Skip to content

Category: Raising boys

boys

2018

So! I’ve been on holidays from study for the last couple months, and been busy with the kids and work and farm life etc.
Happy to report i passed my first two design subjects by the skin of my nose haha.
I really need to devote more energy to the course this time around, especially considering how expensive it is!!!
Finally bought myself some paints and canvas and have started painting again.
I’m looking forward to the new semester of my design course which starts in 2 weeks!
Although I was seriously considering homeschooling for real this time, the boys were keen to go back to school. I guess the fact they had about 2 playdates the whole 6 week holiday (and that was only cause I’m friends with the kids mum) may have influenced their decision. It can get pretty lonely up here with no family or many friends.
All in all i can safely say 2018 has been way better than last year and its shaping up to be an amazing year all round.
right now I’m focused on manifesting a new laptop and desktop and tools for graphic design and continued heath for my family.

Sydney will always have my heart

Last time in Sydney.
Our quick trips are never long enough..
Don’t you just love when the boys dress in a bit of pink. A soft dusky pink is my fave colour at the moment, and this gorgeous pink jumper Reuben is wearing looks amazing with anything! Scroll down for the details.
Jordans jumper with the biggie print is one of my long time faves, sadly the label that put that out is no longer around.

boys in the big city

Reubens outfit by Milk and Masuki available from Hey Little Store

On the subject of the torture of children

image

In our home we have a TV, though for much my life I have never had one in the house. Upon having kids I conceded to having a TV in the house, and find it useful for watching documentaries and movies and cartoons are also a good distraction on rainy days. I never watch the daily news, in fact we don’t actually get any TV channels, we watch netflix or DVDs.
The biggest concern I had in my children watching TV has always been the viewing of gratuitous fictional violence and the real broadcast violence. Particularly the TV news programs, which I always felt were depressing, full of the anger and violence that comprises the lives of much of the world on a daily basis. I thought that I should strive to keep their innocence from the often grim and dangerous world we live in for as long as was possible.

The violence is not new I know, humanity has been killing each other, terrorising each other and dehumanising each other as long as recorded history, I know this. What is new is that the violence is available on a screen for us to consume 24/7 should we so choose. Actual real dead bodies, wounded and terrified people, starving people, marginalised people, people fleeing terror and war and death and famine. By keeping my children from seeing all this in flashing picture and stark words I thought I could protect them from feeling unnecessary anxiety at the harshness of the world they are yet to experience.

I do however use my laptop to keep up with current affairs and the other day my 6 year old sneaked up behind me and saw the photo of the little syrian boy in an ambulance. Many questions were asked as a result of that one shocking image and I answered them truthfully. How do you explain to a 6 year whom one is constantly reminding to be kind, to not respond with aggression toward his brother, that grownups are allowed to maim and kill little children just like him? How can you justify killing with more killing in a way that makes sense to a child? All I could hope for is for my children to grow up with kind hearts and compassionate natures, to know that violence only begets violence and serves no one but the people at the very top.

What concerns me is how so many children with innocent hearts and kind loving parents just like me have grown up to fight in wars, to bomb innocent civilians, to go to a factory every day to aid in the manufacture of bombs and weapons, to advise on policy that commit violent acts against innocent people. I wonder where did those parents go wrong? Did they go wrong, or are some humans essentially incapable of choosing the peaceful path over a stable income, a powerful job title?

I simply cannot fathom how so many Australians are able to participate in jobs that directly or indirectly enable a place such as Nauru and Manus Island detention centres to operate. Isn’t it as easy as all of those to people to say no?
No I will not do the banking for a company that profits of the torture of children. No I will not make screws that go into furnishings of a place that profits off the illegal incarceration of innocent civilians. No I will not send the food I have grown or manufactured to a place that violates human rights every day. Can’t we as a nation stop paying tax until our government shuts down the illegal offshore detention centres?

Are Australian people able to go about their daily lives knowingly contributing to this continuing torture, abuse and illegal activity because they have been desensitised to the fact that those people are actually people, despite them having brown skin and hard to pronounce names. Can they ignore the pleas for help and the international condemnation because to them, those people are just pictures on a screen with the words illegal and and queue jumpers bandied about. How is it possible that the majority of Australians feel threatened by the prospect of refugees coming here when the post World War Two migration saw an influx of eastern european migrants come to these shores and prosper?

Has everyone forgotten the words to our national anthem
“For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share”

Could it be because most people consume their news though these cleverly manufactured programs they are blind to the truth? The solution may be to not just “watch” all the atrocities in the world unfold and then switch over to the latest entertainment program, but sit down with our children and explain to hem exactly what they are seeing. Give the people the recognition as fellow human beings. Explain that those people are just like you and me, they just happened to born on a different part of the earth. That every single human being born on this planet is born where they are purely by luck of the draw. nothing differentiates us but our self imposed conditions and judgements. That is could happen to us, and very will likely happen to us.

In Syria and many other countries right now, families are faced with a choice, stay and risk being killed or go and risk dying and being illegal detained and placed in torture camps with no end date in sight.

So I think I will start to show my children the realities the horrors of the world now, maybe that way they will know that all these children being tortured are human beings just like them.

Make sure our children know that 5 year Omar Daqneesh has a family and a brother and he is loved by many.

Find your passion and go for it!

As I grow older, I find myself wishing more often that I had just one thing I was passionate about. As long as I can remember I have always been interested in everything, mediocre at everything and not particularly outstanding at anything. I’m envious when I speak to or read about people who decide to follow their passion, giving up up their ho hum job/existence to pursue what they are truly passionate about, wishing I could throw myself 100 % into something that I loved.

Recently I sat down and attempted writing my manifesto to try and work out what my talents, skills and passions are. Basically, I came to nothing aside from my intense desire to see human rights in practice and my stubborn tenacity in arguments and concluded that I should study Law, so naturally I rushed straight in to enrolling in a Bachelor of Laws.

This lasted 7 weeks. Firstly it was a lot harder then I imagined, and secondly I felt like as my interest is human rights it is a waste of time at my age to have 3 years of study on things like taxation law, family law, corporate law that I will never use.

So I am back to the beginning.
What do I really want, what is my life purpose?

They say to ask yourself, what would you be doing with your life if money was no object. If I answer that honestly it would be music. Music was my first love and has been my constant obsession and companion. To pursue a career in music scares me though because as a single mother, I need an income, I need to be able to provide solely for the upbringing of my two boys. Music is the closest thing i have to a passion but I don’t actually play any instruments (thanks to my short attention span when learning them). I live in the countryside so working in the music industry in any capacity is pretty much out of the question. Photography has always been another great love, I just get put off by the fact that it seems like everyone is a photographer and/or yoga teacher these days, plus the equipment is so expensive.

So again, back to square one. How do I spend the rest of my life? How do I make money to support myself and my kids until I die? We will be working till we fall over dead unless we make quite a few million in gold bullion to retire on, the bleak liberal future holds no old age pension and no security in superannuation etc.

I love writing, but I’m also not particularly good at that either.After speaking to a few close friends I have been convinced that one can learn to be a good writer, so I guess its time I threw myself into it and give it my best shot.
If you are one of those people who followed your passion, did you just know that it was it, or did you have competing passions and have to choose?

Sustenance for the soul

Living mindfully is my nature, its how I have always lived my life. I don’t stress on the past, I don’t worry about the future, I live in the moment. Thats not to say I lead an entirely carefree life, I simply don’t worry. I think I was born with a natural inclination for mindfulness and a innate spirituality and inner peace. I also read the Tao of Lao Tzu when I was about 10 and one of the most resonating passages for me was along the lines of ‘ if there is a problem and you can solve it, why worry and if there is a problem and you cannot solve it why worry’.
If there is a problem or an obstacle or a goal or a dream I think practically and organise how to solve or achieve. People often confuse mindfulness with having no ambition but its not the case at all.
Sometimes I am shocked into realising I drift into living in kind of a bubble, where I think that because I have lived this way for so long surely most people do by now too. It’s odd because although I do feel like I have an extra awareness in life, of our connection to nature, the earth, to each other, somehow I tend not to pay much attention to the people around me in public arenas.
Yesterday after shopping with the boys, they begged me to go to play at McDonald playground and get a slushie. Slushies were discovered a few months ago via a family friend and the boys have been relentless in their pursuit of slushies since. I decided to Acquiesce to their request and we went o out local maccas.
Living in small town, there aren’t many playgrounds and they drive past this one all the time so it must look inviting to their bright eyes. I sat on a table outside and observed the scene around me.
First observation was why was the playground actually inside a cage. Ceiling high metal bars and security gates. This struck me as so strange and at odds with everything I have come to learn about childhood and free play. I understand needing a fence for younger kids, but the metal bars just felt so containing and confining. Clearly the children didn’t mind as they were all having a great time playing, but on a deeper psychological level is says so much about this society we live in.
A family sat down and one of the children arrived to the table hands empty, he had not realised his food was still inside. The woman scolded him harshly for his apparent stupidity, meekly he sat down while the man got up and went inside to retrieve the missing item, also bringing back with him a straw for the boys drink. While the man leaned over to push the straw in the boy moved slightly and the man accidentally pushed the drink on the ground. The woman was instantly enraged, first at the ‘stupid’ boy and then at the ‘stupid’ people who had put the lid on the drink who had apparently been so stupid they didn’t put in on well enough to stop it coming up when knocked off a table. Their whole meal time interaction was punctuated with stress and anger.
The food they were eating was prepared inside by people who I am fairly certain have little love for cuisine, and its unlikely that they prepare the meals with intention and love. The whole process of the meals this family consumed was of dead flesh, routine, hurry, unfeeling, mixed with anger. How can it be that people not care that the very thing that sustains and gives them life, their food, is bought and consumed in such a way?.
This society has normalised detachment from children, detachment from the food cycle, detachment from life.Food is ingested into our bodies, it becomes part of our lifeforce, it becomes part of us, it sustains and nourishes us. The ritual of eating is as old as humanity itself, and there is much joy to be found in the whole cycle of food preparation and eating. I truly think that many of the worlds problems could be solved if we all applied mindfulness to our dietary habits.

OOTD effortlessly rad

imageDefinitely my favourite part of IG shopping is discovering small shops that you would otherwise never have discovered if not for clicking from one page, to another, to another and ending up somewhere on the other side of the world 2 weeks ago, to a kid wearing an amazing outfit that you just have to purchase for your own little one.
This is how I discovered Baby Teith and these amazing glitch art leggings. Baby Teith are half a world away from us, literally, hailing from Phoenix Arizona. I’ve been coming across so many creative and inspiring people from Arizona I almost want to move there!
Baby Teith founders are a creative couple who started the label out from designing clothes for their own baby girl and have grown from there, creating futuristic clothes that are comfortable, uncommon and fun. I can definately attest to that being correct, Mister R has been getting up to his usual mischievous shenanigans and the leggings are super comfy and built for fun. Wearable art is my favourite kind of clothing and it will be fun for me to see how many ways they can be styled.
Follow their account on insta here babyteith
image
tank by axel and sis

Well I guess this is growing up

image
Suddenly, my baby was a schoolboy. Sweet little uniform, new school shoes and a hopeful heart went along to the first day with no tears and barely a backward glance at mum. The first two weeks passed happily and with hardly any and ups or down, smoother sailing one couldn’t ask for. Day 10 as i was waiting for him outside his classroom, he ran to me, begging me to let him catch the school bus. Sure I said, and made the arrangements for the next day. I didn’t think much of it until that afternoon as I sat waiting at the end of the road for his bus to arrive. The arrival time came and went and I panicked a little. Rang the school, he had not been left behind that they knew of, and the bus was fine too, must be running a little late, no need to panic.
It was such an uncharacteristic move on my behalf. I’m not a panic merchant in any way. The bus was running late, and a very happy and proud little boy hopped off and into my arms.
It was only after that I realised what it was. This was the first stage of independence. This was the first time he was out in the world basically alone. Sure he had been to day-care, and had a couple of sleepovers with cousins, and now school. But until now I had dropped him off at the classroom into the hands of his teacher, and been there waiting to pick him up. This was him, making his way onto a bus with kids he doesnt really know, and travelling the 35 minutes home alone. This simple rite of passage is really that, marking his entry into solo navigation. Alone on a bus where anything could happen, and I am out of reach. I understand now why some parents give 5 year olds cell phones.
More than that, it is the beginning of his gradual growth away from me. Until now I was the centre of his universe, his repository of all knowledge. The one person who can make him feel loved and safe. From here on out I am only going to be pushed further away to make room for his life. Though I always knew it would happen, now that it so suddenly has, the sadness seeps in. Even though being asked 15 times what zombies do to people causes my patience to wither, I need appreciate that it won’t be long until he won’t ask me anything, he’ll be in his room on a laptop googling stuff.
So he caught the bus to school this morning, his baby brother and I waved him off as he jumped on and didn’t look back. I miss him.

Dreams of packing it all away

image Goa, 2005.

Nothing evokes in me a stronger sense of nostalgia and happiness then recollections of travels past. From my first solo overseas jaunt at age 16 to Malaysia, India and Nepal, I haven’t yet been able to stem the ever pervasive desire to travel.
That first trip, the plane stopped in Malaysia and I had one night which is a blur of a hangover, because my 16 year old self and my 16 year old best friend drank duty free vodka on the plane. Who said we weren’t mature enough to travel alone! We managed to make it onto the next plane, and 7 hours later walked into Delhi airport, backpacks on and absolutely no idea what to expect. My best friends boyfriend met us at the arrivals area, and we were straight in a taxi to the old delhi backpacker area. I can still feel the intense heat, the immediate strangeness, see the crumbling buildings, the acrid smell of exhaust fumes and the suddenly real flesh and blood children begging in rags, blind and hungry on every corner. I was 16 and thought I knew it all, how quickly I realised that all that I though I knew was just distant images, ink on paper, well meaning words.
The scent of exhaust fumes takes me back, and its a smell that I’ve grown fond of, having been back to India 5 times since those first fateful months. I travelled non stop until I fell pregnant with my firstborn, in 2009. How quickly time goes, its 2016 already, and my worldly self feels like a lifetime ago. As a childfree person, I had imagined that if oneday I had children, I would travel with them too. Being in a volatile and unpredictable, unsupportive relationship made reality quite different, and I soon found myself with all my savings squandered and in debt due to my naive trusting of the man I once loved. And alone, raising our child, pregnant with the second. Still I dreamt of the places we would go, and contented myself with travel in our beautiful country, visiting family and friends. When I started working again when my second son was 6 months old, I set myself a goal to travel before he turned two. Six months before his second birthday I bought tickets to Bali, and then set about organising passports and all the rest.
Two days ago Facebook reminded me of my memories from 2 years ago, which was my little family departing to Bali. I felt a mixture of happiness remembering our adventures, and sadness that two years ahead passed already and we were yet to travel again. I did actually have flights booked last July to NZ, which had to be cancelled because my ex stole our passports and he refused to sign a new application of course, and the process of me applying to have the kids passports issued without his signature was a long and complicated process. It was terribly disappointing, on the bright side the kids still got to see snow for the first time, and only 2 hours from home.
So here I am, wishing I was somewhere else. Maybe someone else. Constantly torn between staying on our farm giving my kids a stable secure childhood, opposite to what I had, and just packing it all in and travelling. I long for days immersed in a culture so foreign to this one, for new horizons, adventures, challenges. The only thing stopping me os the fear of not having anything to come back to. We might travel for a year or two or more. But then what? We will have nothing to come back to. No home, most likely no money. Or we might not want to come back. I don’t know what to do, but I have a lump in my heart, in my gut, and I know that deep down I didn’t choose this life. I’m not happy with this life. Its uninspiring. The people around me here are uninspiring. This close to normal life scares me.
The possibilities are endless, and following your heart is something most people never regret, I figured its the finance factor that has my staying put. An old friend of mine recently travelled around Australia with her husband and two kids and they are not affluent people. Thinking about them, I realised that its the fact that I’m single that stopping me. If I was in a committed relationship and the other person wanted to to travel, I would have no hesitation. Because I would have a confidant, a partner, help and support. I’m not scared to be alone, I loved solo traveling, but for my children. I can’t judge whether it would be the right decision for them. Do I trade security and stability for adventure and life experience ?

that mama hustle is hard alone

imageI was raised by a single mum, and I know it was hard for her to be a mother, made so much harder by her own struggles with her personal demons. So life was hard for us for other reasons the just being an only child in a single parent home. Luckily for me, mum had a lot of support from her parents, so I was well provided for materially whilst growing up.
I actually thought it cool having my parents separated as it meant I got to fly alone to Queensland in the school holidays and got twice as many presents, family and friends. I was always a glass half full kind of person, and thanks to my early education and travel was exposed to a lot of different ways kids were brought up and I knew I was actually pretty lucky.
So when I realised I would be parenting solo, I really thought I could handle whatever that entailed, and do an awesome job of it no worries, as we say here so often in oz land. The reality is much harder then even I could have imagined, with a huge part of that difficulty arising from needing to fulfil the roles of both mother and father. I always imagined being in an equal relationship, and I would have been happy to work and have the father stay home, or share roles equally, I would never have wanted a traditional role of man provide, woman cook and clean. Finding myself with children and single, their father who may as well have been a sperm donor, meant that in reality I needed to worry a lot more about it all. Worrying more meant that I had less time and energy to devote to actually just mothering. It meant that I was far more tired and stressed then if I had someone to help share the load, to have support of and to enjoy the little rewards with. When you are alone in sea of hardships and depressions, having no one to appreciate the little moments of happiness means that they disappear even more quickly.
Having no daddy around means I need to be the kind and gentle mama, and then sometimes moments later the mean and disciplinary mama. I have no support so sometimes they wear my patience so far down that I snap, I tell them things like I wish I could give them away to a family who would be really mean to them, that they are horrible ungrateful children. Then of course I feel terrible and tell them I didn’t mean it at all. I feel like an awful person being so inconsistent, I wish I could be endlessly patient and remain my usual gentle and kind self. It’s the guilt that I am somehow setting them up for a lifetime of dysfunction that eats away at me.
Sometimes I feel like I have to try so much harder to give them a wonderful childhood, buying them things and taking them places, then I feel upset that they don’t appreciate anything I do for them. But am I really doing it for them, or am I doing it to make up for my own perceived inadequacies I feel as being a failure as a parent, failure because I am alone.
I know everyone says that one good parent is better then two arguing, stressed and sad ones, and I want to believe that my choices will mean that my sons will grow up to be better men than their father. The question is how do I do this insanely difficult job whilst retaining my sanity, when I am so alone. I really believe that it does take a village to raise a child, and I don’t understand how our culture alienates and isolates single parents so easily.

procrastination is my weakness

So here I am, procrastinating about writing a post about procrastinating. Oh the irony! Its 10.04 am, ad aside from a mountain of housework and work to do, I have time spare to devote to my passion, writing. Unfortunately all the brilliant prose and with anecdotes that rouse my mind when I’m lying in bed supposed to falling asleep elude me at present. Where to start, with what and how, thus beginning the shifting of priorities, the busying with little distractions and then of course one finds oneself with no time left to write,or live.
So here I am writing. Writing something, anything. Writing because all the great writers wrote every day, some at least a few hundred words, some thousands. At the moment no one even reads what I write, so in that I have some freedom, free of critique, pressure and expectations. I write because I think too much, and if I didn’t write I think my brain would cease function for once an all.
Some topics that are on my mind that I want to write about soon are;
The dating world as a single mum.
Having my first child attend primary school and all the feelings and memories that its bringing up for me.
Being a single mum and how that means you are having to do the job of a mum and dad.
The recent event of Australia day and what it means to aboriginal people.
Holidays with kids when you are single.

So I best get to it!