If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll be familiar with my friend Robyn (Bobs) Rose as she’s a talented photographer who has taken a lot of the pics of my family that I feature here. Bobs and I met in London about seven years ago and we clicked right away, mostly because she’s hilarious and generous and a beautiful hippy at heart. Robyn’s journey to becoming a Mom is a fascinating one and I thought you’d like to hear more about it. Over to Bobs…
I first met Cindy in the blogosphere and enjoyed reading her honest portrayal of life as a young mother of three living in Cape Town. Cindy possibly has the most photogenic family IN THE WORLD, so read on below for my interview with her plus some beautiful photos.
Hi, I’m Cindy! Besides being a Mom, I am a 27-year-old living in Cape Town (born, bred and would never leave). If you’re ever looking for me you can find me making full use of the amazing opportunities that Cape Town gives us – spending time at the beach, chilling with friends over a braai, brunching at little cafes in the suburbs, pretending to want to walk up the mountains, or my absolute favourite: spending the day in any of our glorious Winelands towns.
When we’re not exploring Cape Town you can find me filling my time with dark chocolate, Nik Naks, strong coffee/Milo/wine, watching series with my man and writing on our blog – 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House.
Tell us about your family:
Seth and I met when I was just 16 and cliché of all clichés – “it was love at first sight”. We were married by the time that I was 20, I had Kyla when I was 22 (she just turned 5), Riya was born just a year and two weeks later (she is about to turn 4) and then Knox joined us on my 26th birthday (he is 2 in September).
I’m not sure what “defines us” as a family the most, the fact that we are an interracial couple or that we got married “too young” or that we had so many kids close together or even just the fact that I may be married to the most hipster of hipsters. Either way, life is full to bursting and although sometimes it can be overwhelming, there is never a dull moment.
Do you work? And if so, tell us about your career and work/life balance:
Yip, I work full time. I am what most people affectionately refer to as “The Middle Man”, a qualified Short Term and Medical Aid Insurance Broker. I co-own an Insurance Brokerage in Cape Town, although we have offices in Durban and Johannesburg too. Thankfully I only work a ¾ day which enables me to leave at 2pm to spend time with my babies.
Honestly my work/life balance is only close to manageable because of Sandy (our domestic helper) – I have no clue how I would survive without her. My in-laws and mother are also an incredible support when it comes to taking care of my kids.
What is the biggest thing you worry about or fear when it comes to your children?
- I am scared that I may die early and leave them to grow up without me, that I will miss all the big milestones in their lives.
- I am scared that they may be a victim of crime, like some of the stories we hear about every day.
- I am scared that they will get involved with people that are bad for them, that hurt them in ways that they can’t recover.
- I am scared that I will not properly equip them to deal with this life.
- I am scared that I am so scared of all these things and that I protect them too much.
And what is your greatest hope one day for your children?
Wow, this is a hard one. Obviously I want so many things for them, like solid schooling and exciting travels and trustworthy friends and loving relationships and that they will be spared the many hardships that we face in this life. But I think the most important thing for me is that they grow up to be content individuals that are secure in themselves and their abilities. I have no desire to push them into certain fields or things that they don’t enjoy, but I want them to have tried it properly before pursuing it or giving up. So basically, whatever they end up doing/being/loving, I just want them to be content.
I just loved Cindy’s answers because so many of her fears and hopes for her children are the same as mine. In the end, all we want for our kids is for them to be content in themselves, confident in their abilities but most of all, happy. It doesn’t seem like much to ask, does it?!
Want to read more interviews in my Meet a Mom series? You can find them all here.
All photos by Susie Leblond
The winner of the phone case from The Cover Collection was Natalie Gordon, who’s comment number 14 was picked by random.org (see below). Watch this space for more great giveaways in the future.
Although I’ve only met Gaelyn online, I thought you’d be as interested as I was to read her thoughts on life, disability and being a stepmom. Gaelyn is an incredibly positive, encouraging and warm person and her story is inspiring. Over to her…
I grew up in Durban, the middle child of five! I have lived in Grahamstown, the USA, Madagascar and Tanzania, and have been in East London for the last five years now. I live with my gorgeous husband Chris and stepdaughter Zoe, who is almost 10.
I see on your blog that you list yourself as being 40% disabled. Tell us more about that and the positives & negatives that have come out of your experience.
During 2010 I started suffering from pain in my lower legs whenever I exercised. Over time this got worse, to the point where walking around the supermarket became painful. After being diagnosed with Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome, I was booked in for a simple surgery to fix it in July 2011.
Unfortunately the surgery didn’t go as planned and I was left with a severed nerve in my left leg, which has caused foot drop. This basically means that I cannot lift my left foot or ankle at all, and walk with a severe limp. I live in constant pain and have to walk with the use of various orthotic devices (you can read more about Gaelyn’s condition here).
Something that I decided fairly soon after the accident is that I would force myself to be positive. I went back to gym, I joined CrossFit and I entered an Ironman 70.3 race which I will be doing in January 2015. I have learned so much about myself during this process. Undergoing three surgeries and becoming completely reliant on other people for the most basic things like making tea has taught me to let go a little!
How do you balance being a Mom and working? Tell us a little more about your work and what you do.
I own a diet and lifestyle coaching business called A New Weigh, which is all done online, so I get to spend time with Zoe in the afternoons.
I absolutely adore my job! Being the reason someone pushes a little harder in their workout or wakes up earlier to walk on the beach – doesn’t get much better than that. I have never had grand professional career dreams; my goal was always to be a wife and mom. But my life circumstances have pushed me into this coaching role and I couldn’t be happier.
As a life coach, what advice can you give parents to help them develop a healthy self confidence and body image in their daughters? (and sons)
Having a daughter has really taught me so much about how girls grow up with skewed perceptions of themselves. It has been proven time and again that many of those body issues start with their mothers. Whether it’s a mom criticising herself in front of the mirror, refusing to get undressed at the beach or commenting negatively on her daughter’s choice of clothing or appearance – those messages are ingrained into these young minds for life.
I have always made a concerted effort to point out the things about myself that I love and am proud of whenever Zoe is around. She will never hear me say no to a treat because “I’m fat/ugly/ashamed”. I don’t want her to know about my own body issues or insecurities, I want to show her that women can look in the mirror and be happy and by doing that, I am giving her permission to do the same.
I feel so strongly that ALL women should be free and comfortable with their bodies when their daughters are around. If you hate yourself, how can she love herself? Girls grow up into the women we teach them to be.
What are the upsides and downsides of being a stepmom?
I have always said that being a stepmom is both the toughest and most rewarding role for a woman to experience. You open your heart to someone else’s child and make huge sacrifices so that they are happy, healthy, cared for and loved.
It is very challenging finding a middle ground to parent a child who lives between two homes, with two moms who parent very differently. I always want to do my best for Zoe, but I still need to be considerate of her mother and her wishes.
Other mothers have nine months to bond with their baby before they’re even born, but I’ve always believed that the bond Zoe and I share is totally different to that. I chose to love her and loving her is both the biggest risk I have ever taken, as well as the biggest blessing. Being a stepmom is hard, but it is also the greatest honour and privilege a woman can ever be given.
Images by Derryn Semple Photography