On house sitting and baby sitting

It’s that time of the year again. Silly season! Where parties are plenty and there is a plethora of travel plans.

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As the unemployed black sheep of the family, I usually get asked to help out here and there with house sitting and baby sitting.

At the end of every house sitting or baby sitting session, I always swear state “I’m never doing that again!”

While it’s fun, it’s also a lot of responsibility and a lot of work. Kids are hard work. You literally spend the entire day running around and cleaning up after them, it’s like a full time job and I applaud all mothers and nannies/house helps/maids/domestic workers out there.

To avoid any awkward situations, I’ve come up with a few ground rules that parents can benefit from in making their lives and mine the babysitter’s easier.

One
Parent’s must not LIE to the baby sitter. When we ask if the kids don’t eat anything, this is an opening. Take it! Use it! This is your chance to let us know whether they are fussy eaters, what their favourite food is, what tactics we can use to get them to eat etc. This is not the time to be shy and say no, they eat everything. And letting us know they are picky eaters 2 days into the babysitting gig is NOT ON! All it causes is frustration on both mine and the child’s part. I have dealt with babies that want you to “fix” a fruit after cutting it, I’ve dealt with babies that need to be coaxed into eating by offering dessert and/or pancakes for breakfast the next morning, I’ve dealt with babies that walk all over the house and I have to follow  them around and give a spoon of food every now. But that’s ok, because I’m patient. I can spend two hours coaxing the child to eat provided I knew beforehand what I was working with!

Two
I am a babysitter. Not the house help. I will cook and feed the kids. I will bath them. Heck I will even do the dishes and clean up after the kids but I will not do their laundry. I will not do thorough cleaning. You know that spring cleaning that our Zimbabwean mums love to spring up on us! Yeah… that one. No… I won’t be doing any of that.  If you want these additional extras, we now have to talk money!

Three
Unless you are 1 of my 4 siblings, I will move in and help with the kids for a maximum of 1 week. Siblings get more time. My role is to help you while you organise yourself and organise your lives! After that, you need to have sorted yourself out.

Four
For house sitting gigs, please understand I will not be a slave to your house. Meaning I will leave the house. I will go and meet friends. I will go out. I have a life and I will live it but I will always sleep at home. And I will make sure doors are locked, windows are closed, bins are taken out and lights are switched on and off so you don’t need to worry about the general safety of your house.

Five
Please leave your house in a decent manner. I will keep the house neat and tidy meaning I’ll clean up after myself and I might even spruce the place up just before you return home but if I feel you left too much of a mess in a certain room, best believe I will not step into that room or even attempt to get things in order.

Six
If you are particular about how  a babysitter must take care of your kids during your absence, it helps if you leave a schedule with an indication of meal times, bath times, bed time routines etc. One of my sister in laws has a schedule and during the early days when I had to be home alone with my nephew, it helped to know what to feed him and when, when to schedule playtimes, when tv was allowed etc. I will try to stick to it as much as I can within reason.

Seven
Please book my services in advance. By the time  you book your flights, let me know your plans because I’ll also be making my own plans and gone are the days where I’ll be cancelling my own plans to accommodate yours.

So darling friends and family, before you ask me to take care of your place or your kids this festive season, please give the above guidelines some thought. It’s all peace and love!

DISCLAIMER: My baby sitting duties come free of charge. These duties are also only for family or really really REALLY close friends.

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On every dark having a silver lining…

I saw a newspaper headline the other day that dubbed 2015 as “year of the #”. I think that headline was pretty accurate. The ability of people to hash tag events was a big game changer in social media trends this year. If I had to pick a hash tag it would be #silverlinings. I decided to look on the bright side of everything that has happened to date. So while unemployment may have been my biggest challenge, the bright side is I got to spend a lot of time with my family and share invaluable moments. I made new friends, reconnected with old friends, started going to the gym regularly and I even went on vacation with another group of friends.

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I’m  not oblivious to the fact that it has been ages since my last blog post! Partly due to the creative juices not flowing and partly due to the way I handle things. I tend to withdraw if I feel I’m not in control and sadly my blog suffers the most. There were so many stories started but never finished and I just seemed unable to complete a full post. So much has happened since that last post. I finally got the balls to face my fears and quit a job that was draining me. It’s a remarkable feeling when one gets the courage to let go of situations that no longer bring joy. One of my greatest fears was unemployment and I faced that twice this year. I’ll share a little bit behind why I quit one of the jobs in a blog post later on. So after I left the other job, I got another one and left that one too for totally different reasons to the other one. But unemployment actually wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Granted there are certain things I’ve had to forgo because I have no constant stream of income but I am blessed with an amazing family who have supported me through everything so I cannot say I was in lack. Also the saving lessons my mother taught me from a young age came into play a lot during this year.

I had a disagreement with someone a few months ago but my unemployment status. I felt attacked and he made it sound like I was content in my current state. My response to him which at that time probably came across as very defensive also led me to have an aha moment.

I can either be depressed about unemployment and cry every single day and feel sorry for myself or I can accept that this is where I in this season and react accordingly. In those few minutes of having to justify myself I realised that how one waits during a setback is just as important as how one will react once the situation has changed.

I choose to be the best version of me – which is the best route to embrace hence my hash tag silverlining. Considering I’ve done the other route before and that just led me to be frustrated and sad and overweight, silver linings are the only option for me this time around.

Every challenge or setback also contains potential for a positive or negative outcome. By focusing on the positive, I feel more inner peace thus being able to accept that which I cannot change immediately.

on 2014 in pictures…

If I had to pick 1 word I had to use to describe 2014, I would choose laughter. And although it was a very challenging year, I think a smile was plastered on my face most of the time. When it wasn’t tears, I was smiling through it all. My mentor from university (yes Miss Andie, that’s you) taught me that happiness was a choice and while I’m still learning to choose happiness in every situation. Looking through my camera roll has made me realise that for the most part of this year, when I chose it, I was happy!

Change was also a constant them for me in 2014 and through change, I met some AMAZING souls, worked on friendships that I had let suffer and refused to succumb to fear.

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I have been blessed and I’m making a choice to take happiness along with me throughout 2015.

On the Star Bwoy effect…

Guy: Hey, I’m leaving town today.

Girl: What? Why?

Guy: I got a job in xxx.

Girl: Really? Is it permanent?

Guy: No, it’s a 6 month contract

Girl: So you”ll be back in December…

Guy: Yeah, unless they renew the contract…

Girl: So, are we like taking a break?

Guy: yeah, something like that.

Girl: Will you come back and visit?

Guy: Of course dear. You know I love you, right!

Girl: *whispers* yeah, I love you too.

Guy: Just hold on. You deserve better than me

Girl:  I don’t want ‘better’! I want you! I love you! I don’t want anybody else!

Guy: I wish things could remain as they are but for your sake, our sake, our future, you need to move on. I will always love you!

Girl: *breaks into tears*I’m going to miss you

Cue sad love song here (pick between one, two, three, four songs)

Guy: Me too.* walks away*

End scene

A good friend of mine moved to another town. He told me about the move after he had already left town. It felt like we were going through breaking up. And because we all know I have a very vivid imagination and he indulges me, I wrote out a little scene for how it all went down. Ok, so I embellished on some of the finer points but that’s what it felt like. We’ve been friends for over a decade. Whenever I need a pick me up, I know I can count on him. If I want to go out and have fun, all I have to do is pick up the phone.  The friendship will always be there but it was nice to know that he was in the same town. Now I have to wait 3 hours and 190 kilometres.

 

Motherly Love

My 20 year old cousin takes drugs.

It’s not a secret amongst the family. He’s always been a problem child, from the time he was in creche. He was chased away from about three or was it four different creches for beating up other people’s children. All the way to high school, his “crimes” ranged from counterfeiting money, dagga, stealing from his mom to repeatedly flunking his way out of school.

As his peer, I don’t even know what to say to him. Whenever we visit, he acts normal as if everything is ok and just says it’s the teenage years and his mom has lost touch and laughs it off. But we all know there is more to the story than that. And usually people who take drugs need to admit to themselves first that they have a problem and seek help by themselves otherwise all efforts to help are in vain.

Through it all his mother has been there by his side bailing him out when he gets himself into trouble. She has cried herself to sleep on many occasions but she has always been there for her son. As someone with no children myself, I wonder why she doesn’t just kick him out of the house. My logic being, maybe if he is out on the streets he will shape up.

Seeing everything that my aunt goes through with her son makes you realise that the love of a mother knows no bounds. Mothers are special people out there and we need to appreciate them for this unconditional love.