This month, we meet He­lene Olivier of pret­ty­belle.co.za.

Living and Loving - - CONTENTS -

He­lene is mar­ried to her best friend, Joseph, and mom to Minki (2). Her par­ent­ing and life­style blog is packed with fash­ion and style in­spi­ra­tion for moms and their minis. Her re­views and fab­u­lous finds help on-the-go moms find the best prod­ucts out there. She also fea­tures real-life (mom)ents de­scribed in a hu­mor­ous and fun way, with prac­ti­cal tips on par­ent­ing. Her mantra,“Em­brace the chaos with style”, in­forms her blog con­tent. I some­times think my mind is go­ing to ex­plode! I sleep with a notepad next to my bed. When I think of some­thing, I write it down and it turns into a blog. When I’m hav­ing cof­fee with friends and they’re dis­cussing cer­tain top­ics, I make men­tal notes. Ex­pe­ri­ences with Minki are also a huge part of my thought process. She throws a ter­ri­ble tantrum in a shop­ping mall and it leads to a blog: Tem­per your tod­dler’s tantrum. Be­cause of my jour­nal­is­tic back­ground, I be­lieve in re­search­ing ev­ery­thing and most of my ex­pe­ri­ences turn into well-re­searched blog posts.

My ap­proach to par­ent­ing is laid back and in­tense. I’ve been a kinder­garten teacher for nine years, so I un­der­stand the science be­hind be­hav­iour. That be­ing said, I’m ac­tu­ally just fig­ur­ing it out as I go. I’m not a huge fan of self-help books that say, “Your baby needs to sleep for 46 min­utes and eat three tea­spoons of but­ter­nut.” I fol­low my gut and try to be the best mom I can. I be­lieve in never ever wak­ing a sleep­ing baby.

The big­gest sur­prise about moth­er­hood was how much I loved it! I had a hor­ri­ble preg­nancy and was di­ag­nosed with hy­per­eme­sis gravi­darum (ex­treme nau­sea dur­ing preg­nancy) early on. I was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal about 10 times and ac­tu­ally lost weight. I didn’t bond with my baby in any way and feared moth­er­hood would be the same. But the mo­ment they put her in my arms, I changed. I felt an over­whelm­ing love for this tiny hu­man and de­spite all the hard­ships and ev­ery­one’s doubts, I just love be­ing a mom.

My daugh­ter has taught me that life is all about the lit­tle things.

She gets ex­cited about ev­ery­thing! Whether she’s eat­ing choco­late cake, play­ing with our dog or danc­ing to her favourite song by Blink 182. I love get­ting swept up in the mo­ment with her. She sees the stars and the moon, picks flow­ers and sings out loud.

Jug­gling moth­er­hood and a ca­reer is ex­haust­ing − I’m not go­ing to lie. I’m a per­fec­tion­ist and I suf­fer from mom guilt. It’s a con­stant strug­gle. I need to work, I love to work, but am I a good enough mom? I’m still try­ing to change my mind­set, be­cause I be­lieve moms are su­per­women. We work, build our own busi­nesses, breast­feed, run house­holds, go to gym, cook, clean, sup­port our hus­bands… the list goes on. We are amaz­ing and we must stop feel­ing guilty.

Fash­ion is im­por­tant to me be­cause it’s mag­i­cal! No really − it can trans­form you. You don’t have to be Heidi Klum to look fab­u­lous. You just need to know your body shape and learn how to dress to flaunt the parts you love and hide the parts you aren’t crazy about. I love get­ting dressed up on a daily ba­sis. Ca­sual-glam is my favourite look. I be­lieve you shouldn’t wait for the oc­ca­sion − life is the party and we should dress like it.

My ad­vice to first-time moms is to chill! Ba­bies are way stronger than they look. Stop ag­o­nis­ing over breast­feed­ing or bot­tle-feed­ing, to dummy or not to dummy. Do what feels right to you, not what Dr Google says. Also, please re­lax about all the mile­stones: Your baby’s first roll, first step, first words. Ev­ery­thing will hap­pen in good time. Don’t fo­cus on mile­stones at the ex­pense of en­joy­ing the beauty of ev­ery day. LL

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