Tuesday, 3 July 2012

My recipe for a mother's survival

Things seem to have gone downhill over the past few days.

It could be a number of things.

It's almost three years since we left England. I don't know when, if ever, mum will be a drive away.

It's the school holidays, which I know for most is cause to celebrate – when Luca eventually goes to school, I'll be celebrating holiday time, too.

But for now, the school holidays have interrupted our flow. A change of routine is normally a good thing, but I need routine at the moment to keep me going.

Or maybe it has less to do with homesickness and a changing rhythm, and more to do with the arguing, the noise and the mess.

It's probably toddlerhood.

The relentlessness of the everyday.

The many battles. The Nappy Change Battle. The Getting Dressed and Undressed Battle. The Wiping Nose Battle. And my biggest battle of all: stopping an 18-month-old scratching, hitting and hurling wooden blocks at his older brother with perfect aim.

So right now, I'm just working on getting through.

We won't be painting with bubble wrap or making pretty pictures with glue and spices.

I'm not going to play shopkeeper and I'm not going to make a cool ball run with scraps of cardboard.

And there will be no mud pie making at the mud pie station (that we won't be building). Or excavating different coloured objects from a very big block of ice.

(OK, so now you know what's on my Pinterest boards.)

I'm just doing the basics.

Until I get through this lull, all I can provide is love (a smidgen), food (cheesy jacket potatoes with tuna and broccoli) and cuddles (plenty) in front of Playschool. Oh, and a few stories.

That's it.

Sometimes, it isn't a question of whether we're doing enough messy play or enough baking. There's far too much pressure out there anyway for all-dancing, all-crafting mothers.

Sometimes (and very often), it's just about surviving.

My recipe: cuddles, simple nourishing food and our favourite Oliver Jeffers books.

What's yours?

My darling toddler. Taken when he wasn't throwing anything at anyone.

Congratulations to Tricia for winning my Australian Museum ticket giveaway. Thank you to everyone else who commented and entered.


  1. So it's not just our family then? We've been fighting similar battles here with our two year old... he's had a bad case of the grumps for days! Our remedy often includes some Giggle & Hoot (which is easy to catch a minute of thanks to it's frequency throughout the day!) and a full tummy, for both him and me. Things are always a little better when you're not hungry! :)

    Also, I can empathize with you in the homesickness and living away from your mum... we lived in Canada for a couple of years and during that time I was always thankful for Skype, which I used almost daily to have a quick chat with my mum.

    1. Yes I'm thankful for Skype too, but I seem to spend the entire time yelling to be heard and trying to stop hands poking at the keyboard and the screen. I always come away with a headache. But it's the only way the boys get to see family over there...

  2. oh I hear you vanessa! while I am delighted it's the holidays, my eldest boy has started with some hysterical outbursts where he ends in a sobbing mess. when I ask him what he is upset about, he screams/sobs 'I don't know!!!'. yep, great. I can only fix the problem if I know what it is! it's so hard at the end of the day when he is like this and I have to calm myself down to just hold him, even though I am so angry too. this mother gig is so hard sometimes x

  3. I've been in 'survival mode' for the past few weeks too with Sophie unwell. Even my beloved blog was cast aside while I just focused on the girls, meals and washing. Getting out of the house when I find things 'doing my head in' really helps me x

  4. Sending you a hug Vanessa. It's lucky they are so cute when they are asleep! Your boys are so well loved, even your 'basics' are much more than a lot of children ever experience, so don't be hard on yourself. Our household too goes crazy when we try to Skype in-laws in UK, it always seems to be bedtime or breakfast, and the children niggle or someone hides under the desk when poor Irish Nan would dearly like to glimpse them. Skype from our mobile is better, we can catch the kids wherever they are playing.

    Thank you very much for the ticket to the museum, I can't wait to tell the children!

  5. Oh Vanessa,

    I'm right there with you m'lady. in fact i'm skipping the food and cuddles and just going with the play school option.

    We've been taken down by a BAD flu that i just can't beat.

    feeling for you with your mumma so far away, I can't even begin to imagine how hard that must be


  6. Dear Vanessa, I think your recipe sounds fine. Your kids are truly loved, in many ways and we cannot always be super-moms. Its hard without your family around. We arrived two years ago from Amsterdam and I am still missing our old life, my friends and family. Especially when the kids and, or me are sick, I wish I could call my mum to come over and provide us with some extra cuddles. Skype cannot do that, alas.. so sometimes we just do what we can, we (moms) are just human, after all ;-) Take care! Anna

  7. I love this! I so agree there's too much pressure for all natural organic crafty motherhood...even if that's ideally what we want...but it's so important to think in terms of the reality of every day and conserving energy for bigger goals rather than one more lovely educational craft idea which who knows if it will ever work out.

    I also think about the fact that in the past moms were usually too busy to do anything but make sure the kids had food and a well-kept house to live in. The expectations have really changed.


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