A Little intro..
My name is Simone. I got married to my high school sweetheart at 21, and we have four children together. Three girls and one boy. I own MonaLisa Mamas together with my sister and mom, and I also blog over at Mama To The Power Of 4.
We enjoy frugal living, and often share our tips on shopping, holiday-ing and general living for large families. We live in Cape Town, but I originally come from Namibia. I have lived in 18 different homes/towns, I love travelling, and exploring new places and food and people. And even though I love my current home, I can’t wait to see what part of the world we can still explore!
Describe your typical day in 5 words or less
SAHM but rarely at home
Name 3 things you can’t live without
My phone. Jelly Sweets. Oh, and my family!
Attach a picture of your current mom bag and what’s inside:
Name 1 thing you wish you knew before you became a mom;
I wish I knew that all the baby books in the world could never really have prepared me for my littles. As NONE of those authors knew MY kids.
What do you do when the kids are asleep or napping?
I wish it was something exciting…but I try to do as much of the day’s chores (quietly, of course!), get myself presentable, blog, and do MLM-admin. My Facebook or Insta might be open while I do these… 😊
What’s the best part of your day?
When my husband comes home! He truly is my best friend, and I can’t wait to hear about his day and tell him about mine. (Also, when the kids go to bed, because then I can take out the good candy!)
Name a few of your mom Guilty pleasures;
Don’t you dare judge me…but Kardashians.
Also, I also LOOOOVE shopping without my kids. It’s like a holiday. I might just stroll through the canned good sections twice, not because I need anything…but it’s so free.
What has been the scariest moment of your mom life and who did you look to for support?
I had a miscarriage only 4 days after finding out I was pregnant. And we were living in Florida, USA at that time. I needed my mom, was devastated, young, depressed, and homesick. My husband was amazing in that time. (It’s not really “mom life” as I had not given birth at that time, but I feel it still counts. Loss is loss. Baby is a baby. No matter how little)
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;
I would pack our bags and go travel. As far and as much as possible. I truly believe there is just so much of the world we have not yet seen!
Name something that your mom taught you that you have taken into your own motherhood / parenthood.
I also come from a family of 6, so my mom always made sure each of us four siblings had one-on-one time with each parent. My mom would often take me to go drink a milkshake alone, and my dad would take me on a proper date. (He still does that every now and then, even though I’m married! Picks me up with flowers and the works!) So, this is something we have also brought into our family life. One-on-one dates with each of our children. And it’s so incredibly special!
If you could be anyone for just one day who would you be?
I would love to be an archaeologist somewhere in an old old place – think Indiana Jones type of place! I am CRAZY about history, and love discovering NEW.
How has motherhood changed you?
I believe I was made to be a mom. While all of my friends had awesome career and study plans, my biggest dream was to get married and be a mommy. And since the moment we found out we were pregnant, my life just felt complete. But there is just nothing in this world that can make you so absolutely SELFLESS like a child. It’s like the world can throw just about anything at me, and I will take it all. Anything for my kids. ANYTHING.
If your house was burning down, name 3 things you’d grab besides the kids and pets?
-Our iMac & hard drives (all our photos and documents!)
-My scarves (slight scarf fetish!)
-Nappy Bag (you never leave the house without one!)
Name one thing you would change about yourself and one thing you wouldn’t.
I am a very laid-back mom, and will allow my baby to climb stairs, my toddler to eat dirt, and my Gr 2 daughter to crawl through the hospital hallways pretending she’s a dog. I won’t change that at all. I love kids being kids.
BUT I am not the neatest mom. And often my family will have to pick clothes from the clean laundry basket that has been standing there for about a week or so. I would love Cinderella to do a switcharoo the other way around and help me learn to do (and complete!) my own chores!
What piece of advice would you give to a new mom starting her journey?
No one is and will ever be responsible or give account for your children. No one has their best interest at heart more than you. And no one knows your baby better than you. Don’t let anyone tell you what is better for your child. A mom knows. And even when we don’t know, we know. Whether it is the creche he’s at, your sleeping arrangements and times, vaccinations, diet, breastfeeding, bottles at 2 years, dummy at 3… You do what YOU feel works for YOU and YOUR CHILD. Stand your ground. Your heart is good. Trust it.
Who is your biggest support?
Hubby. No question.
What is the best part of being a mom, only ONE thing please, I know it’s a hard one?
When they are asleep, and you watch them.. and you think, “I made that…”
Best book you’ve ever read:
Love and Respect, by Dr Emerson Eggerichs
Have you ever been judged for how you do things as a mom or how you parent? If so why?
Absolutely! Vaccinations was the biggest one. We felt very strongly not to vaccinate Nika (nr3) and I couldn’t explain it. And we got …well, let’s just say we got strong, opiniated feedback.
But a long story short, she became very sick at about 5 months, and we were in and out of the hospital, seeing different doctors, tests, specialists, treatments…until we found the cause right before her first birthday (She was still wearing 0-3 months at this stage!). She had such severe leaky gut (amongst other things) and the doctor told us, had we followed her vaccination schedule, all the inoculations that is supposed to strengthen her immune system, would have done the opposite and the likelihood of her getting some sort of brain damage would have been so high.
At that moment, I knew I made the right decision for my child. (Please note that I am NOT anti-vax, but in this specific situation with this specific child, not vaccinating her, was the best for HER.)
Worst parenting advise you ever received?
Worst was the unsolicited “Siesa, spoeg uit daai dummy!” from tannies that think they know better. No, tannie. She is only 4 months old. This dummy is my lifesaver. And also hers. So back the bleep off.
Also, that I shouldn’t let my baby sleep on me or in my arms. Baby wearing was my LIFE. And my babies will sleep wherever I feel it’s good and safe and comfortable for them to sleep. Again, back the bleep off and mind your own business.
Being a mom of 4, please offer us a glimpse into your bedtime routine.
The two eldest and the two youngest share a room. We’ve tried the individual thing, but they did not want to be alone yet. I’m fine with that. They will want their own rooms eventually. So as soon as bedtime comes, we all brush teeth together, and everyone gathers for story time. We read them from the Bible and walk the youngest two to bed while the eldest two can grab a book from the shelf and quietly read by themselves in their beds for another 10 minutes. We have affirmations that we do every night right before we switch the lights off. We say the affirmation, and they repeat it back. (You are special. You are loved. You can do anything. You are a princess/prince). And they take turns counting to 10 in whatever language they want before it’s lights out.
How do you manage 4 little people without totally loosing yourself?
I’ll be honest, I do loose myself at times. And my kids feel it too. And then we’re all just all over the place. But my faith is the thing that keeps me and my sanity and my family all together. I don’t know how any body can really do this parenting thing without God. My faith is a very real and strong compass in our family life. We try to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading so we can be the type of family, the kind of example of His love most of the time.
How do you juggle motherhood and marriage so amazingly?
Again, it’s not always as easy as Instagram or Facebook makes it out to be, juggling kids and hubby is hard with just one child. With four, it just takes great planning.
The truth is, I have an INCREDIBLE husband. So involved, so supportive and so in love with me and our littles. One thing he always encourages me to do (and I do the same) is to take time for me. Whether it’s a bath, or a conference, or just drinks with the girls, we both believe that if we take care of ourselves, we can better take care of each other.
I often have friends making a little comment if I got to spend the weekend (child-free) on the beach visiting my sister in Knysna. “Oh, that niiiiiiice…who’s watching the kids? Oh, so hubby is babysitting? Wow, that’s big of him!” No, Patrice, he’s a dad. He’s not babysitting like it’s a favour. He’s parenting. And you know what? It’s still cheaper than bailing me out of jail.
My advice; communicate honestly with your spouse about where you are at emotionally/physically/spiritually regularly. And you will find you will be so much more likely to give your spouse what they need just as they will for you. We are, after all, on the same team.
Simone, you are funny, honest, sweet and a firecracker of a mother! You are powerful and a super-mama! Thank you for being apart of the Mom-Series and allowing us a look into your amazing life as a mom of 4.
You can follow Simone over on Instagram: @simone_mama_to_the_power_of_4
Facebook: Mama To the Power of 4
and Blog: www.mama4.co.za