Showing posts from August, 2010

How a hot chocolate brought me joy

The Saturday paper contains a section on careers.  I read it in case the perfect job saying "needs no experience but a decade of being a stay-at-home mum would be looked upon highly favourably", suddenly appears.  They always have little articles about how to get jobs/write resumes etc.  This weekend contained an article on why women keep working even when the cost of childcare uses up all their earnings.  I'll share a little bit of the article with you.

Jade Jones ... a full-time radio producer spends almost all of her wage on childcare for her one and two year old daughters.  'As a woman, I wanted to be defined by more than one aspect of my life,' Jones says.  'I want to be mother and a damn good mother, but I also wanted to do something else that was important to me and I wanted to set an example to my girls.  You can be good at more than one thing.'

Juliet Bourke is a partner at Acquus Partners, a workplace change consultancy that specialises in work an…

Hello Joy? Joy ... are you there? Have I lost you?

Wednesday morning I sent this sms to a girlfriend,

"Last night we had a couple over for dinner,  friends of Rowan's from uni,  who have only been married for a couple of years.   I felt so old and cranky and tired in comparison.   Where has my joy gone?"  
I've been asking myself all week about my question.  I just felt so weary when I was talking to them.  They were so keen and enthusiastic about their life, their marriage, their future.  I guess I felt a bit jealous.  I used to be like that.  Sometimes, I can be like that.  But mostly I'm not.  Mostly I'm just overwhelmed by all the jobs that I need to do.  While I write this I just know that somewhere more mess is being created.  Soon there will be a child that needs to me to do something for them.  
Rowan and I always say that at as long as you keep laughing it is all good.  But I find myself often not laughing.  Just rolling along, getting everything done, falling asleep and waking up for another day of surviva…

A great night out

Last night I had the great privilege of seeing my two older kids play at the Sydney Opera House.  Aidan plays the trumpet, Neave the clarinet and their school band was selected to play a piece at the NSW Department of Education's Primary Choral Festival.  A huge choir (700 kids) performed most of the items but other bands and soloists performed between the choir's items.

Our school is an average size school for Sydney.  But we have an amazing band program which is entirely parent run and funded.  We get lots of support from the teaching staff.  Our school librarian went with the children to the rehearsal in the morning and was back there again from 5.30pm to supervise the kids for the evening.  I spotted our school principal in the audience with her husband.

It was a brilliant concert.  Kids singing and performing together pushes all my buttons (in a good way!). I know that every school does not have such great opportunities for music but I would love to see the state governmen…

Absent parents in children's books

What children's books can you think of that involve the child/children being orphans or having absent parents?  When you start thinking about it - there are loads.  Life is much more fun for kids without the rules and restrictions of parents!

I've been reading a fun book this week called 'The Adventures of Nanny Piggins' (2009) by R. A. Spratt.  The Green children need a nanny because their mother has mysteriously disappeared in a boating accident.  But Mr. Green is not really prepared to pay money for an actual nanny so when Sarah Piggins (her qualifications are being a flying pig in the circus) arrives at the doorstep he's quite happy to accept her.  She is a terrible nanny and lets the children eat chocolate for every meal, but every day is a new adventure with Nanny Piggins.  Aimed at children aged 8-12, it is good fun.

So - any other children's books you can think of without parents?

10 years ago it was sleeping strategies, now it's schooling

Wow - if you want a topic to get everyone talking in blogland then go with schooling!

Ten years my peers and I would endlessly discuss which sleep strategies we agreed with.  Or how often to breastfeed our babies.  Or if we were for/against home birth/natural birth/epidurals/c-sections.  Or what was our preferred time-out strategy for toddlers.

And now I feel I've moved into the great schooling debate.  I'm sure it's a stage of life thing.

What I learnt from my earlier discussions ten years ago, was that (a) there wasn't really a wrong or right method and (b) thinking and discussing with others helped me form my own opinions about what did or didn't work for me and my family.

I suspect it might be the same with schooling.  We all have strong opinions but at the end of the day there isn't a right or wrong on this one. I think it's good to have robust discussion and exchange of ideas so we can work out what we think for ourselves but also get an insight into…

The Election Blues

Love a good election - really enjoyed the unpredictability of last night's election count.  Look forward to seeing how it all pans out in the next week.

Being an election junkie I watched all the news on Friday night.  Both the leaders gave their final 'sell' and overall it was a depressing experience.  Lots of stuff along the lines of "look at what I can do for YOU and YOUR family and YOUR lifestyle and YOUR back pocket".

I (perhaps naively) want to hear "This is what I can do for our nation.  This is what we can do together.  This is the type of Australia I want to see.  This is the type of Australia I want the rest of the world to see".  I want to hear words of compassion for the poor, promises to deal with injustice, generosity to countries less fortunate.

And what did we get?  'STOP the BOATS' (we must be pretty stupid if that's supposed to be a core policy) and 'Here's some money for the schools that perform really well'. …

Why I won't home school (if I don't have to)

Occasionally I get asked what I think about home schooling.  Let me say from the outset that I'm not against it at all.  I was actually homeschooled for Year 3 because I wasn't coping with the local Indian school and I wasn't old enough for boarding school.  I have lots of friends who do it - some out of necessity (eg. missionary friends in remote places with no options) or out of choice (because their child doesn't cope with the mainstream school system).  
So I'm fine with the whole concept. I have great admiration for families that choose to provide that education for their kids.  It is hard work and a significant drain on time and emotional energy (usually for the mum).  I also think that it can be a great gift for children who would otherwise get lost in a conventional educational institution.
But why wouldn't I do it?  Partly because I did homeschooling myself and found it quite lonely.  I missed the social interaction of school and ended up begging my p…

The traumas of my public performances

I survived the trumpet exam (oh, and so did Aidan - but this blog isn't really about him after all!) - I had very shaky hands when I was playing the piano which was frustrating.  I had practiced.  So I probably ended up playing about every 3rd note.

One of my most humiliating memories of being a teenager is related to me playing the piano in public, so this is a loaded topic for me.  And, since it's one of my most humiliating moments, why I don't just go ahead and share the story with you all in public cyberspace land?!!

When I was 13, in Year 8, I had to play the piano at the school's morning assembly.  There was a roster for all the piano students over a certain grade, and we took a turn about twice a year to accompany on the piano for the daily hymn we sang at assembly.

Of course, I had practiced and hymns aren't exactly technically difficult so in theory I should have been totally fine.  However, I got super nervous.  And this led to my legs starting to shake …

Success at the dinner table

So after all my complaining about the sad state of affairs at the dinner table in my house I had a moment of inspiration yesterday. Last night for dinner I made laksa.  Never made it before, but bought a packet from Coles and all the ingredients.  I thought, "well, Rowan and I will enjoy it even if no-one else will".  However, it was a grand success.  I just made the soup and put all the ingredients on the table separately.  Chicken, bean sprouts, noodles, coriander, red capsicum.  Everyone made their own version of the meal with the ingredients and the three older kids even enjoyed the laksa.

It was a fun and happy meal.  Win for me!

Getting your kids to eat well

I've been watching the TV show 'Jaime's Food Revolution' which is all about Jaime Oliver's attempts to deal with obesity in America's most obese town, Huntington.  I'm often really saddened by what the mothers will let their children eat and can't understand why they think it is OK for their families to eat stacks of pre-prepared food.

I've been wondering if perhaps part of the reason for these mums letting their kids eat this kind of food is that they end up  taking the path of least resistance.  That is, to get your kids to eat healthy food can be hard work.  It can be emotionally draining and feel like a battleground at times.  I think you need to be determined and focused to get some kids to eat well.  At times to just get them to eat something it's tempting to let them eat rubbish.  It just feels easier.

I have a preschooler who won't eat fruit.  Do I feel like a failure?  A little.  Am I glad she's not my first child?  Yes!  Otherwis…

Motherhood is a cinch - part 2

Just a quick follow-up to yesterday's post.  Had no idea it was such a hot topic out in blog land!

I think we do need to strike a balance between complaining about being a mum and never admitting that it can be hard.  It is easy to just complain so this article does provide a healthy counter-balance to that tendency.

But it's also unhelpful to feel alone because no-one is admitting how hard they actually find parenting.

So if you find yourself at either end of that spectrum maybe it's time to rebalance.

Oh and here's an interview with Jacinta Tynan from Mia Freedman's blog talking about her article.

"Motherhood is a cinch"

Last Sunday's paper offered up this gem of an article by Australian TV newsreader, Jacinta Tynan.

"There is one thing nobody warned me about when I became a mother: what a breeze it would be. I was warned about everything else. All I had been told since I became pregnant was to prepare myself for the toughest job of my life. For years of sleep deprivation, boredom (yes, boredom) and my life not being my own. I was bombarded with tales of cracked nipples, all-night vigils and vomit on the carpet. I was more than mildly worried, as a result, about how on earth I would cope. I am someone who needs my sleep and had a decades long habit of calling my own shots. Would the requirement to be at the beck and call of a little one – even my little one – do my head in? So, I got the most pleasant surprise to find that being a mum is one of the most seamless, joyful, intuitive things I have ever do…

'Life balance' - what does that actually mean?

In the middle of a crazily busy month I keep wondering how I ended up (once again) in this situation.  I knew coming into this term that it was going to be busy but extras have ended up on my plate that I wasn't expecting.

I keep thinking "Am I a people pleaser?  Am I just doing all these things because I want people to like me?".  I don't think I am because I know that I regularly say 'no' and end up disappointing people.

I do feel the disappointment and sometimes my inability to meet everyone's needs can overwhelm me.  So while I have to say 'no' to just survive, I still carry the emotional aftermath of feeling that I've been less than I want to be.

So maybe it's more of an issue of trying to meet my own standards and expectations rather than pleasing others.

I keep reading stuff about how I should use my time according to what God's expectations are.  Not my own standards or the expectations of others.  So theoretically I know that…