Ever had those days when you are so busy yet at the end of the day you feel like you have nothing to show for it? Or your husband will ask you of your day, and ul give him a long list of household and kids things. but u think really.. what have i achieved today.
Perhaps you wander about corporate women with awe and maybe envy,seeing them as achieving much,working towards goals maintaining them, keeping fit, etc. Newsflash!!!The grass aint greener on the other side.
This post is for those women especially mothers, who feel as they’ve lost sight of their own goals,their own dreams and their own successes. or that its just out of reach.
Being at home had its perks,but boy it was also tiring. when I had my babies it frustrated me sometimes as I felt like I only changed nappies, sang barney songs endlessly, dealt with tantrums, and took a whole day to make a simple pot of baked beans,recording feeds and poos either in writing or mentally. That was my entire day.
Last year again I was home and couldnt understand why with “free” mornings with kids gone to school, I was just not getting to enjoy my couch. Possibly coz I just wasn’t built for it. But thats another blog for another time.At the end of the day I felt empty and unfulfilled.
Then i started keeping an accomplishment journal. I started realising that actually I was getting alot done. i just wasnt registering them as accomplishments. Alot of my daily activities seemed small or menial, not adding up to much. I was helping out with an orphanage tutoring program as well as travelled, and seeing to kids, and food preps.Yet i didnt give myself enough credit for all that I do.
the accomplishment journal: how it works
So similar to a gratitude journal, choose a period which you wish to work with, daily weekly or monthly . Set aside 10 minutes to just write in it. Dont be modest, or scanty with details.It doesnt have to be shared.
No detail is small enough to list. if you changed 8 diapers, and dealt with 2 tantrums in one day and survived to tell the tale, hey thats an accomplishment. Perhaps you prepared a different sumptious successful meal.. write it down. Give yourself credit. (I say successful meal, coz sometimes ,ok most times mine are well er less than successful). You cleaned out the cupboards, or a particular space you’ve been thinking about for a while. You managed to get out of the house with a toddler and a baby,and enjoyed it. Its noteworthy. You showered. You effectively disciplined your kid/s. Its noteworthy. You taught your kids a new song,surah, poem,manners. Its not a small thing. You read a book. Contracted a new client.Waxed your legs. Went to the gym. (I find myself slightly disappointed when i go to the gym after ages and am not welcomed by a red carpet, and a straight line of staff waiting to greet me. One day)
Some of these may seem “small” or insignificant, however for some mothers who are struggling with coping,having a shower may be her accomplishment for the day.
Once you start identifying your accomplishments you’ll start valuing your role as a mother a lot more as you are able to see your own contributions to your family,to your kids upliftment and development. Hopefully you’ll also realise that all the small things you actually add up. They count. You count. And what you do matters. Your kids, orhusband may not value what you do today, but someday they will.
Anxious about the holiday. About working. About where to leave the kids while im at work. What will they do, Where will they go? Planning activities in between work, having a plan of action . this was a regular occurrence at holidays. including this one.
3 weeks, i thought.. omw what will they do. What will i do. Here comes boredomville, which passes through nagtown, and then gets me at guilt city.
A few days at granma 1,aunt1,granma 2, aunt 2, i thought.Day trips. Play dates with friends. Movies. Relax. Pyjama days. 3 weeks is alot of time to fill up the spaces with.
With Eid having just preceded the holidays , my kids had collected some “Eidy” from abovementioned family members and others.I had decided to let them spend it as they wish. Without telling them no. Or its too expensive- but merely advising them. On the first weekend.they went shopping and were really excited. they bought expensive and some useless things from shops they wanted to.Not surprisingly for me, they were surprised at how little things theys came back with for the amount of money they had.They had collected a nice fat amount- enough for 3.5 to 4.5 pairs of good shoes.Legos. Fancy pens.Colour pencils.Decor party lights for the room. Yes – crap lights for R200. I mean really, they dont even provide enough light to go to the bathroom. Anyways thats what he wanted- i was happy to just be the driver, and the parental accompaniment as chief protector.
First few days in.. they played with lego and the new stuff. They enjoyed being home, relaxing, having an undisturbed sleep, watching tv, and not having the pressure of homework or extra murals.
Week 2- they accompanied me to my office, and were happy to use MsWord, and the printer. A few days at my sisters place, an outing to a bouncing studio, and some time with the cousins. An afternoon movie after work ( oh the joys ). A weekend away in a hustling joburg “mall” (oh dear).This is actually not too bad i thought.
Jinx. then it starts. the nagging. the boredom. the frustration.the guilt. the tears (mine), and tears held back(my sons), and a kind of sick other child. Coupled with a deadline and an important meeting in the same week. Cancellations on weekly plans. friends that are not around, and that actually go on vacation in the time alotted for it, and not like us in the middle of school term because its much cheaper.The third week made me realise why I like going to work. Why i would rather be there at some times, doing calculations on leases and depreciation, than be home with a nagging child. Being a working mum , in the holidays certainly has it challenges. And challenge me it did. Ive never thought id need to invest in a parenting book- i was doing ok. till now. but im ready. im ready to hit exclusive books parenting isle. and spend the entire day reading there, where my kids or husband wont find me.
Please share with me some of your own parenting tips, coping methods, and strategies in dealing with a 9year old anda 7 year old.
Over and out……
So its Ramadaan. Alhamdulilah. and its just dawned on me at the very start of ramadaan that my kids will be getting bored. This prompted by my 7 year old daughter asking me ” what can i do now” immediately after supper before the first fast.
Here comes the boredom train for the kids. 30 days of no tv, mums attention perhaps abit less due to the increased salahs and ibadah.
This post is mainly aimed at myself , as a personal reminder or notes for getting through ramadan a little easier, however I hope it will benefit at least 1 reader in a small way.
Weekends tend to feel longer in Ramadan as we are all up a few hours earlier, and we dont pass time in front of the tv . This year in Joburg our fasts are around 12 hours, from about 5:30 am to 5:30 pm- which is relatively short fasting day, especially when you are busy at work. Lets go to the weekends, and to free time on weekdays- and go through some options of keeping the kids entertained.
Keep a few activities planned for the kids. Arts and crafts. Story time, Board Games.Friend.
Books: for the evenings. select an islamic book which you can read to them each day. I’ve found the book 77 stories from the quran very apt. the stories of the prophets are kept brief,and written simply enough for kids to understand too. There are many kids books as well with stories of the prophets,which are nicely illustrated and suitable for smaller kids.Al Huda bookshop in Fordsburg has a vast range of kiddies books available in store.. Ive also found a set of books called ” storied from the quran” by Maulana Muhammed Hifzur Rehman Seoharvi which has colour pictures of actual sites or maps relating to history. Example a picture of the place where Nuh (A.S)’s ark was. This book has been sitting in cupboard for a few years, regularly dusted off at spring cleaning times. I plan to incorporate thisw book with the previous one, as there is nothing better than seeing pictures relating to the history
Set a time to read to them. I will have to experiment with a few time slots to see what works best for us. Perhaps after Fajr may be the best, as they are awake early, and their minds still fresh (and mine too).
Identify what your child would relate to (some kids would take to kids stories and pictures,some to audio, or to hearing you read to them, or reading themselves) and encourage them to do a few minutes of that each day.
Games: Al huda bookshop also has a selection of islamic board games. there are many online stores that have these as well. You wil find something age appropriate at this bookstore. For toddlers and kids, there are colouring books, activity books, activity cards, puzzles. You’ll also find audio cd’s and dvd’s.
Pre plan craft activities.
Get your kids to make a few bookmarks for you,themselves, and the books you will read to them. Get them to take their time with it in order to create beautiful pieces. Keep the crayons,markers and other stationery items ready and sharpened. (if i were a few inches away from a horrible mum I’d make them sharpen ALL their colour pencils as an activity alone for one weekend. )
Toward the end of ramadan ,eid card making could replace bookmarking.
Clean out their cupboards. With them. Not having tv time frees up some space for constructive things. Your children,and mine, will probably disagree. (Ok i agree- this does not constitute fun stuff)
When you start running out of ideas.. call a friend over. preferably a fasting,subdued kinda friend who your child can play lego with, and not work up too muchof an appetite or thirst. Having their friends over keeps them occupied for a few hours, and they less likely to complain.
I would love to take my kids with me to an orphanage i help out at once in a while. I doubt im going to succeed with that one.. its been an unsuccessful mission for a while now to get my kids to join. And no, im not bribing them with chocolates or sweets or money or toys. Nothing but inner rewards and rewards from God.
Outings: In Ramdaan we generally avoid high energy level activities, so no acrobranch, gold reef city, or bounce. We also dont go to movies or watch at home. Our out-of-house activities tend to lean toward visiting family and friends (which I enjoy), Art jamming, relaxed outings to the park, mall visits(as much as I try to avoid those). perhaps this year we could give Sci-bono another go, as wel as the planetarium.
Should you have suggestions for kids activities in ramadaan please post them below as a comment. Also feel free to share Your ramadaan activities with your kids.
Below are a few tips from the net for getting through Ramadaan
Lol. lookie what i found on my phone from last yr. needless to say my kids were very errmmm amused (bemused?????) at my incredible drawing skills. what can i say.. i have talent.
a quick transcript or text if you cannot read mt writing .. perhaps you are mesmerised hy my drawings,so the writing seems illegible.
mum: eb (sons abbreviated name-due to space) plz shower .
mum: please shower right now
mum: Get in the shower now
mum: do you have ears or potatoes. I said get in the shower!!!!!!!(really what kind of mum would i be if i didnt use lines from the mum handbook,handed down invisibly from generation)
This year my kids are in grade 2 and 3, so they dont need tons of attention when it comes to homework. they are understanding the concepts and whats required of them. they do need supervision though. they need me to just sit at the table with them to guide them along, or assist where necessary. Now previously I would sit on my phone on facebook or whatsapp, and pass my time in that way. as i do at many other moments in my life. ( whilst stirring the food, while flicking channels, whilst having tea, when changing up-ok im not soo bad. im getting better)
Whilst cleaning out my daughters one shelf (out of many many many that still need to be sorted), i came across this-which i lovingly bought for my kids,who wanted adult colouring books when they are clearly not adults yet:
i find it much more relaxing than twizzling my thumb scrolling through tons of things. all the time.
and my kids are so surprised coz I have my own set of markers and colour pencils. And i keep them intact, lids and all. in its original packaging. Perhaps they’ll want to borrow soon, and laugh wickedly and say no. and lecture them on keeping their things together and its is place. and then id feel bad and give in.
when you wake up on a monday morning to the bright sunshine filtering through your window.. and your 7 year old daughter comes to your room (for what reason you cant rememeber. and you ask her.. what day is it.she tells you Monday. and you say no it cant be. omw . shit. what is the time. you reach for your phone and realise you have 15 minutes before school starts,you still have to make lunch,and get yourself ready for work. Work. Monday. aaaaarrrgh. you were so much better off not knowing what day it was.
So theres a week left for the school holidays to end,and im left wondering where did the last 2 weeks go to. (Yes it went into starting a new job,ramadan preparations and funerals-and i now feel like i havent spent enough quality time with my kids).
If you ,like me, have suddenly woken up now only in terms of holiday activities , this is a short list of last minute holiday ideas for the half-a-day/ (flexi time) working mother,which are not too time consuming
● Picnic in the park: take along their favourite book,some snacks, a pillow and perhaps their bikes, and just enjoy the winter sun
●Swimming at your local gym,or heated pool. i love this as there is no option of distraction by that darned cellphone if you are in the water as well
●Visit your local library: old school cool.. find a spot ,get comfortable and read to your kids
●Movies,popcorn and slush: there are about 3 kid movies on circuit at the moment locally (The BFG,Finding Dory and i cant recall the third one)
●Art jamming: let your kids creativity be unleashed on canvas. and whats better is they can mess without the repercussions of mums shouting. you could unleash abit of your messy side too, and come home with a masterpiece as well. See their website for stores in your area.
●Acrobranch: Do the obstacle courses in the trees and feel like Tarzan and Jane. http://www.acrobranch.co.za
● Theatre. Roald dahls Georges marvellous medicine is playing at the childrens theatre childrens theatre in Jhb.
●croc city crocodile and reptile park in fourways(jhb)
082 644 2373
●Gold reef city: always a winner with the kids
Invite some of your kids friends over,or for the above activities for added fun:)
Our kids will only be kids for a short time… enjoy them..engage them..cherish them..cherish their childhood..
The school bags are packed, Clothes are labelled ( new stationery is waiting near the front door waiting to be loaded in the boot-one set of different things for each child. It feels like I’m preparing to load up my car as we do for a holiday. Ensure everything is packed. Double, triple and quadruple check that all is order. It isnt – lunches aren’t made, and there are just 1 or 2 items which are not checked. And thats ok.
As I’m preparing for this journey i realize its not just about the first day of school – its a journey leading towards the entire year. Ready, set, GO!!!! A marathon till the finish line. A marathon which ends only in December. Only when your feet touch the beach sand (I’m from Jhb – no beach here), and you have sea salt coating your hair. Oh a holiday-
Back to now, back to school, back to life, back to taxi rounds,waking up early,homework. The unpaid millionaire gets ready for her busy time. On your marks….
Did I mention the waking up early- yes this is an early morning trip- waking up at extraordinarily early hours. 6am compare to the usual 10am. Heres to a happy and prosperous few weeks ahead. The kids have also been sleeping late every night for the past 6 weeks, and waking up really early.
Putting my kids to bed tonight, i had a heart to heart chat with each of them regarding theirs feelings and fears regarding going to school tomorrow. The daughter, aged 6, who is starting grade 1 this year (sob)- had the following fears:
MY 6year old DAUGHTER’S PRE GRADE 1 CONCERNS:
- Making friends ( but she knows she will make friends)
- What will she call the teacher.
- If she forgets the teachers name will I write it down for her on a paper.
- The teacher shouting at her
- If the teacher hits her.
My eldest son, 7 years old(yes I had them close together) has concerns mainly about readjusting to the social environment.
MY 7 year old SONS PRE GRADE 2 CONCERNS:
- Making friends.
- Making new friends(coz the class lists change)
- Finding friends with the same interests as him
- He feels that he is walking behind whilst everyone else is already behind the window (a metaphor from a 7 year old that i understand to mean that he feels that he is not always present in the moment, and feels like hes lagging behind).
- That his mum (thats me)will now start shouting and nagging again, and rushing them to get done [me????? do a thing like that?? never!! ]
I find it very interesting (and amusing)to note the differences between my son and daughters pre grade 1 concerns. My sons concerns before grade 1 was:
- Waking up late
- Whether he’ll be able to talk sport with the other kids
- Not having friends
- Not knowing what to do
- If theres going to be a teacher like Mrs Trunchbull from Roald Dhall’s book “Matilda”
- If he has a question can he ask the teacher to call me
- What if the teacher kicks him out class if he doesnt know something
- What if the school shoes are not actually brown, and everyone else is wearing black
- What if in high school the shoes are black
- What if everyone laughs at and teases him if he cries
- What will the teachers say. What will happen at school.
- What if he makes friends that are not his race or religion, and makes him do things against his religion
- He wanted to look like everyone else (ie uniform wise)
I wonder where my son gets his worry-wart, indepth characteristic from. It must be passed on genetically from many generations ago. I certainly dont possess that gene-I’m cool as a cucumber. (yeah)
Having said that (cool-ly) i will really miss the time spent with my kids during the holiday, doing alot of nothing, a little bit of outings, and virtually no nagging. Pyjama days, movie days, and no-shower days. Ice cream almost every afternoon, and occasionally for breakfast too. Eating out, lounging in the park or garden. I will miss that. Time to schedule that waxing appointment. Hope the beautician hasn’t forgot me already…
To all the mums, (and caregivers) getting ready for school …I’m sending you a sprinkle of awesome fairy dust. You don’t need a lot, you already have most of your own. Sometimes you just forget where you kept it. May the 2016 school year be a productively efficient one for you, a learning and fun one for your kids, and a speedy one for the teachers.