Day 27: The Joys of Singledom

After asking a few people they told me they have never been single in their life, like ever.  They have jumped from one relationship to the next and never had the chance to just be on their own.  I know one friend who told me she would never cope being single because she is so used to having a man on her arm showering her with love and attention.  The reasons she told me about always being in a relationship will obviously be a topic for a different day because that will just spoil the mood I am trying to set in this post.  So what is being single?  Google will have you know that they define single as not married or not having a serious romantic relationship with someone.

I’m a mother and dating can be one heck of a tricky scenario because it’s no longer about what I want anymore.  I make decisions on who I will date depending on whether they will be good for my daughter or not.  I’m still working on that formula but trust me my intuition is never wrong when it comes to deciding on who to and who not to introduce to her.  Whoever I choose to be with has to be someone I can count on and be supportive especially emotionally supportive when I’m going through the most.  A bonus is someone who can develop a relationship with my daughter naturally.  When I feel confident that this is someone who will be around for a long time then I can gladly introduce them to her.  That said…

happy

photo credit from my Twitter tweind @monakadurira

I initially wanted to look at both the good and the bad things about being single.  But I decided not to because I am in a happy place and want to keep everything around me filled with positivism.  That said let me jump right into the joys of singledom and then later on add a few people’s views on their single status.

So; about that single life.  You do not have to answer to no one and that means you can do as you please, no questions asked.  (doing who you please is also very much an option)  You have this thing called “me time” that comes in abundance.  For someone who likes her space like me it’s the best thing about being single.  The other thing that just brings a huge smile on my face is that when you are single you are not busy worrying about what your partner is up to, with who, why, where and how.  That can be really taxing on your emotions given the rate at which most people don’t seem to be taking their relationships seriously these days and cheating has become a way of life for some.  You can sleep on your own in your own bed in any way you like, you can sleep like a starfish, upside down, back to front, inside out (does that even exist?) Whatever the case you have all that sleeping space to yourself and no snoring or farting partner to deal with!

The trip to New Start Centre is a breeze when you are single and have not been sexually active.  You can go there with your head up knowing you have been good to yourself and your body.  Have you been to New Start Centre when you have been busy sexing your boyfriend without protection and then found out he has been cheating??  That’s round about the time you wish you had stayed single and celibate and wish you could just cut out your vagina and throw it straight into the sea because it is clearly giving you unnecessary stress!

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Image from Google

Anywho, let’s see, what else is great about being single…oh yes, you get to treat yourself right and that can also be a yardstick for the way you would want your partner to treat you when you get into a relationship.  You learn the art of dating yourself.  You can try out going for dinner, a movie, coffee, stand up comedy, anything that tickles your fancy because there is no way you should miss out on the fun side of life just because you do not have anyone to share it with.

Some of my single blog readers had a few tips to share on what they love about being single, here goes:

Blog Reader 1
  • You can be alone and learn to love it, live with it, use that “alone time” to love yourself and nurture yourself! You deserve it!
  • Being single is the perfect time to amend your relationship with God, draw closer to God as well as to give all your petitions to Him.
  • I love having to make decisions without having to consider if someone else will be okay with it.
  • Less stress if you have had to deal with a cheating partner and their shenanigans in the past.  Being single means you have peace of mind.
Blog Reader 2
  • You get to spend all your money alone.
  • You have the freedom to have sex with any woman guiltlessly.
  • You don’t have curfews.
  • You have more money to spend on beer.

(I’m sure you can tell this blog reader is a guy!)

Blog Reader 3
  • You concentrate on whatever it is that makes you happy.
  • Being single means no unnecessary insecurities.
  • I’m at less risk of sexual immorality because I’m single.
  • I want to empower myself before anything else so right now I can fully concentrate on my goals without the distraction of a significant other.

So to everyone who says being single sucks, I guess you have been looking at it the wrong way.  If you are single there is hope for you to enjoy the season if you stop whining and take a step back to look at all the good things that come from flying solo…

You can also check out some dating blog posts from the following:

Dating While Parenting  by The Quarter Wife

Let’s talk about your dating journey, are you single or ready to mingle?

©MaKupsy 2017

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6 Healthy Habits For Kids

Healthy Habit: A behaviour that is beneficial to one’s physical or mental health, often linked to a high level of discipline and self-control.

If there is one thing I have learnt in my nearly 6 years of motherhood it’s that children learn mostly through imitation.  This is the reason why I have made it essential that my little girl learns as many healthy habits as possible from the onset so that it becomes a major part of her life.  If you have a child you will definitely enjoy reading this post.  Then again it is never too late for grown ups to include new habits in your life so you can benefit from this as well.  Sit back and enjoy this less than 10 minute read.

Drinking Water

I make sure the moment she wakes up in the morning she has a glass of warm water ready by her bedside.  Researchers will have you know that children between age 5 to 8 should drink 1 litre of water a day.  This is one habit that is a big part of my life and my daughter drinks water religiously because according to her “It helps make you go to the loo easily” .  You can tell who she has been listening to!

Food

I think I am one of the few lucky mothers on this planet.  My daughter does not like meat.  She will eat it alright but it’s always a fight.  The other thing she is not a big fan of is sadza unless we eat it together in the same plate.  When it’s time to eat I make sure I pack her plate with lots of vegetables and a bit of meat and sometimes carbs.  She will eat bread any day though, that seems to be a personal favourite of hers.  What I can safely say I am happy with is that she loves her fruits and vegetables.  I am still trying to figure out if it’s because I have been teaching her this from the get go or she genuinely likes them.  Whatever the reason may it not go away anytime soon.

Exercise

My little girl loves to dance, the number of videos that I have taken of her are enough to finish all the memory in my phone.  What I love about this hobby of hers is that she does not realise that not only will she be having fun but she will be exercising at the same time.  I have made it a point to always upload dance videos together with educational applications on her Samsung tablet to keep her hobby alive.

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Image from Pinterest

Sleep

A 6 year old needs about 9 to 11 hours of sleep.  I have already talked about the benefits of sleep here and they apply to both young and old. At this age children don’t make it easy to tuck them in because they still want to play or other never ending reasons they have to stay up past their bed time.  Try and get your little one to get enough rest through keeping her busy throughout the day that way come bed time they will sleep like a log.

Hygiene

Open windows once you get out of bed to get some fresh air into your room.  This applies to you as well.  Hygiene is one of the very important habits that some parents neglect.  Teach your child to wash her hands, brush her teeth and bath from a very young age.   Keeping your body clean helps prevent illness and infection from bacteria.

Read

I have a mini collection of bed time story books that I try to make time to read to my little girl every other night.  The reason(s) I do this is because I want us to have some time to talk about how her day was; to get to bond and enjoy a good story.  However, studies also show that reading to your child helps her develop strong reading skills and may help your child succeed in school and work.  What’s not to love about that?

These are my most important healthy habits but I know you have some to add on.  It’s always good to learn new positive habits to try out and perhaps incorporate into my life  Let’s talk about them in the comments section below.

Fitness Bae®

Children Need Outdoor Play Too!

I realised last weekend that the only activity I manage to do with Miss Kupsy when I go home for the weekend in Marondera is go and grab a bite.  We usually settle for pizza and icecream because that is the ONLY take out place in the whole town.  When I bring her to Harare that is a completely different case because the options of things to do are countless.

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Image from Google

However, today my main concern is the lack of outdoor play areas for children in my hometown.  When I was growing up there was a functional swimming pool, a video game centre, a movie house, a tennis court, a basketball court and a park which actually had swings, slides the works!  Ask me what has happened to these play areas?  Well, the swimming pool since stopped working years ago, the video game centre is not used for that anymore, I am still to find out what is going on there, the movie house was turned into a bar, the tennis court now has people setting up stalls to sell second hand clothes, the basketball court is being used as an area to line laundry and the park… oh well; just another dump in town with no swings at all and a lot of litter.

It annoys me that whoever is responsible for town planning does not take the children in the community into consideration.  Where in the world are they supposed to play?  I mean, they can’t possibly stay indoors all day long, or play on the streets or around their house till kingdom come.  They obviously get tired just like everyone else and need a break and need to socialise with children their age.  And if you ask me this should be something that can be done without having to fork out a lot of money if any at all.  Imagine if all they are going to be exposed to is eating unhealthy take out?  I can just picture a whole bunch of adults suffering for weight issues in the near future…

The following points are (based on Wardle, 1996-2003) describe the main reasons why outdoor play is critical for the healthy development of young children.  I took a few points from the article.

Physical Exercise Children need to develop large motor and small motor skills and cardiovascular endurance.

Enjoyment of the Outdoors Outdoor play is one of the things that characterize childhood. And as Lord Nuffield once said, the best preparation for adulthood is to have a full and enjoyable childhood.

Learning about the World Outdoor play enables young children to learn lots and lots and lots of things about the world. How does ice feel and sound? Can sticks stand up in sand? How do plants grow? How does mud feel?

Learning about Self and the Environment To learn about their own physical and emotional capabilities, children must push their limits. Health Everyone who works with young children in early childhood programs and schools knows how quickly bacteria and viruses spread in these environments. One way to reduce the spread of infection is through lots and lots of fresh air.

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Definitely NOT in Marondera

Then you wonder why I am thoroughly upset with Marondera Town Council?  Do you see all those benefits of outdoor fun for children? It seems those in the powers that be do not have children as a part of their programme because if they did surely there would be at least ONE play area where children can just have a grand time.

Miss Kupsy loves the outdoors and I feel bad that the only open space she has to play is at home.  I hope someone addresses this  issue and something is done about it.  When I think back to my own childhood, some of their fondest memories are of outdoor places and activities I got up to (I will never forget the first time I fell off a tree trying to climb to the top) I hope Miss Kupsy and all the other children in the community do not get deprived of that opportunity. All children have the right to basic childhood needs…jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding, and making a big mess,it is what childhood is all about!

©MaKupsy 2017

Judge Not!

I got this message from my friend Tillo a few weeks ago and I thought I would share it here.  I don’t know who wrote this but I think this might help a lot of us to think before we start judging those around us.

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Image from Google

Let’s bear in mind before we judge…

Not everyone wants to get married

Not everyone wants to have children

Some people cannot have children

Some people are not married because of circumstances

Some peoples are religious some are not

We need to accept that it is okay and that

doesn’t make them less human  

We are all different with  different views, goals and aspirations

stick to what’s yours and stop trying to understand why X and O does not do such

You don’t know what heavy burden one is carrying.

©MaKupsy 2016

My One & Only

“To have a happy kid, I figure I need to be a happy mother, and to be a happy mother, I need to be a happy person.” Lauren Sandler

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Miss Kupsy at 3 months 🙂

I have really thought this through, and I am happy to only have one child, Miss Kupsy.  Most people will say it is selfish of me to make such a decision but that’s what I want.  (To them I say feel free to make more babies for yourself, whatever makes you happy works for me) Everyone around me is always telling me that she needs a sibling but to be honest, I feel that she will do just fine on her own, she is an independent little diva.  Growing up I remember I used to say to myself, “If I ever have children I will have two, one or none.”  And here I am with one and that will not be changing anytime soon.  A lot of realities have sunk in after having Miss Kupsy and it is probably for the best that I found out sooner rather than later.  Maybe sometime in the years to come I will change my mind but as it stands I stand firm on the decision on not going through child bearing again in an attempt to give Miss Kupsy a sibling.  Here are my reasons why I have no plans of going through this again:

  • Worrying to death, when you become a mother worrying becomes second nature, well, at least for me.  I worry if I am being a good mother, if I am not spoiling her too much, if she is okay at preschool, if she is going to get better when she gets sick, if I will be able to take her to the good grade school I heard about, worry about what will happen to her if anything ever happened to me.
  • Labour is NO JOKE.
  • I can’t afford to have another child, the amount of MONEY that comes with a child is nothing I even want to start all over again, the diapers, the formula, tjo!
  • I will not be able to give two children everything they need so let’s just stick to one and give her the best of everything.
  • I don’t want to go through severe morning sickness for 3 solid months.
  • It will ruin the body I have been working so damn hard for!
  • The sleepless nights…no one prepares you for that…
  • Breast feeding; my breasts were always engorged.  I will spare you the inside details about when they started cracking and eventually bleeding.
  • Finally, I do not have the energy to start all over again, it works on all aspects of your being, mind, body and soul and frankly speaking I just have enough energy to cater for one child.

That said, I will add on more reasons why I prefer having an only child to my list when more come up.  As it is I am beyond happy and at peace with only having to take care of Miss Kupsy, I doubt if I would ever cope if I had to cater for two children.  It already feels like she is out there running around with my heart, imagine having two of them.  Will I be able to love them the exact same way?  Will my heart be able to handle being divided between two children?  I will probably never know hey because it’s one child only for this mother.

I would like to hear your views on being an only child if you are one, or if you are a mother who also plans on having one child.

©MaKupsy 2016

Shona Lobola Procedures

Roora (Lobola/Dowry)

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A man marrying a woman from the Shona culture has to observe the roora. This is a sign or show of love and affection when a man saves up and marries his beloved. There are many ways this can be done but I will dwell on the general procedures followed on the following condition  The man has done all the other necessities e.g. proposing (not musengabere, kutizisa), formal Introductions (dated for over 6 months) and more importantly girl is not pregnant (damage) or previously been married (virgin?).  In Zimbabwe, roora takes place in a number of stages and each stage has its own traditions and small amounts to pay. The process can differ from place to place due to the fact that in the Shona culture there are 12 different ethnic groups.

Stage One – Introduction

This stage involves the ‘munyayi’ who is a go-between when a man goes to pay the bride price at his future wife’s family stating to the family his intentions and purpose of visit e.g. “I have been sent by (the husband) to look for Sadza” , literally translated to I have come to marry your daughter (name). Here they are asked who they mean. Once this is done the bride’s family will ask the daughter if she knows the people who have come to marry her.

Stage two – Grocery

A list is given to the groom prior the ceremony, this will be a list of groceries required to bring to the family. The items are then checked and should match that on the original list for example, if its 5kg of sugar he should bring exactly that and not less.  Adhering to the stated requirements of the new in-laws is a show of respect from the new son-in-law. It is often advisable to do exactly as stated or better, to ensure smooth relations between the newly united families. Some families are more tolerant than others; A LOT of tolerance is needed as this is not a money making ceremony.

Stage Three – Preparations for payment

At this stage the bride’s family will ask for ‘ndiro’ normally a wooden plate from the munyayi and if he has brought one he would present it. This (the plate); in the past used to be provided by the bride’s family but since some people began charging for them some go with their own wooden plates.  Once the plate has been placed a process known as ‘sunungura homwe’ (loosening pockets) or ‘Vhuramuromomo’ (meaning opening of mouth) where a small fee is paid to for the greeting of the guests. At this stage some fines may be imposed.  For instance if the groom failed to meet an earlier date even if he notified the bride’s family well in advance and any other misdemeanours he might have done, These however should done with humour and laughter just to make the ‘munyayi’ feel at home and comfortable.

Stage Four–Payments

The process of Roora negotiations can be long and complex, and involves many members from both the bride’s and the groom’s extended families so these days due to our busy nature in some parts it being shortened and made less complex. The payment stage has quite a many stages which can even take days to complete. These are now grouped in two main sub processes which are:-

1.    Zvireverere zvaBaba (Gifts for the father)

This stage involves payment that are direct from the bride’s father (a guardian or representative can accept charge for these if the paternal father is deceased or not known) which in the old days had a lot of very long sub-processes and has been shortened. The main payment is the ‘Matekenyandebvu’ to acknowledge him for “the pulling of the beard” as she sat on his knee, or putting up with the playful antics of his daughter as a child. The amount paid for the father is negotiable.

2.    Zvireverere zvaMai (Gifts for the mother)

Same as the process above the payment are strictly for the bride’s mother (a guardian or representative can accept charge for these if the maternal father is deceased or not known).

The gifts for the mother of the bride in the old days included things like ‘mbereko’, for carrying the bride in a pouch or sling when she was a baby, and ‘mafukidzadumbu’ for covering of the belly; this is alternately translated as “carrying the baby in the womb” or “tucking the baby in with a blanket (when she wakes in the night)”. These are now charged under this blanket term due to the complexity of the past processes as well as the fact that people may have even forgotten exactly the names of the processes. The amount paid for the mother is non-negotiable.

Stage Five – Mbudzi yedare (yemachinda) Goat

This is a live goat that is brought by the man and is slaughtered during the payment process. The whole goat is then cooked and made ready to be served after the completion of the ceremony. If they don’t bring a goat a payment will be asked for and this money is shared equally between all the boys available at the household (usually can cause a lot of commotion if the amount is not even).

Stage Six – Musikana/Tete (Gifts for the bride)

The woman being married is required to pick some money from the plate for herserlf.  This money in some places can be set by the aunt or the woman’s sister. This is a small allowance for ’Mari inonhongwa nemusihare’ for the purchase of household or cooking utensils, and this amount is given to the bride. If there are younger sisters or siblings, she may give them a portion of the money. This money is for all the cooking that would have taken place for the party which the groom will finance after the ceremony is concluded. Usually this money can be returned by the woman to her future husband to cover the other payment that would follow.

Stage Seven – Rusambo (Roora, Dowry)

This is the most important stage called “Rusambo” and although the above process is referred to or called “roora”, this is the name given to the whole ceremony and all of the gifts, not just the bride price or dowry. Paying Roora is called ‘kubvisa pfuma’, giving (or parting with) wealth. Roora is wealth and its quantum must be consistent with wealth. This stage can only be reached if the stages mentioned above have been fulfilled. The bride price varies and nowadays factors in things like the social class of both the groom and the bride. This however can be paid as a part payment as long as some form of payment is made. For illustration purposes maybe the above processes may have cost the groom $1400 and he had only brought $2000 it is accepted for him to pay $600.00 and then the rest will follow for the next twenty years. If the groom fails to come up with any part payment then the whole process becomes null and void and will have to be started again at a later date and he will not be give his bride.

Stage eight – Danga (Livestock)

This stage traditionally is a gift of cattle and nowadays it is most commonly paid in cash, although the amounts will still be representative of fair market price for cattle.  Normally the number is between seven to eight cows and in those the most important one is the one for the mother known as ‘mombe yeumai.’ This should always be a live cow that the groom gives to the mother in law.  The cow is expected to produce an offspring as proof that the union has been blessed, also our belief the most powerful ancestors that protect us are the maternal ones.  ’Mudzimu wamai ukadambura mbereko’ (if maternal spirits let go) spells disaster.  To keep these spirits happy and attentive there is need to follow the ‘mombe yeumai’ protocol to the letter.  To to give ‘mombe yeumai’ is to acknowledge this spiritual symbolism. Once the offspring is weaned it is then expected that the cow can be slaughtered by the bride’s family and eaten by both families just as thanks giving and strengthening both the couple’s relationship as well as the family as a whole.  This will take place after two to five years. This stage is dependent on the Rusambo stage and if Rusambo is not available then they cannot proceed to this current stage.  In old times ‘pfuma/roora’ consisted of cattle, ’mapadza’ (symbolic iron hoes) and ‘machira’ (imported cloth) as indicative of a rich agricultural community.

Stage Nine – Majasi (Clothes)

This stage also dependent on the Rusambo stage.  It is the gift of clothes that the groom is expected to buy for his in-laws. As stated after Rusambo has been paid and the bride’s family are happy the groom and his party will then be invited and welcomed into the family ‘Kupinzwa mumusha’, the groom will then greet the in-laws as a new groom (no longer a prospective groom or stranger, but a member of the family) with the special traditional clapping greeting ‘Gusvi’ and is permitted to be a part of the household. At this stage he will be given a list of items of clothing that both the mother and father require normally full attire from top to bottom.

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N.B Lobola Groceries vary from family to family but the standard grocery list is:

Cartons or boxes of:

Rice
Hupfu
Meat
Cooking oil
Tissues
Soap
Drinks
Flour

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Photo Credit: Blessing Mutinhiri

 

This article was written by Richard Chashamba Thank you very much for the information you shared with me, I hope someone will have a clear view of what the Shona Lobola Procedures comprise of and not be in the dark like I was.  This was very a very insightful article.

© MaKupsy