Mommy Time Out….

Have you ever had a mommy time out?

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I’m not talking about when you lock yourself in your bedroom for 5 minutes to secretly eat a chocolate or when you go pee in the guest bathroom because this is the last place your kids will think to look for you… I am a talking about  REAL mommy time out where you leave your family and have some good old alone time for yourself… Where you can bath without interruption.  Sleep late.  Read for hours if that is what you wish.  Go shopping… for things other than food!

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I had a mommy time out recently and I am now of the opinion that this THE thing that us moms need most.  Yes we love our husbands, children, dogs, homes and jobs, but for the love of God all of those things can also drive a woman DEMENTED and begging for a fast flow tap on a VAT of wine!

If what I am saying has you nodding your head in agreement, then take it from me… A mommy time out is highly recommended.

I went away BY MYSELF to run the Knysna half marathon in July and it was so divine.

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I was joined by a good friend for a few days and I cannot tell you how amazing it was to not have to worry about anyone else other than myself for a while.

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I could read all night if I wanted to.  I didn’t have to ask if it was ok for me to go for a run.  I could PEE in PEACE!  I had 15 minute showers.  I drank wine without worrying about having a little bit too much in case one of the kids needed me.

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I learnt how to build a fire on my own (granted I used a crap load of firelighters each night) and I was alone with my own thoughts.  I loved it!

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This holiday was the best thing I have done for myself and my family in like FOREVER.  I missed them so much, it made me remember what it was that they meant to me.  The break helped me put the drudge of everyday life into its proper perspective.  Lets be honest sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the stress and daily grind that we begin to undervalue the very things that mean the most to us. This break allowed me to focus on fact that “the grind” can steal my everyday joy.

They missed me, it made THEM remember what it is that I mean to them.  I truly believe that having this break has made me a better mom and wife.

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The fact that I have an extremely capable husband made going way for 6 days a lot easier.  The fact that he realised I needed some down time was awesome because he totally encouraged me to have this break.  He will be having a similar break when he rides some mountain bike 5 day event in September.

This break has been so good for us both that I am thinking of making it an annual thing.

I probably won’t make it for as long as this break worked out to be (this was purely due to getting cheaper flights) but I am definitely sold on the idea of a mommy time out.

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The Crying Game

Recently A month or so ago Stacey did a post about crying and posed the question “when last did you cry?”

It sparked quite a bit of banter on Twitter and honestly there was so much that came out of that conversation that has been bumping around my head that I’ve not quite made sense of.  That I am STILL trying to make sense of.  There were two definite camps, the criers and the non criers.  Criers seemed to be able to cry at the drop of a hat or soppy commercial and the non criers seemed to be devoid of any salt water in their bodies to eeek out.

I am of the non crier camp.  I’ve never been a crier.  I often wonder why this is?  Is it because I grew up with a military father and was taught to be “tough” and that crying doesn’t solve your problems?  Or is it because I am devoid of any crying emotion?  Who knows…

The one thing that did stand out to me was that all of us whether we fell into the crying or non crying camp did not cry in front of our children.  Comments like “I cry in the bath when the kids are asleep” and “I don’t let my kids see me chunking away” really hit me.  Hard.  Criers and non criers alike we did not want our kids to see us “like that”.  WHY??  Because crying is WEAK?  Because crying makes you somehow LESS?  WTF??  We are all trying our damnedest to teach our children to be emotionally intelligent people aren’t we?  Isn’t crying a part of that?  I hear myself berating my kids all too often “why are you crying?” “stop crying” “that’s enough crying”… geesh.  Thinking about it now, I believe that crying SHOULD be an integral part of our emotional quotient.

By hiding ourselves crying from our kids aren’t we somehow leaving out part of that emotional intelligence training we are trying to give them?  The more I think about this the more I really believe it is good for them to see us crying.  To understand that crying in the right environment can be healing.  It can help relieve frustration.  It can help open the dam of grief we may feel about things in our lives.

As a non crier, I worry about how my non crying, hard ass self is going to teach my children this important skill.  So I let those tears that brim in my eyes fall when I’m watching Greys.  I allow myself to cry with a friend who has lost a mom.  I am trying not to hide this part of myself from my family.  From myself for that matter.

It’s probably one of the hardest lessons I’m teaching to both them and myself.  But one I hope I get right…

This year you are FOUR!!!!

Kade Ethan,

2014-10-09 08.54.08Four years ago you entered this world and you made me a mommy.  I had absolutely NO idea what the next four years would hold but boy have you stretched me and molded me as much as I think I have you.

This past year has been a year of such contradiction as you have started finding yourself.  You have pushed the boundaries, driven your father and I up the wall but at the same time have given us such insight into your beautiful little soul.  You are a delight!

2015-01-20 12.49.29I love that you have started having strong opinions about EVERYTHING in life.  What it is you want to watch on TV.  Which book we read to you before bed time.  How we say prayers together. The manner in which I sing our bedtime song.  The clothes you want to wear.  The clothes Gemma must wear.  What is the best toy to throw in the garden for Saffy.  On and on and on – if there is an opinion to be had – you have it.  I love this.  I love that you are exploring your world and are finding your own path in it.  Does it frustrate me at times?  Absolutely!  But I think that is part of the learning for us both.

2015-01-02 14.40.21You are FUNNY!  The things you come out with sometimes I can laugh for days at your sense of humour.  And don’t get me started on those facial expressions…

2015-01-15 17.16.57You are a GREAT big brother.  I can always rely on you to “check what Gemma is up to” and to report back to forth width if she’s doing something you deem wrong or dangerous (even tattle tailing when she’s again feeding Jazzy part of her food).  I love how you and Gems play together now that she is mobile.  How you run around and chase each other and laugh and giggle and screech with joy!  I don’t love having to be your constant referee tho as with most siblings there have been many disagreements and fights over toys (you HATE me putting them into toy jail when you guys can’t share).  Overall what I can already see is that your baby sister will never have to worry about whose got her back.  Cos its you baby, it’s you.

2015-01-23 17.56.032015-02-07 15.11.382015-02-05 06.51.15You have come so far in terms of your swimming this year.  You are a winter baby.  Water is not your first delight.  You are cautious in a pool and honestly I prefer this.  But you have diligently listened to your swimming teacher (even teaching us at home how to use pool noodles correctly with Gemma) and you have streaked ahead with your water confidence.  You waltz into school like you own the place and I am thankful that whilst kisses at home are often stolen you still allow me to kiss you goodbye in your class every day.  You teach us new songs and nursery rhymes and your memory is astounding.

My boy.  My darling boy.

2015-01-26 14.26.08You will never truly understand the depth of my love for you.  But I hope that you will feel it surrounding you wherever you go and how ever old you turn.

2015-01-21 14.24.17Happy Fourth Birthday!

Love

Mommy

xxx

Shifts…

This is something that I have been pondering for AGES as a parent.

In many of the households I know, both parents work and there is a schedule that gets divvied up between the two as to who does what for the kids daily in order for the household to function relatively smoothly.  Everything from work outs for said parents, to packing school lunches and bags to dressing kids gets allocated to a parent and time slot and in most cases one just goes with it.

In our household we also take the different “shifts” on week days. As in the morning shift and the afternoon shift.  The morning shift is handled by myself.  Hubs leaves early (6h20) so he can beat the traffic and I deal with the kids whilst I also try get myself ready and out the door on time (07h20 latest).  Most mornings run relatively smoothly but some mornings are just a disaster.  I find that playing referee whilst in the shower is quite a challenge as I often have to get out mid soap up and handle a spat between the two darlings.  Then getting myself dressed and clad in make up usually involves holding a grumpy, clingy baby toddler whilst the elder kid moans that something isn’t working on the IPAD I’ve given to entertain for 5 minutes so I just slick my mascara on.  There are normally toys strewn all over the floor of my bedroom and the toddler often goes quiet and when I think to find her, she’s unravelled the entire toilet roll all over the bathroom floor.  Or she’s playing with the toilet brush in the toilet with water going EVERYWHERE. (Must remember to close the darn loo lid) Then getting the eldest dressed for school is a circus all of its own.  Nine times out of ten the toddler will make poo half way thru the getting the eldest dressed which means that he runs around like a loon half nekkid, smacking his bum and wiggling his man parts around.  Just try get him to put his clothes on after this.. lets just say there is sometimes a time out and shouting involved. Then tears, mostly his.  Brushing teeth is the next challenge which often ends in tears (again his) because I finished brushing mine before he did or the toothpaste (which is the SAME EVERYDAY) tastes sour, off or like raspberries (WTF?).

Leaving the house is also a palaver.  Getting K to the car is an art of either racing or hop skip jumping or something of the like.  Once we get to school we race or hop skip jump (we aren’t allowed to “step on the lines” but this definition changes day-to-day in K’s rule book) into the class.  By the time I hit the car to head into work I feel like I’ve worked a full day already.  Then I sit for the better part of an hour to two hours in the most aweful traffic.  By the time I get to the office I am FINISHED.  If I’ve managed to eke out a run that morning I’m even MORE FINISHED.

Yesterday I got to do both shifts.

If you follow me on social media you know how *awesome* my morning was.  I was considering cracking open that Tangled Tree wine I got at the momblog meet up at 07h00, so you can understand…

The afternoon shift ROCKS in comparison!!

You fetch the kid from school, you relieve the nanny, you feed the kids and then you play on the lawn or in the toy lounge until “mommy” gets home.  Its AWESOME.  Yes there is still some refereeing to be done and if the toddler hasn’t slept particularly well she’s slightly grumps.  But you get to handle bath and bed time as a team and it’s really smooth sailing.  As the afternoon shift person you also get to make supper while the kids PLAY (quite nicely actually) at your feet in the kitchen on in the “adults” lounge around the corner.

Man alive, I think I pulled the short straw on the whole shift thing!

I suggested a shift swop last night.  Needless to say the man parent IS NOT KEEN on this idea AT ALL!  I wonder why?

Do you have “shifts” in your home too?  Which one do you prefer?

You are ONE today!

My sweet Gemma Grace,

I am still unable to process that it has been a whole year since you joined our little family and completed us.  A year since I was sitting calming awaiting your arrival, buggering around with your Dad in the pre-op area before we were wheeled into theatre to meet you face to face.

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You entered this world at 17h07 with loud cries and seriously pouty lips and you’ve been a delight to everyone in our family since then.  We have all fallen in love with your little face and as you have grown and developed in the past twelve months I find myself battling to remember how our family functioned before you became a part of it.

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You have the cutest little laugh, although you do seem to use it more sparingly than I would like.  You love to chatter and babble away and always have long stories to tell, especially at bed time when you snuggle your face into your spit towel and look at me with those greeny blue eyes (so like my own).  You love getting zerbits.  You love it when we tickle/grab your chubby thighs.  You ADORE the water – oh how different to your brother you are in this department.  Your face lights up when you realise it’s bath or pool time.

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You know what you want and you are not afraid of SCREAMING to let us know it.  You have never been one to crawl in the traditional sense preferring to do your own version of a sideways bum shuffle and whilst you are cruising around quite comfortably I think you like being in our arms a bit too much and have absolutely NO interest in walking yet.

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At last you are getting some hair – it was with much disdain that I realised I had birthed a practically bald baby!  Everyone keeps telling me that when your hair DOES eventually come in that I should expect mops of it but only time will tell if that is the case.  We wonder if you’re going to end up being a light blonde or a more blondish brown as your hair is currently different colours on top and in the back.

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Baby girl, you have changed me.

I always thought of myself as a boy mom but you have made me a girl mom too.  You have made me, Daddy and Kade grow and stretch in the year you’ve been with us.  You’ve made us all short tempered at times, but definitely more loving too.  You are teaching us to be a family of four.  Teaching us to give more, to share more, to be more.

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I cannot wait to see how you grow in the year to come.  Our gift from God.  Thank you for choosing us to be your family.

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We love you Gemma Bean.  So very much.

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Happy FIRST birthday my little jewel.

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Out with the Old : In with the New

I always feel that I need to close off the year that was in order to move forward with the year that is, but this year I’ve just been feeling pretty “meh” about the task.  I’ve not really seen the point of closing 2014 off because honestly what is 2015 but yet another day I get to live my life?  Does it really matter if I’ve not done a mental or written round up of the past 365 + 6 days?

I guess in the greater scheme of things it doesn’t but I’ve been feeling a hankering for it the last two days.  Like a primal urge to get it done so I can formulate “proper” plans for the year that already is.

So.

2014.  It was a year pretty much like any other.  It started off with fireworks (ended with them too actually) and plans to get Kade ready for school, to get myself ready to become a mother of two, to get the last of the work done and handed over before maternity leave.  All these plans and stuff that needed to be done.  That’s life thought isn’t it?  It goes on around you while you’re making plans… but I digress.

2014 was the year I became a girl mommy.  It has certainly been a learning curve for me, this girl mom thing as well as being a mom of two.  The balancing act has been hard at times and has often threatened to overwhelm me.  That said it was a good year for all of us as we found our little parts we play in the theatre of the Young household.

It was the year I discovered that taking some time for myself to do something JUST for me will not mean that my family will fall apart.  I learned to love running again in a very special way.  I had to find discipline and research programs etc pretty much on my own.  I trained for a half marathon and completed it.  I’ve found through other runners a sense of camaraderie, a running group, a madness and a love for the road that I had lost for a long, long time.

We lost my uncle to cancer.   It was hard to see my cousins deal with their loss which is still too fresh.

We saw my aunt in hospital way too often for my liking.  I have a feeling that we will lose another loved one in 2015 which breaks my heart.

I saw friends lose babies and husbands.  I saw friends have babies and husbands.  Bittersweet.  I mourned the losses and celebrated the gains.  Overall much like the past few years there have been highs and lows.  More highs than lows and in my mind that always counts as a victorious year.  Good outweighing the bad is always something to strive for.

So my hope for 2015 as I am already in the thick of party planning, preparation for the school year, organising for work to be done and sorted before we go away on a proper holiday is that I can count it as a victorious year as well.  That the good will outweigh the bad, that the highs will by far outnumber the lows and that I grow as a woman, mother and wife.

2015 – we’re here, in the now…

Lets do this!

2014 : A Year in Review… (a stolen meme)

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Train on my own for a half marathon

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2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t make new years resolutions so no I didn’t

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

This is not decided yet but most likely will be at home with family and then I might go to church depending on how tired I am.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My uncle passed away after a long battle with cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Um… None.  How boring is my life?

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

A longer fuse.  My temper is always my downfall.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

15th January 2014, it is the day I welcomed my little girl into the world and she starting shining her little light.

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8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Transitioning relatively easily to being a mother of two.  Also training for a half marathon with a 7 month old teething baby.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don’t really think I had a failure big enough to make a fuss about.  Which is really quite an achievement.  Many small failures but no biggies.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thank God no.  Our family did go through what seemed like an endless cycle of lurgi for about 3 months but nothing more serious than that.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Asics Gel Nimbus running shoes

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12. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, bills and more bills

13. What song will always remind you of 2014?

The Sam Smith One and Happy by Pharrrel

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read books and sleep

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Shout at my kid

16. What were your favourite TV shows?

Vikings, Game of Thrones, Masters of Sex

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No

18. What was the best book you read?

Sadly I didn’t read nearly enough books.  I did love The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan though

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m just really not that into music.  I kinda listen to the radio and have music as my “white noise”

20. What was your favourite film of this year?

Planes Fire & Rescue… only because I think it was pretty much the only movie we saw on the big screen and it was Kade’s first “big screen” experience.  Seeing him get to experience it was a thrill.

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21. What did you do on your birthday

I honestly cannot remember.  Clearly it was SUPER FUN ;-)

22. What kept you sane?

Running, Wine and my family.

23. Who did you miss?

I missed my Dad quite a bit at very odd times this year.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

Oh gosh, I met so many amazing people this year.

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25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014

Life is achingly short.  Never waste a SECOND because we are NEVER guaranteed another breath.