Tell us who you are Judy…..
Hi I’m Judy. I blog over at Fun Mamma SA
I’m also the mom behind Mamma & Bear and Learning with Little bear on Facebook.
I’m 43 and the mom of 7 wonderful kids. (4 adults, 2 teens and a toddler) glam- ma of 1. I’m married to Brent who patiently puts up with me and my wild ideas.
For the bulk of my day I’m a stay at home mom to Hamish and blogger, author and freelance writer. on the side. I was born in Durban. Extensively travelled South Africa and finally settled on Cape Town as our home 5 years ago. My hobbies include; running (more the fun run kind than a marathon), reading, any craft I can get my hands on and taking photos. I love good strong coffee, the ocean and those 5 minutes when all the washing is up to date.
Describe your typical day in 5 words or less..
Busy, fun, adventurous, chaotic, calm
Name 3 things you can’t live without:
What’s inside your mom bag? Show us a picture..
My mom bag is this stunning Paw-Patrol back pack and usually has my keys with small purse carrying bank card and ID, a change of clothes for Hamish, sunscreen, wipes, nappies, juice bottle and an assortment of cars #BoyMom
One thing I wish I knew before becoming a mom:
That you do not need to be perfect to be a good mom.
I spent many years trying to live up to an idea in my head as opposed to celebrating the perfect mom I already was.
What do you do when the kid/s are asleep?
When Hamish sleeps, I work. I’m either writing, working on my blogs or developing new play ideas for him to use.
Over the weekends I try get a bit of reading in as well. The best time in my home to work is after everyone’s bedtime.
The best part of your day?
Is the mornings. Hamish and I have an awesome routine and in the mornings it’s just him and I alone playing or working on his learning materials. I think having adult kids keeps me grounded on just how quickly this time will pass.
My guilty mom pleasures;
These include tequila cocktails and a glass of good red wine.
Oh, and cupcakes….
What has been the scariest moment of your mom life and who did you look to for support?
7 kids later there have been many scary moments in motherhood and many I don’t wish on anyone. But I think personally for me the worst would be when one of my son’s attempted suicide and keeping visual after that was both draining and scary. As moms we overlook mental health as something not to discuss or that thing that happens to someone else.
Who is your hero and why?
I don’t have a hero. My parents were dysfunctional alcoholics and from young I have always strived to change the cycle and be my own hero.
Name one thing (anything) that you would do if you weren’t afraid and were fearless and there were no consequences and nothing to hold you back.
One thing I would do if there were no limits would be to start an educational institute that taught teachers and parents the importance of the first 1000 days in a babies development.
Name something that your mom taught you that you have taken into your own motherhood / parenthood.
My mother, being an alcoholic, taught me how not to be. That was an important lesson and helped me to weigh up my choices and very much influenced the type of mother I am.
If you could be anyone for just one day who would you be?
If I could be anyone for the day …. Mmmm! My husband. He sleeps better than I do .😂
26 years of parenting has allowed me to clock up many hours of mom fails. I think the worst would be the time I got us locked out the house and we were busy breaking into the kitchen when ADT arrived, and I had to try prove I was indeed the owner of our home while feeding my 6-year olds feet through the window to go open up.
How has motherhood changed you?
I can’t say motherhood changed me. I was 17 when I had my first child, so I grew into motherhood. But as a mother I have changed over the years, adjusted to new situations and am constantly learning. Now though, I’m much more laid back with Hamish than I was with my older 6. I also have a lot more patience and gratitude even for the hard days.
Again, so many proud moments. And I teared up just writing that. To sum it up my kids have grown to be good people despite my fails and any hardships along the way.
If your house was burning down, name 3 things you’d grab besides the kids and pets?
If the house burnt down the one thing I’d grab, assuming the kids were outside would be a small bag of photo jewellery of my children that I have next to my bed.
Send me a photo when you were at your worst or best during your motherhood journey and tell me why you chose it.
I’ve chosen this picture taken a few weeks ago, because I am a proud 43 year old, an older mom who is perfectly imperfect. Am I at my best? Most of the time. Am I at my worst, sometimes yes..
Name one thing you would change about yourself and one thing you wouldn’t.
One thing I’d change about myself would be my weight. I’m still carrying a lot of baby weight and some cupcake weight too and it makes me self-conscious in photos.
One thing I wouldn’t change is my positivity. No matter what life has thrown at me I’ve always stayed as positive as I could.
What piece of advice would you give to a new mom starting her journey?
My only advice to a new mom is to follow your gut….. ALWAYS! There’s no perfect way to bring up a baby.
Who is your biggest support?
This was a hard question. Throughout my childhood and youth my grandmother was my biggest supporter. I think over the years since she passed away in 2003, I’ve learnt to become my own cheerleader.
Best part of being a mom?
The best book I ever read?
This was a dog eared, worn covered, Methodist church print of the mother of Charles Wesley. She wrote ideas on how to teach your children at home alongside you and how to make it fun. I still use many of her ideas.
Have you ever been judged for how you do things as a mom or how you parent?
Judged has become my middle name 🤣😂
There were so many, here are a few:- I was an unmarried pregnant teen, teen Mom, home-schooled, stay at home mom , was a working mom, single mom, divorced mom, bottle fed, had so many Children, older mom, vaccinated some of my kids, didn’t vaccinate some of my kids, used disposables, co slept, let my kids eat sugar ( psssst….They still eat sugar).
When I was younger these judgements both hurt and upset me. Now I’m wise enough to know that there is no perfect way to parent. Even if you sanitize every inch of your child they still go to school and eat some dirt.
Worst parenting advice?
My 4-year-old (nonverbal) son was diagnosed by a panel of professionals at a university in KwaZulu Natal, as me being too clingy. Turns out he has Asperger’s.
How has being a teacher influenced how you parent and how on earth do you come up with all these amazing activities?
Being a teacher has always been my passion and first love.
I think it’s influenced the kids in the fact that we always have books around us and everything is turned into a learning experience.
As a parent I think perhaps it’s given me a bit more patience and allowed me to both teach and parent according to each of my child’s needs and abilities.
As for creative ideas – I come from a long line of creative women and don’t remember a time I wasn’t making something. I also read a lot of teaching and creative materials (Online and in print) and used to run craft classes for kids so I think some ideas have become like good friends over the years.
I trained with smile educational toys when I was 19 as a consultant and learnt the value of learning through play. Mostly I learnt to take a product and find the best, most fun way to introduce it to my children and pupils. This has been my biggest influence over the years.
What advice can you offer us novice moms, being a mom of 7 comes with plenty experience, name one piece of advice that you think we should know.
My advice to moms …take the time to make the memories, stop for the photos, your children are only little for 18 Christmases. It goes by faster than you can imagine.
Sum up your motherhood in ONE word.
‘L O V E’
Thank you so much for taking us on a journey through your life, home and heart. You are an amazing mom and friend! xxx