Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Gifted children

We have thought for a while our lovely little Jessica is a gifted child. She has spoken well from a very young age, speaking in full sentences since she was 18 months old and singing nursery rhymes from an even earlier age. Last term we attended Jessica's prep interview.  We have been tossing up the idea of early entry to year 1 for a while now but the cost of the tests and the process seemed a little too much for us considering it isn't up to the school to approve the early entry but the district director who will never actually meet her. I took a school library book of Hollie's the interview and Jessica read it while we waited. Hollie, year 1, borrows from the year 3 section of the library at her teacher's request. The deputy principal doing the interview wasn't so impressed with a nearly 5 year old reading at an 8 year old level as it is quite common for girls especially to read early but she was impressed when we showed her Jessica's writing and spelling. She sat up and was visibly shocked by what she saw. Couple her literacy level with her numeracy levels there is no way she will cope with prep. She will be bored out of her brains. The deputy was the one who suggested we do an early entry. We didn't have to say anything. I didn't want to be one of those parents marching in there and telling the school how amazing my kid was.

This is Jessica's story about going to the football in May. At the time she was 3& 1/2 months shy of 5. I had to help her spell Giants and fence. She did the rest herself. She even remembers the colours of the seats we sat in.

I know almost every parent thinks their kid is very bright or skilled with a particular thing. I have many friends who insist their kids are very bright, above average, gifted even. When I look at Jessica who was reading Hollie's prep readers when she was 3 and reading them with the top readers in prep I know Jessica is gifted. This was confirmed last week when the school's Guidance Officer did an intelligence test on Jessica to support our application to early entry to year 1. Jessica was tested and came out as having "Superior intelligence" as her results were in the 95 percentile which means only 5% of children her age are smarter than her. 

Then I think about Hannah who is 3.5 years old and created her own perfectly stamped and punched birthday card for her cousin and wrote the entire card by herself and I wonder about Hannah too. Hannah's card to Gemma read, "To Gemma love and hugs Hannah" which she needed help spelling "love" and "hugs" but was able to work out the letters when I sounded them out except the e on love. She was most proud that she could now write a G all by herself. I have not taught her to write. I have written a lot with her, labelling pictures, writing on the fridge, just general mum stuff. We have read a lot and she picks up words all the time. Tonight we had a book that had "we" on every page and by the end she knew which word was we. I'll see if she remembers it tomorrow. She is so curious about writing and reading and spelling at the moment that we just explore together. I don't teach her. I don't think I do anything special with them. I give them my time. We share and have fun together (most of the time, I'm not a perfect Mum- far from it. Yes, I yell at my kids, I'm not angel.) The children have learnt through example, time and exposure. Maybe this is what mums did in a previous era. Is it possible that the time I spend with them and not the money I spend on gadgets or educational toys that has made the difference? I really don't know. What I do know though is they have a love of learning. Hopefully I can continue to foster that in them and they carry that into their adult lives.

This story is amazing to me because at 5 she knew the difference between slid and slide all by herself. 

Hopefully we'll find out at the end of this week whether the district director has approved the application. I know that if he doesn't she is going to be a huge strain on the teachers next year. I think even if she is advanced her teachers will have to modify their work to be able to cater for her ability. It will be just the same as having a child with a disability in the classroom. Let's hope there is someone else of similar ability to be able to work with her.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Exercise that body

As promised I have actually taken photos of my body, clothed, to hopefully document the HUGE changes which are about to occur. The photos don't actually look that bad. I think the tight clothing hides a great deal. You know that post baby belly with it's wrinkled, stretched marked skins and the fatty saggy bits. Who said motherhood wasn't glamorous? Glamorous.  I wear my marks with pride because I know without them I wouldn’t have what I have and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I am so grateful for what I have and even if that means I’m not able to reach my goal of 10kms by my birthday, mid January, then I’m ok with that too. I think it is better to have a goal than to plod along and hope everything will be ok and work itself out.

Here are the photos. I know it will take at least 3 months to notice a significant difference in photos. Possibly in real life you may be able to notice a difference. I can usually tell when I start to decrease the size of my double chin. I’m hoping I notice my arms beginning to strengthen too. I’m aiming to be able to do a 200m medley by January. At the moment I’m doing only 100m with flippers because I’m too much of a chicken to try one without. I also know that my backstroke doesn’t hold up. I'd just like to thank Hollie for taking the photos this morning. 

Two goals and just under three months. Let’s see what I can do.

On a family note, my sister in law gave my mother in law a large canvas photo of their first born at approx 6 weeks old. Kevin and I decided it would be nice if she could hang all the kids together so we made up canvases of the kids at approx 6 weeks old too. We have been trying since Kevin Joshua was 5 weeks old to get a photo of him smiling. We have managed to capture a few blurred ones on our phones but nothing we could print. Every time we bring out the camera he stops smiling even with tickles. Over the last 3 weeks we have taken 100s of photos trying to get a good print. He always turns away from the camera. Is this a sign of things to come? I’m going to post some of those attempts at smiling shots.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Measurements and weight loss

The diet plan hasn't really worked. I'm not sticking to my rules. I have eaten outside of the set times. I have broken my treat days. See my rules here to get an idea of what I mean.  In fact I've developed a love of white bread which is really bad. I have never really eaten white bread and during this pregnancy I just loved it and craved it. Now it is a habit that is hard to kick. Instead of just having one sandwich for lunch I've been having two. Naughty however I have managed to continue exercising every day, except this morning. I will have to make sure I go for a run tonight. Buddy's going to get lucky tonight. He'll get to go twice. Once with me and then with Kevin. I am very grateful to Sarah who has kept me motivated and on track. Tomorrow is walking day and I'm planning lunges and squats on the walk too. 

I am entering the 3rd week of my exercise routine. Swimming or walking every day for those 2 weeks except the day I was very sick. I'm pretty happy with that. It feels good. Kevin always says I need to get up early and get going. It's very difficult when it's cold in winter or when you're pregnant and have very little energy but I agree with him, hear that Honey you are right!, I do operate mush better when I get up and have some time alone or time to wake up before I deal with 4 or 5 nagging children. I've always been a morning person, as in I like being up in the morning. I don't necessarily like communicating early in the morning. I don't like questions being constantly asked and my attention required constantly. I like the mornings. I'm glad I'm doing the early morning exercise. 

I've finally got around to measuring myself. See my measurements below. Last week at the doctors I had lost weight since Kevin's 10 day check up. In 4 weeks I'd lost 1.6kgs. I'm pretty happy with that. I've read a lot that says a breastfeeding mother shouldn't shed more than half a kg a week so I'm happy with the loss I've had.

Measurements 15th October
All measurements are in cms.
right arm               13.2
left arm                 14
bust                      43
belly button          41.5
hips                      42.5
bottom                 46
left thigh               26.7
right thigh             27.1

Before we moved I had all of my measurements written on the mirror in our bedroom. I tracked them for 8 months. It was great to see the measurements decrease over time and then increase with muscle gain. Unfortunately I cleaned the mirror without taking a photo. I remember my dear friend, Leesa, did but I don't know whether she deleted the photo or not. I'll have to check with her.

I still haven't been organised enough to take a photo. I'm a little scared to be honest. I was very keen to start with. Now I'm not so sure. 

Until Friday my dear friends and family.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

10 on the 10th Getting fit post baby

I wrote a blog post here about my desire to get fit and healthy. I didn’t, as I promised I would do, measure myself and post my results here. I will endeavour to find the measuring tape to do that this week. For some reason the measuring tape is not in the sewing box. I might have to bite the bullet and buy a new one. I know measuring myself is a far better way to measure my results than by standing on the scales. More of those measurements later.

Here is my plan to eat well and get fit.
1.1.      Have a support person. For me that is actually two people. Firstly Kevin, who will kick me out of bed if necessary or like this week when he smsed my 2nd support person to say I was too sick to exercise (I must have been very sick for him to insist I don’t attend.) and secondly my exercise buddy. She is someone who I know won’t miss our sessions, won’t find an excuse like it’s too cold or the kids have been up all night. She will commit 100% which is why I didn’t want to miss this morning’s walk because I don’t want to break the cycle and cause the commitment to lessen.

2.2 .  Don’t buy treats in the shopping. If it’s not there you can’t eat it. I’m not a bit buyer of food for outside the home so the temptation to eat unhealthily outside the home is rare.

3.3.     Meal plan. Set out meals for a week or two weeks. Only buy for set meals. Not only does this mean you don’t have to think about what to cook it also means you save money because food doesn’t go to waste.

4.4.     Have set meal times. Only eat at these times. Have breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner at the set times and not to snack in between.

5.5.      Drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Drinking water keeps my hunger at bay and doesn't allow me to eat more than I need to.

6.6.     Follow the 4 Ds. These are quit smoking technique which I found very helpful when quitting smoking and I guess the love of food is also an addiction and so helps me quit that need to eat. The 4 Ds are; Deep breath, Delay, Drink water, Do something else.  These are the steps to take if you are feeling like food but know it is only a short time to your set eating time.

7.7.   Plan for naughty days. For me I know that Thursdays will involve yummy food as we have playgroup and the Mums always provide nice food. I also know that during Friday night scrapbooking it is good to eat chocolate or something sweet and yummy. I also know that by totally banning a food group you only seem to crave it more, well I do anyway. I know that by giving myself the freedom to indulge I am more likely to eat well the rest of the time. It also means I can put in more effort during exercise on those days and plan to skip say morning or afternoon tea on those days to make up for it.

8.8.     Commit to an exercise for 2 weeks. It is the hardest to start with but it ALWAYS feels good afterwards. I have found that after 2 weeks you are in the habit of getting up early or leaving the dishes so you can exercise. After that you’ll actually enjoy it and it’ll be part of your life.

9.9.       Make healthy food choices you know you really like to start with. You can always introduce new recipes or less enjoyable foods once the need for sugar or fat has gone from your system. Things taste better once they are out of your system and you don’t depend on them so much.

1.10.   Have attainable goals. Don’t think I’m going to lose 1 kg a week if you know you realistically can’t. I know for me, being a breastfeeding mother, it is not something that is recommended. Similarly don’t think you can eat a salad for dinner every night if you know your kids are going to fight you all the way. Make choices which are family friendly and are realistic.

TThese are the steps I’m planning on taking to take control of my health. What do you do? What else could I incorporate to improve my strategy?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Returning to exercise post baby

I’m going to publically announce my weight. The reason for doing this is twofold. Firstly I want a record of where I’ve come from when I get to my goal weight and my first fitness goal. Secondly, having almost reached my pre-first pregnancy weight prior to my most recent pregnancy I want you to know it can be done. In November last year, 2011, I got down to 75kgs which was 2kgs off my pre-pregnancy weight of my first child in 2005. My goal weight is actually 70kgs as that was my constant weight for years prior to my first pregnancy. Fast forward 7 years and I now have 5 children and I am now, wait for it ....... 89kgs. Prior to giving birth 5 weeks ago I was 97kgs. So you can see I have a long way to go however I have already started exercising and now the weather has warmed up I am hoping my exercise regime is easier to maintain.

Unlike after my last pregnancy I don’t have the resources; a wonderful bootcamp instructor, an impressive walking partner (who walked with me rain, hail or shine) or the money to invest in my health. However, unlike last time I have more motivation. This time I know I can do it. Last time I was very unsure of my ability to lose weight. I’ve done it before so I know it can be done. I also know it will take time. It took me from January to November to lose my pregnancy weight but I almost did it.

For me, it’s not necessarily about losing weight, it’s about feeling good about myself and setting a great example for my kids, my girls in particular. I was always a very fit person before having children. My Mum set a great example to my siblings and myself and we were always very sporty, in fact my sister and I still hold records in swimming and athletics at our primary school. My own children are very academic and very competitive so when they don’t measure up physically to other children they get disheartened. I want to show them it is ok to not be amazing to start with, or ever but you should give it a ago and that having a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things in life.

Tomorrow when the weather is a bit better, it’s currently raining and cold, I will get my darling husband to take some photos and measure me. I will also upload these to show you what I’m starting at. Over the next week I’ll post some of my intended strategies. It’s all pretty simple.
So until tomorrow, stay healthy.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Moments in time

I have to take time with my newest addition at night. During the day life is very hectic with four other children and I don't get as much time as I'd like to sit and cuddle and adore my little darling Kevin. Night times for me are very special. Day time often involves fighting the kids off Kevin. I'll often find Lisa has shoved a teddy right next to him or tucked a blanket over him. Hollie wants to cuddle him constantly and when it's a school day she walks in the door and it's not, "Hello Mum," it's, "Can I hold Kevin?"

I adore the new baby smell. The soft skin. The cute little noises they make. Babies are just the sweetest things. I could have hundreds of them but I hate being pregnant and babies don't stay babies for long at all.

I'm off to comfort and cuddle and kiss my darling little Kevin.

Monday, 10 September 2012

10 on the 10th The Best Husband

Everyone knows how much I love my husband. He really is an amazing man. Here are ten reasons why I love him.

1. He makes time for us every day. He knows how important it is for us to connect daily. Our lives are so busy. 5 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats and 5 chickens makes our lives full and hectic. From day one he has made the effort to put me and us first even when he knows I'm not putting him first. I love him for this.

2. He is the most amazing Dad in the world. Anyone can be a father but only special men get to be Dads. He is one of those. I am so grateful to have married a man who really appreciates and values his role as a Dad. The kids all adore him which is testament to his dedication to them.
Giving Hannah a cuddle. Always the comforter. He is such a great Dad.

3. He makes me laugh. As frustrating as he sometimes is he manages to make me laugh every day. He teases me, tickles me, shares his stories from work, tells me jokes. He makes me laugh at myself. I love that he can put a smile on my face and make me feel so young and carefree.

4. He values what I do as a mother at home. I know sometimes it feels as though he doesn't value the effort it takes to wash, fold and iron 3 loads of washing or how many times I've tidied those particular toys away in one day but I know he does. He loves that I am home with our kids and not at work. He appreciates the lessons I teach the kids and the love I give them when I'm with them. I am glad he doesn't want me to go back to work any time soon.

5. He's such a supportive husband. After every new baby he cooks every evening meal for the first 4 or more weeks. How amazing it that? He fixes things, tidies, cleans and helps with the kids without being asked. Who wouldn't love this man?
Kevin Joshua being cuddled by Daddy at the hospital soon after his birth. Now starts his cooking. At least Kevin will know how to cook. His Dad will teach him that men cook too. 

6. If I give him a list of jobs he will do it. He will do what needs to be done to help me around the house. It took a few years for us to sort out this system. Prior to the list system I would get frustrated that I'd have to nag him to do jobs. With the list system I write out this list and he does the jobs in his time. AND he's quite efficient too.

7. He is deeply religious and has changed my life because of it. He has shown me a way to live my life. He has shown me another world. Thank you darling.

8. He supports my hobby. He values my hobby. He enjoys the discussions we both have about our hobbies. He encourages me to spend money on my hobby, maybe that's so he doesn't feel guilty about spending money on his hobby. LOL. Not many women have a husband who says spend my money.

9. He takes photos because they would be good to scrapbook like this photo of Lisa who fell asleep at the door to the girls' room because she wanted me to fill up one of my water bottles for her even though she had her own. He's a true scrapbooker's husband.

10. He holds my hand. Just that show of support when I'm sad or that affection. He also knows what it does to me. I love him dearly. I hope he still holds my hand when I'm 90.

Friday, 10 August 2012

38 weeks pregnant

This is my last baby and I'm getting to the stage where I'm actually thinking I will miss being pregnant. I know it is ridiculous to say such a thing when you experience pregnancy like I do, 18 weeks of morning/all night sickness, reflux, varicose veins, the list really just goes on and on but knowing this is the last time I will feel those wonderful kicks, even when they keep me awake all night or knock my ribs out while I'm driving, and feeling the wonder that is the life growing in me, is a little sad. I have been very blessed. I already have four beautiful girls and another babe growing and I know once it is born, with each milestone, with each loosening of the apron strings I will mourn a little.
I had to go into the birth suite during my midwife appointment on Monday because the baby had hardly moved since 6 am which is very unusual for it. They just wanted to check me out to make sure the baby and I were doing ok. It was a tad scary being in there. I have had 3 of my 4 babies in that hospital. None of the births, except maybe the casearean, were bad or left a horrible memory. I have had pretty straight forward births so far so it wasn't that. It was the memory of how painful birth actually is that was scary. I'm sure I don't really remember what it is like either. I'm sure if I did I wouldn't have signed up for it again. It is one of the worst things you go through but at least there is a wonderful prize at the end.
The prize, amazingly, keeps on giving, although to be honest it is fairly one way in the other direction most of the time. Over the weekend we were lucky enough to spend time with just Hollie and Lisa. Jessica and Hannah both spent 2 nights at their grandparents.We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Hollie because it gave us the opportunity to shower her in attention. I thought I would include some photos of our lovely time flying the kite.

We had lunch at Morgan's first and a play in the park. She's such a little poser but gosh she's cute.

Getting the kite to stay up when there's barely any wind is difficult but she did a pretty good job.

Lisa likes to be a big girl so carries around the backpack and wears anyone's shoes but her own.

What do you do with your kids to make them feel special? I know we will struggle a little in the first few months after the baby arrives as it is such an all consuming job - looking after a new born however because we already have so many children the baby just seems to fit into what everyone else is doing. Any tips to help us transition from 4 to 5?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Pregnancy week 32

It isn't long until the bundle of joy arrives. So soon in fact that I'm starting to have a little freak out. As yet the only thing I have prepared are the maternity pads. Yay go me. No cot, no clothes, no sheets or bunny rugs. No capsule organised for the car, no baby bag or hospital bag packed. There are under 8 weeks to go which means this bub could come any time in the next 8 weeks. Am I super relaxed about it or just an experienced mother who knows that really I can have anything I need brought to me in hospital and hubby can do the rest of the organising while I'm in hospital? I haven't any birth plan and have only just organised someone to pick up and take Jessica to kindy if I happen to be in hospital on kindy days. Now I'm starting to feel a little like it could be tomorrow or any day now so get a wriggle along woman.

I've also started to freak out about actually giving birth. Even though I know it's ok and that I'll be able to do it, it's the long, drawn out labours I don't want. Induce me like they did with Lisa and have it over and done with in 2 hours and I'll be fine. Put me through 18 hours of natural labour and I'm scared. Not scared but fearful of the pain. It's funny though, I know as soon as labour starts it's ok. You know that sense of calm and purpose that comes over you? Kevin will read this and ask what calm? but ladies you know what I'm talking about. I think the thought of it (once you've done it before) is worse than the actual labour and every contraction is one step closer to meeting that beautiful baby. Oh it's so wonderful. I can't wait.

Any of you in South East Queensland at the moment will know the horrible weather we've been having lately. It is the school holidays and it has rained all week. It is the middle of winter (well nearly as Jessica rightly pointed out we have to wait until we're half way through July to be the middle of winter) and winter is usually the dry season. This is crazy weather for us. Today I went to the shops and slipped over outside a shop and landed on my bottom. Two old ladies picked me up. I was very shaken by the experience because it really hurt my tummy. For the next 90 mins the baby didn't move at all. That is very unlike this baby. Naturally I was a little concerned but I took myself off to bed and although my tummy is still sore the baby is moving like it usually does. Ahh. That was my little adventure for the day. Stay tuned for the update on Hollie's birthday. She turn 6 tomorrow. How scary is that?

Friday, 20 April 2012

SAHM debate

About a month ago I blogged about working mothers here and upset a few people. Sorry to those of you I upset. Maybe I should clarify a few things.

I love being a SAHM. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not rose tinted glasses I’m wearing. It’s hard. One of my commentors even said she, "look(s) forward to Monday because she's (I'm) actually more relaxed at work than at home." I’m not saying it’s not hard for working mothers. It’s different. Most of my friends are working mothers. Some even have their husbands stay home with the kids. Some days I would swap roles with them at the drop of a hat but mostly I love what I do. Isn’t that the most important thing? Some of the comments after my last post critised my choice to stay home as not giving my daughters anything to aspire to. I have not given up on my career. I have changed my career. My “real” career is on hold for a few years maybe longer. I don’t think I’m sending the wrong message to my daughters in saying that being a Mum at home is a good thing. They know I used to work and although they think all I do is wash clothes and do dishes they are slowly coming around to understanding how lucky they are to have me home with them. That I can go to reading groups with them at school or attend their award ceremony on parade. I can assist the teacher with the swimming class and changing over reading packs. Most working Mums don’t get this opportunity. I guess growing up I had the best of both worlds. My single Mum worked but she worked in jobs which allowed her to participate in my school activities and to be with us after school. I don’t believe my daughters aren’t missing out on seeing their Mum achieve in a career, they are seeing their Mum achieving in her new career. The career of being a Mum at home. Isn’t that something worth showing them too? Is it so bad to aspire to that? What about giving them the choice to be able to stay at home? Surely that is what the feminists should have promoted. The right to decide, not being forced in one way or another. I don’t want to be forced back to work. That is wrong just as it is wrong to say you must stay home.

 I guess I was trying to make three separate points, obviously none of which I was able to clearly articulate.
 Firstly, the government here in Australia provides more funding, more incentives, more kindergarten rebates, higher government subsidies to working mothers. To me this equals society saying a working mother is more important. I can understand this to a certain extent because working mothers provide the government with a high income via taxation. I guess this is where some working mothers have in articles I’ve read put down Stay at home mothers as being bludgers because some of these SAHM never have an intention of working and would be the kind to only take benefits from the government and not work. This kind of SAHM is not me. I don’t get any assistance from the government for staying home.  I guess the governments investment in working mothers  is fuelled by the media who are fed the stories by the working mother writers or contributors. What I didn’t clearly articulate was my disgust in the media who feeds this government policy. I read a lot of forums and a lot of articles about motherhood but very rarely do they provide the perspective of a SAHM  or their partner. Every article I’ve ever read about SAHMs gets slammed and beaten down by working mothers who feel they are being picked on. I think in general SAHMs are very supportive of working mothers but most are voiceless because they are at home and not in the media or governments interest or focus. Working mothers get more mileage simply because women have been at home with kids forever and working mothers are a relatively new thing and are currently feeling the pressure of trying to be a good provider for their families, for the careers and be a good mum too.

Secondly, my issue with working mothers is their choices. If they choose to work and they think it will benefit their family more than staying at home why whinge about it? To their friends. To the media. To the government. A majority of people actually have a choice about staying home. If the choice you make is because you want a career to fall back on in case of divorce, maybe you shouldn’t be having kids with this person in the first place. If money is the reason there are plenty of areas to cut back in so as to be able to make ends. Sure don’t move away from your support network but if you want to stay home change your lifestyle so you are able to. Buy home brands or go to the markets for cheap vegies and fruit or be like one of my commentors and retrain so you can be at home. If you’re happy to be at work don’t bug us with how hard you have it. I know it’s hard. I did it BUT I didn’t complain about having to do it. That was my role in our family. I did it because I had to so I’m not disrespecting working mothers. That would be having a go at myself and I was a lucky working mother. I had my husband at home to look after our baby, go shopping, wash clothes, cook meals and clean the house. Some working mothers aren’t so lucky. They have to drop their kids at daycare early in the morning so they can commute to work. They have to come home tired and clean, cook and prepare for the next day at work all with a cranky toddler or young child. I’m saying it is not for me and if it is for you don’t complain about your choices to society, the government and the media. It is your choice just like being home is mine. Working mothers make sacrifices and so do SAHMs. They are just different sacrifices. Should I whinge to the world because the only coffee I have had at a coffee shop in months is one my mother bought me yesterday? Or the last time we had a holiday was well, over 5 years ago when we stayed with my aunt in Sydney for 3 days? Or that I make decisions about car trips so I still have enough money at the end of the fortnight to get Jessica to kindy? I don’t because who would care? I make sacrifices about where I go, what I eat, how long I’m out for because I believe I can provide for my children by staying home with them. They may not have iPods, the latest gadgets or a lot of extra curricular activities but they do have me and the fun we have together. I’m sure they’ll remember the times we had together more than they’ll remember the “things” they owned.

Thirdly, I’ve made the choice not to work because I believe I can provide for my children during their foundation years. I am teacher. I know I am unable to cater for the individual needs of each of the 26 kids in my class no matter what the literature, departmental policy or ideals tell me I can and should be able to do. It just isn’t physically possible to provide 26 different activities worded in 26 different ways which all achieve the same outcome of moving young people towards their ultimate future, extending or modifying so all can participate. This is the same at a daycare centre. For as much as teachers can extend an individual I don’t believe they can provide the same kind of individual care as a parent can. I only have to provide for 4 individuals and that is challenging at times. I don’t have to provide for 12 or 15 like they do in a daycare centre. Longitudinal studies of the effects of child care on infants starting daycare at younger than 6 months indicate delayed development while the same studies find those attending child care pre schooling years, as in the year before a child starts school, assist children in making the transition to school. The studies have indicated that between 6 weeks and 3 and ½ years are the most critical for the development physically, socially and emotionally and they also indicate in all of these areas the children attending long daycare showed delayed development in comparison to those who aren’t in long daycare. These are pretty much the same findings across the world and regardless of the standard of care offered.  Most of these studies though haven’t been long enough to provide for the effects on individuals in post schooling years.  This does not of course mean that all SAHMs do a great job. I know there are many days the job I do at home is terrible. I’m tired. I get cranky. I feel overwhelmed by the mess but I am able to cook with my kids, paint, draw, make playdough, do puzzles and make obstacle courses. We cuddle and laugh. We go to playgroup to be with other children. I’m there for them when they’re upset. I’m there when they’re having a tantrum and sometimes wish I could have one too. Some days it is horrible being home and some days when my husband walks through the door I just want to take his keys and walk straight out and have a coffee or talk to an adult. It is very interesting reading the threads on parenting forums. The SAHM threads talk about saving money and budgeting and stretching money further and the working mother thread talk about trying to balance work and family life. You’ll see there are different stresses. Different focuses.

There was also the point made in the comments about men having to go to work. I think most families decide the husband goes to work because they earn more. My sister-in-law can earn far more than my brother-in-law so he stays home. That makes sense doesn’t it? Another of my friends is the working mother while her husband stays home with the kids because she has a more secure income. She doesn’t complain about it because it is her role in the family. My husband was prepared to give up his career for his children. Many men would be but it doesn’t seem to be what society expects; a parent to stay at home with their kids. It expects parents to work.

Whatever you decide to do, be happy about it and don’t complain. Having kids is tough full stop.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Stay at Home Mothers

As a stay at home mother in a society which expects you to return to work I feel completely undervalued by the society I live. I have been reading on forums and in various article written by working mothers how hard they find the balance. I am not going to try to tell them it isn't hard. I know it's very difficult to balance work and motherhood. I returned to work when my youngest was only 6 months old. I returned to work because I had the permanent position but my darling husband was here with Hollie. If he was called in for supply work or short contracts we had my mother-in-law or my sister's mum look after Hollie. I know some working mothers or fathers don't have that option but if we didn't have that option, Kevin would have stayed at home with Hollie. Many mothers say they value stay at home mothers but they don't seem to value them enough to stay at home and be one. Society doesn't think stay at home mothers are important because there is no incentive to stay home. A working mother receives higher kindergarten rebates than a stay at home mother. I don't want a  government handout. I don't get one. I just want the government to provide the same services for stay at home mothers as they do for working mothers. And now onto working mothers themselves.

My issue with working mothers is that most claim they return to work because they are financially unable to stay at home. With the cost of day care, and I don't have an issue with the cost because it is extremely cheap for what you get, I don't understand how the majority of working mothers are better off. My issue with working mothers is what they won't give up in order to stay at home with their child/ren. Why can't they give up the expensive clothes and shop at an op shop? Or stop going out for coffee with friends or dinner with their husband? Why won't they downsize and live in a smaller house or in a less desirable area or buy a cheaper house to start with? Why do they need a new car instead of a second hand one? Why can't they give up the holiday for another few years so they can stay at home with the kids?

People of my generation see this kind of sacrifice as a very negative thing. For me it is just a short term sacrifice. I have no issue with working mothers who choose not to make these sacrifices but don't complain about your decision to me or to society because of the choices you and your family have made.

I don't see these sacrifices as a negative thing. We chose to buy the house we did knowing we could pay it off on one income. We could have bought a more expensive house which suited our needs more adequately but we chose this house because it means I can stay home. Yes, we sacrifice. We live on a busy road. We have 4 children in one room. We have renovations to do and improvements to make but we love it because it is ours. Our little piece of the world and we don't have to stress about paying the bills. We know we won't be going on a holiday for a few years unless it is a camping holiday or to visit friends somewhere. That is a sacrifice but I don't think it is a negative thing. Am I the only one who feels like this?

I know working mothers sacrifice too. They sacrifice time with their babies and their young children. I know that. I would not give it up because I know that I alone can provide emotionally, academically, socially and spiritually for my children. I am giving them the best start to life by being here for them. I know that what I am doing is right. It is hard work. It is draining and boring and horrible some days but it's only for a short time. Hollie's at school and those years at home with her went too quickly. I am sacrificing a lifestyle to have another kind of lifestyle. My kind of lifestyle. A lifestyle I love and sometimes hate but a lifestyle I happy to have.