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.

how-many-lists

Recently my husband and I were fortunate enough to have the grandparents here.

We were able to leave the boys with them, while we slipped away for three blissful, child-free days. Oh, and how indulgent that was. No fighting, no yelling, nobody to feed and put to bed, lazy late morning lie-in’s, time to sit down and read. Heaven on earth. It was in fact, the longest I have ever left my boys behind. It was a sobering thought and to be quite honest, a bit scary.

As it goes, we left a huge amount of “notes”. The do’s and the don’ts, the what’s and the what not’s.

Just before we jumped into the car, I took out my medical aid card and handed it to my mum-in-law. “In case of emergency”, I said. But as we drove away, my mind wandered to what if it was us who ended up in an emergency? What if I never came back again? My little list of instructions made to last for a long weekend could never contain enough info for that scenario.

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phone-camera-photos

Recently I saw a television show where people called in experts to help with their hoarding problems.

I watched with a dropped jaw as they revealed room after room full to the brim with STUFF. Things they have grown attached to, things they can’t let go of. The root of their hoarding sounded like fear talking: “What if I need it again someday? What if I miss it when it’s gone?”

I have never seen myself as a hoarder. Go through the photos on my computer though and my little “hoarding” problem quickly shows up. Two weeks ago, I started creating a photo book of our 2017 and it proved to be a painstaking process to go through all the photos of last year and select only a few to display. Along the way an all-too-familiar pattern emerged as well. Less than happy faces, fake smiles and 7 photos of nearly the same thing, all taken in an attempt to get the best one. My memories were clouded. Instead of remembering the happiness, I remembered the effort it took to get that one perfect shot. I started thinking that maybe I want to start having happy moments in real life instead of fake happy memories to refer to one day.

I realised too that I watched so many of my children’s big moments i.e. running races and winning awards happen through the lens of a camera and in the process completely missed the utter joy and pride in their faces. And this saddens me a bit.

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shadow-step

I discovered a new song this weekend and it instantly became a firm favourite.

You might know it too, “Shadow Step” by Hillsong United.

Driving in the car listening to this on top volume today (I was by myself and it was pure bliss), it made me reflect on the meaning of the “shadow step” in the song. To me it was symbolic of stepping into a shadow, an unknown area, a new place, not yet sure what you’ll find or if it is going to work, but trusting God with the process.

I could relate this back to motherhood immediately.

Are we not always operating in shadow steps when it comes to raising kids?

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creating-vision-family

Do you have a vision and a mission for your family?

Recently I was driving in my car when I heard someone talk on the radio about an exercise they once did in which they had to think about and write down the dreams they had for their children. Of course that was only one half of it, the more difficult part came when they had to think about how they were doing in raising their kids in such a way that those dreams could become a reality.

Immediately I began thinking of the own dreams I have for my two boys and in the following days I kept on coming back to this talk and pondered on these dreams, eventually writing them down and critically evaluated them. This led to a big light-bulb moment for me.  I had to be honest with myself and admit that I could do a bit better. (No, I am not feeling guilty about this, simply inspired to change it for the better)

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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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