Tag Archives: thoughts

Reflections on Christmas, by a Doula (me), and not a Theologian (the hub).

I love Christmas. There is so much to love about it – the food, the festivities, the giving, the joy. Only this year did I calculate exactly how many family traditions (or events) we shmoosh into this beautiful period of celebration. There are many.

Between my husband and my family, I could count over 10. From baking our own mince pies, to acting the nativity scene (dressed up and with specific roles!), to Uncle Paul’s Christmas Party and Carols at Kirstenbosch. This season is full – and wonderful.

And so full of WONDER. For so many years we celebrated Jesus’s birth – in the manger, with angels and shepherds and that all important star – all so neat and tidy and lovely sitting in the church pew thinking ‘let’s hurry home now and open presents’ (a firm childhood memory of mine)…

Only after having my own kids (and falling in love with birth) have I begun to imagine that birth differently. I love to imagine how hard it must’ve been for Mary and Joseph to (physically) escape to Bethlehem. (If you’ve had those STABBING pains UP your vajay-jay as if you’re about to give birth there and then can you imagine what that must have been like for Mary). I wonder how often she thought she might not make it – with the bobbing up and down on a donkey and Jesus most likely decending into position, pushing on her bladder. I imagine her fear and desperation not finding a place to stay, and then the mix of relief and discomfort finding a stable, a place to finally sit down, and then ‘prepare for the birth’. I wonder how long her birth was, how long did she push for (birth-nerd talk), and how the baby was delivered? At what point did her waters break? Was he breach? Was he posterior? How did Joseph handle it all? Did he freak out? Had either of them seen birth before – they were young… What did they do with the umbilical cord? Was there a moment of divine intervention from heaven above, or was it all really… human. This is BIRTH. Real, raw, scary, beautiful, empowering BIRTH. Yet the birth of a King.

Was there a split second of Peace on Earth? I doubt Mary was wearing white cloths neatly wrapped around her body (for one, there was no Aerial or Omo back in that day). If you’ve seen birth, nothing remains white. The cloth Jesus was wrapped in must have been covered with amniotic fluid, vernix and blood. This was the very messy, very real, very on-the-run birth of Christ. The Christ, the Saviour of the World. I wonder how long Mary and Joseph stared at Jesus wondering if he really was their Saviour.

And so as I reflect this Christmas, I think what I’m realising is that things often don’t look ‘right’. Surely Jesus should’ve had more to wear than swaddling cloths and a more comfy bed than a used animal trough? This picture is nothing like immaculately wrapped up gifts under the tree and the perfectly roasted gammon presented on a Pinterest worthy dining room table. There is nothing wrong with those things – I too love to celebrate WELL – but it seems the picture of Jesus’ birth and the deeper truth sometimes don’t seem to match up in ways we might imagine. This messy birth, and our Saviour on earth. This confusion leads us to Trust; to have Faith – two things it seems we need to possess in larger and larger quantities nowadays, in a world spinning off its axis and one in which we control far less than what we like to believe. Life is hard, and life can be scary; there are unknowns, and mess seems to be everywhere. In our humanness, we cannot understand it – well, I sure can’t.

Luke 2:12: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men.”

Wherever you find yourself currently… It’s coming. He is Hope. Be it in your heart, or here again in his Creation, we await his coming. We sit in the labour pains of the mysteries to come.

It’s almost time. Keep pushing, keep breathing. Behold, He is coming soon.

Image Credit: Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/newline.wireimage.com, https://brandonacox.com/advent-always-hope/.

This Whole Nanny Thing (Part 1)

It was at a Baby Shower the ‘school moms’ threw for me right before Brea was born where one of the wonderfully well-meaning moms asked “but you’ll have help right?” It must have been the months of staring into my terrified ‘I’m about to have 3 kids’ face every morning at the school gate which had her ask the question. “Yep, totally. I mean, my mom is right there”, I replied.

You see, I never grew up with help. My gran lived next door (as does now my mom and dad) and helped around with lifts and laundry, babysitting and walking the dog. My mom only worked a few days a week and so we didn’t need it.

Having had the boys in Vancouver, there was no option for a nanny so you ‘man up’ and figure it out. And it was totally manageable. Maybe it’s the Canadian Childcare tax benefits, the year long paid maternity leave, ‘free’ healthcare and the unquestionable safety (even if it is only perceived) which allows you to just relax about, well most things.

So with a then 4.5 year old, 2.5 year old and a newborn, we ‘manned up’. We brought this precious new bundle home and it was wonderful and hectic and more wonderful and more HECTIC (read about it here), but over time, hubby and I realised we were slowly but surely moving closer and closer to: survival mode. And we weren’t surviving in survival mode. Our options were limited, but the most obvious was to just get help. Thing is, I didn’t want a nanny. It was foreign to me. I didn’t want someone in my space, I didn’t want the cost, I didn’t want to ‘not manage’, I didn’t want to worry about this ‘stranger’ and more importantly I didn’t want to seemingly outsource my parenting. I was also a little nervous of nanny agencies (I’d heard horror stories), and knew that if we invited someone into our home, we were inviting her into our life. So it was a biggie.

Looooooong story short, on the Easter weekend this year we hired our first (and hopefully life-long) nanny, who has CHANGED OUR LIVES a million times for the better. Cue the champagne! Now I know many of you reading this will be all “duhhhhh, we could have told you that light years ago”, but it was a struggle for me. It’s a big deal inviting someone into your home and entrusting them with your most valued little thing/s EVER. So give me grace, will you?


So if this was it, and if she was the one, surely I must do everything I can to make sure she is loved, well-trained, that she understands us, that we understand her, that there is mutual trust, appreciation and open communication – because why wouldn’t you? So last month I sent her on Nanny Training with Super Nannies.


GUYS!

GAME CHANGER.

I loved our nanny before, but, our relationship has BLOSSOMED since she went on the training. She is still not perfect – and that’s okay. Because, am I? Heck no.

I feel like Super Nannies has helped me flesh this whole nanny thing out: our relationship, expectations, roles and responsibilities and, it has made for such a wonderful home environment. I feel like it is my role as an employer to not only treat my nanny well, but to pay her well and respect her (as a person and human) and to do what I can to lift her out of the previously disadvantaged position in which she was raised, and give her a voice and purpose and value. And going on a course like this has done just that. She feels empowered, known, communication is open, and we can discuss things without me feeling like ‘white privilege giving instructions’ (my issue I know) to feeling like a team sharing a common goal and working together to achieve it.

All those things I was previously scared of have dissolved: she shares my space in such a humble, unobtrusive and safe way; I manage better because she creates the space FOR ME to BE A BETTER PARENT; she is worth every cent I pay her; she is no longer a stranger but a team member and I am less stressed, more patient, less busy, more able to spend one-on-one time with the kids and the hub is super stoked he no longer has to clean the kitchen way into the night while I fall asleep on the couch.

A gift. She is a gift. My eyes have been opened to how massively beneficial this shift has been for us as a family. Hang around for Part 2, where we discuss what miscommunication we have overcome and what exactly she learnt and how is has benefited us all. x