My life as a mom, draped in textures and prints.


Parenting in Heels

The balancing act: 9-inch heels and a 3, going on 9, year old! (Heels have been harmed in the midst of motherhood) *Usually running after her, or into things as they jump out at me in my crazy beautiful world*

My Internal Struggle after the Power Struggle by Nik Rabinowitz

I felt cheated. That’s the best way to describe the feeling I was left with after sitting front and centre at the theatre production, The Power Struggle, performed by Nik Rabinowitz at the Baxter Theatre on Friday evening.

I should have started with this, I did not score comps to the show; I paid R195, and it was the first time in two years I treated myself to a night out, actually, two hours is more accurate. I’m a mom, and that’s really it. I don’t often enjoy ‘night life’ (I was told, my definition of it is a little off the mark). When I say ‘night life’ though, I refer to being outside, mostly on my own property, with a cup of tea, at 21h30 on a Friday, whilst simultaneously hanging the laundry.

Back to the show. I chose this particular show as the one night-pass I give myself every 24 months. I know, I’m a thrill seeker. Somehow I just never follow through and find it. I decided on this show because I needed a fucking night out with someone who’s not a parent to make sure I didn’t talk about how little sleep I’m getting; I wanted to support Nik and my insanely talented and incredibly witty friend, Darrel Bristow-Bovey, who co-wrote the material for the production.

It must be said that before I booked tickets, I read the description, which stated that this show, unlike the rest of Nik’s material, has a point. While I was in stitches for a large part of the show, the feeling I had after I left is really what I wanted to share.

I won’t be saying anything about the show itself because anything I do say wouldn’t really do it justice. And, at the end of this, I will encourage you to go and feel for yourself, so no spoiler alerts here – as you were.

It was all feeling for me. Besides the asthma pump I had to use after the show, because of all the laughing (I don’t have asthma, by the way), I had another feeling. This one wasn’t restricted to lungs, but passed through my entire body like a ghost through a wall, before settling in my stomach. I felt cheated. I went to break away from life, but I failed horribly. I was brought so much closer to it, to the reality of a world greater than me…us. When he started, I listened and related to him and his words as a mother first, and then a citizen of earth. By the time I left, I was a citizen first and then a mother. That shift, and then admitting to that – as a mom – is powerful enough and frightening at the same time.

I do have conversations with friends about this place we call home, and the way we’re leaving it for the generations to come, but I always lacked the answers. I realised on Friday evening that it was probably because I was never present to my role as a passerby through my own life. I didn’t find an answer after the show, I don’t think there is just one.  The way I thought about the life I lead, changed, and that’s where it should start, I think.

24 hours after the show, and I no longer feel cheated. I no longer feel cheated because I discovered that the feeling was guilt in disguise. It was guilt for not thinking about this more fervently before. Now that I know, and can be authentic about the fact that it was guilt, I am trying to be more conscious of my contribution to the lives of now and the future…hoping we still have one. And if we don’t, I will go silently, without the guilt, because that shit can eat away at a soul long after you no longer exist in the physical realm.

Go have a laugh, at your own risk. You may walk out with nothing more than when you went in, except for a sore head and tummy after a fit of the giggles, or you may just come out with so much more.

*Catch Nik at the Baxter Theatre until 16 April. Tickets can be booked via Computicket.


Running and secondary amenorrhea

Saturday, 12 March, marked one month since I started running, and in those four weeks, I covered about 35 kilometers. To celebrate the occasion, my instructor recommended that I walk for 2 kilometers to warm up for the ‘mommy race’ to be held at Hanaan’s Sports Day the following day. I spent the Saturday in Darling instead, attending close friends’ wedding and stuffing my face with dessert. That brownie though. 

I digress…

Zahraa and I after our first run on Monday. My eyes were sweating.
After my first run on 12 February 2016

Besides the 12 February being the day I set foot on the track, it also marks the last time I got my period. In 17 years, I have never missed a period, other than when I was pregnant, so I realised that running may have affected my body and my menstrual cycle. I know that under-fueling is real and that when the input and metabolic expenditure do not add up, a side effect can be secondary amenorrhea.

I’ve been reading up about secondary amenorrhea, which is going from a normal cycle to the absence of it for six months or more. This side effect is more common that I thought, and there are many females who experience this. Surely, this can’t be good in the long run though, even though the thought of not having a period is exciting.

I was naturally concerned, since I took a pregnancy test on Monday evening and it was negative. I spoke to my doctor the very next morning, who advised me to cut back on running just a little bit, and aim to run twice a week, at a pace I’m comfortable with, instead of four times a week.

According to Runner’s World, it can take a few months, to over a year to stabilise your body’s system and regain a normal cycle again. Based on their recommendations, this is what I’ll be doing to naturally ‘heal’ my body after the shock to the system:

  • Truly understand my energy consumption and my expenditure by keeping a spreadsheet.
  • I’ve set a new training routine: twice a week, for 3 to 4 kilometers a day. Sticking to this will help my body adjust to its new schedule.
  • Increasing my calorie intake with healthier foods.
  • Be present to my body and its needs.
  • See a doctor regularly to make sure I’m getting everything I need.

If you’re a female runner, who has/had experience with this, please share your advice with me? When this happened, did you continue to run? Did your exercise routine change? Did you regain your cycle? Anything at this point, even encouragement to continue, will be appreciated.

Thank you for reading and sharing with me.

Me winning the ‘mommy race’ which was the very last time I ran.





Running for (the love of) my life

I started running this week, after avoiding exercise for over a year. Running after my three year old constituted as my daily workout, but last week I was told to start practicing. I started last week Friday and ran for 2.06km, Monday I did 2.06km, and yesterday I managed to push a little harder and covered 3.66km. My personal trainer graced me with a break today. Zahraa, who happens to be my office assistant, is a half-marathon runner and a beast on the track, with over 500 medals under her belt. Tomorrow we’re on for 4km.

(You can now feel sorry for me)

Zahraa and I after our first run on Monday. My eyes were sweating.
Zahraa and I after our first run on Monday. My eyes were sweating.

I don’t usually just wake up and decide that I’m going to get fit or eat healthy – there’s always something specific that kicks off this phase, which I manage to carry through until winter arrives and all I can see are doughnuts and my bed.

So what happened? My daughter’s Sports Day taking place in March.

She’s three, and her school holds a fundraising Sports Day every year (this being her second year). Parents get to join in on the fun by participating in a moms or dads race. I enjoyed running and competed in athletics, from primary school, all the way to Matric, so I jumped at the opportunity to get involved last year, and this year will be no different. My daughter made me practice, at home in the passageway, outside in the yard, at her ma’s house, just about any where.

Niyaaz often says that I take it too far, sometimes, but I thoroughly enjoy competing and if I need to kick-start my exercise plan using her Sports Day as my motivation, then that’s what I’ll do…and did.

Last year, she was in red house, and we made:

  • pom-poms for cheering
  • we had ‘Hanaan’ stickers made to add to our red t-shirts
  • my brother (her uncle) had her name on the front of his car
  • both Hanaan’s grandmothers ran the granny race 🙂
  • I ran the moms race (and won)
  • her dad was off to a good start in the dads race, but took a fall 😀 (and he thought practicing was unnecessary)
Last year's Sports Day. Hanaan was red house.
Last year’s Sports Day. Hanaan was red house. Left is my mom, supporting her grandchild and bottom right is my brother’s car with Hanaan’s name on the front.

When we support, we don’t do it half way. Just like competing in any race, it’s 110%, and that’s what I do as a supporter and a mom. I give it my all.

Watch the video of the mom race I competed in last year! Go Red house!

Yes, you can hear Niyaaz laughing at the face I pull when I’m in it to win it!

This year, she says she’s in Green house, but we won’t start making any supporting material just yet, until her parent/teacher notebook reveals the correct colour house, cause that would be embarrassing.

By Friday, I’m hoping to cover 15km for the week. Also, Zahraa has decided to sign me up for the Slave Route Challenge fun run (5km). Who knows, this may just become my thing….

If you have any tips for a first time runner, let me know in the comments section, please 🙂 Someone told me about carbo-loading before a big race…I like that. If you have tips like THAT to share, hit me up!

12 hour days at the office and foot soaks

When I started this blog, I had no intention – or dream- for it. I love writing, and apparently, other people like my writing too, which is why, I guess, I get paid to do it. I write whenever I feel compelled to: when I can’t use my voice to express; when I need an escape. Just the other day I found my pregnancy diary. It did not include inserts of doctor follow-ups or an eating plan. It had a letter to my unborn child on every page, written to her as if she already existed outside of my body.

Hanaan, ready to step into a magical world at Uncle Paul’s Christmas Party (2015)

So, I’m writing today, because this week put me through my paces, and it hasn’t stopped. The thing is…I quite enjoy it and I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it. This week, my position as a project manager, writer and creative director, had me working 12 hour days. I’m at my desk right now, preparing for another long day.

While I do sometimes battle with guilt because during weeks like this, I see my daughter maybe one or two hours for the day, I’m a quality over quantity kind of mom.


The time I do see her, it’s magical. Like treating her to a foot-spa treatment at home (using all her natural products of course) or making yummy Rice Krispies and marshmallow sticky, chocolaty treats. (I remember making those as a kid…Mmmm)


She’s three. A three year old who understands that I absolutely LOVE waking up and going to work. Not because I want or have to, but because I choose to. I choose to show her that leaving her in the morning is a choice I make and stand by. That may sound harsh, but here’s the facts:

A year ago, she’d ask: Mommy, why are you going to work? I’d say: Because I have to, my darling. I set a precedent for her to believe that work TAKES me away from her. Now, when she asks, I say: Because I love what I do and I choose to go. For just over a year now, her understanding of the working world, at least my working world, involves love, choice and fun, and guess what, I still come home.


When we tell kids to share, we hear: we’re teaching them to be kind (nothing wrong with that), but what do they hear? If I have to share with her/him, I have less of what’s mine. (that’s a fact). I always try to say things like: “She does not have that particular toy, and she thinks it’s very interesting. Would you like to show her how cool that is?” Not always, but most times, she chooses to let go of her stuff even if only for a few minutes.

A few months ago, she got some money from her ma she found under the couch – a R1 coin. We stopped by the superrette for bread, and a kid (roughly five years old) approached us for money. Hanaan asked me why she asks for money. I explained that she may not have of her own, and if we can, and feel like we want to share, we should give to those who have less than us. We drove off after I checked my purse which had no cash. Between leaving the store and driving to the traffic lights a few meters away, she shouted at her dad to turn the car around. “But mommy, I have and I want to give it to her.” We immediately turned around, and she gave the money (the only money she believed she had) to the little girl. I told her that it was a very nice thing to do. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. Her face showed me that she got so much more than a R1 could buy.

I always try to be a mom who is present. Present in the moment, present to her feelings, her reactions, the connections she makes. It is my feelings, reactions and connections I make in her presence, that she absorbs and uses to form her own view of the world.

I want her view to be hers, not mine.

Here’s to a long and productive Friday, because I know there are 10 little toes waiting for me to massage them this evening 🙂 And to top it off, she always insists on doing mine afterwards 😀

Happy Friday, all!






To greet or not to greet. That is the choice!


I teach H about choices. She HAS to do nothing! There are explanations upon explanations about consequences and learning, but there is and NEVER will be force.

I believe that until now, we’ve raised a happy, and incredibly smart child, one who shares, cares and all those other things that we brag about as parents. Please and thank you rolls off her tongue without any effort, she offers her ‘only’ money to the kids who beg at the local superette, she dresses herself, she was fully potty-trained in an hour, and spoke full sentences by the time she turned one.

This sounds like it should have a ‘BUT’, hey? Well….here goes.

Despite being able to do all of the above, and so much more, she chose never to greet loved ones, except her dad and I! She would hug and run up to Ma and Pa; Mamma and Pappa; her uncles; aunts; our neighbours and their kids, who are more like family; but she never verbally greeted anyone – not a hello in English nor an assalaamualeikum in Arabic.

Here’s the mom trick: (This worked wonders with the potty training, so I pulled it out again)

She loves stickers – any kind. She also loves a good game, and money for treats (we also take this opportunity to teach her about budgeting, of course).

I created a chart: Hanaan’s Greeting Sticker Chart (original, I know!) 


For every person she greets, I place a sticker on the chart. Five in a row and you get a R5 in the bag. (this bag, by the way, I just got from Bali YESTERDAY, and I thought I finally had a home for those sanitary towels in my bag).


The bag now holds R10 and we’re well on our way to R15. She also understands that when the chart is fully adorned in faces, the chart and reward system will go, but the lesson and pride will remain – same with the toilet training. 

H in early 2015, placing stickers on her sticker chart
H in early 2015, placing stickers on her toilet sticker chart

Bribing, sneaky, whatever it’s called…it works hehehehe! I now have a child who loves to greet those she knows and loves, and to see her smile proudly after she’s made a choice, makes me happy….(you can be happy and sneaky at the same time!)



The job’s been done for me!

This is my first post, and without a doubt, the hardest one. Because really, if you look at the other tabs on this site, parenting (sometimes, in heels), can knock the socks off ya, even when you’re not wearing any – this heat!  (seriously!)

While having a career and picking out an outfit can be challenging, the feeling you get when you do get it right, has nothing on the feeling when your parenting’s on point. (According to my daughter, of course)

H enjoying a Sunday babychino with her dad :)
H enjoying a Sunday babychino with her dad 🙂

Three and a half years is a long time, especially when there’s been a pregnancy, a birth, the first day of school, the first day of school in the following year, four parties (three birthdays, one panty party – don’t ask!),  five surgeries (that’s a post on its own).

My story is a long one, and I hesitated starting this blog, because I was not sure how I’d get the important (and gross) stuff across in writing. (I’m a better verbal story teller, I think).

Then last night, while in the shower it hit me: someone (very dear to me) did this for me!!!

The job’s been done!!!

Mandy-Lee Miller, owner at Pregnant in Cape Town & Ever After, writer, blogger and brand consultant, wrote about my pregnancy, birth, career and family. Not many people know me the way she does, so if we’re starting anywhere, it’s right here.


Most of you may have already read it, if not, give it a read over your morning cup of coffee (or three) and feel free to leave any comments below.

Thank you for reading!

Shaf x


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