Tag Archives: motherhood

Not forgetting

My mother in law is a collector.

Mismatched crockery, linen, crystal, small pieces of rope tied together to make a longer length…

 

Fifty percent annoying, fifty percent admirable.

 

 

She’s from that practical generation.

The generation that understands hard work and knows what it’s like to save and wait for every possession.

The generation with an innate sense of frugality and of worth.

 

 

A strange item that my mother in law keeps has morphed, over the years, into a rather odd collection.

 

Remembrance cards – the little memorial keepsakes that are handed out at funerals.

She has hundreds but displays just a handful – they’re taped to the inside walls of a glass-fronted cabinet, in her kitchen.

 

 

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Greek immigrants to Australia formed solid bonds in those early years and together they built strong communities.  Growing up, we have always known elderly Greeks – we’d call them θεία and θείο, Aunt and Uncle, an extension of the family.  As the years passed on, they did too – I’ve often accompanied my parents to funeral services. I have a distinct and early memory of hugging my mother’s leg at a burial, my child’s mind silently questioning why the coffin was going downwards, when heaven was clearly up.

 

 

More often than not, the local Greek newspapers have entire pages devoted to death and memorial notices – quarter page photographs with a biography detailing the village in which they were born, their work in Australia and the names of their partner and children. It’s a rite of passage in the Greek community, it is customary to attend the funeral of someone you knew.  Our religion is dutiful in its commemoration of the dead and so is our culture.

 

 

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Koliva is a symbolic wheat recipe that is blessed and served at memorial services.

 

 

My mother in law’s remembrance cards are an offbeat assortment of the dead.  The photographs on some of her little cards are of young people, others are middle-aged but most are elderly.  They are relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbours and compatriots.

People she knew, lived with and loved.

 

She looks in this cabinet every morning as she takes her pills and countless times throughout the day, her gaze drift through the glass door.

 

A steadfast reminder of mortality, the brevity of our existence and the importance of all we are left with – our memories.

 

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I learnt from my mother in law to keep remembrance cards.  They’re in my wardrobe, in a little cardboard box.  With each passing I attend, I add to my collection.  To me, they are primary evidence I can one day show my children – each card reperesents a life and each life has a moral to its story.

 

There were people before us. 

People who led rich, abundant lives. 

Some were sick, others were killed and some just grew old.

Value the people in your community and you too, will be valued.

 

 

The other day, I jovially asked my mother in law why she keeps all those cards.

She hesitated, let out an uncomfortable laugh and then said that she just can’t throw them away.

 

Neither can I.

 

 

I have never lost someone exceptionally close to me but I wonder, if that time comes, will I tape their remembrance card to my kitchen cupboard?  Will someone tape mine to theirs?

 

Do you keep mementos?  How do you, not forget?

 

Love,

Robo X

 

Linking up with Miss Jess and #IBOT


Hips Don’t Lie

Welcome to The Lounge for another week!

This week’s theme is ‘things I suck at’.

Oh where should I begin?!

 

 

 

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My diet.

 

I cannot get it right.

 

I’ve started more get-fit quests than I can remember and along the way, I’ve parted with a hefty fortune I’d rather forget.

 

There has been no expense spared on health magazines, diet pills, magic teas, meal replacement shakes and fill-me-up juices.  I’ve invested in gym memberships and personal trainers, microwave dinners, group fitness and pricey lifestyle programs.

 

I’ve also tried my fair share of diets.  Paleo, low GI, low cal, low carb, no carb, soup – both cabbage and vegetable, the blood group diet and the pinnacle of all crash diets, the grapefruit diet…

 

Things work for a while, then, nothing.

 

The other week my sister called me at 9pm.

 

She had the ‘tone’ in her voice.  Matter-of-fact, to the point and curt.

 

When the ‘tone’ comes out, sister means business.

 

 

 

Her monologue lasted for exactly two minutes, I timed her on the oven clock in my kitchen.

 

 

Robo, (she used my real name).  I’m just calling to say that I‘ve was thinking about you and I think that your weight problem can be fixed.  For once and for all. It isn’t that you don’t exercise because you do.  Your problem is portion control.  You don’t know when to stop and you don’t know what to eat.  And you drink alcohol and you like dessert, so it’s doubly bad.  My friend Effie has just lost 6 kilograms using Lite n Easy and she looks great.  (At this point she went on about Effie’s diet highs and lows for a while.)  And you have such a pretty face! It’s krima* for you to be so overweight. 

 

 

And so it was said.

 

The brutal honesty that only a sister can deliver.

 

I was not upset with her.

 

 

 

The fact of the matter is that I did lose weight after my last baby.  Most of the pregnancy weight came off.  And it stayed off, until I stopped being careful with food.  After that, he weight didn’t just creep back on, it piled on with retribution, quickly and I ballooned to an epic 83 kilograms.

 

 

83 kilograms.

The biggest I’ve ever been.

It’s humiliating to type the figure.

 

 

My saving grace is that I’m tall.  So to the average person, I don’t look ‘fat’.  I look like I could lose a few kilos.  But in reality, I need to lose a minimum of 13 kilograms, to place in the healthy BMI range.

 

 

I exercise regularly so I am not unfit.  I’m just too heavy.

 

And my sister is right.  I eat all the wrong things.

 

 

 

 

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My runners at the gym

 

 

So Lite n Easy it is.  I’m at the start of my second week and I feel pretty good.  I have energy and the food is much better than I anticipated.  There is also a huge amount of food and it arrives in neat little organised parcels that strangely satisfy the methodical, organised side of my personality.

 

 

Finally, I feel as though I am doing myself a huge, long overdue favour.

 

Somehow, this feels like it could be it.

 

 

 

Hopefully, this is it.

Fingers crossed, I’ll learn my lesson.

 

 

How’s your diet?  Any tips?  Who is your critical friend?

 

 

Love,

 

Robo X

 

 

 

*a shame

 

 


By the Powers of Grayskull!

If you’ve read this blog enough, you know my stance on commercialism and my kids. 

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But now that my son has outgrown ABC for Kids, he’s looking at other stations in the mornings.  And now that he’s become a little big guy, he pays close attention to everything.  Especially advertisements.

All that hard work parenting media savvy kids is disappearing fast.  It’s a whole new world now…

 

On Sunday, he asked me to show him my, ‘favourite cartoon from when you was little’.

I showed him this:

 

 

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Anyone who attended primary school circa 1980s should be familiar.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe went hand in hand with my morning Coco Pops.

 

 

He-Man, Skeletor and of course, She-Ra – Princess of Power.

 

 

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In the afternoons, I’d lay on the lounge watching this:

 

 

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And in later years, this.

 

 

Press Gang

 

TV was limited back then, but it was brilliant.

 

 

This afternoon my Mr 5 burst through the door from Kindergarten, demanded something to eat and settled tummy-down on the rug to watch Spongebob.

 

 

Mr Robo and I smiled at each other.

Old habits die hard.

 

 

Linking up with The Lounge today over at Tegan’s

 

 

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Love,

Robo X


School. It’s back.

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Cheers for joining me in The Lounge for another week.  This week we’re talking School.

Check out the links below.

 

 

As a teacher and mother, preparing for school is something I both loathe and love in equal parts.

It’s a tough one.

 

 

The school year looms largest after mid-January and my teacher side becomes aprehensive about the last few weeks of the holidays.  There’s organising, programming and preparation.  Hours of it.  The reality of early mornings sets in and in the last week, via anxiety-laden message marathons with work friends,  I’m reminded of shitty colleagues and the fact that I’ll have to elbow my way through the NSWDEC red tape for yet another year.

Loathe.

 

 

My mother side looks forward to a different, not so sinister, type of school preparation.  They type where my child is fitted for shoes, chooses a drink bottle and cooler bag and gets a haircut.  The preparation where uniform is washed, pressed and of course, labelled.  I look forward to the hype which sees bags packed and unpacked a few times, just to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything and a loose promise of increased maturity for growing a whole school year older.

Love LOVE.

 

 

Chalk talk is ubiquitous in the last few weeks of the holidays and the whole Robo family grows very excited.  We discuss expectations, new friends and homework.  While we chat about teachers, preferred lunches and after school activities, I might nod and gesture purposefully but I’m always wondering

how in hell

am I going to take care of myself, my kids and my husband,

get off to work on time, take care of my students, please the bureaucrats

and then come home to homework, dinner, bath and bed.

And the rest.

 

 

How in hell?

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

 

 

But it happens.  Somehow everything just works itself out.  We’re clean, we’re fed, we’ve done our homework and the family, Mother and Teacher included, keep their shit together enough to get through the term and have a little fun along the way.  Just.

 

 

Are you a working parent?  What’s your secret?

 

 

Love,

Robo X


Hump Day

Day two of the last week of school holidays and the dreaded hump day is here. 

It comes around on every school break.  It’s the day I realise that there’s limited holiday left and full-time work is just around the corner.

 

 

Great big exhale.

 

 

Most of my posts relate to the fact that I love my job and my kids at school.  I’m passionate about teaching most of the time.  But inevitably and I doubt that I’m alone on this, in the last week of holidays, the idea of returning to work bears a heavy, anxiety-inducing burden.

 

 

Today I’m worrying.

 

I’m worrying about a procedural review that I’ve been asked to conduct at school.  It’s something I haven’t done before, so I’m imagining late nights, Excel spreadsheets and tedious red tape.

 

I’m worrying about the student council elections that I have to arrange, with votes I’ll have to tally and kids I’ll have to disappoint.

 

I’m worrying about the black dog that term three weather often brings.

 

I’m worrying about the mornings and how on earth I’ll get my two dressed, fed and into the car on time, every day.

 

I’m worrying, as always, about my ‘day care guilt’ and I’m wondering if by working, I’m actually doing the right thing by my children.

 

 

Another great big exhale.

 

 

Sorry, but it’s hump day and I’m on a school holiday downer.

 

 

Do you worry about returning to work and leaving your kids?

Any tips?

 

 

Love,

Robo X

 

 

Linking with Essentially Jess for a bit of #IBOT action.

 


The kindness of Strangers

Over the last few days, I’ve read what feels like hundreds of blog posts.

Taking part in last month’s Digital Parents Blog Carnival meant that I would opportunely acquaint myself with many blogs, some I knew and others I had not heard of.

 

 

Some Bloggers pose questions, while others offer opinions.  Most posts are versions of reality, but some are far removed from my reality.

It’s these ebbs and flows that make the blogging ride so enjoyable.

You can keep reading, if you want.

 

 

Checks and Spots is a blog I came across in the Carnival – one that I look forward to revisiting.

 

Clare’s post, The One Thing I Wish I Knew About Motherhood asked 16 women what they wish someone had told them, before they set sail as a parent.

 

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At the risk of sounding overconfident, I knew I would be OK with the arrival of baby number one and thankfully, I was blessed with a text book dream baby; he played nice.

 

 

It was baby number two who I was worried about.

I was not as self-assured about my sanity with the arrival of my second kid.

 

 

There were so many more variables at play.

 

It wasn’t just me who had to get my act together, there was a 2 year old as well, who might have other plans.

There was Post Natal Depression that I’d heard about first hand, the memory of labour to worry about, another change to the dynamic of the household, my body, my patience…

Experiencing the warm, fuzzy, open-all-hours, newborn baby stage, this time with another little traveler in toe, made me very nervous.

 

 

People I spoke to were quite specific about bub number two having turned their world upside down.

 

 

But a woman I worked with at the time, Anne, set the record straight.

She listened and empathised and then she gave me her simple philosophy – the best advice I’ve ever been given.

 

 

Baby Must Thrive, Mother Must Survive.

 

 

According to Anne, it was simple.

 

All I had to do was take care of my babies and take care of myself.

 

Feed the baby, play with the older one and rest whenever possible.

Do the housework when I could, cook simply and freeze meals.

 

Do only what you can.

Attempting what you can’t accomplish is futile.

 

 

Just ensure the baby thrives and you survive.

 

 

Anne’s words became my mantra for the next two years.  

They helped in gaining perspective.

 

Now I’m a mum of two and a full time employee.

If I am tired, I try to rest.

Sleep is elusive but toys underfoot and mountainous laundry, are not.

 

 

So God bless Anne P, the tall blonde from Cronulla, who I briefly worked with, years ago.

I only knew you for a very short time but you gave me the best motherhood advice I’ve been given.

 

 

Wisdom hey…

Just paying it forward.

Got any good advice for parents?

 

 

Love,

Robo X

 

Linking up for a very long overdue #IBOT over at Essentially Jess!