Showing posts from April, 2012

Being happy with the mother I am (rather than the one I imagined I'd be)

When my kids were little I read a fantastic book by Kent and Barbara Hughes called 'Disciplines of a Godly family'. I do recommend it and if you haven't read it, it's a great read.

But I realized over the last school holidays that there was something in particular about that book that had stuck in my mind. They suggest in the book that you make your house the fun house to hang out at. The fun house for your children's friends to spend time at - a house in the community where everyone knows they can go if they want to see friends. They suggest that getting a pool is great when you have teenagers.

Since we're renting and aren't going to be building a house anytime soon (well, really, in my lifetime), I never envisaged that the pool would be a part of the deal.

But I did always imagine that my house might be that fun place to be.  Especially with lots of kids. And yet it's not. I like having kids over, but I'm not initiating great gatherings of te…

If you let a 5 year old take your party photos ...

I had a party last weekend to celebrate my birthday.  The 5 year old kept herself busy by taking photos.  But she wouldn't take photos of people she didn't know (just their backsides).  So there are a lot (A LOT ie. 250) of photos of grandparents, herself, food, random items from around the house.  It is quite funny, but glad I'm not that bothered by the fact that most of the people who came were not photographed.  Here's a sample.

The story my bedside table tells

I have spent quite a lot of time in bed over the past few days struggling with a migraine. These have become a more regular fixture in my life over the last couple of years. Frustrating because they totally put me out of action for at least a day and then I wander around with Fuzzy Head (technical term) for a few more days after that. Partly stress, partly hormonal, partly genetic 'gift' from my maternal side (love you Mum).

Anyway, I looked over at my bedside table and saw my drugs, DVDs and books that have been my friends over the last few days. I think I still have some real life human friends out there too. But sadly there isn't much left for all that, what with juggling all the mother guilt and Fuzzies (more medical technicalities, my apologies).

Have been looking forward to this stage of life for years. Older, more independent kids. Older, more independent me. Now I just keep getting sick and feel weak and pathetic. Am I going to be a gracious and patient old person?…

Mother guilt shocker

I had a bit of nasty jolt back to the reality of the working mother last night.  My 5 year old was in floods of tears at the prospect of me going back to work today (yes, sadly, the holidays are over - but gee, they were great).  I already feel permanently guilty about working and enjoyed being around for the kids in the holidays.  However, I had reached the point where I was looking forward to going back to work to do my actual job (this I do enjoy), but the guilt I was not looking forward to.  So when your youngest child cries that she only wants Mummy to pick her up from school - ouch - tough.  Needless to say, I didn't sleep so well last night.

Anyway, she had a fine day in the end.  My parents were looking after them (their school hadn't started yet) and she learnt to ride a bike without training wheels - goodness me, what a fabulous outcome.  And I spent time this evening typing up a chart of little pictures to show her who is taking her where and when and on what days.…

Just in case I ever get confused ...

In case I ever think that perhaps I have wizardry type powers - I can just look at my mug and be reminded of my ordinariness!

When I was a proper mother

When I was a proper mother this is the type of afternoon tea I used to produce.  It is reassuring to know I can still pull it off.  Now the kids just make themselves toast and eat an apple.  And if we're feeling kind, piklets get made too.

The joy of a big sister


The magic duo of parenting

Sometimes my kid's needs become crystal clear.  Earlier this week (after a few late nights) I had one of those moments.  It isn't deep but it makes SUCH a difference to my children.

They need the magic duo - food and sleep.  After a few babies I worked out that most babies' issues are related to the magic duo.  What I hadn't reflected on until recently is that this doesn't stop when kids get older - I'm still pursuing the same goals!

They need good food that fills them up (actually, they need to eat the food that is given to them that fills them up - but my fussy eaters could take up another whole, long depressing post).

And they need a good amount of sleep.  My seven year old will not sleep in.  He always wakes early.  So if he goes to bed at 10 he will only get 8 hours sleep when he needs at least 10 hours to be civilised.   The amount of crying in a given day is directly related to the amount of sleep that my children have had.  It makes us a little obses…

Hurrah! My new book arrived

My evening is looking good.  It's girl's night at our place (the boys are all out at different things) so I'm going to get started on my new Anne Tyler that arrived today.

Yay - finally I'm getting to read a book that is not aimed at either 10 or 15 year olds (although I will regale with you stories of my 'fun' holiday reading another time - yawn ...)

Music practice

This scene is typical of my life.  I spend many hours each week helping my kids with their music practice.    I enjoy it - mostly, when there aren't tantrums of frustration.  After helping my kids for almost 7 years I think I have learnt a lot about how to help them and have grown in new depths of patience.  There is still a way to go!

Mum Movies: Motherhood

Uma Thurman stars in this 2009 movie that tells the story of one day in a Manhattan's mother's life.  Eliza (Uma Thurman) is mum to Clara (celebrating her sixth birthday that day) and Lucas (2) and married to Avery (Anthony Edwards - from E.R. fame).  They live on the second floor of an apartment block with an elderly neighbour that they look after too.

This movie got (sadly) slammed by reviewers so you may never have even heard of it.  Uma Thurman is gorgeous but she still manages to look harried and dishevelled for most of the movie - she conveys the 'on-the-edgeness' of mothering.  Where there is so much to do but so many factors can conspire against you to result in a successful outcome.  She lugs shopping up to her apartment with the toddler in a backpack - all looks appropriately exhausting!

Eliza is trying to put together a birthday party for her daughter that afternoon after school.  Her husband is vague and refuses to answer his phone.  She ends up without h…

Book review: When Gods collide

I read this book just before I turned 40.  Significant because the author of this book and I shared our 12th birthday party together when we were living in India.  Her parents were teachers at the boarding school I attended and at the time Kate and I were, as they say, BFF.  Kate's mother threw a joint party for us and this was such a treat for me being so far away from home.

What fascinated me about this book was how much Kate and I share in common in our life stories (MK's, age, Australian, school, returned to Australia at a similar age, travelled together in India in 1997), yet how we've ended up in different places in terms of faith.

'When Gods collide' is Kate's second book (her 2006 book, 'Women of the Gobi' about missionary women in China in the 1920's is a great read too).  The basis for this book was Kate's interest in the murder of the Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in India in 1999.  Kate says it was in the a…

The 'romance' of a family bike ride

On Monday we were in Canberra visiting friends over the Easter weekend.  We went on a bike ride around Lake Burley Griffin.   It was great fun - 4 adults, 9 children.  We were quite a pack. It was a beautiful day.  Great to have kids that are old enough to ride bikes together (finally).

We all loved it - well, we almost all loved it.  One child (who shall remain nameless, but is in my family, say, about the middle) sobbed her way around half of the ride.  She didn't start off well.  Before we'd even left she'd half fallen off the bike, so her leg was sore.  But the amount of crying was not representational of the amount of suffering (I felt, anyway - my scale is a bit tough I will admit).  I tried to be compassionate, but my patience ran out when we're riding along, it's beautiful and all I hear behind me is, 'sob, sob, hiccup, sob, deeeep breath, sob, sob'.  

She did perk up after some food and the promise of an ice cream.  But it was a bit painful.  I s…

Slow parenting

Slow parenting.  It's about slowing down how much you pack into your toddler's life.  It's about slowing yourself down so that you can watch your child play.  So that your mind has space to think about your child and their needs.  I like it.  It makes sense to me of my own experiences of life with toddlers.

A bit of history.  When my first child was 18 months old we went along to a kinder gym.  I was lonely and it was a good way to meet up with my friends.  But my son didn't want to do anything!  He just wanted to be with me.  And my friend's children were all off and independent - jumping on all the equipment while they chatted and had a coffee.  I felt like a failure.  And humiliated.

When my son was two we were invited to join a music class by a music teacher friend who wanted a group to practice with.  I had a very small second baby at the time.  It was a disaster.  My son didn't want to participate.  Wouldn't participate.  Threw lots of tantrums.  I f…

The financial cost of replacing a mother

Two days a week we have a nanny (I guess that's what you call her - we just call her Beck!).  She picks up the kids from school and brings them home.  Helps them with homework, home readers.  Keeps them safe while they hang out at home.  We decided to go down this path with childcare because we didn't want to leave them in after school care and with so many children it ended up costing just a bit more than putting them in childcare.  I really wanted the kids to be able to relax at home and get some things done, rather than staying at school for longer and having to negotiate more relationships in the school yard.  That's just us - and I have pretty introverted kids who need lots of down time.

But would I like to claim the childcare subsidy that I'd get if they were in after school care?  Sure!  Absolutely.  It would be a lot cheaper.  Last week the opposition leader has suggested he'd introduce a subsidy for people who are doing what we're doing.  Nice.  But a…