Motherhood Monday

Some weeks just seem to zoom past at lightning speed in this often relentless rhythm of motherhood. Somehow it has been a whole week since my last post. We have been super busy with school work this last week and I’ve been doing a bit of research on a little project I am looking into. When I get an idea, I’m all guns blazing and researching allllll the things. I think I might be onto something great, but we will have to see.

motherhood monday, homeschool, mom of boys

Quite honestly, tonight, I don’t feel like I can take on anything extra right now though. My days are so full with our boys. And there is a monotony that only a mom can know. Some days are such a struggle just trying to get through everything on the list. And when the baby decides he isn’t going to nap during the day, it can really ruin productivity.

Today was that day. The day started with such promise and our morning went really well. After lunch is nap time for Mika. When my oldest and I had an hour of researching North and South Korea for his new history section scheduled. And I had a math lesson planned with my middle guy. And then the baby decided that sleeping was just not an option so he disrupted our entire afternoon. And instead of just giving in and letting go, I get more determined and try to soldier through with a tired, moody baby on my lap. This just results in tired mom plus grumpy baby and distracted kids who aren’t learning anything anyway.  Fun. (not fun)

And then I was beating myself up feeling all inadequate because HOW CAN WE EVER GET EVERYTHING DONE? Which is overly dramatic because it was just one rough afternoon and we still managed to get through a lot. My expectations may be too high?

Sigh. It’s only tonight after they’re all in bed (and I kinda miss them) and I’ve had a minute to breathe and reflect and have seen that actually, chucking the books into the cupboard to deal with tomorrow and bringing out the Lego would have been so much more productive for all of us. Because I’m going to have to redo it tomorrow ANYWAY.

I wish I had done today differently. I often wish I had done my day differently. There’s mommy guilt and then there’s homeschool mommy guilt! Terrifying stuff.

But then thinking back and focusing on the little moments, in between the tantrums and whining, I watched little Mika show off his new skill of laughing/crying/coughing and sneezing on command from his brothers over and over. And in turn making all of us giggle.

I watched Mason pick up his (same size) little brother after he had fallen and gave him a huge hug and kiss. I also watched him master his new phonetic spelling app and spell out a few brand new words.

I watched Michael get full marks for a 50 word spelling test and score 93% on his Math quiz on fractions. He also told me I was the most beautiful mom when I felt nothing of the sort.

And then I realize that hang on, we are ok. Today didn’t go as planned or scheduled. And tomorrow might be the same. And every day after that. We have to just keep plugging away and get up again tomorrow with the intention and will to get through it all. Even though we know we probably won’t.

Because tackling my day with intention and purpose is the best start, but also having the foresight to be prepared that everything can go pear shaped 10 minutes in and knowing that fighting it is most likely futile. Tomorrow we try again.

Have a great week momma’s

Sleep deprivation and avoiding Ebola

My children just about destroyed me yesterday. I’m sure they conspired in their room in the morning and decided to triple attack through the day. Whiney. Tears. Exhaustion.

I don’t really sleep well usually, but lately I’ve been struggling even more. Actually, I sleep ok when I do sleep, but I really REALLY battle to fall asleep. I can lie awake staring at the ceiling swearing at myself, writing novels, planning our future, thinking up amazing business ideas for what feels like months some nights. It is super annoying.

This last week has been awful in the sleep department though. On Thursday night there were people working on the road or something not far from the hotel and kept me awake till after 4am with this constant hammering against metal sound.

On Friday night the church just opposite us were holding a vigil or something and were singing loudly until 4am. There is just no way I can even attempt to sleep through those types of noises. I was exhausted.

On Saturday night I was so excited to take a herbal sleeping tablet and get a decent sleep no matter what noises were happening outside. Half an hour into my almost deep sleep the baby woke up crying. Which is unusual. It made me sit up and wake up completely. I had to get up, get dressed and go to him in my dazed state. He had soaked through his nappy for some reason and needed to be changed. By the time I had done that, put him back to bed and crept back to my bed, I was wide awake. I landed up laying awake until 3am ish. Annoying.

Thanks to the severe lack of sleep and probably the effects of involuntarily fighting off a sleeping tablet, I’ve been a less than stellar momma, totally inefficient in the understanding and gentleness department. Which makes me even grumpier. Because I really don’t like being THAT mom. And it isn’t their fault I’m tired. But sometimes I just can’t control things and as hard as I try, every day does not have the ability to be a good day.

Today I am grateful for new days, new beginnings. For waking up renewed to a brand new start. A fresh morning. A fresh week. After a relaxing lavender bath followed by uninterrupted sleep last night, today was just so much brighter. And once again I noticed that when my head is in the right space and I’m in a positive mood, my children follow suit and it leads to a better day for everyone. Also, my boys are super forgiving. They don’t hold grudges from the day before. Or complain about their grumpy mom. They give me so much grace. I could learn a thing or two from them.

We’ve been keeping a low profile and avoiding public places as much as possible due to the Ebola scare. The biggest problem is whenever we go out with the littles, people stop and come up to us, touch the kids faces and hold their hands. And ordinarily, it’s very sweet and hospitable. But when there is a deadly virus in the country and strangers keep touching my babies. And my babies will quite possibly put their hands straight into their mouths if I tell them not to, I get a little scared. I’d also rather be super paranoid and careful than take any risks.

Lagos swimming pool, baby at the pool

So we’re a bit cabin feverish. (Hotel feverish?) But the weather seems to be improving and we’ve been able to spend some time at the pool and hopefully if the rain stays away we can spend more time outside this week. They LOVE swimming and it’s gorgeous out there. But this is possibly the least relaxing way to spend the afternoon for a tired momma. Truly. The little guy is in and out and in and out and running along the side of the pool along the slippery tiles with his chunky little legs, while the other two dive bomb in the deep end. It’s anxiety-inducing, people. ANXIETY.

The splashing, joyful squeals and belly laughs do make it all worthwhile though. Mostly.

That’s my little catch up. Here’s to more swimming weather, more uninterrupted sleep, more intentional, joy-filled mothering and a happy week for everyone.

Homeschooling Part 2: The Legalities

Here is the second installment in my Homeschooling series where I answer your questions. Read part 1 here.

Homechool

So, you’re interested in homeschooling your littles, but want to find out more about the legalities and rules? I will try to share all information I can and link to sites where you can read up more.

This post was actually a lot harder to write than I thought. It is a very controversial subject and the two opposite sides of the fence feel very passionate about their personal choices. So I don’t really want to step on toes. I’m also not an expert, but I do know enough for my situation for MY family.

First and foremost, everyones burning question : Yes, Homeschooling is legal in South Africa. Home schooling is provided for in the SA Schools Act (SASA) since 1996.

 The department of Education does not strongly encourage it however and they require you to register your children through the department and basically apply for the right to homeschool. The homeschooling community is quite divided in this respect. Apparently only about 15% of homeschooling families in South Africa are registered with the department of education. With the main issue being the fact that as homeschooling is a legal right, not a privilege, they feel they should not have to jump through hoops to have to prove they are educating their children.

On the other hand, some families choose to follow procedures, fill in registration forms and apply for their children to be homeschooled. This then gets decided by a department official and the family has to allow home visits, stick to very specific curriculum standards, reports, attendance registers and of course run the risk of being denied the right to homeschool and then being forced to send their child to school.

This is where the Pestalozzi Trust comes into effect.

 Section 51 of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 (SASA) provides that parents may register their children (learners) for education at home. Many education officials interpret this to mean that parents need “permission” to educate their children. This is, of course, not so.

The law does not – and in terms of the Constitution and international law, SASA may not – prevent parents from educating their children. This is true whether the children attend schools or not and irrespective of whether they are registered for home education or not.

No parent can be prosecuted for educating a child at home or anywhere else. A parent may only be prosecuted if the parent fails without just cause, in respect of a child for whose school attendance he or she is responsible, to cause the child to attend school. 

The Pestalozzi Trust is a trust for home schoolers and promotes good education. The Trust will act in court cases on behalf of members who  are confronted by government officials in relation to their home education.

Protecting and promoting the right to home education.
Preventing and solving conflict between our members and education and welfare departments departments and other state authorities, and by defending members families in court if conflict cannot be settled outside the courts.

Supporting the objectives and activities of other homeschooling organsiations that share our principles.
Maintaining mutually supportive relationships with homeschoolers in other countries. (Taken from the Pestalozzi Trust website)

Most homeschoolers I know belong to this trust. There is an annual fee which pays for itself just in peace of mind should the unfortunate circumstance of having to protect your family arise.

Every homeschool mom I know goes WAY over and above what they need to do to cover the basics in any curriculum. I don’t think we ever feel like we are doing enough really, so I’m pretty confident that we all keep our records super clean and ensure our little students are more than covered.

You can get the Curriculum and Assessment Policy (CAPS) for your child’s grade directly off the Department of Education’s website where you can compare and keep up with standards expected. Grade 4-6 here: English Home Language. Mathematics. Social Sciences. They are lengthy in-depth documents which cover everything your child should be learning throughout the year. There are even full teachers guides available online. Although thats not the route anyone I know is using, it is nice to keep an eye on it. The Thutong website also offers free colorful printable workbooks on many subjects and grades which are used in some public schools.

Honestly, the American school curriculum we follow is vastly different to the examples above, but I do like to occasionally check that we are indeed ahead of the pack and not leaving any gaping cracks in my childrens education. Next week I will do a post on our curriculum, the other curriculums we have tried, what we loved, what we hated etc.

This is probably the most boring blog post in the history of blogging. But I do hope I have answered some of your questions and if not, hopefully all the links can lead you to answers.

The bottom line is this : I have the right to give my children the best education I feel fit for them. And you do too!

 

Living on the wild side?

So Ebola has hit Lagos, and it’s pretty terrifying really. The president has declared a state of emergency and they seem to be doing all they can to control it.  We have decided to sit tight and have basically quarantined ourselves in the hotel and avoid going out in public until the epidemic is contained. We have also asked our nanny, who works a few hours a day and helps me with the littles while I teach Mic, to take time off. Because it’s easier to be careful if we are not sharing our living space with outsiders. The hotel has had to start taking serious precautions and housekeeping staff come into our suite with gloves and masks. We are doing our best to be vigilant and careful.

Expat living in Lagos

I’m such a worry pot. And this situation has seriously stressed me out. Anxiety levels sky rocketed. On Friday night G and I went out for dinner with the rest of the expat crew and the stress levels were high among them. Everyone was panicking and making plans to get out of Nigeria if the situation gets any worse. I worried the whole night and held my breath every time anyone came close. I just about died when a guy coughed about 2 seats away from me.

Then on our way home at midnight, there was a massive road block – seriously huge – hundreds of cars parked every which way possible. A tanker had over turned on the expressway ahead and traffic was at a complete standstill. When we asked someone walking by what was going on, he told us to get comfortable because they had blocked the road ahead and we would not be moving until tomorrow. PANIC. I was ready to hop out and walk the distance home in my heels to get home to my boys.

Amazingly our driver got us off the highway which was a parking lot and took us through possibly the dodgiest, scariest parts of Lagos. Where the roads weren’t even roads, there was no electricity anywhere, abandoned cars scattered the path, the depth of the ditches we drove through were halfway up the door and were full of dirty, stagnant water, at some stage we were driving over skinny wooden plinths with the ground so far below us it was impossible to see. The occasional dog running next to our car. Honestly it was probably the most terrifying adventure of my life. And I had a proper, shaky, could not breathe, tight chest, burning throat, strong desire to just pass out rather than live any longer panic attack.

Thankfully my husband had some amazing premonition or something and brought an extra Xanax tablet with him and he made me take it. It most certainly didn’t take all the anxiety away, but it helped and at least i didn’t have a stroke. You know. I think I am going to start taking those precious little white tablets regularly now. Because STRESS. By the way – the husband was completely calm during the whole ordeal.

We finally got home at 2am and I told G to give the driver ALL OUR MONEY. If I had a daughter I may have promised her hand in marriage. If I wasn’t so scared of Ebola cooties I would have hugged him to death.

It was scary, you guys! Like scarier than I can even explain in writing.

So, we may never leave the hotel again. Send prayers and care packages!

I’ve been trying to blog all afternoon, but these little beasties of mine don’t allow their mommy just 5 minutes of quiet time to correlate my thoughts. Gosh they’re cute though, right?

blogging with kids

These littles and I  have been so busy doing many, many activities including singing nursery rhymes, dancing, Simon (mommy) says, Musical Statues, bowling with bouncy balls and water bottles for pins, football in the hallway, color matching, crawling races and obstacle courses. We’ve done counting puzzles, stacking and counting blocks and read a few stories. And that was just today. For real.

So please Momma’s, I need all your indoor fun activity ideas!!!

Homeschooling Part 1: Our Story

Homeschooling Part 1: Our Story. How we became a homeschooling family.

Our story on homeschooling

As I mentioned on my Facebook Page, I get many emails and private messages every week from moms who follow me on social media and here on my blog, asking me about homeschooling. Why we do it, what the rules are, what curriculum we use, what the costs are, what about socialization, HOW I COPE, etc. So I’ve decided to do a little series on the blog addressing all the questions as I go along. I hope this will be informative and helpful to anyone interested.

Please understand upfront that I am in NO WAY an expert on the subject. I also know that homeschooling is certainly not for everyone – many families simply cannot survive on a single income and I know that even though we have made sacrifices, we are extremely privileged to be able to have me stay home with our children. I also don’t think any less of parents who choose to send their children to public / private schools. It is a very personal decision. This is OUR STORY. So let’s not get all controversial on this here happy place.

Here’s our story :

We started homeschooling quite by accident really. I have often read of other homeschool moms who write about how they always knew they would homeschool. How they had planned to homeschool their kids before they even had any kids!!! I mean, I didn’t even plan having any kids, never mind how I was going to educate them.

Anyway, Michael started going to nursery school from his 1st Birthday. I had been very lucky to have stayed home with him up until then. It broke my heart to drop him off. I missed him. But I had to work and he had to learn and get “socialized”. And that’s just how it works – or so I thought. He continued at the same nursery school until he had finished grade 0 and he was ready to start Grade 1 in a new “big” school.

We had recently moved into a different suburb, which meant that the school we wanted him to go to and had applied for was no longer in our “feeder area” and would be too far for everyday traveling. The schools in our new suburb were all private schools, where children had been listed since they were in the womb to gain admission, and getting him in there proved to be absolutely impossible. The alternative was to apply for the public school in the next suburb and hope for the best. We sent in all the paperwork in August, long before cut off, and went for a school visit. They informed us we would hear whether or not he would be admitted in December.

After much panicking in December and countless calls to the school and the education department, in January we were finally informed that Michael was on the ‘D’ waiting list and we would be called when and if a space for him would be available. Everyone kept telling me that the school HAD to make space for him, it is the law, but the school kept telling us that there were MANY kids on list A, B and C before him and they had to be given spaces first. It was an impossible and infuriating situation. By this stage children had already started their first week of school. Grade 1 – a special experience. And my child was missing it. He was going to be the guy that started late. I had at this stage almost lost the will to live and all confidence in the system.

G and I sat down and discussed our (lack of) options. We had this bright little boy who was so keen to learn and nowhere to send him. I was stressed and felt I had failed. Homeschooling came up in conversation as a short term solution and it was something I had NEVER even contemplated. I mean, wasn’t homeschooling for hippies? Or strange people who wanted to brainwash their children? I wasn’t convinced. But we started researching. And we were pretty amazed to find a whole new world out there and how homeschooling is a hugely growing trend. Also we learned how these homeschooled children are not weird introverts, but rather quite the opposite and usually excelling in some area or other of their interest.

We found a curriculum based on South African education standards so we knew it would at least cover everything we needed to teach him. And we began our journey. And what a journey it has been.

I remember the exact moment everything clicked for me when Michael read his first book out loud and I was overwhelmed with this indescribable pride that I had taught him how to do that. Me. And while I sat with a lump in my throat and threatening tears, watching him running his little finger along each word and sounding it out beautifully, I knew that I wanted to teach him how to do ALL THE THINGS.

My heart was happy. My husband was happy. My child was happy. He was thriving at home and racing through the basic (rather boring) curriculum faster than it could keep up. We started learning outside the box. Researching things that interested him. He was absorbing everything as if he were a sponge. A cute little toothless sponge with a passion for computers and World History. He was 7 and could hold an intelligent, opinionated conversation on his latest topic with anyone willing to listen. His whole little personality changed from a subdued, quiet little boy who just got swept up and lost in the crowd to an energetic, funny, sparky little person.

I got involved in homeschool forums and communities. We researched more on curriculums which would better suit us and started changing things to how he preferred to learn and what we loved rather than following the “safe option”. We made friends and joined in with homeschool social groups.

Our whole thought pattern on homeschooling evolved from being only for the “crazies”, to a short term solution, to becoming a way of life and the only way we wanted to go forward with our child and any future children.

We are now in our 6th year of homeschooling. We have two more boy children. We use an American literature-based, Christian curriculum which we adore and fall more in love with every semester. I am learning right alongside them, and am more fulfilled than I ever dreamed I could be. We have amazing extra subjects like French, Music and Computer Coding. We were able to pack up our clothes and school books and move to a hotel in the middle of Lagos seamlessly – this move to keep our family together would not have been possible if we had to move and find schools for our boys.

Our boys are intelligent, funny, sociable, happy, loved. School time is fun time. They look forward to it everyday. And yes, I know it might not always be rainbows and happiness and there are certainly days where I think OMGamIdoingenough or OMGisthismyreallife???, but every year we learn with our children, and we adapt to be able to do what is best for them.

We ignore the nay-sayers and focus on the happy little humans we are raising into the best men they can be.

I hope that sharing a little bit of our history will help you understand how we got here. Next week I will post Part 2 of our story and answer more of your questions.

Currently II

I’m joining up with my friend Jenna from A Mama Collective again today with her “Currently” Link up. Not only are the Link ups a fun way to catch up on the lives of favorite bloggers, I love the sense of community they build. Living in a strange country away from my friends and family means that community is now super important to me – it’s nice to be able to reach out and be heard, almost like sitting with a group of friends sipping on coffee and sharing encouragement.

Currently Blog Link Up

Thinking about : The fact that today, 2 months ago, at around this time, my family and I had just landed in Lagos. We were finally here. There was so much trepidation and relief, excitement and exhaustion crammed into my heart that night. I honestly cannot believe it has been 2 months. Time has this weird way of confusing reality where a span of time can both feel like we just got here and that we’ve been here for ages, all at the same time. Do you know what I mean? It has been such an adventure so far : living in a hotel, having all my loves in one place, exploring our new city, enjoying the local hospitality and cultures. It’s quite fabulous really.

Reading : All the blogs!!! 

Loving : That my G and I get to go out for date nights every week now. And we make sure that we go. It’s so much fun to actually date your husband, girls.  Last Friday we went somewhere different for a special dinner at the Lagos Radisson Blu. It was delicious. We completely over indulged on desserts. We laughed. We loved. I’m loving being a little involved in the hotel renovations – the hospitality industry runs through my veins, G and I have worked together at many hotels, and now as the GM’s wife and not an employee, I have often had to hold myself back instead of diving in and taking over. So the last few days I have been getting a little involved here and there with the refurb – meeting suppliers, choosing fabrics and helping make decisions. FUN. I mean it’s not like the boys and school and everything else isn’t overflowing and busy as it is…

Radisson Blu Dessert Buffet

Thankful for : My health, and the health of my husband and children. Malaria, Typhoid and now Ebola are worries here, and I am trying not to freak out about the possibilities. I’m thankful for the opportunity I have to spend every day with my children as I watch them grow and learn. It seems like everyday they are conquering new things, I am so blessed I get to live this life with them. I never want to take that for granted. I’m thankful for my sleeping children and hot coffee while I tap away at my desk tonight. I am thankful for hotel living perks – I mean : housekeeping and breakfasts delivered to our suite; laundry service and restaurant dinners. every night. Let’s be serious. It’s going to be hard to leave here eventually.

Happy mom and baby

 

Can I just take an extra moment to be thankful for wild haired, blue eyed, chunky baby boys who love their momma’s. Cos that guy makes every day brighter.

YOU are enough!

Hey momma’s.

How often do you feel like “This is ALL I have to give!”? Me? Often!

You are enough. This is all I have to give.

In fact I feel like I’m always letting something slide to make room for everything else.

Somedays I feel as if I have spent my entire day just feeding the boys (meal times are big here). And changing them. Picking up toys and mess. Telling them seventy bazillion times NOT to stand so close to the TV /  NOT to climb on the couches /  NOT to stand on your brothers head. You know. The difficult to grasp, life lessons for boys.

Sometimes, at night once they’re all asleep and I’m unwinding and going over the day in my head, I wonder if I’m even doing this whole mom thing right. Because did they really learn anything today? Did we tick all the boxes? (lets be serious, we NEVER tick all the boxes) Did they get enough fruit and veggies and drink enough water? Did they brush their teeth properly? Did they understand that story and grasp that math fact? Did we get through all the science questions? Did they get enough fresh air and exercise? Do those other moms really have it all together? For real?

Usually when we have had a great school day, we’ve had a mediocre healthy eating day. Or a zero exercise day. Or we have a beautiful day when they all eat all their veggies with no negotiating and the house (hotel suite) is a nightmare of a mess. It’s never all done. It’s never all perfect.

I try not to be shouty mom, but she certainly makes an appearance more often than I’d like. Especially when I feel like THIS IS ALL I HAVE TO GIVE, but it is not enough. And that is something I have to work on every day. But I do work on it. And today I am a much better mom than I was a few years ago. I have buckets more patience than I used to.

We have a schedule we mostly stick to for school, but sometimes thats just not possible and we have to let things slide. Thats not to say that we just leave things out, but it does mean that we have to make that up somewhere later. So the list just grows. And grows. And every item that we don’t do today just weighs on my mind until we get the chance to cover it properly later.

And sometimes I allow the littles to watch too much TV or play too long on their iPads so that I can get into the nitty gritty of explaining and demonstrating exactly how to simplify improper fractions or while we get completely caught up in learning about the Han Dynasty of Ancient China with Michael. I try to make up for those times by leaving the TV off the next day and doing loads of extra puzzles and coloring in activities. It’s not perfect. But it is what it is.

At the end of the day, I know in my heart  that 90% of the time, I am doing the very best I can do. I always have their best interests at heart. I am FOR them. I want to give them everything I possibly can to ensure they are having a great childhood and we are paving the roads for them to become well rounded, happy, well educated adults. And quite honestly thats as much as I can do. That’s as much as you can do.

So listen up Momma’s, when you hit that limit and feel like “I cannot do anymore, because THIS IS ALL I HAVE TO GIVE!” Take a deep breath in, exhale slowly, hug those tiny people tight while you breathe them in and realize that you are not alone and you are doing the very best you can. Because all you have to give, is enough. And YOU are enough.

10 Life skills I want to teach my sons

As a homeschooling mom, I have a long list of things I want my boys to learn. I’m talking about reading, writing, pythagoras’ theorem, the periodic table, singing the alphabet song etc It’s a constantly evolving and growing list. But that’s not what I want to write about today.

Today I want to talk about Life skills. The life skills I want these little people to master. Skills that cannot be taught through a curriculum or a textbook, but from example, conversation and practical lessons. Skills that will prepare them for life more than science experiments and algebra ever will.

10 life skills for my sons

1. Budgeting and Saving : Don’t spend more than you earn. I think this is a big problem with young adults of today where they graduate and start earning a salary that is more money than they’ve ever had before. Suddenly they rent a fancy apartment they can’t really afford while paying off a new over the top car. I want to teach my boys how to save their money and budget for something they really want rather than splurging on the first sparkly thing.

2. Do all things with kindness : Whether dealing with the people you love, or people you’ve just met, treat everyone with kindness. Be polite. You never know what that person is dealing with today – don’t assume, just be kind. Never put someone else down to elevate yourself. If kindness is not reciprocated, you always have the option of walking away knowing you were kind. The world needs more love and positivity. Just be kind.

3. Know how to do practical stuff : Everything from changing a plug, changing a tyre, fixing a leaky tap to repairing a garage door motor. Knowing how to fix things yourself makes life a lot easier in the real world. I want you to at least be able to assess a situation and know whether you can attempt to fix the problem yourself or if you have to call a professional.

4. Feed yourself : I want you to be able to budget your grocery shopping, plan menus and cook for yourself. And cook well. Not just basic food to survive, but good, healthy, delicious meals to nourish and eventually feed your families. I don’t want you to grow up thinking that there are men’s jobs and women’s jobs – just that there are jobs. Also, there is nothing better than a man who can cook.

5. Dress yourself : Own and be able to rock at least one suit. Know how to shop for yourself and look good. Whether its work or casual, even your chill at home weekend wear, it shouldn’t make you look like a slob.

6. Know how to treat a lady : Treat every woman with the same amount of respect you would treat your mother, great Aunt Mildred or a sweet girl you like. I want you to be gentlemen. Old school is super cool. Hold open doors, pull out chairs, be hygienic, look smart, master a good handshake, reach for the cheque. I don’t want you to be walked all over, obviously, but there is something special about a man with impeccable manners who knows how to treat a lady right.

7. Be good with kids : (If you ask my 11 year old what he wants to be when he grows up, his answer is always this : “I want to be a dad, a good husband and a chef.” Those are his priorities. In order. It’s pretty cute.) I want you boys to be involved, loving, hands on dads / uncles / godfathers. Men who are good with kids are the best kind. Know how to soothe an upset baby, change a nappy, make a bottle. Good skills to have.

8. Be honest always : Sometimes telling the truth might be the hardest thing, and sometimes it will hurt, but the truth is the only way. You want people to respect your word and know that you have integrity.

9. Find Passion : One of the best ways to be successful in life is to find something you are passionate about and then do that for a living. You won’t know what you want to do yet, but when you do find something you love, stick with it and make it happen! You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist, if you want to be an artist or a dish washer or a stay at home dad, if it makes you happy, it pays the bills and you are passionate about it – do it.

10. Enjoy Life : You have one life. Live it. Love it. Work hard. Love hard. Cherish the moments. Cherish the people you care most about. Be happy. Be content.

 

Currently…

Currently…

I am joining in my friend Jenna’s blog link up from A Mama Collective today.

Currently

Thinking about : The two blog posts I just smashed out haphazardly, which went straight into my drafts folder unedited, because neither of them are right tonight. Neither of them have the oomph they need to be more “me”, more positive and encouraging. I want to write great content that comes from my heart and resonates with other moms. I don’t want to publish half hearted posts that no one will identify with. So we will reassess those tomorrow then.

Reading :  I just started reading Daughter of the Mountains  by Louise Rankins out loud to my boys. We read a lot! It is some of my favorite times with them. I’m also doing an online Bible Study and reading Am I messing up my kids? by Lysa TerKeust. So educational and inspiring.

Watching : I recently finished watching the second season of Orange is the new black  which was heavy and am suffering through a bit of a series hangover, but my current Netflix obsession is Hart of Dixie. It’s light hearted and silly/funny, perfect series to watch and have a quick escape from reality.

Thankful for : ALLLLLL the things. I’m thankful for the giant steak and fresh broccoli the chefs prepared for our dinner tonight. I’m thankful for the way Mika wanted to dance with me while light raindrops were falling on us this afternoon. I’m thankful for the slightly cooler weather. I’m thankful for black coffee and crisp white linen. I’m thankful for the current Lego / Duplo obsession in our home and how my boys are using their imaginations, building things and playing together so well.

Enjoying : A rare cup of delicious Chai Latte from Woolworths. Such a treat. I brought it in my suitcase from home. It’s only my second cup since I’ve moved here – probably only another 2 cups left in the tin. Sad face. (Not Paleo friendly – oops)

Loving : Having my little family all together every day. I know you will probably get tired of hearing me say this but, it’s just my best thing. I don’t think it will ever get old watching my kids run through every morning shouting “Daddy daddy daddddddyyyyyyy”. I mean, sometimes I still wake up, peek under the covers and check he’s there, thinking “IS THIS REAL LIFE???”

What are you currently watching/reading/loving… ? I’d love to hear it.

On being a YES mom

I am a YES mom.

Well, I try to be a YES mom as often as possible. I can tell you that it is often much easier to be a NO mom. But I have found that often the reasons I say no to my boys, are selfish reasons.  And I don’t want my selfishness to rob my children of their childhood joy.

Being a YES mom

YES

 

Yes. There are boundaries and discipline. And we have rules and schedules and there are always so many things to get done, but is it REALLY the end of the world if we skip Math today and rather cuddle on the couch and watch a movie or play Plants vs Zombies on the Xbox together? Or if we scrap coloring in the alphabet pages to rather lie on the floor and build Lego houses?

I don’t think so.

Just today we went for a walk around the hotel garden. The weather was warm, but there were big grey clouds in the sky. The boys were running around, lizard hunting, chasing each other when they asked me if they could swim. Usually swimming takes a bit of planning because both the little ones swim with PolyOtter Float Suits which I hadn’t brought downstairs. We didn’t have towels or any extra clothes. And it was just starting to lightly rain. Ordinarily I would have said “No” straight away. Because SCHLEP! But I said YES. And well, the whoops of joy alone were worth it. They ripped off their shirts and shoes and jumped into the shallow end of the pool and had the best time playing together. So much laughter, squeals of happiness and splashing. I had the best time watching them enjoy their afternoon, and it felt extra special because they were not expecting me to say yes.

When my 4 year old sits on my lap and puts his plastic dinosaurs into my hand and asks me  “Please play with me , mommy?” I will never regret saying yes. Because dinosaurs are awesome. And when we put music on and dance around like crazy zombies, or play soccer in the long hotel passageways – these are the moments I hope they hold in their heart forever because making memories are what this season of motherhood is all about.

Being a YES mom

Love.

Being a YES mom doesn’t allow my children to walk all over me. But it does allow me to surprise them with spontaneity and spoil them with my time, not things. And then I see how much they love each other, and how happy they are and I know we’re doing this right.

Living in this world where we are all lambasted with piles of ugly, scary news stories, destruction and heart wrenching sadness, I want to empower my children with positivity. Smother them with happy memories. Love them as hard as I can.

Let’s make a movement. Say YES to your littles today.

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