Time for a little romance

id-10033142

My husband and I recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary. With our second child only being born two months ago (in other words with us being sleep deprived zombies for two months) and having to focus on our first born’s fifth birthday the week after our anniversary, any thoughts of having an elaborate, romantic anniversary celebration went out the window.

I know what you are thinking, with the birth of a child, much less two, comes the death of romance in a marriage. However, the way I look at it, the romance in most marriages is not necessarily dead but in a comatose state. There is still life left but it needs extra care and attention (and some creativity) to keep it from flatlining.

Keeping the spice in your marriage after having kids can be tricky especially when your schedule calls for a 27 hour day and your clothes always seem to be covered in baby formula. But once you realise that romance is more than just date nights and roses; although those things don’t hurt; there is the chance for a full recovery.

True romance is about the little things that let your spouse know “yes we have kids, no longer have our own bed and are never ever alone but I still love you and think you are the most handsome man/beautiful woman I have ever met.  You still give me butterflies when I hear your voice and if given the choice I wouldn’t change a thing about our lives.”

It is about taking at least 20 minutes out of your day after your children have fallen asleep to just be alone with each other. To reconnect, to talk, to hold each other or even just watch a show together and fall asleep on the sofa.

It is about laughing together at the crazy things life brings even when all you want to do is cry and consoling each other when one, or both of you, finally does break down and cry.

It is about not being afraid to be silly with each other in public and ignoring the disapproving stares of your embarrassed children.

It is remembering to say “I love you” every day and to kiss each other before you leave for work and when you return home from work.

Yes, it does takes work and refocusing your priorities to keep the romance in marriage from dying. It does require placing your spouse above the laundry that has to get done or the dirty dishes in the sink that you just can’t leave for another twenty minutes or the Facebook/WhatsApp/Email messages that require immediate responses lest your phone explode.

Marriage and children do not have to signal the end of your life as a couple, all you need is to make time for a little romance.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

 

Double Trouble

The count down is on! I am at 38 weeks and baby boy number two will be with us any day now.

Soon I will be the mother of two boys; two energetic, adventure loving little boys who for some reason also love to give mummy multiple heart attacks. To be honest at first I wanted my second child to be a girl and so did many other people, but as the time gets closer I am very excited about having two princes in my life.

As wonderful as little girls are there is something refreshing and uplifting about the love and adoration that I get from my son. The mother-son bond, much like the father-daughter bond, cannot be denied and multiply this by two, there would be nothing else I could ever need in my lifetime.

Yes at my son’s highest moments he is like a little tornado running through the house and again, multiply this by two, I may not have a house for very long, but I love the energy, I love his imagination, I love how talkative he is and how much he loves to share every detail of every moment of his day and every fact about dinosaurs and sharks. I love his mischievous grin when he tells me that his toy T-Rex knocked something over and I love the millions of hugs and squeezes that I get throughout the day. Multiply this by two, nothing but sheer happiness.

Happy Mothers’ Day

Mothers Day

Today is Mothers’ Day, a day on which the woman who gave birth to you, nurtured you, protected you and loved you unconditionally is honoured.

My mother is no longer with us but I was lucky enough to have spent 28 years of my life with someone who was extremely gracious, classy and the epitome of what a mother should be and as a mother I try every day to emulate her.

There is no doubt that mothers do a lot for their children and families, particularly single mothers who play the role of mother and father, but what about those single fathers who play the role of father and mother.

In recent times I have seen so many advertisements that praise the strength, patience and determination that goes along with being a mother, which is definitely deserved, but what about the fathers? The fathers who are present and very active in their children’s lives or who are the only ones in their children’s lives.

These fathers, even on Fathers’ Day, do not get the recognition and praise that they deserve, especially if they are required to be both father and mother to their children. I say all of this not to diminish the importance of Mothers’ Day but to try to encourage some level of equity for the single fathers and fathers in general. I say all of this because I know a few single fathers out there who are with their children 24/7, combing their hair; making breakfast, lunch and dinner; doing laundry, nurturing, loving and protecting their children.

So today as we celebrate the women in our lives, let us also remember the single fathers out there whose hard work and dedication to their children go unnoticed.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY!!

Image Courtesy  89Studio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Balancing Act – The Battle of the Bulge

Image Hand Measuring Waist

It seems as though the world is fighting a constant battle, the battle of the bulge. So many diet plans and get thin quick products promise amazing results in a short amount of time and desperation tends to lead people to try anything for the sake of beauty … even waist training!

There are those who drink nothing but green juices all day and those who completely cut out an important food group from their diets (the dreaded carbs) for the sake of being thin. Some go the Kardashian route and compress their internal organs with the hope of magically squeezing their stomach fat into non-existence.

What I find most amusing however is that most of the people who try these different fads and contraptions run away from a key component of the weight loss battle – exercise.

The key to losing weight, keeping it off and more importantly living a genuinely healthy lifestyle is BALANCE – diet AND exercise.

The benefits of a good workout or just having an active lifestyle are numerous and can have positive effects as we age. However, because of the instantaneous world in which we live the hard work associated with exercise may be daunting to the impatient among us, but as the cliché goes “Rome was not built in a day”.

Yes exercise may take some time to see results but the results are long term. Couple that with a healthy and BALANCED diet – inclusive of carbohydrates, which actually help provide the body with the energy that it needs to function – you will be guaranteed to see changes to your appearance and to the way you feel.

I do not believe in depriving myself when it comes to food, I will happily and without guilt eat some ice-cream or cheesecake if I feel for it, but I do believe that too much of anything is not good for the body – too much sugar has damaging effects on your health, too much water can lead to hyponatremia (a possibly life-threatening condition in which the sodium in a person’s blood is too low) and too much kale, the world’s current wonder food, has recently been exposed to have possible toxic effects. In fact, even too much exercise can lead to injury and exhaustion.

The moral of the story is BALANCE  – there is that word again.

For the past year I have been following Melissa Bender’s exercise programme www.benderfitness.com which offers a wide range of workouts, from low impact for beginners to high intensity for the Olympic athletes among us, for FREE. I have found that her workouts work and she even offers diet and meal planning tips and recipes for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It is important however that you do your own research and adopt a programme that is best suited for you.

Here’s to healthy and balanced future for all!

 

Image courtesy of Jeanne Claire Maarbes at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

I Am With You Always

Image Tueleka Free Digital Photos

For the past month or two I have been following Joey Feek’s battle with cancer. I must admit I had never heard of the country music duo Joey and Rory before then but their story, the blog posts that Rory (the husband in the duo) had shared throughout their fight and the media coverage that came as a result of those posts touched me.

Joey unfortunately passed away on Friday leaving behind her loving husband and her 2 year old daughter, who will now grow up without her mother. Luckily for her daughter though Joey’s memory and legacy will live through her songs, videos and stories that her family, fans and many others can share with her as she grows up.

All of this however got me thinking about what legacy I will leave for my children and what lessons and values I would want them to always remember, even after I am gone.

With so many negative influences in the world, it is easy for people to lose sight of what is truly important in life. At some point I will not be there to advise and protect my children and even before the inevitable happens, as a mother, I will have to step back and let my children make their own decisions, their own mistakes and learn their own lessons. I can just hope that the values and principles that my husband and I are tying to instill in them from this very young age remain at the forefront of their minds throughout their lives.

Both of my parents are deceased but they have both left very strong legacies. I learnt a lot from the way in which they lived their lives, their interactions with people and their general beliefs and it is these lessons that guide the way in which I choose to live my life and which I would like to pass on to my own children.

  1. Always pray and trust in God – I grew up with a Roman Catholic mother and an Anglican father, both of whom had a strong belief in God and the power of prayer. Praying does not mean that everything will happen in the manner in which you want it to happen and it does not mean that everything will be perfect in your life but it does give you the strength to deal with what ever comes your way. Many times what you may want is not necessarily what is best for you. Having a strong faith means that you trust wholeheartedly in God’s love for you and will allow him to work in every aspect of your life.
  2. Cherish the time you have with your family – the world has become such a busy place especially as people chase careers, positions, titles, degrees, money and a myriad of other things that have been labelled as “important” or that we have been told determine our success. Our time on earth is temporary and none of us knows exactly how long we have, so use it wisely. Make time and be present with your family (mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, children etc.), not just physically but emotionally. Be there for all of your children’s significant moments; their birthdays, first day at school, recitals, first heartbreak and the many others that will come, first day of college. These moments once they are gone can never be repeated and your children will appreciate that you were present. Enjoy every moment that you spend with your family fully and make sure that they know the extent of your love for them.
  3. Work hard and keep learning – my father’s popular saying and attempt at humour whenever  he had to do a motivational speech was “the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” You must work hard for what you want in life. The road may not be easy and you may fail a couple of times but keep trying, be persistent and  keep praying. Sometimes failures open your eyes to other possibilities and encourage you to create new and sometimes better objectives for your life. You must also continue to improve yourself and increase your knowledge. At no point do we ever stop learning and at no point can anyone say that they know everything.
  4. Create your own definition of success  – so many definitions of success exist in the world and ideas about when these successes should be achieved. The career path you follow, your choice of a spouse, where you live, the car you drive, the clothes you wear and so many other frivolous details of our lives have somehow become markers for success. Instead, strive to experience true happiness and true love during your life. Strive to make a genuine difference in other’s lives and live honestly and with a clear conscience. Money and the other material aspects of success must never define who you are. As Albert Einstein said “try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
  5. Treat others as you want to be treated – the world has become such a hateful place and people have lost all sense of humanity. We judge and discriminate others based on their socio-economic standing, the way they look, their race, nationality, place of residence and often only give if there is something to gain in return. We pass the poor and destitute with disdain and would rather save a stray dog than give a meal to someone who is genuinely in need. We trample on the backs of others to achieve our own success forgetting that these are the same persons we will have to meet on our way back down. Be kind to all you meet, show love and compassion to everyone and give without expecting anything in return. You never know if you may one day be on the other side of the fence, dependent on the generosity of others.

These are the values and the legacy that I want to leave with my children and hope that as they are faced with difficult decisions in their lives and have to battle with the world they can turn to this list for inspiration and guidance, remembering that even when I am gone I am with them always.

Image courtesy of Tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The List

I have an amazing husband, there is no doubt about it. He is loving, caring, respectful, attentive, an amazing father to our son and I am sure he will be an amazing father to our soon to be little boy/girl (as a bonus he also cooks for me and gives me back massages).

I am lucky!

So how did I find such a rare specimen of a man? I stopped following THE LIST.

We are all guilty of having a list, THAT list. The one that defines the type of man or woman (because men have lists too) we must date to guarantee a perfect marriage, perfect children and the perfect house. The perfect future.

These lists often tend to be filled with superficial details (tall, good looking, older than me, good job, nice car, athletic, takes me out to dinner, spoils me, buys me the moon and the sun and the stars) and often women and men find themselves missing out on what could be an amazing relationship just because one of those boxes is not checked.

When my husband and I met I will be honest it was not love at first sight, for neither of us. He was not  that tall, although he thinks he is; he was skinnier than I preferred; he looked a mess, which now he explains was tiredness because he had a long day and he was younger than I was, which was a big deal for me. He was not working at the time, which was not a major issue for me because people go through situations, but on paper, for those following a list, that probably would have been a deal breaker.

But I gave him a chance and he gave me a chance. We talked, we laughed and eventually I started to realize how much we had in common and how easy it was to have a conversation with him and be silly around him. How much he made me laugh and how much fun I had when I was with him. The more we spoke the more I saw how pure his heart was and how generous he was. I saw how he treated his friends and his family, often putting their welfare ahead of his own; how he treated my mother when she was ill and how wonderful he was with children. I started to see all of the qualities in him that would make him or any man for that matter a good husband and father. None of these qualities included money or positions or the type of car he drove but they were the characteristics that really matter and that truly determine whether or not you will have a happy future with someone.

We have been together for six years soon to be seven and will celebrate our third wedding anniversary this year. We do have ups and downs and go through financial struggles and other challenges just like any young couple, but my son and I are never in need of anything because he provides us with unconditional love, support and silliness when needed. I can honestly say that I have found the man of my dreams, or better than my dreams. All because I took a chance and got rid of the list.

 

#Scared

Baby number two is playing soccer inside my womb while my eldest (4 years old) is running around the house, throwing bouncy balls, flying paper planes and watching Netflix videos (somehow all at the same time).

It is moments like this that make me realize – I am SCARED to be a mother of two!

Do I have the energy to manage two children? Can I give them both the attention that they need and deserve? How do mothers with 3/4/5 children do it? Will I ever see the carpet in my house again or am I destined to walk on toys forever?

Every now and then these doubts creep into my mind and make me lose any shred of confidence I may have had in myself as a mother.

But then there are these other moments… moments like watching my son’s reaction to feeling his baby sister/brother move inside of me for the first time or listening to his plans for when he becomes a big brother and all of the things that he will teach his sibling. The fear then turns into excitement.

Excitement about the kind of big brother my son will be and the kind of relationship the two of them will have as they get older. Excitement about family vacations, Christmases and birthdays with three screaming children (husband included) who could barely contain their excitement about all of the fun and presents that they are going to get.

Excitement about being a mother of two.