Friday, June 29, 2012

My side of the scales.

It's interesting to me that every time I publish a post about the balancing act that is the parenting game, I get emails and comments urging me to tip the scales to the motherhood side. That childhood is so precious, that it goes so fast, that soon they wont want me anymore, that they need me now, that I'll miss them when they are gone...

I know! It's all true. I am already feeling the blink and you'll miss it of Miss Indi's little girliness. I get teary looking at photos of her as a baby, thinking about all her firsts, folding her outgrown clothes, while she is rapidly becomming a teenager before my eyes.

BUT I also know how important the other side of the scales are. The me time. How I am a better, more patient parent if I have had time to consider fabric combinations, think about which lace would look better with which floral, drawn out the pattern in my head, cut bits of fabric into sleeves and skirts and bodices and then sewn them all up together again.

I am a better mother if I get a chance to write this blog, to spend time alone late at night baking with my farmer boy (lemon tart - so good!), to walk outside, to think, to make...

Like I said before, it's a delicate balance. And I certainly haven't perfected it. But I do know that today, having sewn up this dress from lots of vintage scraps, I am better equiped to deal with the school holidays that start this afternoon. Having looked after the me part of the equation I feel ready and excited to spend two weeks looking after them. Hooray for the holidays!!

How good are you at balancing those parenting scales?
What do you do for yourself to put weights down your end?
Are you on holidays now?
Have you got anything planned?

Happy Friday peeps!

Have fun you guys.  xx


  1. Interesting. I think both are terribly vital. This is now, and it is important...both the fleeting fantastico of little ones, and the opportunity to model behavior that shows how important it is to take care of and be true to yourself!

    It is a confangled thing this parent/person-hood. Just keep on keepin' on.


  2. hi kate. i think i do ok with the balancing of me and kids time. i work near enough to full time so i don't get much of a chance to do all that i want but we do alright. i like to sew and if i can just have an hour or two to myself i might just get that shop open i have been meaning to. holidays start at 3pm today. going home to bake lamb & potatoes. the start of a good week off. enjoy yours with the girls. we are doing a couple of day outings to go fruit picking and open air ice skating. xo

  3. I was going to say what the clever LolaNova said. I think it is important to teach them that they have to wait sometimes for your attention and that mum needs time to herself as well and it doesnt mean she doesnt care or that she loves you less it just means she wants to do her own thing for herself. There is just no way I could cope with it being any other way. We all know it goes quick but so does your own life!
    Holidays start is 59 minutes. xx

  4. A timely post, Kate, as I have been pondering a blog post about "mother guilt" and the fact that I am happy that my last is starting school next term. Of course, I am sad about the rate at which my kids are growing up and spreading their wings but that is beyond my control and I have decided that I will no longer feel guilty about admitting that, as far as I am concerned, I will be a better mum for the time away from them each day.

    I completely understand.

  5. Gorgeous dresses! I want one for my Emmy... if she would wear it that is... She is a bit of pants lover.

    Have to rush off to work but here is my input on the topic:
    1. I suck at the balancing act/me time and feel overwhelmed by life way to often. 2. Result - I sometimes suck being a mother too, maybe just because of me sucking at the balancing act in the first place.

    Thanks for inviting us into debate.
    ♥ Annette ♥

  6. I can't say I'm trying to perfect the balancing act, more like just trying to get through it - if I'm brutally honest!!! I hear you though, if I get a smidgeon of "me-time" to mix and match fabrics and sew even one seam per day I feel like I can cope with anything else thats thrown at me. Parenting - it sure is one hell of a juggling act and at times it seems there are few moments when you feel the "balance" but when you do ... oh boy ... do you savour it!
    Great post Kate - thanks x

  7. If Mama falls apart, everything falls apart. Just when I feel like I have the balance right something else (or several things!) are thrown in to the mix and I have to start over again. For me, it means saying no more, not being a perfectionist (I'm trying!), actually asking for help and not trying to finish everything else first before making time for me. This has all become very apparent for me this week and I am slowly trying to sort it out again and get the help I need. xx

  8. I am a firm believer in mummy "me" time because when I have it, I know I am a better mother, able to give my children more of my time, energy and attention.

    And I love the patchwork dress!

  9. Oh I love that little dress. It sounds as though you have the perfect balance. when grand kids come around then you get to practice it all again....

  10. Did I happen to mention my twin girls were sitting on my lap while typing this, also admiring the dress?? At the moment my balance concern is about them not falling off!!
    Thanks for the post.

  11. Oh yes the holidays..... dress is very pretty!

  12. a long while back I wrote a post about saying no to our children more in order to say yes to ourselves a little more.
    it was an urge to stop that horrible mother guilt that we all feel when we don't immediately spring to our children's every whim.
    and that somehow we think we are 'neglecting' our kids by doing so.
    imagine being able to think about ourselves first - maybe just certainly doesn't come naturally as a mother.
    interestingly it was the only time I had awful comments on a post.

    I am totally with you kate- it is not just important but VITAL to being a good mother & role model to do things for YOU.
    what are we really giving our kids if we say yes to them ALL the time?
    what sort of people will they grow up to be if they NEVER ever see that sometimes putting yourself first is a priority?
    I think that teaching our kids to say NO is one of the best gifts we can ever give our children and to do that we need to let them see us saying NO too.
    and sometimes that no is to their requests.
    not easy but worth it in the end - for everyone.

  13. I am a HUGE believer of me time and couple time...hence my kids spend nearly 2 out of every 4 Saturday nights at Nan and Pops.

    Win Win xx

  14. as an aside...i wrote a post recently on 'the art of parenting' of my points was that it takes a lifetime to learn to find the balance between work & family life....
    it is in itself an art form....finding balance that is.

  15. Balance, mothers have got to have their own time and be supported, by fathers, extended family, other mothers, the community.
    I remember just wanting some 'space' to think when my kids were little and walking away from them, saying no to requests, closing the bedroom door, handing them over to someone. My kids are now teens, I am the safety net and sounding board, I make their favourite cakes and drive them to parties and dish out the discipline and still say NO! I have time to myself to shop, read, go to work, have a hot coffee... whatever I please, because I set the standard.

  16. I've been doing some sort of work since the age of 12 -- babysitting, cleaning houses, working in a nursery school and then right out of high school, I started at a law firm. I've always worked until I had my first son at the age of 29. It was the first time in forever that I stayed home and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My second son was born and when he was 18 months old, I started teaching. They are now 13 and 16, they've always attended the schools I've taught at. Instead of teaching, I'm back doing office work for the superintendent of the school that my boys attend. They have always been with me. I have always done everything for them. 10 years of baseball running here, there and everywhere, attending out of country tournaments, etc. This past year is the first year that there have been no after school activities. I've actually had time to come home and do what I want to do. Lots of me time and I am loving it! As teenagers, they don't need me for everything, nor do I want to be there for them every single second of the day. I find so many parents get too wrapped up in their kids lives. I love the saying that we give our children wings so they can find their way in the world, and we give them roots so they can find their way home. I'd like to think that is what I am doing. Have a great day! Tammy

  17. A happy mama makes for happy kids.

    I once read a column in the New York Times by a mother who wouldn't let her kids interrupt her in the morning until she'd had a cup of coffee and read the paper. She likened it to the emergency instructions on the plane telling you to fit your own oxygen mask before helping your child to fit theirs.

  18. we had a couple of weeks off schooling before we moved north (it was kinda mayhem!), so i'm trucking on through the holidays with DON'T TELL THEM it's holidays!! haha.
    enjoy the next couple of weeks with your girlies xo

  19. Hi! Random question: some friends are getting married soon and are looking for a chilled out old farm/campsite with amenities to have their wedding in, not too far from Melbourne. I thought you might have some secret tips or ideas - did you guys get married near where you are? Love your blog!!

  20. We were just discussing this last night! we are away for a 6 month holiday to spend all of our time with our kids, home schooling incl ( which is fabulous) there is still a little bit of me time needed. If i was off surfing for a couple of hours each day that would be fine ( the exercise would be great too) But the me time I love is drawing, painting or making things... which of corse is done at home. no such thing as uninterrupted me time there. if the painting etc looks like fun I end up assistant to the kids. It's essential to do these things but also I find it's essential to go with the flow when the time is absorbed... and the results take a lot longer than expected... only 6 more months and the last little one is off to school and the rhythm of my days changes again

    Have a wonderful weekend..

  21. It is a balance but there are always the opportunities for YOU time and yes they should be taken. It's the years when they are little and very young that are over soon but that in itself is nothing to be sad about. Growing children are a natural progression and you adapt and change as they do. Teenagers are still your children and so are adults. They always need you and actually perhaps more as they get older. I don't love or talk to my child any more or less now she is adult. I don't view one time in her life as being the golden time. It was all gold but yes at times it got trickier than others. Some of those times were when she was little and some when she was older. There really is no need to panic at time going by and your 'motherhood' disappearing, as it never does.

    Me time used to fit in around my daughter - when she was not in playschool, school or bed etc then she was with me and receiving my attention. In between I had a flurry of making activity while she was in bed, I took opportunities to feed my crafty habits for a couple of hours while she was in playschool and met friends too. When she went to school I went to university. There is plenty of time for you but it doesn't need to encroach on time for/with your child, they don’t need to be rejected so you can do your thing; sometimes it is nice for them to be involved. The first couple of years are the only ones that mean time is difficult to find. It really isn't an either or situation. I never did feel this guilt that people talk about. I did my best and it was ok. Oh course I do understand that it is busier for people with more than one child. Having said that I was a single parent so it was full on for me with no breaks.

    There is mental and emotional stimulation from spending time with children but yes we grow from doing other things too. My daughter used to like my crafting as I made things for her as well as myself. We are all still people but being a mother only adds to that, not subtracts. It's not a matter of saying yes to your children (or even saying no), it's just about hearing them. They don't need to be put in their place to learn lessons of how the world doesn't revolve around them etc. If they are doing ok they will be increasingly forging their own interests that will absorb them and naturally give you more time. If they see you doing enjoyable things and still interested in them, they will see you as a well rounded person and not be resentful while appreciating you have other talents and abilities too. It doesn't need to be a struggle with a line drawn that no one dares to step over, it can be arranged so it seamlessly suits all.

    Giving your child time does not equate to giving them their every whim. The two are not the same. Boundaries are not the same as saying no. My child had decent values because I spent time with her and she didn't spend her time pleading for material things. Giving her what she wanted when she did ask was a joy because she didn't ask for much and she still doesn't. She loved what she had and only asked for what she would love. All my time spent with her was time well spent and I know that is what she valued above all else. We were both very lucky.

  22. This is something we all give some thought to now and then. I know that when I am tetchy it is because the balance has tipped. Even when you have worked at creating that happy balance, there are times when you just need more 'me' time or space. That doesn't make you a bad mother. More and more I realise that having children is about giving them wings to fly. These days if we do something together, we do it 'alongside', which gives them the space to learn, create, whatever. I try to guide rather than to help. There is a subtle difference.

  23. I think it's easy for extroverts to say something like give all of yourself. They get energised by it. Introverts, and I'm not saying you are, but I am, need time to themselves to recharge. That's just a fact.

    Everything is a balancing act and when you think you have it figured it, it all shifts again. :)

  24. Mmmm how I know what you mean. I think we get guilt tripped into spending quality time with our kids when we do need that balance in order to have happy family life and to be better parents! Love that you bake with your Farmer! My hubby is French but is a taster not a baker!!

  25. Looking after yourself and your needs is just as important as your kids needs. It's something I've had to learn over time, that we can't truly look after others unless we look after ourselves too.
    You'll be a better mother for it in my opinion - you know Kate how much I adore, am close to , my mum and what a good mum she was/is and she always made sure to have time for her own thing.
    I also agree with Cath and Lolanova too on what they said xo You're awesome.
    PS I can't believe people emailed you that!! sorry but i can't, it's not their business!!

  26. I love me time. For me, it is very rare, as I have two children under two, but I know I have to be patient. It'll reappear one day. I snatch an hour or two here and there when their sleeps coincide and I paint, blog or embroider. Then occasionally the grandparents come to the rescue and give me an afternoon minus the 22 month old. I believe that me time makes me a far better mother, and a much less irritable person.

  27. I think you have a wonderful approach to parenting, and that you should be proud of what you are doing no matter what. Everyone is different - some children need more attention, others less, some parents there is no seperateion of themselves and their child, and others understand that you are still a person, that you don't disappear just because you have wonderful children. Me time is important.

    And, judging from the photos I see each day on here and the stories I read, your family are having a wonderful time living a beautiful life. I'm only 20 now, and I hope that when I'm starting my own family I can provide them with half the fun that you do.

  28. Here here, I am with you. Personally I'd go insane if I had to give all of myself and all of my time to my children. At the moment I get about four hours out of 24 without a child. I am sleeping in a 15 cm space in as our 2 yr old gets into our bed every night. I sigh as I think I know this will not last and I know I am doing nothing to stop it, but gee I wish she'd sleep in her own bed all night. I am feeling sleep deprived and feel like I look 100.
    I know I feel a million dollars when I have done something for myself. At the moment I am trying to figure me out in this balance and accepting and believing that I am important, realising that it isn't selfish.
    You are doing a wonderful job of balancing, and your girls are benefiting from it.

  29. I'm not a mum, but very bestest friends are, and I do spend enough time with them and their littlies to appreciate how they need that time. And as a single person in the midst of uni holidays, I'm more than happy to offer that space by playing with my little friends every so often. No point in being impatient and tired and grumpy. It doesn't help anyone. And that half/quarter day, or even hour (!) every so often is just enough to restore a mum enough to relish time with her kids. Do it.

  30. I always think I have the parenting scales all sorted out... and then I realise I don't...

    I am totally selfish about me time, it keeps me sane. My partner always says to me that the mum is the glue that keeps the family running smoothly. If I don't look after mummy, then mummy wont be there to look after everyone else :)

  31. for me, taking time of to create, exercise, or just do nothing, definitely makes me a better mama. i have so much love for my kids, i'd do (almost) anything for them. the time i take for me means that i am more present with them the rest of the time.
    you and your family are growing and loving beautifully. you are such a great role model for your girls xx

  32. Oh Kate one of the reasons why I love your blog so much is that you are so good at "keeping it real" - I think it is important to recognise that parenting is a tough gig and that we all need time away! I think for so many crafters our craft gives us much needed "me" time and that it makes it easier for us to cope with the crumbs, chaos and tanties of life!
    Enjoy the holidays!

  33. Hi Kate,
    I've just written a post on this topic. I hope you enjoy it.
    Happy Sunday. xxoo


      Woops! Forgot to add the link. xxoo

  34. I completely agree with you. My husband is always reminding me too, whenever I start to feel guilty, that a creatively fulfilled Mumma is a better Mumma. And I believe in the importance of role modeling good hobbies for our kids.

  35. We are the sum of all our parts. Being Mum is huge, but being me is just as essential. Being Mum is part of me, it is my core - but it isn't all of me. It has taken me so long to find peace within myself to even begin to address the balance of the sum of all my parts - but I can tell you I am happier on the journey to balance than I ever was on being all or nothing.

  36. Balance is the key.
    Also teaching children independence and how to be "alone" ain't a bad thing either. No one needs a helicopter parent!

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