one hundred and seventy two


The best kind of dinners are the ones you don’t have to think about, plan, shop for or cook. The best kind of phone calls are the ones you receive from your teenage daughter whilst you are still at lunch at 4pm telling you her and her friend are shopping for dinner and will be cooking too. I am grateful for unexpected phone calls, unusually selfless gestures and spontaneous treats. But next time, I’m not offering to wash up. I should have just left it at thank you.


I ran away today. Day one and I ran away. From my kids. Kate is feeling ill and emotional and just generally needy and annoying and moody too. Jem wants to know what’s for breakfast after she turned down an offer to join B and I for brekkie downstairs. And she’s moody too. And they’re both bloody messy. And just there. Shit and its day one of school holidays. And I just didn’t feel like dealing with them today. I love my kids so much but I think I love them even more when they are at school. And if you are this far with me you know a lot about me and my family and the love we share and my gratitude for them and the characters that they are. But have I ever admitted that I never wanted them? Well, never wanted kids. My plan was not to get married, never to have kids and focus only on me and my career. My plan. Me. In Control. Then I fell in love. And we loved being the two of us. But then we decided at some point that something was lacking, not with us but just lacking and at 31 the kiddy thing started. I offered 6 weeks of myself. Then I was back at work. Well, that never happened either. I did go back, but later and as a very different person, with a very different view on the world. The thing about kids is suddenly you realise you are no longer in control. Not that I ever was, but I loved the illusion of it. So, this morning, I left. Because I could. Just for a moment. And I do love my kids. And I am grateful for them. More than anything in the world. But then, you knew that.

one hundred and fifty two


I am grateful for a warm cheek nuzzle. Not sure if nuzzle’s a word or if it captures that moment every morning when I wake Jem with a kiss, squishing my lips and face into her warm from sleep cheek, inhaling her smell. A cheek nuzzle. It is the best time of the day for me, and I am very grateful I get to do it every morning. And that I get a nuzzle back. Kate gets a cheek nuzzle too, and a chuckle cos she really doesn’t like it anymore, now she’s a teenager and hates anybody who deigns to wake her. So I am so very grateful for the cheek nuzzle with Jem moment. Long may it last.

bugger that

We had an interesting moment yesterday. Well, I thought it was. It interests me how subtly the girls are changing. Kate had a secondary music recital thing … we as parents were asked to bring something along for afternoon tea. Because I always was the woman in “I don’t know how she does it“, Alison Pearson’s book, not the movie, cos I loved the book and hated the movie, except I never pretended my shop bought cakes and cookies and things were homemade (I never had enough time and quite frankly didn’t give a damn). Anyway, so I thought I would make something for Kate to take (not sure whether to absolve my latent guilt or because I’m bored) … and I thought I would do those fab cheese puffs from Lynn’s mom that both my girls love. Kate was horrified. Why are we taking anything? We’ll be the only ones. And anyway why can’t you just buy a packet of biscuits? And if you (must) make something why does it have to be something South African with melted bovril (didn’t have marmite, Lynn) and butter drizzled over fabulously crisp cheese scones with a soft melted cheesy centre.  I mean, nobody here knows bovril. It will be weird. Ergo I will be weird. I will be noticed. I will stand out and god forbid that happens. So, I settled on shop bought donuts, which I did arrange on a lovely muted 70’s green serviette and serving platter. Thank god for the other mum who brought the dainty tray of cupcakes or else I would have been the only one and then could you imagine how mortified my daughter would have been. What is with that? Is it a secondary we’re so cool thing, or is it a “don’t stand out” australian thing or is it a combination?? And why does nobody bring anything in? Is it just a we couldn’t be bothered who really cares kind of thing? Well, stuff it, we will still bring in our offerings, no matter how depleted. Because that’s us. And damn my girls need to be proud to stand up. Even if they are the only ones. And anyway, my donuts were eaten within seconds.

one hundred and six


Between homework, facebook, instagram, tumblr, skype I never ever get a look in after dinner these days. So today I’m grateful for an unexpected treat, Kate cuddling up to me on the couch. And no, it’s not because Bondi Rescue came on as she wandered past.  Oh, ok it might be. Anyway who cares, I’ll gratefully take what I get.


I read recently about a challenge to be politer and kinder in how you speak to your partner and your children. Not to take them for granted, to be grateful for all they do and not what they don’t do. To be aware of every interaction. It is ridiculous how we treat perfect strangers better than we do our own family sometimes. And I know the flip side is that home is a safe place to be, where we can sometimes vent and show our not so nice side. Where we are loved no matter what. But we can also try be better. To be aware that its not ok to be impolite to those you love the most. Just because you can. But whilst I believe in being the change and taking the lead I challenge any parent of a teenager to do this. I challenge myself every morning. You see, my consistent theme remains … most of the stuff we all know, most of the stuff we all try do, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t.  Because if we’re honest, nobody is perfect. Nobody gets it right all the time. Especially not the parent of a teenager. But I will keep on trying. I have to keep reminding myself that Kate and Jem’s teenage and preteen behaviour is not about me. It just is. I just happen to be there. All the time. I wish I’d remembered that this morning when as I was discussing with Kate the merits of letting, or more to the point, not letting her friends come home to the empty apartment after a party on the river, she got up from the table went into the bathroom and shut the door. Okay, so maybe I was lecturing rather than discussing, and maybe I do go on a bit, but I mean, I was mid sentence. She didn’t even think. She had just had enough of the conversation. As much as I breathed and reasoned, I was not polite when she emerged. But I did manage to stop myself from beating down the door. She had got the point, and moved on. With a knowing air of disdain. Would she do that to a stranger. Never. Because she is a lovely polite girl. Just not always at home. But then, nor am I. So, we are taking up the challenge. We will be conscious of how we talk to each other, how we behave towards each other, how often we thank each other and how much we take each other for granted. And especially how much we ignore our mother.

forty one

Being the mom of a gorgeous teenage girl is quite challenging. I imagine being the daughter of a control freak mom must be quite challenging too. We have some very funny moments. Some very emotional moments. Some quite volatile moments. Those moments where I’m not sure who the adult is anymore. Which is why I am very grateful we talk and giggle and share. A  near perfect moment today, the beach, a flat white from Hard Cafe and a girly chat with Kate.


No-one said it was going to be easy. To be the mother of a teenager. And I am keeping it in perspective. I am.  But this was exactly what I didn’t want to happen. And exactly what I knew was going to happen.  And exactly what I told myself I had to step back from and let happen. My baby being hurt and let down by some little prick. I know she believed he was more than he was capable of being right now, but he should never have let her believe it. I do have compassion for this boy, because he is going through some serious stuff right now. Far too heavy for a boy of his age, let alone a girl of Kate’s age and sensitivity to be dealing with.  I think he gets this and wants to protect her from it but is incapable of treating her with the respect she deserves. Well, I hope he gets this. Or of understanding how much true compassion and empathy she has.  He couldn’t have wished to have a more perfect angel at his side right now, but he has no idea how broad and beautiful her wings are. He has no idea how to lean on her.  And nor does she know truly what she has. But I see it, fuck do I see it.  Maybe I should thank him for not forcing her to find out just yet. She gave him chance after chance after chance to be the man I think he is down deep inside.To be the person she saw he was, or is going to be. He made her happy, but he also made her sad. So very very sad. And for that I’d like to wring his neck. And mine and B’s, for knowing we were right to forbid it, but didn’t, because we knew it was her choice to make.