Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Consistently crazy

Before becoming a mom I remember hearing or reading that the key to being a good one is consistency. If you're going to be a great mom, be a great one all the time. If you're going to be a shitty one, then stick to your guns and consistently be shitty.

According to that article or interview it's the inconsistency that screws kids up.  The goodmood-badmood-kindofokmood thing leaves children feeling confused and insecure. 

It made sense way back then. Consistency when parenting! How difficult could that be? As a mom now I know that being consistent is one of the most difficult things. Life isn't consistent. Days, hours, minutes aren't. I can start off the day in a foul mood but then receive a call or message that cheers me up. Or the other way round. I can leave the house ready to conquer the world but then traffic leaves me feeling defeated. The perfect day could be ruined by loadshedding at the imperfect time. 

I'm a mom, a wife, a friend. I'm sad some days and happy others. And as much as I try to be even keeled, I can't. So consistency isn't something Emma and Ben always get. 

Except how much I love them. And how often I tell them. And I hope and pray that even when I've gone slightly bat-shit crazy and lost my mind they know that my love never ever changes. 

I hope that when they're older, they can say their mom was slightly eccentric (read 'insane') but that I loved them just as madly. That I was crazy most times but my love for them was crazy all the time.


Taken from whenathome.com

The sun is going down. We’ve sung the last song, read the last book, and tucked you back into bed for the seventeenth time. The day is coming to a close and I breathe a sigh of relief. All day long, I look forward to the bedtime hour. Two more hours till bedtime. One more hour. Thirty minutes. 10 minutes. As soon as you’re in bed, the cleaning starts. I pick up the toys, wipe down the counters, wash the dishes, and fold the laundry. Then the relaxing starts. I put on my sweats, grab my snack, turn on Netflix, and snuggle up with your daddy. Then it’s my bedtime. I turn the t.v. off, climb into bed, and just before my head hits the pillow, I ask myself,

“Did I love them enough today?”

You see, the day goes so fast, but the moments drag on and on and on. I know you don’t understand why the way you say my name drive me crazy sometimes. I know you get frustrated when plans change and people cancel and things don’t work out. I know how hard it is for you when I forget to toast your bread before putting the peanut butter on it and how life threatening that shoe to the head must have felt. I try to give grace because you probably didn’t mean to sit on your baby sister’s head … twice … in two minutes. But the truth is, I fail. So much. I snap. I cry. I angry text your daddy and threaten mutiny multiple times a day. I get sad and I can’t explain why. I get angry and have a hard time hiding it. I get lonely and insecure and frustrated and sometimes I say things that I can’t take back.

So when I get to the end of the day…the day that I’ll never get to have with you again…I go over the details, the highs and the lows, and I wonder if you felt loved the whole day. Once you’re in bed, sleeping soundly, I almost completely forget how hard the day was for me. In the moment, the chaos is so real, but when it’s over, it’s over and I just want to wake you up and say, “HEY! You did good today, kid.”

I hope that I loved you enough today. I hope that everyday you know that you are loved and that nothing you can do or say can change that. I hope that you see through my tears of frustration and know that I am so proud of you. You are the best thing I ever did. I love you fiercely and I hope you always know that. Not just in the long run, but every single frustrating day.

Did I love you enough today, little one? I sure hope so.


Monday, 27 July 2015

My 'aha' moment

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

Rev. Safire Rose

Have you ever had a 'aha' moment? Like a 'holy crap I get it now!' feeling? I had one this morning, via Facebook of all places, via a person I've only just recently connected with, and I suddenly 'got it'.

A few weeks back my Facebook status read 'Really trying to understand what I'm putting out there that the universe doesn't feel I deserve a break'. And I meant it. I was down in the dumps, feeling as if everyone else was farting glitter and pooping fairy dust. That particular week, in fact, that day, I had done a random act of kindness (I do them often, I just don't record and post them) and I kinda felt I was owed something in return.

Money's tight, friends are few, health sucks, micro and macro environments feel out of control and I feel like the world's about to spin off its axis. But guess what I realized? No one owes me a thing. No one owes me a job or sympathy. No one owes me an apology or a reason. For anything. I don't deserve good fortune and favour and I don't deserve to feel bitter about it.

I need to let go. At a time I feel powerless, the most powerful thing I can do is to let go.

Thank you Tracey xxx




Who needs the birds and the bees anyway?

I was out the whole of yesterday, setting up a party and by the time I was on the way home, I found myself having really missed Emma and Ben. It's a good feeling. Sometimes we all need a bit of a break from each other, to renew, regenerate and resuscitate our love for one another. Not that I ever stop loving them. But sometimes I don't like them. There. I said it. 

Being a little unit, we go through the ebbs and flow like any relationship. We have our good days and bad, we have moments where we can't get enough of each other and then there's times where a minute feels like a lifetime. Like all siblings (I hope), they have this lovehate relationship which drives me insane. They're either causing chaos as a team or nearly throttling one another. 

Anyway, I digress. I got home and they weren't there. They were next door and I could hear their shrieks of delight as they played and by the time they walked in the back door, they were as happy to see me. 

Everything just seemed to run smoothly. Bath time was a breeze. Supper time was super. Bedtime was a blast, with a story and lots of hugs and kisses. Ben fell asleep almost instantly but Emma, Emma wanted another story. 

She wanted to hear the story of how we found her. She loves it. And she wants different versions. In casual conversation I sometimes mention her tummy mommy, in case there comes a day she realizes she's adopted (said with tongue firmly in cheek) and we talk about where babies come from. Not so much the how they got there, more the way they come out. Emma announced the other day that she thinks she might want a baby from heaven and not 'the normal way'. She doesn't think a baby would fit through her belly button.

Our neighbour is expecting a new baby and Emma knows it's in her tummy and that he'll be here in the next few weeks. What I'm trying to say, in a very long winded way, is that she kind of knows babies don't fly down on a cloud, from heaven. But in our stories of 'Finding Emma' that's one of the versions. And she loves it!

So last night, again, she wanted to know how we found her in the garden. She wanted the details of who went outside  and how did we know she was there. And she wanted to know if she had clothes on and whether she had wings. She asked if she was lying on the grass or on a bed of flowers.

I told her I had heard her giggles as she played with the fairies in the garden and I sent her dad outside to see where the noise was coming from. I said it was dark outside so Mark called for me to fetch a torch but I didn't need one. As I walked outside I could see a little glow on a patch of flowers and I knew my baby had arrived. 

"I had prayed and prayed for a long time for a baby girl."

"Like five days long?" She asked. "

"More like five years long" I said. 

"You know why it took so long?" She asked me. "Because the angels and I looked and looked in all the gardens, through all the windows, to find the best mom and dad for me."

I think I found my new favourite story, how Emma found us. 


Thursday, 16 July 2015

We have a winner!

Life is full of questions. Do these pants make me look fat? Do you think she's prettier than me? When are you finding a boyfriend? When are you getting engaged? When are you getting married?  When are you having kids? When are you having more kids? When are you going to stop having kids? 

And then, with your perfect family, gorgeous husband, picket fence and pedigreed pooches, you think the questions have stop, the humdinger comes along. Where are you sending your kids to school?

We've been trying to answer that question for the last 6 years. We live in an area where it's assumed you have the means to send your child to one of the many private schools. We've got Crawfords within spitting distance, Heron Bridge, Summit, St Peters, Cooper, British International College, American International College, and a whole lot more. Unfortunately we don't have the cash for these. Not for two kids. We could do a 'Ching Chong Cha' to see which of our two children are the smartest, sending that one off to a private school but that's not without its flaws. We could skimp and save and do away with living in a house, in clothes and eating food to send both of them, but I'm thinking that's not really going to work either.  

We're on lists for government schools, but we don't fall within their catchment area, so unless we camp out for two or three nights, there's not much chance of getting them in there either. I've played the race card. Oh yes I have. But apparently places are open for previously disadvantaged families, not currently disadvantaged. 

And so we've had sleepless nights as to how we're going to answer next time we're asked which school we're sending Emma to. 

But I think I finally have an answer. Emma's at a Montessori preschool, doing grade R, and she does well in that environment. With a small group of six, she's getting the attention she needs and her teachers are able to see where her strengths, and weaknesses (shock, horror, yes, my perfect child has some weaknesses) lie. 

She thrives on praise and encouragement, as do most children, but she also needs a lot of persuading to try something new or something that falls outside of her comfort zone. She's a daydreamer and needs constant 'calling back' to the task at hand, which I don't see happening in a class of 20, 25 or 30.

This year, the principal of Singing Forest Montessori opened a Montessori primary school, and come hell or high water, that's where Emma will be going next year. I popped into the school yesterday and I felt like I was home. The older kids had just finished preparing soups, which are been delivered today to an informal settlement today, and were busy with a birthday ring. Yup, kids of 11 were singing happy birthday to a classmate and making her feel special. I loved that. Why shouldn't an 11 year old be made to feel special? Why does it stop once you reach primary school?

The Montessori school, in my humble opinion, focuses on the child. They're allowed to be the best THEY can be, not to be as good as Johnny or Anne. I want Emma to be in an environment where she is celebrated in spite of her weaknesses and because of her strengths. I want a well rounded child, emotionally, physically and mentally. My ideal would be for my children to leave school solution focussed, open minded and with a sense of entrepreneurship. Unlike I was, I don't want them labelled as stupid, less than, or destined to fail. 

I don't want them graded according to a standard or a norm. I don't want to ever hear them say they're dumb and I never ever want to see them not try something because they're scared of failing. 

So should you see me in a shop or in the street and you want to know which school Emma will be going to in 2016, the answer quite simply is Chartwell House Montessori Eco school.