Career, Foodie, Kids, Lifestyle, Parenting, School

A working mum’s nightmare

It is depicted in movies such as “I don’t know how she does it” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and “Bad Mums” starring Mila Kunis.

It is the school bake sale.  The one that requires parents to bring along a home baked donation to help fundraise for the school, community or charity.

Now I actually enjoy baking.  I love (usually) to bake the kid’s birthday cakes and on occasion make some great cakes for friends and family as well.  But the school bake sale is just too much.

And here is why:

  1. They are always on a Wednesday or Thursday – so I can’t make anything on the weekend and it be remotely fresh for sale. I cannot do any nice cupcakes or biscuits. Whilst I know that they can be frozen and defrosted – that isn’t really for me.  School Hot Tip – do it on a Monday or Tuesday please!

 

  1. Dietary Requirements. I am totally aware of the nut free requirements of the school environment. I have friends who children are anaphylactic.  However, the process for the school bake sale requires a label highlighting all ingredients and individually wrapped items all ready for sale.  So not only do I need to bake, but also prepare, label, wrap and if available volunteer at the sale.

 

  1. Money. Money. Money. I thought this time I would be clever and try and think of an item I can make on the weekend, that would stay fresh. I GOT IT!  Chocolates!  I purchased a few packets of chocolate melts from Spotlight, in pink, green, yellow and white.  Melted, then poured into moulds.  Once ready packaged them up into little clear plastic bags.  Added some cute wasabi tape to seal and Viola! Ready to go. I enrolled the kids help, it was a great weekend activity. BUT – it cost me a small fortune.  All those melts ($10 per pack) plus plastic bags and wasabi tape – let’s just say whilst easy and weekend appropriate, it was a little expensive.  Plus, I have to give the kids $5 to purchase items on the day so all in all lots of money spent.

I love being part of the school community.  It is great to be involved in the bake sale, the kids love it and obviously it is a great fundraiser.  I will continue to keep trying my best to contribute.  But gee – can they make it a little easier on us working mums?

 

 

 

Kids, Lifestyle, Mum Guilt, Parenting

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has come to an end, and like many mums I was lucky enough to spend the day relaxing with my family.  I was spoilt with a nice breakfast, a new pair of pj’s and a fun filled day with the kids.

I received hand-made gifts from the kids this morning, with them all bringing tears to my eyes like most years.  This year I received a wonderful hand-written card by my son.   It was a beautiful card, one that makes your heart melt in wonder that I actually created this amazing, caring young boy.  This year however I took additional meaning from the words he had written.

In it he had written that I was the best mum ever.  He thanked me for looking after him, said I was beautiful and pretty.  On the front, he had written a few words that in his opinion described me and these included helpful, loveable, kind and nice.  After the initial overwhelm of love and emotion that usually follow these gifts, I took time to reflect on the adventures of a being a mum.

 

I would like to think that I am a good mum, but we all have our days.  I raise my voice, I count to three, I sometimes lose my mind on days where they just don’t listen.  On most days, I think I can do better.  Most days I rush around, trying desperately to get to school pickup and not be late.  Most days I raise my voice and juggle a million things.  Most days I feel guilt for working when I think I should be home cooking a brilliant meal, fresh for the dinner at night rather than reheating something I made on the weekend.  Most days I feel I perhaps don’t pay enough attention, work from home too much or am too busy doing the work around the house.  Sometimes I forget to read to the kids at night, sometimes it is just too cold to go to swimming lessons and sometimes a bit of cheeky take-away is all that can be mustered after a busy day or week.

BUT, what I realised today, after reading the hand-written card, was that the way my child sees me verses the way I see myself is truly different.  I always think I can do better and strive every day to make positive changes, however my son sees me as a kind, helpful, loveable mum.  My son knows that I am here for him, that I love him and that he and his sister mean the world to me.  But to really understand this, has taken me many years.

I now realise that I am a good enough mum.  That whilst some days are a little challenging, I am doing my best and doing it with love.  I have raised two small humans and I know from their behaviours and communication that I have raised them well.  Two beautiful souls who are just starting their journey into life, who I will continue to guide and hold their hands with kindness and love.

So today on Mother’s Day I want all the mums reading this to know, that you are good enough.  No matter the shitty days we might have, the challenges that are thrown our way or the growing demands on our time, we are doing the best we can and we are doing it with love – and that my fellow mums is all we can do.

Do it with love.

Lifestyle, marriage, Parenting

Date nights – so good!

Date nights, it’s so hard to find the time but so beneficial to your relationship.

It is hard to connect as a couple when life gets busy – and let’s face it when you work and have kids it gets busy.  Constantly busy.  It is hard to find the time to have great quality time – sure a few snatches of compliments and cuddles but essentially you really can’t get more than an hour together before interruption – and that is if you are lucky!

So dates night for me are a must.  We try and get them in monthly – although that is a bit of a dream at the moment and aside from a few work dinners early in the year we have only had one date night so far in the 4 months of this year.  And it was much needed.

Sometimes I fell guilt but I also know that the children are safe and loved when they have sleep overs with family, and for my husband and I it gives us a chance to reconnect and appreciate each other for who we are rather than just ships in the night.

We spent the night at a lovely restaurant at the other side of town.  A place we haven’t been before and are unlikely to go again in the immediate future.  It was wonderful.  Exploring a new neighbourhood, new place, new menu and staff and just a new experience overall.  Together we get to explore something new and just enjoy in being with each other.  We didn’t talk about kids (which I know can be hard) and really enjoyed the moment.

It is important to remember on this ride of life that we have a support system and we need to nurture that.  For me that is my husband, for others it may be their other nearest and dearest.  But to have a night away, adult conversations, to get out of the routine of daily life and then to wake up with your body clock instead of a baby or kids needing breakfast is a fantastic way of recharging the batteries and filling up your tank ready to take on the next month.

It is key to remember that date nights don’t have to cost a fortune.  There are the usual ideas such as movies and dinner or a musical in town.  For others, a simple take away pizza and a movie at home is perfect.  Anything that you don’t normally get a chance to do that will allow you to relax and recharge with each other is amazing.

So my challenge to you mama’s is that if you are not currently taking time for yourselves do it and make it part of your lifestyle.

What are you date night ideas?

Kids, Lifestyle, Mum Guilt, Parenting, Returning to work, School

Your Village

As described in Wiki  –  A village is a human settlement or community.

We are all part of one and all need one, in some shape or form.

Whether it is family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, other parents, or even sporting team mates, as humans, we need human interaction.  We need people to talk to, to listen to, to be with.  According to the TED Talk by psychologist Susan Pinker, our social lives may have a direct impact on our longevity – therefore your village may actually help you live longer.

As busy working mums it is hard to build and maintain a village – but it is extremely important that we do.

So how do you do it?

Think about your closest 3-5 people.  They may be your partner, your parents, your in-laws, your siblings or perhaps your best friends.  These are your core.  These are the people you would most likely lean on when you need to, and you should.  This core group would be who you might call for a babysitter if you need one, for help doing something around the house or for some emotional support if you are going through a rough time.  This is your inner village. They are on your speed dial and you are on theirs.

But, it is just as important to build and maintain people in your wider village.  These might include your neighbours, work colleagues, school mums, potentially people in your weekly yoga class or gym session.  These people may not be the ones your call on for a helping hand at home, but these are the ones you might reach out to for socialisation, a quick after work drink, a weekend coffee catch up or a playdate with the kids.  These are the ones that will help keep you strong in your own identity, this is where your conversation may not involve the kids but perhaps include building your social interests and help ignite a fire in your belly.  It may keep your creativity alive, your personal space full and leave you feeling fresh and supported in your life vision.

Now that you have identified your village – how do you maintain or even build it?

Well this part can take some work and time – both of which can be in short supply for us working mums.  However, start by reaching out and getting in touch with 2 or 3 people and organising a weekend catch up – either individually or together.  Have friends or colleagues over for dinner or meet up for an after work drink on a night when you don’t have to rush home.  If you can’t leave the kids, perhaps opt for a playdate with other mums and build your group from there.  It can be just for an hour and doesn’t have to cost a cent as you can meet at the local playground.

Once you start it is important to keep up the momentum.  This doesn’t mean becoming a big social butterfly and being out and about all week (unless you want to), but keep a regular rhythm and catch up often and see how you go.

Do you cultivate your village?  What tips do you have to create and build a village?

, Lifestyle

Working Mums

In 2011-12, 53% of women whose youngest child was aged 5 years and under were employed. When their youngest child was aged 6-14 years, the proportion of mothers who were employed increased to 75%.

This coupled with countless sleepless nights, numerous cuddles, tears, laughter and tantrums, I think working mums fit more into a 24 hour period than any other person on earth.

For some working is a choice, for others working is a necessity.  With the rising cost of living, trying to reach for the Australian dream of home ownership, and with the mindset of providing our children with all that they need and desire, it is therefore necessary for many mums to consider going back to work after they have their children for financial opportunities.

My own story was really similar.  I had my first child in late 2010.  I had been keen to remain independent once home on maternity leave so I saved for a few years before my son came along.  I had envisioned my maternity leave consisting of meeting friends for coffee, getting my hair done, visiting the shops and having a great time.  The reality turned out to be quite different.  My husband had a career change two-months after our son was born and it took a few months to get that moving. So we were living off our savings for a little while.  The new opportunity took us interstate for a short period which meant that I couldn’t really form any strong bonds with my mother’s group – having only just met them all before we had to move.

Once back home I had to get back to work – for two reasons.  Financially we were not where we needed to be and I had to get back to work to keep the mortgage and bills paid.  But I also really wanted to get back to work.  I wasn’t sure if becoming a mother would change me, but I have a strong work ethic and whilst love my children very much, I craved the work environment.  I wanted to contribute to our household financially, I wanted to continue to grow my career and see where I could end up.  My theory was why couldn’t I still do all that and achieve amazing things in my career all whilst being a mum?

It takes some juggling and compromise, but if you want it to work, it can.

And so began my journey into being a working mum.  Since that time, I have had my second child, worked full time, part time, freelance – from both home and office environments.  I have worked with a few different employers and had different colleagues and managers.  My experience in this area is wide and varied and will continue to evolve in the coming years.

So I welcome you to this new space I have created – Wine For Mama.  A place where there is no judgement, no opinions, just information and examples where you can take as much as you need to make your life a little easier – learning from women who have been exactly where you are and continue to be a working mums.