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Five Foot Mummy

Parenting with strength from above

What is your 5 year plan?

When I was part of the normal working world in the UK, I loved this question. It made me feel powerful to know exactly what I wanted. I’d smile at my interviewer and tell them confidently what I wanted from the company and where I would see myself going. I had mapped out every detail in my head of how I intended to get there and it was a sure thing. Looking back it really makes me realize how controlling I was of my own life. I was so naive and thought that if I don’t bow down to my 5 year plan I have failed. This interview question makes my blood boil now. It’s such an unrealistic way of living.

Being ambitious is a great quality but life has a way of presenting huge turbulences that the 5 year plan could become a 20 year plan. In some cases it could just be that a new plan has to come about altogether. So what then? Do we hang in the towel and cry into our soggy cereals? Life happens and the clock continues to tick.

Life has happened to me. I had no choice but to just ride the waves until I could figure out what I’m supposed to do. I’m still carving out a plan but it isn’t for 5 years anymore. It’s what I am able to achieve daily that matters now. That daily toil will eventually get me to my final goal. So next time someone asks me what my 5 year plan is, my response will be with a giant smile I don’t have one. I choose to have an end destination and live each day purposefully.

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That awkward mamma vibe

When I became a mum for the first time I thought I earned a right of passage into the elite mummy realm. I thought I could just join any group of women who had a child the same age group as mine and we would be best friends. In my mind it made sense for us to all hang out because we all shared the common situation of being sleep deprived, milking dispensers whose pelvic floor needed some serious tlc. But that’s not the case because most people have their own friendship groups. The feeling of joining a new school where everyone knows each other and you know nobody is so strong and stifling.

My first encounter at the baby centre in London had left a sour taste. I sat there awkwardly playing with my one year old daughter as the women spoke to one another in their own language assuming I didn’t understand. I couldn’t make out what they were saying but I instantly felt excluded. Their children were so sweet and came and were nattering away to me and my kid but they didn’t even want to make eye contact.

I made a conclusion that day that I will find the right women to surround myself with and I won’t settle for the local baby centre mums who were predominantly Bengali. These women already had their own friendship groups and there were no open invitations. I’m of Bengali decent and always want to be accepted by my people but my life choices has made it impossible to integrate with them without judgement. So I reached out to women who had children and also women who didn’t and started hanging out with them. I live in SA at the moment and miss those beautiful women dearly. They made the motherhood journey more bearable in those unbearable times.

I learnt that not everyone will like you or like your kid and you don’t have to be around those people. I’m a grown women and I never want to come across like an insecure awkward school girl to my children just because grown women are unwelcoming and cold. So I urge my fellow mummies if a group of mummies or women in general want to play school girl games just move along. Be a beacon of love and kindness and you will attract the most loveliest people. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some real rays of sunshine.

Why all the shaming?

Recently on social media and all over the Internet I’ve noticed people really enjoy shaming one other. Mum shaming passive aggressively seems to be something people love to do. It’s funny how parents and non parents take part in the cruelty. It is not my place to ever judge someone’s parenting. Parenting a child is hard. It’s such a special time in a person’s life but also incredibly stressful. Being mean via social media is just appalling.

I have been guilty of lengthy amount of screen time, bribing my child with treats and just wanting to hide with my head phones on. Try carrying an 8 kilo dumbbell on your chest, cook, clean and run errands for hours. It’s not easy. This is probably why so many new mums suffer from postpartum depression. The fear of being judged by strangers and loved ones is stifling.

I just want to remind all the mums and dads who have been judged regarding your parenting your doing a great job. Shame on those parents attacking other parents out of boredom or dissatisfaction in their own lives. We should be high fiving one another and pulling each other out of feeling like we are drowning. Stop pushing our fellow parents deeper into the water. At the end of the day parenting is a lonely journey sometimes so let’s be kind to one another and make it a nicer experience overall.

Postpartum body: I feel meh 

As the pregnancy hormones leave my body I find myself feeling a bit down some days. This is a letter to encourage myself on the days that I don’t feel great about my postpartum body.

Dear Su,

You just had a second baby 2 months ago! Be kind to yourself. Stop comparing your body to other mothers. Focus on your own postpartum journey. Don’t even compare yourself to your previous postpartum body. Your body is different now, it has housed two children. You know you can’t do strenuous exercises yet, but you will. You are not weak you are healing from a major surgery. You will be stronger than before. Accept that your shape has changed again and even when you loose the final 5 kilos your body will not be the same as before. It will be better, stronger and have a story to tell. 

Give you old clothes to charity and see this as an excuse to go shopping to treat yourself. Keep up your light workouts and eat well to nourish your new born. Don’t cut your calories you will only overeat later. Continue to be an example to your daughter and never speak negatively about your appearance in front of her. Don’t use the scale in front of her. You are more than a number on a scale and more than a number on a dress size. Focus on health and wellbeing and your body will follow. Your worth is not in those numbers, so don’t teach your daughter to fall into the trap of scales and dress sizes. You are the best mother for your children because you are courageous, loving and kind. 

Lots of love,

The voice that speaks to you

I hope this letter encourages other women and mothers too on days that you may feel self conscious. It’s ok to have those days but just remember that you are beautiful and try to climb out of the funk.

My crazy fails

I fancied sharing my crazy fails that made me laugh this week. Since becoming a mother of 2 I feel like my brain is trying to run out of my head. I have had to make lists for everything and alarms for the most simple things. I put this huge mental burden on myself to think I should know how to do this mum thing by now. I felt that I’ve been a mum to a new born before so surely things should go smoother by now. I got a rude awakening that I basically have to function with no sleep, and no I cannot sleep during the day because the children take it in turns to be awake. Humor is the only thing keeping me from crying in my coffee, so I hope some of my tales keep you feeling chilled like a cucumber.

 

My first fail was putting my daughter’s onesie on my son’s tiny body. Someone who has all their screws on would think “how is this possible?”, surely the fact that his tiny frame is hanging out of the head would be an indication. Well not to me, my son wore it for a good 2 hours without me noticing. I finally noticed during a nappy change that both his legs were coming out of one leg hole!

 

Most of my fails are food related. When it comes to feeding myself I become careless and slightly complacent. I know it’s bad, you can’t be productive if you don’t eat properly. I haven’t managed to gather my scattering ways yet. I know some would think that you have made your toddler porridge surely you can make yourself some. Well by the time I can gather myself my Ezra is awake and needs changing and feeding. Most days my breakfast is my daughter’s leftovers put on a grown up plate (don’t judge me) or a banana and peanuts with a very necessary coffee. My coffee is alway cold by the time I drink it and yes I have microwaved it to the point where there is vile milk skin on top of it and I still drink it.

 

One morning after a chaotic rave night with Ezra, I put liquid Maggie seasoning mindlessly in my coffee. After pouring it in I came back to my senses but by then it was too late. I had to commit to it (anyone who knows me knows I hate wasting, especially coffee). So I drank my salty tasting coffee like a shot of tequila and continued with my mother grind.

 

I’m really starting to embrace the fails and enjoying the ride no matter how soul numbing it may feel some days. I’m learning that it’s ok to just laugh at it and enjoy the moment.

I discovered independent toddler play! 

I had this immense guilt the first time I left Alina in the next room to play by herself. She’s my little buddy that I do absolutely everything with. The last two years she’s been basically glued to me. But because I did everything with her I was so exhausted and my grownup chores were not fun for her. I came across independent play by accident when she was having a time out after a screaming fit. I went to check on her and I found her quietly drawing. It was incredible and fascinating to watch this two year old not needing me to entertain her. I did a bit more research on it to make sure it was ok and then I put my own twist to it.

 

Here are a few activities she likes to do that your toddler might enjoy too:

 

– Anyone who has met Alina knows she loves to sing. I start off one of her songs for her and then let her sing in front of the TV. The TV is switched off but she can see her reflection in it and will sing all of her nursery rhymes for a while. ( I tried to get her to watch tv, it holds her attention for 5 minutes)

 

– Both my husband and I love to draw, so naturally our toddler picked up the love for drawing and creating art. Coloring books are not as fun for her as a blank piece of paper is. I hear her nattering to herself while she colors away. Crayons work better than pencils and they are safer because they are blunt. I also let her color the dry leaves from the garden.

 

– Large puzzles with about 4 to 6 pieces are also a great way to keep her entertained. I’ve noticed that she tries to say all of the shapes and colors in the puzzle. She’s usually very busy with the puzzle for about 15 minutes and then moves on to her default activity of drawing.

 

– My kid loves numbers. I think the combination of the way it looks and sounds must be fascinating to her. She can currently count up to 20 in English. So anything with numbers she will try to say it and draw it over and over again. I usually write the numbers on paper and let her try to repeat it. This keeps her occupied for about an hour.

 

So there you have it, a few of my Alina’s favorite alone time play activities. It really has helped her blossom into a new person and reduced tantrums. I personally feel the tantrums have reduced because she’s learning to problem solve which is helping her deal with her emotions. Just a reminder that when you do allow your toddler to play by herself stay close by and regularly check in and make sure it is a safe environment.

Headbutting in marriage

Before I begin this marriage talk blog I just want to clarify that I don’t claim to be any sort of relationship expert. I just want to share what has worked for my marriage the last 5 years and I hope it helps someone. This week I was recalling all of the ways we use to argue and how different it is now. Of course like any couple we butt heads but now we know how to speak to one another. I am married to a very attentive kind man who can see through my giant smile and always addresses my problems with respect. Here are 5 things that I have gathered that may be helpful to some of you the next time you find yourselves in a disagreement.

 

1) Don’t raise your voice at your spouse. It was never in my husband’s nature to shout at me but unfortunately for him and me it was in mine. While we were dating I learnt that with my husband he does not listen to me if I raise my voice. Even if I was in the right my point was disqualified because I was shouting and being unkind. I was always listened to when I would approach him in a calm manner.

 

2) Be quick with a genuine apology, forgive and move on. Both of us at different stages had the issue of saying a superficial apology just to move on. But for an apology to be genuine a heart felt forgiveness had to be in place. After 5 years and 2 children I can forgive quickly for anything because I really understand that we are on the same team. There was a season where I would just hold on to the little things and try to protect myself. I have realized marriage is about being completely open with the person you choose to be with. I don’t have a tally system of all the wrongs he has done and he doesn’t have one for me.

 

3) Don’t throw a public tantrum. Similar to my toddler I have been guilty of throwing public tears especially during the early years of dating. As women we are emotional and hormonal at times. My reason for doing it was usually because I wanted my way very much like my toddler. Honestly the way I learnt to stop was a lot of prayer and realizing it was really embarrassing for my boyfriend who is my husband today. You don’t want onlookers thinking your spouse/partner is abusing you when the truth is you’re having a meltdown to win a disagreement.

 

4) Guard your marriage from the negative opinions and advice of outsiders. We are a multicultural family and some people have told us that they don’t like the way we do things. We usually shut it down or ignore what they say. If the relationship is poisonous we cut them off. I Believe that so far we have done this one well to the point that sometimes we may come across extreme.

 

5) Don’t complain about your spouse to your children or family. This is crucial to get right from the beginning. I knew to never complain about my husband because a bias version of my fiction would just alter how my family view my husband. In a marriage it is our jobs to uphold the integrity of our spouse and shield them from the outside world so to speak. It may seem bizzare how something so innocent could be detrimental, but the only person that you should discuss your problems with is your spouse.

 

Marriage is one of life’s most sweetest gifts and I can testify that if you choose to invest in it you will not be disappointed.

 

Can you really get pregnant will PCOS? 

Polycystic ovaries syndrome was the villain in my life during my teen years. I was told at the age of 12 that conception would be hard for me and even if I could get pregnant there would be complications. The symptoms were horrible, although I wasn’t overweight I had terrible skin, hairy face and very thin hair on my head. Being a teenager was hard enough but these things made it so much worse. I remember my mum was trying to be so supportive and bought me makeup which I had no clue how to use but it helped cover the angry red spots. So I went onto have bad skin till I went to university.

 

In university I joined the gym and started eating differently. I read a lot about healing the body from the inside when you have hormonal or insulin issue. I also began to use more natural topical products like aloe Vera gel, coconut oil and sweet almond oil. I saw my skin clear up, hair on my head started to grow better and the facial hair slowly disappeared. To this day my cycle barely exists but a good diet and a good workout routine has helped heal me from the inside to the point that I got pregnant twice spontaneously after three years of marriage. I’m sharing my story to encourage all those couples out there with infertility issues. I hope these 5 points that helped me can help you too.

 

  1. When PCOS is very severe don’t feel ashamed to make yourself comfortable so that you can get past this stage. Wax/thread your face or bleach it. It’s nobody else’s business how you want to tame your facial hair! Clip in extensions became my best friend for a season in my life along with using a little bit of eyeshadow on my hairline.

 

  1. Insulin resistance is the reason why people with PCOS struggle to lose weight. I eat fairly healthy especially during my second pregnancy. Doctors don’t really explain it but if you eat a protein rich diet it helps with the sugar levels. Plant protein is better too just in case you don’t have access to organic meat. Normal meat has hormones and parasites and eaten excessively will not be beneficial for your body. Also use a good multivitamin with no fillers or silicone.

 

  1. Don’t stress. Especially when it comes down to having a baby. I know it’s easier said than done but stressing releases hormones that again will not work in your favour. Enjoy your spouse and be grateful for the good days because there are many of them.

 

  1. Try to use natural products on your hair and skin. Shea butter and coconut oil I use on myself and my children. I hardly have any breakouts anymore and my hair is growing beautifully. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones that have reset my body or it’s the changes that I’ve made in the past 10 years.

 

  1. Keep moving. Introducing exercise into my life at 18 was the best thing I could have done for myself. I used to mainly use the cross trainer in the gym and then I discovered running when I met my neighbour in 2012, and then I incorporated strength training after having my second baby because of a bad back. Do something you enjoy. I’m a mother of 2 now and I can only fit in YouTube videos in the garden at the moment with both children stalking me.

 

I hope this helps someone. I’m not a trained professional and by all means please always consult your doctor before embarking on any training or diet.

Ezra: Baby no 2

After nearly 10 months of not blogging I can’t stay away any longer. So much has happened since my last post. I moved to another country with our little family and I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy Ezra.
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We didn’t know we were pregnant till I was 17 weeks. I had no morning sickness and no fatigue. I only discovered I was pregnant because I couldn’t keep up with my new workouts anymore and I had a heightened sense of smell. I know it may seem strange and many may question as to how could I possibly not know I was pregnant for that long. Well, I have PCOS which affects my menstrual cycle. I will blog about this another time on how to cope with it but this is the reason I didn’t know. We had an emergency scan in London before departing and found out baby Ezra was growing beautifully. My family and I travelled to South Africa while I was 24 weeks pregnant. Being pregnant with a toddler was a challenge. My little Alina absolutely loved my belly but wasn’t particularly impressed when I couldn’t carry her so easily. Being pregnant in South Africa was lovely, the weather was perfect, fresh and not overly polluted. It was winter too so I didn’t have any severe swelling.
I did discover with this pregnancy that I had developed gestational diabetes. Although the insulin resistance was not severe the numbers indicated I had to be careful. I spent the last trimester on a low gi diet, avoiding refined sugar, carbs and even fruit that spiked my sugar levels. Spiking my sugar levels was detrimental to the wellbeing of myself and my baby. I must admit fighting pregnancy cravings was very hard. I would spend days dreaming about sugary treats I couldn’t eat but somehow I would always talk myself into remaining strong. So each day the sugar craving battle got easier.
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We used a hospital in Sunninghill in Johannesburg with the funniest Gynaecologist who put our mind at ease about having our baby in South Africa. I had an elective C-section which was the best decision I made because I had a lot of scar tissue that needed to be removed and my baby was measuring pretty big for my body.
So there you have it a five foot mummy update. Here is a video my husband made for our friends and family to enjoy the day of our son’s birth. Hope you enjoy it!

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