This week’s Xander mom balances work and family well and hosts an awesome parenting/ lifestyle blog. Meet Sharon Van Wyk of The Blessed Barrenness.
Tell us about yourself?
Hey everyone, my name is Sharon and I’m a 44-year-old working mom of two precious little girls, Ava & Hannah. I became a mom later in life after a 7 year struggle with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. My life has been truly blessed by adoption with Ava & then Hannah’s placements. By day I’m an Account Manager for a large importer video games and by night I’m a wine swilling, cooking, lunch packing, book reading, blogger, wife and mother.
Tell us about your blog?
I started blogging back in 2008, about 5 years into my infertility journey. My blog started out as a journaling exercise for me, a cathartic way to express all of my emotions, pain and grief. The more I blogged, the more people responded, shared their personal experiences and engaged with me, the more I became addicted to blogging. After Ava and then Hannah’s adoptions, my blog morphed into a parenting and lifestyle blog and now covers a wide variety of topics from parenting, to health, fitness, beauty, literally anything and everything that I find, like, see feel, or love.
How do you feel about using technology as part of learning?
I work in the video game industry and my husband is an engineer, neither of us is afraid to use technology and pretty much we’re surrounded by the latest technologies daily in our work fields and that has extended to our children too. Although having said that, I do believe in limiting screen time. So while my kids have access to all the technologies and both of them are proficient in operating various forms of technology, the amount of time they are allowed to spend on it is limited, I still feel that getting good and dirty and muddy and playing outside is still the best way for a kid to spend their time, it’s just not always practical or possible and technology definitely helps fill that gap!
What are your kids favourite apps?
My 6-year-old is obsessed with YouTube (ja, we have the parental controls on lock down on that) but she loves following the kids YouTube channels where they unbox and review new toys for kids. Both of them love to play on the iPad, any reading/writing/basic maths related apps. We’re currently putting the ClickTab7 Kids tablet through its paces for a blog review and my girls are loving all the preloaded apps, especially the drawing ones.
What do you love about South Africa and raising your children here?
The weather! The diverse cultures! Our lifestyles for sure.
Suppertime tips for parents with young children?
Oh gosh! I’m pretty sure I’m not qualified to offer any advice on this. I have one child that wants to eat ALL the time and another child who is HIGHLY suspicious of food and is extremely fussy so supper time is my biggest nightmare (after packing school lunches). Mostly I’ll give them a few options of what’s available to eat, give them some choice (within reason) prepare the food and then hope for the best. I’ve learned with my eldest (the fussy, suspicious one) that stressing over how/when/where/what they eat is not doing me or them any favours and nobody has gotten scurvy or died of starvation just yet.
TV “Yes” or “No”?
It’s very limited in our house. We made the decision a few months ago, after turning off the TV for a week as a punishment for our girls and seeing the benefits of it, to severely limit TV time. Now the TV is only allowed on between 6pm and 7:30pm daily and that’s it.
What is in the lunchbox?
Yoghurt, fruit, dried fruit, Biltong. The usual suspects that no one eats and comes home untouched and then me, being the good mom I am, I recycle in clean lunch box and send back to school the next day!
How do you balance it all – in one sentence?
I don’t, it’s an ongoing struggle for me, juggling priorities and managing my time and most days I feel like I fail.
Do you children do chores at home, if so what and how do you manage it?
Yes. My 6-year-old makes her own bed and they both help with simple things like tidying up their toys (although this is done under threat and duress) and switching the lights, closing the curtains and helping to feed the dogs.
What is your favourite holiday plans/ activities with kids?
I love holidays to Cape Town. I grew up there, my parents are there. My children adore them so holidays there are fantastic because…. Hellooo…. Babysitters!