Friday, 9 September 2016

I'll let you in on a little secret.... Parenting sucks a lot of the time!

 
 
 
 
Wine is in hand, kids have been gifted with an early bed time and I feel it is time to time speak some truth. No instagram filters, no photo shop, no gloss.
 
A LOT of the time parenting sucks. It is seriously time we were open about this.

Parenting can be brutal. There are real moments where you could be forgiven for mistaking parenting with a really shit job because the features are quite similar. Overworked, no overtime or on call fee, no lunch break, no sick leave, persistent annoying colleagues, minimal recognition, professional development or opportunities for self care. Essentially rotating shift work that never ends.
 
Rest assured, I adore my children and feel very blessed to have them in my world, I have a loving and supportive husband and have a relatively optimistic view of the world. But I feel that as mother's we feel the need to give our reality a social media makeover with extra filters and gloss in order to fit in, to bypass judgement from others, mother's guilt or feeling like a failure. Often due to the negative not being spoken about you can feel like a shit parent, think that everyone else is 'doing' parenting better and begin to doubt your own ability.
 
Why is this? Why is it that in a world where more of my friends  are parents than not, are we all pretending to each other that it’s high fives, cuddles and sweet dreams 24/7? Why do we only share pictures and stories of the glory and none of the hell?
 
It’s not all tears in my wine glass; parenting is also awesome and no parent I know would give back their child, but being in charge of a baby is the hardest thing on the face of the planet.
 
It is not the actual tasks involved in parenting that make it so hard; it’s the absolutely exhausting sleep deprivation that sends you totally insane, and the monotony, and the seemingly unending, repetitious feeding/changing/getting baby to sleep, whinging, toddler tantrums and the realisation that your own needs are so far down the list, and the sadness and futility and depression that this is your life now.

It would be nice if a truer experience of parenting were spoken about publicly. How come none of the books  I read or classes I attended told me to prepare for insanity, emotional rollercoaster or feelings of despair?   And how come they didn’t say that this was normal?

It can be so incredibly isolating when you have kids. People think you are too busy to hang out, but really you are just a slave to these little dictators and their sleeping routines! Personally I no longer know what it is like to relax, or sit in silence as my recently developed  supersonic hearing prevents me from missing a beat.

There’s a loss of identity that comes with parenting: if you are a person who has/had a career that you are interested in continuing, how do you manage that? How do you ‘stay in the game’ without compromising your children/marriage? If you consider going back to work you can be seen as 'too career focussed' and neglectful however if at home you can often feel past it or reached an expiry date professionally.

How do you manage childcare/work/life balance? These are genuine questions that I have grappled with and I know many other mums and dads have too.

By no means am I trying to say that my lot is better or worse than anyone else’s life; I’m trying to say that everyone does it tough with young kids, but never in a million years would I trade my children (however sometimes an auction on ebay is tempting).

So to all of you who are feeling alone and imagining that everyone else is having the time of their lives, think again! We’re all in this together! It is ok to fantasize about running away with the circus, locking yourself in the bathroom with a bottle of wine or aimlessly walk around the supermarket purchasing utter crap to make yourself feel better. Do whatever you need to do to feel reassured, encouraged and not lose your mind.

In light of R U OK day, Here’s an idea: let’s talk openly about the highs AND the lows. Feel free to share something, anything. Go on. It might make you, me, or someone else feel better.

X Grace

Thursday, 7 July 2016

A late night trip to Aldi, a popcorn explosion and an orange flag



Last night I found myself in Aldi.

 Funnily enough I didn't have a shopping list, nor was I there to pick up milk and bread. I wasn't selecting a bunch of flowers, bulk mince or imported ciders. I wasn't even lured in by the weekly specials of miscellaneous items that I did not need but yet always convince myself I cannot live without. Snow wear anyone?

Truth been told I was drawn in by a different reason altogether.
Something that I was desperate for, the promise of a few minutes where I could walk aimlessly around the aisles, in silence, have no agenda, no task to complete, no plan, no drama. Aldi was my refuge, promised land if you will and I was going to prolong the experience for as long as possible. Or at least till bath time was over.


So what caused this sudden need for a hideout you might ask?

Enter in a blonde haired Viking with a chipped tooth who I like to call my son Alfie.

Toddler is an age of wonder, humor and meltdowns over gloves and noodles. In fact, toddler is an age where if you don’t or can’t find the humour in all the little things that can go wrong in a day you will end up crying in the corner before breakfast is over.

The day had been similar to many others, nothing over dramatic just the standard activity

6:50am- Bring in the day with song and foot stomping on side of wall
7am-Breakfast- knock over at least 1 litre of milk whilst demanding to make own "coffee" (warm milk with a dash of honey in KeepCup)
9am- Meltdown at a café
9:30am- Visit to a play centre, swim in ball pit, lose dummy
10:30am- Bribing with a lollypop to leave the play centre
10:45am- Bribing with another lollypop and a trip to the car wash to leave the play centre
11am- Trip to the car wash
11:45am- Sushi lunch with an escaping episode to the woman's toilet (demand to sit on toilet and pretend to use toilet, wee on ground)
12:30pm- Nap
2:40pm- Visit the florist to pick up flowers, attempt to drink water out of bucket
3pm- Visit friend- smother friend with kisses and cuddles that resemble a headlock
4:30pm- On way to pick up dad in car throw popcorn packet in air in a celebration of all things Justine Clarke

So as you can see, the usual, uneventful day. Right? Wrong!

For me when 5pm ticks over I tend to let out a sigh of relief. For it acknowledges the achievement of another day completed, another day without any major calamity, safe keeping of dare devil children and the calling in of backup whom I call my husband. However this afternoon, backup had been delayed and I would brave the arsenic hour alone.

So here we were, returning home, ready for the warmth of the gas heater and the entertainment of ABC for kids. As we approached the front door all three children in toe, Mr Viking had a gleam in his eye and a cheeky grin on his face that shouldn't have gone  unnoticed.

Fast forward three minutes and not only was I locked out of my own house. Mr Viking was let loose alone inside, little Miss was screaming her lungs out desperate for a feed and Wild Heart threenager Adella was again channelling her inner drama queen signalling for help with a orange flag off the bicycle trailer completing her self created monologue "we are trapped, we are trapped, come save us" waiting for a standing ovation from the neighbours and those game enough to walk past.

Thank goodness for the white knight we shall call Poppy Ray who entered the scene not on a horse but in a pick up truck to deliver the key which would free us from the living hell we were currently in. Of course he had a smirk on his face and muttered "this is really comical" as he bravely opened the door to discover all the delightful "treats" Mr Viking was yet to deliver.

So as my life has now officially turned into a comedy, my plan of attack was to hide out in Aldi for as long as it took to claw back a sense of control and if it took purchasing loads of miscellaneous crap in the process I think I was well up for the task!

What calamity have you found yourself in of late? I would love to hear

X Grace

Monday, 4 July 2016

Life lessons from a tenacious two year old



Every day is a fresh start
"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" - L.M. Montgomery.
When you are young, every day feels like an eternity and a new day means new opportunities to make new friends, explore new adventures, learn new things and get up to loads of mischief. Children don't carry baggage from one day to the next. They start fresh, always.

Be courageous and exude joy
Sing out loud. Dance when you feel like it. A child's life feels limitless because they are not confined by fears of failure or humiliation. They march forward with hope and determination because they don't know any better. They haven't been beaten down, they haven't experienced failure. They embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms.

Don't be so serious, Find time to laugh (daily)
A day without laughter is a day wasted. Children have the beautiful ability to find joy all around them. They find humour and silliness everywhere. Squeals of laughter come quick and easy. When they see something silly they don’t edit themselves the way we so often do; they fall over laughing and enjoy the feeling for as long as possible.

Take pleasure in the small, simple things
I am amazed by the pleasure and sheer joy my son can get from simple activities like  playing with Play- Doh or picking up stones in the garden. Isn’t Play-Doh boring for the third straight day in a row? Why are stones so fascinating? While sometimes there seems to be no reasoning as to why he wants to do a certain activity again and again and again, I cannot help but be astonished by the happiness he gets from it.

Love unconditionally
There is nothing better in life, than having a toddler wrap their arms around your neck and announce, “I love you, mummy.” Having a child helped me to realise how important it is to love people unconditionally, and to let them know that you love them as often as you can.

X Grace


Friday, 1 July 2016

Hello it's me....



Allot has happened in 12 months since my last post that it is difficult to know exactly where to begin...

A new baby, a wild hearted "threenager" and blonde haired Viking with a chipped tooth who has turn two. Throw in a renovation, more responsibilities at work and life has been busy to say the least. Sometimes it all seems a blur and I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of being mummy to three little people desperate for my love and attention, if not physically, hanging onto my every word, closely watching how I respond to every situation and acting accordingly. The other day in a moment where I felt my patience wearing thin as I attempted to peel my daughter off the windowsill on which she was dangerously performing yoga poses in her underpants (refusing to wear clothes) she put her hands in a prayer position and said " Relax Darling, Namaste". A sign from the Universe perhaps?  Something so ridiculously cute that I couldn't help break the tenseness I was feeling with a laugh and everything seemed to reset.

 Sometimes I long for a moment of peace where I can press the pause button in the motion picture that I call "Life" and simply breathe. A time where I do not have to listen to Justin Clarke on repeat in the car, continuously remove the various unidentifiable stains off my clothes, go to the toilet without company, not have to use dry shampoo due to the lack of time to actually wash my hair and put my head on the pillow and sleep deeply without anxiety about what the night will bring.

 Shortly after Mr had returned back to work after the birth of our Little Miss I felt the need to get out of tracksuit pants and leave the house feeling that it was time to tackle taking the whole tribe out on play dates alone.  Whether it was the hormones or the need to connect with others above the age of four I was delusional enough to think it was a good idea. What could go wrong, I said.  I had this! As Beyoncé once sang "Who runs the world, Girls".

I was air high fiving myself as I prepared to leave my friend's house with three children who had not had a melt down, played relatively well together, remained in clean clothes and were willing to get back in the car to pick up their Dad from work. As I was buckling Little Miss into the capsule from the corner of my eye I spotted not one but two children dashing down a steep hill as if they were competing in an Olympic event. As they share my genetic makeup with all guts and no coordination both tumbled in different directions. Mr Viking landing in an ant nest, madly dusting off the hundreds of little critters who were marching through his blonde hair. Add in a blood lip and dirty clothes and he was a real sight. Wild Heart felt left out and gave an Academy Award winning performance in the car acting as if she was being attacked by ants. Perhaps she was going down in sympathy of her little brother? Perhaps Not. So, what was I to do with a hungry baby, child with a blood lip and another who was acting out a scene from a horror movie on the way to pick up Daddy?  Thank the Lord for Red Rooster drive through Paddle Pops. As the car door opened and Mr viewed the sight for sore eyes better know as his family he knew it had been a particularly successful day. Shall I go to the bottle shop and pick us up a drink? Good Man. The stuff you couldn't write about, that will become part of the family narrative.

Amongst never ending chaos, there are moments when I feel completely in awe of the little beings that we have created and amazed at the people they are developing into. Whether it is hearing Wild Heart sing all the lyrics to Charlie Puth "One Call Away" as part of her self imposed bedtime routine, Mr Viking shaking his bottom and performing a dance show dressed in a bright yellow tutu in the living room or sharing a smile with Little Miss, these are the moments that make my heart sing and remind me that it is going to be okay.

Parenthood is a wild ride, one not for the faint hearted and even though I feel like I am on a never ending rollercoaster of emotions, laugh or cry moments and have developed an unhealthy need for a never ending supply of wet ones , I wouldn't change it for the world.

Much Love

Grace

Monday, 22 June 2015

Along the Road to Gundagai ....













Recently I took a solo road trip to Sydney to attend my lovely sister's 40th birthday which was definitely an event not to be missed! With great excitement and anticipation I took off with a coffee in hand, play list loaded and with the mantra that I would enjoy the journey and if the opportunity presented "choose my own adventure". So in line with this I found myself buying apples in Gundagai, enjoying sensational home cooked food at the Merino Café in Gunning and then attending the weekend markets and admiring the street art in Goulburn.

I felt truly blessed to have these precious moments to myself which as a mummy of two kidlets are few and far between. So if you ever fine yourself on the long road to Sydney do yourself a favour and visit the small towns off the highway instead of simply counting down the km to the destination.

P.S The gluten free cakes at the Merino Café are divine! https://www.facebook.com/merinocafe

X Grace

Lime and Raspberry Friands (Gluten Free)



Ingredients:    

5 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups almond meal
2 teaspoons finely grated lime rind
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
2/3 cup gluten-free plain flour
150g butter, melted, cooled
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries


Method:

  1.  Preheat oven to 190C/170C fan-forced. Grease a 12-hole, 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan. Combine egg white, almond meal, lime rind, lime juice, icing sugar, flour and butter in a bowl. Divide mixture evenly between holes of prepared pan. Top with raspberries.
  2. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden and firm to touch. Stand in pan for 2 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. Serve

Enjoy!

 X Grace

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

All it needs is a bit of sunshine and water

 
Today I am thankful for the gift of nature and how therapeutic it is to plant, nurture and watch things grow and the great promise of new life that it brings.  Our dream of having a space which provides an opportunity for our children to learn through play, explore and  establish a connection with the source of their food is becoming a reality. We couldn't be more pleased! Happy Growing....
Do you also feel grounded and inspired when planting?
 
x Grace
 
 
 
 








 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 







Sunday, 3 May 2015

What started as a humble vegetable garden....The final installment

After three and a half years of looking into the backyard and dreaming of a fully functioning vegetable garden today it finally became a reality.

It has been a labour of love for our little family and everyone has had a role to play, even Alfie who took on the position of "foreman" sitting in his walker watching over proceedings.

There were one or two dramas along the way including a power line being taken down by a tip truck who delivered our soil. But I guess that is all part of the fun and what memories are made of.

My husband Adam or master builder as we like to call him has been so dedicated chipping away, single handily constructing the raised vegetable garden made of concrete sleepers.

Today was quite special as we were able to complete the final task of planting our seedlings which we will enjoy nurturing and watching grow...

One of the main reasons we decided to invest in such a big project was because we wanted our children to grow up in an environment that enables free play, spontaneous learning and that which would have long term benefits on their health. We feel that this humble vegetable garden will be a great addition to their daily lives for the following reasons

  • Planting seeds and watching them grow will help them learn about the growth process, the environment, the food they eat and have an influence on their future health.
  • Weeding, watering and taking out the food scraps to the compost will provide opportunities for learning, ownership and responsibility
  • This garden has already provided many opportunities to work together as a family and create special memories and we look forward to creating many more
So here is a list of what we have planted and look forward to harvesting in due course;
Lettuce, snow peas, broad beans, carrots, leeks, spring onions, garlic, buck choy, silver beet, celery, parsnip, cabbage, lemon grass, coriander, rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, brussel sprouts, chick peas.

Have you planted your autumn vegetable garden? What tips and tricks do you do to keep out the snails?

X Grace