5 Things That Speed Up Our Family’s Morning Routine

A month into the new school year and we are settling into our new morning routine. Caitlyn’s school starts at 07h30 (thirty minutes earlier).

That means everyone is out the door at 07h00 ish.

We have our fair share of morning drama, but our morning routine helps.

Like when my husband decides that a Monday morning is a good time for a haircut! Yip, a DIY haircut on a Monday morning.

Never mind that we all have to be out the house by 07h00!

Our morning routine is not perfect, but we get where we need to be on time.

Living our new early morning routine, also had an impact on my coming home time. Which is a huge win!  Leaving work on time has always been a real struggle as a working mother.

As I get to work a little while before the work day starts, I have no issue completing my priorities at work and leaving on time (most days!).

[bctt tweet=”We have our fair share of morning drama. Here is how we speed up our family’s morning routine” username=”cherralle_”]

5 Things That Speed Up Our Family’s Morning Routine

 

 

 

1. We get up  much earlier as school starts at 07h30am

Firstly, since when does school start at 07h30 a.m?

In my days it was 08h00 a.m.

Anyway, my husband does the drop-off, which means they must leave the house by latest 07h00am. By default, we all wake up a little earlier.

Getting up earlier helps.

Related Post: Bad Mom Confessions: My Child Swallowed a Birth Control Pill and 9 Other Parenting Fails

2. School clothes are taken out the night before

My daughter’s school clothes are taken out the night before.

As she and Ava share a room, we cannot afford to have drama in their bedroom. So we pack it in the ‘study’ (aka the room of requirement*).

*any Harry Potter fans got that reference?

And no looking for a swimming kit in the morning. If it’s swimming, we pack the bag the day before.

We do have our morning issues, but we get it right most of the time and that is all right with me.

Related Post: 10 Things A Working Mother Needs to Survive

 

3. School lunch is kept very simple

I had to park my lofty ideals of home-made, well-balanced school lunches for Caitlyn.

What started out as homemade mini boboties is now a sandwich.

Lunch consists out of a sandwich of whatever there is with fruit, yogurt, and snacks such as biltong, etc.

4. We allow some TV

If Caitlyn is ready before its time to leave, she may watch tv.

If she asked to watch TV, we would let her. If I need to do her hair, the TV goes on so that she can sit still.

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5. I prep the ‘day’s meals’ in the morning

I prepare the children’s food for the day. Sometimes I have meals prepared the day before or there are frozen meals which were made on the weekend.

I prepare lunch and supper for both girls (with snacks in between) and leave the day’s ‘menu’ with our helper.

Caitlyn has a school lunch plus a second (proper) lunch when she comes from school.

The girls eat dinner together at about 17h00, and I get home by 17h30 (normally). I do miss supper with them.

Long story short, but based on our family’s routine, they must eat by 17h00.

Otherwise, everything runs super late, and the whole house is grumpy (by the entire house I mean me).

When I get home, I focus on bath time and catching up with them on the day. Once they are down, my husband I will eat, and catch up on what we need to do.

The new morning routine seems to be working for our family (for now).

Here are 5 tips to help you speed up your morning routine

best part of having two girls

1. Any activities you can do the night before, do them the night before! Simple. Whether it is making sandwiches, taking out clothes. Every little bit helps!

2. Build in extra time for mishaps! Like when we discover there is no bread and someone has to pop out to the garage to buy a loaf.

3. Do you want to drink a cup of coffee before the day starts, or do you want  little extra time to do your make up? Build in extra time for your little luxuries.

4. Take it easy. Sometimes when we lose our cool, it delays the process even further.

5. Take it easy on weekends. Throw routine out of the window on weekends and just be!

Any tips that help you speed up your mornings?

 

15 Funny Mom Sayings (for moms with a sense of humour)

Let’s live on the lighter side of parenting, we don’t need to take everything so serious. I have previously confessed that I am a bad mom  and that I have parenting double standards.

I am also a self-confessed Pinterest addict (follow my Pinterest boards here), and I love looking for quotes and jokes.

Here are some recent funny sayings I stumbled across!

 

Here are 15 Funny Mom Sayings

funny mom sayings sa mom blogger pins

 

 

1. I love it when I find myself screaming “STOP SCREAMING” to my kids

Yeah, setting a great example.

 

2. Hey train wreck. This isn’t your station.

Yeah, keep it moving.

3. Have you ever looked at the last few loads of laundry and considered throwing them away?

I have thrown laundry out the door before. I can be a bit temperamental. Not kidding!

 

4. If I ever go missing. Please follow my kids. They can find me no matter where I try to hide.

Every. Single. Time.

5. As kids we wondered why our parents were always in a bad mood. Now, we’re like ‘ooohhhh’

For reals! 

via GIPHY

6. I hate it when I play with kids for 7 hours, then it turns out it was only 20 minutes.

True story!

via GIPHY

 

7. When I tell my kids I will do something in a minute, what I am really saying is ‘please forget’

via GIPHY

 

8.  Interviewer: Tell me about a time you once dealt with a difficult situation. Mom ‘I once had a four year old’. Interviewer ‘You are hired’.

My absolute favorite. As someone who does interviews a lot, I will totally accept this as an answer.

via GIPHY

 

[bctt tweet=” Interviewer: Tell me about a time you once dealt with a difficult situation. Mom ‘I once had a four year old’.  Interviewer ‘You are hired’. ” username=”cherralle_”]

 

9. Dear Monday: My Momma dont like you, and she likes everyone

No further caption needed.

10. So it turns out, being a parent is mostly just googling symptoms your kid has.

via GIPHY

[bctt tweet=”So it turns out, being a parent is mostly just googling symptoms your kid has.” username=”cherralle_”]

11. That awkward moment when  you’re not sure if you actually have free time, or if you are just forgetting something.

Pretty much my life, that is why I use a planner, my template can be found here.

 

12. To hell with this shit. I am going on maternity leave. See ya!

Just a little bit of this right?

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via GIPHY

 

13. Parenting is basically whispering FFS under your breath before answering to your name.

 

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via GIPHY

14. A worried mother does better research than the FBI!

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via GIPHY

15. Parenting was much easier when I was raising my non-existent kids hypothetically

via GIPHY

Share this post if you had a little laugh!

[bctt tweet=”Let’s not take everything so serious, have a little laugh at #momlife!” username=”cherralle_”]

 

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5 Tips to Maximize Playtime With Your Kids: Plus *WIN* with My Little Pony and Play-Doh [CLOSED]

One of the habits I have adopted for 2018 us to be less busy on weekends. Allowing me time to play and be more available to my girls. I feel that when I have too many ‘plans’ I just do not get to everything or get to spend quality time at home.

Whatever amount of time we have with our children, let’s make it count!

Related Post: Don’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

Here are five tips on maximizing play time with kids

Get on the floor with them

Nothing beats getting on the floor with your kids and playing with them. You are at their level and you can engage and participate fully.

Manage screen time

We love watching TV in our house.

Therefore, it is even more important that we strive to create a form of  balance.

To maximize play time with your children, get off your screen. If they see you on your phone, or laptop, they will want to watch a screen too. Trust me, our family loves TV – but I do keep an eye on it. We have our TV sessions but I make a point of switching off the screens.

When you forget about your screens, so will your children.

 

Let your kids take over

Allow your child to direct play time.

Let their creativity shine through as they use their imagination. They might just surprise you!

When we read books these days its a full on ‘play’ and my four-year-old LOVES acting out book characters.

Go Outside

Nothing beats just stepping outside and playing a game.  I get grumpy when there is too much running around, but I give it a go!

My daughter discovered ‘tag’ – oh man, that game leaves me huffing and puffing like an old woman.

Set time aside for play

Very often, we get caught up in doing what we ‘need to do’ by the time we look again the day or weekends is over.

Don’t be afraid of setting time one side and ‘scheduling’ play time. For me, I try to keep my weekend as open as possible so I know I will have enough time to just ‘be’ at home. You know what I mean?

 

GIVE AWAY!

In the spirit of playtime, I am giving away a My Little Pony and a Play-Doh toy to two lucky readers.

sa mom blogger play-doh and my little pony

 

 

My Little Pony Princess Twilight Sparkle and Spike the Dragon Friendship Duet

Princess Twilight Sparkle and Spike the Dragon always stick together, especially when they sing a song.

Press the Cutie Mark button on the Princess Twilight Sparkle figure to hear her sing by herself, or hold the Spike the Dragon figure next to her while she sings,  to hear them sing a duet. Music sounds best when friends sing together. For more information please visit My Little Pony, My Little Pony Facebook Page or the My Little Pony YouTube Channel.

 

Play-Doh Sizzlin’ Stovetop

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations sa mom blogger

Have fun with the Play-Doh Sizzlin’ Stovetop that makes real sizzling sounds as soon as the skillet or saucepan are placed on the burners. Listen to how the sizzle gets louder when a Play-Doh creation is placed in one of the pans, almost like a real stove.

Want to know what’s on the menu? Use the Play-Doh stamps to create pretend steak and eggs, crazy burgers and even fish.  Add some Play-Doh veggies with the half mould and use your tongs and spatula to flip and grab your creations before displaying them on the plates provided. For more information visit Play-Doh, Play-Doh Facebook Page or the Play-Doh YouTube Channel.

 

To Enter Follow This one Easy Step

  1. Comment on the Facebook Give Away Post or the Instagram Giveaway post  whether you prefer the My Little Pony or Play Doh toy and tag one mommy friend.

That is it, you are in! Good luck!

Increase your chances of winning. For extra entries do the following – note each action is one additional entry:

  1. Share this post on facebook and tag (@mydailycake)
  2. Subscribe to our mailing list (form posted below)
  3. Share this post on twitter

Rules: Competition is open until Thursday 1 March. Winners will be announced by latest 5th March. Only open to SA residents. Prizes will be shipped by the agency.

Good luck!

XXX

Enter This Giveaway!

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Disclaimer:  Toys sponsored by Hasbro.

Bad Mom Confessions: My Child Swallowed a Birth Control Pill and 9 Other Parenting Fails

Bad Mom confessions do not make us neglectful moms. It means we are not perfect.

We make mistakes and sometimes things just happen!

Raising my girls is the toughest and the best part of my life.

So, my three year old swallowed a birth control pill! This is how it went down.

 

Last year, on a regular weekday morning my daughter kept on saying her tummy was sore. I brushed it off because she always says her stomach is sore.

Now looking back I feel terrible for not paying more attention.

As we arrived at school, she said: “mummy I want to throw up.”

Which she did.

After wiping her down as best as I could, we drove home immediately and she stayed home that day. We assumed she had a tummy bug. My husband stayed home the morning (took her to the doctor), and I took the afternoon off. As working parents, we made a plan.

I turned to Google in my time of need – Is this normal?

My daughter received medication from our family doctor.

By the time I arrived home at midday she was tons better. Eating and playing, almost back to her usual self.

As I was tidying the bedroom that same day, a few things clicked into place:

  1. My husband asked her the previous night if she had eaten a pill. He found a birth control pill packet on the floor. I couldn’t tell if any were missing as I stopped using them at that point. Anyway, we were satisfied she did not eat it and went on with things.
  2. Then on this day, I found half a pill lying on the floor as I was busy tidying up
  3. Add up the two previous points along with the nausea it became clear that she swallowed a birth control pill

As this realisation dawned on me, I did what any self-respecting parent does in that situation. I Googled the LIVING DAILY LIGHTS OUT OF ‘my child swallowed birth control pills’. It turns out, this has happened to quite a few people!

[bctt tweet=”I Googled the LIVING DAY LIGHTS OUT OF ‘my child swallowed birth control pills'” username=”cherralle_”]

We also checked in with our doctor.

Everything turned out fine – no harm was done.

Epic parenting fail! Here are 9 other Parenting Fails

Don’t judge! Tell me yours in the comments so we can be bad moms in solidarity.

 

1. Using the incorrect number of scoops

I made a milk bottle for my little one. Instead of using 5 scoops for 125 mls, I used 8 scoops. I remember this clearly. I was like – oh well!

2. Forgetting to send stuff to school

Forgetting to send show and tell on numerous occasions when my daughter was at playschool. I always missed the reminder from school! Playschool is not real school anyway.

3. Forgetting to pay for stuff

Forgot to pay our daughter’s drop off service for two months in a row…terrible. Luckily we have a good relationship with the company.

4. (Super) early bedtime

I put my kids to bed as early possible (the little one sometimes before 18h00), so I can be off ‘mommy duty’ and chill out

5. I lie about needing the bathroom

Sometimes when we are with the kids, I tell my husband that I need to go to the bathroom quickly when I don’t need to. I go to the bathroom and play on my phone.

bad mom confessions mommy blogger

 

6. Let them play in the cot

Sometimes when my Daughter wakes from a nap, I let her play in her cot. If she is okay I leave her. I can get sometimes another 30 minutes to an hour out of this situation.

7. I pretend to not notice the poo nappy

Sometimes when my daughter makes a number I pretend I don’t notice. I then ask my husband to check. As he discovers she made the poo, he must change the nappy.

8. When nap time turned dangerous

When my Daughter was between two and three years of age, she started dropping her nap. Nap time was challenging as she was sleeping in a ‘big kid bed’ meaning more freedom.

One day I put her down closed the bedroom door.

I went to relax in my bedroom. I felt so chuffed as I managed to get her to take a nap!

About 30 minutes later I heard something on the balcony. I walked to check, and guess who is playing on our balcony. Standing on a chair. Leaning over the railing! Having a field day on the freaking balcony! With a flimsy rail (well, any rail is flimsy when your two year old is standing on a chair, leaning over it). I was so frightened because she could have easily fallen over.

9. Bribery

When my child refuses to leave places, I bribe her. I promise to give her a sweet in the car.

There you have it, I am a bad mom

Being a parent is  NOT what we put out on Instagram. It is beautiful, exhausting and nasty at the same time.

Join me! Tell me in the comments, what is your bad mom moment?? 

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Dads Want To Change Nappies Too – Why We Need Family Restrooms

We are out having lunch somewhere and our toddler needs a nappy change. My husband takes her for a change but comes back quickly.

He can’t. Another changing station that is in the women’s bathroom. Dads want to change nappies too, but we are standing in their way.

When I told my husband I am writing a blog post on this topic, he was into it. “Finally, I have been waiting for you to write about this as it is a big issue for me,” he said. Okay dear, my blog exists to please you! He previously wrote on this blog about his parenting role in our home.

Related PostDon’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

Why a family room and not a changing station in men’s bathroom?

Establishments that cater to families need to get with the times and get family restrooms. Don’t put a changing station in the women’s or men’s restroom, just add a separate little space.

Why a family restroom though?

  • Dads who have young daughters, need to take them to the toilet and need to accompany them.  These are little girls who are not old enough’ yet to go alone into a public bathroom
  • Moms, who have young sons need to take them to the bathroom. I see a lot of moms take their little boys to the women’s bathroom (this looks okay, moms with sons let me know)
  • Men’s bathrooms have urinals which are open – not hygienic and not appropriate to look at.

[bctt tweet=”Establishments that cater to families need to get with the times and get family restrooms” username=”cherralle_”]

One family restaurant we visited recently has unisex bathrooms + a small separate open area with a changing table. It is perfect, nothing fancy, it is not even a room, but it meets the needs of parents. It has privacy as when you change a nappy you completely block the view.

We have two daughters

Dad and baby _ father changing nappies

When we go out, 95% of the time my husband cannot take our four-year-old to the loo or change the nappy for our one-year-old without it being a mission. As a father, this is an issue for him. For any father this should be an issue.

If you are a father and this is a non-issue for you, then you need to take a good look in the mirror and reflect deeply on this.

Wanting to partake in basic care giving of your children and being prevented from doing this, should be your issue.

[bctt tweet=”If you are a father, and you are not able to change your own baby’s nappy at a mall or restaurant, it is an issue.” username=”cherralle_”]

Ways my husband had to sort out our daughters’ basic needs while out and about

  • Threw a towel over my little girls head and took her into the men’s bathroom to a stall where she could use the toilet (it was urgent). The towel was because he did not want her to see what was happening in there.
  • To change a nappy: waited for men’s bathroom to clear. Then took our toddler into the men’s bathroom. She had to stand on the flat part of the basin while he did a ‘standing nappy change.’ You guys know what a ‘standing nappy change’ is.
  • Use the disabled bathrooms to take our daughter to the toilet
  • Changed nappy in car
  • The last two are not bad options

Should we be okay with this?

Turn a blind eye and just carry on?  Accept that this is ‘just the way things are?’

These were only one father’s experiences.

There are always messages going about how ‘dads should be more involved’.

Well, if we think about it, society subtly (or not) discourages dads from getting involved in raising small children. And some go”oh well.”

Examples are:

  • changing stations in women’s bathrooms
  • Mom and Babes / Mom and Tots Playgroups (I know, I know, dads can go too, but clearly who is the target market?)
  • Three days paternity leave. Although, changes are coming about with the passing of the new ten days paternity leave bill. Plus progressive companies have already increased paternity leave)

Related Post: Dear Working Mother – Here is How To Leave Work On Time

It is encouraging to see family restrooms popping up all over Johannesburg

Places such as Sandton City Mall and Fourways Crossing have family restrooms.

In my view, establishments who cater for families  (especially newer establishments) who keep on placing changing rooms in the women’s bathrooms are not being customer-centric. Look at what families (your customers) need and give it to them.

Let’s give fathers space to play the role they want to (and give moms a break)!

Don’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

My daughter started a new school this week. One day, when I came from work, I asked her casually about her day. She replied ‘Mommy, I am shy.’

My daughter is a child who takes a while to ‘warm up’ to people and situations. That is just how she is.

She does not respond immediately to a greeting nor does she proactively greet new people. I researched this behaviour. Oh, and by research, I mean I GOOGLED THE CRAP out of this topic (as parents do!)

Related Article: 7 Reasons Why We Are Only Having Two Kids

I discovered that little kids are not necessarily shy, sometimes they just need more time to warm up. That is okay.  When I walk into a room, I do not want to talk to everyone immediately either. Even if she is introverted, that is fine, but I don’t want to her to carry the ‘shy’ label at this tender age.

[bctt tweet=”Labels have power. Here is why I do not want my daughter to be referred to as ‘shy’.” username=”cherralle_”]

Don’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

shy kids

The world favours the child who is openly boisterous and talkative. Not the child who needs time to warm up before she shows her personality. My daughter is smart, witty, helpful and has a crazy weird laugh! But she will not show that side to anyone immediately.

Labels have power

The fact that my daughter takes long to ‘warm up’ is okay.  I know her. She is funny, smart, talkative, has developed friendships, and is a feisty one. She actively seeks out social settings where she can play with others.

What is not okay is her adopting a label of ‘I am shy.’

When she told me, she is shy I mentioned she must take her own time. I also told her what I always tell her when I don’t know what to say ‘You are Strong and Smart.’ When I am in these ‘teachable parenting’ moments, I never know what the hell to say, so I always remind her  that she is ‘strong and smart’.

[bctt tweet=”If she must carry any label, let it be that she is strong and smart (which she is). ” username=”cherralle_”]

Related Post: Dear Working Mother: Here is How to Leave Work On Time

Not shy, but thoughtful or slow to warm up

So when we enter new environments, and the moment comes when she doesn’t greet or respond when asked her name, I let it go. I casually say to the other person, ‘she just takes a while to warm up; or ‘she likes to observe her environment first.’ Pressuring her and covering up by saying she is shy, will not help my child.

While we are on the topic, I also do not make her hug or kiss anyone if she does not want to (it is her body). You will get a high-five at best.

I do chat with her alone about greeting and that it is a nice and friendly thing to do, but I do not make a scene about it.  At her previous (play) school, she settled in well although it took a while.

However, now that she is at a new school, she will need a little time to warm up again. You know what, she is four. It’s fine. Calm down.

I stopped telling people she is ‘shy’ two years ago but it still gets used by others. I prefer to say ‘she is thoughtful; she takes a while to warm up; she likes to observe first.’ Which is the truth! I prefer to look at it in the positive.

Related post:  7 Things a Working Mother Wants To Tell her Boss

Give them the right label to live up to

Next time a little kid does not want to greet and anyone says they are shy, don’t leave the ‘shy’ label hanging over their heads. Keep it casual but don’t let it slide if someone says they are shy, say they ‘take some time to warm up’ or something along those lines.

Do not apologise for who they are, it makes them feel small.

The shy label may keep a child from trying new things, or from reaching out to connect with someone. Labels have power!

Here are 10 Reasons Why You Should Not Call your Kids Shy from an article that appeared in the Huffington Post.

‘Mommy,  I am shy.’

I don’t want this to be her internal voice.

That is why I tell her, ‘you are smart, pretty and strong’. That is a better internal voice.

Can you relate to this? Do you have a ‘slow to warm up’ child? Or were you an ‘introverted child’?

Parenting Humour: Confessing My 7 Parenting Double Standards

Parenting is all about being responsible and showing our kids the ‘right way’, however we must not forget the funny side of parenting. Always aim to bring in some parenting humour in all that  you do as a parent.  I always crack up at the funniest tweets from parents collated by the Huffington Post.

I  mean I have to model healthy eating habits and positive behaviour, but I am not perfect. Some of you who know me or follow my blog, know that I am into real and frank talk about parenting, and ‘good enough’ is okay for me.

Hand picked post: 7 Reasons Why I Am Pretty Certain We Are only having Two Children

I have come to accept that I will be practicing double standards until my children can figure out what I am doing. Then I guess I can just say “Because I said so”. For now here are 7 parenting double standards (trust me there are more, but let’s start with 7!).

[bctt tweet=”It’s okay to laugh at ourselves & not take everything seriously. Parenting is stressful as it is!” username=”cherralle_”]

Parenting Humour: Here are 7 double standards that I know parents out there will understand

Me to my 4 Year Old: Angel, you cannot have so much sugar.

Me: Stuffing my face with chocolates from the ‘secret luxury cupboard’ when she is not looking.

Remember, sharing is caring my angel

Me: Hides all the luxuries in the corner of the ‘secret luxury cupboard shelf.’ Plus the really delicious stuff gets hidden from my husband too in another ‘secret luxury drawer.’ That’s all my sugar. Which I hide. So I can eat it alone. In peace!

Me: No Bad words angel

Me again: FFS (and my bad cape town swear words come out) when I hit my toe against the leg of  the couch. *my husband cringing right now*

Drink your water, my angel, it is the best drink when you are thirsty

Me when I get home from work: I am so thirsty, where are my flavoured beers (ciders) at?

girl blowing bubbles parenting humour

You cannot have that for breakfast, my angel, instead finish up your porridge.

Me: Eats whatever the hell I want when everyone has left the house. This was one of the best parts of maternity leave (I meant, besides spending time with my new baby – of course)

Mom, Where are my sweeties I got at the party yesterday?
Me: I don’t know let’s look for them. I wonder what happened to these sweeties.

At this stage, I am feeling guilty because my husband and I smashed the party bag the night before and now I am helping her look for it.

(By the way parents, for every single party bag my daughter gets, it gets eaten by my husband and me as soon as we can make her forget. It is just one of those perks of parenting.)

[bctt tweet=”I will eat my child’s party packet. It is a law. Make her forget about it, and then we are home free!” username=”cherralle_”]

Then she picks up a wrapper and looks at me and whispers in a conspiratorial way “Mommy look; someone ate it”

Me shocked “oh no, that is so terrible, that was nice of that person whoever it is. Let’s go play outside”. Short attention span, always saves the day!

Mommy, may I have a bite of your food please?

She points to my food.

Me: It is too spicy my angel, you will not like it.
My 4YO: Oh okay.

The food was not spicy. I Just wanted to eat alone.

Does that ever happen, where you ’embellish the truth’ a little so you can eat something alone?

 

CHIME IN? What are your parenting double standards? Come on, admit it!

 

 

Photocredit
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels Pexel
Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels Pexel

7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Children

When we had our first child, we were delighted to start our little family that we always wanted.  In our plans, we always knew we will be only  having two children. We did not want our daughter to grow up without a sibling, and be ‘alone.’ Both my husband I come from big families, I have four brothers and sisters and he has three brothers. So we wanted to have two kids (at least).

Now that we have our two little girls, we often get asked: ‘are you trying for a boy’?

No, we are not. Not a boy, not a girl or nothing. Here is why we will only be having two children and why it feels right for us. To also set the scene each family’s size is their own business, this is only my view on our family.

Related Post:  You Should Try This: Interview with my 3 Year Old

7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Children

 

only having two kids

No middle child issues

We will have a youngest and eldest, that is it. No middle child issues. I don’t know if birth order has that much effect on a child’s life, but still it is not an issue for us. Each child will have her crown of glory, one as the eldest and one as the ‘baby’ of the family.

[bctt tweet=”We will only be having two children, the balance feels just right for us. ” username=”cherralle_”]

Divide and conquer

When we are home or going out, we divide and conquer, or ‘each one takes one.‘ I take a child, and my husband takes a child, and we are sorted. With three, what must happen? We have a ‘delicate’ balance at this point, and it is getting better the older they are getting.

Related Post: Part 1: Our Journey of Equally Shared Parenting

Money: School fees  and they do need to eat

Raising children is an expensive exercise. With the rising cost of living and the challenges in our education system in SA, we are okay with only having two children. We aim to live as responsibly as we can, and we manage. We are both hard working parents and we want to be able to enjoy our lifestyle.

The car situation

The car only takes two car seats, so I don’t know what must happen with a third child. I do not see us getting a bigger car to accommodate three children. I am sure families do manage fine, but we are okay with only having two children.

Only having two kids

Family of four just feels right

With four, we feel very balanced out. It can be two against two in any family scenario. My husband will probably say it’s not balanced as its three girls and him!

Related Post: Mama, Step Up And Take Your Seat At the Table…the Play table

The needs of our children are becoming similar

Ava is turning one and Caitlyn is four years old. We are noticing now that things are becoming a bit easier as our routines as a family settles in. What I mean by this is that the chaos is calming down, maybe a different type of chaos is to come?

They both go to sleep now within one hour of each other and wake up at roughly the same time. They share a room (when Caitlyn is not in our bed 🙂 ), and Ava is enjoying more ‘regular’ food now. To reach this point and to revert to caring for an infant, I cannot see that in the cards right now.

Happy and sad, that babyhood is almost done for us!

Our little one is turning one in a less than a month.

only having two kids

That is the last of babyhood for us. Ava is such a cuddly and lovable baby, and it will be our last experience of having a baby. I am also looking forward to us being able to do different things as the girls are growing up. We will be done with nappies, sleep routines, carrying a baby bag around, all that jazz.

Right now, I am very comfortable and happy with our family of four. I feel that things are finally starting to settle down in our home as the girls are growing older. This is why we are only have two children!

What about you? Are you done having children or are you planning to grow your brood 🙂

 

Part 1: Our Journey of Equally Shared Parenting

This is part  1 of a post on our family’s journey of equally shared parenting. Part 2 was posted here, which is my husband’s take on this!

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”
― Sheryl SandbergLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Recently I read about how businesses are aspiring to create equal opportunities and reduce the pay gap between men and women in the workplace. In my opinion (and some other studies actually) home and family strategies are also needed to achieve equality at work.

[bctt tweet=”Create space for men to step up at home in order to create the opportunity for women to lead at work” username=”cherralle_”]

Equality starts at home. Equality in the home represents the sharing of household and childcare responsibilities.

father and daughter parenting

When building your career, you need to commit time and energy to your job. However running a household and significant time off required for any matters related to the home and children, has an impact on how one can progress. I wrote here about the maternal wall bias mothers face at work.

We know that women do more household work than men, but here is one of the many referenced studies which proved it. I see what you are thinking; we know this, did we REALLY need a study to show women do more housework than men?

Another challenge with parents driving their careers: who is taking care of our children when fathers and mothers are both driving careers? One way to address these gaps is through creating equal homes. By sharing the family workload, a mother (and father) will have more space to focus on their career or any pursuit for that matter.

Related Post: The Maternal Wall: How to Disrupt Bias Against Working Mothers

How we strive for equally shared parenting in our home (*warning* we have wins and misses)

Do not every let a father babysit his child, ever

Mamas, please do not refer to your partner taking care of their child as babysitting and do not allow anyone else to refer to it in that way. Lets change the narrative. Its called parenting. Plain old parenting.

Allow and encourage your partner change diapers, feed the baby, bathe the baby, and do not correct him. Unless someone’s life is at stake, let your partner figure out his way. I don’t know about y’all, but with my first child, no magic kicked in that gave me mad ‘baby care skills.’ Day by day, I needed to figure out how to hold the baby, feed the baby, burp the baby, what to do when the baby is crying. I had to learn that, and a man can learn this too in the same way. In fact, my husband did. He is pretty good at it.

[bctt tweet=”Let’s change the narrative, fathers do not babysit ever, it’s just plain parenting.” username=”cherralle_”]

Fathers must be given space to figure it out

Allow fathers the space to figure it out. Sometimes they want to, but we stand in their way:

  • We discourage them because we want to ‘correct’ and show them the ‘right way’. Is it really a train smash if they don’t rub lotion on the baby in an exact precise way?
  • We put pressure on ourselves that we need to be seen to be running with certain things because we are a bad mother if we do not.

Related Post: The Side of Motherhood We Do Not Post On Instagram

Father's day - daughter and father

Husbands and fathers, lean in at home

Please lean in to your families. Example, when there is a new baby in the house – understand that the mother needs support and the baby needs parenting. Change diapers, feed the baby, take baby for a walk to give the mother of your child a break. Hell, go all out, and run with meals.

During my first maternity leave, my husband would ‘take over’ when he came from work, do as much as possible and bring supper home. He also wanted his ‘bonding’ time, and did as much as he could in the little time he had after work and on weekends with our baby girl. This was the turning point in my life when grocery shopping on my own became an outing I looked froward to!

Tag team

For the last four years since our first child was born, we tag team everything. Who needs to be home in the afternoon; taking turns to look after the kids when they are booked off sick; or when there is a taxi strike and our nanny cannot get to work. We even tag team weekend pursuits, so we each have some timeout as well in our individual capacities (we try!). This has relieved us of the pressure to be away from work all the time (this is a reality of parenthood) and has helped us to maintain focus on our careers and personal passions. It is not easy but we work through it and do what works for us.

[bctt tweet=”Equality starts at home with men and women contributing in the home to housework and childcare” username=”cherralle_”]

As a couple, set goals and challenge current norms

As a couple, challenge stereotypes where you can. I am guilty of letting things slide too. Although in our home we strive for equally shared parenting, the subtle judgment makes me back off sometimes. When I am referring to something that my husband does for our family, I get that look from people like something is misfiring in their brain. ‘Your husband wakes up to give your baby milk and you just sleep?‘. Yeah. I sleep. Like a baby.

I am also clueless on which medicines apply in which scenarios when the children are ill. My husband has a better relationship with our family doctor and he knows kids’ medicines (it’s a super power). So he always knows exactly what needs to happen when they are ill.

At the same time, I always end up being the one that runs with ‘family projects’. Example, when we travel, when my daughter needs stuff for school,  when we moved house,  gifts, etc. That is okay because I don’t mind. So I guess it balances out. Ha! We do what works for us. Its not fifty fifty exactly,  not even close, its a perfect imbalance. We do not keep a log book but we try to each contribute in our own way.

Finally…

It is only logical. To gain access to the leadership talents of women, we need to create space for women to be mothers and work. To have  equality in companies and governments, we need equal homes. For women to increase their roles in the workplace, men need to increase their roles in the home. My personal view is that if society is consistently making mothers feel forced to choose between children and a career, no one will pick careers. I need to restate this quote again, because it sums it all up.

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”

– Sheryl Sandberg

What does equally shared parenting mean for you,  can we strive for it or it is a pipe dream?

Further Reading:

Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mother

Featured Image: istock

Images: Pixabay

 

 

 

The Side of Motherhood That We Don’t Post on Instagram

Motherhood is not always joyous. I am not writing this for validation. And the trolls, please, this is my blog. Click the X and leave if you have an issue.

Social media is a highlights reel of life, and there are other sides to me, to all of us.

Parenting, is not always fun. It’s tiring, exhausting, and sometimes I want to do other stuff. But I am home and I do my part for my family.

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. And I decided to take on this responsibility.

  1. I accept that it is not fun all the time. By accepting when I am just tired, overwhelmed and didn’t feel like cooking or doing something, I can just feel and deal with the emotion.
  2. I have an outstanding partner in my husband. He allows me the space to disconnect from time to time and be alone.
  3. I am an introvert by nature. I need to be alone. Like really alone. And just read, or write to reframe myself. Even if it’s just 30 minutes in the middle of a day on a Sunday or whenever.

Caitlyn 1 week old
Maybe I am just not a touchy feely person, but some of the things never resonated with me.

  1. Birth was not a magical experience. I was lucky in both cases as I had short deliveries. But they were painful. I wanted pain medication so badly, so badly, but the anaesthetist could not come in time. Up until today, when I sneeze, I need to be careful that I don’t wee (moms who gave birth know what I mean). TMI!
  2. Pregnancy was never magical. The first one was okayish, the second was horrible. I was tired all the time, at times I could not eat, drink or sleep. Barely coping. I had morning sickness up until I was around six months pregnant.
  3. I could not cope with waking up multiple times at night after my kids were born. Both my children were sleep coached by 12 weeks.
  4. Breastfeeding was never beautiful for me. It was painful and disappointing. I spent thousands on trying to get this right. I had a personal breast feeding consultant, feeding bras; then I moved to pumping exclusively. I rented a hospital grade pump; I bought the hands-free kit, more bras. It is clearly a huge industry; there are a lot things that goes along with pumping.

[bctt tweet=”The ‘magic’ may not always be there. It is okay to have your unique motherhood experience.” username=”cherralle_”]

So why am I even saying all of this?

Because I believe that each motherhood experience is unique, and you should be allowed to feel what you need to without fear of judgment.

I cannot define my whole being by my motherhood. I need to be other things. In that sense I am glad I chose the husband that I have, because he partners with me in our family life.

[bctt tweet=”Each motherhood experience is unique and you should be allowed the space without fear of judgement” username=”cherralle_”]

Is motherhood fulfilling?

For me, yes.

To be honest, sometimes it’s also not fulfilling. Sometimes it’s draining.

I have two beautiful, smart and feisty daughters. And I have the pleasure of raising them together with my husband. That is a gift and I will risk my own life for my girls. Just because I admit that its not sunshine and roses all the time does not mean I do not love them. I do love them and I am proud to be their mother. When I see them making each other laugh, or Caitlyn bringing Ava a top when she is cold –  my heart melts.

Overall, I feel that we need to play open cards on the realities of parenthood. It’s not all sunshine and roses and ‘Instagrammable’.

But I am calling it, motherhood has two sides. The beautiful part that we put on Instagram, and the other part that we need to also admit that we feel and share.

Related Reading:

When I Came Home With Baby Number 2

6 Tips for Surviving Morning Sickness At Work

Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mother

Pumping Breast Milk at Work: The Law And What Moms Have To Say