Meet the Blogger: Meet Mom-to-be Cat!

This week meet  South African mom blogger Cat, who blogs at Boots in the Big City. 

 

1) What do you normally get up to on an average day? (Give us a brief description about yourself)

I work full-time in HR at a Publishing House in Cape Town but as that doesn’t leave much room for creativity, my blog is my creative outlet. I love being active so I try to fit a in workout in the afternoons and always take my dog for a walk. My evenings are spent cooking dinner, writing blog posts or catching up on series.

Weekends are spent enjoying our beautiful city and catching up with friends and when I need a little me time, love indulging in a pedicure or spot of shopping!

2) How do you feel about motherhood – what are your struggles and joys?

I’m currently pregnant with my first child and could not be more excited! I am amazed every day by the changes taking place in my body and the fact that I am growing a person. That being said, it certainly comes with a fair amount of anxiety around the unknown as I don’t think you can ever fully prepare yourself for what lays ahead, despite all the advice given and books read, but I do think it’s important to take one day at a time and then hold on tight when the rollercoaster starts moving! Right now though, I’m trying to enjoy every moment of this amazing, mind-blowing journey while I still have my little human safely tucked up inside me.

3) Tell us about your kid(s)

I have a beautiful 10-year-old chocolate Labrador called Wellington and this gentle soul is my four-legged child. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Wellie and ask about him as they would a two-legged child! Our evening walks are our bonding time but also an opportunity for me to walk off the stresses of day and feel like I’m ready for the evening. My husband travels a lot for work so Wellington keeps me company and gives the best cuddles 😊

4). How did you start blogging?

I started my blog in August 2015 not long after I got married. I wrote an article for our company newsletter about my wedding day and I realised just how much I loved writing and being creative. I’ve followed a number of blogs for many years and decided it was time to try my hand at it. It’s definitely a labour of love and has become something that I am really proud of.

5) Share with us a valuable blogging tip you’ve learnt. (or more)

As hard as it is, don’t compare your blog to other blogs, especially those that are more established. Your blog is unique and that’s what makes it special. Be authentic and write content that resonates with you. If you try to be someone you are not, or you are blogging for the wrong reasons, your readers will pick it up very quickly. And lastly, consistency – both on your blog and social media is key. I try to post on my blog once a week but engage with my social media daily and definitely noticed an increase in my readership/followers.

6) If you make money from your blog, give us a breakdown on how you do it. Give us some of your methods on how to get started on this, or any tips or advice.

I’m not making money from my blog at the moment and while it’s not the driving force behind my blog, I would definitely like to be able to make some money off it and see some of the hard work and many hours I’ve spent on it pay off. I have done a few partnered posts where I’ve done reviews for brands and I think that has come from posting consistently and engaging with brands that I like.

I am a wife, soon-to-be mom, dog lover and certified chocoholic, born and bred in Cape Town. I have a love for writing and all things pretty and it was this passion that led me to establish my blog. Boots in the Big City is a beauty and lifestyle blog, where I share my thoughts on favourite products, tips and tricks, places to go and things to do, providing my readers with honest product reviews and first-hand real experiences

Blog: www.bootsinthebigcity.com

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

Instagram: @bigcityboots – https://www.instagram.com/bigcityboots/?hl=en

Twitter: @bigcityboots

 

Thanks Cat! I think one of the things I really like about her blog are her lovely pictures. She really can style a photo. So go and have a look!

 

 

{Meet the Blogger} Meet Angela: blogging about her “Sunshine Journey” of being a widow and a toddler mom

This week meet South African mom blogger  Angela, a  widowed mum journeying through life with her little son Elijah Micah Rea, her “Rea” of sunshine. She blogs at Our Sunshine Journey. 

 

1) What do you normally get up to on an average day? (Give us a brief description about yourself)

Hi I am Angie from http://www.oursunshinejourney.wordpress.com . I am a 43 year old widowed mum to a toddler boy. I lost my beautiful soul mate of a husband in a helicopter crash in 2015 while he was on duty firefighting. We used to live in the beautiful little town of Tulbagh where my husband’s air base was until his passing, where my son and I picked up our lives and moved to the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, to be near family and friends. No two days are the same in this household. I am a freelance makeup artist who is getting into the photography industry. So depending what is on offer or if Elijah has anything planned is to how the day commences. Elijah is a professional model and also a brand ambassador to some super local companies. I take the photos for the later. I also like to go to gym as I find that is my therapy, although I have been a bit slack about that at the moment as I ran a 21km race which I was not properly prepared for and payed the consequences dearly! Elijah and I love to go on adventures and so when I am not working and he is not at play school you can find us searching out all the fun things Cape Town has to offer for a small boy of his age.
 
2) How do you feel about motherhood – what are your struggles and joys?
Motherhood did not come easily to me. I fell pregnant easily but could not retain the pregnancy. This went on for three years. I am so grateful for the amazing fertility clinic I attended who helped Darrell and I have our miracle baby. I am also so grateful to the love and support of my amazing husband who was with me every step of the way. Our journey to parenthood made us so extremely close, we both used to fall in love with each other more every single day. 
I love being a mummy. Especially Elijah’s mummy. He is a joy. What I do find extremely hard on an everyday basis is looking at his beautiful face and charming personality and thinking how much Darrell would have loved him now and how much Elijah would have just doted on his father. Before Darrell died he was very hands on which made his death all the more difficult.
 

3) Tell us about your kid(s) 

Elijah is turning three at the end of September! Apart from being very cute to look at he is just a delight. He is so loving, kind and loves people. We cosleep and he wakes me up in the middle of the night whispering “I love you Mummy” in my ear. He is a real boys boy and loves to follow any worker, be it family or not, doing anything on my house with his own tool box helping them to fix things. His dad was very handy and Elijah has certainly inherited this from him.
 

4). How did you start blogging?

I have always loved writing and I thought writing my thoughts down would help me with this painful journey I am on. This and my photography are my food for my soul. They are helping to bring me back to life. I have a voice and I want people to hear it. I want everyone to know that each day is special and to love the ones around you.
 

5) Share with us a valuable blogging tip you’ve learnt. (or more)

 
Blog for yourself and not what you think other people want to read. Also be true to yourself and you can not go wrong.Have a theme for your blog and let your content reflect that.
I am also very active on Instagram over here https://www.instagram.com/oursunshinejourney/ and Facebook over here https://www.facebook.com/OurSunshineJourney/ and I use these platforms to promote my blog.
 
 
Read this post on Angela’s blog: so poignant yet real: The seven and a half million stages of grief.
 
Angela, I can only respect you and the way you are dealing with your journey through blogging. 

 

{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

{Meet the Blogger} Meet Jacqui!

Today meet South African blogger Jacqui, who blogs at Jacqui O’ Bree. 

  • What do you normally get up to on an average day? (Give us a brief description about yourself)

I’m a mom, life coach and blogger. I have 2 girls – Mila (2) and Sophia (6), and I’m a stepmom to Hannah (19) and Josh (23).

I generally fit work into the mornings and afternoons are less predictable. I’m either with my girls or running errands. There are some days that I work a full day – depending on my work load. During work hours I’m either coaching, training (I run workshops), writing or marketing.

I am passionate about personal development and creating work life balance (for myself and others). I also love to travel, so I am always planning holidays or getting inspiration on Instagram for our next adventure.

2) How do you feel about motherhood – what are your struggles and joys?

Motherhood has been a humbling experience – you think you got a handle on things until you have kids!

Having children has been the biggest joy and the greatest challenge. I am learning a lot about myself and life.

The struggles are surprising – you expect the late nights with a crying baby, but it’s the seemingly simple tasks that have caught me off guard, like getting them dressed for school. No one warned me about that!

As a mom, I am my most vulnerable and my strongest. My youngest ended up in hospital just before Christmas last year. Luckily it wasn’t too serious, but it put a lot into perspective. I felt completely vulnerable because I couldn’t do anything to help her; but I managed to put on a brave face and get on with it. Moms can be strong despite what is going on around us, because we have to be.

The joys come from the simple things like going for walks, baking, or snuggling in bed. I’ve had to remind myself to enjoy motherhood more. I was trying to do everything perfectly so “I don’t mess up my child” but I’ve realized that kids don’t want you to be perfect, they want you to be present.

3) Tell us about your kid(s)

Sophia is 6. We call her Mowgli, after the character in the Jungle Book. She is an adventurous sensitive soul. She is brave (much braver than me), funny (she loves telling jokes) and strong willed.

Mila is our little firecracker – she wants to do everything her sister does and she owns a room. She is very loving and very strong.

4). How did you start blogging?

I started blogging when I started my business in 2009. I wanted to share what I was learning with other people, and hopefully offer some tools/ ideas that may help people who are on a similar journey.

5) Share with us a valuable blogging tip you’ve learnt. (or more)

  • Blog from the heart – try to be authentic. I may be writing about personal development, but that doesn’t mean I get it right. I share my struggles, failures as well as advice.
  • Keep it short – people scan online so don’t write essays.

6) If you make money from your blog, give us a breakdown on how you do it. Give us some of your methods on how to get started on this, or any tips or advice.

I use my blog to promote my coaching services and online products.

My advice – whatever you sell, must match your blog & brand. It would be weird for me to sell clothing via my blog, when the focus of my blog is personal development and work life balance.

I am also an Amazon Book Affiliate. I read a lot so I refer my readers to books I recommend, and I have an Amazon banner advert.

 

Jacqui O’Bree is a Personal Development Coach whose mission is to help herself & others be Purposeful, Present & Productive. Her blog is for anyone wanting to build their confidence, manage their time, find balance and live a meaningful life.

Find her here:

Website/blog , Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

 

 

 

{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.

Meet blogger and momentrepreneur Belinda: “Success for me is doing what I love, making a decent living and working around my family”.

Today we find out more about South African mom blogger Belinda’s day job of digital copywriting. She shares how building a lifestyle business of working around her family brings her joy.

  1. Tell us about yourself, a bit of background.

Hi! I’m Belinda Mountain, an Eastern Cape farmer’s daughter who now lives in Cape Town. I am married to Gareth and we have two kids, Rachel (6) and Ben (3) as well as two dogs, Juno and Buckley. We live in a house with a red roof at the foot of a mountain (haha).

  1. What were you doing before you started this business?

I was working in book publishing, which I did in both England and back home in SA. I worked mostly in the marketing and digital side of things, but also did some book cover design, publicity and various other publishing odd-jobs. It was after having my first child that I quickly realised that working for somebody else wasn’t for me and I needed to find an alternative. My future business partner Catherine was freelancing at the time and came and did some social media work for the publishing company I was working for. We hit it off immediately – sharing a love of good words and all things digital. We had the idea to start a small agency specialising in producing high quality digital content – and so the idea for Black Mountain was born.

  1. Is your business full time or part time and why?

I would call it full time, although I probably work a 6-hour day, as opposed to the standard 8 hours (but I get a lot accomplished in those 6 hours!). The difference is that lunchtime onwards is quite difficult in terms of working, as there is the school run to do and extra murals to arrange. So often I will work 4 hours in the morning (in the office) and then the other two hours at home in the afternoon or in the evening after the kids have gone to bed.

  1. How do you juggle the responsibilities of being a mom with your work?

I don’t! It’s a constant challenge but I feel privileged to have the flexibility that I do. I pay rent for an office because I find that if I try and work exclusively from home, then my kids expect me to be accessible. My 3-year-old doesn’t understand why he can’t have my attention as I’m typing up an email – all he sees is his mom at home and he needs me NOW.

  1. Do you have a business plan? If so, can you share a bit about your strategy to make it successful?

We’ve been in operation for four years now and have got some incredible clients along the way. In terms of my strategy to make it successful, I think it depends on how you measure success. My business partner and I have already decided that we don’t want to build an empire. We still want to do the actual writing and we don’t want to end up managing a team of 20 writers instead (although we do sometimes use trusted freelancers if certain projects require it). We call this a “lifestyle business”, where we can do what we love, make a decent living, but still fit our family lives around our work. I believe that in this regard, we have been successful.

  1. How do you get clients/ market yourself?

Word of mouth has been our biggest marketing tool. We also invested quite a bit in our website recently (www.black-mountain.co.za) and this has paid huge dividends –many clients find us this way and are impressed by our previous work.

  1. What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Our biggest challenge is consistent cash flow. Because of the nature of what we do, much of our work is project based, which means that after a few months, that project will end. But we still have to pay our salaries and other expenses! So finding retainer clients who pay a set amount each month is what are always aiming for, but this is easier said than done.

  1. Did you need a lot of money to start off? And how long was it before you made a profit?

We started with no cash injection, just one client we had secured beforehand – who would pay us a very small amount each month. We had minimal expenses and so started making a profit immediately (although not paying ourselves very large salaries those first few months!).

  1. What makes your business unique from other brands?

We’re a niche content agency who specialises in digital copywriting. A lot of larger agencies offer the full remit of digital services, but not many people focus specifically on content like we do, ensuring the high quality of our work. Because we’re small, we’re also agile and have fast turnaround times. Our SEO expertise (my business partner is very experienced in this field) is also a unique trait of ours, as not many writers can offer this skill too.

  1. Share with us your social media links and website.

 

You can follow us on Twitter at @blackmtn and find us at

www.black-mountain.co.za

Belinda also blogs at Making Mountains

 

{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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Blogger: Meet Super Shazzer: “Create a Niche for Yourself”

healthy-living-5Today we meet South African mom blogger Sharon Atkins (aka Super Shazzer) who advises us to build up our social media with an excellent profile and content. She says we should create our own “niche” – something that sets you apart from other bloggers. 

What do you normally get up to on an average day? (Give us a brief description about yourself)

Mornings are spent dropping Matthew at school then a group cross fit training session, home for quick shower and breakfast.

I am a freelance writer and social media manager so spend the morning working on my clients’ accounts researching, writing and posting content.

I fit in my own writing in the evening or some early mornings.

Afternoons are spent on the school run and activities and squeezing in work if I have a deadline.

2) How do you feel about motherhood – what are your struggles and joys?

Parenting is not easy! You have to manage the worry and stress and balance it with the rewards and blessings.

Time just flies by with kids and it is such a joy to see them grow up and develop their own special characters.

Struggles- the everyday routine, lunches, homework and bedtime. Not enough time for myself and also time spent with my husband. The discipline and boundary challenges.

Joys- the hugs and cuddles. The rewards when they surprise you with their good manners, behaviour and generosity. Watching a unique special being evolve and guiding them along the way.

3) Tell us about your kid(s)

super-shazzer-kidsMy step-daughter is Sydney and she is 16. She is smart, gorgeous and funny and loves clothes, animals and her friends.

My son is Matthew and he is 9. He is a very busy and is always coming up with a business scheme. He loves cooking, cats and travel (especially on Emirates).

4). How did you start blogging?

I started writing content for clients for their social media platforms and blogs and then thought why not write my own stories and share these.

I use it to share what inspires me and what I love. I use it as a diary of events for myself and for my family.

I use it to inspire, inform and motivate others.

5) Share with us a valuable blogging tip you’ve learnt. (or more)

Stay true to yourself, tell your story in your own way. Create a niche for yourself, a point of difference, something that makes you unique compared to other bloggers.

Create a strategy and a plan. If you are going to share, post or publish pictures make sure they are well shot and have visual appeal.

If you don’t have already create a professional profile for yourself on LinkedIn and a business Page for your Blog. LinkedIn is a place where you can share content, build up great connections and network.

6) If you make money from your blog, give us a breakdown on how you do it. Give us some of your methods on how to get started on this, or any tips or advice.

Grow your social media platforms and followers. Write great content. Build relationships with PR companies and align yourself with brands that you admire.

Set your rates from the beginning and do not be nervous to stick to them. Know and understand your worth and value.

My links-

Website http://www.supershazzer.com

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/Supershazzer

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/supershazzer/

Pinterest https://za.pinterest.com/supershazzer/

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonatkins

Meet the Blogger: Meet Kim: “Interact with your followers”

healthy-living-4This week we meet South African mom blogger Kim Muller, who shares with us about her family, and the valuable tip to show the love to the people who respond to your blog.

 

1)    What do you normally get up to on an average day? (Give us a brief description about yourself)

I am a working mommy to 2 boys. I get up at 05h25, pack school bags, wake the boys up and get them dressed. Leave home around 06h30 to drop them off and get to work to start my day at 08h00. I leave work at 17h00 and only get home around 18h30. Then I make dinner, bath the boys, feed them and get them into bed by 20h00. I need to find time to spend with the husband, tidy up a bit, have a bit of quiet time for myself and try to be asleep by 22h00 for the latest.

 

2)    How do you feel about motherhood – what are your struggles and joys?

kim-famI love being a mommy. It’s what I’m made to do and I have always felt that way. I love the way children love everyone. How they express themselves so innocently and joyously. I struggle with letting go sometimes and try my best not to be a helicopter parent. I struggle with letting my husband do some things. I struggle with understanding that they are little people with big personalities that I have to teach and mold and not bend to my will.

 

3)    Tell us about your kid(s)

kim-kidMatthew is my eldest. He’ll be 6 in January and is such a quiet, kind child. I never realised how easy I had it with him until his younger brother came along. Matthew loves dancing and singing, he loves playing with his Hot Wheels and his new obsession is drawing and colouring. Ethan turned 2 in August and is the most rambunctious child I know. He never sits still and is constantly on the move. He loves running and jumping and climbing, giving me heart attacks and grey hairs daily. He gives the best hugs and loves cuddling (which I love too).

 

4)    How did you start blogging?

kim-kid2I started blogging when I was pregnant with Matthew. It was a way to try to keep track of my pregnancy and how I felt about my husband working away at the time. I’ve since evolved a bit and my blog now is about being a parent, marriage and life in general.

 

5)    Share with us a valuable blogging tip you’ve learnt. (or more)

For me the biggest tip would be to interact with your followers. Don’t assume that because they commented, they’re not coming back to check if you replied. Reply to comments on Facebook and Instagram. Follow other bloggers and show them some love.

 

kim-muller-kids6)    If you make money from your blog, give us a breakdown on how you do it. Give us some of your methods on how to get started on this, or any tips or advice.

My blog isn’t monetised and I don’t think I have it in me right now to try and get it that point yet. Work is hectic and having 2 small children isn’t probably a good enough excuse but the work that goes into it and the research needed to get where I need to be is not feasible right now. If I can get paid work now and again, well that would be awesome!

You can find Kim @ her blog Muller Kids, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

Meet the Blogger: Meet Olerato: Motherhood has been a rollercoaster

healthy-living-2This week meet South African mom blogger Olerato of Mommy and Baby Approved. She shares with us about her life with a three year old and how she juggles it all.

1) What do you normally get up to on an average day? (Give us a brief description about yourself)
I am a working mom so for me my typical day normally is spent in a boardroom and going back and forth to meetings. This is what I call my 9 – 5 job. Then of course when that is over, I start my 6 pm – pm job which includes playing tea time with my daughter, cooking up for my partner and just making sure that our house doesn’t fall apart :).

olerato-family2) How do you feel about motherhood – what are your struggles and joys?
I’ve been on this incredible motherhood journey for 3 years. To be honest it has been an emotional and yet exciting roller coaster ride. I enjoy motherhood more than I though I would but every once in a while i’d really appreciate a break. Unfortunately for me, there’s no village helping me raise my daughter. My Mom lives a whole province apart from us and it’s not as easy to just ask her to baby sit to recharge. But with this being said, I wouldn’t change a thing about my motherhood journey thus far. All those little hugs, kisses, whining, and screams make it all worth it.

olerato-with-kid3) Tell us about your kid(s)
My little girl is 3 years old but very convinced that she’s actually older. I swear every picture of herself she sees, she calls it *Baby Kamo*. She’s got a very strong personality which and she’s also very stubborn. She enjoys baking, getting her hair done and dolled up, and loves reading book. She’s a total girly girl and Barbie’s biggest fan.

4). How did you start blogging?
Blogging has always been a parked idea in my head. I’m a person that enjoys writing about random things, and just generally writing things and my feelings down. Back in 2008 I started blogging but ended up quitting because I had no direction. I had no idea what I was doing and I just wasn’t motivated. But when little Kamo was born 2013 August, I had 4 months of maternity leave, a very sleepy newborn and way too much time on my hands and so I started coming up with a plan to start blogging. I didn’t physically start until 2015 but once I started, I didn’t look back.

5) Share with us a valuable blogging tip you’ve learnt. (or more)
Write down as many blog post ideas as possible. I find this to be very helpful for me especially during those days where it’s very difficult to find inspiration and there’s not a lot going on to blog about.

6) If you make money from your blog, give us a breakdown on how you do it. Give us some of your methods on how to get started on this, or any tips or advice.
I haven’t made money from my blog just yet so unfortunately I do not have any tips on this. But I am definitely will be on the lookout for the tips from other bloggers.

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