Win a hamper from Similac to celebrate World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

It’s World Breastfeeding Awareness Week from 1-7 August and SA Mom Blogs is giving away a hamper of some lovely goodies for a nursing mom.

So… I’ve had my share of ups and downs with breastfeeding. It’s hard. It’s a really hard thing to do. I struggled to latch. I had to pump for a month.I used both boob and formula till I got back on track a few months later.  I struggled through biting. I struggled to wean. 

breastfeedingI even wrote a poem about how frustrated I was feeding a two year old at night. 

And then I wrote this:

I’m not a lactivist. I’m just a mom who wants her kid to sleep. And the boob works. It has other benefits as well. (see below)

There are a lot of positive and negative things about breastfeeding but this remains: at the end of a long day of tantrums and peeing in pants Nicky and I can connect in this intimate way. In the middle of the night, when he sometimes wakes up, the magic boob gets him back to sleep. And it calms me down too. Yes, there are times when it drags out too long and I get irritated, but on the whole, I’m glad that we have this. Because I know it won’t be long when he will no longer be asking for his “boobie” and my little boy will really become a big boy.

Until then I’ll cherish these moments with my son.

Honestly I can’t tell you exactly when we stopped breastfeeding. I know he stopped the day feeds at two but after three it became less and less at night. He stopped when he was ready and told me distinctly that “booby is for babies”. (As I’d been telling him for some time). 

But the struggles were totally worth it. I know that Nicky got the best in nutrition at the temperature that he needed and there were benefits for me as a mother too. Most of all, that I just had to roll over and feed him. No bottles to sterilise, to heat. Just an initmate connection between mother and child. And a real bonus: he doesn’t get sick much. Yes, the snotty nose etc but we have never been to a hospital. 

 

Here’s a nice timeline of the benefits of breastfeeding. So however long you do it, you know you’ll give your baby some benefits.  (This is taken from Babycenter).

IF I NURSE FOR A DAY…

Breastfeeding your baby for even a day is the best baby gift you can give. Breastfeeding is almost always the best choice for your baby. If it doesn’t seem like the best choice for you right now, these guidelines may help.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR JUST A FEW DAYS, he will have received your colostrum, or early milk. By providing antibodies and the food his brand-new body expects, nursing gives your baby his first – and easiest – “immunization” and helps get his digestive system going smoothly. Breastfeeding is how your baby expects to start, and helps your own body recover from the birth. Why not use your time in the hospital to prepare your baby for life through the gift of nursing?

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR FOUR TO SIX WEEKS, you will have eased him through the most critical part of his infancy. Newborns who are not breastfed are much more likely to get sick or be hospitalized, and have many more digestive problems than breastfed babies. After 4 to 6 weeks, you’ll probably have worked through any early nursing concerns, too. Make a serious goal of nursing for a month, call La Leche League or a Lactation Consultant if you have any questions, and you’ll be in a better position to decide whether continued breastfeeding is for you.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 3 OR 4 MONTHS, her digestive system will have matured a great deal, and she will be much better able to tolerate the foreign substances in commercial formulas. If there is a family history of allergies, though, you will greatly reduce her risk by waiting a few more months before adding anything at all to her diet of breastmilk. And giving nothing but your milk for the first four months gives strong protection against ear infections for a whole year.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 6 MONTHS, she will be much less likely to suffer an allergic reaction to formula or other foods. At this point, her body is probably ready to tackle some other foods, whether or not you wean. Nursing for at least 6 months helps ensure better health throughout your baby’s first year of life, and reduces your own risk of breast cancer. Nursing for 6 months or more may greatly reduce your little one’s risk of ear infections and childhood cancers. And exclusive, frequent breastfeeding during the first 6 months, if your periods have not returned, provides 98% effective contraception.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 9 MONTHS, you will have seen him through the fastest and most important brain and body development of his life on the food that was designed for him – your milk. You may even notice that he is more alert and more active than babies who did not have the benefit of their mother’s milk. Weaning may be fairly easy at this age… but then, so is nursing! If you want to avoid weaning this early, be sure you’ve been available to nurse for comfort as well as just for food.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR A YEAR, you can avoid the expense and bother of formula. Her one-year-old body can probably handle most of the table foods your family enjoys. Many of the health benefits this year of nursing has given your child will last her whole life. She will have a stronger immune system, for instance, and will be much less likely to need orthodontia or speech therapy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing for at least a year, to help ensure normal nutrition and health for your baby.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 18 MONTHS, you will have continued to provide your baby’s normal nutrition and protection against illness at a time when illness is common in other babies. Your baby is probably well started on table foods, too. He has had time to form a solid bond with you – a healthy starting point for his growing independence. And he is old enough that you and he can work together on the weaning process, at a pace that he can handle. A former U.S. Surgeon General said, “it is the lucky baby… that nurses to age two.”

IF YOUR CHILD WEANS WHEN SHE IS READY, you can feel confident that you have met your baby’s physical and emotional needs in a very normal, healthy way. In cultures where there is no pressure to wean, children tend to nurse for at least two years. The World Health Organization and UNICEF strongly encourage breastfeeding through toddlerhood: “Breastmilk is an important source of energy and protein, and helps to protect against disease during the child’s second year of life.”* Our biology seems geared to a weaning age of between 2 1/2 and 7 years**, and it just makes sense to build our children’s bones from the milk that was designed to build them. Your milk provides antibodies and other protective substances as long as you continue nursing, and families of nursing toddlers often find that their medical bills are lower than their neighbors’ for years to come. Mothers who have nursed longterm have a still lower risk of developing breast cancer. Children who were nursed longterm tend to be very secure, and are less likely to suck their thumbs or carry a blanket. Nursing can help ease both of you through the tears, tantrums, and tumbles that come with early childhood, and helps ensure that any illnesses are milder and easier to deal with. It’s an all-purpose mothering tool you won’t want to be without! Don’t worry that your child will nurse forever. All children stop eventually, no matter what you do, and there are more nursing toddlers around than you might guess.

WHETHER YOU NURSE FOR A DAY OR FOR SEVERAL YEARS, the decision to nurse your child is one you need never regret. And whenever weaning takes place, remember that it is a big step for both of you. If you choose to wean before your child is ready, be sure to do it gradually, and with love.

*Facts for Life: A Communication Challenge, published by UNICEF, WHO, and UNESCO, 1989
**K Dettwyler. A Time to Wean. Breastfeeding Abstracts vol 14 no 1 1994
©1997 Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC 136 Ellis Hollow Creek Road Ithaca, NY 14850

 

Win!

Similac® Mom would like to give-away a  hamper to the value of R800  not only to create awareness but to also celebrate this week.

Similac® Mom is a shake. 

  • Low-fat, low calorie, helps manage weight during pregnancy and while breastfeeding
  • Helps build your immune defences
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Helps reduce the risk of iron deficiency anaemia
  • Vitamin D and FOS, a prebiotic, have been shown to improve calcium absorption

 

 

similac hamper breastfeeding must havesThe hamper includes:

  • Breastfeeding Pillow
  • Nipple Cream
  • Breast Pads
  • Similac Mom tin
  • Wrapped in a lovely hamper box, cellophane and ribbon

By the way I have to say a word about the pillow. I think it is one of those nursing must have’s. It helps support the baby while you feed. And the cream sure helps the wear and tear of breastfeeding. The pads help those early days when you are literally leaking.

But the Similac mom can help YOU. I think we forget about ourselves in this process and how much we need the nutritional support just as much as baby does. 

Win this hamper by simply leaving a comment below. 

Terms and Conditions

  1. This competition will run for a week. The winner will be announced on the Facebook page, and emailed. 
  2. This competition is open to SA residents only. 
  3. The prize is not transferable.
  4. If you have won on SA Mom Blogs in the past 3 months you will not be eligible to win this competition. 

 

{Guest post} Should I hire a nanny?

Should I hire a nanny? muses South African mom blogger  Tracy Dawson, who blogs at Liam and Cole. 

The nanny conversation has been a hot topic in our home for a long time now. Hubby and I often discuss whether or not to keep our nanny or send Cole to creche and Liam to aftercare. Many have different views on the subject, as do I, and I’d like to share with you our experience. Use it, don’t use it. You will hopefully at least gain some perspective.

I returned to work with Liam when he almost 5 months old. He went to a day mother for the first 3 months. I wasn’t quite happy to take him out with me so early every morning, especially during winter, which was exactly the time that I had I returned to work. His day mother was good, and the only issue I had was having to take him out in the mornings.

 

 

Hubby’s dear grandmother recommended a lady who would be able to take care of Liam and stay with us. This sounded amazing to me. Having someone everyday and not having to take Liam out in the cold was all that mattered to me. She stayed with us during the week and went home on weekends. Coming home from work was a breeze as I came home to a clean, fed, and well looked after and happy baby, AND my house was clean – major bonus! What more could I ask for? To be honest though, when we hired her, we didn’t actually do a formal interview. I also didn’t sit with her and take her through everything that I needed her to do besides the basics on how to take care of Liam. I also didn’t ask any questions about who she is, where is she from and I didn’t get any references. I trusted this lady with my greatest asset, my son! The could have proven to be my biggest mistake. Fortunately, she was an honest hearted lady and took great care of our son. She was simply amazing!

 

should I hire a nanny

 

Sadly though, she was only with us for a year. Circumstances changed at home, and having had no experience with a creche going child,  I was pretty keen on sending Liam to a creche as I felt he needed to “socialize”. Being a first time mom, I just couldn’t wait for Liam to be doing all the big boy stuff, you know, learning, playing etc. It didn’t cross my mind that all of that would come in due time, in HIS time, when HE is ready. There was no reason to send him to creche at such a young age. He has the rest of his life to socialize and learn and play. Nonetheless we found what we believed was an amazing creche. But, after a couple of weeks of Liam being there, I really started to miss our nanny. Now having to drop Liam at school every morning, fetch him in the afternoons after work, and always being prepared for school everyday, just became a nightmare. Liam also started getting sick more often than usual and it mean’t me staying out of work more often, and spending alot more on doctor bills. So in addition to creche fees, we now had alot more medical bills and I still had to do all the chores of a stay at home mom when I arrived home from work everyday. It was tough, and it was tiring to say the least! I didn’t realize how good I had it, until I didn’t have it anymore.

 

 

Later, when Liam started “big school”, he didn’t quite enjoy aftercare at the school so we decided to hire a nanny once again, just to be home with him after school. I made contact with our ex nanny and she recommended someone. It worked out well. By the time I fell pregnant with Cole, our new nanny had been with us for a good few months and I was comfortable with her taking care of Cole. Cole came and regrettably there were many things that our nanny had to deal with back home. Which meant more staying out of work for me and hubby, which was one of the very things having a nanny was supposed to prevent. It left me frustrated and resentful. Any employer would be upset to pay someone to do a job but end up having to do the job themselves. At the end of the day, no matter the circumstances, I needed her there and she wasn’t there. That’s the thought that kept rolling through my mind. I then started reminding myself, that I trust this lady with my greatest assets, my kids! I started reminding myself of all the good she had done. And she too is a mother. Just like I and any other person, we all have “stuff” that we have to deal with from time to time, it was just a bummer that we had to suffer the consequences.

 

 

So in light of everything that’s happened along the way, my personal decision is To Nanny! Not everyone will have the same experience. In fact, many might have had a more positive experience and some not. But I constantly remind myself that my baby is warm and at home every morning, he is in his safe place and he is not exposed to other kids germs at a creche. Yes, no matter how much money you spend per month, to send your child to the best creche in town, everyday your child is exposed to other kids germs. Kids carry germs, it’s that simple. And if one kid is surrounded by many other kids daily, well, you can expect that your child will get sick from time to time, more often than not. Unless your child has an amazing immune system and he just doesn’t get sick very often (which most kids don’t).

So here’s a list of do’s and don’ts and pro’s and con’s when it comes to hiring a nanny:

Do’s:

~ Ask for a referral from a trusted source

~ Conduct a thorough interview, engage and ask many many questions

~ Be clear of your expectations upfront

~ Have a contract in place

~ Document EVERYTHING

~ Be good to your nanny – She is taking care of your greatest assets!

Don’t:

~ Take it for granted that your nanny will know what to do in any given situation at home

~ Hire someone who has not been recommended by a trusted source

~ Have a verbal contract

~ Let her work for longer than her working hours

Pro’s:

~ Less exposure to other kids germs therefore a less often sick child, hence less medical bills

~ Your child is at home and safe and well looked after

~ You can come home from a tiring day at the office and know that all you need to see to is dinner and homework

~ No need to pack in school bags and worry about sending milk and food and the stress of getting your little one ready in the mornings

~ You child’s carer is only focusing on your child, and not distracted by others

~ Your child may be taken care of the way you want, provided you make this very clear from the start

Cons:

~ Nannies get sick too, they have stuff to deal with too. So when your nanny does not pitch for work, you may find yourself very inconvenienced if you don’t have a support system

~ It can be expensive

~ Public transport issues can play a big role if your nanny is travelling from far. Be prepared for late coming. Speak about this upfront. Live-in nanny’s work out great to avoid this!

 

 

In my personal experience, the pro’s definitely outway the cons which inevitably makes it less expensive for me and so I will continue to keep my nanny employed. Cole hardly gets sick, in fact, off the top of my head, I can only think of one occasion when he was very sick and that was just a couple of weeks ago. I hope I was able to give you some perspective on the subject or at least given you an idea on what to keep in mind when hiring a nanny.

I would also love to hear your thoughts on this, To nanny, or Not to nanny! Please leave your comments below!

PS: For Cole’s outfit details, go to the Gallery page, or visit our Instagram page.

Tata for now

Tracy xx

 

Tracy has  been wanting to document her journey for such a long time and at the same time she’s fallen in love with the little local companies, especially the mommy owned ones. So what better way to incorporate both, other than a blog. In her blog she talks about her journey through motherhood with her kids, Liam and Cole while at the same showing you what our local momma owned companies have in store for you. 

Find her on her blog, Facebook and Instagram

{Guest Post}: Style it Like a Mother

This week’s post is from South African mom blogger Helene, who blogs at Prettybelle. 

 

motherhood is like survivorMotherhood is a little bit like Survivor. No, scratch that, Motherhood = Survival! It’s just like those poor people on some remote island – you have to outwit, outlast and outplay!

 

Adapt or DIE!

 

The only difference they lose weight and you… well let’s just blame it on baby!

 

When you have a baby everything changes. And if anyone, anyone tells you differently? They are… wait for it … lying to your face! (I told you motherhood is like Survivor)!

 

Your world shifts – you‘re constantly thinking about someone else’s needs; is she happy? Did she eat enough? Why isn’t she sleeping? Your body changes! And in the process you need to somehow still be a sexy, loving wife?

 

 

But the biggest change for me (except of course my clown feet) was What to Wear?

 

 

It may sound superficial, but by looking good, I feel great and in return I’m a better Mama.

 

But let’s face it, time is precious and pretty much non-existing!

 

 I learned a few tips and tricks along the way that I want to share with all you exhausted mamas out there.

 

Because somewhere hidden under a big pile of diapers countless wet wipes, and breastfeeding sessions there is still… a stylish YOU.

 

 

 

Survival Tip 1

Comfort is a style!

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but again motherhood changes everything. Yes, I strongly believe that comfort is NOT a style and if you ever see me walking in (comfortable) crocs, just know that I have completely lost my mind.

But it’s just not practical to wear the shortest skirt (flashing innocent strangers while strapping baby in the car seat).

My top 5 mama-is-comfy-and-have-style items:

  • Skinny jeans (research shows that you’re way thinner than you think you are, so get into those skinnies right now)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sneakers (you can run in them, and that’s pretty much what Mamas do all day)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

T-shirts (they’re affordable and can be swooshed up in a jiffy)

 

 

 

 

 

Jumpsuits (you don’t have to plan an outfit, just jump in)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cap or Beanie (for those bad hair days)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survival Tip 2

Do not dress like a Mum!

Mamas are ruling the world! The hottest accessory = a bump or cute kiddo walking next to an oh-so-stylish Mama beats a Forever New handbag any day.

 

Constant worrying and a lack of sleep (did I mention guilt)? May cause wrinkles and premature grey hair BUT NEWSFLASH, you’re not that old!

 

No time to put on make-up or even shower? Don’t worry!

 

 

Just do this:

 

  • Colour your hair

 

Make an appointment and make sure you attend. Baby will survive! Nice hair = instant facelift. Even if you don’t wash or style it, it will be a pretty colour, for at least 6 weeks!

 

 

 

 

  • Tint your eyebrows

 

If you don’t have the budget to micro blade (the new eyebrow technique that literally transform your eyebrows from the girl-next-door to Cara Delevingne), just tint it. It’s quick, affordable AND you can do it at any salon. I get my eyebrow-fix at Sorbet. Thanks Janet! It lasts up to 6 weeks.

 

  • Put on red lipstick

Sweep on that red lippie! Red lipstick, just like sunglasses, can change the world.

 

 

 

 

 Survival Tip 3

S = Style it!

  • Pair your favourite summer dress with tights – you don’t have to shave and it’s almost like wearing pants, meaning you won’t flash the car guards.
  • If it’s too hot for tights invest in hot pants. It’s like a mini ski-pant. Now you can be all flirty, without showing your bum.
  • Look out for jumpsuits – this is a mum’s staple! The only thing that takes time is going to the bathroom…
  • If you are a supermodel, stop reading. If not, scroll down. The rumour about that flabby part you get after a caesarean, well it’s true and no amount of sit-ups can fix that, but a high-wasted skinny jean = goodbye flab! No sit-ups required. Take that Britney!
  • Think outside the box! Match your T-shirt with a chiffon skirt, just for the hell of it! You’re going to look good and feel great and inspire a few other Mamas along the way.
  • Prints = mom’s best friend! Whether it’s plaid or floral this is a no-brainer. The busier the print – the less obvious the Purity

AND…

  • Match with kiddo!

The best accessory = baby!

 

Survival Tip 4

Don’t let your hair down!

 

Do this:

Milkmaid-braid

Look out for a vlog on how-to do my version of the milkmaid braid – coming up on Prettybelle – The Blog real soon. This is easy and the best part it’s out of reach for tiny, sticky, grabbing hands.

 

Top-knot

 

Every 2nd day is a top-knot day and that is fine!the higher the hair the closer you are to God.”  If you have an extra second, add a ribbon, for instant style alert.

 

 

 

 

Cover-up

When all else fails, just put on a beanie or a cap.

 

 

Motherhood is a life-changing experience, but with these tips you can Adapt, Outwit, Outplay and Outlast – in style!

 

 

Stay stylish

XOXO

 

Helene

 

 

 

 
About Helene:
 
I’m Just a Mama, married to the love of her life and completely besotted with her babygirl. I started Prettybelle with one hand, while breastfeeding. I believe life is all about the PrEtTy little moments in between. We must just embrace it – with style! 
 
Helene is a qualified journalist with a degree in B.A Journalism. She has a post graduate certificate in education (PGCE) and 9 years experience as kindergarten teacher. Currently Kids-editor at BELLA-magazine. She has a Diploma in Personal Styling at the acclaimed Wardrobe Academy, just because she’s a self confessed shopaholic.
 
 

{Guest Post} Helping a child through the death of a parent.

helping a child through the death of a parentToday’s reflective post on helping a child through a death of a parent was written by South African mom blogger Amelia Meyer, who blogs at Suddenly a Mom

 

My daughter was five when her biological mom (BM) died suddenly. Then, less than a year later, I came into her life as her new mom (a term she chose before we were even married). In the first few months of our marriage, there were tearful nights where she missed her BM, and we went through hours of gentle conversations about how she felt. Then, gradually, there were fewer tears and shorter conversations. She didn’t forget her BM. In fact, three years later, she still occasionally mentions her; usually in reference to a memory of visiting somewhere special or hearing a particular song. But, the real, raw sadness isn’t there anymore. And that was really our goal. Not to erase her BM with a replacement model. But, for our daughter to acknowledge the loss, work through the feelings, and move forward.

 

So, while neither my husband nor I are experts in this arena, I’d like to share what we’ve learnt from our experience and from a lot of the info that we read on it. There’s a handy breakdown of what to expect from bereaved children of different ages on this site.

 

  • death of a parent, stepmomThere are no rules. Everyone grieves differently and has their own way of wading through their emotions. So, while my daughter needed to cry and cuddle when she was sad, others may need to express themselves through play therapy, sport or writing their feelings down. As the parent, you may have to guide the process – in a time of such sadness, children and teens often don’t know how to express themselves. So, suggest different things until you both figure out what works for them.
  • Have a timeline in mind. Little ones are not able to harness their emotions or see context in the way that adults can. So, allow grief and mourning, but also encourage moving on. After a while, my daughter would only get teary and want to speak about her BM when it she was pushed to get to bed or being told to finish her salad. Although we could see the attempt at (very normal) manipulation, we had to be sensitive. I found that being empathetic and saying something like, “Shame, my love, it must be hard. Let’s talk about it when you’re finished your salad” worked best. Usually, she forgot all about it before the last leaf was gone.
  • Don’t suppress your own grief. As the biological parent, you’ve also lost someone that was once pivotal in your life. Take the time to work through your loss, not pushing it down to look strong for your children. This will only lead to an eruption somewhere down the line. Consider counselling if you’re feeling unable to work through the various stages and degrees of grief. Seeing your reasonable degree of grief may also help your kids to express their own, since you’re their example.
  • Recognise that feelings and behaviours that emerge may be related to the death of their parent, even when they seem totally random. So, problems with homework, tensions in their friendships, attitude changes, changes in sleep patterns, and so on may have more to do with the internal frustration of having feelings that seem too big to handle. Often, children struggle with unexpected emotions when a parent dies. They may feel guilty that they couldn’t save their parent. Or, they can feel angry at the parent for ‘leaving’. Your role is to acknowledge the feelings, reassure the child that there is nothing wrong with feeling this way, and recognise that this is their way of sifting through the many emotions swirling around inside. Don’t berate them or tell them not to feel a certain way.
  • As the new parent that fills the role of the parent that died, it is crucial to allow your son or daughter to retain some kind of relationship with their deceased parent. Don’t try to carbon-copy them and don’t pretend they didn’t exist. Never discourage the child to talk about them and never speak of the biological parent in a negative way. That’s not your place and it will only cause massive issues between you and your child in the future. One of the best gauges of how my daughter was feeling was a photo of her BM that I had framed and put in her room. At first, she loved it, even packing it with her when we went on holiday. Then, she took the initiative and put it in the top drawer of her desk. A few months later, she moved it down to a lower drawer. Eventually, she put it in the garage. Last week, I reminded her that she needed to sort her stuff in the garage out and donate what she wasn’t going to use to other kids. She said, “We can donate it all, I’ll just put that picture of {BM} aside so we don’t give it away”. She hasn’t forgotten; she’s just moved forward.
  • Take your child for counselling. Teens may be able to communicate with a formal counsellor, while little ones probably respond better to play therapy. You may be surprised at what comes out in these sessions, which give kids the opportunity and platform to express things that they may otherwise have bottled up.

 

Also, the advice I’ve found for children may be useful to the parents reading this. When grieving the death of a parent, children need to:

 

  • Get enough rest – sleep deprivation has been used as torture, it’s no joke. And, when the mind is racing and the tummy caught up in knots during a time of trauma, sleep can elude us all. It’s important that parents and children work hard at getting back to a place where they’re getting enough sleep.
  • Exercise – this is a tonic in venting pent-up frustrations, distracting the mind, and getting the endorphins surging. We live in Knysna, so we may head out onto the lagoon or go for a long walk on the beach (my favourite). It doesn’t have to be a formal sport.
  • Keep a journal – no-one ever has to see what you write, so you can be as angry, sad, scared or ‘crazy’ as you like. Getting those feelings out of your head and onto paper is half the battle. Write what you feel (e.g. “angry”) and then try to write why (e.g. “because I forgot to say goodbye to dad the morning that he died”).
  • Stick to routine – try to stay with what you (as an individual and a family) know. This decreases stress as there are fewer decisions to make (i.e. you don’t have to wonder how to keep busy and distracted tonight, because it’s Tuesday and you know that every Tuesday night is Rummy night).
  • Eat well – give your body something to work with. Don’t feed it on unhealthy comfort food, but nourish it with proper nutrition.
  • Make a memory box or photo album – celebrate the life of the parent that you lost and spend time making your memory very special.
  • Talk to someone you trust – this may be a teacher, family member, counsellor, or even God. It should be a mature person that can just listen, rather than trying to give you advice.
  • Remember that this wasn’t your fault – there was nothing you did wrong and nothing you could’ve done to change what happened. Even if there was something you could change (in a car accident, for example), their death was not your fault. Accidents happen, people get sick, the world isn’t always a great place. This was not your fault.

 

This is one of those things that we wish life didn’t hurl at us. It’s agonising, nothing short of devastating. But, it happens. And, when it does, we have ways of dealing with it that are better than others. This advice is just what worked for us and our family.

 

 

 

helping a child when their mom diesAmelia is a writer, editor and mom. She spends some of her (sometimes scarce) free time blogging about family life and volunteering in the community.

 

Blog – www.suddenlyamom.wordpress.com

Professional website – www.voxate.co.za

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SuddenlyAMom/

Pinterest: https://za.pinterest.com/ameliaduplessis/suddenly-a-mom-blog/

Instagram: @suddenlyamom

{Guest Post} Why I am OK with being a good enough parent

Today’s post is written by South African mom blogger Cherralle Alexander, from My Daily Cake who shares with us what it means to her to be a good enough parent. 

Being a good enough parent is about putting an end to pursuing perfection and comparative parenting. With constant inputs around what we ‘should’ be doing, and  even FOMO parenting (yes people, it is a thing), we need to draw the line. Good Enough Parenting to me is about letting go and being human. Don’t get me wrong, it is not being a negligent parent, it is about being a human parent.

good enough parentNot baking those cupcakes for class bakers day? That’s okay, you can buy them from the bakery, no one will notice and your kid will still be the hero in class. Don’t have wholesome home made snacks to for the school snack box?  That’s okay, throw in whatever you have, your kid will survive. Dinner is again toddler pasta from Woolworths, it’s good enough.  Let’s stop trying to be perfect, and be real people.

 

This is what being a good enough parent means to me

  1. Trust your intuition; you know your child.

There is a plethora of information out there on how to raise your child, however you need to use your own intuition to understand what will work for your family and not. Trust me, I can google the hell out of ANYTHING!! But at the end, I need to know if something makes sense for my kids or not.

2. Spending quality time together.

During the week things get manic, with work, school, and everything in between. However, carving out special family time is very important. Where you can enjoy and just have fun. I always try to not have too many things booked on weekends, so that we can just hang out as a family at home.

3. Don’t try to do it all.

The myth that we need to do it all, is only myth. You can do it all, but not all at the same time, at each point something has got to give.

As an example, if you are focused on your career ambitions, then let’s be honest, it will be incredibly difficult to do the cooking, cleaning, and all bed times with your kids ALL the time. Yes, you will do some of these things most times probably, but not all time. This is my trade off, and I accept these and work with them.

4. Letting go of perfect.

Lower the standards. Do not believe everything you see on Pinterest 🙂 The pursuit of perfect parenting will come at a cost of enjoying the journey of being a parent. For me this was a hard lesson with my second child, where I expected my life to remain like how it was with my first child. I had to accept that each of my kids are individuals, I cannot expect a copy and paste, and I needed to let go of my expectations to connect and enjoy my family.

In my journey as parent I learn new things each day about my kids, my family and guidance from other moms and I am truly loving the journey (cannot say I am not right :))

My pledge is to be a responsible parent, and to enjoy my kids…they will only be this young once. What is your pledge to yourself and your kids?

 

About Cherralle:

I am a wife and mom, living and working in Johannesburg. I work full time and I love the fulfilment that it brings to my life.  I have two daughters, and I consider it the ultimate privilege being their mom.

my daily cake is a personal blog, where I mainly speak about my life as a full time working mom.

https://www.instagram.com/cherralle/

https://twitter.com/Cherralle_/

https://mydailycake.blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{Guest Post} Amateur Mommies: Sharing the story of a same-sex couple having a baby

Today’s post was written by Barbara Briggs-Davies, who blogs at Amateur Mommies. 

Between training for an ultramarathon, a full-time job and being a mom to a rambunctious 6-month old, my days are pretty full. Most days start at 04:30, either because I need to be at running at 05:00 or because our little bundle of joy has decided that’s a good time to wake up (often for the 5th time). My wife and I are both keen runners (although she’s a lot more sane than I am and has no desire to run further than 21kms – yet), so we take turns, running on alternate mornings and on our early mornings “off”, we’re on mom-duty. We’re blessed to have a wonderful nanny who looks after our son while we’re keeping the economy ticking over. When I get home it’s a whirlwind of playtime, suppertime, bath time, bedtime and getting dinner ready for us. Once our little man is down for the night, my wife and I are purposeful about connecting as a couple – talking through our day, chatting about ideas we’ve had to grow our “empire-in-the-making” and sitting down to a meal together.

 

Motherhood is a totally unquantifiable experience for me. Growing up I was never a maternal person. When my friends had kids, I thought they were cute, but I was never overcome with broodiness. When my nephew and niece were born, I loved them, but I didn’t want one of my own. But when I got married, I started seeing things in a new light. I always said it was because there was so much love in our marriage that we had to create another being to put the overflow love into. And so, we started discussing our options. Being a same-sex couple, we would obviously need medical intervention to conceive and after a few ups and downs we were able to excitedly shared the news with our friends and family that we were expecting a Christmas present to end all Christmas presents. When our son was born two days before Christmas our lives were forever changed for the better.

 

We’ve had our share of parenting challenges thus far, but thankfully nothing dire. I struggled with breastfeeding as I wasn’t producing enough milk to satisfy our hungry boy, who would get frustrated and scream himself horse. Feeding times inevitably ended with me in tears and Fletcher drinking a formula bottle anyway. Even expressing did nothing – I’d sit like a cow attached to the pump for 20 minutes on each side and have a whopping 30ml to show for it. After a month, I made the difficult decision to give up and opted to exclusively formula feed. Fletcher is now a healthy, happy 6-month old, cracking along in the 95th percentile for height and 75th for weight, so I’m happy to say I feel I made the right decision for us.

 

Our son is the light of our lives, the centre of our universe; everything we do, we do with him in mind. His laugh lights up a room and his happy little personality is just the most fabulous thing. We’ve been really lucky so far as he’s been generally very healthy – we didn’t battle with colic like so many of our friends did, he’s been on the same formula since day one and he’s only had a cold once – touch wood. He’s just a happy, healthy 6-month old and we thank our lucky stars every day that he chose us to be his parents. One day, we hope to give Fletcher a brother or sister, but until then we are so much more than content to be “parents of one”.

 

When we went public with my pregnancy we were inundated with questions from friends, wanting to know which doctors we’d used, where we’d got the sperm, whether we’d used an anonymous donor or someone we knew… We were flooded with so many questions that we actually considered hosting a forum. And that’s when it hit me: we should start a blog, create a space where we can share our story with everyone. And so Amateur Mommies was born. When we started it, we never considered it would be so successful or popular, but within a few short months we had over 1000 subscribers and the blog was getting hundreds of hits per post.

 

After Fletcher was born I was a bit slack about regular posting, but recently have made a personal commitment to post more regularly. I recently reached out to a friend who works closely with some incredible baby product brands about possibly doing some reviews for them and she opened my eyes to a whole new world. Firstly, she suggested I google our blog and see what came up – I am horrified to announce, it’s all porn! She also suggested we more actively start promoting the blog to increase our following, which to-date has grown entirely organically. Since then we’ve launched a Facebook page and an Instagram account to help promote our content. We’ve yet to launch our first promoted campaign, but it’s definitely on the cards for the near future. I enjoy writing and love having a space where I can freely do that, but I’m the first to admit that I’m no expert when it comes to blogging. That said, I’m learning. Every. Single. Day. I’m still working on being better about time management and purposefully creating time in my day to dedicate to growing our blog and sharing our stories. But I think we’re definitely taking steps in the right direction, even if they are just “baby steps”.

 

Mom to gorgeous little Fletcher Jude and loving wife of Rebecca, Barbara is an amateur mom trying to survive the ups and downs of parenthood in a same-sex couple. After many years of being the “cool aunty”, Barbara fell down the rabbit-hole of sleepless nights, vomit on all your favourite clothes and unending love that is motherhood.

 

Blog: http://amateurmommies.com/

Facebook: https://facebook.com/amateurmommies

Instagram: http://instagram.com/amateurmommies

 

 

{Guest Post} The underachievers guide to hippie parenting

Today’s hilarious post was written by South African mom blogger Heleen Tshibumbu who blogs at  That Mama. 

 

– This post is sponsored by Phizer, Nescafe and Stuyvesant-

I must be honest- I have always been a bit weird. To a point where in varsity I looked like more like a homeless person than an LLB student. I tend to fancy unconventional and strange things- with interests from astrology to copy writing.

But today, sitting on William Nicol offramp for 35 minutes as usual I was thinking about being a parent and specifically a “hippie parent” as Khloe labbeld me yesterday.

So here is what I concluded:

1. I am not a hippie parent because it is the fashionable thing to do. I am most probably to lazy to go to the shops to buy sweets. It is easier for me to send the 2 of them on a treasure hunt in the garden for cherry tomatoes.

2. I have chickens in my back yard because I HATE running out of eggs. Now I just hop over there during the day for a smoke, a cup of coffee and my daily eggs.

3. I grow my own veggies because I hate how cold Woolies is inside. You need to dress like an Eskimo should you wish to buy fresh produce there. So nothing better than before cooking to pop into the veggie patch and get what you need. It is like having a shop in your back yard.

4. I cloth diaper because I can’t see the point of tossing R2000 per month in the bin. I have a woven wrap obsession and my “nappy savings” get allocated there.

5. Babywearing is my favourite. I love strolling down the street with a monster of a dog and a baby on my back in some beautiful creation. I think it aids in weight loss too as Zoe weighs a ton nowadays.

6. I breastfed for as long as I could because I HATE washing and sterilising bottles. And I am way to tired (read lazy) to get up in the middle of the night to go and sort that bottle situation out. Now, I have to. It SUCKS!

7. I am a gentle parent because my kids count and their emotions are valid. In a world full of people that are so out of tune with their emotions- they can one day be the difference.

Does this make me a good parent?

No.

I still get angry and freak out during the school run most mornings. I still let them drink rooibos tea with 2 sugars in it. They drink coffee once in a while. They eat pizza (Thank you Dominoes) and they have an unexplainable love for Jelly Tots on a Friday. I still work long hours. I still have my demons I deal with. I am still the same me. Bit older than the shabby student- but I am real.

But this makes me a REAL parent. Not the Pinterest parent. They get to see the real life. I can’t make their lives magical as magical is not what the real world is about.

So in all honesty- we actually need to stop being so hard on ourselves. They eat pizza- well, it is not every night and at least they ate. You work hard? It is teaching them to work for what they want. They drink super sweet tea? Better than coke the whole time.

So from now on I am going to live easier. I am the “cool hippie mom” So what?

 

Heleen is a mom of 2 girls and wife to the cool guy. She LOVES dogs. She tries to live in a self sustainable manner and as organically as possible. Heleen supports cloth diapering, breastfeeding and baby wearing. When she is not a mom she is a CEO of a digital advertising agency based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

{Guest Post} Five of my baby’s favourite things

Today’s guest post is from South African mom blogger Nicola Subben who blogs at Peanut Gallery 24/7.

I’m Nicola Subben.  For just over ten months, I’m honoured to have the privilege to be a mum to my son, Kayden, the first and only child we plan to have.  During the day, through my full-time job, I motivate, inspire and develop individuals in the Corporate environment, where I specialise in Learning and Development.  My passion for motivating and inspiring individuals led me to create my blog, Peanut Gallery 24/7, which I have been enjoying thoroughly since its creation, early January this year.

Peanut Gallery 24/7 encapsulates my lifestyle, as I use it as a platform to share my thoughts, my views and my personal experiences.  As a new mum, I find a shift in my lifestyle and the things I blog about are therefore things that resonate with me at this beautiful stage of my life – motherhood. It is certainly something I underestimated and only since Kayden graced us with his presence, did I realise the depth of joy of being a mother.

One of the lessons I’ve learned over these past 10 months or so, is that you can’t put a price on happiness, when it comes to a child’s toys.  Of course, the child doesn’t know the value of the toy in terms of the cost, but the value it brings to your child, in the way he or she smiles, is enough to melt your heart.  I’d love for you to read my post on “My baby’s favourite things” 

My baby’s favourite things

At just over 10 months, my baby has preferences for entertainment.  It is an amazing feeling to watch him experience the joy that these things bring to him.  Each of them, has some way or the other to stimulate him.  What I have learned over the past few months as a new mum, is that it’s not necessarily the most expensive toy that creates this joy, curiosity and/or excitement.

In no order of preference, here are my baby’s favourite things:

  1. The Baby Einstein Neighbourhood Friends Activity Jumper™

We purchased this Jumper from Baby City, for more information and/or product details: click here.
Kayden has been loving his jumper since he was just over 6 months. There is so much happening around him, literally, as it has a 360-degree feature which allows him to stimulate all senses.  The various sounds and textures cause him to jump with excitement.  He is fascinated with the variation of bright colours, shapes and features of every little item on this jumper – he is in his element, in his own little bouncy world whilst on his jumper

 

  1. Bright Starts Hide ‘n Spin Monkey

We purchased this toy from Baby City, for more details, click here.
Kayden isn’t walking yet, he is at this stage where he wants to stand up, so this toy is great at this stage, as it encourages him to stand and throw the balls into the monkey’s hat (of course whilst supervised). If this is too much of an effort for him, he is on his knees, feeding the balls through the monkey’s tummy (cup shape). The lights and sound amuse him so much! He loves to catch the rolling balls to put them back into the Monkey.

 

  1. Tommy

This stuffed toy boy doll, I found at Dischem.  It was the last one there and as I almost walked pass it, it gave me that puppy dog look, saying, “buy me, buy me, please….pity please…”

So, I did and I am glad I did so. He had no name when he came home, Kayden’s grandmother helped give him a name, i.e. “Tommy”.  Tommy has become a good travel companion for Kayden. We play hide and seek, using Tommy to say “boo!” to Kayden and he loves that!

For more details on this toy, click here.
  

  1. Disney Winnie The Pooh Walker

 
“I’m young and free…watch me go…!” – that’s the feeling Kayden depicts when he is on his walker.  He loves being mobile, sometimes in reverse, sometimes running not walking, always happy-go-lucky.  There are various shapes, colours and sounds on the large play tray in front to keep him entertained. It has 3 height adjustments which is great as we have been able to adjust it as he grows taller.

We also bought this from Baby City, for more details, click here.

 

  1. Dave and Ava

We stumbled across these videos whilst looking for songs to make Kayden sleep one day. The graphics are eye catching! I think the developers did a fantastic job. Dave and Ava help bring alive a variety of nursery rhymes, all that we learned as kids and you will find yourself singing along to them as well.  If you don’t want to rely on internet connectivity by watching these on Wi-Fi, you can make a once-off purchase and download these songs/rhymes to your smart device which you can playback even when offline.  Kayden’s face lights up when you just mention Dave and Ava. He watches them so engrossed, with expressions on his face that are priceless. The slower songs are very soothing for bedtime. I think every child should be introduced to Dave and Ava.

If you haven’t heard of Dave and Ava yet and would like more information, click here.

 
What are your Childs’ favourite toys? I would love to know, so please do comment below.

{Guest Post} 10 Things to do when you’re stuck under a sleeping baby…

Anastasiya shares with us what to do when you’re immobile with a sleeping baby.

I was blessed with two little boys who, at a younger age, refused to sleep anywhere but on top of me.

While all the snuggles and cuddles were greatly enjoyed and loved, this helped with no chores being done or even having breathing space because once they were awake, they wanted to be fed and given all my undivided attention. This was a lot trickier the second time around as I had to work while on maternity leave and multitasking with a sleeping baby on your chest proved to be harder than I had expected it to be. I survived though, because I found ways to keep myself busy and be productive in other things while my kiddos were happily snoozing away. Sure, the dishes stood piling up and the laundry stayed in the baskets but waking my babies up was a lot lower on my agenda than worrying about a couple of chores.

So if you have a baby that refuses to sleep anywhere but on top of you, here are some ideas to keep yourself busy.

  1. Read.

If, like me, you love reading but never actually get a chance to getting around to it, now is that chance. I caught up on so many forgotten books that I had been planning to read for months, and I finally had the chance!

2. Write.

I wrote a lot of my poetry pieces while on maternity leave, because while the boys were sleeping, I had peace and quiet. I was able to keep my thoughts forming one after another and I became pretty productive. Also, I kept journals about my experiences with mamahood and all the thoughts that passed through my mind to reflect on later. Of course, I caught up on drafting blog posts and scheduling them for appropriate times so I knew that that was one thing I didn’t need to worry about later on.

3. Pinterest.

I have been a huge fan of Pinterest for many years now but couldn’t always find the time to actually enjoy it. While my babies snoozed, I pinned away like a mad woman. Of course, I also pinned loads of ideas for things I really wanted to do or try, and still haven’t gotten around to doing them.

4. Make a list of all the things you should be doing.

Why not? You’re going to be getting around to doing them eventually. The dishes won’t wash themselves, the dirty clothes won’t switch the washing on, and the clean laundry won’t pack itself away. You might not get to all the things you should be doing right away (or maybe in a day or two), but it’s a nice feeling knowing that you’re semi prepared for them to be done. Ah, wishful thinking at its best.

5. Wishing you had followed the advice of preparing ready-made meals.

I wished I had listened to the advice I was given about preparing ready-made meals so I didn’t need to worry about not eating when I didn’t actually have the time to cook. So I found myself thinking about all the delicious food I could’ve been eating while my babies were happily sleeping away. And no, I didn’t think of following the advice the second time around, it only came to me later, when I didn’t need it anymore.

6. Research ways of creating a clone.

Joking, of course. But it would be nice to have a double to take your place for a few minutes so you could use the loo in peace or take a much needed shower. And it would be nice if that double took over all the chores that required your attention.

7. Watch movies/series.

Have you been planning on having a movie marathon or catching up on series? You won’t have the same opportunity when your baby is awake and needs your full attention again. So while they snooze, mark those series and movies off your list and enjoy the moments of uninterrupted screen time.

8. Learn something new.

Have you been planning on learning a new language or trying some self-improvement techniques? Pinterest here might be your new friend as you scroll through thousands of ideas to help you reach those goals. Also, need to get some parenting advice or do some mamahood research? You can do all that, so it’s kind of a win-win situation; baby sleeps and you’re growing your knowledge bank at the same time.

9. Stare at your baby.

Those tiny newborn features won’t be around forever. Embrace every detail, admire every curve and even though, having a sleeping baby pinned to your chest might feel like a little too much, enjoy these moments. Soon they will grow out of this stage and you will end up missing these times, when your kids actually enjoyed cuddling, and staying still in one spot for longer than a minute.

10. If all else fails, take a nap.

You’re probably pretty sleep deprived at this stage and that’s completely normal when a little one enters your life. I’ve never been the type to take naps during the day, because I struggled to switch my brain off, thanks to all the reminders of the things I should be doing. Though I quickly got over this ‘problem’ when fatigue kicked in and I just gave in to taking naps when my babies took them, and with though warm little bodies against you, it’s very hard to resist the urge to snuggle and enjoy a snooze yourself.

 

Anastasiya Meintjes is a full-time working mom, to two little boys. She is a part-time night blogger while working as a copy and content writer by day. She enjoys writing about her two boys on Anniemation Floe while trying to squeeze in info about the rest of her life.
You can find her on Facebook

{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.