to screen or not to screen


One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. I count my steps as I cradle the baby in my arms and walk from the bathroom, to the hall, to my room. And back again, and back again. I look down at her and her eyes are closed. Then open again. Then closed. All the while I’m pacing and counting and hoping that the tinkering sounds of Peppa Pig and Peter Rabbit coming from the lounge room will lull her to sleep.

I can’t believe there was a time that we were a screen free household. I was very proud of the fact at the time. Now I look back and wonder how that version of me managed it. I can’t get through a week day without the iPad or the TV at the moment. Yes, I have a baby and two small children, I’m not being too hard on myself. But it would be nice to be able to get through the day without relying so heavily on a screen to back me up. One day. We didn’t allow the girls to watch TV until around age two. I just wonder how poor Peachy will fare with two big sisters who love a bit of Octonauts time…

I really admire people who have as many children as me or more who are screen free. What are your thoughts on it?


It was 2.15pm this afternoon that I picked up the phone and called for help. It’s such a hard thing to do, to reach out. There are all those conflicting feelings; you’re putting someone out, you should be able to cope on your own, you’re putting someone on the spot. But it was 2.15pm, it was hot, I’d been in and out of the car with the kids what felt like a thousand times, little Pea had barely slept a wink all day and the Pixie had fallen asleep half an hour before Bird’s school pick up. A dear friend from mother’s group is always offering to help and I thought: now is the time. I picked up the phone and dialled her number. Half an hour later she arrived with her two children, took the baby from my arms and sent me off to school pick up, SOLO. Ah, the freedom of getting in and out of a car ALONE! In the playground I saw one of our other friends and invited her and her daughter over too. Twenty minutes later the three of us were sitting in my lounge room with hot cups of tea and coffee while the children ran in and out, shedding more and more items of clothing each time we saw them until over half of them were naked. Kids!

It’s amazing how community can enrich your life, give you confidence, make you feel at ease. Belonging is a wonderful thing.

By the time my friends had left one had washed my dishes (which, by the way, were climbing the walls) and the other had brought in a bag of hand me down clothes for Birdie, and I was feeling moderately sane again after some adult conversation and good company.

We really aren’t designed to live in silos, are we? I will forever be wondering why…

the CD and the atlas: lessons learned in the lead up to Christmas

My Grandpa lives by the sea. We went to visit yesterday and spent a few hours with him, eating sandwiches and drinking coffee brewed on his camp stove in the afternoon sun.

He’s in the process of moving house and let me choose some of his books to take home. One is an old atlas with the inscription: “To Mary with love from Graeme Xmas 1960.” A message from my Grandpa to my Grandmother.

We have been looking through its softly worn pages today. In the lead up to Christmas while my heart is  beating faster and faster with increasing overwhelm, I can’t help but reflect on this little gift with wonderment. Imagine, opening up a present from your partner on Christmas morning to find a lovely book with a short message in the front. I like to think it was wrapped brown paper, and perhaps tied with white string. It is this kind of simplicity and thoughtfulness that I yearn for in my every day life. We are overcome with monstrous loud flashy messages and it is easy forget that we don’t need to buy each other and our children bigger and better things in order for them to be happy and healthy and cherished and loved.

At birthdays and Christmas I stick to this motto from Jodi Wilson:

something I want, something I need

something to wear, something to read

Even still it is easy to get distracted and carried away and panicky and compare-y. We have to stop doing this.

Gramps also offered me some CDs of classical music. “Ok,” I said, “but can I have one that isn’t frantic. One that I could listen to on a Sunday afternoon. Something calming. No violins?”

“Hmm. Well that isn’t how I approach music at all.” he replied.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I walk over to my CDs. I think of one I’d like to listen to. I put it on, then I sit down on the couch and I listen to it. That is how to engage with a piece of music. If it’s on in the background it might as well be anything.”

“Ok. But what if you’re me and you’ve got three screaming children and you have to cook dinner and fold the washing and feed the dog and it’s 1pm and you want to put your pyjamas on and you’re not really thinking about developing a relationship with a piece of music but you would like something to listen to… in the background?”

He stared at me for a moment, laughed, then a few minutes later handed me this, and we listened to it in the car on the way home.

The CD and the atlas. I’ve been thinking about them both since yesterday. The purity and the restraint and the slow and the time. I am so rushed. Even when I try to slow down, there are so many external things wanting my attention. Children, animals, schedules imposed on me and so many rules. Rules! So many!

It’s been a timely and gentle reminder. Now when I look at my Christmas list, I am not looking at things to add, but places I can pare down, things that I can make, things that I can replicate to create a bit of flow, areas that I was perhaps getting a little carried away (do the girls really need another story CD? What will really make them happy on Christmas morning?) I think it’s important to remember that the presents we buy and/or make for our kids are just the beginning for most families on Christmas Day. For many, including us, there will be a number of shared meals that day, and many thoughtful gifts and presents to open. To keep it simple and quiet in the morning at home, we are actually doing our children a favour and allowing them to enjoy the excitement ahead.

Will you be keeping things slow and quiet this Christmas morning?

on the eve of food: introducing solids, again


And just like that, it’s time to once again introduce a human baby to the wonderful world that is food.

I’ve done it before, of course. But a first time mama asked me yesterday how to go about introducing solids and I was a bit perplexed because I actually don’t remember. So time to pull out the resources and refresh my memory.

First things first, like I reiterated when introducing food to the Pixie, as a parent you must, you must, you absolutely must go with what feels right for you. If you’re dead set on giving your baby rice cereal as their first food because that is what feels comfortable for you, then go for it. However if you think that perhaps there may be more to life than rice cereal, please do read on.

Also, to update, Pixie has been a great eater. In my original food post I wondered if Birdie was a fluke, but Pixie has followed suit. Yes, at age three, there are some days that she simply will not eat. She doesn’t like green vegetables. She eats about three breakfasts each morning (not joking) and then slows down as the day progresses and eats like a sparrow at dinner time. Normal stuff. But overall I’d have to say she is maybe even a better eater than Bird was. Go figure.

Anyway. Here are some ideas/books/resources/schools of thought that have worked for me when introducing food (and beyond). This is where I will begin again, the third time around with Peach.

:: Learn about food. Whenever I lose my cooking mojo, particularly when it comes to kid food, the first book I consult is always Wholefood for Children* by Jude Blereau. I love her. Sometimes her recipes contain some ingredients which you may not automatically have on hand so if you’re not into winging it (like me) then you might want to plan your cooking out a little when using this book. This is definitely where I will be starting this time around. For older kids and families I really like It’s All Good* by Gwenyth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. It has great meal planners and a whole section on fun kid food. For you it might be another book or resource. Have a look around* and find what sits right with you, don’t just take the advertiser’s claims of “super food!” and run with it. Do some research of your own.

:: Avocado, bone broths and veggies is where it’s at for us. We’ll be skipping the rice cereal and heading straight for these delicious and wholesome alternatives as Peach’s first foods. Avocado mixed with breastmilk, it’s a baby’s dream, I’m sure of it. I’ll have to do some follow up reading but I’m sure sweet potato was also one of the front runners last time. Here is a little more information if you’re wondering why we would go down this route.

:: Be lead by your baby. Every time I’ve had a baby the recommended age to introduce food has changed. The ‘”rules” are constantly changing. So (within reason) go with what your baby is telling you. Watch them as they begin to stare at the food on your plate and follow it to your mouth. Watch them as they practice chomping and biting on things. Take note as they become interested in food. The signs are there, I promise.

:: No sugar. I slipped up a little on this with poor old Pix. She did have some sugar before she turned two, but it was very limited. Third time lucky: I’ll be sticking to my guns and doing my upmost to decline the sweet poison until Peach is two years old.

:: Natural, whole, actual, real, food. Basic, real food. Every day. Ignore the marketing telling you otherwise. Make real food attractive for kids and involve them in the process. The time you spend now will pay off later when your kid is munching broccoli next to their friend who will only eat refined cheese sticks out of a plastic wrapper. Since Birdie started kinder I have been using these bento boxes* (for kinder/outings) and these plates (for home) for both the older girls and they LOVE them. Kids go crazy for divided food… here is some inspiration.

:: Baby lead + mushed up = mix it up! There is so much advice out there it can be overwhelming. There is no need to stick to one method. I like to try lots of different things, your baby might too. Sometimes if you’re going out it might be easier for you to share some of your meal with your baby (amazing how long a crust of bread can keep them entertained). Other times you might mix some breastmilk through yoghurt or avocado or mashed veggies and feed it to you baby with a spoon. See what works. Each day will be different. Here is some more general advice.

:: They must try it. This one is a tip for toddlers and up, not babies. We don’t force our kids to eat everything on their plates, but they must at the very least try everything. We often hear “I don’t like [insert random food here]” when they have never had it before. The rule is they must taste everything on their plates before they are allowed to say they don’t like something… unfortunately for them they will probably still have to keep trying it in subsequent meals if it is an important food!

:: Following on from that, don’t believe them when they say they don’t like it! One taste often isn’t enough. Birdie never wanted to eat lentil dahl but now she devours it by the bowlful. Taste buds grow and develop too.

:: Take it slowly and relax. The child will eat, eventually.

I could go on and on about this topic, but you really just have to get out there and try it yourself to see what works. In a few weeks time that is exactly what I will be doing. Happy eating!

* if you purchase via my marked affiliate links I will earn a small commission.

daily life

Today is KB’s first day back at work after long service leave and we are missing him terribly! It’s grey outside and so far I’ve only managed to get one child dressed. (I’ll give you one guess as to which girl is dressed and which replied No, I tan’t when I asked her politely to put her clothes on.)

It’s been a really busy couple of weeks since we got back from our holiday. Most notably, my sister had her first baby and I became an Aunty! The girls love having a little cousin, another girl! I’m aching for my next cuddle.

A while back I mentioned things were a little rocky in the breastfeeding arena. Last week Peach had her posterior tongue tie and upper lip tie fixed and it’s safe to say I had the toughest week in my motherly life. It was such a difficult decision to make and we deliberated for a couple of months consulting one specialist after another. Views are so mixed that we had to gather all the information and make the best decision we could for little P. In the end we decided to go along with the procedure (where the tongue tie and upper lip tie are lasered, giving the baby more movement and ability to feed, swallow, develop speech, etc). It’s still too early to say whether we made the right decision and it certainly isn’t a procedure I would be wanting to repeat any time soon. I found myself wallowing in such a black cloud of mother guilt in the days following that I couldn’t see straight. I’ve found my way out now, but gee, the toughest job in the world alright.

In other news we set up a raised garden bed in our yard and I spray painted the legs of one of my coffee tables gold, just because we needed some sparkle.

We also went to the zoo and I pretended it was the apocalypse:

Hope you’re all having a great start to the week.

can I talk about it yet?


I’m about to say that word that no one wants to hear: CHRISTMAS.

There, I said it.

I saw in my Facebook feed yesterday that there are only ten more Fridays before the big day! Every year I say to myself: I’m going to be organised this year. And then it’s the week before Christmas and I’m running around swearing and throwing tinsel at people and writing lists and absolutely, positively not being that serene image of a mother with her apron on baking Christmas cookies for the kinder teachers while singing jingle bells in a melodic tone. Whatever is the complete opposite of that lady = me.

The other thing I say to myself each year: I’m not going to stress myself out or place high expectations on what I can or cannot do. Repeat the above sequence.

So this year I am saying things like: I am aiming and hoping and would like to make most presents myself but I am totally flexible and open and calm and serene and if this doesn’t work out then I will be completely at peace with that. Repeat above sequence.

Without giving too much away to my family you can have a look here, here and here at some of the things I would love to make for presents this year. I try to choose just a couple of things for different age groups and then make en masse (eg. last year I made these shorts for all the kids in the family). For foodie presents I always make granola but am wondering whether to try something different this year? Jam? Lemon butter?

I like to make things partly because I get so overwhelmed with consumerism around Christmas. At all times, actually, but mainly at Christmas. Our house is so full of toys that we are literally bursting at the seams. It’s lovely to be lucky enough to have options, but it is also… a lot. I like my children to appreciate and love their toys and to look after their belongings so I try to think carefully about what we bring into our house and often pack things away in boxes under the house to rotate, or choose toys that aren’t being loved to donate elsewhere. Making things or buying handmade and ethically produced gifts helps me to be more thoughtful about what it is I am giving.

This year I want Birdie especially to start to understand that while there are lots of things that we can’t have or afford, in the scheme of things we are beyond lucky. I think the best way to do this would be to donate a Christmas present to a charity, that way the girls could go through the process of choosing a gift and then giving it away – a bit more concrete that just making a donation, I think? If you have any ideas to share I’d love to hear them.

What about you, have you started planning yet? Do you buy online, go to the shops or do you make things?

hello, welcome!


Hello and welcome to the new and flashy grown-up version of motherwho! I’m so happy you found your way here. Please have a look around and let me know what you think. I’m all nervous and feeling a bit funny about taking this step and leaving my cosy wordpress blog behind, but knowing you’re all along for the ride is making it all ok. You are there… right?

So while I stretch my limbs in this new place and give a little shout, HELLOOOO! (it echoes) please feel free to do the same. Let me know if anything is awry and I’ll do my best to figure it out.

You might notice a few different things, like a bit more information about me (other than the mother bit), a link to my portfolio and also just the fact that this space feels like a breath of fresh air compared to the clunkiness of my previous space.

I’m looking forward to taking the next step. From this point on it will be back to the usual, although I’ve got a few fun things up my sleeve too.

one hour

I’ve been given an hour. One hour. One whole hour.

Half of it has already gone.

I made a cup of tea, checked my email, chopped some potatoes for dinner, and wandered around a bit nervously trying to choose what to do next. Then I sat down here at my very neat and clean #konmaried desk.

While I’m here with everyone around my head often drifts off to far away places, imagining all the things I would do if I just had five minutes.

Now I’ve got an hour and suddenly I’m here alone, overwhelmed with the prospect of what to do first. So there will be no photo accompanying this post. I don’t have time to find one.

I’m a little high on sugar having just got back from a birthday party, so that is not helping with the decision making process.

Sugar, caffeine and exhaustion… what was I saying about evaluating our diet in my last post? Someone, please remind me, quick!

That is all, I have to go and stare at a wall for a few minutes before my next task. Bye for now.

listening / watching / reading

2015-10-07 14.18.17

There’s nothing quite like the start of Spring to bring about feelings of freshness, new beginnings, energy… I absolutely love the Winter but it always drags on about a month too long here in Melbourne. All of you Melbournians know what I’m talking about!

Over a month into Spring now it finally feels like the sunshine has arrived. KB is on long service leave for another two and a half weeks and we have just got back from a lovely holiday on the south coast of NSW – a magical and inspiring coastline if you ever do get the chance to visit.

On the way home we heard a song by Nick Mulvey on ABC radio which was a treat, and I have been listening to his album every day since we got home! I’m sure I’ll be told to turn it off soon but in the meantime I’m dancing around in bare feet to it on a daily basis.

In our usual pursuit of slow and calm I also bought this book and devoured it in 48 hours. I’m now well into the process of #konmari – ing our house. I’m up to papers. I have such a problem with papers. We have no system with bills or anything and it’s just so boring that we are always finding ourselves getting into trouble with late notices and so on. Who has time for this stuff? We can’t work out a system that works so I’m loving Marie Kondo’s paperly advice: to throw it all away. Duly noted and obediently doing just that. What a relief to see all those old bills, receipts, notices, blah blah blah going into my throw out pile. KB will most likely have a minor freak out when he sees my pile but shhhh let’s keep it our secret for now.

While I was pregnant I succumbed to netflix and promised myself it would just be for the free month. Five months later we still have netflix. Yesterday I watched Cowspiracy, and I have to say it has had such an effect on me that I am dragging out all my old vegetarian recipes and taking a good hard look at our diet… again. When I began eating meat again after a period of time as a vegetarian, I was so careful with my choices and seriously limited our meat intake. As the years have gone by and more children have been born, meal times have become a last minute panic, throwing together whatever I can during the last dash before bedtime. I hate eating this way as I love cooking and planning and preparing and being thoughtful about what we eat and when we eat it, and while we have a number of good habits it has been difficult lately to be mindful about it. Cowspiracy has given me that motivation again. Tonight we’re having eat your greens pesto pasta (with brown rice instead of pasta because I don’t have any in my pantry). My sister gave me the recipe a while ago; you basically just cook up some garlic and leek or onion and any other vegetables you like that you have on hand, mix through some pesto and serve. You can be as creative as you like with this dish and it will always taste good. You can make your own pesto but I usually let myself off the hook and just buy a jar because this is meant to be an easy and cheap meal, after all.

In other news Peach is already rolling over, and yesterday at the dreaded Maternal Child Health Nurse appointment she said it’s time to put her in the cot (!) and start thinking about giving her food (!) and all sorts of other dreadful things like that. I nodded my head like the good mother and threw the papers in the bin when I got home.

Well, it feels good to be here today. The sun is shining and I’m about to make myself a coffee. Birdie is at kinder, the Pixie is with her Daddy out for the morning and Peach is demanding that I turn the computer off. Right. Now. So… goodbye and have a lovely day.

over at the kindred collective


We are away on a beach getaway up the coast! I’m just popping in to say that Volume 2 of The Kindred Collective was released today, and I’m in it! The theme of this volume is ‘firsts’ (in relation to motherhood) and is filled with many interpretations from some wonderful mums. You can read a teeny tiny excerpt of my piece above.

If you’d like to support me and the collective by purchasing a copy please use my affiliate link. This link will take you directly to the cart and means I will receive some of the profit. Thank you!

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