Finding The Middle Way

Ever since the royal wedding, my 2-year-old daughter has this huge fascination with everything wedding related. Whenever she sees pictures of William and Kate on their wedding day, she’ll point at it and say to me: “look, they got married!” . This morning, she noticed our wedding picture and commented that we also got married. Then she said something sweet: “I’m also going to get married one day!” .

Okay, I have to admit, my first reaction wasn’t that it’s something sweet that just came out of her mouth! I was thinking “no way, you will NEVER grow up that much! You’ve got to stay my baby girl forever!”. Then I started to remember my days as a little girl dreaming about getting married. Though, I think I’ve been A LOT older than my daughter when I started thinking about it!

I had this big dream of a perfect little outdoors wedding at sunset and I had a perfect reception planned. Then came the rude awakening. In your dreams you have it all figured out, except for one little (big) detail. You completely forget about your groom! Maybe not completely. You probably picture him as a prince charming who never disagree with anything. Fact is, he is his own person with his own taste and dreams about his wedding day.

So you instantly get a crash course in what it means to compromise. Come to think about it: compromise appears to be a huge theme in this life of ours. In our marriage, we don’t decide on anything if we aren’t both happy with it. Seriously, we even disagreed on the color of our duvet set! Eventually we found something that we both liked.

To me, compromising is a healthy part of any relationship. When someone disagree with me, it shows me that the person want to be involved. If there is no disagreement, it’s only proof that somebody is bottling up their feelings and they are simply trying to please you.

It’s okay for people to have different opinions. It adds a lot of spice to life. The big secret to being happy with all the choices being made, is to learn how to find the middle way. Don’t just settle for anything. If you keep an open mind, it is possible to find an acceptable  solution for both people involved.

What Do Kids Really Need?

Yesterday, I chatted with someone about a 13-year-old girl who she really pities. According to her, this girl don’t have a cool enough phone and she needs to have more fashionable clothes, because at her age, girls are becoming conscious of their image. Sadly, her father has passed away a few years ago and her mother can’t afford to buy all the newest things.

This got me thinking about kids in general. Kids of today have everything. Some of them have even got more accessories and privileges than a lot of working adults! A while ago I even saw a program on television about young girls (some was still in preschool) who even go to the spa regularly. Some have better phones and more make-up than their parents have.

The pressure is on parents to simply pay; pay and pay up more. It’s still early days for me, since my daughter is still only 2 years old, but I’m already asking myself: Do I want to become one of those parents who feel that their kids need to have everything? Do I really want to compete with other parents to see who can give their kids the most? The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!

There are things I will feel obligated to give, but as long as my child get food; presentable clothes; a roof over their heads and lots of love, I refuse to feel bad. Whatever I can give them aside from that, is a bonus.

I was one of those kids who didn’t have everything. Didn’t have a cell phone or clothes with a label. Not even in my dreams! Did this harm me in any way? The answer is no. I’ve simply learned that there is more important things to worry about than worrying about what people think about you. I’ve learned to think about other people and I didn’t become self-absorbed. Furthermore, I’ve learned to appreciate the things that I did get and look after it properly.In our house, we always learned to make the best of a situation. Today, I don’t feel bad about the things I didn’t get. My heart is simply filled with gratitude towards my parents for everything they have done for me.

This is why I feel that kids don’t need to have everything. They should be grateful for what they have and furthermore, living without certain things will only build character. I would love to know what other people think, so please take some time to take a vote in my poll.

Something That Touched My Heart

About two years ago, our family was faced with a terrible tragedy. One of us, my13 year old cousin, to be precise, passed away with leukemia. This was a very sad and helpless situation. It took only a few months from the time he got diagnosed until he was gone. Up to this day, it still feels so unreal.

They tried everything, but nothing seemed to be working. There were talks about finding a bone marrow donor, but their medical aid, exhausted by this time, couldn’t cover it and they couldn’t find a suitable  match. The transplant would have cost them R200 ooo (just over $26 300). That’s a lot of money in South Africa. We were all thinking about how we can raise the money, should they find a donor. Unfortunately they couldn’t find a donor in time and we didn’t have the opportunity to help. Up to this day, I’m still asking myself: “what if we could have done more?”. We’ll never know.

Two weeks ago, we went to visit the in-laws and that is where I heard this touching story. My mother-in-law told me about this beautiful little blond girl, Nell-Marie, who goes to school with our nieces.

Nell-Marie is only seven years old and she needs open heart surgery. Unfortunately, with medical aids being so expensive in our country, her parents, like so many other, doesn’t have one. They need to raise R200 000 for an operation which will then take place at the Red Cross children’s hospital.

My niece continued to tell us that the school is taking action. They arranged a day where all the kids could go to school in casual wear if they bring R5. The proceeds will go towards the operation. Furthermore, they will be selling little red hearts with a picture and a message from Nell-Marie for another R5. On this particular day, everyone will take the hearts they bought to the hall and arrange it in the form of a big heart.Nell-Marie will then take a seat in the middle of the heart and the newspapers will be there to take pictures.

To me, this was such a sweet gesture, that I decided to give her some money to buy some extra hearts. I couldn’t make a difference in my cousin’s life, but I could in someone else’s. It made me think: isn’t this how we all should be caring for each other? How wonderful would the world be if everybody looked out for each other like this kids did?

The event did happen. The kids handed over R8 000 towards the operation. Still just a drop in the bucket, but they are definitely an inspiration to all. They make me proud to be part of this community.

My First Award

A big thank you to  Shannon Setter at Motivated Moms Club who kindly awarded  me with the following award:
The Versatile Blogger
This is the first award I’ve received and I am truly grateful.What a great way to get motivated and inspired!
The rules of the award are as follows:
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Tell us seven things about yourself that others may or may not know.
  3. Award fifteen recently discovered new bloggers.

This was a tough one.Naming seven things? After taking ages to think about it, I came up with the following:

7 things about me that you may not know about me

  1. I’ve got a degree specializing in psychological counselling.
  2. I’m addicted to music. I play piano and sang in every choir; singing group and musical concert in school.
  3. I love driving around with a Jeep in the sand dunes, but hate driving around in the city.
  4. I can’t keep direction AT ALL. I constantly get lost.
  5. I love animals and if I had my way, our yard would be looking more like a zoo!
  6. English isn’t my first language. I’m actually Afrikaans speaking. It’s a language that originated in South Africa. It’s almost like Dutch.
  7. My grandfather is my hero. He’s the perfect example of how a man should be. A true gentleman.

I had a hard time with the next part. I know so many great bloggers, It’s hard to narrow it down! Please note that my list is in no particular order.

15 Amazing and inspiring Mom Bloggers! 15 Awards given!

Please take some time to visit their blogs and congratulate them, I’m sure they will appreciate it.

The Way We Learn

My daughter has two cousins. D, aged 7 and C, aged 13. Both of them are beautiful girls, but in two extremely different ways. C is my favorite. She is very responsible and mature for her age. Almost like a little mother hen. I never need to worry about my little girl when they are playing together.

With D, it’s a totally different story. She’s precious, with one flaw: she never listens! I have to constantly watch her when she comes to play. For example: we have a rule that no toys may be played with in the back yard, because our one dog devours everything. My 2 year old gets that and puts everything in her hands down before she goes through the door. D, however, has to be told over and over to take the toys inside.

One day I sighed and said to hubby: “she’s just like her mom!” (who also never listens to reason). This got me thinking.

The way I see it, you learn in two ways:

Firstly, you learn like C. You listen. By listening to other people’s stories and advice, you can learn quite a lot and protect yourself from a lot of heartache in the process.

Personally, I’m more of a collector of information. I learn by listening to what everyone has to say; read up on more facts and then I will make up my own mind about a matter. I definitely regard myself to be a listener, but I rarely just do something simply because I was told to. It has to make sense!

For the second way of learning, I have to come back to D. Some people only learn through their experiences. They have to “feel” the reason they shouldn’t do something before they stop.

I’m still trying to understand this trade in so many personalities of even grown-up family and friends. A lot of the time, it simply seems like they are having the time of their lives, without worrying too much about what “could” happen. They seem to be this beautiful, vivacious and carefree human beings, but they are always so vulnerable to so much pain. Things can go so terribly wrong for them or turn out to be perfect. Guess you can say that sometimes I envy them and sometimes I really don’t.

Sadly a huge chunk of people never get the chance to learn, like the thousands of teenagers driving drunk and then die in accidents. For these people there will never be a chance to learn from what they have felt. Unfortunately second chances doesn’t always come around. Nobody should be afraid to tell their stories to the world. A mistake doesn’t have to be something that has to be swept under a rug. Get it out there. Learn from it and give other people the chance to learn from it as well.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you learn, as long as you take the lessons you have learnt, to heart.

Challenges Of Parenthood

I can recall the moment in crystal clarity. I was sitting on the bed waiting for the doctor to take my blood pressure, while hubby was standing at the basin, holding the precious stick in his hand. “What does it mean if there’s two stripes?” he asked, as my eyes went from regular-sized to super-sized. I knew what it meant and I probably knew what was going on before the stick told us.

As the doctor started congratulating us and hubby started jumping up and down, it felt like a flood gate was opened and this flood of thoughts have swept me up. It was so overwhelming that I started to cry and one single question stood out: “What now?”

“What now?”, was the only clear thought that stood out among the thousands of other and echoed through my head. Don’t get me wrong, my little girl was planned, but we were very lucky and got pregnant almost immediately. I didn’t expect that at all. In my mind, I had this idea that I would have enough time while we were trying to have a baby to prepare for motherhood!

I was lost, but immediately started to do what I knew had to be done and started to listen to advice and read up on everything that I didn’t know about.

During labour, while I was almost breaking hubby’s hand the entire time, I had to ask myself again: “What now?”. How would I ever get through this? How will I handle the pain if it gets any worse? Once again I have found myself in unchartered waters. Lost. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my baby was born and the moment I took her in my arms it felt like I just came back from a wonderful, long vacation on a tropical island!

Then came breastfeeding. “What now?” was popping up again. This was a question I was getting used to. Mastering breastfeeding was no picnic and I also started to feel like giving up, but determined to do what’s best for my child, I kept trying and even became a “pro” at it!

Colic has come and once again I wondered how I could get through it, but I did.

Soon I realized that there was a pattern dominating the journey called motherhood. There was coping with teething; occasional fevers; baby measles; tummy bug; falling while she was learning to become more mobile; insisting to eat by herself. Every time I had to ask that familiar question again. Looking back at the challenges, I’m realising that I have always managed to rise to the occasion.

The latest challenge that came about, out of nowhere, is the terrible two’s. To me, it’s a shock that my perfect little angel can be so impossible! She insists on doing the opposite of everything I’m telling her to do. For example: if I want her to eat with a spoon, I have to make it very clear that I DON’T want her to eat with the spoon and then she’ll do it! What now?!?!

Luckily, my confidence have grown over the last two years and although I still haven’t got a water tight plan of action to beat this new challenge, I just have to look back at all the challenges I have overcome and be calm.

I will not allow any new challenge to get the best of me, neither will I let it spoil all the wonderful experiences that comes with motherhood. My little girl brings so much joy into my life and I feel blessed and honored to be her mom.