I know I come across all professional and knowledgeable (haha! wishful thinking!) but I have only been on the South African blogging scene for about a year now. I wrote my very first post in January 2016 without ever thinking that anyone would read what I wrote. This site was my anonymous, online journal, my space to work out the feelings that I could not, or would not, verbally express. Since then it has evolved into so much more. My husband, sister and best friend were my test subjects and their positive feedback gave me the last push I needed to eventually take the leap in September last year. I created a Facebook and Instagram page and regretted it all about half an hour later. Suddenly I was out in the public eye. If you know me in real life you will know why this was such a big step for me. I am a confident person but I hate attention.
Why did I do it?
I’m sure most people would have thought I took to motherhood quite well and in a way I did, but I also didn’t. I resigned at the end of my maternity leave instead of going back to work. It was always my plan to go back and they had very kindly given me the option of working a half day. When my employment contract came through though, it was pretty much the same workload that I was barely managing with at a full day, but at half the salary. This meant that I would have to work extra hours at the office to meet deadlines and since I was in Finance, deadlines are everything. Then our search for a nanny fell through and honestly, I really didn’t want anyone else raising our child. Jarrod saw the strain the situation was putting on me and as always he found a way to get me exactly what I wanted. We downsized our living expenses, sold our second car and made it happen. I was ‘living the dream’ so to speak. I got to stay at home with this wonderful baby of mine which is something a lot of mums don’t have the option to do. We would wake up at 10 or 11am, stay in our pjs all day or take late afternoon walks to the mall with the stroller. It was wonderful. It was also difficult, draining and never-ending!
I hated breastfeeding. Do you know how often new borns feed? 8-10 times a day. MY child fed every 30-40 minutes. All day, all night. I lasted a month and a half. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and I was being tortured. I was on the verge of tears all the time and starting to resent my own child for her neediness and my husband for being able to escape to work each day. This, after he was home for a month after her birth. I so desperately wanted to breastfeed that I held on for too long. Making the switch to formula changed my life. A huge weight was off my shoulders and even though my daughter was still feeding as often, the lack of touching made a huge difference to me.
Life as a stay at home mum can be very isolating. I am an introvert and I crave alone time above almost anything else and yet I still felt disconnected from the world by being at home. I started up my blog because writing is something that I loved doing as a student but never pursued and it’s one of my biggest regrets. When choosing what to study at University, I thought about the future and what would earn me money and a good lifestyle as opposed to what I enjoyed doing. I should have done a BA in English studies. Writing is therapeutic for me. I am far more concise and eloquent on paper than in person. Keeping the blog as my online journal helped me slowly reconnect with the world and myself. I ‘met’ mums from all over the world who were going through the same stresses that I was. Women I had never met and will never meet, messaged me to thank me for sharing my posts and making them feel less alone. It turns out that I wasn’t failing at motherhood, it was just really tough and people don’t always talk about that side of it.
Going public was my way of helping other mums while also helping myself. I am always open and honest and in doing so, I regained part of who I was before I became a mum. I had something that was just mine. A new purpose if you will, that went beyond changing nappies and pureeing veggies. This blog has made me a better mum and a better wife with the unexpected outcome of bringing more friends into my life than I have had at any point in time.
The past year has been amazing but some moments stand out more than others.
- In November last year I was given a full page feature in Living and Loving. Me! In a magazine!!
- In February this year I ran a series called A Day in the Life which featured 10 mums with very different lifestyles. This series was meant to highlight the differences and similarities between all of us. It was amazing!
- In March I celebrated my birthday with Barbie. I kid you not! We’re born on the same day and we’re besties now.
- In May I worked with my buddie Jeanne-Riette (MammaChef Jozi) and Food Lovers Market on the #OneGrandFamilyChallenge. We fed our families of 4 with a R1,000 weekly budget for 5 weeks. This included all meals and snacks. It was intense! I learnt how to meal plan and budget in a hurry!
- In July, a Facebook post of mine went viral. I had attended an event for Prima and one of the toys being launched really touched my heart. I typed up a quick post that evening and didn’t give it a second thought. The post bounced around the world and to date has almost 19 million views, 193 thousand shares and over 26 thousand comments. The funniest part is that I still don’t have the toys that I wrote about! Come on Prima! Hook me up!
- In August I decided to give back and each day that month I featured a Mompreneur. These were all incredible women who had started their own businesses while raising their kids. That was 30 posts in 31 days which was exhausting but so incredibly rewarding.
- I have also branched out into food blogging which is a direction I never expected to take but I enjoy immensely!
What happens now?
I have big plans for this site of mine. My humble little blog will be getting much more attention next year when my youngest starts school. For now though, I want to say thank you, thank you to every one of you who took the time to read this post and previous posts. To all of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook and who engage with me to the point that I feel as if we know each other. Over the next few weeks I will be running a few, very exciting, giveaways. I have teamed up with some of the brands that I worked with this year and each giveaway will last between 3 to 5 days. The first giveaway is from one of my favourite mum-owned fashion labels. The giveaways will run exclusively on Instagram so make sure you are following me there. Goodluck!