Being a mom has so many different meanings that it actually is impossible to define it in the dictionary. It has different meanings to everyone. Here is what it means to me:
To most expats living in the Middle East, summer school holidays mean various things.
Things like bored children for 3 months, extortionate heat, high humidity, dusty winds, and a mom that’s going crazy trying to keep the kids indoors and hydrated. One just cannot imagine what the heat is like until you’ve experienced it.
Since there’s only so much one can do each day to keep the kids entertained and occupied, I had to make the decision – stay for 3 months, mainly cooped up indoors, while friends either worked daily, and others exit the country OR leave to go stay by my mom.
The answer seemed simple. We’d take the kids to go visit their gran and some other family members, meet up with some old friends, be away from the heat in the very chilling and wet, winter Western Cape climate, and allow the kids to run outside in the garden, play on the beach or just go for a walk.
Mr Bear came with us for the first week during Eid and then make his return to the sandpit to continue work; leaving us behind at my moms, knowing I had an extra pair of hands to help with the kids.
But was this the best decision?
Friends would ask me if I’d be ok to be without Mr Bear for 2 months. I’d give them the quick, well recited response that at least I’ll be with my mom, I’ll have help, and of course some company.
Looking back on my decision now, I’m not so sure anymore…
My pillar of strength, partner in crime, sounding board and love of my life is not just a few kilometers away from me. I can’t just count the hours down until I know he’ll be walking through the doors to help out during the Murder Hour. My extra hour of snoozing in bed in the morning has left with him, as he used to get up with Monkey at the crack of dawn. My time that I used to catch my 2nd wind and get ready for bedtime routine is no more as now it’s just a continuation until my animals are all in La La Land.
And then I’ve also got my routine of even the smaller things like running the house that is no more. Simple things like watering the plants and popping in to a friends house for a cold one, or coffee in the mornings has all been put on hold.
So was this the best decision? For me? The kids? My life?
I don’t know.
It’s like half of your being is missing. Half of your personality. Your life. Just not here. Yes, there’s social media and WhatsApp and skype. But that’s just not the same as a pair of hands to actually be there. Someone who also knows what each cry, moan or whine means. Just your someone.
On the other hand, the kids are happier. Yes, they do miss their daddy, don’t get me wrong. But they see their gran, who adores them. They can play, get dirty, and do boy stuff like get dirty and wet. They are not grounded inside the house while their friends are off on their own exodus from the heat.
And with that, I suppose sometimes your kids happiness comes first, even when you temporarily feel hollow.
Only 62 days to go…
With Monkey’s personality really starting to shine through, Bunny’s personality being in full swing and Mr. Bear’s being pretty much set in stone; I can now give you a real glimpse of what it’s like to live in a house full of testosterone.
- All the boys want to hold the remote, at all times. So much so that Monkey has an old TV remote (sans batteries) that he walks around with. What is it with boys wanting to hold the remote? Power?
- There is always an aroma of stale wee around at least 1 bathroom. Bunny swears he knows how to aim, yet he admits that it’s his pee stains in the bidet. Like WTF? Why would you pee in there?
- There is often a “Let’s-see-who-can-have-the-last-say” with each instruction, order, comment, request, question, and opinion. Throwing self down on floor counts as one too.
- They eat the.whole.time, non-stop! It never ends. Like a bottomless pit. And the two worst ones, are the tiny humans. *Note to self! Start food savings account for when boys are teens.
- Competition is inevitable. Brushing teeth, bathing/showering, getting dressed, finishing their meal, getting into the car, talking the loudest, farting…
- They really don’t know where the washing basket is at all times. Bunny will get home and his school socks will lie in front of the TV until I have to remind him where to put them. Monkey might not know how to put it in the basket, but he certainly knows how to take it out of the basket and throw it all over the floor, all over the house. Mr. Bear…. well, most of the time he gets it right, even if it just hangs over the basket.
- Speaking of washing basket, can we just pause for a moment and really let it sink in HOW MUCH WASHING they are responsible for!!! 2 to 3 outfits per day, depending on the person!
- Although not one of them are late sleepers in the morning (I still have slight hope, but it’s running low), they all sleep like the dead. I swear you could bang on pots right next to their bed and they wouldn’t even flinch.
- They love giving cuddles and smooches. No matter their age, I get showered in them throughout the day. Yes, sometimes it’s from Bunny while I’m trying to correct his behavior, or from Monkey while I really just want to have 1 minute to myself in the bathroom, or Mr. Bear while I’m rushing to get supper done. But I love them and so, I stop and soak it in.
- Silly laughter happens throughout the day. From blowing kisses on a tummy; to tickling; to their own farting noises; and jokes that don’t make sense. There is aways someone laughing at something.
The fascination never ends regarding certain body extremities. Luckily the older you get, the less public these fascinations become, but still. Why as soon as the nappy comes off, the hand goes there? What! Did you think it’s fallen off from the last time your nappy had been cleaned?
Do I sometimes really feel like I’m the only one that makes sense? ABSOLUTELY!
Do I sometimes wonder how it would have been if the house was balanced between testosterone and estrogen? DEFINITELY!
Would I change any of this, even for 1 day? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!
Boys are awesome. Yes, they can have emotional eruptions similar to that of a volcano. BUT once done, they don’t really linger on it. They get over it and move on. Boys are easy. No bitchiness. No cat fights. Just mostly easy, apart from some of the things above.
What’s it like in your house? Tell us in the comments.
So I know some of you have been wondering why you haven’t seen anything from us lately, and I’m here to tell you why.
Because; haters! That’s the short answer.
This isn’t an invite for a pity party or whatnot. So if you’re going to see it like that, then best to unfollow.
I had received some hate mail; nasty comments; unfollowing of the blog, yet still like the blog’s Facebook page; and even some “unfriends”; critic on what I should and shouldn’t write; and yeah, I took it personally. Decided well eff it!! I won’t share anything anymore and I was just about to delete the whole blog and social media accounts for Bunny, Monkey” & Me.
After a few people have inquired about when they’d get a new blog post and others asking what had happened, I realized that I can’t give in to the few rotten apples that enjoy pushing other people down. I love writing. I love sharing things that others might relate to. I love expressing myself. I’m artistic and writing is part of art. It’s my form of a let out, as well as a “digital” way to capture our lives so that I can look back on it whenever I want, and so the boys can do so too. Yes, not everyone might like my style of Art, but you know what, I don’t have to change, adapt or fade away just because someone doesn’t like it. They can simply click on the “un-” button, whether unlike, unfollow, unsubscribe. Hey! They can even block it. So really? Why must I stop doing something I enjoy just for those few who don’t like it?
Well, here I am after my epiphany, which I think might have happened over a glass of wine or a slab of chocolate. Anyways…..
If you’re still following us, thank you. Hope you’ll still enjoy it and know that somewhere, someone is going through something similar.
Here’s a short rundown of what has happened in the lives of myself and my zoo?
If you missed the last couple of posts, before I went into stealth mode, you can read it here. I looked at how I was rocking motherhood, even when it doesn’t always feel that way. And before that, we had just celebrated Monkey’s first birthday and I had reflected on reasons why I love him.
Since Monkey’s first birthday, we have:
- Celebrated Bunny’s “Student of the Week” reward. He’d really worked hard in order to be acknowledged for his constant hard work.
- We’d recuperated from Bunny’s triple-whammy of measles, mumps, AND tonsillitis. Monkey’s bacterial eye infection. And my upper airway something or other. Poor Mr. Bear had his hands full.
- Had our first Doha Friday Brunch with just the family, at Santa Monica Breakfast Club, Grand Hyatt. Good grief, never again. Mr. Bear and I didn’t get to have one conversation as one of us always had to run off with one of the boys. Next time we’re doing it either without kids or in a group so we’ll have help. At least we all enjoyed the beach.
- Moved into a bigger place. I used to love moving, but after this exercise…. not so much anymore. It used to be fun, but then I didn’t have tiny humans interrupting me. The new place is also closer to Bunny’s new school, that he’ll start the new school year – he’s so excited.
- Speaking of school and Bunny; we also had our first bullying at school incident where Bunny was being bullied by a fellow classmate. The shocking part of it all, the teacher denying that it could ever happen. And then, suddenly no more incidents when you start threatening to come into the school to see the principal.
- Monkey starting to do typical toddler things, like climbing on absolutely everything, having no fear, almost needing stitches by knocking his eye socket; redecorating the entire house with a marker (including walls, chairs, couches, tiles and himself). Oh, that personality is just something beautiful…. and comical at times.
- Family and guests staying over for a few days. Apart from experiencing the heat, they got to do some shopping in 3 different malls, experience the Souq, get stuck in the desert on the way to Inland Sea and overall get a glimpse of the place we now call Home. Their feedback: Completely different to what we expected, in an overall good way.
- Bunny’s Annual Year End Show where not only did he produce the best school report ever (average of 95%), but he also overcame his fear of public speaking by being a lead speaker in one of the productions. Mommy and Daddy’s hearts are still bursting with pride.
- Oh, and lastly, I just made my next level in the part-time venture I’m in. Super stoked about that too! Not many places where you can get 2 promotions within 7-months, work from home, as well as whenever you want.
So, as you can see, we’ve been busy. And that was just for the past 2-months. Here is what you can look out for coming next:
- Our self-eviction out of Qatar, running away as far as possible from Summer here.
- Days spent in the much cooler Cape, South Africa by my mom as well as seeing old friends.
- And then coming back, to get ready for the new school year.
I’ll post other topics and funnies in between again too, whenever I get a chance.
I’ll leave you with this funny video of Monkey dancing:
So for all those sticking around cause you want to, not out of purely sticking around to see what’s happening in our lives, but sticking around cause you genuinely want to, much love to you all.
To those sticking around for not one good reason, well, whatever floats your boat.
With social media and more virtual mommy-groups than real life motherhood tribes, one is often thrown into a guilt trip over something petty. Usually, something that was done differently than others but due to the “anonymity” of the internet, people come out guns blazing and will ridicule and judge you over what you think is right. One then is left questioning yourself, your parenting style and and and…
This initiative is different, as it forces you to look at yourself and point out things to validate YOURSELF! And when you’re like me, it’s not an easy thing to do. So thank you Dilraz, from Mommy Dil for adding me to the Rocking Motherhood Tag Chain.
Here I take some time and reflect on how I am rocking motherhood by sharing the things I am good at, with regard to my 2 busy animals:
*Insert extended period of time, trying to think of something*
*Insert questioning whether I am rocking it after all*
*Insert wondering why the hell did I agree to this*
*Insert smacking my head, motivating myself and repeating “I am not a failure” over and over like a mantra.
Ok, here we go:
- I am rocking ensuring my boys have manners.
I often question myself of what I am doing wrong when Bunny has forgotten his manners under a rock. We enforce “please” and “thank you’s” and looking into the person’s eyes you’re talking to, not talking with a mouth full of food, and all the other “supposed to’s”. But all this enforcing at home, also makes me wonder how the 5-year-old behaves when I’m not there to enforce it. The great thing though is that I’ve received many messages and praise on what a well-mannered boy he is. Something that still leaves me wondering if they’re talking about my Bunny.
- I am rocking their health.
Typical I know. But with long, stressful days and constant up and downs and taking care of, and cleaning, and organizing, and homework and and and; frying chicken nuggets and chips is sometimes the only bit of sanity and quick-fix that I have strength for. Sometimes dinner doesn’t have a veg on the side, or a snack might just be a processed vienna (sausage) and cut up grapes. Sometimes the only exercise for the day is only the-running-mother’s-patience-thin, but thank the pope that both boys are rarely sick. So I must be doing something right; like letting them eat sand and walking barefoot. (Shock-horror to a lot of people that have seen us out and about).
- I am/was rocking their 1st year the way I wanted it.
Both boys I delivered the way I wanted to, naturally. Both boys I had in my bed and in my room, until we were ready to do the transition (Monkey is still in our room). Both boys I had breastfed (and still for Monkey) until Bunny weaned himself at 18 months. Both boys have never cried it out in any way, shape or form to get themselves to sleep. Both boys have never tasted formula in their lives, which was MY goal. Both boys have received these things from me, as I believe they are the best for my children. Some might call me a tree-hugger, but it’s what I wanted for them. And I am thankful that I had and still have the support in doing just so.
- I am rocking the way they learn about other cultures and the bigger world.
Being an expat has allowed us to give them that. Not every person will have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and traditions while living it, but our boys are. They don’t have blinkers over their eyes. They learn, take part and can appreciate ways that people different than them live. They don’t blindly follow the masses and instead, they get a deeper feeling for differences across race, culture, and religion. Even if it means they might not be able to give a straight answer to “Where are you from?”
- I am rocking as a role model.
Yes, I have a few less than desirable things that my children are picking up from me and exhibiting themselves, like lack of patience. But the good and appropriate behavior and traits I have, they are picking up too and they do follow it. One of the important ones is “Not giving up – having perseverance”. Bunny struggles sometimes with it and often will say “I can’t”, but with a little pep-talk and motivation, he’ll try again. Monkey has no stopping. He’ll fall down and get right up and try again. I hope this will help them for the rest of their lives where they’ll persist and come out on top.
- I rock at loving them unconditionally.
One is supposed to, right. But sometimes you really don’t want to. Sometimes you understand why the animal mother eats her young. Luckily I love them too much, even when I’m at the tipping point. And I tell them I love them, so they know. I even tell them that while I’m upset or cross with them…. “Yes, Mommy is angry with you right now. YES! I still love you. Yes, I can be angry and still love you at the same time.”
- I rock at not raising spoilt brats.
How? I don’t buy them treats and loads of toys every other day. I don’t give in to every single request. Want to have a full-on meltdown in the shop aisle because I refuse to buy you a whistle? Go ahead. Why? Because I believe you need to earn things. I believe there needs to be an exchange, either a good behavior or a task done or a well-deserved report. You don’t get things handed to you on a silver platter, not now as a child and most definitely not when you’re an adult.
- I rock at not taming the fire, all the time.
Although I have to constantly remind myself that they’re just tiny humans with their own personalities and that one day these spirited, self-assured little
a-holessweehearts will be great at being a leader, it does come with hard work for now. Mr. Bear calls it “not being consistent enough”, I call it “choosing my battles”. Sometimes it just makes more sense to let something slide. I don’t want my children to be anyone’s doormats. I want them to be strong leaders.
- I rock at showing them how to treat a woman (with the help of hubby, of course).
I refuse to one day be known as the mother who didn’t raise a gentleman. Our boys are taught from a young age, things like “ladies first”, respect for women, never raising your hand for a woman and that if you want to live in a castle, you need to treat a lady like a queen. Mr. Bear shows them how and I show them by accepting it.
- And now I rock at seeing my good points and not just the flaws.
Well, rocking it might be pushing it. But it’s a step in the direction. And something that I actually have shown my kids by constantly praising them for things achieved or done. Surely it will be even better when I now voice, to them, things that I am proud of, of myself.
As part of this Tag-post, and the 4 people I’ll be tagging, I’m also tagging you, all mothers, women, girls, cousins, friends, and family to search within you at least 10 things you are rocking at.
I now tag fellow mommy-bloggers:
Simone from biscuits, blooms & banter
Laura from Life with Baby Kicks
Chastin from Crazy Momma of Three
Lize Botha, to look inwards and acknowledge your powers as mothers!
Learn more about the Rocking Motherhood Tag here
Today you are 1!
Seriously where has the time gone?!?!
Here are my TOP 52 reasons of why I love you. 1 for each week of this past year.
- Your gentle being.
- Your emotional connection to others.
- Your empathy, you give to others who are hurt and/or sad.
- Your beautiful smile.
- Your genuine giggles.
- Your contagious laugh.
- Your hugs, you generously give.
- Your wet kisses you love giving.
- Your eyes, and how they are wide open and alert.
- The color of your eyes, like some exotic sea water.
- Your smootchi mouth.
- Your curiosity of all the things around you.
- Your ability to learn and understand so quickly.
- Your feistiness.
- Your determination to get what you want.
- Your desire to still want to be connected to me and daddy, by having us pick you up.
- Your no-fear attitude, when you climb all the way to the top of the slide.
- Your assistance to have me constantly think of new ideas for snacks for you each day.
- Your slapping my face while I’m sleeping, just to remind me that I’m not alone.
- Your explosive nappies, to let me know you ate well the previous day.
- Your love you give us.
- Your excitement to see your big brother each day.
- Your soft skin.
- Your easy going attitude.
- Your confidence in new places and doing new things.
- Your ability to have fun with simple things like a piece of toilet paper or a wooden spoon.
- Your amazement at things we take for granted.
- Your constant excitement after a nap and we come get you.
- Your willingness to share your toys.
- Your warm and inviting eyes.
- Your sincerity when you call me “Mama”.
- Your intelligence that comes through, even at this young age.
- Your good-natured behaviour.
- Your constant happiness.
- Your gentle, old soul.
- Your enthusiasm with regards to doing something or trying something new out.
- Your brilliant way of lighting up a room.
- Your calming presence.
- Your ambition to do what you want.
- Your observing of all things around you, not missing a thing.
- Your personality.
- Your ray-of-sunshine comfort, when times seem dark.
- Your creative streaks of playing.
- Your attentive eyes when we teach you something completely new.
- Your charming personality.
- Your golden curly locks.
- Your beautiful hands with their long fingers.
- Your self-confidence.
- Your way of bringing calm to those around you.
- Your persuasive ability for things you want or things you want to do.
- Your love that you give to all around you.
Your untouched innocence
That lovely blue in your eyes
With my heart you’ve made
Some very special ties
Your flawless little face
Fingers than tangle with mine
Brings a feel of purity
Which is just so divine
Your unfathomable sounds
Your heart-melting smile
Everything that you do
Makes my life worthwhile
Happiest of birthdays, my sweet rainbow child. How I love you so!
As I look at you while you’ve drifted off to Dreamland, I can’t help that my heart just skips a beat. You look so peaceful and content. Although I’m sure you’re busy slaying a big dragon; or running amongst wolves; or maybe you’re just contemplating your next exploration adventure for once you awake. Oh my, how I love you so.
It’s been a few days now that I can’t keep my eyes off of you. Not because you’ve started climbing on top of everything. Nor is it because you move my furniture and things all over the place. It’s not even because I have to ensure I’m close by, in case you’re able to reach the top of the table and pull things off. Instead, it’s because I cannot believe just how you’ve grown. We’re less than 2 weeks away from your first birthday and Mommy is just ever so slightly emotional about it.
Why? I don’t know. The reality that you’re not a baby anymore, even though you’ll always be my baby. Maybe because you’ve achieved so much in this past year. Or maybe it’s because you’ve taught me so much. It’s probably all of the above and more.
I look at you and I see love. I see the enjoyment of simple things. I see the excitement when you’ve achieved something new. I see your face brighten up completely when Daddy or Bunny walk into the house. I see your curiosity when you’ve managed to reach a higher height/object. I see your amazement when you look at water splashing down. I see your joy when I come get you after you’ve had a nap. I see your fascination with the light switches. Oh, how I see it all.
How it pains me when you bump yourself and the tears roll over your smooth cheek. How it hurts when I see you’re in pain. But how beautiful it is to see you getting up and trying again; once you’ve had a cuddle or two. There is just so much we can learn from you and your persistence.
All years fly by. At each year-end, you’ll always hear someone say something like “I can’t believe this year is over!” But this year… this year has gone by at the speed of light. Just the other day I touched you for the first time. Not long after that, you’d give your first real smile. Soon after that, you would turn full circle while lying on your back. And not long after that you’d roll over, sit, laugh hysterically, crawl, have 6 teeth, eat most food, pull yourself up, cruise along the couches, blow kisses, clap hands, point to things, stand, say a few words, stack my Tupperware to make a tower, and now even giving a few unassisted steps.
Where has the time gone?
It is wonderful to see you grow and become more and more dependent. But it’s the best to see that you still love Mommy’s cuddles and kisses and routinely come back to me for safety, reassurance and just to connect again before you go explore or try something new.
I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us in the years to come.
But for now, I’ll continue rocking you when those pesky teeth are bothering you at night. I’ll continue to give you cuddles. I’ll continue to help you up after you’ve fallen down. I’ll continue to join you in your amazing world as we discover all the new, yet simple things in life, I’ll continue to hold you when you feel the floor is about to swallow you whole, I’ll continue to love you, even when you drive me loopy. I’ll continue to kiss you, until the day you’re able to run away from them.
For now, you are still my baby. My ray of sunshine, and vibrant rainbow after a stormy weather.
If you’re already a mommy, about to be a mommy or still planning on becoming a mommy; this question is going to pop up at some point or another, and believe me, it will be a major decision to make for most people.
This is the question of becoming/staying a Stay at Home Mom, a Working from Home Mom or a Working Mom.
Each one has their own pro’s and con’s and I want to try and highlight these here, to try and help you make the decision.
There is no right or wrong way to go about this. Every situation, household, and person is different and one does what one has to, based on so many factors in ones own life. Whichever you choose to do, or being forced to do, as long as it is in the best interest for your family, then don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
I’ve held all 3 of these titles and this is what a typical day looks like. Do keep in mind, these days are relating to how it applies to me and my family…
Stay at Home Mom:
(Day with a 5-year-old and an 11-month-old…)
Your job/work is never ending. N.E.V.E.R!!
On a good day, you get woken up, most of the time, not by an alarm set the previous night, but by a little body that needs you. Breakfast to be given, change of clothes, cleaning a dirty nappy, getting the older kid his breakfast and dressed for school, teeth brushed, hair combed and looking somewhat presentable and out the door in time for them to catch their ride to school. If you have a baby that is still stationary or that it playing by himself for a while, it does give you a few minutes to clean the house; dust, mop, wash and the dreaded IRONING, or just have some coffee that is still warm! And trust me, the washing and ironing never stop! As soon as 1 load is dry and ready to be ironed, another load needs to be washed and yes, there is that previous load that has been lying there to be ironed for a few days now. If baby is roaming around and exploring, this routine changes to run after them, help them down from climbing onto the coffee table, cleaning up whatever mess they’ve made; all while trying to clean in between all the shenanigans being done by said baby. Don’t even try to pick up the toys just yet… they’ll soon lie all over the floor again, in any way. Constantly remember to keep a watchful eye as the Little Explorer does get up to mischief if you’re out the room for 2 minutes. Think about what to make for supper and take the frozen things out the freezer as early as possible. Put baby down for a nap – takes a good 20 – 30 min on good days. While they’re napping, maybe go take a pee or get 1 thing/room cleaned. I won’t even blame you if you snooze with them for a bit. If they’re eating solids, remember to give them a snack here and there too. Just because you’re not hungry, doesn’t mean they don’t need it. Somewhere in all of this, remember to brush your own teeth and wash your face. I would tell you to get out of your yoga pants too, but they’re too damn comfy and if I’m not going out the day, then I will stay in them even sans bra.
Alright, morning complete.
The older child has returned home from school. Lunch needs to be given, homework has to be done and child changed out of school uniform. Just these 3 things have previously sometimes taken us 2-hours to do. This in between picking up said baby that has now woken up and
is petrified of the floor, as if it will engulf him in hot lava wanting some extra cuddles. Once done, somehow start making the supper with said terrified baby on the hip or if lucky, open the cupboard door with all the Tupperware in and allow them to decorate your kitchen floor with lids and bowls of all shapes and colors; it’s excellent exercise for you too so jump around, missing these objects and of course, the baby.
Remember to give another snack to all kids in the house. They go loopy when they’re hungry. Possibly break up a fight or two between siblings as the older one does not want the baby to play with that car. Switch the TV on for a few minutes to get something done. Assist baby that has gotten stuck under a table/chair and who’s entire world is now crashing down on him. Did you forget those snacks? It’s not too late to give them… If Baby is down for (another) nap, whip up that supper asap. Work in stealth mode so they don’t get woken up from all the banging of pots and chopping of food.
Oh dear me…. it’s 16:30 already… Did I have lunch? Can’t recall…
Another 2-hours to go before the husband gets home. The older child needs to get supper (a good 30 min to get him to eat) and good luck getting that TV switched off first. Drama, drama, drama… Hold baby that is now trying to fling himself out of your arms to crawl onto the table to get to his sibling’s supper. Fine! More than half the food was eaten… Off to bath. Ensure toilet lid is closed because baby will put hands in it. Get the older child into the bath and clean. Brush those teeth and into bed. Read a bedtime story and start the negotiations, bribery and await Momster to come out to get kid to stay in bed. Once out the room, set up for the baby to have his supper. (Yes, older kid needs to be in bed before baby, cause he has to get up at 5:30 am to get ready for school.) Once baby is finished with supper, clean him and his surrounding area from all the food he’s messed. The hubby should be back by this time, upon which you can do a gentle hand over so he can bath said baby, giving you time to clean up all the messed food, if not finished yet, dish up for your suppers, pick up the Tupperware in the kitchen as well as all other toys still lying about. Next up, get baby to sleep and have own supper. Enjoy an hour or so of peace and quiet with some catching up of what’s going on in the outside world and then move yourself to go shower and sleep. Wake up a few times during the night for either a feed, consoling of a nightmare of the older kid or just to be told that the older kid wants to pee or that he can’t find his teddy. All of this doesn’t even include the trips to the shops to stock up on any items…
And then repeat. Ev.e.ry.day, including weekends, although you get more help then, if the hubby isn’t working.
Work From Home Mom:
(Day with a 5-year-old and an 11-month-old…)
Your job/work is never ending. N.E.V.E.R!!
This is pretty much the same as above, PLUS:
You have to spend time on whatever work you have to do. Read and send emails. Do phone calls. This usually gets done while baby is napping or happily playing by himself. Get all dolled up with appropriate clothes and make-up, if you have to meet with someone or go out. Maybe do a drive or two, all with baby in tow, or worse, both kids. May result in a very grumpy baby as his routine goes out the door if you miss nap time by 30-minutes; and an upset child cause he wanted to play or relax at home. Supper making time gets cut short and you have to literally think of clever meals that can either just all be thrown into one pot and simmer until cooked or just do a breakfast meal for supper.
(Day with a 5-year-old and luckily no baby at this stage)
You might have to wake up before all the birds are up. Even during summer, it’s still dark. You’re grumpy and half asleep. Getting dressed and ready in the dark in order not to wake the rest of the house, adds to the fun! The drive to work is infuriating due to bad drivers and people who think the entire road belongs to them. Yeah, sure, you have music to keep you entertained. Then you either get to work before all other people, which can be lonely but usually, it just means you can get more work done. Slowly throughout the morning, colleagues arrive. You might even be invited to go grab some coffee together. Meetings, scheduling things, paperwork, dealing with incompetent people, as well as other adult conversations take up the rest of your day. Your mind has worked and solved work related problems.
Once done for the day, you leave the office again to get stuck in some traffic heading home, testing your patience and skills as you try to navigate the back roads thinking it will make it easier and quicker – it doesn’t. You finally reach the school to pick up the kid and your day seems brighter as you listen to all the things that were done at school. You reach home to start on the supper-making, eating and bath routine.
A few hours to spend with the hubby and then you want to be in bed again as you are already counting down the hours until your alarm will go off again.
So there you have it! Is one better than the other? Only you can decide. Do you have to stick to only 1 for the rest of your life? Of course not. Will the above be exactly like that for everyone? No, this is just based on my life/family.
One does what one needs to for ones own family. There are good and not so good points in each scenario. But you’ll have to decide what will work for you and then make it as good as you possibly can.
For right now, I am happy to just be a WFHM. I set my own times and work around my kids and what they need. Will see how the future develops and then adjust accordingly 🙂
We’ve been Expats now for close to a year, and the boys and I recently had our first trip “back home”.
Being away from Home for just over 10 months has widened our hearts and minds. We’re part of a different culture; not only the one that we currently live in but also the culture of being an Expat; an outsider.
For months I’ve had friends and family telling me how they miss us and when are we coming to visit. With Bunny’s school holidays approaching towards mid-January, I suggested that I take the kids to visit friends and family, instead of just lounging around in the house while Mr. Bear still had to work. It would be 2 weeks of excitement; constant get together’s and meet-ups where Bunny could play outside in a garden, Monkey could get used to what real grass feels like, I could soak up the typical Highveld summer thunderstorms with the added pleasure of seeing the people I hold dear to my heart.
I had announced our idea to some friends and family and it was very well received. Some even counting the days down with me, some starting to make plans, but then, some not sharing much care or enthusiasm about it.
I was told numerous times by other expats who have gone through this type of visit, that it’s rarely all that you wish it to be and one often will expect way more; that I had to remember that I’m not going through what they are going trough right now; I’m not really part of their lives, even if we still had daily contact; that I would see who were willing to make an effort; and that the easiest would be to organize one event where people can come see us, instead of me dragging the kids all over the place each day to try and try fit everyone in.
My heart sank quite a bit when I heard that it wouldn’t be all sunshine and roses. I mean, these are people I care for and they care about me. I’m making the effort of a 11+ hour trip across the world; why wouldn’t some make a small effort. I’m sure my people won’t be like that!!
Well, wake up and smell the bloody roses!! They were right.
By all means, I had family and great friends who really did make a lot of effort to come and see me. Effort from driving 3-hours to come to where I was staying; extending their own trip to stay longer; to blocking out an entire afternoon to see their “doctor”; and others just making the effort to maneuver through hectic traffic to come say hi. It was absolutely heart-warming to see how some would put their lives on hold for a little bit to come see us.
Don’t get me wrong; I know one can’t always take off work, or take a break for a coffee, especially during the week, or rearrange a whole day with kid’s schedules. I really do get that. Good grief! I had to adapt and rearrange both my kid’s routines for 2 weeks, in a different time zone, miles away from their new home, without their Daddy, in a foreign house with new tastes and smells. I know that I’m not “used to” what’s going on in said Home Country. I know you have your own life now. I know sometimes plans just really don’t go as we intend them to go. Really, I do get that… Just didn’t realize your own life meant I can’t be a part of it in living form, but only through social media…
This is not a post to make anyone feel bad that didn’t make an effort or whom I didn’t get to see. This is just a heads-up to anyone planning a trip “back home”.
Visiting back home after being away for nearly a year, certainly has stirred up a lot of emotions in me. Even when you look past the whole visiting of friends and family.
Currently, we live in a country where it’s relatively safe. Where violent crimes are unheard of. Even petty crimes do not make the news headlines, not even on a monthly basis. It just doesn’t happen… Compared to our Home country, where violence and crime is part of everyone’s lives on an almost daily basis.
So it was quite a reality shock to be petrified to sleep alone in the house without a family member at night; to not allow Bunny to stroll behind me in a shop; to not want to drive around in case we catch a red traffic light and having to wait for it to turn green.
It made me realize how pathetic it is to live in a country where you don’t feel safe; where you have to constantly look over your shoulder and be on permanent guard mode. How did I ever manage to live with it for so long?
Our holiday overall wasn’t so great. It didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. It was lonely during the days while everyone was at work. It was nerve wrecking at night with only me and the kids in one massive house. I missed having my boy’s daddy. They missed him. We were all miserable. One phone call and a good amount of tears later and Mr. Bear went to change our flight ticket to come back home 4-days earlier.
Do I want to go visit again? Yes sure. But this time completely on my T’s & C’s.
The next time another Expat gives me advice on these type of things, I’ll actually follow them and not think that “my trip will be different.” Seems everyone’s trips are all the same.
I remember Monkey only wanting to be in my arms when he was a newborn, for a good few weeks. His favorite position and location to sleep on was in my arms, upright. Even nearly 10 months later, he still won’t lie horizontally in my arms, not even for a few minutes. Luckily, I knew we were going through the 4th trimester and I knew it was just a phase that we both had to get through. It was something I didn’t mind though; having him attached to me; completely dependent on me; I was utterly content with this situation and arrangement. (You can read more about the 4th trimester here.)
And through the months, this little monkey started getting more independent, especially after he became completely mobile and would speed crawl to wherever he wanted to be; pulling himself up to see the world at a higher level. And with all that, a small part of my heart was sore; my baby was growing up just too fast. Yet honestly, it was also giving me a break to be able to go to the loo when I wanted too or make supper without a clenching tiny body to me.
A few months later and I now have to get used to it all over again. This time with a much bigger little monkey. I can’t really cradle him like I used to and I sometimes have to struggle with the flying arms, kicking legs and body that arches to make me go where he wants to go. It takes quite some getting used to after months of not having him in my arms the whole time.
Welcome to something I have dubbed The 5th Trimester.
This is the stage roughly around 9-months where babies learn about space, distance and relationships. Something known as SEPARATION ANXIETY.
I know it’s completely normal and “age related” and “a phase” and “it will pass” and “enjoy it while it lasts” and and and…
But let me just say, carrying an almost 10kg baby everywhere, keeping him relatively still while having a wee and consoling him now while tears stream down his face as he has no patience for me just wanting to first turn the oven off, is something to get used to all over again.
The little blossoming personality that has been coming through over the past few months are being intensified during this 5th trimester. He wants to be held, but all on his terms, as he also wants to explore and learn, again all on his own terms, dependent on his mood and especially on what time of the day it is.
Sometimes he’s perfectly happy being put down by his toys, to play, gnaw at and/or crawl and stand up as he pleases; giving you a few minutes to get something done. Then there are times where I can totally understand that he wants me a little closer to him, especially while he’s busy teething or tired and about to go down for a nap or after he has stumbled down and knocked his head.
I think the worst part is from about 4 pm each day. Then you can just about forget putting him down. As soon as you start losing vertical height, the legs kick out and become all rigid; the mouth starts opening and this high-pitched sound comes out, either that or the long string of “Mamamamamamamama”; water-works start; a disgusted look on the face, as if he is a puppy being left at home as you get into the car; arms waving around. These are the hours where he teaches me patience every day; where he reminds me that he’s still actually quite dependent on me and that I should just embrace it as yes, they do grow out of it and just as I wipe my eyes, he’ll be very reluctant to be held and cuddled.
Some things I had to change and/or adapt to; like learning how to do things with only 1 hand and making supper earlier in the day; but it’s all doable.
So, if you’re about to go through it or are in it right now, just enjoy this stage too, know there is light at the end of the tunnel; I promise you, in a few years, you are going to miss it, as difficult it is to believe right now. For now, I’ll keep picking him up while he thanks me with these open-mouthed-sucking-me-in-kisses.
Remember when you were in high school and/or college and living the life of being in absolute love with a boy/girl. Things were going well. And then suddenly, without any warning, it ended. Sometimes you expected it but a lot of times it came to such an abrupt halt that it left you with an almost whiplash-effect. Remember the hurt, the questions, the not-knowing as to what happened. Those were the worst.
Or so you thought…
The worst is when this happens to a friendship. Everything is going well. You are part of each other’s lives. You share so much. It’s like the sister you never had. Or the brother. And then unbeknownst to you, it stops. No warning. No fight or argument. No drifting apart or giving you time to get used to it. Just STOP! Like an accidental death. END!
Apart from the pain, hurt and sometimes even anger, the thing that makes it so hard is that you don’t know why. You replay the last couple of chats you had, reread the last month or so’s messages; trying to find the “where did it go wrong?” and/or “where did I f… up?”. But there is no answer to your questions and you’re left with “It’s me. It’s my fault. I must be…” (insert all self-invalidations you can come up with here.) And all you can come up with is, WTAF!?!?
Don’t be that friend!
It’s happened to all of us at some point or another. And if it hasn’t happened to you, then you might just have left someone else in the dark, feeling like this.
Yes, I don’t sugar coat things and I’ll be damn honest with you if you’ve peed me off or upset/hurt me and I’ll tell you. Why? Because the bond means more to me than just letting it fizzle away. I’ll fight for the relationship cause that’s how I am. And yes, when I’ve had my say and have tried to resolve and mend it; yet see it’s not going anywhere, then I’ll cut my losses and move on, even if it is with a broken heart. But at least you’ll be on the other end knowing exactly what happened.
I get that people grow out of each other’s company or life; or that they move on for whatever reason, which is fine if at least done in a proper way. A proper way so that both parties know where they stand and why they are standing at that threshold of a new beginning. What I don’t get and
don’t like hate; is when you don’t know the reasons. It’s like reading a 700-page novel and then the last chapter has been eaten up by the dog and you wonder what happened.
Don’t be that friend!!
Puck up the courage and tell them. Don’t just leave them with a mystery. If you can’t do it by talking, then write a mail. Gawd, send smoke signals if you must. But tell them!
I’ve been through it more than once in my life and all it does to me; is build my wall around me and my heart higher and stronger; add more security to it; insert booby traps; electric fencing; make the vault stronger and un-penetrable; as well as place all of this underground with no sign of where to dig/enter it. You’ll have a better chance of breaking into Fort Knox, that entering my heart again or even allow someone new to enter it.
Don’t be that friend!
I get that people sometimes misunderstand each other. Either due to not expressing yourself in the way that you are feeling or that you “read” a message incorrectly and imagine the way a message was sent (usually in an utter incorrect tone than what was actually meant). And that is why it is so darn important to clarify it. Clarify it until you are both on the same page, even if you still disagree. At least you understand why or what was said.
And if you’re reading this now and it strikes a cord, then well, do something about it.
Don’t be that friend that just moves on, because in reality, you don’t really move on. You just hide it; don’t look at it and make as if it doesn’t exist. But it does, and it ain’t going nowhere. The worst of it is that it will influence your future friendships. And that’s not healthy, not for either parties nor 3rd or 4th parties…
Even if you don’t like confrontation. Even if you’re scared to “hurt” someone with words. Still, clarify it, try to mend it if both parties want to and/or move on.
Just don’t be that friend!