Living and Loving

Before we had our children, we asked ourselves and each other questions about if and how we would love our children because phela we didn’t know what it would feel like. How will we know if we truly love our children? What if they really irritate us? What if they grow up to vote for the DA?

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At first, loving two children was a bit confusing because ok sho, there’s all this love but it’s completely different for each child, so I worried that maybe I wasn’t being a good parent because I didn’t love my children in the same way.

This caused me to reevaluate what I thought love was, and how I felt about myself as a mother in general. And I confronted a whole lot of muck about feeling inadequate, and guilty and and and, which I’ve shared about a lot in previous posts.

I eventually came to a place of resolution and peace that fine, I don’t love our children the same, because they are not the same, but I love them equally.

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When Kima was born, I fell in love with him exactly how I loved him with all the stars in the sky, when he first appeared to me in a dream in 2008. My whole everything radiated love for him. I didn’t think I had the capacity for more love, and then we had Nini (who was a complete mystery to me, plus her pregnancy was very difficult) but there was more love, a whole ‘nother love, a new love.

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The love I have for them is dynamic and infinite. It grows with them and reflects their needs and uniqueness.

Sometimes this love causes me to pray gazillions of gratitude into the heavens, sometimes it’s the only thing stopping me from running out of the house and going to The Saxon to spend our grocery budget on champagne.

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Learning and embracing all the different ways I love my children has brought new dimensions to how I love myself and how alliancepartner and I love each other as lovers, friends and co-parents.

We can be selfless while putting ourselves first. We can give and give and take and take while our hearts and spirits remain full. Love is whatever it needs to be, and does whatever it needs to do. It’s work and sustenance; it’s a challenge, lesson, and an affirmation.

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Groove Back

I’ve been pregnant-breastfeeding-pregnant-breastfeeding non-stop since March 2013. I haven’t had a break, I haven’t had my body to myself, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep. I’ve survived on sugar, placenta capsules, alliancepartner loving and the prayers of my family and kind strangers.

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Tiny Oga is 6 months old now, and eating solids, that means I have a bit more space to breathe, so I am taking time to get to know myself. I dont what kind of clothes I like, because I’ve been in maternity wear since 2013. I don’t know how I like to wear my hair. I don’t know what it’s like to have a life outside The Mkhize-Hollywood Den.

My body has been through things, uwoah.  It’s nothing like how I think I remember it, so I am working on building a new one. I recently started exercising, I’m cutting down on processed nyolz masquerading as food, I’m trying myself out with a 7 day juice thing. Wish me luck. 

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Alliancepartner and I haven’t gone on a date in ages. We at least try to remember to talk about going on dates, but we usually just end up laying on the bed thinking “ugh. Long ting”. Our spirits are willing, but the flesh is weary.

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We are still very much in touch with each other, though. A little while ago, we did a Beltane Moon offering. Something for us, as a couple and as individuals. It was refreshing to do something that enriched and centred us, outside of our roles as Mama and Baba. We may not be breaking it down on the dance floor at Analogue Nights, but we can certainly make it shake in the spirit world. We still got it. Anyway, it takes more than date nights to keep a marriage solid, especially when you have kids.

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Parenthood is consuming. It consumes identities, free time, marriages, and all the money. I know I’ve lost myself inside this wondrous, frightening, frustrating and deeply rewarding role.

I’ve been a home, a food source, an open door, a wing-woman. I’ve given and given of myself. Now it’s time to give to myself, and to keep giving. For my 31st birthday I’ll be giving myself the gift of Recovery. Recovering my Time, my Creativity, my Self and my Slay.

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Sgive it. Sgerrit.

Kid Kaunda is turning two years old in a few weeks, and he’s been testing authority, asserting his independence, and generally pushing his luck.

He’s also really getting into his role as big brother, helping us to bathe and feed his sister. He loves to share with her – soggy bits of food,  or water with unidentified floating objects in it. The soggy bits are as gross as his inclination to share with Tiny Oga is endearing. We like to encourage him to share as an act of bonding and care, but if he doesn’t want to share something, we don’t make a big deal of it.

We believe he should not be made to share everything, all the time.

We apply this principle to his time and space as well. If we are in company, and he doesn’t feel like talking to or playing with other people, we make sure he knows that it’s ok. He doesn’t have to hug or speak to people until he is ready.

He doesn’t always get his way either. That’s life. He will learn that while he doesn’t have to give all the time, he also won’t always get what he wants, whenever he wants it.

I feel strongly about imparting in my children a strong sense of respect for their boundaries and those of others. This is because of my own upbringing. Let me explain:

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I feel my parents often overextended us and themselves in the process of giving and sharing as openly and generously as they did. The blanket rule in my family was: if you have something that others don’t have –  give. If you have something that someone needs (or wants) – give. We shared everything, even if the sharing depleted us.

And that is one of the reasons I felt (for most of my life)  disallowed to say no to people’s demands on my resources and time, and felt guilty about some of my individual achievements and successes.

There weren’t enough resources to meet the needs of a lot of our relatives, so sharing was a necessary act of survival and growth. This was the conscious and intended lesson my parents were teaching.

The necessity of these acts of sharing and giving, meant we often could not acknowledge the negative that came with those dynamics. Some giving and sharing didn’t occur within a context of reciprocity and respect. There was also disregard, entitlement and wastefuless because dololo boundaries.

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And if one raised those issues, or tried to say no, the language of silencing was rich and ever ready. Nobody the wants to be seen as selfish, stingy, petty or to be accused of reveling in the suffering of others. The unconscious and unintended lesson was: other people’s perceptions of you are more important than your boundaries, concerns and comfort.

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The desire to not be seen as a bad,  selfish person caused me a lot of distress in my adult life because I was never quite able to set and maintain healthy boundaries, or free myself from the guilt about having things I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) give to or share with others.

I stayed asking myself if my joys and achievements are only worth something if I bring others into them? I agonised about whether I was allowed to have anything for myself.

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It was so debilitating working against myself to make my slay so small and invisible, because of iWorry. I don’t want my kids to go through that. That guilt is oppressive and counter productive.

I am constantly drawing from lessons of my own upbringing and resolving them as consciously as possible, so that my children won’t have to battle with the same issues as I did.

I look forward to my son’s second birthday, because it’s also the second anniversary of embarking on this journey of motherhood which is a constant challenge to get my ish together.

Journey to Monatefontein: Part 3

So,  we set out on our Journey to Monatefontein not knowing how we were gonna get there. We had a good sense of what it meant to be married to each other, but not so much how life would work now that we are parents to two children.

Our parenting style has been: Intuition x Trial and Error x Attachment Parenting x Lion documentaries on NatGeo x Please Jesus, namaDlozi, walk with us x screw it, children are resilient, all wrapped in awe that these spirits chose us in their incarnation (WTF were they thinking?! ) and a generous sprinklings of self-doubt.

But, we’ve been working through the guilt part, so there’s less of that, and more gratitude and self-kindness in its place. My therapy sessions are also starting to pay off, I can feel the heavy darkness lifting from over my head.

Our new selves stay being moulded, challenged and affirmed, in this journey, and we are looking pretty good. I’m so in love with us.

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I think it’s safe to say that we are within Monatefontein. You can’t touch us.

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I’d like to share the 5 lessons we have learnt in this Journey to Monatefontein:

1. Bye, Felicia

We have felt like the whole world is against us, that’s probably because it is. Love, marriage and parenting have been commoditised, and we realised that we’d internalised some of the propaganda that exists to make us doubt our intuition, and feel that our efforts unworthy.

We can’t silence the violence of the capitalist Msunery (yet), but we are training our inside voices to be louder and stronger than the noise. Small consistent acts of self-care and self-kindness have given us the daily ability to can.

2. Don’t need no holleration, hateration…

So often we have been our own worst enemies, we let our egos lead where our hearts should have. Our egos are concerned with power, and there is no place for power struggles in this Love dancery.

We’ve shamed ourselves out of doing what is good for us because we felt we didn’t deserve it, or that it can wait. We’re learning and relearning that we cannot postpone goodness  towards ourselves and each other.

3. JBS

We are reminded over and over, the importance of setting boundaries and respecting our limits. But sometimes, we’ve have to just push a little bit harder, for a bit longer. Like just when we thought we could literally not even, and have been 5-to getting into the bath with a bottle of Inverroche, we  collected ourselves and took one small step, and then another, until we conquered Mount Guilt-Doubt-Anxiety. Sometimes I’ve sat and wept at the foot of that mountain, and alliancepartner has helped me to get up. Sometimes it’s the other way around.

4. It gets better

I don’t even need to explain this.

5. WERQ

Conscious Love in parenting and marriage require all of the patience, trust, humility and effort. 100% all the damn time. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing the work, but we do anyway, and the effort is so worth it. The lessons our children teach us, and the investment we make in each other are enriching and empowering our lives in ways we never thought we needed.

We feel #blessed and #highlyfavoured.

Monatefontein, #loveliveshere.

Journey to Monatefontein. Part 2

Update : we are so close to Monatefontein, we can see the lights!

We decided to get our household into a more structured routine, because as it turns out, it’s really hard having two kids under two, and the other mum blogs I read straight lied to me.

We began sleep training our eldest last Friday. Initially, I tried to avoid the whole process all together, and leave it up to alliancepartner and the nanny, but then I felt bad and decided to participate. The plan was: we would do his usual story and then put him in the cot while he was awake & leave him there. His nanny would stay in the room til he fell asleep (the presence of parents exponentially increases the intensity of toddler tears and tantrums)

I was kak scared, the whole time. Me: “WTF?! hhhoomygod! I can’t. I can’t. I don’t want to do this. Don’t make me do this” 📷

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Them: Hhayi suka. Just be strong.

After story time, alliancepartner gave me that “please go” look, so I gave my boy a kiss and said good night, and went back to our bedroom to cry.  A few minutes later, Alliancepartner came into our bedroom and closed the door. I could hear my son screaming for us, and wailing. We held each other for comfort and reassurance that we weren’t killing our child with neglect. I think alliancepartner also held me to stop me from getting up and going to our son’s room. 12 minutes of hell. And then quiet. Four hours later, he cried for another 4 minutes, but settled himself and went back to sleep.

He slept through til 7am the next morning, and when he woke up, he didn’t cry, he just played quietly by himself. Night two, he whimpered a little when he went into the cot, but was fine afterwards. Night three, no drama.

We did it. We have sleep trained Kid Kaunda. Hepeee! It’s night 7. He’s fast asleep. On his own. In his room. No nanny, no screaming.

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His day time routine is also on point. He’s adapted so quickly.  I am so proud of him. He even tucks his toys in, when it’s time to go to bed.

It’s taken us a long time, and heapfuls of courage to get to this point. Courage in the sense that we overcame our anxiety about taking charge of certain things and channeling them to work for us, without guilt or shame. Hesitation, yes. Nervousness, yes. But also a conviction that we are doing the right thing, for ourselves, no matter how difficult or inconvenient, or contrary to the parenting propaganda of the Machinery of Msunery.

We have observed our patterns and tried to work out a rhythm that puts us on the same wavelength. We are doing things our way, at our own pace.
This may seem like the obvious, and only way to do things, but Nooooh… there is so much pressure to do things in every way but our own, and to buy and be dictated to by apps, books and gadgets, to forgo our intuition and effort, in favour of consumerist nyolz.

I will cannot say this enough :  Conscious loving and conscious parenting are acts of resistance. Revolutionary things. And necessary.

Journey to Monatefontein. Part 2

Update : we are so close to Monatefontein, we can see the lights!

We decided to get our household into a more structured routine, because as it turns out, it’s really hard having two kids under two, and the other mum blogs I read straight lied to me.

We began sleep training our eldest last Friday. Initially, I tried to avoid the whole process all together, and leave it up to alliancepartner and the nanny, but then I felt bad and decided to participate. The plan was: we would do his usual story and then put him in the cot while he was awake & leave him there. His nanny would stay in the room til he fell asleep (the presence of parents exponentially increases the intensity of toddler tears and tantrums)

I was kak scared, the whole time. Me: “WTF?! hhhoomygod! I can’t. I can’t. I don’t want to do this. Don’t make me do this” 📷

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Them: Hhayi suka. Just be strong.

After story time, alliancepartner gave me that “please go” look, so I gave my boy a kiss and said good night, and went back to our bedroom to cry.  A few minutes later, Alliancepartner came into our bedroom and closed the door. I could hear my son screaming for us, and wailing. We held each other for comfort and reassurance that we weren’t killing our child with neglect. I think alliancepartner also held me to stop me from getting up and going to our son’s room. 12 minutes of hell. And then quiet. Four hours later, he cried for another 4 minutes, but settled himself and went back to sleep.

He slept through til 7am the next morning, and when he woke up, he didn’t cry, he just played quietly by himself. Night two, he whimpered a little when he went into the cot, but was fine afterwards. Night three, no drama.

We did it. We have sleep trained Kid Kaunda. Hepeee! It’s night 7. He’s fast asleep. On his own. In his room. No nanny, no screaming.

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His day time routine is also on point. He’s adapted so quickly.  I am so proud of him. He even tucks his toys in, when it’s time to go to bed.

It’s taken us a long time, and heapfuls of courage to get to this point. Courage in the sense that we overcame our anxiety about taking charge of certain things and channeling them to work for us, without guilt or shame. Hesitation, yes. Nervousness, yes. But also a conviction that we are doing the right thing, for ourselves, no matter how difficult or inconvenient, or contrary to the parenting propaganda of the Machinery of Msunery.

We have observed our patterns and tried to work out a rhythm that puts us on the same wavelength. We are doing things our way, at our own pace.
This may seem like the obvious, and only way to do things, but Nooooh… there is so much pressure to do things in every way but our own, and to buy and be dictated to by apps, books and gadgets, to forgo our intuition and effort, in favour of consumerist nyolz.

I will cannot say this enough :  Conscious loving and conscious parenting are acts of resistance. Revolutionary things. And necessary.

Journey to Monatefontein: Part 1.

I’ve been all over the internet, reading different mom blogs, looking for ideas about how to get my household running smoothly with 2-under-2. I’ve encountered a lot of information written by mums for mums, and none of it has been helpful. In fact, most of the posts had me feeling like 📷

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Getting the Mkhize-Hollywood homestead on a schedule means sleep training, nap coordination, meal planning and other things we vowed we’d never do because we were under the illusion that we were cool parents, and cool parents go with the flow. Well, the flow has been going in the direction of nyiwing, and we have had enough.

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We have a basic routine of who does what, when, but things often go pear shaped because life. We seem to always be tired and crisis managing something on a daily basis, and we deserve better.

We keep reminding each other that we have to be conscientious and deliberate in how we go about our daily business, if we ever hope to have peace and consistency in our lives.

Working out a schedule for our home is laying a foundation of stability and less Rescue Remedy dependence for our future, as the kids get older, and we want to focus a lot more energy into our own personal and professional growth (in other words, stay out til late, and make more money) Up to this point, we were kinda just hoping that these things will work themselves out. They haven’t.

Over the next few weeks, I will be documenting our Journey to Monatefontein where the kids are well adjusted and sleep well; and the parents have enough energy left over at the end of the day to do more than just link pinkies and pass out.

When we get to Monatefontein, we finna run tings. Asijiki.