A few of you may have seen or heard me mention a thing I have been working towards since the beginning of last year called #ProjectMe. I was hinting at it already in 2016 when the idea first came to me, when I was suffering from severe burnout after #CarseatFullstop. It began really clarifying itself when I did the #CTConfidence shoot with Abigail K. And then 2017 sucked me under and the very reason I so desperately needed to begin this journey of reprioritising me – losing myself in the chaos of motherhood and deadlines and finances and and and – became a roadblock to my getting #ProjectMe off the ground. Late last year I decided 2018 was going to be the best year ever and #ProjectMe was definitely going to be a part of that. And then… of course… this happened. Instagram followers would also have seen that February quickly joined January on the trashheap of 2017. But March! March has been moving in all the right directions! And it is all starting to come together!
Not sure when I became the kind of blogger that only writes when I have something specific to say. Remember the good old days when I just blogged all the time about every random thing that caught my attention? I have a daily microblog thing going on on Instagram. You know what I have found? It’s the photos. I LOVE photos. They tell stories. So when I write here, I can knock out a post in a few hours, but then I have to take or choose photos… which can literally take me days (I wrote this 2 weeks ago). I have drafts, full articles, that have never been published because I just never got to finding the right photos. So yes, Instagram kind of forces me to select a photo from the day (there is at least one photo every day since Charly was born), and then share a bit about the day that was. Oh, yes… back to the topic! Do you remember how bad it was to be called a tattletale? I do. It causes that internal flinch in a goodytwoshoes like myself. From bullies on the playground to grown ups – teachers, parents, aunts and uncles; being called a tattletale was about the worst thing you could be called.
Late last year, life got away from me. I was beyond excited to become a brand ambassador for the Ford Everest through #CarseatFullstop. I was featured on Expresso with the lovely Graeme Richards. I filmed my first video for child safety with Ford. I had an amazing photoshoot with Josie Photography, with Charly showing off some of our favourite brands and awesome gift ideas. I was a guest expert on the Expresso Morning show, the South African Mommy Facebook page, and on Phumeza Lang‘s #SistahoodHour. And in amongst that craziness, I was betrayed and shattered emotionally by somebody incredibly close to me, two of my best friends moved away, my mommy fell ill and my granny went into hospital for a blood clotting issue. 2017 was somewhat of a bitch. 2018 was going to be better, and I decided that I wasn’t going to let January ruin that for me. So ‘tsek January, you cannot sit with us. I have officially declared you part of 2017, where you can have no affect on the awesomeness that 2018 has the potential to be.
What would you do if someone offered you a brand new Baby Bullet? A very lovely someone contacted me a little while ago and did just that… offered me a free Baby Bullet to review and another to give away. Do you know what I did? I said that instead of giving it to me, I would give it to one of you! My kitchen is FULL of gadgets. We have the NutriBullet of course, and a juicer, and some other kind of smoothie maker, coffee machines (yup, more than one), an air fryer, a slow cooker and a pressure cooker… I think we even have an electric frying pan somewhere. (This is all just reminding me that I need to do a big Gumtree sale…) ANYWAY! The Baby Bullet is SUCH a unique product for preparing food for babies, I really felt like a momma with a baby nearing weaning age would be a lot more deserving than I am. And also – I get to do more gift giving, which you all know is my love language!
After a month of the sicks, I am finally getting back into the swing of things! And that includes a (slightly late) review and giveaway with Baby Dove. I began working on this a little while ago, and then got all caught up in their underlying message of “Trust your way” and ended up getting a tad ragey about the things other moms are consistently judgey over in a post you can find here – My Way Isn’t Your Way (or your business).
It seems unlikely that you would be here and not know how riled up I get about the fact that car passenger deaths are the fourth leading cause of unnatural death in South African children. I’m a person who always wants to save the world, #CarseatFullstop is the way I have chosen to take that on. And then, every now and again, I am reminded that there are (one or two) worse things in the world. Where often a child without a car seat is a lack of understanding, and other times straight up neglect, there are people out there that maliciously and intentionally hurt their own, or other people’s, children. Abuse. For 16 days, from the 25 November to the 10th of December every year, people across the world work together to try to raise awareness and oppose violence against women and children.
Is there ever a time where you don’t feel like you just fail as a mom? For me, it started right from the beginning and I get a fresh rush of it every other day. I doubt myself as a person, as a mother, constantly. And then, the other day, after a little “all fall down” on Instagram and Facebook, I had you awesome mamas reminding me that I was not alone… It made me stop, and think about WHY I felt that way. It isn’t because what I am doing is wrong or dangerous for my child or anybody elses, it is simply because I know that there are a million people out there that believe that their way is the ONLY way. I still feel like I fail on the regular, today included, but I remind myself that how I am raising my girl is not the wrong way or the right way, it is just MY way. So I have my little meltdown and then I shake it off. So here are some of the things I do MY way… and why I don’t care if you think I am wrong.
I know it always seems like I vanish from the earth during the #CarseatFullstop campaign; but now that I am going to be running it year-round (yay!! And so much exciting news on that later) I am going to have to learn to balance it with the rest of my life a bit better. But since I suck at balance, for now, I’m just going to bombard you with all things Christmas and give away all the cool things until you forget that I’ve been scarce this year! It seems only fitting to kick this all off by reviewing an awesome Cape Town photographer who has a magic touch with kids and cameras. The lovely Josie from Josie Photography, caught little Miss Charly’s excitement as she opened up some of the most gorgeous gifts around for this Christmas! (Christmas lists coming soon!!!) Aaaand we put together a little something-something for you, where one of you won a mini Christmas themed photoshoot AND a gorgeous Cotton Candyfloss Christmas chalkboard! Congratulations Rebecca Wolmarans!
One of the things that frustrates me the most with South African car seats, is that so many of our children outgrow their harnessed child car seats before they are able to safely use a booster seat with the car seatbelt alone. I had to face this with our secondary car seat that lives in my mom’s car recently. What am I talking about? Contrary to occasionally misleading salespeople and brand reps, other than 2 car seats in South Africa, all toddler seats – rear or forward facing – only allow use of the harness up to 18kgs and 105cm. (I believe there is 1 that goes to 18.5kgs) This is where my obsession with the BeSafe iZi Plus began, because those 2 car seats are the BeSafe iZi Plus and the Volvo Maxway. And when I first learnt this fact, along with the start of the information on extended rear facing, nobody had yet heard of the Volvo car seats in South Africa.
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I have shared these facts in random places, in words. Never all in one place and never with photos. Last year, I started a crusade with #CarseatFullstop. I was so full of righteous anger and frustration at all the parents of South Africa that had the means, but didn’t use car seats for their children. I still carry a huge amount of frustration, but it comes with a humility of having faced my own mom shame on all the things I was doing wrong that was putting my child’s life at risk… This is not a pat-myself-on-the-back for changing my ways post.
This kid. You guys, my Charly Roses is phenomenal. She takes my breath away with her intellect, her beauty, her sense of humour. Even when she is being impossible, I am a little in awe of the human she is becoming. She has outgrown 90% of her clothes, suddenly all long legs and arms. She is learning faster than I can follow. Being back at school has found us struggling with her being really tired and really (REALLY) emotional and all over the place. She is loving being back with her friends and teachers though, so she should settle soon (I hope?).
While these holidays certainly aren’t my first rodeo, I have come to accept that holidays when you are a work-at-home mom are rough. I am incredibly lucky to have my mom as back-up, who spoils Charly with sleepovers and keeps her happily occupied most of the day. BUT! I chose to work from home so I don’t miss too much time with Charly. Holidays are a time when I force myself to stop working for a few hours at a time, no matter what, so we can make memories together. So if you are sitting wondering how on earth you are going to get through the holidays with a toddler… Here are a few tips that have helped me survive.
There are certain things in my head that epitomize motherhood and family. The routines of everyday life, school drop offs and pickups, sports days, storytime before bed, snuggling in pjs with popcorn watching series or movies, colouring in, a roast dinner and a long Sunday afternoon drive. And then there is the family holiday …