WELCOME TO JOHO MOMS: MEET NANDI DLEPU (Creator)



I want to say by day I work as an Executive Producer to a small and successful design and animation studio but honestly its a hat I hardly take off.  I am an Executive Producer and I work the hours needed to get the job done which is a struggle as a single parent.  I try my best to have a full life but I'd be lying if I said I maintain a balance despite my constantly striving for one.  Whenever I reveal or at least try to share just how hard the balancing act is but moreover how hard my journey into motherhood has been, I find that even my closest confidant's don't believe me or perhaps fully comprehend some of the difficulties mothers not just myself encounter in our attempts to "have it all".  I started thinking about Joho moms as a peephole into other homes, to determine just how much of this journey we all had in common and out of a genuine interest to find out what other moms were going through.  I imagined a space where we could not only share but a place safe enough that we could touch on some of the hardships so that other mothers out there feel less alone and well just less overall.  Meeting and drawing strength and inspiration from other mommies has been an incredible blessing.  I'd like to share the glorious lives of some of those Queens here on Joho Moms.  I'll start with my story.



I think I had a relatively comfortable pregnancy.  I say think because its actually all a bit fuzzy to be honest.  I remember my midwife telling me that porridge brain was there so that women would forget the discomfort of pregnancy and be foolish enough to make more babies.  I'm not sure how much truth there was in the story but it was amusing and it made sense.  Akani hardly kicked or moved about in the last trimester.  I remember drinking orange juice hoping he'd get the hiccups so that I could feel him move and be assured that he was ok.  I thought that if this was anything to go by that I was going to have myself a peaceful baby boy.. Not quite.  When he was born, his first cry was like a shrill causing the doctor and nurses to pull back momentarily.  I was like woah and for the first year I could count the number of times I had a full nights sleep.  It was hard.  I was told it would get better with time and they, my mom and his fathers mom, were right.  With each month I could see a little personality forming and true to the cliche it made the hardship worth it.  I was over protective and held him too much but I told myself he was, well he is my firstborn child.  I loved the smell and feel of him but unfortunately that meant he didn't like being put down. He would only sleep in either my or his fathers arms. my next child, I will appreciate like one does a work of art, with a respectful distance. Akani, now at 2, is an incredibly happy child.  He is always laughing sometimes even laughing and cooing in his sleep but he also cries a lot.  Sometimes I feel like he divides his waking time equally between the two activities.  One of my favourite activities with Akani are our morning walks.  He wakes up, either laughing or crying, then says, "Come."  He gets off the bed and actions at me with his hands to follow him.  He walks to the front door and points at the handle and says "We go out side."  Often simultaneously realising that he is bare foot.  He says "Shoes," pointing to his feet and says shoes over and over again until he is eventually in his shoes and then we walk. 


He leads, I follow.  

Our weekend walks go on until he is hungry.  He has a curious mind as he points around asking "Whats this?"  Every once in a while he marvels at something and pointing towards it he'll say, "Look at that."  In general I feel like our relationship has reached some kind of momentum.  I feel like I'm a better mom and truth be told I did not always feel this way.  I felt like a bad mother when, high strung and tired, I would raise my voice at him.  When I got impatient which at some point was so often I'd find myself embracing him in apology for what felt like a lifetime as I fervently whispered how much I loved him. I am learning to be patient.  I'm also cognisant of the change and improvements in somethings as much as I am aware of the things that I still need to modify and improve on. 




I used to think that when I had children that it would be in the confines of a marriage.  Alas that wasn't my story, and much of the first year of my son's life his father and I struggled to just be.  My first glimpse into motherhood was hard & filled with heartbreak and it made the journey harder in ways that I'm ashamed to say.  Still dealing with the heartbreak of losing what I had considered my family, I at least made the decision that this imperfect situation, part of which I was responsible for would no longer mar my journey.  I decided that I would build a relationship with my son, carve out our own reality and allowed myself to get excited about what this world looked like and how we looked in it.  Were we happy? And what would we be wearing while living out this gloriously happy existence of ours ;-)




Being a single parent was one of my worst realities come to existence.  The immense feeling of failure that came with it was one I would have gladly avoided and nearly did because no matter how involved my estranged partner was I still felt very alone.  Making a child is a shared act and I believe that raising and witnessing one should be a shared experience as well.  I've just looked at non traditional ways to share that experience.  My blog and my instagram account being one of them.  I'm also opening myself up a little bit more to sharing some of these experiences with my family and some of my close friends.  As a personality asking for help or reaching out for support is not something that comes naturally to me but I see how better my relationship with my son is with the inclusion of my inner circle/community of family and friends.

As a mother I also had to look at my lifestyle.  I moved out of my one bedroom loft apartment and moved to the other side of the motte where I could find an estate that was also walking distance from 2 creches.  A sudden emphasis in living in a space that felt like a home took over as well.  Opting rather for comfortable American style sofas where I imagined Akani and I cosied up to family movie nights.  I remember when I was eventually happy with his bedroom surveying my work I thought, "Good lawd, I have a child and this is his room!" 









I also enjoy shopping for Akani as much I as I enjoy shopping for myself, possibly more.  Cue in www.takethatmason.tumblr.com, just 2 kids trynna walk, talk and colour coordinate.  Akani and Amani share their style and fashion tips with the world otherwise known as their extended playground.  I believe that the things you want for yourself should be the same things you do for your child as well.  Good taste and style is something I like to pride myself in.  It extends itself into all areas of my life and it felt only natural that I would want the same for Akani.  This didn't go unnoticed, in good humour and with some prompting one of my mommy friends and I created the kids style blog, Take that Mason!  I am sensible about how much money I spend not only on myself but on Akani as well.  Mixing brands and retailers with varying price points which leads me to my rather impromptu shout out. Kudo's to Mr Price's buyer.  Their boys section is always up to date and easy on the pocket.  I splurge on the big brands predominately during their sales, my favourites being Country Road and Okaido. 



But its not all fashion and play dates there the obvious and most prevalent consideration like Akani's future.  Being financially responsible enough to give him the best possible lifestyle.  My handling of money is now with renewed scrutiny as one tries to get their affairs in order.  With the fees of private schools getting more and more exorbidant saving money for my son's education is not something I take lightly.  I always wonder what I can do to give him a leg up.  Beyond our financial security, what parenting philosophies could I possibly adopt to ensure that he is also the best that he can possibly be.  Here, I have come to realise that Akani will be inspired by what he sees and lives everyday.  So as much as I have these fantasies of him lying languidly on our day bed reading, if he doesn't see and learn that love for books from home that that expectation is almost unrealistic.  I believe that in order to realise part of my aspirations for him alot of it will be learnt behaviour that starts in the home with me.  He will learn to be disciplined if I am disciplined, he will learn to be kind if I am kind etc etc.



All in all motherhood for me has proven to be an enlightening journey. Sometimes in an empowering way and other times not so much. Trying to juggle the person that I want to be for myself and the person I believe my son needs me to be is lots of work but thats the thing about the love I have for my son. I will keep on working, adjusting and evolving because out of all my roles being his mother is the one I am most committed to.



Check out the blog again for a peek into the life of yet another JOHO MOM. 
- Our passions, spaces and children.








17 comments:

  1. Such a nice insight into motherhood. Lovely post

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    1. Thank You Zoliswa. I hope you've enjoyed the other mothers stories as well.

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  2. Hi

    I am so touched as I type out this. Thank you for your blog. No I am not a mother but aspire to be one someday and I think its lovely that I will have some point of reference other than my own lovely mother and upbringing.I personally believe that motherhood and being a parent is such a strong driver for personal growth and strife to be a better person. That’s the one thing I have taken away from this blog; to be better for me now and for the children I am yet to mother. Thank you for this lesson. I look forward to many more and to reading more stories about you spaces, passion and children

    Thank you so much for this

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    1. Thank you Florinah. I am sincerely moved by your comment. Rarely do I find myself at a loss of words. Just thank you and thank you for sharing.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Hi Makopi.

      I'm always glad when a story resonates with another mommy. Be it my own story or from the other Joho Moms. Its a tough journey, parenting. Being a single parent has its own set of complications but like you said, twice the love and twice the pride.

      Thank you for the support.

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  4. WOW! Amazing. New blog added to my reader.

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    1. Thank you Young Mommy. We have a new post due this week too.

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  5. Hi

    I happen link through your blog feed from a friend on Facebook who spoke highly of JOHO MOMS. Your story has resonated with me deeply and inspired me in so many levels. Bless your heart for sharing.

    It's never easy being a single parent, but it's not all bad,and so worth it when I look into my daughters eyes and feel the happiness and love. It can be overwhelming but keep in mind ...NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THE REASON FOR YOUR JOURNEY=YOUR CHILD

    You are never given more than you can handle.
    Bless

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    1. Thank you Mabotse and you're completely right one should never lose sight of the reason of this wonderful yet sometimes frustrating journey :) It genuinely helps to keep that top of mind at all times.

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  6. Nandi thank you: stridently honest, brave, humble, filled with a spirit of curiosity... I love that you keep it so real "It's not all fashion and play dates" without playing the victim card. A really well written piece. I am only an auntie, a god mother, a devotee of various children (Milly, Ninja, Louis, Zahara, you know who you are) but this actually bought tears to my eyes..

    I think the superwoman myth needs to be flattened now, once and for all: REAL PEOPLE rule! I am so struck by the support of other mum's (your own, your mother in law...) and hope that there will be new generation of men and boys will truly value, and stick with, fatherhood, and realise too how much they gain and learn from it....

    Beautiful. Thanks.

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  7. Thank you Thembi.

    I will forever carry the following with me as its part of what I am working towards.

    "I think the superwoman myth needs to be flattened now, once and for all"

    Motherhood like any experience and journey is as diverse as the individual. We are all super for having taken it PERIOD. There is a strength in telling it like it is and the support and kind shoulder that it has given to other mothers has been fulfilling and motivating beyond words. What a reward.

    Please pop in again.

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ABOUT

JOHO MOMS is about bringing motherhood into a relatable, inspiring and aspiring space. I wanted to create a space where mothers felt safe enough to share their respective challenges, their highlights as well as our parenting philosophies to fellow newbies. If you'd like to share your story please email johomoms@gmail.com - Our passions, spaces and children

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