Showing posts from October, 2010

Crying at the dinner table

A lot of my good and not-so-good parenting moments seem to be related to the dinner table.  Tonight I cried at dinner.  And I wasn't crying about the quality of the food on offer!

A long afternoon of helping kids with homework, music practice, getting kids to and from various activities, nit removal, cooking dinner all against the backdrop of a very sad Kindy child (who was pretty sad for most of the afternoon before he collapsed into bed after dinner), all culminated with me shedding tears at dinner.

It was partly a sense of being overwhelmed by the juggling, but also a feeling of relief that Rowan had come home and I wasn't on my own dealing with it any more.  I had also felt stressed about whether I'd be able to actually get dinner on the table.  I'd had so many interruptions to actually getting it cooked that I felt a bit panicky by the end.  Probably resulted in the tears.

Some days just aren't that great are they?

For my To Do List

A comment on my working post.
Anonymous said,

Please consider putting some of your new extra income to something like supporting mission or ministry and don't blow it on a self indulgent overseas holiday.
Well, I have to say Anonymous that after I use any extra income (somewhat limited due to the low pay of librarians plus reduced government family benefits, cost of childcare, travel etc) to support my missionary friends, pay bills and feed my kids, I'll most definitely be adding 'self-indulgent overseas holiday' next on my To Do List. Here's to dreaming.
What I have learnt through going back to work is that unless I go full-time or get a seriously well paid job, it isn't going to make a huge difference to our financial situation.  In lots of ways I'm working now because I wanted to gain work experience which is related to my degree and I was ready to try working outside the home.  Working isn't always just about the money.  It's more complicated than …

Shopping Day

In August I talked about a great day out with my little girl.  I vaguely remember that day, but it was all a tad different today.

I went into Spotlight three times to just buy a couple of items for a quilt I'm sewing.  Three times?  First time I go in and I almost make to the fabric section when the cry of "I need to go to the toilet - I'm BUSTING" goes up.  OK - so we wander around for a while and find the toilet.

I try to go back a second time but then the cry (repeatedly) of "But I'm HUNGRY - really hungry Mum", so we get something to eat.

Third time - I actually make it to the material, find what I want but then a very loud cry of "I need to go the toilet Mum" goes up.  To which I reply "But didn't you just go?".  "Mum, this is a POO (top of voice) - it's different this time".

Lovely.  My glamourous life continues on.

Oh, and I did finally get the material, but now I'm not so sure about the colour in natu…

The power of a meal together

I've realised more than ever this week the value of dinner time at the table.  I get home from work quite late on the days I work.  But the kids also have music lessons/band until quite late so Rowan's usually just serving up dinner when I get home.  We always sit and have dinner together - I've never thought about it all that much.

But now with starting work, it's suddenly become such a precious time for me. By having dinner together I get to hear a little bit about all the kid's days.  They share something funny that happened at school.  What their piano teacher told them at their music lesson.  What they thought when they saw Abbie and her preschool come for a school visit on Thursday.  I get a summary of the highs and lows of the day.

When I'm at home with them all day, I get to experience all these different things walking home from school, eating afternoon tea with them, driving them to piano lessons.  I get all the information slowly as the hours tick by…

Getting out of 'Task Mode'

I've been thinking about the story of Mary and Martha a bit this week.  You know the one - when Jesus comes to visit and Mary comes off looking pretty special because she doesn't rush around the house doing the meal preparation like Martha.  I always end up thinking 'yes, I must listen to Jesus more' but still wondering, 'but WHO is supposed to cook that dinner?!'.
I've been thinking about Martha, because I feel like Martha sometimes.  I've discovered over the past few days that my family think I'm angry with them a lot.  This is because when I launch into 'Task Mode' I come across as abrupt and impatient.  I don't feel angry - I'm just thinking 'But there are so many jobs to do and they need to get done now and c'mon, we need to get with the program, move faster people'.  So I come across as grumpy and annoyed.
This has made me feel sad.  I don't want my family to think I'm angry with them. I love them.  I do all t…


I know this is probably almost sacrilegious to say, since I have been a die hard stay-at-home mum for so long, but I have been thoroughly enjoying my two days/week at work.  Early days yet, and plenty of time for it to go pear shaped and get truly stressful, but so far I'm quite happy with the whole concept.
It's one of those funny things.  When you have five children and have been at home for as long as myself there is an underlying assumption from others, that's what I would do for the rest of my life.
There was no question in my mind that I wanted to be at home full-time when they were little. I'm happy that I've been able to spend so many years at home with my children - no regrets.  Even now, we've managed to wangle our life so that Rowan can start work early and finish early on the days I work so he can do the afternoon shift with the kids.  Means they get to be with a parent when they aren't at school (privileged position to be in, I know).
If you'd…


Another show about families that I'm enjoying at the moment is the show 'Parenthood'.  It tells the story of the Braverman family.  Four siblings who are all adults with their own marriages and families.  The families are struggling with issues related to children with autism, teenagers, gifted children, career mothers, single mothers - the list goes on.  It's a nicely made show - as in - pleasant to watch.  The characters are interesting, even though the siblings seem to be unable to make any decisions without checking with each other first.
Rowan finds the story lines about the parents managing their teenagers stressful to watch especially since we're on the cusp of that stage of life.  I like to be forewarned - information is power and all that!

Just one of those days

Some days I can wax lyrical about how beautifully my kids get on and how much fun they have together.

Today is, most definitely, NOT, one of those days.  Lots of crying, tantrums, fighting, pleasurably annoying one another.  Why?  Who knows.  End of the holidays perhaps.  Being well behaved for Grandma for two days.

Thankfully the grandparents are doing the afternoon shift while we go to a 40th birthday party.  Thank you to our dear friend for hosting a child-free high tea.

Am over my 'bracelets'

I've had braces on my teeth since the end of April.  I am almost at the six month mark and I'm really quite over the whole experience.  Not that I've ever enjoyed it.  It has been quite painful, lots of mouth ulcers, sensitive teeth, stuck food - the list goes on.  My teeth are looking better but because they keep shifting it affects the way that I speak (and I talk a lot ;).  I've been lisping a lot in the last fortnight.

There have been many times that I have felt like hibernating and not having to show my face in my public. But that's not an option in my life.  So I've decided to just live with them and get over my self-consciousness.  I do find it hard to speak in front of a group of people.  Last term I did story time at playgroup each week and early on in the term I asked the kids if they knew what I had on my teeth.  One of the gorgeous little girls said, "I know - you've got bracelets".  Love it.

Frankly, having braces is nothing compare…

Lots of reading at the breakfast table

Well, it's school holidays, so the whole 'no reading at the breakfast table' thing goes right out the window.  For some of my older kids, hanging around in pj's, eating breakfast and reading for hours is just about the perfect start to a new day.
Interestingly the 6yo who can only read a few words, informed me this morning that he had 'read' 10 books before he got out of bed this morning (good, good, I think, as I gleefully rub my hands together, it's all going according to plan...).  He shared a room with his sisters for a few days when my mum stayed with us this week, so he probably copied what the girls do in the mornings.
Plus I had the almost 4yo in floods of tears yesterday morning, because she couldn't work out how to keep her book open with one hand while she ate breakfast with the other.  She was perched on a bean bag next to her 10yo sister who was managing to do it.  This morning she literally had a pile of fairy books (you know, the painful Da…

Giving kids some freedom

I often go through this dilemma in the school holidays.  I want them to get out and do something outside, get some fresh air, away from the blessed screens, but it means I have to get out there with them.  And I can't always get out there with them.

I want my kids to experience some freedom, some space, some breathing space, some independence.  But we live in a world where we're told we can't take our eyes off our kids for a second - they might get stolen, abused, attacked ... the list of horrors we hear on the media just spirals around in our brains.  Like a mantra in our heads - "you just can't take your eyes off them ...".

I live in the city - on a busy road but near a wonderful, vast park.  Our house backs onto a reserve - a child's wonderland.  I want them to enjoy the satisfaction of creating your own world, in your own imagination.  I want them to go on adventures.  Give their brains time to grow, rest, explore.

And this year I have been slowly l…

Flat Stanley

Just a quick plug for an old book, 'Flat Stanley' (1963) by Jeff Brown, that is great for early readers (7/8 year olds).  Stanley is squashed flat early in the first book and this leads to a series of adventures for the young boy.  My kids love them and Aidan especially enjoyed it when he first started reading.  They've just been released recently with new pictures and there is a whole series of the books available.


I've been meaning to talk about this TV show for ages because I've enjoyed it but I think it has just finished in Australia.  Series one has just been released on DVD so you can always ask for it for Christmas.

'Outnumbered' is a show about the Brockman family. Pete (a history teacher), Sue and their three kids, 13yo Jake, 9yo Ben and 6yo Karen set in South London. It's a very understated, meandering sort of show which some people might find irritating after the slickness of a show like 'Modern Family' (which we thoroughly enjoy too).  This is because it semi-improvised and you can see that in the realness of the children's conversations and comments.  But 'Outnumbered' portrays the everyday 'joys' of family life with humour and dryness that I found therapeutic.  Their middle child, Ben, is completely mad, and I have to say does remind me a lot of one of my children.

Ultimately it is Pete and Sue's constant look of bewilderment that…