Sunshine. My Only Sunshine.

A little boy feels lonely. He wonders what it would be like to find a little girl to befriend and love.

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He sees a shape in the distance, and notices beautiful long hair dancing in the breeze, golden – having been caught by the sunlight. She’s coming towards him. Her frilly white dress swaying as she runs in his direction.

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And, in a moment, she stands there. As if she had been there all along. It all felt normal. She belonged. Just as beautiful as he had imagined.

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He finally, for the first time truly felt complete. Just having her around, even without having to exchange words – they were just meant to be friends.

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For the rest of their lives, they enjoyed summer afternoons picnicking and being in their favourite place – where they met.

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He always treated her like the princess she was. 

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He loved her for her imperfections, for he believed that that was what made her perfect. And that, that is the truest form of love.

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The End.


 

Photography: Criene Images
Wardrobe: Minimi Atelier
Set Styling: Lauren McCreath Interiors

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A Letter To My Wild Three Year Old.

To my wild three year old boy,

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This feeling. It is intense. Thinking back to holding you as a newborn baby, I would have never thought that there would be days that I just did not like you. I feel guilty typing this, but I feel that somebody has to air the laundry.

My blood has boiled so many times over the past week that I feel any medical professional would tell me to take a step back because it’s dangerous to my health. I didn’t know that a human as tiny as you could be quite so powerful. How is it possible that I can say no to somebody my own age and stick to my guns, yet with you, a three year old – you have the power to somehow get me to sway.

I’ve been on my hands and knees wiping up spills since before the sun came up, and until after the sun went down. And, IT’S SUMMER! Which means that its light for more hours than it’s dark… I’ve muttered ‘Are you kidding me?’ more times than I can count. I’ve shouted, I’ve cried, I’ve had a migraine from your screeching, and I have even had to finish off your dirty work of shoving your poop down the drain in the bathroom basin because it was too far gone to save it. You woke me up this morning (on YOUR mattress on MY bedroom floor, might I add) after a sleepless night (because of you) by spraying me in the face with water from the handheld fan and spray bottle you somehow stole from your grandmothers bedroom. I have stood by the stove making your favourite pasta that you begged for to have you say that you are full after two bites purely because you insisted on hunting down a banana and a hot crossed bun that you shoved in before I could say ‘not before dinner’.

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You know, this is motherhood. Some days suck. Some days I find myself laughing hysterically at the end of the day looking back on it, wondering if and how the day that has gone by could have actually happened, and then end up in a heap in tears because motherhood is a whirlwind of confusing emotions. I love you so much, but you also make me so mad sometimes.

But then, then you go to sleep. And I tiptoe in to tuck you in and give you your final kiss for the night, and that crazy, wild three year old boy who is just oh so independent now – he’s just an innocent little boy. Your resting body leaves your lips in the position that they were as a newborn baby. Your face angelic again. And I wonder how I allow myself to dislike something so perfect.

Some days I don’t like you. But, I will always love you – and there will be days as you grow up where you don’t like me either. It may be because I do something you don’t like or because I don’t allow you to do something you’re so wishing to do. Maybe I won’t let you go watch a movie with your friends because you have school the next day. There will be days where we simply disagree and bash heads.

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But know, that I love you. I love you as big as the world. But, some days – I just don’t like you. Never misinterpret that. Dig deep in your heart to understand what that phrase truly means. And someday, when you are a parent – you will finally click and say: “Oh! That’s what she meant.”

 

Your Mama x

A Year Of Adventure.

I had first heard about the Adventure Clubs app that had recently made its appearance in South Africa shortly after Olly was born. It sounded like such fun, but there were a few things holding me back from actually giving it a try…

Firstly, I was a younger mom. I wasn’t sure that I would connect with any of the other moms who had booked to go on the same adventure. And, secondly, I was a bit nervous to go on an adventure without knowing anybody else.

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I had downloaded the app on my phone, and would frequently check out the new adventures loaded for my sons age in our area. I found myself feeling really bummed that I was missing out on so many fun activities happening so close to home. Things that my son was bound to love! I was also stopping myself from making new friends.

Believe it or not, it took me over three years to finally choose an adventure to go on, and boy, am I glad I finally took that leap! We chose a surfing adventure at one of our local beaches with Surf Emporium, where not only did they get a surf lesson with a trained instructor, but were also taught some important lessons about our environment and looking after our beaches. We chose the surfing lesson because it is something that is part of our lifestyle, and I was so keen to have Olly have a proper lesson with an instructor to give him some extra confidence. It was such a fun morning! We made some new friends, and of course, the kids just gel with the others without second thought.

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I honestly cannot believe that we hadn’t gone on an adventure sooner! Every week, there will be multiple adventures added to the app in different areas, ages and categories. The festive season had the App packed with baking gingerbread houses and making Christmas decorations as well as special safari rides and outdoor activities. You generally find that you get a discount for the activity in comparison to what you would be paying to do it if you didn’t go through the arranged adventure, and you may even find that the adventures are very specially arranged, and you wouldn’t be able to do it without it being through the Adventure Clubs.

The App is FREE to download, and then you simply add in your details and you can get ready to browse the list of adventures in either Cape Town, Johannesberg or Durban.

I wanted to give one of you the opportunity to WIN and experience an adventure valued at R300 (you can choose which adventure you would like to do) in your area.

Simply download the App and tell us which adventure you would choose if you won the prize! How simple is that?

And, you have an entire year (2018) to use your prize!

I hope that you enjoy the adventures as much as we have. And maybe we will even be on an adventure together soon!

— One Modern Mom

Images by Anneke Jagau

A Christmas Tradition

Traditions are near and dear to me.
Perhaps it partly has to do with being adopted, and grasping onto special memories that really made me feel like we were finally ‘home’ when we moved in with our parents.

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Or, maybe I am just more of a soppy person.
Having family in the States, and have had the opportunity to have a couple of white Christmases with a huge family that filled up the room.
Going on tours of the towns seeing all of the over the top light displays while the snow flakes fall to the ground.
Attending Church services with the most amazing Christmas plays, Christmas carolers stopping by your home, and food – so much delicious food!
Visiting shopping malls with Christmas music, and sales and decorations everywhere!!!


A house overflowing with family – all having driven in and flown in from different states around America – all to be in the same place for Christmas.
All of the kids sleeping on mattresses around the tree on the night of Christmas eve, watching Christmas movies with popcorn, hot cocoa and cookies.
The memories leave me wishing to be my five year old self again, back in this moment.

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But, the part that stands out the most to me is FAMILY.

The years that we weren’t in the States, our Christmas was small, intimate and quieter.
They were still just as special, just different.
We would attend the Carols by Candle light service at our Church at the seaside, in short sleeves, because we aint got no white Christmas here in South Africa.
Christmas morning would mean unwrapping gifts from Father Christmas and our parents.
And then we would rush off to Church for the Christmas Day service.
We would then return home or to whichever family members home and have a Christmas lunch.
When we were younger, we would alternate different family members homes. And then it became just a handful of us as everyone immigrated or after some of the older folks passed away.

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And then, my very own sweet family grew by one.
And, the meaning of Christmas changed oh so much for me.
There was a new spark that was added to Christmas. This year has been amazing to start really teaching Olly some of the Christmas stories. He just adores them.
He attempts to sing along to Christmas carols, and we write down his Christmas wish list for Santa together.
Christmas comes up daily from the day he sees the first Christmas decorations in the malls.

It has become exciting all over again.

Amazing what a little soul can do.

As you can see, traditions are something very close to my heart.
Each year on Christmas we bake Christmas cookies together. It is something I did with my mom, and something I really wanted to do with Olly.
The Christmas music plays throughout our home, and the smell of freshly baked cookies makes its way through our home.
Cinnamon, and peanut butter cookies come out tray by tray as if we are trying to break a world record.

The home turns into a mess. Colourful icing, sprinkles and flour everywhere.
Faces are filled with batter and fingers filled with sticky cookie dough.
The sink filled with mixing bowls and baking utensils.
Trays of imperfect cookies cover the counter.


It really is a happy day. And one that will always be a special memory to me. And I hope one that Olly has as a happy memory of Christmas Day as he grows older.

I know for many, Christmas isn’t a happy time of the year. And I do sometimes feel selfish for loving it as much as I do.
It reminds me of happy times with so many people who are no longer here with us.
It reminds me of times spent with family and friends who live thousands and thousands of miles away.

But mostly, it is a reminder of how many amazing memories are yet to be made with this family I get to call my very own.

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So, here’s to the countdown to Christmas. I must be honest by saying that I’m not sure how we are already here!
BUT, it certainly is the most magical time of the year for me.

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A huge thank you to the incredibly talented Carina at https://www.crieneimages.com/ for these magical photos of Olly and myself in the (early) spirit of Christmas.

I also have to add – the beautiful and fun products available for Christmas these days is just amazing. It really is a fun time to shop for Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and bits and bobs for Christmas. The featured products were sourced from the following places:

Typo, Woolworths, Clicks and Hirsch’s Homestore to name a few. And, Olly was dressed by Dandylion Kids.

I love to hear about other families Christmas traditions. If you have one of your own, please do let me know in the comment tab below. And, keep an eye out for the exciting Christmas giveaways I have coming up weekly!

A Healthy Start To Your Day.

For some families, breakfast comes easily. I’ve always been one who has struggled to eat breakfast too early in the morning, which for a long time left me feeling slightly stumped as to what I should prepare for Olly in the morning.

Oats has always been a favourite along with our tradition of having flapjacks on the weekend, but some mornings I just find he doesn’t want that, and so I found myself on the hunt for another healthier alternative.

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When I heard about Kasha by The Fry Family, I knew that we had to give it a try in our home to try and change things up a little bit at breakfast time. It has very quickly become a new favourite with Olly.

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It comes in two flavours – Vanilla & Chia, and Cacao. The high protein instant cereal is not only gluten free, but also suitable for vegans and is a non GM product, high in fiber and Low GI.

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They recommend two options on how to use it – either as a meal or as a shake. I must admit that I prefer adding mine to a smoothie in the mornings, purely because I don’t enjoy eating breakfast, so I would much prefer to drink mine. Olly loves both options equally.

We enjoy ours with some cut up fruit and some nuts and seeds sprinkled on top. Divine! I must add that I have really noticed a difference in how long I can last between meals. And it’s great that Olly also stays full for longer with him being at school in the mornings.

You can mix your powder with water, but I do enjoy mixing mine with almond milk to make it slightly creamier.

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What are the ingredients?

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Oat Flower, Maize, Soy Isolate, Vegetable Oil (Coconut Fruit), Natural Cane Sugar, Cacao/Chia Seeds, Buckwheat, Vanilla Flavour, Salt, Moringa Olifeira Sweetener (Steviol Extract).

You can find the Kasha range at Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite, Checkers, Dischem and Spar! And you’ll find it really does last a decent amount of time. The carton that your Kasha comes in is also re-usable which I love!

Check out their social media handles:

Facebook
Instagram
Website

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Have you tried any of the Fry’s Family products before? If so, which ones? And what did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment tab below!

— One Modern Mom

Also, a huge thank you to Angela Rea Photography for the beautiful photos.

Summer With Topshop.

Today, I am sharing something slightly different with you. This isn’t a product review nor a competition, but rather just a few outfits I love from Topshop SA that I shot with Tegan Smith Photography.

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The skirt has such a beautiful movement when the breeze catches it, and I really found that the monochrome stripes just complimented my body so well – making me look slim and tall! The slight flare to the arm of the black top was subtle but gorgeous. And the pastel pink shoes – I am obsessed! The entire outfit is perfect for a night out with the girls. Daff did a casual half up-do hairstyle and very natural makeup for this look.

This second look was a little edgy in comparison to my usual choice of outfit, but I loved it! I was a bit skeptical about wearing a dress that had a small opening, however, it is in the perfect position, which means it flaunts the non postpartum part of my tummy. The floral print is perfect for summer, and the leather jacket just ups it’s edginess a little. I loved the cute pastel pink clutch which complimented my shoes perfectly. I just wore my hair down for this look and again, my makeup is simple.

If you are a mom who is reading this, DO dress up, and DO sometimes follow that urge you have to get a little bit adventurous with your outfits. I had so much fun.

All of these looks (head to toe) are available at Topshop SA. So, it is super easy for you to get the complete outfit by simply popping into their store.

Look out for the next 3 looks coming soon!

Photography: Tegan Smith Photography
Wardrobe: Topshop SA

Hair & Makeup: The Dr K Makeup

Spree’s New Baby : The Index

A quick confession – one thing that really drives me insane is when non-parents assume that just because a woman has become a mom, it means that for some unknown reason that we are incapable of being fashionable.

Someone recently asked me what I do, and when I told them that I was a blogger, their eyes lit up and they continued by asking me what I blog about. I responded by saying: “I am a parenting, lifestyle, fashion, beauty and at times, a travel blogger.” She looked confused, and said – “That’s so cool that you can write about fashion as a mom.”

I was actually feeling slightly puzzled by her response. What does that even mean? I may be a mom, but it doesn’t mean that we lose our sense of style. It may mean, that for a short while – we may have to purchase a size up, BUT, we can still follow the trends and buy clothing that any other woman would buy.

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Rant over – I want to introduce you to Spree’s new baby – ‘The Index’.

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The who?

The Index is a new online sneaker and street wear destination for Men, Women and Kids. They are home to some of our most loved sneaker brands, such as Adidas, Puma, Converse, Fila, Reebok, Vans & New Balance.

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I like to say that my little family is pretty trendy, perhaps you beg to differ – however, we are also a very casual family. We each have our own personal style, and it’s been fun seeing the style that Olly begins to sway towards as he gets a little older. As beach lovers, and a family who spends a lot of time outdoors, we found that The Index was a perfect shopping destination for us. Plus, as parents – who has time for shopping malls anyway?

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We each chose our own pair of sneakers from The Index & were literally overwhelmed with the variety to choose from. If you don’t find at least 5 pairs of sneakers you fall in love with, then I must say that I have a sneaky suspicion that you aren’t much of a sneaker wearer in the first place…

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We also each chose an outfit from Spree, so what you see is all available at www.spree.co.za

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We have all been going on with our lives with an extra bounce in our step. Do yourself and your families a favour and check out the trendy, the exciting, the amazing – THE INDEX: https://www.spree.co.za/the-index?

WHAT ARE WE WEARING?

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Olly is wearing Guess Knit Shorts: https://www.spree.co.za/guess-knit-short-mid-blue/product/W65A28K?ref_catid=1257 and the Gunner Crew Tee by Guess: https://www.spree.co.za/guess-gunner-crew-tee-dark-red/product/F9IYARQ complete with his red Chuck Taylor High Top Sneakers by Converse: https://www.spree.co.za/converse-chuck-taylor-high-top-sneaker-red/product/322Y256?ref_catid=4823

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David is wearing a grey Essential Tee by Guess paired with the New Balance Essential Sweatpants complete with these Adidas Seeley Sneakers.

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Now, please! I dare you to look me in the eyes and tell me that I can’t be trendy as a mom. And for those of you who struggle to put together an outfit, or who struggle to keep up with what is trending, Spree makes it so simple for you. Their photos for each garment show their model dressed in a full outfit put together with garments that are ALL available on their website. Obviously, the sneaker choosing is the easiest, yet most difficult choice – because you just want them all.

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CREDITS:

Wardrobe & Sneakers: Spree & ‘The Index’ – @spree.co.za
Photography: Radiefa Peters from Radz Photography – @radzphotography
My Hair & Makeup: Daff Kansley – @thedrk.makeup

To see the rest of the photos from our shoot, follow me on Instagram: @onemodernmom

Finding My Confidence As A Woman, Not Only As ‘Mom’.

This may not mean much to you, but if you’re a mother – maybe something about this will hit home. Becoming a mother shouldn’t mean that you lose your identity as a woman. It shouldn’t mean that you lose your confidence because your body has changed shape and gained a few extra stretch marks here and there.

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I lost so much confidence in myself. Having done a lot of modeling before I fell pregnant, in fact my first swimwear editorial in the Zigzag Surfing Magazine when I was 5 week pregnant (I didn’t know yet) – that was the last shoot I did on my own apart from my maternity shoot. Olly then started to become my ‘comfort blanket’.

I declined shoots that would be of only myself because I didn’t feel confident without him.

I recently had a thought cross my mind. I am not just ‘Olly’s mom’. I am also a partner to my man, and a woman. I have so much more that defines me, and that makes me who I am that just being a mother.

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When Terence Orpen and I started chatting about collaborating on a shoot while he was down from Joburg, I couldn’t give up the offer. I knew that this was my time to get raw and real as a woman, on my own. It had been almost four years since the last time – and although I felt nervous, I knew that it would boost my confidence and teach me to learn to love myself again – all of myself.

I had the most incredible afternoon – one that was about adventuring, driving around the peninsula and finding beautiful spots that represented me as a person. The wind in my hair, the sand between my toes. Raw emotion that was captured so perfectly.

Here are just a few photos that I have received so far. And I love that they are imperfectly perfect. That they represent every inch of me, and of who I am now.

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Thank you Terence for helping me see myself in a new light. I found my favourite photograph from this shoot from my entire existence. Something I would have never have had if I didn’t take the leap of faith and just do this.

You can see his work here:
Website: www.porterfilm.com
Instagram: @terence_orpen

A truly talented man who has recently started to follow his heart by doing portraiture. He is often in Cape Town, but resides in Joburg. Him and his equally talented wife, Derryn also travel abroad to shoot and video weddings.

You can see their work here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrpenFilmCo/
Website: http://www.orpenfilms.co.za/

This Is Three!

Three years old. How has 1095 days gone by in what feels like a blink of an eye? It felt like just yesterday that I was nursing a newborn baby, living in a daydream, in what I refer to as ‘the slow life’. 21124086_1557967274223791_1340569444_n
 
It felt like yesterday that we were praising him for rolling over, sitting, getting his first teeth, starting solids and taking his first few steps. Then talking and starting to run.
 
He then turned one, and then two and then started play school. Single words have now transformed into beautiful sentences and words longer than I can count. Such a smart, happy and active little boy! No more a baby.
 
It’s tough and happy writing this, because watching them transform from a baby into a child is so bittersweet. Three, to me has been the cross over. He is officially, 100% a little boy now.
 
What a joy it has been to be your mother, to watch you grow and blossom. To watch you learn new things and see you become such an intelligent little person. Your desire to always try something new is such an inspiration to me, sweet boy!
 
Three years ago, I got to hold your little body in my arms for the first time, and I pray that God will grant me with the opportunity to celebrate uncountable more with you as you grow up.
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I love you so much, Olly! Thank you for changing my life. ❤️ Happy third birthday!

 

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/