May Roundup and Linky

The month of May was another prolific month for South African mom bloggers.  While we had the normal parenting, pregnancy and inspirational posts, there were also ones on grief, drugs, relationships and religion.  Some wrote about news events such as the royal baby and the Panayiotou murder. There were quite a few political ones.

May is also a time for Mother’s day and the point was made that there are very many different kinds of mothers. It was also a time for reflection on the wise words our mothers have given us.

I hope you enjoy these posts of our talented writers.

 

Pregnancy

Jonnelle writes a beautiful post to her unborn child in What I want for You. You need to read the whole post – there was so much I wanted to pull out…

We will accept you for who you are. We will encourage you to believe in the things that make sense to you, we will let you love who you want to love, and accept you for who you are, regardless of who that may be.

Radhia is having her pregnancy documented through Mamas and Papas magazine. Read about her second trimester here: A journey to Motherhood: Second Trimester.

Lindsay wrote a great one on Birth Plans versus Birth Experience. 

We all have these wonderful plans on how the birth / delivery of our baby will go, and great if it actually turns out that way. But for some, the reality is, it doesn’t. Now you can either go with the changes that happen or you can sit with this regret.

 

Parenting

Radhia has 10 Tips for The First Three Weeks of Motherhood.

The main reason I struggled with my adjustment to motherhood was my inability to accept that I had lost control. I lost control of every aspect of my life during those first few weeks of becoming a mother and I am now certain that if I had done just a few of the things I mention below, my transition to motherhood would have been a lot easier!

She also writes about Losing Control

I am a control freak, and always have been. I need to have things in order. I need to do things a certain way. If that does not happen, I lose my mind! That is most definitely part of the reason why I struggled to adjust to motherhood – because I lost control. Those times I wished to be back at work as opposed to being with a crying baby, was only because I wanted control. I yearned for it. I wanted to be able to do something from start to finish without any disturbances. That cannot happen anymore unfortunately.
 
And that’s okay. I am trying to make peace with it. Before, I would have been doing a spring clean on a Saturday evening because the chaos bothered me too much to sleep. Now, it is bothering me, but not to the point where I need to do it at this moment.
Christine has a useful list on 5 things Moms of Boys Must Do.
Luchae writes Choosing Life For My Family – I found this really applicable and challenging.
the-wise-womanThe amazing thing about God is that He has given us freedom of choice.
We choose what we allow into our lives and into our thoughts.
We choose how we react to situations and how we speak to people and make them feel.
We choose what we release into the atmosphere.
She also had verses, one of which I’ve pictured here.
Laura also has a thought provoking post on Interfering and Involvement are Two Separate Things.
So next time you are tempted to interfere, stop. Think about it careful before you charge the teacher/coach/friend and ask yourself – am I really making it better for my child if I do this.
 
I knew I had to do the right thing, I knew that giving in to her would mean there would be no lessons in consequences for her. And I love her. Oh God, I love her with every fiber of my being, but sometimes loving someone means that doing the right thing and that could mean that it will hurt you more. Ava is hurting right now, but I have no doubt, I’m hurting more.
Fazila compares the past eight months with her baby to a One Republic song in One Republic – I lived.
The guilt of single mommyhood is something tormenting Ulpha. She has a list of five.
I always want her to know and remember, she is my #1 priority. She won’t realize it now and despite working two jobs and doing all that I have to do, she is and will always be my #1 responsibility. She is my heart, my soul and the best thing that has ever happened to me.  All that I do, is all for her.
Things I never knew (about motherhood)  have been a surprise to Melanie. You’ll have to read her whole list.
I never knew how precious the simple touch of a child’s hand on my cheek would be, or how arms wrapped around my waist would make me feel so special.
Laura had a meltdown when she felt The Tired – it is in my soul.
You know how you hold it together until you don’t? You keep the balls in the air, the wheels turning, the mouths fed and then you stop, have a look and the balls are bouncing next to your weary slipper clad feet, the wheels have stopped and the fish fingers are burning. You stand there, too tired to even care. Not the tired that a nap will fix, the tired that has weaved it’s way into your soul. The tired that sits behind your eyes, making them heavy but unable to close. The tired that makes you want to sit in the puddle of chaos and just be because dealing with it, facing it, its just too much.
Cindy has some good insight on How to Survive Having More Than One Child. She also has some really good ones on  27 Things I’ve learnt while parenting three small people.
I liked this one:
I can’t tell you how many times I looked at Mothers with screaming kids and thought, “Just make them stop”.  Oh sweet, ignorant self – you were an idiot.  Making a child just stop having a tantrum is like trying to stop me eating an entire packet of Nik Naks in one sitting – just not going to happen.  Tantrums are not a result of parenting per say – your kid is struggling to express themselves and it’s not fun or even “acceptable”, but you bet your baby bag, it will happen.
Chevonne has some inspiration in Parenting Joy is in the Moments.
The joys of parenting is in the small moments that we sometimes miss when we become consumed by the busyness of life.
Of course, I do understand that there are well-researched arguments for more collaborative, less competitive child-rearing approaches. I just don’t think that sheltering children almost entirely from competition prepares them for the current mainstream reality. I would argue that a more realistic approach for building confidence is to a) try to avoid creating competition where it need not exist and b) to teach children how to cope with losing – a skill even the most gifted must certainly need at times.
 
Relationships 
Melanie shares: A Submissive Wife? Me? Whatever your feelings on this, the post is worth reading because of how she honours her relationship.
Coral Leigh shares a difficult situation: one of those tough times: what would you do if your child said “I wish my dad would die!”?

Social Media

Nicky shares The Truth Behind the Perfect Family Photo about how her toddler did not co-operate at a wedding.

We tend to portray the perfect half a second shot as if this is the idyllic life that we live with a well behaved always smiling toddler when in actual fact, nothing can be further from the truth.

The Royal Baby

Leigh writes an amusing post in – We’ll never be Royals. As much as she feels sorry for the Princess’ loss of privacy, she also coverts the army of helpers as well.

Leigh (our very own Durban Doula) has her own opinions on the birth in The Day Kate Called the Midwives.

So in case you can’t see what bugs me about this – it’s the whole issue of gatekeeping – how is it that the men who weren’t there and or didn’t do anything except ‘oversee’ get the praise, the press and lists of qualifications and full biographies, while the midwives who did the work, whom the Duchess chose, are, on the whole, invisible, nameless and voiceless, and are qualified by the opinions of the doctors above anything else.

Panayiotou murder

Wenchy has a raw post about her own decision to leave her marriage and about how the better choices were made. The food isn’t up to standard is actually a quote from the murder’s lawyer about the prison food.

I thought to myself that I cannot let my children believe destruction is what marriage is about. This is not how I grew up. This is not how my story ends.

My overwhelming desire was much more disturbing. “I could totally take you out.  I could kill you and feel nothing.” I would even phone the police.  I had no intention of running.

That is the game changer. I didn’t.

I stood in that doorway for a long time,  then I turned around and took my sleeping children out of their car seats. I carried them to their beds. I remember being so thankful that they remained asleep.

I sat in the lounge all night weighing up my options. My income was tiny,  my kids were so small,  I’m so young – how do I get out? Acknowledging all the difficulties to follow, I filed for divorce. I removed my children from an unhealthy environment and I left.

Christopher Panayiotou didn’t. I don’t know why he didn’t want to be in that marriage anymore. It doesn’t really matter.

Mother’s Day

Eleanor grieves the loss of Logan by sharing what to day if a friend’s baby dies in Grieving Moms and Mother’s Day: Don’t say Stupid Things.

It all feels so crazy like I entered a triathlon and when I got to the cycle part, my bike was stolen, I trained! I was ready! I wanted it! Its not my fault I couldn’t finish 🙁

Sharon writes a post I resonated with: Birth moms, bereaved moms, step moms, first moms, grieving moms, angel moms, angel baby moms …celebrating all the types of moms.

While those of us who get to bask in the joy and pleasure that is Mother’s day, let’s spare a thought for moms around the world who maybe aren’t being acknowledged and celebrated and for whom the day is extremely painful.

Belinda’s brief To the Unmothered on Mother’s Day has some words for those whose mothers have passed on.

Because we are not without our mothers completely, we are simply untethered, like a boat that has cast off from a harbour, or one that has lifted its anchor.

Melanie has a thoughtful Badge of Honour post about body image.

Sweet moms, I pray that you learn to see your scars, stretch marks and wobbly bits as badges of honour. Let this be your Mother’s Day gift to yourself.

Natalie writes 4 Mantras I learnt from my Mom.

The one that struck home for me was “You can’t put an old head on young shoulders”. She also quotes a writer, Mary Schmich, whose words were borrowed for the Baz Luhrmann song “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)”.

Enjoy the power & beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power & beauty of your youth until they’ve faded, but trust me, in twenty years’ time, you will look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now, how much possibility lay before and how fabulous you really looked…

Chevonne writes Is This Enough: Mother’s Day

Mother’s day, is in these moments, moments of just being and giving freely, without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

I love my son, and HE is enough.

Religious

Zayaan writes about her preparation in Ramadaan-is-coming. You have to click over to see her cute kid in prayer position on a mat.

But preparing for Ramadaan is more than just the days that need to be paid in and food that needs to be bought (ironically Muslims eat the most during Ramadaan – don’t even ask how), but it’s getting into a spiritual place. The one thing I love most about Ramadaan is the peace that comes with it. And with the world being so turbulent right now, my soul needs a little peace.

Melanie has an inspirational post on God’s call in Get Off the Boat [When God Calls]

I want to be like James and John on the boat that day, to drop everything and follow as soon as I hear God’s voice, not thinking about what could happen but trusting that his plan is bigger and better than mine.

She also has a good one one Teaching My Children to Pray.

Politics

Natalie writes South Africa Through the Eyes of a Joburg Cab Driver. This incident happened when she was new to Joburg, going around for interviews without a car. The taxi driver spoke to a neighbouring  vehicle and then asks her:

“Did you understand what we just said?” he asks me as we pull away.

I reply that I am embarrassed to say that I did not. Not a word.

And then he turns to me and says, “And we could have been planning to murder you and you wouldn’t even have known?”

I smile.

And he smiles back.

I feel exhilarated. In that one moment in my first week in Joburg, this taxi driver has laid bare our country’s issues of violence, equality, language, race, class, education and has challenged me to confront them.

I dream that one day, we will all live in that South Africa. A South Africa in which we speak to one another as equals, regardless of the colour of our skins or whether we are expats or refugees seeking a better life here. A South Africa in which everyone feels truly free.

I liked this post from Rina – Sometimes. She writes about how she copes with all the bad news.

Those little things – that mean the world. That makes you realize your happy place is right there in your home with your family, where the horrors of the world are nicely covered with a blanket of love.Where you belong.

Eleanor writes about her child’s experience with racism: I don’t usually talk about race but…

I was shocked because not only isn’t Aidan an Umlungu (he is at most a Bruin Ou) but I came face to face with such young prejudice. What has this child learnt, and from who,  this child who can’t be older than 5 (she says she is 5,6,7,8,9) thinks that colours should be separated (I don’t even remember to do that in the wash).

I admire her for dealing with it in such a positive way: she let the kids run a race and they ended up as friends.

A thought provoking piece on homelessness from Chevonne: Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?

Now, standing here, an emptiness strangling me. He’s gone. My only friend, my only family. Tonight, I go home to an empty pavement and an extra blanket…soon my time will come.

I’m 48 years old, I’m homeless and hungry. I’ve not been on my ARV’s since I lost my shack, for a third time in a township fire…a month after my only child took a stray bullet to the chest.

People walk past me every day, they don’t see me…

A post from Leigh with a lot of conversation on whether to stay or leave South Africa: South Africa, my hope is gone…

Drugs

Chevonne writes Fading about how drugs engulfed someone. This is a powerful post.

Our connection blurred as I watched you walk into the dark, connecting with the sinister and sadistic gloom…you faded, a son, a brother – afflicted by addiction – you faded into the shadows of your keepers gallows.

Grief

Jonelle writes about losing her dad in Coping with Grief and the Sh*t People Say. This is a really useful post on what to say and advice on how to deal with loss.

If you’ve ever lost someone and you wonder how you will get through it just try to remember that although the pain will never go away completely, and you will always miss that person, it will get easier. You will learn how to cope and you will learn how to remember them without feeling like you can’t live without them. In the meantime though, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be miserable and hysterical and burst into waves of tears with absolutely no notice. It’s okay to not have it together all the time. Being sad is normal. Grieving is what you do to get over losing someone. We don’t cry for them, we cry for ourselves. We cry because we will never see them again so be okay with your grief but remember that you’re still alive and you still need to carry on living.

Cindy also writes a touching post about her dad and her experience as she lost him, bit by bit, to Muscular Dystrophy: On the Passing of a Parent One Year On.

It’s fair to say that we were grieving as a family since he was diagnosed.  Slowly mourning the “death” of each of his abilities.  Being able to bend.  Being able to walk.  Being able to write. Being able to hold anything.  Being able to feed himself.  Even being able to turn himself over in bed.  Obviously no one grieved these losses of bodily functions quite as much as he did.  Obviously.  It was not only the loss of movement, but of independence as well.

People tell you to treasure the time you have with someone before it’s too late.  To cherish it.  Sounds pretty easy to do right?

In fact I found it one of the hardest things to do.

Inspiration

Celeste writes about Karma and Boomerangs.

What we put out there in the world is what we ultimately get back. There is a saying, and don’t quote me on this one it, but it’s one used in the Cape Flats quite often, “You live by the gun/knife and you die by the gun/knife”. People this has been proven over and over. Life is short and you may live by the gun but die when hit by a bus too. Anything can happen at any given time but in most cases “What goes around, comes around”.

Fazila writes a history of her Anti-Child origins. She had a difficult time when her mom died when she was 17 and she had to look after her siblings.

This entire experience plus a few others made me anti – kids for a while. I knew better than most the type of responsibility, sense of duty and sacrifice that came with having kids. And if at any point I make it look as if this parenting thing is easy, it’s because I do find it easy, in comparison to what I went through before.

Celeste writes about being ONLY a Housewife. This post was so well written, she makes the point that we never know the full person, we just make assumptions based on appearances.

What they would know if they were actually interested in knowing the woman, they’d find that in spite of herself and her circumstances chooses to have faith and believe in things not yet seen. She gets up every morning with a grateful heart because she’s been given the gift of life for another day. In moments of darkness she takes a deep breath and carries on. She sees the glass half full and not just for the heck of it. She’ll tell you that it’s half full because in any situation or aspect of our lives there’s always room for improvement. She started her own business and works hard at establishing her business at making a name for herself. Unless you ask, she won’t volunteer any of the information to you. She’s long past the point of seeking validation from people. She knows who she is and what she brings to the table. I’m proud to say that I know her and I know her well.

Luchae writes It’s Hard Work to Stay Offended.

I‘ve begun to realize that carrying an offence is a decision. 
Because, ultimately, I am not in control of another persons actions…. 
So with that said, what I am walking away with is this: When I feel the smallest hint of an offence, I use it as a wonderful reminder to pray for the person and the situation and MYSELF… Because, at the end of the day, only the Holy Spirit can change things. 
Ursula writes an important Please Don’t Choose Suicide – You Matter! in which she openly shares her own suicide attempts.
Nothing stays the same, EVER.  No situation is static, we really never know what is around the corner.  It sounds trite but it is true.  I can’t begin to list the wonderful, beautiful and important things which have transpired in my life, things which I may never have experienced.  I can’t tell you how peaceful and happy I am now.   I would never have guessed the paths which would lead to my present.  Oh yes!  More bad stuff will happen.  Bad stuff that we don’t see coming, but it WILL pass, and it WILL leave us stronger, and it WILL give us a deeper experience of our worlds.
Inspirational words from Belinda: How to Marry Well: Advice to My Daughter
My Rachel, you don’t have to marry a man of course. You can marry anyone. Or not get married at all. But seek happiness, in whatever you do. They say that love is complicated but it’s not really. It’s either there or it isn’t. Know if it’s there, before you act.
I somehow believed that it would be experienced as extreme sadness and emotional outbursts. But in my case, it was the complete opposite. It was my complete lack of emotion that led to my diagnosis. I just stopped feeling. I stopped living. I just became an apperition in my own life. I was no longer a participant. I lacked the oomph to do anything to help myself. I lived inside an insulated, sound proof bubble, where I was incapable of feeling or hearing anything and I just floated along, completely oblivious and absent in my own life.
Cindy sums it all up so well: We All Have That Thing.

We all have something that makes our lives a little harder to live sometimes.  It’s SO easy to assume that you are the only one suffering, but I can guarantee you that you are not.  Not even close.

So I guess the lesson I learnt from this is that, not only should we be easier on ourselves (especially when comparing our lives to those of our peers), we should try and be more understanding when dealing with others too.

Humour

Laura has a very good 7 Reasons I Know There are Boys In The House.

Communication is in grunts and nods. How was your day Jack? Meh. Cameron is there soccer today? Nod. So you have to make sure you are looking at them all the time.

She also has a good one on Fiery Fours: What Not to Do.

Do not give in. If you do you will find your four year old running around the lounge wielding a steak knife wearing only 3 day only underpants in freezing temperatures. Stand strong! Do not allow them to skip bath time every night or jump like a bunny rabbit on the back seat of the car or run Flash Gordon like across the parking lot. However tempting it is, do not do it. Drink if you must, inhale chocolate if need be but do not give in.

I love Melanie’s A User-Friendly Guide To Mall Shopping. She stats that the Woolies queue is not the place to strike up conversation with a frazzled mom.

Above all, do not comment that she looks tired, that she must enjoy this age, and that her children are such angels. Sure, they’re behaving now. But the reason she’s frazzled and looks about to snap is because not two minutes earlier the children were screaming for the most expensive and unhealthy cereal on the shelf, the queue is not moving fast enough, everyone needs to pee, and her period is due.

Fidaus recalls a normal day trying to leave the house; this should sound familiar: Why a Simple Car Ride with Kids is not so Simple.

Go give this blogger a virtual hug:

Cindy is starting Roaccutane again, a skin treatment. This blog post is such a well written tour of her emotional state.

Walking through the winding corridors felt a bit like willingly walking into quick sand.  Sign after sign, urging me to go further in, around more corners, down long passages, past door after door of people specialising in different things.  Oh there’s my plastic surgeon.   There’ s baby being cradled in his Moms arms in the Neurosurgeons office – how awful, don’t think about it, you can’t start crying already.  The deeper in I got, the more I realised that I probably won’t be able to find my way out of there.

Poetry

If you need some encouragement to take a decision, Paula has a poem on Maybe Yes by Dana Faulds.

Begin somewhere.

Take one deep breath and dive.

Plunge into the core of your most persistent fear, or your greatest joy.

Chevonne has written a poem, Being Mother.

Being Mother

… not defined by the birth I gave
nor the many books I read
…it is the countless nights I crept
into your bed and watched you as you slept

So what have I missed? Add your favourite posts from this month. Comment on at least three others.

6 thoughts on “May Roundup and Linky

  1. Jonelle says:

    I love being a part of this group and getting this round up was a special Sunday night treat! So many talented women doing what they love. So much to be inspired by.

    <3
    Jonelle
    Jonelle recently posted…BaggageMy Profile

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