Wednesday, 21 September 2011

We have moved!

Mothers, not Martyrs blog has moved - to

Hope to see you over there.  If you get this as an email, please go to the new site and register for emails again.



Market Week in Melbourne

October 2nd to 9th is Market Week in Melbourne! It's being lauched by the Eat! Drink! Flavours of Melbourne event on 2nd October from 9am to 4pm and then followed up with a whole stack of events across the whole week.  You can download the whole program from the Vic Market Website.

It looks like fun!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Road Trip - Plan ahead and arrive sane!

Well, it's nearly school holiday time.  Our extended family are going on a wonderful houseboat holiday that we have been doing every 2 or 3 years since I was a child.

This trip is wonderful, it's just the getting there which is the killer!  We have to drive 7 hours on the first day and just a couple of hours on the second.  We seem to survive, but it's not without having a good plan before hand to make things run a little more smoothly.

The first thing I do, and a very important thing is to talk to the kids about it.  I generally start this around a week out from the trip (they are small kids so can't really imagine outside of a week), and get them thinking about what things they might like to do in the car for the 'really long drive'.  I probably overdo this, but I think that the more you can prepare kids, the better they will accept that they are going to be basically in the car for a whole day.

Next, I write a list, a number of lists in fact.  Always a 'what to take' list, which has been on my fridge for at least a month before leaving for whenever I think of something else I need.   A 'what to buy before the trip' list is handy, and a 'things for the kids to do' list.  I always say that if you have a good list, your more than half packed.

I used to love the game 'spotto' as a kid in the car, and I have spotted some similar free printable games over at The Organised Housewife.  These are great as the kids can do it themselves.  Just a clipboard and a pen is all you need.  Also - Don't forget the trip home!  Print off enough so that you can play on the way home as well.

I like to have music in the car.  My Aunty once bought one of my sons three kid's CD's and they are great.  They're not grating like some kids music, but are songs that you generally know the words to and can sing along.  We get a real concert going in our car sometimes and the kids just love it.  It's like a little energy boost and great distraction for them and for you and makes the time pass a little quicker.

We also stop.  That's right, we stop quite a lot.  Whenever we get to the point where the kids are really bored but not asleep and starting to whinge, we find a good toilet and playground and stop for a run around.  Usually we all have a snack or meal and find that when they get back in the car, they are much more settled and half the time will go off to sleep then.  Just on that point, I never directly tell them to have a rest.  What I do at the moment is ask the older boys if they will be quiet so that the youngest can have a rest.  Inevitably, they all fall asleep if the timing is right!

Of course, there's always the DVD player.  A friend of mine says that they're the root of all evil, but I beg to differ.  Last January, we went on a 10 day road trip with the kids, and I think we put the DVD player on about 3 times.  It's great for times when you just need a little time without talking/whinging etc and the kids have just had enough.  I don't advocate them watching it the whole time and essentially missing the holiday as with a road trip, it's part of the holiday too, but it's a great fall-back if all else fails.

I hope you have some good holiday trips planned, Have FUN!


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Free (or really cheap) things to do on the holidays in Melbourne

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for good 'stuff' to entertain the kids and that is free or really cheap to do on the holidays with the kids.  So, I have had a bit of a think about the things that I like to do and have made a list for you below.  Have a great time!

- Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne - Children's Garden:  Opened today for Spring this is a great space for the kids to explore with the knowledge that it is completely fenced (and not too far from coffee shop).

- Melbourne Museum - Unwrapping the Mummy and Treasures of the Tomb- both of these displays/activities are included in the small entrance fee to the museum and add to the already wonderful attractions available for kids.

- Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary - The cost of visiting these icons of Melbourne has got much cheaper with kids being free on weekends, public holidays and Victorian school holidays.

- Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne and Australian Garden - I love this garden and so do the kids.  At the Australian Garden site, they have a water course that kids can paddle in, and a 'hortasaurus', the bushland parts of the gardens are all flowering this time of year, and they have a lookout, as well as a big playground and picnic/BBQ area that the kids love too - well worth the drive for the adults and the kids and it has become completely free entry this year.

- Art Play - Free events -  A wonderful space for kids and adults alike to be creative.

- Immigration Museum - This School Holidays, the kids program sounds great with Detective activities.  The kids are free as are the activities, and adults are only $10 entry.

- World Animal Day at Edgar's Mission - We've never been here, but it looks great.  I'm sure the kids would love to see and touch the farm animals and hear their stories.

- CERES - We love CERES.  It has lots of events on too, but we just love going there and exploring!  Free entry too.

-  Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), free events and films include:
Kids in the Studio
Animated Kitty Cat Kid's Flicks

Well, I hope this has given  you some ideas!!  Have a great time.


Monday, 5 September 2011

Lets kill off the Super Mum tag

I've been called it, and I'm sure some of you have too - 'Super Mum'.  What a ridiculous saying.  What is a Super Mum exactly?  Presumably one who can leap tall buildings in a single bound - or run a loving household, hold down a job or study and volunteer at every opportunity and all with a smile on their face and a spring in their step?

I don't believe it.  I don't believe there is such a thing as a Super Mum and I don't believe that the people we have tagged in our communities as super mums need the tag hanging around their neck either.  I think tagging someone as a Super Mum, instantly takes away their ability to tell you what they're really going through, or what they're really feeling.  It puts pressure on them to always be as you have tagged them to be and this simply isn't fair.

At the time I was called this by a friend of mine, I had three children under 3 and a half years old, was studying a degree at Uni and on the kinder committee etc.  This may seem amazing, but let me tell you that it was damn hard work.  I was quite honestly living with depression, living one day at a time, trying to keep my study going and trying to give my kids what they needed also.  Luckily, I have a wonderful husband to support me and to say, just give it one more week every time I wanted to give up study.

On being called a Super Mum, I actually felt as though I had to uphold this image to this person, feeling even worse that I hadn't mopped my floor for goodness knows how long.  The sheets were on our beds too long, vomit was rubbed off the carpet with a dry towel and my house was a mess.  I'm not a Super Mum, and never will be.  I do my best and that just has to be enough.

So, I think that we all should approach our local so called 'Super Mum', and ask her if she needs help with anything.  Talk about how hard it is sometimes, invite her for a coffee and don't put any more pressure on her than she already has.

Bye for now.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Art Play

Have you been to Art Play yet? It's in Melbourne city in Birrarung Marr Park.
They have so many wonderfully creative things to do with the kids, that it's well worth the visit.
They also often have free events, like these

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Holidays - no, don't make me go!

With the school holidays coming up, we are planning on going away for most of the time and it got me thinking.  People often comment on how my kids are good travellers, and I think they are, but it takes a bit of planning and patience to make them that way.  I find that if I follow the following 'holiday rules', then it makes everyone's life a bit easier. 

Firstly, you just HAVE to stop every couple of hours for a stretch and a run around (and toilet break of course!).
Secondly, you have to take things in the car that they like playing with to keep them amused.
Thirdly, you have to make sure it's their holiday as well as yours.

These seem like such easy things to do, but even when we are aware that this is the way to go, even we forget and try to push the travel time out a bit, or wait another half hour before we stop to eat etc, and we pay the consequences of grumpy kids and grumpy us!

When choosing the toys etc that they are going to take in the car, I usually try and pick something that they love playing with each, as well as something either new or something they haven't seen/played with for a while.  I have even gone to the point of hiding a loved toy for a week or so before said holiday only to bring it out on the day we leave. 

Making sure it's their holiday as well as ours, really just means that sometimes you can just do things that the kids will like.  We often have a kids day, where we find the best playground in the area, or just choose other things that are for them.  Often we have found this to be the most enjoyable day, as the kids are happy and we don't have to drag them around.

In about 3 weeks, we are embarking on our two-yearly extended family holiday on a houseboat for 10 days.  This requires a 9 hour drive to get there (all day with kids).  This would strike fear into the hearts of most parents and I must admit I am employing all my tricks to try and ensure it's a reasonable trip and we don't drive one another completely mad in the process!  We are going to leave at some ridiculously early time in the morning in an attempt to get them to sleep for the first couple of hours.  Then we plan to stop and have breakfast when they are all awake (god forbid, probably at a McDonalds somewhere for the playground).  After this we can probably get a good couple of hours out of them before stopping for a quick run.  Another hour in the car and it will be lunch time.  After lunch, there will be only 3 hours to fill in with toys, singing, favourite toys, little boys sleeping again and we'll be there!  Sounds easy.  No, it's not easy to sing with your kids when you've been up since 4am and you just want to sleep, but it's better than telling them to be quiet every 2 seconds and trust me, everyone will be happier for the effort.

The only other advice I have for people when travelling with young kids, is 'If you can fit it in, pack it'.  We used to go camping when my youngest was about 4 months old, and I would pack anything I could fit including our plastic high chair!  That high chair has done some travelling.  You don't very often see a high chair at a camping site, but it was invaluable. It kept the baby out of the dirt, and was so much easier to have somewhere to just plonk him when we needed to.  It was usually the first thing out of the car, and the last thing packed in.

Hopefully happy holidays are in all our futures.