Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stormy Weather


There's a big fat storm heading our way, says the Bureau of Metereology. No sign of the action yet (but we've cancelled the midnight toddler rock-fishing lessons.) The swell was
big, though.

'Quick trip down to check out the surf?' suggested Keith.

Ten minutes later, in the car, I said 'I see you're not looking me in the eye, Husband.'

Some time later, we established that men all over the land were probably having the same uncharitable feelings towards their wives, who turned a quick dash down the road into just-let-me-get-the-kids-a-sandwich-have-you-got-a-nappy-bag-ooh-I-might-grab-a-coffee-on-the-way-give-me-five-secs-for-a-wee sort of adventure.

He suggested a homosexual relationship might save him some of this angst. I wondered whether he might change his tune when he got the flu.

A sweet Sunday afternoon.



(This photo makes me laugh.I don't know what Ted is doing in the background, but it's naughty.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Happiness

I've been thinking lately about the importance of positivity. For me, taking control of my own happiness is the most critical part of the job as a stay-at-home parent. It's connected, somehow, to the life-shift from individual responsibility to mama-land - a whole different kettle of fish fingers.

A happy house is welcoming and warm. The people in it cheer when you walk through the door, and it pulses with it's own personality. Negative emotional energy is a terrible house-guest. As the one running the home-show, my mood can effect the tone of the family, for good and for bad.

Lots of things get in the way of positivity. Small people can be so frustrating, housework is endless, and life can be lonely. My body hurts. Keith has to travel. My family live too far away. Viruses keep arriving and things never turn out at 4pm as I had planned them at nine. But as John Lennon- or was it Jesus?- said, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

It occurs to me that becoming a resentful, put-upon mother is an easy path to start treading. There's a hell of a lot of boring, repetitive invisible work that goes into running the machine of a household, and having a good long whinge is so satisfying in the short-term. But raising kids is a job, with crappy parts like any other job. I'm working on turning my own dial to happy, avoiding the martyr trap, choosing not to do those motherhood mathematics of 'everybody else first.' Trying to find the Zen of the washing-up, as they say.

Here's where the theory gets attractive:

Mamas must- for the sake of the family - take agency over their own happiness. For some mothers, that fulfillment would be found in an office, or a sports team or an occasional visit to a gay sex club. (No judgement.)

For me, it involves a creative approach to homemaking that selectively ignores dust-pockets in favour of half-arsed projects. Wonky curtains. Clutter-buckets. Baking bread, not cleaning showers. Enthusiastically washing clothes and pathologically failing to put them away. It requires taking time alone to write, to soak my pains in the bath, to read and retreat into myself. Floors can go uncleaned and washing-up can breed, if I need to step out from my work when my bitter/contented dial is tipping into the red.

Not for the first time, I'm thankful to have a partner that appreciates me in full: the good, the bad, the ugly. When he's away, my work is intense; and when he get's home, I take time to be joyfully, fabulously lazy whenever I can. It's good for the pain that ails me, and it balances out the non-stop action that characterises life with two small people.Is it self-indulgent? Yes, it is. Do I feel guilty? Yes, I do. Have I suddenly begun speaking in the manner of Kevin Rudd? Yes, yes I have. (And I will stop.)

But, man, there will always be unsorted washing. Corners to sweep. Meals to freeze. There's not always a Daddy around to play Murder In The Dark while I read Grass Roots Magazine and eat chocolate. I'm not the perfect, industrious, creative and nurturing mothering machine I wish I was. I try my best, in bursts of enthusiasm, but in the final analysis, I'm kind of a lazy slattern.

So I'm choosing to embrace my need to step back and be lazy in order to recharge; so that when I'm back in the game I'm match fit for kissing, dancing, cleaning, crafting and cooking. Primed for fun.

If I'm happy, goes my theory, Keith's life is sweeter. The kids laugh more. The cheers are louder when anybody returns home. If there's a choice - and I'm increasingly convinced there is- between the negative path in everyday life and the positive one, I know which one I'm taking.

I choose Happy.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beautiful Pudding

We're babysitting the animals while our neighbours are away. There are chickens. My favourite! I love those beaky little bastards. The guinea pigs have had babies, and Ivy has been squeaking around the house in pretend-land every since seeing them. Pudding the dog is just such a delight and Ted, especially, loves her. He woke me in the middle of the night to tell me.








Friday, May 21, 2010

A Date With Destiny

June column for Practical Parenting Magazine

My deepest wish for darling little Teddy is that his future holds happiness with a loving life-partner. But there’s an argument that says that personality is set as early as eighteen months old, and I think his current approach to life might get in the way of his romantic future. Imagine him in twenty years on a date, at a nice restaurant, for example, with a nice normal girl. Oh, he could be terribly misunderstood. (For that matter, so could his three-year-old sister Ivy, who has taken lately to lifting up her shirt in public and shouting ‘Look! I has got nipples!’

At any rate, I have taken it upon myself to write an open letter to Ted’s prospective partners.

Dear Teddy’s Date,

These notes are intended to help you navigate your evening with Teddy; an unusual man, but a loveable one.

Your evening may start strangely if there is music playing. No matter how tinny or badly recorded the tune, Teddy will commence to dance in a jerky circle, flapping one arm like a chicken.

During dinner, he will speak in an incomprehensible babble and cry in frustration when you do not understand what he is saying. You would be best advised to keep to the topics of dragons, cheese and The Wiggles. When your food arrives, he’s likely to finish his own meal in short order, grab your plate and shout ‘MINE!’ If you refuse to relinquish it, he will weep desperately. Once he has signaled to the wine waiter to bring him milk by making a cow-milking gesture above his head, he will probably take his full glass, pour it on your head and cry ‘Rain!’ He will find this very, very funny.

Bodily harm is a possibility. If he has brought along his large rubber hammer he might suddenly hit you on top of the head and then laugh hysterically. He may also unintentionally assault you with his food. (He once gave me a black eye with a chicken drumstick so I speak from experience.)

Physically, Teddy could behave oddly. He will undoubtedly climb on top of the table and survey the room, and he will probably get up at least once and gesture hopefully for you to chase him down the hall. Should he get the chance, he will cram himself into a tiny space, and wherever he finds a door, he will slam it roughly and then giggle behind it until you open it again.

I hate to be indelicate but it’s likely during the course of the evening that he will soil himself. In the process of clean-up, should his hand wander to his own member, he will fondle it unselfconsciously, even violently, wearing an expression of glazed delight. All of this he will do in full public view.

At the end of the night, he will lean in expectantly, place his lips close to yours and murmur ‘mmmmm’ until you kiss him. And should you say the words ‘frogs legs’, he will wrap himself around you in the most affectionate cuddle of your life.

Have a lovely evening,

Teddy’s Mum.

p.s- See you at Christmas!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shape - Of - Le - Pear

Often, I write little notes around the house on scraps of paper, as the muse visits me. Because I am Artistic like that. Today I found a shopping list which read- above the lentils and the denture paste- the phrase 'lady mayor of crazytown'. It sums up how things have been around here for the last few days.

Keith went to Canberra, it started to rain and Ivy and Ted got a croupey, snotty virus. Not the lethargic, cuddly kind (oh, my kingdom for the good virus...) but rather the irritable, clingy, I-want-the-toilet-roll-that's my toilet roll-Mummy-Teddy took my toilet rooooooool version.

W e spent the day inside, in various pursuits, while I did that dance where you try and keep twenty minutes ahead of the meltdown curve. Oh, My, God it's a tiring old two-step.

We spent some floor time with the Bingo markers, and the Spot books.


In the dress-ups, Ted eyed the Cinderella cloak with covetous plans.


Dressing-up isn't over until you actually empty all the baskets and voyage inside, until the only sign of you is a tiny, determined fist.
We turned the lounge-room into an obstacle course, my desperate attempt to use up some of the holed-up-inside energy. Sleep tonight, offspring, I prayed silently as I urged faster, you guys! Don't get eaten by the floor-crocodiles!


Basket of blocks: check. Basket of animals: check. Mix. Repeat. Grow bored and move to another area. Reply to your mothers suggestion that you clean up with 'I can't. I've got a so bad sickness, Mummy.'


Ivy and Ted both helped with the vacuuming.


Ted eyed off the bread - success! Sadly, no pics survive of the failed chicken soup that nobody would eat.


Hats give speed when you race the corridor in your little bikes, and they make your towers higher. Everybody knows that.






Cutting practice was a really, really good game. Twenty happy minute and lots of fruit-eating.




This craft project, on the other hand (oil water, crayon shavings) was an abject failure. I think that naming this game Sexy Bottles might indicate that my mental capacity was flagging.


Thank God for Play School.

The next day, Ted took his virus and raised the stakes. After I spent a sleepless night with a coughing, wheezing, crying little buddy, I took him to the doc who diagnosed pretty serious bronchitis and prescribed antibiotics, steroids and Ventolin. There's no photos, funnily, of the moment I wept in the chemist as the pharmacist tried to explain how to attach the scary mask inhaler while Ted fought with all his might to get out of my arms so he could sweep all the band-aid boxes off the shelf again. Ivy was indignant. She stood at the counter and announced repeatedly 'But I am so, sick sick as well!'

He's a little stronger today. That is to say that he found enough abdominal muscle to vomit all over his car-seat after the pre-school drop-off. I have decided to see this as a sign or recovery.

Finally, I got an email from my editor calling my latest submission, 'Funny in parts, but disjointed overall'. I think I may take it as the title of my memoirs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Week O'Mama's: Kate


It seems horribly unfair, but Mothers Day must come to an end, and so must the Week O'Mama's. Congratulations and respect to all of you Mama's out there in the blog-world; loving and hugging and feeding and watching over your broods every day.

Our final Mama is Kate from picturesque Daylesford who writes at Foxs Lane. She's mondo-talented, this woman. Not only can she paintey some niceum word picture, she also sews and creates all kinds of beautiful things, while raising three kids.

In her spare time,she and her partner run an organic farm.

Life envy, anybody?

Here's Kate:



What's it like raising three kids on an organic farm?
We moved here from Melbourne when our eldest was eight months old and it is really the only experience of motherhood I know. There are amazing, amazing things like the space, the wonderful fruit and veg and eggs, the fact that our kids not only know where their food comes from but that often they help produce it, the lifestyle and the clean air. But on the other hand, farming can be a 24/7 job and there are times when it is very stressful and it can be hard to live where you work.

Has blogging had an impact on your parenting?

Good question. When I first started blogging I found myself writing posts in my head a lot. I was more conscious than I had ever been about what I was doing in case it was 'blogworthy'. But I think as time has gone on I just live my life and parent my kids and occasionally I will blog about it.
I have noticed thought that at times when I am working through parenting issues and I blog about them, the emails and comments I get in response do help me work out a way forward. Recently I was having an issue regarding the schooling of my middle daughter and some of the links and personal stories people sent me made me feel like I wasn't alone and educated me so in the end I felt like I made a decision based on research and experience rather than just the emotional ones I often find myself making.

Favourite mum-bloggers?

My Mum! Check out her blog at thewritinghive.blogspot.com/
A tale about your own Mum?

My Mum is wonderful! She has always encouraged me and my 3 three sisters to be as creative and passionate as we could possibly be. It is no surprise that there are no lawyers or scientists among us now but writers, a singer/songwriter and an organic farmer. My Mum once wrote a letter to my head master telling him that I would not be sitting my year ten exams because I had other stuff going on and was not prepared. Trying to encourage my kids to find their own passion, the thing that drives them and makes them happy is something that comes from my Mum and I am grateful for it.

The Sedative Biscuit Effect

For some time now, my key parenting technique has involved the judicious distribution or withdrawal of Milk Arrowroot Biscuits. But recently I found that this tasty old-fashioned treat has a secret, under-unadvertised, magical quality.

It can put children to sleep.

When Ivy is kicking up at being put to bed at lunchtime, she comes up with many ploys to avoid having her rest. But if I give her an Arrowroot biscuit, within minutes she's fast asleep.

So far, this method has never failed.

To strengthen the scientific validity of my experiment I upped the sample size to two and testied the Sedative Biscuit Effect (SBE) on Teddy last night. The results, as they say, were replicated.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week O'Mama's: Michelle

Howdy all, and Happy Mother's Day! I had an excellent morning spent almost entirely in the big old bed. Except when I got up, had a bath and then crawled back under the flannel sheets. Croissants and tea delivered with a Choice report on...coffee machines! Present to follow. Ooh la la. I really needed some sloth time today, but I'm feeling much recovered from my week of ouchies, and energised for the week ahead.

Two interviews to go - and today: another expat. Michelle, from Canada, married a Polish man and now lives in Warsaw where she writes at warsaw mommy.She describes parenting, business and everyday life in Poland with wit and honesty.

Here's Michelle:





When did you start blogging and what do you use your blog for?

I started just before Christmas, though I did not really get going until about a month later... so let's say I've been doing this since then!

I had been thinking about starting a blog for awhile, but it was my total disenchantment with Facebook that made me decide to finally begin. I had grown to loathe Facebook's games and quizzes and I found it hard to really get a sense what was happening in people's lives - and I only had 21 friends! I quickly discovered that a blog gives me so much more freedom to express myself: mostly due to the space to write, as opposed to just enough space to leave a status update. So, for me, my blog is about showing my life as it actually is - it's a place for friends and family to see my boys, and to catch up with our lives in Poland.

What's it like being an expat Mum in Poland?

- Oh, man! That's a BIG question!

Usually, I explain it like this: you know all those challenges that you face being a Mom? Like, sleepless nights and teething and toilet training and tantrums and financial constraints and craving 'me' time? Well, I have all of that 'normal' stuff... AND constant confusion about language, and dealing with doctors who don't speak English, and societal expectations and norms of women and mothers that don't exist back in Canada, and cultural divisions and traditions. So, I am like any Mom, really - but I am also dealing with stuff that any foreigner living in Poland has to deal with, whether they have kids or not.

So. It's kind of a double-whammy. But it keeps me on my toes!

Has blogging impacted on your parenting?

- Ummmm. Yes, I think it has. I mean, I enjoy reading other blogs, and many of my favourite bloggers are mothers. So I get to see how they raise their kids, and I get some ideas for ways to deal with some things I have going on.

Also, looking at it another way, knowing that I may write about something on my blog makes me more observant than I may have been before. I mean, I have clear lines and 'no go' zones with my boys and there are some things I will just not write about, since I have some boundaries, but if Max or Alex do or say something, I make a note and then write it on my blog. Before, I may have smiled and thought it was cute or funny, and then forgotten. But now my blog is a type of journal: a record of my boys as they grow and change. So I take the time to write things down. I think that in the future, when I go back through my blog archives and re-read what I wrote, I'll be surprised and delighted at what I will have forgotten!

Favourite mum-bloggers?

- Soooooo many. I was a hardcore Dooce fan a few years ago, and she is the person who helped me gain perspective on my postpartum depression... so although I do not like her as much as I used to, I still drop in once a week, and feel loyal towards her. More recently, I have dicovered Brenda at Mummy Time and Veronica at Sleepless Nights. I also like Not Another Mummy Blog, Pampers and Piniot and Bad Mommy Moments.

A tale about your own Mum?

-My Mom left my Dad when I was 19 years old. When I asked her why she had done this, as there were no violent arguments and no signs that anything was wrong, she said: "I will be 45 in six months. I cannot spend one more birthday - not one more - pretending to be someone that I am not. I am not sure that people get smarter as they get older, but they do become more determined to pursue happiness. I also think that we become less able to pretend to be something we are not. The mask wears thinner the older we get - and it's too much effort for me to keep mine on anymore. I want you to know your mother; I want you to see me for the first time in your life. It's scary for me, because you may not like who I really am. But I cannot enter my 45th year on this planet with my children not knowing me... and the only way I can do any of this is without your father. So, that is the first thing for you to know about me - I am not happy married."


I have spent the past 20 years getting to know my mother, and it has been an honour. She is an amazing woman: I am very lucky to have her in my life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Week O'Mama's: Sally


At my house, we're celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow. There is something hidden under Ivy's bed and a Choice report coming with breakfast, I've been told, which outlines the pros and cons of the various makes of my present- I don't know what it is. (You know you've married a scientist when...)

I'm very excited.

In the spirit of dragging this holiday out as long as possible, there are a few Mama's left in our gestation journey. Today we travel to Switzerland; land of cheese and clocks and porn and snow, but hopefully not all at once.

I have many happy memories about going to Uni with today's Mama Sally. Once we drank a few spoonfuls of gin and recorded her answering machine message while channeling the spirits of beatnik poets. Ornette Coleman wailed wild jazz saxophone as Sally and I intoned 'I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked... ' We also once wrote and performed as two seamy female detective characters we named Hot Dog and Bourbon.

Good times.

Sal went on to travel the globe inspecting toileys and writing books for Lonely Planet and now lives in Lausanne, where she writes at swissing around and recently gave birth to a beautiful boy named Basile. Sal is smart, well read, well-traveled and funnier than a box of penis pasta in 1994.

Here's Sally:



When did you start blogging, what do you use your blog for, and who's the little person on your boob?

I started blogging just under a year ago, mostly as a way to just keep up the practice of writing (I was doing a lot more editing work back then) and to try something different (albeit five years after everyone else!). I’m a freelancer and you don’t always find a client for the things you want to write about at any given time, so blogging was the easiest way to write about what interested me -- the differences I noticed between life here in Switzerland and life in Australia. The little person on my boob (literally, right now) is Basile. He’s just reached three months.

What's life as an expat parent in Switzerland like?

Not too shabby really – the standard of medical care is very high and I had some really great support in those first few days at the hospital and back at home, thanks to various nurses and midwives. There’s a big expat community in Lausanne (and especially in Geneva and Z├╝rich), so it’s pretty easy to find English-speaking mothers’ groups if that’s what you’re after. Motherhood and parenting in general are taken pretty seriously here, so the maternity leave laws are civilised when compared with what we’ve had in Australia – as a freelance writer/editor I was entitled to four months’ paid maternity leave at 80% of my usual earnings. Fathers seem to make a lot of effort to pitch in too, without it being a big deal. As for the location itself, it’s quite brilliant – we live on a beautiful lake (where we swim in Summer) and there are plenty of nearby mountains for skiing in Winter. You know how people wax lyrical about what childhoods used to be like in Oz (walking to school, staying out all day to play and only coming home when you were hungry/exhausted/it got dark etc)? Well that seems to be still in effect here.

Has blogging had an impact on your parenting?


Not too much to be honest – I try not to read too many blogs, as they can really take up a lot of time, and as for writing, I try to get a post done each week, but only if I feel I have something I want to share. I’m still not sure about how much I want to write about my son unless it links directly with some aspect of Swiss or Australian life (eg, my recent application for him to be an Australian citizen by descent). Blog-wise, I really like the ones with an arts/craft element – I just love the pictures so much, and the inspiration they give. A blog certainly doesn’t have to be written by a mum for me to love it, just someone who’s doing things I’m intrigued by.***

Favourite mum-bloggers?


You (Mogantosh), there should be a sign, chunkychooky. Mamamia and The Rachel Papers.

A tale about your own Mum?


When I was six (1977) I was going through a pretty rough patch – my parents had broken up, my grandmother had died the year before, I was shuttling between two homes and having an awful time at school with my teacher. My mum, who was earning just about enough to feed us and pay the rent in a share house, managed to scrape up enough money to buy Abba tickets. She kept it a secret until the afternoon of the concert, when she picked me up from school and asked me to guess what we were doing that night. I’ll never forget that moment or what it must have taken for her to make it happen.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Week O'Mama's: Tuesday


Families come big (Hi Wendy!); and they come small too. Today's Mama is Tuesday, and she's raising her mini-me Tuesday all by herself. She writes at Two Tuesdays, following the breadcrumb trail of her magpie mind to thoughts on life, craft, interiors, birth and all that comes with being a solo-Mama to a toddler. Tuesday is smart and sweet....it's a lovely combination.

Here's Tuesday:

When did you start blogging and what do you use your blog for?

I started blogging way back in 2006. It was suggested by my soon to be PhD supervisor as a way of getting into the writing every day groove. Pretty soon after that I found out I was pregnant and my blog turned into a private diary of my pregnancy. Blogging didn't get back on my radar until my daughter was almost two and I acutely felt the weight of living in an isolated parent bubble and decided to interact in the many conversations I'd been listening in on. I've not found my blogging groove - but I like to share what makes me happy, sad and anything in between.

Has blogging had an impact on your parenting?

Insomuch as I feel like I'm engaging in an energised, positive dialogue with other people, yes. I think blogging has made me feel more connected with the mumsphere and that has positive ramifications in both our lives. I enjoy conversations about parenting styles, education perspectives, design for children and play ideas. I'm not sure that these influence me overmuch, but I am definitely stimulated by the information shared. I'm most grateful that these frank conversations exist.

Tips for solo mamas?

I've always been a solo parent. I have absolutely no idea what it would be like to not parent alone. I don't really think these are tips - merely what I've found works well for me. Practically, I find that doing the washing (and I mean the whole cycle wash, peg, fold, put away) each and every day really helps me keep on top of things. Emotionally, I think that you have to decide what is really important and focus on that. There are so many things that seem important that really aren't and the time spent on those things could better be spent elsewhere - I think this sort of prioritisation really helps me keep a cap on my mum guilt. For the very same reasons I try to avoid multi-tasking and focus on what I'm doing. I find that a rhythm (or routine) to our days is essential. I (we) definitely feel the effect of an alteration of rhythm. I've truly eased back on the expectations I have of myself - and yet I relish in the air of possibility that motherhood has provided me. Most importantly I've learnt to listen to my instinct and definitely tune out when the spoonfuls of wisdom are shot my way. And finally, I think a wee bit of time to do exactly what you want each and every day is essential. I allot myself twenty minutes of sleep time as my precious minutes. Even if, most days, it is just to have a shower by myself without interruption. Luxury. Sheer luxury.

Favourite mum-bloggers?

Currently I'm really enjoying The Rummey Bears, Pottymouthmama, your lovely blog, Checks and Spots and The Nutrients of Life. I'm inspired by Mum bloggers who let it all hang out. I find it a bit intimidating when life seems uber perfect. There are so many great blogs out there, I am the thankful recipient of bucketfuls of inspiration from these women.

A tale about your own Mum?

My Mum came with me when I gave birth. She was so touched that she got to cut the cord that she couldn't give up the scissors with which she'd done the deed. She's had them framed and the take pride of place on her dressing table next to a photograph of all her grandchildren. I'll always remember the look of sheer joy on her face when they said that she had a granddaughter. I'm thrilled we all got to share this amazing moment.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week O'Mama's: Cath


The K-Dog is on his way home from Canberra, and I'm so happy.

It's been a long few days of solo-parenting. Ivy has a new habit of collecting all her twenty or so 'friends' into plastic bags and pillow-cases, and then hiding them away in strange places. Come bedtime, she NEEDS them desperately and I must channel her surreal imagination to find Eepy, Little Go-Go, Spot and her other weird security objects: swimming goggles, a bird-hooter...

After pre-school she fizzes with all the nervous energy she can't process. Ted is so happy to see her he follows her from room to room shouting her name: 'Ay-Ay! Ay-Ay!' But, in his toddler way, he ruins all her games, and she struggles. (Damn those don't-hit-your-brother rules!) I must try and talk her down, with twenty minutes of soothing-mama-tones, before she can sleep.

My tanks are empty. Stick a fork in me, as the actress said to the Bishop. I'm done.

Today's Mama is the kind, enthusiastic and community-minded Cath from chunkychooky; social worker, wife and Mum to an energetic, eccentric toddler (I don't relate to this at all.) She crafts lovely bits of business from upcycled fabrics and sells them at her Etsy shop. Her blog is always interesting and often unexpected.

Here's Cath:



When did you start blogging, and why do you do it?

I started blogging just over a year ago now. Originally I thought it would be a great way to promote my etsy shop but I quickly realised I actually had a lot to write about it. I do it now because I love to feel part of the online crafty mammas network- I have "met" some amazing crafty women who I really feel I have a lot in common with. I love the swapping and the sharing and the sense of community, the support, sharing the ups and the downs, the giving and receiving of ittle presents... it is exactly how I am and I feel like I have found others so like minded- being nice for nice sake.

How do you structure life around working, parentingand sewing? Any tips on managing the juggle?

I would say really badly. We recently went away for a week, no computers or phones and it was great. I realised that I was concentrating so much on not neglecting my 3 year old that I was possibly neglecting my partner... so mothering and wifeing need to be as important to each other. I am also not spending as much time just surfing the net. I get on read some blogs, reply to emails then get off again. We both work part time and we both have a day at home to do our own thing- this is when I do the majority of my sewing. I also do some of the stuff you can do on the lounge- sewing faces onto my rattles etc on the couch after Busy is in bed, so I can hangout with Chef. I am not one for idle hands so I am always crocheting or doing something...I also made a committment to not be on the computer when Busy was unoccupied, to not park her in front of the TV for hours so I can be on the computer.She is pretty good at amusing herself. Only recently I started making sure I have at least half an hour a day of complete attention on her, of actually sitting down and playing something with her, rather than a 10 minutes here or there.

Has blogging impacted on your parenting?

Blogging has impacted on my parenting in a good way, like I said I feel connected to a community and that makes me happy and in turns makes our family happy...when I was having trouble with Busys sleep I blogged about it and the level of support I felt was quite overwelming, people offering to lend me books, writing long comments on the post, it was huge for me and so appreciated.

Favourite mum-bloggers?

Mama Mogantosh makes me cackle out loud- esp at Ivys antics- HILARIOUS!!

Leonie from raglanguld- so generous and positive and upbeat.

Tania from Myrtle and Eunice- hilarious and amazing creations and photography.

Nikki- My Black cardigan- she has twins and finds time to make the most awesome stuff for them.

Meg- the byron life- beautiful photos and lovely ideas about life - plus lives rurally in a community similar to mine...

Lexi- potty mouth mama... funny! talks about the good and the bad with her kids- so honest and great.

...plus so many more- I could go on all day.

A tale about your own Mum?

I grew up in a house where we were very wanted and loved and mum ( and dad) spent a lot of time playing with us and taking us to do things, picnics on weekends, board games, holidays to the beach and Seaworld, mum was often crafting and was invloved in the school, Brownies etc when we were kids. She was always making things for the school fete or some other cause. She encouraged our craftiness and my love of "making things" , and for that I thank her.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Week O' Mama's: Wendy


How's the Week O'Mama's going for all of you? My weeks have come easier than this one, but all's well when lovely neighbours step in with kiddie dinners and party baths, and now all is calm. Ted is crashed out clutching the guitar he wouldn't relinquish before bed, and Ivy has stopped calling out for biscuits/milk/just one more kiss on the nose.

Today's Mama is Wendy, who writes over at littlegreenbums. She's funny,crafty and clever; and while I scramble to get a Vegemite and cheese sandwich in the bag before pre-school, she's building a chicken coop and raising six kids.

Six!

Here's Wendy:

Where do you write from?

Nine times out of ten, I blog at the dining room table; smack in the center of all of the action. Which means that usually I've got a short person "helping" me in some way--- whether it's pulling my photo card out of the reader to see how it tastes, "guest blogging" while some crisis or another has diverted my attention, or perching on the arm of my chair giving much-needed editorial advice. (This should explain the somewhat sporadic nature of my posts. It's tricky to 'find your voice' when you can't hear it.)

When did you start blogging, and what does purpose does your blog serve in your life?

I started my blog in November of '08, but gave up on it after my first post. A year later, after our move to Des Moines, I started blogging again during a (blessedly rare) bout of insomnia. littlegreenbums is an outlet for me--few of my nearest and dearest relish a 2 AM phone call to update them on the progress of the chicken coop, or my newfound craft-obsession du jour. But there are chicken-folk and craft-folk out there in blogland who actually care (enough to comment)!

How do you fit it in around all those kids? Can you paint us a picture of life with six small people?

Yeah, I think Salvador Dali already painted that picture. (Or maybe it was Jackson Pollack?) It's always something of a circus chez nous---three rings of unmitigated chaos running day and night. I'm lucky that my bigger people help out with the littles as much as they do. We're a freewheeling bunch, and we do a lot of improv---the Fake it Till You Make It approach to family living.

Has blogging impacted on your parenting?

In a way, I guess it has: since I've begun littlegreenbums, everything's become potential blog-fodder. When Chevi cut her own bangs, it didn't rate as a particularly blog-worthy event. When she gave her not-quite-two-year-old sister the same treatment, announcing, "I cut Shani's bangs, Mommy, but don't worry---they look so much shorter than mine," I knew had something to write about. It's been hugely helpful to find other bloggers out there facing the same issues I do; it keeps things in perspective in my head, which no doubt benefits my crew.

Favourite mum-bloggers?

Without sounding too much like an abject panderer, mogantosh is my first read of the day.


A tale about your own Mum?

Not so much a tale as a memory...when I was about 9 years old, my mom and I each had a miserable case of strep throat. We spent our confinement under the covers, watching old black and white movies on TV, and I remember marveling at my good luck...

Week O'Mama's: Cath

The K-Dog is on his way home from Canberra, and I'm so happy.

It's been a long few days of solo-parenting. Ivy has a new habit of collecting all her twenty or so 'friends' into plastic bags and pillow-cases, and then hiding them away in strange places. Come bedtime, she NEEDS them desperately and I must channel her surreal imagination to find Eepy, Little Go-Go, Spot and her other weird security objects: swimming goggles, a bird-hooter...

After pre-school she fizzes with all the nervous energy she can't process. Ted is so happy to see her he follows her from room to room shouting 'Ay-Ay! Ay-Ay!' But, in his toddler way, he ruins all her games, and she struggles. (Damn those don't-hit-your-brother rules!) I must try and talk her down, with twenty minutes of soothing-mama-tones, before she can sleep.

My tanks are empty. Stick a fork in me, as the actress said to the Bishop. I'm done.

Today's Mama is the kind, enthusiastic and community-minded Cath from chunkychooky; social worker, wife and Mum to an energetic, eccentric toddler (I don't relate to this at all.) She crafts lovely bits of business from upcycled fabrics and sells them at her Etsy shop. Her blog is always interesting and often unexpected.

Here's Cath:



When did you start blogging, and why do you do it?

I started blogging just over a year ago now. Originally I thought it would be a great way to promote my etsy shop but I quickly realised I actually had a lot to write about it. I do it now because I love to feel part of the online crafty mammas network- I have "met" some amazing crafty women who I really feel I have a lot in common with. I love the swapping and the sharing and the sense of community, the support, sharing the ups and the downs, the giving and receiving of ittle presents... it is exactly how I am and I feel like I have found others so like minded- being nice for nice sake.

How do you structure life around working, parenting and sewing? Any tips on managing the juggle?

I would say really badly. We recently went away for a week, no computers or phones and it was great. I realised that I was concentrating so much on not neglecting my 3 year old that I was possibly neglecting my partner... so mothering and wifeing need to be as important to each other. I am also not spending as much time just surfing the net. I get on read some blogs, reply to emails then get off again. We both work part time and we both have a day at home to do our own thing- this is when I do the majority of my sewing. I also do some of the stuff you can do on the lounge- sewing faces onto my rattles etc on the couch after Busy is in bed, so I can hangout with Chef. I am not one for idle hands so I am always crocheting or doing something...I also made a committment to not be on the computer when Busy was unoccupied, to not park her in front of the TV for hours so I can be on the computer.She is pretty good at amusing herself. Only recently I started making sure I have at least half an hour a day of complete attention on her, of actually sitting down and playing something with her, rather than a 10 minutes here or there.


Has blogging impacted on your parenting?


Blogging has impacted on my parenting in a good way, like I said I feel connected to a community and that makes me happy and in turns makes our family happy...when I was having trouble with Busys sleep I blogged about it and the level of support I felt was quite overwelming, people offering to lend me books, writing long comments on the post, it was huge for me and so appreciated.

Favourite mum-bloggers?

Mama Mogantosh makes me cackle out loud- esp at Ivys antics- HILARIOUS!!

Leonie from raglanguld- so generous and positive and upbeat.

Tania from Myrtle and Eunice- hilarious and amazing creations and photography.

Nikki- My Black cardigan- she has twins and finds time to make the most awesome stuff for them.


Meg- the byron life- beautiful photos and lovely ideas about life - plus lives rurally in a community similar to mine...

Lexi- potty mouth mamma funny! talks about the good and the bad with her kids- so honest and great.

...plus so many more- I could go on all day....

A tale about your own Mum?

I grew up in a house where we were very wanted and loved and mum ( and dad) spent a lot of time playing with us and taking us to do things, picnics on weekends, board games, holidays to the beach and seaworld, mum was often crafting and was invloved in the school, Brownies etc when we were kids. She was always making things for the school fete or some other cause. She encouraged our craftiness and my love of "making things" , and for that I thank her.

Energy Efficiency

Man, running after little people takes a lot of juice. I'm feeling low-on this week. My back is giving me all kinds of complaints. Anybody heard of a 'psoas muscle?' This is my new pain -part hip, part belly. All fun! I've talked here before about pain. It's a bit of an unwanted house-guest here at the Ranch. This week it's overstaying again.

The problem with having down days is the energy-suck. Housework doesn't matter. Nobody cares if we eat sandwiches for dinner. But the main mama-job is keeping the happy happening, and pain messes with that. Kids are so sensitive, and they require a lot of present, energetic Mama-time.

It's hard this week.

A new Dan Zanes CD is easing the pain a little:


Also helping to raise my mood: Ivy's habit of sneaking off to my room to put on my glasses and pretend to read novels. She looks shame-faced when caught, but she should really look afraid- it just makes me want to eat her for dinner.

Big love out today to Uncle Adrian who broke his arm on the weekend. Ivy and Teddy say 'Get well soon, Arwhal.'

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week O'Mama's: Lexi

As you can probably tell, I really had to Photoshop the hell out of this next photo. Man, this family are ugly. Still, they've got personality.

Many of you won't need an introduction to the quirky stylings of Lexi from pottymouthmama, a sweet and eclectic space where Poetry hangs out with Parenting and Craft before meeting up with Design for a nice cup of tea and a honking belly laugh.

Here's Lexi:



When did you start blogging, and what do you use your blog for?

I started blogging a month after the birth of my second child, January 2008. My blog is a sort of record keeping space, where I like to log funny or memorable moments that occur in family life, and to create a loose sort of discipline to make myself write something daily.

How do you fit writing and reading other blogs into your day?

I squeeze it into some part of the day, or when the smalls are asleep. It’s just 20 sweet minutes of me time.

Has blogging had an impact on your parenting?

Yes. But in a positive way. I get to do something I love almost every single day. And I get to connect with other mums, and that’s pretty cool, especially since I had such a dud Mother’s Group that I dropped out of. Blogging has created a community for me.

Favourite mum-bloggers?

You, Rummage, Rummey Bears, Paper Dolls for Boys, Knot Sew Crafty, Meet me At Mikes, Fat Mum Slim.. Oh the list could go on.. Little Red Caboose, Hugo & Elsa..

A tale about your own Mum?

My Mum is an avid and keen gardener. One Mother’s day, I must have been about 3,I presented her with a small matchbox. I remember she was lying in bed and I was giddy with excitement. I love gift-giving. Mum slid the lid back on the small matchbox, and inside were a bunch of worms (albeit dead) for her garden. Mum loved this gift as though it was the best thing anyone had ever given her.