My purpose…is in the here and now.

What is your purpose…?

In many people including myself, this evokes thoughts and images of this big, significant “thing” that you are working towards and someday will reach (hopefully).

This is the thing you were born to do, and only when you figure out what it is and DO it, will you find real life fulfillment by what you do and will reach your full potential…

We are told by pastors and motivational speakers alike, that we all have a very specific purpose that we were born for. That we need to maximize our potential. And that it will be just a terrible shame if you do not reach your full potential or end up following your destined purpose. We are told that we just need to follow certain steps or do a vision board or read a book etc, to find out what it is (which in itself is a mystery for so many) and then to pursue IT.

We are told to not live a mediocre life – no because we were created for SO MUCH MORE! We are told to be proactive, live life to the full, pursue our dreams…

I have in the past felt very motivated and inspired after hearing or reading messages such as these. I would buy the book or buy a new journal – filled with fresh inspiration and drive to figure out what my purpose is and how I can go about reaching it.

But in the past couple of years it has just left me feeling miserable, burdened, confused and slightly disillusioned and disappointed at times. I don’t think its unusual to feel this way when you find yourself somewhere in your 30’s (or 40’s…any age really) in a career that you are not crazy about but it pays the bills…perhaps realise that your career choice wasnt the best….that you perhaps wasted some time along the way….missed some opportunities…. the list is endless. Some call this a quarter or midlife crises.

These messages left me feeling like the life I have lived and am living doesn’t measure up because I haven’t FOUND my big purpose in life. This often also goes hand in hand with comparison with certain people in your peer group who you perceive to have reached their potential and living their PURPOSE.

I started thinking about this…. especially after being a stay at home mom for a year and struggling to figure out some questions around this issue. I found myself during the past year fighting my current role as stay at home mom, feeling insignificant on some days, struggling with low self-esteem because I felt I could only talk about baby stuff…

I became sick of feeling like this…

But then…what does this all make of where I am – RIGHT NOW. I am a recent stay at home mom for the past 13 months. I resigned my job because my baby was of such a demanding nature that I couldn’t get to a point of leaving him in full-time care while I work. I have to add that I had the privilege of having the choice at the time which I know is not at all possible for all moms.

So back to where I am right now and this BIG PURPOSE/DESTINY people are bombarding us with.

My thoughts are this…I think you have several purposes throughout your lifetime. I have come to believe that your purpose is in the here and now.

Where I am right now is my purpose.

Although in the eyes of society being a stay at home mom is not a PURPOSE, this is my purpose now. It is not a second-rate waiting for my bigger purpose kind of thing. No – I have purpose and “in” my purpose for this season. I am not “missing out” or constantly wondering what my big purpose is that I will reach one day. I am not fighting my season that I am in by worrying and feeling miserable about unanswered questions about my next step, my career in years to come, what I am “working towards” etc. In this season, my life is smaller.

I will still try to make time to pursue things that I like doing like exercising, painting or reading. I might still consider furthering my studies in psychology, because I enjoy studying and am interested in psychology. But I choose to not be burdened anymore by trying to figure out what my big SINGLE purpose is in this life and feeling that I just seem to not be able to reach it.

I know many will disagree with me – but these are my thoughts and what has helped me live a more positive satisfying life in the now.

I hope this encourages you…

Lots of love

Helene xxx

Sugar, anxiety and insomnia…and other tips to get you to sleep better tonight!

I have always been able to switch off my bedside light and fall asleep within minutes. Even on my travels, often sleeping in youth hostels sharing rooms, it wasnt an issue for me. Ever.

When my son turned one a year ago, it changed. For his 1st year I slept well in between multiple night waking and breastfeeding sessions. Now he was starting to sleep better and all of a sudden this mommy couldnt fall asleep anymore…shock horror!

Is this a joke – no – it’s very real.  Some even call it “momsomnia” or postnatal insomnia.

When you suffer from insomnia, you either struggle to fall asleep or you wake up and then struggle to fall back to sleep again.

It’s one of those things that can quickly consume you as you start struggling night after night and experiencing the repercussions of not so much optimal functioning during the day.  You start almost dreading going to bed even though you are tired.  The “Tired but Wired” saying became quite real to me…

It’s a vicious cycle… Insomnia creates anxiety and this creates more insomnia. I experienced over the past year that if I have a better night, the anxiety almost immediately starts to decrease dramatically helping me to go into the better direction of sleep again.

So what can you do – the standard advice that you’ll get…

  1. Sleep hygiene
  2. Herbal aids
  3. Melatonin
  4. Sleeping tablets
  5. Antidepressants (more to treat the anxiety)

These are the things that has worked for me to a certain extent recently and over the past year:

  1.  You absolutely have to do the sleep hygiene thing i.e. NO screen time for at least an hour before bed time and keep lights fairly dimmed in the house if you can.  I also started to have a bed time routine – for me this was drinking either camomile tea / hot water with apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey / milk with quarter teaspoons of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.  And also reading a book until I feel I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.
  2. Consider cutting your caffeine.  I decreased it to one – two cups of coffee max all before 11am.
  3. Be careful of sugar as this can worsen anxiety symptoms and for me any form of sugar and even cocoa (dark chocolate) I found could increase my alertness and keep me awake.
  4. Alcohol – yes it helps to relax you – but I am not sure what it is – but I found this also didn’t help my sleep, so bye-bye drinks for now! (Insomnia is so tormenting that you will do ANYTHING to alleviate it).
  5. Melatonin didn’t work for me unfortunately, the herbal stuff also not, I wish it did as it’s not habit-forming.
  6. An anti-anxiety tablet and/or a sleeping tablet helped me at certain times to calm down at night and just re-set and get a night of good sleep – but it’s not for long-term use…
  7. Watch your mind… I found that the more I panicked when I couldn’t fall asleep the worse it all became.  I started meditating on Bible Scriptures about sleep, anxiety and fear which helped me a lot.  I also pray as part of my bed time routine.  And I watch out like a hawk for those evil thoughts that try to make me go into panic and fear mode.  I replace it with TRUE thoughts – Renewing my mind with God’s TRUTH.
  8. I have had to almost become quite relaxed about the whole thing – knowing through the grace of God that I WILL be ok the next day even if I didn’t sleep.  I had to make a point of tapping into the peace, joy and gratitude inside of me despite my lack of sleep and not feeling great the next day. Worshipping Him throughout became my Spiritual Weapon of choice.

This thing has become a lifestyle, spiritual and emotional journey for me.  Not something with a quick fix (believe me I tried all of that, spent a couple of R1000’s on doctors who couldnt really help although I am sure they wish they could.)

I really hope this helps someone out there…

Love Helene x x x

 

Mommies…let’s be real?

The other day as I was driving, an interview came up on the radio. The woman being interviewed has an incredible CV. She has a top post at a university, an online business and she is a mom of a 1 and 3-year-old…

At the start of the interview when she casually mentioned that yes she wears many hats and obviously wears them well…I switched off the radio.

I didn’t want to expose myself to another mommy claiming to the world that she indeed is a super woman…juggling many balls with grace…wearing all those hats with style.

I knew it would make me evaluate my own life as mommy again and end up making me feel somewhat like a underachiever of a mommy/juggler of life.

I am NOT criticizing her. All I am saying is this. Moms, let’s be honest, let’s be real? If you are one in a million and truly by some magic is able to be 100% mom, 100% entrepreneur, 100% full-time job mom…then wow you are truly gifted.

But if like me, you have realised that all your important decisions like for example whether to work or be a stay at home mom, comes at a cost.

The stay at home mom might feel the cost for her is giving up her career and her sanity on some days 😉

The working mom might feel the cost for her is not being able to spend as much time with her little one as she would like to.

Point is…lets be real about our choices we have to make, the consequences we have to individually deal with, the challenges and the joys we each face in our unique situations. That there is not a right or a wrong. Lets not judge one another for tough choices we have to make.

And lets not pretend. Why pretend? Do you feel to show vulnerability will make you come across as weak? Being vulnerable takes COURAGE and STRENGTH. And showing realness, honesty and being vulnerable is the only way that you can help another mom feel better.

Love Helene x x x

The toddler review: Playzone!

Playzone:  This is a big YES from Lucas (22 months) and mommy!

Yay for good coffee and a BIG yay for the nannies and amazing, clean, safe play area!

You pay R50 for the 1st hour and then R30 for every hour after that. Nice menu, I ordered a big coffee and plate of chips for Lucas.

I was almost a bit at a loss with all the sitting and watching I could do…will definitely use this place in the near future to get in 2 hours of studying (I started a course this month…).

 

I think for me I will need to come at quiet times to get the full benefit of a nanny dedicated to Lucas. We visited on a Monday late morning and the nanny mentioned that it is relatively quiet on most week days, not so much over the weekends 😉

A big thumbs up from us!

Love Helene x x x

Area for all kiddies but especially the not yet walking little ones 🙂

 

My sugar detox journal – confession time! What’s your WHY?

I never remember very clearly how it starts – it always seems a bit blurry.  

But then I find myself finishing an entire piece of the most delicious, moist carrot cake on a Sunday morning.  How did this happen…?  How is it possible to go from super motivated and focused, to stuffing my face with my all too familiar drug of choice – SUGAR?

I can tell you how it happens…

I will have an emotionally down day or moment –  and then I go to that familiar mind-set:

“Sugar will definitely help me to feel better, it will give me energy and that feel good factor that I desperately need (and feel I deserve) RIGHT NOW.”

Then I give in to a biscuit with my coffee, have one of my toddler’s sweet treats… and its like a slippery slope down hill (ok it’s not THAT bad, but you get what I am saying…).

Next thing I think to myself, well you have given in so you might as well have a couple of biscuits, or a piece or 2 milk tart (this was yesterday) and carrot cake…(today)…?

And the next thought…. Tomorrow is Monday and it’s basically the beginning of a new month… perhaps this time I will kick the habit and a few kg’s before summer…?

BUT I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE… And there’s no time for denial anymore – I am just too SICK of it.  Time to get REAL people!!!! O.k… I am trying really hard to motivate myself…

Human willpower (for most of us) just freaking fails us time and time again.  It’s the reason why new years resolutions are mostly a waste of time… and the: I will start on Monday… or next month or whatever…

So WHAT NOW???  I so desperately want to live healthier – and for me right now – this means cutting out the white stuff.  And the white floury stuff.

I heard a talk the other day… she said you need to 1st OF ALL – FIGURE OUT YOUR WHY.

Your WHY needs to be important enough to carry you through those familiar moments where you typically give in.

MY WHY?   I want to do what I can to not get sick.  I want to feel less achy, less moody, less tired and totally be there for my hubby and busy toddler.  And perhaps most of all right now – I am searching for a holistic, sustainable lifestyle cure for insomnia & anxiety.

What is you why?

Love Helene x x x

My top 9 toddler friendly places in and around Durbanville

Being a stay at home mommy to my 21 month old Lucas, part of the past 10 months or so since he could walk, was to find awesome places for us to go during his awake time.  Not too far away from home and a pleasure for me as well as for Lucas to go to…

Here are my top 9 toddler friendly places to go to – all of them are in and around Durbanville.

  1. Bon Amis:  This is one of my favourite spots on sunny mornings.  They have great coffee (very important) as well as an awesome and affordable kiddies menu (I normally get either their kiddies french toast or flapjacks for Lucas).  They have an on site nanny who can help to keep an eye over your little one – but not so much if there’s a couple of kids running around.  She mostly helps when you would like to go and look at the bunnies.  The play area has nice shade, lots of sand and jungle gyms, swings etc.

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    Bon Amis
  2. Meerendal wine estate:  We go here quite regularly – but I usually go there when hubby is with me.  The jungle gym is suitable more for the older toddler, so someone has to be with Lucas all the time.  The jumping caste over weekends he also loves, but once again its more suitable for the slightly older child.  You can’t really be on your own and try to have a leisurely cup of coffee as well – so hubby and I will take turns watching him when we go there.  I will order a plate of chips or a pastry when we are there for Lucas.
  3. Bash:  I love bash especially when Lucas was a little bit younger.  It is ideal for your little one who just starts to walk or even just pull himself up.  They have a cool play area/coffee shop so you can easily have your coffee and watch your little one.  They also have a full-time nanny there to keep an eye… Their menu isn’t that great and a little pricey – but there are some options for your toddler which is o.k.  Lucas always enjoys the play kitchen area and the small jungle gym.

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    Bash
  4. Chocolate coffee shop:  This is normally a quick stop for us.  I get to drink a great cup of coffee and Lucas loves their chips.  I have to keep an eye on him but he normally just likes to stroll around the outdoor kiddy area, pick up some stones, look at the flowers and the fountain or try to get into their kiddy castle.
  5. Spur Durbanville:  Great practical place to go on rainy days.  The play area is nice and clean and have lots to keep the little ones busy.  Awesome padded indoor jungle gym and a nanny most days who can also help to keep an eye.  The coffee isn’t my favourite but I like the cheap snack options for Lucas like the sweet potato chips!

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    Spur Durbanville
  6. Willowbridge shopping mall:  What a cool mall for toddlers!  Only on good weather days though… The jungle gyms need our supervision because Lucas likes to be daring :). So once again two adults are needed if you want to sit down and drink your coffee…  So hubby and I will take turns to watch Lucas (hubby normally knows I need my coffee, so he will watch Lucas more than I do ;).  There’s also a giant sand pit – just be aware of the harsh sun on sunny days.
  7. Stodals:  The only think that I don’t like about Stodals is the noise of the N1 right next to it.  The coffee is also ok but not amazing 🙂  The play area is very cool… Quite a few jungle gyms, lots of sand and a bonus is the walk through where they can look at some cool animals!!
  8. Evertsdal Opstal:  Yummy coffee and yummy food. They don’t have a kiddies menu so Lucas will have some chips and some of my food.  The outside play area is small but it’s nice with a jungle gym, some sand, two swings and lots of area to explore.  Choose a sunny day though…
  9. Playzone:  I havent been recently, but the small play area for crawling Lucas was nice… I need to go again to see how Lucas enjoys the many huge plastic indoor jungle gyms and many other thins.  I am sure he will love it, so this is on my to-do list…  The food and coffee are average so don’t go for that 😉

Places I have tried and not keen on going back to:

  1. Funky Frogs Tygervalley – very small play area and the coffee is really bad 😉 – So take your own coffee if you would like to go and sit.  But good for kids over 2 if you would like to go and shop and your toddler will let you leave him/her there.
  2. Bossa Nova Durbanville – horrible cold play area for toddlers.  Fine for older kids because there are many computers for games.
  3. Wimpy Durbanville – the play area is VERY small and only suitable (there’s a sign) for kids from 4 years old.

Love Helene x x x

 

 

My sugar detox journal…hidden sugars to watch out for!

I finished my 21 days of trying my best to go off sugar.

HiddenSugarInfographicAlthough I am happy with my progress,  I am not entirely happy with how the 21 days went.

Why?

  1.  I had about 4 “cheat” days
  2. I didn’t cut out ALL sugar (for example: Honey, fruit and certain refined carbs)
  3. I don’t think I experienced the FULL BENEFIT of really detoxing from sugar… And this is what I am after – really getting to that point of moving beyond the withdrawal and cravings and starting to experience all the benefits.  Like…. better and a more stable mood, better sleep, clarity of mind, more energy and some weight loss.

So… What I am going to try to do over the next 21 days is to:

  1. Consistently cut out all forms of sugar (Including honey, fruit and hidden sugar in snacks – see this cool picture to the left…)
  2. Lower my overall carb intake (Mostly for me:  Bread; rusks; wraps; rice; potatoes; pasta; pizza)
  3. Decrease my caffeine intake to 2 cups max per day – mostly to help with the anxiety and insomnia.
  4. Trying not to get too ravenous (this is when I make my poorest food choices) – so filling my tummy with good stuff whenever I am hungry.

Here is a great list of all those other names under which sugar hides in foods:

According to the USDA and other sources, alternative sugar ingredients or names to watch out for when reading labels include:

There also “healthier” sugars, including coconut palm sugar, honey and blackstrap molasses. Generally since these are far less processed (especially real, raw honey), they are OK in moderation but still a source of sugar to keep to small amounts.

So today is another day 1 for me… wish me luck!

Love Helene x x x