Thanks so much to those who have completed the survey. There are currently over 350 responses but I would love more! The more info I have the more I can tailor the content on the blog to be relevant and engaging for you.
If you haven’t yet completed the survey, you can find it here. At the end of the survey you will find a link to copy and paste in your browser where you can download my School holiday guide. It includes:
Questions for me
One of the questions on the survey this year is:
If you could ask me one question, what would it be?
It is an optional question but hundreds of people have taken the time to list a question which I really appreciate. By far the most common questions are around:
- How do I do it all? (Short answer is I don’t! But I do understand what people mean when they ask this question so I will write posts on this next year.)
- Kids – how to spend enough time with them?
- Kids – how to cope with the mess and running around?
These are great questions and ones I ponder myself too. I will structure some posts to answer these questions as best I can in the new year.
Today though I thought I would answer some questions that I know I can give short answers to.
Do you use outside care to manage work conflicts with family care?
Only very occasionally do we have family/friends help out when my work commitments conflict with family life. My mother in law is great for helping out on these occasions, picking the younger kids up from school or taking someone to a game as needed.
The mums at my school are fantastic and I have a number who have helped out across the years, doing pick ups and drop offs to school or sporting activities. I also let it be known that I am always happy to help and do help others too. Being in the position that I do at times need help, I look for opportunities to help others out if I know if could be a potentially tricky time like additional days off from school or finishing early. Working from home means I have much greater flexibility than most, which makes my life much easier with this regard.
When do you get “me” time?
My exercise is my “me” time. I run and love long distance running. It gives me plenty of time by myself. Time I sometimes use to plan, sometimes use to ponder life’s big issues and sometimes to not think or have to worry about anyone else’s needs. I also do CrossFit and the gym I go to is fantastic. I have made lots of lovely friends and the 5.30am crew are a particularly great bunch.
Through out the weekend, there will be times where I say to the kids. I need 15 minutes. I may take my lunch go outside in the sun and sit and eat it quietly on my own.
I don’t just sit much, nor do I read books as much as I would like, but I see that this is a choice that I am making. I spend over 10 hours a week exercising and by choosing to do so I limit the time I can spend on other things.
With hindsight what would you have done differently when your kids were small?
My parenting evolved as I had more children, so I made changes along the way. For example, with our second son, I did controlled crying and hated it. I then chose not to do it with our third child. You can read more about that here.
I went back to work between babies 1 and 2. Prior to having our first child I just assumed I would want to go back to work. I didn’t think that I would want to stay at home full time – which I actually did want to do. So while I didn’t love leaving my baby it was the right thing for my family at that time and we were all happy. Going back four days a week was hard work, but it set up our family so I didn’t have to return to the workforce for subsequent babies.
I wish I knew more about nutrition and that I ate a better diet when the kids were little. It is much harder to change my teenagers eating habits now than had I started them off differently (eg white bread!), but it is still possible to make positive changes like we have done this year.
I think you learn to stress and worry less as you become more used to the parenting gig, which is a good thing so it allows you to enjoy it more.
There were a few questions on having 5 kids. I always knew I wanted to have large family. I came from a family of four girls and I loved the hustle and bustle growing up. I adore that I have three beautiful sisters who love me unconditionally and I them. Growing up we didn’t have as much as others around us, but we always had each other. A bond and shared experience we still have today.
Growing up in a small home with lots of people taught me much about sharing, negotiation and consideration. I wanted my kids to learn this too. The plan on getting married was we thought we would like at least four kids, but we would take it one child at a time. I had great pregnancies and while the baby and toddler years did see me with interrupted sleep, it was pretty good, with all the babies sleeping through by nine months. I loved babies and loved watching them grow and their personalities develop.
As each baby grew, so did I. Each child taught me more about myself, showed me what I was capable of and surprised me that you could love so many, so much.
Do you actually get any time to spend with your friends or to just veg out?
As noted above, I don’t have much time at all where I just veg out. I do spend time with friends but over the last 18 months it hasn’t been as much as I would have liked.
Again this is due in part to my choice to run marathons. I am up early in the morning and therefore need to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Next year I aim to spend more time with friends.
The main way I catch up with friends are breakfast/lunches during the week. This would be roughly once a fortnight with different friends. Then with two of my very oldest and dearest friends we have a monthly evening catch up so we can book it in advance and make sure it happens.
I just can’t always fit in what I would like to do though. I have recently joined a book club, but the last two dinners for the club have been nights where I have had school commitments on. With the five kids we have three different schools at the moment, each having their own parent evenings, parent teacher interview sessions and end of year commitments we need to meet. Sometimes they do crowd out my social life, but that is parenting!
Do you have a question you would like to ask me? Complete the survey by clicking here and let me know.