I'll be completely honest here and admit that I care more about what my children are wearing than they do. My boys don't care for neatly combed hair or branded clothing. They couldn't care less what sort of car we drive or what type of milk we drink. They don't place importance on which shop their toys or food come from. They read books from the library and play with hand-me-down toys.
My seven and eight year old children don't see rich and poor, new or old, they don't care what colour skin their friends have or what brand of shoes they wear. It is a really nice perspective to try and maintain.
Steve Jobs, one of the world's wealthiest men wrote this just before he died:
As we grow older, and hence wiser, we slowly realize that wearing a $300 or $30 watch - they both tell the same time...
Whether we carry a $300 or $30 wallet/handbag - the amount of money inside is the same;
Whether we drive a $150,000 car or a $30,000 car, the road and distance is the same, and we get to the same destination.
Whether we drink a bottle of $300 or $10 wine - the hangover is the same;
Whether the house we live in is 300 or 3000 sq ft - loneliness is the same.
You will realize, your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world.
Whether you fly first or economy class, if the plane goes down - you go down with it...
Let us look beyond our material possessions and feel rich by what matters most - family, friends, kindness, relationships, love.
I had no idea what to call this recipe. I created it using a store bought health bar as a guide.
I now have the recipe perfected and the result are little, chewy morsels that taste like nutty caramel bars and are the perfect tea or coffee accompaniment. Chewy Bites seems like a boring name but I'm far too tired to think of something more creative.
You will need:
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup almonds
(alternatively you can just use 1/2 cup of either of these nuts)
1 tblsp cocao powder
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp hot water
A food processor
Baking paper and airtight container
Mix together the hot water and coconut oil. Add all ingredients into the food processor and pulse at first and then leave on until all ingredients come together and begin to bind slightly (you may need to add a touch more warm water if it isn't binding). Then using your hands, mould little bar shapes and place them on the baking paper. You can roll them into balls if you'd prefer but I like little bars which make for about two bites.
Pop them into the freezer for about 20 minutes and then enjoy. I leave mine in an airtight container in the freezer but they would be fine in the fridge, they just won't be as chewy.
When it comes to over-thinking and jumping to conclusions, I'm your gal.
So when strange symptoms begin appearing, I am the first one to turn to my phone for instant answers. Lately i've been having some weird and random things going on. Google has been my first response...and here is what i've learnt;
1) Dr Google jumps straight to the worst case scenarios (terrifying to say the least).
2) It doesn't make you feel any better (it made me instantly anxious).
3) In fact, it probably makes you feel worse (yep).
4) It's usually wrong information (or simply just a bunch of people sharing similar concerns).
5) Some websites can be helpful (rare but true...Mayo Clinic seems pretty trustworthy).
6) It's addictive (you'll come away with a whole new list of things you've 'got' - Google pretty much says I'm dying).
Moral of the story?
Speak to someone who knows your health history. Someone you can have a two-way discussion with. Someone who can run tests and make informed, knowledgable decisions. Someone with arms and legs and a brain.
Instead of striving to be a perfect parent and then feeling guilt when we fail, why don't we strive to be good enough instead. What is a Good Enough Parent? A parent who is dedicated to being the best parent they can possibly be, but without the pressure of being 'perfect'.
Because really, what is 'perfect' anyway? Who's eyes are we talking about when we are viewing perfection?
Is it the eyes of those on social media? Those casting judgement from behind their screens, seeing only the best photographs of the tidiest house and healthiest lunch boxes?
Is it the eyes of our mother-in-law or our own mother? Those who may spend a few hours a week with our children? or who may have forgotten some of the real struggles that having young children bring?
Is it our own eyes? Our own expectations and ideals of what is perfect?
Surely the only set of eyes that matter are our own children's. And do our own children care if we serve them cereal for dinner when we are too tired or too unwell to cook? Do our children whinge when we switch on the television for them to watch after a hectic and busy day? Do they complain when there is cake found in their lunchbox or when we tell them they can stay up a later because we don't have the energy to put them to bet just yet? Do they think we've failed as parents if these things occur?
I propose that you consider the concept of the good enough parent. The parent who makes mistakes and who apologises for their mistakes. The parent who doesn't give their child everything but instead teaches them the value of working hard to earn something and the important lesson of patience.
I propose you ease up on yourself and see yourself through your children's eyes. Teach your children that it's more important how we behave than what we wear - and that what we say and how we act matters more than how big our house is or the type of car we drive. I recently heard a great talk on raising children and the speaker said 'let your children be frustrated.' We should let them work through their frustration and learn how to cope with not getting everything they want, when they want it. Love them through actions and words and care, not with objects and money and the perfectly posed photos.
Let our children see us fail. Let them see us cry and make mistakes and let them see us get back up again and get on with things. That is real and that is life. As much as I love the idea of being a superhero or 'Super Mum' for my kids I think I am better to show them that I am in fact, human. I lose my temper and yell and forget important things, just like they do. We are all in this together. I hope what makes me 'super' in their eyes is the way I apologise and try to do better next time.
The Perfect Parent doesn't exist - He or She is make-believe and probably lives at The North Pole.
Aren't we always telling our kids to 'just do your best'? So why don't we take our own advice and just do our best...and if some days are just too hard then we can try again tomorrow.
Don't strive for perfection, it will only wear you down.
Strive to be good enough.
And if you ever find yourself wondering whether you're doing this whole parenting thing right, if your ever worrying over whether you're enough, then I can tell you now, you are good enough.
- Winter is here and (today) I don't mind it one bit. I have a coffee in my hand and Ben Harper is playing to the backing of rain.
- We are yet to commence Part Two of our home renovations as plans keep evolving, making things slightly more complicated.
- Master Six is about to turn Seven, which I find quite remarkable. I think the passing of time will always baffle me. We celebrated with a party on the weekend and he was gifted with so many new toys - I am blown away by people's generosity.
- Last Christmas my parents gifted us a weekend in the Blue Mountains to take whenever suited. Last weekend we booked a cabin in Katoomba and took the kids to Scenic World. We had such a fabulous time riding the Skyway, Cableway and Railway (when I say 'we' I really mean 'them'. I am not sure when I became so uncomfortable with heights but my body did NOT appreciate the rides as much as the children did.) The Walkway was a highlight for me - walking through the dense forest, listening to the sounds of nature and seeing rocks and trees that have been there for millions of years is very grounding and spiritual.
- Master Eight has started learning the Trombone. I love listening to him practise, gradually getting more and more confident. Learning to read music is a skill I definitely want my children to posses. I know there is no rush for these things but the school band is a wonderful opportunity for him to have fun learning music alongside his peers.
- I still pinch myself that I have a wonderful (paid) job to go to twice a week. One school, amazing staff and students - I certainly do not take it for granted. I often reflect on how much casual teaching was waring me down and how fulfilling I had forgotten teaching can be.
- I have missed coming to this space, sharing my thoughts and linking to my community. I have been blogging for eight years, posting some months more than others but always wanting to come back. Writing is very cathartic for me and documenting life is important for my sentimental nature.