Showing posts from January, 2010

Supermum? Part 2

Last weekend I read 'Only in New York.  How I took Manhattan with the Kids' by Caroline Overington (2006).  Overington is an Australian journalist who relocated to New York for three years to work as a correspondent for The Australian newspaper.  She moved there with her two year old twins and her husband.  They arrive three months after 9/11 so it is interesting from that point of view.  I quite enjoyed it.  Easy reading.

However, I found the review to sell the book on the back cover very irritating.

"Funny, perceptive and inspirational, this is the adventure of a lifetime, proving that the modern woman can have it all:  a high-flying career, a wonderful family life and New York".

OK,  this is the sort of stuff that just makes me want to scream.  You can't have it ALL!  Because the truth about this book is that Overington's husband doesn't work and so he looks after their twins.   She's quite upfront about that.  He sacrifices his career for three ye…


The top women's tennis player Kim Clijsters is currently in Australia for the Australian Open.  She is also mother to a 2yo little girl.  I've heard so many comments on TV about her being a supermum that this week's article in the Sydney Morning Herald was a breath of fresh air.

Finally an acknowledgment by the media that she is a mum who gets A LOT of help (full-time nanny) and has A LOT of money to enable her to pursue her career.  I still do think she is amazing to be as fit and committed as she is, and there must be times when she finds it hard to put so much into her tennis.

But it is nice that there is a realisation that the ordinary mums do an amazing job too.  In fact ordinary mums do a lot of ordinary things each day that aren't immediately satisfying or have a lot of people cheering for them.

So I'm cheering for myself (and al…


We celebrated our 15 year anniversary in December.  This felt like a big milestone for us but I'm also aware that, God willing, we have many years ahead of us with more joys and challenges to share.

Looking back to when we got married, I now realise that I didn't actually know Rowan all that well!  I guess I knew enough about him so I was confident that we shared the same values.  I knew I could trust him.  I also knew he could cook better than me!

And I'm thrilled that I love him a whole stack more than I did on that day 15 years ago when we got married.

In the last 15 years we have had five children, lived in two countries, lived in eight houses, attended six churches and owned four different cars.  Not exactly a period of stability!   But a stage of great joy and adventure.

And I'm a lot greyer and he's a lot balder, but we fight less, so (as they say) 'it's all good mate'!

I don't just read!

Favourite TV show of the summer?  Well, not on the actual TV.  I've given up on that a bit despite all the extra free channels we now get with digital TV.

Veronica Mars - Season 1 (2004).  The show isn't new.  It aired on Australian TV at all sorts of odd times and kept moving around so I never really got into it.  Sadly, only three seasons have been made.

But what's it about?  Veronica is a 17yo, with a part-time job working for her dad in his detective agency.  But she also uses her spare time to work out who really killed her BFF Lily and why her mum ran away leaving her alone with her dad.  She's also called upon by her fellow school students to help solve their mysteries.  By the end of the season, you do find out who killed her friend but it is quite complicated, so I won't give you any spoilers!

I like Veronica because she's everything I wasn't at high school!  Cool, sophisticated, articulate, independent.  And I haven't just enjoyed this show bec…

Off to a 'leapover'

I have very generous in-laws.  They have taken the younger two kids for a 'leapover' (as Abbie calls a sleepover) for two nights.  This is nice for me because the younger kids create most of the noise and workload in our house.

It is also lovely for the older three to have some peace and quiet.  They're enjoying being able to just sit and read their books in peace (we borrowed 28 library books on Monday).  Or play a Wii game without having to negotiate the remote out of a younger sibling's hand.  Or just go to sleep without a little voice calling out "Neave, I need to go to the toilet" and her obligingly getting up and taking her.

I'm sure we will all be ready to have them come home.  Despite the enjoyment of the peace, life does not feel quite right and we need the little kids to make sure we all get up in the mornings!

But now I understand how civilised life must be for those with school age children.  It also helps remember why I find it hard to get …

Refining personal habits

Having been at home for almost two weeks now in holiday mode, I've realised that holidays are actually a bit of catch-up time for us.  Catch-up on doing jobs that we find too hard to deal with in the midst of a school term.  And it's not household tasks.

This summer the common theme seems to be refining personal habits!  Sounds quite glamourous and sophisticated.  In reality this is not the case.

This past week we've been refining our 3yo and her toilet training. We've also decided to bite the bullet and toilet train the 5yo at night.  We've also been working hard to get our 3yo to eat a decent breakfast (that is a battleground) before she starts preschool next week.  I've also been trying to get the kids to make their beds each morning.

And we're going quite well.  Better than anticipated.  Although the expectations were low.  Toilet-training is not an area our family excels in!

New Year

The new year is always an interesting time for me.  My brain starts to slow down a bit so I can start to reflect on the year before and consider what's ahead.  A lot of the time I think about what I'd like to do differently.  There's the hope for personal character changes.   How I'd like to be more patient with my children, more generous with my time, more thoughtful towards others.  There's the hope of lifestyle adjustments.  How can I feel less stressed, less busy?  What do I really want to do with my spare time?  How am going to balance my family, serving my community, my ambitions, my exercise, my need to get more sleep?!

It's nice to have some mental space and emotional energy to consider all of this.  But I find it hard sometimes too.  Didn't I go through all this last January?  Didn't I still end up frantically busy come December?  I guess it is all small steps.  It's learning from times of over-commitment and trying to manage life better. …

We survived (and even enjoyed our road trip!)

In the weeks leading up to our holidays I shared my concerns about taking five kids on a road trip with so many people around my suburb, that when it finally came time for us to leave, I think I heard a big sigh of relief ring out across my neigbourhood.

However, it was great fun and none of my concerns were realised.  (Except for Baxter and Abbie fighting when were only two hours into the 16 hour journey from Adelaide to Sydney - nasty!)
The first day of our holiday started early when we left home at 4.30 am.  This worked well, arriving in Melbourne about 4 pm.  We celebrated Rowan's 40th birthday on the way down.  We gave him presents when we stopped for breakfast and lunch. Even though it wasn't an exciting birthday, it was memorable.  We enjoyed staying with old university friends in Melbourne who have four kids about the same age as ours kids.  My children loved a new selection of books to choose from and spent a lot of time reading.  Baxter loved the 'trambulars'…