Monthly Archives: May 2017

To The Mum Who Almost Lost It At The Park

To The Mum Who Almost Lost It At The Park

I heard your quaking voice and felt your anxious energy before I saw you. I could tell you were having the worst of bad days. We sat at a nearby bench as I waited for my friend in the playground. You touched my heart instantly – a mum trying her best to hold it all together. Believe me, I know how that feels.

My 6 year old was playing nearby and my 2 year old son was at home with my husband (let’s face it, had he been with me I would never have had the space to really see anyone else). Straight away I wanted to approach you and wrap you up in a warm hug but I worried this wasn’t the most appropriate course of action for a total stranger.

You had two small boys, aged about 4 and 2, and it was obvious you were struggling. You first caught my attention as I heard you pleading with your eldest son. ‘Please stop this behaviour. All I want is for us to have a nice morning out.’ Your words were shaky; your desperate tone belied the superhuman effort it was taking you to hold it together.

You looked emotionally and physically exhausted as your eldest stood sulkily by and you wrestled your toddler in attempt to apply sun cream. He slipped out of your grasp, ran towards his brother and shoved him. His brother retaliated by snatching the small brown bunny he was clutching and taking off with it. Screaming and fighting ensued as you ran towards them and tried to break up the scuffle.

‘Please stop this.’ Your eyes were hidden by sunglasses but I could tell they were deeply ringed and threatening tears. As the fighting continued you sat on the bench and rested your head in your hands. I couldn’t hear your words but I felt them in my core.

‘I’m so fed up. I’ve had enough.’

That should have been the moment I approached you with my hug but I still felt awkward at the prospect of interrupting this deeply emotional moment. I may have been a total stranger but trust me I know how you felt.

I know that your day started at 5am with a clingy toddler and defiant child. I know how tired you were, how every step you took felt like wading through treacle. I know how you longed for just a few moments of calm without someone screaming, ‘Mummy!’ I know you were fuelled by coffee and good intentions to turn the day around – to just feel better about everything – but as every minute passed you felt worse.

I know that you said to yourself, ‘One more whinge and I’m out the door’ and instantly felt guilty for letting such a thought enter your mind. I’m sure you overlooked the fact there had been a thousand more whinges since then and yet you were still there. Still caring for your babies. Bet you hadn’t given yourself any credit for that.

You started frantically trying to ready your boys for the paddling pool, pulling on their swimsuits and blowing up inflatables. You were almost manic in your attempts to chivvy your boys and yourself along. As they resisted your every request, screaming and running away at every opportunity, a small noise escaped you. It was as if you choked on a sob you could no longer contain. You were clearly a master of deception and of putting on a brave face. But sometimes those hidden emotions found a way out, like steam escaping from a kettle, whether you liked it or not.

I decided to make my move; no longer caring if you thought I was a weirdo, so strong was my empathy for you. At the same time your friend arrived in a flurry of hugs and kisses. I could feel how relief washed over you like a brief summer storm. You returned the hug slightly too tightly.

‘My two are being a nightmare today,’ you smiled. I’m sure all you wanted to do was lean in for another hug and unload your weary mind but your toddler had other ideas. He wanted to push his trike over other people’s picnic blankets and bags. You had no choice but to accompany him to prevent further destruction. Resistance was futile. He had no intention of playing ball.

So your friend, your saving grace, sat alone with her baby while you followed your headstrong boys around the park. As is so often the way when mums meet, there is never a chance to actually have a real conversation. Unspoken words hung like a fine mist between you, ready to be channelled into a mammoth What’s App conversation later that evening.

Suddenly my friend and her daughter arrived and I lost sight of you in the crowded park. Though I’ll never see you again, I’ll never forget you. You are me. You are her. You are every single mother on the planet who has a gruelling parenting day from time to time.

Here’s what I wish I’d said to you. I know how scared you were of your thoughts and feelings that day. I know that your desire to run away and hide made you question your abilities as a mother. I know that you worried you were failing. I know you love your boys to the moon and back. Today you just didn’t love motherhood. Trust me, that’s ok.

I also know that tomorrow will be a better day. I know that after you have tucked your babies up in bed, you’ll watch their angelic, sleeping faces and your heart will thud with love and pride. Having a bad day is not the same thing as being a bad mum. We all have days when we feel pushed to the limit and wonder if we’ll crack.

Try not to dwell on it. You’ll probably love motherhood again tomorrow. You’re a great mum and you’re doing a fantastic job. Wherever you are, I hope you know that.


He Broke Me

He Broke Me

(This post was contributed to the blog by Jaki Jelley)

I did plan on writing today but it wasn’t going to be this post. This one has come completely out of the blue. Totally unplanned. They say it’s best to write when you feel the emotion so here I am. Because not only am I emotional, I’m broken. It’s not yet 2pm on a Saturday afternoon and my child has broken me. Well and truly broken me.

I don’t particularly enjoy writing these types of blogs because it’s never the kind of thing that any parent wants to admit to. No one really wants to admit that their child has pushed them beyond limits they didn’t even know they’d got. No one wants to admit that they were stood in the middle of a shopping centre feeling like they’re about to have a breakdown because their child has been whining and moaning and stamping and kicking for the last half an hour all because you wouldn’t buy them a £1.99 Lego Blind Bag from Argos. No one wants to be ‘that parent’. You know, the one that’s losing her shit in the middle of Boots because her child doesn’t understand why bad behaviour isn’t rewarded with a lollipop? No one wants to be ‘that parent’ that everyone is staring at because their child is apparently out of control and they can’t do anything to rectify the situation. No one wants to be ‘that parent’ that feels like a total bloody failure.

I know I’m not. But on days like this you can’t help but wonder to yourself ‘where did I go wrong?!’ It’s on days like this that there never seems to be any other child being a living nightmare. It’s only yours that you can hear screaming and it’s only you that everyone is staring at. Looks of disgust. Looks of pity and the occasional looks of sympathy.

I know I haven’t gone wrong anywhere. He is three. He is growing and learning everyday and everyday brings more frustrations for him. He is in the process of giving up daytime naps so by the weekend he is shattered. So he gets grumpy. He gets arsey. He gets shitty and he takes it out on me. Just like we do when we get tired. I can’t blame him for that.

So as I sit here in the car now calm has been restored and I’m looking at his long eyelashes and listening to his gentle sighs as he sleeps, I wonder how I can handle it better next time?

My answer? I probably won’t. There will be more times like this. Probably many more. I get that, I really do. And I probably won’t handle it any better next time. Who does really? Being a parent can be really bloody hard and today I’ve felt the worst I have in a very long time. But I’m ok. He broke me, yes. But I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and put myself back together again. And the reason? Because I’m his Mum and he needs me.

He needs me to help him get through his frustrations. He needs me to take it out on and he needs me to understand him. He needs me to be there for the cuddle when he realises he’s done wrong. He needs me to tell him it’s all okay and he needs me to love him unconditionally. And I do. Oh how I do. More than anything in the world. More than I ever thought possible. More than life itself. He can break me over and over again, but my love for him will never, ever change.

He broke me

Jaki is a mumma winging motherhood since 2012. She blogs at JakiJellz  and has a penchant for nice shoes & loud music .

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5 Ways To Enjoy Boring Tasks

5 Ways To Enjoy Boring Tasks

If, like me, your average day includes plenty of boring tasks, you may benefit from finding some ways to inject a little fun into them. Or, if this isn’t possible, at least a way to get through them without feeling a sense of dread and resentment.

Motherhood is made up of many components. One of them, unfortunately, is boring and mundane tasks. By far my least favourite daily task is clearing up after my children’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. I spend far too much of my time picking food up, wiping the floor,  vacuuming, doing dishes, wiping the high chair, wiping food of the walls… I’m sure you know the drill.

I began to really resent the time I spent on this seemingly pointless task. Like a hamster on a wheel I knew I’d be right back in the same place, crouched on the floor picking up squished peas, next dinner time.

Then I decided I needed to find a way to use this dead time to my advantage. If there’s one thing I’m short of, its time. Aren’t we all? It made sense to try and use this huge chunk of time I spent clearing up children’s food every day in a more positive way. And making it fun would be an additional bonus.

I started to find ways to make more boring tasks more enjoyable. From laundry to boring work tasks there is a way to enjoy every boring chore and improve the hours you spend on them significantly:

Use Your Ears

One thing I really miss from my pre-motherhood days, is the ability to spend hours curled up with a good book. Since I became a mum, reading has become a rare treat.

However, while I’m scraping food off the floor, ironing or carrying out many boring household tasks I may not have the benefit of a spare pair of hands but my ears are still free. I can listen to podcasts on topics I find interesting or even listen to an audio book. It’s not quite the same as reading, but beggars choosers and all that.

Somedays I may listen to a TED talk while sorting laundry and others I may crank up some dodgy 90s tunes. Either way, there’s always some way I can use my sense of hearing to make a boring task more enjoyable.

5 Ways To Enjoy Boring Tasks

Work In Short Bursts

If you have a short concentration span, as I do, breaking a task into manageable chunks with breaks in between is hugely beneficial.

I found this when I was studying and it applies equally to any time I’m chained to my desk or housework. Working for 30 minutes and then having a break to do something enjoyable, makes boring tasks much more bearable.

Taking a five or ten minute break every 30 minutes or so gives me the momentum to keep going. No one wants to be chained to a desk or an iron for too long – a sure fire way to decrease productivity and produce a resentful mind-set.

Look Forward

Keep reminding yourself how good you’ll feel when you’ve finished. I always try and harness some of the feelings of relief and satisfaction I know I’ll have when I’m done with a boring task and project it onto the here and now.

I also try and constantly remind myself why I’m carrying out the boring task. Sure, peeling bits of trodden on cheese off the kitchen floor is boring, yet think how clean the kitchen will be when I’m done (for an hour or so at least).

There is a reason behind every boring task. If there wasn’t a goal in sight, you wouldn’t be putting yourself through it. Focus on the goal. And remember once you’ve finished the boring job you can move forward onto something more fun.

Have A Reward

It doesn’t need to be anything major (though it can be if you wish) but having a reward lined up for when you’ve finished your boring task will help your keep going.

It can be something as small as a bar of your favourite chocolate or a glass of wine, but just having something to work towards will make the boring task much more palatable.

In the evenings, when I have boring admin work to do, I often reward myself with a favourite TV programme. The knowledge that the sooner I finish, the sooner I can watch it helps me power on through.

5 Ways To Enjoy Boring Tasks

Have a Perspective Check

Right before I start a boring task, I find a little perspective check necessary. So I have to spend the next hour cleaning or entering data into a boring spreadsheet? At least I’m not living in a war torn country or walking for three days to fetch some water from a well.

A little perspective and gratitude for the comfortable, peaceful and abundant life I lead in comparison to so many others is a sure-fire way to help me enjoy a boring task. I try to remember how lucky I am to have the life I have. There are people around the world who would swap lives with me in an instant, squishy peas on the floor and all.

I hope this has given you some inspiration and will help make your everyday boring tasks a little more bearable, if not slightly fun.

Let us know if you have any other suggestions!







The Parental Incentive Plan

The Parental Incentive Plan

(This post was contributed by Michal Johnson).

I’m working on a new incentive system. A rewards programme if you like, such as the one AMEX has. It is called the Parenting Incentive Plan, people will call it “PIP”, and it will be amazing.

It starts in pregnancy where you enter into a contract with the expected child. You will be the rewards receiver and they will be the rewarder. The deal is signed and comes into effect immediately upon birth. (Can you tell I’m a lawyer – I’ve thought this through).

There can be no cancellation of the contract.

As the parent you will accrue points which you can then collect for rewards once the child attains the age of 18 years if age.

The Parental Incentive Plan

How to Accrue Points

You will accrue 1 point for each of the following:

  • each hour you are awake between 4am and 7am
  • each hour you’re woken up for a chat, question or debate between 12 midnight and 4am
  • avoiding embarrassing your child in public (child must be over 10 years of age for this credit to accrue)
  • carrying your child and his/her scooter home or up hill for a distance exceeding 50m and additional point for every 20m thereafter
  • every children’s book you’ve read more than 10 times
  • a tantrum in a public place
  • any injury to your body that draws blood or requires a time-out except where it results in scarring
  • having an audience whilst you’re on the loo
  • every night you go to bed with one of your kids’ songs, nursery rhyme or the like in your head

Five points will be credited in the following circumstances:

  • being vomitted on in public
  • every time you stand on a piece of Lego
  • two children simultaneously throwing a tantrum in public
  • being injured to the extent that you scar
  • irreparable harm being done to any of your favourite pieces of clothing (maximum of three incidences a year)
  • traveling anywhere, in or on any form of transport, for more than 90 minutes (every 2 hours thereafter will accrue another 5 points)
  • every time you replace a new item of clothing or equipment which was lost
  • every vaccination (it hurts you more than it hurts them)
  • your child tells a relative stranger one of your intimate personal details or theirs that only you and your family / spouse know.

There will be days when you get double or triple points:

  • Double points for Mother’s Day and 29 February; and
  • Triple points for your birthday.

But there will also be exclusionary days when you can’t earn any points – child’s birthday and 5pm from Christmas Eve until 5pm on Christmas Day (these are high need days when you cannot be accommodated, I’m sorry it’s just the way it is – I didn’t make the rules).

The Parental Incentive Plan


The rewards are as follows (and for the cost of the child)

10 000 Points

  • 10 000 will earn you a night off

50 000 Points

  • 50 000 will earn you your choice of embarrassing photos of them to be used in public at their 21st birthday party or on social media
  • 50 000 will earn you a new zimmerframe
  • 50 000 will earn you the right to be their friend or follower on social media, all access

100 000 Points

  • 100 000 will earn you the right to set them up on a single blind date with one of your friends children or someone you met at the supermarket
  • 100 000 will earn you a over-55s residence upgrade
  • 100 000 will earn you an automated stair-lift

1 0000 000 Points

  • 1 000 000 and their first born shall be named after you.

Terms and Conditions

* Like any good reward / incentive scheme the whole point accrual and reward system will change every year when you will get new cards and a new pin 🙂 at this point make sure to cash in your accumulated points by writing it on a till slip and sticking it to the fridge – that way it’ll never get lost.

* The contract terminates on the 21st birthday so from then on no further points can accrue, it’ll just be a labour of love from then on out.


All Things Mom Sydney

About Michal Johnson

Having studied law for years and practiced as a lawyer in South Africa I now litigate against my children and negotiate with my husband. Having realised that I can research and write moderately well I now use those skills blogging when I’m not child wrangling. Read more of my posts on my blog.

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