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