma as much as depressed and using cannabis does. The only difference is that only one of them actually works in helping me live with depression and the other only have the pretense of helping…It’s different for each person and I know that there are people who get helped by antidepressants, it just didn’t work for me.

I go through periods of using a lot of cannabis and some periods of using none at all. I can go months or years without using and then I can have periods of using daily and periods of only using once a week. You can’t self-regulate antidepressants as you need. The last psychiatrist I saw luckily never suggested medication, probably because I was clear upfront about not wanting to be on medication. He helped me however with finding constructive ways to deal with my symptoms when I could feel them coming on. Practical ways, and one of them was to let my kids know when I feel sad, or happy, or scared…and it has helped me build stronger relationships with my kids. And I hope that it’ll help them to always know that they can talk to me about their emotions and with what they are going through. Too many times people bottle up their emotions, especially from their parents, and it all goes wrong…

Too often we hear of stories of teens that commit suicide and their parents thought they were happy and healthy. Too often we hear of mothers who struggle alone with their depression and feelings of guilt. I know my children are still very young, 8, 6, 5 and a 4 month old. But hopefully by being open and honest from a young age to them about my struggles, they’ll always see me as human being with emotions an won’t one day be caught by surprise when they are teens and I react in an emotional way towards them. Hopefully they will always know that they can be open and honest to me about their emotions and struggles, even when they are hormonal teenagers. They are all girls so that comes with it’s own set of emotional and hormonal struggles. I hope that it teaches them to turn to God for help and not to humans, because they’ll know that even their mother is a fallible, weak human without God’s help and grace.

It might seem strange to mention God now, but once again, the judgement that happens when you admit to relying on God rather than medication is sometimes overwhelming in today’s world. A lot of people also can’t reconcile the idea of using cannabis whilst professing to love God, yet have no problem with the use of alcohol. The overwhelming evidence of alcohol being more addictive and detrimental to your health completely escapes them and they solely make up their minds based on propaganda and the one or two articles claiming the negative effects of marijuana. They ignore the research articles done on the positive effects of THC or cannibinoids found in marijuana. Multiple sclerosis, arthritis, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, cancer and others have been reported to show improvement with the use of marijuana. CNN report, list of 700 diseases and articles related to the use of marijuana to improve conditions 700 diseasesCommon illnesses

I pray my most fervent prayers and do my most revealing Bible studies when I’m struggling with depression. And when its going well I am thankful to God for guiding me through it once again I praise and worship Him for it all. I can see Gods’ hand in my life long before I was a born again follower of Christ. I can see it in my life everyday. I believe He knows all and guides us to follow the path He lays out for us, and He gives us tools to help us along the way.

I pray that one day I will live in a world where I neither get judged for suffering from Depression, or for the use of marijuana to help me through it. I pray that my children will know that it doesn’t have to be a disabling disease and that you don’t have to suffer in silence or feel like you shouldn’t talk about it for fear of being judged wrongly by others. I pray that the stigma of the disease and of the cure will be gone.

And I pray that I can always give the best of me to my kids, but that they will love me even when I am at my worst. Because I am not perfect, and I don’t want them to expect me to be…

 

Lucia blogs at Fairies and Rock . You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensory Processing Disorder and shoes

Children with sensory processing difficulties face many challenges when it comes to choosing clothing and footwear. Parents of children with sensory issues, know all too well the signs and have seen how their children have unusual aversions to light, noise, shoes that are seen as too tight and clothing that is too irritating. myang-shoes

Children with sensory processing difficulties may feel uncomfortable with certain clothing and shoes and they will be picky about the clothing and shoes that can be bought and worn.

The child who is hypersensitive to tactile input may be feeling his sock seams, clothing tags or sleeve cuffs all day long. The constant irritation of clothing tags, seams and waistbands can be very distracting and distressing.

 When a child feels physically or emotionally distressed by sensory input, he will not be able to function at his best. Dressing can be the most difficult and trying time of the day for a child with sensory processing difficulties because they will resist wearing certain material, long sleeves and pants, and they will strip off the offending clothes or shoes as soon as they can.

As adults we know that wearing the wrong pair of shoes can result in a day of misery. When one adds sensory processing difficulties to the mix, then buying the correct pair of shoes can become a near impossibility. When looking for shoes it is all about finding the most comfortable shoe.Myang|SA Mom Blogs

Things to consider when looking for the right shoes for your child with sensory processing disorder:

  • Understand the problem and acknowledge your child’s feelings. There will be an emotional and response due to the external pressure placed on them and the “perceived pain”
  • Desensitize the feet and legs – Give some good deep pressure foot massages before putting shoes and socks on. This will help to calm and override the tactile irritation. Deep, firm pressure to feet and ankles… use a relaxing scented lotion too if tolerated.
  • It all about comfort. – Does the child prefer a loose fitting or tight fitting shoe? The general rule is to look for a shoe that provides comfort and flexibility (not stiff). Shoes with seam free fabric interiors, such as the Myang range of shoes , with elastic collars and thin flexible soles will be more comfortable. Heel tabs will help with adjusting and fitting the shoe properly around the heel.
  • Get the right pair of socks – if the seams of socks bother your child, turn them inside out or get seamless socks. This simple change often helps immediately.
  • Be consistent about shoe rules – it is not always okay to wear Summer shoes in Winter.

This post was written by Annabella from Sensory Intelligence.

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Walking a path of judgment with a special needs child.

chastins-postMy eldest son’s pregnancy was textbook as they say, I ate well took my vitamins, exercised, I ate fish every day and cut back caffeine, even though I was 18 I did everything I could to ensure my son was born healthy, my son slept in my arms every day and night, he was and still is so incredibly loved, he is just different and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

My son is now 9 years old, to the average on looker he seems to be like any other 9 year old boy, but he isn’t your typical 9 year old and our journey together as a family has been one of many ups and downs, many crossroads and achievements but there is one thing that has stuck out for me and stuck with me most of all and that is the judgment I have received and seen done onto other special needs families.

I have received judgment for many things as a mother; having a c section, formula feeding, extended breast-feeding, co sleeping, cloth diapering but the judgment I have seen reflected upon my family and son due to his disorder has by far been the most heartbreaking and worst to deal with.

Why I ask should I or any other parent have to point out that my child has a disorder or medical issue for people to at least be somewhat empathetic, why should any parent have to explain or have to deal with the judgment or any child for that matter… I can tell you the judgment doesn’t do anything to help that child and is the reason why so many young children and teenagers are committing suicide today, the judgment and the bullying.

You would think that in today’s age where we have so much knowledge and information available that people would be less judgmental and ignorant but sadly this is not the case and sometimes the journey can be made to be incredibly difficult and lonely when you feel no one understands or wants to.

The first problem we have faced is that children with adhd, anxiety, ocd and even high functioning autism amongst many other disorders generally look and seem to be ‘normal’ to a stranger, there is nothing physically wrong that someone can see so when your child has a meltdown in the middle of a store all people see is a ill-disciplined brat who in their words because I have heard it all before deserves a good hiding, I have even had someone say that if I didn’t they would!

To those people I say I wish it was that easy, shock and horror gasp a hiding, I grew up with them and I won’t lie and say I have never given my children one, however every child is different and I assure you that if it was as simple as a hiding or doing one magical thing instead of having people stare and gawk and frown and mutter we would do it.

Then there is the problem of those who believe that you are medicating your child because you are a lazy parent who just cannot handle the children you have.

To those people I say; first off if you had any idea how much the medication costs you would think again, we barely survive and I would love to have that extra near 2 grand in my pocket every month, I also say to you that you have no idea how much or how far most moms of special needs kids have gone before they have tried medication.

I know there are kids out there who are medicated and who don’t need to be but trust me most parents do it as a last resort, for us we tried everything from supplements and natural remedies to diets that left me cooking gluten dairy and additive free meals until the early hours of the morning, to exercise programs and activities we couldn’t afford, to play therapy and general therapy, psychiatrists and psychologists, routine changes, changing schools, parenting plans coming out of our ears before we finally relented and tried the medication, it went against every fiber of our being as parents but we did it in the end because we needed to do what was best for our child and that was treat a medical issue he had like you would for any other illness or disorder.

And yet you can still explain all of this till the cows come home and be judged and usually by woman and even more so moms which is just unbelievable to me, and usually these are woman who have no idea what they are talking about they read one article and think they know everything, they have never known the journey or the struggle and how hard life is for the child especially.

People who have no idea how difficult it is to see your child miserable on almost a daily basis because they are pushed aside and ostracized because they are different and see things differently or how when something goes wrong they are to blame even when they are not in the room, this has happened to me and I was verbally assaulted by a parent with my infant son in my arms and child at my side, when the camera footage proved he was not there I received no apology no nothing, every time one of my children is pushed or bitten or hurt by another child I have to be quiet because I know how it is to be on the other side of the coin and because I know that I am that parent, the parent who has the ‘difficult’ child and so I can never dare complain, I once received a letter from a parent several pages long when my son was 2 because he bit a child, the woman insisted my child be removed, her child bit mine a few days later, in my opinion our children were at that age and my child bit hers it was understandable that the child bit back did I insist that child be removed and would I have if  my son not bitten hers in the first place, no I would not.

I had to sit in the principal’s office at my sons school 2 weeks ago and listen to how a mom had insisted my son be removed from the class because he is “disruptive”, even though we are literally doing everything we can I will not drug my child to zombie point to please another parent, people have no idea how hurtful and heartbreaking it is, how frustrating and aggravating.

Special needs schools are few and far between, the government ones are overflowing and have waiting lists the private ones cost 5000 a month, 2 years back we were told our son wasn’t special needs enough and now we are told it is what he needs asap, I have to work and still try and get 2 days off a month for therapy, you only get 15 days of leave a year so work that one out, it also takes time, if you find someone who will diagnose your child after 10 minutes you need to find someone else, you cannot make these processes go faster… my child did not choose to be born with special needs and neither did any other child.

From the moment you see those 2 pink lines you envision your child’s future so many hopes and dreams, my child still deserves that future, our journey has just been somewhat different, there are many things I wish I could have done differently in my life, but my son is not one of them.

I guess what I am trying to say from this article if you haven’t concluded this already is that you never know what another person or family is going through, some things cannot be visibly seen from the outside and that judgment does nothing to help, I know it is shocking to see a child throw a fit in a store to get violent or scream or throw themselves around especially as they get older.  I know it is difficult to understand but it doesn’t hurt to try.

It doesn’t hurt to extend a hand of friendship or give a reassuring smile, it doesn’t hurt to say hey they are kids and I understand, it doesn’t hurt to ask why or how, it doesn’t hurt to get down to my child’s level… there are many days where I do not understand what is going on in my sons head, I wish I did it would make things much easier but I don’t and I don’t think I ever will, but we try just as every other parent does, we are all just trying our best we are all new in some or other way whether you have one child or 10, words of understanding go a long way and that goes for every aspect of motherhood, I will never understand how woman and mothers can be so incredibly judgmental towards others because they do not agree with what someone else is doing with their child, we as woman and mothers need to stand together not against each other.

No child or parent is perfect we are all doing the best we can with what we have and I think we all need to remember that.

This post was written by featured blogger, Chastin from Crazy Momma of Three.

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{Guest Post} When Along Comes Baby Number Two

healthy-living-9Today we meet South African mommy blogger Faziela, who shares a range of all her emotions about the impending birth of Baby Number Two.

Every parenting journey has that turning point, that moment where you are managing to hit every parenting mark out there. Our turning point came shortly after Cupcake turned a year and a half, I was hitting my stride at work, managing to cook AND prepare lunches every day, Cupcake was sleeping through the night, getting things done the night before so that ready to grab and go, not forgetting even managing to put lunch in for myself *gasp*who is this woman!?

Then as life would have it, I found out I was expecting baby number 2! Eek!

It has taken me a good while to adjust to the concept of having a second baby, whom we have named Dumpling, especially since we are now in such a routine with Cupcake. That being said, this pregnancy has already been completely different to my first. Where my first was easy sailing, this pregnancy brought with it early bleeding (I was on Utrogestan for 2 months which gave me the most severe migraines), my leg muscles are constantly aching, my skin is going through puberty all over again and I am just always out of energy.

Not that I am complaining; I am more than certain that things could be a lot worse, however, I feel like I am short changing Cupcake because we aren’t able to be as on the go as before. Trips to the park are shortened because I can’t keep up when we are alone and I can’t hold him for as long because he just weighs too much.

Time feels like it is flying past but it also feels so slow; my body that I was just getting comfortable in was back to its full pregnancy glory, big butt and all. Maternity clothing that I had given away had to be replaced, and leggings are my new best friend.

On the flip side of things, Cupcake has developed a much better bond with Superman, the 2 of them are often spending time out in the garden or watching movies (or rugby, sigh) but this has been so amazing to see how independent my little guy was getting.

The change in him has been ever subtle. We keep telling him about the new baby and his imminent arrival. At first I thought it was all for nought until he started coming to my tummy and saying “Baba?” and then he would give my belly a hug and a kiss. Even in his littleness, he already has the traits of being an amazing big little brother.

In all honesty, the very thought of handling two children under the age of 2 has me terrified; Cupcake already keeps us so much on our toes, how am I going to be able to cope with 2 of him!?!

Then right on cue swoops in Superman, my calm in the storm, who has been reassuring me all along that we will get through it one baby step at a time. That whatever situation we get put through, we will get through. Even as I write this post, Dumpling is practising his martial arts skills.

On the other end of the spectrum, I feel as if though I just want to have my body back to myself, for sure I won’t be getting much sleep when Dumpling arrives but at least I will be able to lay on my stomach pretty soon, yeay! And the I’ll be able to run after Cupcake, catch him in my arms and be all silly with him and Superman….and with Dumpling 🙂

So, yeah, I can’t tell you that I am going to nail parenthood once Dumpling is born. I’m going to fall over my feet at times and even cry a little bit when things get too much, but with every little kick, every littledragonmommy flutter in my ever expanding belly, I already know that I love Dumpling so much and I cannot wait for him to meet his brother.

 

This post was written by Faziela, who blogs at Official Dragon Mommy. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

Introducing your new baby to your dogs

Introducing a dog|SA Mom BlogsBringing home a new addition to the family is a joyous occasion, but it can cause stress for your existing two-legged and four-legged family members. By taking the time to ensure your new baby is properly introduced to your fur-children, you can lay the proper foundation for a lifelong friendship.

Some parents may fear that German Shepherds are not good dogs for children, but the truth is that any dog can be a family dog with the right training and care. Take some time now, well before your due date, to understand what your dog may be feeling and research the proper way to introduce your pet to your new baby.

First, realize that your dog may be jealous of the new addition. Your dog may also become stressed by the change in routine and the new sounds and smells that accompany a baby. Try to be sympathetic to your dog’s perspective and find solutions that will ease the stress on your pet during the transition.

Remember that you are the leader and responsible for guiding interactions between your German Shepherd and your new baby. It’s your job to ensure the introduction is handled slowly and calmly, allowing your dog to grow accustomed to the scent and sound of the new family member over an extended period. This way you can avoid accidentally traumatizing or over-stimulating any member of the family by attempting to rush acceptance.

Once initial introductions have gone smoothly, remember to keep up a day-to-day routine so that your dog feels safe and secure with his place in the household. Bored dogs and those who feel ignored are more likely to cause trouble and engage in problematic attention-seeking behaviors; do your best to keep meal times and walk times consistent and give your dog the attention he needs.

Finally, remember that your baby’s safety is your primary concern. Your baby is helpless and doesn’t know the rules when it comes to interacting with his four-legged sibling. Never leave a dog and child unattended; it’s your job to ensure that the dog’s boundaries are respected while the baby’s safety is protected.

If you need help or have any concerns about how to introduce your dog to a new baby, seek the help of a qualified animal behavior expert. With professional guidance and training, you can ensure that your dog learns the right habits to continue being a loyal and friendly companion to the whole family.

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A Mother’s Story: Parenting & Cancer

With parenting comes up and downs. Things go great, things go poor. There are really big challenges, along with a few easy wins here and there. The thing is, you try your hardest no matter what. Unfortunately, there are times that other circumstances come into play and make parenting that much more challenging.

Parenting with Cancer

Heather Von St. James was 36 years old when she gave birth to her daughter, Lily. As new parents, herself and her husband, Cam, were beyond excited. They had been married for years, and decided now was the perfect time! For three months they enjoyed the ups and downs of first time parenthood, learning as they went.

Something was very apparent to Heather, though. She felt awful, physically. “I was losing weight, to the tune of about five to seven pounds per week,” Heather explained. It only got worse as time went on. She continued, “About mid-October it felt like a truck parked on my chest and I couldn’t breathe.”

That’s when she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with cancer. Malignant pleural mesothelioma, to be exact. Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a natural fiber, common in many products used in building and construction. This type of cancer is very rare–about 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Thinking back, Heather realized that she had been wearing her father’s work jacket, covered in asbestos filled dust. Little did they know, those toxic fibers she breathed in would give her cancer.Parenting with Cancer

Along with the diagnosis came a 15 month life expectancy. Heather knew that she had to beat that. She couldn’t let her daughter live life without a mother. She had to be there for her! With that in mind, her and Cam came up with a plan, and stuck to it. First, they would go to Boston, where Heather would have her lung removed. After a long and challenging recovery, she would fly back to South Dakota to stay with her parents–along with Lily–because at that point she could not care for Lily on her own. Cameron would go back to Minnesota, so that he could work and the bills would be paid.

While in South Dakota, Heather went through chemotherapy, followed by an intense 30-day radiation treatment. The process took a toll on her body, causing her to lose approximately 100lbs. It was also a particularly tough time, with Cam being hundreds of miles away. “In that three months while I was recovering Cameron was only able to see Lily for three days,” Heather recalled. “It’s what we had to do in order to get by.”

Parenting With Cancer

Heather explains that she is grateful that this happened at an age that Lily would be too young to remember. She does not remember the time spent away from her parents, she does not remember seeing her mom so sick, recovering from treatments, and she does not remember the challenges and pain that were experience. She does, however, still have the strong bond she built with her grandparents when they cared for her and that is something Heather is grateful for.Parenting with Cancer

One would imagine that going through a cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery would change the way you parent in so many different ways. “I parent completely different than I ever thought I would,” Heather explained. “The little things don’t get me!” Having experienced such a desperate health situation put things into perspective for Heather, and her husband. Rather than worrying about test scores and attendance records they worry about health and wellness.

Heather also explained that she likes to make sure Lily gets to have as many fun and exciting life experiences as possible. “I see parenting in the bigger picture as opposed to little blips along the way.” Having faced a possible death sentence, Heather has a different outlook on life that she incorporates into her parenting style.

Make a Difference

Mesothelioma, the type of cancer that Heather battled and continues to battle, is rare and aggressive, but it is also preventable! That is why awareness is so important. If we can all just educate ourselves and our loved ones about the dangers of asbestos exposure, and common places to find asbestos then hopefully, this awful cancer can be prevented. While over 60 countries have banned the toxic substance, there are still others that have yet to–and that is why we continue spreading awareness!

Parenting with Cancer

September 26th is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. If you’d like to make a difference on that day (or any day for that matter!), please share this information with your friends, family, loved ones, and social networks! You can use the hashtag #MesoAwarenessDay or join in on Twitter on the 26th for a Mesothelioma Awareness Day tweet chat using #EndMeso! Any awareness efforts made mean the world to Heather, and other families out there who have or are currently dealing with mesothelioma. Like Heather said, there is always hope!

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