How I learnt to be a Mom

I’ve never been a particularly maternal person. I like kids and babies when they belong to people I love, but I won’t walk up to a stranger to coo at their children, and I’ve never felt that motherhood would be my defining role in life. Still, that was before I met Arthur and Ella (who are, without doubt, the most remarkable children the world has ever seen – of course!) and at the moment life is all about mothering, all the time. I think this is probably true of anyone with a baby and a toddler, but I’ve been thinking, lately, of how I learnt to be a Mom… And the answer, of course, is from my mom.

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What I’m grateful for (right now):

Because I just skimmed an article that said when you’re feeling kind of grouchy (which I am, for no particular reason other than Monday morning drudge that is too boring to detail) the best way to snap out of it is to summon some gratitude. So here’s mine, in no particular order:

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Living in Hout Bay

When we moved to Hout Bay from the Cape Town City Bowl, I kept waiting to miss our old ‘hood. I had loved living in town so much – the vibe, the constant stream of things to do, the feeling of being in the heart of Cape Town with a lovely view of Table Mountain. But then we moved to Hout Bay, and a year and a half later, I’m still waiting for the day I wake up and wish we lived in town again.

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The beautiful ordinary

When I was younger, I was all for extremes.

I remember one of my favourite quotes in my late teens and early twenties was from Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’:

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Now? Oh my goodness that sounds exhausting. Doesn’t it? I’m all for the beautiful ordinary. (more…)

A sense of style

I had the most amazing morning last weekend: I went clothes shopping. For myself! This might not sound like that much of a treat but I’m not exaggerating when I say I haven’t bought myself new clothes in over a year and a half. I was planning on getting pregnant, so there was no point. And then I was pregnant, so there was no point. And then I was overweight, so there was no points. And then breastfeeding. But now, although I am still not quite back to normal and although I am still breastfeeding, I am sick to death of looking frumpy. So I went on a shopping spree!

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Two kids teething at once

I feel like that should be the title of a horror movie: Two Kids Teething At Once (accompanied by a screaming face of despair). Forgive me the dramatics, but I am nearing on 3 weeks of terrible sleep and last night was possibly the worst yet… Although they’re all blurring into one at the moment. (more…)

The primary caregiver blues

I ran out of patience this morning before 8.30am. That has to be some kind of record, doesn’t it? I’m suffering from a case of what I call the Primary Caregiver Blues. (more…)

Solo parenting

It’s Tuesday afternoon and I find myself with the first chunk of alone time I’ve had in 12 days – no exaggeration. Mark returned from a 12 day trip to China at lunchtime today, and I am relishing having another parent in the house. How do single parents do it?

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My favourite life advice

When Mark and I walked the Camino, I asked some of our friends to give us their favourite poems so I could learn them as I walked… This one was my absolute favourite, and gave me such a feeling of calm and presence as I walked (closely followed by Oh! The Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss, which is slightly less calming…)

It feels particularly apt at the moment, when the world outside can seem extraordinarily busy and hard.

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One of the worst weeks of my life

This has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. And I don’t say that lightly – there have only been four times in my life when I’ve thought, “I don’t think I can take much more.” This was one of them.

And I feel like if I write it down I can put a full stop behind it and it will all be over. Please God. So here’s what happened…

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