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September 2016

Mom-olympics!

Yvonne Cole, the very lovely Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert who is going to be coaching my blog partner Belle through her weight-loss journey during the next couple of months, sent me the funniest picture ever this evening:IMG-20160930-WA0029.jpg

It’s not only hilarious to me because it has this overall mood of constant panic throughout every picture, but because it also is so true! It’s almost as if mother nature has decided that life for the modern mum should be challenging also physically, in order to keep that body strong and slender (NOT). No time for the gym? Well, at least you have every opportunity during the day to incorporate some undesired elements of workout into your everyday life.

This evening was a prime example; I was outside Dubai Mall, watching the Fountains, or, as my 5 year old son calls them “the dancing water”, and just before the first show (they run every 30 minutes) is about to start I am smart enough to buy a cup of hot coffee, NOT feed my youngest son in order for him to chillax in the buggy and to arrive 2 minutes before it starts so that my 5 year old doesn’t have anywhere to stand where he can actually see the action. The interlude comes on, as I am desperately mixing a bottle of formula for my youngest. Now,  I already know I won’t be able to give him the bottle until the “water dance” is over, since I will need to lift up my 5 year old so that he can watch the show. It goes down something like this:

-Momy, it’s starting, it’s starting! My eldest song keeps shouting over the noise of the crowd

Hot water. Cold Water. Formula powder, 7 scoops, or, was it 8? I stopped counting. Shake, shake!

-Momy, it started, I can’t see, momy!

My youngest starts crying and more so, when he sees that I am ignoring his initial little innocent cries and instead lifts up his brother onto one shoulder. The crying turns into scream-crying. The sound of his voice cuts through Celine Dion’s, as the water has started dancing. My eldest one is very happy, sitting on top of my one shoulder. My two arms are holding him, a 24kg little guy, giving support to this one shoulder. I feel the burn in both biceps and smile as I am thinking about how this all must look to other people standing by; Here is this woman, with her hair all messed up, one 5 year old on one shoulder, one screaming baby in the buggy that she just ignores and a bottle of formula in one hand which is getting colder by the minute. Haha, so carefully planned, sophisticated really. I was so totally in control. The workout side of things was totally given here, I was lifting 24kg above my head, and kept holding it there for a good 3-4 minutes. Letting go was not an option, mind over matter.

Looking back, it was kind of funny, but I think we find ourselves in many of those situations with our kids, where our bodies are just tools for us to make a situation work, and not something that we necessarily listen to or pay attention to until it’s 8pm, and you can literally hear the bed calling your name. Your body is exhausted and so is your brain. I could think of several other situations where exercise is unwillingly incorporated into family life, and here follows a few more:

Picking up your children

Ok, you may not think about it, but for me at least, my arms are always most fit during the first year of my son’s lives. Reason being you lift them, carry them, bounce them around, lay them down, and pick them up and so on. So, to those mothers (I know you are out there) who go to the gym, and pick up that 3kg dumbbell for some good old bicep curls, go back home and pick your child up instead, that’s a better fitness investment. My youngest is a really heavy little fellow, so for me, it’s challenging to carry him around any longer than a few minutes. That definitely qualifies as undesired workouts during the day.

Playing with your children

-Momy, come climb up here!

-Momy, come on, let’s play some football

-Momy, can you throw me up in the air like a bouncing ball?

Playing with your children is definitely what you make it. Perhaps you are more the type who bring your children to the playground, hoping they will meet someone they know there so they can play together and you can catch up on the latest FB gossip or candy crush (waste waste waste of time people!), but if you are not, and you see playing with your child as a benefit to you as well, then get cracking! The kids absolutely love when their parents come down to their level and play with them the same way their friends do. You will see the joy on their faces!

Laughing and Yelling

Lol, yelling, oh yes, I do a lot of that with my 5 year old, and as with laughing, you are most likely engaging your stomach muscles, secretly working on that 4 pack while disciplining your child. Happy days!

Laughing we all know extends your life, of course not only because of sheer physical activity, but also in terms of the happiness that usually goes along with it.

Running

Not the type you do on a treadmill, or on a nice jogging track in a park on summer mornings, but rather the type of running you do for school drop off and pick up, to be on time for work, to leave work on time etc. The stressful running. I, for one, do a lot of that every single day! That, combined with the picking up and carrying of a baby (that weights a lot more than your average baby, so to speak) provides a nice mix between cardio and weight training.

I am not the type of mom who take my baby out in the park and actively use him as a weight pack for squats, deadlifts, glute bridges and shoulder press (and film it for my blog:)) but that’s not because there is anything wrong with it (provided you do know that you can indeed carry the weight of your baby during those particular exercises, safety first!), it’s just that for me, working out is more than just physical movements in order to stay fit, it’s my time, to focus on me, preserving my sanity. So, I will keep it separate for now, and should I change my mind, I promise you will be the first to know (park, camera, action!)

L_O_V_E

A

It was just another day…

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It was just another day.

Woke up in the morning.

Had breakfast.

Drank my coffee, while reading the paper.

Got the kids ready for school.

School drop off.

Work.

And then…

Have you ever had a day like that? One that just started out as any normal day, but ended up changing your life?

I know I have. And I have always been completely oblivious to what was about to happen.

One such incident was when I was made redundant at 7 months pregnant. Yah, a shitty spot, to say the least. But pregnancy is one amazing thing, somehow, I just kept cool. It’s almost as if your body is shutting certain emotions and reactions off, in order to save you and your baby from damaging stress levels. Then again, becoming redundant is of course a petty problem to deal with compared to what a lot of mothers face out there, especially in countries of war, famine and natural disasters. It can of course not be compared.

Being made redundant turned out to be a blessing in disguise, similar to many other such situations I have ended up in throughout the last decade. I have understood that sometimes life/God/ Universe is steering you in a certain direction and there are plenty of road signs along the way. But when you choose to ignore those signs out of fear or convenience and don’t pull it together and take the step you are supposed to take, then life takes it for you. On the day, it can feel like the biggest disaster ever, panic and paranoia can quickly come upon you. But something else that comes upon you, should also be freedom; someone else made that final decision for you, life pulled the plug on your lack of action and ensured you move as per the grand plan.

It takes guts, though, to follow those early signs. The people around you, whose opinions you value, may think you have gone completely bonkers, and that you are risking too much or making the wrong decision. As my grandmother always said (and I am sure I will refer to like 1 Million times in this blog): – “When you get advice, don’t just take it, put it into your statistics”. She was so amazing, and so right. I am sure a lot of you Mumz out there have at some point in your lives taken advice blindly, and ended up regretting it, because you realized that the advice given had in fact been based on the persons own fears or worst case, jealousy, and he/she had no insight or knowledge as to the particular situation you were in. No value added. Not to say you shouldn’t listen, but just make sure you are careful with who, why and what, in relation to any advice given. It’s important to live your own life, make your own decisions, based on what you feel is the right thing to do for you and your little unit.

I suppose, during my short life (Forever 21 btw), I have taken a few more or less bold decisions. To me, however, they have not been all that bold, perhaps because I have always trusted my instincts. It has led me to where I am today. And I am not talking about anything materialistic or financial here, I am referring to me, to my character. Challenging yourself in different environments and connecting with people from all over the world, has given me resilience and above all, no fear. Fear is one of the most dangerous emotions out there; it cripples people from pursuing their dreams, it disables possible beautiful interactions between people from different parts of the world and it makes people so obsessive about their stuff, money and power, to the point where the fear of losing it consumes them and makes them do crazy things to other people! Urgh, I despise fear. Be sensible, yes, don’t be careless and brash, but don’t be scared.

So, on one of those days, when your life suddenly changes drastically and you have to reassess what you have, what you want and where you are going in life, embrace the moment, and appreciate the fact that you are on the right path, wherever it may lead you. And above all, have no fear.

L_O_V_E

A

The day we flew back!

Hi everyone!

Well the flight went better than the last time i must say. Only one hour screaming:-). Right now i am dealing with some hardcore jetlag with the kids. It will probably take about a week until they are back on schedule. Cant wait for those days again!

Here is a little short video from our trip ! Enjoy

Love

/Belle

Today, I took a bath

Not so long ago, on Virgin Radio here in Dubai, one of the guys on the show was just going to have his first baby and so he asked his colleague live on radio what would be the biggest change to his normal routine and lifestyle. His colleague took a moment of silence, as if he was hesitant as to whether or not he should reveal his deepest thought, and he then replied: Spontaneity

What he said was spot on. Things have to be planned, from now on. But, it’s not that you CAN’T have a life (as people like to often describe it) or that by having babies you need to now rapidly “grow up” and talk about and do only things that grown-ups do. You don’t have to restrict your conversations to poo-schedules, inspirational pack-lunches and birthday party themes, in fact, with serious effort, you can avoid those conversations altogether. I must admit however, that it is difficult to do so entirely, given the constant need for sharing best practices and getting new ideas of how to care for our children, but perhaps it can at least be allowed only a certain space of our daily exchanges with other parents and between ourselves and our hubbies.

It is also perfectly possible to have that “life” that we keep referring to. What does that actually mean, though? It’s probably a very different answer from parent to parent. For some it means still being able to go out, get sloshed, crawl home, and be allowed time to pay for it the next day, and for others it means quiet dinner dates with their hubbies, or late night shisha with friends at a local coffee shop. It differs, and therefore there is no one answer. For me, it’s a mix of things; me-time (definitely a generation Y kind of invention), some hubby-and-I time and some time to just do this – write, be creative and develop myself.

Perhaps our focus, rather than complaining (which we do a lot of) should be to structure ourselves a bit better. Together with our hubbies, as a team, we can figure out how to enable each other to do the things we would like to do as individuals as well as the things we want to do with each other.

the list.jpg

To lead the way and set things in motion, here is my list of 5 things I am currently not doing enough of:

Taking a bath

Ok, Mumz, don’t worry, I am showering (doh), but having a bath, to me, is something totally different. It should be more of a spiritual moment. Silence around me (yeah, that’s the hard one!), candle or low dimmed lights, a glass of something cold (doesn’t have to be alcohol people!) and really really hot water. THAT is me-time deluxe.

Dinner dates (with husband, in case I needed to add that 🙂

I love calling these “dates”, because it lays the ground for some romantic action:) If you just call it a dinner, then it does become very grown-up, add the word “date” and somehow it takes us back and becomes a bit more juvenile, in all the right ways! A few hours away from the house, away from responsibilities, just the two of you, as it was before the little ones entered your lives, works wonders! You will have the time and calm to discuss your future, your common goals, realign yourselves in mind and spirit and ready to go back to the real world, even stronger. Together.

My skin

OK, here is one thing that is getting WAY too little attention in my daily routine. I know, I am always on about health and taking care of your body and workout and all, but what about the one thing that is starring you in your face every morning when you wake up? Your skin. Your face. I am not saying you should try to fight the battle of wrinkles and now go and invest in overpriced anti-wrinkle creams (night-creams, day-creams, Sunday creams, Saturday creams, day after creams… did I forget any?), what I am referring to is just the general TLC your face needs and deserves for you to feel good about it. Depending on your skin that might mean different things, for me it means that I should once or twice per week do a little homemade facial with steaming, a little buffing and roughing and then a mask and toner. Don’t do NEARLY enough of that!

Go to the movies

I absolutely LOVE going to the movies. I love the whole experience of watching a good film, together with others, with the best imagery and sound quality (not to mention the fact that going to the movies automatically entitles me to a pig-out on popcorn, coke and chocolate). I go sometimes with my eldest son, but it’s not exactly the same thing watching a well-made and exciting thriller as it is watching a cartoon with lots of yellow little guys running around (BANANAAAAAA!!). It’s fun, but not the ultimate fun one can have at the cinema. If I could have it my way, I would do more of that.

Girl’s nights!

Oh yes, last but not least, this one has suffered greatly since the arrival of my two beautiful boys. I suppose, not so much because I haven’t been able to, but because the little time I have outside of the regular routine, I want to spend with them. They are awesome and funny, and very entertaining. I usually try to compress the girly conversations and my portion of gossip into lunches and coffee’s throughout the day. But, I do need those girls nights, at least once in a while.

So, there it is, my little list, and I am sure my hubby also has one (shout out baby!). Mumz out there, what’s on your list? Share with us, maybe we can give each other more ideas!

And to celebrate this occasion of sharing, I shall in fact, do the very first on my list; I am taking a bath.

L_O_V_E

A

There She is

Perfect pic.jpg

There She is.

So perfect. Standing next to me in the elevator, Her fragrance of choice, Dior Poison Girl, is gently touching the air around us, as an indication of Her strength and fearlessness. Her hair that was washed and blow-dried that morning, is now caressing Her shoulders and back. So perfect. Her shoes matches the strap of Her shiny, luxury watch, and the pen skirt is conservative, but the slit up the right leg tells a different story, to the chosen one (or ones). She is full of mysterious contradictions for the male population to attempt to unravel.

In Her left hand, She holds a Starbucks paper cup with freshly brewed coffee, that She sips from time to time, although it is clearly too hot to drink just yet. In Her right hand She effortlessly carries a tiny handbag, just big enough to hold the necessities of a young, independent, sexy girl; probably the Blood Red Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick; a feminine credit card holder, because who carries cash around these days, anyways?; and the most important piece of electronic a young, independent, sexy girl will ever need – Her phone. She, got Her shit together.

There I am.

Standing next to Her in the elevator. I am wearing my plastic beach slippers, only because the walk from the muddy parking lot to the office is too long and sweaty for heals. I am dragging with me one heavy laptop bag (that has lots of paperwork and books I need tucked into it), one workout bag (that actually looks super petite, but one I have to struggle with every morning to at all be able to zip up) and finally one very heavy meal bag to last me the following 3 days (because this mum doesn’t only eat salad). I look everything but graceful. In my left hand I am carrying a small plastic supermarket bottle, with a broken lid and a Spiderman sticker on. It also says Coffee on it, in case I ever needed to remind myself of putting coffee in there rather than 60% Jamaican Rum during the morning rush. It could happen, you know… My hair is up in an untidy ponytail, but not one of those “oh, I just got out of the shower, and my hair is really long and thick so I can just swing it up into a ponytail and I look fabulous” kind of hairstyle, but more like the “urgh, my hair is so dirty today because I woke up too late and didn’t have time to wash and blow-dry it and so I put it up in a ponytail that now just makes my head look small and my skull greasy” kind of hairstyle. Sorry, sensitive subject :).

I secretly recent Her, but I am curious nevertheless. Who is She? What does She do for a living? Does She have kids, maybe She doesn’t even plan to have any!? And so on. My imagination can stretch far, during the ride all the way up tens of floors.

I have never been one for comparing myself to anyone, and this is definitely not a case of jealousy, but I do however support stealing best practices from other people. She must have plenty of those, given how She looks like She is on top of Her game. I want to reach over and say to Her in what would probably be perceived as rather intimidating: – “How the fuck do you do it?” Every day, immaculate… I wish She would write an e-book on it, I would so be waving my slightly broken, bent credit card up high for that one!

But, I never ask Her, even though I meet Her there in the elevator almost every day. She may not take it as a compliment, and suddenly scary, undercover security men may show up and ask me to come with them. Lol, of course I am exaggerating, but yeah, maybe not so much after all. Women sometimes get startled by other women who are direct and straight with them, even when it’s a positive compliment. When the compliment comes from a man then we can classify it as flirting and deal with it differently depending on if the guy is a 10 pointer or not. But with women, it’s hard for us to place it.  So, I keep quite…

And you know, ladies, it’s not about being perfect, I never cared much for that, and it’s not my feeling sluggish. It’s the fact that I do think that being a bit organized and feeling a little more like one of those girls that got their shit together, will make me happier in fact. It’s peace of mind, to not constantly feel like there is something I am not doing the best way I can.

She is now getting ready to exit the elevator, when suddenly, there is a glimmer of hope. As She is walking out the elevator, I notice something I have never seen before. Under Her Black with Red Sole Jimmy Choo’s I can see a price-tag. A price-tag, under Her shoe, how could She forget to remove it? I am mesmerized, this is the first sign that She may actually be a human being.

L_O_V_E

A

Motherhood Quotes – TRUE OR FALSE (or not quite the entire story)

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Few assignments in life are so talked about and speculated about as the role of the mother.

There are a million truths and equally as many lies about what it is to be one.

I found, after having my first baby, that jeeze, people have been bull******** me all this time! I, for one, did not hear any violins or see butterflies in the air when I gave birth. I didn’t cry tears of joy and say to my hubby that I love him so much and that we have the most amazing baby ever and so on. Lord, I just cried because it was all OVER! Lol, that was my first encounter with this big “cover-up” of the real picture of motherhood. There were many more, for example, how mothers would just be so calm and collected, have time for a nice quiet cup of coffee in the sunshine in their back garden while the awesomely happy, quiet and adorable 2 week old baby was sleeping. Yah right! The real picture for me was a lot more chaotic. While the screaming, stomach-achy, unhappy 2 week old baby had fallen asleep from pure exhaustion, I was getting busy cleaning up all the mess I had made while trying to calm this screaming, stomach-achy, unhappy 2 week old baby, during which I was constantly nervous that he would wake up and cut short my much needed tidying up. After the cleaning (if I got to finish it, that is) I would try to answer all the 10 000 sms’s, emails and fb messages from friends and family who wanted to know how the calm and collected mother was doing, but more importantly how the baby was doing. The experience was one that I think most mothers (and absolutely fathers go through as well). There is so much learning to be done; learning how to feed this little one, learning his personality, learning about how to care for him, learning to live with the current state of your body and how to cope with the fact that your time was no longer yours. Oh, and on top that, those godawful hormone levels raging through our system! There is really nothing rosy about that time, in my opinion. The fun part, and where I absolutely hear violins playing and see butterflies in the air is when they are growing up; the first smile, the first sign of connection and interaction. When they start to grab stuff (and bring it to their mouth…grr….), the crawling, the first steps, and the realization you see in their eyes when they taste different types of foods. THOSE are the moments that I feel the way I thought a mother would feel from the very beginning.

It was clear that women were not telling the truth, or I was just a weird exception to this general rule, and I should seek some kind of help. It didn’t cross my mind to be honest, but I know for a lot of other mothers out there it does in the shape of depression and just shutting down. If we were just a little more honest in our everyday conversations, then maybe we wouldn’t feel so down about the situation, we would know what to expect and what not to expect. Tell eachother: “You know what, having kids is the most fantastic thing you will ever do, but it can be pretty fked up as well! There are days when you feel like you could imagine having another 10 babies, and then there are days when you just want to go and hide from everything and everyone. If you decide not to have kids, I strongly believe you may regret it, it’s of course not a must, but it’s a beautiful journey and well worth all the less attractive elements of it”.

Here follows a few motherhood quotes, which may or may not be true:

1) Motherhood is dynamic, and you won’t enjoy every part of it.

TRUE: Yep, very very true. The ups are a high and the most amazing moments of your life, and the lows make you feel like you want to hit your head into a brick wall, over and over again.

2) Asking for help is a sign of weakness

FALSE: Never, ever be scared of asking for help. I think the more mature you become as a mother you realize that you could have asked for help a lot earlier for more things. Just a small note for anyone out there wondering, I am not referring to “asking” the Dad for “help”, there is not such thing, as he is equally responsible.

3) Motherhood is portrayed correctly in commercials and advertisement

FALSE: Nothing really is the way it is in commercials and advertisements. They are made up to sell us whatever it is they are promoting, so they will give you a story or an image that facilitates that process.

4) If we invest in our own needs, desires and interests, we grow as mothers and partners

TRUE: This I think can be considered a general rule, even though that will mean many different things for different mothers. Some interests can intertwine with those of your children, so it becomes combined activities.

5) A mother who works outside the home, has less love and feels less responsible for her children

FALSE: Stigmatizing mothers who work away from home is as destructive as it’s opposite. We have a free choice in how we raise our children, and not every solution works for every family.

6) Being a mother (a parent) is the most important job in the world

TRUE: Remember, we are raising future generations. What we do today with and for our children, will have consequences for all eternity. Pretty rad, right??!

7) The moment a child is born, a mother is also born

TRUE: Though sometimes these instincts can take time to manifest, since you are distracted by so many other emotions and activities. Its slightly overwhelming, so it may take time for you to feel that way, but that’s absolutely fine!

8) It’s not about what you gave up to have a child, it’s what you gained from having one

TRUE: Always look on the bright side of things. I know that I am sometimes rambling on about honesty and how motherhood can be a crazy journey and very hard, but honesty is only going to make those days when you feel like that better! You will be prepared, won’t think there is anything wrong with you and have more confidence in handling the challenging situations because you knew they were coming. Information is power, people, motherhood is not different!

9) To the world you are a mother, but to your family you are everything

FALSE: Sounds pretty, but if we think about it, this is just what we are not looking to hear. We should not be considered the only person who matters in the family, the Dad should have equal importance and involvement. And to the rest of the world NO we are not only a mother, we are still women, friends, lovers, business partners and ravers (lol, I know I am), there is no need for us to bracket ourselves just because we put a baby into this world.

10) Always my mother, forever my friend

FALSE: Another one that sounds beautiful, but quite far from the real world. Yes, we should be there for our children and support, guide and love them. But while doing all those things, it’s quite tricky to also constantly be a friend, in its conventional sense. When they become older, have kids of their own, then perhaps, we can be friends on a more equal playing field, but when your kids are kids, you should be the adult and lead the way.

The myths and this “cover-up” may be there for us women to not back out last minute and re-think the whole idea of having kids, so in that sense it may be a question of the survival of human beings, but considering all other self-obstructive activities we get busy with here on earth (pollution, wars, poverty etc) I don’t think a little motherhood honesty would have any major impact.  And for the Dad’s, I am not saying you guys are not going through stuff when your babies enter this world, it goes without saying that you do, but since I am a chick, it’s a bit hard for me to give a correct reflection of your story here. (Ladies, follow some Dad blogs out there, there are many good ones!)

Main thing is that we keep sharing and open up to eachother, in every way that we feel comfortable, in order to debunk all those myths and create new quotes and reflections on the many truths about Motherhood.

L_O_V_E

A

 

 

 

 

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