Tag Archives: marriage

So what did you expect?

This morning the Mr and I had a little fight. I had to take my car for a service – something that in my horror, totally feels like a dentist’s visit what with the information asymmetry, pain (actual and to the wallet) and the fact that there is a specialist whom you trust but then again, information asymmetry. At the root of the fight though is that ugly word: Expectations.

Any one about to be married, or married for a day and an hour will long have heard the mantra that expectations kill a marriage and that the counter is communicate, communicate, communicate. Our little fight had me reassessing all the different expectations that I had regarding marriage and an assessment of all other expectations I have held since our marriage started.

  1. I expected a partner that would take charge of cars and who would directly engage with mechanics and basically inform me when I needed to do any car-related changes.
  2. Ergo, any fixing of stuff around the house. I would highlight any issues and he would oversee to the fixing – whether directly or outsourced, I am ambivalent. To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff I was happy to delegate away.
  3. All newly weds are told that they need to set time for date night or else … Consequently, I too came into marriage with this (fear-driven) expectation and very early on we both figured out that given the pace of our lives it would be infeasible to designate a specific evening to always hang out. Having said that, when one of us is hectic, there is no expectation to do stuff but when things simmer down, we often hang out.
  4. My family has a habit of starting to plan for Christmas from as early as August/September. His family? Not so much. Initially this made me feel slightly helpless. Besides the family tradition, my personality is such that, you can never be too prepared OR start preparing too early. What we now try and do to incorporate both our idiosyncrasies is to have a lose discussion in September and refine it in the following months. This is certainly imperfect (according to me) but it definitely helps somewhat.
  5.  I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
  6. Sometimes as wives we expect that our husbands will become our best (female) buddy. That’s not the case and surely it’s not the reason that we fell in love to begin with. So keep your buddies and work on building a friendship with your husband too.
  7. Before the wedding I had heard of brides that often felt a bit sad after the wedding because things had gone back to “normal”. Did I feel the same way? Emphatically, NO!! After the energy and time spent planning the wedding, I was only too happy to settle for normal.

I must say these lessons are over and above learning how selfish I am, how much space and time alone I require. All of that. Marriage is certainly not the penultimate goal, neither is it my most defining relationship but I must say I have learnt a lot and it has been very fulfilling for me.

Belated: (Women-related) Sunday Reads

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A little late but thoughts on Gilmore Girls

I happened to find this rough draft reviewing Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

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  • I watched the show in bits which I thought was great. I am definitely not the kind of person that has to watch shows in one sitting.
  • Before watching the show I remember thinking that Rory was the inner me as a teenager, and wondering whether she would embody me as a (Young) Adult in 2016. And did she? YEP!! She so did. Many times and again yes. 
  • Rory the overachiever who meets the real world? Did she peak too early?? In this story line I could very much see myself and how I am procrastinating on the PhD. I also had occasion to look back at my career and wonder whether it had been good enough!!! Still not sure, the jury is definitely out.
  • I love how they speak of complex (Lorelai and Emily) and simple (Lorelai and Rory) mom-daughter relationships. Not a one sizer at all. I also love how the updated show switched up these dynamics.
  • Luke and Lorelai. Comfortable but yearning for more. Their dynamic totally made me think of the Mr and I and our dynamics.
  • Lorelai and Luke’s wedding made me want to get married again?
  • The MUSICAL???  What the hell was that for? We could definitely have given it a miss and the show would have been so much better.
  • Love the reference to current culture. Hamilton, The Wild, Marie Kondo, Uber (Oooba). Love it!!
  • Loved that Richard was part of the show despite his death. Very touching. 
  • #Teamlogan. Back then and still to date. As a married person though, I did not like how this story line played out.
  • Wasn’t sure that we were meant to believe that Rory needed three phones. In 2016? Really??? 
  • Cliff hanger of an ending!!! Does this mean there will be a second one late next year? Please say yes!!!

Did you watch the show? What were your thoughts (if you can remember)?

 

Guest Post: Things to do Before Baby Arrives

I read this article citing a few things that the author (a mom-to-be) wanted to do before the baby came and convinced a dear friend to write her own list. So with no further ado, please welcome Simple Girl blogging over at (Simple Girl Writes).

Three months ago I walked into the hospital and about 12 hours later was announced as a mother to a precious little girl. Yes, I said I was ‘announced as the mother’ as I only really felt like her mother two months later (but that’s a story for another day…). A friend asked me to compile a list of the things new mums should do before their bundle of joy arrives as you will most likely spend the first six/seven weeks in a haze where you won’t even remember your own name! Be warned, this is not the typical list outlining the very practical things to do (book the hospital bed, go to antenatal classes, take your vitamins etc.) – this list is for the mama that is worried about how much life will change post-baby. And trust me, life will change!

  1. Buy that dress that shows off your new curves and go dancing (or shuffle depending on how swollen the legs are)

I was lucky enough to have a fairly small bump for most of my pregnancy and up to 30 weeks pregnant, I could get away with saying I’ve just gained “a bit of weight” around the tummy. So imagine my horror when I had to go shopping for a dress to go to a wedding with a massive bump at 31 weeks.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing that makes you realise that you are pregnant (yes forget the previous 30 weeks of pregnancy symptoms!) like going shopping for a dress in a mall. Apart from the pity stares you get whenever you walk into a MANGO or ZARA and lovingly touch a dress that you used to fit into a couple of weeks ago. The real horror comes when you are shown the ‘maternity wear’ – long, flowy, pitiful looking dresses that are supposedly supposed to make you feel good about being a baby mama. I took one look at those dresses and almost burst into tears (let’s blame the hormones!).

To cut a long story short, I ended up finding something to wear in a store catering for the ‘plus-size’ lady Ya…I will reserve my comments but the dress was beautiful and I felt good enough in it to go out the next day and dance away.

Trust me, you need to do this – you will forget about the pitiful stares, swollen ankles, achy back and the closet full of clothes you can no longer wear. Most importantly, you will look back at the photos from the day and said dress with a massive grin.

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  1. Take photos of the growing bump!

I didn’t manage to get the professional maternity photo shoot (even though a good friend had offered to do it for me) but I did force the husband to take a lot of photos.  I won’t lie, I struggled with the body changes associated with pregnancy. Unlike other women, I didn’t marvel at the growing bump or liked my bump that much 😦 but take the pictures anyway! It’s worth remembering where the bundle was home for months and even funnier to look at post-baby to remind yourself how big you really were!

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  1. Go on a fun holiday with your closest girlfriends

This one I strongly recommend you do.

I am the first one to have a baby amongst my friends (the last one to get married though – judgment galore!) and they were more excited than I was about having a preggy belly in the circle. So when the chance came to have a last hooray as friends before life dramatically changed – we went on holiday to probably the most random place I’ve been to (Cinsta in the Eastern Cape). It literally was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while. We stayed at a backpackers, ate way too much, overindulged on chocolate and biscuits (you know, all in the name of helping the pregnant lady with her cravings), went to a beautiful spa for overly-priced pedis and massages and just generally had a blast.

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  1. Babymoon!

Similar to the girlfriend hooray above, I strongly recommend going on a babymoon. The time to enjoy ‘the two of you’ for the last time. If you have the budget for it, planning a trip far away from home would be ideal.

We did a ‘Sho’t left’ to Umhlanga and spent almost every day at the beach with me stuffing myself with frozen yoghurt (I had a sweet tooth while pregnant!). But even without the vacation, just doing more stuff as a couple is important before baby arrives. I didn’t believe it when people told me but the relationship really changes after birth. In a good way overall but I do miss being able to plan a night out without calling every single relative we have living in close proximity to us, to check who is able to babysit for a while. Also, believe the mantra – happy parents make for a happy family so the time spent on the parents is never a waste.

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  1. Read those books/ go to gym/take the long showers/play Adele at the loudest volume setting – enjoy ME time!!

This is something that I’m struggling with every day post-baby. I miss having time to myself without any restraints.

A simple thing like going to spinning in the morning relies on either my husband being home or the nanny coming in to work on time so that I can leave my baby and go torture myself in the spinning studio. Playing music while cooking – hahaha – that is something I used to do but no longer can because really after putting baby down a couple of times, no one wants to wake her up when she is finally sleeping. And Lord, the day I can have a shower when I want to shower for as long as I want to shower will be the happiest days of my life. Right now, I either shower late at night when her dad gets home from work or put baby in the bouncer, move the bouncer into the bathroom and shower with the door partially open to make sure baby can hear/see me at all times so she doesn’t start screaming again. Sigh. The life of a new mum.

There’s no doubt that life changes a lot after baby arrives. I’m still dealing with the changes and clearly have no pearls of wisdom on how to survive them. What I can say is that the day your baby looks up at you and you get a toothless smile (filled with a lot of spit bubbles) is the day when you realise that it was all worth it – the changing body, constant worry, dealing with the never-ending mummy guilt and family judgment was all worth it as you will realise that you are the best mother that this baby has.

And so what if you get this smile while you haven’t brushed your teeth or had a shower? 🙂

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Thanks Simple Girl for sharing your journey frankly, I see so many guest posts that you hinted at in this post and will try and hold you to that!

Sunday Reads

  1. How to read more books this year. I am definitely taking it to heart by reducing my junk TV viewing and making sure I always have a book as I go about various chores.
  2. A reading list on Kenya in case you are interested.
  3. If a story moves you, act on it!
  4. This article on insecurity made me stop and think. Really hard!
  5. Somali nicknames are hilarious 🙂
  6. So many white tears in this article. I see that they have only a given demographic of foreign spouses married to South Africans.
  7. Also, this IS cultural expropriation.
  8. More on how couples deal with finances.
  9. I didn’t know there were Nigerian Jews in Johannesburg. Today’s fact!!
  10. What does it mean to be a boy or girl? National Geographic asks 9/10 year old kids.
  11. Stealing from one of the comments, “This is by far the best article I’ve read regarding LBGT and the gospel.”
  12. Chocolate cake and another vegetarian pasta recipe.

Sunday Reads

  1. Women, language, rites of passage and the khanga.
  2. Cobalt mining and the lost lives in The DR Congo.
  3. Rhino poaching in South Africa.
  4. Attitudes to marriage in certain communities.
  5. Nairobi’s art and culture scene.
  6. Pssst! Africans also migrate within the continent.
  7. SERENA. WILLIAMS. SWOON!!!
A reporter asked Williams whether she should be considered one of the greatest female athletes of all time. Her perfect response: “I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time.’”
Enjoy!!

Decisions that have made me

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I have to make some life decisions and that always makes me draw back on previous decisions I made and how those turned out. Some of the decisions I have made in life that I am quite proud of:

  1. The decision to accept Jesus as my Lord to live for Him after.
  2. To study Economics.
  3. To never try hard drugs.
  4. To settle down with my husband.
  5. To drop certain friendships.
  6. Financial discipline.
  7. To stop eating red meat and to a smaller extent chicken.
  8. To leave a straining job with no prospects at the time.

Are there any decisions I regret? Sure but that’s another days post 🙂 

(Long) Sunday Reads

  1. Great marriage lesson about talking honestly of our growing up experiences
  2. Clothes, beauty and Africa (NY Times)
  3. Uganda’s fastest and cheapest street food: Rolex. Do yourself a favour and google how the typical Ugandan pronounces it 🙂
  4. …. and then a brief history of Vietnam’s street food, the Banh  mi.
  5. School lunches in Japan.
  6. So much good in this story.
  7. Relationship goals. Yes!!
  8. I love mussels and this seems so simple to make at home.
  9. I sometimes feel this way about my accomplishments. Yeah!
  10. I WANNA host an ice cream social too.
  11. Because Lagos loves to party.
  12. Bringing up kids in this day and age is not for the faint hearted.
  13. Giving birth in Guinea is not child’s play.
  14. We must watch Hidden Figures. Very important story to tell!!
  15. Yummy (no egg) ice cream recipe.
  16. This is my plan for September – need to get a proposal out.
  17. I had a similar meal recently at a restaurant, YUMMY cauliflower.
  18. Some more productivity hacks.
  19. This letter. So true and poignant!

Sunday Reads

  1. Baaagh! shaving season is upon us.
  2. My oldest nephew is headed to teenage-hood. Freak out!!
  3. But why is our leader like this?
  4. Definitely baking this lemon and thyme cake this weekend.
  5. I love the idea of helping women over 40 get back into work.
  6. Marriage is often about managing details. FACT.
  7. Recommended baby shower gifts.
  8. The Real Housekids imitate the Real Housewives of Atlanta.Hopefully, they get round to imitating all the series of this show.
  9. Funny mom emoji’s.
  10. I liked Tsitsi Dangaremba and this was an interesting read.

Sunday Reads

  1. These are my best friend goals for when we are 70-plus.
  2. All night after care facilities for busy parents. Very sad!!
  3. Vanilla coconut ice cream.
  4. Another pasta recipe.
  5. You don’t need a sandwich maker to make these cheese sandwiches.
  6. Such memories we all have about meeting our MILs for the first time.
  7. This is a whole post on the pressure of being a young adult now.
  8. So scary but very fascinating.
  9. A to-do list if you are looking to change your name post marriage.
  10. I am voting for jumpsuits as the official bridesmaid wear!
 

Sunday Reads

  1. On the importance of community in marriage.
  2. Beautiful images of women.
  3. Famous logos – before and after.
  4. Me right now
  5. This skirt seems fairly simple enough to stitch.
  6. On getting rid of all the pause/fillers we use in conversation.
  7. Love is a verb! Yep, like this!
  8. Not a fan of kale but this looks like a yummy salad and I love the dressing.
  9. All male panels in Development and 2016. Really?
  10. Desegragation and education of minorities. (NYT article)

What never to say your partner

This Hippo advert provides serious fodder for a pre-marital class. Husbands never want to hear they are nothing like your father or wives that you wish she could be more like your mom.

Hilarious ad though that captures the message adequately!

Other adverts available here and here

Book Review: Happiness is a Four Letter Word v Men of the South

Following this summary of what is currently on my to-read bookshelf I have a couple of books that I would like to review.

Happiness is a Four Letter Word – Cynthia Jele

I loved this book, it deals with two things that I am particularly passionate about: Johannesburg and female relationships.

  • The book is what would happen if Sex and the City had been cast in a cosmopolitan African city. If you would love to see that, check out the YouTube series, An African City.
  • The themes are easily recognisable: love, family, beauty, work/ career advancement, marriage, female friendships.
  • The book is a really easy read, I started on Friday at 7 and finished the next day by 12.
  • Having said that, it is definitely a conversation starter and will have you thinking deeply about some of the issues dealt with for instance, what would I tell a dear friend that was cheating on her husband because she did not exactly marry him for love? Or a friend that rekindles communication with an old ex?
  • Only concern and I guess because of my personal views, I feel like the author portrays a very negative view of (Black) relationships and someone that is not acquainted with any Black people might take it as a given that this is how our love dynamics play out. Yes it’s a novel, but their portrayal is definitely very one-sided, what happened to “normal“?
  • Would I recommend it? Definitely yes!! I actually cannot wait for the author to release a second book.

Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner

A bit of a preliminary disclaimer is that I read this book on the back of Happiness and the after-glow it gave me.

  • The book’s main theme is love and relationships (gender dynamics, hetero- or homosexuality, family and friendships) and it definitely deals with each of these in turn.
  • The book is set in Johannesburg and Cape Town, cities that I can safely say I am familiar with which makes the reading that bit enjoyable when I can understand the physical setting.
  • The book provides an entry point to have some difficult conversations for example, being a Black homosexual in a culture where one is expected to get a wife and settle down or what if I earn more than my husband and can take care of him, should he stay home while I work?
  • However, I think it attempted to do too much in a few pages and fell short. Hence, it was not as memorable as it could possibly be. I also felt that the first person reportage was not too helpful either.
  • Overall, the book was quite predictable and I would not recommend it unless you maybe had a few hours and did not want to be wowed but wanted to tick a book off your reading list.

Rachel’s Blue – Zakes Mda

I tried to read this book and failed to get into it despite trying. In light of my recent advice on how to read more books, I am giving up and will mark this is a non-read on my part. My biggest issue I suppose is that I love it when he writes about various aspects of South African people and the setting of this book was too different for me to adjust my expectations accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Did my parents know the answers to all of life’s lessons at my age?

Adulting never gets any easier the longer you keep at it. I recently got thinking on three things in my life where I certainly needed my parents to come through and tell me what to do or how to do it.

  1. Finishing high school and having to decide what career I wanted to pursue thereafter. Then having to visit the different Universities and make my application and everything else. Coming on the back of completing high school and being told everything I needed to do, this freedom was quite sudden and frankly overwhelming. However, I oddly always knew what I wanted to do and so all I had to work on was finding a school to study Economics.
  2. Dealing with my first job. So many different things. One,  I put in an application for a Work permit and this took over seven months to finalise and eventually I had to decide whether to stop working while I await my permit or go back home and either look for a job or start the application all over again to come back and coninue with my old job. Two, dealing with a difficult boss and having to decipher honest feedback against being bullied. The hardest lesson ever that I had to go through. Three, deciding to quit and wishing I could ask my folks to take care of me again.
  3. Moving house across cities. Urgggh!! I thought of my mom for months in the build up to it and for weeks after and secretly begged that she would offer to come help me.

And this is only up until now. I cannot imagine having a first baby, bringing up kids, losing loved ones, sickness, marriage stuff. Oh dear me, please can I just go back to being twelve!

Belated Valentines Day dinner menu

This year I fired the Mr from Valentines Day and decided to plan a three course in-house dinner for the both of us. #iSlayedV-Day. I totally did. I obviously took no pictures but below is the selected menu.

Starters

Warm winter greens with Ceasar dressing, smoked bacon and a poached egg.

Mains

Steak au Poivre, Creamy lentils with rosemary and tomatoes and sauteed rosemary and garlic potatoes.

Dessert

Poached pear with lemon sorbet

I used Rachel Allen’s Entertaining at Home for inspiration.

 

Sunday Reads

Also known as what happens in the real life that almost always constricts a great blogging schedule!

  1. Upcycling old kitchenware beautifully!
  2. Weep for this generation 😦
  3. Great (and practical) ways to teach your children about money.
  4. Yet another lentil recipe.YUM!!!
  5. Another chai recipe – cupcakes this time.
  6. Vegetarian biryani. YUM!
  7. Something we also learn about marriage on the grind.
  8. Because she is that bit close to John Legend.
  9. On testing teenagers for AIDS.
  10. I know someone whose Dr could not tell her the right size of her baby. Very scary and confusing for the mom-to-be.
  11. Some things to do for yourself this year. I like the bit about having therapy, kinda feeling that vybe this year. Also, exploring your new city or going to a totally new place.
  12. Five strategies to get your academic writing “unstuck”.
  13. Youngest person to buy a Gulfstream Jet is a Malawian Pastor. Will leave that there.

Happy Sunday and reading!

 

Sunday reads …

  1. If you would like to incorporate more vegetables into your diet/ be vegan. Here’s how to go about doing so.
  2. Recipes to enjoy your grains.
  3. Such a beautiful and poignant story of motherhood.
  4. And this post on surviving after losing a mother from one of my most favourite bloggers.
  5. Creative ways to counter the rising pay gap e.g. publish pay info by gender, make an offer that ignores past salary levels, teach women how to negotiate.
  6. The Mr and I have the same and different takes to this Saturday dilemma.
  7. I so DO NOT endorse people that believe in presenteeism.
  8. This is the kind of meaningful stuff I want to do with myself.
  9. But what is this now???????????? Virginity testing, school only for virgins? Madness!!!
  10. Because who would not like poached pears with tea?
  11. Another tea recipe (tea-infused lemon tart)
  12. What Obama carries in his pocket  … (Lemme know what you think?)

Reviewing 2015 through posts

I have enjoyed posting so much this year and pushing myself to write more, write in different formats or on different topics than the typical ones I would. Thanks for the reads, sharing and comments!

  1. My theme this year was on obedience.
  2. Listened to great music too!!
  3. Took care of myself!!
  4. Really got into podcasts.
  5. Ten little things I enjoyed this year (the first of many similar posts)
  6. I hurt when the Xenophobic attacks broke out! In February. Twice.
  7. Read a lot about women struggling with infertility.
  8. Cooked some nice things.
  9. Read some good and bad books!! The invention of wings was easily my book of the year.
  10. Made a personal announcement too!!

Enjoy and looking forward to 2016!!

Sunday Reads

  1. Interesting to read that Chartered schools do not do any better for children in more suburban areas.
  2. Planning an upcoming Cape Town city centre adventure.
  3. Cooking with sweet potatoes
  4. Celebrating love, marriage and all things in between. Also, check out their podcast, season 2 is coming up.
  5. How to help a friend going through a rough time.
  6. On meeting your biggest idol!

Sunday Reads

Better late than never ….

  1. Because we all need to be more productive at work.
  2. Liked some of these comments on the state of play between men and women and the chores at home.
  3. The (silent) perils of a PhD.
  4. I enjoyed this profile of Michael Phelps and congrats on the upcoming Baby.
  5. Fascinated by the paths that people that go to highly sought after schools take afterwards.
  6. Ain’t this life though?
  7. Alanis Morissette redoes “Ironic”. HILARS!!
  8. If you wish to read all of HONY’s stories on the Refugee plight in Europe.
  9. Love this story about revealed and stated preferences.
  10. Some great conversation starters
  11. If you have loads of tea and love to cook with it.
  12. Roasted green beans with hazelnuts