Perceptions and boundaries …… {guest blog}

I asked the very famous and absolutely divine Jana Engelbrecht if she would write a guest post for The Reluctant Mom.  Of course she said yes, and asked me for an idea of what she should write, and then I said “I dunno, anything really….” I am specific like that.

Jana is famous for many things —- not the least of which her ability to be cover model for Finweek and her ability to bring people together on her forum


Perceptions and Boundaries by Jana Engelbrecht

I am often amazed at how we all perceive things differently.

I will look at someone and think they have it all sorted out, they know what their goals are, they are well-groomed, their kids are well-behaved, they have this perfect life.

In a way, Facebook and social media is to blame for this phenomenon, because the more I speak to people, I realize that it’s not just me that feels this way. We each have a perception of what another’s life is like but we never really know, do we?

You can create this picture-perfect online-ideal but it can be shattered by reality.

That is one of the reasons I believe blogs like Reluctant Mom and The Bloggess are so popular. And why a forum is such a great platform to voice your fears, dreams and reality.

Hardly anyone wants to read about how shiny-happy-people your life is like all.the.time. It’s depressing. Even though I just adore positive people and every day is a challenge to focus on opportunities instead of obstacles, excitement instead of irritation and joy instead of frustration, it can get a bit too much. Reading is a leisure activity that with two toddlers and a humongous belly with another one on the way, I savour.

I don’t read anything that is not gripping, extremely out of the box inspiring and/or makes me laugh. Blogs? I have three bookmarked on my phone and I check it every night. I LOVE a good blog. To get a peek into someone else’s life and you know that person bared a little piece of her soul. To read an entry you know she didn’t necessarily read through, because she was so caught up in the moment. It’s honest and real. Reality sells and the more raw the emotion, the easier other people identify with the writer.

When I stumble on little treasures like: “It unfortunately gives me a really good view of myself taking a morning squat – and my guess is, that it is not the best time to look at yourself under any conditions. Ever. Unless you are into that sort of that look,” it makes my day.

Especially if that day comprised of trying on 110 different “pregnancy looks” in the horrific mirrors of Truworths. You feel beaten when you walk out the store you vowed you would boycott – if only for their horrifying cellulite-enhancing mirrors.

And that’s what makes me tick. When people are real and honest and put their real thoughts out there. I am not that brave. I provide a platform for women to do exactly that but my own insecurities, un-plucked eyebrows, badly shaven legs and cracked heels, I like to keep to myself. Not brave at all.

That is one of the reasons that is still, to this day and four years down the line, my passion.

I know it provides a platform for women to really open up about their feelings – in a safe and respectful environment.

I am eternally grateful to the women on there. They care for each other, they know each other’s stories and they become friends in “real-life” as well. When I receive an email or Facebook message about how Moomie impacted their lives, it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy. And I want to push forward to provide so much more.

Reading what women write on Moomie breaks down the perception we have of certain situations.

The biggest lesson I have learned in the past four years is not to judge. Not to let my own perceptions stand in the way of helping someone else. Just because I have a certain idea about something, is not to say you have to think the same way. We are all different and each of us comes with her own bag of skeletons. No-one is exempt from that.

And to this I look forward to: to try this year to put information, stories, articles out there that can stretch your comfort zone. That makes you think and push your own boundaries.

It’s so easy to judge another because of what you perceive or think. Meanwhile back at the ranch we each struggle with our own challenges. But sometimes it just takes a minute to step back, go wait a minute and think twice about giving a new idea a place in your mind.

I want to keep learning, keep stretching my own boundaries of my mind and stay in touch with that source of magnificent power that a mother has. Because it’s true.

Being a mother is an amazing opportunity to become more of what you already are. Embrace it.



Image source:  Finweek, 6 February 2014.

What did you get for Xmas? I got a divorce. You?

{I have changed the settings, so you will need to click through to the site to read the full post …… }

Kennith asked/made it clear that he wanted a divorce.


On 20 December 2013.

I thought we were talking about the fact that I had got a dog (Parker, the French Bulldog}, and not really taken his thoughts regarding a new dog into consideration – and had gone ahead and got a dog.  That is actually what I thought the issue was about.

It appears I was mistaken.

This is Parker, this is not what the disagreement was about.  This is not what we are getting divorced over.



It was an evening that proved I was far off the gist of the conversation.

It also proved I had absolutely zero SPIDEY senses.  None it seems.

I did not see it coming.  At all.  No idea.  I still had not grasped we were talking about divorce until about 30% into the conversation – I kept thinking well this is about Parker.

Talk about a slow learner.

You know when you brain is going “kehhhhhh ……” {said in the accent of the waiter from Fawlty Towers} and not quite getting what it is that you are actually talking about?

Just like that.

I really would like to say that I took it like a real trooper, but I would be lying.

I felt like a truck had side-swiped me.  I still do.  I have given up looking for the truck registration.  I have chosen to just lie on the road and go “aaaahhhhh fuck!” in the hope another truck will come along and just finish it off.

I walk into rooms and wonder what the hell I am doing there, because I had forgotten.  Brain = blank.

I cried the ugly cry.  When your mouth does that shape that it is not meant to, and you cry so hard that the tears actually can no longer get out because your eyes are scrunched so hard.

Just like that.

I went on to convince myself that I had somehow heard wrong and Kennith did not actually mean he wanted a divorce after 20 years of being together.

We had not had an argument.  There was no screaming “fuck you” down the passage.  As far as I knew no one had “stepped” outside the relationship.

Well I am convinced that is actually how it is.  I was being broken the news whilst I was thinking we were maybe arguing about something totally different.

Xmas day came and went.  We had a lovely day with his cousin, and I was exhausted by 14h00.  I felt there was this elephant in the room that I could not mention, and was screaming inside – every minute made me die a bit more.

I took the kids and headed out to my mom in Hermanus on the 26 December.  I tried to take the time to digest what was happening – and just to have some quiet time in my head.

My mom let me sleep late.  I could spend time just staring into the distance.  She just let me be.  Bless her cotton socks.

My brain still told the rest of me that I was sure that Kennith did not mean it. He was just having a moment.

I would get back and things would be okay.  Strained but okay.  I had convinced myself.

My mom kept asking “but why?………..” and I did not seem clear on why, so she kept looking at me like I had confused the shopping list, and just needed to really get a grip on things.  I just sat on the couch and sipped wine, and stared into the distance.

She let me.  And for that I will be forever grateful.

I realised that Kennith had not suggested divorce as a conversation starter.  He had told me we were getting a divorce.

He explained his reasons, and though I did not agree.  They were his reasons, and I need to respect them.  I guess that is why it is called a divorce, and not a pleasant picnic discussion at Kirstenbosch.

I returned from Hermanus and was sure that if I walked in with a certain swagger and confidence, then this entire “divorce” thing would disappear.

It seemed no amount of swagger would do the trick.

He moved to the spare room.  He took the large screen TV.  I was left wondering what the hang was happening.  Having to tell myself in no uncertain terms that THIS WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING – then have a bit more of an ugly cry into my pillow.

Divorce I was told was still the plan.

Then we started talking about child custody, and where we would live and all sorts of things that are without a doubt, what I would call a “fucking nightmare!”

My head is screaming.  I tried to look like it was all well within my grasp of things to absorb.

It wasn’t.  It isn’t.

This entire thing is an absolute nightmare.  NIGHT freaking MARE.

It seems however it plays out when I am awake, which is less than ideal.  When I sleep I dream of other things, so it is a nice getaway.

I am beyond the point where one goes “so how are you otherwise?” – I am a wreck.  There are no buts, there is no silver lining – I am fairly sure the time for unicorns and them farting rainbows is just about over.  This people is the time of hard decision, pain and anguish.

2014 is going to be a very challenging year. Winding a 20 year relationship down, has got to be challenging.

I don’t know, I have never done it before.  I am thinking that it must be “less than ideal” – my guess is it will be less then ideal. no matter how we much we set out not to “be ugly” to each other.

Translate hard as “what the fuck” – I just do not know how I will find the strength, the resources, and the mental and emotional power to make it through.

But one must.  Mustn’t one?  What are the choices?

Lots of difficult decisions to be made. Lots of anguish.  Lots of screaming. Lots of crying.  And lots of things that make me want to have a saline drip on wheelies with wine pumping in my veins 24/7.

But that might not present well to the lawyer when chatting about child custody.  So I may need to go and delete and few posts off this blog.

I will be the villain one day. Kennith can be the villain on other days.  And so it will go.

If we are lucky we can get to the other side without totally destroying our children, and maybe having a smidgen of respect for each other.

And a thin layer of sanity.  Granted zero bank balance, and my guess is a fairly low sense of self esteem.

I cannot do cliches.

I cannot do silver lining.

I cannot do “things will work out” … I just cannot.  If you tell me things aren’t over until …. oh, you know the rest, please please please try not to.

I know you think they will make me feel better, but the only thing that may make me feel better is if I was not having to go through a divorce in 2014.

Be there for my rants.  Be there for my silences.  Be there for my epic breakdowns and when I question sanity, and my place in the universe.  Just be there for me when I need bolstering and when I need a “quiet in my storm.”

It is all a bit of a cluster mind fuck right now.

Now you know.

Excuse me. whilst I have a long lie down.

Tune in again a bit later, normal broadcast will resume.

I wish that this was my sentiment – I really wish it was …… but maybe later …. or maybe never.


How was your Xmas?  Did you get anything that surprised you as much?

{rules of engagement – it needs to be respected that both Kennith and I are going through this – I would really appreciate if there were no slandering comments, and just being a bit of a dick comments.  I am sure that both of us are to blame, in different ways, but at the end of the day we have three children, and though there might have been a decision on to be with one another, we need to respect that we are trying to do the best that we can.  And survive the day.  So, no shit talk!  ‘kay?}

Takealot you sure have the goodies ….


I received a voucher for Takealot when The Reluctant Mom won the Kidzworld SA Mommy Blog of 2013.


My experience with on-line shopping  has been limited to book purchases.

I like to smell my purchases.  No really.  I walk around Woolworths sniffing clothing.

No I am not sure exactly what I am hoping to smell, but there we go that is what I do.  I usually touch the item first, sort of rub it between my fingers, and if it passes the “rub test” then it moves to the “smell test.”

Unfortunately on-line shopping lacks a “scratch and sniff” patch.

I was less than excited by the prospect of shopping on takealot, but it was a late night, a large amount of wine was consumed, a slab of chocolate was scoffed, and at that point I was pretty much willing to give anything a go.

I lurked around takelot, and though my initial plan was to purchase books.  I tried to be loose and cool and browse all the categories.

I will confess that things that had a price that had been crossed out, and then there was a new flashy “cheaper than before” price, really had a large appeal.

I bought a few things, and my voucher was for R600.00 – I had to pay just over R100.00 more as I had added a few things that were above the budget, and then waited for delivery.

Delivery was marked as the 15 January 2014.

I received two emails, one to confirm that my order was processed, and a second to confirm that my payment had been processed.  All very efficient.

I placed the order on the 2014/01/09.

Delivery was scheduled for the 2014/01/15 which seemed fair enough – I was not in a real rush.

I got a call after 15h00 on the 2014/01/10 to confirm I would be able to accept delivery today, and delivery would take place before 18h00.  It did.

I received my box this evening – it was neat, and well packed, and all the items were individually wrapped, and well cushioned.  The courier was friendly, professional and overall a really good experience.

I do love receiving things!!

I was really happy with this entire takealot experience.  The prices were good.  I liked the website, there was a good selection, and it was simple enough to work well.  From purchase to cart it was simple, clean and easy.

This is my box – Die is my does – translation for my Afrikaans readership of 3.


I bought fragrances I had wanted to try.

I must confess that the  DESEO by JLO was much nicer than I remembered.  I really liked all three that I ordered.  I purchased another Tangle Teezer, I think I should just get these on a stop order every two months.


Well done takealot, and thank you again to KIDZWORLD.