Friday, August 28, 2009

Moral dilemmas.....of a mother.

Supposedly writing can be therapeutic so maybe this will remind me of how very lucky I really am when I reread this post. So here goes.........

Recently I have been frustrated with the changes that have come with moving house, renting and staying at home with babies.
My social conscience and moral grounding is being put to the test for sure. I am finding myself making decisions that I am not entirely happy with and I'm wondering whether I can turn them into something positive.
A few things are particularly "bugging" me.

BUG #1. Cloth nappies verses disposable.
Oh, I love the convenience of the disposable. It's easy, reasonably comfortable for the child and fits into the bin nicely. But, this is where my inner turmoil begins. Recently we ran out of tank water. The rental property we live in does not have mains water, but a large rain water tank in the back garden. The "purchasing " of water led to discussions in our household, including the children, about how we can better conserve water in our daily operations.
Generally we all feel we can make a difference, while brushing teeth, rinsing dishes, washing cars, etc.
The "yellow let it mellow, brown flush it down" didn't sit so well with the girls....but they will adjust.
However is the constant filling up and spinning of the washing machine full of lovely cloth napppies ...DAILY that is really sucking up the rain water. Oh and the shower, but I'm not willing to give those up.
I am now finding myself using the disposables to save water...but filling landfills at the same time. It is ......putting it mildly......pissing me off!!!!
I am extremely impressed with Karen Upsten, a Rangiora woman who has opened a composting plant with her husband in North Canterbury for an environmental method of the disposal of nappies. Fantastic idea and I applaud her for achieving this. I now need one in Whangaparaoa.

BUG #2. Food waste.............compost, landfill or burn.
When I was living in our Rangiora property I had a garden, one I was very proud of, (and have missed lately, but that is really another post altogether). We had three compost heaps on the go and created some lovely rich soil for the flower and shrub gardens.
At our current property we have no edible gardens, a few shrubs, couple of trees.
The positives are that we are not spending every weekend pruning and weeding. Oh, but I miss those compost heaps. Our food scraps....which if you have ever fed children will know can be in large quantities, have nowhere to go.
Mark started a worm farm..but we don't really have the balance of ingredients on our property. A healthy compost, as you know needs a balance of green, brown, wet and dry. If these elements are out of wack then you either end up with dust or a soggy mess. Neither is useful or healthy.
We have very few weeds, no spare soil or twigs, but plenty of food scraps.
So here is where I must make a decsion that does not make me happy.
Do I put these extras into landfill.......not happy!
Do I burn them thus not filling landfill but still creating some nasty emissions.....not happy!
Do I throw them over the fence?.................tempted.

I have learned over time that food or green waste of any sort actually rots and heats in landfill to the point where it creates some rather devastating gasses, including methane. Devastating because so many households dispose of them this way and the gasses are harmful to the environment.
I also love compost. Yeah, I might be a little odd, but there is something very satisfying about creating rich, nutritious soil to be put back into your garden......for FREE!!!!
I miss that.
Maybe the council here takes green waste?? That could be the answer to my problem.

So I need to focus on what I AM doing to support my environment:
Recycling bin, reusable supermarket bags, make own cleaners for house eg vinegar etc, try not to put too much gladwrap in the kids lunchboxes, recycling clothing at opportunity shops, recycling paper and cardboard, turning lights off.
There are probably other things I can't think of but at least we are making an effort and my kids will hopefully continue and do even more with there families in the future.

BUG #3 Stay at home a new town!!!
How can I be BORED....there is SOOOOOOOOO much to do! I bet 'cha every stay at home mum has one of these moments. I have had few myself recently.
Not all aspects of staying at home with your children are negative. It can be extremely rewarding.
I think many mothers, myself included would agree that nowdays it is a privledge to be able to stay at home with your children. Not all mothers can financially, finding themselves putting young babies into childcare. I have had toddlers in daycare before and it didn't always feel like the right thing. On the other hand I love teaching and my two year olds benefitted from having a busy, challenged and happy mum.
Well, I am at home full time now and am very busy, occasionally challenged and mostly happy.
I consider myself to be a relatively motivated person in my work and love a little stress to keep me on my toes. The challenge in my current life is to somehow recreate this for myself, by myself. I think one of the greatest challenges of being at home 24/ 7 is to create variety, yet routine. Is this possible?
Being a teacher I am used to lessons changing at regular intervals thoughout the day and even then you never know if it is going to go as planned....I love that!
How am I going to get that into my day, at home? Everyday I get up to children that need the same things, go to the same places, make the same the same places.
Housewives and mothers can rearrange the pantry or fridge shelves many times over and feel quite proud of their efforts. Every cupboard in the house could be folded and sorted, but it can't be done everyday and REALLY, do I want to look back on my life and remember that!!!!. I'm starting to wonder if there might be many very lost, crazy women out there, rearranging shelves of family bits and bobs. Maybe I'm heading there myself.

So what do I do about this dilemma......
* I walk outside and remind myself that I'm alive and only have babies for a short part of my life so remind myself to enjoy it.
* I visit the supermarket and talk like a crazy woman (it's so nice to talk to someone who talks back!!!!), to the checkout girl who looks frightened by the time she has finished packing my bags. ( At least it might put her off having babies too early).
* Somedays I don't tidy the house until AFTER lunch........naughty I know....... but it means I get to roll around on the floor with Phoebe. The stuff is always picked up before everyone else walks in the door later that afternoon.
* Skype coffee dates. My best friend and I have discovered if we make coffees and skype we can pretend we are sitting in the same room, baby in bed. It's almost civilised.
* Offering to help at school and kindy. Well I have tried, but with a baby in a pram I'm not the most attractive offer. This hasn't worked yet. But give it time.
* Drive to a new part of town and explore. If I can drag myself away from the clutter left around from three kids, close the door behind me and leave, then this is wonderful for a while. It makes the cleaning up later a little more bearable.
* Drag out all your old CDs. The most brilliant idea I've had in ages. Hilarious fun!
My girls don't mind seeing me dance too much so it's working ok for me. I'm ashamed of the albums I thought I had, but never bought and a little horrified to see what musical phases I have been through. Oh but I have missed playing and performing music. Phoebe and I sing together a lot, well I sing and she sways. Maybe I should hunt out a local choir??
* Get fit!!! Whangaparaoa is a challenging place for post pregnant gals like myself to get fit again. But endorphins are bloom'n fantastic things!!!!!!!
* Teach the kids to do more around the house. Yes it is my job to run the house, kids and food etc but it is important that the kids don't start treating their mum like the 'maid'.
* Jump in the car after tea and buy ice-creams. Spontaneity speaks for itself really.

Saturday morning television. A marvelous thing :-)

Saturday's notes...
I started writing this yesterday while the house was quiet and I was in a "mother at home" grump. Since then, after a lovely day out with my family I have cleared out some of my grumpy cobwebs and am now in a far more positive frame of mind.
I feel I now should really reflect on some positive aspects of moving up here:

* Today I remembered that we own a paper shredder. A brilliant resource for creating some compost material. I'll hunt that out this week.
* I am so very lucky to have an extremely healthy, energetic family. Yes, they keep me on my toes and my head spins sometimes. But you've gotta be grateful for health and energy.
* I may be finding it difficult to find some new contacts and friends..........but in the meantime I still have other wonderful people whom I love, and love me right back. Making regular contact with them is very good for the soul I'm finding!!
* Am I not the luckiest person alive to be able to sit around on the computer while my baby sleeps.......listening to native birds??????
* In the past few weeks I have got much better at cooking and am now dishing up a variety of delights for the troops!
* I have a choice. I can clean or leave a mess. I can cook or let them starve. I can dust or learn the guitar. I can vacuum or play with the baby. It is all about choice and deciding what is important for our family right now.
*Children are only children for their childhood. After that I'll have adults to worry about and wonder where the hell all the years went. I know this because I have very good friends with adult children and I hear them exclaim these feelings regularly.

So being happy...........and not wasting life while our lives go through a variety of changes. It is proving to be my greatest challenge at the moment.
I miss my job teaching in the classroom, but in reflection am doing an extremely important job. A frightening job! Good grief.......I'm responsible for the physical, intellectual and emotional health of three human beings. (not including that of my own and hubby's).

At this point I wish I had medals I could send to every mum I know. Mothers of animal, plant or children material, it really makes no difference.

I take my hat off to all of you. xx


  1. Great thoughts Jaz... and totally understandable that you feel a little adrift after the move. Being taken out of the immediate reach of your friends and family will always leave a gap, and although we all know you will manage fine, that doesn't mean it will be easy either. Motherhood never is... and you are not getting into places that are conducive to making friends yet either.
    I am sure it will get easier. Just right now, your needs are not being met as well as they could be!
    I do remember that after a year home with each of the children I always returned to work part time. The thing that always told me it was time to return to work was when I found myself repeatedly cleaning the footprints off the floor at the back door and grumbling at the family for daring to dirty it! Believe me, life is too short to clean and fold all day - get out whenever you can :)
    Reading that book "Mothers Matter Too" was also a help - when is your time?
    fi :)

  2. Hi you, I have just caught up with your posts. I remember you telling me about your blog, I never asked you where it was. I am reading it now and I LOVE it. You have a lovely way with words. I am sending you the best get well thoughts from myself and my family to you and yours. I wish you well. Helen ( a fellow WPC Playcentre Mum ) x


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