I’ve always enjoyed eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis. Taking good care of the one and only body I’ve been entrusted with just feels good, and being able to run around and have fun with my family feels even better. During my first pregnancy, many moms warned me that my kids would never eat the healthy food that I keep in my house. Viennas, biscuits [cookies] and fish fingers would soon become our new household staples. “It’s all they’ll eat,” they said. I just shrugged, smiled, and refused to budge. How on earth have we come to believe that nutritious, delicious foods are somehow inferior to, or less tasty than, overly-processed, unhealthy products?
And since when are kids the dictators?
Isn’t it a blessing that we aren’t able to see into the future? That we only get to live life one moment at a time, in the present?
2014 was hard on my family. It was the kind of year that one would want to skip if its events could have been known in advance. After experiencing the indescribable joy of a new addition to the family at the end of 2013, things quickly went south for us. My husband lost his job (his employer downscaled); our kids were hospitalized numerous times; we moved to a new province, leaving behind all that was near and dear to us; and, in the midst of it all, I was frantically trying to be Supermom. It was exhausting.
Last year brought unfathomable hardships to my family, but also a lesson for which I’m eternally thankful.
No matter how dire our situation seemed, we would always, without exception, cross paths with someone whose situation was far worse. In every single instance, however, I was humbled by how they handled their situation with grace and even joy.
Take, for example, our beloved 59-year old nanny, with her beautiful toothless smile, whom we had to leave behind, unemployed, after moving to a new city. Still jobless after almost six months of non-stop job hunting, she still smiles at my inquiries and says: “Don’t worry, Madam, I’ll find something.” Or take the lovely young couple who occupied the bed next to ours in the pediatric ward during one of our hospital stays. Their gorgeous, tiny, one-month old son was admitted for non-stop seizures. Despite their own exhaustion and worry, this couple (and their parents, too) were the calmest, friendliest people in the ward, and enveloped their son and grandson with nothing but love. My list goes on and on.
So I enter 2015 determined to remember to count my blessings. Always and in all circumstances. Despite our year in the figurative wilderness, I realize I’m incredibly blessed to be a mom to two precious children and to be married to a man who’s my greatest supporter and fan. What a joy to be able to share this adventure called life. By any measure, I am richly blessed.
What unexpected lessons have you learned from the years that you might have preferred to skip if you’d known in advance how difficult they’d be?
This is an original post written by Karien P. in South Africa for World Moms Blog. She can also be found on her blog, Running the Race.
Photo credit: Rebecca Wilson and used under a Flickr Creative Commons License
Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
I live in Kimberley, the diamond capital of South Africa. Kimberley is a smallish, dusty town that gets extremely hot in summer – living here sometimes requires a good sense of humour, ha! I was born and raised just a short distance from here – in Bloemfontein in Central South Africa.
What language(s) do you speak?
Our home language is Afrikaans, but I’m fluent in English as well. South Africa has 11 official languages, plus a number of unofficial ones, so I’m really far behind as far as that goes!
When did you first become a mother?
I was blessed with a beautiful, peaceful little girl at the beginning of 2012 at the age of 34. My son, a busy, happy little guy, was born 22 months later at the end of 2013. It’s been an overwhelming, busy and blessed two-and-a-half years – what an amazing adventure!
Is your work: stay-at-home mom, other work at home or do you work outside the home?
I’m in the very privileged position to work from home as an ecologist. I feel extremely blessed to be able to be here for my kids all day (we have a nanny who looks after them while I work) and be able to do a job that I love.
Why do you blog/write?
Writing is my passion – I love, love, love it! Combining writing with my other passions, namely my kids, running and healthy living, is pure bliss.
How would you say that you are different from other mothers?
I’m quite a health nut! At the age of two-and-a-half my daughter has never seen or tasted something like a soda and very rarely eats junk food – we just don’t keep it in our house. She and her brother both love fruits and veggies – perhaps because it’s all they know? I also love running with both kids in our double jogging stroller – it’s one of our favourite things to do!
What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
There are so many! Keeping them safe in a country known for its high crime rate; teaching them to value and accept themselves in a society where pressure is immense to be and look a certain way; teaching them to respect others in a world where respect for others is on the decline; teaching them to be active and take care of their bodies in a world where technology makes everything so easy… The list goes on and on. Only by grace!
How did you find World Moms Blog?
I love reading about other mothers’ experiences on this crazy adventure called motherhood. An online search led me to World Moms Blogs, where I’ve found so many inspirational stories about moms from all over the globe – I love it!
This is an original, interview post for World Moms Blog from our new writer in South Africa and mum of 2, Karien Potgieter. You can read more about Karien’s running adventures through life at her personal blog: Running the Race