Everywhere I look there are magazine articles, recipe cards, books and television programs dedicated to the 15 minute meal phenomena. They claim to be the cure for all busy households. Subsequently, we have ‘NO EXCUSES’ for not providing our family’s with scrumptious nightly meals. Sure some of the recipes are easy for even the most disinterested cooks like myself. However, my gripe isn’t with the cooking part but with the clean-up which is never factored into the ’15 minute meal’.
Sure it may only take 15 minutes to make a tasty meal but what about the clean up?
By the end of the day the last thing I feel like doing is preparing a loving meal for my family. I’m too exhausted! With their different requirements, I organise a ‘kids meal’ and ‘adult meal’ so that each party is getting a satisfactory dinner. To counter the evening chaos and tiredness I make them earlier in the day so that at meal time I just have to reheat them. Even without the cooking part in the evening I still spend up to 20 minutes cleaning up after dinner time. This isn’t factoring in the clean-up time from earlier in the day after preparation.
I enjoy the tasty recipes that are on offer but I get really annoyed that the clean-up and clear-up time isn’t factored in.
Some nights I just want to get the whole meal thing finished so that I can sit down. At these times, I must admit I’m not bothered if it was good only that it was edible. Parents shouldn’t feel bad if they aren’t putting ‘special’ meals on the table every night. Sometimes just getting through the night with your sanity intact is your main objective. Anyhow, I believe preparing the meal is the easy part and you don’t see Jamie Oliver cleaning the kitchen for 20-30 minutes whilst trying to juggle bath time and homework. Sometimes frozen fish fingers and chips is fine.
For a different perspective on cooking visit:Nifty Tips- Turn the Mundane Around
Do you step in to make your kid get noticed or do you step back and let them figure it out for themselves?
We instill in our kids the importance of following the rules, working hard, being polite and trying your best. However, what do you tell a child who diligently does what is asked of him but is constantly overlooked? This has happened to one of my children with the ‘disruptive’ or ‘challenging’ students receiving the majority of the class awards.
‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease’. This seems to be the case in the classroom too.
It isn’t that the ‘challenging’ kids don’t deserve positive affirmation for good behaviour. My displeasure is with the focus being solely on these children at the expense of the quietly consistent children who seem to be overlooked. It is hard to sit back and watch your child be constantly frustrated by what they deem to be unfair. For a 7-year-old, it’s hard to understand the contradictory nature of the world and school politics.
‘Why should I be good when the kids who aren’t get awards for being only sometimes good.’
Do you step in to make your kid get noticed or do you step back and let them figure it out for themselves? I find it difficult not to confront the teachers but overall this wouldn’t help my child. All I can do is teach my kid to be positive and work hard in order to be the best person he can be. Life isn’t always fair and you can’t control others but you can end each day feeling proud of yourself. A hard concept for an adult let alone a child. However, if he can learn this lesson then he won’t waste energy stressing over the small stuff. Ideally, I feel that all kids should be noticed especially the quiet ones who don’t cause a fuss.
It never ceases to amaze me how people feel free to critique your children’s appearance. Recently, I went to a party for one of my daughter’s little friends. She went dressed in a sweet little sky blue cotton dress with red rose buds stitched across the front. She looked as cute as a button and received some lovely compliments except from one mother. The mother in question, commented that it was ‘too young in style and not really fashionable for little girls of her age’. My daughter is 5!! Maybe ‘in style’ means dressing her in a crop top and denim hot pants.
The appropriateness of little girl’s fashion isn’t a new debate.
People usually object to girl’s fashion that is too explicit or adult in design. That was why I found the above comment surprising. I thought my daughter was dressed in an age appropriate dress that made her look like a ‘little girl’ and not a teenager. When she does reach her teens, I hope she doesn’t dress like some of the teenagers I’ve observed out and about. I’m all for ‘self expression’ and really enjoy the various fashion styles that people wear. However, I don’t understand why you’d want your behind hanging out of your shorts.
People assume that ‘Princesses’ are weak but this isn’t necessarily the case.
This isn’t the only time that I’ve been criticised for my daughters fashion choices. She has always enjoyed dressing up in various Disney princesses costumes. I’m personally not into princess costumes but she loves them and I haven’t objected to her wearing them in public. On another occasion, a woman told me off for teaching my daughter to dress in a ‘gender specific’ way. She further said that I was guiding her to conform to a gender stereo-type. When she finished expressing her point of view, I responded that actually some of these ‘princesses’ have some assertive characteristics. Conversely, we wouldn’t object to her dressing up as Ironman or Thor. It was a rather strange conversation to have with a complete stranger!
How does the gender-specific argument apply to boys?
My boys haven’t escaped the comments either. At Easter, my youngest scored some free bunny ears from the ‘Easter Bunny’ at the shopping centre. When we got home, he wanted to wear them with his sisters big pink tutu which didn’t bother me as he felt special bouncing around the house. In the afternoon, we went to collect my kids from school while he was still dressed in his bunny ears and tutu. He was bouncy about having a good time when one of the fathers commented: ‘I would never let my son dress like that’. I responded by laughing and wondered what the ‘gender specific’ woman would have made of this situation. Everybody has an opinion.
I’ve got the impression that when you retire, you either thrive in your new-found freedom or feel lost without the responsibilities and structure of work life. While I’m a long way off from retirement age (although my dream is to win lotto and retire young!), I have found similarities between retirees and mothers whose kids have all commenced their school education.
Some mothers thrive while others struggle to find themselves when their kids are no longer in their fulltime care.
My youngest is still at home while his two older siblings are tucked safely away in the education system. However, I have witnessed a variety of reactions from mothers when their youngest leaves the nest to begin school. There are close similarities with the experiences of retiree. After the transition, some mothers thrive and excel in this new facet of their lives. Whether it’s via employment or personal interests, they see all the positive possibilities on offer. On the flip side, there are those who feel lost without their children and struggle to find other challenges to fill the void.
Who are you when you’re not being a mother?
I believe it can be a challenge to reclaim your individual identity after the years devoted to being a mother. Whether it’s the kids beginning school, or later when they move out of the family home, it’s hard to redefine who you are without your kids.
It’s easy to become completely consumed by family life.
I’ve another year before I farewell my youngest into the big world of education. After witnessing other women’s experiences, I’m determined to embrace his transition forward as a positive move in my personal life. This year deadline is good as I have pretty much being ambling along not truly devoting any attention to my own goals. It’s normal to be consumed by family life and subsequently you can lose your identity outside from being a mother or wife. As our little darlings progress forward with their lives it’s important that we don’t become stagnant and get stuck in a time warp.
It has been a while since my role as a stay at home mother has been belittled. A few days ago, I went with my husband to undertake the exciting task of lodging our tax returns. Our accountant was an older lady who divulged during the appointment that she was a grandmother. However, instead of just punching the numbers she had the audacity to comment and question my role as a stay at home mother. Below are some of the questions she aggressively asked which were also accompanied by facial expressions that demonstrated her disapproval.
‘You didn’t earn anything?’
‘You mean to tell me aren’t financially independent?’
‘But you ARE going to go back to work AREN’T you?’
‘Well my daughter has a 4-year-old daughter and she works fulltime. Her daughter learns French and some Spanish at the care she attends. I don’t think it’s always best for mothers to stay home with their children.’
I felt attacked and was immediately on the defensive as I tried to explain to her my rationale for being a homemaker. After the incident, I was annoyed with myself for allowing this woman, who was rude and judgemental, to have such a negative impact on my mood. The bottom line is my life choice wasn’t any of her business.
Sometimes we need to step away and digest an incident in order to view it in a different light.
However, after a few days I reflected on this incident and viewed it in a different light. I considered that some women of her generation had to break down barriers and fight for the right to work fulltime in a patriarchal system. Maybe they see it as a slap in the face when someone of my generation chooses not to pursue a career and instead becomes the very thing they resisted: a homemaker! I think my accountant resented me because she may have felt unappreciated for the sacrifices she had to make for her education and career which women of my generation may take for granted.
Are we setting up women to feel inadequate because they aren’t striving to ‘have it all’?
I’m only speculating and probably over analysing this very brief interaction with my accountant. I guess I was just disappointed that another woman was so disrespectful towards my role as a homemaker. Previous generations of women fought hard to be part of the workforce and to empower young girls with the idea that they can have it all!! I believe this is a noble ambition but in reality it’s unattainable. In the end, we are blessed to have choices and this should be celebrated. We may not always agree with how people choose to live their lives, but it’s their individual choice to make and should be respected as such.
The different stages of your life dictate the choices you make and the responsibilities you must fulfil. When you are young and single, your responsibilities are pretty basic and self involved. Then you may move into a serious relationship where you learn the art of compromise. After a while, you may transition into having a family and your main focus becomes the little ones who are dependant on you. When I reflect on it all, it seems to have happened rather quickly. However, the responsibilities below are ones that a parent carries with them for the rest of their lives regardless of their ‘stage of life’.
1. Keeping my kids happy and safe.
Trying to keep my kids happy and safe is the most important responsibility of my life. This involves avoiding risky situations or exposing them to experiences that I know may upset them. I don’t consider myself a helicopter parent but I’m probably guilty of being over protective of my precious darlings.
2. Keeping my kids healthy
My kids physical and emotional health is another important responsibility . Naturally this involves a healthy diet and keeping them physically active. Regular visits to the dentist and doctor are also essential. However, I dread taking my daughter to the dentist even though our dentist being lovely.
Some of our responsibilities can be a challenge and cause a stress induced headache .
My two sons are good and manage to seamlessly complete their check-ups but my daughter :’OH Boy!!’ The moment she hits the chair the appointment deteriorates into ear-piercing screaming and sobbing. Her anxiety levels go through the roof and she shuts down to all reasoning and parental bribery. Immediately after a visit to the dentist, I have to take a couple of Nurofen, as my head feels like it will explode due to the anxiety and screaming.
My two responsibilities in life are in conflict.
The dentist isn’t hurting my daughter and I have complete confidence in her dentistry. However, I have to fight my instincts to grab my girl off the chair and give her a big cuddle. My two responsibilities are in conflict as I know she needs her check-up but seeing her sad and overcome with anxiety is heartbreaking. I guess it’s all part of teaching our kids that life involves things that we don’t always like doing. This takes me to another responsibility we have as parents: Teaching our kids to be resilient and to ‘get on with it’.
Taken for Granted …the sign of being a good mother?
Many mothers complain about being ‘taken for granted’ by their families. Being a devoted mother/ wife usually results in this phenomenon and most mothers accept it as par for the course. However, every person has a limit and eventually a family’s unappreciative attitude can result in a mother having a catastrophic melt-down. The family in question are usually stunned after witnessing this volcanic eruption and are left bewildered, wondering: ‘Where is this coming from?’
‘What are you talking about? We appreciate you. You’re just a little tired. Sit down and I’ll fix you a cuppa’.
In a strange way being ‘taken for granted’ could be interpreted as a back-handed compliment. From what I’ve observed, the mothers who receive this (often unintentional) treatment are the ones who put their family first and provide a stable household environment. Sometimes the daily responsibilities that are required to maintain a well-run household are underestimated. I believe that some families have become too accustomed to the good-life that these mothers endlessly strive to provide.
Nobody likes to be taken for granted or under-estimated.
We try to give unconditionally to our family but sometimes we need to educate them as to what takes place ‘behind the scenes’. Occasionally, we need to remind our families that we aren’t robots devoid of emotion and we would appreciate a little recognition. Nobody likes to be ‘taken for granted’ and sometimes as adults we still do it to our parents. I guess at every age we need to be reminded to appreciate our parents.