Meet mom, blogger and interior design enthusiast, Leigh from The Mom Diaries. She took some time out to talk to us about her family, parenting and her thoughts on using technology in education.
Tell us about yourself?
I am Leigh, mom two of the cutest boy creatures alive – Noah 6 and Brody almost 4. I am happily married to a man I call my best friend and soul mate and we live in Cape Town South Africa. As a family we are crazy about exploring our city, going on adventures and learning about new places. My husband is a DJ (Don’t worry that’s not his day job) and so music plays a very big part in our lives. Saturdays we put records on, make breakfast and hang out in our Pj’s as long as we can. Most often, at some point we land up dancing to The Foo Fighters or Jimmy Hendrix. Most often I’m the one cleaning up the mess too. Our lives are about to get a whole lot more chaotic as we anticipate the birth of our little girl in three months time! I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around the fact that I’m returning to the trenches – but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Tell us about your blog?
My blog was born about 5 years ago, when I was pregnant with Brody. It was really only started as a way of documenting our lives and recording the crazy feelings I was experiencing as a mom. I felt an urge to connect with other moms and share my story. I think in the early stages of writing, my mom, aunt and a few close friends were the only people who read it and I never anticipated my blog to grow as much as it has or dream it would open as many doors and exciting opportunities as it has since investing more time and energy onto over the last two/three years. These days I concentrate a lot on lifestyle aspects and have found my passion in working with the many amazing decor brands around our country. I am also passionate about helping promote and endorse mom-run/owned businesses and see our local community grow together through exciting collaborations. I ran a very successful Kids bedroom Makeover campaign on my blog earlier this year and we are in the throws of launching one helluva amazing one for a Master Bedroom! So, watch out Ladies It’s going to be something special with some incredibly high-end and bespoke decor brands. I feel humbled and honoured to entrusted with their brands and hopefully come up with something as incredible as our last makeover project – it’s all very exciting when things you work hard for come together to beautifully.
How do you feel about using technology as part of learning?
I’m all for using technology and iPads, TV’s and Computers definitely have their place. I mean we would be very naive to think that they don’t play a huge role in our kid’s educational future. I do however believe that screen time should be monitored very closely. As the end of the day the two very important factors are HOW LONG they spend on a devise and WHAT they are watching. WHAT they are watching probably being the most important. As my dad always said when we were kids ” Garbage in. Garbage out” The very interesting thing is that in the last there or four months my son has lost interest in screen time – He would much rather play in his room or be paying outside with friends until the sun goes down. Lego has helped a lot with encouraging him to play by himself and he is crazy about constructing things. Often on a Friday when we have movie night, I’m left beefing and pleading for him to join us. So that’s been quite interesting!
What are your kids favourite apps?
There are some really great apps that can teach you children some really amazing stuff! I wrote this piece last year highlighting some of our favourites.
What do you love about South Africa and raising your children here?
This is a very difficult question to answer at this point in time – where our country seems so beyond repair and our Government has done nothing but let us down. We have considered moving but at the end of the day we LOVE South Africa and feel it’s our home, a place like no other. Just yesterday I was sitting in a family pizza joint with my friend and our kids. The waiters and staff were looking after our kids like they were their own – making them laugh and picking them up to hug them. You don’t find that anywhere else in the world. Our country is full of racism and hatred between its people but at the end of the day, when it comes down to the ordinary people who we come in contact with, there is a deeply rooted desire to love and connect. And when we get it right, it’s a very beautiful thing.
TV “Yes” or “No”?
Like I said above, as long as it’s monitored.
What is in the lunchbox?
Noah was spoilt at the school he was at last year – they prepare a cooked breakfast and lunch for them everyday! So this whole packing lunch boxes is quite new to me! I usually pack crackers and cheese or cheese and pickle sandwich for Noah – he’s obsessed with “sour cucumbers”! On top of that he has to take a fruit every day for their communal fruit bowl, some pretzels and yogurt drink. He also loves those little cream cheese and breadstick packs. My boys are real eaters and are already eating me out the house. I fear the teenage years.
How do you balance it all – in one sentence?
Family first, work and home management second. Home management comes down to planning ahead and staying in a good routine.
Do you children do chores at home, if so what and how do you manage it?
My kids are fully capable of doing chores and I try to encourage it as best I can. For the most part they are good at doing the basics that are required by them (tidying their toys etc) but I’m bad at encouraging them to see other stuff through. You know, often it’s just waaaaaay easier if I do it myself. I get quite frustrated with the pace at which they go – terrible I know!
What is your favourite holiday plans/ activities with kids?
My kids live on a block with lots of other kids so we are so lucky to have community of little friends and a safe pace for them to play. They are outside the house the second they wake up and all the kids play so well together – they are a real little gang who just love exploring together. I love that they are now at an age where I can work while they play and carry on with admin. I love it that they don’t always have to be entertained with outings and planned activities – free play at its best! Saying that we love going on adventures together – the aquarium, the blue train park, the promenade, the park and the beach are just some of our favourite things to do.