Tag Archive | "guilt"

About Grandparents

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About Grandparents

Posted on 07 September 2015 by Kristrun

Most of us were lucky enough to grow up in a loving family and environment.  Most of us have parents that we love and who love us back.  As mentioned in my last blog, parents can be helpful, and also unhelpful, when it comes to the first days with a new baby, partly because when they were raising their children, the environment and advice was very different to now.

It is hard for parents to abandon their beliefs and habits and they do not always understand the way our generation does things as parents – all the access to courses and information, how we research and investigate before we do anything.

In fact, our parents are often of the belief that despite it being great to be able to get support from the internet and our friends, the overflow of the same is only making our lives more confusing and frustrating. Taking away the independence and “get on with it” parenting.

Of course, we all know this and probably agree to a point, but we cannot go back in time.  And to be honest, there are so many things from the past that we are grateful to not have to go through. I am not even going to start the list of comparison.

What I wanted to remind us all of was that grandparents, despite their perhaps different opinions and other difficulties (the typical MIL issue), are not something we should take for granted.

The day will come, and has already come for some, that the grandparents will say goodbye for good. There will be no more remarks or comments, no more unrealistic demands or opinions, no more decisions on how to split the holidays etc. 

And in my opinion, to have grandparents in my children’s lives, is such a treasure.  They add such tremendous value and richness into the lives of those kids – they teach them so much by just being there.  By their manners, their personalities, the way they speak, think, the things they have gone through in life, their way of handling situations, money, travels, how they hold books when they read and how they patiently cut the food for the children.  How they have time, and make time, and quietly teach them without teaching them.

Everything about the grandparents is different and not easily emulated by those of a younger generation.  It is something that comes from living through the times they lived through, growing up amongst larger families and more generations of people under the same roof. Having gone through the times where money, electricity, heat, access to all sorts of products and services was limited, travel was not an option so easily and more and more.

If we grew up in a loving household where our parents were kind to us and did their best, our parents deserve, however annoying they may sometimes be (I mean this in a humorous way), that we treat them with dignity and kindness back. Perhaps they can sometimes just have their way with the kids, without us getting annoyed.  Perhaps it will not do any harm to our children.  And perhaps, we need sometimes to slow down and remember to enjoy all the moments that we have with our own parents too. 

Every year I try and “let go“ of my kids for a few weeks and they grow up in the arms of their grandparents. I try and let them not be guests in the homes of their grandparents, but rather to live with them. I am lucky, as the grandparents have health and the willingness to offer and welcome this.  They get something out of it too, of course.  But it is not something I take for granted. 

 

Of things in life that my children have, I rate this amongst the highest of all things.

 

Hulda 2015

 

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About support

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About support

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Kristrun

hthorey

Most of us have many loving family members and friends that surround us when we have a  baby. Even if we are living away from home, often our nearest and dearest will come to visit to offer their help and support and of course many others want to feel involved and offer advice. I remember it being so nice when the extended family offered to help and even just spend some time at home with us and the new baby, once some time had passed and we were getting used to this new reality. Luckily for most new parents, the support is genuine and needed.

Last month, I was seeing a woman at home to help her with breastfeeding.  She was having a hard time adjusting her sleep to the baby and breastfeeding was more tiresome than she had expected.  I guess we have all been there at some stage.  What caught my attention was that she kept repeating to me how supportive her family was and that she really should be grateful.

She had a little bit of – again what most of us have unfortunately – the ‘good girl’ syndrome.

She felt she should be grateful, even though actually the support that she was getting was entirely on the terms of the givers – not the receiver. The kind of things she was hearing, I have heard many times before….

“He is just hungry, I really think we should give him some formula, you have had no rest“

“If you want us to help, we need to be able to soothe him, and obviously we cannot breastfeed him.“

“You really should go out more, it will do you good, plus we have not seen any of Hong Kong during our stay here…. let’s go for lunch.“

“A baby should self settle, crying does no harm to them“

The thing is, all of the above can be said and may sometimes be appropriate, but it is NON-SUPPORT when it is given in this format.  It is not actually helpful, especially in a case like this, where the mum was just in a very normal situation – baby was sleeping well but waking up reasonably often, gaining loads of weight and nothing wrong with him.  But what has got to be remembered is that our parents’ generation grew up in a different environment to us.  They received very different instructions and advice from those in the know and sometimes, despite their best intentions to support, they just don’t actually know how to.  Hence the comments that don’t help.  So it is important, before inviting them, to ask yourself if they will actually be helpful, i.e. are they happy to just hang around you on yours and your baby’s terms.

Another comment I had from a lady not so long ago threw me completely.

“My husband is so happy how everything is going well but he really thinks that I should stop breastfeeding now“.

The couple had a two months old baby that was happily breastfeeding, no problems at all.  The opinion expressed, was because the husband was uncomfortable with his wife breastfeeding right from the start – happy to tolerate it for a certain amount of time – but was of the opinion that it was inappropriate and unnecessary. He was formula-fed himself, as his mother had reminded him, and he really did not see the need for it.

A part of me wanted to scream.  Sorry – but I really feel that that this is simply not even something that anyone, but the mum, can even have an opinion about, let alone express it to the mum. How dare anyone suggest that she should not feed her infant when everything about it is going very well?

A part of me remembered that this is actually, all about how people are raised, what information they are given and so on.  Of course this dad really must not know any better.

So parents, we really do need to educate our kids well.  Raise them up in an environment where this is not even a debate.  That they understand that breastfeeding is normal for babies for as long as mum and baby want it and nobody should question that.  Equally, that when someone bottlefeeds their baby, they are not entitled, as kids or adults, to judge that.

And when we grow old ourselves, let’s try and remember, when our kids have children, that we can support them a lot.  But it is not our role to tell them how to do things.

“Surely this kid needs to socialize“ – I was once told about a 3 week old.
Seriously!

Hulda x

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Mothers’ Day. Every Day.

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Mothers’ Day. Every Day.

Posted on 10 May 2015 by Kristrun

mothersMy Facebook page is today inundated with messages from everyone around me about Mothers’ Day.  As a result I am reminded of the fact that it is “Mothers’ Day”.  One more time, how annoying.  From the grumpy corner in which I sometimes sit, I cannot help but think, how many mother’s days are there per year? Or how many should there be?  I find this just as annoying as all the Valentine’s Days and whatever else they are called. There seems to be no end to all sorts of special days that actually we should be celebrating every day and not restricting to an annual and public display on social media but rather to actually focus on being nice to each other, wherever we are, with those around us.

Sorry, readers, I actually am nice to people most of the time, although these words do not sound like they come from a nice person.  I just get very annoyed sometimes in between.  A little bit like the character Dr. House, if you know him.  You can interpret it the way you like.

Nevertheless, it is, in fact, Mothers’ Day.

I just sent my own mother a rather difficult email about her flaws.  But that could have been any other day, life goes on you know.  Are we supposed to behave better on these special days?

No – we probably should all try and behave, live and think a little better every day. About ourselves, our mothers, our children, other people around us in general.  Because to be human is also to be nasty, selfish and unkind.  Greed, lust and whatever all the other sins are called…  And sometimes it can be an effort to think kindly of others, or to be grateful for what we have. Not you?  Great, but most of the rest of us could do with a little wake-up call every now and again.

There are people suffering everywhere around the world.  Of course the latest on everyone’s minds is the terrible disaster in Nepal. It makes it hard to celebrate – if you start to think about it too much – your own victories and successes and good life.  But as I said before, life does go on and we carry on the best way we can.  So we can brag about achievements and our own great children and I can tell everyone how I actually ran 5 km in less than 30 minutes (if that ever happens), without feeling too guilty about the mothers in Nepal.

So I am going to tell you about two mothers that I admire.  None of them has had a tough life as such.  But they both deserve admiration for their everyday efforts to make their children happy, to keep the ball rolling and being the ones that carry much weight of the routines and rhythms of their households.  And let’s not forget – and I think us mums all agree in this – that the routines of one’s household can be quite a task to manage.

When I was little, my mother had me, a total nightmare child that was all over the place from day one.  She was 20 years old and had moved from the capital of Iceland where all her family lived, to a very small town of 150 people in the rural north of Iceland, 650km away.  Three to four months of the year there was so much snow there, that the cars were snowed in and could not be moved, but most families did not even have a car so that did not matter anyway.  When we were out playing with our friends in the village, our parents would have a certain light turned on in the house to indicate to the other parents that we were playing at that place, because in those days there were no phones in most homes, so  it was not possible to call and check. The young families of Iceland in those days had little money and none extra, and made do with whatever they could, so my mother and grandmothers hand-made much of our clothes and fixed the ones that broke.  They baked the bread and the cakes at home and there were few days in my youth where there was not freshly baked and yummy food available for our teatime snack.  Because my mother had gone to “Good Housekeeping School” (for the lack of better translation), good housekeeping was definitely important and the standards were not dropped when my three siblings were born, two within a year, in December and January of the same year, and my youngest sister six years later.

My mother annoyed the hell out of me when she was running the household in her very organized way.  I was so pissed off as a child or teenager to have to participate in all the chores and cooking and babysitting, it must have been hard to chain me down to do all of this.  And I think the reason that I like Baby Led Weaning (another concept that pisses me off – why do we have to label everything, so that some greedy person gets royalties every time a child sticks a carrot in its mouth) is because I fed my siblings so often as a kid that I got the overfeeding-others-disease.

But she did a fantastic job in her mummying and housekeeping, my mother.  Despite me being rather un-upbringable, I did learn stuff, and I was well loved.  I learned to be sustainable and take care of myself and others at a young age.  I learned that things don’t get done unless someone (I) does them.  And that playing with your siblings is actually way more fun than playing with anyone else.  I learned to fix things, to bake and to cook, and a lot of other practical household skills that have, even in Hong Kong where everything seems to be done by a specialist, gotten me far.

I also was very much loved, despite me being annoyed by my mother. There was always time for us children, and our parents took extremely good care of us through our hobbies and school, without hovering over our heads all the time, but by supporting our uniqueness and our strengths by nurturing them further. Mostly I did not see all the little things that my mother did for the household, or for me, while I was busy playing in my worry-free world as a child.

While my mother had friends amongst the 30 or so other mothers her age in the village, there were few “me days” like we get nowadays.  There were certainly no mani–pedis and dream on about suggesting that she would go out for a little morning jog before everyone woke up. If not too exhausted by yesterday’s work, there was plenty to be done each day, other than “me” stuff.  And as it was not until I was quite old that my parents got a decent washing machine, the laundry piled up easily in a household of five and later six.  I think that my mother was happy though, and she got her me-times differently; through drop-ins between the mums in the village where they would give each other a cup of coffee and a taste of the latest bakings, gossiping about what had happened in the days before.

Funnily enough, these kind of drop-ins is something that I have often thought that the mums in Hong Kong could so do with.  Casual and non-prepared, just genuine friendship and a check to see that everyone is doing fine, while children play without the mums being in a structured paid playgroup environment.

I can only imagine that sitting down with a friend must have been great after chasing after me, taking care of my one and two year old siblings and managing all the household chores at once without help.  Just going to the shop that was open a few days a week, with snow up to your waist and having to pull and carry all three of us, to buy milk – took two hours.

You are wondering, where was my father?  Just like today, in those days, many fathers were working a full day and in the year 1976, it was more common for dads to have a social life after work than for mums to have it.  They would play Bridge, volleyball and go to a Kiwanis meeting (a mens’ club) in the evenings.  No offence to my father, he is also a great man and did lots of great things with us, but this was the atmosphere of that time.

There are so many things that I could say about my youth and my mother and I am certainly not writing this about our life to have you think that we were very poor and struggling.  This was just the life that the year 1973 in Iceland offered and everyone had to get on with it in the best way.

In 2015 in Hong Kong, we have other battles and joys, quite different ones, us mums here in Hong Kong.  A lot is shared and many feelings are the same, as when my own mother was raising us.   It may be worth it, while we moan about our helpers and complain that we cannot have a shower before lunch with our singleton child in our 100K a month flat, to think a little bit to the year 1973 in a small town in Iceland, and then perhaps moan a little less.

It may not work, again, all our troubles and emotional ups and downs may be very relevant to each one of us as we go through them – and despite all the real sufferers of this world – but it may well make our challenges a tiny bit smaller.

Happy Mothers’ Day my dear mothers in Hong Kong and around the world, I hope my own mother one day realizes how happy I am with her upbringing, love and support for all of the 42 years that I have managed to spring through.  And I so dearly hope that my own children will love me as much as I love her, despite all my flaws and grumpinesses, for another 42.

This blog entry has already gone on far longer than I planned, so I will tell you about the second mother in my next post.

From the very imperfect mum of 4,

Hulda Thorey.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Hush Little Baby

Posted on 26 March 2014 by Kristrun

Babies can’t do a great deal. But they can suck and they can cry. So it is no great surprise that one is commonly used to stop the other. Sucking soothes most babies, even when they are not hungry, but it can be painful (and inconvenient) to always resolve this need with the breast.shutterstock_40760569

Pacifiers, dummies, soothers, binkies – it seems each family has their pet name – and they have been around in one form or another for centuries. Loved and hated, it seems, in equal measure, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Feeding patterns

Pacifier use in very small babies can cause some upset with breast feeding patterns. Initial milk supply is very much dependent on sucking and babies can gain satisfaction with a pacifier even though it is not filling them up. “It is therefore”, says Conchita, not recommended to introduce the dummy for the first few weeks until breast feeding is well established at around one month and your milk supply has adjusted to the needs of your child”. It used to be the case that breast-fed babies were discouraged to use a pacifer to avoid any nipple/teat confusion. There is however, no real evidence of this, and bottle fed babies can use a pacifer from the get go.

Fall out

Babies will quickly settle with a dummy, but conversely will wake and fuss when it falls out resulting in the (familiar to many) night-time routine of waking-dummy out-dummy in! Some parents will go to extremes of stashing several dummies in the cot or tying them onto the cot bars in an attempt to avoid the ‘lost dummy’ syndrome! In light of this, it would seem preferable, in a perfect world, for your little one to settle without a pacifer.

Habit

It creates a very hard habit to break. Children do get very dependent on their beloved dummies and this can cause great upset when mum and dad decide the time has come to lose it. However, it is possible to do with some planning and there are some wonderfully creative ways to do this – to leaving it for fairies to take or sending it other babies who need it more than your big boy or girl – and there are many children’s books based on this. It has to said that freeing a child of a dummy is a lot easier than doing it with their own thumb which is available at all times and forever! Conchita reminds us that “tired dummies are dangerous” and it is important to check for any perishing of the teat which can be a choking hazard. Similarly, the practice of cutting a hole in the teat (to discourage use) is also not recommended when weaning from the habit (ideally between 6 and 12 months).

Ears and teeth

There is some evidence that dummy-suckers suffer a greater number of ear infections. Although it is not known why this is, the changes in pressure between the ear and the throat due to prolonged sucking is thought to be a contributor. Strong, prolonged sucking is also thought to cause dental and speech problems in older children (contact Dentist Near Me Directory for more details). These are reasons to take away the dummy as your child becomes a toddler, or at least to limit to bed time only so your child is not constantly talking with an object in his mouth. Conchita also recommends the exclusive use of orthodontic pacifiers.

Missing signals

Such is the soothing and calming effect of the pacifier, that a real risk is that other reasons for fussiness are missed, such as pain or illness. It can also decrease interaction and communication between carer and child.

Super suckers

Some babies really do need to suck past the point of nutrition, and a dummy satisfies this very real need.

SIDS

There is some evidence that pacifier use can decrease the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), perhaps by inducing a lighter sleep or, it is thought, by opening up the space between the nose and mouth. “Dummies can regulate blood pressure and heart rhythm in small babies” says Conchita “although supporting evidence for this is not clear”.

Peace

A fussy baby can be very difficult to soothe and a dummy can provide a solution which will improve the lives of the whole family. Peace is priceless. A pacifier will also bring comfort during times of stress, exhausting long haul flights, unfamiliar situations or simply when a child is over-tired or overwrought.

In short, current research suggests dummies to be pretty harmless in babies, if not actually beneficial. Try it if you feel you need to, and let’s be honest, during those first few crazy weeks home with a new-born, many parents are willing to try most anything to soothe their crying bundle. Just try to limit awake-time sucking, move towards an association with sleeping and start researching successful ways of encouraging its removal for later on!

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Screen time and Toddlers

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Screen time and Toddlers

Posted on 07 February 2014 by Kristrun

Most of us are guilty of using Peppa Pig or Thomas the Tank Engine as a pseudo baby sitter. Or these fantastic apps that can keep little ones occupied for indefinite periods. I’m putting up my hand, here – I use screens in my house to buy peace and quiet, some quality time for me and often just that one email or a cup of coffee. I do it despite knowing that when I remove the screen, they will cry, there will be a fight and they will beg for “just one more”. It’s amazing how addictive this screen is to these little creatures and how difficult it can be to balance screen-time and non-screen-time. The very fact that this term “screen-time” has so quickly become a part of our vocabulary is alarming in itself.

How much screen time is safe?

Research has suggested that if you introduce the screen too early, language development may be affected. Some even say that the child can be six times more likely to develop speech problems. Teachers and early childhood educators know that a child’s vocabulary can vary greatly from one child to another, and that can often be linked directly to screen time versus oral interaction with real human beings. People ultimately do not learn language from a TV. Expression, emotion, tone, pitch, and the myriad of subtleties linked with any language comes from human interaction. I recommend less than 1 hour total screen time per day per child from the age of 1-5. None, or as little as possible, for babies younger than 12 months of age.

Screen time and Sleep

We know that screen time close to bedtime will affect sleep. The lights from the screens – especially screens that are kept very close to little faces will have an impact on their sleeping patterns. Try to balance the routine around bedtime so that watching anything on screen is kept as far from the actual sleeping time as possible. Easy way to do it is to use the screens to quiet things down, then switch off, play quietly, have dinner, then bath, read a book and go to sleep.

Screens and meals

As tempting as it may be, we all know it is not a good habit to allow children to be in front of the screen when having a meal. It can affect the amount of food they consume and their overall eating habits. They may eat like robots and completely out of balance with their appetite. Children want to copy everything adults do – including eating. If you have fussy eaters or children not interested in meal times, the best advice is to eat with your children or have your helper eat with them, if it is impossible for you to do so. This will help in making them interested and engaged during feeding times. Eating should be a social time, and it is never too early to instill this association.

Stick with what works

Some will argue that there are many educational apps and TV programs that can be very good for children. That may be right – there are certain programs that are very well designed and can stimulate and teach children all manner of things. But children learn far more from interaction with you, or others around them. Focus on labelling your surroundings – talk about size, shapes, colours, emotions, distances etc. Also focusing on stimulating their senses by allowing them to touch and feel their environment, and make an effort to have them exposed to soil, sand, grass, stones, pebbles – as many different environments as you can. This varying stimulus is so important to a baby’s development. Good old fashioned books, nursery rhymes and songs, always work. One of the biggest problems society will face in the future will be children who have severe problems socializing and they will be hiding behind their computer screens, unable to cope with the world around them in all its unpredictable, messy, disordered, wonderful glory. By focusing on communication, verbal interaction and stimulation, we will help build a foundation for life.

Bear all of this in mind whilst being realistic. Sometimes the screen is a lifesaver for everyone. When travelling with my children in the double buggy- the small screens makes us capable of doing these long haul flights with layovers. And when they are sick – it completely saves everything to have Peppa Pig with us to shorten the day. But let’s make it an exception, rather than a rule. A treat, rather than the norm. A conversation with Mummy or Daddy beats Peppa Pig, hands down, every time.

Kristrun Lind – Mother of two toddlers

B.Ed, M.Ed. (Iceland, HK), C.E.C.E. (HK)

kristrun@annerley.com.hk

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Second Time Around: Raising Your Second Child

Posted on 20 November 2012 by Annerley

The second child - managing two children isn't easy, but experience helps!Let’s be honest, becoming a parent wasn’t exactly how you pictured it. Yes, there were some amazing pluses that you couldn’t possibly have known about in advance (who knew you could love somebody so tiny so much??) But there were also a few challenges that you weren’t exactly banking on. However, the point is that you made it through. In fact you did so well that you’ve only gone and done it all over again. And if that ain’t a sign of success, then I don’t know what is! So here to celebrate your new arrival is a short guide to what’s in store second time around.

Advantages

Your biggest advantage is that you’ve already brought a baby into the world and believe me, that’s a BIG advantage! You’ve been there and done that. You’re comfortable holding and feeding and changing a baby so your confidence levels are higher. It’s a huge help. Yes it’s true that no two babies are alike and you’ll quite likely need help with one or two new challenges but you know where to go for that help (hint: begins with a, ends with y). Also any fears you may have had about whether you could truly love another child like you love your firstborn are put to rest as soon as baby 2 arrives. Turns out there’s more than enough love to go round. What a relief! However even with all this experience, don’t underestimate the physical pressure of a second pregnancy and birth. Your body still has to go through it and recover from it at a time when you attention is being demanded by two children. Go easy on yourself. Work with your partner to find time for you to rest. And don’t forget about the hormones. These too take time to rebalance. Expect a period of adjustment. And as I always say: ask, ask and ask again for whatever help you need.

Challenges

The arrival of your second child brings two main challenges – Time & Guilt.  How to divide your time efficiently so you don’t end up feeling guilty about how you’re spending your time. You’ve arrived at a stage in your life where it’s imperative to be very, very, extremely organised. Two small children looking for your time, a relationship that needs attention plus the need for personal time means potential chaos without careful pre-planning. And with our old friend Guilt hovering at every corner, getting on top of both of these challenges becomes pretty urgent. You’d be amazed at the amount of calm and balance that you can gain simply by tackling these two issues head-on.

Good News!

So here’s the good news. If you haven’t managed to share your time out efficiently and are suffering from a daily dose of guilt as a result, I have a solution for you. Daddy 202 and Second Time Around for Mums are two new workshops that deal with precisely these issues. Find out how to banish the guilt forever whilst easily whipping your week into shape. Learn practical techniques for dealing with daily stress whilst discovering how to introduce more calm and balance into your family and your relationship. And if you join up for December’s classes, you could just find yourself waltzing into 2013 guilt-free and organised to the hilt! So what are you waiting for?

Full details here:

Second Time Around for Mums

Daddy 202

 

 

Workshop Facilitator & EFT practitioner, Orla Breeze works with new parents and parents-to-be here at annerley where she runs her popular workshops Daddy 101, Daddy 202 & Second Time Around For Mums

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letters from Thailand – my late maternity leave

Posted on 20 March 2012 by hulda

I have always taken on too much.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.  My kids suffer, my family suffers, my clients suffer and of course I suffer.  But most of the time all is good and the enthusiasm, the ideas and the usual energy have always been by best friends. 

In the last three years, my life has been rather more hectic than usual though, so much so that the two additional run-arounds-in-the-house (Saga and Vaka)  are almost self raised and Annerley that has been going through it’s growth spurts as well is bursting on it’s seams.  Luckily, there is help everywhere and I am fortunate that my family is big, very loving and helpful and everyone just makes things right.  And with the excellent staff at Annerley things are smooth there too. 

Now, i am writing this as I sit here on a beach in a little cottage in Koh Samui, where I “escaped” to two days ago.  Escaped, as there is so much to do and so little time!  And one of the things I realized that i had not done was to have my maternity leave with little Vaka, who was born almost a year ago.  For all of you mums and mums-to-be out there, i certainly do not recommend this and for sure I did not intend it this way, there were a combination of factors that brought this on, but again, lucky me, I did manage to slow it down for a while and till now always bring Vaka with me to work.  Now that I am here in Thailand, i have a little time for just the two of us to relax and enjoy a quiet time.  And it is absolutely gorgeous here! 

And what happens?  The usual mummy thing.  Guilt.  As soon as the feet step down on the ground from the plane, the massive guilt that the other kids are not here and that i have left them at home.  This is so typical, and although I knew I never would be able to do this type of a relaxed trip where there is just yoga, healthy food, beach, wind, sun, baby, breastfeeding and me – with all the family around, I still feel that I should have.  All mums that I know are the same.  They just cannot enjoy the downtime by themselves, they always start to think about the kids. 

As all working mothers that either choose or need to work, of course I am no different.  Comments from others like “I would never want to leave my kids with a helper, what is the point of having them then” are totally understood by me, I know why people say it and share some of the feeling about it.  But still, at the end of the day, I am a working mum and will continue to be one, so I have long time ago learned to accept that whatever time i DO have with my kids, I must make the most of.  And be happy. 

Hence this trip.  And it is making me VERY happy!

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