I am just going to start sharing again. So very very much has happened over the past 4 months. I can’t believe it has been a whole four months. I feel so disappointed in myself for having dropped the ball here, but I am having to let that go. I’m not going to do a whole what’s happened post, because I started one and I hadn’t got through the first week and it was almost 2,000 words. Instead, I am going to share bits and pieces as we go along. I want to keep moving forward. It’s been hard, but in the past few months I have been learning to look after me again.
I say again, but for most of my life I have focused on everybody else. This obviously only amplified when I had Charly. I focused on her to the exclusion of everything and everybody else. It led to massive anxiety and put strain on every other aspect of my life. A year and a bit ago, the same day I relaunched this blog, I started therapy. The blog relaunch was my first step towards wanting more for myself, of myself; meeting the therapist was the second. Both of them were about learning to look after me.
I go through phases of course. Where I forget. Now it is more often than not “work” of some sort that dominates my time and energy. Between all my projects, my beautiful fiercely stubborn baby girl and then, well, life… relationships, finances, health, just stuff. I am stretched so thin, I feel like I might come apart at the seams. But then, I love my crazy little girl. I love this blog and Tums 2 Tots and South African Sisterhood. I love writing about and for amazing companies, brands, people who are making a difference in some small way. I love working with other bloggers and helping them recognise their own value. And most of all, I am loving being one of those people making a difference, through #CarseatFullstop.
I have overcome a lot for #CarseatFullstop. I have had to put myself out there in the “real” world. Open myself up to rejection, because believe me, when you have put this much of your heart and soul and time into anything, it is personal when people say no. Whether it is to sponsorship, publishing an article in the media, sharing the stories my team have worked so incredibly hard on. Even more so when we get people who fight the actual message, who look for anything we have missed or mistakes we may have made before we knew better. People who are angry because car seats are too expensive, or too difficult to use, or whose children keep escaping or having tantrums and “refusing” to be in their seats. Every single time, every single comment is personal to me.
Did you know that I have a huge fear of public speaking? Sounds ridiculous, because this is kind of like public speaking right? Well, it has evidently helped a little. I used to be completely incapable of it. I worked in this company once, where we had to “present” to our colleagues every 3 months. It didn’t matter what it was about, it just needed to add value. You know how many people were in that boardroom? At most 6. I shook so badly I couldn’t hold papers. I would be pale and sweating. And either before or after, I would throw up.
You know what I did? I launched #CarseatFullstop live on the Expresso Morning Show on Mandela Day after 40 minutes of sleep – because I was finishing the web page. Then I was live on KFM the next day. Then I did a Parent24 interview that now haunts me and was another, other kind of reminder that I need to start learning to look after me. I have woken at 5 to talk to 702, did an interview with SmileFM, and I chatted to Voice of the Cape for half an hour. And then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I spoke about car seat safety live at the Mama Magic expo in Cape Town. Me. Live. In front of more people than I am comfortable being in a room with.
And then another kind of lesson… I have always believed that couples shouldn’t travel without each other. It may sound silly to some, but there are a number of reasons for it. First and foremost, I am blindly terrified of something happening to anybody I love when I am more than a half hour away from them. This has been a huge feature of my life. Probably because my dad nearly died when I was young. I’ve always wanted to travel, but until I met Brett, I couldn’t be away from my family. Whatever, it is deep-seated. Another reason is that I feel like big life experiences are supposed to be shared with the person you choose to share your life with.
#CarseatFullstop launched on Monday 18 July. With me looking one of my hugest fears in the face – public speaking, being on TV, launching a national campaign by myself, risking failing completely and publicly. With me about to face the biggest thing I had ever done outside of marriage and having my baby. With people having put huge faith in me. On Friday 15 July, Brett flew to a conference in Joburg. And then on Sunday 17 July, he flew to Thailand to his parents. You know what? I survived. I did it all by myself. (Obviously with amazing family and friends supporting me, but you know what I mean.)
I got the web page up, I got the message out, I didn’t fall apart. I thought I would. At some point. My baby got really really sick, I thought she might need to go into hospital. She missed her daddy lke crazy and was tearful and unhappy a lot.
My gran had surgery, they thought she was going to lose her leg (she didn’t). My aunt was hospitalised. I got really really sick. The campaign kept going, kept growing. It is going so well. In fact, it was only meant to run to the end of September, and yet this past week I sent out requested proposals to two very special sponsors to keep it going year-round. And taking it into nursery schools with an amazing team.
A year and 5 months ago, I started therapy. I had massive anxiety about leaving the house. I couldn’t be away from Charly for more than an hour or two without coming apart at the seams. Today, I am able to drive as far as the Northern Suburbs, I attend events with hundreds of people without freaking out, and Charly sleeps over at my mom every 2 – 3 weekends (more on that to come). But YOU… All of you, anybody who reads my blog or supports Tums 2 Tots, or follows me on social media… You have had a huge hand in getting me to where I am right now. Thank you so much to every one of you for all the love and support.
Sending all the love xxx