Thursday, June 28, 2012

She's the boss.

Yesterday morning early, in those few precious moments between waking up and racing to the school gates finish line, I made a decision. I decided that for one whole day I would put all my own agendas aside and focus on Miss Pepper.

For one entire day I would forget the housework, put the patchwork dress pattern out of my head and ignore my computer. I would not wash, cook, knit, photgraph or write words unless she wanted to.

For one whole day I would follow her lead. She was the boss.

The usual 'you cut up bits of fabric into smaller bits so I can sew' or 'you help me fold the washing just so I can refold it when you're not looking' or 'you test every texta in the packet so I can answer emails' or 'you count the 50 stitches with me as I knit them off', patterns we have been getting into lately, have been making me impatient and her more demanding.

So for one day, Wednesday, I would be hers.

And it worked beautifully. We made up a musical in the bath, we built with blocks, we collected wood, we baked brownies, we read books and we learnt letters. And then she wanted to spell and build a farm on the ipad for a while, so I sat and knitted and folded washing quietly next to her until ballet time.

And we had a lovely day. And I didn't get impatient or feel like I had a zillion other things I should be doing, because I didn't.

And it made me think that I probably should spend more of our days completely focused on her.

And then I wondered about all those plans and ideas and words that got put off for the day yesterday. What happens to those ideas? If I stop thinking about the tea towels I want to make for our new stove will those plans disappear? If I quiet the voices to my Booba Lucy story I have in my head, will it vanish? If I squash my thoughts about stamps, will they fly away? If I stop thinking about planting onions and leeks, baking fruit bread, cutting floral squares and crocheting a blanket, will I become a Mum that sits on the couch and watches Oprah? Will those ideas ever come back to me?

I don't know. It's a scary thought though.

I think I need to work on balance. You'd think after almost twelve years at home with kids I'd have this sorted, but I so don't. One part of me is constantly panicking about her going to school in half a year and the other part is shrieking my to-do list at me.

She's calling out for me to look at her block tower......................................................................
Here I come!

Do you balance?
Do you give up your ideas for theirs?
Do you know what happens to those ideas that aren't allowed to see the light?
Do you let them fold and then refold?
Do you sit for hours and play blocks even though there are a zillion projects calling your name?

Have fun out there. x


  1. You know Kate, even after being a stay at home mum for almost 20 years now I still struggle with finding that balance. There are days where I set everything aside to concentrate solely on the kids and what they want to pursue and days where I feel like I am totall
    by swamped by all that I want/need to do.
    I am finding more and more lately that my best days are those where I focus my energies on doing fun kids stuff with Kaizer. All too soon he too will be at school and I will have more hours than I know what to do with on my hands.
    I can't tell you how many baskets of laundry I have let our children fold, only to refold once they aren't looking and all those ideas, I don't ever think they get lost as such more shelved for better ones :)

  2. Kate, so many questions that I don't have the answers to. Balance is something I struggle for daily...I don't want to be a couch sitting Oprah mum either but maybe there is a middle ground somewhere in between all the housework, garden, baking, school etc. Great thoughts as always from Foxs Lane!

  3. I loved this post... thank you for your honesty. I have a thirteen year old son who has literally shot up in the last two years and now towers above me (Size 14 shoes... I'm not kidding!) Cliche coming up: Time really did fly. And you know what I loved the most about your post? The word BALANCE. Why? Because they are our children yes, but we have a life that must go on when they fly the nest and in order to do so we cannot lose sight of all that needs to be done and more importantly all that we WANT to do for ourselves... then on the other hand there's the definite truth that I don't think ANY kid thanks their parent for "being clean" or "keeping a tidy house" or "always getting the chores done on time" hey? Yep ... balance - see-sawing between some of this and some of that and remembering that as we do this we teach them balance too. Again thank you. I love it when a post makes me smile, feel deeply, ponder and laugh (her fairy outfit with wellies was so cute!) ... Have a great (and balanced) week :-) ♥

  4. Sometimes good ideas need time in the background to percolate, to become richer and fuller and become great ideas. How do we know when they are done? Maybe we don't. But balance is the hardest thing to find. However, I am regularly getting compliments on my boys, (15 and 12) how helpful they are, how polite. How aware they are of being useful to other people. And so I think that by not letting the house entirely go, but allowing them to see how balance is found, now we do work, now we have fun, it's an important part of their growth at this stage. I can't remember the pre-school years, far too long ago for me! All I do know is they are going to make great husbands sometime down the track. If this mama bear lets them leave of course! ;)

  5. I'm thinking that there is only six months left (hey, that makes her the same age as my boy, Liam) and that probably means that it probably wouldn't hurt if the scales tipped her way for a little while. Not all the way, so you lose yourself, but enough that you get to soak up as much of her as you can before she becomes a big school girl. I am going to miss my big boy next year.

  6. I have no balance! But my kids are getting bigger now & they don't want me as much as they used to. They entertain themselves for the most part so I try very hard to be there when they actually want me.I think it is important for our kids to realise that we as parents have lives & things we like to do too but this is more true when they are bigger I think. when they are little I think they need to know how important they are but balance is key!

    As for the ideas, do you keep a notebook? I have one next to my bed with pages of lists. Things I'd like to cook,bake, make, do around the house, read, go. I write them all down so when I think I have nothing to do I look at my list & remember all the things I've wanted to do but had no time to do them or forgotten about.

  7. another lovely and honest post....i have almost lost my second to school as well, we still have our third lad to start kinder next year...feels like just yesterday they were my baby boys....sadly it is this next busy phase that i am not adjusting to...i am in my baby mourning phase, husband snippoed (after cancelling 3 times)...what do i do now that i am no longer feeding babies and washing nappies? i am entering a new phase of parenting and needing to find that pesky balance ratio too...they need me less and less, but i want them more and more...i have worked hard with husband to allocate some one on one time with each of my boys to maintain contact, to maintain that connection that feels oh so fragile with the male of the species...i try to computer when they are in bed...i like to craft & create with them so that the seeds are sown...just being present with them makes such a difference both to them and me...i still go project crazy and my house is definately of the lived in type and not a show place...we have a fabulous garden that we can eat out of though and that to me is worth more than mopped floors...i totally agree with reannon and i love to doodle in a sketchbook and jot down ideas. it travels with me wherever i go and it is my special place for me to remember, for me to get lost, for me to have some me time...its a crazy path this parenting caper, and i thought it was just the baby bit! the baby bit seems so easy now...masters 2, 4 & 6 mould my day, they help to create its ebbs and just going to hang on to the rollercoaster for a few more months until they are all occupied outside the home....then slowly, i will create my own crazy ride again...thank you as always for sharing

  8. Kate, it seems to me that the fundamental key to all of this is just not folding the washing. Full stop! And maybe investing in deeper drawers to hold all the scrumbled clothes :)

  9. Been going though exactly the same stuff here. When baby Otis has his nap, I tend to try and do my own things- but I've realised that on the days that Charlie is here, I need to devote that time to her. So we've been having three hours, three days a week that she chooses and we do. It's hard to put your creative thoughts aside isn't it? So good when you can though and just totally be present with them. Adam bought me a journal for my plans, so I just jot down my ideas in there when they pop up (I use this at night too, to help me sleep otherwise I can be up for hours formulating plans!) and check em out later. Maybe that would work for you? It's hard being so many things at once, but you seem to do a damn good job! xx

  10. I struggle with this daily and there's no way I'm happy with the balance yet. x

  11. My biggest fear, saying in 5 years time....where did the time go? I am so aware they are young and eager for our company for only such a short time and I want for them to know they can come to me for anything anytime. Setting up the trust and time now I think will help keep those comunication lines open. Finding balance is definately not easy.

  12. Loved this. I let my 4-year-old fold and I chuck it in the drawers as it is. I don't iron so I don't care. As long as it's clean, I couldn't care less. Amazing really, because there's too much control freakery around everything else with me sometimes, but I try and make sure that I let go of a few things. Sounds like you had a lovely day.

  13. Only if I make a conscience effort is there a balance, otherwise I am just trying to do all the chores. I hate it when I am running on auto pilot, when I am telling them everything is fabulous yet I can't even see it properly from the kitchen sink.
    My best days are when I have one or two of them out and about and I do everything at their pace, and I actually give 100% of my attention. I read somewhere once that this really resets their little clocks, makes them feel special and loved and helps them cope all those times when you can't give them your all.
    I used to re fold but now whatever will do as long as it ends up in the correct draws before the piles get knocked over by Miss 2 I am happy. two of my girls are brilliant folders, they take after their dad there not me.
    I whole heartedly salute your day, makes me feel like I am long overdue.

  14. Lol...oh great minds think alike...I did this Wednesday and blogged about it.... :-) is adorbs x

  15. 10 years in here and still have no idea about balance .. or pretty much any of this parenting caper! Just when you think you're getting the hang of it, it changes!
    My smallest started school this year and I envy your time. Enjoy!
    And make sure you let yourself enjoy the next phase when it comes too. (I'm still working on that)

  16. I once had a friend who set the microwave clock to determine her play time with her child. Short ten minute bursts. She thought her child needed to understand that she had priorities... I chose I would never be like that. My house was messy...shocking even, but I have played crazy games, and have memories of everyone running around the house with teatowels tucked into their pants as tails.

    And then the teenagers ? It may be a little more deathmetal and rocky horror picture show, but we still "play" . we send stupid emails and youtube clips, and the house is still a mess.

  17. I still struggle with it too. I have many regrets about not giving enough time to my girls when they were little and just as many guilty feelings about the times I brush them off now. Thankfully I'm more aware of how little time we have left with them being at home so I'm slowly getting better... I hope. I've taken to asking myself if the project/plan/task I absolutely have to finish is more important than them... one track answer but it's incredible how often I need to pull myself up and ask the question. Sounds like you guys had a lovely day :) Kx

  18. A post from the heart, and only you know the answer.

  19. A beautiful heart felt post, about something that is on my mind a lot. Precious moments happen when we slow down and share with our kids. Life and love happening in their time, so wonder full. xxx

  20. Children are not little for long. Soon enough there will be time aplenty and you will be pleading for them to spend time with you. Just because you pay attention to your child it doesn't mean you watch tv all day. Children are intelligent and stimulating people, there is no dumbing down, no sacrifice involved. Children need more intelligent input than most jobs and are more rewarding than any. There is though a balance but one which always in my view errs on the side of giving your children the time that you both deserve. Out of all the projects you make there is none so precious as your children. Knitting blankets or sewing dresses can wait if necessary but children live in the now and time doesn't stop for them. Write down your ideas so you don't lose them and do them if you have time. Later if not now you will have that time. Choosing to spend time with children has tangible results and an important legacy, getting a pair of socks perfected less so.

  21. Balance is such a tricky thing to work out. I'm not always good at "playing" with the kids. Drawing, kicking the soccer ball and cooking is more my thing. I'm trying really hard to just be with them without any normal disruptions. Its hard, the housework is always calling and so is my sewing room.....
    A great post.

  22. Miss Pepper is one very special little girl to have a Mum like you. One whole day with your undivided attention.
    When I start panicking about ideas that I have in my head and whether I'll lose or forget them because I'm busy, I write them down in my special book just for that purpose. I feel better then, it's on paper and not going to be lost.
    Balancing and juggling life, such a tricky thing but I think you are doing a fine job of're are thinking about it and that makes all the difference.
    Anne xx

  23. It's so funny, I was reading this post after having a similar day with my toddler. Mine was not a conscious effort like yours but an attempt to have a calm day, enjoying each others company.
    I am new at being a stay at home mum, after 13 years of being a working full time mum, I was under the false impression that it would be a breeze.... you know, doing the same stuff just more time to do it. Ummm I was so wrong, this place is crazy town! I used to pack up our leftover dinner for work lunches, they are now packed away for those days I can't get my s@*t together and get dinner on the table. I find the balance of productivity and having meaningful toddler time tough. Having older children does make it a bit easier, I have started delegating to them to ease the load a bit. I guess 'perfect' balance is different for every family.
    I really enjoy your blog - thanks for sharing x

  24. Thank god you said that you don't have it all figured out after twelve years. I have a 19mth old and I grapple with balance constantly. Am I spending enough time with him, am I getting on top of my to do list, am I allowing enough creative time?
    I just bought a book called "Buddhism for Mothers" I'm only one chapter in but it gives me hope that I will soon feel a little more peace.
    Good luck. Love your Blog. Keep up the awesomeness :)

  25. We've been having a few of these kiddy-boss days here too. Lots of spiderman and cars and moshi-monsters. Drawing and reading and adventure-walking. If we don't enjoy the time when they are completely dependent upon our attention, they will soon outgrow it and we will wonder where it went...

    And so I get up earlier, stay up later and enjoy my "me time" when they aren't around :) Thanks for your blog - It's been a long time between reads, but I am glad to be reading again :)

  26. this post reminds me of a book Ruby brought home from kinder called "The Choosing Day".... similar sentiment about the child choosing what they want to do day! Sweet as :)))

  27. I think the kids get more of me than I do but I like the idea of giving them totally everything - I've heard it called a love bomb and used as a recipe for unhappy, naughty kids. Maybe then I could have a day to myself afterwards, a little more free of guilt. Ah the balance, maybe there is never any true balance, there just is. Just another 18 months with one at home for me, I have really treasured the last 11 years raising little ones, its a gift.

  28. Hello, new follower to ypur blog. Balance like treasure is in the eye of the beholder, you the owner of the treasures find the balance, for me, mine is different from yours, for you, yours are differ from mine. How beautiful is being different in our world! Hope you pop on over and say hello in my life. Very gorgeous girl, I coukd not help letting her be the boss every day.

  29. I don't think anyone has ever got the work/rest/play balances right! For all your ideas, keep a notebook by your bed, in your bag, by your computer, sketch and make notes, I do and when you've got a little 'me' time you can go have a browse and it's amazing how the original idea becomes something amazing.
    Jak x

  30. Ohh getting the balance right. Very tricky indeed. I feel so guilty about all the times I fob them off with a 'not just now' or 'in a minute'. Your boss for a day idea is great - I'll definately give it a go. I'm really bad at mindfulness, as my mind wanders back to my endless to-do list... I need a bit more practice that's for sure!


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I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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