You Should Try This – Interview With A Toddler

I had such a fun time interviewing our 3 year old daughter, Caitlyn. If you are looking for a way to kill some time on Saturday afternoon, interview a toddler!

Although it was a challenge to get her to focus and sit still. There were way more questions, and this is what we managed to get out! She is growing so fast, and cannot believe the end of her toddler years are approaching.

cute toddler natural hair

 

Interview with a toddler

1. What is something mommy always says to you? Caitlyn, come eat. (I thought it would be something more profound..hahaha)

2. What is something daddy always say? Caitlyn I am going to ‘bliksem’ you

3. What is your favourite thing to do? Swimming

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

4. What makes you happy? Teacher at swimming (on this day she had her swimming lessons)

5. How old are you? 3 (showing three fingers), but I want to be 4 (shows four fingers)

6. How old is Mommy? 3 (okay)

Related Post: 10 Things I Miss About My Life Before Kids

[bctt tweet=”Super fun parent and toddler activity is to ‘Interview Your Toddler’. Here are some questions to try out!” username=”cherralle_”]

family photography toddler natural hair

7. How old is Daddy? 2 (okay)

8. Who is your best friend? Mamma (awhhh). Last week it was Eli and Evan from school, but okay.

9. What did you do today? I fell in the water at swimming (yes she did and her dad pulled her out, nothing serious)

10. What is your favourite food? Soup, bread and chicken (that was her lunch)

11. What is your favourite song? When it’s storming… (what they sing at school when its storming outside, I am not really sure?) and second favourite is Shosholoza

12. What do you want for your birthday this year? Rainbow dash (favourite character from My Little Pony, she also likes to be referred to as ‘Rainbow Dash Caitlyn’)

13. What is your favourite animal? Lion – so it can bite daddy

14. What is love? Mamma (awhhh…..too precious)

15. Where do you live? At home (well, what other answer did I expect)

This is definitely something I would want to do on an ongoing basis, these memories are too precious and the ‘interview’ was such fun. Even though I had to chase her  bit around the house. 🙂

 

Related Post:

Bye Bye Mommy Guilt – Why You Should Feel Proud of Being A Working Mom

 

 

 

 

5 signs that you are a millennial mom

A millennial mom is smart, technology savvy and  does not succumb to societal norms. Born during the 1980s to late 1990s, this is a generation of moms who have grown along with the rise of technology. They also have the unique challenge or raising kids completely immersed in the digital age.

Here are the 5 signs that you are a millennial mom

There is an app for that?!

If there is an app that can make your life easier, you have it. You use Ubereats for your takeout dinners, you use takealot  to purchase anything from formula, nappies, kids toys and  you book family vacays on Airbnb.

Brands and products who have managed to “integrate digitization and mobility”  and can make life easier for millennial moms will be highly valued, see article from DigiDay. 

Are you smarter than a millennial mom?

You are educated and comfortable researching a variety of topics online pertaining to your kids. Millennial moms are  more educated than any other generation of moms, and they use this to the advantage of their families.

They said what?!

You don’t move on a brand purchase, until you have found their online presence. You also ask your close friends and colleagues for advice on purchases and you freely share reviews too.

36% of millennials moms do not trust marketing campaigns, and rather want to read  unbiased reviews or chat to friends.

Do not label my parenting style

As millennial mom, you have different sides to your personality and  your parenting style is reflective of this. Thus, you may be a combination of a  home maker, fashionista, cook, bread winner and a working mom.

The one common thread about millennial moms is their focus on their children. Check out this article by Weber Shanwick  where the diverse parenting styles of  a millennial mom are discussed. This is a dilemma for brands and products who cannot ‘pin point’ marketing to millennial moms.

More than just a mom

You need to be able to express your whole self, whether that is through personal hobbies or just “me time”. Your role as a mom is only one aspect of who you are, albeit a very important one there are other sides to you.

Being a millennial mom to me is about individuality and being able to comfortably express myself . I have a traditional role in our family sometimes, but I am also independent and  driven by my own aspirations.

There you have it! Tell me in the comments, what makes you a unique millennial mom?

 

Maternity Leave – 5 Practical Steps to Make Returning to Work Easier

Returning back to work after being on maternity leave is a daunting experience. I fully enjoyed both my maternity leaves and being a stay at home mom for that time. I must admit I was happy to join the world of work again.

However, there were challenges integrating back into work and the below steps helped me to ease back into things.

Further Reading: Pumping Breast Milk at Work: The Law and What Moms Have To Say

Here are 5 practical tips to make integrating back to work easier.

back to work from maternity leave

Have a 1:1 with your manager before your official return

It is useful to take a touch point before your return to work, in order to understand how the team and work allocations have evolved in your absence. Schedule a 30 minute coffee catch up a few weeks before your return to check in with your manager and/ or colleagues.

[bctt tweet=”Schedule a 30 minute coffee catch up a few weeks before your return to check in with your manager and/ or colleagues” username=”cherralle_”]

Do a few test runs before you actually return to work

During both my maternity leaves, I actively started spending short amounts of time away from home from about two to three weeks before returning to work. This allowed my helper and the babies space to bond without me mothering around. It also helped me and the babies get use to being away from each other. And… I got a whole lot of free time to relax and have some me time.

Take a lead role in planning your work life integration

Returning from maternity leave means that your life style has changed. This has a definitive impact on how you manage your time and energy between work and home.  If you don’t plan your life and work, it will be planned for you.

Be firm with boundaries, and be flexible when you are able to. What works for me is that on a daily basis I have a recurring block out in my diary between 16h00 – 17h00. This helps me to consolidate my last hour at work, and also limits me being pulled into last minute meetings that run over. I am flexible around it of course, but I have had zero issues in the last 3 years of doing this.

Further Reading: Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mom

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Accept that it will be difficult to figure out your new lifestyle with work.

You are no longer the person you were before. There will be lots and lots of mommy guilt that you may feel around leaving your child, and lots of ‘career guilt’ as you feel you are just not as available anymore. No special formula exists, just figure out what works for you and be intentional about it.

[bctt tweet=”There will be lots of mommy guilt once you return to work from maternity, don’t be so hard on yourself” username=”cherralle_”]

Talk to other moms

We are all in trying to make this thing called ‘motherhood’ work.

Motherhood is the most beautiful thing in this world to me, but its also terrifying, and kids can be annoying.

I have come to realise that moms face similar challenges, we just need to talk to each other about it. [bctt tweet=”Parenting is not a science, it is about doing the best we can to love and protect our families.” username=”cherralle_”]

Did I miss anything? What made your integration back to work after maternity leave easier?

Further Reading: {Working Mom Hack} 7 Tips to Get More Time for Yourself and Your Family

To my husband on father’s day

I am always talking about how wonderful and cute my kids are. So today for father’s day I want to  dedicate this post to my husband who is kinda awesome too.

here goes…

When we met I knew you would be an incredible father, although I did not know how much I would love you for it. Even then, you believed in family values and I was sort of overwhelmed.

 

It was a bit too intense for me then. I am glad you are the one I chose to build a family with, and here is why.

 

new baby, father, father's day

You are the foundation of our family and I appreciate all you do for me and our girls.

You constantly go above and beyond for our family, making sure we are well looked after in every way, especially by being present. Watching you with the kids, I can see that being a father to our girls is a role you take very seriously and  that you take pride in.

I can see that they bring you so much joy and you bring to them.

When one of the girls are up in the night, you are there without (much 🙂 ) complaining.

When the kids are sick and need to see the doctor or we need a quick prescription, you quickly sort it out. You always take Caitlyn for swimming or play games outside, you gladly take her. When I need to work late you are there, you are always there without complaints. And I thank you for being there, for me and our girls in all the ways.

I love you Zane, and thank you for sharing this journey called parenthood with me.

Fathers day - daughter and dad

Father's day - daughter and father
Source: i-Stock

 

Tips for managing kids’ screen time

Let’s be honest, it is easy to give your child a phone or tablet when you need them to keep themselves occupied.  In this digital age kids are surrounded by screens constantly. The AAP   and Common Sense Media stresses that it is important to monitor children’s screen time. Although it is important for kids to know how to operate as ‘digital natives’, there are limits that need to be placed on screen time

How much screen time is okay?

All screens are equal

Spending time on a LeapPad, IPhone, and then watching Tv  are all considered screen time and need to be added up.

Limited screen time to between 1 – 2 hours max per day

Actively monitor what your kids are up to when watching TV/ screens, and encourage other forms of activity and play as well. Reading, playing games, arts and crafts are more stimulating entertaining for young minds. In our home, we allow Caitlyn (my three year old) mostly free reign on weekends, however we do limit her screen time in the week. To be honest, if its a day turns out to be a heavy TV/ screen day, then we just balance it out.

Be a positive role model

The reality is that when you are watching tv, guess what, your child will want to emulate you. Display positive behaviours such as reading and other forms of activities.  Be present and engaged with your child, play together, or read a book together. Invite your child  help you with small housework chores. Caitlyn absolutely loves doing the dishes with me (although its more clean up afterwards for me!).

Watch tv together

Make watching movies and programmes with your kids a habit so that it becomes a family activity. Consequently, you will be less likely to use tv as a ‘babysitter’. Watching a movie with Caitlyn on the weekend after Saturday morning activities is a good way to relax.

Hide or disable the screens

Yes I hide the screens! I find in our house it is just better sometimes to not have the phone or  laptop in sight. This way we don’t even think about a screen and we end up doing other activities like puzzles, colouring, etc.

I am conscious of my daughter’s screen time, but I am not fanatic about it. If she ends up watching a lot of tv as that’s just how the day turned out, then we just balance out in the next day or two.

What are your thoughts on screen time?

 

All Hell Broke Loose When I Came Home With Baby Number 2

Becoming a mother is exhilarating, wonderful and terrifying at the same time. I know because I have two beautiful daughters. When I had my second baby Ava, it was as magical meeting her for the first time as it was with my eldest, Caitlyn.

Although…going home with a new baby the second time around was completely different. I was so unprepared.

Related Post: Are Antenatal Classes Worth it? Real Moms and Experts Weigh In

 

The Birth

I had quite a ‘smooth’ birth. So I hear! Apparently I am lucky that it was a short birth. It still hurt like hell though.

I had slight cramps during the day, and I went in for a scheduled induction that evening which never happened.

I was about 2 cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital at around 8pm. My second daughter Ava was born somewhere around 11pm that night. My husband took the most ghastly pictures of me (it ain’t pretty and will NEVER see the light of day) but a beautiful moment nonetheless.

 

At the hospital

I felt great after the birth and was eager to get home to Caitlyn. I had a sense of confidence (or cockiness) – like ‘I got this’. It was a false sense of confidence.

So I left the hospital as soon as possible. Although the hospital requested that I stay an extra day. Ever so confident, I respectfully declined,

After the first night home, I regretted not taking the extra day in hospital.

It was a big adjustment for everyone. Firstly, breastfeeding was not working out. I just did not understand how something so ‘natural’ felt so completely unnatural to me. I tried, I really tried.

There were a lot of tears, mine, Ava and Caitlyn’s.

I  hired a hospital grade breast pump and for two weeks solid (it felt much longer) I pumped day and night 6 to 8 times a day. Pumping consumed our lives. I was refrigerating milk, sterilizing bottles, I even acquired a hands free pumping kit. The production line was in full swing.

I spent a fortune on my breast feeding journey. I had a breast feeding nurse; pump (free from medical aid); then hired a hospital grade pump; hands free kit; nipple protectors; cream – the works!

 

 

Joy escaped me

I had limited time with Caitlyn, Ava and my husband. It was an unhappy time. There was no joy. After two weeks I decided to stop it and just focus on being present.

I gave up on pumping. Of course, I felt like the worse mother in the world. The motherhood guilt settled in like an old friend.

Things got a bit better after that. I could rest a bit a more, go to bed early (as no scheduled pumps). Not being under constant pressure of pumping every 2 – 3 hours was amazing.

The shift from one child to two was hard

I was constantly exhausted, having two children to take care of kept me on my toes daily.

Caitlyn’s sleep deteriorated badly in this period, and for about two weeks straight Caitlyn got up at 4am to get the day started.  That is waking up at 4am to see to Caitlyn after Ava just gone back sleep.

I also underestimated the impact it would have on Caitlyn overall. Adjusting from being the only child, to having a new person in her space was a significant change. Caitlyn struggled quite a bit at the beginning and she needed time to adapt to the new world.

However, I am happy to say that as time passed their relationship grew.  Ava is 8 months old and they have already developed a strong bond.

And  I am thrilled about having two little girls.

I had to learn to let go,  not sweat the small things, and not stress too much about the routine. It took time to adjust, but now I honestly cannot picture my life without both my girls.

Herewith (yet another) picture of my two beautiful angels 🙂

 

Further Reading: 7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Kids

Two kids, baby

 

 

 

5 Things that I had to get over when becoming a mom

 

Staying somewhat sane with two kids and a demanding job, requires using my energy wisely, patience and lots of it. My time at home is always focused on: feeding, bathing, cleaning up and making snacks. That’s it. Those are the 4 things that I am doing at any given time at home.  Being a mom is the most rewarding aspect of my life, and there certain things I have come to realise  I just needed to get over.

These are 5 things that I just had to get over when becoming a mom

#1. NO more sleeping in

Yip not an option any more. When we had one child, there was always at least one morning on a weekend where my husband would take care of my daughter  and I could catch an extra hour of sleep until 7am on a weekend. Yip 7 am was sleeping in. Now 7 am is also gone. Forever.

#2. Actually eating at a restaurant

When we get invited to lunch to a place that is not ‘family friendly’ (i.e. no play area) I prepare a game plan which could consist out: LeapPad, colouring book, Showmax on standby, a getaway plan, etc. Come on guys, we need a play area.

#3. Planning a family holiday, sigh…

When planning a trip with the kids, forget about the cute little romantic bed & breakfasts of your youthful past, you need to find a practical self catering unit. You need access to a kitchen to prepare the never ending meals and snacks and enough space for play time, and a washing machine. Wait, isn’t this meant to be a holiday?

#4. You will sit, watch, enjoy and discuss ‘my little pony’ with your kid

Forget about Greys and Game of Thrones. You will sit, watch and enjoy, your kids’ shows with them.

#5 I would not trade these things for anything!

Although its super early on a Saturday morning, when my three year old comes to cuddle in our bed, she has this bright happy smile on her face which is priceless. She is happy to see my husband and I in the morning. When we watch her kiddies show together, I like cuddling with her and listening to her laugh at the jokes. It does not matter what we give up when having kids, the rewards are priceless and infinite. And i would not have it any other way. Below is a picture of me and my girls, on a weekend in cape town, in a practical self catering, ground floor unit 🙂

 

Mom and the girls