Tag Archives: mommy

The next 8 weeks

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I’m in the fortunate situation that I have friends who have babies who are a few weeks and days younger than my own youngest baby, and a friend who birthed her boy just a few weeks after us. The benefits of this are numerous:
– friends who could commiserate with me during pregnancy
– friends who understood the massive ups and downs of pregnancy
– friends who shared similar values and beliefs during pregnancy
– moms who are now experiencing the same thing with their babies as I am
– moms who understand the flood of tears that follows a normal conversation
– friends who aren’t judging because they know the first rule of being a parent: Never judge another parent
– mom friends who just get it

I was chatting to one such mom friend on the way to lunch the other day. We’re both on maternity leave with little baby boys born just three days apart. We were talking about the stage of motherhood that people just don’t get and that people don’t usually talk about. That stage just following the honeymoon period, after 2 weeks. Where you’re beginning the mourning period. Honeymoon period? Mourning period? What, you’ve never heard of them? Let me explain.

The boys

The boys

Honeymoon period
That phase immediately following birth where you’ve been awarded society-sanctioned time to rest and recuperate following the ejection of a human from your own body (through whatever means necessary). This time is used to doze next to a sleepy (also recovering, recently ejected) baby, smelling the top of his head while pumping out liters of oxytocin. During this period there is little space available for any feelings other than euphoria. Moms have, after all, just met the person who has been closer to them than any other person ever will be (other than another baby). There is most certainly no time for guilt, loneliness, or isolation – these special feelings are reserved for the next phase.

The babymoon

The babymoon

Reality sets in
During this less magical, but no less overwhelming, phase the new mom begins to experience a myriad of other emotions. And often, during this time, there is much less support or perceived support than there was during the honeymoon phase. During those halcyon days immediately following birth, attention was rained down upon mom and baby. Calls to congratulate and offer support, advice and encouragement abounded. Friends and family visited. Neighbors sent meals. Then, a week or two passed and the world went on – seemingly unchanged, despite your and your immediate family’s life being turned upside down and inside our (and covered in breast milk and baby wee). The new mom is left alone to cope with a new life, huge overwhelming emotions, waves of rollercoastering hormones, confusing and conflicting emotions. And perhaps, overwhelming love for the new baby.

But there’s also the guilt. For doing and not doing so many things: lying in bed for hours trying to recover from birth, not being a ‘productive member of society’. But this guilt is unfounded actually. Think about why you DESERVE your maternity leave: you grew a human. In your own body, out of flesh and stuff. And, when that human was too big for your body, you birthed it. Are you paying attention ? You birthed a human from your body. You deserve a break.

I need more
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy your work. I love my job and find my work stimulating. I’ve really enjoyed my time exclusively bonding and baby mooning with my boy but I’m feeling now like I need more. Just a few hours work a day will do it. In fact, I’ve been to the office a couple of times in the past week or so and I’ve loved seeing my colleagues and hearing about how all the different projects are going. I don’t feel guilty about wanting to work. I believe it makes me a better mom because I’m more balanced. And I’m fortunate enough to have a boss who is happy to let me work as much as I need to.

 
What next?
I don’t know what will come next. I can only hope the colic will ease (that’s a whole other post on its own!), the cramps will be some less severe and that my little girl realises that her mommy and daddy don’t love her any less but somehow actually have fallen more in love with her since her brother was born. The newborn period is difficult. And we forget how difficult it is as our first little ones get older. But toddlerhood is also difficult. Something I’m trying to remind myself of every day is that parenthood in general is hard and I need to give myself a break. I’m not doing too badly. And nor are you.

Sister and brother

Sister and brother

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Not just 4 a kid

I’ve mentioned it before, a couple of times, because I feel so strongly about it: we moms have to stick together. But more than that, we have to support each other. I belong to quite a few mother’s groups on Facebook and I’m horrified to see how quick-to-judge some moms are. I think for the most part, we’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we have. Sometimes it turns out the way want; sometimes not so much. Having said that, I’m also fortunate to have some very supportive mom friends and wonderful women in my network. Which brings me to this post that I’m sharing with you. I’d like to tell you about Ally Cohen and http://www.4akid.co.za.

 

Ally and her gorgeous children

Ally and her gorgeous children

Ally is the mom of two gorgeous children, and founder of the 4 a Kid website. Ally has, since 2007, established sole agency and sole agreements with companies all over the world and sells a variety of child and baby safety products. Ally has won a number of awards and appeared on various television programmes and in numerous baby magazines. All this while still being a mom! You see – we can have it all!

Ally says her mission is to make sure child safety products are available and affordable to parents across the country because it’s every parents’ obligation to ensure the safety of their child. And I couldn’t agree more. Our little ones rely on us to make sure they’re looked after and that’s where Ally’s website can help us.

I could spend ages browsing this site – there are so many great products including strollers, clothing, pregnancy products, toys and educational activities. It took me a while, but I managed to find my top three favourite products.

 

Car seat strap

Car seat strap

I love the car seat strap clip that has clips on either side of it and attaches to each baby seat strap to stop you mini Houdini from escaping. This product appeals to me right now because, no sooner are we out the driveway than Holly has whipped her arms out from the straps of her chair.

Holly's hair

Holly’s hair after a nap!

 

The Knot Genie Detangle Brush is also great. Holly has such fine hair that gets super knotty at the blink of an eye. This detangler works a treat at getting the knots out without any tears.

Baby Cubes

Baby Cubes – for freezing baby food

 

And last, but not least, are these Baby Cubes. When my little girls first started on solids I would spend every Sunday afternoon making and mushing veggies for her meals for the coming week. It was always a struggle to find enough containers to freeze her portions in. These are great for that.

 

If you’re looking for a particular baby product or children’s product, safety or otherwise, pop on over to www.4akid.co and check out the wide range of products available.

 

Sweet child of mine

Something happened the other day that made me need to be with my baby even more than I have in the past. I don’t know if I’m supposed to need my child, if that’s ‘allowed’ or if it’s wrong, but on that day, I needed her. I needed to bury my face in her hair and smell her unique deliciousness that somehow always reminds me that everything’s going to be ok. I needed to see her spontaneous smile as I walked through the gate. I needed, so much, to feel her warm, and slightly sticky, little hands in mine and to have her chubby little arms around my neck as she buried her face in my hair. And I needed to smooch her pasta-sauce smeared face. All over.
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I’ve never thought of myself as one of those moms. You know the type? The ones who are all about their kids. I always used to think I was a focused, ambitious career woman with serious goals and all about climbing the corporate ladder as fast as my heels and pencil skirt would allow me to. Turns out I am one of those moms. That’s not to say that my work isn’t important to me – it is. I truly believe in a good work-life balance. And I think it’s so important that my little girl sees that her mommy can be a brilliant mom and have a great job that she loves. I want to be the best role model I can be for my daughter. I want to make sure she knows she can do whatever she dreams of doing – whether that’s being a doctor, lawyer, school teacher, mom or pianist.

And I want my little girl to see that I’m a good mom, who’s present in her life and wants to spend time watching her grow into the amazing person I know she’s going to be. I know none of these are new issues and I’m certainly not the first, nor am I the last, mom to ponder such things; I know these are things mothers have grappled with for years. Ever since their husbands gave them permission to leave the house during the day and (gasp!) earn their own money!

I’m also aware that this isn’t something that women who don’t have children ever really think about. Why should they? It’s not a part of their reality. And that’s absolutely fine. But it’s also sometimes where the problem lies: Women are not supporting other women in becoming the best they can be outside of the home. Other women, most often without children of their own, are sometimes the biggest hurdle we working moms face. It’s almost as if we’ve ‘let down the side’ by choosing to be moms.

But I don’t see it that way. I think we’re the best example of what women are capable of achieving if they want something. For years we’ve been told we can’t do both – we can’t be moms and work. But we can! We can have it all. It may take a little compromising, or even a little shifting. But, if you want something, regardless of what others tell you is possible, you can – and should – have it all.

Beautiful baby.

My heart.

Workin 9 to 5 what a way to make a livin’

Last week I wrote about women in my life who I believe have incredible personal qualities and could teach our baby girl Holly important life lessons. Qualities that I believe will shape her into the most amazing woman who’s going to change the world. Thinking back on what I wrote, the qualities I discussed all seem to be personal traits like patience, tolerance and kindness. And it’s obvious that I admire these qualities and see them as virtuous otherwise I wouldn’t have devoted a blog post to them.

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But I’ve been thinking about another side of the women I know that I didn’t mention, a side that’s so often overlooked, undervalued or scorned. I have a group of mommy friends who I met at my previous job when I worked for a very corporate, very male-dominated, very cut-throat consulting firm. The kind of place that measured your worth solely by the number of hours you billed your paying clients.

wand

Emmi, the mother of a gorgeous two-and-a-bit-year old boy, is one of the funniest people I know. She is witty, intelligent and has an incredibly dry sense of humour. She is also the best project manager I’ve ever worked with. I do believe she could put Mr Trump to shame. She single-handedly rescued a number of multi-million rand projects from destruction simply by waving a very pink, very sparkly magic wand. Ok, obviously that last part is slightly embellished; the wand was only minimally sparkly. It emitted more of a soft glow than sparkles like a vampire. I don’t actually know how she did it, but she more than once prevented clients from pulling the plug on difficult projects.

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Candice is a woman who has the most stamina out of anyone else I know. (She has two strong-willed and curious toddlers with only a year between them.) She’s also incredibly ethical and has the moral standards of a particularly pious monk. When I worked with Candice she led her teams to the successful completion of some ridiculously difficult projects for unbelievably demanding clients. Without once resorting to violence. She didn’t even swear at her clients (even when they clearly deserved it).

Lisa also has two children – a sweet little boy and a very busy little girl. And she manages to work full time as a training manager for a multinational corporation. And, while she effortlessly (or so it seems) transitions between the role of mommy, devoted wife to a husband who’s just completed his MBA, and corporate high flyer, Lisa is also a very talented media designer.

And the thing that these hard working, intelligent, ethical, strong and determined women have in common is that they’re all madly in love, obsessed even, with their little children. And, when they climb into their cars at the end of the day and slip off their Nine Wests, they seamlessly slip out of their roles of women to be reckoned with into the much more demanding role of Mommy.  And it is these women who, on the eve of Women’s Day, I want to salute for being the backbone of, not only society, but of our economy too. Their strength and hard work is laudable and the love they have for their babies, faultless.