Saturday, January 26, 2013

Celebrate the ordinary

 In a world where society celebrates success as the be all and end all of everything and the kids who aren’t the top of their game or the best in the class often get overlooked.  I think the same goes for parenting.  Recently I got to thinking that as parents we often celebrate how much our children can do and often forget how much effort this could require from parents.

Often we see other children and we benchmark our kids against them and think, I wish my child could ... or I wish my child was better at ... However what we forget is the incredible effort that is often required by parents to get our kids to this level.  Olympic champions are not simply born champions they have parents who have sacrificed countless hours of sleep to get them to training, forgone family holidays because they needed to get their child to yet another meet.  Brilliant scholars are the same often our children who are gifted and talented in academic areas or the arts (creative, dramatic, etc) require huge commitments from parents to keep their child entertained or at the very least challenged.  This is not to mention the financial burdens of having children who excel in one area or another.

Sometimes when we see “other people” doing these things with their children we can be overwhelmed with feelings of guilt that we are not or cannot provide our children with these same opportunities.  We as parents need to give ourselves a break!  We forget to celebrate all the things we do do for our children.  We provide them with safe, loving environments.  We clothe, feed and shelter them.  We provide them with all the things that they need to get through each day to be well-adjusted children.

We need to remember that even though our children may not be the biggest, best and brightest - they are and will always be ours.  At the end of the day the most important gift we can give to our children is for them to grow up knowing they are loved no matter who they are and what their abilities are.

We as parents also need to stop beating ourselves up if we can't do everything our friends can with their kids, they may have different gifts to us.  My gift is certainly not in the area of craft with my kids, but when they are sick I can be the world's best nurse, I can do vomit no worries at all.  The fact that I would prefer to stick needles in my eye than do finger painting or teach my children the alphabet does not make me a bad mother.

We all do the very, very best we can for our children within our gifts, abilities and financial constraints.  That is all that anyone can hope for.

  Some days I am just pleased to get my kids from wake up to bedtime and know that I have fed & watered them, I quite possibly have yelled at them but that is ok, we have played a little, I might have read to them but I might have more likely plopped them in front of the tv for a few minutes of quiet and I have cuddled them.  I know I need to stop beating myself up for not doing craft or having the most immaculate house or Masterchef plating up skills (even their flops look better than my best most of the time!)  What I am sure of is that my kids know that I love them and even when I am cranky I am doing my best.  We cry together, I have said sorry to them and we create lots of memories in our home.

There is no doubt in the world that I wouldn't love to have a perfect showroom home and perfectly coiffed hair, makeup and parenting skills, sadly though all of that has skipped my place.

Hugs to all of the amazing families out there, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do the best YOU can that is what counts. 

Our kids won't remember who taught them the alphabet or how they were born or fed when they are 25 but they will always remember who loved them!

Kids, jobs & pocket money

I have tried all sorts of ways to get our kids to tidy up after themselves. I have tried yelling, threatening, bribing, doing it for them but nothing works. Least of all the doing it for them that only serves to frustrate me more!

So this year I am going to try something new. We are going to try pocket money. Fundamentally I have a issue with pocket money mainly because when I was a kid pocket money was 20cents these days it seems that going rate is $2 per job!!! I remember getting $2 for washing the car!!! I also fundamentally object to paying them for simply picking up after themselves.

In addition to this my other issue with pocket money is that I rarely carry cash these days so it is a major pain in the neck to have cash on me to pay the kids.

We have a list of jobs that they have to do and then optional jobs that IF all the must do jobs are done then they will get paid to do the optional jobs. This might seem mean but I am not going to pay them to be a member of our family.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to pay the kids for doing their jobs but I'm figuring that the likelihood is that I won't have to cough up too much cash, given that they won't do their "other" list and will try to do the "paid" list first. My plan is if their non optional jobs aren't done then it doesn't matter if they do the other jobs there is still no cash. If I have to remind them to do jobs then they don't get paid either.

Their non optional jobs include: hanging their school clothes, putting away their school bags, keeping their room tidy, being nice to each other, having their equipment ready for their after school activities, making their beds, cleaning their teeth. Their paid jobs are cleaning the bathroom for my big boy and hanging the washing out for the girls.

In addition to this I think that I am going to try and implement the lost property bucket. This did the rounds of the internet a while back and I can really see the merits. Instead of getting angry that I am picking up their things I am going to ransom them back.

I was at a birthday party today for one of the girls friends and it would seem that in talking to other parents I have quite high expectations for our children when it comes to jobs. Apparently most kids don't have jobs and they certainly aren't expected to do things that my kids are. It would seem up place is almost a bootcamp!!!

We will see how this new system works it may be pie in the sky stuff but I have to try something right???

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I wish I could die!

Ok so that is probably very dramatic and also somewhat of an overreaction but at that moment when I was sprawled across the footpath with complete strangers wanting to help me that is how I felt.  I have a habit of being a bit clumsy of late I wish I had a reason for it!

Over the last six months my injuries have included t4 syndrome in the right shoulder with some postural overload thrown in (couldn't use my arm properly for about 3mths!!!), I dislocated my finger taking Zac's surfboard off the car, I tore the muscle off my shin bone tapping a paint tin lid into the tin with my heel and now I have sprawled myself across the footpath for all to see.

I had a glimpse of what this looked like when my mum fell on our way out of the train station at Central at the beginning of a family outing to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Poor mum she rolled her ankle and hit her elbow and everyone walking past kept offering help but given there were three other adults and three kids she just wanted to get out of there and for the ground to swallow her up!  Boy do I know how she felt.  In mum's case she ended up with a small break in the bone between her shoulder and elbow and a small fracture in her ankle!

For me I was simply walking along racing to get back to work after ducking out for a leg wax and I just didn't see the piece of wood at the edge of the garden bed so I think I partially stepped on it rolling my left ankle and thumping my right knee into the concrete!!!  I am not sure really what is hurting more today.  I had an X-ray on my ankle and we are pretty sure there is no major damage just a really bad sprain.  My knee however feels weird, again, I am sure it is nothing major but its sure as heck not comfortable.

In reality I think I have a family of clumsy people one of our twins has been stitched up twice once inside her mouth and once in her chin, that's not including the huge fall she took and split her lip when we were visiting Warrnambool last year.  Our son had two trips to hospital with suspected spinal injuries from football (not quite falling over but still ...) and our other twin fell out of the caravan door.  That combined with my mother's ability to fall at the drop of a hat I think my kids are destined to be the ones that fall a lot!!!

Its quite frustrating really because I am sitting looking at a gorgeous day outside that I really can't walk to the beach to enjoy!!

Oh well there are certainly worse things in life that a little bit of public humiliation!!!  Oh and at least I wasn't the lady walking down the street in Port Macquarie with her skirt tucked in her knickers! Have you had any public humiliation of late?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What is love?

My man and I have just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.  We don't always buy each other gifts and there is never any expectation to buy them.  He bought me a gorgeous silk scarf and I gave him some bed linen (a gorgeous white doona set I loved).

This got me thinking about what is love?  Is love buying gifts the other person wants, is love showing them you love them them every day by doing things for them (like making lunch or coffees or things like that), is love just being there for each other when you need to be, is it being there even though you don't think you need them?  There are so many different ways we can express love to others and so many different types of love.

In our early years we have love for our parents, siblings, wider family, friends this is formative love.  This is when we really learn about love I think.  Growing up I knew categorically that I was loved, it didn't matter what I did and I did lots that upset my parents (the worst being getting my father's drivers licence cancelled back in the day when having a gold licence was a big deal!!!) sure they were disappointed and even angry with me but I always knew without a doubt I was loved!

As we move through our teenage years we discover the love for another person an equal to us, that we usually fall deeply and madly in love with.  Well let's face it we think that is love but really it's infatuation because the first opportunity that someone better comes along we fall deeply and madly with them and again and again the cycle often for some of us repeats itself over and over.  I know that when I think back there was AT least 4 possibly more that I was going to spend the rest of my life with!  I have two extra engagement rings as a testament to this.  When I think of my man I know that in the end I married the right guy.

Then you get married and have children and boy nothing prepares you for that love!  The love a parent has for a child is indescribable, to me it is something that is unending and sometimes it is a love so strong you think you might suffocate from it. I never knew the strength of the love that I would feel for my children, when I had our son I truly thought my heart was full and would explode with the love I felt for him and I just wasn't sure that if I had more children I would have enough love to go around but then I had my twins and boy I found out in an instant that your heart simply swells to make room for more children.

Love for me is an undying friendship, it is passionate, it is being there for each other when the chips are down, it's butterflies in the tummy (but not all the time), it's loving the present you get even though you hate it and to me most important of all it's knowing that they are the one person you want to see you naked and when you are old!

What is love for you?

Monday, January 21, 2013


Ok I'm pretty sure I'm not alone here but I hate doing the washing!  To me it is such a pointless exercise especially washing my kids clothes.  They are terrible at keeping the clean ones clean and in fact even discerning which ones are clean and which ones aren't.

I will typically find piles and piles of clothes in the kids rooms including but not limited to wet swimmers in swimming bags from swimming class, wet towels also from said class, wet towels they are too lazy to hang back up in the bathroom, clothes that are in various stages of dirty and clean washing they were too lazy to put away (this is often found back in the dirty washing basket!!) it annoys me no end.  I actually often find dirty clothes back in the clean clothes drawers because they have been told to clean up so they just pick everything up and shove it out of sight.

But my disdain for washing doesn't just end there.  I really find it such a pointless exercise it reminds me of Groundhog Day you do the same thing over and over it never changes.  You wash the clothes for them to get dirty again and then you have to wash again.

I know people who get quite frustrated with how I do my washing.  I am happy that it has just made it from the dirty basket into the machine but apparently that isn't good enough.  I am supposed to sort white and lights, light colours, dark colours, towels, sheets, permanent press the list goes on.  As I say I really don't like washing and yet it seems to dominate my life.  I rarely see the bottom of the washing basket my man and I share and I only get to the bottom of the kids because well they have less clothes.

I wash don't get me wrong but I just don't like doing it.  I am also guilty of going through the basket and washing the favourite clothes with the least favs staying at the very bottom.  The beauty of washing this way is that I will often get a surprise when something appears back in my cupboard!

Having said all of that I can appreciate a good drying day you know the one where the sun shines high and there is a nice breeze strong enough to blow the washing but not so strong it blows you over when you are trying to hang the washing.  I am also pretty lucky in that my man understands that I am washing challenged and if I can do the washing part I am unlikely to do the bringing in part or the folding part and picks up my slack.  We make a good team my man and I.  I am also pretty lucky in that he actually (if I am completely honest) does a darn sight more of the washing than I do!

My favourite part of washing however is the feeling of fresh sheets as you slide into bed that first time or the crisp doona cover as you unfold it and make the bed it always looks nice.

Oh and ironing its not something I do so let's not go there ... What are your thoughts on washing?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 what have you in store for me?

It feels like a lifetime since we heralded in another new year.  I try not to make resolutions mainly because I rarely stick to them, so I like to see how I am feeling a few weeks in and reflect on the year that was and what are my hopes for the year going forward.

This year I know that I want to send more real paper letters to friends!  I love getting mail that is anything other than bills but this typically only happens on my birthday but even then most of the time I might only get one or two cards in the mail.  So I think that is why I made the effort to make Christmas Cards with a little story about our family and I actually posted them out to my special family and friends.  I am not offended or even upset when I don't get them in return but I do love getting surprises in the mail.

I am also in the midst of making a stack of little gifts to send out when the mood takes me.  I love to gift give I am pretty sure that is my number one love language, of course I love to receive them who doesn't but for me the thing I love the most is to give them.  I am not even overly fussed if I don't get a thank you but I really love to know that they have been received.  To me I try to think of how special it must feel that someone has thought so much of you that they would make something and send it to you.

Another thing that I really want to try really hard to do this year is not make my kids feel guilty for being kids and my husband for just chilling.  Sometimes it is all too easy for me to get up and do things like sweep the floor or clean the bathroom (you know those jobs we hate to do but have to be done) and someone will say leave it I will do it or will offer help and I usually reply with "it's fine, I will do it!"  You know that tone that I'm using right?  Well it's not healthy to use that tone for them or for me.  If I don't want to do the task and they offer I am going to take them up on it or if I need it done there and then and I know that won't happen I am going to try to respond kindly and say thanks for the offer but I need to do this now.

I am going to make a bigger effort to enjoy my kids instead of yelling at them or sending them off somewhere else to be kids.  Kids are messy and noisy and apparently (though I don't remember this) I was just like them once, so I am going to try harder to enjoy the mess and noise, because I am sure before I know it they will be grown up and I will miss that noise (but quite possibly not the mess!)

We are also off on a family holiday with my entire extended family so 12 of us are off to the most magical place on earth!  I am going to enjoy this trip I am going to soak up all the memories and the joy on the faces of the kids as they see the magical things at Disneyland but first we have to survive the plane trip 14hrs with my brother should be interesting but to my happy place I will go!

I really want to do more to look after myself I think it is important that the kids see that I care about myself enough to take some time out for me.  I plan to get into the good habit of regular meditation and regular exercise.  Exercise for me is limited by what my knees will allow me to do but bike riding and swimming are thankfully things I love to do and can do.  I hope to start Pilates too.  Hopefully with these things will come a renewed love for healthy food!  I have a love for food but I typically like food that tastes great rather than food that is particularly healthy!

Lastly, I am going to write my blog, this is something that I have been trying to do and wanting to do for as long as I can remember but have never committed to writing.  I guess I think of it as slightly self indulgent and wonder if anyone will care about my life, but its time to move past all of that and put it out there for me!

Til next time.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

So the holiday is over ...

It feels like a lifetime since I have been at work though it is really only two weeks.  Partly, it feels so long because I only officially work three days in the office so had two days off prior to officially going on leave.  The other reason I am sure it feels so long since being at work has something to do with the 2095kms we have travelled by car since I have been on leave!

In true Aussie style we packed up the car and headed off on holidays!  These holidays included two family Christmas celebrations and a New Year celebration.

On Christmas eve in the pouring rain My Man loaded up the car with all the presents, surfboard, body boards, 5 bikes and clothes to head south to my parents house.  They have an amazing home that we love to visit it is very close to the water on Jervis Bay with amazing views it truly does make you want to say "ahhhh the serenity ..." We always have a lovely time when we visit my parents the kids love going there and hanging out with Nan & Pop, though I suspect it have more to do with that Pop lets them pretty much do whatever they want (he has always struggled with the word no even when I was a child), and I think they especially love Pops boat!!!

We had a very lovely Christmas day with my family and the kids had fun playing with their cousins.  After Christmas we stayed for a few days and headed home just in time to unpack and repack the car to head north for our second Christmas celebration with My Man's family.

The car once again loaded up with bikes (that we didn't use once on our trip north far too hilly in Port Macquarie as it turns out!!)  and surfboard more presents (though less that the trip south) more food and lots of clothes we headed north.  The drive north was uneventful albeit long!  The kids were pretty awesome thanks to the DVD player in the car (what did we do as kids lots of really annoying games of spotto and I spy I think!)  We had the one stop at a mandatory golden arches though thankfully the kids weren't interested in the food there more the toilets!

Eventually we arrived at our home for the next week a gorgeous caravan in the front yard of My Man's sister's house.  It was great to have a little bit of space that was ours for a week.  After unloading what seemed like half the house the kids were off playing and in usual style for my family one of the kids hurt themselves!!  I tried the tough love, ice pack, and mummy cuddles though non of this really worked!  After about 2 hrs My Man and I headed off to the hospital to ensure there was no break and in true kid style she woke up the next morning and ran on the leg that was hurting so much the night before she had to be carried everywhere!!!

Our trip north included a second Christmas celebration, a New Years celebration, movies, surfing lessons, catching up with friends and lots of swimming.  It was sad to leave but mostly because leaving meant that it was back to reality when we came home.

So that brings me to here Sunday night before work tomorrow morning ... what I think I would really like to do is stay at home watch the kids and knit but I know this isn't possible.