Tag Archives | parenting

Dear Husband

I read this blog post on Parent Co and I wanted to share it here. It’s raw and real and so many aspects of it rang true for where I am right now and I know, where many of you are too. Being a mother is so full on that something has to give, and that is most often your relationship with your partner.

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary and I’m exhausted, we’re both exhausted. But tonight we’re going out just the two of us, and it’s going to be awesome…

Exhausted

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Dear Husband,

I am sorry.

I’m sorry that you’ve been neglected for the last four-and-a-half years. I’m sorry that your needs are secondary. I assure you, you are still one of my top priorities – you just aren’t on the top of the list anymore.

I know that you have needs, wants, dreams, and desires. When I tell you that I want to be the one you lean on, I mean it. I know yo2u are tired of my excuses of being tired, having a headache, or am already snoring when you snuggle up next to me. Trust me, I wish I had the energy I had five years ago. Hell I wish I had the energy I had two weeks ago when I washed, folded, and actually put away all 10 loads of laundry.

I know that some days it feels like we have a business partnership. And you’re right. Some days – even weeks – feel that way. Know that I want better for our marriage, for us. Because together, we are damn good.

The problem is, my life, my brain, and my body are so wrapped up in being a mother to those little boys who look exactly like you. Even after they’re sound asleep and we’re sitting on the couch watching a movie, my brain is still in mother mode.

I’m thinking about tomorrow; I’m thinking about 10 years from now. I’m wondering if you have work clothes for tomorrow. I’m worried about money, milestones, and milk. Do we have enough milk? I can’t turn off being a mom. It is who I am now. And it is physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting.

I don’t want you to think you aren’t as important as you once were. I couldn’t live this life without you and I wouldn’t want to, either. But the simple fact is, you’re an adult and you can do things for yourself. You can vote, so you can make your own lunch. You are legally able to drive a car, so you can figure out how to make a doctor’s appointment.

When you come home from work you, unfortunately, are getting the worst version of me. I gave our children the best. A little secret: sometimes, some days, there just isn’t a best version of me. There just isn’t.

I can’t worry about your health, the boys’ health, the pet’s health, and my health. Who do you think gets ignored? It’s not you. It’s not our children or our pets. When I say I don’t feel well, when I say I haven’t been sleeping, it’s because I haven’t been taking care of me.

Yes, you tell me to go to the doctor, to eat better, to drink more water, but I am my very last priority. I know I need to change that and I’m not complaining. I’m explaining that when something has to give, because no one person can do it all, I am the thing that gives.

I’m worried about your sleep apnea, your allergies, your knee spasms. I am worried about the rash Alex has, and the snotty nose that Ben suddenly started with. I am concerned about our dog’s ears and what it’s going to cost to take her to the vet.

While I’m thinking about it, I’m worried that the fish have too much algae in their tank and the water needs to be changed. I’ll just add that to the never-ending list of things I will feel guilty about when I am trying to sleep tonight. None of this your fault. I am not blaming you, or wishing you were any different.

You do extraordinary things for our family. You work harder than any person I know. You care more about everyone, including me, than any other human I have ever met. I love you a little more each time I see you help someone knowing you will never get anything in return. You are the kindest, most loving father to our children. There is a reason they cry when you leave for work. Yes, it stings a little but knowing that you are their role model in life fills me with love and pride.

I am not the person you married 11 years ago. I have changed and evolved into a wife, mother, friend, and keeper of all schedules. I am a party planner and a personal shopper. I am a chef specializing in chicken nuggets and pasta. I am a housekeeper that can’t keep a house. I am the cheerleader and the librarian. I am the night and the day nurse.

I wouldn’t change any of it. I don’t want any other life. I love you and I love the life that we created. But I am not the spontaneous, beer drinking, sexy bad girl you met way back when. I am a mother. And it is all of me.

Love Always,

Your Wife

Pic | crystalstarrblog
Original post | www.parent.co/dear-husband-im-not-the-person-you-married

— Emily

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POSTED IN: Life

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are you raising nice kids?

The other day my mum sent me a link to an article in The Washington Post called Are You Raising Nice Kids? It struck right into my heart. Written by a Harvard psychologist, it’s a matter-of-fact look at how we are so concerned about kids achieving happiness and success. But what about caring for others?

I am not one for smug parenting posts. Far from it. But that’s not what this is. It’s not judgmental, it doesn’t exclude, and it is so glaringly obvious that it’s almost silly. If we cared more about our kids growing up with empathy, kindness and an attitude of gratefulness, they could change the world.

Here are the five main points that I’ve simplified down to the bare basics. I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

are you raising nice kids

1. Make caring for others a priority

We prioritise our children’s happiness, which isn’t a bad thing but they need to learn to balance their needs with the needs of others. Our kids need to hear from us that caring is a top priority.

2. Give them opportunities to practice

There are so many ways that we can highlight empathy and caring for other people’s needs. Talk to your kids about justice and injustice, when they see it on TV or in the classroom. This will help them to be able to tell the difference. Encourage them to show gratitude – studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving – they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.

3. Expand your child’s circle of concern

Your kids care about a small circle of family and friends. We need to encourage them to broaden that by teaching them to care for someone outside that circle. The new kid in class, or the kid who is getting bullied or having a tough time at home.

4. Be a strong role model

They’ll learn it quicker if they see it happening through you. It’s so easy to have ‘poverty exhaustion’ here. You are so used to people begging at traffic lights and on the streets that it doesn’t always affect us the way it should. You can’t be perfect all the time, clearly, but your kids need to see a certain level of honesty, consideration and a grateful attitude coming from you.

5. Help them deal with negative feelings

Anger, hurt, shame, dislike – kids feel these destructive feelings and need to know how to deal with them. Teach them that the feelings are not wrong but there are right and wrong ways of dealing with them. One way to teach your child to calm down is ask them to stop, take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth and count to five. Practice when your child is calm. Then, when you see them getting upset, remind them about the steps you practiced. Eventually they will do it themselves when the need arises.

— Emily

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POSTED IN: Life

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night night, sleep tight

My kids are completely crazy about their dad, but at night only mama will do. It’s one of those great joys of being a mother. They want you when they are grumpy, sore, tired or in the middle of the night – any other time, when they are happy and full of beans and just want to play and have fun, then it’s all daddy, daddy, daddy.

So the average night in my household goes thus…

At about 12am Willow comes shuffling into our room, she’s clutching on average 5 to 6 of her favourite stuffed toys (and sometimes a book and/or Barbie) and she wants to get into our bed. She always comes to my side and just stands there until my subconscious wrenches me out of sleep and, against my better judgement, haul her into the bed. I let her lie there for a bit until her wriggling, coughing, elbows and general presence drives me to tears. I shove her further and further over to her father’s side of the bed, but he never seems to notice, so I scoop her up with her menagerie of stuffed creatures and take her back to her bed.

I then lie for a bit willing myself back to sleep, when at any time between 1am and 4am Jimmy starts to cry. His new MO is to dramatically let forth blood curdling screams that are so high pitched they send us leaping out of bed, hearts pounding, rushing around to warm up bottles, check nappy and administer Calpol before rocking, soothing and generally praying for him to calm down and go back to sleep. Sometimes he does. Sometimes he doesn’t. It’s all very touch and go at the moment. Is it teeth, we wonder? Is it bad dreams or a pain somewhere, or is it just the enjoyment of cuddles and warm milk at some ghastly hour of the morning? We will never know and because it could be the former there is no way we feel we can take a hard line with him. He has us between a rock and a hard place and something tells me he knows it.

Once J is soothed and quiet, we’ll creep back into bed and try to defrost and get back into sleep mode, despite the frazzled nerves. Then, timed perfectly to coincide with my pulse returning to normal, my heart pounds me into full wakefulness as I hear the familiar shuffle of Willow and Co coming back across the landing.

It’s a circus. Our nights are as busy as our days and despite the numerous books, blog posts and friendly advice we have absorbed we can never agree on the right course of action. We play good cop, bad cop. Are they scared, or sore or master manipulators? I guess that’s the question every parent asks at 4am, as they stand cold and exhausted, yelling at each other over their shrieking child.

Amazing though, that after such a night, they wake up in the morning, smile and I feel like I love them so much I could die. All the sins of the night before forgotten (theirs, not mine. I beat myself up for being the worst, most impatient mother on earth for at least 15 minutes). This motherhood thing is not for the faint-hearted!

The perfect post for this amazing, inspirational pic of Drew Barrymore. Love her.

The perfect post for this amazing, inspirational pic of Drew Barrymore. Love her.

— Emily

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POSTED IN: Confessions

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the beauty ed

So our next mama in our Parenting Juggle has actually met Oprah. She’s that cool. She does work at O Magazine, but meeting Oprah is still pretty impressive. She also has a long list of other impressive achievements to her name. Like being a working mama, a wife and always looking fabulous. Chereen Strydom is the Beauty Editor at O, The Oprah Magazine as well as a part-time life and style blogger at For the Beauty of It. Chereen is married to Sean who is an illustrator, artist and musician and they have a very cute little 8-month-old bubs called Noah. Here, Chereen allows us a little insight into her crazy days and how she manages to juggle her many roles with such panache!

chereen_parentingjuggle

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— Emily

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POSTED IN: The Parenting Juggle

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the beauty queen

Lynette Botha is ELLE magazine’s Beauty Editor, as well as a freelance writer. Her two daughters are the same age as Emily’s two and they were both pregnant at the same time, twice. Chloe is 21 months and Coco is 4 months. Lynette is also step-mom to 19-year-old Connor. Her husband Luke works as a Sales and Marketing manager in food imports and they both dream of selling everything and moving to The Seychelles.

Here Lynette gives us a little insight into her own brand of chaos!

Lynette_parentingjuggle

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— Emily

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POSTED IN: The Parenting Juggle

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2 under 2 is no walk in the park

Hello, my name is Emily! By now, most of you know that Liza and I run this blog together, as well as our writing and editing company, Copy Ink. My husband, Ryan, is a PPC Campaign Manager and we have 2 kids under 2 years old (!) – Willow, who’ll be turning 2 in a few weeks and James who’ll be four months on Thursday. We also have a long-suffering staffie called Zula who used to be our only baby, shame!

parentjuggle

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— Emily

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POSTED IN: The Parenting Juggle

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