The saddest regret

An increasing number of mothers are coming forward and stating that they wish they never had their children.

They describe motherhood as a life-altering mistake and middle-class prison.

I cannot imagine life without my boys, therefore I can only feel sorry for these women (and some men). Some of them also make me angry…

Reasons

Many do have legitimate reasons, such as complex emotional problems and lives. Many women do become pregnant by accident.

However, plenty of people also seem to regret having their children for purely selfish reasons.

  • There’s the father who has to use anti-depressants, because he can’t face the fact that his one year old has needs which have to be satisfied before his own. He wants his life to go back to the way it was before he had a kid.
  • There’s the mother who feels she would have written 3 books by now if she had not had her kids. Surely she should have considered before having kids that she would now have less time for such pursuits, at least while the kids are small? And then are those ladies who feel they would have been much further along in their careers, but the children are holding them back…
  • You also get your outright narcissistic and abusive parents. One young lady was abused by her mother who also decided she did not want kids after having them.
  • Some people are actually good parents, but seemingly unable to enjoy parenthood as they have unreasonable expectations of themselves.

Societal pressure

Apparently a life without kids is still regarded as inferior for women. Many of the women in the various newspaper articles and online chat groups, mentioned they were pressured by society to procreate. I’ve never experienced this bias (or maybe I’m just thick-skinned and unknowingly ignored it), even though I only got married and had my first child at the age of 34. Somehow it seems easy to blame societal/peer pressure for doing something you don’t want to do, when the regret hits you afterwards. But surely as a mature adult you can also make your own choices?

Don’t inflict yourself on innocent children if you don’t really want them. Having children may seem like the fashionable idea at the time and in tune with your crowd, but they can’t be returned to the shop if you grow tired of them.

I fully support people who don’t want children and consider this a normal and adult decision. But it’s unnecessary to act in a dysfunctional manner by having a child and then regretting it afterwards because you now have to make sacrifices in your career and personal life.

The boy who almost wasn’t

It’s been about a year since I last updated my blog. Boy, what a year it’s been. It’s been a year of boys.

The boy who almost wasn’t has now firmly settled in and is a fully fledged member of our family.

For those who aren’t aware, I chose to abort my previous pregnancy, after the fetus was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a heart that was not developing properly. A terrible (but we felt) necessary decision.

But now we have baby James, born almost 11 months after the abortion.  And Ewan is finally starting to love his brother after competing with him for attention for the first few months. At times he even shares his toys with him.

It’s been a year of love and learning.  Busy and stressful at times, but I’ve quickly learnt how to be a better parent.

And I’ve decided its time to become more myself and go on a personal journey of #bodypositivity.

Watch this space for related insights. 😛

 

Life of the pregnant working mother

The life of the pregnant working mother can be a challenge.

At the halfway mark

At the halfway mark of pregnancy myself, I have empathy for other working mothers in the same boat, especially those who already have small children.

Tiredness and disrupted sleep

And my sympathy to those who also suffer from severe sickness.  At least my main pregnancy symptom this time seems to be tiredness, which is probably being exacerbated by having a busy two year old to take care of and having to get up frequently at night to urinate.

My Interstitial Cystitis is not exactly helping the situation. And my craving for fruit juice and spicy food is probably not helping my Interstitial Cystitis.

Then there is also the pregnancy insomnia, which I also experienced when I was pregnant with Ewan.

My brain starts working overtime and simply won’t shut off.  Where I used to fall asleep quickly before, I can now lie awake for hours, staring at the ceiling.

Recent bouts of illness

Then there are the recent bouts of illness courtesy of the small germinator who shares his love with me.  😛

Three bouts of the stomach flu in short succession is starting to feel like a bit much.

Unfortunately these are the results of a weakened immune system during pregnancy.

Boosting your immune system

Rest would be beneficial, but there’s not that much to be had if you have to work full time.  The best option then is to try and boost your immune system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A letter to Ewan on his 2nd birthday

Dear Ewan,

Your 2nd birthday was this weekend.

Two years of hugs and laughter, but also tantrums. Lots of fun, but also hard work.

Many hours of lost sleep, especially when you are ill and you only want to sleep in mother’s arm or curl up tightly against her back. Precious moments, even when I’m dead tired the next day.

I wish I had more time for close contact with you. I was fortunate that you were wholly mine for six months before I had to return to work. Now you are my evening, weekend and holiday child.

How you have changed:

  1. You have become a little person over the last two years. You walk and talk and have a strong will of your own. 😛 You want to do things your way and at your pace. You quickly tell us to “go away!” or “stoppit!” if we don’t do what you want.
  2. You’ve developed an impressive vocabulary. It’s actually become easy to have a conversation of sorts with you. We don’t have to interpret grunts and cries anymore.
  3. You’ve also started to realise possession and that you can tell other people, “It’s mine!” But you are very good at sharing, especially for a child who doesn’t have any siblings yet. You like to share your food with mommy and daddy.
  4. The quiet, meek little baby has become a strong and noisy little boy. It’s become more and more difficult to pick you up and control you, especially when you are throwing a tantrum. 😛
  5. Two years ago the house still belonged to the adults. When you became mobile, we started the process of baby proofing. These days we have to try and put things high out of your reach, as you have become such a tall boy.
  6. Your size and level of development often means that people think you are three years or older.
  7. You are not always that accepting of infinite hugs and kisses anymore. Mother gets pushed away when it becomes too much.

I look forward to sharing your 3rd birthday with you.

Love

Mamma

Why women in their thirties gain weight

In my twenties I had an easy ride weight wise. I could eat what I wanted without gaining much weight.

I had plenty of time to burn excess kilojoules by going to gym and walking to work.

Then the thirties struck and my life changed. I finally became part of the modern lifestyle statistics.

The following contributed to my weight gain:

  • I got married and we moved far away from work. My former exercise time now became sitting on public transport time.
  • We had a baby, which further decreased time to spend on ourselves. I try to take him for walks over the weekends, but lately he has been sick a lot, which means I’ve been spending most weekends inside looking after a sick child.
  • Public transport time (which is also often delayed), still doing shopping some evenings and then fetching the baby, means we have no time for exercise when we get home during the week after work.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation when little man is sick or doesn’t sleep well. Apparently this can completely mess up your metabolism. I just want to eat after such nights, especially chocolate.
  • Stress and constant business. You are running around between caring for the child, house and holding a full time job. Sometimes you just put stuff in your mouth for the sake of getting some energy…

The root of the problem

So for those of you out there who also carry excess weight – sorry, I can’t really offer constructive advice. It’s all good to tell people they must exercise, eat healthy and lose weight. What if this is not the root of your problem, but really the lifestyle that is causing you to eat unhealthy and not find time for exercise?

Lifestyle change

I don’t have an answer at the moment, but I want to look at my lifestyle before anything else. I’m just going to put more stress on myself by trying to maintain a stringent exercise routine that I can’t keep up at the moment.

Lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight, but I want to make this my long term plan. Life is not meant for just surviving. Not being tired all the time and better quality of life are my future goals.

The “not so super” working mother

After reading various blogs and articles on how to be a super working mother, I have concluded that this is simply not possible, at least not for me, at this stage of my life.

Keeping up 

With a small toddler and a full time job, I sometimes feel as if I’m only just managing to keep up with life. From what I’ve heard from mothers with older children, it doesn’t get any better as they are faced with a multitude of after school activities and homework.

The ideal super working mother

There seems to be a largely fictional creature that is the super working mother. She is a super achiever both at work and at home.

At work, she climbs the corporate ladder at an astonishing pace. She makes valid contributions and her work is always stimulating.

At home, she’s got well-behaved children who are always clean and do their homework. They are high achievers at school. She manages her household with an iron fist and the house is always perfectly clean and neat. She cooks delicious meals for her family.

She eats only small salads and has the body of a teenager at 40 years old.

This super woman also has the perfect relationship with her husband and he values her for her super qualities. They somehow manage to spend a lot of time together, even though they have three children.

My reality 

If you are like me, the reality is more like the following:

  • I have a lovable, but cheeky little boy. It’s a challenge to get him to listen. Luckily he’s too small to have homework yet. 😛
  • I can’t cook and my house can get incredibly messy, especially when I get home late every night and I’m busy over the weekend.
  • I eat chocolate when I stress and I’m overweight, as I also have no time for exercise because of my long commute to work every day. I keep losing a few kilos and then picking them up again. I vow to lose a lot of weight – someday soon. 😛
  • I love my husband, but we don’t really get to spend enough time together, because of our work, travel and child rearing activities. We try our best. Luckily we share a weird sense of humour which binds us together.
  • Work – I try my best, but there’s been days, especially since having a child and getting little sleep, that I spend most of the day staring at my laptop screen and procrastinating around the actual work that needs to be done. The fact is, if I’m too tired, I can’t focus and be productive. Some days I’ve been effectively useless, but the reality is that you still have to go to work to earn an income.

So for now, I think I’m just going to have to do the best I can.

Maybe taking small steps will put me on the road to becoming a super working mother (not). 😛

The sick child

My little man’s only been sick three times and he’s almost two.

The dreaded croup

But the recent third illness almost made up for all the other missed illnesses. He got the dreaded croup and at one stage he was wheezing so badly, I was afraid that we would have to rush him to hospital.

To make things worse, the shortness of breath increases when they cry or become upset and the little man is a well-known tantrum thrower…

Peppa pig

In a desperate attempt to calm him down, we ended up watching Peppa Pig on my cell phone in bed.

Everything is right with the world as long as the little man has Peppa Pig and eventually, after a dose of cortisone, he stopped coughing and went back to sleep.

Creche syndrome

Ewan started crèche recently, so now I’m hoping he doesn’t fall victim to the dreaded crèche syndrome and catches every disease.

Especially since he’s been coughing mother awake for the last week and now mother’s also sick… 😛

Strengthen the immune system

The only thing I can really do is to try and strengthen his immune system, by feeding him:

  • Vegetables. It is somewhat of a challenge to get Ewan to eat these. We’ve now resorted to vegetable chips. It seems his crèche teacher may be more successful in getting him to eat healthy food, than mommy and granny.
  • Fruit. This is easier. He loves apples and bananas. And the occasional “gape” which is sometimes mistaken for an acorn (icorn).
  • A few drops of Reuteri in his milk, especially since he’s been using an antiobiotic.
  • Creche guard (vitamins) etc. This is also easy to sneak into the milk.

Care for the sickie

Luckily granny provided assistance when he was too sick to go to school.

It’s the sad realiy of being a working mother. You feel guilty when you take leave to look after your sick child and then you feel guilty when you leave your child behind to go to work, especially when his arms are wrapped around you and his head buried in your neck.

But those are the challenges of being a working mother…

Let’s go to school

Recently, at the age of 21 months, my little man started going to playschool.

Adjustment

It was quite an adjustment for the little fellow. Used to playing outside and sleeping whenever he wanted at granny’s house, he now has to follow a more regimented routine.

There is a time for:

  • playing outside
  • creating art
  • a nappy change
  • snacks; and
  • lunch.

The protest 

In the beginning, he apparently screamed loudly when it was another group’s turn to play outside and he couldn’t join them.

He also protested vehemently when he was dropped off in the mornings. But things are going better these days and the little terrorist even seem to be enjoying himself. He hasn’t brought any little friends home yet, but I look forward to that happening in the future. 🙂

The positives 

  • My boy is turning into an artist. Every day he comes home with some little work of art full of paint blotches and scribbles. A lot of teacher assistance is involved, but still. 😛
  • His vocabulary has grown exponentially. He has even started to count, sometimes until ten, if he feels like it. He uses acorns or “icorns” as he calls them, for his counting. He also sings an “ABC” song, even though he doesn’t get very far. And he says “SCHOOL” in a very serious and formal way, as if this concept can only be expressed in capital letters. 😛
  • He is learning rules and to fit into society, even though I don’t always know if that’s such a good thing.
  • He is mentally stimulated and has more variety in his life.
  • It is really a privilege to see him develop from a baby into a rather clever little boy.

The next steps

So, I give him a few more weeks to get settled in, then we can start with potty training…

A year of new opportunities and challenges

It seems that 2015 is meant to be a somewhat upside down year of new opportunities and challenges.

Office move

When I first found out that my place of employment was moving very far out of my travelling reach, I was stressed. Rumours had been doing the rounds for months, but you kind of hope that it won’t happen too soon and that you would still have more time to sort your life out.

Well, it seems that there is to be no such reprieve and that I’d better start thinking of other things to do, as my company doesn’t offer the option to work from home or flexible working hours.

Why this may be a good thing

After getting over the initial shock, I started reflecting on why this move may actually be a good thing.

  • I’ve been working for this company for almost 11 years and I’ve come to realise that for the last while I’ve basically been stuck there for the money. I’ve been feeling that I could do better and I should be doing something else, but I always kept hanging on for the money. It is unfortunately notoriously difficult to find a job that pays a fairly good salary in Cape Town.
  • While I’ve started sending out my cv, I’ve also realised that I can actually do anything I want to do. It is a strange feeling of relief mingled with a fear of the unknown. This may be the one chance that I will have to transform my life and to create a lifestyle that will be healthier and more sustainable for my family in the long run. So while I’m applying for jobs, I’m also looking at other opportunities.
  • I’m starting to feel a sense of ambition and challenge again. Lately I’ve become too settled in my uncomfortable office chair.

The negatives

There are two main negatives to this situation, namely the possible loss of a stable income and the uncertainty.

Letting go

But something strange has started happening to me over the last few days. I find myself falling in love with the uncertainty and the endless possibilities it offers.

Being somewhat of a control freak, I’ve actually always hated uncertainty. I wanted to plan my life as far as possible, knowing exactly what would happen when, leaving very little room for spontaneity.

However, this year, I’ve decided to let go and see what happens. I will do my best to put things in motion, but it is likely that the outcomes will remain uncertain for a while and I will accept that.

Life’s lessons

I think the loss of my unborn baby a few weeks ago, has put me on this road. This sad event has taught me that you can’t plan everything in life and there is sometimes very little that you can do when things don’t turn out the way you want them to.

But I’ve also learnt that you will come out a stronger person on the other side of the challenge. And then you will go on to create the life that you really want for yourself and your loved ones.

To my possible future employers

After months of rumours, we were informed yesterday that our company is moving to a location (Bellville) that is out of my travelling reach.

This leaves me in somewhat of a jam. After looking at the situation from all angles, it seems that I will have to resign.

My thought process:

  • I’m unable to travel from Fish Hoek in the Southern Suburbs to Bellville in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town on a daily basis. I already travel almost 3 hours a day per train and car. My travelling time would probably increase to nearly 5 hours.
  • Bellville station is also reportedly a very dangerous place.
  • I would spend even less time with my husband and child.

So the only option is to look for another job…

I therefore include my career and education highlights for possible future employers. 🙂

Career summary:

Having worked in the medical scheme/financial services industry since July 2004 as a Communications Specialist, I believe I’m very much in touch with what clients expect from a professional communications service. I’ve also provided freelance services to a range of clients such as Unisa, Oxford University Press, Via Afrika, Educor and ST Communications.

I’m used to dealing with graphic designers, agencies, IT people and the like who assist me with the design of documents, marketing campaigns, websites and such. I also provide a comprehensive language specialist function – writing, editing, proofreading and translation.

Education and skills:

My highest qualification is an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English.

Other educational highlights include:

  • BA degree (Afrikaans and English)
  • Best student in Afrikaans for first, second and third year
  • National Diploma: Language Practice – Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Web writing/Social media – SA Writer’s College
  • Internet and web design diploma – Unisa
  • Website design – City Varsity
  • Magazine Journalism & Novel writing – SA Writer’s College

My computer skills include basic web design – Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. 

More about me:

I’m a passionate writer who is also using my creative mind and flexible typing fingers to create a novel that I’m convinced will one day see the light of day. 🙂

On the personal side, I’m a born and bred Capetonian who has lived in and around the city all my life. I am married and have a little boy.

I would be more than happy to supply you with references and anything else you may require. You can contact me on 072 937 7061 or email efrouws@gmail.com

More detailed information would have been provided with my application or can be supplied on request.  🙂