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?

‘ECHAD’ – A STRONGER ME IS A STRONGER WE

It was with mixed emotions  that Sean and I stole away from our cherubs early on Sunday morning. We woke at five and were dressed and ready just after 6. Destination: Cape Town. Only for the day – a much needed couple time day.

 

We’ve never done this. We have very young children and they need us. But the trade off was their immediate needs vs our family’s’ long term wellbeing. Every couple needs to stop, take time, take stock, touch base, connect, plan and refocus – so that they can move in unity and in the same direction. That’s what we did on Sunday. I felt guilty leaving two sleeping beauties and two crying princesses. I closed the door with a sore heart and thanked God for Sharon our nanny who comforted Zaza as we drove out the gate. We returned as a stronger team to take our family forward.

 

I like the Hebrew word “echad”. It’s got a hard sound to it but I think that that speaks to its meaning. It means “one”. That’s how Sean and I returned late Sunday night to our restless brood. And I’m grateful for it because a strong united parenting team translates into a secure family where children feel grounded, certain, safe and loved.

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.

HEALTHY EATING – ONE BITE AT A TIME.

So this is often the bone of contention or rather the bone of judgement at kids parties. Mama bears stand around the table and start that conversation. You know the one. The one where healthy eating and lifestyles are discussed.

It’s often the conversation that leaves me with conflicted thoughts:

 

– “Am I doing enough for my family, enough nutrition? “,

– “Damn, why didn’t I know that about processed foods ?, I dont read enough”.

– “What on earth is going on – gmo, animal rennett, soya lectin, hormones, free range, organic, banting, sugar, sugar and some more sugar?”

 

I am left in a quagmire of anxious tension, guilt and shock , and all the while telling myself to calm down.

 

Yes I believe it’s true that big business has infested our food with gmo, hormones and everything else that shouldn’t be on a plate – to increase profits.

 

And yes,  the idea that our kids are reaching puberty earlier because of food content, is entirely plausible. And sure I believe that our bodies are what we consume – and so our kids may be prone to certain diseases, allergies and health risks, even if only realized later in life.

 

All of this is true – but how do I counter it?

 

I met awesome parents over the weekend whose son had his first taste of caffeine after 18. They live in a sugar free household – all of this is out of choice. Their 15 year old refuses any fizzy drinks because she has been taught this from very young.

 

So where is my family in all of this????

 

I am going to tackle this problem in bite sized pieces.

 

Bite one: Avoid fast food junk. Definition of junk food store: a place where they sell food that doesn’t disintegrate even if left laying underneath your car seat for 1 week

 

Bite 2: Avoid processed food and consume real food.Since most of our food is processed I will start with the basics: no processed cheese and meats (boy oh boy doesn’t the mist reent Listeria outbreak prove this point). Eat fresh veggies and fruit.

 

Bite 3: Water is the preferred beverage of choice. Love it. Drink it. And drink it purified as often as is possible.

 

Bite 4: Avoid food with added hormones and gmo.

 

Bite 5:  Avoid sweeties and everything else in that family where possible – whether solid or liquid.

 

Bite 6: Enjoy what’s not on this list so my munchkins can learn to enjoy it.

 

Bite 7: Load lunch boxes full of the good stuff.

 

Note to self: when you get it wrong and the plan goes pear shaped – as it will at parties, holidays and grandparent visits, chill out! This is  process not a test. One day at a time, one bite at a time. Phew!!!!

 

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.