The Art of War for Moms

My 3 year old locked himself inside a cubicle in the men’s bathroom. I can’t tell you how many times I said “do NOT lock that door” to him before he took the plunge and locked himself inside.


Why he was alone in the men’s room when he usually wees in the ladies’ one is a story for another day. One which includes “power struggle” as the predominant theme.


Actually, I think all he heard was “please lock the door to test your mother” when he committed the crime. And, I was adamant that he was going to “pay”.


Until I looked to my left and saw his 7 year old bodyguard with her arms folded, staring me down. They were united by a common enemy. Their army was looking strong.


I quickly tried to think back to The Art of War, to figure out my strategy while the men in blue overalls tried to knock the door down to rescue the felon. But, I drew a blank.


As soon as he was free, they both started crying like long reunited family on parole day. He was crying because he knew he had messed up. She was crying because she was overcome with stress about the situation.


I was just frustrated and exhausted. It was a crap day at Mama (Pty) Limited.


As I turned into the parking lot of their favourite restaurant, I saw my daughter in my rearview mirror “Ha Ha Ha! Shhhhh, she’s forgotten…” she laughed pointing forward towards my head. (I had threatened to go straight home after the fiasco but the lord knows that I needed the wine, so I played along and pretended I had forgotten my threat.)


That’s when I remembered The Art of War’s best quote “Appear weak when you are strong”. So, like a boss, I marched into the sushi spot and proceeded to use their pocket money to pay for the sushi (and wine).


Aluta continua, as they say.  All is indeed considered FAIR in love and in war.


© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016



P.S. Here are some more quotes from The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Yes, I agree, many of them do apply to my little war too 🙂  Shhhh….

  • “Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him”
  • “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”
  • “All warfare is based on deception”
  • “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
  • “The wise warrior avoids the battle”

Stuck in the Mud

My car was stuck.

In the mud.

Yes, stuck in the mud and it was not a game.


I had to get to an important meeting.

I still had to get dressed for the important meeting.

My clothes were at home. I was 5km away from home.

I had no power at home. My clothes still needed ironing.

The clever part of me thought that perhaps I could go and buy some new clothes, to get to the meeting…but I was stuck.


I tried reversing.

I tried going forward.

My wheels were spinning and all that happened as I tried to “fix” the situation, was that the mud got deeper and deeper and my car said “No! You are stuck!”


Now, on another morning I would have laughed this off. But, this Friday morning was part of a whole week of feeling “stuck”. You know?  One of those weeks when deadlines come and go, decisions stall, your bank freezes your account, your car keys go AWOL, and someone parks you in?  All of those things had happened to me in just ONE week!




And now mud.


To top it all, I was feeling a bit hung over, hungry and grumpy. I should have known better than to have 3 BIG glasses of wine on a school night, but yes, that’s a story for another day.  I should also have known better than to trust the person who told me that eating 4 huge cloves of garlic would not give me bad breath (because it was roasted and not raw).


So, hugely paranoid about my breath, I jumped out of my car in the pouring rain to run across a field to find someone to help me. Yes, I could have just called someone.  Yes, indeed I could have done that if I had my phone with me.  You see, that’s what happens when you are stuck.


My story does not have a happy ending but I can tell you that I made it to the meeting on time. I can also tell you that when 4pm finally rolled around and my son ran into my arms (via a muddy puddle), I was soooo over the word STUCK.

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Trying hard not to scream, I removed his little white sneakers and thought:  My guardian angels must surely have hearing problems. They probably misunderstand me all week as I said my other favourite word, which happens to rhyme with STUCK over and over again. 


Aluta continua, as they say. The road to CLARITY is long.


© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Chaos in the City

A bridge had collapsed across the highway. There was chaos in the city.

I had heard all about it on the news but after collecting my daughter from school, I decided to take the “short cut” and drove straight into the very site of the chaos.

Yes, I know — shortcuts never work.

My daughter fell asleep in the back seat of the car, with the sun giving her whole body love.  I had to keep plotting and planning. I had 12 minutes to collect my son.

I accidently touched some Bluetooth button on the car phone and the stupid thing started dialling! I swear, I tried to stop it but God knows I am a technological snail. It was dialling someone I honestly did not want to talk to. I pulled into the emergency lane, going very slowly to try and deal with the stupid thing.

The man’s voice said “Hello! Hello!” I said nothing. The voice was coming out of the speakers in every corner of the car.

I just kept silent.

I prayed hard that my daughter would not wake up and go “Mama! Mama!”

I prayed even harder that if she woke up and I slid my index finger across my throat (to show her that I meant business if she did not keep quiet), that she would not scream “whyyyyyyy do you want to kill me?” because then the Bluetooth person would surely do an FBI on us.

My prayers were interrupted by a policeman. I was being pulled over for being in the emergency lane. Thank God I wasn’t in the middle of the knife-across-the-throat scene.

I felt like explaining that it WAS an emergency but I didn’t need any further complications with just 8 minutes before my son’s pickup. I also appreciated that a lack of planning in one corner does not constitute an emergency in the other. 

I decided to tell the truth:  I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

They say that the more you sweat, the luckier you get.  Well, the back of my T-Shirt was drenched as I watched the policeman smile and allow me to continue to use the emergency lane.

My daughter woke up just as we arrived to collect my son. She said “I need a drink!”  “We ALL do!” I replied.

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Less Distraction, More Focus please

When last did YOU try something new?

I did today.

I made a sandwich.

Yes, four little pieces of humble brown bread inspired me to be a better human being.    

The scene was set.  I wiped the kitchen counter. I took two slices of bread. I laid them side by side on the table.

I lined up the butter and jam. Yes, actually lined them up instead of sticking the knife directly into the fridge. 

I wiped the knife before I proceeded to slowwwwwwly butter the bread.

Then, I tasted the apricot jam.  I paused 2 seconds to let it sink in.

This was 6am.  I was not tired or intoxicated.  I had just had two cups of coffee.  I was fresh and life was looking good.

It was 1 minute later and I was still doing just ONE thing.  I was making a sandwich.

I lathered the lumpy, orange stuff on to the centre of the bread and sealed it.


If this was any other day, I would already have checked my phone while popping my other hand on the kettle , screamed my son’s name, stuck my hand out of the window to feel the weather, plotted my strategy to tackle my daughter’s hair and grabbed the chicken out of the freezer to defrost for dinner. 

But no, this was Monday and it was different.  It was 3 minutes later and I was still doing just ONE thing.  The same ONE thing!

I cut all the crusts off the bread.  Then, I grabbed a second knife.  I know, another first!  A second knife.  I used it to criss cross the bread, outlining where I would make the incisions. Then, I performed the surgery, creating four perfectly equal triangles.

I proudly popped those into a lunch box. Then, I took 2 more seconds to search for a matching lid. God knows, this is another honest first.  Who does these things?  Matching tops and bottoms are sooooo 1980 anyway.

Only once the little box was safely tucked into a mini backpack, did I remember that I needed more coffee.  I also remembered that I had a report to submit before 8am, I heard the tumble drier buzz, I remembered that my son was too quiet, that I hadn’t booked a cleaner, that my dry cleaning had been at the store for 2 months and that I needed to cancel my hair appointment. 

But that 7 minutes was magic.  It was exactly what I had ordered in my affirmation last week.  I remember writing “I am grateful for less distraction, more focus”.

Et voilà!  It manifested.  7 whole minutes of pure bliss.

I am not sure how many more 7 minute trances I can go into for the rest of the week, but what I DO know is that the intention remains in force. 

Aluta continua my friends.  The road is long (for me).

Allow me to wish you less distraction, more focus for the week ahead.