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.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Toilet training - Day 4 (or is it 5?)

Well, Day 4 or 5 is here and, I am beginning to wonder what I was worried about! The good news is that after having multiple (expected) 'accidents' on day 1 and 2, we are without accidents for at least a day and a half now and I am convinced that waiting until after they are three is the way to go!
I have piled all of his undies on a little table in his room for now and he can choose which ones he would like to wear. I have been really relaxed about the whole thing and sometimes used his older brothers to encourage him, but apart from that, he has really done a lot for himself.
Looks like I will be saving some considerable money by not buying nappies for the first time in 6 years, Hurrah! Let's face it, we could all use the extra dollars in our pockets.
Today is his first day at child care since we started toilet training, so we'll see how that goes.
Have a great day everyone.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Thursday, 25 August 2011

No More Nappies is in sight!

Well, finally it's here.  My 3 year old has finally taken to undies. I'm sure I could have trained him earlier given some effort, but third time round I decided that there was no hurry and it would work itself out - so hopefully this is it.  Unlike most Mum's that have done this before, I don't really have any toilet training advice - I'm not sure that I'm even very good at it.  It seemed to take sons one and two forever to stop having accidents.  I am hoping that my no rush, lets all relax attitude this time will produce a better result.

There is some good advice on the Better Health Channel website, which incidently is a site I have used a lot over the years for illness etc in the kids.  I find it gives good, no nonsense, no hype advice. Another good site in a similar vain is the Parenting and Child Health website.  Both are good reference points.

I'm thinking that if he doesn't take to it, I will have to provide the motivation in the form of a bucket of cheap matchbox cars.  If he goes, he gets one.  We'll see.  Will keep you posted.


Monday, 22 August 2011

Head lice - arrgghh!

On inspection of my middle son this morning, I was a bit shocked to find head lice.  Shocked, not because I was horrified or anything, but shocked because this is the first time we have been inflicted.  With three kids, you'd think that it would have happened before now, but this was the first time.

When I SMS'd my husband and told him, he said (and I quote), 'oh, I thought that only happened to clean people'.  hmmmmm.  Apparently though, a lot of people think this, that it's people who wash their kids hair too much are the ones that get it. 

Anyway, I duly went and got some 'stuff' from the chemist and treated the little man, and his brothers later in the day.  The thing that I am really surprised about is the ridiculous amount of misleading information I read in the information that came with said 'stuff'.  Having scanned the Victorian Government guidelines, I was well informed that I didn't have to go mad and wash everything in the whole house, I could just wash perhaps his bedding, and that once treated he could go to kinder this afternoon as planned.

If I was relying on the brochure, I would have been madly washing everything he'd worn lately along with all bedding, towels in the whole house in super hot water.  I also would have had to keep him home from kinder for the day and would have had a nervous breakdown worrying about the 'extremely contagious' nature of the little beasts.

I hear a few things from people about head lice that are nothing if not alarmist.  Heard any ridiculously overstated stories lately about something that is really just part of the deal?  Please share.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Easy, Cheap crafty ideas for a lazy Sunday

Some crafty things for a lazy Sunday. I love this assortment of stuff posted at that you can print off and do with the kids.

Here are a couple more that I use too. It's so easy and the kids have a real sense of achievement when they finish something.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Laundry Monolith

I don't know about you, but I pretty much have a pile of clean laundry at the back of my lounge-room all the time.  Every morning as I'm digging through the pile to find clothes for the kids I think 'this is so inefficient, I really must fold and put away this laundry'.  Of course this really only happens when we have visitors coming over or funnily enough if I have sick kids and can't get out of the house.  I really will do anything to get out of folding this washing.

And you know what - I think this is OK.  People put so much pressure on themselves to have the immaculate house - to please who?  Ask yourself the question.  If the answer is to please someone else (including other immediate family members who live with you), then give yourself a break and play with the kids instead!  Set yourself free from such a chore.  It will still be there tomorrow.  I have learnt to live with and embrace my pile of laundry as a bit of a monolith of honour. 

By the way, I don't iron either.  The only time the ironing board comes out is when my husband irons his shirts for work, and if we are going to a wedding (and even then it would have to be one where we are involved somehow).

A friend of mine said to me once, when I was apologising for the state of my house 'I've come to see you and the kids, not the house'.  I now take this saying with me and use it all the time.  People, especially mothers feel the need to apologise all the time for not doing a job that we all know we hate doing.  Don't apologise, embrace it as part of your life and lose the guilt I say!

After all this, if you really can't stand it for yourself, and you want to do something about it, then have a look a this post from The Organised Housewife.

As for me - it's nice when it's put away, but I'm not going to stress or feel guilty about it when it's not.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

tattoomummy post

Check out this post over at tattoomummy - this is exactly what I am talking about - people expect themselves to be able to achieve too much.


Hi, and welcome to my blog, Mothers, not Martyrs

Who am I?  My name is Ashley and I am a mother with a husband and three children who are now 6, 4 and 3 years old - all boys.  At the moment I have one in Prep at school, one at 4YO kinder and one at home (and childcare).

Why start a blog?  I get so frustrated when I hear mothers talk at my various mother-centric places (school, kinder, childcare, playgroup, shopping centres, local shops etc), and invariably saying how life's hard with young children.  Well I'm certainly not going to say that life is easy with young children - it's certainly the hardest thing I have done in my life to date.  What I am going to say is there are so many ways that mothers make life harder for themselves, and it doesn't have to be this way.  I'm here to share.  I would love to learn from and hear your ideas and comments too - so bring it on!

What will you see on this blog?  Well, some home truths (no beating around the bush), some helpful suggestions to make your life a little easier with kids, and hopefully a bit of humour thrown in for good measure, some interesting activities to do with kids that are cheap or free and fun for everyone, and maybe even some asking for help if I have a problem too.

So, come on a journey with me through motherhood and give yourself a break once in a while!