How to semi-discipline boys

Having kids is messy. I keep repeating this statement and have yet to discover the amount of times it will take to say it that will make it less true.

I enjoy the boys. I love watching them play. In our house, the boys earn screen time by working, exercising and playing other games. This rule I, as a parent admittedly enjoy more than others. It means that they do dishes, laundry, pick up dog shit, wash cars and help with the cooking to be able to play PlayStation. See where I’m going with this. The most important part about this particular rule is to be a consistent dick about enforcing it. I have three beautiful boys with three completely different personalities. 

Xander (10) is our little helper. He has no issue with chores or lending a hand and will probably do it even if he had no screen time to gain from it. 

Ajay (5) is a little more reluctant in this particular area. It usually takes some pushing to get him to help, but when he does, he is by far the fastest little thing in the house. 

Oscar (1.5) …. Yes, he helps along with the other boys. They hate it obviously, because he tends to mess up more than actually help. 

It seemed to be going great… until the boys started losing interest in games. This is called the “something shiny phenomenon”. The symptoms being loss of interest in various things as soon as another set of various things come along. Albeit annoying, a simple part of male genetics. 

My threats of no screen time were answered with a form of careless shoulder shrugging. So to my bitter annoyance. I had to come up with a better idea. 

I did what any NORMAL mother does, and cried over the phone to a friend of mine that’s always willing to listen, about how I’m not getting to my kids anymore. She, struggling with similar yet mildly different issues with her own kids contentedly let me speak then told me as the voice of reason what she is doing.

It comes down to this.. pocket money is a PRIVILEGE! When we as adults don’t perform at work we are reprimanded, some to the point of losing jobs and thus income. We expect our children to take to task in a mature and dutiful manner but never give them the tools of being responsible for their own income. Kinda like sending them to war and telling them guns are only for the show. (Maybe a little morbid, but it makes a point).

I have debit orders that go off from my account to their called pocket money. It’s probably not a whole lot by other parent’s standard, but to me it makes a dent.

Now they have to WORK for it. I printed out sheets with each kids name and the 7 days of the week. Printed out cards with different jobs on it and a monetary value. Packing dishwasher – R2.00, picking up dogshit – R5.00, reading to your brother etc. 

I’ve also made a naughty pile with things that get to me more than others…

Beating up a brother – R5.00, giving me shit while schooling – R5.00 etc.

Each day I let them honestly tell me what they have done to get paid and to lose money as well. We do the math and the left overs get stockpiled. At the end of the month only the 4 week stockpile gets transferred into their accounts.   

There is a risk of them getting more than what I budgeted for… But let’s be honest, kids fuck up often. I have been safe in that respect thus far. (Touch wood). 

What I am seeing is that they are checking themselves more frequently now. They both have big spending plans, and now realize that it will not be without hard work. 

I hope that this will help change the entitled brats generation one child at a time, because let’s face it… This is OUR fault! 

Here’s hoping this works until the next phase in raising little men come by.

Advertisements

Homeschooling boys. 

When I was a kid, the general idea about homeschool kids were that they were weird, anti-social and had crazy long hair. We as mainstream scholars never really mixed with those kids. In fact I distinctly remember hearing complete horror stories about homeschool kids that were all expelled from “normal schools” and could never function in “normal society”. 

So imagine my complete reluctance when God started showing me that I should homeschool my kids. I kept hearing in all the actual voices of concerned people around me that homeschooling them would somehow change what God had installed into them. Kinda like when people have an issue with a boy wearing pink because heaven forbids he might go gay. Like in some strange freak accident the colour pink causes straight guys to turn into gay guys. It’s mind numbingly stereotypical idiocy! But humans being humans, I refused to listen to the Lord because chasing my own dreams seemed like the right thing to do. 

I constantly told myself that earning more money, will benefit my children more than me being there. Growing up with very little money has in a few words “chipped my shoulders considerably”. 

I used to measure success in money, granted, I still constantly have to check myself to not go right back to that idea of self-worth, but I arrogantly admit that I have grown. 

My mom, as a single parent, worked really hard to keep our heads above water, and only becoming a parent myself made me realize how hard it was for her to not be able to give us every thing our hearts desired. Or not being able to be there for everything we attempted because she had to work. It’s such a precarious scale. 

I respect the hell out of any mom or dad that works really hard to give their children a good life. And it is because of this respect that, not working, did not sit very well with me. 

But as God doesn’t stop trying to show you His path, He was relentless in me becoming a homeschool mom. There were issues at school, issues with ADD meds (’cause we all know, that if your child doesn’t fit in the box, we medicate them into it), issues with my work, my bosses, my household…. I finally gave in when sitting with Xander one afternoon doing homework. 

It was a regular day for us. I was working half day at the time for an accounting firm. Trying to juggle kids, work, home and studies. Xander wasn’t having a particularly bad day, but it took us 7 hours and about half an ocean of tears to get the basic fucking homework done. 

We were broken! I was a wreck, yelling, begging, threatening, even physically doing his homework for him at some point. I was laying in my bed that night, thinking, praying. We all do that, go to bed early because we are so tired and end up just spending more time thinking about all the shit we haven’t done today, all the shit that still needs to be done tomorrow, and while we are at it, world peace, curing hunger, redecorating our homes, organising every one we love’s lives, the various careers we plan for our kids and how to lose at least 10kg before swimsuit season.

Once again, God spoke to my heart and told me… so are you done with YOUR plan now, and may I step in? 

I’m not the best at surrendering, and it took me 4 years but giving in to God was the best decision we have ever made. Not only does he support us, financially in the craziest ways, but somehow he gave this short tempered, unorganized mom the ability to be good at homeschooling. 

There will always be people, even those close to you, that will question the whole homeschooling thing. Even though it still pisses me off, I now understand that it just stems from ignorance. 

In light of this, I would like to tell you what homeschooling is…

Firstly there are many forms of homeschooling. 

1) Cottage schools are a small group of kids from different families that work together either with a specific syllabus or just in specific ideals. 

2) simple homeschooling is where you as a parent teach your child with the help of a prescribed syllabus. There are MANY. Brainline, Impact, Cyberschool, Sonlig, Damlin, Cambridge… The list grows yearly. There are also a lot of free syllabus… Yes you are not reading wrong, this is not a myth. Easypeasy, Discovery k-12 and Khan Academy are only some of the many. You’d think that because they are free, that they generally suck.. you’re wrong. 

3) eclectic homeschooling is based on unit studies. For example, you as a mom, decide that your topic is sonar. For science you will present a teaching on how sound travels, biology will be bats or dolphins, history will be submarines, and so on. 

4) unschooling is … well, starting our journey, I didn’t understand this phenomenon at all. This mostly originates from how we were groomed into society. We all have some form of controlling issues. Some small part that needs the golden star at the end of the day. It took me two years to realize that homeschooling is NOT ABOUT ME! Unschooling is building confidence and character. It’s allowing your child to stop being forced a whole bunch of useless information and creating a hunger to explore.

I’ve unschooled, mostly because I was sitting with a child that had less than zero confidence in his own intelligence. Not born this way, but hearing from all channels in his life that he is not good enough, moulded this insecurity. I needed my child to know that his best, is THE BEST.

I’ve done eclectic homeschooling, trying to regrow an enthusiasm to learn. But after doing this for roughly 1 and a half year, the load honestly just got to be to much. There’s extensive research, planning, typing an reevaluating involved. Some of our friends still uses this for of homeschooling, to which I applaud them. Knowing in part how much balls they have for pushing through the lack of sleep to get their kids educated. 

I am now homeschooling with a syllabus. (Discovery K-12). Before you start with a syllabus, be sure to do extensive research. What works for one family won’t necessarily work for another. This is such a trail and error process and can become very costly. 

Breath, every mistake you make IS FIXABLE. Know that you will get your child educated in the exact amount of time (or less) than mainstream school would have done. 

We normally start our mornings in very chilled out kind of way. Slowly eating, slowly drinking tea. Then we start with reading (yes, homeschool kids read). We, by that I mean he, writes an essay on what he has read and corrects any spelling errors before submitting it (and by that I mean me). Then we do some grammer… basic things like, conjunctions, prepositions etc. And some spelling. We carry on with Math and follow that with science. Art comes next and we round it off with some PE. 

A whole days work takes us about three hours (grade 5/6)… so why, do you ask, does school last for 7 hours? That’s simple…. I only teach MY children. I can move at their tempo and their abilities. This opens up another window, that I hope most readers (assuming intelligence) have already identified…. We can finishing grade 12 earlier. Although alluring as this prospect seems, that is not our main objective. 

It’s also completely possible to homeschool more than one child at a time. Our 1 year old runs around with the dogs, plays in the garden and chases bird while we work. He does PE with us and even plays piano (well his version of playing piano anyway). Little ones get demanding of our time, but when you have unschooled successfully, your older children will have the confidence to try and do their OWN work independently. This frees up your hands to an extent and allows you to find the balance. 

So pro’s and con’s:

Pro – 

  • You have control over what and how your child learns. 
  • You can do multiple grades in one depending on your child’s interests and abilities
  • No one gives a fuck if your child writes like a doctor in the making (that might just be me… I’m still considering careers for him)
  • No one will judge an oral or speech or essay purely on what the presenter thereof believes, experiences or feels. 
  • No uniforms … Most days we basically school in our PJ’s 
  • Expression of their own style and taste. We have a friend with the coolest blue hair.
  • More chilled out lifestyle in general

Con’s –

  • You become responsible for their social life
  • The temptation of PC and PlayStation games
  • No down time… ever …. really … never ever ever. Most people work to take an 8 hour break from the offspring.
  • No privacy
  • 100 questions and remarks as to how you are doing this to your child.

You will notice I didn’t mention sport or interactions with other kids. 

Let me tell you a little secret….. 

HOMESCHOOLERS HAVE SPORTS!!!!

In fact, we have many to choose from. Besides the basics that schools have like rugby, hockey, netball, tennis, athletics, cricket an so on … We also have parcor, gymnastics, archery, martial arts, trampoline, dancing the list literally grows daily! And as an added bonus we usually get it for a little cheaper as we do not have to stick to after school hours. 

We have musicals, plays, excursions, socials, dances, parties, athletic days, talent shows, debates. We have science classes, robotics, world history … It’s a bottomless pool of information. 

People always say that it’s good for kids to be bullied. “Hardens them up” …. are we really still going around a presumably advanced age with the mind sets of our ancient forefathers? Should we then not be teaching our daughters to marry young, and expect to be treated as an object rather than an equal? Or how about teaching children that their entitlement is only dependent on their race or religion. 

Step into the fucking light already… It’s kinda beautiful on this side. 

It’s good for a child to learn to cope in stressful situations, or handle peer pressure or know how to resolve conflict.. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a NORMAL day in my household anyway. 

You, as a parent showed your baby how to walk… And no, it’s not instinctive… It’s instinctive to crawl. You teach your toddler how to speak, you teach your child morals and values… somewhere down the line, we were told that parents can’t teach and that’s why they need to be sent to school. I’m calling it… BULLSHIT. 

Yes, I homeschool. Yes, my kids are a little weird (all kids are). Yes, it’s different… 

Our journey is unique but it is not in solitude. Reach out, get involved.. You would be surprised how many homeschooling groups there are in your own backyard. 

You wouldn’t even know … their very average looking, very social and LITERALLY live among the rest of the “normal” kids.

When to let go of three boys

Often sitting at a restaurant or playdate or homeschool social, I see my boys testing all the natural laws of gravity. Often times this is followed by another frantic mother telling them they should get off before they brake their necks. Often times that’s followed by the always present look of judgement as to why I would allow little humans to test their abilities in such horrifically irresponsible ways. 

I suppose that I myself, have been quick to judge the exact same behavior in other parents than I portray now, two extra boys later.

Which leads me to question, when is it appropriate to let your mongrels loose and when should you pretend to reign them in.

This, I’ve learnt is very dependent on your personal parenting style. If, for example, you’re the mom that freaks out over a bumped head, because heaven knows the child’s never going to be okay after such a terrible head injury, I would suggest finding decent bubble wrap and forcing your child into a life of solitude. 

There’s a reason why Boys and Bruises start with the same letter. In fact, they go together like salt and pepper, sushi and soya, red wine and myself. It’s part of their DNA to test their physical limits. 

On all these “world biggest idiot” YouTube shows, it’s always some idiotic teenage boy getting slammed in the nuts after doing something completely stupid. It’s never a girl. 

I’ve actually come to my own conclusions as to why this is such a prominent occurrence under the male species…. women already know that it’s of much greater importance to test exceptional things. Like intelligence, careers, social acceptance of women, women’s rights and equality in the work place. In short…. women are born smarter. I say this with all the love I possibly have, considering the fact that I’m raising three little men. But it’s true. 

I read this amazing article on great young girls who changed history. People like Alice Coachman, who dominated the high jump since she was 15, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn who gave her first speech about what socialism will do for women, when she was 16 years old. Or Betsy Hager who, as a teenager built weapons for the soldiers during the civil war. There’s a million more, like Louisa Lane, Lucy Larcom, Sybil Ludington, Maria Mitchell and Alexandra Nechita. Even Pocahontas, who most people probably think is just a Disney character, represented her people before she was a teenager. If you didn’t know any of these names. I don’t blame you, but unfortunately most people know Jhonny Knoxville… in fact typing his name, it already autonomously finished it. Sad that this is what society has become. 

But blogging about female excellence is such a deserving topic that I want to leave it for it’s own special time. 

Boys seldomly start thinking about the world before their 20. Even then, it’s limited to their own world. 

We have had a couple of stitches, a trip to the hospital for mild accidental poisoning, a few bad insect bites, a broken nose, and a shit load of bruises and bad scrapes. They’re still here. 

I let them burn their hands, fall of jungle gyms and ride head first into walls with their bicycles… growing up, I’ve done worse… and lived to tell about it. 

The only suggestions that I do have, and use myself, is to… 

1) tell your kids to respect other people’s belongings firstly. 

2) Teach them to try and set a good example for other kids who might not yet have the capability to levitate.

3) Enforce certain boundaries when we’re visiting places that have R20 000 paintings everywhere. 

4) Limit sugar intake, ‘coz boys on drugs are a lot crazier. 

5) never dare them… And they’re boys… simply saying “no you can’t jump of the double storey roof” sound like a dare to them. Instead try saying “I know you are capable of doing great things, but you are not ALLOWED to break your neck today”.

6) manage the type of movies or shows that your kids are exposed to. If you’re wondering why he slaps his wrist and transforms into a spider monkey…… parent fail. 

The BIGGEST thing you should try to remember when your kids do death defying stunts is to NOT PROJECT YOUR OWN FEARS ONTO THEM. Life is pretty tough as it is, they will have plenty of time to develop their own irrational fears. 

Pray every moment for their safe keeping and trust that God will not disappoint. 

When the inevitable does happen and they do end up getting hurt. Instead of coddling them, let them explain to you why they think they got hurt in the first place. 

Buckle up, parenting is a bumpy ride and most of the time, as a mom with boys, you’re going to have your eyes shut.

How to listen to your kids

It’s an age old thing that parents and kids don’t speak the same language. Every time I think I’m finally on the same page as my boys, they morph into a different human and I have to realize we’re not even reading from the same book. Their needs, want, priorities and interests change faster than the political stability in our country. People talk about keeping up with the Joneses, but the real pain in the ass is keeping up with the humans you’ve spawned. 

Even now, sitting here writing my blog, my baby Oscar is having an A Grade hissy fit. Two weeks ago I’d know it was either for food, attention, general asshole-lism or because of some toy. Now, I have no fucking idea what cry goes with what need. 

Then you have days where nothing you do seems to be the right kind of something they want. You pick them up, they cry. You put them down, they cry. They point to an apple and end up chucking it like a missile at your head. They take a toy, and leave the toy, then cry for a different toy, two crawls away from them. 

It’s the most complicated language to learn. And I don’t care who claims any differently, NO ONE is an expert. The reality of it is that no kids are the same, we cannot categorize them and treat them accordingly and expect to suddenly understand them. Kid talk is not some awesome fairy dust that gets sprinkled over your confused head and then the clouds part and a magical rainbow of complete and utter understanding appears to touch you personally. 

The biggest reason why it’s so hard to be on the same page as your kids is mostly because, most of the time they don’t even know what page THEY’RE on. 

Say for example my 10 year old, Xander. He now has the capability to communicate his feelings, emotions, opinions and disappointments. (Being a semi-teenager, that’s a capability that he constantly practices and constantly land him in shit). But, we’ve been homeschooling for the last two years and most of the time I think we’re doing fine. Then he has these weirdly out of character emotional outbursts. I’m talking about screaming, crying, punching, kicking outbursts. Any normal parent knows right then and there, if it’s not drugs or pregnancy then something else is seriously wrong. 

So how do we then, as obviously confused parents go about getting to understand our kids. I’d be a little hypocritical if I said, I’ve got the answers, mostly because I believe no one does. But if there is one thing that I know without a doubt, is that you first need to establish trust. 

If you are the kind of parent that looses your shit over a missing key when they do fess up, how will they ever learn to trust that they can come to you with the big things, like dating a girl, deciding on a career, cementing their religious beliefs or hiding a body. Trust is key, more like trust is one of the million keys to a really fucktup Pandora’s box. 

The next thing I’ve found that sort of kind of works is making special time. Sit, look them in their eyes and try to see what they are saying. Understand that you’ll never completely get it, but if you can convincingly pull of interest, they will come to you again. Hopefully the next time you’ll understand a little more. 

Try to treat the issues, not the kid. Repeat what you hear, and let them correct you when you undoubtedly misunderstand.

Never, an this is probably the master key, lead them. Never fill in the missing words, never draw them to your conclusions, never trump them with your opinion. By spoon feeding your child’s conversations, you are single handedly creating the idiots that surround us at the moment. 

Free thinkers are not born, they are raised. Teach your child to respect other people’s opinions and views but still have their own. 

Hopefully by the time that they are our age, we will be able to communicate with a single look, or a shared smile. 

Until then, try to enjoy what seems like random moments. Because all we are is a series of random moment.  

Diagnosing children …. Just … no

Technology is a wonderful beautiful thing. We as homeschool parents swear by Pinterest, Google, Khan Academy and so much more. Technology even allows idiots to pretend their smart by doing sufficient research or using autocorrect and spellchecker. We organise, connect and communicate across borders with ease. Technology can be used as a powerful teaching tool. But the one thing that technology cannot teach it’s users is common fucking decency. 

Before Google, parents took their kids to qualified doctors and psychologists when they thought something was wrong… now, every one is doctor.

I like to refer to this spectacular phenomenon as the generation of retarded grownups, aka post-Google parenting. 

Before Google, if parents found a weird rash on their kids, they promptly made an appointment to have it checked out. You walked out of the doctors office with a very clear indication of what ailment your little beast is suffering from now. Post-Google parents self evaluate their problems and end up with a list of possible outcomes that leaves you more confused and scared shitless than before. 

This we all do, and I’d be a little bit hypocritical if I said anything differently. 

In today’s technologically advanced world, this is somewhat acceptable. You’re just a concerned parent trying to figure out your kids. 

But then there’s some idiots that has made it their personal mission to evaluate every behavioral phase their kids are going through and shoving these cocked up conclusions down every one else’s throats.

They are every where, hiding in plane sight, dressed up as a concerned friend or neighbour or a friendly homeschool mom that’s “just trying to help”. 

Quite recently I had an experience where one such friendly homeschool mom, whose name I don’t even know, thought that my child’s behavior is her duty to diagnose. Let me just elaborate on the behavior of which she spoke…

My eldest is a little shy. To me, that’s a personality trait which he has always had. In the new homeschool group where he hasn’t made any friends yet, he was sitting and taking notes on the presentation they were receiving instead of playing with the props like the other kids. I felt kind of arrogantly proud, watching him be the intelligent boy I am trying to raise. So imagine my surprise when this skinny weird looking blonde told me, her child is “Hyper sensitive” as well. I think she mistook my look of “who the fuck are you and why are you talking to me” as “please continue, I’m so interested in the label you want to hang around my kid’s neck”. So she bulldozed on about all the symptoms that HS sufferers have, like I should be sitting with a tick list. In her conclusion, I could see the look of satisfaction on her face, and all I could think of was…. You post-Google idiot. You have seen my boy for all of 5 minutes. Lay of, step down, and go read a fucking book on parenting. 

Kids are not projects, they are blessings. Kids do weird things… But so do grown ups. Yes, there are terrible illnesses and behavioral things that causes your child to struggle fitting in to normal society, but not all behavior needs to be labeled. I remember what an awkward kid I was. 

Who decided that kids should all fit into a specific mold, or else their weird? God loved diversity so much he made each of us unique in all aspects. We look different, think different, find different things funny… and if it wasn’t for that we’d all be bored out of our minds. 

In today’s day and age, I find it so backwards that we still believe that all kids are the same. If you keep telling a fish it’s a bird, he might start believing he is and end up trying to fly. Humans are the same… with this in mind, we should be telling our kids that their awesome, brilliant, intelligent, that they can be what ever they put their minds to, and mostly that they are loved unconditionally just the way they are. 

We are all guilty of this sin.. me included. But I was only humbly brought to realization once the tables were turned. 

So to all the parents and kids I may have offended in the way I have been offended, I apologize for being a post-Google dick. 

How to stretch a non existing budget with three boys

So all parent know that becoming a parent is a synonym of becoming broke. With all the expenses rising, I thought it wise to share some of my budgeting tips. 

You’d think studying accounting would make me a jedi-budgeteer … But how does that saying go…. a hairdresser’s kids always look like a lawnmower got to them and a machanic’s car is always two pieces of masking tape away from becoming scrap metal. Well it’s no different with accountants and their finances. 

But of you’re up for taking advice from an idiot here goes:

1) STOP HAVING BABIES! Now this is crucial for financial freedom. Kids are money hungry bottomless pits of despair and the more you have, the darker the pit.

2) get organized. Sound a little anal but it works. Before I was an organized, well organizedish person, I would go into a shop and buy all kinds of shit. I’d come home to unpack and find twenty packets of the same fucking pasta sauce and still I’ve bought twenty more. Treat your pantry like a shop and do a stocktake. A legitimate, quantities and allowed purchases fucking stocktake.

3) stick to you’re list. This is a lot harder than it sounds. In fact, I’m severely impressed with my parenting skills when I actually remember the list and even more impressed when the list makes it through the first isle without being eaten by Oscar.

4) sell your unwanted hoard. One man’s shit is another man’s wanted shit. I sell pretty much anything I trip over more than twice. I sell books, dvd’s, clothes, toys, beds, bedding… I’d even sell my husband if I thought he would fetch a good enough price. Before season changes, sort out the clothing and sell it. The last load I sold got new shoes, four pairs of slippers, a car wash and at least six ice cream trips. 

5) shop at charity shops. Their everywhere. Specially things like tennis rackets, glassware and books. I just spent R30 at a charity shop buying three kids books, one tennis racket, a lightsaber toy and a wine rack. Trust me, it works.

6) swap old games. Most dvd stores allows you to swap old PlayStation games for other old PlayStation games.. But kids love PlayStation games that are their new PlayStation games no matter how old said game is. 

7) buy school supplies during the year, when on special only. Shops hike up their prices every December in anticipation of the back to school rush.

8) try and get winter blow out sales just before summer for the next year’s winter. Now this is quite a gamble, because boys grow like weeds. What you think will fit next year may end up looking like a tank top instead of a sweater. But you get sort of better at the estimates with experience.

9) join your community groups. I know it sound like a real tree hugger move on my part but I’m working out three times a week for free…. Jip, you read it… free, just because I keep my ear on the ground.

10) instead of having your car washed, have the kids help you wash the car. They actually end up loving it, and you can get of with a small amount of money and an ice cream.

11) when people ask “what does your kid want for his birthday?” Your answer is always clothes. You’re the parent. Your kids have to love you and pay your old age home one day. Have the rest of the world buy them clothes and you get them the fun things.

12) plan your meals. You don’t have to stick to the exact plan but have a meal for every day of the month. 

13) get a savings account that earns a little bit of interest and transfer the remainder of your money after debit orders into it. I, for example, budget for fuel for the month and transfer it into my Savings account. When I need petrol, I just transfer the budgeted amount over. The rest of the time it sits there and makes money. Not a lot.. But money gained is money gained. No matter how you look at it.

14) save your change. We’ve cashed in lose change on several occasions and it not only helps alleviate the clutter, but serves as an awesome little lesson on the history of money and exchange. (Sounding more and more like a homeschool parent by the day)

15) try and buy in bulk. Especially meat. Separate it into one mealtime portions and freeze it…. and keep stock on what’s in the freezer! 

16) grow your own veggies. Just the basics helps. Potatoes are insanely expensive and having four hungry mouths to feed can be a little much. I plant tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce and beans…. and I always thought that I only know what plants to smoke. 

17) pick up old school clothes at the clothing banks at the schools… obviously not all of it, just the good stuff. Some parents (wealthier ones) buy school uniforms in advance and end up donating new clothes because it doesn’t fit.

18) this is probably the most important tip…. TEACH YOUR KIDS TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR SHIT. They all look like diesel mechanics after 10 minutes outside so TEACH them to wash their clothes by hand. If the toys are left around for more than two hours.. you’ve won a lego man. I literally made my eldest go to school without a jersey because he lost 2 in one week. He wast very happy and ended up going to the clothing bank himself.

Understand that money is never ours in the first place and that you will not be blessed with more if you cannot handle what you have at the moment. Being wealthy can take many forms and success is only your perception of it. We are entrusted with three heavenly gems. To me, that’s Godly wealth.

The “what have you done today” conundrum

When I started planning my career, babies were not factored into the equation. See, I never wanted the white picket fence, the golden retriever, the ladies day book club committee, the bake sales, the home cooked meals, the curlers, the aprons, the stick up my ass that caused all 1950s moms to smile all the time. I wanted the world! I wanted to see every part of it, taste all it’s flavours, smell it’s authentic aroma. 

Today I’m an over qualified, under appreciated SAHM. (Stay at home mom). It’s not just the general household that sees all the things I do as a given, purely because they grace me with their dirty underwear and dirtier mouths.. it’s society as a whole. 

If I’m late, and let’s be completely honest for a second here… I’m always late.. it’s not because I’m a lazy housewife that slept in while my kids destroyed my house, it’s not because I stayed up late finishing wine after wine (although I’d like to), it’s not because I was doing yoga or cross fit or flirting with men at the gym.. So sure, I was planning on being there at 9:30 and only got there at 13:48…. But I am dressed, my kids have eaten (for now) and I’m only half way covered in baby through-up. In fact if you ever see a mom, fully dressed with matching shoes, make up done and her hair in anything other than a messy bun…. please stop and make an effort to tell her she looks gorgeous. Even if it’s a lie, that look took over three hours to complete, give a girl some hard earned credit! Truthfully, if you see me dropping off kids at school and I’m wearing a hoody and it’s 28°C outside…. know that I probably still have PJ’s hiding underneath it. 

So what is it that a SAHM does on a daily basis… I wish I could tell you. Most days it feels like I’m only half way awake but then I look at the watch (aka, the instrument of constant “you’re late” stress) and the whole day has come and gone. 

I do plan on seeing the empty bottom of our laundry basket by the time my kids are 30, but that did not happen today. I do plan on sitting to pee without my ass becoming a pee-soaking sponge… But that was not today. I do plan on having no dishes and enough clean cups for all of us to enjoy a cup of tea without having to use throw away cups in the morning … But today was not that day.

Society, you may have had to convince a prospective client to choose your firm or buy your product.. but It’s really hard to try and convince your ten year old that his feet will fit in his four year old brother’s socks.

You may have brokered a deal between a couple getting divorced, I mediated a war between 3 separate and completely different countries without too much loss of blood. 

You may have battled the traffic in your air-con blasting car, I battled sleep deprivation (and not all of it was my own), pimples (of which mostly all of it was my own), insanity level noise and at least 10 different kinds of tantrums.

I respect the hell out of every mom that has to do all the mommy things and mommy all the things at work. (See what I did there) 

It wasn’t in my forecast to play house with my boys, or homeschool.. But I took one for the team, because that’s parenting. That’s what parenting requires of you, complete and utter self sacrifice. 

You’d expect CEO’s and Managing directors to applaud you when you’ve served your time and want or need to get back into the workforce. Instead some yuppie recruitment agent in her mid-teens asks you “so like, what have you done these past years, like what can I put in your resume?”….. 

Somewhere along the way society has forgotten that mothers raise the future leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, scholars and politicians. We qualify for every position you can think of. We’re used to coping under pressure, focussing on the task at hand, time management, various liaising, budgeting, project managing, creative thinking, negotiating, reassuring and teaching. People should be lining up outside our doors to offer us jobs, not the other way round. 

That’s the whole point of society, they belittle the most hectic job in the world to a point were we SAHM’s are ashamed to say what we do for a living. So, what have I done today?

Well your eating relatively cooked food, I smell pretty clean, you still have three kids to come home to, you get to wear underwear tomorrow (which makes one of us), the house still has most of its walls and windows and there was just over 20 tears less than yesterday. 

Looking at the artwork on my class schedule (which I so diligently wrote up for the next two weeks), I was raising the next Picasso today. 

I chose to be a stay at home mom, it wasn’t forced on me. I just hope that the generation we are grooming will view the future mothers for what they truly are. Really fucking badass bitches that deserve respect. 


How to travel with three boys

It’s that time of the year where people start planning various holidays and shopping. Where all is well and people smile in the streets. Where children write letters to Santa in the hopes of getting something under the tree. I loved Christmas as a child. It was beautiful with all the twinkling lights and Christmas music in the stores. We got to stay up late, sleep in… glorious. I’m not really sure when the Christmas spirit dissipated, but it now resembles more of a watered down wine. You’re still going to drink it, but it doesn’t taste as good as it used to. I’ve been baking cookies all day. (Granted, I would have been done already had 25% of then not magically disappeared into my belly). I’m baking for the employees at my husband’s work. Yeah, I’m that wife. 

But between the dough rolling and sugar coating I did get to thinking that we will be packing up three gremlins that don’t get along on a good day and driving to Cape Town in a week. 

It’s like a really warped coin… on the one side I’m excited about seeing my brother and his beautiful wife (she obviously reads my blog) but on the other side I’m fully aware of the facts:

1) I am married to a man that argues with the GPS, because “it’s a woman’s voice that’s giving the directions”(flashback to our honeymoon and getting lost in the plantations)

2) I am married to a man that has the uncanny ability to switch off the voices of war coming from the backseat… which means that it’ll be like any other day in my house except we’re going to be in a cramped space

3) I am married to a man that believes stopping to pee is a luxury reserved for the once a day he actually needs to go

4) I am married to a man that, like most men, think breastfeeding is as simple and mess free as bottle feeding

5) I am married to a man that slams on the brakes when I doze off just to see where my face will end up

6) I am married to a man that is under the impression that he was a race car driver end endurance tester in his previous lifetime

7) this is the big one…. I am married to a man that thinks I can handle three boys

So looking at the list of facts I question my sanity for taking him with us. 

I’ve been devising some ideas that I’m going to be testing in the 14 odd hours on the road this year.

Controlling the GPS – simplest weapon in my arsenal, getting a weird British bloke to call out the directions, we’ll still get lost but then at least he won’t be blaming the entire female fucking species.

Voicesdo you hear voices – in a completely “world-is-at-an-end” voice, yelling “do you hear the voices?! Are they in my head?!” Proceeded by a shamefull bashing of the head on the dashboard in the hopes that he would think I’ve finally gone completely fucking insane. (This may be a bit of a stretch, but seeing as I am one cup of coffee and a panado away from it anyway, I might as well play it to my advantage).

Getting my husband to stop every two hours (at least) – Vitamin Water… he loves that shit and it just runs through him like his bladder evolved into a sieve. Totally worth the money.

Breastfeeding in the car – suckle and squirt, this technique requires some nipple sacrifice. It’s letting baby latch and then pulling out and watching the milk stream in various directions. If I practice my aim, I might just catch him in the eye and he’d have to stop and let me breastfeed in peace. Once again the teeth gashes will be worth it.

My dozing off – well seeing as he will be doing all the driving and I will be pretending to co-pilot from my snooze… If it keeps him entertained, I might as well take one for the team. 

I’m not too worried about the speeding thing, he usually ends up regretting it when he starts getting fines in the mail. I do however commit to NOT writing a sad letter (again) to the traffic department to try and get out of the fines.

Then there’s the trip entertainment.. I do not have an ace up my sleeve as to how I’m going to control the boys. I do however have some ideas.

DIY “are we there yet” map:

You will need:

  • Laminated Map of the general area you’ll be traveling
  • Cheap dot stickers

How to:

  •  get a map for each boy and a whole bunch of sticker and have them stick one on the map for each town we drive through.

DIY license plate game:

You will need:

  • Laminated map of area you’ll be traveling
  • Rub off kind of marker

How to:

  • Have boys write down the licence plates as you go through the various provinces

DIY scavenger hunt:

You will need:

  • List of crazy but reachable things like a yellow Beatle, police car, man picking his nose, biker with a beard etc. With little tick boxes for each one
  • Pen

How to:

  • If I need to explain this then you’re an idiot and I’m amazed you know how to read

DIY driving bingo:

You will need:

  • Printed out sheet roughly five by five pictures of various road signs 
  • Stickers

How to:

  • Just like real bingo with less old people and more excitement

DIY magnetic puzzle:

You will need:

  • Cookie baking tray
  • Cheap magnets 
  • Ice cream sticks
  • Printed picture

How to:

  • Stack sticks in A4 shape
  • Stick picture on 
  • Cut between sticks so that each stick has a piece of the picture on it
  • Stick magnets to the back of the sticks 

How to:

  • Each monster gets a tray and a Ziploc bag with the puzzle
  • If you want to watch them get seriously pissed off,mix them, payback for all the sleepless nights

Most of these will probably end up in a fight anyway, so then there’s always using cardboard as dividers between the boys.

Try to avoid the crazy, take it one kilometer at a time and enjoy the special moments in between all the harder ones. Remember that if you are going away for the holiday that we are blessed to be able to share it with our kids. (Just had to put a little sunshine in there)

Surviving chickenpox

All kindergarten classes have these little chatgroups were class parents can bitch and moan about everything. And they do.. from upset tummies to trying to sell their home-made crap. Then there’s the inspirational pictures and shitty jokes…. okay it’s pretty obvious I’m never the parent that gets asked to help sell cookies or organise the school play. I may lack a little school spirit. 

But waking up this morning and reading a group message already planned out my day. Ajay has this little friend who he loves. Their like tequila and lemon, like wine and a gossip night, like a movie with pizza you snuck in. When one is in shit… you can bet your ass that the other one is right there with him. His mom sent the group message stating that he has the dreaded pox. I knew, I fucking knew that I’d be going back to school in an hour and picking up my poxed out, itchy four year old.

We’ve been here before. Xander got chickenpox just before he turned 5. And I did what every mother who has a 5 year old who wants a party when he has chickenpox does… took him on the Gautrain to ensure that there’s at least two other people sharing in his birthday pox. 

We survived it once.. But that was my gentle baby, and two other babies ago. 

Ajay, aka picker of scabs, his own and others, is the worst kid to get chickenpox.

So experience has thought me these next steps to survive an itchy kid.. And here’s hoping it works again.

1) NOTHING helps for the itch.

2) make your peace with pox marks. We all have them, we all ignore them.

3) heat is a bitch! Keep the little ones on ice and it’ll keep most of the pox on ice. (We literally let Xander sleep on the tiles when he had chickenpox)

4) chamomile lotion goes on pink and dries to a weird chalky white. If they do not look like they’ve lost a fight with a chalkboard eraser, you’re not doing it right.

5) bath them.. well this is probably personal preference. Some people believe that water makes the chickenpox come out even more.. They are also usually the people that go looking for that pot of gold at the bottom of a rainbow. It’s a fucking viral infection. Shit happens. It needs to run it’s course, the least you can do is wash of the pit smell. 

6) be sure you’re stocked up on both fever meds and wine, it’s going to be a long few nights.

7) explain to your kid that if they do scratch, their skin is going to get seriously infected, rot and eventually fester into loss of limb.

8) ensure they get enough to drink and screw it if they don’t eat

9) get sleep, even when you’re not dead tired … understand that you will be in a couple of hours.

10) avoid pregnant friends and family. I can’t stress this enough, don’t be a dick. It’s roughly two weeks. Call, sms, Skype, Facebook……… welcome to a world of convenience. 

The only good thing about chickenpox is that you get to use it as an excuse to stay home, cancel meetings and avoid people. 

So good luck with those little pesky spots, scratches and white faces. I hope to see you on the other side.

The thrillers of real life

I used to love watching scary movies. The bloody kind. The more out there, the more I loved it. I used to watch it and pretend that I am a tough son of a bitch that does not get scared of creepy Asian kids in attics making weird noises or girls in wells that needs haircuts or flies that drag you to hell. I pretended so well, that I did come to a point where I actually became that tough son of a bitch. Then I had babies. It’s like you sweaty-fear-pits and baby growing uterus are best buddies reunited after the fall of the Berlin wall. Now a days if you even pop a balloon 5 meters in my vicinity I jump like a cat living on nothing but scraps at a shooting range. 

Having boys means that they constantly scare the shit out of you. They have two sound levels. 

1) the sneaky fighting with one another sound level

2) ear splitting loudness

Ajay has a double dose of loudness piled up in that tiny little body…. only when he wants to.

Confusing as all of this may sound… There is method behind my ranting.

No scary movie that I have ever watched compares to breastfeeding in the dark at two in the morning, not really awake or functional. Glancing down the hallway and seeing your 4year old awake and staring at you for fuck knows how long. That’s the creepiest shit little kids do. So I’ve decided I’m going to, in honour of being scared out of my skin once again by my son, make a list of the top scariest things in parenting boys.

1) telling your sons to brush their teeth.. going into the bathroom after them and finding only one wet toothbrush…. and it’s yours.

2) putting baby down for the 5th time in the past 2 hours and stepping on the creaking floorboard that will evolve, have babies and die before your husband fixes it.

3) buying one flashlight for each of the boys and realising there’s only batteries left over for one

4) accidentally deleting a minecraft city because I have no fucking clue where the buttons are on a PlayStation 

5) finding your baby elbow deep in bumcream on your new bedding

6) something that looks like chickenpox on the kid that constantly picks at his scabs

7) waking up to one of the little monsters just standing silently by your side of the bed

8) the gut wrenching sound of dark silence disturbed by a mosquitoe 

9) the little plume of smoke from behind your house where you know you raked up all the dry leaves

10) the school’s name registering on your phone and you know it’s because they watched Rocky with dad

Having kids is just about the scariest thing in the world, so be a tough son of a bitch while you still can. Nothing, scares more than sleep deprivation.