“The soul is healed by being with children.”
~ By someone I can't remember ~
Drawn by Jean Jacques Sempé
We have a very busy house hold. Busy is probably an understatement. More; active, non stop.. hectic!! But also lot of fun, particularly for the boys. It's lovely they have each other to play all sorts of 'boy games' together. Much to my horror sometimes! (*ha ha). They've all worn holes into the knees of their trousers (why do boys do that?!). Boys are busy, I never realised how much so until I became a mother. I love it, keeps me on my toes, pushes me to get going even when I don't feel up to it. The delightful sound of children's silvery voices fill the air...
Drawn by Jean Jacques Sempé
People have often said to me,"I don't know how you do it?? With CF + 4 boys!". I can say it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to the point where I felt confident I could have children, let alone naturally! Many years of rebuilding my system through healthy diet and supplements etc. I am 'a domestic goddess' by choice, to conserve my energy, but as more of our boys start school I would like to work perhaps in charity or natural medicine (of course something to promote CF health care!). Without Benjamin's support I would no cope, period!. He is a wonderful father and husband, who go's over and above to take care of the boys and I. He has taken night duty from day dot, cleans up the vomit so I don't have to. Even when I fed the babies, Ben would get up and change them, pass them to me. All this so I get sufficient rest to stay well. My doctor said of him, "Dream husband! We are all (ladies) looking for a man like that".
I love books! I read many different ones and own a lot. They help me to remove myself from a situation, then come back with a fresh mind on things. Decentralise if you like. Can't pick a favourite!! Particularly books on psychology/self have helped me a lot when I was in my late teens, coming to terms with CF. It may sound corny, but Dr Phil has helped me a lot! I am a realist (despite my positivity! *ha ha) but yes, you can be realistic as well as positive, as Dr Phil teaches people everyday. I've learnt a lot of coping skills from his show and books.
Gabriel, Charles & Marcel. (Sebastian was on the way!) xo
Where do I start! The practical side of it is simply logistics. Priority being I need to do a certain amount of treatments at certain times of the day. Nebulizer etc. Ben is on breakfast duty. Then he is gone for work and I take over. At their nap time I get other treatments in (nebulizer/physiotherapy). Weekdays, my mother takes a couple of the boys in the afternoon for a few hours to give me a break. Then it's dinner bedtime. Personally, I have never used child care centres or kindergartens. We're not satisfied with the standard of care they provide (my/our views on the child care/education system are a whole other story!). I have also read a lot into the psychological benefits of the child being cared for exclusively by their mother and family before school age. That's my choice and has meant a lot more work for me, but I don't mind at all. To me it's part and parcel of being a parent. When I was very sick (fractured rib) in 2009 I had to concede and we hired a few in-home nannies for a time, which was a life saver, but I was happier once I was strong enough to care for them myself again. All this considered, it is the driving force behind my passion for finding a healthier, stronger existence; I need to keep up!
by Sempé illustrations from his books Nicholas
I have adopted a parenting style that I find helps me manage too. Dr Phil once said to a guest on his show about being a parent who wanted to be her daughters 'best friend',"she can get friends anywhere, she only has one mother". I agree! I'm not here to be their best friend, I am so much more than that! A mother is a soft place to fall, but also a firm guide when your going in the wrong direction. I am not interested in warm fuzzies from my sons, but in time, as they are older, an appreciation for the life and education we are providing them with. A well adjusted man with a deep sense of pride in who they are, belonging, responsibility to contribute, strive to do their best in all things, a happy childhood and know they are loved completely. I also hope they chose to embrace their Catholic Faith. We are strict (in the nicest way possible) about right and wrong, conduct, manners, teasing, rough games etc. Strictness always seems to have a negative connotation in world today. I agree it's not pleasant to be the lead balloon at times, but disagree that it's effect is negative. On the contrary it's necessary at times and how you get stronger children. I was raised the same way and I attribute my own ability to ignore my feelings and do whats right to this. Boundaries help children to feel safe. When done out of love (not anger!) discipline is positive. Look at the show 'super nanny', Jo Frost shows educates how children doing as a parent says is very important; obedience. They need to learn about consequences, good and bad, because as adults they will get them in life and work all the time. So Daddy and Mummy are boss in our house, what we say 'is so'. Sometimes the boys don't like it, that's normal. Main thing is our boys are protected, safe and having a happy childhood! They are free to be children. I think parents should stop feeling guilty about saying 'no', your not being nasty. Your teaching right from wrong! A great book I came across last year is 'French Children Don't Through Food' by Pamela Druckerman. Very amusing and insightful. My point being it makes managing the day easier when I'm in charge.
Baby Sebastian George 2011
If you have not discovered the wonderful (translated into English) French children's books Nicholas written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé, then your missing out!! They are hilarious, insightful and delightful read for all ages!! Written from the perspective of an adventurous little french boy Nicholas who gets into all sorts of amusing situations. I often feel our life is so much like these books!!
From one Mudda to another Mudda...
Relax!! Your not a freak, you can cope just fine.
Your so strong to still be here, not weak, always remember that.
You have untapped capacity's, never underestimate yourself.
Always keep your eyebrows 'plucked'
(it's like a natural face lift) .
Look after your health, R&R when you need.
Don't bother with guilt, it's a waste of energy. Just do the best you can.
Never think of anything important on 'bad' days or when you have PMT
Prioritise treatments, never let them slip or you'll end up in hospital!
Support from husband and family or friends is imperative.
It's ok to ask for help, don't feel bad about it!!!
(yes, I did 3 births without any pain relief and I now say 'sometimes you have to pick your poison')
Know your limitations and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Don't compare yourself to others, your unique. So what if you don't make cupcakes and look like Angelina Jolie!
Learn how to cook: "way to a mans (sons) heart is through his stomach". Cliché? Yes. True? You know
it is!!! (If you'd like your opinion to be taken seriously when they marry you better start baking now!! *ha ha)
Don't sweat the small stuff.
A Happy Home is better than 'hopital corners'.
Learn as you go, wing it if you have to!
Tomorrows a new day.
Be flexible, plans always change!
Stop to smell the roses, enjoy the ride etc etc.
Laugh. Smile. Play. Sing.
A Champagne Celebrates the day!
(preferably Moët & Chandon)
It's the little things that count, God is in the details.
Charles' first Birthday 2008
This is the song I always sing to my boys xo