The importance of your child’s happiness

Seeing my child smile is the only thing in the world that can turn the worst day right around ! She is always on my mind, even when I am thinking about something else, she is still somehow in the back of my mind, always there.

Granted, I am a stay at home mom, but I honestly believe that most if not all moms feel like this, being a mother becomes you ! In the greatest sense, it becomes the most important role in your life, overnight everything changes, for the better.

Lets face it, most days (especially if you have a toddler) you don’t necessarily reap the rewards of all your hard work, with the tantrums and the teething it can become quite easy to start blaming yourself for your child’s current mood.

I for one feel like I am not doing a good job if my baby does not have a constant smile on her face, which is utterly ridiculous. Being a toddler must be so hard, you have to master this great big world in front of you, and all you want to do is explore and figure things out for yourself, but there is this big grown up around every corner trying to stop you haha, must be frustrating right? Although watching every move they make is necessary, keep in mind that they are well, “easily upset” at this age haha, and their constant bursting into tears, is not a reflection of your parenting in any way.

But every now and then, you get those rare, but worth the wait days, and your child smiles, eats and sleeps and the day is so rewarding, you even get a few giggles out of it. These are the days when you feel like you are winning at life, your child is happy ! And all the rest just fades away and you would do it all over again (careful of these moments, because it was in one of these that we decided to get pregnant again) haha.

They just are worth all the sacrifices aren’t they!?

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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 ❤️

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 ❤️

You ARE mom enough

Wow the past few days have been tough !!!! I felt like a failure as a mother, a wife, and just in general. My baby is going through well, something haha, I am never 100% sure what.

Everything I seem to do with her upsets her; getting dressed, wiping her face, feeding her, putting her down, carrying her, and looking at her. I do know its a phase, but wow its getting me under these past few days. It’s exhausting, and its something you cant understand until you go through it yourself.

She is at that age where she wants to do way more than she is capable, and she does not understand why she cant reach the dog bowl from her walker, which results in relentless crying and stomping until I take her out and let her have it. I know I know I am spoiling her, but at this point I just cant be bothered as long as the crying stops.

Its very easy to go to that dark place and think ;”boy I am really not good at this”, you look at other moms and you think they got it all figured out and they are so put together. When you have days where showering feels like you conquered the world. The truth is, they also have struggles and that I can promise you ! If you get up every morning and do your best, put your child’s needs before your own and teach your child to be a good and kind person by being one, then you are mom enough !

That is all you need to do, my sister once told me “up until 2 years old all you have to do is keep them alive” haha , that still makes me feel better when I have days where it feels like that is all I did.

Give yourself a break, learn to look for the humor in tough situations and tell yourself that you are awesome more than once a day! Because by being a mom, you automatically are !

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