How appropriate. Guilt.

I tend to begin these posts with the same opening I almost always use on my correspondence:  ”I’m sorry it has been so long since I wrote …”

But let’s focus on the positive.  I’m posting!  Now!

I begin by humbly sharing a link to a piece I wrote for Tots to Teens.  It’s about Mama Guilt.  

Other links now.  Research from Australia mightn’t surprise anyone … child care workers are underpaid and undervalued.  The tragic bit is that even the parents of the children being cared for are guilty of the undervaluing.  Let’s just contrast that with a new report from the Abecedarian project, pointing to still more life long benefits of high quality early childhood education.  Oh, but here’s a wee reminder of how not all ECE is high quality …  Irony!  She is not dead!

Here is a report called the Global Youth Wellbeing Index, and here is a link to reinforce the power of education for helping parents be cool about their wacky li’l babes.  This about infant sleep and reasonable expectations.

We’ve linked here before, but let’s do it again … a family friendly music podcast to dig on.  Kia Ora.

Finally, let’s just be honest about how often we check our smart phones, shall we?

relationships with time

it differs, doesn’t it.  There’s the invisible flavour of time, the one that is perfect and glorious and akin to what we’d think of as “flow”.  Babies live there.  Toddlers, too.

Time can seem like molasses, slow and sticky.  This is big-kid time.  My oldest daughter and her perpetual countdowns – to Christmas, to birthday.  This holds the luxury of boredom and the treasure that comes from not knowing what time it is.

But then there’s time that seems like quicksand … she’s speedy and elusive and unpredictable.  It evaporates like a chemical in the heat and leaves you rubbing your eyes in confusion.  This might be mama’s time.

I ache for more time.  I long for more lazy lollygagging with my little girls.  We publish blogs for one another about how to unplug our lives and connect with our kids – but then we plug in to read them, and to write them.  I’m doing that right now.

I want time to connect with pals.  I want time to write, and work uninterrupted. If my children are magically occupied my work-from-home husband inevitably comes looking for me.

I want time for my yoga practice and for reading.  I would love to sit and daydream now and again.  Meanwhile, I flinch at the time spent cleaning house and love/hate my computer time in equal measure.

Mamas seem to have an equally schizophrenic relationship with time when they talk about their children – “when Joseph starts school it will be easier to xyz”, and meanwhile “I don’t ever want Joseph to grow up”.  A writer and blogger who I dig called Meghan Nathanson put it so beautifully I did the involuntary well-up when I read it:

I’ve begun to care once more about what happens outside of my familial cocoon. I feel a little bit like a toddler, though. There is a certain “push-pull” that I am experiencing. Some days, I wish for a more stretchy cord. Other days, I’d rather be nestled back in a dark room, rocking a baby into slumber.

Lordy, Meghan.  I’m right there with you.

And I’ve been reading (albeit reeeeeeally slowly) the beautiful book “The Blue Jay’s Dance” by the astronomically talented Louise Erdrich.  It is both a comfort and a hurt to hear another mother’s voice describe motherhood so acutely.  And the tension between wanting to parent how we wanna – how we oughta – and that discomfort that comes from an unexpressed self.  At one point she writes:

One reason there is not a great deal written about what it is like to be the mother of a new infant is that there is rarely a moment to think of anything else besides that infant’s needs.

It aches.  I ache.

Sorry, geeks.  All introspective and grouchy today.  Overtired, and suffering from the effects of day after day of nor’west winds.  The original inhabitants of my island call them Te Hau Kai Tangata or The Winds that Devour Humanity.

On this occasion, time cannot pass quickly enough.  Make the wretched winds sToP!!

while she sleeps …

Little Girl is napping.  She is a disco napper and will be awake in moments.  As usual, there is the scramble to decide how best to use this time.  Today, I will share links … cos there are some goodies.  Then, I will step away from the screen.  Promise.

It’s time to vote on the worst toy of the year over at CCFC.  Toady Time!  It’s gonna be hard to choose.  There was some diabolical stuff in 2013.   Some great toys for those who fancy buying some … gotta love the anti-princess, pro-engineer Goldie Blox range, and if you haven’t watched the ad yet you’re in for a treat!   Slightly older kids (myself included) might just covet these yummy electric circuit building bits from Little Bits.  

But let us never forget that some of the best toys ever aren’t necessarily for sale.  Thanks National Toy Hall of Fame for reminding us.

A couple of completely different treats now … research about the effectiveness of parenting programmes in primary care situations (eg GPs offices), a yummy blog found by my dear Lauren … Girl Meets Dirt.  I dig it.   AND it has led me to iamthemilk, which is full of good writing about family life, motherhood, loss, and milk (all part of my daily life.  Salut!)

My warm and sleepy toddler has climbed into my lap, hair all skewiff.  This is over for now.  Arohanui xx

 

 

listening. and linking.

Friends,

As my dear late mama used to say “we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk”.

I’ve been working hard to be a better listener of late: toddler, big girl, hubby & friends.  Sometimes I’m good at it and other times I’m appalling.  But it’s humbling how hard I have to work.

Let’s start with a lovely reminder of the camaraderie of motherhood.  Tired mothers: you’re not alone.

This is a link to a li’l cautionary piece about kids and screens, here is another version of the same thing (with handy advice for parents, this time!) and check this out: children are way more distracting to drivers than cellphones!

This is a luscious list to give us some alternative ideas to use in discipline with our kids and this is some pretty fascinating research about aggressive behaviour and a possible link to epigenetic changes during pregnancy & early childhood.

OH! And while we’re thinking about early brain stuff (aren’t we always!) you gotta listen to my dear friend & esteemed colleague Nathan Mikaere Wallis talking early brain development on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon show.  HERE is the link. 

When you finish, p’raps you’ll join me on a quest to be a more attentive & honest listener.  Do you find it as tricky as I do?

I got the power! (in praise of electricity)

Sometimes, it’s tempting to romanticise all that is rustic.  I don’t know if it’s just that I am a momma who values simplicity in the lives of her children, or if it’s because I am a keen veggie gardener whose 1970′s upbringing included a reverence for self-sufficiency?

Anyway, those gnarly storms that hit us on Tuesday night left this family without power for 2 days, and now that it is back, I have never been so in love with electricity.  Gotta say, though: I DID love waking and sleeping in alignment with what the sun was doing.  Our poor wee caveman bodies are a bit confused by what faux lights do to our circadian rhythms.  I think we’d have less drama about babies’ sleep if we had slightly less spazzy sleep habits ourselves.  Anyway: Mt. Laundry is waiting for me after the washing machine hiatus.  Reminding me anew to be grateful for my modern mama life, with the absolute absence of time spent scrubbing clothing against rocks.