Rida Viljoen's Blog

Inspirational family relationships – from the inside out

The journey is real

Do you think life is a racing course, a maze or a piece of music you dance to?  It honestly doesn’t matter because the journey is real.

For me personally, my journey is one of dancing.  Some days the music is soothing and calm.  It is easy to follow the rhythm, easy to dance to it.  Other days the heavy metal is pounding in the background and it is not quite as easy to dance to it.

How did I become a life coach?  My journey started in 1994 when my career guidance teacher asked me in Grade 8 what I want to become one day.  I knew I wanted to work with people and their healing.  I chose to go to university and study psychology.  After I completed my honors degree, I fell pregnant.  It was unplanned and when we found out it was twins – fear escalated.  You see, I have Cystic Fibrosis and I was told the pregnancy was too high risk.  I should consider terminating.  I am thankful to say that I didn’t.  We made international news – all three of us survived the pregnancy!

And then came the time to raise the two little surprise packages.  It was a busy time with very little time to do anything else.

My sister one day rang me up and told me about life coaching.  I had no idea there was something like that out there. She suggested I look into it and soon after I started doing my research about what it is and how it works – I was hooked!

Through all the ups and downs life threw at me, I learned that life is real.  The journey is real. 

What would I like to say to you today about your journey?  Keep it real.  Keep in contact with yourself and the people around you.  Build a social support system that not only takes care of you, but where you can also take care of others.  Reciprocating relationships are the most special ones.  It is in the ebb and flow of life, in the staccato and legato, that we discover who we are, and our own worth.  Be real because your journey is real!

Behavioral Patterns

Today I had an AHA-moment!  Once I have grasped the concept, I felt like Federer sending the perfect return shot down the line and winning the tournament!

Behavioral patterns.

It is so easy to wonder about them but I realised that it is the one thing we use daily, hundreds of times over and over.  What is my tone of voice?  How do I act and interact?  What words do I choose to use?    

I spoke to two people last week and both of them felt discouraged because they could not manage their behavior successfully.  The wrong words were used, the wrong tone of voice and the they felt their behavior ultimately failed.  

Federer came up for me.  He only started to play tennis when he was eight years old.  He too was a young child curious to see if he would like tennis.  He too was just another child on the court as a ball boy.  Can you imagine how much he must have dreamt to play one day on these courts?  But the time wasn’t right, yet.  He needed more practice.  

Six years later he would be the junior champion of Switzerland. 

A fact that caught me by surprise is that he also had to do compulsory military service like all the young lads in his country.  But soon he was dismissed because of issues with his back.  He did not let this fact deter him.  He worked harder, longer hours on the tennis court, he committed.

Parenting is the same.  Often we know how we want to act but when we get the opportunity – we fail.  We are incredibly hard on ourselves.  When we didn’t do what we wanted the first time, we give up.  And I wonder by myself how many hours Federer chose to practice

Parents – Don’t give up the first time you fail.  Commit.  Try again and again.  It is founded in this attitude of ‘trying again’ our children learn ample life skills.  It is founded in this attitude of ‘trying again’ that our children see us vulnerable, and that feeds their own bravery to step up.

First skill they learn is how to apologize. As a parent you apologize for your behavior and you try again.  Children learn how to apologize because you model this behavior to them. Secondly children get the opportunity to experience the emotion of forgiveness. Most children are kind.  They forgive unconditional.  Thirdly children learn by just watching you and your commitment towards your own behavior.  They see how they too can try and try again.  Be brave, don’t give up, do it again, practice healthy behavioral patterns and succeed. 

Children can choose to commit towards their own growth, and you will be there with them every step of the way!   

What do you think are more skills we should be brave and show our children?

Speak soon


Wat is die kultuur in jou huis?

Eendag het ek begin wonder hoe tuis my kinders voel in my huis.  En net daar het ek ‘n besef ek het my eerste leidraad ontvang.  Ek praat van MY huis. 

Vra jy jou kinders om jou huis op te ruim? Of praat jy van ons huis?

Kinders moet besef dat dit ons huis is en ons almal is verantwoordelik vir die huis, kan ‘n baie groot verskil maak. Nie net vir jou as ouer nie, maar vir jou kind ook.  Al die take en verantwoordelikhede gaan nie meer net op jou skouers berus nie (en ek wil onderwysers hier insluit).  Ja, dit beteken jy kan dan genoeg tyd hê om ‘n boek te lees of ‘n lekker lang bad te neem. Dit klink alreeds vir my aanloklik!

Wanneer ons alles doen vir ons kinders, maak ons bedorwe kinders groot wat dink hulle is geregtig op alles in die lewe. Wanneer ons vra dat hulle bydrae tot die huisgesin en almal moet inspring en help, dit is wanneer kinders begin belangrik voel. Hulle gaan egter kerm en alles probeer om uit hulle take te kom.  Maar die psige van die mens het ‘n basiese behoefte om by te dra en sodoende iets te beteken vir iemand of vir sy omgewing.

Het jy al ooit gevoel niemand het jou nodig nie? Dit is ‘n eensame gevoel, ‘n gevoel van wanhoop en isolasie. Dis ‘n gevoel wat jou in donker skadu’s kan lei. Wanneer my kinders my bel en iets vra, voel ek waardeer en weet ek hulle het my nog nodig. Geniet ek dit om te kook vanaand? Glad nie! Maar elke keer wat ons sit rondom ons tafel en lekker kuier, voel ek belangrik, want dis die bord kos wat ek voorberei het wat ons almal bymekaar gebring het.

Maak seker jou huisgesin het take. Roteer die take en vra almal om deel te neem en dit te doen. Op die einde van die dag gaan jy ‘n familie hê wat weet hoe om skoon te maak, hoe om mekaar te help, en om trots te wees op ONS huis.

Van my moederhart


What is the culture in your house?

One day I was wondering how much my children feel at home in my house… That is when I realised my own use of language is a clue.

Do you ask your children to clean your house? Or do you talk of our house?

Including children in the realisation that this is our house and we are all responsible for it, could make a big difference for the parent and the child too. As a parent all the chores and responsibilities are not going to be only on your shoulders (and let me include teacher in here too). Yes, it means you will have time to read a book or take a bath.  Now that sounds like bargain already to me!

If we do everything for our children, we raise spoilt, entitled individuals. When we ask for their contribution and everybody needs to pitch in, that is when children really start to feel important. However, they do complain and do not want to participate, but the psyche of the human being does have a need to contribute and thus mean something to someone or something.

Have you ever felt that you are not needed? It is a lonely feeling. A feeling that can take you down some dark alleys. When my kids phone me and ask me something, I do feel appreciated and I know I mean something to them. Do I enjoy cooking tonight? Nope! But every time we sit down to have supper, I do feel important because I brought us all together around the plate of food I prepared.

Make sure your household has chores. Rotate chores and ask everybody to stick to it. In the end you will have a family who knows how to clean, how to help and be proud of OUR home.

From my mother heart


Is ek ‘n goeie ma?

Dis ‘n vraag wat meeste ma’s vra. Daagliks. Ons vra dit, en vra dit, en vra dit oor en oor. Dan begin die soektog na bewyse.  Daar moet mos bewyse wees wat die vraag oplos? Oplos in so ‘n mate dat ek dit nooit weer hoef te vra nie?

Perfeksionisme is ‘n hamster wieletjie

Perfeksionisme is die hamster se wieletjie. Ons wil tog almal net perfekte ma’s wees. Ons wil nie ‘n voet verkeerd sit nie. En wanneer ons dalk die perfekte ma-beeld gebreek het, steek ons dit tog weg ten alle koste.

Ek onthou goed toe my 9 maande baba dogtertjie ‘n besondere moeilike twee dae gehad het. (Ek het ‘n tweeling). Haar pappa was weg met werk en ek was alleen met die twee lyfies. Sy het oor alles gehuil. Niks kon haar tevrede gestel het nie.  Dit was ‘n groot kommer vir my.  Dag twee, met amper geen slaap, het ek rondom 16:00 na haar kot geloop, haar opgetel en gewonder wat gaan ek nou doen?  En toe besef ek wat ek toe moes doen.  Ek het gekies om ‘n slegte ma te wees.  Ek het haar terug gesit in haar bed, die ketel gaan aansit en my ma gaan bel.  Ek het gehuil, my tee gedrink en in die tuin gaan stap sodat ek net nie die klein stemmetjie kon hoor vir ‘n paar minute nie.  Ek het ‘n tree terug gegee van my perfeksionisme.

My ma verseker my dat ons gesprek nie langer as vyf minute was nie.  Maar vir my het dit soos ure gevoel.  Ek het in haar kamer gestap, haar opgetel en styf vasgehou.  Sy het begin rustig raak.  Ek was so desperaat om die heeltyd perfek te wees dat ek vergeet om net SAAM te wees is ook oukei.  Ek het so vasgevang geraak in die “doing” dat ek vergeet het van die “being”.

Liefste Mamma-vriendin van my, laat gaan jou behoefte om perfek te wees.  Jou huis is die mini wêreld vir jou kind.  En die wêreld daarbuite is nie perfek nie.  Ons kinders moet leer in die veiligheid van ons huise hoe om te “cope” as hulle wêreld nie nou perfek nie.  En ons as ma’s moet leer om te “cope” as ons nie nou perfek is nie. 

Guilt Ridden

The day my twins were born, something else was born too. It is a different kind of love. It is deeper,and it feels different. It is as if my heart is running outside my chest. Nobody could ever prepare me for how much motherhood will change me. But with that, something else was born too unfortunately… the feeling of guilt…  

It is essential to look at the sources of guilt. Guilt does not only influence me as parent, but it influences my children as well.  It happens that I feel guilty about something and let them get away with unacceptable behaviour.  And it is in that moment where the real harm is done. Guilt has just paved the way towards inconsistency, unpredictability and fear.

CF (cystic fibrosis) is a genetic life limiting disease with it’s own daily challenges.  Sometimes I get so tired that I silently wish I can go to hospital and rest. And then I feel guilty for it. Then the time comes where I have to go to hospital. Hospitalisations can be from 14 to 21 days. And then I feel guilty for not being at home and doing my part as a mother. 

What do I do with my feelings of guilt?

I gave myself permission to be human. I miss my own children’s signals and give my own signals completely wrong at times.  One thing I have discovered is how precious it is to acknowledge each other’s emotions and to say it.  An example is the overwhelming emotion when I get home. Often it happens that the children just want to blow off some steam but we cannot leave them to hack each other, or me for that matter, into pieces.  We acknowledge how hard the time it has been with me in hospital, the frustration, anger and the relief that I am back. Then the gentle reminder that CF is the enemy here, not me, nor their sibling. The rule of being kind and respectful towards all people is gently reinforced.

But then there are rules that will be broken! Like a Christmas bed in front of the TV, with popcorn and all the movies we can watch until we fall asleep. I make sure I lie in the middle and my body touches theirs, whether we hold hand, or cuddle cold feet together. Sometimes they will even ask me to hold them.  We talk, we play board games or cards. We just spend time together.

At times my body is in pain and I am really tired.  I had to find an acceptable way to communicate how I am feeling.  I started to use my body as a barometer to indicate how much energy I have. I could be full, half full or completely empty.  Being tired or having a bad day is not something to feel ashamed about.  With this open and honest communication, the person also has the right to say what they need to recharge their batteries.

My children are older and communication is something we really endeavoured to succeed in. How did I live with the feeling of guilt when they were babies?

I’m not perfect.  This simple truth my mother-in-law repeated more times than I can count. It helped to know that I am doing my utmost best and I can only give the whole Rida.  And luckily children are born to like their parents! (On a lighter note)

Seriously though… I did what I had to do to keep myself sane.  Motherhood is a major adjustment.  It can require you to change from a person who earned money to a wife who needs to ask her hubby money.  While you were working the interaction with like-minded people are taken for granted.  Often mothers are home alone with little to no contact with the outside world.  It gets lonely. You feel isolated. You don’t feel appreciated.

One thing that really caught me was the fact that I should feel grateful and happy every second of the day because CF sufferers don’t just have babies. But I didn’t feel that way always. And I felt guilty. And then I speak to another mother who confessed she would drive once or even twice around the block from her own house before she would enter some days – and she is a healthy mother.

I sang songs that made ME peaceful. I did not only sing baby songs. I read stories that was good for ME and made me laugh. I used my network of people as often as I could. I especially listened to the older ladies and their advice.

And I feel one of the biggest things I did right was to allow my hubby to be a parent without me hovering over him all the time. Without me telling him how to do things all the time. Without me criticising him every step of the way.

I reckon he will ask for help when he needs it. Also, he would do nothing that would harm our babies. The trust I communicated by my actions forged a whole new bond for us as well. He is an awesome parent! And our children know that their dad is my best friend. And maybe tonight I do not feel like the best mum ever, at least I can lie in his arms, ask for advice, have a good night’s rest and tomorrow I’ll be the best version of me again.

Laugh, love, live

Skuldgevoelens ry jou bloots

Die dag toe my tweeling gebore was, was die dag wat ‘n nuwe vlak, vorm en diepte van liefde ook gebore was. Niemand het my voorberei hoe baie moederskap my sal verander nie. Daarmee saam het nog ‘n gevoel gekom… skuldgevoelens oor amper alles.

Dis noodsaaklik om na die bronne van die skuldgevoelens te kyk, want die skuld-emosie beïnvloed nie net my as ouer nie, maar ook my kinders. Hoeveel keer het dit al gebeur dat ek skuldig voel oor iets en dan kom hulle met onaanvaarbare gedrag weg? En net daar is waar skuld se invloed uitkring na onsekerheid, onvoorspelbaarheid en vrees in my verhouding met my kinders.

CF (sistiese fibrose) is ‘n genetiese siekte wat sy eie uitdagings bied. Soms raak ek so moeg dat ek stilweg wens ek kan hospitaal toe gaan om net ‘n bietjie te rus. EN voel ‘n ma nou skuldig as sy so voel…?  Dan op ‘n stadium is die hospitaal onafwendbaar en móét ek gaan. Hospitalisasies kan 14 tot 21 dae wees. EN voel ek dan juis skuldig omdat ek nie by my huis mense is nie…? Skuld dreineer jou, dis soos ‘n hamster op sy wieletjie. Al in die rondte, en jy kom nêrens nie.

Wat maak ek met die skuldgevoelens?

Ek het myself toestemming gegee om mens te wees. Ek mis my eie kinders se “signals” en ek stuur my eie “signals” verkeerd. Een ding wat ek wel al ontdek het, is om mekaar se emosies te erken, en hulle daarop te wys. Dis belangrik byvoorbeeld die oorweldigende gevoel wanneer ek tuis kom na ‘n lang hospitalisasie. Dit kan die tyd wees wat die kinders net stoom wil afblaas. Skielik is hulle lelik met mekaar en met my. Dit is nie aanvaarbaar nie. So hier is wat ek eerder doen wanneer die situasie homself voor doen. Erken die emosie van frustrasie, haat, en/of kwaad teenoor CF en nie teenoor ‘n persoon nie. Ek herinner hulle dat ons nie mekaar mag verniel omdat ons so voel nie. ‘n Lang vet drukkie, ‘n koppie tee wat mamma maak en dan is daar reëls wat aanvaarbaar is om te breek byvoorbeeld ‘n krismis bed te maak voor die TV, met popcorn en fliek tot ons oë toeval!

Gesels, wees bymekaar, spandeer tyd deur kaarte of ‘n bordspeletjie te speel. So kan ek ook nie dat my eie moegheid en ‘n lyf wat nie meer wil vorentoe party dae die oorsaak wees dat ek sommer misluk is met almal nie. Dit maak ‘n verskil om openlik daaroor te gesels. Ons gebruik ons lywe as barometers om te demonstreer hoeveel energie ons het. Is ek met ander woorde vol, half vol of dolleeg? Want om moeg te wees is nie ‘n skande nie. Daarmee saam het ons toestemming om vir die ander in die huisgesin te sê wat jy nodig het om jou batterye te “charge”.

My kinders is ouer en ons kan openlik nou kommunikeer. Hoe het ek met skuldgevoelens geleef toe hulle babas was?

Ek is nie perfek nie. Hierdie eenvoudige waarheid het my skoonma telkemale vir my herhaal. Dit het baie gehelp om te weet ek doen my uiterse beste en ek kan nie meer gee as die hele Rida nie. Gelukkig is kinders geprogrammeer om van hulle ouers te hou! (Dankie tog!) (Op ‘n ligter noot)

Ernstig nou, doen wat jy moet doen om kop te hou. Dis oorweldigend om te verander van ‘n persoon wat ‘n salaris verdien na iemand wat nou afhanklik moet wees van haar man vir geld. Terwyl jy gewerk het, het jy ander mense gesien en gesels. Nou skielik is daardie interaksie baie min of vir sommige geen. Skielik voel jy nie meer waardeer nie.

Wat vir my baie erg was, was die wete dat moederskap ‘n voorreg vir my moet wees, want CF-leiers raak nie sommer swanger nie. En ek het nie elke dag gevoel asof dit so ‘n voorreg is nie. ‘n Ma het eenkeer erken dat sy soms ‘n tweede of derde keer om die blok ry voordat sy in ry by haar huis, want sy sien net nie kans om dadelik huis toe te gaan nie. Ek het liedjies gehad wat MY rustig laat voel het. Ek het nie net baba liedjies gesing vir my kinders nie. Ek het stories gelees vir hulle wat goed was vir MY. Ek het my netwerk mense gebruik soveel as wat ek kon. Ek het veral na die ouer garde geluister met hulle raad oor hoe om babas groot te maak.

Een ding wat ek wel voel ek het honderd persent reg gedoen, is my man ‘n plek gegee om heeltemal pa te wees, sonder dat ek die heeltyd hom vertel het hoe om dit te doen of wat hy verkeerd doen. Ek het gereken hy sal vra vir hulp as hy dit nodig het. Ons vrouens moet versigtig wees dat ons nie die mans uitskop wanneer die babas kom nie. Jou baba gaan grootword en dan is dit jou man wat oorbly… Die vertroue wat ek vir hom gekommunikeer het deur hom toe te laat elke stap van kinders grootmaak, het ons twee gesmee as ‘n span wat die wêreld kan aanpak. My kinders weet hulle pappa is my beste vriend. En al voel ek nie vanaand soos ‘n “great” ma met groot sukses nie, kan ek in sy arms lê, raad vra, lekker slaap en môre weer die beste weergawe van myself wees.

Lag, wees lief en laat leef

A new-ish venture…

It has been a while since I wrote anything. The reason? The twins started pre-school and they need to attend it 5 days a week. This means a lot of travelling and it became apparent to me that I need to find something in town to keep me occupied for 6 hours a day. [We live very far out of town on a farm.]
So I decided to start putting myself out there as a coach. I started to volunteer at the social services. The administrative officer resigned and they asked me to take up the post – with a slight difference. It will be more in an office coordinator position.

Off course I took it – I am a sucker for challenges! And since 1 October 2012 I have been thrown into the weird and wonderful world of social services.

Soon I would find out that this is no ordinary job and has many – many – challenges. The first thing I had to learn was accounting. Using the program was easy, but getting people to answer the questions I have about NGO’s and their legislation. I enjoy asking the auditors questions that they confess they have never thought about.

I am going to mix this up a little. The coach in me enjoys being active out there – getting my finger nails dirty.  I will not only share my coaching ideas, but a little more about me as well.

Take care!

Seminar for parents that care enough

What do you want a person that meets your child must think at the different ages of 1, 5, 16 and 21 years? A variety of answers always surface.
The next question for you – do you know how to ensure that those things happen? Do you have enough parenting ‘tricks’ up your sleeve? Do you know where to begin?
Parenting skills can be learnt and in today’s day and age – we need to be more smarter!

CF patients are doing it themselves

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