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Legally Brunette

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A Mother’s Instinct

Now that I’ve had almost 8 years of practice as a parent, I am learning more and more to listen to and trust that inner voice, my motherly instincts. 

With my first born, it was harder to trust it. It was harder to believe that I was not just being paranoid or overprotective, but as the years have passed I’ve slowly learnt that every single time, that little voice has been right.
We’ve been having a bit of a rough time in our little household recently. My sweet little toddler had suddenly become a monster. A crying, whining and tantrum throwing monster. When he wasn’t doing that he would isolate himself and not want to speak much at all. Or, if not that then he would be super aggressive toward anyone who dared cross his path. 

A part of me thought, oh its just the terrible three’s. Have you heard? Everyone says that nowadays three is worse than two. To be honest, I don’t really remember from my first round of parenting. It’s weird how that happens. After your first child you sort of forget all the ‘bad’ things. I suppose it’s natures way of protecting the human race. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had a second child. Haha jokes (maybe). 

…but there was also a niggly part of me saying ‘this isn’t normal‘. That niggly little b*tch started off as a quiet voice, but as the weeks and months passed she got louder and louder. You see, it all started in January, when L had been moved to a new class. The little voice told me that this may not be the best idea. L is still really emotionally immature (which is weird because he’s three, he’s not supposed to be emotionally mature, but you know what I mean). He’s really babyish and insecure. He loves to be cuddled and picked up constantly. As his mother I’m overjoyed at this obviously because I want more cuddles and kisses. With S being nearly 8 years old, I’ve seen how they tend to give less cuddles and kisses so while I still have the chance I’m taking all the cuddles and kisses I can get from L. 

Of course in a school setting where there are 15 other needy 3-4 year olds I can’t expect the teacher to give my child the attention that I do. It’s just not possible. 

…so slowly, after the move to the new class, Master L’s mood and demeanor changed and slowly the voice in my head got louder and louder. She was telling me that something was just not right. She told me that my child wasn’t happy. She told me that perhaps this school wasn’t a good fit for him any longer. 
But then, the other voice in my head (I promise, I don’t suffer from any personality disorder. These voices are real) said that it’s not a good idea to chop and change schools. It’s traumatic for a child. Having to adapt to another new environment with new teachers and children who are, in essence, strangers could really damage him emotionally. I listened to this voice for months. She seemed more rational, not as emotional as the other one. 

As the months passed L just got worse and worse. In June I kept him home with me during the school holiday for three weeks and I saw the old L emerging. The happy, carefree child I used to know. That’s when I realized the little voice in my head was right all along. My motherly instincts were right.
 
You see, there was nothing wrong with the school. In actual fact it’s a fantastic school and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a crèche. BUT, it wasn’t a good fit for my child. I’ve come to realize over the years that when they say all children are different, it’s true. They really are all different and as a result they don’t all fit into one pretty box. They don’t all do well in the same situations and environments. My first born would have been perfectly fine at this school, but L is not like him. They’re different children and that’s fine. In fact, that’s fantastic. I wouldn’t want them to be the same. 

In the end, we decided to move him to a different school. Believe me, this was not a decision that I took lightly. My intention was never to move my child from pillar to post. The new school is not as spacious as the old one, or as neat and spotless, but it has smaller classes, more individual attention, more baby-ing, less structure and more freedom. 

He’s been there for a month and he’s a different child. He’s happy. He’s carefree. He doesn’t cry when I drop him off. He chats ten-to-a-dozen in the car on the way home in the afternoon and he’s just back to being him
So if there’s anything that I’ve learnt from this experience, it’s to finally listen to that voice. To stop doubting it and ignoring it. A mothers instinct is a real thing. 

Being Grateful

This past weekend was so lovely that I’m filled with absolute gratitude and humility. It may just be the hormones talking, since Aunt Flo just left, but hey, who’s counting. 


Today, being Monday and all, it may be a bit more difficult to feel grateful for the life you have. I’m a month shy of 27, but in my 26 years I’ve had some hardship. I never weigh up my hard times with others as I know that there are people who have it much worse than I ever have, but it’s all relative isn’t it? It’s not easy being 19 and pregnant, hiding the said pregnancy from your parents and trying to complete your first year at uni. It’s not easy being thrown into adulthood and nearly drowning. It’s not easy admitting defeat and moving out of your home to lease it instead. It’s not easy having your husband diagnosed with a serious health problem.
 
In a world filled with having other people’s ‘wonderful’ lives thrown at us daily via social media, it is often easy to let the little green monster enter our lives. We constantly want more. We want to keep up with the Jones’. We’re never satisfied with what we have. Always focusing on what we don’t have. So this past weekend was a wonderful reminder that damn, this little life I’ve built for myself is pretty amazing. 

I’ve got two little boys who don’t care about how much weight I’ve put on. They don’t care about my hair that desperately needs a trim and colour. They don’t care that I’m wearing the same outfit for the millionth time. They simply love me. They adore me. They can’t get enough of me. That’s probably why they won’t  leave me alone for five minutes. 


I’ve got a husband, who while dealing with his own mental demons, tries his utmost to be his best for me daily. Who does little things that he knows will make me happy. Simple gestures like running a bubble bath for me. Scratching my back every night before I fall asleep. Shredding cooked chicken breasts for the chicken salad I intend on making at 5 the next morning for the school/work lunches. 

I’ve got two amazing parents who would run to the end of the earth for me. Who always have an ear to listen to my moans and groans. Who always have my back no matter what. 
I’ve got a roof over my head. A pretty nice one. Although last year was rough financially, with my new job, we’re in a much better place and I’m able to lead the life I’ve often dreamt of. It’s not the life of a Kardashian, but for me, it’s pretty great. I can spoil myself and my loved ones. This is big for me as we really struggled after buying our first home in 2014, but finally we can live a little. It’s liberating.


So today, on this blue Monday, I’m really grateful to be where I am. I’m not saying my life is perfect or in any way saying that yours isn’t, but just take a moment to appreciate the little things. Appreciate what you’ve got. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Life is not a competition.

Where you are right now, is where you’re meant to be. 

Farm Living

I’ve always been a city girl. I love city living. I love the CBD. There’s something about the great tall buildings that light a fire within me. It excites me, but as I get older it seems to be changing. 

Instead now I notice the grey dullness around me. I notice the filth and litter. I notice beggars at ever street corner. I notice how my children haven’t ridden their bikes in months, because it’s just not safe for them to ride their bikes in the street. We can’t take the chance that anything happens to them. I’ve noticed how I double check that all the doors are locked at night and during the day. How I lock my car ten times before going to bed. How I hold onto my handbag tightly wherever I am. I also notice how I need to constantly hold my child while out and about. How I need to constantly monitor their whereabouts and as a result limit what they can and cannot do. I’ve noticed how limited we all are in our everyday lives and it bothers me. In fact it more than bothers me, it annoys the crap out of me.
 
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of escaping to a picturesque farm in Tesserlaarsdal. There was no fancy guest house, no luxury, in fact no electricity and no hot water

The old me would have died, but this new me felt so at peace. All I saw around me was beautiful greenery and open spaces. Cattle roaming freely on the property as they should. My children running freely as they should. Fresh air. Time stood still. We had no wifi, no tv, no tablets and no cellphones. It was blissful. I would never have thought I could survive without my ‘daily essentials’ but it turns out that it was so much better than my usual reality. 

Ever since, I’ve missed it. I’ve missed that simple life. Sitting outside long after its dark with a glass of wine and only my family for conversation and entertainment. I’ve missed the openness. The freedom. The safety. 
It’s made me really start to reevaluate our lives and the type of life I want my children to have. As parents we are constantly trying to give our children better than we had, but is it really necessary? Do they need the big houses, fancy cars and branded clothing? Wouldn’t they rather enjoy being children and have their parents time and attention? Wouldn’t they rather enjoy the freedom? Wouldn’t they enjoy playing outside until it’s dark out like we did? I would jump at the opportunity to have that farm life everyday. To be able to really enjoy this beautiful country that we live in.


 
What about you? 

Accepting your child as they are…

This title seems straight forward right? Before we all became parents we were so sure that we would accept out future children for who and what they are. I was very sure of this. I mean why wouldn’t I accept my child. Until a few days ago I still felt that way. I believed that I accepted my children for who they were. 
Until I actually stopped and reevaluated my actions. 

It was an ordinary, rushed morning. We were extra rushed that day as I had to be at work, in the CBD, at 8am and was only dropping Seth at school at 7.45am. If you live in Cape Town, then you’ll know that getting to town in 15mins during peak hour is impossible. I was flustered, frustrated and annoyed. Annoyed with life, because well, it’s become insane. I am so busy adulting that I don’t know if I’m coming or going. 

Back to the point. I rushed my 7 year old out of the car and didn’t get out with him as I usually do. In fact, I didn’t even turn the car off, I left it running, turned around in my seat to kiss him and practically pushed him out. He awkwardly got out and awkwardly walked toward the little school gate. I watched and through gritted teeth hissed ‘go! go! Why are you walking so slowly? Why are you stopping?’ He stopped in the middle of no where, as 7 year olds often do, probably to inspect a smudge of something on the ground that could possibly be treasure. Once he was safely inside I sped off. I didn’t think about this encounter for the rest of the day. 

A few days later, Seth and hub came home from soccer practice. Seth has recently joined a soccer team. He absolutely loves it. He can’t wait to train and play matches every week. 
But…he isn’t very good. In fact he kind of sucks. I know, I know, he’s 7, but seriously guys it’s not something that comes naturally to him and he looks super awkward on that field. During a match one Saturday he stopped after knocking a boy over to help him up rather than run after the ball. Awesome sportsmanship, I know and so sweet, but ‘they’re not supposed to do that’ I thought to myself. 

My thoughts bothered me for days. Was I embarrassed that he wasn’t the worlds next big soccer player? Was I disappointed that he’s so awkward and weird sometimes? Why did I even care? I hate soccer and never intended for my child to become a sportsman???! 

What was really bothering me? And then I remembered the time when I was a newbie parent. Before my children became older. When I looked at them and oozed love and only love. When their every move was just adorable. Now that they’re becoming older I’m becoming more demanding of who and what I want them to be. But that’s not my place. I’m not here to force them to be something that they’re not. 

I’m here to guide and love. I’m here to accept them unconditionally. I’ve never professed to be the worlds best mother or a perfect parent, but I do want to be the mother who realizes when she’s wrong. And I’ve been wrong here. 

When I was pregnant and vowed to accept my children as they are, I meant it. I need to learn to stop pushing and wanting to control everything. I’m the worlds biggest control freak, ask my husband. Seth is who he is and I wouldn’t have him any other way. He’s sweet and thoughtful. He’s gentle and kind. He’s intelligent and intuitive. He’s also weird and awkward. And that’s okay.  He’s his mothers child. 

Hamley’s South Africa {A Magical Experience}

A few weeks ago I was invited, by the lovely Hamley’s PR and marketing people, to attend a Hamley’s VIP shopping experience. 

Being no stranger to the awesomeness that is Hamley’s, I immediately said yes. When I told the boys Seth nearly jumped out of his skin (any excuse to be in a toy store). Luca, being a threenager and all, didn’t really care. I’m being honest here guys. 

In all honesty as the day loomed I really didn’t feel like going. Work has been so stressful and busy over the past few weeks that a mid week outing, with kids, seemed crazy. 

We hardly ever venture out during the week, unless it’s someone’s birthday or anniversary, that kind of thing so this was big and the kids knew it. We were out in the dark, at night they said. Yup, I keep them quite sheltered I realized as Seth was shocked to see so many other people also out in the dark. Look, lets be real, going out in day light with two kids is stressful enough, imagine at night so don’t judge us!

As soon as we arrived, I completely forgot about my tired feet, stressed and overworked mind and dirty hair (oops) as I was swept away by the magic that is a toy store.
 I don’t know if it’s just me, but even as an adult I oooh and aaah at everything. Toy stores are such magical places and hold such fond memories for me. I remember as a child going into toy stores with my dad (he was the spoiling parent). There was nothing like the feeling of choosing and bringing home a new toy. It truly is magical. I remember my teenage brother sneaking matchbox cars into the trolley, pretending that they’re not for him, because well that’s not cool and he was uber cool back then, jokes he’s still uber cool. I remember saving up pocket money and Christmas gift money to buy the toy I had eyed for months. (I was that kind of kid, wish I had some spare cash to save now.)

A toy store is magical. It oozes magic. It oozes happiness. It oozes joy. Have you even seen a sad person in a toy store? (Well, besides the kid throwing a tantrum for the toy that he just has to have.) Yes, I know in the bigger scheme of things toy stores are commercialized, money eating giants. But so what, I say. In this world that we live in today we all need a little bit of magic. We all need to be transported to a magical place. With the pressure placed on kids these days, toys allow them to be just that, kids

Hamley’s, in my honest opinion, is the only store in SA to really provide a shopping experience. It’s not just any toy store, it’s an experience and more than that, from the moment you walk in you feel special, like you’re the only person in the store. I know this from personal experience, when I was searching earnestly last year for a white NASA type rocket-spaceship-thing that Luca just had to have for his birthday (it’s all he talked about for months after seeing one in a story book and watching nasa videos on YouTube, I kid you not). I had gone to and called every toy store in CT and looked online. Nobody knew what I was on about and barely cared to listen, but from the moment I stepped into Hamley’s I had three shop assistants eager and willing to help me. These guys literally scanned the entire store in search of what I described AND FOUND IT! The only one in the store. It was a toy miracle. That’s the Hamley’s experience. That’s the service they provide.

 

Thank you Hamley’s for a wonderful evening making memories that I’m sure my boys will look back on one day. 

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