Motherhood is…

M is for “Moer.” Never Again. Nope. No more children 😑✋

O is for “Ok” as I surrender our children’s lives to the guidance of ancestors because they don’t even care, they just gooi. Zero sense of danger 😓👏

T is for “Tonic” as in Gin and Tonic 😠🍸

H is for “Halala” when we survive a day of tantrums, interrupted naps & potty disasters, and still get them to bed in record time, while the foundation of our marriage remains unshaken in the process.💑💏

E is for “Easy” which is our lives,  never again 🙈😥

R is for “right there” because he knows exactly how and where 🔥😍

H is for “Help” I didn’t know I was allowed to ask for. And the hell of that all. I know better now. 😧😧

O is for “Ohm” when I meditate and find peace because someone (usually grandparents) has fed the kids something I asked them not to.😱😰

O is for “Overheads” because shit is expensive.😱😬

D is for “Dates” what we do alone, to be together, away from our kids, only to spend the whole time talking about them 👀👀

Weekend Special

As I type this, I am lying alone, as in, by myself at my mother’s house. Where are the children, you ask? Not with me.

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It all started when I was on the verge of losing my shit (once again) and my mum asked my brother and skwiza to take Kima for the afternoon to hang out with his cousins. They kept him overnight. He didn’t die. I didn’t die. Nini joined them, and they’ve been there for a few days. OK, they’ve been there for many days.

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It’s a bittersweet feeling. Our kids are old enough to make their own missions with our family, which means rest and QT for us. Yay. Then we miss them and phone, but they are too busy rolling in the dirt to speak to us. Ugh. If they don’t miss us, what are we? Bad parents? What happens now? Do we have to make another baby who will love us? Let’s just go fetch them before they forget all about us…

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The first time we left them for more than 12 hours, was 2 weekends ago, to attend dear friend’s wedding. We were out there in The Midlands, confused by all the peace and quiet; we scrolled through our phones looking at pictures and videos of our Leadership, chesties trending. Phela a weekend is a long time when you’ve left your hearts in another town.

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1 Hour later:
Whats a “children”? Is that an app?

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We had the whole weekend alone – long conversations, silences, dinners, rounds. Aaaah….This is who we are, kanti. We are not just a tag team against the United Long Ting Force and Allied Cuteness. We are also lovers, individuals. We like to nap and chill…and this is what it feels like to lay in a bed and not be treated like a jungle gym. It’s nice to be here. Shiiiine.

We left them again this past weekend when we went to Mpumalanga on my Gobela duties. Imagine. We were away from our children for two weekends in a row. Wow. And it was fine, you know?!

In the past:

Family: let us take the kids for a while, you need to rest/be together/get things done

Me: OMG Yes Please

Anxiety/Guilt and Other Useless but pervasive feelings of Parenthood:

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It turns out that we are still parents who love our children, even when we let people who are not us, take care of our children for us, so that we can do other important things, like work, or each other.

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This Lemonade Tastes Like Medicine

When I first watched Lemonade I was like “is Bey really doing what I think she’s doing? What’s happening?!” I doubted myself because I had had my edges snatched and obviously was in shock and hallucinating.

So I watched again, with a semblence of calm. My sangoma eyes were seeing things in the videos and I don’t think they were simply visual references.

All this water, black womyn, choice of colours, drum beat and bass…it reminded me of something I know very well – sacred, feminine spiritual practice. Ah! Bey! Just like that? YAAAS! Slay us and bring us back to life!

Last night I woke alliancepartner up at like 02:00 because I finally joined the dots. Lemonade is saying exactly what I need it to say to me right now. As a young healer, I draw strength and affirmation from the work of my ancestors recognised and so beautifully presented by Beyoncé and her teams. Is she not one of the most powerful minds and voices of our generation? She is. End of story.

So I lay quitely, being snuggled by my husband (who’s in trouble like all the world’s men right now). All the while, my mind raced between 1. Yoruba sacred practice and deities; adapted& disguised practices in the Diaspora, like Santeria& Candomble which were born in the waters that were the passage of our stolen people to foreign lands. 2. Similarities and parallels between WestAfricancestral practice, her Diaspora daughters and  our very own Southern African spiritual practices both in ubungoma and Postoli faith (which adapted and evolved in very similar ways to Diaspora spiritual practices) And 3. How does Beyoncé weave all this so seamlessly into her visual album and snatch the whole world’s edges and bring what I interpret as necessary and overdue healing and the beginning of a rebirth for the bodies and spirits of black womynhood.

Obviously she’s speaking as an African American womyn,  but there is so much in the imagery and symbolism that I can identify in our own practices, rites rituals and experiences.

As isangoma, I interpreted some aspects of the album to be a creative representation of the ritual of Ukufemba: a ritual where a medium channels the umNdau* water spirit, which in turn embodies people, spirits, and other celestial beings to perform a cleansing ritual on a subject, or subjects, by ‘sweeping’ the body of subject/s from toe to head, picking up dis-ease, malaise and curses from the subject/s into themselves, and the medium using their body and life force to transport the curse or whatever and leave it at the water. The ritual centres around water, fire, song, the use of colours, dance, numbers and money – again, similar to the Postoli faith practices and Santeria.

I will not go into each individual song but you will feel it when you see it.

Beyoncé is the medium, the initiated healer – initiated by virtue and fire of her black womynhood. We are the subjects.

What is the link between Santeria, Orisha, Sacred Feminine, umNdau and ukufemba?  Water. I also note the lunar significance of the Lemonade release.

Bey brought alladat.

Bey is invoking THE feminine archetypes that are at the very base and pinnacle of our beliefs and sacred practice from all over the continent and Diaspora – Crone, Mother, Maiden: Nomhhoyi, Yemoja, Oshun, Nomkhubulwane. I refer to both Zulu and Yoruba Deities and archetypes because I see them all in Lemonade.

She is channeling the lives of the women in her lineage including her own mother, sister and daughter (and channeling herself in those respective roles) – singing, dancing, fucking shit up and celebrating – sweeping the collective body of Us to draw out, enact, and destroy the violence, hopeless hope, defeat, whatthefuckery of all our efforts and betrayals to rebirth Us all over again in our ancient and current carnations. There’s something visceral and personal in Lemonade. This album is medicine.

It feels like she’s letting us know that she knows that all the womyn in her and our breath and bones are fed the fuck up from fighting and loving but being rewarded with murder. she’s also saying they/we are still outchea. Even though we are also dead. You know, like ancestors do.

She also served the necessary and often shunned darkness and madness of the healing path. She’s tryna wear another’s skin on her skin and confetti herself with teeth. I am here for it!

Her words “Try not to hurt yourself” are an incantation AND a threat as much as they are a statement of power reclamation and Universal Truth. “Mfkr, when you end me, you end yourself. Dafuq you think this is?” And this has basically been the motto of black Grancestry since since. Mbuya Nehanda epitomised this. You feel me?!

And the whole menses and holy book vibe? Because we know that the world’s biggest religions were butchered and removed by force from between the secret lips of the Divine Feminine. Levels.

Who can craft ancient rites – birth, death, banishment, coming of age and the madness of black womyn pain so deliberately, with both subtlety and boldness into mainstream culture and wrap it all in breathtaking music and visuals? Bey. And she knows exactly what the fuck she is doing. She’s encoded her album and woven symbols, lessons, affirmations, war and love for us to take what we need, even if it is only our blood that recognises that need. This is for us.

umNdau* water spirit : guardian spirit relayed to our bloodline through commerce or conquest. Takes care of the material and sexual aspects of out lives – resides in the root chakra

Two Legit

I’ve been into Yung$tunna’s  room like 4 times tonight. He’s finally asleep, but not before making me eat so rough, I’m contemplating popping four more Biral for my nerves.

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He’s gotten into a new habit of wailing as soon as the lights are off and the door is closed. You go in, he wants a towel, or a toy, or an extra blanket, no, not that towel…nywe nywe until he’s so worked up we have to start the bedtime routine from scratch. Tonight, he’s snuggled with a tv remote, giant cowry shell,wooden truck, fluffy penguin, water bottle, two towels and three blankets.

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Usually, Alliancepartner handles BabyLeader’s bedtime while I handle TheOga (she’s 11 months old now, so she’s not so tiny anymore) and when he keeps getting sucked into His Majesty’s chambers over some manipulatears, I always side-eye him because I think he can be too lenient.

Me, when alliancepartner is dealing with bedtime wahala: Don’t pander to him. Don’t let him smell your weakness.

Me, when I’m dealing with bedtime wahala: I can’t let my baby cry like that!

The inverse also applies, by the way. I’m not the only Judgey McJudgerson. That is why it helps us to check in with each other and take turns to do annoying, frustrating parental duties, it breeds patience and understanding. The only way is to tag team the hell out of this thing. Kids are tricky.

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Our toddler is always trying his luck and being defiant while totally still being a baby at the same time, who needs patience and guidance.

He needs boundaries and discipline as much as he needs room to express himself, learn his lessons and be guided through the consequences of his actions as well.

We’ve discussed a variety of approaches and theories on how to survive the Terrible-Twos, but we actually had to just pay attention to the child in front of us, to develop a way that works for us as parents, and for who Yung $tunna is as a person.

1. Routine:

He’s very secure in his environment because we try to keep the basics the same on the daily. He always knows what is happening next. If there are any changes, we speak to him. We have found that if he is comfortable and familiar with what’s happening around him, he’s a lot more chilled.

What he learns:
– There is a time and place for everything.
– We’ve got his back.
– We see him.

What we learn:
– Consideration of his space, needs and feelings.
– The importance of communication.
– How to continually establish a stable and safe environment for him, and our family as a whole.

2. Consistency:

Once we say no, it’s (usually) no. So if he wants to do something and we say no, 8/10, we stick to it even if he screams. The rest of the time, we just give in because we want him to STFU or realise that it’s not that deep.

What he learns:
– There are rules.
– Tears don’t always count for shit
– We are in charge.
– We as parents can make mistakes and/or change our minds

What we learn:
– To be firm and honest.
– To set a precedent of the way our family works.
– A bit of flexibility is needed sometimes AKA don’t sweat the small stuff.

3. Fairness and Positive Affirmation:

We feel that it’s important to discipline in a way that our he understands that we can disapprove of certain actions while still totally loving him. We believe that discipline is not just about discouraging behaviour that has a negative impact, it is also about instilling a desire to behave in a way that is positive. Discipline is also about empathy which you can’t teach by telling, you can only teach by showing.

What he learns:
– Actions have consequences.
– Getting into trouble doesn’t mean he’s    not loved.
– To consider the impact of his behaviour on people around him.

What we learn:
– To use our words and tone carefully – say what we mean and mean what we say.
– To be mindful of our authority.
– To apologise when we are wrong or hurtful
– To comfort him when a tantrum turns to distress because he’s still learning himself, shame.

In a month’s time, before we have even been able to catch our breath, TheOga will be turning a year old, so we will be revising these lessons, while teaching and learning new ones, as her personality and character continue to take shape.

We are about to have two toddlers, and practically double Terrible-Twos, which is ok, I guess, because we will die once, and then come back to life just in time to have two teens. Khalil Gibran’s prose on children did *not* prepare us for this.

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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.