Category Archives: Family

What it Means to be Mummy


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The first word I hear most days is “Mum”, followed by a tender “I love you” or “good morning” or “Do people eat breakfast in Heaven and who lays the eggs for their breakfast because everyone knows there are no chickens in Heaven?”

Before my eyes are even open, before my brain has fully adjusted to the reality of no more sleep, I am reminded that before all else, I am Mum and I have three little people depending on me to fulfil that role unquestioningly.

There are days, of course, that I inwardly groan and silently beg for a break from this relentless responsibility to be their cook, cleaner, stylist, mentor, therapist, nurse, art teacher, entertainer, jailer, enforcer of unfair rules and referee in countless brawls over the middle seat in the car. When I wake up on these tired, uninspired days, I have to dig deep and remember that my children are innocent passengers in this trainwreck of my exhaustion. I have to be mindful always that even if it means regular visits to hide in the bathroom and silently cry for my lost, pre-kid independence, they need a Mum who looks at them with joy in her eyes. On those days, when I lose the battle and scream and yell because I’m not the perfect Mum that I aspire to be in the late, guilt-riddled hours before sleep, I will always take the time to apologise and explain that Mummy is tired and that just like them, I feel grumpy sometimes. I make sure they see that I am fallible and flawed and, more importantly, that I will always own my failures and apologise for hurt feelings.

My kids know that their Mummy is not perfect. They know because I openly (and frequently) point out my mistakes, my failures and my flaws and I fix what I can. They see that I’m a work in progress and I hope that they are learning that mistakes and imperfections are a normal and beautiful part of life. These moments are where we all learn.

My son, on the eve of his ninth birthday said an incredibly poignant thing to me. It filled my heart with contentment and calm because his words reinforced that Darren and I are doing something right when we fail openly in front of our children and then shine a light on our downfalls.

As I tucked him into bed, Little Man said, 

“Mummy, I have decided that this year (now that I am nine) I am going to choose to fail a lot. Do you know why? Because if I only do the things I am good at, I’ll always win but I won’t learn new things. I want to do lots of new things that are a little bit scary and I won’t mind if I fail because every time I fail then I’ll know another new thing about how to do it better next time. Each time I fail, it will make a kind of a step towards success and maybe when I turn ten I’ll be able to do a whole lot of new things. But I won’t be able to do new things if I don’t choose to fail. Know what I mean?”

My Little Man… only nine, yet so wise.

Yes, there are some days when motherhood is hard, so hard I feel desperately overwhelmed. Thank goodness those days are peppered amongst other days – days when I’m woken with butterfly kisses and declarations of love and big brown eyes looking into mine, filled with an awe that says that they are seeing the most beautiful creature this Earth has to offer. Days when my tween squeezes my hand in a silent assurance that she isn’t too big to need me. Days when my kitchen counter is covered with hundreds of pieces of paper, each with a drawing of two girls surrounded by hearts, holding hands and bearing the name tags “Mum” and “Me”. Days when I look across the table at Darren and he looks back at me with a smile and the wordless agreement that we are blessed beyond comprehension.

Every day, all day, I am Mummy.

As they grow, I’m seeing glimpses of Michelle resurfacing, too. Soon enough, I’ll be more Michelle than Mummy as they grow their wings and discover their next chapter. Until then, I’ll take the desperate, crying-in-the-shower days with gratitude because they come hand in hand with fairy wings and potato stamped love letters and three sets of wide-open, unquestioningly loving eyes that regard me – and only me – as Mummy.

What it Means to be Mummy - an essay on motherhood.

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Conscious Uncoupling Gwyneth Paltrow Chris Martin

‘Conscious Uncoupling’ is just divorce by another name and Gwyneth Paltrow is just another woman in pain. I may stand alone on this one, but unlike the media, I refuse to ridicule her.

A friend's child was a real life Dennis the Menace and - BOY - did he get one over on my hubby. Five years on and I'm STILL laughing!

A friend’s child was a real life Dennis the Menace and – BOY – did he get one over on my hubby. Five years on and I’m STILL laughing!

 

 

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The Extraordinary Man


       

The Extraordinary Man Read the rest of this entry

The Last Snowman {Book Review}


       

BUY THIS BOOK.

Really. I mean it.

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The Day I Became a Mother


       

The Day I Became a Mother

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What I Said When My Son Asked Me To Explain The Meaning Of Life.


       

Today’s post is the second in my weekly column at BonBon Break Magazine called, “What I’ve Learned…”

What I Said When My Son Asked Me To Explain The Meaning Of Life

After a Boys Only shopping trip, Little Man and Darren arrived home, clearly up to something. Little Man disappeared into the study and came out a few minutes later holding a gift-wrapped present in his hand.

“Mum, you do so much for us and nobody ever even pays you! (He was outraged.) I asked Daddy if we could buy you this present because I know it’s one of your favourite things.”

He held out his hand and presented me with my gift. I unwrapped it as he bounced beside me, gleefully.

Inside was a dragon fruit  – a fruit we first tasted on a holiday in Singapore and that I fell in love with. From time to time, we see dragon fruit at our local shops but I never buy it because it’s expensive and frivolous. He had seen it and decided that I deserved something expensive and frivolous. He saw me as someone who deserves recognition and a little spoiling. The enormity of this, coming from my eight year old son, totally floored me. He demanded that I cut it open right then and there and eat it. I savoured every mouthful, we enthusiastically discussed the cool colours and textures and I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious experience of sharing this treat with the kids.

Later that afternoon, Little Man very solemnly and seriously requested that Darren and I go to his bedroom together at bedtime because “there are some important things we need to discuss”. I wondered what on earth was so serious in his life that it would warrant a meeting, so I nervously asked.

He replied, “I want to know what life is all about… you know. Why are we alive?”

To continue reading this post, visit BonBon Break by clicking the icon below:

The Naughty Spot @ BonBon Break

 If you liked this, please click the thumbs-up button at the bottom of this post. I’d really love to hear your comments, so please don’t be shy (comments make me do a happy dance).

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Facebook recently announced it’s going to make fan pages
(including this blog) PAY if we want our fans to read what we post.
That’s not something bloggers like me can do.
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The Naughty Spot


       

Today’s post is the first in a weekly column I’ll be writing at BonBon Break Magazine called, “What I’ve Learned…” I hope you’ll enjoy this hilarious story featuring Little Man, the Terrible Threes and the infamous Naughty Spot. You will laugh and hopefully learn from mine and Darren’s misfortunes…

To read this post, visit BonBon Break by clicking the icon below:

The Naughty Spot @ BonBon Break

If you liked this, please click the thumbs-up button at the bottom of this post. I’d really love to hear your comments, so please don’t be shy (comments make me do a happy dance).

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Facebook recently announced it’s going to make fan pages
 (including this blog) PAY if we want our fans to read what we post.
 That’s not something bloggers like me can do.
 So if you want to know when I post, please subscribe to my blog, below.
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Big announcement!


Let me start by telling you a little about my childhood. My mother was, amongst other things, a writer. I would spend hours poring over her scrapbook with clippings of all the pieces she’d written for various magazines, voraciously lapping up her success and revelling in it. I’d stare at her byline under the picture of The Most Beautiful Woman In The Whole World and I couldn’t believe that this talented writer  - who was published – was my mother.

As I grew up, I watched as my mother tore up rule books and wrote two books and a slew of TV series. Never mind that she was an ex-school teacher who was now a stay at home mom. I couldn’t have kept count of the times I heard her say “Where is the rule book that says I can’t do (insert giant, insane feat here)?” and then watch the world stare, open-mouthed, as she succeeded wildly in her crazy ventures.

If you want to achieve something, don't ever listen to anyone who says you can't. You can.

If you want to achieve something, don’t ever listen to anyone who says you can’t. You can.

You see, my mother was an adventurer. She didn’t ask the world for permission to be fabulous. She went out and granted her own permission slips with wild abandon. She dived head first into her passions and often landed spread-eagled, face-first, skirt over head. Did she cry? No, sirree. My mom laughed. Read the rest of this entry

The Day My Jewish Kids Met Santa Claus.


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It was a regular day at the local shopping centre. Being December, the centre was decorated with tinsel and holly and all things Christmas. Carols were creating jolly white noise and the atmosphere was festive as we went about our business.

My kids know about Christmas and we give presents to our Christian friends (we’ve also been known to sneak next door to help decorate our neighbours’ tree) but, as practicing Jews, we don’t celebrate Christmas. We don’t have a tree. We don’t receive presents. We don’t do Santa. (I do sing Christmas carols, though, can’t help myself. Really, who doesn’t love a red-nosed reindeer?) Chanukah happens to coincide with Christmas, as calendars go, but there’s really no competition – lighting a candle and spinning a dreidel don’t have a hope of matching up to the excitement that Christmas brings.

We were talking about Christmas and what it means to our friends when we walked past Santa Claus. This red-tracksuited, red-faced (no doubt, from boiling in that red tracksuit in an Australian heatwave) man grinned at my kids and cheerily declared, “Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!” They shyly smiled back and we carried on, leaving Santa scratching his head and wondering about these weird kids, not enthralled by him.

We needed to go to the supermarket to pick up a few odds and ends and while we were in there, the kids huddled together and had a “private chat”. I was not allowed to listen but I could see, from their expressions, that whatever it was they were discussing was S E R I O U S. Read the rest of this entry

Six Lessons I Learned from Nelson Mandela


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Today’s post is syndicated at Bonbon Break – a stunning portal to the internet’s best blogs and fast becoming a second home to me. I hope you’ll take the time to click over and read about my childhood in Apartheid South Africa, my family’s struggle to fight the system and my tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Rest in peace, Tata Madiba, your long walk is over. 

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If you want to see Val Curtis (Editor in Chief of Bonbon Break) and I in yesterday’s episode of Bonbon Break LIVE, click HERE.

Bonbon Break LIVE

It was 2am for me, so you’ll find me in my pyjamas, clutching my daughter’s Nelson Mandela doll and discussing parenting and perceptions of beauty. I also did a live reading of “Damn you, Barbie!” Much to my amazement, I seemed reasonably coherent. Enjoy!

This post was syndicated at Bonbon Break Magazine.
This post was syndicated at Bonbon Break Magazine.
If you liked this, please click the thumbs-up button at the bottom of this post. I’d really love to hear your comments, so please don’t be shy (comments make me do a happy dance).
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The Ugly Beautifuls


The Ugly Beautifuls

A story about looking a little deeper by They Call Me Mummy

On a recent family trip away to breathtakingly beautiful Kalbarri, a small coastal town on the West Australian coast, we spent a lot of time walking the seemingly endless length of the untouched beaches and collecting shells. In the evenings, we’d lay them all out and sort through the treasures we’d found.

Kids love to sort and categorise and this was especially true for Baby G. Long after the bigger kids had gone off to do what big kids do, she could be found inspecting each and every shell and carefully considering where it belonged.

She had very specific piles. She explained that The Curlies were the shells that she could hold to her ear and listen to the sea. They had curly insides and that was the part that she thought was special. Eyes glinting, she proudly showed me The Pretties, named because they were pearlescent and lovely. Seriously, she held up one of the group that looked like mini volcanoes and declared that they were called, logically, The Volcanoes. Next to these were The Interestings, named so because they couldn’t be categorised but were cool and needed to be picked up and kept, nonetheless. Finally, with a solemn face, she showed me the last of her groups and, with reverence, she declared them to be The Ugly Beautifuls.

I looked down at this group of shells and inwardly giggled. They really weren’t beautiful, but she sure was accurate when it came to the “Ugly” descriptor. They looked like little brains… small whitish blobs  of shell, shaped like pieces of brain.

I asked her, “Baby G, why do you call these The Ugly Beautifuls?” Read the rest of this entry

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