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Showing posts from June, 2011

If you want to feel old...

If you want to feel old go on a conference with 600 undergraduate uni students.  That's what I'm doing next week for a few days.

In preparation to not look like a completely exhausted old lady I put myself through the hairdresser trauma yesterday (this has been discussed previously on my blog).  I now have a full head of beautifully coloured hair.

However all I have to do now is do something about the wrinkles, daggy clothes and become quite vague about exactly when it was that I did that B.A.  The vagueness is necessary since I did it before the current undergrads were born and that just gets a bit embarrassing for the poor things who are left trying to work out what you say to such an ancient woman.

Frankly I'm fighting a losing battle - you're officially old at 23 so I'm going to just have to get my head around how they perceive me.  Tricky when I still perceive myself at about 25!

The Boring Parents

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Do you know why parents of teenagers always appear sooo boorrring to their children - it's because we are exhausted.  Go out?  Leave the house?  Attend an event that's just for grown-ups?  Oh - I don't think so.  We are too busy getting them up at the crack of dawn for whatever band/choir/sports training that they need to be at and still going after dark managing their social lives or the great assignment crisis that seems to hit at about 8:23pm each evening. 
I am very stressed out you know Mum - I've only had time to read three novels, chat online with five friends and watch four TV shows - so don't hassle me about getting my homework done earlier.  

We are also worn out because most things that go wrong in our children's lives are apparently OUR fault (it's quite tiring being responsible for every problem in the house):

It's sooo cold today Mum and YOU want me to wear trousers, but I have sport and I'll get hot so I want to wear shorts, but YOU are…

Winter ailments

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Boy are we having a shocking term health-wise.  This week we've had four days of the two older girls lying on the lounge (they are of course just now recovering in time for the weekend ... ).

We've had a fractured ankle, sprained finger, multiple bouts of flu and colds.  I haven't been 100% the whole time but I'm now so used to functioning with a sore throat that I only realised yesterday that it had finally gone.

The upside (and I'm clutching at straws here!) is that we haven't had to rush everyone around to many extracurricular activities because we've had to pull out of a good percentage of them.

It is tempting when the run of sickness happens to look for some miracle cure.  But they eat good food, sleep enough - healthy, balanced life.  It's just life.  Especially with lots of kids who contribute generously to amount of germs that enter our house.

Only two weeks until the end of term - these school holidays cannot come fast enough.

Far from my experience of motherhood: book review/rant

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If you're a stay-at-home mum or you have a little baby and are struggling, for your own sanity, don't read this book. 
Written by Jessica Rowe (another Sydney TV newsreader) her book, 'Love. Wisdom. Motherhood: conversations with inspiring women' (2010) sadly didn't inspire me. I wanted to like this book but instead, I felt deflated. 
She interviews 13 prominent women about being mothers.  This is what I learnt from it.  If you want to be 'inspiring' you need to go back to work quickly after having a baby.  And in some cases REALLY quickly.  Here are some examples from the book:
Lisa McCune (actor): back on set after 9 months Heidi Middleton (designer):  back at work with an 8 week old baby Elizabeth Broderick (Sex discrimination commissioner/lawyer):   back to work after 4 months Wendy Harmer (comedian/breakfast radio):  worked through her labour and beyond Collette Dinnigan (designer):  back to work a day after giving birth Tina Arena (singer):  back in the recor…

7 year old menu

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It was my little boy's 7th birthday yesterday.  This is what he chose for his birthday menu.

"Camembert and crackers for entree"


"Cheese pizza from Crust (but other's can choose different types if they want mum)"
"And for dessert a cake with Kit Kats (I don't like cake mum but I'll eat the Kit Kats)"

The birthday tradition in our house is that we go around the table and everyone says something that they appreciate about the birthday boy/girl.  We've really enjoyed watching the kids get more sophisticated and thoughtful in what they say as they've got older.  My favourite was my oldest boy busting to say his 'thing'.  He said that he liked his brother because they could enjoy playing games together;  computer, wrestling, well, any games really.  

Night Waking: book review

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Last week I read the book 'Night Waking' by Sarah Moss (2010).  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Quite possibly because it combines the themes of motherhood with historical fiction (my favourites).

Set on an isolated island off the coast of Northern Scotland, Anna is a well respected academic (a fellow at Oxford) who goes with her husband Giles (an ornithologist who studies puffins) to spend the summer at the family home with their two children Raph (7) and Moth (2).  The plan is that Giles will be able to study his puffins while Anna finishes her latest book.

But of course the children still need to be cared for and it is Anna who ends up looking after them.  This is a very honest, funny and sometimes bitter portrayal of the realities of life with children.  Anna is in constant tension between the need to care for the kids and her desire to work on her book.  She's also getting broken sleep as her 2yo wakes a few times each night and her 7 yo wakes with anxieties and fea…

Pacing yourself as a mum

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One of the difficult things about being a full-time mum is wondering when your work starts and the work finishes.  It is soooo easy to get really tired, grumpy, angry and super resentful (because realistically it is basically a 24/7 job).  One of the things that makes me quietly laugh at work is when people ask me what I do with all the rest of my week when I'm not at work (since I only work two days a week).  My experience has been that even on the days I go to my paid work I'm still clocking up a significant number of hours of my 'mum work' before and after my paid work.

Having been a full-time mum for 12 years I learnt that the only way I would cope was by pacing myself during the day.  Sometimes you can be up from 5.30 am and going until 10.30 pm.  If I worked that many hours in my paid job without a break I'd actually get into trouble. It's not a sprint this mothering thing.  It's a long, tiring marathon and you need to take on supplies to keep yourse…

Toilet traumas

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In another stunning moment of glamour as a mother, I found myself this evening cleaning up what looked (and smelt) like little smudges of poo off the kid's bathroom floor.   It reminded me of a facebook question I asked last year that got an astounding amount of answers.  I had no idea people had thought about this issue so much. 
"Ok - so here's a big life question.  How on earth do I get rid of the urinal smell that is a fixture of the boy's bathroom in my house?  And, yes, I do clean"
I got some great responses - here are my favourites:
- Bicarb soda in a little container behind the toilet (absorbs the smell) - empty a bucket or two of hot detergenty water over the toilet every single day (mother of three boys) -put a towel across the bathroom door and throw buckets of water over the toilet so that it gets into all the nooks and crannies of the toilet. -take the toilet lid and seat completely off and scrub with domestos and scrub the hinges with domestos (mother of …

New migrants

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My library is located in a part of Sydney with a large percentage of first-generation migrants to Australia.  We have customers from mostly China and India, but I've also met people from Bangladesh, Nepal, Columbia, Peru, Macedonia and others.  I love this aspect of my job.  One of the characteristics of MK's is that they carry a sense of never quite fitting into their home country for much of their life.  So I find myself empathising a lot with people who are new to Australia trying to work how to fit into their new country.

Last week in the library I met a lady from Bangladesh.  Her English was not very good although we started talking because I asked her what kind of newspaper she was reading - it was a Bengali newspaper that she had bought from the shop across the road.  She had a two year old and a tiny baby with her.  It was about 6pm at night and so it was quiet and I could talk to her for a bit.

They moved to Australia 5 years ago so her husband could study.  But he w…

How a pressure cooker saved my life

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Juanita Phillip's book 'How a pressure cooker saved my life' (2010) carries the byline 'how to have it all, do it all and keep it all together'.  I think that might be promising just a tad more than the book can fulfil, but I did enjoy this book.

Juanita Phillips is a Sydney TV newsreader, married with two children.  When her children were small she had a very public meltdown where she lost her voice while reading the news and couldn't keep going.   On YouTube if you're curious.

It's partly a recipe book (yes, with pressure cooker recipes in it) and a book reflecting on how to manage life as a working mother.  She talks about how stressed out she got working full-time while juggling her small kids.  Her husband was looking after them while she worked but because she starts work at 3pm she would do the morning shift and then he'd take over.  Not surprisingly she got very tired.

The pressure cooker provided her with a way to cook in bulk and cook he…