Let Go

Re-blogging this for a reminder to be kinder to myself, and to take ‘everything’ in. Enjoy the little things and also think of the big things. Happy Monday 🙂

Moloney Mayhem 🙂

A few years ago, there was a great song by Frou Frou – Let Go.  I am not great at determining song meanings, but I really think this song is about humanity, and what it is like to love, live and experience every day adventures.  I love the line ‘ there is beauty in the breakdown’ – as it rings true with me constantly.  I can honestly say, that as a mother of four, I loose my crap, and do ‘break down’.  It might be over spilt milk, or another sibling fight.  But in that moment, and for every moment, I am beautiful and amazing to my kids. The relevance here?  Give me a few minutes of your time…
My four kids are going to have their perception of beauty and self image modelled by me (no pun intended!).  I am pretty crap at accepting a compliment, have next…

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Photos + Words = Stories

Following on from “Anatomy of a Day“, this post will be another snapshot of our day through the Week in the Life viewpoint, a concept by Ali Edwards, where you basically dissect and document *all* that makes up your day, for seven days/a week.  I am really enjoying the process and really looking at how I get about my day in great detail – through not only to-do lists, but photos, and observations.  Many of the photos I am taking are things I normally would not photograph.  Things that are, for me, normal, every day occurrences.  From the morning cereal choices – (colour coded of course)

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To the sign in process for kindy for the trio (no, I don’t find it unusual to sign in/out three times every day, but many people, in term four, still comment!)

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To the emptying of school/kindy bags each day, cleaned and ready for the next, all in a row

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And then there is the caffeine.  That first, *amazing* cup of tea that gets you going in my now mismatched tea pot as Caitlyn dropped the lid and smashed it, and my only remaining bucket (mug) from the two I bought (another casualty)

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To the *best* cup of tea in the day.  The one right before bed, that has no interruptions by children and is never cold. It is bliss.

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And then there is the havoc that remains in the bathroom after shower/bath.  The bubbles still slowly melting due to overzealous squirting of the bubble bath.  The ‘stuff’ that just accumulates in the bath, and the little watermarked foot prints across the floor.

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The countless arguments, negotiations and battles, particularly with Caitlyn, about eating vegetables, or even in fact any of her dinner.  And this face as a result –

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The washing, the ironing, and how it always seems to be a never ending cycle.

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And then work.  Fitted in around all other bits and pieces.  Slabs of time throughout the day that still see me working a full time load – and yes, I am thankful for working from home.

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Driving.  I spend so much time in my car some days – running tiny human passengers to kindy and school, and then to dancing or swimming, or tennis.  Things just keep getting added to my diary for things to ‘do’ with/for the kids.  I am not complaining.  Not at all.  I am actually really enjoying how this process of analysing a day is making me incredibly grateful for what I do have, and also for my sanity.  I never in a million years thought I would be a mother to four kids.  Two was our ‘number’.  Four we got.  Four kids chock full of spunk and personality.  And four people to battle with almost daily.  I cannot tell you how many times I say the following –

In a minute _____

I said wait/stop

Please stop hitting/pinching/punching ______

Please will you keep your hands to yourself

Shoosh!

Say sorry to ______ please for ________

Can you please listen to me _______

Bikes outside, NOW.

And the list goes on.  I think these are my most said ones though.  I do tend to swear a lot in my head, I think it is a reasonable coping mechanism some times and a damn site better that swearing at the kids.  Now, there is no sugar coating here, and I certainly lose my temper with them, but not without good reason.  I think the triplets feed off of each other sometimes, as Hayden was never like this at this age – and it can be an ongoing battle/war to negotiate something as simple as dinner.  Then I look at them, really look at them, and taps that weeks ago they could not reach, they now can, courtesy of a growth spurt of a few good centimetres.  Then there is Hayden.  His ability to research and prepare for his presentation on crocodiles amazed me.  He had it all sorted, and I only needed to help him with the pictures.  It is astonishing how quickly kids become ‘used’ to computers and the ability to navigate and work through them.

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This year in school has seen Hayden really flourish.  A little boy who struggled with handwriting and order to his work now is writing so well it makes me swell with pride at just how hard he has worked to get there.  He has never complained, and I am sure he has wanted to give up, but he never has.  His ability to decipher information and read is amazing, and really puts ‘who’ he is growing up to be in perspective.

And then I really look at how big they are getting.  Tiny hands that used to be completely encircled in mine are now just holding onto them –

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And I know that in another year, all these tiny things that make up my day, will be different.  And I won’t know it, because we get so bogged down in our routine that we don’t always notice when something changes.  We forget how grapes used to be called apple trees.  Or when Emma said she needed new undies because her ‘booty was too big for them’.  Or how Caitlyn is so fiercely independent she would rather die than ask for help.  When bumnoises become farts, and when Mummy becomes Mum.  All these little changes creep up on me, and sometimes, I worry I won’t remember all the amazing things we say and do.  The little ‘isms that make up our family, and separate the kids from each other.  The way that one is ticklish and another isn’t; that even though they all have blue eyes they are all vastly different shades of deep blue and full of different expression.  Their laughter, their songs.  Their bed time toys and routines.  The amount of mummy cuddles they need before they go nigh nighs.  All of these things and more will always make up who we all are, and spark a strong memory or feeling.   I am hopeful that some of these words + photos will spark something for not only my kids, but for me in years to come.  Years in which I am no doubt I will still be busy with them, but busy in a different way.  And, as tough as many days can be, I never want to forget these days.  Even though I lose my temper, and only usually get ONE hot cup of tea a day, I know I will miss these days.  I will miss these moments.  So I hope my stories do them justice.  And I hope that through my eyes, in years to come, my kids can see what kind of ‘life’ we had.  And I will miss Caitlyn’s sense of fashion (in 31 degree heat!!)

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The Anatomy of a Day

This week, I am completing the Week in the Life project by Ali Edwards.  I love the idea behind this and a big part of why I blog here is so I don’t forget the little things.  This project focuses on what we do, how we do, and a bit of why we do, every day, for seven days in a row – or a week.  I am finding it interesting to say the least and am taking a lot of photos.  I know that I already have a fairly well formed routine, but it is interesting coming at it from a different angle – telling all the stories that happen in a day, be it routine or otherwise.

If I break up a day, right down to even an hourly time line, so much happens!  Monday morning, the week begins.  I went in to sort out the triplets – so help select appropriate clothes for Kindy (otherwise Caitlyn would wear a costume everyday) and get them ready.  We then trudge downstairs talking about what our dreams were of, and how much fun we are going to have today.  Their fun meter is always higher as they don’t have ‘boring mummy jobs and work’.  Nice.

This morning featured a nice little addition of having to shower Brendan and Emma courtesy of Caitlyn putting baby oil all through their hair (to make it shiny apparently).  Emma’s hair is almost to her bum.  Let’s just say, we washed her hair quite a few times, and I swore *a lot* under my breath.  Along with the baby oil, Caitlyn decided to draw on the door that divides their room and wardrobe.  We had this build 2 years ago when they kept breaking in and throwing *everything* out on the floor – nappies, clothes, wipes, you name it.  It was tiring.  So the door was put in.  It is a saloon type door.  Well, they are taller, much taller now, and can open it.  Yay.  So we have a bit of hiding of things in there and getting to them in the morning (fruit, biscuits, lego).  Anyway, she drew on the door.  After our talks last week and the ‘installation’ of the chalk board downstairs she knew she could not draw on the walls anymore – but this was a door.  So apparently it was different.  Ho hum.  And it is not even a picture, just scribble, which is not like her.

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So after the interruption of having to shower two kids it was back to normal things like lunch prep.

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And yes, I go through A LOT of fruit!  Packing bags, getting hair ready (girls) and teeth brushing comes next.

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We all then pile into the car, and call Jase. This morning I asked for a photo of them all before we got in the car.  After about 20 shots, I got one reasonable one –

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Every morning on Mondays – Wednesday’s we call Jase from the car.  The kids take turns, and mostly talk over the top of each other, but it is good time of day to get everyone to share their stories of what they are going to do.  For some time now I have been asking Brendan (aka Beebo) where his brain is today (mainly because he is so absent minded, and goofy).  On Monday he had us in stitches.  I mean absolute hysterics.  He said his brain was in the car over there (pointing next to us).  We left it at that, as commonly his answers are, in the fridge, in his bones, on the roof, in the fridge as it is hot, or on the moon  – you get the picture.  When we drove off, he started by saying ‘oh no come back with my brain car, my brain is driving away’.  It was hilarious and I am so glad that Jason was on the phone to hear it, because it would not be as funny told the second time (even here!!).

We drop Hayden off first, and he has his routine.  He goes to each window and says goodbye to everyone, and Caitlyn always says “have a good school Hayden” which I think is adorable.  She is starting to realise that it is not the correct grammar, and trying to work out how to correct it.  I will be a little sad when she does.

Then it is kindy drop off.  The kids are focusing on learning to write and using the correct grip.  Brendan does not really care, where as the girls do.  They concentrate and try to get it right.

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After that is done, they have to put all their things away and wash their hands, put on their hats and go play.  Monday was a scorcher here, and I think it was around 32 degrees at 9am.  I put a second ‘coat’ of sunscreen on them!  Then, after 9, I leave them to their thing.

My day is then focused on work.  So I get stuck into it, and always am surprised when it is 215pm and time to prepare ‘snacks in the car’ for eating while waiting for Hayden as they have dancing at 345pm on Mondays. Snacks in the car are a big treat, and they are different every week.  This week, as it was so hot, we had some nice cold grapes (I took an ice brick even!) some popcorn, and some rice crackers and sultanas.  And cold water.  They are happy enough to eat it in the car and know that when we get home they have to get changed for dancing.

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So then it is time for dancing.  And after their concert on the weekend they were a bit excited to see everyone and talk about the concert.

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Hayden & I then headed to do some groceries.  Monday nights we always have ‘random things from the fridge’ – so chicken, cheese, cherry tomatoes, gherkins, and anything else – ham/salami and fruit.

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Enderman even came shopping with us!  I also love this little bit of time with just Hayden.  I get to hear him talk a mile a minute about any and everything and not have to fight for my attention.  It is pretty special.

Then we had the heat finally break with a corker of a storm.  Amazing lightening display and a downpour almost from nowhere!  The afternoon then becomes early evening and it is tea time.  Followed by bath and bed time.

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Then the trio {finally} go to bed.  And actually sleep.  And Hayden gets a little bit of one on one time with me as well.  Then he is going to bed (still with his doby) and I almost fall into bed asleep as well.  But, I try to stay up, get a bit of work done, and do the boring things like cleaning up, putting bins out and getting ready for tomorrow.  And all of this in one day.  And that is not including all the stories of today.  Like the kids leaving their clothes *right next too* the laundry hamper.  Not in it, on it, but near it.  Drives me bonkers.

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Or the singing of “if you are happy and you know it” and twinkle twinkle little star.  Or Hayden reading Cinderella to his siblings at bed time, not because he likes it, but because they do.  Or the kids, at bed time, wanting their kiss, hug, huggies and tickles before they are even able to remotely think about sleep.  Or brushing Emma’s hair again, and again, to make sure there is no more baby oil.  Or listening to Hayden talking about his school project, drifting off mid sentence of what he is saying and seeing him in 10 years time, tall, strong, and still passionate about dinosaurs.  The text messages through the day from Jase, sometimes our only form of communication all day.  The texts from friends.  Reading and deciphering emails.  So much screen time in all that we do now!  The groceries, the choices, and how I stick to what I know and use the same brands over and over.   How I find myself sitting at traffic lights and looking (with a non-stalkery glance) at the cars opposite me and wonder what they are doing, or what their life is like on Mondays, or any day for that matter.  Wondering when it will get less ‘busy’ and less ‘noisy’.  Probably never.  Wondering always about remembering everything. Hoping that maybe today the kids will actually listen to me and I won’t have to pull out the cranky voice.  And then it is a new day.  And much of it is repeated, but some of it never again.  The anatomy of my day is unique each and every day.  And I am glad to take the time to analyse it a little more by doing ‘A Week in the Life’.  I am also glad when it is time for sleep!

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Around Here

School holidays are over – already.  Term four is now in it’s third week.  Man, this year has flown.  All school/kindy ‘things’ are winding up, and Christmas celebrations are already being discussed.  Wow, just wow.

The days are warmer, the sun has bite, and the nights are still a little brisk.  It is the most glorious time of the year!

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The Jacaranda’s are in full bloom and are stunning!  I love the colour they bring to the streets around our house.  Just gorgeous.  I love that the kids appreciate the changes in season as well – and also just how beautiful nature can be.

Mindful of the sun we are trying to use play times on non-school/kindy days that are in the shade.  If you have read my blog before, you will know that I have kids that like to draw on just about anything – walls namely.  This was the latest ‘attack’

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Now this picture may look rushed – and it was.  Because it was artist interrupted.  She was no where near finished apparently, but this was a picture of me.  Not sure what I was doing.

So, to make them all accountable for drawing on walls, we made up some sugar soap and get those little hands cleaning all the artwork off.  The plan was hatched that we would turn the wall into a blackboard/chalkboard wall.

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So after cleaning and fixing any small imperfections, there was primer and then the blackboard paint.  All up, including materials it was about $100 from Bunnings.

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Here is the finished wall!  Very impressed with it.  What was more impressive was the fact that the kids thought that it was painted black because they kept drawing on it.  They had no idea (Hayden knew) that it was going to be a drawing area for them!

So after waiting the 48 hours we needed to wait.  I showed them what they could do on the wall.  The response was AMAZING!  They are so excited to have a chalkboard and it could not be in a better spot – it is a half wall that separates the kitchen from the dining area and protects the stove.

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Here is the excitement of four at once on the chalkboard!  We have only 2 dusters, and there have already been duster wars, but they end quickly – as the threat of no chalk is delivered!!

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I wrote all the kids names on the board so they could have their space (to begin with) and Caitlyn is trying so hard to write her name – she writes Mum a lot.  She is getting so clever!

So now, the kids are pretty stoked that they can draw on the walls, and I feel like we have made a big childhood memory of the drawing on the walls that they won’t forget!

The Time of Our Lives

Saturdays.  A day where activities are usually dictated by kids organised ‘things’ – so things like dancing, swimming, birthday parties, hair cuts, and library book returning.  I know even in 10 years time even I will look back and miss this.  Right now is probably one of the best times of my life – days bursting with activity, boring bits like washing, cleaning and groceries, and fun things like baking, cuddles (un-prompted), giggles and story telling.  Right now – it is happening.  Some days I need to remember this more!

Today has already been a flurry of activity.  I am onto the third load of washing already (boring bits!) and the kids have finished dancing for the day.  Getting the girls hair ready is always something that takes me a bit of time –

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Miss Caitlyn has curly wurly hair.   A mane of thick strawberry blonde hair that when brushed straight is half way down her back, but otherwise bounces up defiantly to her shoulders.  Today we had to had to have two buns.  Like Anna (from Frozen).

Then there is the polar opposite –

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Miss Emma with her mix of colours (mostly brown, light brown and blonde) and dead straight hair almost to her bum!  She has ‘a bigger bun than me Mummy’ (Caitlyn) and is not the greatest with sitting still when getting her hair brushed.

Now this hair thing is getting serious.  Real serious.  In a month the kids have their dancing concert.  Makeup (natural looking, not over the top clownesque), hairspray and wiglets.  I am silently freaking the hell out.  I have next to no ability to apply makeup.  Stemming from laziness, and lack of exposure to the ‘products’ I am now hopeful that there are some good YouTube videos for application.  Then there is the hair.  Product.  Again, I have gone with the path of less resistance and that is a band and a pony tail.  The hair for the concert has to be –

* Fly-away free

* Secured with hairspray

* The bun must be styled when wet

* Bun net must be worn

* Must be secured with multiple bobby pins

* Sustainable and non-moveable when dancing

Ok, they lost me at the first one.  I have crazy hair that means sticky-outy bits almost everywhere.  So does Emma.  Caitlyn has escaped this.  Little curly bits (despite our straight hair) that just happen.  I am wondering how to tame these bits!  Then hairspray.  Uhm, I envision my own hair being hairsprayed into place from the angles of spraying I am going to have to take to ensure they have hair spray in.  Oh dear.  It is going to be bad.  The written instructions provide me with no comfort either.  I am hopeful that for the full dress rehearsal next week some mother will take pity on me and have some tips of how to do it all.  Seriously!  I won’t even have Daddy back up as he will be away at work.  So I will totally be winging it.  I am the type of girl that always looks at other women with their amazing hair in awe, not nasty ‘she sucks’ awe, but pure amazement that it is possible (and power to them!!).

Today though, we may have an option.  Hayden got his hair cut, and for the first time ever, said yes to the ‘product’ the lady always asks him about.

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He looks so grown up!  A real, gulp, boy.  Gone is the ‘little’ boy.  It suits him, and he is telling me that ‘hair product is not that hard’ (after correcting his grammar, I informed him that for me, it is).  But it again shows me that even though I know how to do so many things, there are still so many more things that I am going to learn to do for my kids.

Inserting bobby pins, applying eyeshadow to twisty turny four year olds, building lego, making paper planes, understanding Minecraft, and making blankets for toys that are otherwise going to be cold are just a few things I have to learn to be fluent in.  There is no guide.  There is no book of answers, though I suspect that in many households YouTube and Google come in very close to being solutions!  But right now, even though I am absolutely petrified of having two girls take the rehearsal next week in crooked eyeshadow and wiglets that fall out (apparently you don’t want to be that child’s mother) I know that ‘this’ is the rocking chair moments.  The “remember when I had to…” memories that are so visceral because you can feel what it is like to be thinking of a million things to do and how to do them all in the name of Motherhood.

After dancing today, Brendan very happily tells me “I don’t need any makeup or hair Mummy, I just dance and wear my costume”.  Is it bad that I am relieved that his routine will be simpler?!  Despite this, even if he did, I would make sure he got it and that it was ‘right’; but I am so thankful it is one less to freak out about.

So now we are into the afternoon, and we have a birthday party to head too.  Three presents for one kid – she is going to feel special!  Hayden is reveling in the fact that his siblings will be gone for much of the afternoon, and I will be putting a roast on (lamb!) and hopefully replying to some pen pals!

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Saturdays are busy but fun, and as we near the tenth month, I really do have to take stock, and see, that right now, is likely going to be one of the busiest, but most amazing, times of my life.  So go, hug your kids, pat your dog, and look in honest reflection at what is happening now.  It may be that you too are in the time of your life 🙂  Enjoy it.  Live it!

And for no other reason than that he was not in any photos, here is B.  His usual, crazy, goofy self.

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Let Go

A few years ago, there was a great song by Frou Frou – Let Go.  I am not great at determining song meanings, but I really think this song is about humanity, and what it is like to love, live and experience every day adventures.  I love the line ‘ there is beauty in the breakdown’ – as it rings true with me constantly.  I can honestly say, that as a mother of four, I loose my crap, and do ‘break down’.  It might be over spilt milk, or another sibling fight.  But in that moment, and for every moment, I am beautiful and amazing to my kids. The relevance here?  Give me a few minutes of your time…
My four kids are going to have their perception of beauty and self image modelled by me (no pun intended!).  I am pretty crap at accepting a compliment, have next to no fashion sense or any idea of style, and would list my favourite clothing as pyjamas.  But to my four kids, I am a rock star.  I am ‘so pretty mummy’, have the nicest shoes (pink chuck taylors), and have the bestest t-shirt (featuring wonder woman).  None of these items of apparel will land me on the cover of a magazine; but for my kids, I am the prettiest lady in the world.  And I need to learn to accept this.  Because, I do not want my chickens thinking that there is anything wrong with them – we are all unique, we are all magical, and we are all beautiful.  Easy to say, harder to prove!

I shy away from the camera, and if I do have to have a photo taken, I scrutinise my appearance.  I don’t know why because I am yearning for the near impossible.  I am never going to look like ‘that’.  I am never going to have junk in my trunk because let’s face it, my trunk has been through two pregnancies – one a triplet pregnancy, and it has now in my 30’s seen better days.  But my laugh lines, are that – my laughing, smiling and absolute moments of hysterical laughing.  Moments etched in time, and etched in lines I guess is a good way to put it.  My stretch marks on my tummy are my kids paintings.  I tell them that when they were in my tummy, they got bored sometimes and this is what they did.  I kinda like that they are there, they are a reminder that I can do and grow pretty good things.  And that I am strong.  But they are not that pretty!

Despite all my perceived faults, I have a husband who loves me, and children who know nothing different as I am their mum.  Sure the scales vary, and I find it harder to coerce them the ‘right’ way sometimes when that baked delight is looking so incredibly good, but I have to learn to shift my focus before my kids learn bad habits and perceptions from me.

The revelation of this nearly floored me the other day.  I don’t want my children to worry about numbers, I want them to focus on being healthy, active and happy.  I think that is the crux of my beliefs.  You cannot put a size on healthy.  You can put a perspective on it though, and that is what I need to start being more mindful of.

The kids take countless selfies and photos of me when I am not expecting them.  I look at them and often grimace as I am looking tired, drawn, sometimes cranky (usually if I am trying to get my phone back!) or other times plain defeated (4 v 1, you get the math).  But this is how my little chickens see me!  But I sit there and delete the photos before the cloud even gets a look in.  Why?  Because I don’t like the photo – I don’t like the angle, or I don’t like how my stickyouty tummy is sticking out a bit too much there, or I have terrible posture (from a childhood of stooping as I am so tall), or I just don’t like it!  The irony here is that I love the natural, and unposed photos of my kids.  I love looking at them when they think they are not being watched.  The happiness, the delight in play, brushing a dolly’s hair, building lego – I love it.  Yet if they were to take a picture of me working, or doing something mumsy, I would delete it.  What example am I setting here?

Every week I document our lives through Project Life.  Every week I have countless photos of the kids, and rarely any of me!  How will the kids be able to remember what I looked like when they were four?  I need to start applying the principles of healthy, happy and active to myself!  I cannot change a great deal about myself – yeah the kilos could be shed and I am working on that, but I have to change my perceptions of me.  We all have flaws, and I certainly know mine.  From the big nose that has been broken, to the monkey arms…my list is extensive.  But for all intents and purposes, my kids see me as beautiful.  I can kiss away owies and apply bandaids with master precision.  I can soothe unsettled sleepers, I can frighten off the boogey man.  I can fix things, I can bake things, and I can tickle and make them giggle until they are literally unable to draw breath.  I can guarantee you that I am the only one that can do this.  And for this reason alone, I am pretty darn special.  I am strong, fearless when it comes to my kids and their safety, and a master chef.  I am a ‘super organiser’ and a ‘nurse who helps sick kids and their mummies and daddies’.  I need to stand taller, walk prouder and remember all that I am rather than all that I think I am not.

Sounds easy.  I know it is not going to be as simple as deciding to simply just do it – I am going to have to work at it.  But my challenge will be to get in the photos, let the kids keep the photos they take without me ‘approving’ them.  And be happy in the knowledge that, just like me, the kids have take a photo for a reason.  For whatever reason they pointed and clicked they wanted a photo of me.  Their mum.  Their mummy.  And I have to be OK with that.  Because if I am not, well, what message am I sending them?  That photos are to be reviewed and approved?  That we cannot look less than ordinary?  Nope.  Not going to do that.  There will be enough hardships that they will have to encounter- other kids and their experiences, different opinions, different or unfamiliar situations.    They need to be confident in themselves, as people before they an learn how to adapt and change to the societal setting that is school.  They need to be strong enough to take a hit, and safe enough in their own self worth that they are going to get through.

So, there is my challenge.  I don’t think it is anywhere near as overwhelming as I think the safe passage of childhood is.  But I think it is an integral part of it.  Visually we are a society now where we are inundated with pictures and advertising in many forms. So I need to steer my chickens through a path focused on being healthy, being active and participating, and being happy!  Not just being happy, but choosing happy.

So here is me…I don’t think I have brushed my hair properly, I am running on about 3 hours sleep, and I am make up free (I don’t actually know how to put it on properly).  But this is me.  Ali, Mum, Mummy.  Watch this space 🙂

Photo on 21-07-2014 at 12.40 pm