Remembering


Today we probably all took a moment to remember the men and women who served in the war. Maybe we baked ANZAC cookies or attended a Dawn Service. Perhaps we posted a red poppy photo on our Facebook profiles or went to see a service or a marching parade.

But did we really stop to think about it all? Really allowing ourselves to remember them?

When I stopped to think about it for a moment, I realised that I wasn't remembering the soldiers for their bravery (although brave they indeed were). Instead I found myself thinking about how scared they must have been. And how very real it all was and still is. 

I started to think of my husband being told he had to leave the safety and comfort of home to go and fight (and kill) in a war he may know very little about. I thought about how that would affect me, the wife at home with little children to tend to and the worry and anxiety that would surely come from having a loved one away for an unknown amount of time. 

It got me thinking about my sons. My boys. The hopes I already hold for their future and the hopes they already have for themselves. I wondered how i'd ever smile again to see them leave home for war. 

I tried to imagine them having to kill another person.

I wondered just how many men (and possibly women) had to hold up a heavy gun and use it to not only protect themselves and their fellow soldiers, but who also knew they were defending their country as well.

I thought about my grandfathers, and then my grandmothers - what they saw, what they heard, the things that must be scarred into their memories. 

Millions (around 90 million) military and civilians were killed in WW1 and WW2 combined. Millions. 

Today I took the opportunity to explain war to my children. To educate them on what happens when there is too much greed, hatred and unbalanced power in the world. I told them that teenagers had to leave their homes and they didn't know when they would return. I told them that many, many people died. I told them how lucky and blessed we are to live where we live and have one another. 

Today I feel grateful that I live in a country that isn't being ripped apart by war and mass death and destruction. I feel grateful that all of my family are together and no one is missing or injured. 

Today I remembered... and I took a moment to say thank you and to be grateful. 




The hard years that we never want to end


Why are these years of raising young children so trying and hard but the thought of them growing into young adults leaving home is so sad?

My children are still young. At ages seven, five and 2.5 they run rings around me. I have days where if I hear 'Maaaa-uuum' one more time I feel like my head will explode from rage. I am needed, I am wanted, I am in high demand. It is absolutely exhausting to the bone.

But the day will come where they won't need me anymore, not like they do now. One day this nest we've built will suddenly seem enormous and the rooms will be empty and the quietness will be deafening. And I'll think back to this time in my life where chaos reigns and dinner feels more like feeding time at the zoo, and I'll miss it.
I know I will because I already do. I mourn for days that haven't even ended.

I want to bottle up the feeling of pride I get when I see my boy hit a tennis ball and the smile on his face that he did it! I want to remember the way my five year old squeezes my head against his each evening in bed as I hug him goodnight and how I don't leave until he says 'you can go now'.
I never want to forget the way Miss Two struts around the house like a queen, making demands and mess wherever she goes, all the while being the cutest thing I've ever laid eyes on.

Some times I want days to end quickly. I count down the hours until bed time and crash into my pillow at night with relief that a hard day is done. Other times I want to freeze time and hold onto a moment forever, terrified of it ever ending.

Knowing that our baby-making days are behind us I feel a sense of a new era beginning. Miss 2.5 is almost no longer a baby. She is tall and independent and strong and wise beyond her years. I already mourn the years just passed... the baby-wearing, nursing, tiring but amazing years.
I feel like I am stepping into Phase Two of motherhood and I know it will be just as good, just as special and just as missed, when it too passes me by. 

Just Say No


This evening at the kids swimming lessons I was chatting to a friend about the week ahead. It's a busy one with OT and dentist appointments, soccer training, more swimming lessons and the school disco. My friend was expressing her concern with not wanting her child to attend the disco but didn't know what to say to him or how to handle the situation.

After a moments pause I turned to her and said 'Just say no.'

She laughed and her reply to my statement was 'Yeah, why didn't I think of that?'

And I think I know why. It is because we rarely tell our children 'no.'


Is it just my kids that act spoilt and entitled or do others feel their children live an entitled life too?
I swear my three children think money and time are never-ending commodities.

Growing up I never just assumed I would go to every birthday party I was invited to, or play every sport after school. I never expected that I'd always have new clothes or shoes (I often wore hand-me-downs) and although I'd whinge at being told 'no', it was a word and notion that I was very familiar with. And I don't feel deprived. I don't ever look back on my childhood and feel as though I missed out on anything at all. My childhood was simple in such a wonderful way. I didn't get everything I wanted, when I wanted it, and life was still good.

Why are we as parents so afraid of telling our kids 'no' or 'not this time'? So often it seems easier at the time to just say yes and not have to deal with tears, tantrums, whinging and all the yelling.
I've had all sorts thrown at me as they stomp around the house...
'You're the worst Mum ever!'
'I hate you!'
and my favourite one yet...
'Why don't you love me?'

These meltdowns only reinforce to me that I need to pull back the reins. I need to stop giving them so many things and simplify their lives a little. Focus on what is right here in our home, all the good, all the quality, all the love. All the extra places to be and things to buy and demands to be met can be reduced and hopefully one day, one day, my kids might realise that I don't give them everything, not because I don't love them and not because I want to be mean, but because I hope to raise children who have gratitude and appreciation for special things in life. For all these things that so many others don't ever get to experience. I hope they gain some balance and perspective and understanding as they grow up under my care. And eventually, hopefully as adults and as parents they might look back and even be thankful that sometimes they were just told 'no'.





The Best of Intentions


Remember when you were childless and a little bit er... cocky? 
You might have made statements similar to the kind I used to make, things like...

'When I'm a parent;
I will never use the TV as a babysitter,
I will never let my child eat lollies,
I will never shout at my children,
I will never pat my child to sleep,
I will never let my children jump on the couch,
I will never let my children eat on the couch,
I won't give my child my phone or iPad until they are 10,
I will never let my child wee on the grass (or anywhere in public),
My child will never hit another kid,
My child will never tantrum in public,
My children will never talk to me like that!
My child won't pick their nose in public,
I will never let my child fall off the bed and lastly,
I will never feed my child McDonalds.'

Any of those ring a bell?


I confess. I am guilty of all of the above. As a parent of three children, I will eat my hat and swallow the pride because...well...survival people. Survival.