Appreciating every single parenting moment

It is so secret that parenting is hard some days, grueling other days and just plain impossible sometimes. In-between these are those moments you wish you had on camera; when your baby finally claps hands, or says mama, gives you a kiss or is just too cute for words.

These are the moments that make every little thing you go through, worth it! Worth all the stretch marks and the sleepless nights, the relentless visits to the bathroom at night, the whole freaken pregnancy and the lack of any me time haha. All just worth it when that little person does something for the first time. My little girl (now 14 months old) is starting to become a little human; she now gives me clothes to put on and she takes more interest in every day chores, whenever she does one of these things I get so proud that my heart wants to burst !

Nothing has ever made me more proud in my entire life, and every mom feels like this haha, and she hasn’t even started het life yet, she hasn’t even started school or gotten her first school report or any big event, but I guess thats what being a parent is – any little moment is a moment for us and just as big as any other.

As with most things in life, you need the bad moments to fully appreciate the good ones, you need to have a sick child to really know what it is worth to have a healthy child , and to know how blessed you are, and you need to have a child that misbehaves to appreciate the days where they nap when they are supposed to and don’t throw any tantrums.

Just look back on your child’s last year, do you really remember every bad night? Or how difficult those first few weeks at home were? Or do you just remember holding that little body in your arms for the first time ? Thats parenting, you only remember the good ❤️

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Remembering that you were a person before you had kids

So as you all know I am pregnant with my second baby, and I cant even explain all the ways that I underestimated being in my first trimester with a toddler.

My husband is gone this week and the amount of endurance it takes to not throw up while you are dressing your baby for bed – is next level and I kind of feel like a rockstar after that session haha ! Not feeling well while having to still be the best mother you can be, takes effort , and let me tell you something; if you are one of those moms that are going through a tough time and still manage to play with your kids and put a smile on their face , you are one AMAZING mom , and don’t you forget that !

BUT ! Being a good mother sometimes means that you need to know when to put yourself first, never when your child needs you , and not saying that you take your interests above that of your child’s , but in the sense that you know when you need a break, and know that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Recharging for half a day or even a few days with friends does not make you a bad parent, sometimes a few moments for yourself is what resets the clock on your parenting, and gives you renewed, more positive energy for your toddler or your newborn.

Then you get me; I am a stay at home mom and I go into town to do my nails and the usual errands, I don’t have to rush home because my husband and mother in law are looking after Paige. But somehow in town, I feel guilty for not being there, I feel like I need to hurry up because she is my responsibility and not theirs and they have things to do. After which I usually rush everything and head home, only to find that everyone is fine and having fun haha. No one died , no one got hurt.

Although these are all normal “mom” feelings, sometimes it is okay to let go, to let yourself take a few deep breaths and let yourself enjoy something that does not involve being a mother or a wife, just a person, an individual, with interests, dreams and a person who can have grown up intellectual conversations haha.

Practice makes perfect, and that is what it will take to learn to have a balance with this whole motherhood thing, letting yourself have some time without feeling (too) guilty, and to still feel like you are not failing as a mother in doing so.

Being a mother is hard enough as it is, we do not need to drive ourselves crazy (er) by forgetting that we also matter. Take that break ! You deserve it ❤️

Your baby deserves a happy mom

Babies feed off their moms, whatever mood you are in, your baby feels it too and it changes their mood as well.

Have you ever noticed the days where you are just happy and relaxed how “easy” your baby is? – That is because they can feel our emotions, luckily, as they get older, you can hide your own personal issues and struggles easier from them with a smile, but when they are little, you are the only source for information they have; I was very upset a while ago, just had a week from hell, and I busted out into tears as I was changing my baby’s nappy, and the next thing, she also started crying, out of the blue, nothing was wrong with her, she just woke up from a nap, it was simply because her mom was upset, and that upset her.

I know as mothers we tend to put ourselves second for the sake of our children , and rightly so; but being unhappy in the long run, only affects them negatively, they grow up with a mom that rarely smiles, that is maybe too busy because she is trying to avoid thinking about the things that are wrong in her life (I speak from experience), and one that finds no joy in the little things.

What we don’t realize is that this sets an example for our children, it sets the “vibe” that they grow up in, and it stays with them, think back; you remember how your household was when you grew up, you can tell people whether it was a happy one, or one with many negative aspects.

So make the hard decisions, make a point of being happier and more positive, not only for your baby, but for you as well, live a happier life, cut out what makes you unhappy and keep what does, life is simple once we decide it is, the mind is a powerful thing, learn to use it to your advantage, after all, your baby does not need a perfect mom, just a happy one.

The little things you do for your children matter!

That little kiss on the forehead before bed, those little cuddles on the couch; it might seem like little things, but they make all the difference to your baby.

We hear it a lot – You can make mistakes with them now because thank goodness they don’t remember their infant days, although this might be true regarding mistakes you have made, they most certainly do remember how they were treated by their parents and people around them.

Love & Attention

They may not be able to recall a specific incident, but their first days on earth lay the foundation for the future, how they will react to certain situations, how they will treat other people, their relationships, confidence etc. When you bring a new baby home, you don’t focus on these things, all you focus on is getting through the next day, and the next milestone, but we forget the in-between is just as important for the big picture.

Taking a few moments each day just to appreciate your baby and to spend time with him/her makes the biggest difference; giving little neck kisses or little tickles and hearing your baby giggle; is the most rewarding thing about being a mother, it brings you so much joy!

Childhood

I for one did not have the best childhood, I know my parents did their best with what life threw at them, and I am grateful, but being a mother now I look at things a little differently, I realize little issues I have and why (true I have a psychology background so I can pinpoint these easier than most, but every person can look back on their childhood and realize where what went wrong).

I am adamant that we go through all these experiences to make it right, or at the very least gain some perspective as to what our parents went through, and have more sympathy towards the issues they had to face when we were children, at the time, we did not realize how big these situations were, but now as parents, we can relate to them more, and sympathize more. I might get some blow back on this one, but to me; being a parent entails protecting your child (for as long as possible) from the ugliness of the world, the sad the bad and the traumatic (as best we can).

Feelings Come Second

When you are pregnant, you are excited, you think of the little toes and fingers and you can’t wait to meet your new little human, and all will be right in the world. The fact of the matter is, although this is very true, you will need to make countless sacrifices for your child (or ought to make for them), whatever you are going through in life, these emotions and feelings need to be buried deep inside so that your children are not affected by this; this is extremely hard in some cases, locking your feelings away for later takes so much strength and I don’t think we get enough credit for doing this, people just expect it of a mothers, it’s a given, therefore you are not allowed to say that it is hard to put yourself second sometimes.

Well it is, but at the same time, it is a privilege to be able to protect your child from all the hardships in life while they are little, making sacrifices for your child is what makes them into amazing adults, it ensure that your child stays a child while they should and do not get burdened with “adult problems” before they have to, life is short, their time will come way too soon to be an adult and they will have plenty of their own dilemmas to deal with. Don’t make this start earlier than it needs to for them.

Life Changes

Making a decision to move somewhere for a better school district or a bigger house, a safer neighborhood, we all do it for our children, it is a huge change, change is scary and uncertain, yet we do it for our children because you want them to have the best possible chance to do anything they want with their lives.

These decisions are not made lightly and cause so many disagreements between husband and wife, the reality of it is that we make daily decisions to ensure that our children are happy and safe and some of them are despite of ourselves and our goals in life but will make all the difference to your child in the future.

The Future

Although your children will not always know about the sacrifices you made as parents for them, they will most certainly reap the rewards, time spent with them, and as a family will forever be apart of who they are, and how they will treat their own families, sacrifices made for a better future for them will show in how they take on life, and what they choose to do with challenges and how they handle change. Setting an example for your children in all these areas may seem like little things, but they are the things that will make them into amazing adults you can be proud of.

Well done for putting your child first, for creating a better future for them and giving them your best selves.

It is hard someday, but you are rocking it!

Here’s to raising amazing little humans.

How my marriage and baby has made me less selfish

Before I met my husband, I lived alone for 7 years. 7 years of doing what I wanted when I wanted, I made the food only I like, I watched the shows only I like, I went to bed whenever I like, and I came home whenever I wanted too.

Marriage

After I met my husband, we moved in together quite quickly as we were doing the long-distance thing and we just missed each other way too much; so after only 6 months of dating we moved in together, a month later we got engaged, 8 months after that we got married and a short 3 months after that we were expecting our precious baby girl. To say we moved fast is an understatement, we just both knew the moment we met each other, that this was it, we were soulmates and why wait.

This short amount of time together did not give either of us much time to adapt to one phase before moving on to the next, so you can imagine that a lot of fighting went on through all these big changes in our lives. For me, the biggest challenge was not being alone anymore, or well, at all!

It might sound silly, but I literally had to learn to now take my husband into consideration when I did things, and it just was not as easy as it sounds. At first, I really struggled to put myself second, my dad always calls it the “I Problem” – which is exactly what it was, I just did not know how to put my own needs second and depend on someone else to meet them.

This was a huge challenge for my husband and I; we had to both learn to be with someone else, and to take each other into consideration, I had to “let” someone be there for me, and share the decision making (which was not easy). This was such a learning curve for me, and we really had to work hard at it; to change little habits and to basically change the way we have both been living before we met.

Then came the biggest change of all. . .

The Arrival of our Precious Baby Girl

I though marriage was a big change, boy was I wrong, having a baby is so intense and places so much pressure on any relationship, and yourself. Being less selfish for my child however, was not hard at all, in fact it came naturally.

The first six months after she was born I didn’t really have any clothes or shoes that fit me properly (you know that awkward phase where your maternity clothes are too big, and your pre-pregnancy clothes are too small) and it didn’t bother me one bit. I had a messy mom bun (let’s not kid ourselves, I still rock it most days), no makeup and slippers where the only item in my closet that actually fit my still very swollen feet.

It is not like I decided that I will be less selfish when I have a baby, it just well, happened the moment she was born. Becoming a mother changed me, don’t get me wrong, my personality is still in tact (thank goodness) and I still like the things I used to like before I got pregnant, its just, its hard to put into words; it is like you are looking at this tiny perfect human, that grew inside of you, and was apart of you for the better part of a year, yet you never got to meet until now, you loved him/her before you even met, and that little bundle is still apart of you, depends on you for everything. It is the most intense feeling in the world, the most intense love I have ever felt in my life.

This is the definition of true love. This love fills your heart and leaves no room for a shred of selfishness.

“For you are wonderfully and fearfully made” – Psalm 139:14

The Bond Between Mother and Baby After C-Section

Everywhere these days you see people favouring natural birth, the benefits for both you and baby are endless; recovery, your babies’ strength and the thing we hear mostly is that the bond between you and your child is so much stronger because you both went through this process together.

The problem with this is that life does not always work out the way you expect it to, life happens!

And it is statements like above that make women feel like less of a mother because they had to have an emergency c-section or opted to have one instead of natural birth, women are bullied and shamed for making this choice instead of going the natural way (it is the same with the whole debate about breastfeeding vs formula feeding).

The fact of the matter is that having a c section does not lessen the special bond between you and your baby, I had a c-section, and from the moment she was born there was nothing but love, I still had my skin to skin, I still breastfed for about 8 weeks, she still cried for her mommy and she was still comforted by me. In no way did I ever feel as if my bond between my child and I was not as strong as I hoped it would be, in fact; it surpassed everything I thought it would be, the love I have for her is indescribable and in no way did the way she was brought into this world, affect that love.

I admire women who gave natural birth, to me, having had a c-section; I can’t imagine how incredible that whole process must be, and how amazing and proud you must feel afterwards for having done it and bringing a healthy baby into the world.

But for me, in that moment they cut me open, nothing else in the universe mattered but my baby being healthy and okay, how it happened did not matter to me, how far along I was at the time didn’t matter, how many toes she had did not matter, if I was going to breastfeed did not matter, how much she weighed did not matter, all that mattered was hearing that  first little scream and knowing she is okay, in that moment; I couldn’t care less about myself, when I heard that first cry, the biggest sense of relief washed over me – my baby was okay and now I can breathe.

I have read so many stories about women who are distraught and so disappointed because they ended up having an emergency c-section, and they really wanted to give natural birth, and this breaks my heart, it happens so often where society places so much pressure on moms to do things a certain way, what they think is best for you and your baby, and then when a woman can’t do it that way, due to whatever reason, we immediately feel like we failed as mothers.

I am here to tell you that it is okay, you did your best, and your baby is here, that is all that matters, what they eat or how they came into this world will not matter to them when they grow up, what type of parent you are will! Whether you were there for their first heartbreak, and how you treat them when they make a mistake, whether you spent time with them growing up; these are the things that will matter to them as adults and what they will pass on one day to their own families and relationships.

We must stop focusing so much on these small things and focus on raising humble and kind little humans that we can be proud of, and be parents they can be proud of, in the end these are the only things your children will remember about you when you are gone, not whether you gave natural birth, or had a c-section or breastfed or formula fed.

Be proud to be a mom, embrace it, and be the best you can be every day, and I promise you, it will be enough.

Angelique

3 Tips for traveling with your baby

Traveling with a baby is no small task, it takes careful planning, timing, and a whole lot of patience.

We live quite far from most places, my family, and any major city for that matter, we are about 500 km’s from Johannesburg, which is the closes city to us. Which means, that we must travel quite far and often to see my family and to do some much-needed baby shopping.

My baby girl is used to far trips by now (she is 6 months old), the day we brought her home from the hospital was a three-and-a-half-hour trip, and she has been to see her grandparents and godparents on numerous occasions, and yet, she still struggles with the distance sometimes.

There is no set way to make traveling easier on your baby, every baby is so different, some are just naturally good travelers, while others (no matter how often they travel) just struggle no matter what.

From my experience so far, I came up with some tips that works for us, and maybe for other moms out there that have tried everything else to date;

Timing

Timing, as with everything in life, is everything! Wait too long and your baby is overtired, leave too early and your baby is too excited and gets over stimulated and again – overtired.

For us, leaving when she needs to have her nap has worked wonders for us, she is already drowsy, and we put her in the car, and once we move, within minutes, she sleeps. The constant rhythm of the driving then also makes her sleep longer and she is happy when she wakes up, and we don’t struggle to get her to have her next nap later.

However, life happens, and this type of punctuality is just not always possible, and Murphy’s law will most certainly also ensure that this is not always possible no matter how prepared you think you may be.

The only thing you can do, is give yourself and your baby about half an hour to play around with, this way, he/she is not overtired yet and you don’t have to rush to get on the road.

Bathroom Breaks

For your sanity, don’t rush to your destination, leave early enough so that you have some time to stop along the way, your baby’s body gets sore from being in the same position for long and they get irritated if they cant get up and move around a little bit, which will make your trip feel so much longer (we have tried to just stick it out and get there, but oh boy it just does not work).

Giving yourself and your baby, a break is essential, take him/her out the car and just walk around for a few minutes, do a diaper change and some food if needed, and then continue.

Stay Overnight

Staying over night gives you and your baby a break before heading back again, and a well deserved rest!

Although, finances and well, life, does not always make this possible, so if you need to head back the same day – may the gods be with you.

There is no set way to do this, traveling with a baby is daunting, and quite stressful (even though we do it quite often, it still stresses me out because you never know in what mood your baby is going to be, are they going to eat well, and take naps and be happy once you arrive). It really is a gamble, and every baby is different! Try different things until you find a way that suits you and your baby the best, but don’t let traveling be too scary that you end up staying at home, getting away a little bit, whether it be to see family or friends, or on a holiday; does everyone the world of good.

Babies get stimulated by a new environment, and usually benefits from the general mood of a holiday as everyone is more relaxed.

Safe Travels

Angelique & Paige