Category: Motivationals

Unplanned, Unassisted Home Birth – How our daughter arrived in style.

Unplanned, Unassisted Home Birth – How our daughter arrived in style.

The first thing you should know is that somewhere deep down, I have always wanted a home-birth. The calm, tranquil environment and being in the comfort of your own home always appealed to me. But with having a V-Bac, I always had the “what ifs” in the back of my mind. I have also opted for a shot of pethadine with my other 2 children, so I knew that having a birth with no pain relief of any sort, wasn’t really something I was sold on. My gynae and I joked about it and I said I didn’t think I was strong enough, and how much I admired those women who could “sneeze a kid out”…. Well, be careful what you wish for 🙂 This is the story of how my fourth child entered this world.

It started off like any other day. My second day of maternity leave, I dropped the kids at school, played with my almost two year old toddler, did some grocery shopping, homework and afternoon activity pick ups. I had been feeling generally uncomfortable the whole day but nothing out of the ordinary for 38+ weeks and all of its general bowel and constipation issues 🙂 I made dinner for the family and tried to do a few yoga stretches to relieve the feeling. Taking the kids up to bed, I remember snapping at their hooligan antics at bedtime, telling them my tummy was sore and they should just relax and go to sleep. After putting them to bed, I took a long warm bath to help relieve the discomfort and general feeling of pressure but there certainly weren’t any contractions to take note of. My previous pregnancies also went all the way upto 41 weeks, so I wasn’t expecting anything different this time around either.

At about 10h45 pm I remember feeling the first few contractions (or surges if you follow hypnobirthing), but they weren’t very strong and certainly weren’t in any sort of pattern yet. Never the less, I told my husband to come to bed early because we may be making a hospital trip at 3 or 4 am (based on my previous labors). He came up to bed at about 11h30 pm and at this stage they were more frequent and definitely strong enough to be considered  a “contraction”. I started to actively time them, but they still weren’t lasting for a minute so I thought we still had a long night ahead. I plugged in my ear phones and played 2 Surah Maryams (verses from the Holy Qu’ran) as I lay down to try and rest as much as I could at home. By midnight, my eldest son had jumped into our bed and in the next 5 minutes the contractions went from bearable, to me actively having to focus on breathing through the pain. Time to switch up to my “rainbow rhythm meditations”. I was going to get up to move my son back to his bed at this point but the next contraction was a little more painful and I let out a little whimper so I thought right, time to shower and get to the hospital now. Husband and son fast asleep in bed, I went into the bathroom and was suddenly hit with another contraction. Swearing under my breath at the “stupid meditations not working” (well rather not the meditations itself but me for not being able to relax), I focused my breathing into my tummy like I was told (so grateful for that hypnobirthing course now) and decided to draw a bath instead of a shower (thank goodness). The moment I jumped into the bath at about 00h28 (I checked because I was timing those contractions now), I felt my waters break, but not a normal break like they did with my son or daughter, a huge gush. “OH SHIT” I thought, there is no more time. “OK BABY… OK BABY…. I’m coming, hold on for me, we getting up now, we’re going” I literally said out loud, like my baby could hear me and was going to hold on.

Gripping onto the side of the bath for support I stood up and felt baby’s head. Crap….. “What happens if my husband doesn’t hear me” was my first thought, my second was I could hear my two year old crying in her room so now the kids were awake too, and my third thought was this baby is coming now! “Ahmed…. Ahmed….. BAAAABY” I cried to my husband, “Whaaat”… a sleepy sound emerging from the bedroom came back, obviously roused by my daughters crying too, “Heeelp BAAAAABY”.. 1 x sleepy husband stumbled into the bathroom in a shocked state “What? What do you mean? What must I do ?” “CATCH HER” I said and in literally two breaths (I literally don’t think I even pushed), one for head and one for her body, this super rocket human was brought into the world. Thankfully, I married a skilled cricketer and he caught his daughter before her head touched the water, I pulled her forward onto my chest and lay back in the warm water. Less then 10 minutes from the time my water broke to the time when my baby girl made her appearance. There was no time to “feel pain”, no time to “panic”, my body knew instinctively what to do and I just followed it. This little angel basically birthed herself.

“Go back to the room” I heard my husband telling our son, who clearly had heard everything and was in a shivering state, “I’ll come to you now, just stay in the room”. “What must I do” my husband repeated again. “Call an ambulance and get me some towels”. Trying to assess my newborn in a dark, candle lit room (Yes I actually freaking lit a candle before jumping into that bath), I noticed she was wriggling in a weird way and was still quite blue, then I saw the cord around her neck. Alhumdulliah, THANK YOU to God, for showing me that in time. I unhooked the cord and held her close to me. I can hear my husband swearing at the operator on the phone and realised he had phoned 10111. “NO MAN” I shouted “Call Netcare” (Our private ambulance service).. Thankfully my cell phone was in arms reach and we both ended up calling them at the same time. I can still hear the sheer shock in my voice as I replay the conversation to the operator. “Hello Mam, I need an ambulance, I just had a baby” :), not quite believing it myself. Ahmed brought some towels to me, and then went to tend to the kids, My poor children, had NO IDEA what was going on. Thankfully we have the most incredible live in nanny so next up on speed dial was Servie to come and sit with the children.

The Netcare ambulance were amazing. Within 10 minutes, we dialled them at 00h37 and they were literally there by 00h47. The female paramedic came in and cut baby’s cord, handing our princess to her partner to wrap and warm up. We sat in the bath for about 5 more minutes waiting to see if the placenta would come as contractions had already re-started, but no such luck yet. She suggested we get out the bath and transfer me to the hospital as I needed to deliver the placenta as soon as possible. I got up, put a gown on, my husband grabbed the hospital bags and off I climbed into an ambulance at 1 am holding my newborn baby. YAY now the second round of contractions were really starting. Can we just speed this up I mumbled.. I begged the ambulance to transfer me to Parklane hospital which is where my doctor is, and not TOO far away, however emergency protocol dictates they drive to the closest hospital, which in this case, was Sunninghill.

Here’s where the story turns a little nightmarish…. The casualty ward at this hospital has no maternity casualty unit attached to it. They have a maternity ward, but no maternity casualty facilities and there was no OBGYN on duty. Now for a labour to progress effectively, you as a mama, need to be relaxed and your body needs to be producing that oxytocin, a casualty unit is really not very conducive to a calm, serene environment.
For first time mums, if you are planning a natural birth, after you give birth in a hospital, you normally receive a shot of oxytocin to help deliver the placenta faster. It should come by itself, but this just speeds it up if need be. So whilst my baby girl was safely in my arms, her other “home”, my placenta, was still inside me. The longer it’s inside after birth, the higher your chance of haemorrhaging.

So there I was, like a deer in headlights in this casualty unit. The staff take their time and do all the admin work, connect me to those battery wired heart monitors, and literally joke about how they have no experience with maternity patients to the doctor. I’m hearing all of this, and looking around this strange, cold room and everyone is “waiting” for me to deliver this placenta. The contractions are now beyond painful, worse than the birth itself and in comes in the head casualty doctor/surgeon dude (and he was a big guy). “MAM he said, I need to catheterize you”, we need your bladder to come down do we can get this placenta out now, “No Sir (I literally called him “Sir”, please wait I’m in the middle of a contraction, please don’t do that now, just wait 5 minutes… “I cant wait, you are cramping because the placenta is still inside you, we need to get it out now” he says as he starts to punch my stomach. “You are punching my stomach while I am having a contraction, PLEASE STOP”, I shouted… “MAM if you do not push this placenta out I am taking you to theatre”….( I did not go through a homebirth just to go into theatre dude) “Do you not have a gynae on duty, Is there no midwife here?”, I asked. In between all of this I had a lab guy come into the room to take my blood and to do my COVID SWAB ( I punched the guy, I’m sorry lab guy, it was bad timing), (Seriously, no wonder I couldn’t deliver the damn thing).

Then, I heard someone mention Syntocinon (a synthetic form of oxytocin), (It was the female paramedic who came on check on things) “YES”, I shouted “Do you not have any synthetic oxytocin, please, that will help me.” FINALLY after 45 minutes in ER and 7 failed attempts to find my veins, they insert a drip with the Syntocinon. Less then 3 minutes of that being injected, Sergeant Major doctor dude was back punching my stomach, again I remember telling him to please “STOP THAT” (as my 2 year old shouts), wait for the oxytocin to kick in. “MAM this placenta is retained, it is not going to come out, I am taking you to theatre”…

Queue the singing angels as I see a midwife in a maroon uniform finally enter the room. FINALLY… almost 45 minutes of absolute agony, I have SOMEONE by my side who knows what they are doing. “OK, let’s see why we are having trouble here” She said, and in the correct manner, apologising and saying “Sorry mam”, I’m going to have to check you internally” (take note sergeant major) she told me to push and with a little pull from her side and a push from mine, one fully intact (thank you God) placenta was delivered, and I now burst into tears. “THANK YOU THANK YOU” I said to her, thank you so much for helping me.. And also , screw you Sergeant Major.

All this time my sweet baby girl was being handed from nurse to nurse to hold. I kept asking them to remove the towels and wrap her in blankets. Finally, after the whole ordeal was over they wrapped her up for me. At about 4h30 am I was wheeled into a general ward, my husband went home at about 5h30am to check on the kids and get some rest and I was finally transferred to the maternity unit at 6am. At last, I could relax. Of course, any new mom will know I got ZERO sleep until 8pm that night, but it was worth every minute.

So there it is.. Our little Aaliyah’s dramatic entrance into the world. One thing is for sure babygirl, you were born one determined little sausage. The first thing I noticed was your beautiful almond shaped eyes and your mop of dark hair. You didn’t give a loud cry or scream like your siblings with all the bright hospital lights, but rather some gentle gurgling sounds. Your warm body lay on my chest for 15 minutes just you and I, quiet in our moment and in a bit of shock at what just happened. Your birth was BEAUTIFUL and I wouldn’t change it for the world (except for maybe actually planning it and having a midwife to call instead of going into the hospital), but still, you gave me what I subconsciously wanted, an unmedicated, unassisted, home-birth. A water birth in a sense lol. You gave that to me and you took away any pain. I cannot wait to see the plans that Allah has for you. You are incredible and I thank you for showing and teaching me so much strength. One week later and I am still in absolute awe of what out bodies can do. What we are capable of. This is a salute to all women out there. WE ARE AMAZING. If you are planning a natural birth, TRUST your body. You CAN do this. I hope this inspired you in some way. …

The First Few Years Of Marriage

The First Few Years Of Marriage

So here’s a post I have been sitting on for quite some time. I’ve debated clicking “post” for some time now because it’s not just MY story but OURS, for so long I wasn’t sure if it was just my experience, or others as well, but after speaking to so many of you on social media, I know I am not the only one to experience things, and I hope that this post can help some of you.

So here’s the truth about marriage….

The first 5 years of your marriage will be the hardest ever.

I’m grateful I went into my marriage completely open minded. I did not expect a fairy-tale, and I did not expect white horses. I knew my husband well enough to understand all of his personality traits and he knew me. I knew that there was so much more to marriage then then just “love”. It’s more about handling your expectations, tolerance and forgiveness, and self-respect.

However, even I was “unprepared” for everything that those first 5 years can throw at you. The changes you have to make to your lifestyle, especially as a woman and as you move through life’s stages. It is so important to note that my husband probably experienced ALL of the same things I did, in different ways. So I cannot speak on his behalf, this is my story.

You see, you go from being a “single” women, managing your own finances and doing whatever the hell you want really to suddenly adjusting to two of you. Now you may or may not have lived together before hand, we didn’t, so we had to find our feet when it came to finances. How should we split household costs, who does the cooking, who does the cleaning and whose money covers what. What each other’s EXPECTATIONS were of being a husband or being a wife. You have to learn how to cook for two people without too much food going to waste, and just as you fall into a little comfortable bubble, of you and your partner, lazy weekend mornings and sharing dish duty, bam….. you realise that you are pregnant (for some).

Your partner, who you have lovingly made the most important person in your life and adored on, needs to adjust. Nights filled with watching endless TV by themselves because you are simply too exhausted to move from growing another human. Your body and hormones changing and you are suddenly facing the reality that once this little human enters the world, your bubble is going to change (trust me, there is NO preparation for this). Who will assume the role as main breadwinner and who will be there 100% for your child? You have to be there for one another and support each other.

Enter your first child and suddenly, let’s be honest here, you forget to be a wife (I know I did). Actually, with one kid I think I was still alright, when the second came I was full on 100% focused on motherhood. Its OK. It happens, more often then you think. It’s a whole new roller-coaster of responsibility for you and your partner. Who does what? Do you share bedtime duty and diaper changes? Do you take turns to lie in on the weekends? Welcoming a baby SHOULD BE the happiest point of your marriage right? In many cases it is, BUT, in many cases, it is also the MOST stressful, and the MOST tested you will ever be.

Now, every partnership is different, but I can almost guarantee that at SOME point one party will assume a greater responsibility on these things. Whether it’s the cooking or the bedtime rituals at some point one of you will do it more, and with that comes a little resentment. Your nights of going out “together” will at some point become “your turn” versus “my turn” due to balancing baby sitting duties and you will miss being the “source of fun”. Every now and again though, you need to come back. You need to check in. While having children together is the most beautiful, bonding experience ever, it will also lead to the most intense struggles you have ever had. When to discipline, when it’s OK to lose your temper, what values are important to you; the list is endless, your partner and you were probably raised very differently and nothing brings that to light more then when you share a child.

In those first few years, you go from budgeting for 2 to suddenly budgeting for a family of 4 or 5. Figuring out how to cook family style meals and whose is paying for nappies, school fees or extra circulars.

The BIGGEST piece of advice I ever got is…and wait for it, this is going to ruffle feathers was; “not everything NEEDS to be equal, in fact in life nothing ever really is. You both have strengths and weaknesses. One of you will be able to carry more on their shoulders than the other. Work to your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get taken advantage of course, but don’t expect everything to be equal.” This is GOLD! Look at your strengths and weakness of support each other in them. If you can throw away your expectations, you are in for a happier marriage.

Know that you can’t change your partner. And you should never have too. You fell in love with ALL of them, so embrace ALL of them. Flaws and all. By change I’m referring to their innate personality, not necessarily picking up socks from the floor, because that is trainable (ask my husband, he trained me hahahaha) 🙂

Realise as much as you love each other, at some points, you will come pretty darn close to hating your partner. Yep it’s a strong word, but it is a very fine line. For it is only the people that you love the most in this world that can crawl under your skin so much. The people that know you the most. It is how you handle the conflict that will grow you the most.

The bottom line is the first 5 to 7 years of marriage are FREAKING tough. You are building your family and life throws all the change it can on you. Be realistic, check in with your partner and acknowledge the tough times. But celebrate! Celebrate everything beautiful, count your blessings and cherish them. Don’t lose sight of each other and why you chose to marry each other. Compromise. Focus on what is truly important and toss everything else out.

I can safely say after almost a decade of marriage and 20 years of being in my husbands life, I still love him more than anything. He drives me up the wall and down again, he is the most stubborn, hot headed person I know, but then again, so am I 🙂 Whether you like it or not he gives you the harsh, blunt truth and has a habit of not sugar coating anything.

I look forward to the next chapter of our marriage, we are about to welcome our fourth (and very final) baby into this world and I know over the next few months new hurdles will come our way. The one thing I know, is that he is my constant and insha’Allah, he will be forever.

2020 – a year of Gratitude

2020 – a year of Gratitude

It’s just past midnight on the 29th December 2020. The year the World “stood still”. Instead of jumping into bed as I planned on doing, I find myself typing at my computer, reminiscing on the year gone by.

You see, I am such a serial “planner” and “goal setter”, that I am always moving forward, thinking about the “next thing”. The New Year doesn’t mean much to me, to be honest, it’s just the start of another 12-month cycle, but what it does afford me is the time to actually stop. The time to pause and reflect on the months gone by and think about the possibilities moving forward.

Across the globe, the message is that 2020 sucked. It was the “year of COVID”, lockdowns, cancelled plans and disrupted schedules. It caused the whole world to rethink how we work and how we operate, but it also should us possibility and opportunity. It showed us which professions really truly mattered and it taught a large majority of the world, that working remotely, for most people, is actually possible. It taught us that we dont need exorbitant “Oscar” styled weddings or birthday parties that cost enough to feed a small orphanage. It gave the earth a chance to breathe, a pause from carbon emissions and thousands of feet walking through ancient cities. It gave us a chance to really miss those that are truly important to us, and it also showed us who we could do without.

Looking back at the year, once again, I find myself truly humbled and grateful. Under such circumstances there were truly some incredible moments and milestones that need to be celebrated.

It started off with winning an award, not just coming “runner up”, but actually winning in the “SA Blog Awards.” I didn’t dwell on it too much at the time, because there is a lot of drama involved in these awards, but actually, I should have. I work damn hard at what I do, creating content is not as easy as it seems, and it is something I am proud of. So THANK YOU, to each of you who took the time to vote. I haven’t entered again this year, I actually didn’t even get think about it, but it is something that I should be proud of, So thank you!

In February, literally a week before the world started to “lockdown”, we managed to spend two weeks with my sister and her beautiful family. An odd time for a “family holiday”, but look at Gods’ timing, giving us the chance just before we weren’t able to see each other again. We got to spend time in my family home all together, one last time before we said goodbye. My parents were surrounded by their grandchildren and days were filled with swimming and hammock naps. It’s been over 10 months since I have seen any family member now. My “baby” has grown up into a full blown, walking/talking toddler in that time and I am so grateful that we had those 2 weeks, at least.

We were thrown into juggling home schooling and working from home, as a family. Whilst I truly pray I never have to home school again, it taught me appreciation, like never before, for our teachers. I managed to find the balance that I always wanted, managing school drop offs, afternoon activities and work, yet I also realised that having “some” time in the office is sometimes a very good thing. I am in awe of the resilience our children taught us, taking every single thing in their stride. Never questioning “why” or “when will this end”. Wearing their masks every single day without complaint, they just accepted the new normal and moved on.

I realised, as a mother, that any guilt around screen time, especially during the hard lockdown period we faced in South Africa, should be thrown out the window. I was initially so against time on the PlayStation or too many cartoons, and had full days planned of activities to keep them busy. But, I actually realised, with the right games mind you, how it hasn’t hurt at all. In fact, it’s been a saving grace on many an afternoon when I have had deadlines looming. Of course, I try to balance it out with quality time, but I learnt to let go of misconceptions I once had.

It was the year that uncovered new passions, even pre-covid. Quizzing my aunts on old school household hacks and actually having the time to deep clean my home. I use the term home because, finally, our house started to resemble more of a “home”. Spending more time within it allowed us to give back more to it, with room renovations and painting, furniture restoring and ticking off goals. Without my handyman dad around, we were forced to do more ourselves and I can proudly proclaim that I now my way around a drill now, my husband is a pool expert and I have a re-found love for upscaling furniture. My organization skills were ramped up and I finally got around to projects like my pantry, kitchen cupboards and our constantly messy garage. All of these things deserve a moment of reflection and a “Wow, I did that” thought.

I was given the opportunity to work with brands that blow my mind, brands that I grew up with and companies that I stand behind wholeheartedly. Companies like Woolworths and Builders South Africa are a dream to me and to have the honour of working with them has been such a massive highlight of my year. My Instant Pot family have once again challenged me to rethink the way I cook and I adore being pushed to try new ways of cooking things, and boy did we cook this year! Who didn’t try recreating KFC or Nandos during lockdown? I am so grateful to every brand I have gotten to work with, being recognised by a product that you truly use everyday never ceases to amaze me. The team at Omo South Africa, Sunlight and Handy Andy, I am truly grateful. Being asked to contribute to LEGO will forever leave me in awe and words can’t begin to describe how much I value these opportunities.

2020 also gave us the biggest surprise, and challenge, yet. Finding out that we were expecting a 4th baby was no where near on our “plan”, but Allah is the best of planners. After the initial crash into a brick wall shock, we are both excited and can’t wait for our little girl to have another younger sibling to play with. Now I just have to deal with all my giving birth during a pandemic anxiety.

We threw ourselves into our work and while I do miss the office interaction, it also showed us just how much we could achieve at home. It was a year of promotions and awards, a year of learning and embracing new ways of working, new technologies and fresh portfolios. Pushing our knowledge into spaces we have never explored before.

It was a year which taught me value. The value of relationships, the value of our health, the value in every day moments and beautiful sunsets. Gratitude. Gratitude at keeping our heads above the water while the country around us battled this virus, not only physically but from an economical point of view. It gave us gratitude at the things we so often took for granted, being able to hop on a flight to visit our siblings or parents, or escaping the city for a “weekend break”. I experienced hurt and heartache, I saw competition and comparison rear its ugly head and a lack of support from areas I once turned to. Through it all though I am grateful, for showing me what is truly important and for the people I can truly turn to.

Gratitude in being able to pay our bills and provide our children with food, comfort and knowledge. It schooled me in thankfulness for my husband too. As much as I “complain”, I thank Allah everyday at the rock he has become. My foundation, my support. If you are reading this babe, I really, truly value you, and I am thankful for all that you do.

We went back to basics with crafts, with Raya Maryam starting to enjoy sensory play and at the same time we explored deeper activities with the boys, learning about crystals and science.

2020 was definitely a year of gratitude for me. I blogged slightly less, but I did more video content and like many of us, found myself on Tiktok more 🙂 Not taking myself so seriously.

For 2021, I have no grand plans or “goals”. I have prayers.

I pray for a healthy birth and delivery of our 4th child and I pray that Allah SWT keeps us safe from this virus. I pray for the people that have been affected, the families whose courses have changed. I pray that the vaccination is effective and quick to get here, because the 2nd quarter still seems very very far away. I pray for our economy, that we may recover somewhat, and that we are able to keep people employed. I pray that whatever may happen, my faith will continue to push me through and lift me up. We can get through this, day by day. 2021 is my year of hope, and lots of prayer.

Thank you, once again, for being a part of my community. Thank you for commenting, sharing and trying my ideas. Thank you for engaging and reaching out. We are all in this together, and without you reading this, my platform wouldn’t even exist! Happy New Year from us, and I look forward to growing more with you in 2021!

Why is saying goodbye to your childhood home so hard to do?

Why is saying goodbye to your childhood home so hard to do?

After well over 3 decades we have said goodbye to my childhood home. I never knew that something like this could have such a big impact on my emotions, but the fact is, I’m sitting here typing this with tears in my eyes. This was always “home”. My parents moved across the globe a number of times for work, but home was always there. Whether we were renting it out or not, it was always ours. It was always there.

When I was just 3 years old my parents bought a plot of dusty land about 20 minutes outside of Gaborone. Rocky, dusty, and filled with thorn trees, it was the start of something amazing. We didn’t even have a telephone line there, our first “phone” was a radio phone!

As a young girl, it was nothing short of magical. I played outside to my hearts content, running around barefoot, making forts under thorn trees and growing our own vegetables. We had so much freedom, riding our bicycles down the newly tared road, chasing cattle and donkeys out of the garden and saving our pets from snakes (puff adders and cobras mainly). I started driving down those farm roads at 12 years old with my dad and eventually at 14 would take my mums car out by myself (don’t tell the cops).

My mum always had grand plans of building a thatch style “farm” house, so to begin with, they put up a pre fabricated house, as a temporary start. Of course, life happens and the garden was developed around the house. Extensions were built and pipes laid, and that “prefab” house still stands today.

As a grew into my teenage years, I wished that my parents lived in town like the “cool” kids, it would make it easier for friends to fetch us or come visit us, nights out in town would have been easier but I am so very glad they never did.

The plan was always for my brother, sister and I to each have a portion of the plot as we grew up, and I always somehow felt that I would “return home” and take over my mums business. Life had other plans, and I settled down in another country and my grand life plan never did happen, but perhaps that’s why I still took every opportunity to visit home whenever I could, because some small part of me still clings to that ideal.

Whenever the stress of “city” life and growing up became too much, I drove towards home. Letting the rolling hills and thorn trees ease my stress and ground me again, the older I get the more I yearn for home. I love taking my children to experience the magic I feel. My sons love their narnie and grandpa’s house and I’m so grateful for the times I have managed to share with my older boys. We have picked veggies, roasted marshmallows on an open fire, looked for snakes, gone horse riding, ridden their bikes in the dirt and taken them on the river. We have swum from morning till sunset and checked if the chickens had any eggs. They’ve napped in the hammock and gone “shoeless” for days, relishing in playing with the kitties. Hopefully they will remember.

To see my children searching for “chongololos” or chasing the chickens around the garden like I did fills my heart with so much joy. Taking them at the crack of dawn to go pick their own vegetables, or letting them ride their bikes unsupervised is something I can never do living here in Johannesburg, but it’s something I did every chance I got when we were home. Washing as much of the “city” out of them as I could. Now that’s never going to be the same. They can never again wake up for a 6 am swim (In Botswana you can literally jump into the pool at any time of day its so hot), it will never be “our pool” again.

But what I have also realised is home is where the heart is. In this period my parents have lived in 5 different cities across the world, including islands in the South Pacific and the Caribbean. Wherever I visited, wherever they are is “home”.
I know it was a necessary move. As my parents grow older and need to downsize, this is the first move in the few that will see them land up in the UK, but I guess I just wanted more time.  I wanted more time for my daughter to experience those things now. I wanted her toes to get all dusty and to take in the fresh “bush air”.

So as I say goodbye to our house for the past 3 decades, I realise it is just that. A house. It has a roof, a fireplace, a kitchen and a garden, It is two people that turned it in to a home. This house reflects the life and family my parents created together. The adventures and trials we have gone through together, and this home thrived because of them. So did I. I am always welcomed with open arms. I feel the most comfortable being me. I will always hold these memories and how they made me feel close to my heart. Memories of planting and selling vegetables to our local spar, spending Saturday mornings picking fresh spinach and radishes with my dad and rinsing them off in the swimming pool to taste. Building up bookshelves from scratch or redesigning my room for the 5th time. Having pool parties with my friends on the weekend or just driving around the farm roads blaring our favourite music to pass the time. This was the home that saw me through primary and secondary school, university and marriage. This was the home I brought all 3 of my children to as babies, to let Gogo Mary spoil them, as she spoilt me. This was the home that held first boyfriends and breakups, and staying up with friends until the sunrise and then trying to sneak back into the house. Weddings and family reunions, our house always had people in it, sitting under the lapa enjoying the cool of the shade.

So I may never drive down that gravel road again, the boys will never steal “chappies” from Mary’s shop again and I will miss seeing my mom’s garden bloom and flourish. I will miss walking into the house and seeing the familiar dark tiled floor or the cats water bowl in the kitchen, and It makes me sad. However, I also know that home is indeed where the heart is, and we will make new memories wherever my family goes.

Thank you Notwane, for giving me the most ideal childhood. For all the adventures and dramas, for all the love and warmth. I only hope that I can give my children the same freedom and sense of adventure that you gave me.

Looking Back at 2019 – SA Blog Awards

Looking Back at 2019 – SA Blog Awards

WOW WOW WOW, What a year 2019 has been. Highs, lows, changes, babies, houses… At the end of each year I always like to look back on all that I have achieved and how we have grown as a family. Its so important to take a step back to recognise how far we have come.

On the blog side I have hit so many of my personal targets and worked with brands that I used to dream about. I am so incredibly grateful to you, my readers, for allowing me to grow on this journey with you. So THANK YOU THANK YOU, for supporting me and helping me to reach my dreams. I hope you have found inspiration and guidance when you needed it the most.

Once again, I have decided to enter the SA Blog Awards. I know many people have various things to say about the Blog Awards, but these awards are decided by you, the public. Its all of you who get to vote and decide. I have big dreams planned for my little happy space, and hopefully, together, we can get there. Please support me in this, by clicking on this link . I have entered into two categories, both are full of absolutely incredible bloggers and content creators, so even if I just made an appearance I’d be happy. Once voted, you will receive an email to verify your vote, which takes about 15 seconds – please do so, otherwise your vote is not verified. You can also vote by clicking on the badge on the right hand panel my home page. Voting ends on 31 December and it would mean the world to me to have your support.

Looking back at this year, we certainly received our greatest blessing with a healthy beautiful Raya Maryam being born into our family. She has completed our puzzle and is everyone’s absolute favourite being. The calm to our chaos. We have conquered and climbed the initial breastfeeding mountain and are comfortably in a routine now with solids and feeding. Mamas – the first 3 months are hell, but hang in there! It does get better! Incredibly grateful for all the support we have received and for the beautiful baby shower held by my Megan.

Aadam successfully completed grade R, and moves on up into the world of “grades” next year. He has been absolutely amazing to watch this year. From the tears and separation anxiety we battled in the beginning of the year, to literally running into school each day, he even asked to stay on for aftercare! Such huge milestones that we so quickly forget about. He excelled in his cricket and swimming and is an absolute joy to watch as he learns to write and read.

Our little Yusuf is as cheeky as ever, at 4 years old he thinks he is the boss of everyone, and if he could, he would live off cakes and sweets. Even though he acts all tough and confident, secretly he is the one whose confidence I need to build the most. He needs his mama so much still and I have tremendous guilt for not spending enough one on one time with him. He has learnt to swim like a “big boy” now, and gets hugely frustrated if his brother does something that he cant do yet.

On a personal note some of my highlights were working with some of my favourite brands, on campaigns close to my heart. Walking down the runway at 7 months pregnant with Jet; focusing on “self-love” and embracing women of all shapes and sizes. I also got to brand rep for my favourite maternity brand, Cherry Melon whose clothes I am STILL wearing, 8 months post partum! The boys got to do some “modelling” (kind of) for Keedo, a proudly South African brand that is VERY close to my heart. I am eternally grateful !

I managed to juggle the work-life thing…sometimes failing but mostly swimming. I realized that I will never be the “stepford wife” but that’s OK. It’s OK to forget things from time to time. The fact that I remembered P.E. and swimming days, what costume is needed when, charity days and afternoon activities MOST of the time, is enough for me. As long as my babies know how much their mama loves them, and as long as I raise kind, generous, hard working children – my job as a parent is done. We kept crafting this year, and had a bigger focus on more educational experiences. Learning behind what we “played” with. Some of my favourites were the “Dino Dig” Sensory tray, “Lifecycle of a frog”, Crafting with Cardboard, Outback Aussie and the collaboration we did with House of York.

We grew, not only in the number in our family, but as individuals as the boys become their own independent kids. We baked (a lot), from collaborations with Pillsbury to cookies with M&M’s we certainly got creative (and a little fatter). I also fully embraced my Instant Pot, I literally use it several times a week and enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen again!

We went farming, it wouldn’t be a year without it 🙂 From Dairy Cows to Strawberry picking, nothing makes me happier then being outdoors and in nature with the kids. We also explored the Drakensburg for the first time and I’m already yearning to go back. (Full blog post coming soon)

I ramped up our “What to do in Joburg” Series with a focus on FREE entertainment. With the economy in South Africa being the way it is, we all need a bit of relief from all the spending, and I updated our ultimate list of places to go with the kids for 2019 . As a mom to young kids these are invaluable, I know I certainly am always on the look out for new places. The latest one is on my festive entertainment guide for 2019.

Lastly, I focused a bit more on beauty (as I try to gain some of my youth back). I started exploring collagen more, and tried drinking it in a shake! I took care of my body with Bio-Oil and Natralogic and focused more on what goes into my skin, using products from Dermalogica and Skin & Tonic. I also took back my hair (take that post-partum hair loss) 🙂 Allowing myself to splurge a little is OK if it makes me feel good. Nicho from XOXO Studio certainly knows how to give my hair that va va voom. Invest in yourselves mamas, every little bit helps.

It certainly was a jam packed year and one that holds the best memories. Life is about making the most of EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. Making an impact on every single person you meet . It’s too short to be spent unhappy or complaining. Embrace the positive around you and be grateful for all that you have. That’s the main purpose of this post, Gratitude. For all the opportunities I have had, and all the new connections and friends made. For all the lessons I have learnt (some tough), and all the future that lies ahead. I also have big plans for this little blog of mine, and I hope to continue to grow and learn. If you want to , please take a look at the SA Blog awards, but more importantly; THANK YOU, for being a part of this parenting community. If there is any other content you would like, or advice you need let me know, I value you more than you know!

Happy Holidays everyone!

We Are Counting Down Until Comic Con / Kids Con 2019.

We Are Counting Down Until Comic Con / Kids Con 2019.

Pop-culture fans unite! We are gearing up for the most interactive four-day pop culture festival, Comic Con Africa, and this year Kids Con is joining in on the action!

Comic Con Africa focuses on all elements of pop culture, including cosplay, comic books, anime, manga, film and series, games and books and authors. The festival also features a large range of pop culture and entertainment elements in animation, toys, gadgets, clothing, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels and the ever-popular Artists’ Alley.

This year sees a programme that is bigger than ever before, catering to the hardest of pop-culture fans, newcomers and kids. Five halls jam packed with competitions, seminars, workshops and over 160 hours of content, you can bet we are ready to geek out! It’s pop-culture paradise with almost 300 exhibitors offering event specials on everything from gaming hardware and accessories, apparel, pop-culture merchandise, comics, figurines and much more, my boys have been counting down for weeks! We have a superhero wish list ready to go!

As usual there will be no disappointment when it comes to the list of appearances, international stars like legendary actor, author, producer and director, William Shatner, as well as Anthony Mackie, (Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), these are just two of the big names who will be at Comic Con Africa 2019. Visitors will also be able to meet and interact with local trailblazers like Jason Masters, who has worked on various Batman titles including Legends of the Dark Knight, Guardians of the Galaxy, Wolverine and X-Men as well as Sean Izaakse, a Marvel illustrator and comic artist who has worked on comics such as The Thunderbolts, Avengers, Deadpool and Captain America.

It’s not only the ultimate kids paradise with all the superhero’s they can think of, but one of the partner sponsors of KidsCon this year is Jaguar Land Rover. A number of exciting activities have been arranged for children to experience the thrill and technology of Jaguar, and adventurous nature of Land Rover. There will be giveaways from Jaguar Land Rover for young adventurers willing to get their hands dirty, a collection of branded goods for all age groups will be on sale and a full-size Jaguar F-PACE like you have never seen before ! Brands such as Lego and Hasbro have jumped on board and will be providing entertainment and activations for the kids, along with the best of the best in terms of merchandise to purchase.

Dress up in your best cosplay outfit to join the hundreds of singing stars at the Cosplay Karaoke Café, and compete in the Championships of Cosplay competition. If you are a gaming enthusiast, geek out in a dedicated gaming hall with freeplay zones, racing SIMs and the latest gaming equipment.

Don’t miss a moment, keep “App” to date with all things Comic Con Africa by downloading the Comic Con Africa App. It allows attendees to plan their experience and gives a full breakdown on whats on in each hall.

Where to buy tickets:

Comic Con Africa and Kids Con 2019 takes place this weekend, the 21-24 September, at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. A ticket to Comic Con Africa gives you access to the dedicated KidsCon Hall. Get your Comic Con Africa tickets now at or


Head on over to my instagram page and you may just get lucky and win tickets for a family of 4 to attend Comic Con 2019, on Tuesday 24 September!

Journey through Breastfeeding – What to Expect And What Is A Myth

Journey through Breastfeeding – What to Expect And What Is A Myth

4 years, well 47 months to be exact, and going strong. That’s how long I have been breastfeeding for. It’s something I hold so close to my heart and its accounted for many special bonding moments between my kids and I. It is something that I very nearly gave up however, and I certainly had no idea it would be as “hard” as it was. This post is aimed to educate new mothers about breastfeeding, because it truly does take a village. Whether you choose to breastfeed for just one day, or if you choose to do formula feeding, there is no judgement here at all. “Fed is best” at all costs, and a happy mommy is most important. HOWEVER, the amount of mothers that give up on their breastfeeding journey due to lack of support or mis-education is huge, and it’s those mothers that I hope to try and help. So If you are expecting, or if you plan to breastfeeding, PLEASE read this post. PLEASE try to remember the points I make and lets dispel these myths, one by one. Welcome to my “Ted talk”.

Lets begin in the early days, because if you have just started your journey you will relate.

Congratulations, and welcome to the crazy journey of motherhood. Its actually one that has made me so in awe of our creator. The whole process of growing a human, giving birth and then being able to nourish this tiny being, is mind blowing, and it’s just incredible to see what our bodies can do. The moment your little one is brought into this world, they can “crawl” their way up your chest to find milk. It’s incredible to watch and even more amazing to experience. The best piece of advice I can give for the early days is to “feed” baby as much as possible. Demand feed. Baby wants to be connected to you again in some way so let baba nurse as often as they want. As a new other you have no idea what to expect or what is “normal” in terms of milk. The amount of times I have heard “I don’t have enough milk” is shocking, but as a first time mother, how are you meant to know what’s normal and what is not? We see these big bottles of formula filled up and we presume our milk should be the same amount. I’m here to tell you ITS NOT. The reason the formula has to be such an amount is because it has to try and replicate the nutrition that babies get from just one drop of breast milk.

Myth 1: I “couldn’t” breastfeed

I have heard a lot of aunties and people say these words. While I don’t know their personal circumstances, the vast majority of women are physically capable of breastfeeding, as long as they have the help and support they need. Even if you haven’t physically given birth (adoptive mothers) you CAN breastfeed. Unless you have a rare condition called mammary hypoplasia, where women don’t have enough of the right type of breast tissue to produce milk, you are able to breastfeed. Whatever your breasts or nipples look like, you are equipped for the job. 

Myth 2: I don’t have enough milk

I want to scream when I hear this. I want to scream even louder when I hear nurses telling a mother this when a baby is only 2 days old. Bar a serious medical condition or medication, there is NO such thing. Refer to the graph below. Your baby’s’ stomach is the size of a cherry, a cherry! All it needs for the first few days is a teaspoon amount of your colostrum at a time. It is truly the perfect 1st meal for a baby. Don’t expect your breasts to fill up straight away. Colostrum is made up of living cells, it forms a protective lining inside baby’s gut and protects them from germs outside the womb. It also has a natural laxative effect, helping baba to clear out their system. Literal liquid gold. That’s why I say even if you only manage a few days, you have done an amazing thing. Newborns don’t need much but as you learn each other and your bodies, let baby suckle for as long as they need. Initially the feeds will take longer (20 minutes or so), but this often decreases as time goes on.

But how can I tell my baby is getting enough milk?

Before you turn to formula, the best way to tell whether your baby is getting enough is to look at his nappies. Up until about day 3, there should be about 3 wet nappies a say. Then from day 5 there should be at least 5 wet nappies a day. Always measure the nappies. Newborns tend to feed between 8 and 12 times a day.

My eldest was a little fighter (funnily enough he is now my softy), but as a baby my word he tested me. He had an incredibly strong latch but in those first few weeks, despite him gripping onto me like a bulldog there was clearly some air getting in somewhere and I ended up with blood blisters. Enter the all saving nipple cream that other mums swear by. Yes, it provided some relief but actually I found that “air drying” was the best. He would pull on my boobs, cry out in frustration, get wind and then get reflux, it was like a vicious cycle. He would scratch me, wack me in the face with his arm, I felt like giving up on more than one occasion. Then, without even realising it, one day it just clicked. We found our grove, which looking back, probably would have come a little quicker if I had seen a lactation consultant. Then I started expressing in my preparation to go back to work. Imagine my horror when I realised that I could only pump between 80 ml and 120 ml at a time! SURELY he was drinking more than that? According to the formula tin we needed about 180 ml per feed? Guess what? 3 kids later and I still only pump between 80 ml and 150 ml per feed. That’s what my babies drink, and its raised 3 pretty healthy kids. That’s the beauty of breastmilk. The amount may not change, but the nutrients inside do! Magic right?

As you start getting into the swing of things and you get over all the initial fullness and discomfort, your baba starts to mature a little bit and will start experiencing typical newborn winds and cramps. You may think your baba is in pain or is even constipated because they are struggling to “push”. Firstly, please remember that a baby needs to adjust to the world. They don’t come out walking and talking. Their muscles have to develop and their bodies have to learn. Their skin has to adjust to the air, material against their skin, dry air. This is typically when baby acne or little spots can start to appear. This is also when the next round of myths typically appear.

Myth 3: Your milk is too rich (or too weak)

I’m sorry but your milk is freaking perfect! It’s from you, and you are perfect! Breast milk is always just right and adjusts to babies needs. If you start expressing, you’ll notice how your “foremilk” will be a grey, watery consistency and then gradually as becomes a thick creamy consistency. The thinner milk is high in protein, sugar and vitamins and minerals. Its “refreshing”, (think coconut milk), while the creamier hindmilk has a higher fat and calorie content, to “fill baba up”. Your milk is not too rich, spots and cramps come with newborn territory and it is generally just their bodies adjusting.

Myth 4: My baby is allergic to my milk

Errrr no, sorry, they are not. Your milk is perfect. Baby COULD be allergic to something you have eaten that could pass through your milk, but typically, the biggest advantage to breast milk, is that it is introducing all these flavours and tastes to your little one “through a filter”. Breastfed babies often have less allergies as they have been exposed things all the way through. Newborn babies are often are most sensitive to the protein found in cow’s milk, or in soy and their tummies have a hard time digesting it. Cramping can occur, so if you suspect this try cutting it out of your diet to see if it improves. In addition, if you notice any blood in their stool it is typically a sign of an allergy.

Myth 5: Why is your baby rooting all the time, is she hungry all the time? You aren’t feeding her enough

Want to scream yet? I know I did! Your newborns stomach is the size of a fist. They need to fill it up little and more frequently, sometimes they drink to fill and other times they drink for comfort. Breast milk is also easier to digest then formula, so it digests quickly. There is nothing wrong with frequent feeding, if anything, in the early days, it’s setting you up for a great supply and it’s giving you time to just bond with baby.

Myth 6: You should feed every 4 hours.

This is a newborn we are talking about. Why would you want to “time” them? Feed on demand in the early days. Their appetites will vary every day so for the first few weeks just follow their cues. I always used the “4 hour rule” as a “must feed”, so if we were out and about and baby hadn’t had a feed for 4 hours, I knew to stop whatever we were doing to feed. When we were home however, I always fed on demand. As they hit the 3 or 4 month mark however, I do use the 4 hour rule as a guide.

As your baby grows, your milk matures.

Typically around 2 to 3 months the “let down” sensation wont “hurt” as much. Yes I found that tingling sensation to be so strong at times it hurt. It should all settle down and you will find your natural groove. The “struggle” will fade and the fighting and the “fighting” will not be as bad. You will feel more comfortable to feed in public now. You may have to start thinking about returning to work and expressing milk to freeze. Make sure you have the best quality pump you can afford, please don’t buy a second hand one. You can read the reasoning behind that here. Building a stash takes some time but its worth it. Be patient with expressing and try to stick to the same schedule every day (muscle memory). The more you express, the more milk you will get. Remember that demand always equals supply with breast milk. Its during these 3 – 4 months that you may notice that your milk supply varies. A number of factors influence your production, mainly, hydration (yours), stress and sleep. You could be starting to worry about your return to work, or you may have just have had one to many sleepless nights. When I see my milk supply decreasing at all I take it as a sign that I need to take a little time to slow down. Rest a bit more, increase my fluid in take and by eating certain food groups you can help to increase your supply (thanks Mrs.Milk). Medela has always been my pump of course, and I have used the swing, the swing maxi as well as the freestyle. Each pump is deigned for different price ranges and “lifestyle” needs.

Myth 7: You will have to stop breastfeeding when you return to work.

I’m here to say that I have worked with all 3 of my children and have managed to express for all of them. I fed my eldest for 15 months, my youngest son for 2 years and 4 months and know babygirl is on 4.5 months. Know your rights at work as well. Your workplace has to provide a safe place and give you 2 30 minute breaks to “feed your baby/express” up until 6 months. Remember, once you start your solids journey you may be able to drop a feed in the day as well. For anymore tips on breastfeeding while working you can read my previous article here.

We finish off by dispelling the biggest myth of all:

Myth 8: You can’t fall pregnant whilst breastfeeding

Well hi there, my name is Rebecca and I fell pregnant when breastfeeding 🙂 So did a few of my friends. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, a minimum of every four hours, then your chances of falling pregnant within the first 6 months are LESS, but still possible (Month 7 over here !). Its definitely not the most reliable plan for a contraceptive.

A few top tips to help you on your feeding journey:

  • Approach breastfeeding with determination and a strong mindset. You CAN do this, it may be natural but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Persistence pays off.
  • Get comfy – Before you sit down to feed make sure you have everything around you within reach. Some water/tea, your remote etc. Get comfortable. Feeding pillows are the BEST and help you and babe to be more comfortable.
  • If you are ill – I’m sure you have read it before but if you or your baby become ill, keep feeding! Your body produces breast milk containing more antibodies which protects your baby’s immunity. I have fed through flu, tummy bugs and bronchitis.
  • What happens when you get Mastitis – Blocked Milk Ducts and Mastitis will be experienced at some point, no doubt. It is uncomfortable and painful but it is manageable. Speak to a healthcare professional or a lactation consultant. The best way is to sit in a warm shower and massage your breast to try and “unblock” the duct. Warm face cloths and expressing can also help. If your nipples are extremely sensitive or baby is struggling with a latch, nipple shields and expressing can also help you get over the hill.
  • Nipple care: With your first baby in particular, you need to take care of yourself, and your milk makers 🙂 Its an adjustment and they go through a bit of a tough time. It does get easier, and with each child after a little easier still. Use a nipple cream (works for some and not others. Some people are actually allergic to lanolin. I preferred not to use it as I didn’t like the sticky feeling). Air dry as much as you can – don’t put your bra on straight away. Sit for a few minutes after each feed and let them dry naturally. If you are at a low point or are suffering, use a nipple shield. A few moms I know swear by them.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It truly does take a village. Please share this article with any new mum to be. We are all in it together. If love to hear if you have any other stories or tips. The challenges you faced and how you overcame them. You can make a difference in one persons life.


In light of giving back and helping another woman in their breastfeeding journey, I have partnered with some of the brands that helped me along the way. I’ll be giving away 1x Snuggletime feeding pillow, 1 x Medela mini-electric pump, Natralogic Nipple Creme and a variety pack of Mrs. Milk lactation bars.

To Enter:

Make sure you follow all brands involved on Facebook and Instagram;

And of course me 🙂 In these Stilettos.

Comment below and share your tips. This really is all about helping one another and encouraging each other. So I would love to hear your success stories and personal journeys to inspire others.

That’s it! Competition will close on Friday 20 September at Midnight and winner will be announced after. Please note that the design and style of the Snuggletime pillow may vary dependent on availability.

If I Could Give You One Thing

If I Could Give You One Thing

If I could give you one thing my child, it would be optimism. In todays’ world of high anxious children, high crime rates and pressure at school, if I could give you one thing it would be eternal optimism and hope. Hope for a better future, hope for a better world, hope to make a difference.

It’s the one of the things I am grateful for the most in my life. The tendency to always see a glass half full so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I do stress about things, but I know in life, you have to deal with things as they come. There is no point in worrying yourself sick about something until you are actually dealing with it. Since I was a young child, my two motto’s have been “The worst that can happen is they say no” and “just keep swimming”. Being optimistic about things gives you courage and confidence. It lifts you up and raises those around you.

It starts with us.

The way a parent talks and reacts to problems and stresses around them often become a child’s inner voice. Children are like sponges when they are experiencing the world around them. Behaviour is modeled off their parents or key care givers and their reactions are learnt. By being an optimistic parent you will handle situations more successfully, but it will also help your child do the same

The world needs optimists now more than ever.

The belief that a single individual can make a change. The belief and self-belief that EVERY person matters. The belief that they are someone!

But how do you go about raising an optimist?

  • The first – and I think I have my Dad to thank for this, is QUIT COMPLAINING. Be aware of the words you use around you children, they pick up on your anxiousness and worry more than you possibly know. “We’re never going to get a parking”, “We are always running late”, By focusing on negative thoughts and frustrations you are bound to raise a pessimist. The more your kids hear you moaning about your day at work, or the stress of life, the more they will do the same thing. I’m not saying “shelter” them, but be aware of the WAY you react to your daily stressors. Broken Geyser? Its not the end of the world, yes you may have one cold shower which is an inconvenience, but there are worse things that could happen.
  • Give them responsibility – Kids won’t develop an optimistic, “can-do” attitude unless they have the opportunity to prove their worth. Entrusting our kids to complete tasks makes them feel capable and gives them a chance to feel proud. From the age of 2 children can pick up their own toys, put dirty clothes in the wash etc. Get them involved and see how seriously they take their assigned tasks. Its the cutest thing.
  • Curb the negative self talk – Children are naturals at this, especially once they enter the primary school years. I often hear phrases like “I cant do it” or “Im not big enough”. Its our job as parents to lift them up. I’m not saying offer false praise, because that may erode their trust in you. First empathize, hear them and listen. Then work on small bits “what do you think you did right”, “how do you think you can do better next time”. Help them focus on a solution rather then the problem.
  • Encourage humour – If your kids can see you approaching life with a little humour and the ability to see things with a lighter heart it can help them not take themselves so seriously.
  • Love – love, love and more love. Strong love, soft love, tough love. Even when we are disciplining them, try to discipline with love. By that, I mean explanations. Explain clearly as to why they are being disciplined and the importance of it.

Optimism is a critical skill for happiness, health and success. It creates resilience and helps combat anxiety and depression. It brings hope, for a fresh new start.

I pray that you always see the world for its beauty, for its good. To see yourself through my eyes. You are amazing, always remain pure. Always have hope.

— Hope is a powerful weapon, and (one) no one power on earth can deprive you of— Nelson Mandela

When Did You Last Play?

I can feel the connection slipping. As I was lying next to the boys the other night I realised, that between work and baby I don’t think I am spending enough time with them. I often catch myself saying “OK just now”, or “in a minute” when they ask me to do things. I am so very sorry my sweet boys, you deserve more. I have to keep reminding myself that its the quality of time you spend with your child that counts, not necessarily the quality. Its just so hard to spend the quality time when you get home from work, have to feed baby, make dinner and to be honest, just to have a moment of “zen”.

The latest campaign launched by Hasbro struck a real nerve with me. I urge you all to have a look at this video.

Hasbro asked kids how much time they spend playing with their parents, and try to persuade their parents to come and play with them. My heart broke into a million little pieces. I saw me.

The evidence of the benefits of play is overwhelming. The latest World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines prescribe active play for kids under five to increase their mental and physical wellbeing as they get older. Play as been recognized as an essential right for every single child and the latest health trends are showing how doctors are actually prescribing playtime for stressed, depressed children and their equally anxious, always-connected parents. When did you last PLAY WITH you child? Just put down all technology and stresses and actively engage in play? I thought I was pretty good at playing with the kids, but my husband has to win dad for the year award here. He comes home from work and still musters up the energy to play full on games of hide and seek before bed.

Since Hasbro launched its #SavetimeforPlaytime video I have made it a focus for us when we come home from work to do one connection activity, whether its me playing connect 4 with them or Dad playing card games or hide and seek we take it in turn to have connection time. The difference in the boys is noticeable and in all honesty we are happier and less grumpy. So from here on I pledge, to all of you reading that once a week we will have a family games night. Lets be honest, when did you last play cops and robbers?

It doesn’t have to be conventional “play” either, if dressing up like a fairy and floating around the room doesn’t do it for you, keep it simple. Make a challenge out of cooking at mealtimes, have a tea party or picnic outside. Make a game of getting dressed in the morning, you can dress the fastest? Its about carving out quality, active time with our children and being engaged.

Head on over to Facebook, to @monopolysouthafrica and pledge to #SaveTimeForPlaytime and you could WIN a R1000 voucher and a Hasbro game of your choice! Have you made your pinky promise yet?

Thank you Hasbro for this pertinent reminder to be actively present in our children’s lives.