School of Oprah

Oprah lesson 5When I was a teenager, The Oprah Show was on TV every day at 6pm. For my mum and I, it was our special time. Homework done and dance classes finished, we would always, always watch together – on the couch with a cup of tea or at the kitchen table while dinner bubbled away on the stove. It was more than just a TV show – it was our daily meditation, the full stop at the end of our day, one of the many things we shared in quiet companionship.

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Thank goodness for The Girls

A welcome beep of my iPhone, a What’s App message from half way around the world. A girlfriend sending a joke, telling me about her day, asking me about mine. A ream of (desperately solicited at 3am) advice on what to do about my 8 month old (who has mysteriously stopped sleeping through the night), an inspirational news story from the Rio Olympics, a photo, a microwave recipe for chocolate cake, five little words that make everything better: “It’s going to be fine.”

Thank goodness for The Girls.

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Back2School for the Teachers

In a few desperately short weeks, my first baby will be donning the cutest little school uniform and heading off to Kindergarten for the very first time. My feelings about this are a melting pot and I’m sure that as the day dawns an emotional blog post is bound to come pouring out of me. But this week, as the summer weeks stretch (and stretch) out, I’d be lying if I said a small part of me isn’t looking forward to the predictability of the school week – to an externally-imposed routine we can shape our days around, a place for my daughter to go and be exposed to stimuli and influences other than my own. To share just a very tiny bit of the weight of shaping her growing and insatiable mind.

This has got me thinking about the teachers. Oh teachers, you are marvellous and amazing. As I’m preparing to shift a little bit of the childcare at the end of the school holidays, they are about to do the opposite. Many of them are parents themselves, and after a period of full-time childcare they are preparing to go back to their jobs – to educate and stimulate and care for kids other than their own. Read More »

The Things We Forget to Tell You…

To the husbands, to their dads,

This is what we forget to tell you…

I hear you with our child in the other room, the music of your laughter mixed with hers the most beautiful sound I know. The vibrating baritone of your voice in perfect sync with the joyful bubble of hers – a domestic symphony, the soundtrack to our family’s happiness.

You carry the weight of our hopes and dreams, but you always leave it at the front door. Your capable arms hold our world together, and your cheeky grin lights it up. The Boy who won my heart piece by piece all those years ago – so much The Man now as you coo at the baby or carry your small girl around the house upside down. Games of catch, tickles, dive-for-shells, and building sandcastles; early mornings snuggled down in a fort of your making, with milk and cartoons while mummy sleeps; your secret handshake; the way she looks at you.Read More »

The Fatigue is Real

I never imagined the sheer size of the feelings motherhood would bring on. From the day the test showed that miraculous plus sign, the feelings have been enormous. Excitement, exhaustion, trepidation, uncertainty, fear, relief, joy – and that was before I even met my baby. And then the love – oh, the love, the love! The love that blindsides and astonishes and fills you up and gives you the energy to keep going, the patience to pull through another sleepless night, another tantrum, another suppertime hour that seems never ending. The love is there, always.

Thank goodness.

Because there’s another big feeling we don’t really talk about: the fatigue. I never knew deep-down-to-my-core fatigue until quite recently, and when I finally recognised it for what it was, that blindsided me too. Because I love being a mother. I would walk to the end of the earth for my kids; they are my every dream come true and I am fiercely grateful for them every single day. And yet, as the haze of new baby number two started to clear, I could feel that something wasn’t right. There was a cloud hanging over me, and it was sapping my joy and, worst of all, taking away from my ability to do my job as a mum. It wasn’t physical tiredness – although there is always that as well. It was something else – something bigger. More ominous.Read More »