Sunday, December 26, 2010

What a great idea

For a mum like me who lives in a perpetual state of organised chaos, it was a pleasure to receive in the post recently the Ideas Book by Bronnie Masefau. This lovely little red book aims to inspire women into transforming their house into a home.
There are tips on all areas of the home from kitchens, bathrooms, children’s spaces, work spaces and more, as well as lots of scribble pages for you to jot down your thoughts and ideas. Wondering how to make more creative storage spaces in your home? Want to make your lounge room more comfortable? Wishing you could keep your kids occupied and out of your hair while you cook dinner? The Ideas Book can help you improve your home and organise your life.
At the back is a handy pocket for gathering bits and bobs, and a address book section to note down your favourite stores, websites and bloggers. It’s the perfect size for the handbag and comes with a ribbon place mark and elastic band to hold the book together.
While this book is perfect for budding designers or anyone buying their first home, it can also be a good way to keep track of your short and long term goals.
The nice thing about the ideas book is that there is no set theme, so although you’re inspired by Bronnie’s ideas, you can also work on your own with lots of space to jot down notes or stick in magazine tear sheets or fabric swatches. 
We all lead busy lives and have so much information floating around our heads, so it can be difficult to remember it all. The Ideas Book takes the pressure off and does the remembering for us.
* The Ideas Book is available from for $24.95.

Well I never

Motherhood is an ever evolving state ranging from overwhelming joy to chaos and calamity, but at least you can learn from your mistakes
Before I had children I thought I’d be a pretty good mother.
I was nervous, of course, but I thought that I had a really good idea of how to raise children, so I assumed that I could easily face all the challenges that came with motherhood.
I am also a sucker for a good “how to” book, so I am always reading about pregnancy, birth and raising children (which, one would think, would give me great credentials for child rearing).
This state of blissful naivety was monumentally shattered when I had kids, and suddenly lost all of my patience (I also lost a lot of sleep and “me-time”).
Being so cocky, and somewhat self-absorbed, I look back at my life BC (before children) and it’s almost like I’m looking back at a totally different person.
But I wouldn’t change a thing because as Christmas of 2010 arrives, I look at my two daughters with so much pride and love that I’m amazed they’ve survived me (let alone me surviving them).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dealing with loss

When a crisis occurs, how do we help our children with their grief?
A distressing incident occurred in my family this week that has prompted me to write on a topic that I’ve probably avoided in the past.
My beloved aunt (my mother’s sister) was involved in a car accident in New Zealand and is currently in intensive care riddled with injuries from her head to her toes.
She won’t make it back to Australia to be with her family (including four grandchildren) for Christmas, and while we are all very grateful she survived the crash, we are also sick with worry about the pain she is enduring.
My grandmother is also in hospital, so there have been many tears shed, and my eldest daughter has been asking questions which can be hard to answer.
It has made me realise that dealing with difficult and emotional situations like this is hard enough for us, but it must be even more confusing for children.
Children may experience many different kinds of loss in their lives and this can be devastating for them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Toy tirade

What has happened to toys in the past 20 years?
Call me a prude, call me a goodie-two-shoes, call me uptight, because I cannot stop my head from shaking, my eyes rolling back in my head, and my jaw dropping to the ground when I see some of the toys being marketed to children.
The first one that had me reeling was found at the checkout in Kmart, right on the bottom shelf, so easy for little ones to reach.
Plastic Christmas themed animals doing a poo which turns out to be brown jelly beans.
The Poo Poo Panda Candy Dispenser sat alongside the Oh Deer Sooper Dooper Reindeer Pooper, the Poo-Lar Bear Sub-Zero Pooper Hero and the Baa Humbug Grumpy Sheep Party Pooper.
Seriously, what do animals with diarrhea have to do with Christmas, and what kind of kid would find brown jelly beans appetising?
I’ve written in the past about how much I dislike Tattoo Barbie, and I find the Bratz dolls hideous, because they are sending the wrong messages to our daughters.
At almost five years of age, I do not want my daughter to think that she has to dress like a slut and wear make-up every day in order to feel “pretty”.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The chaos of Christmas

If the silly season is stressing you out, it’s time to get organised

With only four weeks to go, Christmas can bring out both the best and the worst in parents.
The worst comes with the stress of spending too much, eating too much and regretting it come New Year’s Eve.
The best comes with the spirit of giving, the smiles on children’s faces on Christmas morning and the coming together of families.
But I also find that Christmas can put a lot of extra pressure on parents, particularly mothers.
For most of the year I’ve appeared to be an organised and resourceful mother, but come December it’s clear that my household is organised chaos!
I’m having panic attacks that I’ll have forgotten to buy a gift for someone, or that I’ll blow our budget, or that I have not been blessed with my mother’s (and grandmother’s) cooking talents.
The latter is certainly true so I would love to get a gift of cooking classes, but the point is that it can all seem a bit overwhelming.
There are mothers out there who are amazing organisers and can stick to their routines, rosters, plans and checklists with ease.
They are the type who have weekly menu planners, scheduled times for work and play, rosters for the household chores and a diary full of playgroup rosters, school events, and so on. 
Being THAT organised is a really foreign concept in my house, where we tend to go with the flow.
It’s no big deal if 5pm comes around and I haven’t organised anything for dinner – we just call it my night off and make toasted sandwiches instead.
But while I am comfortable in my organised chaos, there are certainly times when I wish I could be more organised.
So, with Christmas just around the corner, I’ve found some handy tips to help disorganised mothers like me survive Christmas.