My Child, My Rules.

Raising a child is HARD work. There is nothing easy about it. Every single day is a challenge. A well behaved child with manners didn’t just wake up like that. Behind every child is an adult that has worked hard on teaching them those manners. If I think of the amount of times I have to give Olly ‘the look’ before handing him something, or after giving him something which reminds him to use the ‘magic words’, I lose track.

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However, I must say that he has gotten so much better about remembering to use manners at the right times, and even remembers to excuse himself from the table. There were two things that stood out to me over the weekend, that made me think that it’s a good idea to write this post.

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Firstly, Olly had a birthday party over the past weekend, and I wasn’t able to go because I had a kitchen tea which clashed. His Granny took him instead. Later that evening, I got a message from another mommy saying that Olly is so polite. He had such good manners, shared with her younger daughter the entire party and really looked after her, because she was younger than the rest of the kids. My mommy heart wanted to burst at the seams with happiness.

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Another situation, which happens SO often – we went for a play date over the weekend, and 5 minutes before we were leaving I told Olly that it was time to pack away his toys. The mom, so kindly, told him not to worry. I feel that we all do this, because our kids play with them too, and will probably continue to do so once the guests leave. But, I work so hard at having him pack away his toys at home once he’s finished playing, and because it is the polite thing to do at a playdate, I always try to encourage him to do the same.

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Then there are the daily challenges that we face with other parents and adults. Topics such as the food we allow our kids to eat, routine at home, screen time, the list could go on. I get so mad when I ask Olly to do something, or tell him ‘no’ about having something, and right in front of him, I get challenged by the other parent/adult. I’ve raised a child who knows that what I do is best for him, and he doesn’t question it – and then to have another adult question and say ‘Shame, he’s just a child’ in front of him, it creates doubt in his mind. Doubt that I have made the wrong decision for him, and often leads to an argument where he then begs for whatever it may be, and it turns into a battle; whereas without that parent even saying a thing, my son would’ve been quite happy as usual to just go on without it.

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Might I add that this often happens with family members too! Remember this, they’ve had their turn at raising their kids and now it’s your turn!

The amount of time it has taken me to get to this point, where my son knows exactly what he is allowed to have, how much screen time he is allowed, that he chooses water over juice 99% of the time, and his overall manners – it has taken years to get here. (We aren’t perfect, and SURE, we have our bad days). To have somebody else carelessly ruin that for you, and to set you back is just MEAN!

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We all know what is best for our child, and as you’ve put months or years instilling rules and manners for your family – we have all done the same. MY CHILD, MY RULES.

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And I feel that this is such an important thing to remember when you feel like opening your mouth. You never know the full story behind a family or individual. So, instead of putting your foot in it, rather keep out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic. And may I add, that I am in no way saying that myself nor my child are perfect. We are far from, and there are days where he tests me beyond my capability. I just thought that many of you can probably relate to this and wanted to chat about the topic.

— One Modern Mom

Photos by Angela Rea of My Sunshine Journey: https://www.facebook.com/OurSunshineJourney/

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The Reality Of Sugar.

Did you know that over feeding your kids sugar from a young age can create an incredibly unhealthy sugar addiction for them as adults? Also, did you know that rewarding your kids with food isn’t always a healthy idea either. I find that people often laugh at me or shrug off the intensity of sugar. I often find myself cringing when I see the food that kids eat on a daily basis. I’m not judging, but rather wish that I could educate them on how desperately kids need a healthy diet for their tiny bodies and to help their brains work at their full capacity.

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Here’s my own personal story:
SUGAR & TODDLERS = MINIATURE MONSTERS

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Without exaggerating, it was literally three minutes ago that I gave my son two teenie tiny SweeTarts. (My absolute favourite candy that my dear friend brought me back from the States.) I couldn’t resist sharing with Olly, because, of course, they remind me of my own childhood visiting the States to see my family.

My mistake! He had been happily playing outside in the mud, when he came inside to ask me to roll up his sleeves. I then handed him two of these little sweets. One for each hand. Within a matter of minutes – three to be exact, he turned from a sweet little boy who was happily entertaining himself, to literally screaming, spitting, and just being ugly. Define ugly: shouting, not listening to me, making horrible sounds, and just being all round RUDE.

It is mindblowing what sugar can do! And I think that we underestimate the power of it. I’ve done an article on healthy eating before, and I have always been quite strict on what Olly eats. From a young age, he had a gluten intolerance, which meant that we had to be careful about what he ate. But, as he’s gotten slightly older, it isn’t nearly as severe as what it used to be, thankfully! However, at the same time – it seems that we have sort of loosened the ropes on steering away from sugar.

Olly will generally choose water over juice. He will never get any juice apart from 100% fruit juice that we dilute mostly in water. For school lunches and at home, he will generally get fresh fruit and nuts with his rice cake or sandwich or sometimes dried fruit. He also, surprisingly LOVES having baby tomatoes in his lunch box. Strange kid.

BUT, he’s a kid, and somehow he manages to persuade us to give him the BAD treats. That’s the kind of treats that are okay at a birthday party on the odd occassion. But, NOT to have on a daily basis. I never reward with food – for instance, he will never get sweets or a biscuit or snacks if he goes potty on his own, or does something good. I’ve learnt that it’s a no no, thanks to Munchkins parenting coach, Celeste Rushby who I used to au pair for and learnt so much from over time.

The problem is that when he catches David or myself munching on a biscuit, or a peice of chocolate or somebody happens to open a packet of chips, he comes running from the other end of the house (where he couldn’t hear me calling him from) to see ‘what we have for him’. I know that the immediate and obvious solution would be to just not eat that kind of thing when he is up and about and to rather save it for when he is asleep, and look – it isn’t a daily thing. I’m making it sound as if we constantly have junk food in hand, which isn’t the case at all. We never prioritize pudding for him after dinner. Every now and then he will have a yoghurt with a banana, or stewed apple which is home made with a drizzle of custard.

But – WHEN HE DOES have sugar – it’s as if I have a totally different child in front of me. And it scares the living daylights out of me. I do not like the child he becomes. The high is short and the low is long and dreadful. Totally not worth it! It’s the worst thing you can give your child – honestly.

I want to suggest that you (and I) replace the junk treats for healthier alternatives. Dried fruits, rice cakes coated in carob, dark chocolate, biltong or droerwors – you catch my drift. I struggle to wrap my mind around why I feel the need to give Olly sugar when he’s totally content, happy and polite (you almost feel as if you want to give them something nice as a treat to secretly reward their behavior) just to turn them into the opposite of what they are.

Olly LOVES his healthy snacks. He honestly does, and always has! And so, my July resolution – OUT WITH THE JUNK, IN WITH THE HEALTHY.

Natural sugar in small doses is totally OK! And every now and then, a sugary treat isn’t a bad thing. But, if you want to see a change in your kids behaviour and attitudes, choose snacks that have no added sugar, no colourants, MSG or flavourants, etc. You catch my drift. Don’t make sugar an expected thing in your home. And for those of you with young babies that aren’t yet there – start your babes off not even knowing what it is – because they don’t need it! They get all of the sugar they need through fruit!

Sorry about my long rambles, I was just actually so shocked this morning watching how such a small amount of sugar made my sweet child turn into a monster in such a short amount of time.

So, I just wanted to raise the awareness about how SUGAR is really a drug when consumed too frequently. And there are so many alternatives that you can rather choose from. Maybe I should do a post on some alternatives that you can choose from that don’t cost an arm and a leg?

Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your perspectives and ideas on this.

— One Modern Mom

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Love Them A Little Harder. Live In The Now.

Most of you know Angela Rea by now, beautiful mama to sweet Elijah. She features quite regularly on my blog. But, many of you aren’t aware of her story. Angela lost her husband, tragically two years ago. Darrell was and will remain a hero in many of our hearts. He saved many lives from blazing fires as he sacrificed uncountable hours away from his family to put out fires in a helicopter. Angela has written this very beautiful, yet heart wrenching article on her memories that will remain with her forever, as well as where she is at this point of her life.



I lied at our wedding. When I said I would love Darrell till death do us part I lied. I still love him and always will. Just because he is not here anymore does not mean I love him any less. We never fell out of love nor never got bored of each other, we never wanted to leave each other or in fact. E separated in anyway. We wanted to be by each other’s side forever. Doing life with each other, being each other’s number one. He was my hero, my soul mate, my husband, the father of my son.

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Two years. Two whole years have passed since I last heard Darrell’s very distinctive footsteps echoing all the way down the passage of our old Victorian house for the last time. It feels like only a second ago he was squeezing my hand while we both cried when we heard our baby’s heart beating for the first time. But also a life time ago. It feels like a life time ago since he looked at me with his twinkly, long lashed, blue eyes, half smiling whilst trying to convince me to make him his morning cup of coffee at 5am. Which I always gladly did. I was always rewarded with a lovely big snuggle in bed and then the most imperfectly made cup of Earl Grey. I never told him. I always drank it.

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For those that do not know, my husband, Darrell Norman Rea (I never used to be able to say his very serious sounding name without a giggle and now I cry when I say it) died tragically on duty putting out fires in a helicopter accident on 22 April 2015. He was 39 years old. He was the chief pilot at the company he worked for and was an exceptionally gifted pilot and instructor and just altogether my favourite person in the whole world.

Looking back on these two years I struggle to remember most of it. My head seems as it it has been stuffed with cotton wool and I have acquired a sort of amnesia, grief induced. In that time Elijah has continued to sprout up, at times I feel a bit robbed as I seemed to have missed a lot of it. I will not say that I have grown as a person over these passed years as I feel like I am constantly swimming upstream and periodically having my head dunked under water. But I am definitely more present now. Elijah, the two and a half year old is such a joy. He looks like me but he has his fathers height (thank goodness for that!) and coloring. He has also definitely inherited his fathers charm and is always smiling and saying hello to strangers in the shop.
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Five months after Darrell’s tragic death, Elijah, Floppy the dog, Millie the dog and Dinah, Moses, Spider Pig and I all moved from our beloved Tulbagh, a very small town in the Western Cape to Cape Town. It was ,in hindsight, too soon to make any major life decisions but it was necessary. Life was such a blur at that stage that waking up was just an effort. But it was the right move and it has been lovely reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. When tragedy strikes it really does show you who your true friends are and I am eternally grateful for those of you who picked me up and kept me going. Also who can say no to having three sets of fantastic grandparents close by.


When I think about our idyllic life in sleepy Tulbagh I get so homesick. I miss Darrell so much, but I also miss the mountains, the space, my friends, our beautiful home, our garden. The garden we both worked side by side to create something outstanding out of almost rubble, obviously helped along by Tulbagh’s fertile soil. I miss the vineyards, the orchards in Spring, the place we got married, the crazy Main Road on a Saturday morning. I miss Darrell.

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If I close my eyes tight enough while sitting in my new house in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town and listen to all the suburban sounds around me I can almost imagine I never left Cape Town for Tulbagh, never married Darrell, never truly felt loved or knew what it is to be in love, and that all frightens me so much. This is what keeps waking me up at night. Literally my worst nightmare. And then I open my eyes and I just want to remember. I want and need to remember all the mundane things, every time he changed Elijah’s nappy, every time he cooked me dinner, every time I fetched him from the airport, every time I went to meet him at his helicopter with his favorite ice lolly. Every time he made me smile. Every time he held my hand. Every time I said goodbye to him and told him to fly safe.

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Break In’s & Blessings.

I’m feeling quite emotional this morning. We woke up to finding that our car had been broken into last night. That always leaves one feeling unsettled, especially when it has happened at your own home. The thought of some stranger invading my personal space, leaves my skin crawling.

Olly’s bedroom is very close to the entrance of our house, which means that all of this took place just a few short steps away from where he was peacefully sleeping. It must have happened at early hours of the morning, as these things usually do. Wow! How things change when you have a child.

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Once the break in was brought to my attention, I instantly scanned my brain of what could have been left in the car of Olly’s. I feel that we often take things in the car that are special to him, as he always loves taking them along for the drive. As I went to put on his shoes for school, he moaned, and begged to wear his new Shooshoos he got just last week. Just then, I got this anxious feeling in my gut. I jumped up and went to the car, knowing that we had left them in the car when we had got home the night before because he was so tired and his shoes were just lying on the floor of the car.

I got back into the house, and Olly asked me again for his shoes. I responded by explaining to him that somebody had got into our car and took his shoes. He burst into tears and asked me multiple questions about who, and why would they take his special shoes? My heart just broke as I saw how something that meant something to him could affect him just so much. Only being two and a half years old, and knowing that, at the end of the day, they are replaceable, it didn’t matter – the point is that he totally understands a situation and can still be hurt by small things that don’t matter to so many people.

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We never leave valuables in the car for this very reason, but it seems that lately, robbers just want whatever they can get their hands on. They then resell for an insulting cost so they can earn some money. GRRR!!!  However, over time, we all get a bit slack, and we were more worried about getting our overtired toddler into bed. But, we certainly have learnt our lesson.

At the end of the day, what matters is that we were all safe, and thank God they didn’t intend on coming into our home last night. I am so grateful that it was only materialistic things that were taken and that my little family is just fine.

I feel as if this post hasn’t really all made too much sense, and I also feel that it has no flow to it, but I don’t care today. Today, my point is that family is so much more important than materialistic objects. The emotions I am experiencing are no doubt attached to the thoughts of evil and bad being so close to my child. But THANK YOU GOD for placing your Angels to protect and guard our home and family last night. It humbles me and really makes me realize that no matter what we have, our family is priceless.

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So here is a lengthy reminder, to never keep anything in your car at night, no matter how safe you think your area may be.

 

HAPPY MONDAY!!!

— Lisa

View Your Body Through His Eyes

I’m pretty certain that by making this statement, it’s safe to say that I’m speaking for about 90% of women who have experienced pregnancy. Many of us aren’t quite sure how we feel about our pregnant and postpartum bodies! We aren’t all so comfortable with the changes, and it takes a huge toll on many of us emotionally! This being said, those changes can often affect our relationships intimately, not necessarily because our men think we are less attractive, but rather because of the way we view ourselves.

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This doesn’t only happen whilst pregnant, but for a huge percentage of us, AFTER baby is here too! Gosh – to be maybe a little too honest, having been a breastfeeding mom, and perhaps due to slacking on the kegals and having had a natural birth, I always had the worry in the back of my mind of something leaking out while being intimate. (I’m still considering whether I should remove that??) Apart from that, we now have this empty belly and full or empty boobs that has teamed up with gravity, and just decide on which direction they’re headed without our say!

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Apart from that, we all know about the stretch marks and cellulite that chose our bodies to move in with. I think being a mom, we all get the hint. I have a point to this, I swear!

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THE POINT:
For Valentine’s Day, I decided that it was time to go a little out of my comfort zone, and to do a Boudoir shoot for hubby. He didn’t want to do expensive gifts, but sneakily, I not only wanted to do this for him, but for myself. I needed to take this step, and I had been encouraged by fellow moms to do this to see myself in a fresh, new light!

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By now, you must know who Angela Rea is? If not, you’ve got some scrolling to do down this blog to familiarize yourself! Angela has joined One Modern Mom as a collaborator, and also helps out with some of the photography. I approached Angela with the concept, and she really encouraged it!

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The morning of the shoot I went through to her house. She did my makeup (being a makeup artist) and we decided on the first ‘look’. I was nervous, but before long, it was just fun! Being the very down to earth, more sporty person that I am, I wanted to do something that showed who I truly am as a person.

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We had such a fun morning, and I had such a good experience shooting my very first Boudoir shoot with Angela. I then got my photos back, one by one – and WOW! You truly do see yourself the way that hubby sees you! After giving him his gift, a little Boudoir Book of the best photos which I added my own words too, I asked him which photos were his favourite. I was amazed, and quite taken back when he answered me. Strangely enough it was the photos that showed my ‘imperfections’ the most. I just wanted to hug him.

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Knowing that he loved this ‘flawed’ and stretched body just as much as my before pregnant body just blew my mind. Doing this shoot has given me confidence and a new found appreciation for all that my body went through to grow this tiny human. And knowing that hubby appreciated that just made my heart overflow with joy.

I have shared the tasteful photos here as the rest are for hubbies eyes only.

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A huge thank you to Angela Rea for these photos that gave me a fresh and healthy perception of myself. You can check out her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AngelalReaMakeupArtist/?fref=nf

Instagram: @angievictoriarea / @angelareamakeup

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