Category: Parenting

Maybe I’m Doing Something Right

‚ÄčMany a meme has been made about the less than glamorous side of parenting. And the reason they’re so funny is because they’re relatable.

After all, who hasn’t experienced {1} a child say out loud something painfully embarrassing (but let’s face it, hilarious, AND true) in public… or {2} a toddler making his/her way into the bathroom and staring at you while you wee… or, better still, {3} a baby produce the most fantastically yellow, runny poo – you know, the one that makes its way all the way up to the back of their necks, and all you can do is throw away the clothes they were wearing? ūüėõ

We’ve all been there. Raising, and caring for a little human does come with a number of challenges. It is, after all, one of the weightiest responsibilities we are ever entrusted with.

This post isn’t about those challenging moments though, when parents don’t know whether to laugh or cry in response to what their offspring has just said/done/pooped. The inspiration to write today actually comes from the other moments.

Those moments when you feel so much anger because of the dishonesty, disloyalty, and disrespect in the world… and then, little arms wrap you in so much love and warmth, and all the ugliness is forgotten.

That moment after a particularly trying and stressfull day, when you look into that innocent, happy, ever hopeful little face, and the sun breaks through the clouds again.

The moment you realise how blessed you are to be able to call yourself a parent, and to have this pure, beautiful soul in your life who loves you unconditionally.

It’s been a rather difficult few weeks on our side, on the business/work front. Shawn recently had an experience so unbelievable with an employee (now ex-employee), we’re still reeling from what the guy did. And apart from that, it’s been a tough while overall.

Long story short, for the past two weeks, I’ve been helping Shawn out at the office. An 8 to 5, with a little one by my side. I know it can’t be nice being out of her own space all day, in this less than fun environment, but she’s been so good – zero complaints, many big smiles.

On Monday afternoon, I suddenly found myself feeling so overwhelmed. I was sad that my little one comes to work with me, instead of enjoying the school holidays… worrying about my husband, and how stressed he’s been, praying that it won’t affect him physically somehow… angry at how despicable some human beings are capable of being…

And all it took was something as silly as a lock and key not cooperating with me as I tried to close up that day, to almost have me explode right there. As I fought with that lock, everything I’d been feeling and worrying about surfaced, and the tears welled up so quickly… And at that very moment, Zee’s little hand touched my arm. “Mommy can I try to do it? You’re so tired, and now you’re hurting your hand.”

I froze. I’d been facing the other direction and she couldn’t see my eyes, but my child had picked up on the defeat I felt then, and I hated that I’d allowed her to see that. I blinked those tears away so quickly, smiled at her, and took a second to appreciate my child for the incredibly caring and considerate person she is. Then I showed that lock who’s boss, and we went home.

I couldn’t stop thinking as I drove, and after we got home. As parents, we do the heavy lifting – the cooking, fighting with them to eat their food, changing diapers, homeschooling or helping with homework after school… the list goes on, but our kids do their share too, and it’s so important to remember to appreciate that, and not let it get lost in the madness that is this world and the hectic lives we live today.

I thought about all the times Shawn had horrific days at work, and how quickly his mood was lifted by Zee just being Zee. Sometimes, watching our little ones play, or make silly faces, listening to them laugh, or squeal with delight can be the best therapy ever!

Life sucks so bad sometimes. And sometimes there’s not a lot you can do about it. You feel like you’re getting everything wrong. When your little person is so good, and kind, and caring though… when they come and give you a special hug, because they sense something has you down… You know that maybe you actually got something right after all.

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Tammymum
Mummy Times Two
One Messy Mama

#CarseatFullstop, I’ve Learnt So Much.

Zee was two days old when she and I were discharged from the hospital. That day my little girl had her first of many car rides, each time strapped safely in her car seat. Whether its a quick trip to Spar in mom’s taxi, or on holiday in Cape Town in a rental car, Zee has always been in a car seat.

But wait! This isn’t a post about how I’m the perfect mom, who always does the right thing. I’m not, and I don’t. You see, while I have been absolutely uncompromising when it ¬†comes to my child’s car safety, HOW this was done wasn’t always 100% correct. This post is to tell you about two major mistakes I’ve made along the way, and more importantly, to share with you what I’ve learned since the¬†#CarseatFullstop¬†campaign began.

What is #CarseatFullstop?

For those who’ve yet to see posts by, or about #CarseatFullstop, this is the crux of it:

#CarseatFullstop is an awareness campaign designed to educate South Africans on the life-or-death importance of using car seats for kids under 12.

#CarseatFullstop

Dragon Lady

Confrontation – out here in the real world, or online – isn’t for me. That’s why you won’t find me getting into debates and fights even on social media. I try not to allow most things to get me worked up… Except for that time I saw a child standing on the front seat of a moving car, or those kids bouncing around on the back seat of another. Now that makes me go from good ol’ chilled, sunshine and rainbows me, to full on fire breathing dragon/monster/beast.

I’m not that judgemental mom – none of us should be, we’re all imperfect here, and are entitled to handling this parenting thing whichever way works best for us. However, some things, such as the safety of our children, are non-negotiable. Seeing children left unsecured in a car makes me want to shake their parents by the shoulders while screaming, “that ¬†is a little life you brought into the world, why are you not doing your best to protect him/her???”

Alright, rant over. Sorry if I got a little carried away there. Time to get back to my own¬†mistakes, and what I’ve learned.

1.¬†Forward-facing at one… What¬†was I thinking?

Zee had just about outgrown her first carseat, the rearward-facing baby one. Excited new parents, off we went “big” carseat shopping. We bought a forward-facing seat from Toys R Us, and we were quite happy with our purchase.

Here’s what I discovered through the #CarseatFullstop campaign and¬†Volvo’s Children and Cars safety manual: Children should be in a rearward-facing carseat for as long as possible, at least until the age of three or four. The neck muscles are weak during those early years, and the skeleton isn’t fully developed either. Rearward-facing carseats greatly reduce the risk of injuries should there be a collision.

This one really got me in the heart, because Zee was just over one when I had moved her to a forward-facing seat. We knew that we wanted to keep our baby safe, we just weren’t educated on how to properly do that. All I could do after reading that was be extremely thankful that there had been no incidents in all those years that I was getting it wrong, and try not to hate myself for being a bad mom.

2. “It looks a little uncomfortable, let’s loosen the straps”, she (I) said.

I would sometimes loosen the car seat straps, thinking they were too tight or uncomfortable. Fail!

#CarseatFullstop

The pic above is a post I saw on the #CarseatFullstop Instagram account. It mentions the pinch test – if you’re able to form a fold when you pinch the strap together, it’s too loose. The straps should be tight and untwisted, in order to properly secure and protect your child.

It’s safe to say, Zee is tightly strapped in now, no more loose “comfy” carseat straps for us.

Knowledge is Power… IF you apply it¬†

We’ve all made mistakes, the key though is making the necessary changes once we’re educated on ¬†how to correct those mistakes. Had Zee still been a tiny bit smaller when I learnt what I did, I assure you she would’ve found herself back in a rearward-facing carseat. She may have found it strange, she may have fought me on it, but I prefer a SAFE and secure crying/screaming child over the alternative.

To learn more, like I have (and still am), like and follow #CarseatFullstop on¬†Facebook, and¬†Twitter/Instagram, then tell everyone you know too. ūüôā

#CarseatFullstop

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Tammymum

Throwback Thursday – Family Photo Shoot

I transferred these photos from the laptop to my phone a few weeks ago. They’re from a family photo shoot we did in 2011, when my now first grader was just two years old. Looking at the photos again today, I can’t help but be filled with gratitude for the blessing that is my very own little family. Grateful for this incredible man who works so hard, who laughs with me everyday, and loves me so completely. And grateful for the kind, beautiful (and sometimes sassy, but she gets that from me so I can’t complain) child, we are privileged to call our own.

I also can’t help but laugh at the memory of us working really hard to get our little person to cooperate during the second half of the shoot. I had taken two outfits with for her, and she was not impressed there was a costume change and more posing to be done. If you look closely, in some photos you’ll notice she’s carrying (and eating) a pack of Mentos sweets in her little hand – bribery. I’m not ashamed.

There are too many to share in one post, so the photos I’m sharing here are only a few of those taken during that second half. I’ll post some from the first half in my next Throwback post.

Photos by: Pixel Pro Photography

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