Procrastination 

Some days are made for conquering the world. The day dawns bright and shiny and new and is made for getting up and winning at life. Today was not that day. Actually, this hasn’t been that week. 

Ever had one of “those days”, when no matter how hard you try, it feels like you are slowly drowning? Yeah, I’m barely treading water here. There isn’t something specific that has caused this feeling, it’s the impression that I’m getting close to a lot of deadlines that has created my panic. And they aren’t specific/actual deadlines, it’s the inevitable rushing towards the end of the year, the social obligations, school functions, family gatherings, and the impression that I should have achieved something by now. I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to have achieved but it feels like I should have done something more with this year. Like I have been given the time and just wasted it.

So instead of freaking out about what I have/haven’t done, I have gone to bed. I changed into my pj’s and snuggled under the duvet with a book and checked out for a while. No thoughts, no panic, no frantic rushing around. 

Tomorrow I’ll put my big girl panties on and seize the day. 

I’m sorry Mommy

There are very few “bad words” in our house, I’m sorry to say that most of those words pollute my own vocabulary.  But we do have 2 “bad sentences” that should never be uttered.  The first is “I don’t care”.  Nothing irritates me more that getting “I don’t care” as an answer, especially when I know that you do care about what we are having for supper.  It doesn’t matter what the question is, “I don’t care” is not an appropriate answer.  And if you are very brave and use the forbidden sentence, you better not care about the results.

 

The second forbidden phrase is “I’m sorry Mommy”.  My kids love using “I’m sorry Mommy” in a sing-song voice whenever they have been naughty.  The reason I’ve forbidden that particular phrase is that my kids usually aren’t sorry at all.  they repeat the phrase so often that it has lost all meaning.  they are so used to my temper that they completely ignore me when i am upset with them.  I get a “sorry mom” and they continue on their merry way.  It is superbly frustrating that they listen to other people but not to me.  *sigh* it’s even more frustrating that this is often used as proof that I’m a “bad mother” and that i have no control over my children.  there are set rules and boundaries in our house, the kids know and respect that, there are also a lot of things that are not important in the grand scheme of things  (like tidy bedrooms).  It’s usually the not-important-things that produce an “I’m sorry Mommy”, so my kids know that they will most likely just get moaned at and not receive any other form of punishments.

 

As much as it annoys me, I realise that I will be adding more “forbidden phrases” to the list.  After all, pushing boundaries and annoying your parents are a normal part of growing up.

 

 

The Three-nager

I dreaded the terrible two’s and I couldn’t wait for them to finish.  Little did I know that I would soon have a three-nager in the house.  LK rules our house with an iron fist.  When she doesn’t get her way she will calmly walk away and then start crying and slamming doors.  She also regularly tells KJ that she wishes that we were not born, cause then she will be in charge.  Her mood swings and tantrums are the stuff of nightmares.  But when she feels scared, lonely, or just wants cuddles she is the sweetest, cutest thing on two legs.

I know that she is simply frustrated because she doesn’t know how to express how she feels.  Her fears and frustrations are too big for her little body to cope with.  So she acts out. And we have loads of cuddles and hugs afterwards because sometimes words are not enough to ease her frustrations.

Fortunately, KJ has a big enough heart to understand that her little sister loves her very much, no matter how badly she may behave. The problem is that KJ has the vocabulary to annoy her little sister and then laughs at her attempts to retaliate.  The joys of having two girls!

If having a three-nager is so difficult, how on earth are we going to cope with a real teenager?!?

No selfies, please.

I don’t do selfies. In this day and age not taking selfies seems a little odd.  How will people know what I’ve done if there isn’t a photo of my duck face to validate the moment? If no selfie is taken, did it even happen?

My personality doesn’t translate well on film (screen?).  I tend to look slightly stiff and awkward.  Like I don’t want to be there at all.  It’s weird how my face seems normal until someone points a cellphone in my direction, immediately I either channel a serial killer or Mr Bean. It’s all awkwardness or resting bitch-face. No in between.  I’m not even going to comment about the weird body movements, legs and arms pointing in odd directions like a doll that has been posed by a toddler.

My aversion to being caught on film is usually manageable. Except when it comes to pole dancing.  One of the easiest ways to track your progress is to have a pole buddy snap a quick pic of you performing the move.  I can’t even participate in Pole Challenges because I can’t take the bloody pictures!  Or if I relent and have a photo taken, I will simply not post it to the official challenge group.

I’ve found that the ideal way around my little selfie issue is to take selfies with my kids.  They tend to push me out of the shot so you might only catch a glimpse of me in the background.  Now I have to find a way to get my kids into my pole progress pics and I will be 100’s!

Pausing   

This morning I was reminded why quiet is so important. As I type this , I’m sitting outside in the Drakensberg and listening to the quiet while I drink my tea. With only the sounds of the birds and the occasional noisy child as a reminder that civilization isn’t that far away.  As a mom I often forget to put myself into a “time out” and just breathe. Not constantly worry about work, what  my kids are doing, that I’m somehow failing in my quest to balance my work, home, and family.  Lately I’ve dropped a lot of balls in my juggling act.  I have been working super long hours at work and completely neglecting my home and family.  It’s hard when you leave the house before the kids are properly awake and arrive home just in time for bedtime. 

One thing that I have realized the past year is that I cannot be a good mom if I neglect myself.  So this morning I have left the kids in the very capable hands of the Husbeast and am just taking a moment. I went for a run this morning, did my pole dance stretches, and am now sitting on the veranda and pausing my hectic life.  As soon as the kids get back I will resume my usual duties, hopefully feeling more refreshed and less like a mom-zombie 

Mean Girls

We all know at least one Mean Girl.  That person, not necessarily a girl/woman who has the art of delivering a nasty comment in the sweetest manner. You don’t even realize how badly you have been insulted until you are lying in bed at night and replay the conversation in your head.  That person who can make you feel bad about yourself by just raising an eyebrow.  Mean Girls are everywhere.  Every playground, classroom, office, and family function has at least one parading in the lime light.  That is the worst part about Mean Girls.  They are popular, they attract people into their orbit.  Every Mean Girl has her Minions.  The followers, the crowd that feeds her need to be Queen Bee, that validate her very existence.

The real problem with Mean Girls are that you cannot always recognize one at first glance.  Sometimes they genuinely appear to be nice people.  It’s only after you start to wonder why you feel bad about yourself in their presence that you realize that you are friends with a Mean Girl.  It’s the subtle undermining of your self confidence, you are simply not good enough unless you do exactly as they say. It’s the gradual loss of your individuality as they mold you into the perfect clone, just like them but not good enough to be them.  

But there is hope.  It is possible to break the cycle of self doubt and negativity and be your own person.  It takes a lot of hard work (and more than a few tears) to become a “rebel”. Someone who doesn’t care what other people thinks of her. Because she knows who she is.  She doesn’t need their validation to prove her self worth. 

So let’s all put our big girl panties on and stop being mean to one another.  There is enough hate in the world already, let’s not add to it.

Freedom Day

Today we celebrate Freedom Day here in sunny South Africa. The problem is, we may have Freedom but we do not have peace. Every day my Facebook and Twitter feeds are packed with stories about xenophobia, criminality, hi-jacking, rape, murder… the list goes on and on. I no longer watch the news on television, I prefer to read it online where I can skim the headlines and choose what I want to read.

The problem with being South African is that we “make a plan” and get on with our lives. Hi-jacking? no problem! we simply install smash-and-grab windows into our cars, stop driving at night and plan our routes carefully so that we avoid dark/lonely/unsafe areas. Our kids don’t play outside anymore, we build huge walls around our properties and pay security companies to keep us safe. We install apps on our smartphones that track our moves and that can send distress signals to our loved ones if we are in danger. So instead of solving the problem, we simply work around it and allow the rot to spread.

Is this what the Struggle was about? To prevent oppression by the white minority and instead hand over power to a criminal and corrupt minority? (and no, I am not referring to the Government, I mean the actual criminals in this country).

Is there hope for South Africa? If the media, ex-pats, and my Facebook feed are to be believed, then no. We are doomed. I cannot accept that. We survived the Anglo-Boer wars, concentration camps (The British rounded up men, women and children and shoved them into concentration camps. Look it up, it happened right here in this country),and Apartheid. How is it that we cannot overcome this dark cloud of depression that has enveloped this country? If I didn’t know any better I would swear that there was a swarm of Dementors about.

The saddest part is that we are doomed to repeat the past. We are so distrustful of one another that we would rather attack first than wait to see if they mean us harm at all. The current xenophobia sweeping the country is a prime example of that. It is sad that people have to hide in refugee camps in order to remain safe. I spoke about our home-grown concentration camps earlier in this blog. Sound familiar? People who are on the wrong side of popular opinion get shoved into camps. History seems to have a nasty way of repeating itself in South Africa.

So what do we do now? I know what I will be doing, I am going to teach my kids the difference between right and wrong, to be respectful, honest and truthful at all times, and to be law-abiding citizens. And I am going to to try to make a difference, no matter how small, cause every journey starts with a single step.