On Blogging, Breasfeeding, Mess & Me-Time

Bless me, oh God of Blogs, for I have sinned. It has been one and a half months since my last blog post…

20 minutes ago, I fired off this tweet:

1) no husband 2) no help 3) a broken stove 4) 2 kids under 3
= 4 good reasons to eat out & drink wine all weekend long #overwhelmed

And now, miracle of miracles, I am seated in front of my laptop as both kids are sound asleep – The Princess upstairs in her bed and my two month old Prince next to me in his pram. The silence is almost freaky. I keep my head down and focused on my keyboard and screen in an attempt to ignore the unbelievable mess that is my home. The amount of havoc that one toddler has wreaked during the 8 hours she has been awake since 4pm on Friday, is truly staggering. Okay, she did have a little help from her friend. Note: “friend” – singular – only one other toddler monster. But this particular child takes messy eating to brand new heights: she managed to smooth cream cheese into the actual weave of the playroom rug. I stare at the white moosh on my brown mat and wonder how in God’s name one would go about removing it entirely.

Fortunately, when I am in survival mode – and I have probably been in that mode for the past two and a half years since The Princess’ birth – I can live in, around and on top of, mess. I don’t like mess, but I like cleaning up even less. In rare moments when kids are not being fed, bathed, changed, entertained, placated or put to sleep, there are just too many more interesting things to do in this life, to waste time tidying up. Like writing blogs, watching The Sopranos from start to finish – my current entertainment during breastfeeds, going for walks with the jogger, reading, the list goes on…

Of course those moments are ridiculously rare but I crave them anyway. A fellow full-time mommy recounted a story that she heard from a mom of three. This mom reported that after her second child, she stopped expecting any more microscopic moments of time to herself and that was how she coped. I still expect those moments. To give up that expectation would be to lose myself completely and I just don’t think I could cope with that. I need “me time” or, what I should rather call “Mac time” – time alone with my laptop: reading, writing, researching, shopping, corresponding, catching up on admin. My sanity depends on it.

I let my ears take in the sweet sound of two kids sleeping simultaneously…

The Prince was due for his three hourly feed five minutes ago but I just can’t bring myself to wake him up – even at the risk of messing with my milk supply. On that topic, my milk has mysteriously evaporated at every 6:30pm feed of the day. I managed to breastfeed exclusively for 7 weeks before The Prince had his first taste of formula and now, literally overnight for the past 10 days, I have virtually no milk at that time of day. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a breastfeeding crusader – certainly not amongst groups who have the means to procure alternatives and the infrastructure to ensure proper sterilisation. I know of too many examples of extremely intelligent adults whose mothers were unable to breastfeed to believe that formula cannot ensure the same level of brain development as breastmilk. Some women just don’t manage to breastfeed or to breastfeed exclusively (I struggled tremendously with The Princess and found it hugely stressful). However, personally, I just would have liked to have given The Prince formula less often than once a day for the first four months. But yesterday my neighbour told me something interesting. Her nurse told her that 200ml of breastmilk per day is just as good as an exclusive breastmilk diet. She equated this to eating All Bran: you can eat one bowl of All Bran or three bowls of All Bran but you’ll get everything you need in terms of fibre etc, from just one bowl. I have no idea if this assertion has been scientifically proven, but I like the theory so I’m choosing to believe its veracity.

Other than feeding every three hours, my life at present – as per my tweets – is mostly taken up with training for the 94.7 cycle challenge on 17 November. On 10 August when The Prince was just two weeks old, our family of four was driving out to my cousin’s daughter’s wedding in The Cradle. There were hundreds of cyclists out and amongst them were a notable number of women. I thought I saw The Husband look longingly at what appeared to be couples cycling together and I must have had a rush of blood to the head as I heard myself announcing confidently that I would ride the 94.7. For non-Jozi dwellers, the 94.7 cycle challenge gets its name from the frequency of a local radio station and is, just to be cute, literally 94.7 kilometres long. It sound like a “cute” idea at the time, but as I started training, I realised how hard cycling actually is, compared to being just generally quite fit from gym, a 5km run once a week, some personal training, regular speed walking etc. That incredible burn in your legs – there is just nothing like it. And don’t even get me started on cleats…

But more about that in a future blog. The Prince has just woken up and is screaming for his lunch!



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