Perfect Enough

I’ve been having flashbacks lately. Vivid, intoxicating flashbacks. Memories from a different time.

The smell of jasmine in the morning. The way the sunlight looks from underneath a thick rooftop of bougainvillea. The sound of a speedboat engine revving to pull me out of the water on a pair of skis and the taste of the salt water when it hits my face. The crackling of a wood fire and the smell of lamb chops on a summer night. The brown of the water in forest rock pools. The morning sun slanting through my bedroom window and the insistent scratch of the cat’s paw on my door.Read More »

Dear Working Mum

Dear Working Mum,

I don’t know how you do it.

We’ve all been tickled this week by the hilarious BBC interview that went so very wrong when a toddler and baby came running into the room while their dad was on Skype being interviewed about democracy in South Korea. It was my favourite YouTube moment of the year so far – until this morning, when a friend reposted this on Facebook, a spoof of what it would have been like if it had happened to a woman. A working mum. And the reason I laughed so hard is that it so absolutely could have been true.

But actually, it’s kind of not funny.

Because working mum, I don’t know how you do it.

I don’t know how you get up in the mornings and get not only your small people looking presentable, but yourself as well. Hair, make-up, clothes-that-do-not-fall-into-the-Active-Wear-category, grown-up shoes… but you do.

I don’t know how you make breakfasts and packed lunches, and get small people to sit down and eat said breakfasts, while simultaneously preparing yourself mentally for whatever tasks are waiting for you when you get to your desk… but you do.

I don’t know how you manage to do the school run, administering that all-important “one last kiss”, and then haul yourself across town (or sometimes even further) to wherever work is, and arrive on time… but you do.Read More »

Can Mama Get a Sick Day?

First it’s denial… Scratchy throat? No – it’s nothing. I’m just thirsty. It’s not my four-year-old’s cold. Couldn’t possibly be. [**reaches for the fluids**]

Then it’s hope… Well, yes, okay, I do seem to be coming down with a bit of a cold but I still feel good – I’m sure it’ll pass quickly [**reaches for the Berocca**].

Then irritation… Ugh, this cold is getting worse and it’s messing with my week – we have three children’s birthday parties in the next four days – I cannot be sick! [**reaches for the paracetamol**]. Read More »

The Journey To Sleep

If you had told me a few weeks before my littlest’s first birthday that by the second week of January I’d be getting 8 hours of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep a night, feeling fresh and rested, and able to run 5km three mornings a week, I would have laughed at you. I would have laughed hard.

Because I was a wreck. Every time I switched off my light at night I felt like I was going into battle, never knowing quite when my adversary would strike, or how many times – but knowing it was coming. A good night was the baby screaming twice. A bad night was us getting up every hour or having her tossing about in the bed between us. I spent my days in a haze of exhaustion – cranky, miserable, and certainly not being the best mother I could be.

So how has it all turned around?

Read More »

Never Again Will You Be Three

In a few days we will blow out your candles, open your presents and sing happy birthday at the tops of our voices. We will have a party and throw streamers and play games and eat far too much cake and celebrate all that you are.

But what you won’t know is that as I sing “Happy birthday to you”, I will have a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. Because never again will you be three.Read More »

Christmas craftiness

The tree is up, Michael Buble is crooning his Christmas ditties in the background, and despite the fact that the weather outside is not in fact frightful (it’s a Bahamas Christmas this year), I’m starting to feel a little bit festive.

The Christmas school holidays are about to descend upon us, if they haven’t already, so I’ve been thinking about things to do with the little ones that might keep them occupied in the run-up to Santa’s arrival, as well as provide a few festive trinkets to scatter around the house.Read More »

Surprising tricks that make them eat

6pm. And more often that not it is chaos.

Rarely does the witching hour pass in our house without some sort of disagreement over what I’ve served up for dinner (some days more emotional than others). I’ve started hating myself for how much I raise my voice at supper time (surely this is the least effective way to get my kid to sit at the table and eat her peas?!), so about a week ago I tried something new and I was shocked by the results. Read More »

Walking away

The baby will turn one next week, and she is desperate to walk. She watches her older sister running on the beach or in our street with the big kids, and her longing to join in is so palpable I can almost see it rising from the top of her little blond head like puffs of steam. She pulls herself up and stands helplessly, as what ever she wanted to take herself towards has already been spirited away by the whirlwind that is the three year old. She squawks impotently at the injustice of it all, and my heart aches for her.

But secretly I feel like I’ve been given a reprieve. Not just from the toddler bumps and scrapes that are all to come, but from the grieving that comes with saying goodbye to the baby days – the goodbye that, the moment they learn to walk, is inevitable and expedited. Read More »

Punctually challenged

It was 7.34pm on the night of my 21st birthday party and, as I fumbled chaotically around my dressing table for the right shade of lipgloss, my guests were already gathered, sipping champagne, at the venue 10 minutes away. My phone beeped. “Only you would be late for your own party.” It was my friend A (still one of my very best friends today), who – unlike me – is always on time.

Because I am – and always have been – chronically late. It’s my least favourite thing about myself. It was bad enough in my 20s when I could just about get away with it by replacing the word “chronically” with “fashionably” (although my husband, who’s been trying to rid me of this habit for well over a decade, would disagree). But as a woman in my 30s it’s far less forgivable, and as a mum, where I have actual, real-life little people depending on me for turning up on time and unflustered to where they need to be, it has become unacceptable.

So I’ve been working really hard on this character flaw and when my oldest received her first ever report card from kindergarten last week, there was a magical number in the “late column” which made me give myself a silent high five: “0”.

Here are some of the changes I’ve been making in a bid to become more punctual:Read More »