The Mom Series: Meet Carmen

MEET CARMEN

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Carmen and you can find me on instagram @oneaidsa. I was born in Switzerland and moved to SA when my parents split at the age of 6 years. I have also briefly lived in Australia and Italy but still consider myself very much South African and even have the accent to prove it.

I am married to a Scotsman and have a beautiful daughter of 2 and a half years and now live in Johannesburg.

I am a medical doctor (GP) and have spent most of my time working in the emergency room which I love. I have also completed my Masters in Public Health. During that period I worked in a research unit focusing on children’s vaccines and preventable diseases.

I love travelling, although haven’t done much of this since becoming a mom. I also love food and cooking and annoy my husband for 3 months every year when Masterchef is on.

Describe your typical day in 5 words or less:

Long

Name 3 things you can’t live without:

-My cell phone

-Water

-Lansinoh (I use this constantly for my really dry Joburg lips)

Attach a picture of your current mom bag and what’s inside:

IMG 1

Name 1 thing you wish you knew before you became a mom;

Babies need to learn to sleep.

What do you do when the kids are asleep or napping?

Catch up on admin or spend some time catching up with my husband

What’s the best part of your day?

The evenings if I get home at a decent hour from work and actually have an evening to ‘relax’

Name a few of your mom Guilty pleasures;

-Online shopping

-Blaming everything on the lack of sleep

-Eating my daughters leftovers

What has been the scariest moment of your mom life and who did you look to for support?

The moment my daughter was handed to me after I delivered her. I remember so clearly how scared and vulnerable I felt. My mother has been my biggest support system for sure!

Who is your hero and why?

I have thought about this question so many times over the years. There are many great people in this world who have performed heroic acts but I cannot call any one person my hero. I like to think that there is a hero inside all of us.

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

Skydive

Name something that your mom taught you that you have taken into your own motherhood / parenthood.

To not sweat about the little things. Some days are good some are bad and some are in between and that’s life.

If you could be anyone for just one day who would you be?

I don’t know…

Worst mom-fail?

Not having fresh milk in the fridge for my daughter’s morning bottle. I don’t drink milk so I always overlook this when I do the grocery shop. My poor husband has to always dash out to the petrol station before the sun comes up.

How has motherhood changed you?

Motherhood has been my biggest teacher. It has taught me to be patient, tolerant and kind. It has taught me about forgiveness and being able to forgive myself. I have learnt no relax and not be so hard on myself. I have learnt to laugh more and see the beauty in the simplest of things. I have also learnt that if I don’t finish something today there is always tomorrow. Also, a little bit of mess is ok… in fact its even necessary!

Proudest Moment?

Mom-proud: when my daughter first told me she loved me.

Career-proud: being published as co-author in a journal article for the very first time.

If your house was burning down, name 3 things you’d grab besides the kids and pets?

-Laptop

-Purse

-Travel wallet (has passports and IDs)

Send me a photo when you were at your worst or best during your motherhood journey and tell me why you chose it.

Worst: This picture was taken during the first month of my daughter’s life. As you can see I still hadn’t figured out how to hold her properly even though I have held many infants over the years. I struggled with breastfeeding as I have flat nipples so I opted to exclusively pump to give my baby breastmilk from a bottle. I cried almost every time she had to feed because of the guilt. This photo reminds me so much of the young vulnerable and insecure mother I was back then.

image 2

Best: My daughter turned one here. It was a time when I realised that I was doing a good job and was raising a happy, healthy and very loved child (even though she looks super grumpy in this pic).

image 3

Name one thing you would change about yourself and one thing you wouldn’t.

I would like to be more confident. I spent a lot of my youth hiding behind books and never really learnt to engage with people until I was much older.

I am sometimes too honest but I wouldn’t want to change this at all.

What piece of advice would you give to a new mom starting her journey?

Be kind to yourself. You are the best person for the job because your child has chosen you.

Who is your biggest support, attach a photo of you and him/her

This would have to be my sister. She’s my best friend and always stands by me even when I’m not always right.

IMG 4

What is the best part of being a mom, only ONE thing please, I know it’s a hard one?

All the hugs!

 Best book you’ve ever read:

There are so many. Most recently, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Have you ever been judged for how you do things as a mom or how you parent? If so why?

I am sure I have been judged but this has never been to my face so I wouldn’t know.

Worst parenting advise you ever received?

“Your baby will sleep when they are tired”. What nonsense! I’ve had to rock, bounce, dance, sing, hum, tweet and do all sorts of acrobatic moves to get my daughter to sleep and KEEP her asleep.

How do you get shit done? Do you have help at home, a husband who helps out a lot,  a parent?

Sometimes I don’t – lol! Honestly though I rely heavily on support from my mother and I have a fantastic childminder who my daughter now calls mama (breaks my heart though). My husband travels a lot for work so he isn’t around all the time to help out.

Being a Doctor is amazing, what made you want to study Medicine?

I have always loved the sciences and was fascinated with the human body but in the end what really motivate me to pursue Medicine was my love for being able to provide. I wanted to be able to offer myself to others to help them in any way really. Even if it just meant sitting on the hospital bed and listening to their story.

Does having a highly demanding career ever interfere with your parenting and how?

I really try and leave my work at work. I never debrief at home no matter how bad my day has been and if I am really worked up and stressed my husband bears the brunt and never my daughter or my parenting.

If you could, would you want to be a SAHM?

No. I love what I do and I love being busy. I do feel that I miss out on some things by not being at home with my daughter all the time but I always call and facetime her when I am at work. When I am at home I make sure to spend quality time with my daughter doing something she loves. I know when she is older and able to understand why mommy leaves in the mornings she would support my decision.

Thank you Carmen for allowing me a glimpse into your life as a wife, doctor and mother.

Please go follow Carmen over on Facebook : One Aid by Dr. Carmen

or Instagram: @oneaidsa

Blog : www.oneaid.co.za/blog/

Website: www.oneaid.co.za

 

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