we collect treasures left by mother nature…
Posted in child's play, nature October 17th, 2013 by pia


…as we walk, as we walk… (quote from here)

Laly and I made this today, then went out into our back lane and collected nature’s treasures. I found the idea here. I used watercolour paints as I love the hues (except I need to work on the deep green, it’s not quite deep-leafy-green enough).


Then I made this one with purples, yellows, dark brown and grey as I found lots of those shades along our wander. The jacarandas are in bloom in Sydney right now and they are spectacular.



We’ve had a rough few weeks, Laly was very sick and we went to hospital a couple of times by ambulance (may I just say ambos are awesome – I have always been struck by their amazing strength of character, kindness and warmth). I won’t go into details about the illness but she’s made a full recovery, although sleeps  – day and night – have become a roller coaster ride again and we are so *$*%*#ing tired.  Last night was a good night! And I felt great after having 7 hours of sleep, so while she took her midday nap I felt like I had the energy to write this post instead of rest. She woke after only 50 minutes, I hadn’t even uploaded the images. I was so angry and frustrated, so tired of the crying. I tried to post this while she played a bit this afternoon but she wouldn’t have it, and I couldn’t make myself stick the the original post idea of just the photos, revealing only all the loveliness and ‘ease’ of the project, when in reality in trying to post about it took hours along with many tantrums (from both Laly and I) .

One thing that is frustrating me the most lately is seeing mum-bloggers post and post and post on an almost daily basis, with nothing but whimsy and love and everything rosy. Are their lives really like this? How do they find the time to blog about it?  If not, I want to know. I want to know the truth. I long to know  the truth. One of the things I love most about my friend Louise’s posts (52 suburbs) composed while travelling around the world is that at the end of each post she gave us a glimpse into the reality of her adventures taking her daughter Coco from country to country. What I love about artisan Eva from tinctory is that she tries to start making her beautiful silk pieces again but then has to stop because things change at home. She says so. And on the side of her blog she mentions that she looks after her daughter full time: thank you Eva for telling it like it is. I want more and more for people to tell it like it is. Since becoming a mum, I’ve never wanted for more than to find the truth, be the truth, remove the rosy layers built up over time. I don’t know if any of you feel the same, and perhaps hesitate to blog because there seems to be so many other women out there doing a better job at, well, everything. I’m going to be even more open here in the (blog)house than I have been in the past, if only for the people out there who are like me and need to know that life behind the scenes is far from rosy. x

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  1. Vanessa says

    Firstly, I love the nature’s treasures idea and thank you for the link. Perfect for the boys and I tomorrow as we are at home, and especially as we’re all into watercolours at the mo. Secondly, I know what you mean about needing a dose of reality. On the one hand, I don’t want to hear other people complaining and whining, because we all have similar struggles and because I like to be inspired first and foremost, but on the other hand if it’s too rosy all the time you somehow lose that sense of connection. People do it in different ways, but what’s important is that we all do what feels right for us, even if it perhaps makes others feel uncomfortable. Because what is fascinating to one will turn someone else away. We all have different needs. Glad your little girl is better.

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  2. Cynthia says

    I know exactly what you are talking about….I think every mother does. That is why we are called mothers…..as who would do this for our child EXCEPT the mother. I really feel for you and hope your daughter is feeling much better and that YOU are feeling much better. It may sound corny or whatever but when she is 22 years old you will get pangs,,,just for a SECOND,,,,to have your baby back but then you say omg,,,,:) but you WILL get through this,,,,we ALL do. Just know she needs you and this is the best job in the whole wide world,,,,believe me. Sending you happy rays of sunshine and smile ok…………here is to all the wonderful mothers in the world who take care of their children with love……..

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  3. Cynthia says

    oh yeah, forgot to say that your art is sooooo beautiful….you inspire me,,,,,thanks!

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  4. Becka says

    Oh Pia- hope you’re feeling a bit better- you sound exhausted. I’m not a mother, but I do understand what you mean about blogs only representing the ‘rosy- happy’ side of life. I suppose some people make the conscious choice to only blog about the good things, which isn’t very truthful. It’s refreshing to hear your honesty on the topic, hope things get easier for you soon. xx

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  5. Kate says

    Firstly Pia, I have read all of your books and love them!
    Secondly, this motherhood thing. I am a midwife and a child health nurse, and I can vouch for the fact that it is a hard gig.
    I was so consumed with anxiety when my baby was first born, that I started my blog out of a need to regain ‘some of myself’. Nothing, not even university qualifications can prepare you for the enormity of motherhood.
    I have found myself actually unsubscribing to some of the ‘mummy blogs’ that I used to love. I was beginning to find myself worrying whether I was spending enough time doing craft with my toddler, was I managing his tantrums apropriately, was I feeding him enough wholefood blah.. blah..
    Some(not all) of these blogs were making me second guess myself and my judgement – which on most days, is pretty good. At the end of the week, when managing work commitments and the general chaos of everyday life etc, I like to reflect on how we have travelled.
    I figure, as long as the good days always out weigh the bad, we are doing well. Thankfully they always do. Self care when you are sleep deprived is also really important although let’s face it, none of us are much good at that. Everything you are feeling is normal Pia. Motherhood is hard. I just hope you are not being too hard on yourself. I don’t doubt for one minute, that even on a really hard day, Laly is a very lucky girl.
    Keep the real motherhood posts coming… 😉
    Kate 🙂

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  6. Claudia says

    Hello Pia, how are you? It’s been ages since the last time I came here, my life has changed so much that I had no time to go through the blogs I once loved to read. And I was reading your post on the email and had to come here. First of all, I’m not a mum, but I so agree with you. Not being a mom sometimes I cannot understand how other women do it, if sometimes I struggle to do the things I have, being it work, house chores and taking care of a dog. And it’s great that you don’t want to contribute to the rosy life of bloggers, that sometimes make others believe that everything is smooth and great, are always having new projects and finding the time to make them work, dress up their kids, run a fabulous home and have charming husbands! Though I don’t want to read about negative things, because I don’t believe that blogs should be about the worse parts of someone’s life, I want to read the struggles to achieve something. I want to know that I’m not alone and that others feel the same or deal with the same frustrations I do. Thank you for being so honest!

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  7. posie blogs Jennie McClelland says

    Some of we mummies really do have babies who never get sick, barely cry & sleep extremely well. Early childhood is rosy. I had all my babies before social media. I have no idea how people manage blogging/ FB/ posting whatever daily, when they have little ones at foot during the day & a husband they should be spending time with at night. I know many don’t mention they have cleaners & babysitters (many don’t have sex!!) I started blogging when my fourth baby started preschool, it was in my time, NOT my children’s!!
    I had four sleepers, breastfeeders, who never even had a runny nose, a food allergy or day in child care. That’s just how it works for some of us. I appreciated every minute & know it’s pretty unique. Note: we are not rich!! It could be that they were born in outdoorsy Darwin, i was in my 20s, incredibly relaxed & i’m not afraid to say now (15 years later . . . ) i was made for pregnancy & motherhood. Especially twins. Twins made me a full time mother & completely fulfilled, at home, every day, i will always cherish them for that.
    I never joined a mother’s group – people didn’t want to hear the good – i didn’t have any slept deprived stories to share. Not sure why, gosh we had tantrums (public ones) – it wasn’t perfect, it was very real & a lot of work, i loved every minute of it!! Just because my children were easy, i was basically putting all my energy into them as my husband was constantly away, we lived in Army housing (i had nothing to decorate or potter around doing) JUST children (& a fledgling design business).
    My husband was sent to war 5 zones during our first 12 years of parenting, for 9 months at a time, it wasn’t like i had any choice but to cope, 4500km from my family & friends, i had to get my ‘everything’ sorted. It worked really well, i was completely undistracted, i was motivated & straight out of Uni. I started a sewing business from home, while the children slept (husband deployed). Designing filled in my lonely nights. I let many huge opportunities go by, as i put the children first, i have no regrets. Toss in a few interstate moves, a fourth child & three more deployments to Afghanistan . . . i am at the other end of the mothering cycle now – teenagers.
    There are certain personality traits i realise i have, which greatly advantage my mothering – optimism, high energy, tenacity. I still find, with four children aged 9-14, i have to defend why i found raising them so easy. Still!! I now just say i got lucky. You get better & better at parenting everyday. You have all sorts of curve balls thrown at you (finances, losing a parent to cancer, a bitchy sister-in-law attacking you, you try to sell a house which is valued less than you bought it for, your mother gets Alzheimer’s & doesn’t know who you or your children are . . . ) life can really suck. You just keep picking yourself up & keep going, for your children.
    I wish you well on your journey, everyone has a different approach to parenting, attitude to the ups & downs, but just know: your child loves you, no matter what. For me, with three in high school, i switched down my business to only the odd large commission, this has completely removed the pressure of other’s expectations (financially suffering, but so much happier!!) We are finally settling in one place, Canberra, such an easy town to live in. We’ve bought a farm & completely changing our lives. My husband is finally living in the same city as us again (after 3 years interstate) this was always the bigger picture . . . older children, a farm, the future. I knew it was coming, some dark nights – not knowing where my husband was, children upset about missing their Daddy, bills to pay, pressure to fulfil orders, being burgled . . . i’ve really had to cling to that picture in my head, of our future . . . all we can see now is light.
    Good luck. I have no idea if these words will help you, motherhood is dynamic & forever evolving, up & down, some people fake it (on line, i’ve never seen the point, yes post the highlights, but not dismiss the tough days) but it’s your life, reality & world, only yours matters to you. Trust me, from my experience, you will get stronger & babies grow into new stages with different adventures to have you laughing & crying, worrying & filled with pride. I halted blogging this year, as i found it was too time consuming (plus i blogged for my husband, while he was away for 3 years, & to share my business, both situations have changed) that lifted a load off my shoulders. Constantly assess & remove whatever is a burden, even if it’s something you love & enjoy, you can always go back to it, later, at a different stage. Love Posie

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  8. Wendy Nannestad says

    Thank you Pia for your humble honesty. I am a full time mum of three young boys. I am a creative person, a designer, a maker, a doer…although the later creatively happens as often as finishing a hot cup of coffee. Letting like-minded readers into the reality of motherhood and running a creative business/blog is humbling and refreshing. Much like that moment in the ‘English Patient’ where she walks into a pole after a romantic scene. Honesty brings us back down to reality sometimes with a smile and makes us all have faith that whatever we want to do creatively will happen…but in its own crazy, chaotic way and time, that is life with kids.

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  9. Wendy Nannestad says

    Ps, I love your natures treasures box, I must do this with my boys who constantly bring home all of natures treasures bugs and all.

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  10. nic says

    My kids are teenagers now but I remember this “urge” of other mothers to make everything look rosy and perfect even in real life. There seems to be some kind of taboo around admitting to the not so rosy times, everything has to be seen to be “wonderful” at all times. I always stuck to telling it like it is and soon enough those mothers opened up and almost felt relief at not having to pretend all the time…the “ideal” of the perfect mother/childhood is exactly that, an ideal – in reality we can only try to get closer to it and no one is at their best after 3 hours of sleep for the day. Hang on in there, they will grow up and you’re doing a great job. In the end the effort and the care and love is what makes a happy child.

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  11. Cath says

    I totally understand the need to hear it how it is. Which is @&$! And awesome. Hopefully with more awesome than not, but it can seem like forever between the amazing moments- an emotional roller coaster where you see rainbows and pitch black. All in the space of a few minutes sometimes! Nobody talks about this pre-birth, and most people don’t want to say anything negative post birth for fear of being labelled as having post natal depression, or maybe for fear of not being a good mother- or parent. I don’t know any mother who has actually found life with babies all rosy. And, if they say everything is rosy, I respect their right to privacy, but wonder how they ever manage the @&$!.

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  12. mel@ loved handmade says

    I don’t think it’s possible to always be rosy, we all live the chaos and madness, it’s just famy life! I think people post the lovely and the whimsy, and leave out the tantrums and the crazy because it’s like a little escape. I haven’t been able to blog regularly since our olive was born early this year and I miss it, but there just isn’t the time. Sometimes I’ll start a post and then not finish it or leave it unpublished because I wonder if anyone really wants to read the everyday, the mundane. Though I do like to look back on those posts as little momentos of the simple things. I’m glad your laly is on the mend, it must have been very frightening for you all to have her so sick. Take care..x

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  13. Aara says

    Thank you for writing a post that is so beautiful and charming, and also so real. Mothers the world over are thanking you.

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  14. Pooja says

    Thank you for writing this post. The Pinterstification of motherhood is doing all of us a great disservice.

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  15. Dulce says

    I don’t think most of the bloggers who have children have a rosy life, i’m sure they have to deal with tantrums and sick kids, just like you, but they also enjoy every single moment with their kids (just like you) and take every chance they got to photograph those precious moments. That’s why you see happy faces all the time, because when they are mad because the kid spilled the milk on their favorite carpet, they can go to their blogs and see all those beautiful moments and remember what really matters, not a carpet, not a 5 minutes tantrum, but the beautiful smile their child gave them when they were doing something lovely one day.

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  16. Jennifer says

    I remember so many years ago, seeing a cartoon in a newspaper. There was a very large apartment block, and at the window of each apartment was a person, and each person was crying out “Why can’t I cope, like everyone else can.” It didn’t tell me how to cope, just that I wasn’t alone in my insecurity, and it was strangely comforting to know I wasn’t uniquely useless among humankind.
    My heart goes out to you (and everyone else in the same situation) – dealing with illness in the ones you love. May the minutes of respite soon stretch into hours, and you can find time to relax your muscles and breathe deeply and, yes, even get another good night’s sleep – it does wonders.

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  17. Zuzanka says

    Truth is – the days are so tiring that sometimes I post a photo. Nothing more. Or nothing at all.

    Sometimes there are some nice moments. Just yesterday my daughter finally (she’s four and never wanted it before) asked for ice cream. I might write an elaborate and full of first-impression of life tasting experience note. Or the truth – she just licked it two times, gave back to me, said “I’ll eat it at home”, got grumpy when I explained that she cannot, got covered in chocolate dirt, throw out the ice cream ball to the dumpster, bit a ice cream cone, drop it and got angry. I got angrier.

    Helped you a bit?

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  18. Melissa says

    Love the art project – what a fun idea! Glad to hear that your daughter is on the road to recovery.

    Your thoughts on “reality” really struck me, and I know exactly what you mean. It can be difficult not to stack ourselves up against some of the things we see and read online, and it seems we are often left comparing our homes, our children, our art to others. I’ve fallen into that trap lately myself. I’ve learned to catch myself before I get too deep in comparison… every one of us is unique. Anyone who paints a picture of their lives as 100% rosy simply isn’t being honest, or chooses not to share the other aspects of their lives. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your life behind the scenes!

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  19. Vanessa says

    I have two young kids and have taken a career break to be with them until they are at school. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done and I have worked in many demanding roles. The one thing I’ve found is that just as you need to be able appreciate the lovely moments of parenthood you also have to lower your expectations. Sometimes I think the wheels fall off when I get too set on how I want, or expect everything to go. I have learned that plans are good but sometimes you need to change tack if something is not working out, the challenge is trying not to feel too resentful that this is sometimes necessary. It’s hard not to feel disappointed when you have all these great things planned, or just want to get the washing up done uninterrupted for goodness sake!. Yes some people would have you believe their life is as airbrushed and soft focused as their instagram pics but it’s all just a mirage. Sometimes its aspiration, sometimes its how life is but no one’s lives are like that all the time. No one’s, especially not a parent’s!!. Kids are wonderful but they are people too who get grumpy, sad or bored just like us. It’s crucial that you have time and space for yourself and your tasks and interests but my solution has been not to try to do stuff like uploading pics until my partner is around or at night when I know the children are unlikely to wake for a long stretch. At first I felt resentful that I felt like I was letting my kids run the show but I’m not, just being realistic and knowing that I wont feel as frustrated and upset if I work my day around their needs. I think we’re all just doing the best we can and it ain’t always pretty!.

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  20. Lise says

    Coucou Pia,

    I hope everything is ok now with Laly.
    I know exactly what you mean. The past year has been very difficult for me too, with a lot of frustration and deception from not seeing everything going as they were “supposed” to.
    But I recently found out about this big lie you refer to.
    Here are some blogs (in French) that make me laugh. Some women DO talk about how hard it is to be a mum sometimes (read what they write about the so-called “mères parfaites”)

    I hope it will help you as well.
    I wish we could talk this over here in the Gers with a good cup of tea.

    Bon courage, and keep on sending us beautiful images and thoughts. Tantrums are also welcome!

    October 18th, 2013 | #

  21. Bron says

    Life is never as it seems and as a mum nothing ever is straight, easy to do and normal. You are normal Pia 🙂

    A friend of mine Rachel Devine (Sesame Ellis / Rachel Devine Photograhy) is a mummy blogger and photographer and keeps it real also. Follow her and she will also keep you feeling normal. x

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  22. Limner says

    It’s good to see you post again. I made the day’s nature rounds with a plastic bag in hand. I count myself lucky to find the treasures left for my enjoyment and curiosity. I keep mine in little tins or tiny bottles. Some end up models for watercolors.

    I understand what you said about others painting rosy posts when the truth of it is many days are muddy and messy. Most readers want to escape from the very things you want to hear about. I learned this the hard way, and ended up scuttling four of my favorite blogs. Some well-meaning souls write and mention wanting to read only “fun” posts. It was sobering. I believe in the reality of my life so I cannot lie. My last two blogs have idle for months now, but I relish the odd open-and-honest, true-to-life posts from great bloggers like you. Being a mother is not easy. It helps when there are communities that allow the truths to be shared. Keep on being true to yourself and others like you will come. And share. You are a rare gem. Be well.

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  23. michele says

    Oh Pia – I am so sorry to hear about Laly and her ill health. And the troubles you had pre and post pregnancy. I totally understand where you are coming from and the difficulties that you are experinecing when it comes to finding comfort and support online. It can be difficult to open up and know that people appreciate your frankness and honesty. And coming from an arts background – I know that many just want to see the beauty, colour and light that your work holds for them – rather than the complete picture. Ive been blogging since 2008 and only mentioned the serious chronic illness that I live with, a handful of times. After 22 years and totally changing my life to keep health as my central focus, I truly sympathise with what you’re going through Pia. It is hard – but open discussions with lovely people are there… when you need them xxx

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  24. Janette says

    Hi Pia! I too have a blog and find it impossible to post daily (let alone weekly sometimes!). Looking after 2 kiddos full time takes an enormous amount of time so I post when I have a spare hour (rare these days!). I can be guilty of wanting to show snippets of the good times and not so much the bad times (like dinner time in our house just plain sucks and it would really put people off having children if they say the carnage post dinner!). So, kudos to you for being honest and saying it how it is!

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  25. Connie says

    Hi Pia,

    I also often wonder how do some bloggers do it. Be gentle with yourself. There are people who think that they have to portray a perfect life. I could never understand why they live such inauthentic lives. I personally know some people who did that for years and hid the ugly truth to mislead the rest of us.

    I follow Karen’s blog and she shared about how truth is misrepresented here, www[.]karenika[.]com/archives/23179. Of course, not everybody is like that. Still, it’s good to be aware that we really don’t know who we’re measuring up against; a real person or a Stepford wife.

    Thank you for sharing authentically and please continue to do so.

    October 18th, 2013 | #

  26. pia says

    thank you for your wonderful comments, I have loved reading all your thoughts and advice and wise words. I’m excited to read the blogs you’ve suggested, and I will reread your comments over the weekend as I want to take in all that you’ve shared. I would absolutely love to find a way to see things from a broader perspective, to get less hooked by the daily tough parts of mothering. With your support and encouragement I feel like it’s possible. Thank you for keeping things real in blog world, for allowing me the space to be real in blog world, for keeping the conversation open and honest. XX

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  27. Natalie says

    Ambos are the best! Love your honesty. I’ve recently started sharing more honest posts. why? It just seemed more honest, and it was a true reflection of what had been going on in my life.I’m not a mother but life always has its challenges and sharing our thoughts connects us to others. Take care x

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  28. Cat says

    I love the activity you show above and will absolutely do it too! Thank you!!!

    I have been blogging a long time though to a small audience. I have not found motherhood an easy journey at all. I’ve had non-sleepers and a heck of a lot of tantrums. I have so many strings in my bow at the moment that I am stressed out of my head. I’m sick of being whined at and having other people demand so much of me. And yet, I love them all so passionately. As your little one grows you will find the rhythm gets easier in a way. I don’t pretend to be perfect but I am careful with what I share. I shared more when my oldest was a baby and I felt that I needed to get things “out”. Now he’s bigger I am more careful with what I share about him though still share my own struggles. I guess people are scared of the judgement or that they will be thought less of if they admit to being scared or overwhelmed. And I’m both. Often. Xxxx

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  29. Honey says

    Hi Pia, I am surprised at the comments, some rather long ones that felt the need to boast about how easy they had it and how great they are? Wow, children that were never sick, slept really well, never had a day in childcare? Must have forgotten to mention this time about birthing her fourth child while holding a video camera and a phone while her husband was interstate?
    I think you forgot in your list certain personality traits like grandiosity? I don’t see how that comment was helpful at all?

    It’s hard. Really hard. I don’t know how people post daily. I haven’t blogged since I had a baby and I am not sure I will. I have found though a lot of bloggers posting every day have a lot of sponsored post so I guess it’s an income really.

    I do think sometimes lives look photoshopped, everything looks so perfect we know it’s not really like that, I don’t read those blogs anymore. I agree, it is incredible frustrating when you just want to do one little thing and it takes all day!
    I am glad your little Laly is out of harms way. X

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  30. Ameesha Lee says

    Dear Pia,

    Thanks for one of the most honest, refreshing posts on motherhood I’ve read in blogland for a while! I always see other Mum’s posts or photos with their amazigngly put together houses with fresh baked goods laying around while they somehow managed to get out of their trackie dacks & into some lovely outfit. Meanwhile my floors have mashed up banana all over them & I’m still in my pj’s at 4pm! Some days have just fbeen so hard & frustrating & worthy of a good snot-inducing cry! Now that I’m a Mama myself I know that every Mum has these days, even if they never show it! After almost 15 months I have finally started finding time to go to a yoga class weekly (can’t say enough about a bit of yoga to help the weary, aching Mama body!) and even then I have to force myself to commit to it, if nothing but for my own sanity! I hope you find the same opportunity to find time for yourself. You are obviously a lovely Mama who is doing the best she can, like all of us out here. Anyway, just wanted to chime in & say chin up! Love & respect from another Mum! xo

    ps. I’ve managed to blog about 1 post in the last 4 months! So your doing bloody good!

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  31. Sam says

    Thank you Pia for your honesty. I am a big believer in keeping it real, but I think some of us definitely have a harder time of mothering than others, for so many reasons. I look back at the rough start I had with my now two year old and wonder how I coped. It’s not nice to admit but I do sometimes resent other mums who seem to have it much easier. One book that was a saviour for me was The Mask of Motherhood by Susan Maushart, which looks at the odd taboo of honesty around motherhood, and made me feel less alone for seemingly focusing on the difficulties. Wishing you and your family peace and wellness. And thank you again for keeping it real. xx

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  32. Mel says

    Hi Pia,

    I have 5 children, 9 years down to 10 months. There is absolutely no way on this earth that I would ever have been in a position to blog after the birth of my first baby even if I was aware of blogging at the time. I found the first year intense and exhausting and it took me a while to get my head around motherhood. It wasn’t until 2 years ago (with a 7, 5 and 3 yr old twins) that I finally found time and energy in the evenings to do more things I enjoy and that is when I started a blog. I look after the children full time but they are all in bed by 7/7.30 and then that is the time I spend with my husband, reading or writing. I stay up late so there is probably a good 4 hours every evening to do the things I enjoy. I think that is very important for my sanity, and it means I literally leave everything as is, even if the dishes are still in the sink etc. Standards have lowered but we are all happier. I only have time to do one blog post a week, if that, and have absolutely no idea how other Mum bloggers blog during the day with children around – I wonder too what their Kids are doing while this is going on? My baby has a big 2 – 3 hr nap during the day so I can get some things done during that time but only if it is a day when the twins are at Kinder. Everyone has different goals for their blogs. For me, things are so busy and crazy during the day, there’s lots of cooking and cleaning etc but there are also lots of great moments and since my time is so precious, when I finally do get some time to sit down in the evenings to write a Post I choose it to be a record of the positive things I want to remember. Having said that, on my most recent post I mentioned being overwhelmed by the domestic stuff lately and try to keep things real whenever I can. You will never see a photo of my sofa perfectly styled with throw cushions because that doesn’t exist in my home and I’m not at all fooled by blogs that have overly-styled images of their interiors with young children around. I’ve been a parent for 9 years now and have a fairly good idea of what’s normal! I too find these rosy blogs rather irritating and don’t read them anymore. There is a big difference between focussing on the positive and portraying a false perfect life. You’re doing a wonderful job Pia. Take care, Mel x

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  33. Belinda Norrington says

    I have 4 kids, so you can imagine how much I empathise, especially with the sleep deprivation and the worry when they are ill. I started blogging when my youngest was about seven – I simply didn’t have the energy or mental space before that point – so anyone that blogs with young ones has my admiration! I can’t imagine how they do it but a little reality is so kind to the rest of us in a way – no one wants to hear a constant moaning session every blogpost, but some honesty and vulnerability goes a long way doesn’t it? We are human beings not a magazine pitch! I guess it slightly depends on what your blog means to you and what it is for?

    It can feel so tough sometimes being a mum, but one day your little girl will be all grown up and no longer wanting to paint in egg boxes and the memories you have created for her will be your greatest work of art,no? Actually being your daughter, you may be crafting delightfully with her for life!:) xx

    October 18th, 2013 | #

  34. Liza says

    Hi Pia

    I think it is fair to say that people who portray motherhood as a piece of cake are being extremely economical with the truth. It is a hard job, but also the most rewarding and satisfying thing in the world. Over the years you will find that you have to make compromises and decisions that seem to take away from your work, creativity or just ‘you’ time and it doesn’t seem fair…. I used to feel like this, but now that my children are young adults and we talk about these things, they appreciate more what I gave up for them and show their love in so many ways. I think what you put in to your relationship with your children, you will get out, but it is a long term investment, so don’t lose faith!
    For me Pia you are a shining light and a great inspiration, keep doing what you are doing, whenever you can, and we will love you for it!

    October 18th, 2013 | #

  35. Inge says

    Dear Pia, I’m usually not the commenter kind of girl, but I read this and had to reply. And then I read all the other comments and they are basically saying what I’m thinking. I don’t like to complain because what we have is wonderful and we (mothers) have been so blessed…there are many not as fortunate. And yet it is a good thing to stay in touch with reality. Yes, motherhood is hard, losing yourself in the process and having to reinvent yourself is also hard. Especially friends without kids don’t understand that you don’t have any time. And then there’s the blogs. Unsubscribing some isn’t a bad idea, as one reader suggested. Don’t compare your own backstage to everyone else’s highlight reel, isn´t that what they say? I don’t always feel like putting everything out there, it’s easier to share the good stuff. I run a blog and I find it my mission to lighten things up…there is no “roze wolk”, yet I won’t write about the bad stuff all the time…obviously. There needs to be a balance. Like you I feel the need to be real, even more so since becoming a mom. The blog is my outlet as well, a place for myself, somewhere I can run to, even. So I try to be honest, but I also try to have fun and look for the pretty little things, and I share that too… That doesn’t mean I don’t cry, get cranky, tired and fed up… I am at home with my 2 boys under 3 fulltime and also trying to run a business from home…and I question myself pretty much every single day. There’s never time, or focus, or even energy. Yet I have no choice but to start every single day with a happy face and a purpose because without it, I would definitely lose it!
    So in short, no, you are not alone. Thanks so much for being so honest, I applaud you. And remember that you are doing just fine. Roots to grow and wings to fly, that’s all your little girl needs.
    Glad your daughter is feeling better, take care.

    October 18th, 2013 | #

  36. Nic says

    This post was a breath of fresh air : thankyou so much for being a real person. You are certainly not alone on the rosy/real ratio of life. I have always enjoyed your view of the world aesthetically, and now I have added respect. Have a wonderful weekend. x

    October 19th, 2013 | #

  37. lisa | renovating italy says

    Ruddy hell yes I am tired of sunshine and lollypops blogs, what’s the point. I’m so glad yours was the first thing I opened this morning. The funny thing about sharing a problem is i get so many replies encouraging and consoling me and by then I have had a meltdown and moved on lol.

    My reality is often difficult, often revolves around our two children and things i am dealing with on their behalf. Things I have not been able to share other than with a very few close friends.

    I live now in Italy and it seems a lot like motherhood….the Italian dream must be preserved and not many bloggers really tell it like it is, I see the same thing with being a Mum, that hidden side that nobody talks about. I now feel such a connection with you that wasn’t there before. You are now ‘a real person’ with a life outside blogging and beauty. Thank you, it’s an interesting road we are all on together.

    ciao ciao lisa x

    October 19th, 2013 | #

  38. Tina says

    Pia, Thankyou for an honest from the heart blog. I had my two daughters at the age of 21 & 22 (13 months apart), and it was hard, and sometimes a lonely experience. Said daughters now have babies of their own, one has twin girls 16 months and other a 13 month old baby girl. So, I am now doing babysitting duties for them whilst they have gone back to work, and re-living my own baby years again, but in a more relaxed way. I think at the age I had my children, I was fit and full of energy, and as you get older having them, of course the stamina factor is not there. Pia, it may seem that this is a long hard tunnel with no light at the end, but I can assure you, there is, and always the light will outweigh the dark moments. You are a loving, creative mother, it just shows with the nature box, and all the other creative things you do for your beautiful little girl. These are the things she will remember, not the tired irritated mummy who just wants some time alone. I realise having three gorgeous little granddaughters how you can just let time slip away and miss the important things. As for the blogging thing, don’t worry what other mothers are doing. Nothing is as it seems. Who knows, these mothers may be blogging at the expense of giving their children the time love and attention they so crave. You, on the other hand just exude mother love, and I the best advice I can give you is just live in the moment and do not look over the garden fence, it will never be rosier in the long term than the life you have with your partner and baby… The Nature Boxes says it all, you are showing her how to love and enjoy life. I hope Laly is now recovering, and soon their will be a silver lining, and you will look back on fondness on just how well you did cope, even though now you do not thing you are. Mother Nature will never let you down x

    October 19th, 2013 | #

  39. augusta says

    Yes, yes, yes. I feel the same way about all you are saying. I want the truth, the real life, with everything that’s included: beauty, sorrow, frustration, anger, fatigue; whatever it is. That’s life and those are the things I like knowing I’m not alone with. And it’s so very helpful to hear how someone else has tackled these situations. Thank you Pia for all that you are. xo

    October 19th, 2013 | #

  40. Mary Jo says

    Hi Pia,
    I found it hard to get much of anything done when my kids were little. My friends describe me as capable, as in “you are the most capable person I know”. And I still couldn’t find a way to be both present for my kids and get much of anything done especially creative work. But, for me, that seemed to change almost overnight when each of my kids hit three. It may not be three for you and Laly, but rest assured, it does get easier! You are in the homestretch now 🙂
    Sending hugs,
    Mary Jo

    October 20th, 2013 | #

  41. Bec says

    I can’t thank you enough for posts like this! I am a first time mum, and have been so overwhelmed by the work of it all. I started an online business as ‘something to do when I had kids and left work’ and have felt like I have been treading water ever since my son was born because of it. It is so hard, especially seeing other mums through social media, who, as you say, seem to be able to do it all so easily. Your post has made me feel so much better, thank you.

    October 20th, 2013 | #

  42. sarah says

    thank you!

    October 20th, 2013 | #

  43. Angy Braine says

    Lovely lady… we are our harshest critics are we not?

    I rummaged through some of my old stuff to find a piece of writing I did when my son was only two years old… I remember writing this and feeling ever so guilty… over a million things and thenonly one thing all at once. It gets easier… (when they start sleeping!) … Promise. ♥♥♥

    on motherhood

    when they hand you your child
    (unless you were blessed enough to pull it out yourself)

    they do not have any advice that suits
    because they are not us and we are not them
    and this is not theirs …. and nor is it ours

    what did Gibran say?…
    …something about …

    “They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you”
    but then why did I have them?
    what love is this?
    that robs me of my selfish senses
    that guilts me into stifling tears of hellish exhaustion
    that rips my heart out with every smile and hands it back bigger than before
    that confuses my career with things that matter
    that sings me a lullaby and reads to me of monkeys and fairies and dinosaurs
    that halves me and then makes me whole again
    what love is this?

    October 20th, 2013 | #

  44. Belinda Norrington says

    Ps just came across these words in your My Heart Wanders:”I’ve never quite understood why people prefer not to know about the real layers that make the whole. Is it to keep the fantasy alive? I,for one,love to know about everything going on backstage as well..” I think this is your honest way to understand the world, a gift and valued by your readers. Maybe why you also love the fallen, decaying rose as well as the new, fresh one? All part of life and all beautiful? Bx

    October 20th, 2013 | #

  45. Tara Bradford says

    The older I get, the more I seek the truth. I find myself growing impatient with illusion and fluff and image and hype. Am sorry to hear about your trips to hospital and am glad Laly’s fine now. We too, have been in ambulances to and from the hospital, just this past week. After six days in hospital and surgery, thankfully, David is home, recovering. Better days ahead for us all, let’s hope! Miss you! Recently I was saying to D how much I miss you living here. xx

    October 20th, 2013 | #

  46. Lucy says

    I agree with the comments who say that they don’t want to hear about people whinging and whining all day long on blogs. We get that enough already on Facebook. While I don’t have kids and don’t understand how hard that is (although I do try, through friends) I think you are forgetting that life is hard for many people, not just young stay-at-home mothers. Life as a single female can be tough too. I don’t have anybody else to pay the bills and if I don’t work, I have nowhere to live and nothing to eat. I do have a partner (but we don’t live together since it’s only a new relationship) but prior to that I had to go out all the time, after work, even if I was exhausted for both personal and career reasons. I would love to blog full time, even 2-3 times a week (not necessarily every single day) but working full time and having to take care of ALL household chores alone leaves me pretty exhausted. But at the end of the day I don’t want to read about people people whinging about that. If you think your life is hard, try being a single mother in a foreign country, without a partner or family nearby. You’re forgetting that you, yourself seemed to paint a pretty ‘rosy’ life back in Paris and Amsterdam, and that is why (I’m guessing) you got so many readers in the first place.

    October 21st, 2013 | #

  47. suzy says

    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time lately, trying to juggle being a mother AND keep a little bit of yourself is tiring anyway, and so much more so when children are sick. The same day I first read this post (it’s taken me a while to get back here to comment) I also read one from a blogger in Japan who I’ve been reading for years, her son is the same age as my younger child and what she said about struggling with the day to day really resonated with me.

    Try not to get dispirited by the “rosy” bloggers if you can – I think everyone approaches blogging differently, and for some people it’s not a deliberate attempt to gloss over the bad bits of the day, but maybe their way of staying positive and having a bit of control over things (when, living in a house of small children, there is very little). Also, different children need different amounts of attention – some play happily independently and take extremely long daytime naps, I usually guess that if some one has a little child and manages to blog and create a lot then they must have a good napper.

    A couple of books I have read and enjoyed were “Buddhism for Mothers” and “The Divided Heart” – have you read either?

    Anyway, I hope the sleep and nap situation settles down soon, I find everything seems better when you are less tired.

    October 22nd, 2013 | #

  48. Vanessa says

    Pia, I feel for you with a sick baby and being so sleep deprived. I look back on those exhaustive days when my three children were babies and my greatest goal in life was a good night’s sleep.

    I can’t agree with you though on wanting to read about all the problems people have. It might help the person writing but often those posts come across as whinging.

    Sure, it’s hard with little children, we all know that and remember the messy house, the sleep deprivation and crying little ones but who wants to constantly read about it?

    I too know people who’ve lost a child and women who have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. I had three miscarriages before I had my children so to whine to others about all the down days with my three healthy ones seemed rather ungrateful.

    Show me a mother who rises above it all to bring some joy into people’s lives.

    October 22nd, 2013 | #

  49. monika says

    Pia, I understand your longing. I too have always been curious how other mums juggle all the roles. But I feel it’s something which can be shared off-line, not in blog posts. I have no plans to tell the whole world about my emotions and thoughts as a mother and a maker at the same time. Nothing can be removed from internet, never. I don’t think, even, I would like my children to read than one day. Plus, life shows that if something serious happens it can be used against a mother.

    October 23rd, 2013 | #

  50. pia says

    Thank you everyone for continuing this conversation. I have enjoyed reading all your viewpoints so much. What has struck me the most is that I’d forgotten how much I LOVE opening dialogue on my blog, how much I love and yearn to hear about your lives and thoughts on various topics. With many blogs being focussed these days on the ‘pretty’ of life, I want to ensure this space remains a place of open mind, open heart. Raw and intimate, a place that we can share inspiration along with some of the messiness of life. After all, isn’t that real friendship? I will continue my little doses of reality from time to time because it has helped me so much to hear your thoughts and to hear your encouragement and support, so loud and clear. And I want those who feel similarly to me to feel that encouragement and support too, with all you have going on in your lives. For me my blog remains a safe place to divulge the hard bits, to help the healing process. I thank you for making this such a special place. X

    October 24th, 2013 | #

  51. Sarah says

    Hi Pia, I’ve been a quiet reader for a while now but just wanted to add a big hug! Having to call an ambulance for your baby must have been so so so distressing!! I have a 10month old baby and no grandparent support so I am generally desperate for time to myself! But I’m also very very lucky in that he’s a pretty undemanding baby so I do have time/energy for projects (maybe that plus grandparents is the answer for regular posting?). Although, over the last week we’ve had 2am playtime because of jetlag, then stomach flu and then he pulled a full-length mirror onto his head (so lucky he was fine).. So no projects during naptime today, just abc news24 and a box of cookies 🙂

    October 25th, 2013 | #

  52. Jean Lofts says

    Hello Pia,
    first read your blog when you were in the houseboat.Always fascinated by living in small space,which you managed so charmingly.It’s been a pleasure too since then to keep reading.I admire your honesty about being a mum and finding the time to be creative as well.Sure,some people can do it all with one hand behind their back. Others lives don’t run so smoothly.Hope what I’m about to say will bring a little comfort. I am sixty years young and the mum to three adult sons
    41,33 and 31, then a beautiful little girl,we named Rebecca,
    was born.I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mum,but frustrated if I could not be creative at some point every day.Rebecca grew into a confident,beautiful and intelligent teenager,who took her introverted mum to an interview at Art College,and I’ve been creative every day since.We lost our Darling Rebecca in June 2012, she was 25.She had cancer at 14 the first time.She was a Law Student at City Uni,London.A model,A photographer and A needlewoman.Her own woman, who called me by my name Jean sometimes, just to remind me I was a woman not just a Mum.I recall a not so tidy home,neglected letters, dinners that were so bad all my sons learned to cook for themselves.Laughter,love,days on the beach from 6am until dark and hide and seek in the moonlight.Many years of nursing my darling until that final sleep.The best things I created were my sons and that lovely young woman,Rebecca.The rest can wait.Go Well Pia x

    October 26th, 2013 | #

  53. Annie G says

    Ah,the great secret of motherhood. It is as if we are afraid to say: I am fed up with this gig, nobody ever told me that you had to be great all the time and that complaining is tantamount to being a traitor. How well I recall driving myself ever onwards, convinced that everybody else was doing better than me, being happy and merry and accepting their maternal role. I was sure it was just me – because all the others seemed delighted with the tedium and tooth-grating boredom. Of course, it was all a front. They were putting on a brave face and getting on with the day to day just like me. A sick child is exhausting – you are never off duty, always waiting for the next cry and terrified that it will get worse. Sometimes it does but mostly it doesn’t. You will come through this and look back one day with relief. That you all made it out the other side…Courage! Face forward! The sun always rises.

    October 29th, 2013 | #

  54. Amy {The Misadventurous Maker} says

    I feel for you so much! I know those days. They are exhausting physically and emotionally beyond comprehension. I hope rosier days are heading your way soon. I think some people only show the rosy side because they are trying to be perfect or project a certain image. That sounds exhausting in itself! In my little online spaces I tend to show lots of fluffiness because it’s my creative outlet. I find fun in posting a picture of something yummy I’ve made. I’ve often made something as a creative outlet to a particularly taxing day at home with the 3 littlies though! I often tell people who question my kitchen output, that the volume of cooking I do speaks volumes about my stress levels! Baking and making gifts is my destresser! And I definitely tell my blog & Instagram folks that so they don’t think I have my shit together! I also make sure I share photos of my trashed kitchen and cooking failures to balance out some of the picture “perfect” stuff!

    I think you’re amazing for doing sweet activities and blogging through a rough patch. Nothing is always rosy. You’re doing ace xo

    October 30th, 2013 | #

  55. Rod Judkins says

    Really love the way you write and the content. I think the way your imagery and writing combine so well is really effective. Very beautiful and sensitive photography.

    October 31st, 2013 | #

  56. Mother Down Under says

    Hi Pia,
    I hope you little girl has continued to get better. There is nothing most exhausting and stressful for a mother than a sick child…and I agree that ambos and nurses are the best people around.
    I think back when I was in the trenches of new motherhood, my blog was a lot more “real” then it is now.
    Then it was my outlet…me writing my emotions down in part so I could get them out of my system and try to move on.
    Now that my little guy is two and a half, I have regained much of my life…I am able to have interests apart from him and I find I use my blog to challenge and inspire myself.
    Good luck with your journey…both mothering and blogging!

    October 31st, 2013 | #

  57. tea with sprinkles says

    Hello Pia,

    I hope Laly and you are both feeling much better. And thank you for the sharing her beautiful space. And your gorgeous photography.

    And the honesty and ‘realness’ of your posts.

    A good friend of mine, Ilona Nelson, is currently working on a project about the truth of motherhood and is calling for submissions for mothers everywhere. I’ve included a link to her website and the project information below.


    Subscribe to the project here:



    November 1st, 2013 | #

  58. diana says

    One of the most important things having children taught me, is to let go.
    Whenever I was together with them (which is approx 20 hours per day when they are small – the rest of the day you lie down and pass out…): I lived at their speed. Experienced the world and all the details of living again. Discovered (forgotten) parts of myself.

    It was a lot easier for me to cope once I really went with the flow. Of course it hugely changed my own “agenda”, and I sometimes had the feeling I had to leave everything of myself behind, but slowly I learned to see, understand, and take in, the many (small) things that actually flowed back into my “grown-up” world.
    My children are a huge inspiration.

    All in all this meant that, in the first five years with children (I have two girls, two years apart) I had to part with many things I loved doing, as my daily life was just too fragmented.

    – I didn’t read a book
    – I didn’t have a job I liked.
    – I barely knew what was going on with music, fashion, film.
    – I didn’t craft
    – I didn’t do my beloved sports
    – Shaving my legs was a luxury.
    – No cute dresses. I would fit in all right, but couldn’t bring up the energy shopping for them, and putting them on.
    – Me, the food lover, didn’t like going to restaurants, beergardens or terraces (even the child-friendly ones. Because they are child friendly, and not parent friendly).

    It also meant:
    – I was puked on innumerable times
    – I was mad a million times
    – I was worried sick on several occasions
    – I ate pasta-variations and mashed pasta left-overs five years in a row.
    – I never comfortably sat alone on a chair or couch.
    – I didn’t blog or flickr, twitter or instagrammed. Actually I stopped that all together. It’s a relieve.

    However, I did other, different things. Experienced a spur of magic, and my heart for people and the world got a lot bigger and more compassionate. Also: Many of the things I gave up for a while, have come back to me. Fuller than ever.

    Good luck Pia in finding your way! It might mean a lot of change for now (or for a longer time), but Lale will enrich the road, and make it precious!

    November 7th, 2013 | #

  59. Angelique says

    Finally somebody has said what we are all thinking! Sorry
    if somebody has already written this, no time to go through all
    comments as trying to get children into bed after 15

    November 20th, 2013 | #

  60. caroline @trend-daily says

    Gosh-so many amazing replies! I’ll add my little one to the end of it. My children, Evie and Gabriel are 10 and 7 now-both full time at school, so I can work 9.30-2.30 properly and after 9, as late as it takes. Stresses have changed from toddler issues, to huge amounts of homework and spending all our spare time at the tennis or swim club-sometimes I feel aggravated and stressed, sometimes chilled and proud of what they’re achieving. Sometimes I get furious with my husband for not taking on board that running a house, cooking meals, school and club runs and then a meal for us at some ridiculous hour in the evening are a huge amount to organize on top of trying to earn just about enough money to pay for holidays. But, I do things when I can, and have learnt (finally) to let it drop when I can’t. I love my work and don’t want to give it up-it just changes to fit in with my life as a Mum-and that’s taken a long time to get used to!! Your fans love your work for what it is and when you can do it. All those rosy magazine or blog pictures with 2 best friends building a business at the kitchen table with the children playing at their feet just aren’t right! 90% of us are running around in PJ’s or shocking outfits, unbrushed hair and no make up trying to get everything done-that’s everyone’s reality!!! The years pass in a flash and only get faster-film every moment, write every funny word or saying down in a notebook in your bag and keep it on you all the time-they really do grow up too fast and then you think, why didn’t I spend more time appreciating it!!! You’re doing amazingly and achieving so much x

    December 7th, 2013 | #

  61. Hunt & Gather | My heart knows my way says

    […] with some crafty activities. Some to be revealed in a later post. This one however was inspired by a post by one of my favourite writers, photographer, stylists – Pia Jane […]

    January 9th, 2014 | #

  62. Nic says

    What a refreshingly honest post. Bravo for saying what I’ve been pondering for the last few years. I do not blog because:

    – I have little ones who aren’t “sleepers” and I simply do not have the time.
    – I have major privacy concerns about my little people on the internet…and
    – I remember having a funny feeling in my tummy after dabbling in blogging caused by what I think was a side effect of something narcissistic (why don’t people talk about blogging and narcissism?)

    The benefits of blogging are a lovely community of pretty cool people and all the ideas generated in these spaces. And though I don’t like blogging myself, I’m glad that there are places like here for me to escape to every once and a while.

    Take care Pia. xx

    January 16th, 2014 | #

  63. Aaliyah says

    This is an old blog post and I am sure you have moved on, but to be a mother is something one never ceases to be, so I thought I would post a comment nonetheless.

    I’m not a mother, but as a paediatrics doctor, I encounter children and parents daily. I also come from the slightly odd angle of remembering myself as a child very clearly. My parents say I was a good baby once I passed six months or so, but I distinctly remember how every night, without fail, I would sob and sob (I remember the sound of my crying!) and how my dad would carry me around the house, would even put me in the car and pretend we were going for a drive… I was not an easy child, but I was not an exceptional one either. My brother was the same, and my cousin’s babies are similar.

    As a doctor, I’ve seen the same: there are some who are blessed with children who are 90% of the time extremely nice and cooperative, but there are those at the other end of the spectrum: we even admit some babies for a few days because the parents can no longer cope with the incessant crying and refusal to feed. One poor mum’s baby was so irritable it was feeding such small amounts she had to feed it 1-2 hourly. She’d had no sleep for weeks.

    Children are hard work (and understandably so!) and anybody who makes it look like just a ten minute stroll in the park and constant cooing and cuddling is, I suspect, able to hand them over to somebody else for a large portion of the day.

    All the best to you, and hope your little Laly has continued along the path of good health.

    July 19th, 2014 | #

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