Nicole and I first met at mothers group and have now survived five years of motherhood together. We even started a maternity bag of clothes, adding in everything we had and passing it on to the next person to announce they had another bun in oven. We have both declined to have the bag returned to us, deciding two is definitely enough.
In the midst of organising her outfit to attend my 80s themed dinner party next week, running her own business and being a mean green bike riding machine she has written a blog post for me.
I have just spent the evening cleaning out and rearranging my wardrobe. The impetus for this was that there is a school fete coming up (and I am now a school-mum) and there was a bit of a buying spree accident a week or two ago.
I can wear black tops now, having passed the milk/snot/what –the-hell-is-that-on-my-shoulder stage of motherhood.
I decided to dedicate a whole, albeit quite small, drawer to my black tops so that I am not rummaging around through general tops to get to the one I need. You know the ones, the basics that you wear all the time. I discovered I have 8 black tops, not counting camisoles. There is the long sleeved fine merino that I bought in an outdoor gear store when I was 3 months pregnant because my husband was buying a new backpack and I wanted something too. I bought it thinking I wouldn’t get to wear it much. It’s nearly threadbare now (as I said, I’m a school-mum now). Then there’s another long sleeved merino one that’s not as good but has a scoop neck. There’s a synthetic one that has puffy sleeves that I bought from a new local shop because I always like to support the new local shops. There’s one from Mesop that is so barely-there you can wear it under anything. And a polo neck one from Skin and Threads that I wore every day last Winter because it was so cold. Then there are two short sleeved ones and one with no sleeves. As I said, I didn’t include camisoles.
I don’t think this is an excessive number of black tops.
It is freaking out the inhabitants of the work stations around me and providing great conversation.
They are freaking out.
Disgusted at the thought.
A specialist ice cream parlour plans to serve up breast milk ice cream and says people should think of it as an organic, free-range treat. The breast milk concoction, called the "Baby Gaga," will be available from tonight at the Icecreamists restaurant in London's Covent Garden. Icecreamists founder Matt O'Connor was confident his take on the "miracle of motherhood" and priced at a hefty 14 pounds (NZ$30) a serving will go down a treat with the paying public... Read the rest of the article
But me, not really so disgusted. If you're an adventurous traveller who tries local cuisine around the world (not so much me as my travel days are limited) than surely this would be one of the easy things to try. It wont make you gag like cows eyes, or sheeps balls. There is no crazy ingredients to make you regret it the next day. It is sweet, good for you and has kiwi strawberries mixed in.
Lots of Mums find the solution for paid work, when you have young kids, is to find a job that allows you to work from home.
It can be perfect, no creche fees for a start means you really do earn some money to help with the bills. You don't need to get dressed for work, you are still the main caregiver for your children, never having to call in when winter ear infection season arrives and you're getting frequent flyer points at the local doctor.
Working from home allows you to work, look after the kids, organise tea, clean the house, get to swimming lessons and clean the car all in the same day.
Working from home can make you more stressed than in the office. If you need to make calls or return an email you can be sure your little cherub will need you for a nappy change, a face wipe, or rescuing from the latest peice of furniture they have learnt to climb.
Working from home for a few hours, you can find yourself working all hours of the night to catch up.
Do I have the answer? Kind of.
My latest job requires me to work a day from home, over the week. Pretty much two hours a day, three days a week and a check in on weekends. I am finding the first important aspect is the gadgets. I have myself armed with any gadget I can get my hands on, and while I am still searching for the perfect bag to tramp around with them all, each and everyone is essential. Allowing you to whip out an email reply while watching a swimming lesson. Send a tweet on the treadmill? No sweat. Watch Gruffalo and review blog comments, done.
What else helps?
A workplace that understands that you may not be around during the same hours they are. My two hours might really be a few sessions of 15 -20 minutes.
Finding a routine that means you are totally with your children and away from those gadgets when you're not working. Exhausting the girls until lunch time means that they have a good rest time for an hour after lunch.
Then it's screen time. For me, for them.
And then back to this, which is why working IN the office can be such a good thing too.
Do you manage work in and out of the office? Share your tips.
One of the first lines in the movie Gnomeo and Juliet had me laughing. Clearly the kids don't get it, but that is the point. Someone has remembered that parents sometimes have to watch these films over and over for years.
I enjoyed the sounds, the gnomes 'tink' like cement gnomes would. I laughed at the gardens of each house, to me, people don't just have one gnome, they have a garden of decorative things, and these gardens are exactly that. Over the top, ridiculous.
The dancing moments are a hit.
I am not going to tell you what happens, other than my favorite characters were the frog and the flamingo, see how you go guessing the names of each of the characters voices, they all do a smashing job...bless them to bits.
Is it suitable for all kids? No, preschoolers may be scared at times, the words idiot and shut up are used once each, there is a small reference to love not working out and ending in divorce...and the removal of the flamingos loving partner. But our sensitive little Popps was ok, Immy asked to go home about 78 times so it was clearly of no interest to her. Popps didn't really get the story line that much, but it that didn't seem to bother her.
All up, this is a great new film, perfect for primary school aged children and their parents.
If you want to win a double pass to see Gnomeo and Juliet in 3D leave me a comment here, and be a follower of this blog.
Entries close Wednesday Feb 24 at 8pm AEST and will be announced as soon as I get a chance.
Lately the pressure at leaving the creche/Kinder door has been getting to me.
Popps and Immy are taking their time settling in to the new centre, the Educators (not to be called carers anymore) are divine and have been assisting with the settling in process for all of us. But being that Mum, the one who has to constantly walk away from her babies as they have just been peeled off you and are screaming as though they are being stabbed, arms stretching for you is hard.
Lucky I have learnt to self soothe (my parents managed to teach me this without the help of Gina Ford or Pinky or Tizzy) and I am trying to focus on the reasons why we need to go through this.
One, Popps is five, she needs to be in Kinder or School or formal education of some kind, as we are not going down the home schooling path, whether I work or not is not the question. Even if I was at home she would still be going. I should be feeling no working Mummy guilt. (Should!)
Two, Popps is very emotional and overly sensitive, it is the reason she is not at school this year already, I have searched the local establishments of fine kindergarten repute to ensure she is in the best one available to us. So there is no guilt about wishing she was somewhere else.
Three, we have been here before Popps and I, three years ago, when I first went back to work two days a week. She may not, but I have learnt the benefits of helping her adjust. From that creche room she started playing with a little girl, Miss E, they weren't in the same room but played in the yard together. Popps and Miss E built a truly beautiful friendship for children aged 2 and 3. They have a love of sharing treasures, dancing, fairies and dressing up in anything swirly. They have not been in the same centre for awhile now, but still retain a special bond that I hope will be life long. This friendship of theirs has given Babble Dad and I new friends too (who just so happened to host a great party two weeks ago, where I may have enjoyed a red wine or three).
Persevering with the orientation at creche brings life long friendships, it teaches children how to make friends, how to communicate with other children and adults, how to adapt when things are not like they are at home. It gives them a chance to do activities that you might otherwise not do at home, new books, puzzles, bikes, water play, clay, giant wooden blocks, chickens hatching, trips to the fire station.
Creche gives me two days a week to be in the paid workforce, to retain my skills, keep up to date, eat lunch with grown ups and have extra dollars to provide treats for our household.
But, I might just have to print this out and read it as I go running from the centre in a frenzy, with Guilt running behind me trying to catch up and smother me again.
A slighly over scheduled child may have had a major melt down on the weekend.
A reminder that it is more than ok to do nothing sometimes.
There are roses in the garden, blocks of chocolate in the fridge and Babble Dad started his first day of a big new secondment, he is overloaded with work stuff, we will be lucky just to see him tonight.
There wont be fancy dinners.
But that's ok.
Because there will be red wine, I am buying it myself to make sure.
Imagine you are playing with your toddler, about to announce the news of your new pregnancy to friends, your husband happily off at the beach having a kite surf.
The phone rings.
You race to the beach and don't go home again for over six months.
Here is Meg's story:
A special community of women
In February 2010 my sister's husband had a terrible kite boarding accident in New Zealand that left him paraplegic. At the time they had a gorgeous and very busy 2 year old boy and one new bubba on the way, so needless to say things were pretty tough. There are so many tragic parts of this journey but I've decided to write about one of the the special moments that have come about since.
Life as a mummy in a busy world can hurtle by without too much time to stop and take a breath so to me the way that my sister's mummy friends have gathered around her in such an extreme time of need, shock and grief was astounding. This community of amazing women in Wanaka who all led their own busy lives, some with dramas of their own banded together to assist a fellow mother. They did so without any expectation of thanks or accolades and the help has not lessened almost a year on. Here are some of the special ways in which they provided love, support and friendship:
* They organised deliveries of clothes, bedding, a tv, toys and lots of other homely comforts to the spinal hospital (a 6 hr drive) to make life more bearable for my sister and her son while they stayed at the hospital for 6 months (on the day of the accident my sister received a phone call, she left her son with a neighbour to spare him the horror and drove straight out to the site of the accident. They did not return home for the next 6 months)
* Care packages were sent every two months with all sorts of treasures to put a smile on my sisters face
* They cleaned their house, stocked the fridge, freezer and pantry before they returned home
* They helped unpack the car after finally returning home
* Their next door neighbour quietly slips in and takes the washing off the line, folds it and leaves it at their back door
* They arranged for 18 hours of home help, like a 'Rent a Mum' system
* Their grass is mowed without even having to ask
* A meal roster has been organised where the food is dropped off with a neighbour so that my sister is not having to host visitors
* Babysitting is insisted upon so that my sister, her husband and new baby get some time to rest.
Have you experienced or been part of a group supporting a Mum or a family?
After I read Wendy Tuohy's article on parenting styles on Saturday from the Weekend section of the Herald Sun I can now tell you all that I am a Wombat. I can't find the article online to link to so I will have to retype the best bit for you.
The article discusses how as Mothers we are constantly labelled with one name or another depending on our parenting style. Of course none of the labels shreik EXCELLENT MUM to the world, but rather highlight one of your faults.
While I may at times be one or all of the other types discussed in the article, Helicopter, Bear, Tiger, Soccer etc. I am happy to now be classified as a Wombat Mum,
"She'd be very warm and fuzzy, and happy to get down and dirty with in a spot of free play with her scruffy brood. Not a fan of weight loss, heavy waxing or animal prints, she'd never win fashions on the school-gate field. But she would always be there to dig the kids out of a hole until they learn to do it for themselves."
How about you, what Mothering style do you think best describes you?
If you are in a reader or email get out of it, click to my pretty page. Go, on, I'll wait for you.
Because if you look to the left, now back to me, you see ADVERTISING!
I know, you are so excited to have advertising highlighted to you. But the people over at nuffnang think I am big enough to host their clients and the ad is actually for a comp to win some groovy goggles. So click over there and enter yourself in to win.
Also, there is a blog post competition going on, you know the type that whoever gets the most clicks wins. Most bloggers have Facebook pages and will have hundreds of likers clicking their link, so in the interests of just not coming in last, pretty please with a cherry on top, could you click here
And click Like.
You don't even have to read my post to do it, takes one second.
I haven't got to organise it yet, but when I do this is the book I'll be using.
Published in 1982 it includes pretty much what I remember as being the staples at our place. Casserole, rissoles, coleslaw, potato salad, roast chicken, roast lamb and for special occasions a prawn cocktail. I grabbed it from a box that was on it's way to the op shop at my friend SQ's house.
It was before the times of a Thai chicken curry or baby spinach with beetroot and fetta salad. Gnocchi? No. But fettucine carbonara, ah yes. Yum.
Yesterday Popps and I used it for scones. another 80s memory for me is eating lots of scones after school. It's the only book that covers all the little tips a domestic godless woman needs, heating plates, flour the bench, veggies stay hotter longer.
The babble house may seem like it is just the four of us, but really we do have bigger lives, we have friends, old and new and lots of great family members that contribute to the richness of our lives.
I gave a holler to a few to see if they wanted to get into the BabbleOn action, and enter my blog as a Sunday Guest.
KerriB is one of my school friends so that means we have known each other quite a while. She is a pretty amazing chick, and has been by my side since we used to ride our bikes to the local boys school to watch them play football, not sure why as we never once uttered a single word to any of them, just raced off on our bikes in case someone saw us. KerriB was also there to ensure I survived backpacking around some of Turkey in 1998. When no one else would go with me, she met me at Heathrow, raced me to Earls Court and 48 hours later we were lying on a marble slab with wrinkly old men giving us a "Turkish Bath". Yes, interesting.
KerriB once held a glamourous job at Bride Magazine (though she denies its glamour status), now she is a Mum to one year old Max. She returned to work this week and as all good multi tasking Mums do, she also wrote me a blog post on the ten things she learnt when becoming a Mum.
Can you add to the list?
One gorgeous family.
Things that I learnt by becoming a mum
After eight years of just hubby and me, a year ago we became three. A little person coming into our lives has been nothing like I imagined, sometimes better, sometimes worse. What I didn’t expect was to learn things about myself. Some might say obvious things, but things all the same. So, since BabbleOn has been so kind to let me sneak a post in, here is my self indulgent post to share.
Ten things that a new addition in my life has taught me.
1. I am brave, much braver than I thought I could be. 2. I have great instincts 3. The female body can do amazing things (yet it cannot self erase cellulite!) 4. Silence really is golden, even if it’s just during the morning commute on the train 5. It does not matter – broken cups, messy floor, dirty dishes.
6. I’m all for equality, but sometimes that is just not how it plays out 7. The world can be spectacular at 6.30am 8. Control and I are friends it’s a pity we can’t see each other all the time 9. My imagination is far scarier than my reality 10. Life balance is a skill not easily mastered
If you're looking to follow someone new on Twitter, you can follow KerriB
Bedtimes are fairly predictable here, the time may change (7pm bedtime seems to have run off with the dummy fairies) but the general process is the same. Bath, little play, four stories, into bed. Pavlov's dogs (except really they stuff around and demand songs, food, drinks etc).
Four stories is no big deal when Pamela Allan and Mem Fox are entertaining you with Green Sheep and Potato People, but as Fancy Nancy and Charlie and Lola have also been read to death I went searching for something a little more.
There was little I could find to suit a sensitive Kinder kid until I spotted my old favourite, Pippi Longstocking. Now re released with images by Lauren Child (who is Charlie and Lola). There are pages with no images but so far it seems to be the perfect solution. We read a chapter each night, it is filled with silly imaginary stories, nothing scary, just kids having adult free discussions. They spit pear pips, drink coffee and roll out the dough on the floor, the best place to do it when you are making hundreds of ginger snaps. Pippi is strong, scared of nothing, a nine year old girl whose mother is an angel and father is king of the natives, who can sew her own dresses and lives with her monkey and horse.
Popps is loving it. What a fabulous female role model Pippi still is, more than 65 years after first being written.
What were the first chapter books you remember reading or having read to you? Will you read them to your own children?