Respecting Ruben

I am busy reading Mother & Son, The Respect Effect by Emerson Eggerichs – and it is mind-altering-stuff! The book has been lying on my bedside table for some time now. I started reading it when it was initially bought, from the resource centre at church, but never got past the first chapter as life suddenly got crazy busy when I started a new role at work (and needed to focus on work-related reading instead).

I don’t usually wax lyrical about a book, but, now that I have read some more of it I cannot put it down, and thought I would share!

My red-blooded, fiery personality is tested on a daily basis by the fiesty, strong-willed, powerful personality of my son, Ruben. He is so much like me, that we often have a battle of the wills. Don’t get me wrong, I love him with every fibre of my being, but boy, does he challenge me.

This book has already helped me see things differently; who he is as a [man] (the man inside the three year old boy), what he wants/needs from me as his mother, how changing what and how I say things will help him flourish and help me get what I want from him (love, affection, respect, manners, a well adjusted child, and eventually an honorable grown man).

What’s great is that the book explains how to respect your son while confronting his transgressions and then enacting discipline. I have tried this with Ruben, and when I get it right (it’s not easy…), I have a much better outcome than when I deal with him otherwise.

Ps. It’s also helping me see my relationship with Christof, aka The Hubster, in another light. What’s good for the son will be good for the father too. #justsaying

If you have a son, no matter his age, I recommend you get your hands on this book. It’s one of those life-changing books because there’s not much else out there that speaks about this issue, and it’s not a concept easily understood in today’s culture. I cannot wait to see just how much this book will help me be the best mommy I can be for my Rubs.


It’s been too long. I’m a rat and I’m running that spin-wheel in a cage. And like someone told me the other day as I walked past bemoaning the fact that I was super busy, ‘Jenine, you love being busy, it’s what you thrive on’, I realised she was right. I love it.

I’m a busy-holic and I love it. I just started in a more senior role at work, heading up a brand-spanking-new division within Employee Marketing for the biggest African bank. Lots of work to be done, organise, set-up, drive.

And then Ruben got sick.

An incy wincy spider walked up my Ruben’s leg,
Bit him on his thigh and made him stay in bed. (Sing it)


We just got out of hospital this morning, after spending four nights there. Needless to say Mommy had lost her sense of humor after day three, trying to entertain a wild and strong-willed almost-three-year-old toddler, on little sleep, having cabin fever.

I did what I would NEVER have done before, I closed my laptop. Work was not happening.

It made me sit back and relook at my priorities. Don’t get me wrong, I still love busy, still love my job, but it made me realise that none of it matters if I did not have my hubby and kids. Perhaps I needed to get better and being where I am. I need to be at the hospital, entertain my child, give him the hugs, wake up a zillion times during the night to help the nurses check his vitals, the machines, change the drip.

I know this isn’t always possible. For the next two days I am going to have to do so as I work from home while looking after him. Work cannot stand still. And Ruben cannot go to school as Dr. Ahmed our Paediatrician is concerned that the abscess might get bumped and cause the infection to spread to the flesh around it, which would mean surgery.

For the most part, I am going to try BE where I am. Work, I got down. Home, I need to practice this work-life-balance-thingy still.

My year of lean

At the beginning of this year I chose not to make a list of resolutions that I knew I would not keep, and in so start a pointless circle of guilt and self-chastisation for not being able to do what I set out to at the start of the year. Instead, I decided to choose a theme for the year, and that anything I did for the next 366 days (it’s a leap year) would have to speak to this theme. One word, LEAN, just fit into everything I desired for my life in 2016, and not just in the way you might think.

LEAN will apply to what I choose to invest my time and energy on this year. It will be relevant relationally, my house and everything in it, and yes, it will also apply to my journey of weight loss to get rid of the extra rolls from having my two munchkins.

I need to be ruthless at ensuring I don’t fall back into the trap of more-is-better. See, I’m really good at being busy being busy. The more activities I have, the happier I am. Which is nonsense. This takes me away from the important things in my life, like spending real quality time with my husband and kids. Spending time with God and His Word. Being able to make more time for close friends and family. It’s also important for me to make time for the things I enjoy, such as blogging, which I haven’t done in ages. This means that I will have to say no a lot more this year. Not an easy feat for me at all.

This relates back to my relationships too. My entire life I have been like a South African taxi, always place for one more when it came to people. And even though my heart for people will never change, I need to learn that some people are only meant to be in my life for a season. And that it’s ok to let go. Even of family if they hold me back or are not in my corner. The older I get the more I value quality over quantity.

Another thing I need to do is get rid of excess in my house. I am such a hoarder, but if something has no function or value and is just taking up space, it needs to go. Finish and klaar*.

As for the baby rolls, I am already 12 kilos down. Another dozen to go still, but I am well on my way to being the LEAN person I can see in my minds-eye. Just got to keep going with eating healthy and staying focused I guess.

So, call it decluttering or spring-cleaning or trimming down, but whatever you call it, it will need to be done this year if this is going to be a LEAN year for me.

Wish me luck!

*Klaar: An Afrikaans word that means over; already; bound; done; done for; finished; fordone; game over.

The moment your world shifts on its axes

The de Klerk clanFrom the moment they place your little newborn bundle in your arms, your whole world and everything you thought was important to you till then, just shifts a few degrees. You are still you, but you are something new, something exciting, something altogether wonderful. A mom. From that moment that little person becomes your whole existence. Your everything, your every breath, your every prayer, your every heartache, your most joyful moments, your whole world.

I have tried to explain this concept to friends who are about to become mamas for the first time, but nothing you say truly paints the picture of the feeling in that moment that your world shifts on its axes.

My blog will celebrate being mommy to my two adorable kids, Amelia and Ruben. It will celebrate the blessing of being a mama, the blessing that my kids are in our lives and that I am blessed to be a blessing. Some of what I write might be the ramblings of a sleep-deprived mom, but most of it will be what my heart is overflowing of…

I hope you enjoy the adventure with me.

New Mommy, busy Mommy…

Amelia is 9 months old already and there has been quite a few months of me being so busy that there has been no time to sit down and write the blogs. A lot has been keeping me busy for the last couple of months, first my gran Elaine passing away and then having to go back to work when Amelia was 6 months old. Going back to work after such a long break was hard and it did not help that I went back to a new portfolio and a lot of work being half way through completion when I took over. This has made the blog be put on the back burner, but at last I am somehow settled into being a working Mommy and have promised myself to catch up.

I found this very apt quote on a website I came across recently…. Being a Mommy is definitely not glamorous, definitely not predictable and definitely hard on the beauty sleep, but it is the most wonderful and rewarding job in the world. People will tell you this, but till you have not had a baby, you don’t really understand it. I get it now.

Somebody anonymous said, “Being a mommy isn’t about what you gave up to have a baby, but what you gained from having one”. This truth keeps me going day after day, because it is so true.

Amelia’s dedication

‘We prayed for this child and the Lord has granted us what we asked of Him.’
1 Samuel 1:27

Amelia's dedication at Rivers Church with Pastor Paulette Parker

”And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.’
Mark 10:16

We follow the biblical pattern of Child Dedication. Our Pastors lay hands on the children, dedicate them to God and pray for blessing and protection over their lives, as well as wisdom for the parents. We had Amelia dedicated on 26 February 2012, when she was three months old.

Amelia's dedication at Rivers Church

‘I have held thee in the palm of my hand.’
Isaiah 51:16

Invite to Amelia's Dedication lunch

‘Every good and perfect gift is from above.’
James 1:17

Table settings for the lunch

‘Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord.’
Psalms 127:3

Amelia's Grandparents

From left, Ouma Una, Ouma Corrie, Oupa Hannes, Oupa Johannes and Ouma’s Elmarie and Una. So special to have all her Grandparents at her Dedication.

Finery and jewellery

Amelia wore a family heirloom ‘Christening’ dress, of over 60 years old, which her Grandma Elmarie was Christened in when she was a baby. The little bracelet was a Dedication gift to Amelia.

Three months old

A baby will make days shorter, nights longer, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten…

At three months, you are waving your arms all over and kicking more forcefully and batting your little hands together. You seem to have developed a sense of humour and a tickle or a raspberry blown on your tummy results in a delightful little chuckle. All the toys with bells and rattles inside them entertains you so much right now and when we sing and make faces to the songs your whole little body wriggles around from having so much fun.

Amelia at 3 months old

You are such a delight to be around and you bestowing smiles on everyone you meet. You look at everyone and anything with curiosity, even your own reflection. I don’t think you realise you’re looking at yourself, but the more you smile at yourself the happier you get.

Your three-month check-up shows that you are tipping the scales at 5,8kg already and that your weight and height is plotted on the midline, which in our minds is just perfect!

Amelia at 3 months old

All of God’s grace, in one precious face…

Photo shoot of Amelia at 3 months old