ON BEING A WHISTLEBLOWER, WORKING OUT, THE CURSE OF THE SUPER MOM AND OTHER THINGS ABOUT THE LOCKDOWN

Thursday, April 09, 2020




What day is it? How far into the national lockdown are we? The days are all merging into one hazy mess of emotion.

I have been negative on social media lately. It’s been hard to separate the way I feel from the things I say and there have been moments in the past week where I have felt profoundly unhinged. What is it about staying at home that tests my sanity like this? I have never been a social creature. I don’t thrive in loud and noisy groups, I don’t seek out opportunities to leave my house. I shouldn’t be struggling with this, and yet, here we are.

This morning I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing, it was a sergeant from Claremont police station calling about a case of child abuse I reported the night before. After I got off the phone, I sat on the couch and had a small cry. The wheels turn and the world goes on, abusers continue to abuse, the world has ground to a halt, but some things remain constant (I wish violence wasn’t one of them).

To get my mind off it, I thought I would sit down and write a blog post. It’s been a while. But as I sit here at my kitchen table, watching my children paint and play outside, I can’t seem to shake this feeling.

Reporting Child Abuse In South Africa


I have never considered myself to be a whistleblower. 99% of the time I usually judge from afar with a deep sense of disgust. But recently, having listened to the screams from our neighbours 3-year old, I have changed. While we are all home our frustration is running high, we are stressed and anxious and exhausted and none of that can be blamed on our children. They are little, seeking love and happiness and approaching life with the unique curiosity that children have. If you find yourself in a rage-filled moment where your child’s behaviour is frustrating you, consider that perhaps you are the problem and not your child. If you smack your child, you are a criminal. There is no grey area.

If you witness abuse, I would urge you to go to your nearest police station and make an official complaint. Don’t call, nothing will come from a call. You will need to go there, they need to understand the urgency of the situation and often the people who sit in the charge office and answer the phone are not the people who will champion your complaint, it matters and it is worth taking a few minutes from your life to get it on the police’s radar.


Other things about lockdown


It hasn’t all been bad, we’ve been on lockdown since the 16th of March. At first, we were excited, spending time at home, doing crafts, baking, it all felt like Martha Stewart's wet dream. Things have calmed significantly. We have run out of craft supplies and there is no yeast to be found in the stores. This has been a challenging time for my girls. Their age gap is significant enough that they play differently and this has led to frustration and arguments, but it’s also pushed them to try harder to be friends, to share, to be supportive of each other. And that makes my heart so happy.


Housewife, employee, teacher and chef


One of the biggest challenges I have faced is how to manage our lives. Working full time and from next week, teaching my kids from 9 am to 1 pm and then also cooking every meal and making sure everyone is getting the right amount of attention is keeping me up at night. Of course, we are educated enough to know that it is not possible to do it all. And trying will only lead to tears, so my advice to myself has been: pick one thing to do well and then be happy that you do the remaining things in an average way and then switch it up daily.

Working out when you hate working out


I had hoped to use this lockdown to perfect my home workout routine but it’s been impossible to find the energy and the will to do anything other than work and parent. So I headed to Twitter to ask for advice and an amazing thread emerged. One of the constant suggestions was to just force yourself into it, I tried this morning and it worked out well for me because I told myself that I would just do 6 rounds of my usual routine and by the end, I ended up repeating my routine twice. But I would caution against this for everyone because we also need to find a balance between listening to ourselves and our bodies and pushing ourselves. I know that exercise helps me feel better but if you’re really not into it, just take some time to regroup.


I think we’re all struggling right now. It’s hard and it is riddled with fear and anxiety and it feels like the world has been flipped on its head. At the end of the day, as cheesy as it sounds, this is the perfect time for kindness, kindness for ourselves, our children, our friends and family and the strangers on the internet we interact with daily.

I am going to do my best to pull myself together, start being a little more positive and embracing this weird and turbulent season of our lives. One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is how fragile life is. The reality that existed 2 months ago is gone, we are in unchartered waters and we’re all doing the best we can. Who knows where the country or the world will be tomorrow or next week? All we have is now and in many ways, that is humbling.

Nikki
Xxx

FARM LIFE IS THE ONLY LIFE I WANT: A REVIEW OF HOOGWATER FARM (AKA HEAVEN ON EARTH)

Monday, February 10, 2020 Cape Town, South Africa


We’ve had kind of a shift in thinking recently. As parents, I mean. During previous Christmas’ we would shower the girls with gifts and outings and hardly ever leave the comforts of home and Cape Town. Last year I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of childhood I want my children to have. The kind of experiences I want them to look back on. I decided that I did not want a house full of toys and expensive gadgets, I wanted a heart full of memories. With that in mind, I went out of my way to find a few amazing holiday spots for us to visit during the December/ January school break.

To be honest, I have always felt a faint call to farm life. I know that sounds ridiculous, especially if you know me personally. I am about as “city girl” as they come. But one quiet afternoon I was browsing Airbnb and I stumbled across a listing for a farmhouse in Wolseley. The house itself looked nice and quaint. Then I read that it was on a working fruit farm and guests were free to roam the orchards and pick fruit and it just sounds like exactly the kind of break I wanted. So I went ahead and contacted Madri, the host, and booked for a 3 day stay in January.

Hoogwater Farm


Driving to Hoogwater, passing the scenic Witzenberg mountains, the rolling fruit farms, the tractors on the road carrying crates heaving with ripe peaches felt like a little slice of heaven. And then we pulled up to the farmhouse. Along a short dirt road, we reached a low gate, the kind you typically find on a farm in South Africa. Regan jumped out of the car and rolled the gate open. Madri was at the house welcoming my sister who had arrived shortly before us. The house was magic. I have to just add that the AirBnB pictures do not do it justice. Walking in it is impossible not to feel instantly relaxed and at home. The kitchen is cosy and houses a big dining table, the lounge is filled with books and blankets and serious comfortable couches. The front of the house has this rolling, lush green lawn which was perfect for the slip and slide we brought along. It also has a divine coal-fire hot tub which my kids lived in.


In the back of the house, there is a MASSIVE swimming pool which is fenced in (this alone was amazing for me as someone travelling with two small children). We walked through the orchards, braaied, drank bottles of gin, vegged out on the grass, cooked delicious breakfasts, took a bunch of naps and just had the absolute best time.

Highly recommend


I don’t often write travel reviews on this blog and because of that, I struggle a bit to find the right words to communicate how this stay felt. But indulge me for a minute longer…. It was perfect. Madri and her husband are perfect hosts, there was no request too small for them. They were available for whatever we needed. The house was perfect in absolutely every way. We are heading back to Hoogwater over the Easter weekend (which also happens to be my sisters birthday) and I am honestly counting down the seconds. I cannot wait to be back there.


If you are looking for a great, child-friendly getaway that is close to Cape Town, I would urge to give Hoogwater a try. You will not be disappointed!


Hoogwater has the farmhouse which comfortably sleeps 6 and the cottage which sleeps 4.

You can book via:
Airbnb or
Directly through the Hoogwater website

Have you been on any amazing mini-breaks recently? Share your accommodation suggestions in the comments!

Nikki
Xxx

JANUARY: CLARITY, A WAVE OF LOVE AND A HEAVING PLATE OF BIRTHDAY CAKE

Tuesday, February 04, 2020 Cape Town, South Africa


Gosh, I thought so long about the format I wanted this post to take, my first post of 2020. It feels so significant because this year feels so huge. I feel like the entire world could end this year. It just feels like we’re on the brink of something. Does that make sense?

January is always my favourite month of the year because it’s my birthday month (YAY ME!) and even though I love my birthday, I do feel like it depresses me. I don’t want to be pathetically cliché and say it’s because I am getting older. It’s not that. I think it’s more that I feel so close to my mortality. I feel the passing of the year as this physical thing, like one more year down xxx amount to go. So morbid, right?

Back in the days of old, I used to follow this format with these round-up posts where I would share just a few things that truly sparked joy for the month and I think I will continue with that because otherwise, I will just ramble along for who knows how many paragraphs. So let me quickly tell you about all the things that made me happy in January:

Writing

Well, this is embarrassing because the last blog post I wrote was in November of 2019 lol. I have been trying to conserve my creative energy for another project that I cannot tell you anything about because I am so scared of failing. So I haven’t felt much like writing anything. But I have been toying with the idea of doing more video content and I have actually (!!) planned to carve out some time this weekend to film my first YouTube video! How rad?

Reading

I read so many books in January. Probably because I only went back to work on the 22nd so I had much relaxing time (insert huge smiley face). One of my favourites for January was Holly Black’s Cruel prince series. Oh my GOSH! I loved it. I don’t think I stopped to breathe between the books. I was happy, angry, in love, frustrated, heartbroken. Just everything. A definite 4.5 stars!

Listening to

This isn’t something I am listening to but have you heard of Bedtime Explorers on Spotify? It’s a guided meditation playlist for children and it is incredible. My girls listen to it every single night and it takes about 7 minutes of listening before they are fast asleep. If you have been looking for a fuss-free, relaxing way to settle your children for bedtime, I would HIGHLY recommend this Spotify Account.

Watching

Urgh. I feel like I’ve watched everything on Netflix and Showmax updates so slowly I barely have the energy to check back. In January I watched a few shows, I won't mention the ones I didn’t like but the one that blew me away, that I binged completely was The Witcher. Holy smokes. The steam. The heat. The story. Toss a coin to my sanity because I CANNOT wait for the next season!

I also watched the much-acclaimed Parasite movie which I literally cannot tell you about because I don’t want to ruin anything but you must watch it. If you love a psychological-thriller-mind-fuck of a movie, this is the one to watch!

Buying

I have been trying my best to live a conscious life and this especially applies to things I purchase. I barely bought anything in January and all the purchases I have done were very needs-based. I did splurge on some Le Melle eye cream which is a little bottle of heaven. Over on the Two Babes On A Budget blog, I have taken a pledge to do no shopping until April. So far so good!

Feeling

Old hahaha! Jokes! January was a month of feeling incredibly relaxed. We took a trip to Greyton, I spent most of January on leave. I think I spent most of the month in a relaxed, loved up bubble.


Intentions for February

Since we are a week into February already this does feel a little silly but I only have 3 intentions for this month:

To stick to my therapy schedule
To film my first YouTube video
To be positive and open to life

How was your month? Have you set any intentions for February? Are you seriously excited about 2020?

Nikki
Xxx

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