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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Adjusting expectations

As I have sat here at my computer pondering what to write, I read a post from one of my favourite bloggers: Rachel Marie Martin at Finding Joy. Yes, I've mentioned her in the past. She's awesome. In a recent post, 'dear not so perfect but very real mum', there was something she said that stood out to me (and could apply no matter who you are and what stage of life you are in). To paraphrase it was that the hard, not-enjoying-this, struggling, wondering if I matter days are all normal... but the good days are normal too: we just need to take note of them so that we can remember how often they occur too.

I was speaking with a dear friend the other day and she mentioned (and I related) that she sometimes feels she doesn't enjoy being a mum as much as she should. I have sometimes reflected that as I contemplated being a mother I had this picture in my head of what each day would look like: children playing happily while I managed to get a few things done, me joining them in their play once I'd knocked a few things off the list, perhaps putting my feet up while they napped or had down time, part of the day spent with one or both of my sisters or another friend, cooking and having dinner ready so that when Jonathan got home we could sit down together, and then sending the kids to bed so that Jonathan and I could tidy up and then have a few quiet moments to relax before bed.


I laugh, but obviously there are days that turn out like that... it's just that unless you adjust your expectations there will be disappointment on the other days. The reality is you have to plan for contingencies. You need to have strategies (or just be prepared to let things go) on days when the kids can't be left alone without causing mayhem, or they just want to sit on your lap all day, or things just take longer with the kids in tow, or you're tired from being up with a young baby, or whatever the case may be. When you change your expectation, it isn't so stressful when things don't turn out perfectly... and you can take note when you've had a great day too!

Of course, you don't have to be a mum or dad for the principle behind all this to apply you. We all have to make adjustments and learn how to be happy with things we didn't plan on and can't change at times. 

Everyday, even the ones that don't go exactly as we hope, we can find the good in that day, or our lives. It all depends on where we put our focus. There are some days that are stressful, and by the end of the day I'm pulling my hair out and ready to climb under the covers... but there's also a lot of amazing: I see my little ones playing and giggling together, and how they run to the door and are so excited to see their daddy when he gets home... I get their sweet little cuddles, I hear them tell me they love me and hear their little songs, have them walk to me with such enthusiasm and pride, and at the end of the day I couldn't be happier. I have a husband who comes home from work and is equally happy to see us, and is thoughtful and helpful, and that's amazing.

I hope I can be better at having a glass-half-full, focussed on the good kind of attitude.

Because there really is a lot of amazing in this life if we look for it.

Friday, 12 April 2013

A crazy week, and the things my kids have taught me.

This week has been all over the place! It's had stressful days, perfect days, bittersweet moments and reminding myself to enjoy the sweet stuff moments.

Wednesday ended up being a crazy, stressful motherhood day involving a trip to the shops with the girls (never again without another adult) that involved being there for an hour but only managing to pickup a handful of things because I spent so much time chasing Natalie or taking her to the toilet... it's not so easy to keep up with her when you can't just abandon the trolley to grab her - my other precious girl was sitting in it! It also involved a serious conversation about staying close to mummy because I didn't want anyone to take her away. She had a pretty good think about that.

The next day however was one of those perfect, just-how-I-imagined-motherhood-would-be kind of days. The kids played nicely together in the morning while I got a few things done, we walked to the playground down the street, came home for Hayley's nap, and had plenty of time and energy to cook dinner. Once Jonathan was home, there was even enough time before choir practice to take Natalie to the shops to get her glasses straightened and a few other things she needed. (Still don't think she's grasping the stay-with-mummy thing, but at least I could keep up with her easily.)

This week has also had lots of those bittersweet, 'my children are growing up' moments... Hayley doesn't really bother crawling anymore, Natalie is developing heaps with her speech and they both seem to have lots more confidence and are developing their sweet little personalities.

I've had moments this week where I'd kind of sigh about things like a littl'un who would cry unless I was holding her or how you sometimes have to answer the same question or sing the same song or read the same book 100 times before the kids are happy to move on. In one such moment I was reminded that this stage will pass and I know that in years to come... I will truly miss the sweet little hands pulling at my pant-leg to be picked up and the innocent questions that they ask, and the enthusiasm kids have for everything and how they remind you to just enjoy.

I love that my kids teach me to stop, and look, and wonder about things.

I love that they remind me to always put my whole heart in to everything I do.

I love that they don't care about the things that aren't important; they just want to be with you.

I love that they love to help.

I love that they help me remember to sometimes just forget about that pesky to-do list... and just watch their play, or join in it, or just cuddle, and especially to remind them that I love them - just because, and to tell them the things about them that make me so lucky to be their mum.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Friday Dance Party. Again. At Last.

So I started Friday Dance Party many weeks ago indeed, and then didn't blog for a long time... so I thought I'd do a quick one now and get back in to it!

Today I am dancing because:

I am grateful for two beautiful little girls
One of whom is starting to walk
and join in with actions for songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
and another who is talking with ever increasing confidence
and likes to tell me she wants to help
and about the fruit she ate at creche
and to say to her sister, "walk to me, you can do it"

And that same big little girl who dances on tiptoes
and sings little songs
Sometimes the same part over and over
and sometimes just 'lalala' to the tune of a known song

And then the little unborn... I think you forget how good that feeling is (of being pregnant)

And a house that is getting more ordered all the time...
Just 10 minutes out of a day reducing the chaos
Finding a place for everything, and having everything in it's place

A husband... who is everything I need and more
And who ordered a really sweet photo book that made me want to cry (happiness)
And who is waiting for me now to have date time.

See ya!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Some long-weekend creativity!

At the tail end of the weekend, I want to wish you a happy easter! I hope you've all had a great weekend. Myself, it has been a fantastic weekend spending lots of time with my fantastic family and, naturally, being grateful and celebrating the reason we have this holiday. <3

On Saturday afternoon, my husband cheerfully insisted that I get myself out of the house, leave the kids with him and go do whatever I felt like... I wound up at Spotlight GX and with Christmas money still in my pocket bought myself a few little things. One of those things was a fabulous fabric which with the sale going came to $3/metre! Bargain. I also bought some hobby fill and knowing that I had everything else I needed at home, set out to make some cushions. 

The first one I made was for Natalie and she was excited to know that I was making it for her. She watched me start it, but I finished it off after she was in bed and the next morning... and then she got to see the rest of the process when I made the second one, and even helped me stuff it.

They're quite comfy little cushions and I have to say I'm excited to have had time and creative energy to make them. My only regret is that I didn't take photos of the whole process of making them. Because the fabric was a little sheer I actually have it layered with some calico I had at home, which worked well because of the tones of the patterned fabric.

I have visions in my head of a time in the future when I'll be able to make things like this and then sell them perhaps... I just need a little more practice on the hand stitching (the hole that I left open to stuff the cushion and then hand sewed definitely looks better on the second one I made than on the first).

For now, I am quite set on finishing a patchwork quilt (within the next 2 weeks) I began making for Natalie toward the end of last winter... by the time I got part way through it the weather started warming up and I lost my motivation to do it, but now that winter is on it's way back I'm determined that she'll be able to use it for the whole winter! It won't actually take that long, I just have to set the time aside to do it.