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What I’m thankful for May 26, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, Life with 3 princesses, Uncategorized.
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Busy mummies are not only that.  Obviously.  We are also women, wives, colleagues, sisters, daughters, friends, etc.  And being human (I hate being apologetic here, but somehow when one becomes a mother, other roles tend to become secondary) we also get our full share of different emotions.  Among which that pesky feeling of being ‘down’.  Now when does a working mother of 3 little girls have time to feel down?  But you know, sometimes it happens.  The reasons could be various.  For me usually it happens when I make comparisons.  I know they are odious but I guess they are also part of human nature. This time the comparison was with my single younger colleagues.  And I got a general feeling that I was born too early.  I started missing the freedom to do as one pleases on the spur of the moment. 

And then a friend notices my ‘face’ looks different and after a few days of seeing this ‘face’ asks me “do you have something missing in your life? Why are you sad?”

The question shocked me.  I wasn’t expecting it and anyway it took me some time to give myself an answer.

In reality what is missing in my life?

The things I listed are not worth mentioning here. 

My friend then surprises further me by sending me this poem:

Die slowly by Pablo Neruda

He who becomes the slave of habit,

who follows the same routes every day,

who never change space,

who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,

who does not speak and does not experience,

dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion,

who prefers black on white,

dotting ones “i’s” rather than  a of emotions,

the kind that make your eyes glimmer,

that turn a yawn into a smile,

that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,

dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,

who is unhappy at work,

who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,

to thus follow a dream,

those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,

die slowly.

 He who does not travel,

who does not read,

who does not listen to music,

who does not find grace in himself,

she who does not find grace in herself,

dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,

who does not allow himself to be helped,

who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck,

about the rain that never stops,

dies slowly.

He or she who abandon a project before starting it,

who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know,

he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know,

die slowly.

Let’s try and avoid death in small doses,

reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.

Then reality hits in and I realize I have nothing missing.  Instead I have a lot to be very thankful for.

And this list is definately worth listing here.  The order is not in order of importance.  It would be too difficult to put an order….

I am healthy.

I have 3 beautiful, healthy girls.

I have a husband who loves me and is fully dedicated to our family.

We have two jobs, a house and food on the table.

 …

 

It’s not a long list but it is a lot to be thankful for and enough to blow away any ‘down’ feelings.

Thank you for reading.

 

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100 March 16, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in about me.
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wow!

I never thought I’d get this far!  This blog is just over a year old and I’ve written 100 posts.  This calls for the bubbly!

Thank you to all those who have visited and to those who have visited and left a comment.  All of you are very very much appreciated.

Thank you mostly to those of you who have visited frequently.  Thanks for following my passage from a highly stressed stay-at-home mom to a very busy working mom.  I’m obviously better at being a working mom – juggling the re-start of my career and my family’s needs than by having only the family’s needs to see to.  I feel so much better about my self, my man, my children and my world in general. I am very thankful for what I have, for what we have and for what this big family has become.  Thank You God for keeping your hand on us .

Can mums take a holiday? June 30, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, my opinions.
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Motherhood (we have often said) is a journey of discovery and for which there is no map, no guide-book, no real help.  We all of us get to experience it like no one else before us was a mother.  And moreover it would take very many volumes to describe the depth and width of the subject.

However, I often find myself comparing, how I am living my motherhood, to how I perceived my own mum living it when we, all four of us siblings were at home.  From my point of view, I am living this experience very differently.  This is pretty obvious, one might butt in!  We are different persons, living at different times, in different towns, etc… But there are some basic issues that I’m sure the I am differing completely and absolutely for her.

I will take only this example: do mums go on holiday?  I mean, can they take a break of a few days and head off somewhere to recharge while the father of the kids (and in my case, with the help of the grandparents) take over the household?

I would have thought not….but my man thinks otherwise. May God bless this man. He not only encouraged me to take up my friend’s very generous offer to spend a few days walking down (or up) a few lanes in the Dolomiti, near Cortina, in Italy, but he actually bought me the air tickets to get there.  Now tell me am I lucky or not?

I still can’t really believe it but this time next week I will be here.

This is a photo that was sent to me as a taster by my dear friend who will host me on my walking holiday.

I know I am leaving the kids in good hands and that this break will do me good.

But why, oh why, can’t I get rid of this nagging feeling that my mother would not have done anything like this?

The Gallery: Motherhood June 18, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
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This week’s prompt on Tara’s Gallery on Sticky Fingers was Motherhood.

I found this prompt particularly difficult to visualise in one single photo.  Where could I start thinking….

This phrase from an old tv advert on Italian tv described being pregnant as “Quando hai capito che non saresti mai piu stata sola” that translates into “When you understood that you would never again be alone”.  I wasn’t even thinking of having kids when I noticed and liked this phrase.  But it is only now, with 5 years into this ‘motherhood’ experience that I am starting to begin to understand its meaning, realising as we go along that my life with my 3 princesses is and will be an emotional roller-coaster, a 24/7 unpaid job and an endless thinking process.  And that I am never alone.  I know that physically I will one day be, but  I also know that I will never stop thinking of them.

So here is my summary and simplification of all this in the following 4 photos.

These are my 3 princesses at Mdina, a beautiful, still-inhabited medieval town in Malta. This picture was taken by my sister. I like it because it is very much what we do...always out and about in the most beautiful spots of our islands in to keep the girls entertained while attempting to pass on to our love for our beloved, beautiful island steeped in history.

This picture is very dear to my heart. It was taken at Ta' Qali, a new, and one of a kind adventure park, on this rock. My man managed to capture my dream for my children in this photo. I hope my children will find in themselves the courage to find their own way in the world, that they will always have each other however far or near from each other they might find themselves and that they will always know that whatever happens their father and I will always be there for them.

I know what's for dinner, the breakfast and lunch dishes can wait, and the ironing basket is not yet piled up too high. So we play pretend! This time, The Princess and The Cherub are both doctors. The Star is their trustful patient. I was here attempting to preparing them for our next visit to our pediatrician. Thanks S for taking the photo - I'm not looking my best but the moment was too precious.

This is my life, taken over by my children.  That is motherhood to me.

Thank you for reading this post.

It’s a mummy’s life. May 17, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
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I was inspired to write this post by this.  I read this blog religiously every day.  I love it.  I like what it looks like but mostly what this mummy writes about.  And I’d love to be more like her… more regular in her posts and working in PR (plus being one of the top persons of the UK in her job…isn’t that just wow!).

I also fell in love with this on sight. This is a mother of 4 girls from whom I am hoping to learn a thing or two.  A few days ago she wrote this.

Caught up in between a rock and a hard place….I often wonder when the rock will shift a little as the hard place will be …em hard to soften. So what’s all this about really? 

When do the struggles to handle the kids become easier ones?  And more importantly, will the struggles ever change to somethings like fun? Or better, are motherhood and struggles intertwined? 

Now I know that some time ago I wrote about how I feel our worse is over and it is.  Only I know what 2009 was like and my-oh-my if I’m glad it’s over! But entertaining 3 little girls is not an easy task.  As is not easy all the rest. (Please here read: sleepless nights, teething, temper tantrums, nursing endless colds,  regressions, frustrations, hyperactivity, food loves/hates, sensitivity, trying to hug 3 children at the same time, … )

Are we influenced by the happy family pictures we see splashed out in various mags and billboards which seem to imply that if we use such and such we will look like this?  We all know it’s all fake but we hope that it is not and that at least part of that happiness (read also spotlessly clean house) rubs off.  Add to this the fact that there is nothing, no course, no book, no advice that can prepare a girl to becoming a mother of one, two or three (and more for others!), and we have tired, frustrated mums.

Back to the rock, I can’t help now but put myself in the picture where I can see me between the rock (the kids’ age) and the hard place (the family).  The kids’ age is changing, bringing with it subtle but sure changes to our rhythm as a family.  But a rock it is and I’m getting the distinct impression it will always be.

I hope and pray that with time, the efforts we put in now will pay back.  Hopefully before the Princesses gallop off into the sunset.

Mascara is non-toxic May 13, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in The Star.
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This morning, like all mornings, I woke up with a start as TC starts her loud sounds as she awakes to ensure my man or me go to her to bring her on our bed for the last few moments of rest.  TS woke with these sounds and today chose to be exceptionally loud as well.  So no last few moments and off we go to start off the day.  I am not a morning person.  My family members with whom I grew up know this very well.  Since becoming mother this trait has had to adapt itself to the needs of my off-spring though.

The morning rush is a routine until at 0830 a certain calm falls on the house again in time for TS’s breakfast.  But no such luck today.  TS must have woken up in a bad mood or something and just couldn’t settle down.  Moreover two of my 3 neighbours (we are 4 in this apartment block), the ones under us and the ones next to us had workmen in….so our background music today was tum-tum-tum-tum-tum-tum-tum.  Now I know that when people take over a new place they often try to adapt it to their needs and adjust whatever is needed.  We did that too when we bought ours 7 years ago but since then we (read here – me, as I’m the one who is all day here when the workmen are here) had to suffer through the apartments changing hands a couple of times.  And each time, the new tenants improve (I assume) on what they buy.  Now in reality I wouldn’t mind so much the tum-tum-tum if, for example, I knew what they were doing exactly.  In that way I would know how long this would take. But no such luck!

So my day started off on the wrong foot and till this point it seemed it was going to be a tougher one than usual until I got that lovely sms sound on my mobile that turned out not to be a promotion but my journalist friend asking to meet up. I rushed to get ready.  TS was still in her loud mood and to quiten her down I handed her over my mascara after she watched me use it.  In the mean time I got my things together and was ready to leave but when I return to lift TS up I find her with the wand in her mouth, her hands both very black!  Apparently she knows how to unscrew something and I hadn’t realised this.  I told myself not to panic, washed her as well as I could and hoped for the best.

On my way to me rendez-vous she took a nap… a nap that lasted 3 hours!

On waking up she looked well and rested, and calm unlike the morning so I decided I could put the mascara incident behind me.

2 lessons learnt today: TS can unscrew something.  Mascara is non-toxic.

I am jealous of my daughter! May 11, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
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When the light starts changing from bright daylight to dusk, TC makes sure I also notice this and from wherever she is in the house comes running to me to tell me, “Qed jidlam!” (“It’s getting dark!”).  This is also her message to me that she wants to put on her pjs and get into bed.  She has now a firmly established routine that I’m not about to change for anything.  I change her into her pjs, put her in our bed on my man’s side and after the prayers and me reading her a book or two, I let her watch some winding down tv – her favourite channel is Baby TV (that has the ability of putting anybody to sleep).  Soon after she drifts off after which we (more often than not) my man carries her to her bed.  More often than not she is in the land of dreams before it is even dark.

How I envy her this freedom to head off to bed when she feels her day is over!

The most challenging job in the world April 30, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.
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Until becoming a mother but also till not very long ago, I used to think that the most difficult job in the world must be that of the president of the US or that of the head of the World Bank or maybe the job of the General Secretary of the United Nations.  It’s not that they have easy tasks or that we can in any way down play what the people who sit behind these desks are doing but this post (http://frommumtomom.blogspot.com/2010/04/have-you-ever-smacked-your-child.html) by 1950’s Housewife (http://frommumtomom.blogspot.com/) and the comments her readers posted made me think a lot.

(I have recently discovered her wonderful blog and I can now say that I’m officially addicted to it….as can be observed.)

I now would like to say that I think that the most testing, the most exigent, tricky and tough job in the world is that of being a parent. 

On this job we learn by doing…. read that … from our mistakes… or let’s say that if we are half lucky we learn from the mistakes of our parents or of our friends.  As parents, the only models we have is our own childhood (mine took place in a completely different era) and our friends who had kids before us.  There are no courses, no traineeships, no on the job training.  It’s kind of there was a moment after becoming a biological parent when the penny dropped and I realised that I was not only the biological mother fo my children but also the only mother with all that entails…..

So I’m here going to try to make a list of the challenges of the job:

It is not only feeding the baby/toddler/child but also feeding them healthy food and instilling health eating patterns and a love of all things healthy exercise, etc.

It is not only keeping the baby/toddler/child clean but also teaching them where the germs are and how to combat their effect on us had we to ignore the  existence.

It’s not only clothing the baby/toddler/child but also painstakingly teaching them how to get dressed and in what to go where (pj for bed, uniforms for school – yes here from 3 TC is already wearing a uniform and no it’s not a private college she goes to).

It’s not only reading them a story but instilling in them a love for reading.

It’s not only asking them how their day was but also continuing by open ended questions when sensing something is not quite right.

It’s not only stopping fights between 3 year old TC and 4 year old TP but also reasoning with them on how to arrive to a compromise and finding ways how to preventing fights from happening.

It’s not only putting them to sleep at night but waking up 3, 4, 5 and even 6 times in 6 hours if they call out for you in their sleep.

It’s not only ensuring they have regular health check ups but also nursing them through an illness.

It’s not only taking them to their favourite play area after school but remembering to pack up some goodies (healthy ones..what else?)  for when they get hungry.

It’s not only teaching them the p’s and q’s but also how to say sorry and mean it.

It is about replying truthfully but simply to their questions without underestimating their understanding. It’s about being playful but fair, loving but strict, tender and consistent.

Without any shadow of doubt this list is not exhaustive and I’m sure that if anyone had to read the above they can add some other tasks to this 24 x7 job spec.

The list obviously ignores the fact that every mother is only a human being but in the eyes of her children she is perfect and has to act perfect every single minute of every day and night.  (Let’s face it, even as adults our expectations of our mothers remain pretty high.  Mine are and no matter how many times I remind my self, I fall into the trap of thinking that mum must be perfect and therefor not do or say whatever.)

And so, in conclusing to this long rambling, along I plod along this twisted but pretty flower-lined (pink flowers only please) path of motherhood, luckily supported by the best companion I could ever find, my princesses’ father, my man.

Quality time April 5, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses, my opinions.
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One of the things I enjoy most of all the tasks motherhood entails is initiating my daughters to different experiences. I try to follow them in their development and in their questions to lead them to start appreciating the things I love.  I might be sounding manipulative but in reality I’m not really….or so I try not to be.

Last Friday I took TP to the ceremony that marks Good Friday for the Roman Catholic church, the faith in which we’re trying to raise my children.  I’m not using the word ‘trying’ lightly here.  In this country it’s the norm to baptise babies in their first months of life (at least this is true for a very high percentage of the population).  This is a responsibility that my man and I don’t take lightly.  We don’t want our girls to follow the religious traditions (of which we have many and counting) for the traditions but because they actually believe in their meaning.  Consequently we are trying to instil in them an appreciation for nature and its beauty and an awareness of a greater being that loves us all unconditionally.  I was always against exposing the girls to the grimness of the crucifixion of Christ and tried hard to keep them from the viewing the myriad of statues and images we come across regularly in our daily life here.  But the assistants at the school they attend thought otherwise and one fine day (about 4 weeks ago) TP and TC came home telling me about what happened to Christ and about what the bad people did.  Both aren’t yet 5!  Knowing there was no way of undoing this, I acknowledged the story and reinforced whenever I could the  ‘Jesus our friend’ part.  I really don’t know what goes on in the head of children.  I had thought they would be disturbed by the brutality but they were not and I still don’t know why.  So come Good Friday, I took TP to a beautiful short ceremony.  She enjoyed the music and the atmosphere of calm in the tiny modern chapel I chose.  And for the first time in her life realised there are prayers adults know by heart and that she would like to learn them.

On a lighter note but similar issue, today I took TP to a story telling session at one of the most beautifully restored (in my inexpert opinion) locations in Malta – the Sacrestia Vault at the Valletta Waterfront.  One of the main reasons I prefer and actually love living on Malta (the larger island)  instead of on Gozo (where I was born) is that there are different events taking place that sometimes (though this is not the rule really) we are spoilt for choice.  Today we attended a story telling session – Ronnie the rocking horse.  A short but delightful event that TP enjoyed to the full.  Schumann’s music in this restored vault accompanying the magical story of a toy and a little girl is simply enchanting.  I don’t think I can be called manipulative when I seek to encourage my children to appreciate and enjoy the timeless beauty of classical music through events like this. 

I have to say I enjoyed both outings with The Princess who lives up to the nickname I gave her to the full.  She gets interested in things, wants to dress appropriately for where we are going, and asks a million questions before we get there and after we leave.  She is a great observer and misses nothing.  She is a joy to be with and I find myself looking forward to’our’ next quality time appointment.

Being a mother means also shouldering the responsiblity for passing on a value system to our children.  To do this, our own value system needs to be in more or less good shape. I hope mine is not seeming or is skewed.  I try hard to keep a level head and to understand the community we are living in.  Maybe the fact that I reflect on my choices helps.  Maybe I need confirmation that my efforts are in the right direction.  Maybe I’ll only understand if what I’m doing is right (or wrong) after it is too late to do anything about it.  Maybe this is why parenthood is said to be the most difficult job in the world.

Around the bend April 4, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
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It seems the worse is over. 

I’m starting to feel in control and that around me there is more tranquillity and peace.  This family of mine seems to be settling into a pattern of relationships, pattern of days, routines, predictability.  This is starting to sound like some boring, orderly household that we are not.  But the feeling that the worse is over has been creeping over me this last week or so.  It’s a beautiful feeling, I’m enjoying it.  Inside this predictable existence I can again carve out for me a few moments, minutes, or hours.  Thanks to my man’s support it has become again possible to leave the house for some time.  The feeling that I’m in a jail…. that I’ve had for so long is now slowly but surely slipping away. 

(I nearly didn’t write this post at all for the simple fear that if I write about it, then it will disappear.  But I can’t ignore that it is happening or that I’m so happy about it.)