My Working Mom Win

So I have not sat down to write a blog for a while now because I really didn’t have anything I wanted to talk about but now I do. A lot has changed in the few weeks and I’ve just been feeling by what I have experienced this week.

I started a new job at the beginning of this month that allows me to work remotely at home or wherever I want to really. Everyone who works for the company works from home and we are scattered across South Africa and the USA.

When I saw the job being advertised I really couldn’t believe it was true because I had always imagined anyone who worked remotely was freelancing or running there own business. I never thought I’d ever be employed full time and be able to work from home.

There are two reasons why I applied for the job, one being I wanted to see if it was real and two I really wanted a change in my everyday routine that allows me to spend more time with my children. Well turns out the opportunity is real and I got the job. Most people asked If I was sure this was not scam and I would smile sheepishly and say of course it’s not! I had done enough research on the company to know it exists and didn’t find any negative information so I was comfortable with decision to accept the offer in the end.

Fast forward to my second week on the job and I have been able to reap the benefits that working remotely offers. My son fell ill at school and was put in the sick bed so I had to go pick him up. I was at home working and I didn’t feel the anxiety I would have felt if I was working at my old job to have to drop everything and leave. I simply got into my car and drove to school.

As I was driving I was thinking to myself that the drive would have taken me at least 40 minutes if I was at my previous job. That would have been 40 minutes to the school, 15 minutes to the house from school and because I would have wanted to go back to work to finish the days tasks it would have been 40 minutes back to work and then again in the evening back home. Err that’s a ridiculous amount of time spent on the road not doing anything productive. I was able to get me son and get back to work in 30 minutes. Later that afternoon I was able to take him to the doctor without any worries about my work falling behind too much. Playing catch-up at work can be exhausting.

The next day I kept my son at home as able to look after him and give him medication and make sure he gets better while I was getting work done. Fortunately we have a full time helper who was present so when I was at my desk she was around. This would have needed to be a leave day at my previous job. All in the same day my daughter’s teacher sends a text saying she is not feeling well and might be sick. I got into my car picked her up from class and we went straight to the doctor. I kept them both at home the following day and was just happy to be able to be around for them when they needed it most.

My heart is full. I have felt so much at ease during this time and am grateful I won’t have to experience the kind of anxiety I have experienced in the past. Two kids falling ill and me having to miss work or forcing myself to be at work would have sent me into frenzy. The work life balancing act falls apart at times like this.

Apart from the flexibility working from home offers there are other benefits. Less travel for one, I don’t miss Joburg peak traffic. Cost saving! I will be spending less money on petrol and I’ve just remembered that I can save more on my car insurance too. I’m calling them first thing in the morning. I’ll be spending less on lunch as well. No more Uber eats and Woolies I go to my fridge and whip up a quick lunch. I’m eating breakfast now, I never used to.

It’s just been two weeks but I already feel like its been life changing. My company also encourages we block off time in our calendars to spend time with our families or do something we are interested in that brings us joy. Like, where have you?

What are your thoughts on remote does it work for you or do you see it working for you if got the opportunity? Let me know.

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DECEMBER BABIES AND SCHOOL

Never did I ever think that my son being born in December, on the 26th to be exact would ever be an issue but it is since he has to go to school. It is not really something that I sat and looked at before I had him or even once he was born until last year.

When we enrolled him earlier that year we initially thought he was going be in a lower grade than the one he should be in based on age because I was more than happy for him to be in class with kids closer to his age based on the months they were born. Teachers suggested we put him in with the other 5 year olds since he would be turning 5 in December. This was 2017. Now that means he was in class with kids who had already turned 5 when the year started. My husband and I agreed but were slightly skeptical because we knew our son was not ready for that class because he was still basically 4 and would be till school closed.

Fast forward to the end of term 2 he is now 4 years and 6 months and the teachers raises a few concerns about where my son is currently at in the class and where he should be. No shock to me and my husband but I wished then that I had been more vocal about him not being in that class to begin with.

Two suggestions were made, one being that he sees an occupational therapist, an idea I was not fond of because the kid is only 4 and the other suggestion was that we take him to a lower grade. We went for the second without even considering the highly recommended OT the school was referring us to.

He did far better in that lower grade which kids his real age then with kids his school age if you know what I mean. The age thing came up again when we enrolled him to a new school for 2018. He should be going Grade 0 since he turns 6 in December. When want him Grade 00 since he only just turned 5 in December and we know he is not ready for Grade 0. I’m comfortable with the choices we have made for him now at the foundation phase rather than have him experience issues in primary school in the later years once the pressure and standards increase.

Have you experienced any problems with your December baby? How have you dealt with it? Let me know in the comments.

YEAR END RUSH

It’s that time of the year again where I feel like I’m literally running out of time to get stuff done.

This week is going to be manic, this running around started yesterday when I had to take my kids to their new school to meet their new teachers. The youngest will be going for the first time as well so I’m also in my emotions a little bit, my baby is growing up. She will be three next year.

Today as I write this blog post I’m in the hospital with my son waiting to go to theatre for a little dental op. I woke up at the crack of dawn to be at the hospital early but with this rain I was in the road for almost two hours! I wanted to cry. My son is hungry, had his last meal last night and has been asking for a burger but his fallen asleep while we wait it’s 9:55am now and the wait is going to be long because the first kid just came out, second kid went in a few minutes ago. I want to cry.

I wish I could avoid work completely tomorrow because when I’m away things suddenly go south, so tomorrow is going to be one of the days, argh! Oh and Thursday and Friday are year end functions. I have to do adult things and socialize with my co-works. Can somebody please just hide me away till next week!!!

In my line off work December is not a quiet month it’s still busy nothing slows down. I really can’t wait for the Christmas break and this year to end.

I bought the kids gifts last month already and I still haven’t wrapped them. The kids spotted them under my bed the other day. I have to admit it’s not the best hiding place. Need to go shopping for the rest of the gifts and the boys birthday gift for the 26th. His birthday is almost overshadowed by Christmas that I had to overcompensate this year by starting the celebration early this year. I got him a cake and took it to school this past Friday. It’s his birthday month anyway, why not start on the 1st of December?

He was so happy with the cake, he hasn’t stopped talking about it. I think he really thinks his birthday was last week.

Any body else feel the festive rush is just overwhelming? We still need to travel, we going to spend Christmas with my in laws and it’s a long drive to Botswana with with kids. Kill me now.

Dear Santa, may I please get a romantic getaway to a place far away for me the hubby? Thanks!

Umhlanga getaway with the girls

Last week I took my first official girls trip since having kids and being with my husband. It was a really lovely trip!

Our journey began very early on Friday morning the 6th of October. I was up at 2:30am and had to drive to my cousins place in Pretoria so that we can leave super early and avoid morning traffic. We we’re on the road by 4:00am. All I needed then was coffee! We eventually stopped along the route and I got myself a Grande Cappuccino from Mugg & Bean. My fav! I was so grateful we had a decent coffee place we could stop at.

A few hours on the road, overcast weather hindering our view of the scenery and some other pitstops later we finally made to our destination. Umhlanga! I just love that place. So chilled but yet so vibey. My kind of vibe. The weather wasn’t great but it is still beautiful.

I’d been there last year December on big family trip with kids and grandparents and arriving this time around I could see that some of the developments taking place then were now complete. We checked into the the Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Umhlanga which was just a walk away from the beach and a new mall with great restaurants there was also a lot of other restaurants just below the hotel a lot of great options.

Our first stop once we checked in was the Umhlanga Pier. The weather was gloomy and going to the beach was just not gonna work for us so we chose to have cocktails and pizza at one of the restaurants close by overlooking the ocean. We were really exhausted though from having woken up at an ungodly hour so once we were done we headed back to the hotel for a nap before we heading out for supper at Granada Square. Supper was rather disappointing I can’t even remember the name of the place.

Day two of our trip and we had very gloomy weather again. We had planned a beach day after having brunch and the weather was not playing ball. We drove to North Beach, Durban and once we got there it is was drizzling. We got our stuff out the car and found a spot on the beach but then it started to ran even harder so we decided to go to Ushaka Marine World and did a bit of window shopping and sat for coffee to warm up. Seems the locals don’t give up on their beach days because we could still see people swimming on the beach. We ended our day with dinner at Gateway and yes more drinks. Nothing wrong with a boozy trip.

Day three and the sun was out, yay! We finally had our beach day at Umhlanga Beach. We fueled up on coffee and order our breakfast as take away and set up on on the beach with food and snacks for most of the day. The water was so cold but I enjoyed it! We soaked up the sun and took some hilarious beach photos of ourselves doing the Bay Watch run and all. The weather soon turned and it was time to go back to the hotel. We grabbed a chicken bunny chow from Rocky Bunny on the way back to the hotel. It’s was spicy, really hot and very good! We spent our evening at a hotel on the Durban Beach Front for dinner and drinks.

Day 4 and it was time to head back my to husband and kids who I missed so much. We had breakfast and checked out off the hotel. We hit the road and it was raining and hailing. Same was happening in Joburg and as we arrived we are welcomed back by traffic on the N4, what a lovey welcome back. Durban had its fair share of rain and flooding just the next day which caused quite a bit of devastation. I’m just lucky to have made home safely the day before and that it didn’t happen while we were there.

Our trip was short but very much well deserved. Taking time to get away from the everyday life between home and the office is required from time to time. Fortunate are those that can do this more frequently. We are already planning our next trip which might be to Mpumalanga or the Drakensburg in the new year. I can’t wait. I’ll hopefully have a trip with my husband and kids as well before that. I just love traveling South Africa. What about you? Any places you can recommend for taking small kids? Or romantic getaways? Let me know in the comments.

MY FOUR YEAR OLD GETS HOMEWORK

I hate being stuck doing homework for a four year old. I mean why on earth give kids projects that they are not able to do themselves any way? Last term I made a food chart.

So I got back from work and sat down with a few magazines and called my son over to cut out the pictures with me. He stood next to me as I was trying to show him what we need to cut out and stick on the poster. He was not interested, I just cut each food group out all by myself and paged through several magazines while he focused his attention on other more important that that four year olds need to be doings.

I totally get that there is supposed to be a lesson in doing the project at home but really my son didn’t participate. It was moms work.

So the next day I thought he would be more interested to in sticking the pictures on the poster but he was having none of that he would rather play with his sister. So why give a four year old a homework assignment that they won’t even do themselves?

This week I have to make eats for 20 kids. 20 kids! This is a another food group homework assignment due Friday. Why are the parents stuck doing the work? What part of the curriculum is that? What benefit does homework really have at such a young age since they not really doing it themselves. What does it teach them at the age of 4? I don’t understand, I really don’t! He is not even in Grade 1. Makes me wonder what I’ll be doing then. Hopefully they will give us assignments the kids can handle. Or maybe I must start looking into those anti homework schools.

What’s you experience with your pre-school homework? Doing it all alone? Would love to hear from you.

How I Became An Active Mom

Have you ever just felt super uncomfortable in your body? Like you actually just don’t belong in that body and just want to crawl out of your skin. That’s how I felt when I was 71kgs heavy and was ready to embark on the journey to a new me. For years I was actually in denial about how much weight I had gained over 9 years since my first year in varsity.

I’d joined the gym after I had my first born and hardly went then I cancelled my membership. I convinced myself that actually I didn’t look that bad, I wasn’t that big. I joined the gym again in preparation for my wedding and went a few times but was not consistent with the training. I lost a bit of weight but I fell pregnant again round about the same time and had no energy for gym. But after baby number two was born I was super motivated. I just kept telling myself that if you can give birth naturally with no meds you can take on a bit of sweating in the gym. So there I was two months after giving birth more determined then ever to loose weight and get healthy.

I started going to the gym regularly while I was on maternity leave making sure I went for an hour at lease 3 times a week. Once I returned to work I continue and then changed the way I was eating. I cut out cards and ate protein and veg for most of my meals. I didn’t have a fancy diet plan I just ate what I wanted and prepared the food they way I wanted and after a while I started to notice the result and I kept at it.

I lost 10kgs in the first 6 months and I was extremely proud of myself. I went on to lose another 5 kgs in the months that followed. That 15kgs! No personal trainer, diet plan or magic pills and shakes! It’s actually possible. I have even managed to maintain that weight loss till now almost a year later.

Here are a few tips on how to get started:

  1. Be consistent – when you start getting into the routine of working out you’ll start to enjoy it and build up endurance.
  2. Make the time – Don’t make excuses for not getting your workouts done. Stop it!
  3. Fitspo “Fitness Inspiration” – I created a Pinterest board and pinned various images of gym motivation, quotes, girls with hot bodies, exercise routines and tips. I also followed a few Instagram accounts of people who were posting there weight loss journey or fitness coaches both local and abroad. I also had a health eating board on Pinterest to get ideas for meals.
  4. Take the gym classes – I cannot afford to get a personal trainer so I take a few of the class lead by an instructor at my gym. These class are great and you don’t need to feel pressured to keep up with everyone, keep to your own pace and you should get a hang of it soon.
  5. Buy new gym gear – Who doesn’t like going shopping? Like seriously, this is the best part. It doesn’t have to cost a lot spend what you are comfortable with. Having new gym gear gets me excited to take my workouts to a new level.

Don’t try and attain this level of perfection that’s just unreal. I may have lost 15kgs but my body is not perfect and I’m fine with that I’m still working on those problem areas like my belly. I’d like to have flat abs but the reality is I’ve never had flat abs and I’ve carried two babies m. I just keep working at.

I’m back to eating carbs and I’m loving life. My priority right now is to maintain the weight loss and I have managed. I’m also trying out different forms of exercise like hiking. I do this with my husband over weekends whenever we get a chance.

My last piece of advice is not to be too hard on yourself if miss a few workouts it happens to the best of us what’s important is that you don’t loose sight of your goals and why you started in the first place.

Moms Spring Goal

We are a few days away from Spring here in South Africa and I’ve decided to set a new goal that I’d like to get done or at least start during the Spring.

I’m a goal setter, I normally start setting my goals at the beginning of the year. I write then down and then revisit them to see how I’m doing. This year I’ve decided to add an additional one which I didn’t think would make it to my goal list at all this year thinking it may be a bit too soon!

Potty train the baby

My youngest turned 2 in July and I actually was not going to start potty training yet because I thought for myself that it might be too early. She might be ready, I don’t know. One of the reasons for potty training now is that we are looking to put her in a crèche next year and for some of the schools it is a requirement that the kids are potty trained. Winter is also on its way out so it won’t be too cold and she won’t have to freeze her little bum off.

My first born wasn’t fully trained until he was about 4. We sent him to crèche just before he turned 3 and at that facility they started the training and encouraged we keep it up at home as well. While he was still at that crèche he was only using the night time nappy and during the day he didn’t have any accidents. I feel it may be easier to learn at school with the rest of your mates and be a tiny bit embarrassed if you wet your pants but your mates have not.

Mid-year last year we sent the kids to live with the grandparents for a while and my mom started the night time training which he did so well with. There was the occasional bed wetting and yes every once in a while out of the blue he wets the bed but he is extremely good most of the time. All in all I wasn’t too involved with his potty training and I’d like to be involved with my daughters. I also keep thinking its a bit too early to train her since we only started later with the boy but it has to be done.

The strategy for my daughter is to get her into panties during the day and getting her to start sitting on the potty. She has been wearing the Pampers pants for a while now I need her to understand the difference. I’m not going to start her on the potty with the pants. I have already seen on the odd occasion that I’ve tried to get her to sit on the potty that she doesn’t want to take the pants off.

Since I work full time it is going to be the nanny who would need to implement these steps while I’m away at work. She is quite patient with the kids so I hope it’s all going to go smoothly. Sad part is that I won’t be fully involved. I’ll maybe start on the weekend so that I can initiate the process and feel involved. I’m looking forward to the mopping up after her!

If you have any tips or would like to share your experience with me please leave a comment.

Thank you for reading.

Mommy Needs A Time-Out

I have been planning a little getaway with the girls and it is coming up in October and I am super excited. I can’t tell you how much I need to relax and unwind far away from the kids and the husband! Yes, I want to leave the kids and the hubby at home and I’m not phased by this. Mommy needs a 3 night time-out away from the household.

I’ll be traveling to Umhlanga in Kwazulu Natal with two of my cousins and a friend and we are staying for 3 nights. We would leave Johannesburg early in the morning and are traveling by road. I love a good road trip.

I look forward to being on the beach in a really nice swimsuit, something sexy since I’ve last 15kgs over the past year. Can I call myself a yummy mummy? I certainly think so. I have not decided if I want to bikini or one piece since my mom-tum just won’t let me be great but hey I’m still working on it.

Most of the planning is done and accommodation is booked. All that’s left to do is the shopping and packing then off we go. So, what’s the plan for the kids and their dad? I actually don’t know. Fortunately the nanny will be around so dad won’t be too stressed “babysitting” for the entire weekend by himself. I had to rolled my eyes as I typed that out. I say “babysitting” because that’s what he thinks it means to be left alone with the kids, I mean you’re just being a dad, chill out.

It will be my first vacation away from the family. My last vacation in December 2016 was a big family trip. My parents, my kids my twin sister and her three kids, my younger sister and my husband were all there and it was great. Five kids between the ages of 18months and 6 years old at the time all together was chaotic. Feeding them, bathing them, getting them dressed and getting them into the car was a mission to be handled with so much precision that you would forget that we were actually on holiday.

Anyway, I thinks it’s a good idea to get time away as a mom sometimes to rejuvenate and reflect. I have not done a full trip away but my time away from home is normally spent at the gym a few times a week. I often sleep in on a weekend just to have some alone time once dad has left the room. Other times when I’m alone are in the car after doing the school run with my son and my on trip back home from the office. Not so luxurious but a lot of thinking can be done on that 45 minute drive in Joburg peak traffic.

I work a full time job and it is very exhausting. I’m already feeling the fatigue towards year end that makes my mind and body very sluggish and going on this trip before the big December break will help refresh and restore the mind and body for the remaining months of 2017. I know there a a lot of working moms like myself and even full time moms who just need a little break and it’s okay! Don’t put off having time for yourself and the things you want to do as that will only leave you feeling worse than you may already be feeling in the long run. Just do you for a little bit.

Career Anxiety

Here’s the thing, you cannot plan your life and have it turn out exactly how you had dreamt about it and that can be rather disappointing. My life today is not how I had imagined it almost 10years ago when I was completing high school.

I don’t have the house and car I’d imagined and certainly not the job I dreamt I would have by now. I’m still hustling having bought a small place earlier this year and a car I at least like to drive that is in my price range.

In my six year working life I would like to believe I’ve done well and excelled having started as an intern and now managing a small team of four, I think I’m doing ok at this life thing. It may not be the dream job but it’s a start. However six years on I’m finding myself questioning a lot about whether or not this is really what I want to do. Am I in the right industry? How will I continue to grow as a young black female in this very white and very male environment? How will I continue to make myself valuable? These are just some of the questions I ask.

I’m constantly thinking about what my next big achievement in my career is going to be and trying to plan for this and I have to be honest I don’t know how I’m going to move on from where I am and it’s actually scary. Career anxiety! Is there even such a thing? I guess so.

I have a degree and would like to further my studies and pursue a post-grad education but studying in South Africa is rather expensive and it is an expense I simply cannot afford to take on at the moment. I try and focus on ideas that will propel me in establishing my own business however the idea of starting a business without funding is intimidating. I read a lot about how other woman manage and start there own businesses and find inspiration in learning about there success stories. A lot of your women are doing very amazing things in this country and there is no shortage of inspiration.

I guess it’s really about patience while seeking out all those things and simply watching how the story develops at whatever pace without feeling that there is a rush to be at a certain position at a particular time. It’s a long journey ahead. One just needs to keep at it, work hard and flourish.