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Working out what to feed the kids…

Life is busy, I get that and I need to work out strategies to be able to ensure that we all get healthy and ideally delicious meals.  With someone who has battled disordered eating, I also need to make sure that I make time to eat as I find it too easy to make excuses to skip meals.  I know that I should menu plan, but not only is it the struggle to work out what to cook, but it is now a case of when to cook it.  Life is getting busier and I know that the kids have missed out on so many opportunities because I have been ‘absent’ so I don’t want them to miss out any more.  It is now time for me to work out the logistics of how I can actually achieve the lofty goal of getting the kids to where they need to be and being able to feed them!

Here goes trying to work out what can be made and when…

As long as there is food in the house, breakfasts and school lunches can just be made up along the way, it is dinner that needs the work and planning.

Monday – Kids are at work with me for a sport and rec program, we should be home at 6.  The boy-child needs to be fed and out the door for Scouts by 6.40 at the latest.  Dinner needs to be prepped, cooked and eaten in less than 40 minutes!

Tuesday – I am actually attempting to do something for myself – I have signed up for a new hockey class (the one I want to do doesn’t fit in with the commitments of other members of the family so hello a new night and another night of dinner challenges) so I leave here at 4.45 and won’t be back til 8 or so.  Dinner needs to be made before I leave for hockey.

Wednesday – Finish work at 4 and head home to collet the kids, we have to be out the door by 4.30 for their classes/sport.  Get home around 6.30.  Make sure that there is a substantial meal/snack ready for the kids to eat after school so that they have the energy for classes.  Ideally the second round of dinner would also be prepared before we get back.

Thursday – I work an unofficial split shift.  In the almost 2 hours between, make dinner and hang with the kids.  Get home from work around 8.30, most likely too tired to eat myself and will crawl into bed after saying goodnight to the kids.

Friday – Hooray for the one night of the week that I don’t have to work late, run around after kids or do anything specific.  The one night where I really want to just eat takeout but realise that we have a huge day ahead starting crazy early so need to eat something healthy!

Saturday – the day begins at dark o’clock with sports and doesn’t finish until stupidly late if we manage to make it to all commitments.  Ideally I will have prepared savoury muffins, zucchini slice and snacks to take.  Reality will be feeding the kids toast as we run out the door, a few protein snacks for them after training and the rest of the day will be whatever we can get our hands on.  Of course that translates to hot chocolates to defrost and hot chips because they smell so good.  Perhaps we will sneak home for an hour or so, or maybe even out to stock up on food for the coming week, more than likely we will grab more fast food to round off the day.

Sunday – more training that begins at even darker o’clock, followed by more sport.  If we are lucky, I will get time to go and get food for the coming week, if I am really lucky I will delegate the job of getting food for the week!  Ideally I will even prepare a batch of meals that can be heated quickly during the week.  Realistically, it will be more the case that I will be so overwhelmed by it all that I will hope that the fridge and cupboards are miraculously able to refill themselves with delicious meals and I can enjoy not being busy for 3 seconds.

Somehow, I need to work out when to menu plan and shop so that I can make a week’s work of meals on the day of the week that is yet to be found or get up even earlier in the morning to make breakfast, lunch and dinner before leaving for work!

Any recommendations for healthy, energy packed meals that are easy to prepare and reheat?

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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in just a day

 

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Big Issues in a Little Body

There is always something about the behaviour of my kids that has me freaking out.  It might be a period of being untruthful, or perhaps being melancholy or even being more unruly than ever, whatever it is, it generally passes fairly quickly and whilst the mummy-guilt might kick in and I might stress about the behaviour for a few seconds (or even minutes) I know that everything will work out.  I generally don’t make a big deal about it, instead trying to chat with the kids about possible issues without being confrontational.  I know that together we can work it out and until now that has generally been the case.  Sure we did go through a particularly rough patch last year with the boy at school, bullying and his intense dislike of his teacher and of school in general, but it all worked out and he currently loves going to school.  All was well with the world.

The relaxed approach is the way I like to get things done and it seems to work for us, until now.  I have to admit that I have been freaking out by my girl’s behaviour and attitude lately and what is scaring me most of all is that she is a smaller version of me.  Not the me that I was when I was also 7 but more like the me that I am now.  You see, my beautiful little girl isn’t eating much.  Now this may be normal in many households but not around here.  Both of my monsters eat like, well, like monsters.  Breakfast is always eaten, and can range from a tin of baked beans (a full regular sized tin, not one of those kiddie ones, straight from the can) to 3 slices of toast on a typical day (more for the boy), a huge bowl of porridge if I have had time to make some or even a bowl of pasta if there is any left over from dinner.  Breakfast around here is sizeable, often larger than dinner and on many occasions it is eaten over a few sittings.

Now one would think that with such a large breakfast, perhaps lunch wouldn’t be a big thing but a typical lunch is 1 1/2 rounds of sandwiches, an apple, a mandarin (or banana if they are affordable!), a row of crackers, some cherry tomatoes and a piece of cheese and most of it would be eaten most days.  Sure both kids have had phases of not being hungry at school and being too busy to make time to eat, but it doesn’t last long, and never for more than a week.  Then on the days of not eating much lunch at school, they would clean out the pantry when they got home from school.  Hell, most days even if they have eaten all of their lunch, they clean out the pantry after school and still eat dinner!

Dinner is pretty relaxed, we go for the self serve option.  I pile everything onto the table and they serve themselves.  The boy prefers to eat his food in stages (just like me), eating the meat first, followed by each vegetable individually.  The only real ‘rule’ is that their dinner has to be colourful, they can’t just eat food of one colour otherwise they would both fight over eating the pumpkin or the broccoli!  I find that by doing the self serve dinner, we all eat well and we don’t waste much.  It also makes it easy that I can cook too many vegies and have left overs ready to accompany dinner the following day.  It works for us and as a family we generally eat really well (that doesn’t count tonight when we had fish and chips!)

Anyway, now that I have set the scene for what is normal for around here, let me explain my concerns.  Girl-child has lost her appetite and hasn’t been eating as much as she normally would.  School lunches come home barely touched and not wanting to eat much after school.  She is constantly ‘not hungry’ and in fact makes excuses for why she doesn’t eat.  This morning she actually lied about eating breakfast before we were out of bed to avoid eating.  Over this last week, words like “but I’m not hungry”, or “I am full” (when a meal was barely started) have become normal.  Even “Mummy, I’ve got a tummy ache” seems to be heard around meal time as an excuse for her to be excused from meals.   I don’t want to make a big deal of it just yet but it is scaring me.  As a family we are conscious of what we eat.  We talk about eating food that gives us the energy that we need to do all the fun things that we love to do.  We talk about eating a variety of food and generally meal times are a breeze.  We have been lucky to not have fussy eaters and love trying different cuisines with family favourites being Yemeni, Malaysian and Ethiopian.  Now that it has all changed, I am struggling to know what to do.  Admittedly my eating habits leave a lot to be desired.  Sure I blame getting sick last year and the medical complications I have dealt with since then but it is really hard to set a positive example when I physically can’t.  She watched me sit at the table not eating and listened to me explain why I couldn’t eat in the lead up to my procedures.  She saw me struggling with having to fast and drink the horrible pre-procedure preparations.  I have even explained that it was my lack of appetite that led to me having to go to hospital to have cameras put into my stomach to make sure it was OK.  She seems to have understood this but it hasn’t made a difference.

Adding to all of this, we have many friends who are fasting for Ramadan so she is also aware of the concept of fasting for religious reasons as well as for medical reasons.  She has asked if it is OK for her to fast even if she isn’t Muslim, knowing that I fast at least once during Ramadan when I am going to celebrate Iftar with colleagues.  It is difficult to explain that by fasting I am trying to learn the patience and humility and live my life, if only for one day, in someone else’s shoes.

I really don’t know what has brought on this change in her.  There hasn’t been any size related issues that we are aware of, she is fit, healthy and generally very happy.  She really doesn’t want to talk about it and when we try to talk she gets all defensive and angry, at times even crying.  It really isn’t normal behaviour for her at all and I don’t know just how to deal with it.  We already eat most meals as a family and I don’t want to make a huge deal of her lack of appetite for fear it makes her retreat further.

I really thought we would get at least close to teen years before this became an issue.  Any suggestions on what to do to promote healthy happy eating?

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in over-share, the monsters, Uncategorized

 

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Sundays in my City #70 – Needing a Sugar Fix!

Unknown Mami

After yet another crazy crazy week of work and surprisingly another opportunity to go out and have fun, Sunday rolls around and I am tired and maybe a little grumpy when I realise that I haven’t had the camera out at all (I don’t even know where the point and shoot is hiding.  I take a billion photos at soccer to make up for not having any pictures for the week but since they are photos of other peoples kids, I really don’t want to post them here without permission.  What to do?  Sure I could go back out and get some pics in the park, but it is cold and I am tired, perhaps even hungry.  Time to get girl-child into action and make some cookies.

We used a great recipe from Nic at Planning with Kids100s of Biscuits.

What I love best is that the recipe calls for an entire tin of condensed milk – that means that I don’t eat the left over half tin of sweet goodness, instead I eat the cookie dough!  I was so busy eating the mixture helping girl-child that I didn’t even grab my camera, just the trusty phone, to capture the fun.

Squishy Dough Goodness

Taste Test

(Some of) the Finished Product

 We cooked dozens of biscuits and froze half the dough for emergencies!  Hooray for a great recipe and for having a sweet treat for the kids lunch boxes for a change.

 Head over to Unknown Mami and check out some of the adventures others have had during their Sundays in my City as I head back out in the cold to pick up the kids from the party!

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in all in the family

 

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Sundays in my City #68 – Motherguilt and Jedi Warriors

So I have been back for almost a week but to be honest, my head is still in the jungle.  The kids have made the most of me feeling guilty about being absent and managed to convince me that they needed costumes for a party they were attending (they are there now!)  Of course they didn’t NEED costumes, in fact it isn’t a costume party but it IS a Star Wars themed party but the mother guilt kicked in and I spent my morning yesterday, before heading to work, making costumes for them.

Should I admit having never seen any of the Star Wars movies so the kids had to google images for me to work from?

A princess and a jedi

My Jedi

My Princess

I have no idea if they looked like the characters they are pretending to be but the other kids at the party seemed impressed!

Unknown Mami

 Head over to Unknown Mami and check out some of the adventures others have had during their Sundays in my City as I head back out in the cold to pick up the kids from the party!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2011 in all in the family

 

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Reclaiming My Happy Place

I am working too much, studying too little and have no time to just hang out with my monsters let alone finding time to blog or tweet.

Blogging and spending time here was my happy place.  Most days I could be found sprawled across the couch for at least half an hour with my laptop keeping me warm, it was one of my most favourite places to be.  Invariably I was reading blogs or writing my own posts, I was writing for my own pleasure, for fun, for sanity and for connection to a world that I love.  Towards the end of term my reality changed, I was only getting a chance to open the laptop of a morning, in between going for a run and making school lunches, to see if there is anything I MUST respond to, to have a quick glance at facebook and if I get time, to look at Twitter and then it is time to get the superRelish show on the road for another day.

Days were crazy and weekends were non-existent.  In fact, other than the weekend that I was in Sydney for the Aussie Bloggers Conference, I worked at least one day of every single weekend, some weekends working more than 20 hours.  I tried to take off time in lieu during the week but it never really worked.  Instead of working a full day I would work only 6 hours instead of 12 hours!  Add to that the piles of domesticity that just didn’t get done and I was beyond swamped.

I was on leave last week, with a plan to have a quiet week at home with the kids and to get some study done, with a major case study due to be submitted.  Naturally my world conspired against me and I ended up working for three really long days at a camp.  Normally I love working at holiday camps, this time?  Not so much.  In fact I would go as far as saying it was the worst camp I have worked EVER.  I could go on and on about how the young people on the camp, as individuals were mostly lovely but as a group were appalling and DID NOT SLEEP but that wouldn’t really prove anything other than justify my added exhaustion.  To make matters worse, I didn’t have any internet connection other than via my phone.  Certainly not enough for me to write a fully referenced case study (do I sound like I know what I have to do?)  I managed to stay online long enough to apply for an extension for my case study and that was all.  Needless to say, when I returned from camp I was tired, grumpy, frustrated at being behind in my study as well as feeling oh-so-old.

And speaking of old, Friday was my birthday.  I did have a lovely day at home with the kids not doing too much, ordering in delicious food to share with friends and just relaxing.  It was followed by a weekend of no obligations.  It was amazing.  Three whole days with nothing that I HAD to do other than to hang out with the family.  Total bliss.  Now that I am older and hopefully the crazy-busy of the term is over and not to be repeated any time soon, I hope to maintain some of the same levels of relaxation and calm I am feeling now.

My plans for this week?  Well the kids have gone to my parents for the holidays so that they can get some fresh country air and catch up with friends and cousins.  It will also give me an opportunity to get some work done without stressing about what the kids are up to, what we are going to eat or how I am going to play catch up with my study.  I don’t have a busy work week so I will catch up on my study and I hope to get plenty of sleep too.  I am going to get back in to training.  All going well I will reconnect with old friends online and maybe even make some new friends too.  I might even get time to tweavesdrop, perhaps even join in on a few conversations again.  Overall, I hope to reclaim my happy place both on and offline.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in all about me

 

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The Latest Dance Dilemma

I posted ages ago about how the kids both dance and about the experiences we have had at the different dance schools that they have both attended; the teachers, the environment, the other parents and of course the crazy end of year concerts (here is the post).  I think the post ended with me preferring the new studio to the old one, either that or I was just too lazy to look at moving schools again.

Anyway, information came home a few weeks ago about the end of year extravaganza and both kids decided that they wanted to take part, no surprises there.  They had to sign ‘contracts’ saying they would commit to going to all of the classes and additional rehearsals, including taking time off school.  They intended to go to all classes so that shouldn’t be a problem, except it is – we are going away for three weeks in November, meaning they will be missing 3 weeks of classes, less than 2 weeks before the concert date.  We all sat around and talked about it rationally.  They both wanted to do the concert but knew that they would be behind in the routines by being away for so long, and that they would no doubt be exhausted from the holiday and busy when we returned.  Without too much cajoling from me, they said that they would miss this year’s concert and recover from their holiday.  All was well, I got out of the madness easy, it was time to celebrate, or so I thought.

I withdrew the kids from the concert last week and this week girl-child’s teacher let me know that she was happy for girl-child to take part in the concert even if she did miss so many classes, she already knows all the routine and picks up new work quickly so she would cope with any last minute changes.  I was still sitting on the fence being non-committal and said I would let her know after the holidays, after we all discussed it.  I didn’t want one child dancing in the concert (costing me a fortune) and not the other.  I know it is a cop-out, but I wasn’t going out of my way to talk to boy-child’s teacher and was hoping to let the whole concert thing slide!

As we were leaving the studio, boy-child ran ahead.  I got downstairs to see boy-child chatting with his teacher.  The two of them were really animated as they stirred each other up.  His teacher mentioned to me that he was doing really well in his class and has amazing technique, especially since he had just admitted to ‘never practicing’!  I had to ask him if he thought he would be ready to dance in the concert and the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.  I mentioned that we would be away heaps in the lead up and the teacher said he would modify the routine to make sure he was able to keep up, he had worked really hard and as the youngest in the class he had the most natural ability.  I have to say my parental pride went through the roof and more importantly, boy-child was positively beaming and even promised to practice, just a little bit.

What am I to do now?  Both kids want to dance in the concert, both teachers think they will cope with missing out on three weeks work.  I know that after 3 weeks of holidays they WILL be exhausted, add to that extra dance rehearsals and time off school and I don’t know if they (or I) will cope with it all.  I want the kids to enjoy being in the concert and I especially want boy-child to continue to love dancing and keep wanting to go to classes.

I think I have answered my own questions, I want them to be in the concert.  At least I have a 2 week grace period during the school holidays to decide.  If the break isn’t too hectic then maybe they will survive the madness.  Someone please convince me I am insane or take out a second mortgage and come to the concert with me!

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2010 in all in the family, the monsters

 

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Ready to Go?

My bag is packed (I think) and now it is time for me to try and get some sleep.  I am so very tired but at the same time I am too nervous and excited to sleep.  I still hear the kids awake but I am too afraid to go upstairs again for fear of setting the tears off again.  I think that they are now resigned to the fact that when they wake up in the morning I will already be on a plane, flying north waiting for my ginormous adventure to begin.  I have left a new journal and pen for them so they can document what they get up to when I am away and then share it with me (if they want to) when I get back.  The softies that we made together will be left on their pillows as I kiss them goodbye before heading out on my adventure in the wee hours of the morning.

I have suggested that the superRelish crew visit the Shrine of Remembrance on Sunday the 8th of August for Kokoda Day, to celebrate and to remember with the 39th Battalion the first re-capture of Kokoda to gain an understanding of the importance of the Kokoda campaign.  Having begun my trek from Kokoda on the 7th, I will spend the 8th of August walking from Isurava to Templetons 2 with a stop at Isurava Memorial to pay tribute to all those that fought for Australia in the Kokoda campaign in World War II.

In the time that I am away, I will have very limited access to the ‘outside world’, I will however making a satellite call each evening for a regular ‘guest post’ over at the Moonee Valley Weekly blog so please drop by and comment.  For some background on the adventure, check out the article published in the latest edition of the Moonee Valley Weekly.  See you in 12 days and be prepared for the eleventy billion photos and the accompanying that are sure to follow.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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