There’s a huge variety of topics and viewpoints in this month’s roundup of South African Mom Blogs. We have some great posts on not just parenting, but also on step parenting, single parenting and parenting after infertility and parenting adopted children. We had interesting posts on health and body image. There were thoughful writings on depression and death.
June celebrated Father’s Day and we had some people writing in gratitude for the men in their lives. We had differing opinions on Caitlyn Jenner and the US ruling on homosexual marriages.
And, as always, I wrap up with some inspiration and humour, as well as how our Muslim community is celebrating Ramadaan.
Victoria writes What I’ve learnt… (over the last nine months) in her final week of pregnancy.
-I’ve learnt that life is sometimes terribly unfair and that things happen without rhyme or reason. I say this because I’ve had so many close friends have so many difficulties falling or staying pregnant. And then others, like me, thought falling naturally pregnant wouldn’t ever happen.
-I’ve learnt that everyone has an opinion and whilst it’s one thing listening to all you’re advised, it’s another being swayed or pressured. No one knows you better than you. I don’t think anything is more powerful that our own intuitions. Trust yourself to make the right choices for YOU!
Carla also has a nice one: Learning to Love My Body Before and After Pregnancy.
I have made my goal now more than ever to teach other women to learn to love their new bodies after pregnancy and increase their self esteems while they learn to enjoy the new journey of motherhood and self love and acceptance along the way. I love my new curves and every scar or stretch mark reminds me of how my body transformed to bring my angel into this world. Just like a cocoon gives birth to a butterfly.
Maz writes about the disturbing Parenting, you’re doing it wrong… the ridiculous trend of public shaming.
Behind every sign-carrying child there seems to be a smug parent who claims that their child’s behavior improved after employing their radical discipline method. It would be interesting to see, though, for how long the good behavior lasted. It will also be interesting to see what kind of person their child will grow up to be. As a parent, I know the frustration of feeling like you have run out of options and nothing will get through to your child. Parenting involves humility and patience by the truckloads, if you can’t handle it – don’t have kids.
Laura has an informative post on sensory issues.
It is only when you have a child with sensory issues that you realise just how real it is and how much of a struggle it is for the child. Their experience of the world is so much more than the way we deal with the world. They feel things deeper, louder and brighter.
Celeste has a reflective post on PJ Drills when she had an opportunity to look after her sister’s twins, it brought back the memories.
In comes overthinker… Did I have my kids too young? Was I a good enough baby mom? If I could go back and do things differently would I be able to cope better? These are some of the questions whirling through my mind today. The answer to all my questions is that nothing prepares you for motherhood at any age.
She also has a helpful post about how she dealt with the jealousy her daughter had towards the baby in The Green Eyed Monster.
I explained that our hearts grow bigger and can ‘make’ more love for many people and all we have to do is to make it happen. Typing this doesn’t look right but Little K understood what I meant and that’s what important. Just this evening my heart swelled with pride because she came to me saying“Mommy my heart made a lot of love for the twinsies. I can’t tell you how much but it’s a lot and I’m not jealous anymore.”
Belinda feels like she is Coming Out of the Woods with regard to parenting.
I suppose I write so much about how HARD parenting is that I also wanted to write about how joyful it is too. Right now I’m walking out of the tangled dark forest of parenting where you run wild eyed and bushy haired from day to day into a field of long yellow grass. I can’t see what’s ahead, sure, but the sun is warm on my back, my hands are holding each of my babies’ hands on either side and I just feel so damn lucky to be their Mom.
Melanie has an interesting one Let’s Talk About Sex (Wait, what?) when her kids chose a book on the topic from the library.
Great tips from Fidaus on No Rest for the Wicked – Surviving Sleep Deprivation. I love the way she ends off:
Learn to accept and embrace your sleep deprived state. When you are bitter about the fact that you are getting no sleep, it is far tougher to handle than when you make peace with it. Or maybe that’s the sleep deprivation talking.
Mandy writes How do you manage your fear for your children?
I do not want my child growing up afraid of everything, but at some point I am going to need her to be aware of how dangerous the world can be – how do you find that balance?
Di has a lovely post on Contemplating Communication where she compares two learning experiences her son had, one where he was rushed, too many instructions were given and in the end the task was done for him, and the other where the pace was slower and body language was used. Read her post for the list of how she did it.
By making the simplest changes to my style of communication I am now empowering Nick to use that brain of his!
Sharon writes about a child left in a car in It’s not 1977 and we’re not in Kansas anymore!
Maz has a useful post 9 Things I’ve Learnt From My Working Mom.
Recently I was referred to as a ‘part-time’ mom… bitch please. You know all the cooking and cleaning, the organizing and the helping with homework, the washing and ironing, the bath-times, poo nappies and feeds… I do all of that too. In no way do I think that I am better than Stay At Home Moms – you guys have your own challenges and it is definitely not easy. Just understand that I am a full-time mom, I am a damn good mom – and so are you. My mom was and is the best mom, if I could be half the woman she is I know my kids will be just fine.
Great tips from Leigh: 8 Tips to Survive a Travelling Husband Without Losing Your Shit.
I’m a little over half way through this trip and right now my kids are flinging themselves off my bed like superheroes (See me picking my battles) I have my sister-in-law and nieces coming for a sleep over (Calling in the troops), I have planned a delicious and easy slow cooker for dinner which if my sister-in-law and I don’t finish, we will be eating again tomorrow (*smug smile) and I’m about to do some research for my first overseas holiday in 4 years! With no kids! I sure have lots to daydream about and a helluva lot to look forward to.
I’m not sure whether to put this under parenting, inspirational or poetry, but Chevonne’s Fairytale is a beautifully written piece about her love for her child.
Loveliest son, in that first moment, I held you in my embrace, I looked at you with no expectation. All I felt was an infinite and innate love, and with the softest touch I caressed your hand.
My lifelong Fairytale, a mother’s story in all its infinite glory…
Great tips from Lindsay on Please and Thank You: how to get your kids to have manners.
Christine could have read my mind with 10 Parenting Sins We’re Guilty Of.
Laura reflects that she is now officially a Mom to a Teenager. She also compares the different emotions involved in a one year old’s birthday versus a thirteen year old.
When your child turns 1 you cry because they are growing so fast but when they turn 13 you cry because they are growing away.
Amelia has an awesome list of tips for step parents here: Helping a Stepmom.
Chevonne writes The Single Parent Experience: School Concerts.
I can sit at a table of nine, filled with pride, for my dearest boy. I may not have those “intimate” chats while he walks on stage… What I do have, is a gorgeous boy who seeks me out in the crowd while he steps onto that stage. First he smiles, then he waves and then he winks, I do the same. And in that moment, we are, the perfect family.
Maz also brings this up in To All the Single Moms on Father’s Day. She also has a guest post My Goldfish Outlasted My Marriage – On Surviving as a Young, Single Mom.
Ulpha writes Single Mom in the City… Shit Gets Real about the well meaning people who keep asking when she will be settling down.
No offense boys, but no man is worth losing or alienating my child over. I come with a package. Take it or leave it. Why do independent women scare men off? My independence isn’t there for you to sponge off. I don’t know about other women, I refuse to support a man. I already have 1 kid to raise and maintain. Don’t need a man to raise and maintain a man too.
Parenting after infertility / Adoption
Sharon has a thoughtful How Women With Infertility are Similar to trauma Survivors: My Experience in which she opens up about how she considered suicide after her 6th miscarriage.
I’m here. I’m alive. I’m thriving. I am the mother of two beautiful children. I overcame. I am forever changed but I am still alive, so yes, I very much consider myself a survivor!
She also has a heartfelt The one about how we try and not to fudge up our children.
I have adopted children so I parent accordingly. I’m always aware that my children have deep seated abandonment issues, that they have trust issues and that it is essential that Walter and I help them feel as secure as possible at all times…
She recounts how on one awful day how she had an awful fight in front of her child.
One of the promises we made to ourselves that day was that we would NEVER EVER fight in front of our children ever again.
When she failed at this…
I took myself off upstairs to calm myself the fudge down and get a grip on myself and then had a chat with her about how sometimes mom’s and dad’s get cross with each other, just like she gets cross with her sister, or the dog or her best friend and she shouts at them. That sometimes mom’s and dad’s need to do the same but that doesn’t mean they love each other any less. It just means they’re cross and everything will be ok..
Regardless of how any of us parent our children, we all pretty much have a common goal…. to raise them to adulthood without fudging them up too much!
I think you handled it rather well, Sharon, and you’re an inspiration to me.
(Incidentally, I once did a post on a book that was called How Not To F them Up. I got a lot out of that book!)
Laverne writes her own story: 2 failed adoptions, 1 dimpled baby 0 regrets.
I was sitting in across from the adoption specialist, slightly hung over, a bit numb. Listening to her talking nodding appropriately (I hope). All I could see was the folder filled with information of the child that was to be mine. She was talking, asking me things, I was answering them. My eyes were fixed on the folder in front of me. Finally she turned the folder over and on it stood a picture of the most beautiful thing I would ever see. A baby girl with a dimple smiling at me. Right into my soul.
An amazing story that Eleanor writes about: A Love Stronger than Diagnosis… Tersia’s story. This couple decided to adopt (despite family resistance) and then she got pregnant!
And now 19 months after adopting her, I’m almost 7 months pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant I went into total shock. I had so many questions – why now? How am I going to cope with 2 children under 2? What was the plan. And I still don’t know, but I know that God has a plan with both our daughters. He gave me Abby’s name before I knew I was pregnant. I was busy working and I heard a very clear voice – “Joy is such a beautiful name for a girl”. Here I must just point out that I have a very personal relationship with God and yes I do answer Him back and yes I do argue. So my answer: “No it’s not.” It happened twice and when I found out I was pregnant I knew her name needed to be Joy, but I really don’t like the name Joy. So I started doing research and Abigail means Joy.
Health/ Body Image
Sharon had a very thought provoking post on Plus Size and Beauty versus Obesity and Unhealthy.
I’ve never been more aware of this than what I’ve been on my journey over the last year. The way I’m treated. The way I’m listened to. The way I’m respected. The relationships that I have. The attention I’m given. EVERYTHING has changed since I lost weight, so I get it, I know first hand how society views and judges obese people. I really do get it. And should not be this way. But the fact remains, obesity IS unhealthy.
Maz has been published on Scary Mommy! Well done Maz! Her post was I Love My Mommy Body.
I am not flawless in the eyes of society, or even close to what I once was physically – but you see me for who I am. For you I would give the moon and stars. You knew my heart, you knew it long before we met. You love me, and I cannot tell you how much self-worth and validation I get from that truth.
I was ruined by the world before I met you; you did not ruin my body.
Melanie has a heartfelt post in Daughter, the World Will Lie to You on body image. She writes about her own battle with her body and then she says, in response to her daughter remarking that if she doesn’t eat she won’t get fat:
“The world will lie to you. The world will try to make you feel that what you look like is more important than who you are. Your heart is more important than what you see in the mirror. God cares about what is in your heart, and what he thinks about you matters more than what anyone else thinks or says.”
Karien writes Ten Years; Five Lessons about what she has learnt over the past ten years as a runner.
Melinda writes When Living Feels too Hard but Dying Isn’t an Option.
Sadly I don’t think I’ve ever lived. I’ve existed. But not lived. My joy is in moments, shared with my children. Moments of love are enjoyed with Mark, but shiny, happy? I don’t think I’ve ever been that. …
Don’t judge me for my mistakes. I judge myself enough. All the time. Your dislike of me will never ever be anywhere near my dislike of myself. Whatever horrible things you think of me has already been imagined, processed and internalized. You being sick of me being tired! You rolling your eyes at me saying I’m flat for the hundredth time? Guess what? I’m sick and tired of myself too.
Melinda writes about her experience: I attended a funeral today. The person who died was young, with kids in primary school.
If I knew that my reckless behaviour would make my children motherless, would it make me behave more responsibly?
If I knew that my behaviour would probably nearly kill my mother if she had to stand at my funeral, would the jerk of that thought make me change?
We all have our demons. Sometimes they hunt us relentlessly. Sometimes we run to them with reckless abandon and try to live with them. But demons are fuckers and they generally win. They are patient like that.
Knowing all of this will I change my behaviour?
The fact that I cannot answer this with a resounding “yes” makes me cry still more huge tears.
Jonelle writes What No One Tells You About Death.
It’s not a joke. It’s not something to wish on anyone. It’s not something I would wish on my worst enemy but that wouldn’t change anything anyway would it. No, death doesn’t care who I wish it on. Death just is.
The sooner we start to accept that, the sooner we can heal. The sooner we can start to feel capable again. Removed from the things you should have done or could have done. Acceptance creeps in and in that moment, we are finally free.
Cupcake Mummy writes about the effect of the death of a pet on her son in the death of a loved one.
Jozi has written a piece Why I’m Behind Caitlyn Jenner All the Way. She shares another story about a transgender child and the courage the parents had to make the change.
The takeaway from all of this? Issues around LGBT, or mental disorders, or death, or race or religion, or whatever, can be unfamiliar and awkward and frightening and downright confusing for most of us. But it shouldn’t stop us from at least trying to have a conversation around them so that maybe we can be more tolerant and understanding and loving. And maybe we can teach our kids to be the same.
Luchae has some questions in Call Him Bruce.
Today, I pray that through this whole transformation Bruce Jenner begins to open himself up to God.
And I pray that Bruce finds exactly what his soul has been yearning for this whole time!
Child Protection Week
Cindy writes The Non Negotiable Rules of Parenting, which are – put your kid in a car seat and love and protect them!
Jolene has some freebie printouts on her Friday Freebies: Last minute gifts for father’s day.
Elsabe also has some inspired crafts in Great Father’s Day Gifts and Card Ideas for Toddlers.
A beautiful post from Lindsay on the men in her life before she met the one her son would call dad: The Father, and then about her husband:
He is present, and they know it and can feel it. What you put into a relationship is what you get out, right? That is why the bond between them is so strong. I have had the honour of sitting on the side line watching him grow as the boys have grown. Its been a such an amazing journey thus far. Being able to support him and encourage him along the way has been great. I have watched this man’s heart grow, grow in a way that I don’t even think he knew was possible.
A touching post comparing the past and the present reactions to an absent father from Chevonne: The Day He Mourned for the Father He Never Had.
Being a single parent wasn’t in the plan…Then there is the challenge of finding the right words and tone. The words and tone that won’t create an unrealistic expectation, sharing a clear message, but also a message that is not filled with animosity for the other parent. A message that still translates into an I love you and it is not your fault, a message that clearly says “you are very special, don’t ever doubt that you are loved”.
We have two posts from the opposite spectrum on this issue of homosexual marriage being legalised in the USA.
Melanie writes Love Wins (But Not The Way You Think).
Maz writes Love Wins But Hate Still Triumphs.
A different approach, although not from a mom blogger, from Brett: After the rain.
As a follower of Jesus I don’t know that we will know the absolute answer about whether or not we were right or wrong in the particular stance we took on this until one day when we are standing in front of God. But i’m pretty convinced that whether or not we responded in love will be quite obvious. And I’m fairly confident that God is less likely to be focusing on “You said it was okay to be gay” or “You said it was not okay to be gay” and more concerned with, “How well did you love those who thought differently to you?”
Jonelle has a lot to say about Baggage.
We all fail
It’s the very nature of being human. We are by nature destined to fail at some things and excel at others. It’s not a sign of weakness. Somehow, every failure ends up in that damn bag.
Maybe it’s finally time to forgive yourself! Maybe it’s time I do.
Belinda is busy doing a course on Mindfulness for Beginners. I like the way she made it applicable to parenting.
There are huge benefits to Mindful Parenting too. In fact, I kept saying that it was hard to be mindful when you had a little person tugging on your pants leg the whole time and Nan the course facilitator reminded me that perhaps that little person could teach me a whole bunch. Perhaps if I lent down and looked him in the eye and gave him the attention he wanted and was MINDFUL about it, he would toddle off on his next adventure and I’d be left in peace. Children can teach us so much about being mindful, if we are only open to learn.
Luchae has some inspirational thoughts on the words we say and write in But Did It Kill You?
Fazila has some inspirational words for women in Girl Power, after reading Sheyl Sandberg’s book. Lean In.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? This is a mantra Sheryl has used in situations to get herself ahead. It tricks you into believing that you can do or say something without consequences.That’s where your ultimate fear stems from: the consequence. And what’s the worst consequence: you could be fired. This one really made me think. What would I have done if I weren’t afraid? Alot of the time I am afraid of sounding stupid. But then it turns out that there’s no right or wrong, its just an opinion. And I was never confident enough to raise my own opinion. I’m raising my daughter now…’bout dang time I raise that opinion too!!! If we want to succeed – if we want to achieve the ideal work-life balance it begins there. In our approach and changing how we perceive ourselves in the work place.
Christine has a helpful post: To Be Happier. Some good points here, including:
I know that I cannot be happy at all times and that it’s also perfectly normal to have fluctuations in my levels of happiness, but I realise that I am also in charge of how I respond to these times of unhappiness.
Jonelle has a thought provoking post: There are two types of people in this world (people who pass the blame and those who take responsibility).
Everything that happens in our lives is something that we can take responsibility for. We are enablers of everything that happens to us and in our lives. We have the power to make the decisions, to change the way things are, to make sure that we are in control of our own destiny.
I had to laugh at Lindsay’s Stop Pinning and Start Doing. She makes the point that we spend too much time on the internet (in this case, on Pinterest) instead of actually putting the things you’re pinning into practice. It sounds like me and all those blogging Ebooks sitting on my computer!
Namreen has written an inspirational piece on My Truths – Playing with Fire.
Negativity is like lighting a match and playing with fire… It starts off as a small flame dancing on the tip of a miniature stick. It is almost intriguing, drawing you in like a moth. Leave the flame burning for too long, and you risk getting burnt. Let go of the burning match and you risk leaving a blazing trail, having the flame engulf everything in its path! Life is like that…you need to know when to blow out that flame.
Also loved this quote she had in her post:
Fazila writes about how she doesn’t want to be The Surface Level Muslim, and she doesn’t want that for her daughter either.
Zayaan writes What Ramadaan Means To Me. Inspired by what Fazila wrote she says:
I struggle with two very big things which are frowned upon by the Muslim community and that I’m more than likely getting judged on: wearing hijab and making my prayers on time (sometimes one or two even slip by) and I’m riddled with guilt. But every Ramadaan without fail these two things are in full force in my life and I feel so much better about myself, I feel almost lighter if that makes sense. I don’t know why I can’t follow through once Ramadaan ends but please pray for me that this is the year it carries on because I’m going to try my hardest to make it happen.
Firdaus has both a spiritual and practical concern for Ramadaan Mubarak.
While the actual abstinence is obviously a huge deal, as critical is the spiritual side of Ramadaan, reflecting on ones own character, aspiring and making changes to be a better person and generally doing more good deeds and this applies universally….
One seemingly minor, but tiring battle for me is just co-ordinating the evening routine. As we break fast early in winter, food must be on the table much earlier than our usual supper time (and a little extra effort goes into meal preparation). After we break our fast in the evening, hubby, A, like other Muslim men, is usually at the mosque for extended prayers in the evening, leaving me alone with the bath and bed routine, which is usually a shared task. I have no idea how single mothers do it, but for me, bathing a four year old while trying to stop a one year old (who has just been bathed) from diving back in the bathtub or play in the toilet bowl is the ultimate exercise in patience and self-restraint. Getting both to sleep simultaneously at a reasonable hour, prayers and then doing all the usual evening chores- mission impossible. Character building- that is what this month is all about!
Leigh writes about the ordeal of having a date night out – she concludes it was just not worth it: The 20 Step Execution Plan that is Getting Ready to Go Out.
By the time we got the kids in the car which involved packing dummies, bottles, Benjies, dummy clips, sleeping bags, nappies, wet wipes and half a pharmacy and then having to go back in the house three times to get a special toy, same warmer clothes and a new sense of humor, we got all the way to grannies house to discover we forgot the milk.
Jozi has a hilarious How to dress yourself: A guide for almost Threenagers
You thought being able to walk and talk were as cool as it gets? Nah ah. Being able to dress yourself means: deciding for yourself what you are going to wear, even if it means shunning PJs for the rest of your life because you want to wear “normo clothes” (normal clothes) at bedtime. It means changing 47 times a day, pulling everything out of your wardrobe and leaving it in a pile on the floor for mum to nag you to pick it up. It means making and breaking the rules, like deciding that you want to wear underpants, but OVER your diaper. And it means never ever having to put up with what the mommy person says you need to wear if you really don’t agree with her.
Eleanor has a funny Kids are non Refundable, Right?
This product is not at all what I expected, but if you try to take it from me I will chase you down with the speed developed from chasing him around and beat you down with the strong arms acquired from wresting him down 🙂
Good tips from Jonelle on How to Start a Blog.
A post from Melanie So Much More (Let Your Light Shine) about how she took a break for a week from blogging and how it has helped her work out what is important. A timely reminder for us all…
I don’t have a huge readership, and I am absolutely okay with that. I don’t particularly want to be famous, and if I never have a post that goes viral, well, so what? In two days, I had three friends pull me aside to tell me that they’ve enjoyed my recent posts, that they’ve been challenged and encouraged. That is why I write, for the three people whose hearts I’ve touched, not for stats or followers.
Please link up the ones I have missed! And comment on at least three of them.