Mom to Mom with Liezel Kriel

Mom to mom Liezel KrielI am very EXCITED about our second “Mom to Mom ” interview with a very inspiring mom in the making : Liezel Kriel! Liezel Kriel or as I know her via Twitter and Instagram as @Elle_K I met through other “Twitter moms”, through some “mama tweeting” over our baby boys! It’s been so awesome following her journey with her gorgeous son Ben, she is real , and honest in her approach to “mom hood”, and I find that to be so inspiring, and relatable ! She has a gorgeous blog : ellekaydiary.blogspot.com that you should definitely check out!

Right, lets get straight into shall we? Grab a cuppa ladies, sit back , and relax.

About Liezel :

  • I am 31 (32 in September) and have officially reached the stage where I feel the need to start lying about my age.
  • I am originally from the small town of the De Doorns and moved to Stellenbosch after high school to study Drama at the University of Stellenbosch.
  • I’ve lived in Taiwan for a year, then Cape Town, but eventually found my way back to Stellenbosch.
  • I am a wife to the most handsome of men, mom to the sweetest 3 year old Golden Retriever Knox and then of course my pride and joy our baby boy Ben. Man I love this little guy so much.

Tell us a little bit about the season that you are in :

I’ve always hoped to be a “stay at home” mom. I wanted to be present for every minute of my children’s live’s. In October 2013, 2 months after Ben was born my husband had to close his business and find a new job. I wasn’t employed at the time and financially we took quite a hit. Eventually I had to give up on my dream of staying home with my baby and had to go back to work . It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I found a great daycare and Ben is really enjoying the days spent with friends. He is 9 months old and I must say I am loving this phase. He is so adventurous, and loves to interact and explore. Being a mom has given me such a sense of purpose. Yes, I am beyond tired and there are many frustrating moments, but there are far more awesome moments.

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The Challenges 

“Married with kids”

The biggest challenge so far has been maintaining a healthy marriage. We’ve always been the “perfect couple”and we hardly ever fought. Marriage came easy to us, then we had a baby and suddenly everything changed. I had no time to cuddle with my husband on the couch. We were constantly comparing who was doing the most work and who was more tired. In between the utter exhaustion we lost the ability to laugh together. We were so serious, ALL of the time. Sometimes I would feel lonely and a little neglected by him (I’m sure he felt the same) all of our time and energy went into Ben. Things have returned to normal (somewhat) and we are back to laughing and joking, but it’s definitely harder than before.

“Mo money Mo problems”

The other challenge being: Money (Or lack thereof). Not being able to afford the R10 000 Pram or the “best” car seat on the market eats at you. Then you start thinking about school and university fee’s and suddenly your are struggling for air and breathing into a brown paper bag.

The Blessings 

For me a big blessing was being able to fall pregnant, and then to experience pregnancy . Another blessing; being a mom to thee most gorgeous little boy. It has made me feel so worthwhile and special. I also love the fact that I can share this journey with both of my parents. They are SO obsessed with him, and seeing the bond form between them is so special.

Advice for other moms

A week after I had my baby I had to go see my doctor for a checkup. Getting both of us ‘dressed and ready’ for my 11:00 am appointment created so much anxiety that I phoned my husband at work crying and asked him to meet us at the doctor’s office. That first trip driving my baby was so nerve wracking. I was such an emotional mess when I got to the doctor’s office, that he ended up prescribing me a mild anti-depressant. When I got home I saw a fellow new mom’s Instagram post of her sitting at a coffee shop with her newborn looking calm, polished and put together. I felt like such a failure. In comparing myself to this mom I put so much unnecessary pressure on myself.

My advice would be to just focus on you and your baby. No comparing yourself to others!!! Go at your own pace. No new mom or baby is alike. Do what works for you.

Thank you Liezel for sharing with us, your honesty is SO refreshing! Ben is such a gorgeous boy and is so lucky to have you as his mama! I loved how you ended this post off by saying “Don’t compare yourself with others” , as women we tend to do that ALOT. We bring ourselves down without even realising it! It reminds me of this quote : “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodor Roosevelt. I’ve often found that when I start comparing myself to others, I start feeling down and thats when I KNOW I need to count my blessings and be grateful for what I have !  A Thankful heart, is a happy heart.

 

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Photography by : Nikki Meyer

 

Weekend away with a baby

weekend away featureSo over the long weekend we had a “mini get away” with friends to Wortelgat with a 7 month old teething baby (Eak). Malakai is a very chilled, relaxed baby and is quite content with new unfamiliar faces, he is friendly and is always smiling at the ladies (Hmm need to keep my eye on that) However when our good old friend “teething” makes it rounds its leaves Malakai a little uncomfortable, moody, and quite vocal about it too! So , I was a little nervous to take him away with us (not like I would leave him at home or anything) Nervous because teething leaves him feeling very uncomfortable, irritable and unpredictable. Babies are unpredictable in general, they always keep you guessing like a game of charades! (Baby charades) But none the less, as they say “YOLO”, we took the plunge / cheered ourselves on (aka mentally prepared ourselves) and started planning all of our essentials that we would need for the weekend away with friends. Its not as simple as putting the baby in the car and going, you have to consider what will he/she sleep in, what solids are they eating and at what times, sterilize bottles, have enough diapers and change of clothes, medicine kit , are there enough toys and goodies to keep a crawling baby entertained? etc and OH don’t forget to pack for yourself! (haha) Once all of that is organized , you are pretty much good to go.

One of my besties Rene is getting married soon – so her and her fiancé planned a weekend get away for the bridal party and their partners close to their wedding venue. Their wedding venue De Uijlenes is absolutely gorgeous! I want to describe it in detail so badly for you BUT I don’t want to give away any surprises for the guests! It makes me SO excited for them and their big day! I have the HONOR of being the “maid of honor” (Woohoo,the chosen one haha) for my beautiful friend Rene, and my heart can’t contain my excitement for this new chapter that her and Hein are about to embark on! Obviously we had to practice our “bridesmaids with the bride pose”. 

Check out our poses:

The GirlsThe suns in our eyes smile!1,2,3…...We did it!

We love going away, and having some down time. There’s something about being out of your house, out of routine, away from technology and letting the soul recharge and rest. We packed the car, as in our WHOLE house (literally) We ended up borrowing my dad’s 4×4, and filled it to the brim with baby essentials (camping cot, walking ring , toys galore, bottle sterilizer, microwave – Yip you heard me a MICROWAVE because the house we were staying at did not have one,the house was solar power which in essence meant the microwave kept draining all the power – therefore no microwave sterilizing of bottles. BUT good old fashioned boiling hot water over a gas stove and hoping for the best! “Moms got to do what a moms got to do” And it worked ! He survived! Good to know for future trips). I feel like I am always learning new things as a mom! Any moms with me on that one?

Malakai slept for the whole drive up (Good boy) which was about 3 hours, had to change his diaper in the car, feed him while we were driving around in the actual town. (Multitasking to the max) But once we got out of the car I could see he was so intrigued and just loving the outdoors. (The smells, and sights) and he absolutely LOVED all the attention he received from all of the friends! He loved it so much that he didn’t want to nap . (Oops) He just loved looking at the gorgeous view from his walking ring, and loved chilling on the grass doing tummy time! I think the sights, and company of fun friends distracted him from his teething too be honest, yes he was a little niggly but that he didn’t stop him from smiling and socializing! (Little champ) There were one or two moments where he was struggling a bit with his teething and was very grump, tired and struggling to take naps – thats when I took him to a quiet room and did my best to help comfort him until he FINALLY fell asleep. I always used to feel bad when Malakai would cry or be upset in front of others, not sure why – maybe I was worried if it bothered others,or it could relate to his Colic days and me being anxious all the time (more on that later) But in those moments I remind myself he is only a baby and crying is his only way of communicating with me about how he feels, and I must just love him.

Malakai and Mom KissesMalakaiMalakai enjoying natureMy FavsMy boys

Traveling with a baby is a little bit of a challenge, but once you get going and just do it – it becomes another thing you can add to your “mom belt” of things you’ve achieved and know its doable. And its so worth it making that extra effort, and forcing yourself to go away with your little family – everyone ends up benefiting from it. Just because you have a kid it doesn’t mean that your life should stop, they become apart of your world just as much as you become part of their world. It was so special sharing this gorgeous view with Malakai, and with our friends. I feel so BLESSED living in such a beautiful city (Cape Town)  that has so many hidden gems waiting to be discovered!

Wortelgat Lake 2Wortelgat LakeWortelgat View 2Wortelgat View

 

Pics taken by my talented hubby Rash Ferguson who does all sorts of creative free lance work from design,to video editing to branding you name it!  (Check out his work)