Web writing course inspires working mother

The web writing course offered by the SA Writer’s College is an investment in my creative talents and also my future career.

Convenient course for working mothers

The online course which is super convenient for working mothers, as you can complete it at your own pace inspired me to start writing again after having my baby.

Writing is a part of me

I was busy writing a novel while pregnant, but ended up losing motivation and inspiration, especially after the birth of my son.  I was hectically busy and always tired. For a long time, I wrote nothing at all.

The situation got worse when I became a working mother, as I ended up being even busier and more tired and cranky, partly because I wasn’t writing. I realised that writing is a part of me.  It’s a way to express my victories and frustrations.

Inspired to look at life differently

The course helped to ease my transition of going back to work after maternity leave, even if I only started it a few months after my return. It was like a weight fell from my shoulders when I could express myself again and the blog I created for working mothers encouraged me to look at life differently.

The course also inspired me to overcome the challenge of finding time to write. As a busy working mom, I’m always on the run with hardly a moment for myself. I partly overcome this issue by buying a  Lenovo A10 IdeaPad which allows me to write basically anywhere, e.g. on the train to and from work.

Career opportunities

I’ve also come to realise that web writing and social media will open other career opportunities for me, such as becoming a Digital Copywriter or Social Media manager. As a working mother, I’m always hoping to find a more flexible or part time career opportunity.

Completing the course is also a step towards my future goal of being able to work from home. I would like to build a strong online presence to be able to achieve this.



Toddler Talk: Get your little one to communicate

You and your baby may have had conversations in baby language since he was three months old, but from 12 to 17 months things start to get really exciting. My little guy is adding new words to his vocabulary on a daily basis.

Baby talk from one to two

From around his first birthday, your baby, who is now a toddler and increasingly becoming  independent, may begin to use one or more words and know what they mean. Baby might say his first words at 11 to 14 months when his tongue and lips become more dexterous and his brain starts to match up objects with names. It can be quite a shock when you suddenly realise your baby actually knows what he’s talking about!

At around 15 months they can start using hand gestures to emphasise what they are saying, such as pointing and waving. My son wants to be picked up, points at everything and then asks you Wass this?  He frequently surprises me with his newfound ability to remember words and concepts.

By the time he is two years old, your toddler may be using 50 or more words, as well as basic sentences.

Studies have shown that you can increase the intelligence of your children by talking to them. There is a lot that you can do to help your child get the hang of talking.

How to help your toddler talk

  • Start early – your child’s ears and the part of his brain that responds to sound are well-developed by birth.
  •  Sing to them. Babies love music and this is a great way to introduce new sounds.  My son loves my horrible singing voice and makes as much noise as possible when I sing. 😛
  • Talk to your child as much as possible. The more you talk to him, the more new words he will learn and the better he will get at talking.  It is quite evident that my son picks up words he hears on a regular basis.
  •  Help your toddler make connections between actions and objects. Point at things and tell your toddler what they are. Give everything a name. This will help baby build his vocabulary.  It is a delightful surprise when they start remembering things that you point out to them.
  •  Watch for cues from your child – see what interests him and respond to this.  My boy will usually ask you what he wants to know.
  •  Use short sentences and key words when you talk to your toddler. This will help him focus on the key information.
  • Make time to sit in front of your toddler and talk to him, so that he can watch you talking.
  • Look at books with your toddler regularly. Your toddler will learn by listening to you talk about the pictures. You will also build a lifelong love of books.  Unfortunately my son still tends to eat all his books. 😛
  • Have a dialogue with your baby and be sure to answer when he babbles out of the blue. This will teach him how a conversation works.  Baby loves it when we talk to him and the conversation can become very loud and animated.
  • Play silly games like peekaboo, as this reinforces listening skills and turntaking, which are key skills for holding a flowing conversation.
  • Build your child’s vocabulary when he is slightly older, by asking him to tell you stories. When you took a trip somewhere, ask him to tell you what happened.

Remember, even though there are many things you can do from birth onward to encourage your baby to talk, every child will still reach this milestone at his own pace.

Working Mothers: 10 ways to beat the guilt

You are not alone if you are feeling guilty about going out to work every day and leaving your small kids at crèche or with other caretakers.

In an ideal world you would be able to work from home, but this is not the reality for most of us.

Life changes

The guilt can be a sign that you need to make changes to your life. For me personally it would be to find a job that allows greater flexibility. Others may need to find a new childcare provider or ask their husbands to be more involved.

Beat the guilt by following these tips:

  1. Think about/write down the reasons you work. You may need the money or actually love your job. Once you have decided you are doing what you need to do, simply let go of the guilt. When the guilt feeling rears its ugly head on occasion, I remind myself that I need the money to give my son a better life.
  2. Take time off to spend with your children and reconnect with them.
  3. Remember that stay at home moms also face challenges and can have as much stress as working parents. Enjoy the opportunity to have a peaceful cup of coffee at your desk. I especially cherish these moments on a Monday, after a weekend with my busy little boy.
  4. Slow down for a cup of coffee with a friend and get your groove back.
  5. Arrange with your boss to work from home sometimes, if you have this option and an understanding boss. This is my goal for the immediate future and the holy grail I still hope to find.
  6. Make it clear at work that your family is your priority. Set boundaries and don’t take on other people’s work, especially if this means you would have to work overtime.
  7. Acknowledge that you are giving up things by working, but gaining other things in return. I can provide my son with a decent life and I am saving for his future education.
  8. Don’t try to go it alone as a working mom. Ask for help from friends and relatives and connect with other working mothers at your workplace or even online. Trying to be a super mom will just leave you exhausted and frustrated.
  9. Acknowledge that you are flexible and resilient. Super working moms have the amazing ability to respond to changing circumstances, such as the sudden ear infection or a bout of puking.
  10. Remember that life is always changing and your current work situation may not last forever. You may get the opportunity to work from home or part time.

Celebrate your life

Celebrate the fact that you are a good example to your children by showing them that women have a valid contribution to make to the workplace. Recent studies also show that working mothers actually aid their children’s development as they have better mental health and were able to have better relationships with their children.

Just let me sleep…

Not a pretty thing

Lack of sleep is not a pretty thing, as evidenced by my ugly, drooping eyelids and sallow skin.

It’s also not healthy, as I can feel by the burning itch in my throat. After a few nights of very bad sleep, it seems I might be in for another dose of the winter sniffles.

Desperate attempts

As I’m writing this entry on the train, I can feel my eyelids drooping.  I type even faster in a desperate attempt to stay awake.

The culprit

The culprit causing the sleep deprivation equals one sick little man who also couldn’t sleep. Not his fault that mommy is a zombie today and not much that can be done about the situation.

If only

If only I could stay at home under these circumstances, catch up on sleep and then log in on my laptop to work once I felt better and more awake.

But no

You are obligated to pretend you are superwoman, taking a leading role at work while surviving on three hours sleep a night. Trying to stay awake by overdosing on caffeine and sugar. There is no rest for the wicked and you feel guilty when you even think about resting.

How long?

Can this situation continue? Not indefinitely.  Eventually…

  1. My work performance might slip. I’m too tired to care or just don’t care anymore, as the company doesn’t care about my situation as a working mother.
  2. I will find another, more flexible job.
  3. I will continue in this vein for as long as possible, until my health starts to suffer, leading to prolonged absences from work.

The solution

  • Just let me sleep. Don’t moan if I get to work late, as I often log in at other times when I’m not at the office to catch up on work.
  • Let me work flexible hours and allow me to work from home on a regular basis. In this way I will be happy and healthy and the work will get done.

At the moment

I look forward to the possibility of getting some sleep tonight.

My talkative boy

At fifteen months, our Ewan loves to talk, so you have to be extremely careful what you say in the Taylor household these days.

He’s a little parrot at the moment, repeating words he hears on a regular basis. I sometimes wonder how he selects these gems that he chatters in his own special accent, until he is tired of them.

Little man spends his days at granny day care, so often comes out with her favourite words, such as oh dear, which is pronounced oh deaah, in his old man-baby voice. Granny admonished him for not wanting to eat his food, but eating rubbish from the floor. He listens and then exclaims at the top of his voice; Babbish!

Ewan also want you to carry his sturdy little frame around, while he points at things, exclaiming; Wass diss (What is this). We name and explain, so it can only be hoped that his already growing vocabulary will benefit even further from this.

Then you have to be careful not to let the little talker hear any swear words. For a while oh shizzzzzz was his favourite word, something that may have been said on occasion by mommy. He loves nothing better than to sit kicking and screaming at the top of his voice, oh shizzz!, oh shizzz! If this should ever happen in public, mommy will pretend the little miscreant is saying something else.

He also loves to call his favourite dogs, Leo and grandpa’s dog, Oscar (Ozzy), or Weo and Oddie. The little man loves his Weo so much that he often feeds him his favourite toys through the door. Weo then leaves little pieces of mangled plastic for mommy and daddy to find. On being asked where the magnificent Leo is, he will point at the window and exclaim outside!

Then there’s mama, dada, daddy, nana and papa. He is very attached to his dad and has started asking, Wess daddy or Wess the dadda. Wuff you is also a recent addition to his vocabulary.

Life with our little man has become an interesting adventure, as there is not telling what he will say or do next.