in limbo, i think

Due to our living arrangements when Morgan-Lee was born, she only got her own room just before her 2nd birthday, as that’s when the husband and I got our own place. We’re still in our home that we moved into in 2011, but space has been an issue, especially with 2 more babies.

Our home is a 1.5 story; basically the 2nd floor is only half of the 1st floor, if that makes sense. So the husband has always used the upstairs as his office, and we’ve had the 2 bedrooms downstairs. Then with the impending arrival of the twins, we decided to all move upstairs, as it was big enough for all of us. For the first 8 month of the twins’ lives, the husband slept downstairs on the spare bed, whilst I was upstairs with all 3 kids. Yay. Awesome. So much fun. We eventually moved our main bedroom back downstairs, put Morgan-Lee back into her old room, and the twins bunked with us in our room. The issue with that is that not only do I wake up to every single tiny noise or movement that they make, but they were also so restless, especially when I came through to bed. I swear they could sense me or smell me or something, because when it was my time to sleep, it was wake up and niggle time for them.

So last week Friday, the husband and our nanny rearranged our rooms. Morgan-Lee got moved into our room, the twins into her room, and we moved upstairs. Holy cow guys, I can’t even explain it to you. Not only have the twins started sleeping through, but I actually got a solid night’s sleep on Saturday night. I think that was mostly because I was so buggered from working 3 jobs in 24 hours but still; I felt awesome on Monday. The problem is this though; I am still waking up, several times during the night. It’s like my body has become so used to waking up 1-5 times a night, that now it does it automatically! The twins went down at about 19h00 last night, and woke just before 06h00 this morning, with 1 or 2 niggles throughout the night, that I didn’t go rushing to sort out. But me? I went to bed just before 21h00 and fell asleep. I then lay awake just before midnight, fell asleep again at who knows what time, got up at 03h00, lay down again, got up at 04h45 and put the geyser on (what else was I going to do) and then lay in bed until 05h30 when my alarm went off. Like seriously?!

Then, in tucking Morgan-Lee into bed last night, she asked me to lie with her, which I did. I then rearranged the shade on her lamp, as the light was in my eyes, and she said to me “It’s ok to turn it off mommy. I sleep with it off most nights now anyway.” I’m sorry what? I’m 30 years old and I still have a night light of sorts. Where did my baby girl go? So I turned the light off and held her a little tighter than normal, and she fell asleep in my arms. I got up, tucked her in, checked on the twins (who were both snoring) and went upstairs to bed.

My babies are growing up. All 3 of them. In the last 2 months or so, Morgan-Lee has just lost some of her childish innocence; she’s becoming a young lady. At 6 (almost 7) years old! Her mannerisms, her statements, her jokes are all becoming so grown up, and I’m so torn. On the one hand I’m so proud of her, her work ethic at school, how she interacts with her brother and sister, and how she just has this immature maturity about her. But on the other hand my baby girl is vanishing before my eyes. Every day I see her just that much more grown up. She shies away from getting undressed in front of us now, she wants to wash herself in the bath, all perfectly normal things as she grows up, but things that I did when she was so tiny and fragile, she doesn’t need me for anymore. Alex and Maddie now lie themselves down at bedtime when they see their bottles; they don’t need me to do it for them. They sit down when they see their breakfast, lunch and supper bowls. I see them quietly playing, thinking, inspecting, analysing. My babies are growing up!

I can’t stop them from growing up, I know that. And I honestly would never want to. I think what I’m most scared of is simply not being needed anymore. I want to raise independent children, who are unafraid to experience new things, to tackle their challenges in life head-on, to grasp life by the horns, and to give it horns! But when they no longer need me? What then is my purpose?

Wait.

I guess I would have fulfilled my purpose.

They grew up. They’re independent. They’re ok.

I did good.

G

PS: I’m seeing my shrink again in 2 week’s time. I’ll be asking for the sleeping pills that she wanted to give me 5 month’s ago! I need sleep!!!

me

Hi. My name is Genevieve. I am 30 years old, a wife, mom to 3, daughter to an amazing mommy, cousin to many, niece and friend. But that sounds so generic, as so many people are parents, siblings, spouses… Soย I’ve decided to share a little more about myself (eeek); so here goes…

Secretary vibes...

Secretary vibes…

By day (Monday-Friday), I am a secretary to a very busy Factory Manager. I love my job, I love my boss, I love my colleagues and I love my company. I can honestly say that I look forward to work every day. Yes, I have my boring, monotonous moments, but I’ve seen just what a team and family we all are, especially in the last few months, and I’m so very grateful for such an amazing support team. I took this job back in 2013 having never been a secretary or PA before, and this being my 2nd big corporate company to work for. I left the comfort of my job for the past 5 years to experience something new, and I’m so glad that I did. For those who know me well, they know that I do not adjust well to change, and especially having become so comfortable in my previous job, this was a huge step for me. But I took that step, and I’ve never looked back.

By night (and sometimes by day, on the weekends) I am a waitress. I work part-time for a mobile bar

Waitressing vibes...

Waitressing vibes…

and events company, and even though the hours can be crazy long sometimes, I love it. My bosses are awesome, I’ve worked for and with some really amazing people, and I’ve met some great new friends. My little car and I have driven from the North Coast to the South Coast, in the rain and at night, in the boiling sun and in the wee hours of the morning. I’ve dropped staff at home, waited for their lifts, and had far too many laughs and giggles to even think about work. I have had maybe 1-2 functions where I’ve seriously considered just leaving, but that’s just not in my nature. So with a smile on my face, I serve. I laugh. I interact. I mingle. And sometimes, I even party a little. Seriously awesome 2nd job.

Bubble vibes...

Bubble vibes…

My weekends (every Saturday and the odd Sunday) are spent at a flea market, selling BUBBLES. Yes, bubbles. The hugest, most awesomest (yes I know that’s not a word) bubbles EVER! Seriously, best. job. EVER. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are; you cannot not smile when you see bubbles! And the best part about my 3rd job, is that I get to have some one-on-one time with Morgan-Lee, something that has been seriously lacking in the past 18 months or so. Watching her run around, having fun, interacting with the other kids, just being a kid herself makes me so damn happy. I’ve met some really interesting people, have spent far more money than I’ve made, and am absolutely loving it. It’s hard work; it’s quite a physical job setting up at the market and then packing up at the end of the day, but I’m out of the house. I’m around other adults; I’m socialising *gasp*. I’m rediscovering my fun and extroverted side, my flamboyance and zest for life. And I get to play with bubbles. It’s a no-brainer really๐Ÿ˜‰

For the other 24 hours in a day (see what I did there) I am mom. Mommy. Mom. Mama. *scream* *squeal* Mommy. Mom. Mom. MOM!! In between those 24 hours, I somehow find time to be a wife (not a very domesticated one as the husband makes supper most nights, does homework but I mean hey. I try๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I’m a terrible friend in that I will generally only message or contact someone if they’ve messaged or contacted me, but my friends know that if they need me, I’m there. No matter the time, whether it’s day or night. I’ll be there. Over the years my list of friends has whittled down, partly because I just haven’t stayed in touch with people but I think it’s more to do with the fact that the friends that I have in my life right now, are who I need in my life right now. I have loads of acquaintances and friends, but only a handful or 2 of really close, can-we-move-in-with-you-if-we-get-evicted friends. And I couldn’t ask for anything more.

My life - Alex, Morgan-Lee &; Maddie (picture courtesy of Krystal Temlett Photography)

My life – Alex, Morgan-Lee & Maddie (picture courtesy of Krystal Temlett Photography)

This year has been tough on me, tough on my family. This year has not only shown me how strong I am, but also how weak I am. That I am not superwoman. I am not supermom. I am just trying to get through every day, alive. These hardships that we as a family have experienced this year will fade. They are only temporary. We will come out of this stronger. I will come out of this stronger. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I asked for help. That was a huge step for me. Huge.

I’m exhausted. I’m tired. I’m broke. I’m happy. This is my life right now, and instead of moping and complaining and hating the world for it, I choose to embrace it. I am working my backside off for those I love, and who love me in return. I am becoming stronger, re-energised, and happier. This year has been hard, I can’t deny it. But I refuse to let it get the better of me. I refuse to let it define who I am as a person, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend.

I will learn, I have learnt, and for that, I am grateful.

G

oh *&$^ i forgot roald dahl’s birthday

I am the class-mom for Morgan-Lee’s grade 1 class. Lord help us all… At the beginning of this term a notice was sent out,ย highlighting all of the important dates for us parents to remember. One of those dates was today, the 13th of September. Also known as World Literacy Day. Also the day that Roald Dahl, author of many a child’s fantasy, would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

I created a Whatsapp group for the class (shoot me now) to keep the parents updated of any important issues, reminders etc. I must admit, we have a pretty decent bunch of parents this year; my phone hasn’t buzzed nearly as much as it did last year! Ahhh us new grade R parents – so afraid to miss out on ANYTHING! Anyway… I have the class teacher’s number, and she liaises with me any important info, last minute reminders etc, to forward onto the group. I knew Roald Dahl dress-up day was coming. It was on the notice on our fridge; the teacher sent me a picture notice via Whatsapp last week; I forwarded said picture onto the group. I even spoke to my mom about it on Friday. Fast forward to yesterday, after a weekend of non-stop working and hardly seeing my kids, and my stomach dropped to my feet. The day was upon us. Shit! I had no idea which character I was dressing Morgan-Lee as, and I didn’t want to send her in yellow as an alternative (apparently Roald Dahl’s favourite colour) as I really wanted to make her feel special. So, in literally about 10 minutes last night, I threw together a costume for her. I even gave myself a pat on the back I was so damn chuffed with myself!

We decided on Matilda, and her costume was made up of the following items:

  • red ribbons taken from 3 Christmas gift bags, tied together
  • a white blouse/shirt
  • my blue maternity dress, pinned and tied up to fit her
  • white bobby socks
  • slip on denim shoes
20160913_064007

My little Matilda, book in hand

And boom! 1 x Matilda! That’s something I have always loved about Roald Dahl; his characters were so simple, simple yet easy to relate to. Genuine, honest, day-to-day people. She was so happy with her costume, and apart from her shining blonde hair, she looked like a pretty believable Matilda to me๐Ÿ™‚

The school did say to parents not to go overboard and spend ludicrous amounts of money, and apart from the fact that I have no extra money to spare, I am so pleased that I was able to get her involved in Roald Dahl’s birthday, and that she didn’t feel left out. It was so awesome watching all of the Charlie Buckets and Georges and witches walking into school today.

So yes, I did forget Roald Dahl’s birthday (my bad) but my daughter didn’t – yay! Apart from the fact that the entire drive home yesterday consisted of “Mommy, what am I going to wear tomorrow?” and “Mommy, I want to go as a witch” and “Mommy, who was Roald Dahl?” I cannot wait to enrich her life and imagination with the amazing stories of my childhood; of so many childhoods. I want to collect every single Roald Dahl book for her, including his autobiographies as those were just so enthralling. What a life he lived, what an imagination he had.

And I for 1 am so grateful that he shared it with the world.

G

last night, i slept

I don’t remember when it was that I last slept through the night. A sleep where I wasn’t woken up six times in the space of 8 hours, or even once. I haven’t had that kind of sleep since early 2014, I think. Not only am I a light sleeper, with the twins totally out of sync, when one falls back asleep, generally the other wakes up.

Yesterday, after almost a week of ignoring it (well, trying to ignore it) my exhaustion got to me. And yes, it was exhaustion. I wasn’t just tired, I was exhausted. My exhaustion was so bad on Tuesday, that I had told my husband I was leaving him. Yup. That’s how screwy my head was. I was severely down, and felt lost and empty and dead. Then Wednesday I had a family emergency which sent my adrenaline pumping, and got me focused on what really matters. But after all of that excitement and stress and worry, I fell flat. Like I had to fight myself to get out of bed yesterday. I had to fight myself to stay at work. It was really bad. After work I dropped our nanny at home, and then went through to the shops with my mom. Towards the end of our shop, I told her that I thought I was going to pass out. I was sweating, my vision was blurry, and I was extremely dizzy. It took every ounce of strength that I had to not just pass out right then and there in the sauce aisle! We finished up, and took a slow drive back home. I was honestly a bit scared; I knew that it was my body’s way of telling me HEY! There’s nothing left to give – help!

The husband took 1 look at me when I walked in, and promptly sent me off to bed. This was just before 7pm. I woke up at 4:30am this morning. The babies definitely did niggle during the night, as when I went to bed their bottles were on my side table, but when I woke at 4:30am (because they woke up), their bottles were in their cots with them. I was THAT tired that the husband who sleeps like the dead, saw to the babies when they niggled at whatever time that they did. I wake up if a branch touches the window. Last night, I didn’t budge even when my babies did. THAT’S how exhausted I was.

Am I still tired? Yes. But, my head is not so foggy, I’m interacting more with my colleagues, I’m SMILING, I feel a lot like my normal, silly self. Exhaustion is a nasty, awful thing, and it’s also a very real thing. The fact that I’m working 3 jobs probably doesn’t help matters, and that I also do go to bed far too late most nights, but you know what? Last night I slept.

And it was bliss.

G

don’t have a period, man

That time of the month.

Surfing the crimson tide.

PMS.

Menstruation.

Period.

Holy hell, who the f*** did I piss off?!

These are just some of the ways that society, including myself, refers to that really awesome time, once a month, that affects almost every woman on the planet.

Yes, I am bleeding from my vagina. Some women are ‘lucky’ and only have to deal with this ‘affliction’ for a few days. Some women have some really bad juju, and can bleed for weeks. According to medical research (no, I have no idea where I read it as it was a while ago) us women only lose 1-2 teaspoons (or maybe it was tablespoons, I forget) of actual viable, good blood during our period. The rest of it is our uterus’s throwing the mother of all tantrums, and quite literally throwing its toys out of the proverbial cot. And if you’re really lucky, for the first day or so, you look like you’re birthing the spawn of Satan, or at least 25 million of them. Blood clots. So appetising. And also effing scary, especially at 02h00 in the morning, when you thought you only needed to wee. Or better yet, when you’re in the bath, and this red blob catches your eye and you stare with wide-eyed horror, knowing that that came out of you. Whaaaaaat?! And the cramps? And the bloating? And the fact that not only do I want to eat every chocolate I can lay my hands on, I also snap at my husband for absolutely no good reason, and then give him the silent treatment because he dared to ask wtf he had done wrong.

What’s even scarier is the stigma attached to a menstruating woman. Some cultures do not even allow these women into the house during this time. This is a natural thing, and before I had my tubes tied, my ability to breathe a huge sigh of relief that there weren’t anymore “mini-me’s” on the way. Believe me, a LOT of women use the start of their period as a time to party, because they can!

What’s even more awful is how many women (I’m only talking about in South Africa now), miss work and school because of their period. So many young ladies are forced to use leaves, old rags, even old sanitary towels when they menstruate. In our country, you can find free condoms pretty much everywhere; at clinics, robots, shopping centers, yet feminine hygiene products are nowhere to be found. Oh they can be found in abundance at the shops, with a nice little price tag on them to boot. I am not against the issuing of free condoms; I myself have taken a few from work as seriously, the mess is just not worth it, especially at 00h15, but why are feminine hygiene products not also available? Rape and assault aside, a person (male or female) has the choice to abstain from sexual intercourse; a woman’s monthly cycle is going to happen. She is going to bleed. Whilst I do not expect a tampon to be included in this debate, sanitary pads should be made freely available, just as condoms are. School girls are missing out on their education; approximately 3.7 million school age girls (11-13) are allegedly missing school every month due to this issue. Whilst this is a difficult figure to verify as schools record just that a pupil was absent, not the reason why, almost 78% of these girls live in the lower LSM (living standards measure) bracket. What this essentially means is that these families barely have enough money for food and clothes and other basic necessities; feminine hygiene products are not on their list of monthly essentials. They’re deemed a luxury.

I just do not understand how a pad can be deemed a luxury. What, do people think it’s really glamorous to have a period? Yes, I know and appreciate that as women, we have the ability to co-create life, and sustain that life for 9 months. A male body cannot do that, but this cannot and must not detract from the real issue here. Feminine hygiene should be a basic right to all females.

A month or so ago I was in the ladies bathroom at work, and whilst in the one stall another woman entered. I heard her stop at the paper hand towel dispenser, and dispense paper towel. And she didn’t stop. I don’t even know how many times I heard that handle go down, and it annoyed me. Why was she taking so much paper towel? That stuff isn’t cheap, and we’re always looking at ways to cut costs at work, so when I was done I took my time washing my hands, whilst I waited for her to exit the other stall. As she exited, another woman entered, and I saw that they were both contractors from the plant company that we’ve hired. I asked her quite abruptly why she took so much hand towel, and she blushed and put her head down. I asked her again, more forceful, and she replied

I’m bleeding and I don’t have any money for pads.

I felt my heart stop for a moment. My hard resolve melted and I said to her, shocked, “you don’t have any pads?” She just shook her head, embarrassed. She had nothing to be embarrassed about, I did. I went to my desk and offered her whatever I had. She was so grateful, so relieved, so happy. She was basically going from site to site, and before she could actually work had to go into the ladies bathroom to refresh the paper towel between her legs. Now I’ve used paper towel before, I think most women have. But I’ve only used it as a quick fix, at the shops just to ‘stem the tide’ whilst I run in to buy some tampons. At home if I need to find where I put my box, at work when it just happens and I need to go back to my desk for a tampon or pad. But I’ve never had to go my whole period using just paper towel. Or leaves. Or rags. Or newspaper. I’ve always had the ‘luxury’ of having feminine hygiene products readily available to me.

Something about my interaction with this lady, this lady who was in a sense degraded and humiliated by something that happens naturally to her body every month, awoke a fire within me. I know that there are a few initiatives that have sprung up in recent years around feminine hygiene products, but I decided to start my own thing. And all I’ve received is positive feedback. I’ve decided to focus on the ladies in my workplace, as we have a lot of employees who are factory based, and I shudder to think how many of them miss work every month due to their period. How many of them simply don’t have the money for a pack of pads.

With my mom, we’ve purchased in total 12 packs of pads over the past month, which I’ve placed in the admin bathrooms, just to see how they would be received. The first 2 packs of pads took about 3 weeks to be used; the second 2 packs are finished. I have the other 8 packs in my desk, and I distribute them when necessary. I myself have gone down to our onsite clinic in an ’emergency’ situation, only to find that they don’t keep feminine hygiene products. They have condoms; oh boy do they have condoms everywhere. But not a single tampon or pad.

This is not something that I expect a resolution to overnight. There is still so much negativity and ‘hush hush’ around discussing menstruation, and even I felt the same. But I think that the world that we’re living in has definitely changed in recent times, simply because it’s been forced to. Women bleed from their lady parts, fact. Women and young girls are missing work and school because of this, fact. Can I do something about this?

Yes.

Can you do something about this?

Yes.

By the end of the year I am hoping to have a feminine hygiene initiative active at my factory. I’m still not 100% sure as to how to go about it all, whether or not to just leave the pads out for the women to help themselves or to have like maybe a registration and then issue them out every month, but it will happen. Whilst I am not wealthy I have never had to go through what some of the women in South Africa go through on a monthly basis. A period is not dirty. But it can lead to serious health complications and illnesses, when not taken care of correctly. By women using items beside feminine hygiene products when they have their period, they are putting themselves at such a medical risk for infections, but what other choice do they have.

In 2011, President Jacob Zuma promised that government would provide sanitary pads to impoverished women and girls, a promise he has made again and again, but has never delivered on. But that’s ok. Well not really, but it just fuels the fire within me.

Oh, BTW. I’ve written this post whilst on my period, having to stop 3 times to run to the bathroom to ‘change supplies’ as this month, my uterus really IS pissed off with me. Just FYI, maybe TMI but that’s LIFE.

G