At Home Mums' Blog

Take a light hearted look at the issues faced by mums home with the kids. Read some personal views on the challenges of raising children today, and the pressures mums face. My website - - has some more serious and hopefully useful stuff on all these topics. I'd love to get your comments and advice. If anyone out there can help this mum maintain her sanity, it would be much appreciated!

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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Obsessed with chocolate

Before I had the children, I liked chocolate, but I could easily go without, but since babies, and actually since the Easter before Holly was born when we had a thousand Easter eggs left over from the neighbourhood Easter egg hunt, my chocolate obsession has grown.

My children now think mummy's favourite thing in the world is chocolate. They also know mummy to be a chocolate thief. No chocolate is safe in this house when mummy is around.

When they were little, smarties were a favourite bribing tool - one smarty for Holly for a wee on the potty, and the rest of the packet for mummy. I tried buying the small boxes, so I could only eat a few, but, hey, who's to stop you eating all 11 boxes in the packet? We eventually stopped buying smarties. They were definitely not good for me, and I think the children's manic levels increased in line with consumption. Sugar or colours, who knows, but either way, smarties are limited to birthday cakes, which incidentally get covered in the things.

I have reasoned my way through my chocolate obsession. Why? Because I'll feel better if there's a logical reason for it rather than pure weak minded greed. I stopped coffee when I was pregnant with Holly and haven't got back on the stuff, and the doctor advised no tea after lunch, in order to sleep better, so with almost seven years of interrupted nights under my belt, I need some sort of pick me up, and my choice is chocolate.

It's sugar actually. I know if you eat the dark chocolate, almost pure cocoa, it is better for you, but I don't like the stuff. My choice is the sweet, milky version, with or without fillings or toppings of an even sugarier variety.

And I know all about sugar highs and lows and how bad it is for you in the long run, but if it's there in the house, it has to be eaten.

In my more controlled moments, I have a low GI diet, to maintain my energy levels and reduce cravings, and we don't have much chocolate in the house, so temptation is not there, but there are certain times of the year when it all gets completely out of control, and I know it'll take weeks to get back to an acceptable chocolate level.

Mothers Day is a killer. I saw the other half in Kmart, near the chocolate aisle, choosing presents with the kids. 'No!', I said, 'I don't need chocolate', but he knows, and the kids know, that mummy was kidding. She loves chocolate. Why wouldn't she want a box or two and a couple of packets of Freckles for Mother's day. Why? Because three days later there is only a half empty packet of chocolates left, and they're the dark ones which I officially don't like, but given the right moment could eat if there was no alternative. I did share some with the kids. We had Freckles before breakfast on Mothers' Day. (Hey, it's my day, I'll do what I want.) and the other half definitely sneaked a few after I'd gone to bed. But most have been consumed by me.

I thought I was alright this Easter. We were in the UK for the egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and Easter cakes, and we flew home the Friday after. As you know, you can't bring food of any sort into Australia, so we let the kids know that they had to eat (or give mummy) their chocolate before we got off the plane, otherwise it would be thrown away. They were very good about this, and when we got home Holly's best friend had left her a little esky filled with Easter eggs as she knew she wouldn't have any. So sweet of her. And so dangerous for mummy.

Easter eggs are off limits, unless the children are feeling generous and hand them out, but in my experience, after a few weeks, they get put to the back of the cupboard and forgotten. And it is of course, my responsibility to eat them. After all, chocolate has an expiry date, doesn't it?

And to top it off, when Holly went back to school, she found she'd won second prize in the Easter colouring competition. And the prize? Yes, a basket of chocolate Easter eggs....

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Saturday, 7 May 2011

Flying with kids - coping with jetlag

We recently had a three week trip back to the UK to visit the grandparents. Having now had a week at home trying to cope with the normal day to day routine whilst suffering serious jet lag, we feel we need a holiday.

A friend questioned why anyone would actually choose to fly for 24 hours with children when there are beautiful holiday spots so close to home. I agree, but when it is our choice to desert our homeland and live thousands of miles from the rest of the family, we have to accept that a regular trip home is part of life.

Somehow, going over, the jet lag was not so bad. In fact for the first week, the children went to bed before 7:30 without a fight or a whinge or even a request for extra stories. Bliss. Coming back to Australia, they are also asleep before 7:30, but wide awake at 2 o'clock in the morning, ready to party. I am falling asleep in their beds reading bed time stories, and have accepted I have no evenings this week. I too am awake in the middle of the night, but for a sleep deprived mother I tell myself to pretend I'm having a lie in, and can quite happily stay there until I eventually fall back to sleep. Only to be woken again at 5am.

It won't last forever, I know, but it does put a damper on the holiday mood. Drugs have been suggested, as they were for the flight, but so far I have resisted. I cannot quite justify it, as I would be drugging my children in order for me to get a good night's sleep. For despite the lack of sleep, the kids still somehow manage to have their usual annoying amount of energy during the day. I was fully prepared to allow Holly home from school early several days this week, picturing my poor child falling asleep at her desk, but no. In fact, 3 days after returning to school she won the student of the week award for her class. She's obviously better in small doses.

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