Being Intrepid with my Daughter

” Educating the mind without educating the heart is not educating at all” ~ Aristotle .

Last year I was gifted an incredible trip for two to South Africa – a few days in Cape Town followed by a stint in Pilanesburg National Park among the wildlife. I asked Ruby to go with me. To be fair I did ask P first but he had other plans.

Africa is a place that people wax lyrical about. African friends speak of their homeland with longing. It’s the cradle of humanity. The wildlife, the sun, the earth, the conflict, the colour, the history, the enormity of it.

Ruby was VERY excited to go. Getting on the plane she was fizzing.

We tacked on an extra couple of days to acclimatise time zone wise, and I’ll never forget that first day. After offloading the luggage and freshening up, we walked along the shore to the Cape Town V&A Waterfront. It was a bright clear afternoon, with a sharp wind blowing off the sea.

The place had a sort of mellow old-world vibe.

We came across a public stage and sat there, mesmerised by a choir belting out powerful song after song. And the dancing – my God they can move. With her African genes it’s not a surprise Ruby can move like that too.

At dinner one night with friends our waiter told us of a good trail to climb Table Mountain. The next day we set off. It took a solid two and a half hours clambering to get to the top. Very big boulders!

Ruby and I discovered something about ourselves on that climb – in a nutshell if she’s grumpy and I’m around it makes her grumpier. To the point of sitting down and not moving. So we went up separately.

She walked with our travelling buddies chatting happily the whole way. Afterwards we had a good talk about it, and a laugh. Ruby has always been closer to P, but this was the start of a turning point for us. We began to have deeper conversations on that trip. It felt really good.

Pilanesburg was life changing. A term that is over used I know, but I feel different every day since being there. Kind of more deeply connected and centred. It’s hard to put into words.

The park is 55,000 hectares of African bush, no fly zone, no houses, no nothing except wildlife in its natural habitat existing as it has for eons. Our safari vehicle was a specially designed open air off-roader with tiered seating to fit 10. Ruby – not normally a morning person – loudly declared ‘there is NO way I’m getting up early!!’, but every day she was first up.

One morning we were in the jeep at 4.45am to catch the sunrise from a vantage point. She loved it.

Safari was a dance between the guide and the wildlife.

Our guide’s insights into the animals, their habits, their way of being, went far deeper than anything you could get from a book or a documentary. Often speaking in Africaans to the animals that got close, he said ‘I’m just telling them how beautiful they are’. We were totally spellbound.

The enormous quiet power of elephant, the quirk of warthog, the slinky skip-trot of jackal tripping through the brush, the immense beauty of leopard. The patiently waiting for an animal to come out of the bush. The big cat walking underneath us to get to its prey.

The endless burned landscape.

Our eyes and our hearts were opened. We love to explore, and have travelled quite a lot throughout the world – and in NZ our own backyard – but we’d go back there in a heartbeat.

One of the aspects of being a Mum is that your kids only ever see you as ‘Mum’. During our adventure Ruby started to see me as a person who inspires others, is adventurous and an independent thinker. And she’s proud of that. It’s a pretty nice feeling.

Our relationship has developed – I give her more space, and she shares her feelings more. So great!

xA

P.S.

I’d love to hear stories of travelling with your kids, drop me a line

The Working Mum’s Guide to Fitness

 

 

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me with a beetroot face after a spin class

I am an older Mum. One of those women newspaper and magazine articles shriek dire warnings at for waiting too long to have children, all of awful things that can happen during pregnancy and to your baby from leaving it so late. If you can in fact bear children at that age. My own mother said that I would be termed geriatric once upon a time.

As a single 35 year old those stories seemed to be everywhere and make me worry.

A lot.

I married at 36, had Ruby at 37 and just managed to squeak Bekele (sounds like Bikini if you’re wondering) out before turning 40. Ruby’s birth was difficult and took a loooong time to recover from. Bekele popped out without any drugs and the recovery was minimal thankfully.

What I was not prepared for was how exhausted I would be with babies… and this is something a younger woman can deal with so much more easily. You bounce back from lack of sleep when you’re younger. Not so at 40.

Now my babies are 7 and 9. I chose to develop and grow an online business so that I can be a stay at home mum – of sorts. I wake up at 5am and do a blog post or some social media before they get up, after school drop off I talk to my team,  make phone calls, do product training, read some personal development, host live webinars, sponsor and develop new distributors…basically do as much as I can before the school bell rings at 3pm, and once they’re in bed I’ll do a wee bit more.

It is VERY easy to let the fitness slide when you’re a busy working Mum. ‘Tis true that we put everyone else first. The gym membership can lie idle for months, the walking / running shoes sit unused in the wardrobe and the exercise machine tucked safely away out of sight gathering dust under the bed!

When unfit I feel a LOT more tired, my mood is lower and the diet can slip to convenience foods… I’m not as organised  and I feel uncomfortably flabby with uncomfortably tight waistbands. Basically being unfit sucks – and affects all areas of life. And I think that over 40 you notice it more.

Paul and I were out to celebrate a decade of marriage a few weeks ago. Our anniversary is the time when we discuss the year ahead and what we want to achieve and do. One of my things was to get fitter. I realised that if I took four hours out of my working week I could go to a spin class at the gym and that would help take care of the fitness. A good friend Justine said that she has been going to spin and loves it so I thought I’d try it. I started going here and there only once or twice a week – but in the last four weeks four times a week.

The difference is HUGE. Lets face it, spin is always going to be brutal no matter how fit you are. It doesn’t get any easier but the benefits of feeling fitter are profound. My head is clearer, I feel lighter have SO MUCH more energy, clothes fit and generally feel a lot more chirpy.

If you’re feeling unfit but don’t know how to find the time or motivation to get more exercise into your life some of these ideas below might help.

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1. Do it first thing if you can. Work out before the day gets away from you. Then it’s done and dusted and you will feel a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

2. Block it out in your calendar so that it’s part of your schedule and you know at the start of the week when your exercise times are going to be.

3. Find a Mum to buddy up with. If you have someone to go with its easier to stick with it – and also if you need childcare to exercise (like I do) helping another Mum by taking her kids while she exercises means that she can do the same for you.

4. Run or exercise in your lunch break at work. Take your gym gear and pound the pavements or a do a class while everyone else is eating at their desk. I’ll bet your productivity goes up that afternoon.

5. Include your kids. Incorporate your children into your exercise routine. At home when they’re little try a babies yoga class like this one or pilates class like this one  When they’re at the park use their playground as a gym to do pull ups, sit ups and monkey bars. When they’re older go for bike rides and run together. They will absolutely love it.

6. While they’re at after school activities instead of sitting on social media, put your phone down and take the time to go for a walk or a jog.

7. Walk to school. If you live within a kilometre / mile of school get the kids out the door early and walk them to school. That’s 4km / miles per day if you do morning and afternoon. We do this on fine days and as we live on a decent hill it’s a mini workout getting them to and from school each day.

8. Be easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a few days here and there. Things happen and as busy Mums we have to roll with it when someone is sick or there is unexpected disruption to the day.

I would love to hear what exercise strategies work for you!

 

Love Ali x