I have stopped listening to the news and reading stories on the spread of the virus, infected numbers, businesses closing, staff being retrenched, and what is allowed at each level. Some would say this is naïve, but to be honest my heart just cannot take it. As humans we are built to want to help those that we can. We tip the car guards and petrol attendants, we give the waiters/waitress 15-20% and not only 10%. We buy extra food for the security guards of complexes and will always try and give what we can to the less fortunate, but during these times it is difficult to give when you do not have much yourself.
So, I have decided to rather focus on the opportunities during this time. Spending time we wouldn’t normally get with our children and partners. Getting to things around the house you have said you will do for years. Sitting down to finish that baby book. Finally organizing your workday, schedule and tasks. Finishing tasks you have not found the time for. And most importantly being able to switch off.
Enjoy your home
Just as we are built to want to help others, we as South Africans are built to work. It is inbred in us, every day revolves around what time to wake up to miss the traffic, how much can we get done in the prescribed office hours, what dinner will take the quickest to cook, then it is cleaning, laundry and prep for the next day to start it all over again, never mind the additional hours put in, in the evenings on emails and tasks that you just never got to during the day.
This driving work force, it still lives on, but within the four walls of every home, it looks a little different. There is the extra hour or two of sleep as traffic is no longer a problem-child, there is no hours lost sitting in traffic, struggling to get to the office to attend to emails and meetings. This time is spent cooking breakfast and enjoying one extra meal a day together as a family, some days it is attending to emails in your pajamas, exercising at lunch time and vacuuming at 16:00 before cooking dinner. The weight on my shoulders seems a little lighter.
Smell the roses
Not everyone has little people running around ruling their homes but, in our house, this is exactly what we have. Our little one is an early-riser, so our mornings start before the sun has risen and is fast-paced. Running and jumping and swimming and reading and snacking and eating and falling and climbing. I get tired just writing this, but these are moments that we normally miss, that we are not around to enjoy. Although it is crazy and some days, I feel the years I am losing off my life span, I wouldn’t trade it for getting back to the real world. I am starting to worry about how I am going to go back to the normal.
Do it now!
Before isolation it was a case of ‘why do today what can be done tomorrow’ so in essence it was never gotten to. The glass cabinet I’ve been meaning to reorganize has been done, the baby book I never got around to finishing, is almost complete, the meals I always wanted to cook – are finally being cooked, the painting project I wanted to start has started, and the book I wanted to read, has been read. The tables have all turned. The emails I can do tomorrow, the document can be reviewed tomorrow, the project can start tomorrow. And off course none of these missing a deadline but rather being done when you can within the required timeframe. The chicken seems to be running around with all its body parts for a change.
Everyone is worried and scared, industries are facing turmoil, turnover is at an all-time low, and every single person is doing what they can to not only survive but keep sane. During the time it is difficult to stay positive and to looks for the good in each day but all it takes is one thing a day. One task that makes you happy, makes you feel lighter. One extra hour spent with your little people doing something that makes them smile and laugh. Take 20min to have that cup of coffee outside with no cellphone or laptop. Finally finish the sorting of all your emails or finishing that one task that has been lagging at your side.
Everyday do something for you, something that makes you smile, makes you feel lighter.
I’m sure we are all fed up with hearing about the virus and what we can and can’t do and what we should be doing today and what we would have been doing on Sunday, Mother’s Day. There will be no restaurant reservations, professional pamper spa days, cards made at school, school visits for moms and granny’s and the faithful quick ‘grab-a-gift’ moment late on a Saturday afternoon.
But it is not all doom and gloom. Dads, soon-to-be-dads, sons and daughters, it’s time to get creative. Here are a couple of ideas to help you along.
You may or may not know about paint night. It is an awesome evening out with your mom or your girlfriends, you drink wine, eat good food and paint your own canvas. The ladies of yaymaker have been super creative during this period and taking full advantage of the virtual world. For Sunday they are selling tickets at R95 per household, all you need is a couple of household or easily bought items from a Pick n Pay or Spar, a stable internet connection account and you are good to go.
We can go with the good old faithful, Netflorist, where you can select from a wide range of custom/personalized gifts, flowers, gift baskets, etc. You definitely cannot go wrong here but be sure to place your order soon to get it in time.
Make a card
Grab some paper, crayons, scissors, stickers, anything you can find lying around the house and get creative with your little ones. I’m sure they will be able to steer you in the right direction.
Some great Mother’s Day wishes you could use that have actually been said by toddlers:
Who needs a warm bed when you have a warm mommy
Mom you may be forty but you can boogey like your fourteen (this one is adaptable for all ages, you may be thirty but you can boogey like you thirteen, see where I’m going with this)
I am like a flower that is raised with love by you. You help me grow up big and strong Mom, thanks for all you do.
You’ve seen the bags of nail cleaners, nail files, nail polish in the cupboard, grab these out and treat mom to a spa day. Cut up some cucumbers for her eyes and buy a face mask (from any local supermarket). The little ones can paint moms’ toes. Be sure to add in a cup of coffee/cocktail – depending on the time of the day – and breakfast in bed and you are sure to be the favorite for the day.
Vouchers are always a good idea. This could be from moms favourite clothing store, or shopping mall. Or even a spa voucher for when we are out of lockdown, some of my top picks are Mangwanani, Life Day Spa, and Sorbet, but this could be from any spa you know mom has enjoyed visiting in the past. A voucher from moms favourite restaurant that can be enjoyed after lockdown – a great idea to support local.
A picnic in the garden
This one is always a winner and thank goodness for our local stores. Dads can pop out on Saturday and grab a couple of favourite treats for the family that can be easily enjoyed outside in the garden, think chips, dip, cake (always a good idea), sandwiches, samosas, wraps, bagels, croissants, cold meat, various cheeses, and don’t forget the plastic cups and paper plates to make cleaning a little easier. And should the weather not be great this can always be enjoyed in the lounge or any open area too.
A photobook voucher
This is one we have heard every mom talk about, and how they wish they had the time to put a photobook together. One of my favourite is Burblepix. Their desktop or online creator tool is simple and easy, anyone could use it, and their products are amazing. This one will give mom something to do – in the very little spare time she does get – that will warm her heart and your home. You can choose from a photo book, a calendar, a canvas, a diary, etc. Visit https://bit.ly/2WsA97i for more information.
A family photoshoot
This is one you definitely can’t go wrong with! There are a number of photographers offering Mother’s Day specials. Some of the great ones I have seen are offered by Laura Clair Smith Photography, Kate Rankin Photography, Bianca Smit Photography, Jo Stokes Photography Cape Town, Adore Photography, and D’amor Photographer, to name a few.
Some photographers are embracing remote photography such as Kist Photography, where you can do a remote Mother’s Day shoot. Visit them at https://bit.ly/3c5JJUc for more information.
Online Make-up Tutorials
Another great option for Moms who love make-up or have mentioned that they would like to go on a course. Erin Smylie, one of the best make-up and hairstylist in the industry, is offering online make-up tutorials. You can purchase a course by visiting her website at https://bit.ly/3c5JJUc.
As a reminder – Mother’s Day is on Sunday the 10th – yes that is this coming Sunday – so get planning, be creative and show Mom that you appreciate everything she does.
You do have what it takes! Some of the comments I have heard lately:
“What is your new year resolution?”
“What have you given up for the next month?”
“Are you detoxing”
“It doesn’t even feel like I’ve just come back from leave”,
I have found the start of 2020 quite hectic, but isn’t it like this every year?
Everything you never got to at the end of 2019, now you are faced with. There is no running away from it or leaving it for tomorrow. It’s all about the new year, the new you, but I’m finding I’m still the old me. I don’t have any new year resolutions, I am not fasting, dieting or not drinking for one or two months. I find myself merely carrying on, after a couple of stress-free days after a very stressful festive season – not any different from every other year.
A new strategy
I went to a conference this past weekend and as everyone spoke about the strategy for the year ahead, with motivating slides, I was faced with the same old same old, until the sales director stood up – known to be a bit of a left hand throw – starting his motivational speech with this:
“Who of you had a bad 2019? Who never lost the weight they wanted to? Who never achieved what they wanted to?” – as many people in the audience lifted there hands, he said, “you know who you have to blame? Yourself.”
Gasp, shock and horror. How can I be to blame? He carried on with saying, “Stop blaming your boss. Stop making excuses. Stand up and finally be the change you keep looking to everyone else for. If you are having a bad day, deal with it, decide why it went wrong and change it. “
And finally it hit me, we all make mistakes, we all have bosses who need to pull us in line when we are not bringing our A game, we all need that push sometimes to get things done. And these all have one thing in common – it’s you. You are the one that’s in control. No one else.
I am my own worst enemy
Plan, plan ahead. We all say it again and again, failing to plan is planning to fail but we never actually do so.
I make lists and lists and lists and then never look at them.
I don’t take notes as I think I will remember and then I don’t.
There is no one else to blame but myself. I am my own worst enemy.
So for 2020 I am going to take the time to grab a pen and notebook, to actually take the notes and to actually look at them. I am going to plan, make the time to actually sit down and do the task at hand. It is okay for me to tell someone to wait, to not answer that call and to focus on what I am busy on now. To not run around like a headless chicken saying yes to everything.
I don’t know if it was Gandhi, Buddha, Abraham Lincoln or Albert Einstein – they seem to always say smart things – but you cannot please everyone. Saying yes to everyone else is actually saying no to yourself. No to your plan, to your time and no to getting things done.
I tend to overflow my basket. A jack of all trades. A master of some (not none as I get them at least 80% done – it’s the 20% that’s stolen by someone else).
That is me for 2020. It’s all about me, it comes down to me, no one else. I have the power to create the year I want to have.
The beginning of the year is full of resolutions, good intentions and goal setting. It can be all too easy to let it all slide after the first month but with a little bit planning and time management, it can be made easier and much more achievable.
Here are some tips to help with your monthly goal-setting practices to ensure you keep your resolutions on track and to help you achieve your goals all year.
First day of the month planning session
At the beginning of each month, put some time aside to sit down and plan. Decide what you want to focus on for the month, write down your monthly goals and what you need to do to stay on track in order to meet your goals. If you have long term goals that need a few months, half a year or even the full year to achieve, write them down at the beginning of every month as a reminder.
Monthly, weekly, and daily focuses
Each month choose one main focus that is the most important goal to achieve in that month. It could be related to your personal life such as making more of an effort with friends, concentrating on a new hobby or work-related such as working on improving your business network. Make that your priority for the month to give it the focus it needs. That’s not to say, you should forget about any other goals for that month, but it helps to prioritize. You can also make weekly and daily focuses if required to help you meet any urgent goals.
Make your planner/calendar layout fun and attractive
Whether you work with an online planner or a written planner, keep it fresh by adding in backgrounds, colours and images. Change it each month so you don’t get tired of looking at it. You can even have some fun with little notes to yourself and motivational quotes for good measure.
Keeping track of what you have already achieved in preceding months is just as important as planning ahead. Write down your achievements at the beginning of each month to help you see and understand your progress. Tracking your progress and being reminded of why you’re doing it is vital to staying focused and motivated.
Schedule a weekly check-in at the end of each week to track progress and to make any adjustments to your goals. What is working or not working and what can be done to keep your plan on track for the month?
Sticking to your new year resolutions and achieving your goals for 2020 is obtainable and just needs a small amount of planning and reflection time each month to help keep you on track and motivated as the busy year starts to take over. Good luck for a productive and rewarding year!
“Just Google it” – a phrase most of us use multiple times in a day, maybe even utter to ourselves when going through the many thoughts we have in one day. In need of a red top, “just Google it”, looking for the chocolate covered pretzels, “just Google it”, in need of some new Christmas decorations, ‘just Google it”.
Nowadays anything you can think of can be found online. Even everyday needs can be found online, groceries, medication, clothing, gifts (last minute gifts – thank goodness for same day delivery), and we even have the help of social media. Online shopping is great all year round, but it is especially helpful during the Christmas period. There is nothing worse than having to visit a store – any store – on 23 or 24 December. So what do we do to ensure we are not one of the many flocking to the stores to find that last minute gift or Christmas stocking filler? You shop, and you do it all online.
I think this especially came apparent once my little girl came along, during the first three months I never wanted to leave the house, not even for a bottle of milk. So I did what every new mom does, I asked other moms how they do it, and the answers were amazing and oh so helpful. So here it is my top 10 online sites for all your shopping needs – and not only during the festive season
Zulzi is an app you can download onto your smartphone. Zulzi allows one to order form Woolworths, Pick n pay, Pick n Pay liquor, Dischem, and Clicks. Now the most amazing thing about this app is you can shop at all 5 stores, at the same time and someone goes and does all your shopping for you and off course delivers to the set delivery address. You can get all you may need with one app and if early enough you can have same day delivery – worse case first thing the next morning.
Woolworths and Pick n Pay online
Now I group these two together because as a mom, you know that a shopping trip always involves a trip into both of them. Now the only catch here is both online stores require a 2 to 3-day lead time, which doesn’t always work but should you be eyeing out a new pair of shoes from Woolies, a 2 to 3-day lead time is no problem.
There was a time in my life that my husband on numerous occasions thought that I was keeping Zando in business. But I must admit they make shopping so easy and cover everything one may be looking for – shoes, dresses, make-up, bedroom, kitchen, etc. you name it and they will have it. I especially find them helpful when looking for gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even Valentine’s day, and of course some new outfits for the December holidays.
One Day Only
I’m sure I am not the only one who religiously clicks on their morning emails and scrolls through the deals of the day. Their daily deals range from kiddies, to dads, to husbands, to bosses, and more importantly for yourself. My girlfriends are always keeping an eye on any new holster specials that pop up now again, that we can all take advantage of.
One Deal a Day
So this one is kind of like One Day Only but focuses on one deal only every day. Should you come across an offer you like, definitely take advantage of it as these items go quickly.
Take A Lot
I must say this is probably the site I use the most because of its vast selection of electronics, clothing, furniture, kitchen, home, i.e. everything you may need in one place – especially on Black Friday.
Cotton On and Typo
Name the occasion, and you can find a gift. The ability to change from Cotton On to Typo also helps – meaning you can satisfy the fashionista and stationery hoarder in one go. Especially now in the festive season, they have great deals. One of the many perks is also the ability to buy for the whole family, no matter what age, gender or size.
Superbalist (the old Spree)
Very similar to Zando. The love is what I cannot find on Zando I can find on Superballist and what I cannot find on Superbalist, I can find on Zando. It is great to have options, and I love that both sites also now have a baby and kids’ range.
SA Go to Girls
I stumbled upon SA Go To Girls on Facebook and I absolutely love everything these ladies do. They are able to make and personalise almost any item you are looking for and especially have the most amazing goodies for Christmas. From home decorations, Christmas pajamas, personalized stamps, Christmas Eve kiddies’ boxes and even their new Christmas Eve mom and dad boxes. You will not be sorry getting in touch with these ladies – follow their page on Facebook.
If you are looking for something that is a little unusual and cannot be found everywhere, then this is your store. They have great variety and allows you to get something personal for those very close to you and then something for those that you may not know as well – also known as Secret Santa, where you don’t know who may end up with your gift.
Now one must also not forget Netflorist, Mr Price, Clicks Online, Silvery (amazing jewelry), Nics Novelties SA, to name a few others.
A personal tip is to keep an eye on these sites during the year and grab a deal when you see them. These are great for stocking fillers or that one family member who decided at the last minute to join Christmas lunch. I hope some of these sites help you get in the last-minute shopping and some great deals before the mad rush.