It’s 9:30 pm on a Tuesday night. The kids are sound asleep, the lunch bags have been packed, I’ve tidied the house and done a load of washing. It’s finally ME TIME… I’ll be asleep in 5…4…3…2…zzz.

This is, I’m sure, the same routine for most moms – whether you work full-time like me, part-time or if you’re at home with the kids all day. So how do WE, average modern day moms, stay sane amongst the constant hustle and bustle? My answer redefines not only me time, but the concept of “ME” too. We have all lost little parts of who we were before kids and family came along – and swopped them for who we are, as parents and spouses. I know none of us would change it for anything, so we need to embrace it, and own it, and, in my opinion, blog about it!

Let me start at the very beginning. I’m Yashmitha Padayachee, 31-year-old wife to Praven and mother to Kivesh and Thavina. I have a BSc degree and work as a Laboratory Technician. I don’t particularly like walks on the beach or candlelit dinners. I do love my family very much and could talk about them non-stop.

A few short years ago, I found myself struggling to find a purpose beyond that of mother and wife (I firmly believe we all need that other purpose in our lives, and it doesn’t make us bad mothers). Praven was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure in 2013. At the time Kivesh was just three years old and I was five months along in my pregnancy with Thavina. Praven began dialysis immediately, and it had a ripple effect across our entire lives. The strain on us, and (this is the first time I’m saying it) the strain on me, was enormous. To continue with everything, I would normally do while being pregnant would have been a task on its own. Added to the stress of seeing to a specialised diet, dealing with an understandably moody Praven, sacrificing weekend after weekend of family time for medical treatment, dealing with medical aid and insurance call centre agents – it was debilitating to say the least. So many issues came at us one after the other: Praven being readmitted to hospital in November, Kivesh also needing medical attention in January 2014 and Thavina being born via emergency C-section (and the emotions and feelings that surrounded her birth).

Throughout this time, I longed for an outlet. Support groups exists for patients going through illnesses, but how many exist for the people supporting the patients? I thought it would be a great idea to blog about our journey one day and how we began to cope with each new curveball thrown at our family. But that day never came. It was a luxury I couldn’t afford – both financially and in time. I don’t want to take anything away from the family support that was given to us, and my friends at work who were constantly there to dry my tears, but I still felt alone in it all. Praven was on dialysis for a total of 15 months. As soon as Thavina was six months old, we desperately went through the motions of finding out whether I could donate one of my kidneys to him. The tests involved were emotional and many quite painful, but on 11 December 2014 – which just happened to have been our eighth anniversary – we received the incredible news that our transplant was scheduled for January 2015.

As with everything we’d been through, even the transplant didn’t run smooth at first. My surgeon opted for a less invasive procedure called a laparoscopic nephrectomy, but some of the blood vessels leading from my kidney were pooling up and it had to get sorted out before the transplant could take place. He would therefore not operate on me without blood on standby, and we were rescheduled for a week later. Of course, this upset the plans we had made, mainly regarding how the kids would be seen to for the estimated week that I would be in hospital for. Nonetheless, the following week, all ran perfectly. I was in ICU for a few days and Praven had to go into immediate isolation. Once I returned home I had to slip right back into the role of mom, as well as be a caregiver to Praven. Again, I was grateful for the help of my mom and sisters.

Post-transplant life came with its own set of hurdles, such as logistics on sorting the kids, adjustment to diets and medication. My initial ambitions of starting a blog had dwindled somewhat, but I still felt I hadn’t really accomplished anything for myself. On impulse in June 2016, I decided I was going to take the plunge. A good friend put me in touch with a web-hosting company and helped me set up my page, while another helped me brainstorm possible names. Finally, A Family Blog had become a reality. Now I had to think about content. I kept waiting to think of something to write about, and I was stuck in the mindset that a blog post had to have some sort of game-changing information offered to other moms. It took me a while to realise that everything is worth writing about – that my message was that we are ordinary average families trudging forward the best we can, and everything we do matters.

My big break is this post, I am so glad to be able to write for MamaMagic and their Heart to Heart blog. and the prospect of encouraging and inspiring other moms to write themselves is exciting to me.

As for the family, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary in December 2016 and our two-year “transplant-versary” in January 2017. We are like any other family with many downs, but even more ups. I hope this post manages to push even just one mom out of her rut and motivates you to start writing and blogging. I hope it makes you realise that you may be normal and average, but you and your family are remarkable and awesome.

So, here’s to sharing my family with you, and hopefully learning about yours too.