Have you ever met someone and just know that this person is “my kind of people”? Well, this next Mom could literally have been cut out of my heart and soul and put into another human. I literally resonate every time I read or talk to her about something.
She has a generous, gentleness about her and yet she’s spunky and confident about where she’s at in her journey and her own person. She also exudes parental wisdom like a life giving spring. We too, met at a “blogger event” and I immediately did the same thing I did with Nicole from our previous episode – I trolled her like a hopeless teenager because she was so darn interesting. #fangirl
My reasons were different this time. You see we both had recently started our natural hair journey and it was something we connected on in reasoning. Like her, I had decided to stop using chemicals and straightening my hair because of my girls. We had both come to realize that our girls were looking at us as their example of being happy in our own skin. She had obviously done this a little earlier than me because her oldest is a little older than my two. But when your “reasoning” matches then that immediately screams “kindred spirit”.
Every conversation, interaction and encounter with Celeste has been empowering, educational and just plain satisfying for me. I say this because as a mother, it’s exactly like I said in the intro post to the series – having a mother that has “gone before” and also has a similar approach to parenting and interacting with their children is the kind of person I want to sit around and have as many coffee’s with. I want to say here, find those people in your life because they’re important and they’re the village that will help you water the soil as you mother the peanuts out of this parenting journey…… for the rest of your life.
If there’s anything I suggest you take from her share today, it’s this – at the center of parenting we have to choose joy. When you read what her girls have said at the end, you’ll know what I mean. Life is far too filled with enough pressures and straight up stress, if we’re not laughing with our children often then it’s something to consider. They need a place of “free” and a place of “it’s ok” where being silly is home and mistakes are welcomed or else the build up of pressure has nowhere else to release and where better than in the tickles, giggles and normal exchanges with mom. Now, I’m not meaning we all have to “loud” and unlike ourselves – but joy is a place of relaxation, of being able to let go and to just “be” without the weighted chains of “everyday-ness”. Take moments in the day to ask questions like, “what’s your favourite bubblegum?” and “do you think unicorns fart rainbows?” – try to find that 4 year old in you and have her talk to your daughter because your daughter needs her.
And so, without further-a-do, I hand over to the amazing Celeste Jonkers and her beautiful story.
Can you describe your childhood – being a little girl and what that was like for you?
I was never really a girly girl. I remember being told often to tone down my voice, not to be too wild and to “pull your face right”. In a way there were too many “rules” and I didn’t quite like being a girl because of it.
Did you have anyone in your life talk to you about the changes that were going to happen in your body? if yes, how was that journey for you? if no, what do you wish had been done different?
Gosh no. Many topics were taboo topics. I remember hearing from a friend at primary school about sex and I was so afraid of ever experiencing it because my little brain computed it as breaking something. I still laugh at how I thought that my you-know-what would be damaged. It would have been great to know that the changes my body went through was normal and to embrace the beauty of being a woman.
When your body started to change, how did you feel about it?
I was a late bloomer and felt like the odd one out because I didn’t look like the other girls. At the same time I didn’t want in. Menstruation and breasts seemed like such a hassle.
How long did it take you to settle into being fully comfortable with being a woman?
After the birth of my eldest daughter. I realized the responsibility of the next generation of woman was up to me now and that I had to embrace who I am, find out who I am and make her proud of me. I wanted to be the kind of woman she would aspire to be.
What products did you use (basic description is fine) and what products that are available now, do you wish were available when you were a teen?
Matte cream. I have oily skin and hated the shine. I may have been a tomboy but my appearance was still a big deal.
What has your relationship been like with your daughter/s with regards to talking about this stage in life?
Firstly, I have no filter. I talk about anything without making a big deal of it. I guess you can say we normalize everything in our home so there has never been any “big talks”. Everything has been broken down in bite-sized chunks and it’s been easy going.
Do you/Did you feel ready for the transition? Did you recognize the changes as they started happening?
Honestly, I never feel ready for any transition as much as the girls are excited. My mother heart wishes they remain little forever but they handle it like champs.
What memories have you made or hope to make around this time? Have you/did you plan specific events or moments to make the change easier for your daughter/s?
There hasn’t been any huge gestures from me in the celebration of it. I’m the kind of mom that will bake a cake or a dessert for after dinner on a week night but then dinner is toasted cheese sarmies. The memories my girls will carry with them for life will be of me getting my foot into it by saying the wrong thing and them laughing at me for saying it. I am a planner though, so as soon as I notice a change, I start buying essential items to help ease them through transitions and make it as comfortable for them as possible. We’re talking anything from sanitary products, to essential oils for mood lifting, to items like a comfort/survival pack that should always contain lip balm. I’m definitely the survival pack mom.
What do you hope your daughter/s gain/s from you as you journey through this stage with her?
Patience, empathy and camaraderie. These also form part of my house rules and while I may be lenient with some of the others, like dishes, there’s no negotiation on these – along with respect. My eldest suffers from severe menstrual cramps, something I’ve only experienced once in my life, so when it’s her “time” the whole household basically rallies around her. The youngest is our mother goose and calls me at work on occasion asking which meds she may give her sis. Women’s empowerment and being there for one another, starts from a young age and I need my daughters to understand that it’s not just a concept. Even my son knows the score. God willing, he will have a wife and girls someday.
If your daughter/s has/have any thoughts or what she enjoys/doesn’t enjoy about your relationship – please share them. Hearing from their perspective would be amazing and help readers to also see from their side of the rollercoaster.
#MiddleK – “The laughter. We can laugh about stuff. And we have plenty of moments and share our interesting taste in music. The pictures and videos are overwhelming because you ALWAYS take them. And you’re very strict!”
#LittleK – “We always have lots of fun and mommy teaches me about many things. There’s nothing I don’t like about you.”
I don’t know about you, but all I want to do is grab my girls and have some good giggles and just enjoy a moment with them where we can just be “silly little girls” together. There’s so much we can learn from each other’s journeys and I’m so privileged to have someone like Celeste in my life. I hope you have a “Celeste” in yours.