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- Divorced parents can co-parent successfully
- Mother (noun). Mothering (verb). Different, or the same?
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- Tips for being a happier mother
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- The Day-By-Day Baby Book (Editor-in-Chief: Dr Ilona Bendefy; DK Publishing)
- The beggar dilemma
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- Adoption changed my life
- Handling the terrible twos in a fun way
- Spooked by Hallowe’en…
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- Would you kiss THAT?
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- Healthy eating – my journey to change.
- Teach your kids to drink loads of water!
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- Parenting help and quality pre-schools with 24/7 internet monitoring
- For all the guilty, not-good-enough mommies
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- The 3 kinds of mommy exhaustion
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- Recognising Postnatal Depression: A Handbook for Mothers
- The exhausting life of Supermums
- Facing the fear by helping your child to express their emotions
- Spring, shows and parenting help
- Bullying is always a cry for help!
- Review of BULLY: A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America
- Don’t say DON’T to your children
- Whether to Smack Your Child or Not
- Holiday entertainment & parenting workshops
- Helping kids use cell phones responsibly
- My Tween’s first BlackBerry – A 101 digital guide for dads everywhere
- The Social Network
- The World Wide Web offers support, comfort and advice
- Mommies who blog and/or comment: why we do it
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- Settling back into school routines
- Make Mandela Day last the whole year through
- Helping my kids to give back
- Celebrating Mandela Day with our little ones
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- More places to visit on Father’s Day weekend
- On being a father
- Thoughts on fatherhood: the second coming
- Review of iPad eBooks for kids
- Family shows and sleepover holiday camps for June
- Kids theatre and parenting help
- What if your child can’t go to a mainstream school?
- Homeschooling vs traditional school, a mother’s experience
- Exam and parenting help
- How I balance work and home
- It’s the hand that rocks the cradle that rules the world.
- Why I don’t envy stay-at-home moms
- Parenting workshops and Mother’s Day events
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- The world of working mothers
- Mother’s Day events & parenting workshops
- More places to visit on the Freedom Day long weekend
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- Shopping with my little girls- oh dear!
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- Baby Shower Games
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My parents got divorced when I was 13, in my first year of high school and at a difficult stage where I just wanted to be like everyone else – including a nuclear “normal” family. My life shifted immediately and I found myself stuck in the middle of two parents – one who was bitter, resentful and depressed, and the other who resented the other’s bitterness and depression. I often felt like a peacemaker, pawn and casualty in their divorce, and it broke me at times.
So, when I faced my own divorce two years ago, my ex and I vowed then that our toddler (two yrs at the time) would come first, putting aside our own sadness and occasional pain and anger.
My son didn’t ask for two homes, or to have his little family separated and new partners brought in, so my aim is to carve the smoothest road that I can out of a hard-impacting event. Here’s how we have done it:
Showing mutual respect
It’s important to me that my son sees that his parents respect each other, that they can organise his birthday parties together, and never badmouth each other, lest he ever feels negatively towards us because of it, or feels like he has to choose one over the other.
The truth is, I don’t know how I could parent successfully if I didn’t communicate regularly with my ex. We are in constant touch about our son, whether it’s a query about his routine, marvelling at his use of the toilet (I may or may not have sent him some pics of my son on the loo), or brainstorming what to do about his whining or tantrums.
Supporting each other
And there are times where I’ve been sick, or tired, or working on a deadline and have asked my ex to look after our son on “my” nights or days with him, and he has done so gladly. Because this is how good co-parenting works, I think.
Perhaps it’s overcompensation over my parents’ divorce, the guilt that I have for my son, or maybe it’s because I don’t “work” well in warring situations that I’m trying to lessen the impact this divorce has on my son. But whatever it is, I’m working hard at keeping my son the centre of mutual respect and parenting, rather than the middle of sparring and anger.
And while most divorcing parents say it, and with meaning and the best intentions, things often get in the way of executing it. Anger, fear, grief and resentment prevent us from putting our kids first, but I’m glad that my ex and I are able to practise it.
reviewed Tiffany Markman, mom to a two-year-old, tries to balance her workaholism with cuddling her daughter, reading books, consuming caffeine & reining in her intrinsic kugelry. Follow her on twitter.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
I have a precious friend who lost her daughter 10 days before her due date. She spent seven minutes with her baby, total. But I believe she would have been a 100% mommy. An absolute natural. She was born for motherhood.
Then there’s me. I’ve been a mother for two years. I’m not a natural. I had a rough start. I muddle my way through mostly, at 80% (which is, in fairness, still an A). But I feel confident saying that, 24 months in, I’m a good mommy.
Now, am I more of a mother than my friend? I’d like to think not. The more I dwell on it, the more it seems that motherhood shouldn’t be something you experience only once you have a baby. It should be something that comes from holding a child in your heart. Even for a short time. However, it’s possible that I’m being idealistic.
I can’t decide.
I have another two friends. Neither one is an actual mother. But each one has a child in her life that utterly defines her. That is part of her every decision, holiday and memory. That these two friends ‘mother’ (verb) these young girls is unquestionable. But does that mothering make them mothers? No. (Yikes, this is confusing.)
So, it seems that not all mothers are intuitive motherers and some women who are unbelievable motherers aren’t actually mothers. Which is an interesting paradigm.
My husband says that being a mother (he extends this to being a father too, obviously) means permanence. It means having a person in your life whose wellbeing, sleep, food, mess, manners and mood are defining parts of your every day, night and waking thought. Who, if they’re not with you 24/7, are in your head 22/7.
On this basis, being a mother goes beyond being pregnant or having a god-child/niece. Because it doesn’t come and go. It just is, for twenty or thirty years.
Yes, there are people who probably shouldn’t be mothers (Toddlers & Tiaras moms, this means you), but there are so many more who should be. And this Mothers’ Day, my wish is for all of the women who so badly want to be mothers to know the joys, the pains, the guilt, the drama, the laughs, the exhaustion and the snot. To be able to take their mothering up a notch on the permanence scale, to the non-stop.
By Sholain Govender-Bateman – Pretoria-based New Media journalism lecturer, former The Star and Pretoria News journalist & editor of magazines. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, and wife to Barry Bateman. Twitter @sholain
Having a child shifts your life priorities drastically and with babies comes tons of lessons, fun and immeasurable love that you could not even have come close to fathoming prior to motherhood. However, let’s all admit it without feeling guilty, there are some things we wish we hadn’t taken for granted.
Here’s my top 10 list of things I wish I had not taken for granted but I don’t mind not being able to do anymore:
1. Being able to have a long, leisurely shower/bath without worrying that the house is being painted red, with your lipstick!
2. Sitting down and eating a whole meal without having to get up once to tend to your tot.
3. Wearing dangly/hoop earrings.
4. Leaving the house with just your keys and handbag.
5. Sleeping in on a Sunday morning.
6. Going on date night without having to worry about babysitters.
7. Sharing a bottle of water and not wondering if there’s backwash in it.
8. Keeping pens/make-up/glassware where ever you felt like and not only on hard to reach shelves.
9. Watching any TV show you wanted, whenever you wanted.
10. Wearing a low cut top without fear of being exposed by a little hand tugging at it.
What’s on your list?
by Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life.
Becoming a mother is one of the most intense and life changing events that can occur in a lifetime: It usually comes with your first real taste of unconditional love, but also with a host of stressors and challenges that most of us are simply not prepared for. This is normal, and being a good parent does not mean that you have to enjoy parenting all the time. However, with Mother’s Day approaching I thought I would share with you some of my favourite tips for being a happier mother.
1. Be gentle with yourself.
Understand that it is normal to have mixed feelings about being a mother, that we all have bad days, and that everyone loses their temper sometimes. Allow yourself to be human, to make mistakes and to not always be on top of things.
2. Let go of expectations.
Every day will have its own challenges and its own natural flow. Trying to predict and control how each moment of each day should be leads to stress and disappointment. Relax, and trust that it will all be ok in the end.
3. Remove the word “should” from your vocabulary.
Realise that most of your suffering comes from internally labeling things as good or bad. Life just is as it is, and our mental judgements about what should or shouldn’t be happening or how other people should or shouldn’t be behaving are a sign that we are resisting life as it is. Try for one day to simply catch yourself making one of these judgements and ask yourself who you would be or how you would feel if you could never think that thought again.
4. Focus on the things you have to be grateful for.
Focusing on the positive in our lives is one of the quickest and easiest ways to start feeling better and enjoying life again. Every day has something good about it – start noticing small things to be grateful for and watch how this grows.
5. Keep company with positive, supportive people.
Positivity breeds positivity. Make a vow with yourself to quit moaning and complaining and to spend time with your “glass half full” friends.
6. Breathe, slow down, and take some time out for yourself.
Life with kids can be pretty fast paced and busy, and the best thing that you can do for yourself and your family is to take some down-time. Set aside 30 minutes a day to relax, meditate, go for a walk, or simply lie on your bed and read a book. Taking time to recharge your own batteries means you’ll have more energy and patience for those around you.
7. Pause before reacting.
Time-outs are not just for kids! We all have times where we are overwhelmed and out of control, and taking a few minutes to breathe and re-centre yourself helps you to shift from reacting to responding.
8. Laugh a lot and often.
Laughter is one of the most healing responses that we are capable of as human beings. Make an effort to look at the lighter side of life, seek out funny movies or Google things that cheer you up. Make a habit of only forwarding on those emails that lighten your life.
9. Be present.
If there is one gift that you give yourself and your kids this mother’s day, make it the gift of presence. Let go of the past, allow the future to take care of itself, and focus in on the only moment that you have – this one right now. Being fully present in your life and with your kids is the most rewarding, enriching, and life changing practice that you can engage in. Your past (even the last minute) is gone, and can only be accessed in your mind. The future, too, is only accessible in your head – there is no other way to get there. This leaves this moment as the only reality you have. Get out of your head and into your life and feel the joy of connecting with your kids where they are – here, now.
Wishing you an incredible Mother’s Day!
by Di Kendall who believes that the most important & fulfilling “job” she has is being a mom of 2. When she isn’t being mom’s taxi, she tackles networking and design for clients. She writes a blog & for News24 Voices
I have been thinking recently about how my relationship with my mother has changed over the years.
As a little girl she was my everything, she played the role of both mom and dad and with a lot of love and encouragement from my Gran.
Life certainly threw us a few curve balls and our bond grew. My mom fought off bullies; nursed my broken heart when boys entered the picture and guided me through the meanders of life into adulthood.
The two of us were a team who stood by each other’s sides when times were tough. We loved each other, butted heads and had each other seeing red at times too.
I can’t say that we have had a perfect relationship. I can say that even though we’ve had moments in our lives that could tear apart the toughest people, we always find our way back to each other. The bond we formed when I was little is so strong that no abuser, no malicious or demanding outsiders can break it. I sometimes think that the tougher the moments are that you endure together the stronger your bond becomes.
When I became a mother I realised that the love you have for your children is incomprehensible. No one can fathom the depths that are a mother’s love.
I have seen so many moms say that when they became mothers they lost themselves. To me it is not that way. You don’t lose yourself by becoming a mother. You become a new being – a greater creation – because you have another living being that relies on you. Whatever your talents are – are already engrained in their DNA.
7 things I take away from my relationship with my mom:
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thank you for moulding me into the person who I am today. For letting me see the value in the small things, for encouraging me, and for telling me even now that you are proud of me. Its moments like that that make me proud of myself.
by Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life
Shakira Sheikh recently wrote an article for Jozikids on the difficulties in finding a school for Grade 1, which clearly resonated with many of you on a very deep level. I also have kids both in Grade R and Grade 1 and so empathise deeply with this struggle. It is natural to feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness at the current lack of schools, and yet the best solution I have found to these feelings has always been taking action.
Here are some ideas to get you going…
- Homeschooling is always one option to look at, and if you spend some time online you will find many homeschooling groups where mother’s get together and support each other and help their kids to socialize.
- A private tutor is another option, and while this may at first seem outside of your financial reach, if there are so many mothers in the same situation (and it certainly sounds like there are) why not join together and hire someone for a group of kids – look for a retired teacher or two looking for part-time work.
- Look up and support local NPOs who are working to resolve this problem. A great one that I found recently is 2Enable.org, who are looking at setting up free educational programs that can be accessed online, specifically with the aim of alleviating the current lack of good teachers in the country.
- Speak to local businesses and schools about joining together in initiatives to create new classrooms and sponsor more teachers.
- Raise awareness of the issue – speak to your local radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. Write to the relevant governmental departments. Protest.
- Call the government to task on this and on the general issue of how your tax money is being spent. Start a petition. Email them daily.
- VOTE. When local and national elections come around, make sure you are in the voting queue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain about the state of the roads/schools/healthcare and yet they chose not to vote when the time came. If you’re not happy with what the current government is doing, vote them out.
- Contact your Ward Councilor, explain the problem you’re having and brainstorm solutions. Call a meeting in your area.
These are just a few ideas to get you going, but chat with your friends in the same situation and see what other ideas you can come up with. Share them here too and get this conversation going. Remember that complaining about an issue takes time and energy – the same time and energy can be spent in working towards solutions.
There is a lovely quote by Lily Tomlin that is quite apt in this situation:
“I said, ‘Somebody should do something about that’. Then I realized, I am somebody”.
by Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life.
There’s a lot of grumbling amongst the parents of modern teenagers about their lack of communication skills and the amount of time spent ignoring their parents in favour of their technological relationships. And I’m really hoping there are some parents of little kids reading this too, because this problem inevitably starts when they’re much much younger, and it starts with you!
Kids learn by example. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before! So watch your own and your partner’s behaviour around technology. Do you switch on your laptop before you’ve even said good morning? Do you shut your kids out while you quickly catch up on some emails? Do you take calls when they’re busy speaking to you?
How about leaving your emails until they’ve gone to bed, ignoring the calls or even better, switching your phone off and giving them your full attention?
I think all families should have technology-free time and the earlier you initiate this, the less resistance you’ll have as they grow older and the better habits they will pick up. Make dinnertime a technology-free time for everyone in the family. This is one of the most important things you can do in terms of keeping an open channel of communication in your family – no phones, no laptops, no TV. And try to make at least one holiday a year a techno-free time too – go to the bush where there’s no signal and no electricity, go overseas without roaming, or simply insist on all technology being left behind.
We need to teach our kids how to communicate without these things, to really connect, and this can only happen if we do it ourselves!
My husband and I recently moved from Durban to Joburg with our 2 little boys, one of whom is approaching Grade 1. When we started looking for a school for him we had no idea what we would have to go through. WOW what a mission, what a process! We’re still in it and waiting. This is what we’ve had to do so far:
We researched and found 2 schools we were interested in. After discovering that they only accepted pupils living within a certain km radius, we decided to move homes to be closer to the schools. Lucky for us we found one close to both.
We had to fetch application packs from each school and then collect extensive documentation for both parents with certified copies of Ids, birth certificates, clinic cards, proof of residence and then initialize every page.
Start queueing at 4am or camp out!
The schools set aside 3 days for submissions which they say they only accept on a first come first served basis. This means that if you are number 13 in the queue your child will be number 13 on the list.
When I queried this with the schools, I was told most parents start lining up outside the schools from about 4 am to ensure they are first on the list
So we found a family member to look after our kids while my hubby and I went to wait in line at 4am. We each chose a different school. When I got there I was no 3 while he found he was no 6 in line already!
I discovered that most of the other parents queueing with me had done the same as us. Their partners were also waiting in line at other schools in the region, with some who had people who had camped out the night before.
Thank goodness the gates at the school opened for submissions at 5.30 am. When it was my turn however I discovered I had another questionnaire to fill out, one the Education Department had forgotten to insert in the original submissions packs.
At least I managed to get it all done. What a relief that stage one is over
Waiting game begins
It’s over but its not, as we were told that we have another 4 months to wait, before we will know whether our son has been accepted or not. What happens to those who aren’t? Do they have to start all over again?
The lengths we as parents have to go to make sure we get the best for our kids. Why does it have to be so hard? What about parents that can’t move houses and find someone to look after their kids so they can queue at 4am? This really doesn’t seem fair
What do you think and can you relate to my experience? Is it the same in other parts of the country outside of Gauteng?
If we’re being honest…
I’m an imperfect mom. How do I know this? Well, I’ve never:
Whew! That feels so good. I feel lighter somehow.I’m self-ish. Sort of.
And what’s wrong with thoughtful notes, home-made cakes and co-sleeping?
Well, nothing. I’m not going to snottily inform you that I’m too busy or too focused on bread-winning to do all of these lovely things; I’m going to be completely honest here: I couldn’t be bothered. Or, in some cases, perfect mom-ness doesn’t work for me.
I had severe post-natal depression for three months post-childbirth and since then, my priority has been keeping things simple. Trying not to over-do it. Watching how much we commit to. And PND was a kind of blessing – it’s given me perspective.
This means that, if you offer me a choice between going to gym or baking, I’ll take gym. Cuddling all night long or sleeping well? Sleeping. Screaming or the dummy? The dummy. I’m a better mom to my littlie when I’m exercised, rested and calm.
Taking a guilt trip
But I’m also trying to stave off the guilt that plagues all moms. You know, the creeping feeling that we’re not good enough, not trying enough, not doing enough?In those dark moments when I feel like the worst mom on earth because I let my kid eat some other kid’s Niknak (off the grass at a party), I try to remember the big things.
Like, the fact that, if you offer me a choice between quality time spent chatting with, reading to, walking alongside, drawing for, or even just sitting next to my daughter, and pretty much anything else on offer, I’ll (mostly) choose the former. No question.
For me, those are the investments. And I’m 100% committed to certain small-but-important things. Manners. Sunblock. Veggies. Kindness to animals. Good books.
Picking my battles
My mom was different.
She created masterpiece school lunches. Helped with award-winning projects. Used a dictionary to write ‘I love you’ in Hebrew on a note that she put into my schoolbag on my 10th birthday (she speaks not one word of Hebrew). Organised the most unbelievable birthday parties. Wrapped schoolbooks like a professional with OCD.
On the other hand, she wasn’t a Library Mom, a Tuckshop Mom or a PTA Mom, and she set foot on my high school campus for the first time at my Matric valedictory evening. She was a single working mom, and she invested her time carefully.
So when I began my mothering journey, I decided I’d be like her in involvement, love and support, but like me (the pre-baby, self-ish, workaholic, grooming-obsessed me) in certain other ways, and that I’d do what works for me – and for us as a family.
Isn’t parenting hard enough, without trying to be a Stepford mom? What do you think? What makes you ‘perfect’ or ‘imperfect’? Out with it. (No judgies.)
by Fatima Kazee, fulltime mum to Imaad (7), Zayn(5) and Zahreen (3) and part-time wife to fisherman husband Aadil. She’s addicted to sneakers anything chocolatey and is an invaluable part of the Jozikids and Kznkids team.
Ok, so don’t start reading this article thinking I have an answer here, because I don’t. This is just something I’ve noticed with my own kids. That they seem to not fully appreciate what privileges they have compared to most other South African children.
So it being school holidays right now, I’ve been trying to keep my kids busy by taking them places and finding things to do. Now I know that there are many things we could do together that won’t cost me anything, but let’s just be honest – anything that’s really exciting costs money. So while my eldest son was at a workshop at the University of Johannesburg (yes, that’s how he rolls at 7!) I took the other two to a child friendly restaurant. We ordered a chocolate milkshake for each of them while they played on the jungle gyms. When it arrived, they both decided that they’d rather have a strawberry milkshake and a blue slush. So in trying to keep everyone happy, I obliged and ordered that for them, and drank the 2 chocolate milkshakes myself (to show them that we don’t waste food). When the new order arrived, neither of them wanted it because somehow it was yurgg and wanted the chocolate milkshakes instead! I now decided to teach them a lesson and refused to buy what they wanted. Oh the tantrums that followed.
I tried calmly to explain that we can’t just keep changing our minds and that some kids didn’t even have those options in life. That some children go to school without breakfast or even a packed lunch and have to deal with being hungry all day. Obviously, trying to get a 5 year old and a 3 year old to understand that is almost impossible. The thought of Googling pictures of malnourished, starving kids crossed my mind but I decided that that may just be too harsh. Eventually, we left the restaurant to fetch the professor from university and all the way heard how they were hungry and needed those milkshakes as a matter of life and death.
Now I’m sure that Mia Von Scha has the perfect solution to all this, which will lead to an Aha! moment on my part. But right then and there, in the restaurant, in front of many people, I had no idea of how to avoid that situation. It’s the same with wanting sweets or toys when we’re in a mall. We don’t need those things because we have plenty at home.
How do I get my kids to understand the value of money and that everything costs something? That we can’t simply have everything we lay our eyes on or else I’d have a cupboard full of sneakers that I really don’t need and can’t possibly wear because some of them are just not practical. We’ve been to charitable functions and helped out, in our little way, to uplift the disadvantaged, as we can. We donate our clothes once we’ve outgrown them and often give beggars an apple or banana that we keep in the car for that reason.
I’m hoping to find a simple, clear, easy-to-do, non-tantrum-throwing solution to this problem.