Magda Pienaar

Magda is a mother, budding entrepreneur and a dabbler in words. She is originally from South Africa, but Perth became home in 2015. Her happy place is spending time with her husband and two boys, all 3 of them redheads! Most of her spare time goes into washing underpants and putting down toilet seats, but if there’s any left, you will find her with her nose in a book. Other passions include coffee and chocolate and sometimes she runs too. She loves encouraging women to be authentic, ignore the opinions of others and to become the best possible version of themselves.

motherhood-pride

About 18 months ago, I was tagged in a Facebook post to participate in the “motherhood dare.”

You know the one: someone dares you to post one photo that makes you proud to be a mother.

I struggled with this. I flipped through the photos on my phone, but felt that none of them reflected pride. You see, it didn’t matter how cute the photo seemed, I remembered what happened behind the scenes just before or after it was taken. The tantrum or the complaint or some form of defiance from (mostly) one of them and the way I reacted to it.

I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t particularly enjoying motherhood at that stage and definitely did not feel proud.

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marriage-after-kids

Before I had kids, everyone told me that marriage + kids = HARD.

Little naïve me did an internal eye roll each time I heard this and thought to myself: how hard could it really be? I mean, we’d survived a couple of things in our marriage at that point, so why would kids upset the apple cart?

It turns out they were right of course, and having our two boys certainly did have an impact on our relationship.

Now, I am by no means an expert, but with my oldest having just turned seven and marital bliss still (mostly) intact, here are some tips to negotiate the rocky road:

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two-sides-vulnerable

There has been a lot of talk lately on being vulnerable in motherhood. Admitting the struggles, being honest about feelings, asking for help. I think it’s a great “movement”; it’s time for us to get real about the fact that even though this journey is more than amazing, it’s also extremely tough. It can be very lonely, immensely confronting at times and let’s be honest: downright scary every now and again.

As great as vulnerability is for our own mental health, we often forget about the other spin-off; the positive effect it has on the people around us. I don’t know about you, but most people I know have a deep desire to make a difference, albeit seemingly small, in other lives.  If you are brave enough to open yourself up and become vulnerable, you can create a wonderful two-way street where you receive support and the person you are leaning on walks around with a sense of purpose.

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reclaim-loss-motherhood

It all started with a banana in my handbag. A squishy, “ready for banana bread” kinda banana. Packed as an emergency snack and then forgotten. To add insult to injury, I also found two stinky socks, deep in the recesses of said handbag. This all led to a mini mum meltdown. I felt like throwing myself on the floor, screaming. Was even my handbag not mine anymore? Was there anything left that I hadn’t given up, sacrificed or left on the back burner just because I decided to have children?

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kids-fail

Dear Mama: You need to stop thinking you are responsible when your children “ fail ”.

I still remember the first time it happened to me: right after I received and read through my oldest son’s first school report card. Or as they call it here in Western Australia: “Student Achievement Report”. You might have seen this format yourself, where your child gets scored in various categories to be either excellent or not so excellent.

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post-baby-body

Two of my least favourite terms in the whole world are pre-baby body and post-baby body. Google ‘pre-baby body’ and you get an astounding 13 000 000 results. ‘Post-baby body’ is even worse, coming in at 50 000 000 results.  63 000 000 results in total, most of them dedicated to showing you the way to have a fabulous post-baby body. We live in a society where it has become a badge of honour if you can erase pregnancy from your body as quickly as possible. Celebrities lead the way of course and society follows dutifully, trying to live up to an image made possible only with personal trainers, chefs, rigorous schedules and of course good lighting, plastic surgery plus in many cases just plain old good genes.

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