Slow Down, Mama

I find myself rushing ALL THE TIME. It has become so ingrained in me to do everything as fast and efficiently as I possibly can that, even at times when there is no reason to rush – I am hurried. I drive with haste (though not recklessly), and am easily annoyed if the car in front of me doesn’t move the instant the light turns green.

I remember a time that doesn’t seem so long ago, when I would trot through a mall, casually stopping to admire something in a display window, popping inside on whim. Nowadays, trips to a mall are rather efficient affairs, generally armed with a detailed list and a plan of action already mapped out.

Grocery shopping is much the same except I write my grocery list in accordance to where the items are located in the store. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking efficiency and planning. That’s my jam! But something happened last week made me stop and think that maybe I need to slow down a bit.

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday. The girls had just finished a ballet lesson in Umhlanga and we decided to pop down to the beach across the road for a morning stroll. I found myself holding Harper’s hand, and ushering her along quickly, before she said: “I know we have to hurry mama”.

I was slightly taken aback, and enquired why we had to hurry. And her reply left me feeling like a real sh*t mom: “because we always have to hurry”. So, my stress, which I manifest as a constant state of ‘rush’ has now been conveyed to my toddler.

I walked the rest of the way to the beach in silence, mindfully slowly, and as the girls got stuck into building castles on the sand, I asked my husband if he felt that I was in a constant state of haste. His response was a loud laugh, confirming that I am indeed moving at breakneck pace and pushing them all to keep up. (Except he said it a little nicer than that – thankfully).

It stayed with me all day until the girls were finally asleep that night and I could really think about how I had been behaving in recent years. They were right of course. Something had happened along the way, and the girl who stopped to smell the roses had become the mother who stopped for well… nothing.

Man, I felt so guilty of inflicting that on my family! I don’t want to be the mom that is pushing them along all the time. I want to be the mom that is present, relaxed, fun. Surely I can be well-organized and still enjoy the little moments with my children? Where do I draw the line?

Firstly, I need to be mindful of how and when I convey haste. If we do need to hurry for any reason (maybe we’re late for something), I am going to communicate that to my children in a manner they will understand. I don’t want them thinking that we need to rush all the time, but allow them to understand when urgency is required, and why.

But more than anything I’m going to start making a conscious decision the be more present. And on the days when we have nowhere to go and nothing to do, I am going to allow then to set the pace. It will not be easy… I have been conditioned to run from one task to the next… but I am going to try my best to slow down and soak up this crazy, messy word of motherhood. I owe to my kids.

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10 Reasons why Checkers Little Garden gets Big Thumbs Up

We love collectibles. There – I said it. We collected all the Stickeez and the mini shop items. We collected super animal cards. Angry birds and McDonald’s happy meal toys. It’s a sickness, really.

The only problem with our OCD collection skills, is that several tiny toys and more than a few cards, are now sitting at the bottomest bottom of the toybox, never to be seen or played with again. And the plastic – so much plastic. It’s not really good for our planet, now it is?

So when Checkers recently announced their new collectable campaign … I was pleasantly blown away! Here’s 10 reasons why the Twincesses and I love, love, LOVE the Checkers Little Garden:

1. It’s eco friendly: The materials used in the Little Garden seedling kits are compostable or recyclable: the pots are all biodegradable, made of wood pulp and peat. The seeds are all natural and the soil pods are made of coconut husk. Isn’t that amazing?!

2. It promotes family time: We just love that this initiative will encourage kids and parents to spend time together when tending their seedlings and the eventual garden that will result.

3. It encourages outside play: Anything that gets the kids excited about being outside, away from the TV or their tablets is a good thing, our humble opinion.

4. The accessories are seriously cute!: From little watering cans to petite wheelbarrows, the accessories that accompany the Little Garden campaign are a shrewd marketing move from Checkers. Parents will not be able to resist the miniature rakes, spades and garden shears in bright, bold colors.

5. It’s sustainable: Unlike the tiny plastic toys that have been long forgotten, the Little Garden promotes growing flowers, herbs and vegetables that should continue to flourish seasonally if tended well.

6. It’s educational: The concept promotes knowledge about growing your own food and food sustainability.

7. Gracie Greenfingers is the coolest kid on the block: The Little Garden mascot and master gardener is witty, sassy and seriously hip. She’s there to offer advice to budding gardeners and she could not be any cuter if she tried!

8. It promotes a new hobby: Gardening need not be reserved for the older folks anymore. With this initiative, kids can maybe find a new, unexpected hobby.

9. It’s water wise: The entire program encourages consumers to save as much water as possible. Some of the seedlings are drought tolerant and others will need just a little bit of water to flourish.

10. It’s effectively free: While the campaign will have you choosing Checkers above competitor stores just so you complete your collection, the seedling kits are free and you’ll receive one for every R150 you spend in store.

We can’t wait to complete our collection and for our seedlings to sprout!!

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Are you loving the Little Garden as much as we are? Let us know in the comments.

Flying with Kids – Lessons from a Survivor!

Flying with kids – it’s the stuff nightmares are made of for most parents, amiright?

1Well, it was for me anyway. The Twincesses were a mere 6 weeks old when we took an 11 hour flight from Paris, France to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.

We then had a 4 hour layover in Johannesburg before boarding a domestic flight to Durban. The weeks preceding the big trip literally gave me sleepless nights. Being a seasoned traveller, I was well aware of the exasperated “looks” and nasty comments parents sometimes deal with when flying with a fussy toddler.

I’ve collaborated with Travelstart to bring you some great tips for traveling with kids, so if you’re about to board a plane soon, little one in tow, read on for some helpful advice.

ZA_21Dec_FlyKids_Design_Infographic_800px_201217We followed Travelstart’s tips to the letter. We did our research and booked bulkhead seats in advance that came equipped with baby bassinets. We knew we could take our infant car seats on board, which alleviated the anxiety of them getting damaged in the hold.

Doing your research also helps to ensure you have all your travel documents ready as laws have changed dramatically in recent years regarding travelling with children. We had to apply for passports for the babies prior to travelling with them and the passport renewal process can sometimes be a bit confusing.

We packed clothes for all weathers in our carry-on luggage and a few extra sets for those inevitable ‘oopsies’. We were allowed to carry on board baby formula which the cabin crew were happy to heat up for us.

I ensured we had OTC pain medication in our carry on, as well as their favorite plush toys. We avoided toys that made any kind of noise (like rattles).

I was grateful to be able to book a flight that left Paris at 11:30pm, and to my amazement and utter joy, BOTH girls slept soundly throughout the flight, waking only to feed at intervals. I had been a nervous wreck for nothing!

Hearing the first-hand experiences of other parents also gave me some much-needed confidence prior to the trip.

 

Flying with kids can sometimes be stressful for the parent, but it is often a necessity and being prepared makes the trip enjoyable for everyone on board.

Our plan is to take the kids back to Paris this year to visit the family, and I will definitely be revisiting all Travelstart’s top tips prior to the journey!

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Travelstart. All opinions remain my own.

The Twincesses Turn Three

My girls are 3 years old!

As the girls (almost) share a birthday with Grandma, we whisked the whole family away to the Lake Eland Game Reserve in Oribi Gorge for a weekend celebration. They were thoroughly spoiled with presents from family and friends, as well as their besties at school.

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We enjoyed game drives and cool afternoons at the pool.

The girls got up close and personal with a few friendly giraffes and created memories that I hope will last a lifetime.

Lake Eland is very family friendly, with lots to offer in terms of activities and sights.

There are high-octane sports like ziplining and bungee jumping, as well as a suspension bridge for daredevils. Game drives can be booked via the hotel, but we opted for self-drives as the roads are fairly tame.

There are shallow kiddies pools available, as well as a lovely, large play area. There is a restaurant on site serving delicious light meals for breakfast and lunch. All this only 1.5 hours from Durban.

Of course, no birthday would be complete cake!

25 Daily Thoughts a Mom of a Toddler might have.

  1. So much to do, so little time
  1. Why won’t she eat her cereal? She loved it yesterday! Why? Why? WHY?
  1. Her laugh makes my heart sing.
  1. Why is she being a little monster today?
  1. My kid is SO smart. Smarter than most kids I know.
  1. Got her to nap for more than 45 minutes! Score! I’m really good at mommying!
  1. Why can’t she just play quietly by herself for a few minutes? I just need 5 minutes. Is that so much to ask for?
  1. Orange juice counts as a serving of fruit. Right?
  1. Her smile could stop traffic.
  1. Being a mom is SO hard. I can’t do this. I just can’t.
  1. My coffee is cold. Again.

Toddler Mom thoughts12. She won’t eat her lunch, but wants more Flings. Typical.

13. I love her SO MUCH.

14. Why won’t she stop crying?

15. She’s getting so big. It’s going too fast. 16. How can a tiny human create so much laundry!?

17. I need to get her to eat more veggies.

18. And I thought the new-born stage was hard!

19. When last did I eat something?

20. I can’t wait until she’s older and I’ll be her best friend.

21. If I have to sing the Barney tune one more time, I might die.

22. Who knew that strawberries and chicken could be eaten together?

23. I hope I get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight.

24. Is it too early for wine?

25. How did I get this lucky?