WHY WRITE?

I have been writing for most of my life. I have always had a love for words, for the English language. When I was in my early teens I had already completed my first anthology of poems. I dreamed of being an author when I grew up. I continue to write – I am a children’s book writer. I would one day like to write for adults. An so like so many, I took to blogging. And being a mommy blogger, I have been graciously invited to many events.

It was at one of these events that I was asked whether or not blogging had been good to me, whether it had paid off and if I had received goods for my pregnancies, my kids, myself etc etc…. The same mommy blogger quipped later on into the event that she would not write about any experience she had at a place or with a product, if she was not being paid for it.

Wow – it made me step back! It made me stop and put down my pen – or rather in today’s’ terms “my phone” and consider why I write.

My absence from Mumziboo has been a reflective one. And this is what I now know for sure!

1 I write because I love to write.

2 In the famous words of Steve Biko – “I write what I like”.

3 I write because inherently, it is part of who I am.

And so at the end of this fast – I know that while its GOOD to get goodie bags and freebies, and be paid to write positive pieces on prams and other bits of mommadom – its NOT why I write.

Hey – I like a “like” as much as the next person. But I also know that thousands of likes don’t equate to good writing. People “like” bloggers because they associate with the whole package – the writing, the pics, the promos, the lifestyle or whatever that blogger is about. I don’t write for “likes” – I write because I am a writer. I am a mommy blogger because my kids inspire me and I enjoy the community of mommy bloggers. It comforts me to know that I am not alone in the mayhem of parenting! Mommy blogging is the equivalent of Rachel in Anne of Green Gables, running over to Merilla to drink tea for fortification, before she carries on with the rest of her day. Only we tap a screen.

I don’t write to be followed either – though its nice to know that people follow you because they’re interested in what you have to say. But again, I will say “it” regardless of my following.

I write because that’s what writers do! Why do you write momma?

BATH TIME WONDERS

I love using ordinary mundane moments to connect with my kids- it’s a bonus when you can use it to play, teach and develop them at the same time. These are just a few bath time wonders I’ve enjoyed creating:

 

A VISIT TO THE AMAZON JUNGLE

 

I got so stuck in this one!!!! Ha! It was awesome. The thought grabbed me and I went running wildly through my garden with a shears 20 minutes before bath time. I cut the largest branches I could find and quietly decorated the bath tub with them. I ran the shower on hot for a while to get as much steam into the bathroom. And of course I ran the tub. Then I googled Amazon jungle sounds and played the music from my phone. I closed the door and told my girls they were visiting the Amazon. They loved it. They spent a lot of time in there. And wanted to know more about the Amazon:

 

Play: imagination and role play just flowed natural.

 

Connect: We just giggled and chatted.

 

Fun: loads for both them and me.

 

Learn: about the jungle, about the Amazon jungle, a specific place.

 

Develop: sensory touch – steam, nature, darkness and light. Bonus: Interest in nature- now they want to watch planet earth more and more. Plus memories made.

 

Your kit: leaves, real ones, Amazon jungle sounds, a music player (my smart phone worked wonders), a shower in the bathroom with the bath tub.

 

I also plan (perhaps I am too ambitious) to do the following:

 

SPACE

The tub will be the space ship. Lights off. Glow in the dark stickers stuck on the walls and ceiling to create the cosmos. Ah the. Blue water and an under water torch. Lights off torch on. Space music playing. Simple enough, I think.

 

ANCIENT EGYPT

Palm branches, the blue rive Nile, face paint to paint each other like Egyptians. I plan to build the pyramids out of towels in a corner and play the Prince of Egypt sound track.

Or

BEACH PARTY WITHOUT THE SAND

Drinks, sun hats, water toys, arm bands, swim wear and the sound of the ocean. I plan to go all the way with this one – mock-tails and of course boiled colorful spaghetti floating in the water for seaweed. Shells from our last visit to the ocean will line windowsill.

 

Tell me what you’ve done to make bath time interesting for your kids! would love to hear from you.

Now to find the time!!!!

IF I COULD CHOOSE, I’D BE A LADY AT DOWNTON ABBEY

Watching the royal wedding this weekend made me think about how slow and luxurious life could be if everything was done for you. Ha my kids are Royal for sure!!!! For Sean and I though, parenting, life in Jo’burg in general is such a rush. I try to consciously do things slower to enjoy them,’ savor the precious moments – the look of  Zaza’s cute puffy face as she says: “one more huffy mummy, one more kissy”. The naughty “catch me if you can” look on Ellie’s face before she darts off with a forbidden sweet. The feel of a Teh’s tiny body clinging to mine as she falls asleep and Tali’s flashing smile when she figures out something complex. These are the everyday mundane things that are extraordinary in little people. These are the ordinary memories that make up the rich tapestry of our family life. And I choose to savor them because they disappear as quickly as they come.

But try as I might, I live life on the run. Perhaps it’s the lifestyle we’ve chosen. It’s high impact and fast paced. Sean works hard and arduous hours and so though we see one another we don’t have time to talk about stuff – the stuff that requires attention for us to manage our lives and the lives of 4 other people. It’s not the first time that I’ve had hubby on speaker phone while driving the kids to school to tell him about how one of the bairns broke a frame or about leaking pipes or a school event or or or…..

 

It’s not ideal. I know many people who have opted for a quieter life out in smaller slower places than the city. We haven’t set our sights so far a field yet. Perhaps because this is where family is, our bread and butter is, our friends are, or perhaps we’re city people.

 

If I could choose though, I think I’d like to be a grand lady at Downtown Abbey and have the butler Carlton manage our home affairs. Imagine that! Mrs Patmore, planning our family’s lavish dinner EVERY NIGHT!!!!

 

But as it stands, we’re not gentry. We’re working class – who live a lot better than Mrs Hughes and Carlton I might just add – and that means that I get to be Lady of my own manor, the wife, mother of many, the butler, nanny, driver, housemaid and cook all in one too.

 

In the end it’s a balancing act, and a strange kind of contradiction: – slowly savoring the moments, enjoying being the Lady, without allowing the mad rush of life’s management to swallow it all up.

REFLECTIONS ON PARENTAL TAX

If you are a parent of many children, as I am – you will be familiar with the usual phrase that follows  the gasp after you say that you have FOUR children. It goes like this: ” shoo, I’d have more but it’s too expensive”, or “yoh, but kids are expensive” or even worse: “its way too expensive, I don’t want to struggle, so we stopped at …” and so on and so forth.

 

I give you and unequivocal YES with a nod – it is indeed expensive. I thank God, that Sean and I are not struggling, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pinch. Yes we feel that very specific ‘eina’ (Afrikaans word for pain – for our non South African readers) when the school fees invoice arrives or at the beginning of term when new extra murals are to be paid. But we feel it acutely when  costs escalate for unforeseen unplanned circumstances.  I like to call it the parenting tax. It’s the one that is levied against you by the natural laws of life, and the more kids you have the higher tax to be imposed.   A  classic example took place over the last two weeks when blogs from this site were scant. Why, some readers asked, have you not been blogging. And my mental answer was I was busy paying a parenting tax. One of my 4 delights, found their way into my “off-limits” office and dropped strawberry milkshake on my laptop keyboard.

 

I swooped off to my repairman who called me back with the cost of repair at R848. A week later when the new keyboard finally arrived they called me again and said they had to rerun all the software and do extra repairs because the milkshake had done more damage than expected. The extra repairs would cost a further R848 and now the costs had mounted to R1696.

 

And so it is with so many things, broken chains, smudged lipstick, sandy swimming pools etc etc. Sigh!

 

My children never did own up to who dropped the milk shake, but after R1696 it doesn’t really matter. I am told by older wiser parents that “they’re alive and its all part of the journey” or  “they’ll grow and it will get easier”. So for now I’ll take a deep breath, have a “patience pep talk” with myself and move on.