Posted in Family Life, Mamma bears, Parenting

What to tell a mom today …

All day I’m busy.

I do not stop from the moment my eyes are open.

Mental load

I’m constantly teaching, watching for negatives, alert for danger, setting an example, worrying about my children, my husband, my home and trying to be present whilst also micro-managing every aspect of my life and multi -tasking the entire day to fit in my own needs.

Physical load

On top of the mental load, there is also the very real physical load mother’s carry.

Hundreds of cups of tea, never ending meals and snacks and not to mention the cleaning… I am always cleaning something.

Who cares?

And do you know who notices ?

No one!

Do you know who cares?

No one?

Do you know who praises me? Who says Thank you ?

Yes, you guessed it …

No one!

Not alone

But

I am not alone in this. I am joined by every other woman who has a home and family.

Every new mom hoping their child’s green poo is normal and every grandmother who still worries if she should have let little Billy cry it out or if her child’s inabity to stay in a stable relationship at 35 is her doing!

Yes, as moms we carry the unspoken mental and physical load of raising our families, working, looking after our home, being a partner, a good friend and still trying to remember who we are.

And more often than not we cry into showers and worry late into the night if we are doing it right …

Are we being good moms?

Judgmental motherhood

Surprisingly,

Although we know we are not alone in our overwhelmed and busy mom/wife life.

Although we wished someone knew how we felt and saw all we did….we loudly and competitively judge the mom next door.

We judge her for her parental differences.

We judge her for her beliefs, her cultural differences and the choices she makes believing they are the best for her family as she cries in the shower hoping she is doing this mom thing right.

We judge Mary for not breastfeeding and Sally from church for still co-sleeping.

We look at Jill disapprovingly, whispering how her child was expelled and to the lady in the bus we shake our head whilst her toddler screams through it’s 5th temper tantrum of the morning and we tsk! under our breath judging them for being bad parents.

Change of mindset

How strange our behaviour!

We long for approval, support and acknowledgement and yet, as moms …as women …we are the first to criticize and judge another mother who only wants the same as us.

A mom with the same worries, the same fears and the same tired black marks under he eyes as she tie up her unwashed hair into a mom bun.

This seems illogical and totally counter productive.

What if instead of judging and running down mothers we reached into the pockets of our empathy and became their greatest supporters?

What if we changed our mindset to see ourselves in that new mom, to identify our children in the toddler throwing yet another tantrum, to support the mom walking a hard journey the way we would want to be supported.

What if we stopped judging and started praising?

What if we looked at every fellow mother and told her what a great mother she really is.

Posted in Family Life, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

I love you more than daddy :- when a child prefers one parent.

I spend the vast majority of my day with Hamish as opposed to Brent who spends 90 % of his day at work away from the home.

Because of this I am Hamish’s primary care taker.

I also take on the roles as his friend and teacher. Which means I have an incredibly large influence in his little life.

But even I was rather taken aback when my 4 year old, giving me a huge hug said last week ” I prefer to you to daddy”

He continued with sentences like ” I love you more than daddy” , “I don’t like daddy” and “I love you more”

Concern

Naturally this concerned me. So, I asked Hamish why as Brent is really great with Hamish when he is home.

They play, chat and watch stories together.

From a child’s mouth

The answer he gave was that Brent spoke less gentle than I did and was grumpy.

He said I was calm and Brent shouted.

Which if you know us is the exact truth. I am more calm and patient, using gentle tones and words.

I’m less quick to get angry or upset and my children all have me wrapped around their fingers.

Brent is more stern and his words, to a child, could seem angry or punishing.

He is also faster to get annoyed or bugged by small issues.

So, it stood to reason that Hamish, who is naturally gentle, identified with a more gentle tone and approach and thus preferred to be around me.

But …

Still wondered if there wasn’t a more logical and proven answer to this favoritism.

Primary care

Children under the age of 5 are completely reliant on their care givers in order to survive.

This natural instinct, allows them to navigate and identify who their primary care givers are and how to meet their needs.

Knowing this, you can understand that a child who makes a statement preferring one parent to the other, does so out of need and survival and not as personal attack on the other parent.

What has in fact happened is that the child has identified one parent as more avaliable than the other and so they attach themselves to that parent and fight to keep that care and connection.

By voicing their favoritism, your child is protecting the relationship that they have identified as consistant and beneficial to their needs.

What about love

Just because your child has verbally chosen the other parent or physically fights to stay with their primary care givers does not for one minute mean that they do not love the other parent.

Pushing your child away

And whilst the words may sting or be hard to hear, the parent who is not being favoured should recognize this for what it is –

Your child’s ability to have their basic needs met.

Sadly,often times, on hearing that one parent is favored, the other may instinctively start to push the child away, taking the favoritism of the other parent personally and as a form of rejection.

What should you do?

According to most of the articles I read the first step is to :-

  • Acknowledge your child’s favoritism without taking it personally

You can also:-

  • Accept that your children are identifying where to get their needs met with the least resistance.

As a Parent it is best to :-

  • Offer to assist more in your child’s daily activities or be more present during the times you spend with them so that your child knows that you are also avaliable
  • Do not push your child away because you have taken their preference personally.
  • Know that children respond to consistency, safety, acceptance and connection

And importantly…

  • If you are the parent who is favoured, build up the other parent infront of your child and let your child know that they can rely on them.

Lastly

No one can be avaliable 24/7 for their children but the most effective way to build love and trust with your child is to be 100% present when you engage with your child.

At the end of the day your child really just needs you to be consistent, avaliable and love unconditionally.

Posted in Alphabet activities, Family Life, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers

Are you raising a sharer or a meanie?

Sitting with Hamish after his first week of school, we were going over the class photos and I was asking him questions to learn more about his first week’s experience at his new preschool.

Laughingly he couldn’t remember the kids names, aside from the 3 or 4 he obviously connected with and he spoke me through the activities they had done with his new teacher.

I was impressed at the gentleness that he described his teachers and the new songs and games he had learnt.

The we spoke about the kids and what being a good friend was. Very aware that some kids can be more dominating in a class I asked who played nicely.

When in conversation I try to not give him the words but to let him express himself fully in his words and experience and so the general question of who plays nicely allows him to relate his experience within his peer group.

Sharers

He rattled off about the kids who play with him, pointing them out to me.

He spoke about the cars and the animals and the little girl who shared the frogs.

Then

He said but mommy there some children who aren’t sharers.

I asked what he meant.

He explained that some of the children did not share the toys and said things like “I don’t want to play with you.”

My heart fell to my feet and I looked at him honestly and said are they meanies?

Meanies

Meanies is our word for children who hurt others, use their words to intentionally upset someone or break things.

We use this word instead of bully, as Bully is a strong word to use for preschoolers who may not yet have learnt the social cues to play with others.

He thought for a moment and honestly answered…

” No they not meanies, they just not sharers!”

And so we carried on talking about why sharing with our friends is important. How sharing is how we show kindness and love and lastly what to do if someone doesn’t want to share with you.

I feel strongly that giving him the opportunity to express himself, the ability to convey how he feels and the coping skills to overcome the effects and interactions with children who may not behave as he does is important for him to be able to integrate into his class, now and in future schools and to not be affected by bullies later on in his school career.

Raising kids who share

For me it has always been so important that my children be the ‘Kind Child’

That they are inclusive, gentle and share with their peers.

But how do you raise a child who will share?

You can read many books, you can pick more gentleness parenting styles and you can introduce as many games as you like but the first and most important way to raise a child who is inclusive and who shares is to model that behaviour in your daily life.

You are your child’s first teacher and the most important influence on their personality and character.

If you use gentle words, share with those around you and are non discriminate and inclusive, it is probable that your child will be too.

In short ….to raise a child who shares, you need to be an adult who shares.

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Family Life, Family Time, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Health & Wellness, Life with my bears, Parenting

Is your child a KRAZI AWSUM KID ?

Every mom believes we have the most beautiful, wonderful and amazing children but how often do we remind our children how wonderful they are?

Now, you can gift your child with a positive affirmation to remind them just how amazing they are.

Krazi Awsum gifts and goodies have launched a range of slogan tshirts for the whole family to remind them just how KRAZI AWSUM they are !

Hamish loves his and likes to shout out “I’m krazi awsum” as a positive mantra. I love that he is developing a strong self value and when he forgets how wonderful he is, this shirt is a cool reminder should I forget to tell him often enough.

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Posted in Family Life, Fun mamma Rainbiw kids club, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

A spring scavanger hunt

September brings the first day of spring and although Cape Town was certainly not showing any signs of spring weather in early September, I compiled a spring scavanger hunt to keep Hamish busy.

The hunt is designed to use on a walk about your neighbourhood but you could also use this inside your garden.

Scavanger hunt.

Look at your garden/park or beach and draw or write a list of things for your child to find.

We started nature walks and hunts when Hamish was about a year old and would collect things onto his pram.

Give each child a copy of the hunt and a pencil to mark off what they find.

I’ve found that this activity works well for smaller children if you attach your print out to a clipboard. This makes it easier for them to carry around and ensures the wind does not blow it away.

You could also give younger children stickers to stick on to mark off what they find instead of a marker.

If you know that you will do the hunt on a regular basis, you can save paper by laminating the print out and use a white board marker to cross off as white board markers will just wipe off the laminating.

Things to find

I put together a list of 20 easy to find items in nature.

  • Bird
  • Thorn
  • Ant
  • Spiders web
  • Leaf
  • Pine cone
  • Flower
  • Log
  • Rock
  • Mushroom
  • Cloud
  • Dandelion
  • Grass
  • Bug
  • Stick
  • Mole hill
  • Earth worm
  • Tree
  • Sand
  • Caterpillar
  • Bark

Happy hunting ….

Posted in Brands we love, Family Life, Fun Mamma SA Toy of the Week, Parenting

What you need to know about Nerf blasters for younger children

As parents we took a stand to not let Hamish play with guns.

As he has gotten older and his comprehension has grown we have relaxed that rule to not letting him play with guns that look realistic and to include educating him in the very real dangers a gun can possess.

Boy toys

As much as we, as a society of parents,have started to move to a more open minded parenting culture many of our children’s toy manufacturers still have a vast amount of violent and traditional toys aimed at boys.

Shops are still divided into boy and girl sides with the boy shelves full of guns, army men and play sets that involve harming others.

It is also natural that many family members and friends still gravitate towards these gifts when buying for boys.

Nerf guns

This led me to openly look at what type of toy guns we could allow.

Bright blue, green and yellow water guns seemed safe and then I saw his eyes dart towards the nerf blasters.

These certainly don’t look like real guns but are they safe for small kids ?

What is a nerf gun?

A nerf blaster is a colourful toy blaster made by Hasbro that uses soft foam darts to shoot.

What does Nerf stand for?

I was confused as to why it was called a Nerf blaster but it seems the term describes the foam darts. Nerf stands for Non- expanding recreational foam.

At what age can a child play with a nerf gun?

The core Nerf range is suited for children aged 7+Although, Nerf have developed a range designed for an older market of 14+ (Nerf Rival)

I was interested to discover that they also have elements for a younger audiences including Nerf Nitro and the Nerf Microshot series.

Each Nerf product has a suggested age suitability on the packaging to guide you, the parent, in making an educated choice as to which blasters are recommended to suit your child’s age.

Which Nerf product would be best for a 4 or 5 year old?

For younger kids the smaller more compact models would be better suited as they are easier and more comfortable for them to manage and handle.

The Nerf Nitro has a recommended age from 5 years and comes with cars to act as targets for your child to shoot at. This is definitely the Nerf blaster we would look at for Hamish.

What safety precautions do we need to take with a Nerf blaster?

Nerf blasters are relatively safe. They have few movable components, limited power and shoot foam darts.

But as with any toy that could hurt someone, however slightly, it might be best to teach younger children:

  • Not to look down the barrel of the blaster
  • Keep the blaster pointed down and your finger off the trigger if not shooting
  • Don’t leave the blaster lying about loaded
  • Never shoot someone in the face
  • Never shoot at animals
  • Wear safety glasses

Final thoughts

I mostly like that this toy “gun” is known as a blaster allowing children to identify with it being a toy straight away.

I also like that the manufacturers have ensured that there are age restrictions to the blasters and that most sites I visited spoke of the Nerf blaster as a safe toy.

I like that the blasters are brightly coloured and even discovered a pink one on Amazon.

Overall, i can see that Nerf blasters encourage children to play with each other, providing action-packed and safe fun, indoors and outdoors.

Would I let Hamish get one?

Yes.

Being little though I would only encourage to him aim at inanimate targets and naturally teach him set of rules for play.

I think Nerf wars seem like good fun as he gets older. ( with the correct safety eye wear) and I can actually see my older boys joining in with this.

For more information visit here

Note:

For younger children especially adult supervision is recommended.

Posted in Crafts, Education, Fun mamma Rainbiw kids club, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

How to make a set of nature inspired number flash cards and counting poster for your homeschool classroom

Every springtime the Western Cape show cases the most gorgeous blanket of little wild flowers.

Every open field has huge spreads of whites or yellows or orange daisy and we are blessed to live very close to one of these areas.

Nature appreciation

Not only are these flowers beautiful they also hold an abundance of life in their little ecosystems.

Little ants that scurry about, earthworms underground, bees, dragonfly, bumblebee and beetles all gathering nectar….these can often be missed as we focus on the flowers.

But, I’ve always tried to teach my children the importance of nature, show her beauty and have them understand our role to protect and look after the world around us from ant to whale.

And so before we even started our activity, Hamish and I, first admired the flowers and sat along the side of the path watching the insect and bird life that danced amidst them.

Using nature to learn

Knowing how important it is for me that my children appreciate the natural world around them, I incorporate nature studies and the use of natural materials in our home classroom.

We count out sticks, print with leaves, have sensory play with mud and build with stones.

If we learnt flower parts we did so outside with real flowers. Shapes and patterns were identified in the garden and what better way to learn about the ocean than to be there?

A Pinterest idea comes to life

Somewhere along my late night Pinterest scrolling sessions, I saw a number freeze made by forming numbers with stones and leaves.

I knew I wanted to make this.

But, the stones and leaves looked dull against the grass background …what if we used flowers?

And so Hamish and I took a walk down the road and gathered several little white flowers to start our new project.

Counting flowers

As soon as we got home, I let Hamish cut the stems off the flowers and we started arranging flowers on the grass in the shape of numbers to photograph.

These number photographs have become the posters and flashcards we use in our classroom.

How to make a set of nature inspired flash cards and counting poster

To make your own you will need:

  • Wild flowers ( but you could do this with any natural item- shells, stones, sticks, leaves)
  • Scissors to cut the flowers
  • A container to gather the flowers in
  • A camera ( your cell phone camera will work just fine)
  • A grass background ( although you may want to use a wooden background, sandy beach, mud, ect)
  • Printer or printing facility
  • Laminator or laminating facility

To make:

  • First gather all your flowers. We used about 20 flowers and made two numbers at a time. Reusing the flowers for the other numbers so that we didnt have to cut that many flowers.
  • Next arrange the flowers into the number shapes.
  • Photograph each number.
  • Edit your photographs until you are happy.
  • Have each photo printed. I printed A4 to make the number freeze and printed 2 images on an A4 piece of card to cut into A5 sized flash cards.
  • Have your posters laminated and display.
  • Cut your flash cards in half and store neatly.

Posted in Brands we love, Covid-19/ Coronavirus, Family Time, Parenting

Krazi Awsum pandemic Tees

Krazi Awsum gifts and goodies recently launched their online gift shop with a fabulous line of keepsake Tshirts that perfectly depicts life in a pandemic.

The superior quality Tshirts are avaliable in sizes for the whole family making them suitable for fun photoshoots.

This range, which uses the slogan #shareaslogan,would also suit bloggers wanting to express themselves, parents looking for unique gift options and to keep in a time capsule.

Pandemic range

The range comprises of the following designs :

1. My first Pandemic

2. Quarantine and chill

3. I stayed home 2020

4. Stay homie

5. Lockdown survivor

6. Wash your hands

7. Straight outta isolation

8. Most dramatic season ever

9. This is my quarantine shirt

10. Stronger together 2020

11. You matter

12. Homeschool 2020

Price

The Tshirt prices are affordable and compare well to other brands.

Krazi Awsum gifts and goodies also offer the option of personalised prints should you wish a custom design.

Order your Tshirt today and share a slogan.

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Instagram: @KraziAwsum

Posted in Mamma bears

How to be a mom boss babe and build your empire

As a mom at home, I have tried many different ways to earn an income and supplement our household budget,whilst staying at home to be a full time mother and for many years a homeschooling mom.

Work from home

There are so many great options out there for moms wanting to do this :

  • Direct selling– direct selling offers you the option to work as a sales agent and sell the products from their catalogues to your families or friends whilst earning a commission on each sale. They often provide training, on going support, incentives, a start up kit and monthly catalogues. Some of the direct sale’s companies I’ve worked with over the years have been Dk books; Justine cosmetics; Avon cosmetics; Tupperware, Smile educational toys and Acorn kids products.
  • Drop shipping – drop shipping is the process of selling products for a company on your own online shop without holding stock. You earn commission and the company ship the product to your customer after they recieve your payment.
  • Buy and sell– the internet has made it incredibly easy for moms to start online shops and you can use your knowledge and passions to buy products and resell at a higher price.
  • Crafting – so many moms are talented and as we grow in motherhood so we learn new skills. Those gloves you knit or those tracksuits you make, you can sell. The cards you make or the biscuits you bake can all be sold at craft markets, online or on stores like etsy or Shopify.
  • Offer a service– are you a teacher, counselor, dog walker or gardener? Offering your services as a small business can also become an entrepreneurial business. You could do this via online lessons, classes and workshops.
  • Blogging or Influencing – bloggers and influencers are paid by brands to work with them, once you as a blogger or influencer have built up a solid reputation for yourself. As a blogger you can also sell advertising on your blog and work with affiliates to earn a passive income.

It’s a business

One of the first mistakes moms make is to call their entrepreneur efforts just a hobby or a little side line.

The first steps in business are to believe in yourself and your product.

So you need to change your mind frame to thinking like a boss babe who is building her empire.

Develop a boss babe mind frame

To do this…

  • Start by referring to your business as a company.
  • Invest the right amount of time each day to make it a success.
  • If you are not working through a registered company, register yourself as a company.
  • Open a business bank account to keep transactions separate from your household and personal accounts.
  • Get advise and knowledge on personal tax, business and sales tax, vat and tax nexus.

A tax nexus, for those new to the term, is a connection between taxing jurisdictions and a business that collects or pays tax.

Knowing your tax responsibilities as an individual and as a business, early can save you months of audits and fines later on.

  • Design a website and have social media accounts for your business.
  • Always carry business cards.
  • Market your business everywhere and watch the trends in your niche to make sure you are both following them and are ahead of them.
  • Network

Conclusion

There are many ways for moms to earn an income staying at home and even more to become an entrepreneur but it is vital to know your rights and responsibilities as a tax payer before launching your business.

Posted in Family Life, Family Time, Parenting

The magic Kinder App – bringing joy to your family

Hamish is not a huge fan of sweets but for chocolate he will go crazy.

Mind you as much as he lives chocolate, he actually really loves Kinder joy eggs.

Those plastic egg halves that contain a spoon of nutty chocolate and 2 wafer like balls and on the other side a DIY toy.

Something I only recently learnt was that there is a Kinder joy app to continue the fun.

The magic kinder App

Designed with learning in mind, the magic kinder app is a magical family friendly place that brings families together to have fun and play.

The App offers a safe environment for your children to enjoy :

  • Games
  • Drawing and colouring tools
  • Activities
  • tutorials
  • Stories
  • And videos

Designed for children aged 3 to 12, it’s an App to keep the entire family entertained.

The activities on the App are inspired by 6 learning areas needed to make up the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience for families to learn and play together.

The Kinder App is COPPA certified and parents have the peace of mind knowing :

  • There are parental controls
  • No advertising is on the app
  • It does not come with an in-app purchase

Parents are further put at ease knowing that Kinder have partnered with the university of Oxford in a 3 year program to develop content and monitor children’s learning.

Other partners include:

  • University of Auckland
  • The Fab kab
  • Interactive kids

You can download the app from Google play Store or Apple App store.