Thursday, 2 September 2010

Supermum?.. Who?, ME?!

Many people hear that I have four young children and dub me a 'Supermum'.
Being a great mother isn't about how many children you have.
Are mothers to one child not as worthy of a 'Supermum' title?

The truth is, we all have our Supermum days.
The days where all the housework is done early, and the kids are playing happily with your homemade play dough and the evening meal is all organic.

The days where the kids are all bathed and ready for bed on time, and contently fall into a deep slumber as soon as you've finished reading their favourite bedtime story.

Or the days when you manage to get your little darlings to behave around a busy shop, without that little struggling monster, writhing around in a bid to escape the inevitable entrapment that is the supermarket trolley.

These are the days we are super mums. Regardless of how many children we have.

Of course, I will be one of the first to admit that entertaining a single child, or even two is a hell of a lot easier then trying to contend with 3 or 4 (or even more), but if you choose, and it is a choice, to have a bigger family, then that is something you have to become good at.. Quickly!

Most people, it seems still consider the age old 2.4 children to be the norm, and while there is certainly nothing wrong with that, that .4 of a child is very unattainable! so you chose to round up or down. In this case, I have seen quite a few families with 3 children coming through the ranks.

When you decide to have your third child, something unusual happens-
You start getting comments..

Ridiculously annoying comments like, "Don't you have a T.V?" and "God, you're brave!" and my personal favourite, "Again?! Surely it wasn't planned?"

Maybe the term 'Supermum' was branded around mothers with larger families simply for being able to control their tempers and bite their tongues after having to listen to these pathetic comments?!

The aim in life is to take the rough with the smooth, and fill over the cracks when they appear.
This makes you a good mother. This leads to happy and healthy children, no matter how many you decide to have.

Everyone has their bad days, of course. The days where you seem to be continuously telling off, or saying 'no'.
The days where the carpet on the 'naughty step' seems to be wearing thin.
The days when Daddy walks in and you walk out. However, we keep soldiering on, papering over the imperfections of the bad days and basking in the light of the good.

When your children grow, and can remember the happiness of their childhood and the bad memories are masked by supportive and loving parenting, this will grant you your 'Supermum' status, and it will, surely be well deserved.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Christmas Traditions

With around 15 weeks to go til the big day, I have been thinking about the family traditions that surround Christmas.

For some, it's going to Midnight Mass at their local Church, singing carols at their local service, helping others by volunteering at homeless shelters, day care centres or simply giving to a chosen charity.

For others, traditions stay closer to home. Spending some quality time with their family and friends. Traveling from abroad to sit at the family table on that special day. Having a turkey with all the trimmings. Watching the Queen's speech, and falling into an over-stuffed, drunken coma!

For Amy from The Contented? Maybe it's all about the presents and food!
"* Open one present from under the tree on Christmas eve
* Not allowed to open the Quality Street until Christmas eve (though my brother and I did once open it up several days early and then tape it back up again so Mum and Dad wouldn't know)
* Open presents in PJ's
* First thing to eat must be a chocolate (I think I made that one up, as not all my family abides by this rule!)
* Open stockings first
* Stockings are more joke-type presents (silly rubbers, a wrapped up walnut etc)
* Everyone has to eat at least one sprout with their Christmas dinner"
This seems to be the general 'rule' of the people I spoke to, but not for Amy's husband who's traditions are, shall we say, a little less relaxed!

"* Up and dressed before any presents are opened
* Stockings opened last
* Stockings contain substantial presents (such as perfume, DVDs, clothes)"

What can I say, he's a man with expensive tastes!

Many people included driving around in the run up to Christmas to gaze upon all of their neighbourhoods festive light displays whereas Michelle from Who drank all the tea? and her family like nothing more then a good Christmas movie!
"Every Xmas Eve we always draw the curtains, snuggle on the sofa and watch 'A Muppet Christmas Carol'. Done it for YEARS."
Here, in my family our traditions are simple.

We see my side of the family on Christmas Eve, and Drew's side of the family on Boxing Day. Christmas Day is just for us.

In the morning, the children open their stockings (which Santa leaves at the end of their beds) while Drew and I sit in bed listening to their excited squeals 'He's been!', 'WOW, some new crayons!', 'Yes! I wanted one of those!' before the inevitable stampede across the hall into our bedroom and getting jumped on!

We then go down for breakfast, although mostly very little is eaten due the the excitement and the shaking of further presents from under the tree!

Each child opens a present in turn, and shows the rest of the family what they have received.

If the weather isn't too bad we all wrap up warm and take a walk to the local park after Christmas Lunch and let the children play and let off a bit of steam.
When we arrive home, I make some hot chocolate with some mini marshmallows to warm us up and we play with new toys and games.

We make a 'Thank you' card for Santa with the new stationary sets.

As a special treat, the children are all allowed 1 chocolate from the tin (Roses/Quality Street etc) before bed.

In the lead up to the magical day, we decorate the house with lots of homemade decorations. Handmade wreaths, paper chains, salt dough figurines, pompoms and clay divas, while listening to Christmas songs.

We walk the streets to look at the beautifully lit houses.

The children put on a performance, dance/sing etc for the family.

We select the Hallmark channel and watch all of the old Christmassy movies, along with all of the Disney channels Christmas cartoons!

We bake a couple of batches of Christmas cookies. And we buy a brand new Christmas story book, for Daddy to read to us all before bed on Christmas Eve.

We also participate in making up charity shoe boxes with small toys and gifts for those less fortunate, and I donate to Cancer Research UK, which is a charity close to my heart which I raise money for throughout the year.
I would like to think that in years to come, when my children have children and so on and so forth, some of these traditions will continue.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Starting from scratch

Having a big-ish family, it's difficult to keep everyone happy in the food stakes, but thankfully, I usually have a few tricks up my sleeve!

I try to cook as much as I can from scratch for the family. This is no easy task, as I have the ultimate in fussy eaters!

I am one of these mothers who, rightly or wrongly, cooks separate meals for certain members of the family.
(Well, I say separate meals.. It's really a variation of the same meal, most days) I also have to say at this point that the main culprit of this would, in fact be Drew...

I don't tend to follow lots of recipes. I will try some out and then make my own version of it the next time.
I try to batch cook and freeze ahead, where possible.

Having four small children and a very busy routine means I don't always have the time, nor the energy to cook, so my chest freezer really is a life saver.

So here are some of the delights that have graced our tables over the past weeks.

Vegetable Shepherds Pie

Apple Flan

Chicken Curry with boiled rice and mini poppadoms

Iced Banana Cake

Tomato Pasta, with Roast Chicken, Veg and Cheesy toast

Strawberry Flan

Vegetable stew

Iced Vanilla Sponge Cake

These meals always seem to go down well and are firm favourites in our house!