Friday, July 24, 2015

What the F(ish)?

I do my groceries once a week. Have done for years now (see why here). It saves money and time, and since I hate doing it, why do it more often?

So on Wednesday my little boy and I went off to our local supermarket for our weekly shop. He's 3. He likes helping. It's pretty sweet, but can also get kinda annoying, especially if I'm in a hurry. 

So I try not to be in a hurry.

He helps pick out the fruit and vegetables. He helps stick the labels on the plastic bags. He's beaming. I try to kiss him but he dodges my attempts with swift precision and practise.

He's not too interested in the meat. We go passed the fish. There's whole fish, there's fish heads, there's fish fillets and there's seafood. I keep going. We get to the dairy. He says "Stop Mamma". And points back to the fish. Okay, I get it. We go back. "Die?" he asks. "Yes, the fish are dead". He points to the fillets. "Ça non fish", he tells me in his cute Frenglish (aka mixture of French and English). He's adamant. So I explain that the fillets are the whole fish, but cut up and ready to eat. No answer.

We move on to the dairy. I put some butter and cheese in my trolley. "Stop Mamma", he says again. And points back to the fish. At this point, I physically feel the choice I have in front of me. I can either tell him that we need to move on now, that we've seen the fish, and "let's go and get some ham". Or, I can turn the trolley around and go back.

I go back. We do the same thing again. Say the same things again. Silence. We move on.

I add the Greek yoghurt and the milk to the trolley. "Stop Mamma". I look at him. At his gorgeous green-brown eyes looking at me so earnestly. I feel laughter bubbling up.

I go back. He points at the fish fillets. "Me mam-mam ça?" he asks. I smile and make sure I got his meaning, "Would you like Mummy to get you some fish for your lunch?". "Yep", he answers, very satisfied. So I get him a fillet of Tarakihi, our favourite New Zealand fish.

We finish our groceries and go home. For lunch, I pan-fry his fish fillet. He very quickly polishes it off.

He's happy. I'm happy.
I have to record these precious moments. They come and go so quickly. I fee like if I write them down then they won't be able to escape into the infinity of the past. Thanks for reading me today. Please tell me your stories!

Kia kaha! Be Strong!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Confessions of an Envious Mum

If you like school holidays, I envy you.
If you like school holidays, I don't understand you.
If you like school holidays, I'd gladly swap with you.

But alas, the latter isn't possible. So I better leave all my lack of understanding and wishful thinking aside, and get on with reality. Which is, I DON'T LIKE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS. There, I've said it. In fact, I don't like weekends either. Every Friday I hear my husband say, "yay! it's the weekend!". My heart just plummets and inside I think "shit, it's the weekend". I know it's very un-PC to be admitting this, but it's the truth. Weekends and school holidays, all our routines and little habits go out the window, and my introverted-people-loving-self (I know this may not make sense) is left with two kids under 6 who squabble squabble squabble, need me most of the time, and suck all energy out of me.

Please understand. I LOVE MY KIDS! I really do. I WANTED KIDS. I really did. But I just don't like being with them for more than a few hours at a time without a break. Yeah yeah, I know, one day I'll look back with nostalgia, bla bla bla. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll relish the "kids are older" stage a lot more than I can relish the "my kids are little and needy" stage. Who knows?

In the meantime, if you like the school holidays, I envy you. A lot. I don't know why, but despite having things organized, I found these winter holidays particularly hard. Into the first week, I asked some of you for some tips on a Mummy Facebook page and I got some good ideas:

Okay, so if you're like me, you look at the lists above and freak out thinking, "eeeeek, I can't do all that". Believe me, it's not about doing all that. It's about having ideas ready so that you can pick and choose depending on:
a) your mood
b) your kid(s)' mood(s)
c) everyone's energy levels
d) your budget.

Another great idea is to

So with all this information under my belt, I went about making lists and picking ideas from it. The kids still squabbled. They still needed attention. But at least I didn't feel like a blank page in desperate need of ideas. We did have some fun, and there were some quiet moments:

Fun in the snow (sides), and teaching my daughter how to make short crust pastry (centre)

Encouraging Daddy on the football field, drawing,
playing with Master J's new wooden parking, reading books

Also, for your own sanity, I strongly encourage you to take some time for yourself, even if it's just 15 minutes at a time! I had a few occasions to escape over the past two weeks, which were very precious moments and were made possible thanks to a few angels in my life:

A walk on my own in the sun, coffee and soup in a cafe, admiring nature

So there you have them, my lessons learned over the winter holidays 2015. Of course, if you are the kind of Mum who loves the school holidays, you probably don't need all these ideas. You come up with them naturally, or you don't need a plan. You just enjoy hanging out with your kids for two weeks. I am in awe of you. But I am also in awe of Mums like me, who find it hard, but who get through it.

Kia kaha! Be strong!

Bloggers love comments. So if you have any ideas to add to my lists, please do share them. The more the better for the next holidays! Thank you!

In this series, you can also read:

And if you'd like to follow me on Facebook, please click here. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Confessions of an Anxious Mum

I've just had a pretty crappy day. In my head. With the kids.

I can just feel it sometimes, before I even get out of bed. Today's going to be hard.

And then I stop myself in my tracks and berate myself for having those thoughts and tell myself I should be positive. And then I change my mind and think "No, it's okay. Accept your thoughts for what they are". Just thoughts. 

Thoughts are just thoughts until I act on them.

I can always dream, right?
More often than not, these morning intuitions are pretty accurate. Sure enough, this morning started bright and early with Master Joakim who couldn't find his car at 5.15am. Followed by Miss Letitia at about 5.45am whose duvet was all in a tangle and who was freezing. Then I lay in bed, unable to sleep. The more time passed, the more I debated actually just getting up and doing something fruitful that would get me ahead of the game today. But my tired body won and I finally went back to sleep mere minutes before the alarm went off.

As soon as the kids were up, they started bickering, and whining, and screaming like someone was torturing them when in fact their sock wouldn't fit just so. I finally got Miss L to school (on time!), and everything quietened down. It's funny how you take one number out of the equation, and everything changes. The balance shifts.

I breathed. 

My son and I did the groceries. We had a coffee and a fluffy to reward ourselves. That's our little Wednesday routine. We went home, put away the shopping. I was about to start making lunch when my son took my hand and pulled me towards his cars and the racing track,

I paused.

I had a choice. Either tell him once again that I was busy, or stop and play with my darling wee boy.

I stopped. 

We played for 15 beautiful minutes. I looked at my boy's smiles, I heard his giggles. My eyes wanted to eat him up and my ears were tingling with love. Waves of restoring love washed over me. All the hard moments are worth it.

After school pick up, the bickering, the fighting, and the shouting resumed. I ploughed on, that frown between my eyebrows, checking the clock every few minutes and wishing my husband would come home early. He did. Then he went for a run. My heart dived and sunk. I wanted to drop everything, take the car keys, and drive off. But then my heart came rushing back up for air. My head gave it a stern talking too. 

So much goes on between my heart and my head every day. This on-going and never-ending dialogue of feelings and thoughts, of should haves and did nots, of wanting to cry and wanting to laugh. But at the centre of it all is God, and He holds me together, always. He never lets me go.

When I put my son to bed, he held my head close to his, cheek against cheek, while I sung to him. Then I put my daughter to bed. She's started this thing where she tells me "I love you" over and over before she leaves for school or before bed, because she wants to be sure it's the last thing I hear from her before we're apart. I forgot the whining and the screaming, the bickering and the never-ending demands. 

Oh the pure sweet excruciating love bursting out of my chest in these moments. 

My first child is 6. My second child is 3 next week. I still suffer from Post-Natal Depression and Anxiety. Life goes on though. It's like a river, and where I'm at just now is pretty choppy and twisty, but hey, it's a lot better than the rapids and sharp bends I was struggling through a few years ago! And even though my sweet hubby may not see it every day, I know that I'm a better person today because of everything I've been through. I can love better, I can empathize better, I can understand better, and I can be there better.

I don't know where you're at in your parenting journey. But whatever you're experiencing, you're not alone. Kia Kaha! Be Strong!